Re: When Humans are Obsolete (MSNBC)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 24 Mar 1999 16:26:16 -0600

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> Neither of them is a neuroscientist (Hameroff comes closest, I think
> he was opriginally an anesthesiologist), and both are definitely not
> speaking about the areas where they are respectable. We shouldn't
> trust people for being respectable established scientists, we should
> look at their theories and the facts they presents.

No; we should trust people for being respectable scientists, and believe them for their theories and the facts they present. If a scientist is talking and mentions that XYZ weird phenomenon occurs, I'm willing to believe him until someone contradicts him. If a complete unknown starts talking about weird phenomena, I want to see an authoritative reference, or someone else duplicate the experiment, before I'll start drawing conclusions from the phenomena. On the other hand, demanding "documentation" on speculations is simply silly, a conversational tactic and nothing more.

In other words, I'm willing to trust that Penrose and Hameroff aren't just making up the phenomena they speculate about; I'm not willing to trust their speculations. And, in point of fact, I usually agree when they say that XYZ phenomenon looks noncomputable or theoretically could be noncomputable; but I think the speculations that the noncomputability occurs using Q speculative neural mechanism and R speculative physics are premature, and will probably be disproven eventually.

--          Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.