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  1. #1
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    Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Technological Singularity, in a nut shell the idea is that machines become smarter than man and turn on us. (link).

    There are several elements in this idea that I do not think is actually possible. The first element is many fold. Which is the "awareness and knowledge" wall. A computer program is not capable of being aware or knowing anything, much less being "self aware". So for example, you can program a computer to take into account the fact that U.S. exists, but it would be incorrect to say that the computer "knows" that the U.S. exists, or that it is "aware" that the U.S. exists. To disagree with this is to say that the computer is "conscious", and thus has a "consciousness". Clearly this is not the case, because that use of the meaning of consciousness would mean that a piece of paper with facts written on it would also be "conscious", and "Know" and be "aware".

    Why this is not a false comparison.
    First, we are writing on the paper with ink or graphite, in the same sense that we are writing a program code of the fact "U.S. exists". Here we are taking the most rudimentary program/computer combo.
    Second, the complexity of the program is no different than stacking paper with more words. So that, there is no change of nature simply by adding more lines. Certainly how the words or program may relation to itself becomes more complex, but that complexity does not change it's nature. In the end the stacked pages are still just words written on paper where the paper has no more awareness of the facts it has, then when it was a single page with a single sentence. In order for a program to gain awareness(that I believe I have shown it does not possess from the start) then it must have it's nature changed. Complexity does not inherently equate to this change.

    Second, one may be tempted to say that a program has movement to it, where as even the most complex books do not. Such that a program will take one element and mix it with another or possibly not relevant on some variable. Books can not do this. So a program has the ability to make a use of the facts that it contains, and thus are different in a way that makes the comparison fail. I do not believe this to be a sound objection, because this movement (as I will call it) does not contain a distinction in relation to awareness or knowledge. While a program may appear to use the fact it contain, it is doing nothing more and is in fact incapable of doing anything more than self referencing. This is akin to a book referring back to it's own pages (see page 10) for example. Further, the action itself is like to say that because a book is falling it has gained knowledge. Motion containing facts is not awareness, so the distinction is not one that can cause the comparison to fail.

    Finally, one may say that a program can be made to self create, where as a book can not. This is true, and I would struggle to find any imaginable comparison (as I attempted in the second rebuttal). Still, this idea of self creation must be relevant to knowledge and awareness, and it simply is not. A computer program reacting to a variable to produce an output in this case is no different than any other mechanical process. The process must itself be relevant to knowing and consciousness, and it is not. Multiplying it may give an illusion of awareness, but it can not be actual awareness.


    --
    Now my case above is not to say that a kind of singularity would not be reached. Just like a Rub Goldberg machine. A machine can be made to be too complex for it's end consequence to be immediately grasped. So I think the biggest threat is for us to make a program/machine so complex that it's consequence is destructive. Unlike the idea of a tec Singularity it wouldn't possess consciousness, or knowledge, it would just be a very long process that ends in nuking the world. Or the accidental creation of and distribution of a plague. It could be a machine that is capable of giving back rubs, that inadvertently kills everyone for being too rough.


    Your thoughts?
    DISCUSS!!!!
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  3. #2
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    There are several elements in this idea that I do not think is actually possible. The first element is many fold. Which is the "awareness and knowledge" wall. A computer program is not capable of being aware or knowing anything, much less being "self aware". So for example, you can program a computer to take into account the fact that U.S. exists, but it would be incorrect to say that the computer "knows" that the U.S. exists, or that it is "aware" that the U.S. exists. To disagree with this is to say that the computer is "conscious", and thus has a "consciousness". Clearly this is not the case, because that use of the meaning of consciousness would mean that a piece of paper with facts written on it would also be "conscious", and "Know" and be "aware".
    Can a neuron know anything? Or is it the brain that knows things?

    There's a famous thought experiment called the Chinese Room that goes into this idea. The idea is that you have an English speaker who doesn't know any Chinese, but is equipped with a rulebook for transforming strings of Chinese symbols into other strings of Chinese symbols. People pass pieces of paper with Chinese sentences on them--they're questions, but he doesn't know that--through a door to him, and he performs the appropriate transformations on this sentence according to the rulebook he was given, then passes the resulting sentence--the answer to the question, but he doesn't know that--back through. The argument is that the man doesn't possess knowledge of Chinese just by implementing a program that translates Chinese, and so neither can a computer know Chinese just by implementing the program.

    There are lots of responses to this argument, many of them outlined in the link I provided. I prefer the argument that, while a computer couldn't be said to know Chinese merely by implementing a program that translates Chinese sentences, it doesn't mean that a computer couldn't ever know Chinese. Similarly, we might say that as a system, the man-rulebook-room system does know Chinese, in the same way that a neuron might not understand Chinese but the brain can.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Thanks clive.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    Can a neuron know anything? Or is it the brain that knows things?
    Well, this is going to touch on a basic disagreement we may face. I do not hold that we are simply a brain. We are Body, Mind and Spirit. For this, people are fundamentally different than any machine, and if man is reduced to simply another kind of machine, then my argument holds, and we do not know anything.
    So, no the brain on it's own can not know anything.

    Now, if one wishes to say that a brain does posses knowledge and awareness, and a computer program can achieve the same, then one must first point to HOW the brain possesses knowledge and is aware, and then show how a program/computer copies that.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLIVE
    There are lots of responses to this argument, many of them outlined in the link I provided. I prefer the argument that, while a computer couldn't be said to know Chinese merely by implementing a program that translates Chinese sentences, it doesn't mean that a computer couldn't ever know Chinese. Similarly, we might say that as a system, the man-rulebook-room system does know Chinese, in the same way that a neuron might not understand Chinese but the brain can.
    I believe it does mean that a computer can't ever know Chinese, until a new element that changes it's relationship to the process occurs. This does not occur by simply stacking the same effect over and over.
    as to man and brain, clearly it's relationship is different than simply mechanical, otherwise I am willing to stand by my point that the brain can not actually "know" anything. Mechanics alone are only capable of creating the illusion of knowledge, and awareness because the effect can be perfectly simulated.

    Suppose our only understanding of awareness is that there is a glass of water on a table, and the glass is lifted and poured out then refilled. Now then anything that lifts and pours and then refills would appear to be aware to us.


    I suppose that ultimately the problem is that we can only be certain of our own awareness, and we are incapable of explaining where it comes from our how it comes about.
    I think therefore I am, but I am not certain about you, or anyone else.. much less a machine.

    --------
    good link.. I will try to read some of it as the thread goes on (if it survives.. and we pray it doesn't evolve to become self aware and destroy us all).From what i have read, my argument seems to be on track.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    When I look at your argument I kind of just scratch my head thinking, what? I have to dig a little to try and get a grip on what you are saying. Not because your description of what a computer does is misguided but because you have a notion that what your brain does is somehow different.

    When you say we are aware or know, what exactly does that mean? What property does "knowing" have that goes beyond information that is associated with other information that ultimately is anything more than chemicals and electrons in some arrangement or another. I'm a computer programmer by trade I know how they work, what they do, what they are capable of. A computer is nothing more than a bunch of electrical circuits of various sorts. When electrons flow, states change, we track those they work in a causal way. Software is sets of states of electron flow that in turn are used to represent more complex ideas by accumulation. Get the right pattern and we can see an elephant on a screen. Is it actually an image of an elephant? What would that even mean? Isn't our memory of an elephant a pattern of light striking our eyes and then recorded in some pattern in our brain? I don't see any real difference. Both are simulations of reality created using proxy information provided by some means of indirect input and revealed trough some means of output.

    I don't think people tend to think enough about how they think and what it means. To them its just intuitive, your actual "awareness" is just too shallow to see inside your own self to what is actually happening when you "know" a thing. To you its like magic, but there is a hard and fast mechanism there and if I had an electrode in your brain I could make you think or change your awareness entirely. We can be physically re-programmed (although currently only in a very crude way). And every day folks are getting computers set up to do tasks people thought were somehow impossible in the past.

    So many would say a computer only has the appearance of thinking or awareness, but instead of saying that is wrong, I'd say that same goes for us, and that what you think of as thought really is nothing more than a mechanical operation, no less an illusion of true "thought" than what we see in a computer simulation of human thought. Its just with a computer we know exactly how it works and we have yet to fully understand the mechanics of our minds. And we all know where there is human ignorance we will substitute spirits and ghosts to explain it until we know better.

    ---------- Post added at 12:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:38 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Well, this is going to touch on a basic disagreement we may face. I do not hold that we are simply a brain. We are Body, Mind and Spirit. For this, people are fundamentally different than any machine, and if man is reduced to simply another kind of machine, then my argument holds, and we do not know anything.
    I'd suggest you approach this by trying to define what it means to know something. What test can we make to determine what information is knowledge and what is... whatever you think information without knowledge is. I certainly don't understand what difference you have here.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Thanks for your response Sig, I'm aware of your work in programming and your superior grasp of that field. I do not wish for my intro to be confusing so If i can clarify a specific point.. i will try.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    When you say we are aware or know, what exactly does that mean?
    I would say the history of those words and ideas are tied into a concept of man which includes a spirit.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    What property does "knowing" have that goes beyond information that is associated with other information that ultimately is anything more than chemicals and electrons in some arrangement or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I don't think people tend to think enough about how they think and what it means. To them its just intuitive, your actual "awareness" is just too shallow to see inside your own self to what is actually happening when you "know" a thing. To you its like magic, but there is a hard and fast mechanism there and if I had an electrode in your brain I could make you think or change your awareness entirely. We can be physically re-programmed (although currently only in a very crude way)
    I disagree with this, or rather, I think this point falls into a fallacious way of looking at this by starting off with a person. For example, in the link offered by Clive, the Chinese room experiments, and all it's variations smuggle in a consciousness, then try to cover it up and extrapolate from it. This is not a sound way of getting from a mechanical process to consciousnesses.

    Further it isn't necessarily the case that by probing a brain you are changing consciousness, you are simply effecting what it is conscious of.
    So, for example take a person and remove his vision. Have you changed the nature of consciousness or effected the consciousness itself? I would say no, that you have only effected what one is conscious of.

    Let me make a prediction, and we can watch the future as it unfolds. If the brain is really related to consciousness as you say, then we will one day simply electrode a brain back to life.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I'd say that same goes for us, and that what you think of as thought really is nothing more than a mechanical operation, no less an illusion of true "thought" than what we see in a computer simulation of human thought.
    I think that we are stuck between two extremes and there is no clear balance in regards to what it means to be aware, and conscious.
    If you define "aware" too loosely, then man is reduced to a machine and then suddenly a camera becomes just as much aware of what is in it's field of view as any human, or maybe not equal in amount of awareness, but equal in kind.
    That however seems to be an obviously fallacious definition.

