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Are Human's ideas a program that is very complicated?

 
 
Relative
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 10:24 am
I accept the idea that the human mind is the function of the brain. However, there is nothing that arises out of processing of a computer. Algorithms are just processes that do strictly defined things; anything that arises out and beyond that is a product of OUR thought and understanding, and not of an algorithm.

Algorithms can be numbered, and under some coding scheme, each is identified by a unique number. Like finding the solution to the four-coloring of maps theorem is an algorithm number 3492843....12234, digits omitted for brevity.
The application of the correct algorithm to the correct situation, however, is non-algorithmic.

The fact that 1+1=2, and the calculation necessary, is an algorithmic thing. Knowing that two icecreams will double the pleasure is a product of human understanding.

Quote:
I certainly do not believe that present day computers think, but I do believe that the way their processing arises out of their mechanism is the same as the way our thoughts arise out of our mechanism.


No, I don't believe that. The perceived similarity is the same as between a film in a cinema and a real life. Film only captures an illusion of the real life, it is not the real life itself. Once Upon a Time in the West is the same film, everytime you watch it. It is not alive.

Relative
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 11:38 am
I think there's some mysticism that is usually attached to the human mind, which I believe is misguided. You seem to be suggesting that understanding of the world, e.g. emotion (your reference to ice cream), is not even in the same category as information processing for arithmetic. I believe, on the other hand that we are merely dealing with a matter of degree. I think that the brain is simply an immensely complicated and sophisticated machine which does some sort of information processing infinitely beyond our own computers, and probably in a very different way. Whether the functioning of the brain fits the definition of an algorithm or not is something I'm not much concerned with. For me it is sufficient that it is a system which functions only by the laws of nature with no mystical element. For convenience, I might call this type of system a machine.

But this is really off the logic of my argument. If you believe that the human mind arises only from the functioning of the body, and that there is nothing supernatural involved, then do you also believe that a physical system can be built to duplicate the functioning of another physical system, aside from any run-ins with the Uncertainty Principle?
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Relative
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 12:11 pm
I believe that

Quote:
a physical system can be built to duplicate the functioning of another physical system, aside from any run-ins with the Uncertainty Principle


must be carefully analysed. It is, for example, difficult to duplicate functioning of the Sun except by making another star. You can, however, model the processes occurring in the Sun to a certain extent. You will not capture every detail of it, but your model might work similarly in certain ways.

There is a problem with models : they are not the real thing. In essence you are asking if a device can be replicated, but using different materials; in principle - no. You cannot build say an atomic bomb out of iron.

You can make a theoretical model, hovewer, using an abstract language as the material. We are far from a theoretical model of the brain.

Now to make a physical model of the brain, to make a simulation of some kind of it's function - I believe it is possible. But there are some parts of human thought that seem theoretically impossible to be modelled by a computer.
When we know about the principles involved in it's functioning, then maybe we will be able to model the brain in the sense that we will create a 'brain-like machine' that will exhibit consciousness and intelligence. But for now, short of making another brain (together with a new person) I believe we are far from doing it.

In simple words: I don't know if it is possible to make a conscious being out of silicon and machine parts. It certainly doesn't look possible right now, as far as theory and practice go.

Relative
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 12:23 pm
Relative wrote:
....It is, for example, difficult to duplicate functioning of the Sun except by making another star....You cannot build say an atomic bomb out of iron.

....the brain, to make a simulation of some kind of it's function - I believe it is possible. But there are some parts of human thought that seem theoretically impossible to be modelled by a computer....I believe we are far from doing it..
Relative

I want to really divorce this discussion completely from any reference to what is possible now. What I am interested in is simply what is, in principle, possible at all.

I do not believe there is anything about human thought which is, in principle, impossible to understand and reproduce. Man may never be able to do it, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I agree that you can't make an atomic bomb with iron. What I assert is that a machine could be constructed to think, and, if desired, to have emotions, just as the brain does, without simply replicating a brain exactly. When doing this construction, although there may be cases where some component of the brain might have to be copied exactly to work, I doubt there would be many. We are, after all, not dealing with a situation parallel to trying to cause elements to undergo fission (a bomb) or fusion (the sun).
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jnhofzinser
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 12:36 pm
It appears, Brandon, that you want to make the discussion into one of religion: i.e., what you or Relative or I believe about the constitution of human thought. Neither my conclusions (a spritualistic one) or your conclusions (a materialistic one) or Relative's (as he wishes) are based on evidence or reason. The subject, as stated before, is beyond our reason (at the moment, and perhaps forever). Trying to shoe-horn the subject into the bounds of reason is counter-productive: it merely demonstrates the limitations of thought.
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 01:50 pm
jnhofzinser wrote:
It appears, Brandon, that you want to make the discussion into one of religion: i.e., what you or Relative or I believe about the constitution of human thought. Neither my conclusions (a spritualistic one) or your conclusions (a materialistic one) or Relative's (as he wishes) are based on evidence or reason. The subject, as stated before, is beyond our reason (at the moment, and perhaps forever). Trying to shoe-horn the subject into the bounds of reason is counter-productive: it merely demonstrates the limitations of thought.


