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Comment Re:Serious, rigorous, academic discipline based on (Score 1) 157

Economics is a subset of history, data from the past, and therefore it is based entirely on correlations. There can be no cause and effect derived from correlations, so 'science' is not possible. Science requires experiments, controlled for 1 variable at a time.

So there's a big difference between "observational science" and "historical science"...

Ken Ham, is that you?

Comment Re:Say what? Now you're on a tangent. (Score 1) 588

You clearly don't want to accept that these people are just fucked in the head.

I'm pretty sure this is a psychological issue. On both their part, and yours.

You do realize the environment is identical in these scenarios. So ventilation, etc. is irrelevant.

Oh, I get it. You were so busy feeling smugly superior to other people that you lost the ability to comprehend English. Let's try this again - if the study had shown that no combination of wifi or lights made these people sick, but they still felt sick in certain places, then it's possible that it wasn't in their heads, and might have some other cause. Wouldn't that be a good thing to know as well?

Comment Re:What does Science have to say about this? (Score 3, Insightful) 588

Why would it not be a stronger experiment if there were no lights at all?

OK, you run that test and nobody feels ill, on or off. What does that prove? Not much - your signal could be too weak or the wrong frequency, or the room could be interfering, or it need to send data in bursts or cycles, or both the signal and the blinking lights are needed, or... On the other hand, if you can create the feeling of sickness using just lights and with lights and wifi you can be pretty sure that lights are the (indirect) cause - making those 'what ifs' more implausible.

Second, it also gives you a chance to catch non-wifi issues that are making people sick. What if the school's lack of proper ventilation, or an old chemical spill giving off fumes, or the hot plastic of the router creating VOCs really is making people ill? We can catch it now by proving that it's not just not wifi, but also not all in their heads, and start looking for other answers.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 518

"The Skylark of Space" by E. E. "Doc" Smith?

The bud guy tries to kidnap the protagonist's fiancee, she kicks a goon into the controls which launches the ship straight up at ~10G. When they wake up they're out of copper and being pulled into a black hole, and her engagement ring was used in their last-ditch effort to avoid it.

Comment Re:smart people, including Bill Gates (Score 1) 367

At least we're past the first hurdle. And I'll take "syntax is insufficient for semantics" as your thesis.

If this seems unclear, consider that everyone who denies the CRA on some variation of the robot reply necessarily accepts the argument.

Not really. They suggest that most symbol manipulation can't produce understanding, but manipulation of symbols of that have a causal connection with the outside world can. Essentially, they're saying "syntax is insufficient for semantics, but the extra needed component is still compatible with computationalism". But I don't find this argument very compelling, at least on its own.

On the sidelines, where you'll find magical thinkers offering variations of the systems reply, there's a strange sort of denial. To accept the systems reply is also to conceded the argument entirely as it necessarily introduces non-computational aspects.

This is simply false - they're just suggesting that two minds can be produced by the same object, like two programs running on the same computer, so the the man's lack of understanding doesn't mean that there can't be understanding somewhere else. If I'm wrong about it, just name the non-computational aspect in the systems reply. :)

And it's especially amusing that you think that these guys are the magical thinkers. All they're saying is that one part of something can understand things that other parts don't, which anyone who knows what 'subconscious' means or what brain injuries can do to a person should accept. On the other hand, you seem to think because you don't know how X could produce Y on its own that there must be a Z to produce it, even though you can't point to Z or describe how it produced Y - much like dualists or creationists.

It's probably why you'll find so few condemnations that actually address the crux of the argument (syntax is insufficent for semantics).

Except for all the people pointing out the problems with that assumption - masked man/problem of other minds issues, the reliance on intuition, the origin of something mental that isn't needed to produce behavior, and above all the complete lack of suggestions (or even hints) about what would be sufficient for semantics.

And I'm serious about that last part. Give me one solid lead on the source of semantics, understanding, qualia or any of the rest of the vaguely-described subjective stuff that separates mere computation from thinking, or a way to test something outside my own mind for any of those things, and I'll cede the entire argument.

Comment Re:smart people, including Bill Gates (Score 1) 367

At this point, you're just in denial.

And I don't even have a word for what you're doing. You were wrong, deal with it.

Citation needed.


