the neural net and artificial intelligence
dmb106 at york.ac.uk
Wed Nov 25 13:47:48 EST 1998
I seems like we have some issues to process here.
On Tue, 24 Nov 1998, Ray Scanlon wrote:
> DM Bolser wrote in message ...
> >In what way do you define consciousness? As a side effect from so much
> >mechanistic processing in the brain, or as an illusion of the zombie?
> >Is consciousness evolutionarily beneficial? Acting with regard to the self
> >certainly is, doesn't this lead to a self awareness we call consciousness?
> Consciousness has two aspects: One, alertness, is objective, the
> other,awareness, is subjective.
Awareness is subjective? The subjective feeling of being aware is
defenately object orientated. You feel a way about an object, you are aware
of its redness for example, but that subjective feeling is objectively
facilitated by the neurones in your head.
> All animal life that possesses a neural net is alert. It reacts to its
> environment in a manner that differs from life without a neural net.
Yes, the NN allows many learning and pre-programmed activities and
behaviour to be encoded efficiently. However, evolutionarily speaking, the
activities and behaviours encoded or learned must be self acting, or self
beneficial. Otherwise they would not last too long. An animal behaves in
its own interest. It must build models of reality based on its own
perspective. Being aware is nothing if you are not self aware. Self aware
in this context as in behaving towards the benefit of the self (could be
> Awareness is not part of the material world, awareness belongs, ultimately,
> to religion. It is the soul that is aware.
> Evolution is a concept of the physical world. Awareness is not part of that
> physical world. Awareness can not be beneficial or non-beneficial to
> survival of the individual. It is totally irrelevant.
OK, So awareness is totally not required in an evolutionary sense, and it
is not part of the physical world. This is what you are saying in the last
two points. Fine, lets agree on both those things. BUT,
This means that you could, in theory, remove your awareness. I take a pill
to disconnects my non physical awareness from my physical body (however
they are connected in the first place). Now, by your own argument, there
is no difference what so ever. Awareness is irrelevant, remember, so there
is no change in the way I behave. I say to you, this pill is a load of
rubbish, it doesn't work at all. If you took the pill you would still say
things like 'Scientists will realise there is no soul in the physical
universe, man will turn to religion' You would still harp on obout souls
and belief and religion. Hell, the whole world could take the pill and
nothing would change, yet by your rationale, that pill would be deadly,
killing the life within.
Finally, and this is no small point, HOW are the non physical soul
and the physical body connected? How can the non physical have an effect
on the physical? I.E. Give us a sip of that coffee, hand! Anything which
can affect the physical, must be, by definition, physical.
Mind / Body dualism was thrown out the window many years ago. It is no
longer considered contentious in philosophy.
> The synoptic vision is available. I argue that in the first half or three
> quarters of the next century neuroscientists will work out how the brain
> thinks. It will then be evident that there is no awareness (consciousness,
> soul) in the physical universe. Man will turn to religion.
More information about the Neur-sci