On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM, benjayk

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >> >>> So what is your definition of computer, and what is your
> >> >>> evidence/reasoning
> >> >>> that you yourself are not contained in that definition?
> >> >>>
> >> >> There is no perfect definition of computer. I take computer to mean
> >> >> the
> >> >> usual physical computer,
> >> >
> >> > Why not use the notion of a Turing universal machine, which has a
> >> > rather well defined and widely understood definition?
> >> Because it is an abstract model, not an actual computer.
> >
> >
> > It doesn't have to be abstract.  It could be any physical machine that
> has
> > the property of being Turing universal.  It could be your cell phone, for
> > example.
> >
> OK, then no computers exists because no computer can actually emulate all
> programs that run on an universal turing machine due to lack of memory.

If you believe the Mandlebrot set, or the infinite digits of Pi exist, then
so to do Turing machines with inexhaustible memory.

> But let's say we mean "except for memory and unlimited accuracy".
> This would mean that we are computers, but not that we are ONLY computers.
Is this like saying our brains are atoms, but we are more than atoms?  I
can agree with that, our minds transcend the simple description of
interacting particles.

But if atoms can serve as a platform for minds and consciousness, is there
a reason that computers cannot?

Short of adopting some kind of dualism (such as
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_naturalism , or the idea that God
has to put a soul into a computer to make it alive/conscious), I don't see
how atoms can serve as this platform but computers could not, since
computers seem capable of emulating everything atoms do.

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> since this is all that is required for my argument.
> >> >>
> >> >> I (if I take myself to be human) can't be contained in that
> definition
> >> >> because a human is not a computer according to the everyday
> >> >> definition.
> >> >
> >> > A human may be something a computer can perfectly emulate, therefore a
> >> > human could exist with the definition of a computer.  Computers are
> >> > very powerful and flexible in what they can do.
> >> That is an assumption that I don't buy into at all.
> >>
> >>
> > Have you ever done any computer programming?  If you have, you might
> > realize that the possibilities for programs goes beyond your imagination.
> Yes, I studied computer science for one semester, so I have programmed a
> fair amount.
> Again, you are misinterpreting me. Of course programs go beyond our
> imagination. Can you imagine the mandel brot set without computing it on a
> computer? It is very hard.
> I never said that they can't.
> I just said that they lack some capability that we have. For example they
> can't fundamentally decide which programs to use and which not and which
> axioms to use (they can do this relatively, though). There is no
> computational way of determining that.

There are experimental ways, which is how we determined which axioms to use.

There is no reason a computer could not use these same approaches.

> For example how can you computationally determine whether to use the axiom
> true=not(false) or use the axiom true=not(true)?

Some of them are more useful, or lead to theories of a richer complexity.
 If the computer program had a concept for desiring novelty/surprises, it
would surely find some axiomatic systems more interesting than others.

> Or how can you determine whether to program a particular program or not? To
> do this computationally you would need another program, but how do you
> determine if this is the correct one?

How do we?

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> > You may not buy into this, but the overwhelming majority of computer
> > scientists do.  If you have
> > no opinion one way or the other, and don't wish to investigate it
> > yourself,
> > for what reason do you reject the mainstream expert opinion?
> That's very simple. Computer science has only something to say about
> computers, so an expert on that can't be trusted on issues going beyond
> that
> (what is beyond computation).
> To the contrary they are very likely biased towards a computational
> approach
> by their profession.

There is probably some of that, yes.

> Or to put it more rudely: Many computer scientists are deluded by their own
> dogma of computation being all important (or even real beyond an idea),
> just
> like many priests are deluded about God being all important (or even real
> beyond an idea). Inside their respective system, there is nothing to
> suggest
> the contrary, and most are unwilling to step out of them system because
> they
> want to be comfortable and not be rejected by their peers.
Most consciousness researchers (who often are not computer scientists)
subscribe to the functionalist/computational theory of mind.

