(14-08-2011 05:47 PM)sojourner Wrote: 1. The above is a bit like "If all we have is a hammer, the whole world will look like a nail". Since we are hellbent on using the computer analogy, the brain is going to look like a computational system.
This is rhetoric not logical refutation. We can use the same form of argument on your refusal to even consider
organisms as computational systems. But even your basic premise is wrong, because we are not saying that the brain can be seen only as a computational system.
Multiple times both Arvind and I have made it clear that it is just one way of seeing the brain. I have even professed that it is a rather limited way of doing so at our current stage of technological advancement, given our poor computational abilities. To quote myself:
"This is not to say that good old behaviorism will be made redundant, any more than discovery of quantum computational effects in plant photosynthesis makes understanding the biochemistry of the process pointless. These are different levels of questions. The fundamental questions make it possible to ask the more complex ones. We are children in our understanding of computational complexity."
Again, please take a minute to see how your refusal to see that we are adopting a multifaceted scientific approach involving many layers of evidence and many approaches to the different levels of organizational complexity in these systems, is only possible because you are consistently ignoring those parts of our comments that are inconvenient. We are not denying that behavioral analysis has its role. But you are denying that the brain can be viewed as a computational system.
Quote:2. With real computers, somebody writes a program and loads it for running. Nothing like that happens with humans.
Nobody has claimed that it does. Again, quoting myself for the second time from my first comment in this thread: "If we are talking only about machines created by us so far, then of course, YES, biological intelligence is vastly different from the most brilliant computers (or any other machines) we have."
Perhaps we should have a discussion first on what the word "computation" means. Whatever it means, it is not limited to "real computers", if by "real computers" you mean only those things that are called computers in the electronics store. This should be clear by now, especially since I have used multiple examples to make this point.
Quote:Does the brain computational models take into account the above?
What would preclude a computational model of the brain from taking them into account, other than a refusal to even consider the brain as a computational system? Time? Imagination? Processing power? If you read my very first post on this thread, you may see that the points you raise are irrelevant to my actual claims. Again, quoting myself from the very first comment: "Time and imagination limit non-biological machines from attaining qualities akin to those we possess."
I would like to know from you if you disagree with my assertion that given unlimited time and computational resources, using evolutionary algorithms, and probabilistic reasoning, it is theoretically possible to create machines that function like brains. If you disagree, then what will these machines be missing?
Quote:[1. I did take a quick look at the UCI plant work reference. They seem to be doing simulations. This does not make the plant a computing system.
Of course the fact that they are doing simulations does not make the plant a computational system. But a plant can function as a computational system of sorts (not like a computer in a store, just to make sure you don't misunderstand me) regardless of whether they are doing simulations on it or not. As I have been saying all along, we are just beginning to understand computational complexity. Also, note that you have conveniently disregarded the scientific study I pointed to that demonstrated an advanced computational process in a plant system, and are selectively quoting the example in which they are doing a simulation to make the point that it "does not make the plant a computing (sic) system". Doesn't that strike you are rather disingenuous? Such selective filtering of evidence is what I referred to earlier as confirmation bias.
Quote:2. "Earth as an organism": I saw this claim in one of the other threads in Nirmukta. That's why I mentioned it. If you agree that it is pseudoscience, we can move on.]
I do not make hasty generalizations without taking into consideration the context. Doing so is crude and misses the point. My use of the word "pseudoscience" was general, to prevent digression, by pointing out that of course there are pseudoscientific analogies out there, but it is disingenuous to use them to dismiss all analogies as pseudoscientific.
But let's get into it now.
You initially said "Every time I read that the earth is an organism..". That is, you actually were comparing our conversation to those who say that the earth is
an organism. I am well aware of the number of pseudoscientific claims made along those lines (such as the gaia hypothesis that Arvind pointed out, on which I have also had long arguments with pantheists and such).But I also know there are
valid points of commonality when the metaphor is not abused but rather used as it should.
So, instead of getting sidelined into another digression, having to either agree with or disagree with something that is presented incompletely without context, I simply said :"please stop referring to pseudoscientific ideas as analogous to the valid analogies we are discussing here. We can discuss the analogy of the brain as a computational system without resorting to such distractions."
Unfortunately, it looks like you are intent on continuing to pursue the distraction. Fine, I'll go for the ride. Please point me to the thread in question, clearly state in detail what relationship between the compared objects the analogy in context is concerned about, and then ask me the question of whether THAT analogy is pseudoscience. Until then, I will assume that you are talking about a pseudoscientific analogy, and point out that it is logically inconsistent to use it to dismiss all analogies as pseudoscientific.