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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Computers will never be minds, Part umpteen

On Uncommon Descent: A reply to Dr Dawkins’ September Playboy interview

Just in case you think that is an improper, unwarranted projection unto Science from objectors to Darwin, let me cite the well known remarks by prof William Provine at the 1998 Darwin Day keynote speech at the University of Tennessee (this being his native state):
Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . . Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons.
[[NB: As C. S Lewis warned, in the end, this means: reprogramming through new conditioning determined by the power groups controlling the society and its prisons.] We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled . . . .
Mung noticed:
Isn’t it funny how humans, having no free will in the matter, can reach totally contradictory conclusions regarding the truth of a proposition?
I sent Mung a quick note, saying: "What's even funnier is how humans, having no free will in the matter, can recognize when another human has -- or they themselves have -- previously reached a false conclusion regarding the truth of a proposition."

"I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will"

Entities lacking freedom of will do not make choices, no matter how intensely materialists/atheists need to misuse the words so as to attempt to hide the inherent and inescapable irrationality of atheism. But, let's look past that, for now, and consider something deeper.

Let us misuse language and concepts in the manner that materialists/atheists need to do when they blather on about these topics, such that --

Hypothetically, there exists some computer program which "says", 'I am a mind; I am an agent, a person; I am an intellect, no different in kind (with respect to intelelect) than you humans', and of which many human persons claim that to be the case.

Now, upon a time, some human person "asks" the computer program, 'What is 1+1?' And, to the amazement of all human persons older than six years, the program "answers" him '1+1=3'. Or, to put it into words, the computer has "said" 'I "conclude" that the truth-value of the proposition represented by the arithmetic expression [1+1=3] is True'

Now, the cause of program's "mistake" is either random or structural. If random, then there is no telling what it may "answer" the next time someone "asks" it 'What is 1+1?' If structural, then no matter how many times it is "asked" 'What is 1+1?' it will always "answer" '1+1=3'. An example of a random cause might be that the jokers who wrote the program and who are trying to pass it off as a mind had included code to cause miscalculations at random times; another might be that some specific memory location in the computer hardware is physically/mechanically defective, and this memory location just happened to have been used in the "exchange" with the human person.

Now, here is the point: regardless of the cause of the program's "mistake", it does not, nor will ever, know the fact that it generated a simulation of a false calculation. And, had its "answer" been correct, it would never know that fact, either.

Were the cause of the program's "mistake" structural, then it will always "answer" that particular question in the same way. Absent the tricksters modifying the program so as to filter out that particular result -- that is, making a new program -- the program will always "conclude" that the human who is trying to tell it that the truth is that '1+1=2' is incorrect.

Were the cause of the program's "mistake" random, then should it be able to "remember" what it "said" a moment ago, and should it "answer" correctly on the second go-round, it can only "conclude" that sometimes '1+1=2' and *sometimes* '1+1=3'