Re: Consciousness and the soul
Sun, 22 Jun 1997 07:46:04 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 22/06/97 09:58:19, John K Clark write:

> Nothing caused the first cause, otherwise it wouldn't be the first cause.

..or the first cause was nothing.

> >But nothing you could observe after that initial cause is random.
> Why not? If event B has no cause it just means that there does not exist
> event A such that if I see A I am certain to see B. There is nothing
> obviously illogical about that and modern experimental results seem to
> confirm the possibility.

Describe to me a random event, any event that you (or anyone else) believes
to be completely random..

> >I would also argue that the initial cause was not random, because I

> >don't believe that random events exist.
> If it was not random that means it had a cause so it can't be the initial

> cause. Either some things are random or, if you want to preserve
> there in an infinite chain of cause and effect and no initial cause.

An infinite chain of cause and effect would do nicely. I doubt it is exactly
this, but it's the closest we can percieve, being a part of the universe
means we can never be an outside observer and thus never understand it fully.

> If the Copenhagen interpretation is correct then information can not exist

> without consciousness and consciousness can not exist without information,

> this certainly doesn't lead to your conclusion that only meat can be
> conscious.

I believe that any machine, meat or otherwise, that is adaptive has some form
of consciousness. Adaptive meaning that it processes information and alters
itself to it's surroundings accordingly. That includes people, dogs, apes,
plants and even some computers. The only problems I can see are with
consciousness as software, i'm unsure as to the level of abstraction possible
(can we save consciousness as a set of rules or do we need to simulate every
last atom).

> >If you uploaded your consciouness you would no longer be conscious

> >because you would no longer have a physical world on which to
> >accumilate information.
> We accumulate information from our senses, process it with our brain and
> store in into memory, we also take old data from memory, reprocess it, and

> return it to memory, an Upload would do exactly the same thing.

I withdraw that comment, even if we do not simulate a physical world, we can
adapt ourselves to percieve computer data, information, etc. in much the same
way as we percieve physical things now.