Friday Roundup

Double dare…

The idea that artificial intelligence equates to consciousness mistakes speed of calculation and quantity of information for the ability to reflect, understand humor, irony, serendipity, love, déjà vu, nostalgia,  sacrifice, a poem, music, art, literature, free-will, and a myriad of other aspects to consciousness that make us human.  It is a classic category error.  Speed of calculation and quantity of information do not equal consciousness.  Never has and never will.  A machine that can process information faster and with the ability to access more information than a human is still just a dumb, cold, dead, machine.  The idea that speed and volume would change a machine into something else is harder to believe and takes more faith than any other belief I can think of including belief in God.  It is more like belief in magic than anything else.  This is simply our modern form of alchemy.

If mystical experiences (as she describes her own—something beyond mere psychology/internal events) are possible, why not God?  As is clear from the end of the interview, poor Ms. Ehrenreich seems confused.  A lot of cognitive dissonance when one’s worldview is unable to allow for one’s very own personal experiences, no matter how significant and deep.  I would call that a narrative fail.

It will be the inability of secular elites and atheists in the sciences to declare nature sacred that will doom us to the current path of doing nothing about climate change.  Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite his face.

“What does it mean when New Atheists and far-right evangelicals spout the same conspiracy theories while actual New Testament scholars are ignored?”  It means they are the two sides of the same fundamentalist coin.

It will also be the inability of secular elites and atheists in the sciences to declare economic structures as immoral or unethical that will doom us to the current path of doing nothing while capitalism runs roughshod over the 99%.

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1 Response to Friday Roundup

  1. Burk says:

    Why not god? Let me count the ways. Your argument is a classic of jumping to a favored hypothesis over ones much closer to the evidence. Since our brains run both our feelings and our cognition, they can generate deep, convincing, earth-shaking experiences in dysfunctional states, no tjust cognitive hallucinations. This is frequently done with drugs. Mysticism alone will never consitute evidence for faith or for god, if one is (back to) using one's reasoning faculties. Her skepticism is more than appropriate.

    And on the climate, you make as though we were some kind of primitive tribe that needs to be kept off the lawn with taboos and kept on the straight path with dreams of virgins in the afterlife, or something. The problem is one of stewardship of our home, conceptually very straighforward, though saddled with problems of invisibility, long time lag, and entrenched interests. You might ask yourself who have been the most strenuous science deniers of the last few decades, forming the template of climate denialism. And which political party caters both to religion and to climate denialism. All that said, I have no problem with calling nature sacred. If anything is, it is.


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