Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

mind and brain

brains and computation vs contemplation

At Big Think: Brain experiment suggests that consciousness relies on quantum entanglement

As a physicist whose research involved computational nano-electronics, for which the entire physical schema relied upon quantum mechanical transport of electrons through molecular structures, it would seem to be a "no-brainer" that quantum processes (including entanglement) are prevalent in brain activity. Read More ›

Eric Holloway: Artificial neural networks can show that the mind isn’t the brain

Holloway: : The human mind can do tasks that an artificial neural network (ANN) cannot. Because the brain works like an ANN, the mind cannot just be what the brain does. Read More ›

L&FP, 57: What is naturalism? Is it a viable — or even the only viable — worldview and approach to knowledge?

What is naturalism? (And why do some speak in terms of evolutionary materialistic scientism?) While everything touched on by philosophy is of course open to disagreements and seemingly endless debate, we can find a good enough point of reference through AmHD: 3. Philosophy The system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.4. Theology The doctrine that all religious truths are derived from nature and natural causes and not from revelation. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy suggests: The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed “naturalists” from that period included John Read More ›

At Mind Matters News: Why some life forms are smarter than others is still a mystery

Genetic engineering probably wouldn’t make humans smarter because, as biochemist Michael Denton notes in Miracle of Man, our brains seem to be optimally organized now. That would seem to support a design hypothesis. Read More ›

AI promotional vid — is the AI future realistic? Is it utopia emerging? Or, dystopian?

Are they already emerging as conscious as complexity rises? Vid: Or, do we need to ask pointed questions about limitations of computation, oracle machines and Smithian cybernetic loops with two tier controllers [can we have an oracle there?]? Does a fancy Si Rubber face — like those used for many years in Sci Fi flicks — make a difference? Smith: Or, Well, do rocks . . . even sophisticated, doped Si rocks . . . dream? And, what does all of this tell us about the potential for design? END

FYI/FTR: What is “Monism”?

This is just a note for record on what monism is (as opposed to dualism, Creation by a Supreme and maximally great and good being, etc). A useful point of departure is a diagram from Wikipedia on dualism (and they give only one type) vs monism: Wikipedia notes, next to this: Different types of monism include:[12][18] Substance monism, “the view that the apparent plurality of substances is due to different states or appearances of a single substance”[12] Attributive monism, “the view that whatever the number of substances, they are of a single ultimate kind”[12] Partial monism, “within a given realm of being (however many there may be) there is only one substance”[12] Existence monism, “the view that there is only Read More ›

The 3n + 1/ n/2 conjecture

Here is an example of how numbers can give us hard puzzles: The obvious point, for the naturals is that 3n + 1 converts an odd to an even and division by two pulls out an odd factor or else gets into the chain of powers of two, which has precisely one odd member, 1. Where, of course, conveniently, 3 * 1 + 1 is 4. Thus the halting loop. (The negatives bring in other loops on their side of zero.) So, the [pseudo-?]algorithm — does it always halt? — is searching for the ladder of powers of 2. Find it and you halt, fail and you explode into a halting fail. Or, is there another loop in the positive Read More ›

L&FP39: How the folded structure (and then the “loading”) of tRNA corrects attempts to reduce protein synthesis to “mere” chemistry

One of the more astonishing rhetorical gambits of objectors to the design inference is to try to suggest that the alphanumeric, code-using, algorithmic information system we see in the D/RNA of the living cell and linked protein synthesis is not really an information system, it all reduces to chemical reaction trains. A common associated gambit is to assert that terms like “code” etc are all readily dismissible analogies. As a first reminder, protein synthesis as graphically summarised: Of course, it never hurts to remind such objectors of p. 5 of Sir Francis Crick’s $6 million, March 19, 1953 letter to his son, Michael: Notice, his belief right from the outset of discovering the double-helix stricture: “. . . D.N.A. is Read More ›

Is Mathematics falling under the sway of a computerised, AI-driven celebrity-authority culture?

Two recent remarks in VICE (a telling label, BTW) raise some significant concerns. First, Kevin Buzzard — no, this is not Babylon Bee [itself a sign when it is harder and harder to tell reality from satire] — Sept 26th: Number Theorist Fears All Published Math Is Wrong “I think there is a non-zero chance that some of our great castles are built on sand,” he said, arguing that we must begin to rely on AI to verify proofs. [ . . . ] Kevin Buzzard, a number theorist and professor of pure mathematics at Imperial College London, believes that it is time to create a new area of mathematics dedicated to the computerization of proofs. The greatest proofs have Read More ›

Egnor on the evidence against materialism:

News just tagged this on to a news post but this is worth headlining: Blurb: Discovery Science In this bonus interview footage from Science Uprising, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discusses the evidence against materialism and explains how materialism undercuts rather than supports genuine science. Be sure to visit https://scienceuprising.com/ to find more videos and explore related articles and books. Michael Egnor, MD (from Columbia University), neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery at Stony Brook University. Dr. Egnor is renowned for his work in pediatric neurosurgery. See https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2516312…. Food for thought. END

Logic & First Principles, 22: Is there room for fresh (hylemorphically shaped?) thinking on minds, souls and bodies?

In recent weeks, UD has been looking at the logic of being of minded intelligence, especially, embodied intelligence. One of the pivotal insights is outlined by Victor Reppert — pardon a bit of review: . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of Read More ›

Inferring onward, from design to designer

One of the notorious talking points used by inveterate objectors to design theory, is that it is about stealth creationism. Closely tied, is the suggestion (or, assumption) that the claim that design inference on empirical sign only warrants inference to design as process is a dishonest stalking horse. Given a long saddening track record of career and hobbyist objectors, unsurprisingly, that is false. A simple case — and “case” is itself significant — easily shows why. About seven years ago, one night, fires broke out in two of Montserrat’s court houses, and did considerable damage (including to records). After they were put out, investigators found signs of accelerants. For cause, they inferred arson. However, they were unable to infer onward Read More ›

Have Scientists in China “brain hacked” monkeys?

. . . By inserting human genes? The UK Daily Mail summarises news reports making the rounds: The report details: A new study into the unique evolution of human intelligence has raised ethical concerns after Chinese scientists implanted human brain genes into monkeys to boost their development. Researchers inserted human versions of MCPH1, a gene that scientists believe plays a role in the development of the human brain, into 11 rhesus monkeys.They found the monkeys’ brains — like those of humans — took longer to develop, and the animals performed better in tests of short-term memory as well as reaction time compared to wild monkeys.However, the monkeys did not grow bigger brains than the control group.The test, the latest in a Read More ›

Logic and First Principles, 11: The logic of Ultimate Mind as Source of Reality

After we headlined and began discussing PS on hearing and consciousness yesterday, H raised a significant issue: H, 15: >> . . . the invocation of a Creator who “beautifully designed what each sound should sound like” and “put the special program that can interpret each frequency pattern of air vibration into each sound, thus giving us the sound experience” is an empty explanation, no more useful than claiming that mind arises from matter without any idea how that could happen. >> To this, I replied: KF, 16: >> The concept that the root of reality is Mind, and that mind is at least as fundamental as matter is not an empty claim or assertion. That intelligent, minded designers exist Read More ›