Re: Qualia and the Galactic Loony Bin

Harvey Newstrom (
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 13:22:42 -0400

Hal <> wrote:
> I may have been unclear about this "replay". The brain is entirely
> normal and fully functioning. It's just that we "happen" to be giving it
> exactly the same inputs we did on an earlier run.

I must have missed something. If the second brain is normal and fully functioning, how is it different than the first brain or any brain? What is being replayed here? The test? I though you had something hooked up to the brain and was forcing it to replay the same thoughts it had earlier. If its thoughts are being dictated from the outside, it is not conscious or generating thought. If its thoughts are being self-generated from the inside, then it is conscious and generating thought.

I guess I am having a hard time following all your examples. What exactly is it that you are trying to prove? Every example seems to devolve into a discussion about the minutia of the example. What is the overlaying supposition you are trying to support?

> that it is repeating an earlier run? If so, you can then go and read
> Emlyn's and Eliezer's messages and see what you think of them.

I thought your example stated that you would be replaying an earlier run. Now you seem to be asking me to justify that it is repeating an earlier run. I have read all the messages. I don't know what the point of all this is.

> Forget about the Turing test. That is not important here. Let's imagine
> that the brain is not involved with a Turing test, instead it's learning
> to bake a cake while telling you a funny story about when its great
> grandfather came home from the war. It's just an ordinary brain, having
> an ordinary conscious experience, like we all do all the time.

I thought you brought up the Turing Test as a proof that the brain replay caused consciousness. When I showed that the test proved you wrong, you want to ignore the test. Every time I object to your example, you give a different example. Why don't you stop the examples and analogies and just state in English what you are trying to prove.

> The point is not whether some external observer could determine whether
> the brain is conscious by giving it a Turing test. The point is whether
> the brain is *actually* conscious, a fact which is true or not regardless
> of anyone else's opinions or whether it is willing to participate in
> any kind of testing.

Now you seem to be trying to say it is conscious even though it fails the consciousness test, or that it is internally conscious even though this consciousness is not detectable or provable by any outside source. You seem to be trying to prove a point without having it be testable, falsifiable, or scientifically verifiable.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://> <>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.