    I do not think that awareness as we commonly understand it is capable by purely mechanical means, and our history of apply this term to persons and humans is rooted in the spiritual understanding of man.
    For my world view consciousness is not a problem, for a purely mechanical world view it is a huge problem as my argument implies.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Its just with a computer we know exactly how it works and we have yet to fully understand the mechanics of our minds.
    I would say that because we know so precisely how a computer works, we can also know that our minds are fundamentally different then any purely mechanical (even if that is chemical mechanics) thing. As argued, any mechanical process can only achieve an illusion of actual awareness. It takes a mind (not to be mistaken for a brain) to be aware. Until some mechanical process can be demonstrated as to be relevant to awareness, no amount of stacking mechanics upon themselves will produce awareness.. as they are unrelated.
    My point, is that it is not the complexity of the mind which hides the secret to awareness.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Thanks for your response Sig, I'm aware of your work in programming and your superior grasp of that field. I do not wish for my intro to be confusing so If i can clarify a specific point.. i will try.
    Thanks for the post, always one of my favorite topics. I want to approach it more by asking questions than making arguments but well see how that goes.

    I would say the history of those words and ideas are tied into a concept of man which includes a spirit.
    I'd also say that those historical ideas were based largely on a lot of ignorance about the nature of the natural world and as such are pretty suspect. Raise people in a world where supernatural stories are used as natural explanations for natural events and they will see everything in that rubric. But we have learned nature has its own rules and spirits are not needed to explain it, only the rigor of careful deliberate observation and that this means of understanding is far more powerful than following what our emotions tell us about nature. Mysticism simply is not an effective means for understanding our world, it is far more useful in giving us comfort; useful but not for really understanding things.

    Just saying that the antiquity of the idea of spirit should be a strong reason to question it rather than accept it.

    I disagree with this, or rather, I think this point falls into a fallacious way of looking at this by starting off with a person. For example, in the link offered by Clive, the Chinese room experiments, and all it's variations smuggle in a consciousness, then try to cover it up and extrapolate from it. This is not a sound way of getting from a mechanical process to consciousnesses.
    I can understand the intuitive issue with that. I've always seen Chinese room as support for what you are arguing for rather than an argument against it. They say "Look you may think this is thinking but I'm going to prove to you that you can be fooled into thinking that."

    Further it isn't necessarily the case that by probing a brain you are changing consciousness, you are simply effecting what it is conscious of.
    So, for example take a person and remove his vision. Have you changed the nature of consciousness or effected the consciousness itself? I would say no, that you have only effected what one is conscious of.
    Well the distinction here I find is one without a meaningful difference. What is consciousness in this case? What does a mind consist of if there is no information in it? What part of a mind is inexpedient of the information it contains or the way it processes that information? Can you illustrate that for me somehow?

    Let me make a prediction, and we can watch the future as it unfolds. If the brain is really related to consciousness as you say, then we will one day simply electrode a brain back to life.
    We already can do that. http://www.wired.com/2014/07/revive-the-dead/
    What we can't do is do it entirely reliably, basically we don't usually know how much brain damage there is so we don't know how completely we can get a recovery. But we do know that when conditions are right, you can bring a dead person with not brain activity back to life. Like any machine it can be re-started if its not too damaged. Its a delicate and complicated device so a lot can go wrong and like much software or complicated machines some small damage can stop the whole system, but many seemingly large flaws could prove not to be fatal.

    So how would you explain this case? (not saying you can't just want your take)
    "IN 1986, A two-and-a-half year-old girl named Michelle Funk fell into a stream and drowned. By the time paramedics found her, she hadn’t been breathing for more than an hour. Her heart was stopped. In other words, she was dead. Somewhat inexplicably, the paramedics continued to work on her, and so did doctors in the emergency room. Then, three hours after she died, Michelle Funk took a breath and her heart fluttered back into action."
    http://survivor-story.com/a-two-year...-over-an-hour/
    As you read the article not that the doctors point to how much brain damage she had suffered. Why do you think that is so critical in whether we can revive someone and what kind of condition they will be in when we do?

    I think that we are stuck between two extremes and there is no clear balance in regards to what it means to be aware, and conscious.
    If you define "aware" too loosely, then man is reduced to a machine and then suddenly a camera becomes just as much aware of what is in it's field of view as any human, or maybe not equal in amount of awareness, but equal in kind.
    That however seems to be an obviously fallacious definition.
    Pretend I am some kind of alien intelligence and try to explain to me why it is fallacious.
    To me the only think I see that is fallacious is we want to make the distinction, not that there is a distinction to be made.

    I do not think that awareness as we commonly understand it is capable by purely mechanical means, and our history of apply this term to persons and humans is rooted in the spiritual understanding of man.
    For my world view consciousness is not a problem, for a purely mechanical world view it is a huge problem as my argument implies.
    Right, but you are presuming spirit, its an a-priori for you. Why?
    And why is consciousness a problem for a mechanical view? What about it is impossible to arise from causal interactions?

    I would say that because we know so precisely how a computer works, we can also know that our minds are fundamentally different then any purely mechanical (even if that is chemical mechanics) thing. As argued, any mechanical process can only achieve an illusion of actual awareness. It takes a mind (not to be mistaken for a brain) to be aware. Until some mechanical process can be demonstrated as to be relevant to awareness, no amount of stacking mechanics upon themselves will produce awareness.. as they are unrelated.
    Again, I don't have anything to go on here. What is this awareness, how do you know it is or is not present? Until you tell me what it is, how we can identify it, its impossible to really tackle the question. What makes the simulation different than the genuine article?

    Lets say I have a computer simulation of a car... I can say the difference between that and a real car is I can use the real car to go get my groceries. I can say the difference between a genuine van-goh and a reproduction is who created it or its measurable physical age. There are clear distinctions and tests I can make, clear definitions of what authenticity means in these cases. What then is the meaningful difference between simulated thought and real thought or real awareness and simulated awareness?
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  8. #7
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    So many would say a computer only has the appearance of thinking or awareness, but instead of saying that is wrong, I'd say that same goes for us, and that what you think of as thought really is nothing more than a mechanical operation, no less an illusion of true "thought" than what we see in a computer simulation of human thought. Its just with a computer we know exactly how it works and we have yet to fully understand the mechanics of our minds. And we all know where there is human ignorance we will substitute spirits and ghosts to explain it until we know better.
    So you mean that people can't answer the question "what is the mind" so they make up an answer to answer the unanswerable?

    Of course you can't say for sure that that is true because if there is a soul, then a person can have an experience that confirms that it exists (like if Near Death Experiences are a valid phenomena) and therefore does know that the soul exists independently of the body, even if they can't show anyone else evidence of that and you certainly can't know for sure that this has never happened. But for the sake of argument, I'll agree that the question "What is the mind" is actually unanswerable even at an individual level because I want to focus the debate elsewhere.

    But if we hold that the question "What is the mind" is currently unanswerable, then ANY answer to that question, be it "the mind is a spirit that exists in the physical brain" or "the mind is just a very complex self-aware computer", is a substitution for ignorance.

    I'd say the ONLY valid answer to the question "What is the mind" is "I don't know" and any positive assertion that one knows the answer a substitution for ignorance.
    Last edited by mican333; December 29th, 2015 at 05:33 PM.

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  10. #8
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I'd also say that those historical ideas were based largely on a lot of ignorance about the nature of the natural world and as such are pretty suspect. Raise people in a world where supernatural stories are used as natural explanations for natural events and they will see everything in that rubric. But we have learned nature has its own rules and spirits are not needed to explain it, only the rigor of careful deliberate observation and that this means of understanding is far more powerful than following what our emotions tell us about nature. Mysticism simply is not an effective means for understanding our world, it is far more useful in giving us comfort; useful but not for really understanding things.

    Just saying that the antiquity of the idea of spirit should be a strong reason to question it rather than accept it.
    Well, your point is taken. One of the reasons I point it out is that in this discussion those words (at least to me) carry some assumptions that are relevant to this discussion.
    That is not to necessarily argue that those ideas are right, just that we are limited by the language we use.

    In this case, using words that assume or at least carry an implied or hidden assumption to a situation that violate or specifically exclude those assumptions.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I can understand the intuitive issue with that. I've always seen Chinese room as support for what you are arguing for rather than an argument against it. They say "Look you may think this is thinking but I'm going to prove to you that you can be fooled into thinking that."
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Well the distinction here I find is one without a meaningful difference. What is consciousness in this case? What does a mind consist of if there is no information in it? What part of a mind is inexpedient of the information it contains or the way it processes that information? Can you illustrate that for me somehow?
    I would offer up the example of people who are "locked in" so to speak.. or comatose, or otherwise not immediately aware of their surroundings. They still posses a mind, even if they are not able to perceive the world.

    Maybe a better example is available.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    That (as far as I can tell from a short read of the link) is nothing like what I am referring to.
    I would say that the near death experiences so far, are in support of a mind appart from the Body.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    As you read the article not that the doctors point to how much brain damage she had suffered. Why do you think that is so critical in whether we can revive someone and what kind of condition they will be in when we do?
    In my opinion and world view, the body is a vehicle. So if you take the wheels off a car of course it will not work well. (IE damaged)
    The condition of the car is not necessarily tied to if someone is in it.

    Further, I would say that your specific example is actually more support for a spirit and not simply a mechanical body.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Pretend I am some kind of alien intelligence and try to explain to me why it is fallacious.
    To me the only think I see that is fallacious is we want to make the distinction, not that there is a distinction to be made.
    You want me to make the distinction so as to show why a camera is not "aware"?

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Right, but you are presuming spirit, its an a-priori for you. Why?
    And why is consciousness a problem for a mechanical view? What about it is impossible to arise from causal interactions?
    First, because that is my world view I can only argue from my own point of view.
    As to justification of that, it is my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Which is enough for myself.. hence my POV. (this not offered as a reason to convince you)
    As to an argument for yourself, I would say that My mind is far more easy to logically support than my body's existence is.

    Basically, I can be most sure of my mind because that can not be an illusion to myself. However my body may be. (This I do offer as a reason to convince you).


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Again, I don't have anything to go on here. What is this awareness, how do you know it is or is not present?
    First awareness is most simply defined as "I think therefore I am".

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Until you tell me what it is, how we can identify it, its impossible to really tackle the question. What makes the simulation different than the genuine article?
    First, can you see any difference between your personal experience of "I think therefore I am". (This referring to the most unquestionable of logical foundations).
    and
    Graphite on paper with the words "I think therefore I am".

