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Thread: Can physics prove determinism false/true in any near future?

  1. #1 Can physics prove determinism false/true in any near future? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    I was wondering if science has come any closer in recent years when it comes to this? Is it a "mission impossible" so far in proving it one way or another?

    If 1 situation or 200 million situations had the exact same physical properties they would all end the same according to logic but then its all these different theories in physics that has yet to be proven.

    Any expert opinions or educated guesses as to how/when/if this issue can be resolved?

    I cant help to wonder how it would affect the world to know without doubt that our will is not our own. If i could strike a deal with the devil to die now in trade for knowing the truth only for 1 second id be tempted to make it, not knowing is driving me mad... i guess that is what drives most scientists


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  3. #2 Re: Can physics prove determinism false/true in any near fut 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    I was wondering if science has come any closer in recent years when it comes to this? Is it a "mission impossible" so far in proving it one way or another?

    If 1 situation or 200 million situations had the exact same physical properties they would all end the same according to logic but then its all these different theories in physics that has yet to be proven.

    Any expert opinions or educated guesses as to how/when/if this issue can be resolved?

    I cant help to wonder how it would affect the world to know without doubt that our will is not our own. If i could strike a deal with the devil to die now in trade for knowing the truth only for 1 second id be tempted to make it, not knowing is driving me mad... i guess that is what drives most scientists
    There are three fundamental physical theories -- the electroweak theory, quantum chromodynamics and general relativity. The first two are quantum field theories and are stochastic. General relativity is deterministic.

    It is widely believed that a unification of these theories will be found in a unified quantum theory, which would be stochastic.

    Science does not prove things, only in mathematics will you find "proof". But science does develop predictive models that are substantiated by experimental evidence. The prevailing evidence for quantum theories is very strong. Further evidence would come in the form of a quantum theory of gravity or a unified quantum theory of all four forces. No one knows when such a theory might finally be formulated, or supported by experiment.

    There is a small minority that believes that eventual unification may occur via a deterministic theory that would preserve general relativity and result in a deterministic theory that would replace quantum theories.


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  4. #3 Re: Can physics prove determinism false/true in any near fut 
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    Thanks for the reply.

    Also...

    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket

    It is widely believed that a unification of these theories will be found in a unified quantum theory, which would be stochastic.

    Would that mean that we still wouldnt possess "free will" (As generally defined), only that choises we make are more random?

    Also if there were 2 parallel universes (as an example) then even the SLIGHTEST randomness could create a butterfly effect that could completely change one from the other on a large scale over time, correct?
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    deleted due to duplication.
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    Would that mean that we still wouldnt possess "free will"
    This is a philosophical question. Science doesnt have anything to say about it.

    Firstly, if the universe turns out to be non-deterministic, this does not say anthing about free will. The neurons in your brain are not known to be responsive to any quantum uncertaintys or random fluctuation, you dont decide to get a drink of water because an atom in your brain has suddenly decayed, the action is brought about by a set of deterministic processes, despite those processes being incredibly complex. Your brain is likely to follow determinstic laws like any other macroscopic system. The weather is extremely difficult to predict due to the complexity of the interactions, but we dont say it has free will.

    Secondly and entirely philosophically, even if your brain behaves deterministicly this does not mean your a slave. You are still making a decision, and felt you could of done otherwise. The reality may be that no other decision would have resulted from the same starting conditions, but this is irrelevant.

    It is like asking "what is it like to be dead", the question is flawed. Free will is a purely human subjective construction. It is a flaw in the perception of how our brains work, to think there is some kind of ghost in the machine that is seperate from the physical laws that govern your mind and body. You are the machine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Would that mean that we still wouldnt possess "free will"
    This is a philosophical question. Science doesnt have anything to say about it.

    Firstly, if the universe turns out to be non-deterministic, this does not say anthing about free will. The neurons in your brain are not known to be responsive to any quantum uncertaintys or random fluctuation, you dont decide to get a drink of water because an atom in your brain has suddenly decayed, the action is brought about by a set of deterministic processes, despite those processes being incredibly complex. Your brain is likely to follow determinstic laws like any other macroscopic system. The weather is extremely difficult to predict due to the complexity of the interactions, but we dont say it has free will.

    Secondly and entirely philosophically, even if your brain behaves deterministicly this does not mean your a slave. You are still making a decision, and felt you could of done otherwise. The reality may be that no other decision would have resulted from the same starting conditions, but this is irrelevant.

    It is like asking "what is it like to be dead", the question is flawed. Free will is a purely human subjective construction. It is a flaw in the perception of how our brains work, to think there is some kind of ghost in the machine that is seperate from the physical laws that govern your mind and body. You are the machine.
    This is self-contradictory.

    The fact of the matter is that there is no viable physical explanation for the processes of the mind. Penrose has attempted to study the mind from a physical and mathematical perspective, but is unable to reach any solid conclusions. He has expressed the opinion that the mind is not describable with the known physical laws. He has also expressed the opinion that free will is somehow tied to quantum processes, but has not been able to show how this happens.

    Bottom line -- nobody knows. But if physics were ever known to be deterministic and if the mind were included in that physics, then free will would be shown to be an illusion. That has all sorts of philosophical and legal implications.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    if physics were ever known to be deterministic and if the mind were included in that physics, then free will would be shown to be an illusion. That has all sorts of philosophical and legal implications.
    If only we could witness this discovery (if proven true beyond doubt) leaking to the entire world in the future, how facinating the reactions would be to watch. To bad we will probably be long dead by then.
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    This is self-contradictory.
    Can you explain where? I cant see it.

