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  1. Although it is important to strive towards objectivity, in a colloquial conversation not every statement is supposed to be objective. Obviously, my "confidence in apes intelligence" has to do with scientific rigor as much as your definitions. It is more a statement of admiration than anything else, and it was exactly because of comparison between chimps and humans, although, both memory speed and accuracy can be measured objectively, without reference to human memory speed and accuracy. Besides that, I don't know if you know what experiments I refer to, but these could not be performed to confirm intelligence of some species that has no visual sense, due to a nature of task they are supposed to perform. Just as much as mirror experiments are inadequate to establish consciousness of such species...
  2. It seems that nowadays these studies are performed on animals in which that condition was not artificially induced for experimental needs. Kudos to human race. I don't know what ideas a chimpanzee can explore during his or her life. I bet they can learn to recognize that word invented by humans, understand it perfectly, and demonstrate that somehow to people. I have great confidence in apes intelligence, after I saw how fast and accurate their memory is. It seems that detecting consciousness depends a lot on the interspecies communication barrier. The higher that barrier, the less we are inclined to acknowledge consciousness on the other side, and that can be said for intelligence too. Although, this is biased and irrational. However, if there is a proof that consciousness requires neural network to be implemented, I may stand corrected regarding plants. Although, maybe the same functions as in neural networks can be implemented in plants information network too.
  3. I meant to say that we don’t make choices only by thinking, but also based on emotions, that do not need to be instinctual. And even when we do, thinking can be logical or intuitive. So, classification of mental activities into only two categories: instinct and thought, is simplistic.
  4. I am not familiar with horses, I don't work with them on a daily basis, don't study them professionally, so probably I am not, with or without it. But if you ask such people does inner life of horse exist, I doubt they will say it does not, whatever sensible way you define it. I joined the discussion on page 3, and the string "prog" doesn't appear in it, from there until page 7, when you said: >>I agree; an organism simply has to demonstrate that it can engage behavioral responses independent of those we might consider instinctual or programmed responses. Non-instinctiveo/non-programmed behaviors suggest that an organism can engage a mentation process comparable to that which produces human behavioral responses. << We don't choose behaviors that we engage exclusively by thinking, and choosing not to think cannot lead to a very successful life. So, this is not that relevant, mostly people don't think when they sleep. The best way would be unbiased, although, that is not entirely possible. We can always drop it, if you think so, in a decent manner. Thank you for your time, etc... OK, do you decorticate animal brains professionally? How do they take it, well or not so well? I hope that helps to determine where do instincts come from, and where thoughts come from. Is there a clear cut between them, as there is a clear cut between that what has been removed, and what has been left?
  5. I think you should really try to be consistent, at least just a little bit. If you say that your thoughts on impossibility of knowing another species entirely are distraction, then you should not return constantly to comparisons between human and other species. You specifically talked about instinct as the only programmed behavior, identifying these two notions, until I told you that thinking is also genetically programmed behavior, and you agreed about that with respect to human, which I even didn't notice because that followed only after you disagreed about that with respect to other animals, and after you bundled that acknowledgment of your error with some convoluted logic, such as, that thinking enables us to override that what we are genetically programmed for, thinking in the first place. Which is impossible and logically inconsistent. How would thinking enable us not to think? Especially if we are programmed for it? Besides that, the fact that we can suspend temporarily our thoughts on any particular subject, certainly doesn't prove that animals cannot think, or that they cannot suspend their thoughts too. And you defined instinct as "those behaviors engaged without the appearance of a thought process", and thought as "that what enables humanity's ability to override it programming and rise above all other species and organism", in other words, as that what enables and precedes behavior that is not instinctual, ie animal. Circular, isn't it? I hope you have some outside criteria to break that circularity, that you didn't present so far, because this looks like vacuous anthropocentric philosophy, not science. And I think you didn't answer this question: Did you?
