On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM, Roger <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:

 >You're wrong.

It wouldn't be the first time. By the way, it would be helpful it you
didn't change the subject line every time you post, particularly if you
post several dozen times a day.

> Very few if any high school students would even believe -- less claim --
> that all that we know must come through the senses.

Forget the senses, everything you know comes from the physical operations
of your brain, the firings of your neurons.

> Your comment about 0s and 1s and ascii characters has nothing to do with
> living experience or thought.

OK let's assume you're right, but *something* has to do with thought and
the experience of living, let's call it Process X. I'm not talking about
anything supernatural that we can never understand,  I'm talking about a
perfectly rational principle that we just haven't discovered yet. There is
a lot we don't know and the human brain is the most complex object in the
observable universe, we've only been studying it for a short time so we may
be in for some major surprises.

If Process X is rational, that means we can use our minds to examine what
sort of thing it might turn out to be. It seems pretty clear that with
solving equations beating Chess grandmasters and winning on Jeopardy
information processing can produce something that's starting to look like
intelligence, but we'll assume that Process X can do this too, and in
addition Process X can generate consciousness and a feeling of self,
something you were concerned about that mere information processing can not

What Process X  does is certainly not simple, so it's very hard to avoid
concluding that Process X itself is not simple. If it's complex it can't be
made of only one thing, it must be made of parts. If Process X is not to
act in a random, incoherent way some order must exist between the parts. A
part must have some knowledge of what the other parts are doing and the
only way to do that is with information.

But maybe communication among the parts is of only secondary importance and
the major work is done by the parts themselves. It could be, but then the
parts must be very complex and be made of sub parts. In general an
explanation means showing how something simple can do something complex and
the simplest possible sub part is one that can change in only one way, say,
on to off or zero to one. It's getting extremely difficult to tell the
difference between Process X and information processing.

The only way to avoid this conclusion is if there is some ethereal
substance that is all of one thing and has no parts thus is very simple,
yet acts in a complex, intelligent way; and produces feeling and
consciousness while it's at it. If you accept that, then I think the most
honest thing to do would be to throw in the towel, call it a soul, and join
the religious camp. I'm not ready to surrender to the forces of

  John K Clark

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