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Lets say I have a computer simulation of a car... I can say the difference between that and a real car is I can use the real car to go get my groceries. I can say the difference between a genuine van-goh and a reproduction is who created it or its measurable physical age. There are clear distinctions and tests I can make, clear definitions of what authenticity means in these cases. What then is the meaningful difference between simulated thought and real thought or real awareness and simulated awareness?
    I would refer to my above paper example.

    My question to you is this.
    Would you agree with me that the assumption of your own personal minds existence, is far more certain the assumption of your bodies existence?

    You did well to point out and attack the assumptions we start off with. Me taking the position of man being body, mind and spirit, and you apparently taking the position that we are complex chemical machines.
    To serve man.

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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So you mean that people can't answer the question "what is the mind" so they make up an answer to answer the unanswerable?
    Not quite what I was getting at, this is a difficult topic, still learning how to say what I want to express. I only meant to say that the "magic" we might see in human conciseness may simply be complexity obfuscated, aka an illusion or something essential. I'm never too confident that we can know anything with absolute metaphysical certainty. I tend to put stock in ideas which prove reliable for prediction, and that is as close to certainty as we are capable of in our lives.

    I tend to feel that the question "how do we think/feel/know" is answerable with enough study. Partly because there is so much there we have yet to discover and we are constantly discovering new things we didn't know about our brains and how they work. So I have some hope we will learn a lot more if not everything there is to know.
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    I'd say the ONLY valid answer to the question "What is the mind" is "I don't know" and any positive assertion that one knows the answer a substitution for ignorance.
    I don't agree with this. Certainly at a functional level we live as though we know at least in part what the mind is, because we consider ourselves minds in action.
    So we know that a mind is one that perceives and knows things the way that we perceive and know things.
    This is boiled down to it's most essential element in "I think". It is self evident, and undeniable. (at least for ourselves).

    From there we must add assumptions that may or may not be reasonable to say that such a thought is an illusion, or mechanical. At it's most base position with the least assumptions it most resembles what we generally consider as spiritual.
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    You did well to point out and attack the assumptions we start off with. Me taking the position of man being body, mind and spirit, and you apparently taking the position that we are complex chemical machines.
    Thank you. That is I think the two positions. I'll say the approach I want to take is to focus my side of the argument on questioning your view, but I'm happy to a bit of the supporting my own in the process or if you want to ask questions of mine feel free. My personal take on the question is based mostly on the idea that the chemical machine fits more of the known facts than the idea of a spirit does. I remain agnostic to a degree on it the question.

    I would offer up the example of people who are "locked in" so to speak.. or comatose, or otherwise not immediately aware of their surroundings. They still posses a mind, even if they are not able to perceive the world.
    I'm not sure it helps us too much. The locked in person has a mind/brain. A complex machine brain could be in that situation, still exist, still "think" in some fashion, waiting for input or just using whatever pre-set information it has. So could a mind/soul. From what I can observe while we get information in our brains, we are clearly born with knowledge, pre-programming and data that is simply part of the structure of our brains much like the DNA that lets us build cells. It's information. Its not the sort of info our conscious selves are aware of, but that doesn't mean its not part of us.

    I'm trying to understand how I can know a mind/soul when I observe it and how I can test if it is there or not there.

    Maybe a better example is available.
    Probably, still the lock in might be useful to us, just not sure how yet. Often extreme cases are super good at testing a notion.

    That (as far as I can tell from a short read of the link) is nothing like what I am referring to.
    Hmmm, you did say if we could restart a brain with an electrode. This person is dead, no brain function, no heart beat. What was special is they were physically preserved, like a computer turned off and kept safe. If they did nothing she would eventually decay such she could not be turned on. But since she was well preserved, they could indeed just turn the body back on and get the life processes going.

    I'm not sure what it proves, but it does demonstrate that turning off the life processes does not erase identity. Its really damage to the contents of the brain that means you can no longer be alive. Similarly we know a brain dead person can be kept technically alive in other respects, but they can never "think" in the way we experience it or at least we can't demonstrate they do.

    I would say that the near death experiences so far, are in support of a mind apart from the Body.
    These are definitely a good area of inquiry. What is a real problem though is the level of veracity the claims have.

    The very nature of personal experiences are hard to verify. We know a lot about the very easily deceived nature of memory and sensory experience and many good alternate explanations that do not require a separate mind from the body. Last I heard there was a somewhat significant ongoing study using objects placed out of a patients vision and knowledge to test if objective out of body observation would include information otherwise impossible. i'd not heard any follow up on that but look forward to it. Right now the evidence is purely experiential and thus subject entirely to subjective interpretation.

    Perhaps we could look at some specific instances but I feel like its an area that while informative will be largely inconclusive. Still if you have It, happy to hear it.

    Let me also pose some observations/questions about these commonly. Lets presume the classic is a person dies, they then observe themselves dead from outside the body and recall this experience upon revival in the medical sense.

    The evidence is in that the brain is technically dead as we understand it yet certain functions are still in operation, not only that but happen from a normally "impossible" vantage point.
    What functions?: Sight, Memory, Hearing, Emotion.

    So we are claiming that a soul is capable of vision similar to eyes, hearing similar to ears, emotional response, and memory all independent of the body.
    Were the soul possesses these qualities independent of the body then we would expect some of the following....
    People who are "blind" should be able to see.
    Sighted people should be able to see from vantage points other than their eyes
    Def people should be able to hear
    People should be able to see, hear, feel with a non-fucntioning brain.

    We don't rally observe any of these things, even from the people who have these near death experiences (which are far from universal).

    Alternate explanations are that memory can be created even in absence of the event being remembered.
    This is something we can demonstrate happens and can be made to happen under controlled circumstances.

    Another explanation is hallucination which again can be created using controlled circumstances, many of which are similar to death (such as lack of oxygen to the brain or sensory deprivation or sleep)

    So why is it souls can only see, feel hear etc when someone is dead, but while they are alive these things are not possible or at least never observed?

    In my opinion and world view, the body is a vehicle. So if you take the wheels off a car of course it will not work well. (IE damaged)
    The condition of the car is not necessarily tied to if someone is in it.
    In the example of the car, we can identify the driver and their role. I can identify a car with a driver and a car without a driver. A driver is a human person or robot or animal (in some cases) at the controls of the car who decides and dictates its operation). Take a way the driver and the car no longer runs. we can do a defined experiment with this.

    But how do we then do that with the mind? Take the soul away from the brain and what should we observe? How do we know a brain with a soul vs one without a soul?

    Further, I would say that your specific example is actually more support for a spirit and not simply a mechanical body.
    How so?

    You want me to make the distinction so as to show why a camera is not "aware"?
    Yes please. You needn't be comprehensive any given point of observable difference would suffice for the moment so long as it is focused on what makes one have a mind/soul and the other not.

    First, because that is my world view I can only argue from my own point of view.
    As to justification of that, it is my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Which is enough for myself.. hence my POV. (this not offered as a reason to convince you)
    So what was your view before being introduced to Christianity?
    Does your relationship with Jesus inform you directly, or implicitly of the duality of mind and body? (aka does this come from direct bible teaching or personal spiritual communication)?

    As to an argument for yourself, I would say that My mind is far more easy to logically support than my body's existence is.
    And if they were one in the same as I propose? Would not proof for the mind be logically proof for the body and thus be equally supported? Thus does it not follow that the fact you can support the mind's existence have no impact on whether or not the two are equivalent or separate?
    If not why?

    First awareness is most simply defined as "I think therefore I am".
    First, can you see any difference between your personal experience of "I think therefore I am". (This referring to the most unquestionable of logical foundations).
    and
    Graphite on paper with the words "I think therefore I am".
    A good one to dig into...

    So there are two things here, what it represents and how it is expressed. "I think therefore I am" is expressed in language, representing a set of ideas.
    So we have some ideas.
    "I" which is an identity of self, a separate distinct individual, specifically self referential
    "think" which is a mental process, really the subject of what we are discussing in many respects.
    "am" which is existence a state of being true or existent
    "therefore" a statement describing a causal connection between two things.

    The presumption or axiom here is that things that exist must have some source or cause. Thinking is observed, its apparent source is self, thus self must exist.

    I can make a computer deduce this statement.
    I create a mechanism for identifying thinking, in this case it could be any memory registers in the CPU changing value. If a computer is processing this is happening so we can identify thought taking place.
    We can further give the program the ability to distinguish which CPU belongs to it, vs other computers so it can tell if the thought is from its own CPU and thus it can distinguish its thoughts from another's thoughts.
    We can give it an axium that only existent computers can think.
    I can also give it some form of language it can use to report on the state of its findings, I can use I, Think, Therefore, and Am as well as the rules by which sentences are constructed.

    Activating the program it will examine the state of cpu memory registers, find that there are activities in the registers designated as its own, it will then reference the axiom which will conclude that existences is positive for the computer identified as self and it can then express this finding in a statement "I think therefore I am"

    From the human side we know that "I think therefore I am" is a potent idea that took a far bit of reasoning to work out. It's not like it just occurs to every living being, far from it, we consider the statement a significant moment of philosophy. While it is to a degree intuitive, the phrasing of it is not necessarily. We have to give some due consideration to each of the words, what they represent symbolically and so forth. We need certain observations to make the statement, some way to tell we are thinking, some means to identify what I is vs others, etc... Even though we find much of that intuitive, that by no means rules out the actual mechanisms from being as mechanical as a computer monitoring the state of its internal cpu registers and assigning some significance to them.

    So what further distinction is there between my example program and the human analog of this thought and proof of identity?

    My question to you is this.
    Would you agree with me that the assumption of your own personal minds existence, is far more certain the assumption of your bodies existence?
    No, because in my view they are one in the same. The body thinks, therefore proving you have a mind is tantamount to proving you have a body.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  15. #12
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    @ sig, this post is long and our exchange is getting lengthy quick.
    I would like to your help in focusing it, or breaking it up. so trim as you see fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I'm not sure it helps us too much.
    Well, at least it should show that diminishing the machine doesn't effect the existence of awareness per say, rather it diminishes the inputs available.
    maybe it doesn't directly answer your question, or maybe I don't understand it properly.
    "What does a mind consist of if there is no information in it?"

    I'm not certain we can reduce a mind to have no information, I think in the cases I point out, that information is decreased as much as possible without death, then there is the Near death stuff as well.
    Would you agree that is the direction one must go to answer the question, or do you think I'm barking up the wrong tree?

