On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 10:32 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>
>>> >> You may be pedantic about the use of anthropomorphic language but I am
>>> >> not.
>> > It can become distracting / misleading in deeper discussions about the
>> > mechanisms of evolution.
> I don't care, anybody who was mislead or distracted and believed Evolution
> could think would be so stupid that I wouldn't care to talk to them. And as
> you once said "who are you to say what's useful or not as a tool for other
> people to think and understand?".
Ok, I think this is getting a bit hostile and I apologise for my part
in that. John, I don't know you personally so I have nothing against
you. We're just debating ideas. Maybe you're a great guy and maybe I'm
a great guy. Maybe we're both idiots. Can we keep this discussion
>> > Emergence is just a way to connect different levels of abstraction.
> The trouble is people say X leads to Y but when asked how they just wave
> their hands around and say it's a emergent property, as if that explains
People also use the word "quantum" to sell self-help snake oil. That
does not invalidate QM. There is an entire field of physics, for
example, dedicated to studying emergence in a rigorous fashion --
statistical physics. It explains how local molecule interactions give
rise to pressure, for example. Or the emergence of ferromagnetism.
There's also mean field theory. Cellular automata show how simple
local rules can give rise to complexity, again in a well-defined
fashion. Artificial Life provides us with a number of computational
experiments that show life-like emergence. We know how social insects
like ants perform integration through simple local interactions and
pheromone trails. There's schelling's segregation model in social
science. It's not all wishy-washy stuff.
>> > What do you mean "useful"?
> I'm not going to tell you. Any definition I give you will be made of words
> and I have no doubt you would then demand a definition of at least one of
> those words.
It wasn't a trick question, but it's a valid one when someone invokes
utilitarianism -- a concept that can be dangerous, as History as shown
us a number of times. Science is undoubtfuly useful in providing
plausible theories for how the universe works (provided we understand
a priori assumptions). Also for generating new technologies. It even
helps me in understanding what I am, but only too a degree. The
missing part I don't understand bugs me. I love science too much not
to question it. Because, like you, I loathe religion.
>>> >> That's the trouble with this list, everybody is a big picture man with
>>> >> their own fundamental holistic theories about consciousness
>> > Isn't "big picture" the theme of this list?
> I thought the theme of this list was everything, and details are something.
> Dilettantes are always big picture men because that is so much easier than
> being a details man; they are VERY big picture men, so big that their ideas
> have made absolutely no changes to science or to anything that anyone can
Can one be both? I promise you, I spend most of my time on details.
Here I do as I please, until the list sends me a paycheck :)
>> > If consciousness is easier than intelligence
> Evolution certainly found that to be the case.
There is not scientific evidence whatsoever of this. Nor do I think it
can be. People like António Damásio (my compatriot) and other
neuroscientists confuse a machine's ability to recognise itself with
consciousness. This makes me wonder if some people are zombies.
>> > how come we have scientific progress in the latter and not in the
>> > former?
> Today's computers are smarter than they were 10 years ago so I think it is
> highly likely that they are more conscious too.
Computers are what they have always been, Turing machines with finite
tapes. The tapes are getting bigger, that's all. We have discovered
> If you have another method
> for measuring consciousness other than intelligent behavior I would very
> much like to hear about it.
The lack of a method is not a reason to accept any alternative.
Measuring conscious by intelligent behaviour is mysticism, just like
believing that it rains because Zeus is peeing.
>> > how do you know that intelligence is a requirement of consciousness?
> The only consciousness I have direct experience with is my own and I note
> that when I'm sleepy my consciousness is reduced and so is my intelligence,
> when I'm alert the reverse is true.
I agree on intelligence, but I don't feel less conscious when I'm
sleepy. Just differently conscious. I'm a bit sleepy right now.
>>> > Somebody who puts "philosopher" in the occupation line on his tax form
>> Ok, I guess Plato and Aristotle and the rest of that gang are out then.
> Archimedes was a mathematician and he discovered more philosophy than Plato
> and Aristotle combined.
You have a personal bias for certain types of intellectual
contributions. I think Archimedes was a swell guy too.
> John K Clark
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