[p2p-research] is the mind a computer

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 8 07:37:16 CET 2009

Hi Stan,

I wasn't cherry picking at all, in fact, it was on the first page of the
search result ... the point is not to prove that he is right or wrong as I
said, just that the claim that there is no controversy amongst scientists
that a human is just a machine. There is plenty of controversy about it and
I could provide more links to show so. The Setzer page has links to plenty
of other material  by other and distinguished scientists. I guess that for
you he is like Amory Lovins, he's bunk. I can see from this that the debate
amongst scientists is just as 'fun' as it is on this list, and that it
becomes a standard argument to discredit other scientists with the argument
that 'they do not understand anything'.

Of course, that argument works easily for me, I have not followed the
science very closely, but I'm guessing that other scientists will not so
easily be persuaded by such arguments of authority, and will need some
serious arguments.

I'm naive perhaps, but I thought that was how science proceeded, by
referring to facts and arguments, not just a general reference to the
superior knowledge of one party.

Amongst the few extraordinary claims that require extraordianory evidence:

1) that the brain is just a computer and the human just a machine

2) that there is no controversy about this at all and that questioning that
premise is ignorance not different from creationism

3) that there is nothing scientific about Howard Gardner's hypothesis, it is
just new age bunk

4) that we need more concentration of wealth to have more innovation

The combination of such statements is an extremely reactionary combination
of thought, it's ideology, not science, and if it were science, then a
serious discussion would ensue about research, such as the VC one, that
questions premises, not a dismissal of them.

I never thought that the discussion would descend to the level of
authoritiarian statements on important topics such as this, and that I'm
apparently the only one who has to question such statements.

I remember you Stan as someone who was thoughtfully looking for
understanding around utili-contributism, not at all as someone who would
summarily dismiss dissenting voices within the scientific community. Again,
not knowing Setzer, but he's a computer scientist, and I would have expected
some arguments,not a blanket referral to an authority argument.


On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 3:14 AM, Stan Rhodes <stanleyrhodes at gmail.com> wrote:

> The quote I singled out at the bottom of this email is laughable to anyone
> who's passingly familiar with cognitive science.  The rest is equally
> laughable, but I picked out that single quote because it seems to defy even
> common sense.  This fellow does not understand evolution or cognitive
> science at all.
> Finding someone on the internet that disagrees with a conclusion is just
> exercising confirmation bias.  If you don't know if the author's correct,
> then you're not making an argument.  One can find internet fertilizer for
> any viewpoint or counter-viewpoint, no matter how absurd or ignorant.
> A computer just manipulates information according to some set of
> instructions.  I don't see how the brain doing that is controversial or even
> remarkable in 2009.  If we're going to compare it to a modern PC, that's
> something else altogether.  I also don't see anyone in the list with the
> expertise to have a thorough discussion about the nuts and bolts, or
> perhaps, neurons and dendrites.  It also seems way, way outside the scope of
> the list.
> Cherry-picking links to create an air of controversy, particularly when you
> are not willing to explore and understand the concept in depth, is
> irresponsible and inappropriate for reasonable discussion.
> -- Stan
>  On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 10:07 AM, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com>wrote:
>>  J. Andrew claims that it is an undisputed scientific and mathematical
>> fact that the human brain is a computer, and that critique of it is borne of
>> ignorance.
>> For those who may be tempted to believe that false claim, here is a
>> sophisticated treatment, to long to reproduce in full, see
>> http://www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer/AI.html
>> *Valdemar W. Setzer*
>> Dept. of Computer Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil
>> vwsetzer at usp.br - www.ime.usp.br/~vwsetzer
>> some very short excerpts to give you a flavour:
>>  Finally, apparently our memory is infinite; there is no concrete machine
>> with infinite memory.

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