Re: [asa] Sense and nonsense

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Fri Jun 22 2007 - 03:40:36 EDT

Yes, but I don't see how your point connects to my response to Christine's
question. I wasn't arguing about personhood or being created in the image
of God. I was responding to the point about conciousness/sentience. That
had nothing to do with being superior.

Also the whole knotty issue arises as to whether consciousness implies
having a soul. Do animals have souls? I guess not (in Genesis, God
"breathes" life into the human - perhaps this means the imparting of the
soul). But animals can be conscious.

Iain

On 6/22/07, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu> wrote:
>
> The term "superior" was used in lieu of the Christian notion of being
> created in the image of God. Humans have personhood, are creative, know and
> experience love, etc. Purely physical objects do not. Surely, a skyscraper
> is taller than a human is. :-)
>
>
>
> Moorad
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: Iain Strachan [mailto:igd.strachan@gmail.com]
> Sent: Thu 6/21/2007 4:21 PM
> To: Alexanian, Moorad
> Cc: Christine Smith; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Sense and nonsense
>
>
>
>
> On 6/21/07, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu> wrote:
>
> Perhaps I am na´ve but it seems to me than any living entity, say,
> a human being, cannot create anything superior to itself.
>
>
>
> In what sense do you mean "superior"?
>
> A fork lift truck is vastly superior in lifting ability than humans. The
> computer I'm typing the post on is far superior to me when it comes to doing
> arithmetic. Think how many arithmetic operations go into the placement of
> every pixel. Chess computers nowadays are superior players to all but the
> top players in the world, and even they have a tough time with
> them (Kasparov lost a match to "Deep Blue" several years ago).
>
> You'll have to define what you mean by "superior" in order to make such an
> assertion. This is a different order to "conscious" which was the point
> discussed. Within a few years, we'll have chips with vastly superior
> information storage capacity than the human brain. Who knows if the "strong
> AI" postulate is true and that such a large memory, configured as a neural
> network, will not become conscious? I wouldn't like to guess what the
> answer is.
>
> In "Star Trek", Data was never considered as a replacement for his
> crew. He was vastly superior in knowledge, and physical strength, and in
> the ability to absorb information quickly. But (in the program) he lacked
> the ability to experience emotion - to understand the nature of humour, and
> so forth. [ Though late on they experimented with giving him an "emotion
> chip"].
>
> But the whole point of my post is that some scientists believe (e.g. Roger
> Penrose) that an algorithm can never be conscious, because consciousness
> involves more fundamental physics.
>
> Iain
>
>
>
> The most intelligence, consciousness or rationality that humans
> can create is to give birth in the old-fashioned way.
>
>
>
> Therefore, a super computer like "Data," BTW I have never watched
> Star Trek, will never equal or replace its creator, man. Let us not forget
> that sentient, conscious beings or entities presuppose life and how to
> explain life from the nonliving is no mean feat. Therefore, it is doubtful
> that the physical plus mere physical interactions can create life.
>
>
>
> As Christine may have suggested, Christians have an answer in John
> 1:3, "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing
> came into being that has come into being," which is not easily amenable to
> scientific proof or scrutiny. Herein is where ID serves as metaphysics of
> science.
>
>
> Moorad
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu on behalf of Iain Strachan
> Sent: Thu 6/21/2007 1:26 PM
> To: Christine Smith
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] Sense and nonsense
>
>
>
>
> On 6/21/07, Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com > wrote:
>
> To this I will repost an earlier question of mine
> which no one ventured an answer--it is evident, as Pim
> pointed out, that brain and thought, emotions, etc.
> are *correlated*, but *correlation does not prove
> causation*--can someone please point me towards
> specific research studies that *mechanistically* show
> how non-sentient electrical impulses and atoms can
> give rise to sentience? Do you propose that this is
> another fundamental property of substances, as I
> believe it was Don(?) argued earlier? Or do you
> propose another *mechanism* which directly causes
> these properties to emerge?
>
>
> This is probably the 64 billion dollar question, and is a topic of
> much controversy among AI researchers.
>
> The "strong AI" adherents would argue that consciousness is an
> "emergent property" of a sufficiently large and sufficiently interconnected
> neurons. The human brain has 10^10 neurons, with 10^14 interconnections
> (synapses). If you are of the strong AI persuasion, then you will believe
> that when we can build a computer with sufficient memory to simulate such a
> large neural network (and that time can only be a couple of decades away at
> most), then you will have a sentient, conscious machine like Data in Star
> Trek. In other words you would have a conscious algorithm. A futurologist
> from British Telecom gave a talk which I attended when he suggested that a
> "Data" would be a possibility by 2015 - a timeline much shorter than that
> envisaged by Gene Roddenberry!
>
> Such theories reach their ultimate philosophical embodiment in
> so-called "Alorithmic Theories of Everything", which suggest that the
> universe is just a simulation on a gigantic computer. See
> http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/computeruniverse.html for an introduction to
> this idea. It also led to a kind of religious idea, dubbed "The Great
> Programmer Religion" - the Great Programmer running all possible universes
> up to a similar complexity as ours, in parallel on a gigantic computer.
>
> However, not everyone believes this will happen. Notably Roger
> Penrose, a maths professor at Oxford Univerity, and long-time associate of
> Stephen Hawking, does NOT accept that a mere algorithm will be able to be
> conscious. Penrose holds that some bit of physics is yet to be done to
> understand consciousness - he holds that it is in Quantum mechanics, and in
> particularly Quantum Gravity, that the answer to the riddle will be
> found (this would be the other mechanism you referred to that directly
> causes these phenomena). These ideas are explained in Penrose's popular
> science book "The Emperor's New Mind".
>
> There are also quasi-religious ideas embodied in here. It has
> been suggested that at the scale of the Planck length and Planck time, that
> the interconnectivity of the universe itself mimics that of a brain, and
> that possibly consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe,
> rather than an emergent one and that the properties of matter etc "emerge"
> from the fundamental underlying consciousness. I think a Google on "Quantum
> Consciousness" should dredge up some interesting info on all this. I think
> this latter seems to lie closer to eastern mysticism than to Christianity,
> however.
>
> I don't know which side I'd take in the debate - I think we simply
> don't know enough to be able to say.
>
> Iain
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> --
> -----------
> After the game, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.
>
> - Italian Proverb
> -----------
>

-- 
-----------
After the game, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.
- Italian Proverb
-----------
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Received on Fri Jun 22 03:41:29 2007

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