Intelligent Design

The “Hard” Problem of Consciousness

Spread the love

Above is a picture of three children in 1954. One of them is me, the other two are not. I saw the world from inside one of these children.

Darwinists believe they can explain how these children evolved, but how did I end up inside one of them? This is a question that rarely seems to trouble evolutionists. They talk about human evolution as if they were outside observers and never seem to wonder how they got inside one of the animals they are studying. They seem to feel that they just need to explain how the human brain evolved, then there is nothing left to explain.

Well, there is a picture of a brain below, if you click on it and watch for a few minutes, you will quickly realize how extremely implausible and unsupported their explanation for the development of brains is. Nevertheless, is it really true that the “hard” problem of consciousness would be solved if you could explain how a mechanical brain could evolve?

Materialists claim that if a computer could be developed which is able to pass a “Turing test” and fool humans at their keyboards in the next room into thinking they are chatting with another human, then this computer has to be considered intelligent and conscious like humans. I am pretty sure this will not happen in my lifetime: if you put me in a room with two robots, I’m confident the humans in the next room will be able to determine in a few minutes, by chatting with us, which one of us is human.

But suppose one of the robots did pass his Turing test. Since robots are intelligently designed, that would not prove that blind natural forces could produce even a mechanical brain. But would it prove that human brains are just computers? No, I would propose a further, “Sewell” test: take a picture of the three of us typing at our computers, and show it to each of us. I will still think, that’s me inside this one, while I doubt either of the other two will think “oh, this one is me.” I’ll admit I can’t prove they won’t, but I don’t really need to prove it, because you already know they won’t.

I believe the other two children are just like me, and when they look at this picture today, they also think “this one is me, I saw the world from inside that animal.” Though it’s possible I might have grown up with two robots, who were very expertly programmed to pass their Turing tests, I can’t be absolutely sure. But I’m sure at least that I am not a robot, and I will still wonder how I got inside one of those children, even if you could convince me that you can explain everything else.

6 Replies to “The “Hard” Problem of Consciousness

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    “Insideness” is a sharp and strong concept!

    The picture is eerily resonant. The guy on the left could be me in 1954, and the house is strongly similar to the house my parents were renting in 1954. The other two people look like some of my cousins.

    How do I know for sure this wasn’t from my family? Because my dad was a passionate amateur carpenter and wouldn’t have let the mailbox hang crooked, even on a rental.

    An external observer, robot or not, couldn’t have made that judgment. Even an external observer that had been surveilling all of my online writing couldn’t have known it. It’s a new thought. I didn’t think it until this picture brought it out.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr Sewell, since the Darwinian gestapo tried to silence you when you called their bluff on entropy,

    How the Scientific Consensus Is Maintained — and How It Can Be Challenged – Granville Sewell – September 3, 2013
    https://evolutionnews.org/2013/09/how_the_scienti_1/

    ,, since the Darwinian gestapo tried to silence you when you called their bluff on entropy, I think you may thoroughly enjoy this proof for the mind first and/or Theistic view of reality.

    An old entry in wikipedia described the Quantum Zeno effect as such “an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.”

    Perspectives on the quantum Zeno paradox – 2018
    The quantum Zeno effect is,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/196/1/012018/pdf

    Likewise, the present day entry on wikipedia about the Quantum Zeno effect also provocatively states that “a system can’t change while you are watching it”

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: Sometimes this effect is interpreted as “a system can’t change while you are watching it”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

    Atheistic materialists have tried to get around the Quantum Zeno effect by postulating that interactions with the environment (i.e. decoherence) are sufficient to explain the Quantum Zeno effect.

    Perspectives on the quantum Zeno paradox – 2018
    Excerpt: The references to observations and to wavefunction collapse tend to raise unnecessary questions related to the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Actually, all that is required is that some interaction with an external system disturb the unitary evolution of the quantum system in a way that is effectively like a projection operator.
    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/196/1/012018/pdf

    Yet, the following interaction-free measurement of the Quantum Zeno effect demonstrated that the presence of the Quantum Zeno effect can be detected without interacting with a single atom.

    Interaction-free measurements by quantum Zeno stabilization of ultracold atoms – 14 April 2015
    Excerpt: In our experiments, we employ an ultracold gas in an unstable spin configuration, which can undergo a rapid decay. The object—realized by a laser beam—prevents this decay because of the indirect quantum Zeno effect and thus, its presence can be detected without interacting with a single atom.
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2.....S-20150415

    In short, the quantum zeno effect, regardless of how atheistic materialists may feel about it, is experimentally shown to be a real effect that is not reducible to any materialistic explanation. And thus the original wikipedia statement of, “an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay”, stands as being a true statement.

    Perspectives on the quantum Zeno paradox – 2018
    The quantum Zeno effect is,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    – ibid

    Moreover, on top of the quantum Zeno effect, recent experiments in quantum mechanics have now verified that “entropy is always dependent on the observer.”

    As the following article states, the deletion of data, under certain conditions, can create a cooling effect instead of generating heat. The cooling effect appears when the strange quantum phenomenon of entanglement is invoked.,,, In the new paper, the researchers,,, show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 1, 2011
    Excerpt: Recent research by a team of physicists,,, describe,,, how the deletion of data, under certain conditions, can create a cooling effect instead of generating heat. The cooling effect appears when the strange quantum phenomenon of entanglement is invoked.,,,
    The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the bits to be deleted may be known. When the memory content is known, it should be possible to delete the bits in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to re-create them. It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,
    No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    Moreover, in the following 2010 experimental realization of Maxwell’s demon thought experiment, it was demonstrated that knowledge of a particle’s location and/or position converts information into energy.

