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Cognitive Computer Chips
Posted: 16 September 2011 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:10 AM
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.

Are you sure that’s not just your inference?

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.

Again I say anthropomorphism is applying human characteristics to non-humans; this is the opposite, so this does not apply. Please see bolded text above. What would be anthropomorphic (although not necessarily incorrect) would be to say that a robot is “sad” for example.

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.

So does a robot.

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.

You said all machines are made by humans. So you cannot say the brain is a machine only if it is made by a supernatural being. Because the supernatural being is not human.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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dougsmith - 16 September 2011 08:17 AM

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.

Point taken, though the wiki goes on to state, under the heading of biology:

Usually, it is possible to rewrite such sentences to avoid the apparent teleology

OTOH, from this article in the SEP

Teleomentalism

Those who hold teleology in biology to be metaphorical in nature typically regard it as eliminable; i.e., they believe that the science of biology would not be essentially altered if all references to teleology were eschewed.

Teleonaturalism

Nonetheless, the mainstream view among philosophers of biology is that natural selection accounts best explain the majority of uses of teleological notions in biology.

You wrote:

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.

Mechanical is not synonymous to deterministic. Machines are mechanical and deterministic whereas chaotic systems are deterministic (with the caveat that the initial conditions can be determined exactly), but they are not mechanical.

The weather is a complex chaotic system which is neither mechanical nor predictable even though it is considered as deterministic.

From the same article you cited HERE:

Earlier, Poincaré had suggested that the difficulties of reliable weather predicting are due to the intrinsic chaotic behavior of the atmosphere. Another interesting aspect of Poincaré’s study is the real nature of the distribution in phase space of stable and unstable points, which are so mixed that he did not try to make a picture of their arrangement. Now we know that the shape of such distribution is fractal-like.

How would one explain this?

From this article
HERE

Instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, Lorber discovered that the student had only a thin layer of mantle measuring about a millimeter and his cranium was filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid.

Bright chap:

In the case of the math major from the University of Sheffield, he had an IQ of 126 and graduated with honors.

No discernible brain:

Dr. Patrick Wall, professor of anatomy at University College, London, stated that there existed “scores” of accounts of people existing without discernable brains.

cheese

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:46 AM
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?

I sure have good reason to expect them to be; everything else is.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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domokato - 16 September 2011 09:51 AM

Are you sure that’s not just your inference?

Yes.

What would be anthropomorphic (although not necessarily incorrect) would be to say that a robot is “sad” for example.

Of course, this is anthropomorphic.  LOL

So does a robot.

The robot is a machine. It is false analogy to compare a machine to a human.

You said all machines are made by humans. So you cannot say the brain is a machine only if it is made by a supernatural being. Because the supernatural being is not human.

I did not say all machines are made by humans. I said: 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.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:19 AM

How would one explain this?

From this article
HERE

Instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, Lorber discovered that the student had only a thin layer of mantle measuring about a millimeter and his cranium was filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid.

Bright chap:

In the case of the math major from the University of Sheffield, he had an IQ of 126 and graduated with honors.

No discernible brain:

Dr. Patrick Wall, professor of anatomy at University College, London, stated that there existed “scores” of accounts of people existing without discernable brains.

cheese

What did the scientists have to say? (in the same article):

Lorber and other scientists theorized there may be such a high level of redundancy in normal brain function that the minute bits of brain that these people have may be able to assume the essential activities of a normal-sized brain.

David Bower, professor of neurophysiology at Liverpool University, England, stated that although Lorber’s research did not indicate that the brain was unnecessary, it did demonstrate that the brain could work in conditions that conventional medical science would have thought impossible.

wiki:

“What I find amazing to this day is how the brain can deal with something which you think should not be compatible with life,” commented Dr. Max Muenke, a pediatric brain defect specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “If something happens very slowly over quite some time, maybe over decades, the different parts of the brain take up functions that would normally be done by the part that is pushed to the side.”

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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domokato - 16 September 2011 10:26 AM
kkwan - 16 September 2011 07:46 AM
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?

I sure have good reason to expect them to be; everything else is.

LOL

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:19 AM

Point taken, though the wiki goes on to state, under the heading of biology:

<snip>

Teleonaturalism

Nonetheless, the mainstream view among philosophers of biology is that natural selection accounts best explain the majority of uses of teleological notions in biology.

Exactly what I’ve been saying. “Natural selection accounts” are etiological accounts. So I take it we’ve now established that biology is teleological, and that that teleology is understood in terms of etiology.

kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:19 AM

Mechanical is not synonymous to deterministic. Machines are mechanical and deterministic whereas chaotic systems are deterministic (with the caveat that the initial conditions can be determined exactly), but they are not mechanical.