    That has all sorts of philosophical and legal implications.
    Yeah philosophically perhaps. But I am of the opinion free will is just an illusion. I think the question of wether there is a "real" choice to be made is irrelevant. I find it hard to believe judges would exonerate people because their brains are deterministic. If thats not what you mean, what kind of legal implications?

    Were wandering way off the topic of science here though....
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    i know a physicist that can predict the future ,so the future in changeabel by the present , and the past is too changeabel by the present , horay , horay
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    Determinism is an apriori assumption of classical physics, otherwise causality would not hold and no "laws" could be deduced; therefore it is not provable within the system. I believe the jury is still out on the in-determinate nature of quantum behavior, but the fact that it can be stochastically predicted leads me to think that it is not truly "random".

    In classical physics "chaotic" systems are completely deterministic but still not predictable, c.f., coupled pendulums and the three-body problem. So the Laplacian claim to absolute predictability given absolute knowledge is a non-starter. Toss in Goedel and the faint hope that Penrose's quantum tubules are more than a hypothesis, and what one can say about supposed free-will vs determinism becomes rather murky.

    I say this based on all of my past experience...
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    Quote Originally Posted by schip666

    In classical physics "chaotic" systems are completely deterministic but still not predictable, c.f., coupled pendulums and the three-body problem. So the Laplacian claim to absolute predictability given absolute knowledge is a non-starter.
    Wrong.

    Even so-called chaotic systems are completely predictable given absolute (perfect) knowledge of the initial conditions.

    The situation is this. First, the word "chaos" is widely abused, and often used in an imprecise manner. If you would like to see it used rigorously try reading one of Bob Devaney's books on topological dynamics. Second, the usual useage involves systems that are very sensitive to initial conditions, and lack of predictability in practice is the result of imperfect knowledge of those initial conditions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    The fact of the matter is that there is no viable physical explanation for the processes of the mind.
    I don't understand your use of the word "physical."

    Your use of "the fact of the matter" implies, a bit, that the truth of whatever following it, is unchangeable, and that you have a detailed knowledge of all current thinking. This cannot logically be correct.

    The structure of the human body, and therefore the brain, can be determined from DNA. I think current thinking is that the structure of internal organs, and also the brain, are formed much like shrubbery, something to do with fractals. You get high complexity from simple rules

    Penrose has attempted to study the mind from a physical and mathematical perspective, but is unable to reach any solid conclusions. He has expressed the opinion that the mind is not describable with the known physical laws.
    Research is ongoing, imaging techniques have an ever higher resolution, and computing power is ever increasing.

    Already scientists are able to simulate the function of small pieces of the brain, using networks of computer representations of neurons -- not mathematical rules. In time they will be able to accurately simulate a complete brain. The rate of progress in this field is staggering.

    This, if I read you correctly, disproves Penrose's claim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by calimero

    Already scientists are able to simulate the function of small pieces of the brain, using networks of computer representations of neurons -- not mathematical rules. In time they will be able to accurately simulate a complete brain. The rate of progress in this field is staggering.

    This, if I read you correctly, disproves Penrose's claim.
    No. That can explain many things, but mind itself remains a complete mystery.
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    Are you (topicstarter) aware that you,re asking for a determination in the title of this topic ? You ask if fysics can prove (thus determin) this.

    If you - really - have a non deterministic view of live then there can,t be a proof for anything. You wouldn,t play dice then also. A proof (a thruth) implies that you base on what you learned as prooven in a deterministic way one way or the other.

    If i could strike a deal with the devil to die now in trade for knowing the truth only for 1 second id be tempted to make it, not knowing is driving me mad... i guess that is what drives most scientists
    Don,t worry you,ll have that second or a little longer what could drive you mad though (or drives you mad allready) is that it will be only that.....a second or a few...
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    Quote Originally Posted by calimero
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    The fact of the matter is that there is no viable physical explanation for the processes of the mind.
    I don't understand your use of the word "physical."

    Your use of "the fact of the matter" implies, a bit, that the truth of whatever following it, is unchangeable, and that you have a detailed knowledge of all current thinking. This cannot logically be correct.

    The structure of the human body, and therefore the brain, can be determined from DNA. I think current thinking is that the structure of internal organs, and also the brain, are formed much like shrubbery, something to do with fractals. You get high complexity from simple rules

    Penrose has attempted to study the mind from a physical and mathematical perspective, but is unable to reach any solid conclusions. He has expressed the opinion that the mind is not describable with the known physical laws.
    Research is ongoing, imaging techniques have an ever higher resolution, and computing power is ever increasing.

    Already scientists are able to simulate the function of small pieces of the brain, using networks of computer representations of neurons -- not mathematical rules. In time they will be able to accurately simulate a complete brain. The rate of progress in this field is staggering.

    This, if I read you correctly, disproves Penrose's claim.
    Utterly wrong.

    There is zero understanding of how the human mind actually works from the perspective of either mathematics or physics. The discipline of "artificial intellingence" is notable primarily for a failure to produce any true machine intelligence. Computer scientists in that discipline have essentially given up on the original goal and have fallen back on things like "expert systems" and "neural networks" that nothing more than adaptive control systems.

    The progess is closer to non-existent than to staggering.

    The structure of the body is in part determined by DNA, but not entirely. Identical twins do not share a single mind.
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    Especially subjective experience is fundamentally unexplainable by currently known physics.
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    Your post, DrRocket, doesn't demonstrate an up to date knowledge of the field -- not that I'm that knowledgeable.

