Monday, 3 January 2011

Poem and debate for the day

Bigger quales have smaller quales
Beneath them to incite 'em
You could for larks go far as quarks
But not ad infinitum.

Da iawn Gwilym. Yes. No, I don't know about the pronunciation either. Yes. You know where the door is. Nawrte boys bach, today we are indeed having a very exciting debate sort of thing. You know, like that one on the telly. No, not that one, on the other side. Now there are two sides to every coin, unless you count the other one, or count one twice, or have a peculiar coin. On my left, which is your right of course, I have none other than Deepfat Chocolatechum, the famous conscious person. And on my other left if I turn around, and look up, in the vertical direction, I have on the ceiling a hyper-caffeineated Dr. Bendious III, who is dead, and not like that other one at all, so he says. Thank fuck for that. In the chair, is Yours Truly, although I may in fact not be. We shall see. Now first things first, Deepfat Chocolatechum, I can't be bothered to google what you actually say, so I'll just make you spout random horseshit, if that's alright with you? -

DC:- No difference to me -

REJ:- And would you like a comedy racist accent? -

DC:- Goodness gracious me no! The name's enough -

REJ:- You ok up there Dr. Bendious III? -

DrB:- Whoop! Whoop! -

REJ:- Hmmm....never mind. Well lets get this over with. Deepfat, you called 'edge' and won the toss so you're in to bat first. Can you explain to me, and the assembled kittens, just what exactly consciousness is? -

DC:- Well, not in just the one book, no. It takes many books, and lots of advances. Ten more should do it I reckon -

REJ:- I see. Well what will the tenth-from-now say? -

DC:- The same as the first. For what is 10 but a 1 with zero added? -

REJ:- Talking of over my head, Dr. Bendious! You have a different theory I presume? -

DrB:- I floated up on the bubbles! Whoop! Whoop! The bubbles! Can you see them?! The bubbles of consciousness! The bubbles of my mind! Not really there! Not real at all! Aaaaagh!!! SPIDER!!! *thud!....oooof!* -

REJ:- ffs.-

DrB:- Oooh! That's better! Yes. Now consciousness is an illusion, you see, or rather don't you see you see you don't, don't you? - it's like a car and driver. Yes that's it. A car with an imaginary driver. Or drivers. Or part-drivers. If you crash, or put a spanner in the -

DC:- You can't say that looking through the windscreen! You need a third party perspective -

DrB:- Well I joined the AA -

REJ:- *wink!*

DC:- Nonono! Normal roadside assistance can't help! Only quantum mechanics can make it drive -

DrB:- But are there no quantum mechanics when there's only a part-driver? Or no driver? Or multiple drivers? Do the mechanics only appear when -

REJ:- Quick Deepfat! - say 'woo!'

DC:- woo! -

REJ:- Bit louder! -


REJ:- That's better! -

Dr.B:- And if you put a self or selfs in an Mri or otherwise interfere -

DC:- Woo

Dr.B:- Quantum mechanics at car level cannot be at play other than as it is, which is of no net influence. If you consider -

DC:- Woo.

Dr.B. - Woo?! You can't just keep saying woo and make millions! That would be absurd. There can be no ghost in the machine. That's why no-one has ever seen -

REJ:- Oooh! I must keep order, and absolute impartiality. And facilitate progression of the discussion. Not least because it's darts tonight, and the Lamb and Flag ladies reserves are playing the Crown for the division 3 title. They'll all be wearing new tops! A few of the boys had a whip-round and Rhodri-threads is making them all two sizes too tight! Gwladys-the-bike 2 legs adrift going for Shanghai with the first two in the bed and trying to pull off her double-top for the come-from-behind win!