It is rather odd to assert that I want to make the discussion one of religion, considering that I believe that the universe functions by science alone and that no God exists. When I say that all processes in the universe, including life, work by physical law alone, and accuse you of basing your opinions about technical matters on your religious beliefs, you can counter by saying that science is my religion, if you wish. But it's nonsense, and just designed to protect your attempt to base your own opinions on religion. You say, that if your opinions are based on religion, well so are mine. Nonsense, mine are based on a belief that science and only science governs the universe, and I have arrived even at my belief in science by a long process of deductive and inductive reasoning. You say that my mechanistic view is as little based on evidence and reason as your religious views, but I wrote you an essay earlier in this thread, demonstrating exactly the opposite - something you appear to need to pretend you didn't read in order to protect your stance here. I will remind you of it by quoting it below:

Brandon9000 wrote:
No, it is not a given. My belief in a mechanistic universe is based on my observation and analysis of the world. Although it is not my goal here to advance atheism, I will say a little more to show that I really do not simply take this as a given. I believe that the universe as a whole functions in accordance with non-magical laws of nature, because to me history seems to indicate this. For instance, throughout history, religious assertions concerning the functioning of nature have had to retreat again and again, as science disproves them (e.g. that the cosmos revolves around the Earth). Furthermore, I see no evidence whatever of the existence of God that is both reliable and not susceptible of more mundane explanations. My suspicion is that people believe that the universe is the magical creation of a benign, omnipotent being because (a) this is was a natural assumption for our pre-scientific ancestors, and (b) it is comforting compared to the alternative. So I additionally believe that the God story is incorrect because I can see how it would arise. Hence, it is not my religion, but my reasoned belief, since religion is usually something accepted by means other than deductive or inductive logic.
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jnhofzinser
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 02:05 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
mine are based on a belief that science and only science governs the universe
Indeed. This is your religion.
Brandon9000 wrote:
and I have arrived even at my belief in science by a long process of deductive and inductive reasoning.
Nonsense. How old are you, Brandon?
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 02:15 pm
jnhofzinser wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
mine are based on a belief that science and only science governs the universe
Indeed. This is your religion.
Brandon9000 wrote:
and I have arrived even at my belief in science by a long process of deductive and inductive reasoning.
Nonsense. How old are you, Brandon?


The basis of your argument is that since I believe in science, I must be accepting it blindly, and, therefore, it is also a religion. However, I have outlined some of the things I have observed and analysed during my life to cause me to believe in the universal validity of science, and to become an athiest. You can repeat over and over, "No you didn't, no you didn't, no you didn't," but, in fact, I did, and so your assertion that I take the universal validity of science as a give remains false.
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jnhofzinser
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 02:23 pm
Feel free to name some of the premises that you based your "long process of...reasoning" on.

I suspect one of them was: "Brandon's reason is sufficiently error-free and his observation is sufficiently accurate to come to a legitimate conclusion about the existence of God." Have you explored that premise? Or did you take it as a given?
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Brandon9000
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 03:23 pm
jnhofzinser wrote:
Feel free to name some of the premises that you based your "long process of...reasoning" on.

I suspect one of them was: "Brandon's reason is sufficiently error-free and his observation is sufficiently accurate to come to a legitimate conclusion about the existence of God." Have you explored that premise? Or did you take it as a given?

I've given you a rough outline of the reasoning behind my atheistic, mechanistic view of the universe twice now, but here it is for a 3rd time:

1. I believe that physical law and not a God rules the universe because to me history seems to indicate this. Throughout history, religious assertions concerning the functioning of nature have had to retreat again and again, as science disproves them (e.g. that the cosmos revolves around the Earth).

2. I see no evidence whatever of the existence of God that is both reliable and not susceptible of more mundane explanations. All of the arguments I have ever seen for the existence of a God appear to have logically fallacies, and usually quite obvious ones.

3. My suspicion is that people believe that the universe is the magical creation of a benign, omnipotent being because (a) this is was a natural assumption for our pre-scientific ancestors, and (b) it is comforting to believe this compared to the alternative. So I additionally believe that the God story is incorrect because I can see how it would arise erroneously.

I will not debate whether this reasoning is correct, because I have done so hundreds of times and am sick of it, and whether I'm right or wrong about it isn't the point. My point is that I favor science over God as an explanation for the universe based on observation and analysis, and do not simply assume it.

Now I have given you three times a sketch of some of the things which have led me to my belief that science and not God is the explanation, and if you accuse me of taking it as a given yet again, I shall simply ignore you.
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jnhofzinser
 
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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2004 04:07 pm
Brandon wrote:
religious assertions concerning the functioning of nature have had to retreat again and again.
This is true. And your religious assertion that science is sufficient to explain human nature will also retreat. Wink

Brandon wrote:
All of the arguments I have ever seen for the existence of a God appear to have logically fallacies, and usually quite obvious ones.
This is also true. Unfortunately, all arguments for the non-existence of God are equally flawed.

Brandon wrote:
So I additionally believe that the God story is incorrect because I can see how it would arise erroneously.
Of course, the opposite is also true: one can easily see how the opposite position could arise.

Brandon wrote:
Now I have given you three times a sketch of some of the things which have led me to my belief that science and not God is the explanation.
I'm sorry, Brandon: it never occurred to me that you thought that the above three points were sufficient for your position. As my comments above indicate, similar observations point equally to the opposite conclusion. Hence, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that you had more "up your sleeve". Especially when you claimed a "long process of deductive and inductive reasoning".

Your (unstated) premise that your rational and observational faculties are sufficient to determine the existence of a creator might require further exploration.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2004 08:00 am
The point is not whether my belief in a Godless, mechanistic universe is correct, nor is the point whether my reasons behind it are smart or stupid. The point is that I do not simply take it as a given.

Yes, of course, I have more than what I have posted behind it, but that should serve to demonstrate that I do not simply assume my science over God position a priori, as you have charged.

Therefore, since I believe that there is no God, that science is universally valid, and since I have arrived it it based on my own observation and analysis, your assertion that it is religion is nothing more than bad debating technique.
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