Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Nov 14, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 14, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
Where Turing lost his way here . . . (JL)

Poor simpleton that he was . . .


Of course it's hubris to assume a scientist like Turing could ever get anything wrong, or fumble is presentation, per mind. Right?

That belief, defending that ground, known as scientism, in this case the infalibility of Dr. Turin, is the other sword I fight here most every time I log on. But verily, nobody gets it right all the time. Even scientists.

But rather than bash each other, let's look at the example in question, and see if Turin did or did not "lose his way."

"This argument is very, well expressed in Professor Jefferson's Lister Oration for 1949, from which I quote. "Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain-that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely artificially signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its successes, grief when its valves fuse, be warmed by flattery, be made miserable by its mistakes, be charmed by sex, be angry or depressed when it cannot get what it wants."

This argument appears to be a denial of the validity of our test."

Turin apparently did not understand what Professor Lister was saying. He was NOT saying that the "easy contrivance" Turin was offering (word symbols on a computer screen) were not indicitive of intelligence of some kind, but rather a machine - Turin's or anyone elses - cannot be considered the equal of a human brain till said machine can think and know it is thinking, and can also experience and know a range of experiences from pleasure to grief to anger to sexual sensations to shame.

These are the very things that charlatan of the Brain Project is claiming a machine will do by 2020. Who amongst us is willing to say that charlatan has NOT lost his way. And who is willing to be green money on it?

It can be argued (and is every day for those deconstructing the Turin Thought Experiment) that the Turin Experiment was never devised to answer the question brought up by Professor Lister, that Turin was simply running a thought experiment on "intelligence." Problem is, once "intelligence" gets associated with a mechanical device, then all the other human facets of consciousness are assigned mechanical origins till the thinking runs into absurd sci fi pipe dreams and we have androids dreaming of electric sheep. And The Turing experiment indicates or "proves" no such thing.

What's more, all of this mechanistic line of reasoning argues that form or matter (meat brain) creates mind or consciousness. But what is the implication of physicist Michael Talbot, who explains that "there is compelling evidence that the only time quanta ever manifest as particles is when we are looking at them. For instance, when an electron isn’t being looked at, experimental findings suggest that it is always a wave."

This would suggests that mind creates form. And who is ready to go out on that limb? One thing is for sure: You'll struggle to drag your discursive mind out there with you. But perhaps it can be done. But how?

JL





paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Nov 14, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
Have to agree with the above. Until a machine is self aware to the point of actually valuing its own existence it wouldn't have consciousness. That self awareness, that sense of the individual entity as separate and necessarily self serving and desiring intensely to continue existing that is the mysterious thing. How can a machine ever be given "a self?"
WBraun

climber
Nov 14, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
How can a machine ever be given "a self?"


Not that big of a mystery, only to the die hard gross materialistic lab coat.

We are the self within our bodies.

The body is the machine and the "self" (soul) is the operator of the body thru the sense organs, mind and brain.

Really really simple.

Except the lab coats have to make it so complex and confusing they get so lost in all their reductionist dogma .....
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Nov 14, 2013 - 04:44pm PT
Alan Turing didn't "lose his way", JL. This is what you say to anyone who disagrees with your zentake on reality. Turing's major contribution was, of course, the Turing Machine, a formalization of the algorithmic principle. But somehow, since he speculated about consciousness, he "lost his way" and you don't agree with his thought. Why not just say "I don't agree with his conclusions" rather than the put-down "lost his way?"

Your way or the highway, right?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 14, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
Jesus, Werner, you sound like my sister. Take some science courses, you'll see what the fuss is about and where the problems to be solved lay. Talk about a broken record, spare me.

