This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Free Will

JoxerTheMighty's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by JoxerTheMighty

Comment 15 by Steve Zara :

Comment 10 by JoxerTheMighty

I think whether or not our brains are merely pieces of ordinary matter like everything else

How can they not be? Isn't it quite astonishing that in the 21st century we are still having discussions about this?

No, I don't find it astonishing, considering the brain is most probably the most astonishing thing in the Universe. A piece of matter weighting about a couple of kg able to understand, to some extent, the universe, and even itself. How about that? Is there any other structure, anywhere, in the whole freaking universe, even resembling that? I mean, try to convince a mother that is looking at her new-born baby in the eyes and he/she is looking back at her, that what she calls "her baby" is just a bunch of elementary particles blindly bouncing of each other that sometimes give illusory results like "love", "laughter", "imagination" and so on. It might be so, but most humans won't internalize that. It's not "astonishing" that they don't. Not at all. If you say "but what matters is that this illusory feeling that you call love makes you feel good", then you're saying that you might as well feel good by getting high on some drug with the same effect, or make two "logically compatible" people fall in love by administering feromones to them, and it's the same thing. Why wait for a chemical reaction to happen when you can make it happen all the time? You're not violating anyone's "identity", there is no such thing, you're just improving a natural system using science. What could be better!

And there is always the possibility that the brain is, of course, a system of elementary particles same as every other particle out there, but a system of such tremendous complexity that new, non-deterministic or even non-mathematical laws emerge out of it. We don't have a "one to rule them all" model of the cosmos yet. And we're not even sure there is one. As Feynman said, it could just be layers upon layers on an onion. I'm sorry, but for that matter, I need to be convinced; ie build a machine that "scans" a humand and its surroundings, and build an accurate simulation of that, predicting its future decisions. Or build a fully sentient machine. Anything sort of that, won't convince me that what happens in my brain is just elementary particles playing a blind game of billiard.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 21:26:03 UTC | #923568