    There is no understanding of how the mind works from the perspective of mathematics or physics, because that is not their field of study. There is considerable knowledge from the fields of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

    As I said, resolution of imaging is improving rapidly, computers are ever more powerful. And research is moving ahead at a staggering pace.

    I nice video I looked up to give you an example: Henry Markram builds a brain in a supercomputer
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    There are a lot of theories out there about how the mind works. Also there is a lot of knowledge about the interactions of neurons, how "weighting" is acheived and the reinforcement or decay of little used neural connections. If thats not physics, then perhaps its chemistry/biology! Quantum physics has nothing to do with it, at least all evidence so far has not suggested it.
    "How the mind works" by steven pinker is a book i have read and it proposes testable hypothesis of the mechanisms that produce decisons and is a good summary of the current status of the field. Anyone intersted in this field should read this, he is the cognitive equivalent of Dawkins. Im not going to pretend that understanding of thought is anywhere near completed, but there is far too much sceptisism here and to much mystery being generated when there is nothing mystical atall about it. Absoulutely none whatsoever.

    Current AI techniques have advanced a lot,people just keep moving the goal posts back. Neural networks are not some "advanced control" when they have demonstrated to learn positive outcomes without someone supervising or "teaching". The main drawback to any really advanced form of AI is computing power. The most powerful test to date was 20 times less in computational power than the brain of a mouse (and that was not in real time). There is much to expect from this field when the technology becomes available. Parallell computing maybe the boost thats needed.

    To the original post which was based on free will, my opinion is still that it is a flaw in thinking. I still dont believe that two identical brains given the same set of starting conditions (as many times as you like) are capable of making different decisons, and the perception of having free will is just an attempt to view your own physical thinking process as being controllable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calimero
    As I said, resolution of imaging is improving rapidly, computers are ever more powerful. And research is moving ahead (at a staggering pace).
    Computers are more powerful? So what? They are still the same dumb machines, just faster. The idea that a really fast computer will somehow get awareness and strong AI is a very silly idea. Strong AI is still just a dream.
    And research of consciousness is not moving at all, there is not even a test to prove that something is conscious. It seems to be clear that current knowledge is insufficient to explain it. Something important is missing.
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    The idea that a really fast computer will somehow get awareness and strong AI is a very silly idea.
    Speed is a very important factor, to simulate even a small brain (even just a logical neural network, disregarding the chemical computing that also is suggested to occur), we need a computer capable of calculations (in real time) many many factors higher than current performance. Computers can only do one thing at a time, a brain has millions of neurons all interacting simultaneously. Hence the computation problem. The key is parallel computing, the current linear process will not acheive stong AI by using speed alone.
    It is a dream in only in that it is not currently possible, but theoretically not impossible.

    Besides what is it that makes you think that an animals brain is so impossible to describe in physical theories/laws? I dont see anybody with the same defeatest attitude with quantum physics?
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    The idea that a really fast computer will somehow get awareness and strong AI is a very silly idea.
    Speed is a very important factor, to simulate even a small brain, we need a computer capable of calculations (in real time) many many factors higher than current performance. Computers can only do one thing at a time, a brain has millions of neurons all interacting simultaneously. Hence the computation problem. The key is parallel computing, the current linear process will not acheive stong AI by using speed alone.
    A simulated brain is not AI. (however, it can help in understanding of mind, especially if it fails)
    I belive that current computers could run simulations of brains of insects or possibly even smal vertebrate brains, yet I never heard of any attempt to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Besides what is it that makes you think that an animals brain is so impossible to describe in physical theories/laws? I dont see anybody with the same defeatest attitude with quantum physics?
    Consciousness is impossible to describe by currently known physics. That is a fact. There is some wild speculation, but nothing more. Read something about qualia or google "the hard problem of consciousness" if you don't understand where is the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by calimero
    Your post, DrRocket, doesn't demonstrate an up to date knowledge of the field -- not that I'm that knowledgeable.

    There is no understanding of how the mind works from the perspective of mathematics or physics, because that is not their field of study. There is considerable knowledge from the fields of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

    As I said, resolution of imaging is improving rapidly, computers are ever more powerful. And research is moving ahead at a staggering pace.

    I nice video I looked up to give you an example: Henry Markram builds a brain in a supercomputer
    Did you even bother to look at the video ?

    I does nothing but prove my point.
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    A simulated brain is not AI
    Sorry, but that is rubbish. If a computer simulates the brain of a human how is it not AI? AI by definition is just an artificial version of an intelligent mind.

    brains of insects or possibly even smal vertebrate brains
    If you believe its possible with a vastly simplified mind, what makes you think its impossible for a larger one?

    yet I never heard of any attempt to do so
    Attempts have been made at simulating a physical neural network, simulating neurons electical interactions and chemicals, as i mentioned.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6600965.stm

    Consciousness is impossible to describe by currently known physics.
    The fact that the word "conciousness" has no agreed definition is more of the problem. Even if a mind was simulated perfectly you could argue that it is not concious. I could argue that you are not concious, i cannot prove it, there is no way to prove that you are. It is in the same league as "the soul" and "god". it is not a scientific problem it is a philosophical one.

    stong AI and conciousness are not the same thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    brains of insects or possibly even smal vertebrate brains
    If you believe its possible with a vastly simplified mind, what makes you think its impossible for a larger one?
    Read more carefully - I'm saying that computing speed is not the main problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    yet I never heard of any attempt to do so
    Attempts have been made at simulating a physical neural network, simulating neurons electical interactions and chemicals, as i mentioned.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6600965.stm
    Ok, one second of rough simulation...:
    The researchers say that although the simulation shared some similarities with a mouse's mental make-up in terms of nerves and connections it lacked the structures seen in real mice brains.

