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Cognitive Computer Chips
Posted: 15 September 2011 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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hehe, for a hermit crab an empty shell is better than half an egg….. cheese

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Posted: 15 September 2011 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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kkwan - 14 September 2011 09:50 PM
dougsmith - 14 September 2011 10:35 AM

Speaking generally, your move is simply one of semantics. You say something is a machine only if it’s been designed by a person. That’s not the crucial point when we discuss the brain as a machine. The crucial point is that all that the brain does is done via physical processes. It is just as much a large, complex physical process as is a carburetor or digital watch.

And the semantics is actually erroneous. Biology already understands evolution as a designing force. That’s why the contrast is with intelligent design. Natural selection is mindless design. That’s how you get such things as biological function: i.e. the function of the heart is to pump blood, not to be the same size as a persimmon. Roughly speaking, pumping blood is how it increased the fitness of creatures that had hearts, thus making it more probable that they survived and reproduced. This is mindless design.

It is not just simply about semantics. It is also about how we interpret nature’s processes. I don’t think one can simply equate the brain’s physical processes as synonymous to that of a carburetor or digital watch and on that basis, consider the brain as a machine, notwithstanding that there is no evidence of a specific designer or whether it is justified to consider it as a mere machine solely from its physical processes. It is simply reductionist, anthropomorphic, a false analogy and can only be considered as metaphorical.

“Reductionist” is a positive. The whole point of science is to understand phenomena in terms of their constituent parts. The rest you haven’t shown. Showing that biology isn’t teleological is irrelevant to that purpose: a volcano doesn’t have a designer and yet it functions mechanically. What you need to show is that there is some brain process which is nonphysical. Good luck with that.

All you have on offer is obscurantism-by-random-quotation, far as I can see.

(And as I’ve already said, the stuff on biology is wrong as well. Biology has a well-worn notion of teleology which is discharged in etiological terms: based on the past history of selection. Nothing magic or mind-based about it).

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Posted: 15 September 2011 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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StephenLawrence - 15 September 2011 01:17 AM

The concept of natural selection as designer doesn’t have to be teleological, it’s just the language we use + our natural tendency to think like that which confuses.

The heart isn’t meant to pump blood but it’s designed to pump blood, meaning it was naturally selected because it pumps blood. (edit: There is more to design than that but it’s a start.)

There is no designer and design in nature per se.

This was the theme of Richard Dawkin’s book, “The Blind Watchmaker”.

From the wiki HERE

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins in which he presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

Natural selection cannot be conceived as a designer in any sense. If it is conceived as such, it would be a very poor designer indeed.

Also, from this article HERE

Unintelligent design:

Evolution is directionless and blind. Features that evolve at one point can become a hindrance later on. Mutations and inefficiencies leads to dysfunctions and disease. This is about unintelligent design and the potential that the Human species has at lending a proper engineering hand to the whole haphazard process of selection.

The Inside-Out Retina of the Human Eye:

Us humans, as vertebrates, have ended up with inside-out retinas. The nerves that carry signals from the rods and cones in our retina lay on the sensors instead of under them.

Prof. Victor J. Stenger - The eye is not designed:

The eye is neither poorly nor well designed. It is simply not designed. Eyes provide such obvious survival value that they developed at least forty times independently in the course of evolution.

Prof. John Bock (2009) - The problem of increasing brain size:

Over time, natural selection increased brain size in these early humans. But at some point, the selection for bigger and bigger brains collided head on, so to speak, with the narrow pelvis.

Whither natural selection as a designer?

cheese

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Posted: 15 September 2011 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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dougsmith - 15 September 2011 04:01 AM

“Reductionist” is a positive. The whole point of science is to understand phenomena in terms of their constituent parts. The rest you haven’t shown. Showing that biology isn’t teleological is irrelevant to that purpose: a volcano doesn’t have a designer and yet it functions mechanically. What you need to show is that there is some brain process which is nonphysical. Good luck with that.

Reductionism is a two-edged sword. It can be a very useful tool to elucidate the minutiae of a phenomenon in order to understand its nature, but in the process of doing so, one can become too immersed with the details to stand back and observe the phenomenon wrt to its environment, as a whole.

It is important that biology should not be teleological, otherwise it is no longer science.

Volcanoes and volcanic eruptions are notoriously unpredictable, a complex system, which is not mechanical like clockwork.

Brain processes are physical, but what is the nature of the mind and consciousness? Are they also physical processes?

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Posted: 15 September 2011 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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kkwan - 14 September 2011 10:03 PM
domokato - 14 September 2011 10:50 AM

Words evolve. The meaning of machine has expanded. The only way you can claim the human body is not a machine these days is if you posit a soul or a god.

What is the meaning of machine now?

This line from the wiki intro should suffice:

In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work.

Not necessarily so. It is false analogy to compare the human body to a machine.