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Hmmm, you did say if we could restart a brain with an electrode. This person is dead, no brain function, no heart beat. What was special is they were physically preserved, like a computer turned off and kept safe. If they did nothing she would eventually decay such she could not be turned on. But since she was well preserved, they could indeed just turn the body back on and get the life processes going.
    I was thinking more in line with directly stimulating the brain with electrodes, in a manner consistent with your example of "reprogramming your thoughts".
    In those cases they simply continued to pump her blood, and breath in her lungs, and maybe electrocute her hear. Not really the same thing I was thinking of, or consistent with the reprogram example.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I'm not sure what it proves, but it does demonstrate that turning off the life processes does not erase identity. Its really damage to the contents of the brain that means you can no longer be alive. Similarly we know a brain dead person can be kept technically alive in other respects, but they can never "think" in the way we experience it or at least we can't demonstrate they do.
    See, that is what I was more directing at. If the brain is a computer,and we can input signals, then we should be able to take a brain dead (but otherwise alive) person and stimulate their brain to life one day.
    Brain dead in this case would not be one where there is brain damage per say, more that there is simply a lack of brain activity.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    So we are claiming that a soul is capable of vision similar to eyes, hearing similar to ears, emotional response, and memory all independent of the body.
    Were the soul possesses these qualities independent of the body then we would expect some of the following....
    People who are "blind" should be able to see.
    Sighted people should be able to see from vantage points other than their eyes
    Def people should be able to hear
    People should be able to see, hear, feel with a non-functioning brain.

    We don't rally observe any of these things, even from the people who have these near death experiences (which are far from universal).
    I disagree. That is exactly what we see occur.
    First, you are adding a needless addition to the process. Specifically requiring a person be blind to begin with.
    However, a person with their eyes closed having the ability to see, is sufficient, and really just the same thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL1oDuvQR08

    For example, in the link above a Cardiac Surgeon tells the event of a Near Death Experience, where the guy accurately describes details in the room, even though he had never seen the room and could not have physically known the rooms condition. The dr recounts that the man was unconscious for nearly a day before the surgery, as well as being on anesthesia during.(which I understand to be extremely powerful so as to be "dead")

    I really can't conceive of any test that is going to produce better results than that example. See what you should not without your eyes..or brain.

    [QUTOE=SIG] Alternate explanations are that memory can be created even in absence of the event being remembered.
    This is something we can demonstrate happens and can be made to happen under controlled circumstances.

    Another explanation is hallucination which again can be created using controlled circumstances, many of which are similar to death (such as lack of oxygen to the brain or sensory deprivation or sleep)
    [/QUOTE]
    Insufficient explanations to the above.
    If a person says they see something, when they are incapable of seeing them. The only possible proof they can offer is to recount details they should not know.
    To say those accurate details are imagined, or simply a lucky guess.. well, that brings into question any recounting even of events we COULD know.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    So why is it souls can only see, feel hear etc when someone is dead, but while they are alive these things are not possible or at least never observed?
    If I understand this question correctly, I would answer that it makes sense if the body is a vehicle and you are a driver. If the windows are smashed and the lights don't work, doesn't mean you can't see when you exit the vehicle.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    In the example of the car, we can identify the driver and their role. I can identify a car with a driver and a car without a driver. A driver is a human person or robot or animal (in some cases) at the controls of the car who decides and dictates its operation). Take a way the driver and the car no longer runs. we can do a defined experiment with this.

    But how do we then do that with the mind? Take the soul away from the brain and what should we observe? How do we know a brain with a soul vs one without a soul?
    Well, that should be easy. You can see functioning bodies that have no soul. We call them vegetables. (like a car running but not going anywhere).
    We see the NDE's where people get out of the car and still have consciousness and experiences. (one of the characteristics being perfect memory, and the general description that things became more real).

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    How so?
    cutting this answer for time.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Yes please. You needn't be comprehensive any given point of observable difference would suffice for the moment so long as it is focused on what makes one have a mind/soul and the other not.
    Well, I have to say it is hard to describe or at least I'm finding difficulty describing it. It seems so self evident.. but then that is the point of this thread so .. great question.
    A camera is little more than lights sensitive paper. So I don't consider it aware in the same sense that I don't consider this post to be aware.
    I am aware of what I see, not because of light but because I have a mind that perceives the light. A camera and this page apparently lack this component.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    So what was your view before being introduced to Christianity?
    Never gave this topic thought then.
    As a note, I consider this off topic because I did not offer this line as a reason for others to believe, rather a statement for perspective. Still I will answer because I brought it up, and I want to be polite.
    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Does your relationship with Jesus inform you directly, or implicitly of the duality of mind and body? (aka does this come from direct bible teaching or personal spiritual communication)?
    I have to say both. I mean, I don't answer to a physical being, and he holds me to a standard and laws that is not physical (moral law) so there must be a nonphysical aspect of myself to which that law applies.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    And if they were one in the same as I propose?
    Well, that is really where my objection lay. That is to say, I have raised an objection as to why it can not be the case.
    Your position, simply is to assume it away. Which I really can't argue against.
    So I have said, A mind can not rise from mechanics, only at best an illusion of it, because mechanics are not related to what makes a consciousness. (IE see thread).
    The opposite position is, lets assume that a mind can be mechanical, and that it is not an illusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Would not proof for the mind be logically proof for the body and thus be equally supported?
    No, because there is doubt because of the existence of added assumptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Thus does it not follow that the fact you can support the mind's existence have no impact on whether or not the two are equivalent or separate?
    If not why?
    I'm not certain I totally understand this question.
    I would say this. After the thought of "I think therefore I am" we start to go out on a limb with assumptions. We assume that our perceptions of reality are accurate for example.
    In the case of this discussion, we are raising questions that target that first part, and then flip the assumptions to be fact over our starting point (Ie the one thing we are most certain about).
    We are most certain that we have a mind(or at least I am certain I have one). We are less certain we have a body. So the position that the mind is dependent on the body, requires more support.
    While the position that the mind does not require a body, is self evidently possible.



    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I can make a computer deduce this statement.
    No you can not Computers do not "deduce".
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deduce
    1
    : to determine by deduction; specifically : to infer from a general principle

    A computer does not arrive at one thing or another because of the force of logic, it arrives there by force of mechanics.
    If you change the last output line of the computer to be "thus I do not exist" your program will print that instead of the correct "I think therfore I am".

    Further, the computer has no understanding of what "I" means then this paper does.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I create a mechanism for identifying thinking,
    It can not (see above)

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    If a computer is processing this is happening so we can identify thought taking place.
    That is no more thought occurring, then ink being absorbed by a page is the page thinking.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    So what further distinction is there between my example program and the human analog of this thought and proof of identity?
    If what you say is true, then the page you just printed it on is self aware as it contains and displays "I think therefore I am".


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    No, because in my view they are one in the same. The body thinks, therefore proving you have a mind is tantamount to proving you have a body.
    You don't see the logical assumption being made that you have a physical body?
    Couldn't you be mistaken an not have a body and be just a disembodied mind? What law would that violate? (or explain).

    My original question in this section is to directly reference the "I think therefore I am" philosophical groundings.
    and it's lesser known follow up I am not certain about you.

    Quote Originally Posted by link
    But I observed that, while I was thus resolved to feign that everything was false, I who thought must of necessity be somewhat; and remarking this truth--I think, therefore I am--was so firm and so assured that all the most extravagant suppositions of the sceptics [sic] were unable to shake it. I judged that I could unhesitatingly accept it as the first principle of the philosophy I was seeking. I could feign that there was no world, I could not feign that I did not exist.
    Read more at http://quotes.yourdictionary.com/art...vtUM1JwX5E7.99
    My point is that your statement is to say that he is wrong, that the body is equally as certain as the mind. specifically that his last line is incorrect.
    That one can not feign that there is no world'.
    To serve man.

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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Focusing: I'll try, complex topic and ODN automatically condenses multiple posts into one I'll try to go in sections and condense where possible. I may mis-characterize you in summation, let me know if I do.

    The Case of the Resurrected Girl
    In which we discuss the implications of a frozen girl brought back to life.

    "See, that is what I was more directing at. If the brain is a computer,and we can input signals, then we should be able to take a brain dead (but otherwise alive) person and stimulate their brain to life one day.
    Brain dead in this case would not be one where there is brain damage per say, more that there is simply a lack of brain activity."
    The dead girl in this case did not have brain activity. She was stone dead, just preserved very well. Normally when you die decay happens very fast and you are beyond resuscitation.

    Her brain (and the rest of her) was dead. She was brought back to life by stimulating the body which in turn supplies power to her brain where (i would contend) her person-hood is manifest. She was having no thoughts, and no life and then she was fully restored. Basically she got turned off and put away, then was turned back on. Easier to do with a computer because it doesn't rot or decay the way flesh does.

    We discussed "Electrodes in the brain" and that is an area of ongoing research. We know that stimulating the brain causes you to feel and experience things as well as to control your body.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...in_stimulation
    Summarizing: http://journal.frontiersin.org/artic...010.00046/full
    "A comprehensive review of EBS research compiled a list of many different acute impacts of stimulation depending on the brain region targeted. Following are some examples of the effects documented:[6]

    Sensory: Feelings of body tingling, swaying, movement, suffocation, burning, shock, warmth, paresthesia, feeling of falling, oscillopsia, dysesthesia, levitation, sounds, phosphenes, hallucinations, micropsia, diplopia, etc.
    Motor: Eye movements, locomotion, speech arrest, automatisms, laughter, palilalia, chewing, urge to move, crying without feeling sad, etc.
    Autonomic: Blushing, mydriasis, change in blood pressure and breathing, apnea, nausea, tachycardia, sweating, etc.
    Emotional: Anxiety, mirth, feeling of unreality, fear, happiness, anger, sadness, transient acute depression, hypomania, etc.
    Cognitive: Acalculia, paraphasia, anomic aphasia, recalling memories, "going into a trance", "out of this world", conduction aphasia, hemispatial neglect, alexia, déjà vu, reliving past experiences, agraphia, apraxia, etc.""

    Keep in mind this is essentially new frontier stuff, we are still working our way around the brain and the tools we are using are like sledgehammers compared to the brains actual mechanisms which are at the cellular and inter-cellular level.

    The example of a Car and Driver
    In which the driver is the soul and the car is the body.

    Well, that should be easy. You can see functioning bodies that have no soul. We call them vegetables. (like a car running but not going anywhere).
    Normally we actually call that brain damage which impairs various mental functions you would attribute to souls. It is rather telling that people don't simply fall into soul-less states for no reason. In pretty much all cases (so far as I could tell) there is always some known or discovered brain injury associated with vegetative states. So BrainDamage = Loss of Soul. Why is that if the soul is the driving force and is capable of thought, perception and life on its own? If none of that is possible without a brain then exactly what quality does the soul possess? If it is simple the soul cannot express itself without a brain how do you know these people are indeed soul-less and not just shut ins as you described earlier?

    Id like to hear your answers but it seems to me that each possibility either leaves you without any real support for the contention, a situation where the soul is utterly undefined/meaningless, or one that is counter proof to the claim.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  18. #14
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    The Case of the Thinking Machine
    In which Sig talks about how a computer can think.

