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Comment count is 30
EvilHomer - 2011-11-05

I hate everyone involved in this show.

Five stars!

Grandmaster Funk - 2011-11-05

I mostly love Matt Dillahunty, but Jeff Dee is a great example of how you can be an atheist and also believe in real looney-tunes kinda shit.

Grandmaster Funk - 2011-11-05

Also, no spoilers, but the end REALLY is great, and was worth sitting through another one of these AE shouting matches.

EvilHomer - 2011-11-05

I love how they don't really bat an eye at the idea of uploading human brains to the internet.

pastorofmuppets - 2011-11-05

I'll bet when the ancient Greeks looked at the simple bronze automata they could build, they figured someday soon they'd have metal "people" walking the streets.

Uploading brains... there's stupid and then there's depressingly stupid.

Konversekid - 2011-11-05

Uploading conscious minds is what they're getting at, which is different from uploading a brain.

Hooker - 2011-11-05

Kornversekid is correct. You are all wrong to laugh at this stuff.

WHO WANTS DESSERT - 2011-11-06

Sorry bub, transhumanism is The Rapture for atheists.

Corpus Delectable - 2011-11-06

Except we actually won't give you a date for it.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2011-11-06

Devil's advocate time. In theory, if you had the ability to store where every molecule/neuron/etc. was, and had the ability to replicate it completely, then yes you could TECHNICALLY store this information somewhere and use it to create another you. Of course, we don't have the technology for this now, and who knows if we will ever.

My logic stems from the fact that if you take a basic sample of some chemical, it doesn't matter how you got it, it's properties will be the same. Many things depend on this. For example, no matter how we get Iron, we depend on Iron behaving like Iron, or dextrose acting like dextrose. So, it stands to reason that complexity of a set of molecules has no bearing on if it will be exactly the same, because it will be.

You could take this further and take someone's genetic make up and use it to model how they might age, how they might react to a treatment, etc. But it would require tremendous computing power that doesn't exist yet, and amazing software. We're only to the point now where we can scan someone's genome and tell them if they are more or less likely to get certain types of diseases or cancer. But in 10 or 50 years, who knows where we will be now.

The point is, consciousness isn't some supernatural thing. It exists within us. It's real. It's measurable. Fundamentally we're engines processing chemicals, firing neurons, storing memories, etc. When our engine dies, what we experience is over. And, it won't matter because you won't be around to notice. So, obviously, if you could clone someone molecule by molecule, they would be exactly the same and have exactly the same memories and behaviors AT THAT POINT. From then on, they of course would be subject to different environments, and would start to change accordingly.

As far as transhumanism, we're already doing that. We've already increased the lifespan of humans by a great deal through technology. We're giving people hand and face transplants. We're giving people bionic limbs. The information age is increasing our awareness of the world around us. We're already seeing it happening, so I don't know why people are so against it.

Technology and Science are great tools, so why shouldn't we use it to increase our health, lifespan, or society around us? Yes, there could be issues, but there are always problems with anything we do, and if we don't risk, we don't learn.

Ursa_minor - 2011-11-06


pastorofmuppets - 2011-11-06

Matt, Jeff, and Charles each need to read up on the computational theory of mind. The bridge between mind and matter is that matter is able to process information, not because of the matter itself, but because of certain innate patterns give rise to such activity.

Now, we lack good ways of mapping our activity onto that of the machines we build. Our memory seems content-addressable. We have multiple kinds of mental representations, which are stored and processed differently, and at least to some degree shaped by culture. (The Guugu Yimithirr people don't have words for egocentric directions, so everything they "store" is unconsciously tagged as north of this or west of that.) And our minds effortlessly solve problems that are intractable for both classical AIs and neural nets.

Someday we'll learn to blend the best features of those in a way that mimics how we think, but by then we may find "uploading" things to the "internet" as quaint as a digesting clockwork duck.

Anyway, this caller obviously has a straw man image of Kurzweil (although the real Kurzweril could probably do with a little more humility) and clearly likes to argue for sport, even if it leads to Godwinning and nonsense like "let's be skeptical of skepticism."

Whether or not sentience is physical, today's computers are pretty crude, and though they do a good job of showing us how mind can arise from matter, if there's a day when I'm supposed to dump my mental states onto one of them, I'll probably pretend to be sick or something.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2011-11-06

You'd have to argue what defines sentience. It reminds me of the TNG episode "The Measure of a Man" - where Commander Data was going to be stripped down for parts because he wasn't sentient.

It's a very difficult thing to define, and it's probably better left to philosophers.

