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The Material Mind

A copy of my article that I posted on some groups. The issue of agnosticism 
is not much relevant here but I look forward to any comments. 

			The Material Mind  

	  -=dedicated to the enlightment of the agnostics=- 

An attempt to expose the unethical practices of the scientific community.  
It is not an attempt to discredit the field of sciene itself.  

excerpts from "The Material Mind" by Donald Davidson, from the book Mind 
Design by John Haugelang, Editor. The MIT Press.  

stuff in [] and the numbering (a1, o1, etc) is mine. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
[assumptions he made, in his own words] 

a1. "Suppose that we understand what goes on in the brain perfectly, in 
     the sense that we can describe each detail in purely physical terms"  

a2. "And suppose, further, that we see that because of the way the system 
     is constructed, the indeterminacies of quantum physics are irrelevant 
     to our ability to predict and explain the events that are connected 
     with input from sensation or output in the form of the motion of the 

a3. "While we are dreaming, let us also dream that the brain, and associated 
     nervous system, have come to be understood as operating much like a 

a4. "Finally, partly for fun and partly to stave off questions not germane 
     to the theme, let us imagine that `l'homme machine` has actually been 
     built, in the shape of a man and out of the very stuff of a man, all 
     synthesized from a few dollars' worth of water and other easily 
     obtainable material."  

[In the following paragraph, the author tells that 'Art' is exactly like 
a man, acts in all observable ways like a man, has appropriate expressions 
on his/its face, etc. i.e. is physically indistinguishable inside and 
out from a man, and hence: ] 

    "It would be no easier to interpret what `l'homme machine` means by 
     what it 'says' than to interpret the words of a man, nor would the 
     problem be essentially different. (There would be one unimportant 
     shortcut: where with a man we must gather our evidence by creating 
     experimental situations, we could disassemble the machine."   

[observations he makes, in his own words] 

o1. "we are not commited to the view that psychological events can be 
     reduced to physical events; ... We see, then, that complete knowledge 
     of the physics of man, even if it covers, under its mode of discription, 
     all that happens, does not necessarily yield the knowledge of psychology. 

o2. "In saying that an agent performed a single intentional action, we 
     attribute a very complex system of states and events to him ... 
     I am only trying to show why we cannot establish general, precise, and 
     lawlike correlations between physical and psychological descriptions."  

o3. "if the agent speaks, we can on each occasion identify the particular 
     physical event that corresponds. ... This will not, however, give us  
     what we want: a lawlike correlation between workings of the mechanism 
     and speech behavior. ... We interpret a single speech act against the 
     background of a theory of the speaker's language. Such a theory tells 
     us (at least) the truth condition of each of an infinite number of 
     sentences the man might utter" 

o4. "The supposition no more settles the question whether man has a soul 
     (i.e. irreducible psychological properties) than it settles the 
     question whether we gave Art a soul." 

o5. "There is no important sense in which psychology can be reduced to the 
     physical sciences."  

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The   assumption 'a4' is very interesting since Donald Davidson had 
absolutely no idea of what he is talking about and to prove my point, 
I will provide a quote here. 

James D. Watson, one of the codiscoverer of DNA, wrote in his book 'Molecular 
Biology of the Gene': 

	"We must immediately admit that the structure of the cell will 
	 never be understood in the same way as that of water or glucose 
	 molecule. Not only will the exact structure of most macromolecules 
	 within the cell remain unsolved, but their relative locations 
	 within the cell can only be vaguely known." 
Surprisingly, this happened almost 10 years after (1984) Donald Davidson 
has presented his ideas (first published in 'Logic, Methodology and 
Philosophy of Science IV' in 1973). 

Since 'a4' deals with the actual physical human body, it sholud be seen in 
light of James D. Watson's statement. And, the cell is only a tiny little 
fragment of what make up the human body. Compared to the structure of the 
DNA, even Space shuttles and Supercomputers appear to be toys. To think 
of fabricating an actual human body is too big a fancy yet. 

Morover, the body itself is only one aspect of what make a person, to 
create a physical body is one thing, to have that bag of chemicals act 
inteligently is another. A dead body also has the same chemical constitution 
as a live one but it doesn't act, i.e. shows no sign of intelligence, 
which leads me to believe that the mere programming embedded in the cells 
alone is not what gives intelligence, 'o4' should be analyzed in the light 
of this because indirectly, Donald Davidson says that 'soul' is also a 
thing or property that we can 'give' i.e. the hidden implication that the 
very idea that soul is physically irreducible is wrong.  

And all this is based upon DREAMS in his own words, 'a3', 'a4'!!!!   

Amazingly also, Donald Davidson made an asumption 'a4', proved that this is 
wrong through his own observations 'o1', 'o2', 'o3', and 'o5' and still 
assumed that his conclusions are valid!! 

Human psychology, speech behavior etc. are very much a part of the human 
nature and if they cannot fully comprehend them in the sense of having a 
lawlike physical correlations, there is no way that we can 'build' a 
human machine. Whether it is soul or the embedded programming in the neurons 
etc. that drives our actions, it is foolish to assume that we 'learn' 
everything after birth. A newborn knows how and when to cry.  

At one point in the essay, Donald Davidson says, "If this is materialism, 
we are committed to it".  I fail to understand, why are we not committed 
to common sense? 
Time and again, in a mad rush to discredit religion and the idea of God, 
the agnostics in the scientific community has come up with such lunatic 
ideas. They always startup with the accusition that religion is based upon 
faith and end up with their foot in their own mouth. 

Whether life and universe will ultimately reduce to purely physical terms, 
whether religion will prove to be a work of fancy, only time will tell. 

However, that time is not here nor is it anywhere close. The whole idea 
of the evolution of universe from quantum vacuum, Big Bang (which is 
based upon the faith in the assumption that Doppler effect and Newtonian 
laws of gravitation will apply universally), life from primordial soup 
etc all need centuries, if not more, to be proved. To actually prove, as 
opposed to accept it on faith, that Red Shift implied that universe is 
expanding, somone has to go to those galaxies and come back with 
confirmation, which is not even imaginable within the current theories.  

Until then, Scientists can continue to make a fool of themselves every-
time they make a claim that they have solved the mystery of life and 

email comments to me at manish@cadence.com, I may not be reading all the 
groups. I am very much interested in what others think of this since I 
myself was commited to AI and Natural Language processing while in school  
but the hypocrisy of the many so called researchers is nauseating. 

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