  6. Yes, sorry, you did write that, but what sense does it make? We are programmed to think, and thinking is what enables us to override what we are programmed for. I think we should make some pause between our posting, because it seems that right now we are posting at the same time. No, I don't think I can do that for a very long time. I can decide not to breathe too, but also not for a very long time. Both would be conscious, but not long term decisions. And I can foresee what is coming now, when I mentioned a decision not to breathe... another proof of human rising above other species, right? I don't think however that suicidal ability is something that affirmatively describes a human being to a great extent.
  7. I hope I didn't lost you because of that oversight. While I wait for your response, let me add a few interesting links that this discussion motivated me to search for, it looks like termite mound is not that passive object as I thought, it enables active air conditioning: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151210-why-termites-build-such-enormous-skyscrapers This is about information processing in plants: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2018.0370 This is about connection between consciousness and neural networks: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S157086830900038X https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0810/0810.4339.pdf
  8. I just realized that you actually in one moment wrote that humans are programmed to think, but exactly thought is what enables us to override what we are programmed for (thinking). Hm, very confusing thoughts by your side, I couldn't see that coming.
  9. I think there is no reason that among all categories of animal reactions, such as those that I mentioned, instinctive reactions should be singled out, and called programmed. Why do you think you are not programmed to think? Why do you think you are not programmed to process food that happens to appear in your stomach? Neither of these activities I would call instinctive, and still, if instincts are programmed, then why these wouldn't be also? Do we have any reason to believe that it does not exist? Again, the slippery terrain of discussing things without defining what we are talking about. So, what in your opinion is internal life?
  10. Now that I took your advice and wrote this stuff for relaxation, maybe it is time now to respond to some of your thoughts, that actually triggered my sense of imprecision of thoughts. Maybe you reacted that way because I didn't respond so far. I think animals are genetically programmed for carefully thought, planned, intentional reactions (and thinking that precedes it), as well as for instinctive reactions, and as well for unconscious reactions, such as for example food processing or immunological response (although, that may be outside of definition of behavioral response, but it's still a response), that is, something that not only we do not control, but are also mostly unaware of. Identifying instincts with programmed responses, is in my opinion not very useful. Requiring that definition of consciousness must be related to human consciousness, doesn't mean just a lack of objectivity, proper expression I should have used is a total lack of generality of such thinking. No definition in biology can be based on comparison with human, we are not the center of universe. And consciousness is a biological notion, isn't it? How exactly do you quantify your definition of consciousness, using a cogent basis relatable to human experience? Can you give an example of that quantification? The fact that there is still no precise, mathematical description of life, doesn't mean much, because we believe in the progress of science. Don't we? And even when that task is accomplished, subcellular organisms may still be exactly somewhere in between living and non living. This really doesn't undermine the fact that precise definitions are conditio sine qua non of any sensible discussion. If that cannot be asked for in a scientific circle, then I don't know where else one can expect it. For example, if I get back to Marletto's definition of appearance of design of a programmable constructor V, I may add that it is also more about its stability, as a slight change in sub-constructor accuracy of performing its task T0, leads to significant degradation of accuracy of V's performance of T. It does not capture the essence of difference between appearance of design vs real design, whatever that is.