It is better than dualism, because it does not require violations of
physics for a mental event to cause a physical event.
It is better than epihenominalism, because it explains how we can express
our own puzzlement over consciousness.
It is better than idealism, because it explains why we observe a physical
universe that seems to follow certain laws.
It is better than physicalism, because it explains how creatures with
different neural anatomy can experience pain.

If not functionalist/computationalist, what is theory of consciousness do
you subscribe to?

Do you, like Craig, believe that certain materials have to be used in the
construction of a brain to realize certain mental states?

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >> Actually it can't be true due to self-observation.
> >> A human that observes its own brain observes something entirely else
> than
> >> a
> >> digital brain observing itself (the former will see flesh and blood
> while
> >> the latter will see computer chips and wires), so they behaviour will
> >> diverge if they look at their own brains - that is, the digital brain
> >> can't
> >> an exact emulation, because emulation means behavioural equivalence.
> >>
> >>
> > It could be a brain (computer) in a vat:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat
> >
> > But even if it weren't, let's say it was an android.  Why would knowledge
> > of being an android make it less capable than any biological human?
> I didn't say that. It just can't be an exact emulation with respect to the
> actual world and its possibilities.
> That it would have to be less capable in some respects is another issue.
> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >> >
> >> > Short of injecting infinities, true randomness, or halting-type
> >> > problems, you won't find a process that a computer cannot emulate.
> >> Really? How come that we never ever emulated anything which isn't
> already
> >> digital?
> >>
> >
> > Non-digital processes are emulated all the time.  Any continuous/real
> > number can be simulated to any desired degree of accuracy.  It is only
> > when
> > you need infinite accuracy that it becomes impossible for a computer.
> > This
> > is an injection of an infinity.
> >
> > Note that humans cannot add, or multiply real numbers with infinite
> > precision either.
> OK, so I would have to correct myself and say non-digital and non-abstract.
The difference between abstract and concrete is merely a matter of
perspective.  If we found some Mandlebrot-set like structure, with little
evolving life forms in it, which if you zoom in enough find that they
develop intelligence, consciousness, and civilization, we might call their
universe and existence abstract.  But they might say the same thing about
us. (Once they found the fractal-like structure that contains us).

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >> What is the evidence for your statement (or alternatively, why would it
> >> think it is true for other reasons)?
> >>
> >
> > Sit for a few minutes and try to come up with a process that cannot be
> > replicated by a computer program, which does not involve one of the three
> > things I mentioned.  You may soon become frustrated by the seeming
> > impossibility of the task, and develop an intuition for what is meant by
> > Turing universality.
> ???
> Well, actually I can't find any actual process that can be replicated by a
> computer program.
> If it could be, then I could use virtual things and processes like I use
> actual things and processes. But this is empirically obviously not true.
> If you want an example, take my heart beating. I can't substitute my heart
> even with the best simulation of a heart beating, because the simulation
> doesn't ACTUALLY pumps my blood. Even if it is completely accurate, this
> doesn't help at all with the problem of pumping my blood because all it
> does
> is generate information as output. We would still have the problem of using
> that information to actually pump the blood, and this would pretty much
> still require a real heart (or an other pump).

You're crossing contexts and levels.  Certainly, a heart inside a computer
simulation of some reality isn't going to do you any good if you exist on a
different level, in a different reality.

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> > The reasoning is, anything that can be described algorithmically, and
> does
> > not require an infinite number of steps to solve, can be solved by a
> > computer following that algorithm.  No one has found or constructed any
> > algorithm that cannot be followed a computer.
> >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithm
> >
> Note the word "described". Everything can be described using language as
> well (just invent an abitrary word for any thing you want to describe).
> That is precisely the error. Description does NOT equal reality.

I agree with this.

> Yes, everything can be described using computers, and all descriptions can
> be manipulated in abitrary way using computers.
> But this is were it stops.

I disagree.