The weather is a complex chaotic system which is neither mechanical nor predictable even though it is considered as deterministic.

Oy. Look, I’ll grant you that there is a sense of “mechanical” in which what you mean is “like a constructed machine”, although my dictionary has it that “mechanical” means “relating to physical forces or motion”. In the latter sense, chaotic systems are all mechanical, since they are physical systems. (And to a rough approximation, deterministic).

But this is all a dodge. We got into this discussion because you were arguing, above, that a brain wasn’t a machine because it was not designed by something with a mind. My point with volcanoes HERE was that though they were systems without designers, they functioned mechanically (= physically and deterministically to a rough approximation) and so were machines in the relevant sense.

(The sense that volcanoes weren’t machines is that their parts didn’t have functions. But as we’ve established, that comes from natural selection).

kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:19 AM

How would one explain this?

Um, the same way the article does:

... there may be such a high level of redundancy in normal brain function that the minute bits of brain that these people have may be able to assume the essential activities of a normal-sized brain.

Although this smells very much like another one of your junk science sources.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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domokato - 16 September 2011 10:36 AM
kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:19 AM

How would one explain this?

From this article
HERE

Instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, Lorber discovered that the student had only a thin layer of mantle measuring about a millimeter and his cranium was filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid.

Bright chap:

In the case of the math major from the University of Sheffield, he had an IQ of 126 and graduated with honors.

No discernible brain:

Dr. Patrick Wall, professor of anatomy at University College, London, stated that there existed “scores” of accounts of people existing without discernable brains.

cheese

What did the scientists have to say? (in the same article):

Lorber and other scientists theorized there may be such a high level of redundancy in normal brain function that the minute bits of brain that these people have may be able to assume the essential activities of a normal-sized brain.

David Bower, professor of neurophysiology at Liverpool University, England, stated that although Lorber’s research did not indicate that the brain was unnecessary, it did demonstrate that the brain could work in conditions that conventional medical science would have thought impossible.

wiki:

“What I find amazing to this day is how the brain can deal with something which you think should not be compatible with life,” commented Dr. Max Muenke, a pediatric brain defect specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “If something happens very slowly over quite some time, maybe over decades, the different parts of the brain take up functions that would normally be done by the part that is pushed to the side.”

What brain?

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:40 AM

What brain?

It’s clear from the source that it’s junk. In the same piece they are described as having small brains and having no brains. Nobody believes they have no brains, so clearly the person doing the describing was being inaccurate. This is another one of these examples where if he’d really been right that there were no brains, he’d have won a Nobel Prize for demonstrating a new form of energy: one that could move limbs without brains.

You really have to stop taking the junk science at face value, or taking the most extreme interpretation of an article that is poorly written.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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I’d also suggest checking out alternate sources. E.g. HERE:

This is a classic urban myth. It seems to pop up over and over again, like the story of worms in McDonald’s hamburgers. Anyway, when it popped up on comp.ai.philosophy a couple of years ago, I was provoked into going to the library and doing a bit of reading, which I will now summarize.

<snip>

In the years between 1980 and the present, Lorber has never published any case study of an adult with an extremely thin cortical mantle and normal intelligence. Conceivably, of course, he wrote the stuff up but couldn’t get it past hostile reviewers. He did, though, continue to work on the neurology of hydrocephalus, publishing several papers and co-authoring a book, but none of it mentions anything related to the Science story—at least, none of it that I could find. (I couldn’t find anything later than 1984; I don’t know if he’s still alive.)

He does quite definitely state that there have been cases having cortical mantles only one or two mm thick *at the time of treatment* who went on to develop normal or superior intelligence, but that’s a very different matter. They were treated as infants, and the brain is very plastic at that age.

Finally, at the end of the Science story Lorber is described as admitting with a smile that he doesn’t really mean to suggest that brains are unnecessary for intelligence, and that he may have somewhat overstated his case for dramatic impact.

Hmmmm ...

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Posted: 16 September 2011 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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kkwan - 16 September 2011 10:36 AM
domokato - 16 September 2011 09:51 AM

Are you sure that’s not just your inference?

Yes.

What would be anthropomorphic (although not necessarily incorrect) would be to say that a robot is “sad” for example.

Of course, this is anthropomorphic.  LOL

So does a robot.

The robot is a machine. It is false analogy to compare a machine to a human.

Oh, have we ceased discussing already?