You say you are not merely making a semantic argument, and that…

It is simply reductionist, anthropomorphic, a false analogy and can only be considered as metaphorical.

Anthropomorphism is applying human characteristics to non-humans; this is the opposite, so this does not apply.

It is only a false analogy and metaphorical if your argument holds.

And later, of reductionism, you say:

Reductionism is a two-edged sword. It can be a very useful tool to elucidate the minutiae of a phenomenon in order to understand its nature, but in the process of doing so, one can become too immersed with the details to stand back and observe the phenomenon wrt to its environment, as a whole.

So your argument appears to be that the brain cannot be called a machine because it needs to be viewed wrt its environment as a whole? This makes no sense.

I thought the designer of a machine had to be human  tongue rolleye

It is conceivable that there could be a supernatural designer of humans and human brains as machines.

The designer of human made machines are humans.

My point was that if you’re going to be a stickler for the original definition of words, then only humans make machines. Period. You’re contradicting yourself.

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Posted: 15 September 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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kkwan - 15 September 2011 08:10 AM

It is important that biology should not be teleological, otherwise it is no longer science.

Well biology is teleological and yet it is science. So something’s going on there that you need to take account of: viz., that teleological facts can depend upon etiological facts. Etiological facts are perfectly scientific.

kkwan - 15 September 2011 08:10 AM

Volcanoes and volcanic eruptions are notoriously unpredictable, a complex system, which is not mechanical like clockwork.

Chaos has nothing whatever to do with not being mechanical. Any three-body system behaves chaotically, and yet it is perfectly mechanical. This is one of the things that tripped up Newton, who believed God was necessary to preserve the planets in their motions. Eventually Laplace figured out the correct (mechanistic) math to understand the problem. For more on this, see e.g. Neil Tyson’s perimeter of our ignorance.

kkwan - 15 September 2011 08:10 AM

Brain processes are physical, but what is the nature of the mind and consciousness? Are they also physical processes?

At the very least they supervene upon physical processes; either that or they are abstractions from those same processes.

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Posted: 15 September 2011 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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kkwan - 15 September 2011 08:10 AM

Brain processes are physical, but what is the nature of the mind and consciousness? Are they also physical processes?

Are you saying they’re not?

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Posted: 15 September 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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Could we say chemical rather than physical when discussing the mind/brain???

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Posted: 15 September 2011 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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http://video.pbs.org/video/1786674622

Nova on Watson playing Jeopardy…....and winning against two of the greatest Jeopardy players ever.!!

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Posted: 15 September 2011 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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traveler - 15 September 2011 01:58 PM

Could we say chemical rather than physical when discussing the mind/brain???

Perhaps electro/chemical?

They are experimenting with controlling brainfunction (ability to think) with magnetic fields.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/mind-control-TMS.html

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Posted: 16 September 2011 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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Write4U - 15 September 2011 07:08 PM
traveler - 15 September 2011 01:58 PM

Could we say chemical rather than physical when discussing the mind/brain???

Perhaps electro/chemical?

They are experimenting with controlling brainfunction (ability to think) with magnetic fields.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/mind-control-TMS.html

Fine, like a battery, not a generator.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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domokato - 15 September 2011 10:31 AM

In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work.

What is a device? From the Merriam-Webster:

a piece of equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function

It implies that it is designed by humans to do just that.

Anthropomorphism is applying human characteristics to non-humans; this is the opposite, so this does not apply.

From the wiki HERE

Anthropomorphism is any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to non-human animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts,

So, considering the human brain (a natural object) as a biological machine is anthropomorphic because a machine is a human invention whereas the human brain is not.

So your argument appears to be that the brain cannot be called a machine because it needs to be viewed wrt its environment as a whole? This makes no sense.

The living human brain is connected to the living human body and through it, interacts with its environment.

My point was that if you’re going to be a stickler for the original definition of words, then only humans make machines. Period. You’re contradicting yourself.

Do you know of any non-human who make machines? OTOH, it is conceivable that the human brain (conceived as a biological machine and is not made by a human) could be made by a supernatural being i.e. an intelligent designer. There is no contradiction.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
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dougsmith - 15 September 2011 11:35 AM

Well biology is teleological and yet it is science. So something’s going on there that you need to take account of: viz., that teleological facts can depend upon etiological facts. Etiological facts are perfectly scientific.

From the wiki on teleology

In modern science, in particular within evolutionary biology, an explanation that relies on teleology is considered to be unconvincing, and scientists aim to develop explanations which avoid it.

You wrote:

Chaos has nothing whatever to do with not being mechanical. Any three-body system behaves chaotically, and yet it is perfectly mechanical.

How so? A three body problem has no definite solutions. For instance, in the case of the sun, the earth and the moon, eventually the moon will leave its orbit around the earth after millions of years.