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    And as the following 2017 article states: James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Again to repeat that last sentence, “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The reason why I am very impressed with the preceding experiments demonstrating that entropy ‘is a property of an observer who describes a system’ is that the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. entropy, is a very foundational principle in science.

    As the following article states, “Entropy explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,”,, “Even gravity,,,, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy.,,,”

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy.,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    In fact, entropy is also the primary reason why our own material, temporal, bodies grow old and eventually die in this universe,,,

    Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both – 2007
    Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,,
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar.....en.0030220

    Moreover, entropy is also, by a very wide margin, the most finely tuned of the initial conditions of the Big Bang. Finely tuned to an almost incomprehensible degree of precision, 1 part in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power. As Roger Penrose himself stated that, “This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.”

    “This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.”
    Roger Penrose – How special was the big bang? – (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)

    “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”
    Roger Penrose – The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them?

    In the following video, Dr, Bruce Gordon touches upon just how enormous that number truly is. Dr. Gordon states, “you would need a hundred million, trillion, trillion, trillion, universes our size, with a zero on every proton and neutron in all of those universes just to write out this number. That is how fine tuned the initial entropy of our universe is.”

    “An explosion you think of as kind of a messy event. And this is the point about entropy. The explosion in which our universe began was not a messy event. And if you talk about how messy it could have been, this is what the Penrose calculation is all about essentially. It looks at the observed statistical entropy in our universe. The entropy per baryon. And he calculates that out and he arrives at a certain figure. And then he calculates using the Bekenstein-Hawking formula for Black-Hole entropy what the,,, (what sort of entropy could have been associated with,,, the singularity that would have constituted the beginning of the universe). So you’ve got the numerator, the observed entropy, and the denominator, how big it (the entropy) could have been. And that fraction turns out to be,, 1 over 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power. Let me just emphasize how big that denominator is so you can gain a real appreciation for how small that probability is. So there are 10^80th baryons in the universe. Protons and neutrons. No suppose we put a zero on every one of those. OK, how many zeros is that? That is 10^80th zeros. This number has 10^123rd zeros. OK, so you would need a hundred million, trillion, trillion, trillion, universes our size, with zero on every proton and neutron in all of those universes just to write out this number. That is how fine tuned the initial entropy of our universe is. And if there were a pre-Big Bang state and you had some bounces, then that fine tuning (for entropy) gets even finer as you go backwards if you can even imagine such a thing. ”
    Dr Bruce Gordon – Contemporary Physics and God Part 2 – video – 1:50 minute mark – video
    https://youtu.be/ff_sNyGNSko?t=110

    And yet, to repeat the last sentence from the quantum information paper that I cited,

    “we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”

    That statement is just fascinating! Why in blue blazes should the finely tuned entropic actions of the universe, (entropic actions which have exceedingly broad explanatory power in science), even care if I am consciously observing them, and/or describing them or not, unless consciousness really is more foundational to reality than the finely tuned 1 in 10^10^123 entropy of the universe is?

    To state the obvious, this finding of entropy being “a property of an observer who describes a system.” is very, very, friendly to a Mind First, and/or to a Theistic view of reality.

    For instance Romans chapter 8: verses 20 and 21 itself states, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

    Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    Likewise, Psalm 102:25-27, long before entropy was elucidated, also predicted entropy to be foundational to reality.

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Sir William Thomson, i.e. Lord Kelvin, unlike ‘scientists’ of today who try to silence anyone who dares question their atheistic view of reality, had no trouble whatsoever pointing out the obvious Theistic implications of entropy,

    “We have the sober scientific certainty that the heavens and earth shall ‘wax old as doth a garment’….
    Dark indeed would be the prospects of the human race if unilluminated by that light which reveals ‘new heavens and a new earth.’”
    Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824 – 1907) – pioneer in many different fields, particularly electromagnetism and thermodynamics.

    One final note Dr Sewell, I hold these advances in quantum information theory to be, basically, empirical confirmation of Intelligent Design.

    Namely, these advances in quantum information theory bring Intelligent Agency itself directly smack dab into the middle of our most foundational descriptions of entropy itself.

    Which is certainly not a trivial development in science to put it mildly. Especially as far as the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate is concerned.

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    Just to clarify, many people think some computer programs have indeed “passed” the Turing test, but that tells us nothing about consciousness. Those computers were merely programmed by humans to fool other humans. They weren’t even emulating other humans, much less simulating consciousness. Moreover, the people they fooled into believing they were human were either naïve about the whole concept of consciousness and AI, or else so enamoured of the AI hype that they wanted to believe. Another strategy to “pass” the test is to time limit the interaction – say five minutes max – to force a decision based on minimal interaction. Then there is the “I’m just a young kid” computer response (untruth) to cover up for simplistic or illogical answers. Finally, there are other, better tests that go beyond Turing’s.

  5. 5
    mike1962 says:

    It’s not a “hard” problem. It’s an impossible “problem.”

    Consciousness is primary. With each and every one of you. Or not. (Zombies excluded.)

  6. 6

    The hard problem, unfortunately, cuts both ways. You cannot say, from the evolutionary perspective, that matter cannot produce experiential awareness (consciousness,) but then say from a non-evolutionary perspective that matter can produce the experiential awareness of a table, a chair, a sunset, etc.

    The matter of the supposed material world, your sensory system, and your brain can either cause experiential awareness, or it cannot. You don’t get to address the hard problem as if it only represents a problem for evolutionary theory; it’s the same hard problem for any theory that involves us having experiences of an external, physical world.

Leave a Reply