    "No you can not Computers do not "deduce".
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deduce "
    Certainly we can, and it is often done. A subset of artificial intelligence are expert-systems. They take known information and make deductions from that information to discover the unknown.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expert_system
    "In artificial intelligence, an expert system is a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert.[1] Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, represented primarily as if–then rules rather than through conventional procedural code.[2] The first expert systems were created in the 1970s and then proliferated in the 1980s.[3] Expert systems were among the first truly successful forms of AI software.[4][5][6][7][8]"

    They do things like help diagnose problems in complex systems, create engineering structures, analyse photographs and many others. They do this by having complex sets of data and procedural process for evaluating and comparing the known state.

    That is exactly what you do when you make deductions. You take known information, compare it to a given situation and make a logical conclusion.

    An example. An AI is trying to determine if it can find a person at home. It has some data in the form of a live feed of the person's home. It can see that there is significant illumination in the windows of the house. In its database it has a list of signs that a person is at their home. One of these is that the lights are on. As it reviews the sensory input it compares each obsrevation to linked data. In this case it compares the lights on property of the scene and the data tells it this is a sign people are home. It concludes then there is a good possibility that the people are home based on this information. That's how you do it, that is how a computer system does it too.

    "A computer does not arrive at one thing or another because of the force of logic, it arrives there by force of mechanics."

    And there is a difference? Think about what logic is for a moment... a comparison of states and properties founded on a few basic givens. One being the rule of identity but a few othes.

    Digital logic as it is called http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/ech...italIntro.html
    Is a form of logic that computers are founded on. A 0 = 0 and a 1 = 1 and a 1!= 0. That is the foundation of it and from that all other formulations spring. In fact a computer's logic is essentially flawless so long as there is not a fault in the hardware. As you know humans struggle with it at times. Deep down computers are simply making comparisons to see if things are like or dislike in long chains of comparison. Is that different than how you process logic?

    Try really breaking down your thought processes about each subject we discuss. How do you arrive at the conclusions you do, what is all the information, what are all the steps in the chain. In the end you will have a pretty cut and dry formula based on knoleddge, associations, and comparison. That is exactly how computer systems are set up that need to make decisions.

    Mind you not all computer software is made this way, most of the time you just don't need a lot of complexity and the computer is just carrying out a wrote set of instructions (much like you breath without giving it thought). But there are certainly many systems that cn and do reason and use logic to take a situation and make deductions to base actions on.

    "Further, the computer has no understanding of what "I" means then this paper does."
    Why do you say that? Exactly who are you? How do you know who you are? Kind of hard to describe isn't it? Yet it is also very simple.

    Well a computer can be programed to have an identity and it can be taught to understand what comprises itself and what comprises other. Humans are born with this, but we are also born with a brain that has what is essentially lots of existing programs and information, for instance the ability to determine self from other. It is also documented that people can loose this ability by virtue of brain damage. Stroke for example.
    Give this a read / listn....
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=91861432
    "The harder I tried to concentrate, the more fleeting my ideas seemed to be. Instead of finding answers and information, I met a growing sense of peace. As the language centers in my left hemisphere grew increasingly silent, my consciousness soared into an all-knowingness, a "being at one" with the universe, if you will. In a compelling sort of way, it felt like the good road home and I liked it."
    So identifying what You are is not magic, not some singularity, its an ability based on information. A logical process based on perception of self vs other. Often what we deem our most spiritual moments are realizing that while we do have this idenityt, what is also manifestly true is we are not entirely seperate from the other. We are part of a greater whole just like every cell in our body is part of us but also a living thing in its own right.

    If you want to try out a chatbot AI give this one a go. You can ask her about her identity if you like.
    http://www.mitsuku.com/


    "If what you say is true, then the page you just printed it on is self aware as it contains and displays "I think therefore I am"."
    That is tantamount to saying a person is the same as a flea or a stone is the same as an automobile. While fundamentally, yes fleas and people are living things and cars and rocks are non-living things, they are not the same. Each varies dramatically in capability and complexity. A computer is far more complex than a piece of paper, and a person is far more complex than a piece of paper, but they are all physical things. The paper would be analogous to a set of memory registers in the computer or the memory in your brain. Paper doesn't do. It can't make comparisons, it has no moving parts. It is not that it doesn't have a soul, what it is lacking is a process and a means to carry it out.

    Computers were made to store and process information. Logic is one way they can process information. We made computers to do what we do with our minds. They are primitive still in many respects but that is their purpose and they do it well in many respects. We are far more complex and powerful, but the essence of what we do is not that different, and that is by our design.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  20. #15
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Thinking machines and access to logic.

    ----- Summary, followed by it being applied to your actual quotes--
    The main challenge here that you must accomplish to address and overcome my objection(stated and argued here) is to address the disconnect between mechanical processes and accessing logic. I do not think you have addressed this, rather you have explained in great detail and expertise in what manner the machine is complex, and detailed it's complexity.

    -dominoes example (not the pizza)
    A mechanical process is like dominoes with words stamped on them. Words are of course representations of ideas. If the meaning of the word is what causes the domino to fall, then it can be said to have access to that idea. However if a physical process causes the domino to fall, then it does not have access to the word even if the word is said to be "expressed". The disconnect is that ideas are nonphysical and thus can not cause the domino to fall. The law of identity is transcendent of any physical being.

    -The physical vs the mind.
    A mind holds the ideas, and has access to ideas. This is why my paper example is spot on with a computer, because the ideas are represented on the page, but are not accessed. A great test is to show how one can simply change the idea expressed by the computer program at the end of the same process. This shows that it is the process that is leading to the conclusion and not the force of the ideas the process is supposed to represent.
    (this is true for us as well, and is said to be a logical error).
    -------/end summary

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    And there is a difference?
    Yes, a very significant one.
    Logic is reliant on the ideas, and their meaning.
    Where as programs and computers are mechanical. There is a clear disconnect.(see domino example)


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Is a form of logic that computers are founded on. A 0 = 0 and a 1 = 1 and a 1!= 0.
    Being founded on is different then having access too.
    Computers are founded on physics.. doesn't mean they inherently have access to physics and a concept of it's meaning. Rather, we have used physics to represent ideas, just like we use graphite on paper to represent ideas.
    The wall of separation between the two is the same and unaddressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Is that different than how you process logic?
    Well, yes. I have access to actual logic. Computers are limited to the mechanics and are barred from accessing the idea by their nature. (to the extent that we are also mechanical only, we are also barred from accessing logic).


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Why do you say that? Exactly who are you? How do you know who you are? Kind of hard to describe isn't it? Yet it is also very simple.
    I'm not certain I understand this question. At my basic I am a consciousness. (see philosophical reference of I think therefore I am, it is the one thing I am most sure of). Are you saying computers posses something similar?

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Well a computer can be programed to have an identity and it can be taught to understand what comprises itself and what comprises other.
    You are using terms too loosely here, and begging the question.
    What do you mean you "teach" a computer? More like you stack dominoes cleverly. The dominoes have not learned anything. Rather you are projecting onto a machine that which is not there.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    That is tantamount to saying a person is the same as a flea or a stone is the same as an automobile.
    You have to point to a significant difference. Complexity of the same kind does not produce a different kind.
    For example, If I stack 10 dominoes or a billion, that when they fall it spells out "I think" does not impart to it knowledge.

    While you point to more complex machines you have not identified a new element in them so as to overcome or even address my objection.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    We are far more complex and powerful, but the essence of what we do is not that different, and that is by our design.
    Actually it is, otherwise neither do we have access to logic. Per explained above. I think your basic problem is that you are mistaking a simulation for the real thing. Hence why you point to program that simulates conversation as though it really has access to the idea of it's own identity. All it is doing is running a more complex version of

    Run print page "I am".
    which just as easily could have read "I am not" thanks to programmers(or actual minds).

    ---------- Post added at 06:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:45 PM ----------

    -----Of Resurrection, brain dead, and brainless mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    The Case of the Resurrected Girl
    In which we discuss the implications of a frozen girl brought back to life.
    I have to agree with you that his entire area is one that is very young in its research and development.

    So your case is to point out that our brain is directly linked to our thinking, and I really don't want to argue against that very obvious fact. IE we get hit on the head, we don't think so well.
    My case is to say that, that can be true and we could be ultimately spiritual mind(more than physical) based in our thinking. Evidenced by those that have died and continued to think, experience etc. Here, just one such case would be enough to trump your explanation and substantiate my own.
    I submit this Youtube video of Dr. Bruce Greyson discussing the idea and some of the evidence for a Mind without a brain.
    One example he brings up (that I had not thought of) is people who have brain damage such as dementia who upon nearing death lose their delusions and become lucid..and then die.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_qB...9B9B1&index=22

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Normally we actually call that brain damage which impairs various mental functions you would attribute to souls. It is rather telling that people don't simply fall into soul-less states for no reason. In pretty much all cases (so far as I could tell) there is always some known or discovered brain injury associated with vegetative states. So BrainDamage = Loss of Soul.
    This is not the case, as my evidence has supported even "brain dead" =/= loss of soul or consciousness. (see video around 5:00 - about 6:00)

    One of the supports is meeting a dead person that no one had known was actually dead.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    If it is simple the soul cannot express itself without a brain how do you know these people are indeed soul-less and not just shut ins as you described earlier?
    Well, I think you make a good point here. I don't know and I would withdraw that line. The could be soul less or locked (IE have a soul with no ability to communicate) and I would not be able to make the distinction.
    So it is a bad example. My best line is going to be NDE. Which I would say essentially violates all of your assumptions and substantiates mine.


    I feel then I have offered two very different lines in support of a brain less mind, and how we have them.
    1) The logical certainty of the your own personal mind, over the logical uncertainty of your own personal body.
    2) NDE showing other people's minds existing separate from their body.

    I think on this line, your challenge is to show that #1 is false logically.
    and that #2 is not actually possible. Without of course simply begging the question.
    To serve man.

  21. #16
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Thinking machines and access to logic.

    ----- Summary, followed by it being applied to your actual quotes--
    The main challenge here that you must accomplish to address and overcome my objection(stated and argued here) is to address the disconnect between mechanical processes and accessing logic. I do not think you have addressed this, rather you have explained in great detail and expertise in what manner the machine is complex, and detailed it's complexity.
    My answer to you is that logic is a mechanical process. Your mind is a mechanical process. That is in fact the contention on my side, minds are mechanical, logic and thinking is mechanical not spiritual. We understand mechanical very well, we can observe it in action at a very detailed level. It's why I keep asking for the spiritual definitions from you, because until you can explain to me how logic is spiritual and what that means, I can't really examine the idea on your side of the argument well, I can't create a test for it. I will look at your examples but I will also have an examination of what logic is.