More from this article HERE

A simpler task is to attempt to solve the three-body problem. At the end of the 19th century, the French mathematician Henri Poincaré tackled this problem in some depth. It is clear from his writings that he was aware of the unpredictability of some solutions of the equations of motion. He did not solve the three-body problem; in fact, he proved that a simple, general solution did not exist. However, Poincaré was the first to appreciate the complicated behaviour that could result from the gravitational interaction of just three bodies.

You wrote:

At the very least they supervene upon physical processes; either that or they are abstractions from those same processes.

That the mind and the brain is intimately correlated is clear. There is no evidence of a mind without a living brain. How about a mind with only half a brain? Incidentally, I have a relative who had half his brain removed because he had meningitis when he was a baby. He is physically disabled on one side of his body, but he has a mind and is quite normal in all other respects.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
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domokato - 15 September 2011 01:28 PM
kkwan - 15 September 2011 08:10 AM

Brain processes are physical, but what is the nature of the mind and consciousness? Are they also physical processes?

Are you saying they’re not?

Can you say they are?

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Posted: 16 September 2011 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:44 AM
dougsmith - 15 September 2011 11:35 AM

Well biology is teleological and yet it is science. So something’s going on there that you need to take account of: viz., that teleological facts can depend upon etiological facts. Etiological facts are perfectly scientific.

From the wiki on teleology

In modern science, in particular within evolutionary biology, an explanation that relies on teleology is considered to be unconvincing, and scientists aim to develop explanations which avoid it.

So? One has to read wikipedia with at least a modicum of judiciousness. The wiki on teleology is demonstrably wrong when it comes to biology. Or perhaps better said it is poorly written. What they mean to say is that an explanation that relies on teleology which is not understood in other terms is considered to be unconvincing. One does not explain something merely teleologically in biology or any other science. But what one does find in biology is discussion of traits as functional or dysfunctional in one way or another. And those are inherently teleological descriptions.

But all these descriptions are understood as being reducible to etiology: based on the selection history of the trait.

When a new trait is discovered, e.g., in paleontology, one of the first questions which arises is, “What is this trait for?” Why does the triceratops have long horns? Those are perfectly legitimate questions in biology. And they are also teleological questions. The answers one finds are based on (either hypothetical or demonstrated) etiologies of the traits in question. That might, for example, show that the triceratops’s horns were for mating display: those male triceratops with horns were able to outcompete those without for mating opportunities. Etc.

kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:44 AM

You wrote:

Chaos has nothing whatever to do with not being mechanical. Any three-body system behaves chaotically, and yet it is perfectly mechanical.

How so? A three body problem has no definite solutions. For instance, in the case of the sun, the earth and the moon, eventually the moon will leave its orbit around the earth after millions of years.

More from this article HERE

A simpler task is to attempt to solve the three-body problem. At the end of the 19th century, the French mathematician Henri Poincaré tackled this problem in some depth. It is clear from his writings that he was aware of the unpredictability of some solutions of the equations of motion. He did not solve the three-body problem; in fact, he proved that a simple, general solution did not exist. However, Poincaré was the first to appreciate the complicated behaviour that could result from the gravitational interaction of just three bodies.

I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. None of this has anything to do with chaotic systems not being mechanical, by which I mean deterministic. Chaos theory is a branch of deterministic mathematics (including the n-body problem) which is completely deterministic. Because it is chaotic its sensitivity to initial conditions means that the math cannot be used to make accurate predictions very far into the future. But this is so even though its processes are completely mechanical.

It is also the case that although under certain circumstances predictive solutions may not exist, nobody takes that to mean that under those conditions determinism fails to hold. It’s simply that the math becomes too complex: perhaps infinitely so.

E.g., from HERE:

In his research on the three-body problem, Poincaré became the first person to discover a chaotic deterministic system. Given the law of gravity and the initial positions and velocities of the only three bodies in all of space, the subsequent positions and velocities are fixed–so the three-body system is deterministic. However, Poincaré found that the evolution of such a system is often chaotic in the sense that a small perturbation in the initial state such as a slight change in one body’s initial position might lead to a radically different later state than would be produced by the unperturbed system. If the slight change isn’t detectable by our measuring instruments, then we won’t be able to predict which final state will occur. So, Poincaré’s research proved that the problem of determinism and the problem of predictability are distinct problems.

kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:44 AM

That the mind and the brain is intimately correlated is clear. There is no evidence of a mind without a living brain. How about a mind with only half a brain? Incidentally, I have a relative who had half his brain removed because he had meningitis when he was a baby. He is physically disabled on one side of his body, but he has a mind and is quite normal in all other respects.

Clearly a mind can supervene on some substantial part of a brain. But without the brain stem you have no mind. And without significant parts of the cortex you have no mind. In alzheimer’s disease you can get to see closeup the descent from a brain with a mind to a brain that is mindless. Where exactly the threshold is crossed is vague, as with all macroscopic objects. But that it exists there is no doubt. Minds do not exist without brains.

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