"And make no mistake about it, if you took a poll -- in the first round of BBS Commentary, in the Continuing Commentary, on comp.ai, or in the secondary literature about the Chinese Room Argument that has been accumulating across both decades to the present day (and culminating in the present book) -- the overwhelming majority still think the Chinese Room Argument is dead wrong, even among those who agree that computers can't understand! In fact (I am open to correction on this), it is my impression that, apart from myself, the only ones who profess to accept the validity of the CRA seem to be those who are equally persuaded by what I called "Granny Objections" earlier -- the kinds of soft-headed friends that do even more mischief to one's case than one's foes."

Let me guess, as with your misreading of the other source I gave you, you're somehow going to see that as saying that nobody disputes the CRA, right?

Comment Re:smart people, including Bill Gates (Score 1) 367

Sense when? "AGI" has been synonymous with "strong AI" since the term's inception.

Really? Even the Wikipedia entry for AGI discusses Searle's definitions of strong and weak AI and clearly spells out that "The weak AI hypothesis is equivalent to the hypothesis that artificial general intelligence is possible." The CRA only addresses strong AI.

Well, so far, no one has been able to offer a satisfactory reply. ... There's a reason it's still seriously discussed 35 years on. Had that pillar been knocked down, we'd all know the standard reply.

Well, as I said before there are at least five kinds of standard responses, and none of them have been solidly knocked down either. That's why this is still (like many questions in philosophy) an open question. Even Stevan Harnad, who thinks the CRA is just obviously correct, knows that he's in the minority.

Oh, almost forgot I was playing with a troll: If you can't even get the vocabulary right ... OK, that was weak. I'll try harder next time.

Comment Re:smart people, including Bill Gates (Score 1) 367

I don't even know where to start with you posts, but I'll try a quick pass:

AGI does not imply consciousness, intentionality, qualia, or any of the other difficult issues in philosophy of mind - it's only about the ability to preform tasks.

Searle's argument only covers issues like those, in fact it's a basic assumption of the argument that computation can produce every possible kind of response needed to emulate a human being, including making creative works and original discoveries. You could even reformulate his conclusion as "Computation could produce an AGI, but not a conscious AGI." without being far off.

And even worse, you seem to think that it was some kind of knock-down, indisputable argument. Sure, it was a landmark paper that stimulated a lot of discussion, but there are about a half-dozen different kinds of replies. Heck, even Wikipedia has a good rundown of the issues, and nowhere (there or in the literature) is Searle's conclusion treated as definitive.

This is almost the philosophical equivalent of saying that abiogenesis is impossible, so evolution is false.

Oh, and since you like snark: Kid, I hope that before you go out into the real world you learn that being able to poorly paraphrase a single work does not make you an expert in a field. If you don't, you'll end up hurt - badly.

Comment Re: You can't make this shit up. (Score 1) 776

So you're defending "X is caused by Y" by pointing out that you think X might do something in the future, and what I'm presuming was the Carey Schueler stunt where she was a 43rd round draft pick by her father. All you've given me is your imagination and a one-off joke.

I'll call, and raise you Manon Rhéaume and Eri Yoshida.

Comment Re:overturn murder conviction? (Score 1) 141

While it's entirely possible that those men are innocent, having the original conviction thrown out and the state declining to prosecute them again after so many years doesn't prove they are innocent.

While it does happen, it's pretty rare for someone to get a Declaration of Actual Innocence - in fact the entire appeals process revolves around procedural and legal errors, not factual ones. Just getting a new trial for someone convicted before DNA testing was available, but who can now prove that their blood or semen doesn't match the evidence, is an uphill battle.

So what would you accept as good enough evidence? The Innocence Project claims to have found 140 actual perpetrators of the crimes that their clients were originally accused of.

Comment Re:me dumb (Score 1) 157

Events can appear at same time or not regardless of whether they occurred at the same time or not however there is never an observable ordering disagreement.

This is true only for things that are separated by time-like (and, being the edge case, light-like) intervals. For events that are separated by space-like intervals they might be simultaneous in my frame of reference but not in yours - i.e. simultaneity is relative.

It went with me thru my shortcut slower than light.

You mean didn't exceed the local speed of light, which is fine. But that doesn't change the fact that in some other reference frame you arrived 50 years before you left. And if there was a return wormhole at rest in that frame of reference you could come back to earth 50 years before you left.

And that's why scifi and popular science are so keen on warp drives and wormholes - they obey the well-demonstrated limits on high-speed travel while (purely in theory) allowing FTL and time travel.

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