However, we know sentience must exist in the real world, as saying it's 'supernatural' is the same as saying it's magic. And, it could be much simpler than we think. It could just be self awareness. We have the ability to store memories and recall them, and to make our own choices - but those choices are part of our programming to just look at available options and to weigh them, and I'm sure some of the most complex algorithms do something like that where they scan for options and make the best selection.

I am also of the opinion that it doesn't creep me out to think I might just be a machine, because I'd rather accept reality than to wrap myself in warm fuzzy thoughts and warm fuzzy idea slippers.

pastorofmuppets - 2011-11-06

I agree. If scientific explanations were always intuitive and easy to swallow, we wouldn't need science.

Steve Pinker splits consciousness into self-knowledge, access-consciousness, and sentience, and I think it's an interesting approach. Certainly the first two are easier to explain via physical process. The last one, if it even makes sense to think of it as a real, is much harder to pin down.

(Choice is a separate thing. Computer programs are built around iteratively moving closer to goals by making choices, and the whole reason people debate this stuff is because programs exhibit this sort of behavior without being conscious.)

You have to wonder how truthful our consciousness is. In Sperry's split-brain experiments, if one of a patient's hemispheres was told to take a walk, the other, not having heard the instruction, would immediately invent a reason for the behavior: "I just wanted a Coke." You couldn't convince them that these were lies. If you asked them, "you seem to be doing a lot of weird stuff lately, don't you notice a pattern there?" they would insist that nothing strange was going on.

memedumpster - 2011-11-06

Are you guys talking about Babylon 5?

Ursa_minor - 2011-11-05

I'd love to get drunk on Natty Ice, argue in circles for a half hour or so, then beat the fuck out of that guy. I'd feel really awful for getting drunk and acting like a violent little ape, but I'd also know deep down I'd be proud.

I feel bad for even thinking that, but C'mon. Dude was insulting and talking over everyone in the room.

moldprince - 2011-11-06

Heaven only knows who you're talking about.

All my stars.

The synchronous ending is further evidence (as if we need anymore) about how awesome brains are.

I too would punch faces.

pastorofmuppets - 2011-11-06

He seems like the kind of guy who'd apply Cartesian doubt to whether or not he needs to take a shit right up until the minute he poops his pants.

Ursa_minor - 2011-11-06

I, meant all of them.

Konversekid - 2011-11-05

The problem is that the hosts are assuming that consciousness can be reduced to brain states, not that they are wrong, but they don't have full proof of what they are agreeing with. They then go on to ask for proof that they are in fact wrong when it can only be argued that they are making assumptions. Then the guy phoning is an idiot who is so intellectually conservative that he has no respect for materialism and thus denies it.

Anyone willing to understand the issue should read this.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2011-11-06

We'll eventually figure out what consciousness is, but it won't be magic. Every mystery we've ever solved has turned out to be not magic, so why should this one?

StanleyPain - 2011-11-06

I think people here are overthinking this. The guy wasn't actually interested in any of the shit anyone here is discussing. He was interested in making a totally bogus point about how atheists put no value on something that HE does, in this case some kind of vague, half-explained respect for consciousness and a persons identity. Matt had it totally right in the simplest terms when he said "you think it's horrific because it creeps you out personally."

dairyqueenlatifah - 2011-11-06

I've actually never heard of solipsism and looked it up thanks to this video.

Son of a bitch.

kingofthenothing - 2011-11-06

That was pretty funny.

joelkazoo - 2011-11-06

Guy on the right's a lot more tolerable than the guy on the left.

Bort - 2011-11-06

Guy on the right used to be a fundamentalist Christian and eventually broke away, so he understands there is a process one has to go through. Guy on the left probably can't identify with their callers at all.

Cena_mark - 2011-11-06

That's why I'm not as tough on religious dorks as other folks on this site are.

Grandmaster Funk - 2011-11-06

IIRC, Jeff Dee used to be a fundy too.

Grandmaster Funk - 2011-11-06

Most of the lifelong atheists on the show are the kinder, gentler types.

Syd Midnight - 2011-11-11

Atheism has its fundie wing too, like other fundies their motivation is feeling superior to others, underneath they're just similar species of competing douchebag that redline the Smugprickometer and do more harm than good for their causes, and when they're right it's for the wrong reasons. That's why it's good to pay attention to smokeouts like Elevatorgate, to see who you should ignore even though you might superficially agree with them.

Not that these guys qualify, but Youtube keeps suggesting TheAmazingAthiest's channel to me and there's no way to turn that off without logging out so I have to vent.

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