Monday, April 04, 2005

Dualists, Repent!

Today, I read yet another story that proves that we're just meat machines.

For some reason, the idea that the mind is more than biochemistry just won't go away. It doesn't seem to matter that almost every aspect of human personality and mental behavior has been tracked to physical brain function. The dualists continue to dream of the supernatural only because today we cannot precisely explain how the mind machine works (and anyone who understands neural networks knows why this is a hard problem).

Well, dualists have a big problem. Science isn't on their side. The dualists' claim is only that we cannot know a thing, and that's not so much a theory as a curiosity-stopper.

If Kurzweil's Law holds, Jeff Hawkins or someone like him will almost certainly build true AI in the next 40 years. At that point, the dualists will join the long list of flat earthers, evolution deniers, and geocentric astronomers who wrongly insisted that man was at the very center of the entire universe.

2 comments:

Robin Zebrowski said...

Give a read to Paul Bloom's book, Descartes Baby. (I don't actually agree that his data supports his conclusions, but I love what he's trying to do.) He argues that the dualist viewpoint is evolutionarily built into us, so it won't go away any time soon. (He has a bio and long interview over at edge.org too - search for Natural Born Dualists.)

Good stuff!

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