  11. After this discussion, I couldn't help the feeling that the legitimate question of mathematical description of design still eludes scientific community, as well as that of mathematical description of life. Regardless of the question are these two connected, I have searched a bit for the information on who tackled it so far, and of course found tons of material, some is seminal such as Schrödinger's What is Life?, in a sense that he was among the first physicists to deal with it in a longer essay, and Constructor Theory of Life by Marletto, in a sense that she and Deutsch went further than anyone else in their investigation, that I already knew, however there is also Chris Adami, Fritjof Capra, ... and many others. There is also Elsberry and Shallit versus Dembski discussion/critique Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski's Complex Specified Information, that I didn't study very carefully, but still careful enough to spot that they claim the following: >> he never gives a positive account of design; we do not learn from reading his works what Dembski thinks design is. In 'The Design Inference' he simply defines design as the complement of regularity and chance, and the possibility that this complement is in fact empty is not seriously addressed. In 'No Free Lunch', he gives a process-oriented account of design: (1) A designer conceives a purpose. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. << Now, although that account of design maybe didn't impress Elsberry and Shallit, or Deutsch and Marletto, who although address the same question of design as Dembski, never mention him at all, answering that way basically non existing challenge (to their Neo-Darwinian views), that Elsberry and Shallit's comment made me think of the quality of my account of design, given here in this discussion. Which is distilled from Deutsch and Marletto's theory, as they do not give a positive account of design either, but they do give a positive account of a system that appears to be designed: >> Consider a recipe R for a possible task T. A sub-recipe R0 for the task T0 is fine-tuned to perform T if almost any slight change in T0 would cause T to be performed to a much lower accuracy. (For instance, changing the mechanism of insulin production in the pancreas even slightly, would impair the overall task the organism performs.) A programmable constructor V whose repertoire includes T has the appearance of design if it can execute a recipe for T with a hierarchical structure including several, different subrecipes, fine-tuned to perform T. Each fine-tuned sub-recipe is performed by a sub-constructor contained in V : the number of fine-tuned sub-recipes performable by V is a measure of V's appearance of design. This constructor-theoretic definition is non-multiplicative, as desired. << So, the appearance of design of a programmable constructor V is a measure of its complexity, related with a number of sub-constructors it can be hierarchically decomposed to, each of which has to perform accurately in order for V to perform accurately. In my opinion that definition deals more with a robustness of V, as there is nothing said about the possibility of maintenance, ie how V recovers from the situation when T0 is not accurately performed, by itself, or if external maintenance is required. It certainly does not explain the difference between designed programmable constructor and the one that just appears to be designed. That leads to a slightly bizarre situation that a world renowned physicist dedicates a whole paper to investigation of a notion that she never defines directly, although she tries to define precisely what constitutes the appearance of that notion. To be fair, that paper is not exactly about design, it is about life, and its precise mathematical description, while for the "real" design, it somehow looks as if the author thinks it does not need to be addressed (or that it does not exist) at all. In this discussion, I started from the point of view that automata theory is a theory of designed systems, that are built upon physical laws that act as a basis for their functioning, but their behavior is furthermore determined by the idea of designers about the purpose of automata which is built into them, in terms of constructor theory, these ideas are recipes for the tasks these automatic constructors and their sub-constructors are supposed to perform. According to that view, phenomena that can be explained solely and entirely in terms of physical laws, such as clouds, or rain, or rivers within their natural streambed, are not designed. That looked kind of obvious to everyone, nobody actually objected to that claim. However, I started to question it myself, and took as the example Cellular Automata (CA) theory, which is a source of inspiration for many people for different reasons. And not only inspiration, but also the framework applied in concrete examples: Packard Snowflakes on the von Neumann Neighborhood by Brummitt,Delventhal and Retzlaff The Cellular Automaton Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Gerard 't Hooft I was interested only in the question if CA models designed systems in contrast to the models that describe physical systems (such as theory of gravity), since these two (snowflakes and QM) seemed to me as counterexamples. For the appearance of design within CA, there must be a freedom of choice of production rules for the next generation of cells, while for the appearance of a physical law, there must be no such liberty of choosing the rules that guide a physical system from the current state to the next one, they should be preset, or predefined for the whole universe. However, if we constrain a little bit the computation rules for CA, such as for example if we focus only on linear CA, then on the one that allows only two possible cell states, and let's say that they depend in the next generation solely on the current state of the cell itself and of its two nearest neighbours, that is two adjacent cells, then we get only 256 possible computation rules for such a system. And if we finally narrow down our interest further to only one, let's say Rule 110, due to its interesting behavior on the boundary between stability and chaos, we can analyze its evolution in the same way using our logical apparatus as we analyze motion of physical systems that obey physical laws. And if we give ourselves the freedom and imagine the existence of ultimate multiverse that contains every mathematically possible universe under different laws of physics, then we can conclude that nothing really distinguishes between designed systems and physical systems, they both just appear to be one way or the other. That really is a great conclusion, however, we don't have much proof of existence of any other universe but the one we exist in, and if we allow the possibility that we have a free will, then we are really able to "design a designed system", that doesn't just appear to be designed. Or, in Elsberry and Shallit's words, maybe there really exists in nature a third category, that is neither pure physical regularity nor chance?
