Fare's response on threads

Massimo Dentico m.dentico@galactica.it
Mon, 25 Sep 2000 19:00:04 +0200

"Lynn H. Maxson" wrote:
> > Kyle Lahnakoski wrote:
> [...]
> > 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
> uncertainty.<g>

IIRC one of the interpretation of Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty
is expressed *exactly* in terms of insufficient available information
(Kyle speaks about insufficient computational power and I think
it's a closely related matter). In this interpretation the uncertainty
loses any "magical" character which disturbed some (great) minds like
Einstein. I don't remeber the reference, probably an article on Scientific
> [...]
> 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
> programming.<g>
> 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.

This is the fun part of your message: you *seem* covertly despise
the philosophy and then you propose the same theme of a philosopher
like Penrose. A freudian lapsus? :-)

Massimo Dentico