You are the poster child for the ghost in the machine pseudosophy at this choss pile.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 14, 2013 - 05:29pm PT
But somehow, since he speculated about consciousness, he "lost his way" and you don't agree with his thought.
-


"Lost his way" was a polite way of saying he was wrong. I cited an example of what he actually said - an actual quote. I trust it is easy to view what was said as one might view a simple equation, which has one correct and an infinite number of incorrect answers. I would be interested in hearing how you believe Turing was correct in his statement about the professor, indicating that he "did not lose his way." I find this language to be more polite than to use the terms one might use per the wrong answer to a math question - "Wrong." Turing simply strayed out of his depth. Scientism might suggest that Turing has no limits on the depth of his investigations, ergo everything he says is at worst something that we might disagree with, while Turing himself can never be entirely wrong. I respectfully disagree with this premise. We're all wrong about stuff all the time.

Of course Turing was actually out to try and discover what was computable, and what, in fact, was computation. Much later, we get AI nerds trying to define consciousness by way of objective functioning, whereby concsiousness is defined as a computation that is computable (measurable). And in turn, subjective experience itself is held to be a computation we will someday replicate in a machine, some believe by 2020.

All told, the Turing test (really just a mathematical model) has generated a great deal of research and philosophical debate. For example, Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter argue that anything capable of passing the Turing test is necessarily conscious, while David Chalmers, argues that a philosophical zombie could pass the test, yet fail to be conscious.
Since Hofstadter and Dennet don’t believe in qualia or zombies, thew naturally believe a Turing test makes a good test for consciousness.

But of course Dennet has never grasped that "qualia" simply means the ever shifting content of his subjective experience. His believing or not believing in his own life (subjective existence) has nothing to do with the qualia geysering inside of him, but don't try and tell him that. He doesn't "believe" it. Silly rabbit.

In light of all this, it may appear that objective external investigations will never have anything interesting to say about consciousness because consciousness is subjective and is not observable. And so there would be no way to test a theory of consciousness. But actually, it is possible to test a theory of consciousness in a certain circumstance. That is, consciousness is observable as long as it is your consciousness.

JL



MH2

climber
Nov 14, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
consciousness is subjective and is not observable

Then why do you have anything to say about it? If it is not observable?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 14, 2013 - 06:49pm PT
Belief in the higgs boson: An act of faith?

Here's Jerry Coyne on the issue:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/faith_in_science_and_religion_truth_authority_and_the_orderliness_of_nature.html

Get 'em, Jerry!

...

Alain de Botton,
"There's no such thing as a grown-up who does not regularly yearn to be comforted like a child."



"The man is exhausted. His joints ache. He feels weak, vulnerable and close to tears. No single event has brought him to this point, just a run of minor humiliations that have cumulatively contributed to an overwhelming sense of mediocrity, superfluousness and self-hatred. His career, once so promising, has for a long time now been in descent. He knows how unimpressive he must appear to others, how keen they are to move on from him in social gatherings and just how many of his proposals and letters have gone unanswered. He no longer has the confidence to push himself forward. He is appalled by the vanity in his character which has led him to this impasse. He is stricken by feelings of remorse, mortality and loneliness. He knows, however, that he couldn’t possibly bring these worries home with him. His children need to believe in his strength. His harried wife has too much on her plate already – and he has learned from experience how badly things turn out when he presents himself to the household in this mood."

"He wants to fall asleep and be held. He wants to cry..."

Religion for Atheists
Alain de Botton

re: need for sanctuaries of benevolence and tenderness
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Nov 14, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
Then why do you have anything to say about it?
guru wannabe
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 14, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
consciousness is subjective and is not observable

Then why do you have anything to say about it? If it is not observable?
--


We can observe our own consciousness (as the quote mentioned - did you read it all), but I, for example, cannot directly observe YOUR subjective experience.

Subjective experience is innerpersonal, not an external or material "thing" a 2nd party can wittness and evaluate like a bird or a STOP sign.

Does that answer your qustion?

JL
MH2

climber
Nov 14, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
We can observe our own consciousness


How different do you think your consciousness is from mine, on a scale from completely different to exactly alike?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Nov 14, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
"Adult life isn't possible without moments when, with reason being ineffective...