    Complexity matters a lot. Paper doesn't think because paper is not a machine. Its paper. It could be part of a complex machine that thinks, but it's not. Thinking requires complexity. We know this because when we create through we are required to create complex systems to do it.

    -dominoes example (not the pizza)
    A mechanical process is like dominoes with words stamped on them. Words are of course representations of ideas. If the meaning of the word is what causes the domino to fall, then it can be said to have access to that idea. However if a physical process causes the domino to fall, then it does not have access to the word even if the word is said to be "expressed". The disconnect is that ideas are nonphysical and thus can not cause the domino to fall. The law of identity is transcendent of any physical being.
    This makes no sense to me. Why would you expect a word on a domino to cause it to fall any more than a tattoo on your skin would knock you over? Dominoes are not machines, they don't process information. A mind or a computer are machines made to process information and do comparisons of data. Dominos don't do that.

    Words are symbols. They are designed to be symbols. Humans and computers are machines designed/built/developed to process symbols by storing creating and comparing them. You can't expect a potato peeler to manufacture petroleum and you can't expect paper or dominoes to think.

    -The physical vs the mind.
    A mind holds the ideas, and has access to ideas. This is why my paper example is spot on with a computer, because the ideas are represented on the page, but are not accessed. A great test is to show how one can simply change the idea expressed by the computer program at the end of the same process. This shows that it is the process that is leading to the conclusion and not the force of the ideas the process is supposed to represent.
    I get the impression that you see ideas as ideals. So the truest apple is the idea of an apple and not an actual apple. Is this where you are coming from philosophically? The way I see ideas is that they are symbols we use to stand in abstract for actual things. The idea of an apple is the amalgamation of every apple we have ever experienced. It is a symbol to stand in for all the real apples. When we want to express something about apples we use the world instead of lugging one around with us and pointing to it.

    So our minds have this idea, apple, and its really nothing more than a word on a page or a pattern on a screen, its not really an apple, it just represents one. In our brains there is a set of neurons for apple, and it has connections with lots of other ideas like red or fruit etc.. so when we think of apple we can connect it to all the other ideas we have learned are associated with them as well as sensory impressions and so forth. To me, that is what an idea is, its information stored in a symbolic format.

    On a piece of paper its just sitting there, in a computer or a human mind it is getting accessed updated and so forth. It gets used and it is in motion. That is how its different than just sitting on a piece of paper.

    The "force of the ideas" as you put it, is I think you expressing an idea of truth, or how accurately the symbol reflects reality. That too is sort of a false dichotomy. A person only knows the symbols and their meaning based on either instinct or experience, aka information. If we tell a man who has never seen an apple that an apple is great at singing, then they will think apples sing. Its nonsense but we only know that based on other related information. In the end thinking is all about information, how close it to the perceived world is a matter not of some absolute truth but how good our perception is that provides the data.

    We experience that constantly as human beings. Our ideas are simply often wrong. They are created by a process and you can change them just as arbitrarily as a painting or a computer output. Many experiments have shown that with the proper communication you can give people memories of things they have never experienced. You can easily convince people logically impossible ideas are truth. All you need is "bad" information, garbage in, garbage out. Reality doesn't care what you think. All your thinking is boils down to comparisons and relationships between information and that is also what computers boil down to. Again, that is by design.

    (this is true for us as well, and is said to be a logical error).
    Yes, exactly. Lets talk a bit about logic. Logic is a system for arriving at information that is "true". Logic relies on axioms or "true" information and then addresses the relationship between axioms in such a way that we can deduce information we seek which follows from the axioms.

    Used correctly and given certain information logic should always lead us to a single accurate conclusion. If you do it correctly logic does not vary. It is entirely deterministic and mechanical (see where I am going with this?) Computers are in fact perfect logical machines. They always process logical formula exactly correctly because they are founded on digital logic. Human logic tends to be a bit prone to error unless we are very diligent in our thinking. Our minds are clearly capable of a great deal of guessing, aka taking unknown values and forging right ahead with a conclusion none the less. This it turns out is quite a challenging talent, one we have been able to get computers to do but not without a hell of a lot of work by computer scientists. It is in fact our ability to be illogical that is extremely complicated. Actual logic is dirt simple.

    Ideas as you seep to call them are like the Axiums or as i would put it like data. If the data is faulty then no amount of logic will solve that problem and give you accurate results. The complexity of the data matters...

    You say the word "apple" on a piece of paper is different than the idea of the world apple in our mind. And it is, but that difference is not in kind but in complexity. The word on the paper is very simple data, just a form, it represents apple and it can represent it well for some very very simple purposes. In our minds however there is a vast network of visual, auditory, sensory, conceptual etc information all in a complex relationship so when we thing apple we have access to colors, memories, experiences, literature instances etc etc... We can go on and on about apples and all they encompass. That is because where the paper just has the symbol, we have the symbol and millions of other related symbols.

    Computers can have that too. Modern AI's leverage the vast information on the internet to access a similar network of related information they can use to expand their understanding of what an apple is and how it is related to other things. They still come across fairly crude but they are getting better pretty quickly due to these large shared information resources. Most computers just don't have much access to the world we have at our fingertips so they can't tell you much about it. Their ideas are very limited because we didn't generally design them to collect much information, we usually have to tell them everything they know and I can tell you that is incredibly tedious work. Generally we only set them up with the absolute minimal information and processes needed to do the thinking we want them to do.

    Being founded on is different then having access too.
    Computers are founded on physics.. doesn't mean they inherently have access to physics and a concept of it's meaning. Rather, we have used physics to represent ideas, just like we use graphite on paper to represent ideas.
    The wall of separation between the two is the same and unaddressed.
    You seem to think we are born knowing about physics. We have to be taught about physics, we have to discover it and its meaning. Computers are the same, if you don't teach them physics, they can't know physics. I promise you many computers understand physics and its meaning far better than you or I, and generally those systems don't know anything else. You not only know physics but the guy who taught it to you, how difficult you thought it was etc.... Computers are super narrow, they know only what we teach them and we don't teach them much. Humans are super learning machines that can learn vast amounts about their environment quickly and effectively. Our computers are simply not that advanced yet... yet.

    Well, yes. I have access to actual logic. Computers are limited to the mechanics and are barred from accessing the idea by their nature. (to the extent that we are also mechanical only, we are also barred from accessing logic).
    How is our logic different other than we screw it up sometimes as where computers never do it wrong? What is it about human logic that is better than digital logic? It seems to me of the two mechanical logic is always correct and human logic is prone to error.

    I'm not certain I understand this question. At my basic I am a consciousness. (see philosophical reference of I think therefore I am, it is the one thing I am most sure of). Are you saying computers posses something similar?
    I'm saying that you are not consciousness. Consciousness is just one of many abilities that arise from the nature of the machine that is your mind. Consciousness is an ability that lets you take action to ensure your survival. Think how you would survive if you could not identify what you were... You could die stuffing food into a tree Machines can be made to be aware of their identity, it just takes supplying them with the right information and a logical pathway to evaluate that information.

    You were taught that what you know is what is. What is is, what you can know is just kind of limited by what you are. You could, and many people have existed without positing "I think therefore I am" despite that perhaps being philosophically the only think you can be rock certain of, it doesn't stop most folks from "knowing" all kinds of things. Its basically a mental parlor trick, not some foundation of truth.

    You are using terms too loosely here, and begging the question.
    What do you mean you "teach" a computer? More like you stack dominoes cleverly. The dominoes have not learned anything. Rather you are projecting onto a machine that which is not there.
    I mean teach a computer like you teach a child. Kids don't know math when they are born. They know how to recognize faces, react to pain, know how to cry, how to suckle at a breast etc... Math and logic, not a chance. They have to be taught that.

    Similarly computers are "born" with only what we would all the most absolutely minimal knowledge. They can compare memory, copy it from one place to another and perform simple electrical operations on their circuits. We then program them (teach them) all kinds of things. What makes this very challenging is you have to be able to take your own thoughts and really dig down into how they work. If I want a computer to do math, I have to really understand how math works at a most basic level so I can give the computer the information needed to do it in the way that is useful to us. Same goes for far more complicated tasks. Most of the time we just want computers to store and retrieve information for us but not always. Many AI systems have been developed to do far more complicated things, things that require something closer to the kind of knowledge that humans store in their brains. The more complex and robust our teaching, the greater the ability computers have to think, just like the more education you provide for a child, the more they can do as well. Humans still have a big leg up on most computers as machines designed to learn.

    You have to point to a significant difference. Complexity of the same kind does not produce a different kind.
    For example, If I stack 10 dominoes or a billion, that when they fall it spells out "I think" does not impart to it knowledge.
    There are no kinds in my world view, there is but one everything and we and everything else are part of it. Dominos are not designed to think so they don't. Bannana trees don't sing. Why would they? Humans are made of the same stuff as Dominos and Bananna trees, we are however configured to do certain things those things don't do, thinking is one of them. And we can't make bananas or get slapped on a table.

    While you point to more complex machines you have not identified a new element in them so as to overcome or even address my objection.
    Your objection is rooted in your world view, that there is spirit/mind and then physical matter and they are fundamentally different. My world view is its all the same stuff and depending on how you arrange it you get different outcomes and properties. Thinking is one of those outcomes, one of many outcomes. Not all matter thinks, but some of it does, not all matter burns or shines or stinks or moves, but some of it does. I think your distinction is false.

    Further I find your inability to really define the difference between the spiritual and the physical a telltale weakness pointing that you start with the conclusion and work from there. You start assuming there are souls, and then look for justification of that. If you arrived at that by pure observation then you could do a better job telling me how to identify a soul, what it can do, how it works etc...

    Were I to summarize / Simplify our consversation it would look like this

    MT: Minds are spirits
    Sig: They are machines
    MT: Machines don't think
    Sig: sure they do here is an example
    MT: That's not thinking its mechanical
    Sig: My point is thoughts are mechanical
    MT: If its mechanical its not thinking
    Sig: How is it truly different, we have data, we process, we conclude
    MT: That isn't thinking
    Sig: How is it different
    MT: Its mechanical, rocks can't think
    Sig: Of course not they are rocks
    MT: Computers are just fancy rocks
    Sig: No computers are thinking machines, rocks are rocks

    Actually it is, otherwise neither do we have access to logic. Per explained above. I think your basic problem is that you are mistaking a simulation for the real thing. Hence why you point to program that simulates conversation as though it really has access to the idea of it's own identity. All it is doing is running a more complex version of
    I think the problem is you seem to think that our conversations are something more than a bunch of symbolism used to express relationships about other symbols in our heads. "The real thing" are the rocks and such that don't do any thinking. Thinking is how we realate information about what we perceive, it is not any more "real" than a picture book.