> Computers can't go beyond symbol manipulation,
> simply because that is exactly how we built them. That is the very
> definition of a computer. Receive symbols, transform them in the stated
> way,
> output symbols.

Computers can do more than manipulate symbols, they can generate reality.
 Consider that your entire life, all your experience are created by some
gelatinous blob resting in the darkness of your skull.  If this blob can
create your reality, why can't this box sitting under by desk do the same?

> If you say that only computers exists, you say that only symbol
> manipulation
> exists. The problem with that is that symbols don't make sense on their
> own,
> as the very definition of a symbol is that it represents something other
> than itself. So you CAN'T have only symbols and symbols manipulation
> because
> the symbols are meaningless without something outiside of them and symbol
> manipulation is meaningless if symbols are meaningless.

The squirting of neurotransmitters between neurons are no more than
symbols.  Yet they have meaning in the context of your brain.

The act of comparing one symbol to another, and doing something different
because it was one value and not another is the most elemental form of

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> We have no reason to believe that nature is finite. It just seems to go
> >> on
> >> in every direction, we never found an edge. I am not saying it contains
> a
> >> completed infinity (in my opinion that's pretty much an oxymoron), but
> it
> >> appears to be inherently incomple.
> >
> >
> > I agree, our universe is probably infinite in size, and there are
> probably
> > infinitely many such structures that could be called universes.
> >
> > But are humans infinite?  Do our brains or neurons need to process
> > continuous variables to infinite precision to function accurately?
> They may not be this kind of infinity, but I am only saying that they are
> not finite in the mathematical sense if only because humans are not even a
> precise entity (they are quantum and thus inherently unprecise).
> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> > There are many places where our equations
> >> *completely* break down, which implies that there might never be a
> >> accurate
> >> description there.
> >> Occams razor is not an argument against this. It doesn't say "Assume as
> >> little entities as possible" (otherwise we had to deny the existence of
> >> everything we can't directly observe like planets that are far away). It
> >> says "Make the least and the simplest assumptions".
> >> We don't need to assume fundamental finiteness to explain anything, so
> we
> >> shouldn't.
> >>
> >
> > Nor should we assume infinities without reason.  There are some physical
> > reasons to assume there are no infinities involved in the brain, however:
> >
> > The holographic principle places a finite bound on the amount of physical
> > information that there can be in a fixed volume.  This implies there is a
> > finite number of possible brain states and infinite precision cannot be a
> > requirement for the operation of the brain.
> >
> >
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle#Limit_on_information_density
> >
> That argument does not work if the human brain is entangled with the rest
> of
> the cosmos (because then you can't seperate it as a entity having a fixes
> volume).

Okay, let's say it is a bubble of 1000 light years surrounding you.  There
is a finite quantity of information in this bubble, and only so much can
reach its center (your brain) over the next 1,000 years.

> And this seems to be empirically true because there is pretty much no other
> way to explain psi.

What do you mean by psi?

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >> I am not saying that nature is infinite in the way we picture it. It may
> >> not
> >> fit into these categories at all.
> >>
> >> Quantum mechanics includes true subjective randomness already, so by
> your
> >> own standards nothing that physically exists can be emulated.
> >>
> >>
> > The UD also contains subjective randomness, which is at the heart of
> > Bruno's argument.
> No, it doesn't even contain a subject.
> Bruno assumes COMP, which I don't buy at all.
Okay.  What is your theory of mind?

