Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

mind and brain

brains and computation vs contemplation

John Searle Talks to Google

John Searle gives a nice talk at Google about real intelligence vs. machine intelligence. The conversation is interesting for a number of reasons, including some historical background of Searle’s famous “Chinese Room Argument.”
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BTB, RVB8 vs deplorably “lazy” ID-iots who “deny science” and insist on trying to “detect a designer”

UD News’ Walking dead thread offers an opportunity to address some common talking points and/or assumptions of many objectors to design. In this case, I replied to some key claims by RVB8, at 21 in the thread: [KF, 21:] >>I see your intended sting in the tail at 18 above: Actual experiments to detect a designer? Impossible. It seems, that we deplorable lightweight IDiots need to take a few moments to explore some more BTB . . . back to basics. In the scientific study of origins and similar observation- of- traces contexts, experiment is not possible in the sense of say re-running the actual past. (And computer simulations, never mind execrable abuses of language, are not experiments nor are Read More ›

Is most fMRI a false positive? Or the brain far more amazing?

Statistician William M. Briggs reports an amazing medical case where the

“skull was filled largely by fluid, leaving just a thin perimeter of actual brain tissue.”
Here’s the kicker: And yet the man was a married father of two and a civil servant with an IQ of 75, below-average in his intelligence but not mentally disabled…

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The freedom/mind issue surfaces again

First, a happy thanksgiving. Then, while digesting turkey etc, here is something to ponder. One of the underlying issues surrounding the debates over the design inference is the question of responsible, rational freedom as a key facet of intelligent action, as opposed to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. It has surfaced again, e.g. the WD400 thread. Some time back, this is part of how I posed the issue, emphasising the difference between self-aware responsible freedom and blindly mechanical causal chains used in computing: Even if deluded about circumstances a self-aware being is just that, self-evidently, incorrigibly self-aware. And, a key facet of that self awareness is of responsible, rational freedom. Without which we cannot choose to follow and accept a Read More ›

BTB, 4: Evolutionary Materialism as “fact, Fact, FACT” and its self-falsifying self-referential incoherence

One of the challenges commonly met with in re-thinking origins science from a perspective open to design, is that the evolutionary materialist narrative is too often presented as fact (not explanation), and there is also a typical failure to recognise that materialist ideology cannot be properly imposed on science. Likewise, there is a pattern of failing to address the issue of the self-falsifying self-referential incoherence of such materialism. It is appropriate to highlight these issues through this basics series. In this case, we have a live case in point, here: GD, 173: >>There are some parts of evolutionary theory that are so well supported that they can be considered facts. Widespread (if not necessarily universal) common ancestry. Mutation, selection, and Read More ›

Answering Popperian’s challenge: “why doesn’t someone start out by explaining how human beings generate emotions, then point out how the universality of computation does not fit that explanation . . .”

There are some key motifs that often come up in discussions of design theory and linked ideas. Popperian, as captioned, has posed one of these. Notice, his view, that we GENERATE emotions, suggesting a dynamo churning away and generating electricity. That is, the motif that would reduce explanations to mechanisms is here revealed.  I think it is well worth the pause to address it by headlining an in-thread response: ___________ >>Popperian, re: why doesn’t someone start out by explaining how human beings generate emotions, then point out how the universality of computation does not fit that explanation. Effectively stating “It’s magic and computers are not magic doesn’t cut it.” Pushing the problem into an inexplicable mind hat exists in an Read More ›

BA77, replies to prof Lombrozo on Evolutionary Belief and Cultural Factors

I think BA77’s reply deserves to be headlined, as a part of the issue on self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. First, a picture: Now, the clip: >>as to Lombrozo’s comment here: “in the last 20 years or so, research in psychology and the cognitive science of religion has increasingly focused on another factor that contributes to evolutionary disbelief: the very cognitive mechanisms underlying human cognition.” There is a mechanism underlying my cognitive abilities? Really??? Something smells rotten in Denmark! Let’s analyze this a bit more closely with our ‘mechanism’ of human cognition shall we?: Cognition is the set of all mental abilities and processes related to knowledge: attention, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and Read More ›

Blowing the whistle: But, Emperor Evolutionary Materialist Scientism (by being self-falsifying) is parading around naked . . .