    Imposing such structures and getting the simulation to do useful work might be a much more difficult task than simply setting up the plumbing.
    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Consciousness is impossible to describe by currently known physics.
    The fact that the word "conciousness" has no agreed definition is more of the problem. Even if a mind was simulated perfectly you could argue that it is not concious. I could argue that you are not concious, i cannot prove it, there is no way to prove that you are. It is in the same league as "the soul" and "god". it is not a scientific problem it is a philosophical one.
    Can you at least spend few minutes on reading what I told you to read before you aswer with a stock answer?
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    Read more carefully - I'm saying that computing speed is not the main problem.
    There is nothing to read more carefully, your saying its impossible for larger brains without saying what the issue is. I said previously that i think it is not possible using linear computing, only due to the computation problem it causes.
    Please tell me what you think makes it unachievable?

    Ok, one second of rough simulation
    ten seconds, and I was saying that attempts are being made to simulate a brain, I didnt say it was advanced. In fact I used the story to illustrate the computation problem.

    Can you at least spend few minutes on reading what I told you to read before you aswer with a stock answer?
    What is their to read that will change what i said. your saying there is no known physics, im saying the reason for that is that conciusness is not a scientific concept. Its pure philosphical guff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Attempts have been made at simulating a physical neural network, simulating neurons electical interactions and chemicals, as i mentioned.
    .
    Yep, And attempts have been made to fly by strapping wings to one's arms. They diddn't pan out either.

    Attempts do not count.
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    How do they not count? You cant just spawn a fully working mind out of nothing. Could take decades of experiments. Plenty was learned. thats the main thing.

    Look, im not here saying that it is proven to be possible, although i personally believe it is, and i have out forth reasons for that. Im saying that there is nothing to prove that AI is impossible. The onus is on you to explain why you think it is impossible. You havent given one reason except to say "we know nothing about it" which is as defeatist as it is incorrect.
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    Also you seem like someone with an analytical mind, and are very strict about how maths and physics can be used to describe everything. Im surprised at the way you seem to think that human thought is somehow above all that, regardless of how complex it may turn out to be or how much we know about it.

    I have put the "way you seem" in italics as im still unsure if thats what you think. It hasnt been made very clear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Read more carefully - I'm saying that computing speed is not the main problem.
    There is nothing to read more carefully, your saying its impossible for larger brains without saying what the issue is. I said previously that i think it is not possible using linear computing, only due to the computation problem it causes.
    Please tell me what you think makes it unachievable?
    I'm saying that we are not yet able to build such simulation and that is quite obviously the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Ok, one second of rough simulation
    ten seconds, and I was saying that attempts are being made to simulate a brain, I didnt say it was advanced. In fact I used the story to illustrate the computation problem.
    One. Again, read more carefuly.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Can you at least spend few minutes on reading what I told you to read before you aswer with a stock answer?
    What is their to read that will change what i said. your saying there is no known physics, im saying the reason for that is that conciusness is not a scientific concept. Its pure philosphical guff.
    No, you refused to read the definition and claimed there is not any. You said we have no way to test if someone is concious but that is exactly what I said.
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    I'm saying that we are not yet able to build such simulation and that quite is obviously the issue.
    Your still missing the point. Im asking you if you think it is impossible to simulate a brain in principle (even in a hundred years of technological advancement), and what the reason for that is.

    No, you refused to read the definition and claimed there is not any. You said we have no way to test if someone is concious but that is exactly what I said.
    My point was that even if we do manage to create an AI, wether it is conscious or not is irrelevent as it cant be proven by science. Intelligence does not equate to conciousness. I can tell your an intelligence, but i cant tell that your conscious. You could be a very advanced chat bot. :-D If you agree with that then fair enough. we will drop that.

    I dont think were getting anywhere, no one is telling me why they think it is impossible to do in principal, or why the mind could never be explained using physical laws.

    Off to bed for the night. Later... 8)
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    How do they not count? You cant just spawn a fully working mind out of nothing. Could take decades of experiments. Plenty was learned. thats the main thing.

    Look, im not here saying that it is proven to be possible, although i personally believe it is, and i have out forth reasons for that. Im saying that there is nothing to prove that AI is impossible. The onus is on you to explain why you think it is impossible. You havent given one reason except to say "we know nothing about it" which is as defeatist as it is incorrect.
    You are responding to the wrong question.

    No one said it is impossible to develop an artificial brain. What has been said is that

    1) No one has done it yet.

    2) There does not at this time exist a physical theory that describes thought. (There is lots of less definitive stuff under the heading of psychology.)

    3) The computer science discipline of "artificial intelligence" has failed to live up to its initial promise and objectives. There has been a lot more hype than substance over the past 30 years or so.

    4) Neural networds and such are not simulations of the brain, but are just adaptive control systems. Adaptive control systems are a somewhat different breed of cat and have been around for several decades now.

    The onus is not on anyone to prove that AI is impossible. The onus is on researchers to prove that it is.

    I suspect that they will have a very difficult time of it using conventional computing technology. That is because all current computers are completely deterministic machines. It is not at all clear to me that the human mind is really deterministic -- and no I cannot prove that, and that is one reason why this paragraph is speculative. But Penrose seems to be thinking along similar lines when he opines that a physics of the mind is likely to require completely new physical laws, if it is possible to formulate such a theory at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Also you seem like someone with an analytical mind, and are very strict about how maths and physics can be used to describe everything. Im surprised at the way you seem to think that human thought is somehow above all that, regardless of how complex it may turn out to be or how much we know about it.