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> >> >
> >> > Do you believe humans are hyper computers?  If not, then we are just
> >> > special cases of computers.  The particular case can defined by
> >> > program, which may be executed on any Turing machine.
> >> Nope. We are not computers and also not hyper-computers.
> >>
> >>
> > That is a bit like saying we are not X, but we are also not (not X).
> Right, reality is not based on binary logic (even though it seems to play
> an
> important role).
That reminded me of this:

I, Kerry Wendell Thornley, KSC, JFK Assassin, Bull Goose of Limbo,
Recreational Director of the Wilhelm Reich Athletic Club, Assistant
Philosopher, President of the Universal Successionist Association (USA),
Chairperson of the Kronstadt Vengeance Committee, Poet Laureate of the
Randolph Bourne Association for Revolutionary Violets, Minister in the
Church of Universal Life, Trustee for the Center for Mythographic Arts,
Correspondent for the Desperate Imperialist News Service (DIN), Vice
President of the Generic Graffiti Council of the Americas, CEO of the
Umbrella Corporation and of the Spare Change Investment Corporation,
Treasurer of the Commercial Erisian Orthodox Tabernacle, Assistant
Treasurer of the John-Dillinger-Died-For-You Society, Public Relations
Director of Precision Psychedelics, Managing Editor of The Decadent Worker,
Public Security Committee Chief of the Revolutionary Surrealist Vandal
Party (RSVP), Advisor to the Niccolo Machiavelli University of Jesuit
Ethics, Instructor of the Mullah Nasrudin Sufi Mime Troupe, Dean of
Bodhisattvas of the 12 Famous Buddha Mind School, Mail Clerk of Junk Mail
Associates, Chaplaim ofthe Erotic Terrorism Committee of the Fucking
Communist Conspiracy (FCC, etc.), Deputy Counsel of the International
Brotherhood of Doom Prophets, Local 666, Alleged Founder of the Zenarchist
Affinity Group (ZAG) and the Zenarchist Insurgency Group (ZIG), Co-Founder
of the Discordian Society, Grand Master ofthe Legion of Dynamic Discord,
Saint 2nd Class in the Industrial Church of the SubGenius, CEO of the
Brooklyn Bridge Holding Company, Executive Vice President of the Bank of
Hell, Chief Engineer of the Southern Fascist Railway (``Our Trains Run On
Time!''), Inspector for the Political Correctness Division of the Marta
Batista Cola Company, and Satanist Quaker of 3388 Homera Place, Decatur,
Georgia do hereby swear (or affirm) on this day of 13 October 1993 under
penalty of perjury that to the best of my knowledge,* all of the above and
much of the below is true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless
in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some
sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and
meaningless in some sense*, as the Discordian Church (or Synagogue) holds
as a central tradition (borrowed from Buddhism and, thus, older than
Christianity) tenet of its faith is true of all affirmations.

> Jason Resch-2 wrote:
> > Hyper computers are these imagined things that can do everything normal
> > computers
> > cannot.  So together, there is nothing the two could not be capable of.
> >  What is this magic that makes a human brain more capable than any
> > machine?
> >  Do you not believe the human brain is fundamentally mechanical?
> Nope. I think we will soon realize this as we undoubtably see that the
> brain
> is entangled with the rest of the universe.

If you haven't already, I think you will very much enjoy that video I
pasted earlier.  He demonstrates that entanglement and measurement are the
same thing.  Entanglement is the phenomenon when seen to cross space, while
measurement is the phenomenon when seen to cross time.

Even if our brains are entangled, however, entanglement, as a phenomenon of
QM, is fully deterministic, and thus emulable by a computer.

The presence of psi is already
> evidence for that.
> The notion of entaglement doesn't make sense for machines, since they can
> only process information/symbols, but entanglement is not informational.
> Also, machines necessarily work in steps (that's how we built them), yet
> entaglement is instantaneous. If you have to machines then they both have
> to
> do a step to know the state of the other one.
> And indeed entanglement is somewhat magical, but nevertheless we know it
> exists.

Effects from entanglement are not instantaneous under many worlds.

From: http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints/manyworlds.html

To recap. Many-worlds is local and deterministic. Local measurements
split local systems (including observers) in a subjectively random
fashion; distant systems are only split when the causally transmitted
effects of the local interactions reach them. We have not assumed any
non-local FTL effects, yet we have reproduced the standard predictions
of QM.


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