Re: Human mind Turing computable according to Eliezer

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Wed Oct 06 2004 - 19:25:35 MDT

Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:

> Robin Lee Powell wrote:
>> At we have:
>> Penrose isn't trying to explain quantum physics; he's trying to
>> persuade you that the human mind isn't Turing-computable.
>> (Penrose is right about this, although purely by coincidence.)
>> But at we
>> have that human thought, at least, *is* turing computable.
>> I'm not certain that this is a contradiciton, but I'd like to see
>> more about Eliezer's views on this point; anybody got a link?
> I was once a Penrosian noncomputationalist, for much the same reasons
> then as my friend Mitchell Porter is now:
> --- snip ---
> Mundane reductionism always, always, ALWAYS wins. If you think that
> is too much emphasis, I should put in a few hundred repetitions of
> "always", one for every historical case in which reductionism won.
In the ultimate big picture, reductionism has already "won", in the
sense that every piece can be rationally accounted for. And it's a wise
statement that "mysterious questions don't have mysterious answers".
However, seekers find that the human experience is necessarily one of
bounded knowledge and limited computational resources. We grow and
break through each self-made shell and each time see a bit further and
more clearly -- but we can never fully see our own context. We can
influence, but we cannot control, a system of which we are a part. The
universe will continue to throw us surprises.

What does this mean in less mystical-sounding terms? Discover and apply
the principles that lead to growth in the environment in which we find
ourselves. Growth leads to further discovery and increasingly effective
influence on the direction of progress. Go for bottom-up growth rather
than attempting top-down control.

Yes, it's a dangerous game. That's why it's important not to waste time
grasping for the hypothetical perfect solution.

- Jef

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