    I have put the "way you seem" in italics as im still unsure if thats what you think. It hasnt been made very clear.
    I did not say that human thought is above all that.

    I said it is not at all clear that physics as we know it is capable of describing human thought. It might be possible, but it is quite clear that nobody knows how to do it. It is also clear that Penrose was unable to do so despite quite a bit of hard thought, and there is nobody on this planet who is clearly smarter than Penrose. So, at the very least, it is pretty damn difficult.

    Quit trying to put words in my mouth. You don't have the capability to determine what I think or what I understand beyond the literal meaning of my posts -- which you quite clearly misconstrue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Your still missing the point. Im asking you if you think it is impossible to simulate a brain in principle (even in a hundred years of technological advancement), and what the reason for that is.
    No, you are missing the point. I'm telling you it is not possible because it is far from understood. If you want to simulate something, you must understand how it works. You claimed that computing power is the only limit.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    No, you refused to read the definition and claimed there is not any. You said we have no way to test if someone is concious but that is exactly what I said.
    My point was that even if we do manage to create an AI, wether it is conscious or not is irrelevent as it cant be proven by science.
    It is important for many reasons. Why do you think it can't be proven by science? We definietly can't prove it with the curent knowledge, but what makes you thing that no new things can be discovered?

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Intelligence does not equate to conciousness.
    I never said it does. However, it is an important part of the mind. And it is not certain that strong AI is possible without consciousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    I can tell your an intelligence, but i cant tell that your conscious. You could be a very advanced chat bot. :-D If you agree with that then fair enough. we will drop that.
    Why you keep repeating that? It's exactly what I told you - it's not known how to test for consciousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    I dont think were getting anywhere, no one is telling me why they think it is impossible to do in principal, or why the mind could never be explained using physical laws.
    It is not possible with currently known physics. That means something new has to be discovered and only then then can someone make a serious attempt to explain it. To give you some example that you will not equal with religion - any attempt to explain dark matter and dark energy with currently known physics will be inevitably just speculation.
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    I thought you were stating that there was a reason for it to be impossible. I dont see where the barrier is i am afraid. But we could all speculate all day. Even if we dont go down the path of simulating neuron behavior with chemicals and electricity, i still think that a stong AI can be achieved using neural networks and logic. This is likely to stem from the fact that I cant see the brain being anything more than an "adaptive control system".

    it's not known how to test for consciousness.
    and i dont think it ever will be. The reason I think that is (and why we disagree) is because I regard consciousness and free will as fake constructs produced by a flawed "feeling" that you are some kind of ghost in the machine, a complete entity, and not a product of billions of small predictable interactions. I dont think either consciousness or free will actually exist, and therefore will never be physically verified.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    The reason I think that is (and why we disagree) is because I regard consciousness and free will as fake constructs produced by a flawed "feeling" that you are some kind of ghost in the machine, a complete entity, and not a product of billions of small predictable interactions. I dont think either consciousness or free will actually exist, and therefore will never be physically verified.
    If consciousness is just an illusion, what is being fooled?

    Because you refuse to read what i told you to read:
    How do you describe the difference between red and green to a colorblind man?
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    refuse to read what i told you to read
    why do you keep saying this? What am i supposed to be reading? I suggested you read the steven pinker book, but i dont keep bringing it up as if it somehow affects the discussion in any way.
    If consciousness is just an illusion, what is being fooled?
    I didn't say it was an illusion, i said it doesn't exist as some kind of mystical ghost in the machine. You are the billions of interactions in your brain, like a hurricane is the billions of interactions of air molecules. It does not exist as a seperate phenomena. I simply dont think it exists.

    How do you describe the difference between red and green to a colorblind man?
    Colorblindness is a defect in the eye, it is not anything to do with mental process. Like you can be partially deaf to certain frequencies. My dad is colorblind and he can tell the difference. Anyway, i see what your getting at, perception of colour. We both describe the wavelengths 700nm and 450nm as being red and blue respectively. Thats all that matters. The rest is philosophical ponderings that have no basis in reality.

    with that logic you could say neither of us have a common perception about anything, as long as we describe what it is we both see as the same thing it is totally irrelevant, unfalsifiable. Do you honestly think there is a difference between 700nm electromagnetic waves, the colour red, and the perception of the colour red?

    or somones perception of red is different from somebody elses perception? The question is built on the false idea that there is some kind of metaphysical being beyond your brains interactions doing the "perceiving". It doesnt exist.
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    [quote="harvestein"] but i dont keep bringing it up as if it somehow affects the discussion in any way.
    Your refusal to read what it is affects the discussion profoundly.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    If consciousness is just an illusion, what is being fooled?
    I didn't say it was an illusion, i said it doesn't exist as some kind of mystical ghost in the machine. You are the billions of interactions in your brain, like a hurricane is the billions of interactions of air molecules. It does not exist as a seperate phenomena. I simply dont think it exists.
    This is as good explanation of consciousness as is "we need food and water to survive" a good explanation of human metabolism. Consciousness obviously exists, please read about qualia and the hard problem of consciousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Anyway, i see what your getting at
    I don't think so...
    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    We both describe the wavelengths 700nm and 450nm as being red and blue respectively.
    No. I mean what does it look like.
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    I allready know what Qualia is. We are allready talking about Qualia, nothing about it suggests it is actually real. Philosophical ponderings as i said.
    reading more about it is not going to change my opinion when i think its very definition is flawed and is based on a flawed premise.
    But i will read more about it to see if i get some profound insight, but i doubt it.

