One of the key ideas and driving assumptions of modern evolutionary materialistic scientism is that mind can be explained on brain without residue. In an extreme form, we can see it in Crick’s the Astonishing Hypothesis (1994):
. . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.
Philip Johnson, of course, replied the next year, that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works (including those that won the Nobel Prize) thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly but aptly commented:
“[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]
In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin.
J B S Haldane’s much earlier comment provides telling corroboration in this regard:
“It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays , Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date in her Finding Truth, 2015.]
For, there is a very good reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. We thus see inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification.
With that backdrop, let me headline a comment I made to Polistra earlier, in the more on memristors thread:
KF, 7: >> neuromorphic computing and neural networks are also on the agenda. All of this AI stuff is very directly connected to the intelligent agent side of ID. My theme is, that computation on a substrate [including memristors etc] should not be confused with self-aware, conscious rational contemplation, though such may make use of such substrates. And yes memristors are now increasingly routinely embedded in CMOS chips and used as part of the substrates. Where, memristors can not only do weighted sums but with a bit of algorithmic massaging can carry out gate functions and logical operations, plus storage, leading to architectures where memory can do logic too inside itself, cutting out the transfer- to- registers- for- processing- then- return execution bottleneck that leads to caching and to instruction assembly-line pipelining with speculative and out of order execution with commit/discard, etc which have recently led to the Meltdown and Spectra vulnerabilities fiasco. Linked, I am looking at how sensor arrays can feed summing-threshold gates — a description of a “neuron” —
then inner layered weighted summing that then manifests in various mathematical operations that then directly correlate with physical ones.
Where, the pulsed firing sequence operation found in biological neurons and now introduced in Si ones, seems to be also a quite useful feature not least as it contributes to robustness. All of this also seems to be tied to the gestalt, configuration/wholeness, whole- is- qualitatively- distinct- from- a- mere- [weighted-]summation- of- parts complex coherent whole view. Beyond lies the world of cybernetic, embodied active agents and the issue: whence, creativity and designing synthesis.>>
As in, food for thought and stay tuned, DV. END