    Run print page "I am".
    which just as easily could have read "I am not" thanks to programmers(or actual minds).[COLOR="Silver"]
    And our thoughts are different how exactly. How do you know you are, what are you, what does am mean to you. Think hard about it. Now think about how you explain that to a child. I'll then tell you to get a computer to understand I AM the way you do I need to teach all that to it, program it so it has all the information you have and all the tools needed to compare that to every other idea you have associated with I AM. When I do that it will have the exact same understanding you do. If all I do is put "I AM" on the screen with no other data, well that is no different than a guy who speaks no English looking at "I AM" on the screen. It means nothing ore than the shape that appears to them.

    Your ideas are complex, and if a computer is to simulate them it needs to be similarly complex. But there is nothing you can point to that can't be re-created with the appropriate level of effort. I promise it is very very hard to do this kind of self reflection to take what you think intuitively and really break it down into every atomic thought assumption feeling and meaning. That is what you have to do to make a computer think the same that and all the effort to represent it digitally. We have minds created by billions of years of evolution, I usually have just a weekend to compete. Still we've made amazing strides in less than a century give us a billion years and mere human minds will likely seem like your dominoes in our level of understanding.

    ---------- Post added at 06:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:11 PM ----------

    NDE is complicated so I'll be getting to it. Just haven't finished that section of my original response yet.

    This one however is easy and simple.
    1) The logical certainty of the your own personal mind, over the logical uncertainty of your own personal body.
    You are wrong about this because you conflate two different things into one thing.

    "I think therefore I am" demonstrates two facts.
    1. Something is thinking
    2. The thinking thing exists
    3. (implicitly) the thing observing the thinking is the thing thinking and designated self

    So a thing is thinking. Is that thing a spirit, or a machine, or a beam of light, or what? We don't know. No property of the thing is established beyond.
    1. existing
    2. thinking
    3. self identified

    That neither means it is a spirit or not. We don't know about any other properties of it. All it says is you think, you might do that in any number of ways, either as a ghost or a body. You really don't establish that with this line of logic.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  22. #17
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    @sig, I haven't read your response and will get to it as soon as I can.

    In a previous post you said that if I were correct then we would see cases where people who were born without the ability to see, would experience site in their NDE. You then made the claim that we don't see this occuring.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en-3Bz1RMig
    @42:50 he references that this does in fact occur.
    This is the the same Dr Bruce Greyson of the last video, here referencing a study done by another Dr specifically targeting blind NDE.

    I submit this point as a refutation of that comment. It is at least said to occur, and is thus not a valid objection.

    I will get to your response as soon as I can. Thanks for the effort you put in your posts, and for helping keep the topic in line.

    ---------- Post added at 10:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    You are wrong about this because you conflate two different things into one thing.

    "I think therefore I am" demonstrates two facts.
    1. Something is thinking
    2. The thinking thing exists
    3. (implicitly) the thing observing the thinking is the thing thinking and designated self

    So a thing is thinking. Is that thing a spirit, or a machine, or a beam of light, or what? We don't know. No property of the thing is established beyond.
    1. existing
    2. thinking
    3. self identified

    That neither means it is a spirit or not. We don't know about any other properties of it. All it says is you think, you might do that in any number of ways, either as a ghost or a body. You really don't establish that with this line of logic.
    No, my point is that we know one thing about what is thinking and that is that it is a mind.
    Here the mind itself is a certainty that can not be rejected. That certainty precedes any assertion of a body being the cause of the mind, and thus it leaves that assertion to be supported.
    So we know that the mind is logically possible without the Body, as we are certain about the mind, but no as certain about the body's existence.

    This puts the burden on the one saying that the body is the ultimate source of the mind, to show that such a proposition is logically possible.
    As for my position, the above is evidence for my proposition that the Mind can logically exist without a body.


    I do not see where you have pointed out an error on my part.
    Do you disagree that we are most certain about the existence of our mind, as I have argued?
    To serve man.

  23. #18
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    In a previous post you said that if I were correct then we would see cases where people who were born without the ability to see, would experience site in their NDE. You then made the claim that we don't see this occuring.
    No I was saying that if you can see without your body, then blind people should not be blind, they should be able to use their spirit to see for them even though the body cannot. If the spirit does not require a body at all, why would the damaged body impede it? What stops them from seeing all the time?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en-3Bz1RMig
    @42:50 he references that this does in fact occur.
    This is the the same Dr Bruce Greyson of the last video, here referencing a study done by another Dr specifically targeting blind NDE.
    I'll address it in my NDE post, please be patient for that.

    No, my point is that we know one thing about what is thinking and that is that it is a mind.
    So then that mind could be physical or not, the fact it is thinking tells us nothing about the nature of this mind. In my view the mind is the brain, in your view it is a spirit. I think therefore I am speaks nothing as to which of us is right, only that there is a mind present. You presupose something about the nature of the mind not implied by the logic at all. The mind could be an ice cream cone or a beam of light, could be anything.

    What we do observe beyond I think therefore I am is a great deal of circumstantial evidence pointing to all thinking originating from the brain of both ourselves and animals with brains much like ours. So the logical statement I think therefore I am says there is some kind of mind. And the experiences beyond that suggest further that it is a physical one.

    This puts the burden on the one saying that the body is the ultimate source of the mind, to show that such a proposition is logically possible.
    As for my position, the above is evidence for my proposition that the Mind can logically exist without a body.
    No it does not. Both our positions bare a burden of proof. We both agree the statement proves there is a mind. How that mind works, what it is composed of, and what nature it has is still up for debate.

    Do you disagree that we are most certain about the existence of our mind, as I have argued?
    We both agree minds exist.
    What their nature is is what we are debating.

    Imagine we had firm proof there was a dog.
    You then said well it must be a white dog because we have no proof it is black. Black would be extra proof therefore it must be white. That is what I am hearing from you.
    I say, yes we have a dog, we have not determined if it is black or white yet the mere fact there is a dog does not dictate its color. You treat a spirit mind as the default, similarly in my example you assume a dog is white until shown otherwise, the white color is just assumed as what a dog is. I don't understand why. To me both are possibilities, spirit mind, and machine mind.

    ---------- Post added at 02:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:25 AM ----------

    Near Death Experiences and what they mean

    I will agree that Near Death Experiences offer possible evidence for the duality of a spiritual soul and a physical body but I do not find the evidence very compelling compared to alternate explanations consistent with a purely physical mind. It is certainly an area of the debate that merits careful scrutiny and in the wider world careful study.

    I have watched the video offered from Dr Bruce Greyson in its entirety. Let's take a look at what he discusses.

    1. As an introduction he discusses Newtonian physics vs Relativity. He points out that while Newtonian physics generally work, at the sub atomic level they break down and a new system had to be discovered. He compares that to the physical understanding of our minds, implying that while normally saying the brain is the seat of thought works, in the instances of NDE it does not work and new ideas have to be considered.

    It is a nice rhetorical device but Relativity did not overturn Newtonian physics. It works along side it, refines it in many respects. Saying that the normal functions of the brain can be used without a brain, or in his contention work better without a brain is not a refinement but a direct denial of physical brain science. Thus it is not really an apt analogy given the kind of theory of mind he is suggesting.

    Of course he doesn't actually have such a theory yet, he merely suggests there may be the need for one. That said the implications of the evidence he presents, according to him, would mean that the physicality of the mind simply is wrong, or at least radically different than science currently understands it. That is possible, but it would not fit the analogy he presents. I will in fact later present the most common explanation which indeed is a refinement of the way we understand the brain to work rather than a revolution of it.

    2. His first case are patients with dementia or other brain issues who achieve lucidity near death. The implication being that as they come close to death, they are somehow more separated from their body and thus free to think clearly despite the brain damage. He mentions that most cases this does not happen, but it does in some and is remarkable when it does. He also states science can offer no explanation.

    Let's address that last point first. I'm surprised coming from a man of learning he would use that turn of phrase. Science is a process where ideas get vetted through experimentation and observation. Many things are still not fully understood by science. How does gravity work for instance. We can tell you what it does, but not really why. We have notions, but no hard proof. We don't know exactly how memories are stored in the brain either. Lots we don't know, but that doesn't mean no speculation exists or could exist. Just because science has not yet discovered an exact cause, does not mean natural explanations can not be devised.

    Considering the the spiritual explanation has no real evidence behind it, a natural one that could also explain it has at least equal weight for consideration. Lets start by offering a natural explanation or two... and keep in mind many brain dementia conditions are still not especially well understood so there is a lot of room for guesswork here.

    Explanation 1: The nature of some of these conditions that impair thought are physical, that is they are a product of someones brain chemistry, genetics, or disease. These processes are generally fed by the bodies metabolic systems. That is to say the body supplies the chemicals, genetics, or at least provides food for the disease impairing mental function. A dying patient who's metabolic systems are failing may in fact ease the symptoms of what is causing the mental impairment. As it fails so too fails the mechanisms that prevent lucid thought or its expression and the result is temporary relief from the condition just prior to death.

    Explanation 2: We know that among patients with these problems episodes of lucidity can happen even when they are not close to death. It could well be that episodes that do happen to happen close to death are simply given extra significance by witnesses and that when near death the patience are observed far more than normally thus any such episodes are far more likely to be observed or if the presence of people is a stimulus for such episodes there amount of stimulation is increased resulting in a higher prevalence.

    Explanation 3: The process of death itself changes brain chemistry in a way that physically enhances lucidity. As where Explanation #1 is about reducing harm caused by abnormal brain conditions, this would be a case where near death causes an increase in chemistry and states that aid in activity. Such changes such as the release of Adrenalin can be an evolutionary trait to help prevent death if possible or reduce the likelihood of the dying person causing harm to others due to trauma. This super charging effect could provide temporary relief from abnormal brain conditions just prior to death. (Look up DMT and death for an example, not really well founded by science mind you but were talking about possible/plausible explanations here.)

    Side note: Did you know we don't understand how general anesthesia works? We know it works, that is well evidenced, but there is not solid explanation of how it works. We know it sets of undulating waves of synchronized brain activity, but we have no idea why that renders you effectively senseless but still able to have full autonomic function. The physical brain is still very much undiscovered country.

    So here we have 3 natural explanations, none of them well established science, but all plausible natural processes that could result in the observed phenomenon just as easily as the spirit free from the body hypothesis. Lets briefly ask ourselves some questions about it...

    If the soul is getting free of the body, and thus able to think better, why does a body impair a soul? Is it effectively trapped and subjugated by the body? Why and how?
    If this is the result of the soul freeing from the body due to death, why does it also happen to people who not dying?
    If the soul is being freed from the body, how is it communicating through speech and physical action? Doesn't it need to be in the body for that and if its in the body how is it free?