In recent days the issue of the want of rational coherence of evolutionary materialist scientism has become a major focus at UD. For cause. In the most recent thread on it, BA says in the OP: I had an epiphany today. I think, after all this time, I finally get it . . . . Eigenstate intends for us to believe that intentional states do not exist. Eigenstate desires for us to believe that desires do not exist. Eigenstate believes (and asks us to believe) that beliefs do not exist. Eigenstate wants us to know that the word “I” in the sentence he just wrote (i.e. “I encourage any and all . . .”) maps to an illusion – i.e., Read More ›

AS vs eyewitness experience, “non-testimonial” evidence and the reasonableness of Ethical Theism

In a recent UD thread on evidence vs selectively hyperskeptical dismissal, AS has been challenging that “religious” belief [= theism as worldview, worked into way of life]  is ill founded, lacks evidence beyond testimonials, and the like. (Such is not new, already at UD I have had occasion to rebut his blanket dismissals of religious “dogma.”) At 64, he sums up his perspective particularly succinctly: AS, 64: I think religions have an emotional appeal that some people are more susceptible to than others. For those that succumb to that emotional need, evidence is superfluous. Those that lack that need aren’t swayed by testimony. Whether they might be impressed by evidence other than testimony is yet to be tested. This is Read More ›

BA77 draws out Pearcey on the illusion of self as an implication of Evolutionary Materialism

Over the past day or so, following a News post, the self referential incoherences of evolutionary materialism have been coming under the microscope here at UD. In the course of such, the indefatigable (but often “misunderestimated”) BA77 has again struck gold. As in per famed eccentric and insightful mystic, William Blake, Tiger, tiger, burning bright . . . And, how could we honour BA77 without a vid? So . . [youtube uuiusIIOqY4] (While we are at it, Eye of the Tiger, vid + lyrics.) Well worth headlining: _______________ BA77: >>I like the nuance that Dr. Pearcey draws out. It is not only that, under materialistic premises, our perceptions may be false, it is also that, under materialistic premises, free will, Read More ›

Darwinian Debating Device #13: Distorting or dismissing self-evident truths

In the Denying the truth is not the same as not knowing it thread, we see the Darwinist tendency to distort or dismiss self-evident truth (and, behind this, to deny first principles of right reason) in action. Another noteworthy DDD, no 14 by count so far. This starts in the very first comment: TT, 1: Barry, you wield self-evident truths as if they were weapons. Declaring that something is a self-evident truth does not make it so. Is it a self-evident truth that the sparkling point of light in the night sky is a star? 99% of the time (or more, I don’t really know), this extrapolation may be correct. Except when it is a plant or a galaxy. In Read More ›

Does ID ASSUME “contra-causal free will” and “intelligence” (and so injects questionable “assumptions”)?

Those who have been following recent exchanges at UD will recognise that the headlined summarises the current objection highlighted by objector RDFish, an AI advocate and researcher. A bit of backdrop will be useful; a clip from Luke Muehlhauser in the blog/site “Common Sense Atheism” will aid us in understanding claim and context: Contra-causal free will is the power to do something without yourself being fully caused to do it. This is what most people mean by “free will.” Contra-causal free will is distinct from what you might call caused free will, which is the type of free will compatibilists like Frankfurt and Dennett accept. Those with caused free will are able to do what they want. But this doesn’t mean that their actions Read More ›

VIDEO: Prof. Raymond Tallis – “Aping Mankind? Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity”

A food-for-thought lecture: [youtube U5baL9oh430] Thoughts? END PS: Kindly note this (and the discussion in the original post here with onward discussion and video here) on the problem of neural networks, computation vs contemplation and trying to get North by heading West:  

Self-aware mindedness and the problem of trying to get North by going West . . .

It seems that self-aware mindedness is now on the table for discussion. In that context, I see that Reciprocating Bill is arguing: Given the fact that you entertain the notion that brains aren’t necessary for dreaming, why can’t that which dreams without a brain be a rock? This is a carry over from a discussion where I have pointed out: And also how a neural network is an example of how refined rock organised into a GIGO-limited computational unit still has not broken through from mechanical cause effect computation — which a raw rock obviously cannot do — to self-aware insightful reasoning contemplation: . . . in the brain:   That is, just as for a Thomson Mechanical Integrator: . Read More ›

Putting the mind back on the table for discussion

Design theory infers to design on inductive inference on tested reliable empirical signs. While many are disinclined to accept such inferences on matters linked to origins, that says more about lab coat clad materialist ideological a prioris and their cultural influences than it does about the actual balance of evidence on the merits. But also, design implies designer. One who exhibits creative, purposeful, imaginative, skilled intelligence adequate to configure a functionally specific, complex organised information-rich entity. Ranging from the text of this contribution (well beyond the 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I that are easily shown to be beyond the plausible reach of blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos), to complex body Read More ›