...all we can do is regress."
Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Nov 14, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
“I am convinced that the act of thinking logically cannot possibly be natural to the human mind. If it were, then mathematics would be everybody's easiest course at school and our species would not have taken several millennia to figure out the scientific method.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 14, 2013 - 08:40pm PT
We can observe our own consciousness


How different do you think your consciousness is from mine, on a scale from completely different to exactly alike?
---


In terms of output or qualia (the stuff or content of experience), I imagine our inner landscapes are quite different. But there are many objective functions and perceptual modes that are biologically based and are largely the same across the board, much as blood pressure and temperature are roughly the same person to person, race to race. Things like orienting response, raw awareness, witness state, focus and the most basic way we pay attention, how we evoke information from memory, universal feeling tones, sensations, instinctual energies and impulses - these and many other things remain common to all mankind. The things having to do with objective functioning are easietst to verify. The more subtle and fundamental aspect of consciousness associated with presence, observing and being (as in Human Being) require special study and practice and some coaching to get hold of for most of us, mired as we are IN them.

But the fundmamental nature of mind is empty, for one and all.

JL

Malemute

Ice climber
the ghost
Nov 14, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one percent difference in DNA. It has to, ’cause that’s the difference. The Hubble telescope, these grand… that’s in that one percent.

Maybe… everything that we are that is not the chimp is not as smart compared to the chimp as we tell ourselves it is.

Maybe the difference between constructing and launching a Hubble telescope, and a chimp combining two finger motions as sign language – maybe that difference is not all that great. We tell ourselves it is.

Just the same way we label our books optical illusions. We tell ourselves it’s a lot. Maybe it’s almost nothing. How would we decide that?

Imagine another life form that’s one percent different from us.

In the direction that we are different from the chimp.

Think about that.

We have one percent difference and we’re building the Hubble telescope. Go another one percent.

What are we to they? We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence. That’s what we would be.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
MH2

climber
Nov 14, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
In terms of output or qualia (the stuff or content of experience), I imagine our inner landscapes are quite different.


Are you saying output or qualia are observable aspects of consciousness?

How would you compare your inner landscape and Bachar's?



Is music, taking jazz for an example, an output or product of consciousness?

Do you think a computer might be able to listen to improvisational sax and come in on clarinet extending, underlining, and otherwise picking up the theme?



Turing's paper on machine intelligence was a side-trip from his more abstract work on computing. In his day computers put out alpha-numerics. We should probably update the Turing test. You invent a game, show the computer how to play, and see how well it catches on. The Turing test today has the problem that many humans would be aware of the possibility that their correspondent might be machine rather than human and that might bias their judgement. Today, Turing test contests favor deception. A recent winner was a program that represented itself as a 14 year-old Russian boy. The judges had to worry about whether some of its mistakes were because of poor knowledge of English or other cultural differences and gave it some benefit of doubt.


You imply that what you call output is an indicator, however partial, of the inner landscape. As Turing pointed out, if you take the position that subjective experience is completely private, then how do you know that another person is thinking, let alone a machine?




FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 14, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
Fuuuuk.

Are we back to that "qualia' crap again?

Problem is, once "intelligence" gets associated with a mechanical device, then all the other human facets of consciousness are assigned mechanical origins till the thinking runs into absurd sci fi pipe dreams and we have androids dreaming of electric sheep. And The Turing experiment indicates or "proves" no such thing.

Where you have lost your way is in your steadfast belief that every aspect of consciousness is anything BUT a mechanical contrivance. Consider how many ways there are to mechanically tweak or outright sever different aspects of consciousness, even "soul", for that matter. Consider, for example how "different" you become if you go without sodium.

Once the basic architecture of brain (hardware) is mapped out, we'll move on to the endocrine system, the software, as it were. This is the place that provides the manual for who we are, as well as who we think we are.

FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 14, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
You imply that what you call output is an indicator, however partial, of the inner landscape. As Turing pointed out, if you take the position that subjective experience is completely private, then how do you know that another person is thinking, let alone a machine?

Precisely. But Largo will argue that an output of words on a screen amounts to no proof of anything.


Ironic, no?
WBraun

climber
Nov 14, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
backwardsmental -- "Where you have lost your way is in your steadfast belief that every aspect of consciousness is anything BUT a mechanical contrivance."

Your consciousness is materially contaminated and that is why you believe consciousness is material ......
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