Re: How would a computer know if it were conscious?

From: Colin Hales <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 09:30:43 +1000 (EST)

Dear Brent,
If you had the most extravagent MRI machine in history, which trapped
complete maps of all electrons, neuclei and any photons and then plotted
them out - you would have a 100% complete, scientifically acquired
publishable description and in that description would be absolutely no
prediction of or explanation of why it is necessarily 'like it is' to 'be'
the brain thus described, what that experience will be like. It would not
enable you to make any cogent claim as to why it is or is not 'like
something' to be a computer except insofar as it doesn't have neurons. Why
am I saying this....Please read David Chalmers. This is not new.

Science does not and never has EXPLAINED anything. It merely describes.
Read the literature. For the first time ever, to deal with qualia, science
has to actually EXPLAIN something. It is at the boundary condition where
you have to explain how you can observe anything at all.

As to your EM theory beliefs... please read the literature. Jackson
"Classical electrodynamics" is a brilliant place to start. For nobody
around here in electrical engineering agrees with you... and I have just
been grilled on that very issue by a whole pile of very senior academics -
who agree with me. Even my anatomy/neuroscience supervisor, who are
generally pathologically afraid of physics....tells me there's nothing
there but space and charge....

If you want to draw a line around a specific zone of ignorance and inhabit
it...go ahead. If you want to believe that correlation is causation go
ahead. "This is what we do" is what you say when you are a member of a
club, not a seeker of truth. You have self referentially defined
truth....and you are welcome to it. ...

Meanwhile I'll just poke around in other areas. I hope you won't mind.
Please consider your exasperation quota reached. Job done.


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Received on Sun Jun 17 2007 - 19:30:52 PDT

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