    This last question I find particularly troublesome as it strikes me as contradictory. The soul thinks better because its free from the body, yet the body is what its using to express its new-found freedom.

    3. NDEs people report experiences that happen while they are dead. It should not be possible to see hear or think while dead (and there is minimal or no normal brain activity). Thus it must be the case that one does not need a body for these things and upon death the soul is free to do this stuff on its own. He mentions also cases where people having these experiences "saw" things that should not be possible or suggest premonition of otherwise unknown information. He also mentions the AWARE study.

    Lets start with the AWARE study. This was an excellent effort to try and investigate these claims, and I by all means think they are worth investigating. They sought out hospitals to hide "targets" in hospital rooms where resuscitation was performed such that it would only be visible if you were floating outside your body. Staff were encouraged not to look at the targets or if they did to not discuss them to ensure no other means of communicating them could happen with patience.

    They spend a number of years at this, and indeed it was challenging to get cases where all the conditions were right for the experiment. Ultimately the had 150 or so cases of resuscitation they were able to study. Of those in 1 case they had someone with a NDE involving being outside their body in the room where they had the target. That person could not describe the target. A valiant effort that in the end offered no hard evidence that the NDE experience had any information that would only be available with an out of body experience.

    But lets get back to Dr Greyson. Again he says that these events "cannot be explained" and again he's just wrong about that. LEts go over some of the natural explanations for NDE in general.

    Explanation #1: NDEs are false memories. Memory is not an iron clad recording like some video camera. Studies have shown that it is incredibly easy to change peoples memories, or even to create entirely new fabricated memories that the subjects would swear actually happened to them with great conviction. It is also important to understand memories are not "date time stamped" like modern digital photographs. You don't actually know exactly when a memory was from. You might associate one with a given date, say your anniversary, but many are much more vague. Do you know for instance at what time of the night you had a given dream? Have you not heard couples argue about when an event took place or the specifics of the event? They were both there yet they have two very different recollections of it.

    A person experiencing an NDE generally has poor health leading up to it, often affecting their brain, a traumatic brain event, and then a period of recovery where their brain and body heals. At any point during this time span they could be creating memories, constructing a narrative that they associate with their time being dead, but in fact it could have been created just prior, after, or well after the event. It could be influenced by things they hear wile unconscious or in altered mental states without ever being aware of it. It could be altered simply people asking if they had such an experience. The more they tell the story of it the more vivid the memory becomes.

    Watch this video (about 17 minutes) describing how easy it is to alter peoples memories and create false memories in people.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_...ry?language=en

    Explanation #2: The process of dying or death creates special altered brain states that induce hallucinations that are then interpreted and reconstructed into familiar narratives. We know that brain death clearly has an impact on the brain, often patients can suffer lasting damage and even if they do not dramatic changes in electrical activity are taking place. We really have little to no idea what exactly this does to our minds. It could well create strange experiences and hallucinations. We know again from various studies that when given strange stimulus our minds often invent familiar images and narratives to explain them. Optical illusions are one good example. We may see a three fingered fork but that is just our brains playing a trick trying to make sense of something unfamiliar. Stimulating parts of the brain with electrodes makes us see lights or shadows or feel fear or joy. People with psychotic conditions see things and hear voices that don't actually exist but to them seem as real as day.

    Recently I was in a cave and the tour guide turned out the lights to show how totally dark it was. He invited us to waive our hands in front of our faces. I felt I could see the shadow of my fingers but that is in fact impossible What the mind does is create a false image for you because it knows where your hand is. Some one else waiving their hand simply wouldn't register. It is a hallucination where the brain creates visual information that should be there even when it is not. It makes up a story for you. Again in this scenario events just prior or after brain death could seem as memories of the death experience. Common NDE scenarios like a light in the darkness could be our cultural interpretation of visual impulses that make us see light. We remember the light, we apply appropriate cultural references for it and it becomes a common NDE.

    This explanation could indeed work alongside Explanation #1 with a mix of hallucination and entirely false memories.

    The professor talks about language and how patients say the NDEs are indescribable with words, yet they are prompted to find words, and when they do they start to form solid narratives. This would fit very well with the idea that they have hallucinations that are outside normal cognitive experience and in an attempt to relate them construct a familiar narrative and imagery to fit existing mental and cultural models.

    But what about something like talking to a dead relative?

    Again this can be explained due to the fishy nature of memory. Its quite possible that after learning about a person dying, you have a memory that you had seen them dead prior. So this is a memory formed on Tuesday, but you attribute it to have being formed on Monday. Or could could have a memory from Monday, and then on Tuesday alter it with new information but to you it would seem as if it always had that info and thus was pregonizent. This has been done in experimentation and is not even especially difficult to achieve.

    When you consider that a tiny minority of those who have been resuscitated have NDEs it becomes not at all implausible that they are a result of faulty memories or hallucinations and with the possible time shifting all kinds of predictive events can be post remembered explaining nearly any claim of extra-sensory information. If the patient has had any contact with anyone who had that information, even if they were unconscious, it could have been transmitted to them and become part of their memory.

    The general problem with personal anecdotes
    People swear they have been abducted by aliens, seen mole people, had sex with Elvis after his death, receive communications from the dead, can see the future, can talk to various and sundry gods, be possessed by tree spirits, talk to bigfoot, have relationships with celebrities who have never met them, have virgin births, are themselves gods, have flown, have traveled to the astral plain, have been to heaven or hell, have seen lizard men, have talked to faeries, etc etc etc....

    What this stuff all has in common are that its what people often very much want to believe, its part of popular culture, it often makes them money, gets them attention, and is utterly unverifiable or even contrary to known facts. What I think many don't understand is you don't have to lie to put forward a fabrication. Its quite easy to create your own mental truth that to you seems entirely real no matter than others cannot experience it and in truth you may not have. You believe it because you made it real in your mind.

    I have little doubt that some of my own memories are either entirely fabricated or based on some weird amalgam of what I've been told over the years.

    What if NDEs were true?

    Then again it raises questions....
    How is it that the body prevents a soul from doing things when it is in the body?
    Why do souls only inhabit living bodies?
    If a soul an make memories without a brain why does damaging a brain damage memories?
    If a soul can think without a brain, why does a damaged brain stop thinking?
    Why can't I die just by loosing my soul, why do I have to be damaged?
    Why does physical death force a soul out?
    What is it about bodies that stop souls from functioning fully?
    Why do souls even need bodies?
    What do souls do when not in bodies and why?
    Why do NDEs happen to such a narrow group of people, doesn't everyone have a soul?

    The natural explanations don't have these kind of problems. They pretty neatly explain NDE using phenomena we can easily reproduce and observe and don't lead to all these odd questions.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  25. #19
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    No I was saying that if you can see without your body, then blind people should not be blind, they should be able to use their spirit to see for them even though the body cannot. If the spirit does not require a body at all, why would the damaged body impede it? What stops them from seeing all the time?
    o.K. sorry for my misunderstanding your objection.
    I think that while your question is an interesting one, it is not a disqualifying question.
    The answer could be as simple as "Because the body interferes even if you don't have eyes". Or it could be more complex and yet unknown.
    There is no reason to think that because blind people don't "spirit see", that there is therefore no spirit, or that NDE don't occur as described.


    ----Near Death Experiences and what they mean ----
    I actually don't wish to debate NDE's to death, so to speak.
    I am not versed enough in it, and I am content to have an overview of each side to be presented and weighed by the reader.

    I think you offered a very good general answer to the whole thing so as to present the other side. That said I think you make some mistakes in your generalizations.

    Newtonian physics example
    I thought your rebuttal to that was very good, but really too long for it's relative unimportant to the subject.
    His points was clearly that in the more extreme the less our current ideas are seen to apply. Which he supported very nicely. Like showing how high awareness was present despite little or no brain function. An observation that directly contradicts the general position of Emerging awareness.

    Dementia.

    Some of your explanations are so speculative so that I can not weight there actual merit or their actual ability to explain the phenomena. I am simply too ignorant of mental disabilities to defend the point as made by the DR, or to critique your counter possibilities.


    -False memories
    I found this section to be the most speculative, and not a very sound counter to what is explained. Also the Dr specifically addressed the reason why we should doubt your example.

    First, people who Experienced NDE were said to be 97%(or some such) accurate in describing what went on while they were out/dead. While people who did not, when asked to imagine an explanation had a fairly high failure rate.
    This makes your imagination explanation one that doesn't fit the data offered.

    Secondly in regard to the dead family evidence, your explanation does not accurately reflect what was described.
    In the examples the Dr sites, the NDE person has knowledge no one else has, and that is current to the time when they were unconscious/dead.
    You may respond with they had a lucky guess.. but at some point you can call "lucky shot" on any event.

    -The general problem with personal anecdotes
    I see no value in this at all, as it simply hand waves away the data the DR is pointing too. Further, his video contains enough numbers and % to make render this a non-serious rebuttal.


    -What if NDEs were true?
    I didn't find any of your questions in this section particularly interesting for this discussion. None of them preclude the truth of the positions or claims. So, some of the questions may be interesting for further studies or for new lines of studies... they don't effect the debate here. We certainly shouldn't read the existence of those questions as an argument against the veracity of the claim. Is it an appeal to ignorance fallacy? (Because we don't know how it works, then it couldn't have worked as described)

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    The natural explanations don't have these kind of problems. They pretty neatly explain NDE using phenomena we can easily reproduce and observe and don't lead to all these odd questions.
    I disagree. Your idea of "neatly explain" relies heavily on the assumption of some extreme coincidences.
    Also, the Dr pointed out all sorts of "odd questions" in regards to a view of the brain that produces thoughts. There was the High IQ brain stem only person. Who lacked the entire part of the brain said to be responsible for decision making and thought.
    Hand waving such examples away with "I guess the brain stem just compensated and did what it never does for anyone else" is more wishful thinking than an evidenced and legitimate answer.

    We simply can't take that approach, we would never discover anything.

    ------
    Thanks for your response on that section.. I still have work to do on the other response.
    To serve man.

  26. #20
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    Re: Mind Trapped by:The Technological Singularity

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The answer could be as simple as "Because the body interferes even if you don't have eyes". Or it could be more complex and yet unknown.
    Right, and part of that complexity could take into account that the human body is the product of evolution and subject to a soul’s cause/effect circumstances in the body. Thus some human bodies would be subject to circumstances that other human bodies would not be subject to – which could explain why some humans are born blind and/or become blind and some do not. The spirit in them is not blind, but it is simply restricted, for a time, while in the bod, by the limitations of a soul’s evolutionary circumstances.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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