On Sun, Apr 21, 2013 at 6:25 PM, Stephen Paul King
<kingstephenp...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Telmo,

Hi Stephen, great moustache!

> Could it be that, as usual, each of us are using a different dictionary of
> definitions of words? What is "science", what is "religion"...... Round and
> round we go!

I'm not sure I agree that's the problem in this case. My view: science
and religion are two systems for acquiring beliefs. Religion is purely
based on authority -- it's true because someone with a wizard suit
says so. Pure science completely rejects arguments from authority and
instead relies on observation, experimentations and then explanations
that lead to testable predictions. Some things are in a gray area, of
course. Is string theory science? Is taoism religion?

The problem I see here is arguments from authority subtly creeping
into science, thus allowing one to take it as a religion -- a common
pitfall of atheists. For example, the subtle distinction between
assuming there's an objective, shared, material world and taking this
as a true and unquestionable fact. The former position has show itself
to be highly effective for the purpose of creating new technologies,
for example. The latter position, in my view, turns science into
religion.

> ISTM that consciousness per se is completely and totally 1p and
> anything that involves reporting on its content is not consciousness.

I completely agree.

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name

:)

> On Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 8:14 PM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> 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>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> >>> >> 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
>> light-hearted?
>>
>> >>
>> >> > 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
>> > something.
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> Ok.
>>
>> > 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
>> > measure.
>>
>> 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
>> more algorithms.
>>
>> > 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.
>>
>> Telmo.
>>
>> >   John K Clark
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
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