  12. If your intention was to insult me, you could be a man enough to say that openly what you got, and not hide behind the others, and behind abbreviations.
  13. Definitely no, on both accounts. But it depends on the definitions of both terms, so following the logic promoted here, that precise definitions are neither necessary nor crucial, to which you didn't object, it is actually hard to tell. The fact that plants and thermostat can both be described as intelligent agents, due to the fact that they process information from the environment and act accordingly in order to achieve certain goal, if you accept such a definition, given here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_agent doesn't mean much. IA is a powerful abstraction, and as such it can describe supreme intelligence such as human beings or entities that in some aspects even surpass human intelligence, but it can also describe such simple devices, that conform to a basic definition, there is simply a large spectrum of notions that such a definition covers. However, depending on the complexity of information processing that IA is capable of, there are also huge differences between them. As plants are hardly comparable with humans, thermostat is hardly comparable to plants. That really doesn't undermine the power of that abstraction at all, and we cannot conclude anything about plants from the fact that thermostat is not conscious. You as a human being should not have a problem with that, as you claim that people are good in understanding abstract concepts, and still, if I had a nickel for every time I've read such "thermostat objection" I would be a millionaire. It is so pedestrian and common because everyone can access wikipedia or any similar source of information, read that thermostat is considered an example of IA, and become puzzled or even offended by that statement. It is actually a little bit comparable to this situation: let's say that someone asks for a short description of a chess engine, that can potentially beat human world champion. And let's say that someone responds with this specification: it should be able to take the current position as input, process it, and respond with a move. And then one might object that such a description doesn't exclude such lousy programs that might even return illegal moves, let alone bad (but legal), or not sufficiently good to beat human world champion. That objection is valid, but it also doesn't falsify the validness of given short description, if someone wants better and more informative description, it should definitively take some longer. In other words, plants can be intelligent (if we define so), and still neither think anything like animals do, nor be conscious the way people are, or animals for that matter. Or, they may be more like a rock. I have no idea, I believe they have, but I didn't dedicate my life to botany, so that I could have a more informed belief, so I may be wrong. But here are people that are positive about the possibility that they don't have, so maybe they have some evidence for that.
  14. What opinion, and what aggressiveness exactly are you talking about? I don't consider all animals purely instinctive creatures that are unable to think. I started to talk about plant self-awareness, when all of a sudden they started to offend me, tried to ridicule me, and push out of the forum. There is a strong evidence that plants can receive information from the environment, process it, and act accordingly. Which means that they have information system alternative to the nervous one, as they don't have neurons. Now, consciousness seems to be the result of such information processing that is capable of self-referential operations, implemented by such self-referential structures in the information system that are obviously implementable in a neural system, but we don't have much reason to believe it can't be implemented elsewhere, at least I don't have, if you have some evidence that proves the opposite, please do present it, because I would love to see it.
  15. You don't have to do that for me, nobody forces you. It is a given, either you understand it or you don't. You are right, you might consider an oak a stupid wood, that cannot run away if people decide to cut it, or an impressive living being, and I bet you consider domestic animals stupid, but at least they try to escape when they realize that people decided to eat them, right? And we might consider all animals purely instinctive creatures, unable to think, such as Descartes did, but the question is, what is true? The point is that they are also subject to human validation, but if you don't make an effort to provide any, you don't have anything to validate in the first place.
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