    No. I mean what does it look like.
    your missing the point of everything i said. Im not going to repeat it all again.


    here is a quote from wikipedia about Qualia which is along the lines of what im trying to say:
    ... for qualia to be taken seriously as a component of experience for them to even make sense as a discrete concept it must be possible to show that
    a) it is possible to know that a change in qualia has occurred, as opposed to a change in something else;
    or that
    b) there is a difference between having a change in qualia and not having one.
    Dennett attempts to show that we cannot satisfy (a) either through introspection or through observation, and that qualia's very definition undermines its chances of satisfying (b).

    Qualia or subjective perception, or consciousness or whatever you want to call it is a nonsensical concept to me, and it is not verifiable.
    This one describes my opinon even better, although using pain as the example rather than the perception of colour, but the same principle applies:

    "Now, a philosophical dualist might then complain: "You've described how hurting affects your mind but you still can't express how hurting feels." This, I maintain, is a huge mistake that attempt to reify 'feeling' as an independent entity, with an essence that's indescribable. As I see it, feelings are not strange alien things. It is precisely those cognitive changes themselves that constitute what 'hurting' is and this also includes all those clumsy attempts to represent and summarize those changes.
    My attempts to explain this is to you are not getting anywhere so I give up. Also we are way out of territory for this forum section.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Qualia or subjective perception, or consciousness or whatever you want to call it is a nonsensical concept to me, and it is not verifiable.
    You don't have subjective experiences? If you do, how can you deny they exist? Even if they are somehow just illusions, (it seems obvious they can't be, but let's assume they are) explaining what causes them would be itself explanation of consciousness. But there is no viable explanation how could such illusion happen either. (btw, it's interesting how some people tend to understand it without too much trouble, while others keep refusing it's existence. This asks for a question: Is it possible that people like you indeed lack consciousness and subjective experiences?)

    The example with brain rewiring is mistaken, as it would equally well apply to anything, not only qualia.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    My attempts to explain this is to you are not getting anywhere so I give up.
    You failed to explain why do you think that such obvious things do not exist.

    One last attempt to explain why it can't be explained:
    Do you agree that attempts to understand how nuclear reactor works are futile if you don't know about atoms? It's similar with consciousness.
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    You failed to explain why do you think that such obvious things do not exist.
    No i havent, i have said it over and over. Ill try one last time but in a different way:

    You cant answer "why does red look the way it does? is it the same for everyone" or "What does pain feel like" the question is based on a false premise. it cannot be answered, not because it is something magical, or beyond physics (or existing physics), it is because you are trying to seperate "perception" and your brains processing of sensory information. As if there is, as they say, a ghost in the machine. You cannot be the observer of your own brain.

    while others keep refusing it's existence. This asks for a question: Is it possible that people like you indeed lack consciousness and subjective experiences?
    Read this
    'Aint no thing like a chicken wing'
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    You failed to explain why do you think that such obvious things do not exist.
    No i havent, i have said it over and over. Ill try one last time but in a different way:

    You cant answer "why does red look the way it does? is it the same for everyone" or "What does pain feel like" the question is based on a false premise. it cannot be answered, not because it is something magical, or beyond physics (or existing physics), it is because you are trying to seperate "perception" and your brains processing of sensory information. As if there is, as they say, a ghost in the machine. You cannot be the observer of your own brain.
    "It can't be explained therefore it does not exist" is not a valid argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    while others keep refusing it's existence. This asks for a question: Is it possible that people like you indeed lack consciousness and subjective experiences?
    Read this
    I agree that a perfect philosophical zombie is most likely impossible. It could claim it has subjective experience, but it would be unable to comprehend what that words mean.
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    It can't be explained therefore it does not exist" is not a valid argument.
    That is not my argument. It does not exist because your making a fundamental error that sits at the heart of your belief that it does. it has nothing to do with scientific explanations.

    The debate were having is quite an old one, and I cant get you to comprehend the counter argument, which is well established. If you are so keen about Qualia you should have read arguments from its critics as well, and there are plenty of them.
    Daniel Dennetts case is quite clear, and is exactly what im trying to put across to you, but you consistently fail to take it on and come back with posts that are forcing me to say the same thing all the time.

    I understand exactly what you are trying to tell me, but you cant seem to understand the error you are making when it is pointed out, or even to catch onto the idea enough to argue that it is not an error.
    So I respectfully bow out until some further input is added by someone else. Nice discussing with you though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    It can't be explained therefore it does not exist" is not a valid argument.
    That is not my argument. It does not exist because your making a fundamental error that sits at the heart of your belief that it does. it has nothing to do with scientific explanations.
    It's not belief. It's observation.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    The debate were having is quite an old one, and I cant get you to comprehend the counter argument, which is well established. If you are so keen about Qualia you should have read arguments from its critics as well, and there are plenty of them.
    Daniel Dennetts case is quite clear, and is exactly what im trying to put across to you, but you consistently fail to take it on and come back with posts that are forcing me to say the same thing all the time.
    I aleready answered that, but you constantly refuse to read what I write.
    I told you, it is invalid, because it can be used to refute anything. For example, if you wake up and see strawberries growing on trees, you would be unable to distinguish whether aliens created the trees or tampered with your memories about strawberries.

