Fare's response on threads
Lynn H. Maxson
Sun, 24 Sep 2000 18:21:57 -0700 (PDT)
Kyle Lahnakoski wrote:
"I believe you are the one that uses religion and mysticism when
defining the abilities of the human brain. You consider it the
only "real" analytical engine that is possible. You have not
presented a basis for this belief."
I liked it better on the part where we agree.<g> I have this
feeling that we agree more than we disagree. In this particular
instance I engage in no awe, religion, or mysticism when it comes
to the working of the brain. All I know from the facts we have is
that it in no way resembles a computer.
"My point being: the change of view from machine-as-tool to
machine-as-an-entity is inevitable."
Well, you're entitled to your view and I will respect it. But
that machine will not be exhibit von Neumann architecture nor
Turing rules. I will go out on a limb further to say that its
software, what it does, will not be separable from its hardware,
how it does it. As programmers in a universe where such
separation exists will find ourselves "useless", not necessary in
that universe you suggest. It is the height of human folly to
believe that we can achieve "entity" status for a "machine"
through externally imposed instructions, i.e. software.
"Humans are deterministic. We just lack the appropriate
understanding of biology, and have insufficient computational
power to consider environmental influences."
Here I must disagree. The argument is that we do not know enough,
that if our knowledge increased beyond some threshold value, one
for which we had sufficient computational power, then everything
that occurred within the brain for the interval under
consideration would be deterministic. Carrying that one step
further to believe that it extrapolates in predicting future
behavior also assumes that environmental factors themselves are
predictable. I had thought that argument effectively had been
laid to rest by quantum mechanics and Heisenberg's principle of
Given that the observation itself at that level affects the result
and at higher levels any attempt to effect divisions in what is
observed will in turn affect the result, I think you are going to
have a hard time either proving or disproving determinism or free
will. All that regardless of the amount of computing power
available to you.
Actually I am not a proponent of either. They have been arguments
for philosophers, not scientists. Here we engage in computer
science. Moreover we judge our success by how much we can produce
predictable results, whether we know those results or not. We may
only be able to predict in some instances after the fact.
Whatever occurs must be predictable from the instructions we
issue. That is deterministic. Otherwise we set ourselves about
"fixing" it. That implies we know it is "wrong".
I have no objection to the pursuit of machine-as-entity. Should
Tunes shift its direction toward such a production we obviously
can cease any and all concerns about a Tunes HLL.<g> Or
However like you I believe it is a possibility. However the
machine will be biological in its entirety. If you believe a
non-biological basis is possible, then more power to you.