Re: Science and Nonsense

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Sun Jan 01 2006 - 08:18:36 MST


Just a quick note.

I appreciate your frustration with the lack of depth and substance in
that discussion.

I would be happy to try to give you the information you hoped to see,
but I will have to come back to it when I have enough time. It *does*
require a lot of writing to explain to someone who has little
background, and there are limits to how much energy I have!

In my own defence, I would say that I am always willing to invest the
effort to write long, detailed replies when the people discussing the
matter seem serious about the subject. But would you do that if the
only people responding to you were foaming at the mouth?

You ask about the relevance of psi for AGI. Originally, I was trying to
shed some light on specific claims made in that debate: but now that
you ask your specific question, I actually think that psi is orthogonal
to questions of consciousness and free will, so we will probably be able
to create thinking systems that are completely conscious without having
to worry about psi. I suspect (and this will be a fascinating research
question when the time comes) that an AGI would cause the same kind of
psi effects that humans do.

In my book, discussion of free will and parapsychology are equally
relevant: neither of them particularly important, but neither should be
ruled out of court either. They do both concern the mind.

Richard Loosemore

justin corwin wrote:
> On 12/31/05, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
>>But, this is just not the case. I spent ALL of my considerable effort
>>trying to point the other participants toward the experimental data,
>>only to be met with torrents of ad hominem abuse. I also described some
>>details of an actual experiment that I conducted. Heck, I tried to get
>>ANYONE to talk about the real research! The abusive behavior was
>>extremely one sided, and you do me a bit of a disservice to pretend that
>>it was not.
> Well I appreciate the effort, to elevate the discussion, certainly,
> but that's not exactly what I meant. It's true that you've been much
> more polite and referenced far more places to look for third-party
> confirmation, but that doesn't make the discussion much more
> scientific. More grounded, perhaps more scholarly. But what was
> entirely opaque to me, was what the actual fact or process being
> supposedly argued was supossed to be?
> In my eyes the whole discussion was a rather over-ambitious and hence
> useless pissing match attempting to ESTABLISH somehow the
> existence/non-existence of "psi"in general. The fact that you were
> being more polite about it doesn't make things any better, for my
> view. Arguing for a whole category is strange and certainly not
> scientific.
>>Again, this is unfair. I mentioned the serious research that exists,
>>and that I had done some of it. I and the other serious researchers
>>were then insulted as "witch doctors", a non-scientific fools,
>>"third-rate scientists", etc. The careful and thoughtful replies I gave
>>at the beginning (when I was ignoring the abuse) were then met with
>>words like: <snip list/>
>>You described this as a "poor reception". I don't think so.
> Well John K Clark is a blunt fellow certainly, personally I've always
> appreciated the agressive intellectually macho tone around here, but
> it can get in the way. My impression again was that the "discussion"
> consisted of tennis-ball assertions, and the fact that you were much
> more "polite" and injured isn't relevant unless it bears on the facts
> of the argument,,i.e. "you are wrong because you suck" is ad hominem
> and poor arguing, whereas "you are wrong because X, and you suck" is
> merely being rude, and not actually covered by list rules.
> I'm willing to bite here, although I'm confident about the question of
> psi, but I'm interested in why a self-described scientist like
> yourself,who seems measured and intelligent, (if a little huffy) would
> spend so much energy defending such matters in this context.
>>The subject came up in the context of consciousness and free will. It
>>is a valid question to ask whether parapsychology has relevance to the
>>contruction of AGI systems.
> Well this would be where you may, if you wish, make this a more
> scientific discussion. Are you proposing any factor, which falls under
> the rubric of "psi" and is thus scientifically unrecognized, which has
> implications for an AI researcher like myself? And that being the
> case, is there a way we can determine if this is so?
> --
> Justin Corwin

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