    And what is your definition of "well established"?
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    To summarise our discussion:
    1. Subjective experiences are obvious. (fact)
    2. While something obvious can still be false, you need good arguments to disprove it. (fact)
    3. So far you gave no arguments, except a meaningles and self contradictory statement that it's all just an illusion. (fact)
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    Subjective experiences are obvious (Fact)
    Wow, i like your logic there. Impressive.

    So far you gave no arguments, except a meaningles and self contradictory statement that it's all just an illusion.
    I didnt say it was an illusion, i dont know why you keep using that word. I said it doesnt exist. Not in the form you describe. Im describing a perfectly reasonable counter argument that has existed for decades, it really isnt all that difficult. You just dont understand the concept.

    Maybe a picture will help.

    i dont understand why i am still entertaining your ignorant attitude. There are plenty of counter arguments to the existence of Qualia, why dont YOU read up on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Subjective experiences are obvious (Fact)
    Wow, i like your logic there. Impressive.
    Stating an obvious fact and everyday observation is not logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    I didnt say it was an illusion, i dont know why you keep using that word. I said it doesnt exist.
    Now this is even more bizarre claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Not in the form you describe. Im describing a perfectly reasonable counter argument that has existed for decades, it really isnt all that difficult.
    The problem is it contradicts observation. So it's wrong. And it's certainly not "well established" as you claimed previously, on contrary, it's a bizarre idea advocated by one philosopher.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    You just dont understand the concept.
    No, you don't understand. So are you a bot, troll, or someone who indeed lacks consciousness? (there are people without emotions, so it's not unreasonable to assume that people completely without consciousness exist too) Or are you simply in some weird denial?

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Maybe a picture will help.
    No. It actually disproves your claims that there is no problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    i dont understand why i am still entertaining your ignorant attitude.
    Ignorant attitute? Your levels of open mindedness and acceptance of observable reality usually seen only in religious zealots and YOU say MY ignorant attitude?

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    There are plenty of counter arguments to the existence of Qualia, why dont YOU read up on it.
    I have read the page on wikipedia and I think it's enough. I see no reason why should I try to find arguments for your claims. Especially when all such arguments are necessarily false. (if someone claims to have a proof that water can't exist in liquid form, I don't have to read it to know it's mistaken)
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    One philosopher?? You clearly dont know what your talking about. And you had the brass neck to tell me to read up on it. Think your time would be better spent ghost hunting.

    I also cant believe your comparing me to a religious zealot when your trying to say something like qualia is a FACT when it clearly isnt, and it cannot be verified. It is still open to debate, you just will not bother trying to understand the counter argument.
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    One philosopher?? You clearly dont know what your talking about. And you had the brass neck to tell me to read up on it. Think your time would be better spent ghost hunting.
    Show me others. Maybe few more, but still an insignificant minority and certainly not a "well established idea". BTW it's interesting you are call qualia "philosophical ponderings" yet you refuse them using bizarre philosophical claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    I also cant believe your comparing me to a religious zealot when your trying to say something like qualia is a FACT when it clearly isnt, and it cannot be verified. It is still open to debate, you just will not bother trying to understand the counter argument.
    It is directly observed, so it's a fact unless you have some good evidence it's just an illusion. Your claim that qualia don't exist and not even as illusions make no sense. They have to be either illusions or real. If something is directly observed, it has to be either real or illusionary, no other options are logically possible.
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    It is directly observed, so it's a fact
    see, your doing it again, the little man in your brain, observing. Why cant you understand this?
    You have to be careful with the use of "observed", it is not observed, and you cant verify it, hence why your wrong in your assumption you can call it a fact. Do you see it with your eyes? can you detect it using any method whatsoever? Can you prove Qualia exists?
    I called it philosophical ponderings because Qualia has no physical manifestation, none is known to exist and i dont believe it ever will.

    Whereas I concede that it cant be proven either way at the moment, and there is a good chance it never will be, you insist on calling it a fact when it is not. You disregard a whole section of people and philosophers who do not think Qualia makes any sense because your trying to seperate perception/experience of reality and cognitive processes when they are the same thing.

    I dont believe it means anything to talk about the redness of red, or the blueness of blue, or what pain 'feels' like. That needs a seperate entity from cognitive process, and if, as you also suggest, this entity is included in this cognitive process as some kind of illusion, you have yourself an infinite regress. It just does not make sense.

    even if you disagree with this for whatever reason, you should still be able to acknowledge that the existence of Qualia is not a fact, otherwise it is you who is the "Zealot".

    There are three categories of opinion on this:
    Qualia are real and are physical
    Qualia are real and are not physical
    Qualia do not exist

    None of these are regarded as FACT, and it is also not known if any of them will ever be verifiable to be regarded as such.

    I also keep forgetting Qualia is Plural. :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    It is directly observed, so it's a fact
    see, your doing it again, the little man in your brain, observing. Why cant you understand this?
    You are talking some nonsense about ghosts and little men in my head. I guess it's some kind of delusion or hallucination.
    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    you cant verify it,
    I'm verifying it right now. Yes, it's still here.

    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Do you see it with your eyes? can you detect it using any method whatsoever?
    Yes. Actually, I even can't imagine seeing without qualia.


    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    You disregard a whole section of people and philosophers who do not think Qualia makes any sense
    Yes, I do, because what they say does not make any sense.


    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    even if you disagree with this for whatever reason, you should still be able to acknowledge that Qualia is not a fact, otherwise it is you who is the "Zealot"
    No, I will not deny reality just because I can't explain something. I'm willing to discuss wheter they're real or just illusions,(or if such distinction like real / illusion is meaningful for this) but I will NOT accept they don't exist at all, because that claim is disproven by observation.
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    The discussion seems to have gone off in another direction, but in response to DrRocket:
    Wrong.

