Saturday, November 27, 2004

Make comments

This is where you can make comments about the book.

7 comments: said...

surely someone who appears to know as much about science as you do would realise that it is futile attempting to "prove" any claim in a scientific manner. findings can only support or disprove a theory, but NEVER prove it. Maybe you should, read your philosophy of science books again.

Harry Dale Huffman said...

If you think life on Earth developed, from first to last, fortuitously, not by deliberate design, then how can you even defend your ability to think, how can you respect your own thoughts, or expect others to--on this or any other subject--when those thoughts obviously have no basis independent of that fortuitous development? Your premise defeats itself, instantaneously, by allowing for no meaningful thought whatsoever. The critical, ultimate, question for Darwinian evolution is not, what is the origin of species, but what is the origin of meaning within that theory? To a competent thinker, that is not a difficult question to answer: You must bow to the priority of meaningfulness, it is the height of idiocy to deny it--you deny your own ability to think. And you of course agree there is no meaning in undirected evolution--you have emphasized it's all due to automatic physical behavior of atoms. Rather than admit the logical incoherence of that theory--because you personally cannot imagine how things could have been designed as they are, despite priding yourself on understanding the "mechanisms", despite seeing the design literally laid out for you by the advance of scientific observation (although it has been incompetently interpreted), and despite new scientific findings that identify the hard reality of an authoritative, world-encompassing design which gave rise to all the myths and religiously-held traditions of mankind, and which through those worldwide traditions proclaims the design of all life on Earth--you claim to have discovered we are but "conscious robots." So all of mankind's endeavors, including your own philosophy, are meaningless. But the conundrum that you define has not at all baffled those who can think straight: The answer is that your premise is wrong: Life must not have developed by chance, after all. Contact me or go to, if you are honestly willing to learn. You are fighting on the wrong side, misled by an incompetent scientific consensus and an incompetent philosophy.

Anonymous said...

How can we be robots if we are designed as you admit who designed us?

Anonymous said...

Our sexuality lies at the very core of our existence and identity. Our genes require it!

Free will, indeed! Sometimes notions philosophical blind us to what lies right under our proverbial noses

Anonymous said...

Your argument is essentially that becuase consciousness is a deterministic algorithm that free will is an illusion, but if free will manifested itself metaphysically/immaterially that free will would be possible. This is a logical fallacy, a false dilemma. Just because the underlying algorithms which comprise your consciousness are deterministic, and therefore given the same set of sensory inputs you would always make the same decisions doesn't mean that you aren't making those decisions. To do so trivializes the immense complexity of the conscious process. We aren't simply robots like lower life forms, with quilts of Innate Releasing Mechanisms triggering Fixed Action Patterns. We program new fixed action patterns into ourselves by practicing an activity which we perform under intense conscious control until through practice it becomes second nature. We define our own Innate Releasing Mechanisms based upon patterns we're interested in. You should really read Daniel Dennett's book Freedom Evolves (and what's essentially a companion book, Consciousness Explained) and perhaps you'll realize the fallacy by which you conclude that free will doesn't exist.

conscious robot said...

Hi, thanks for your comment. Yes, I've read Freedom Evolves.
Can I pick out this sentence of yours:
"Just because the underlying algorithms which comprise your consciousness are deterministic, and therefore given the same set of sensory inputs you would always make the same decisions doesn't mean that you aren't making those decisions."
That's a bit like saying that because a reed bends in the wind doesn't mean that it's not the reed that's doing the bending.

I compare myself to a chess computer - I'm making the decision, and I'm aware of making it, but my choice is actually determined not by myself but by my programmers. I am their machine. I'm their robot. I'm conscious of making the decision, so I'm a conscious robot, but that doesn't make it my decision.

What the book tries to show in a simple way is how we can all see for ourselves how our choices are controlled. Once we understand how our conscious choices are controlled it shows us something incredibly surprising and interesting about how we've been programmed by evolution and how in the future we will behave.
I'd be delighted to engage with you in more detail about Dennet's book because I've read it about 15 times and I still don't think he's talking sense.

conscious robot said...

Let me continue the reed analogy.

Let’s say I’m the reed being bent by the wind. What Dennet seems to be telling me is ‘OK, so the wind is bending you, but it’s still you that’s deciding to bend. If you didn’t have the particular molecular structure you have, Mr Reed, if you hadn’t evolved the particular way you’ve evolved, you wouldn’t bend the way you do when the wind blows. So, although you’re not free, you’re still free! Ain’t it wonderful?”

Conscious Robots says to the reed. “Hey, Mr Reed. You know how you’ve been thinking that it’s your choice to bend? Well, here’s some news for you. The reason you’re bending is because there’s this thing called the wind. You’re not choosing to bend, you’re being made to bend. And here’s what you can do about that pesky wind.”

Which book would you rather read?