You said all machines are made by humans. So you cannot say the brain is a machine only if it is made by a supernatural being. Because the supernatural being is not human.

I did not say all machines are made by humans. I said: 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.

Yes, you did:

Since humans and human brains are not designed/constructed by humans, it follows that they are not machines and cannot be conceived/characterized as such.

Your statement logically implies that all machines are designed/constructed by humans.

It seems you are not even making an effort to understand what I’m trying to say.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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dougsmith - 16 September 2011 10:40 AM

Although this smells very much like another one of your junk science sources.

From this source HERE

Later, a colleague at Sheffield University became aware of a young man with a larger than normal head.  He was referred to Lorber even though it had not caused him any difficulty.  Although the boy had an IQ of 126 and had a first class honours degree in mathematics, he had “virtually no brain”.  A noninvasive measurement of radio density known as CAT scan showed the boy’s skull was lined with a thin layer of brain cells to a millimeter in thickness.  The rest of his skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid.  The young man continues a normal life with the exception of his knowledge that he has no brain.

And this video of another case:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8R71Q8_0y0

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Posted: 16 September 2011 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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From the same source:

As to the question “Is your brain really necessary?“Lorber admits that it is only half serious.  “You have to be dramatic in order to make people listen,“concedes the tactician.  Bower’s answer to the tongue-in-cheek question is this: “Although Lorber’s work doesn’t demonstrate that we don’t need a brain, it does show that the brain can work in conditions we would have thought impossible.”  Bower occasionally complains that Lorber’s style is less scientific than it might be.  He concedes, however, that “there are still many questions to be answered about the human brain, and it has to be admitted that Lorber’s provocative approach does make you think about them.”

The video shows someone with low IQ and “a couple of centimeters” of brain material, which appears to be the outer cortex where most higher brain functions reside.

Far as I can see, this is a simple oddity with clear elements of hype and junk science that is irrelevant to your main point.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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dougsmith - 16 September 2011 11:11 AM

From the same source:

As to the question “Is your brain really necessary?“Lorber admits that it is only half serious.  “You have to be dramatic in order to make people listen,“concedes the tactician.  Bower’s answer to the tongue-in-cheek question is this: “Although Lorber’s work doesn’t demonstrate that we don’t need a brain, it does show that the brain can work in conditions we would have thought impossible.”  Bower occasionally complains that Lorber’s style is less scientific than it might be.  He concedes, however, that “there are still many questions to be answered about the human brain, and it has to be admitted that Lorber’s provocative approach does make you think about them.”

The video shows someone with low IQ and “a couple of centimeters” of brain material, which appears to be the outer cortex where most higher brain functions reside.

Far as I can see, this is a simple oddity with clear elements of hype and junk science that is irrelevant to your main point.

Looking at it from the reverse, one could make a claim that the example shows that one does NOT need a complete or possibly even a human brain to have a mind and be able to think.

from Wiki: The Mind

Which attributes make up the mind is much debated. Some psychologists argue that only the “higher” intellectual functions constitute mind, particularly reason and memory. In this view the emotions—love, hate, fear, joy—are more primitive or subjective in nature and should be seen as different from the mind as such. Others argue that various rational and emotional states cannot be so separated, that they are of the same nature and origin, and should therefore be considered all part of what we call the mind.

First, “rational and emotional states” are survival techniques and not strictly necessary in any system which is functional within a greater system. In fact rational and emotional states are often in conflict with each other, i.e. when you see a bear, DON’T run, even though our emotions tell us to run.

In popular usage mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on “inside our heads.” Thus we “make up our minds,” “change our minds” or are “of two minds” about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No one else can “know our mind.” They can only interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.

question: can a non-emotional mind exist?  IMO, yes.

A “mind” might be any organized system which is active and reactive, regardless of emotion. A rock “knows” it IS a rock by it’s gravitational properties, else it would fly apart and become a random collection of atoms. The universe IS a mind, which functions in accordance with natural laws (the fundamental argument for a deity). Every animal has a mind specifically adapted (natural selection) to its environment. A computer has a mind, it can think independently once programmed and provided with data. Watson was “of two minds” many times and sometimes it was wrong, but so were the other human contestants, so there was no inherent qualitative difference other than “refinement” (evolution) in thought process.
question: does a mind have to be conscious and self-aware to be functional?  IMO, no.

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Posted: 16 September 2011 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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Does this prove anything?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY&feature=fvwp&NR=1

I could swear that one of them is telling the tale of how he lost his sock.

[ Edited: 16 September 2011 05:55 PM by Write4U ]
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