    Even so-called chaotic systems are completely predictable given absolute (perfect) knowledge of the initial conditions.
    You are absolutely right: presuming that absolute knowledge is attainable, absolute predictability is theoretically possible. However the world we live in is not perfect and we can't. The feature of "chaotic" -- I use the popular word for it's succinctness -- systems that is of interest here is that their trajectories diverge over time. Two arbitrarily close starting points produce distinctly different results after a sufficient amount of time elapses. Given enough time, no matter how accurately you measure the initial conditions the result states will be un-predictable. This article is a good review of Chaotic Dynamics: http://inls.ucsd.edu/~rabin/ChaoticDynamics.pdf

    Then we have the problem of representation. As the number of degrees of freedom in a system increases so does the amount of "space" needed to represent the values of the variables. In the limit, where everything in the universe affects everything else, the most efficient (and only achievable) representation for the variables is the system itself as it iterates. I think S. Lloyd ruminates on this in:
    http://puhep1.princeton.edu/~mcdonal...06_1047_00.pdf
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    This statement about perfect/total knowledge of a deterministic universe/system is still perpetuated, despite the evidence from relativity and quantum physics that knowledge is historical, due to the finite speed of light.
    Is it time for another reality check?
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    I'm not sure that propagation delays due to SOL have much relevance since the information one needs to predict something is local in time. What exactly time synchronicity means, vis Relativity, might be a good question.

    Quantum effects, however "random" they may be, tend to average out at classical scales. My feeling is that, since quantum probabilities are so accurate, there must be some hidden causality but that's just my wishful opinion. It occurred to me in a different forum-discussion that some Schrodinger's-Cat-like quantum effects could be amplified by Complex Dynamical Systems into real-world results. I don't know of any work done in that area though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by schip666
    I'm not sure that propagation delays due to SOL have much relevance since the information one needs to predict something is local in time. What exactly time synchronicity means, vis Relativity, might be a good question.
    My point is, perception is always after the fact. The after depending on how distant the event is. You can only know where something was and how fast it was moving.
    Your knowledge of even a local system is an approximation. For quantum scales it's significant, for macro scales it isn't. The deterministic notion is an 'ideal' not realized in the 'real' world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phyti
    Quote Originally Posted by schip666
    I'm not sure that propagation delays due to SOL have much relevance since the information one needs to predict something is local in time. What exactly time synchronicity means, vis Relativity, might be a good question.
    My point is, perception is always after the fact. The after depending on how distant the event is. You can only know where something was and how fast it was moving.
    Your knowledge of even a local system is an approximation. For quantum scales it's significant, for macro scales it isn't. The deterministic notion is an 'ideal' not realized in the 'real' world.
    but there no one 'real' world there many and thay changing the past ?
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    Proving determinism does not implies predictability. Many systems are too complex to do the math. Also, our measuring devices are too imprecise to predict a long-term outcome even to simpler systems.

    The argument here is: It doesn't matter whether or not we live in a deterministic universe, although it could be fun debating the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by schip666
    The discussion seems to have gone off in another direction, but in response to DrRocket:
    Wrong.

    Even so-called chaotic systems are completely predictable given absolute (perfect) knowledge of the initial conditions.
    You are absolutely right: presuming that absolute knowledge is attainable, absolute predictability is theoretically possible. However the world we live in is not perfect and we can't. The feature of "chaotic" -- I use the popular word for it's succinctness -- systems that is of interest here is that their trajectories diverge over time. Two arbitrarily close starting points produce distinctly different results after a sufficient amount of time elapses. Given enough time, no matter how accurately you measure the initial conditions the result states will be un-predictable. This article is a good review of Chaotic Dynamics: http://inls.ucsd.edu/~rabin/ChaoticDynamics.pdf

    Then we have the problem of representation. As the number of degrees of freedom in a system increases so does the amount of "space" needed to represent the values of the variables. In the limit, where everything in the universe affects everything else, the most efficient (and only achievable) representation for the variables is the system itself as it iterates. I think S. Lloyd ruminates on this in:
    http://puhep1.princeton.edu/~mcdonal...06_1047_00.pdf
    There are lots of systems that, although deterministic, are so complex that they are not effectively predictable with any even vaguely reasonable assumptions on computing power.

    There is a huge difference between what is determinable in principle and what is determinable in practice. The entire field of public codes is based on the computational difficulty of factoring large composite numbers, yet on can describe, in principle an algorithm for factoring any number at all. It is just that the method would take an inordinate amount of time.

    Those links look pretty good. For a treatment of rigorous chaotic dynamics I still like Bob Devaney's Introduction to Chaotic Dynamical Systems.
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  59. #58  
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    Those links look pretty good.
    Yes, i am enjoying the read. Especially the second one...
    'Aint no thing like a chicken wing'
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    Hmm, didn't know about the Devaney book. Looks to be a good companion for Strogatz's Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos. Thanks.

    I try to be "rigorous" in my complex terminology...
    I call the systems you mention:
    There are lots of systems that, although deterministic, are so complex that they are not effectively predictable with any even vaguely reasonable assumptions on computing power.
    Complicated.

    Complex Systems on the other foot can be very simple, vis coupled pendulums, but still not predictable due to measurement error.

    Per the links I sent before, Llyod's Programming the Universe is an expansion of the that paper.
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