Dr.B:- wibble

DC:- wibble

REJ:- Narwte, sense now boys. Dr. Bendious III. You must admit that ghosts, if we know anything about them at all, would, if they said anything, say 'woo!'. You're going to have to counter that if you want to impress this thinker. -

DC:- What time was the darts? -

REJ:- Half past nine -

DC& Dr.B:- Da iawn -

DC:- Hurrying along, as I've always argued for preciseness and concision in discussions on consciousness, I say to you, that I can quite clearly see myself in the vanity mirror. And so can you. And we can see each other and corroborate the evidence. Thus it's pretty clear, prettier in my case, that consciousness does exist. It would be hard to see how you could assert that was an illusion. Although that is what it would look like. I think I've got you there. -

Dr.B:- Yes good point, Deepfat. If we had any evidence we were riddled with perceptional illusions, my case would be stronger. What's the time now? -

REJ:- Nine o'r gloch! Shift your arse Deepfat! -

DC:- It's zombie-boy holding us up -

REJ:- Wind it up deado! Real or not, they'll be bending over the oche! -

Dr.B:- It will be just like the real thing!

DC:- Can I offer you a draw?! -

Dr.B:- No thanks, I've got the win. Btw, I think the kittens may have noticed your true third-party perspective demands curiously seem not to apply to your own -

REJ:- Third-party, fire and theft! -

Dr.B:- if that would be you arguing against yourself all along -

DC:- I would have to have a self to do that! You contradict yourself again. -

Dr.B:- Not-I have noself to contradict! -

REJ:- Fuck it, I'm not staying for crosswords. I'm off to watch the athletes -


DC:- I meant one has to be internally consistent -

REJ:- lol!, I heard that! -

DC:- Pardon? -

REJ:- What?! -



DC:- None for me thanks, it doesn't affect me -

Dr.B:- He won't have heard that, but have this tea instead. -

DC:- Why, thankyou. Goodness....real ghosts. I didn't have to make it up after all. Now, where am I? Ah, yes. I ask the driver in front. We check each other in the mirror. You can't get out of the car you know. -

Dr.B:- I ask him too! But he gets the directions wrong. We both know that -

DC:- Something's wrong with my Satnav.....have you got any de-mister? -

Dr.B:- Put your wipers on -

DC:- They only work outside....the dual controls should be

Dr.B:- You should resign now really, but you can have the mating if you prefer -

DC:- We could send off for adjudication -

Dr.B:- Oooh, but you'll never learn the endgame! You'll flounder like a 1980's supercomputer -

DC:- Computers can't mind, and they never will. In his seminal fluid, 'The Emperor's mathephysician's new guess at Biology', - that you just wasted a week of your death wading through the clunky staccato prose thereof within, as if ironically ghost-written by a 2-bit chatbot – Roger Penfold says he doesn't know what it is, but it certainly isn't what it is. -

Dr.B:- And he puts an annoying exclamation mark whenever he thinks he's said something clever! -

DC:- It can be annoying! -

Dr.B:- Almost patronising!! -

DC:- Although I notice you haven't made one, and with all the processing power available to today's computers, one should expect the equal of a wasp brain to be achievable very soon. And wasps can count to four. In the mornings. -

Dr.B:- Impressive. Brains are clearly a very efficient design, and conscious calculation the pinnacle of evolution. -

DC:- I believe you were offering to mate me -

Dr.B:- Do some desperate moves first, a dead mouse is less fun -

DC:- If you have a cat-in-a-box made of wavicles with two slits for eyes, you can't tell if it's shat or not until you check the litter tray. This means consciousness creates reality. Although it works with an unconscious observer. But the unconscious observer is checked by a conscious one, so it still counts. Unless you're right. I hope I'm not being circular like Descartes. Or it's shat in one universe, but not in another. It depends which book I'm on, but it's highly relevant if I forget what you said earlier, and usually does the trick. Aren't cuttlefish strange? -

Dr.B:- Your car has the larger turning circle and I could shave you like Occam for a parsimony win. -

DC:- That's no mate! I'll take the draw on time – we'll miss the darts! -

Dr.B:- But of course I'm toying with you. Just a little finesse and I'll show you how to break the circle without getting out of the car -

DC:- Well that's your 'STOP' warning light very much on. As that's impossible, I'm off down the rub-a-dub too. On this giant lobster! Woo hoo! I won't fall down the stairs with all these legs! -

Dr.B:- Put your hazard lights on -

DC:- No need! No need at all! I shouldn't feel a thing if you're right! I'll only feel I feel a thing, and that won't hurt at all. Weeeeeeeee!

*ooof! shit!* aiiiiieeee! my lobster legs!...the darts! -

Dr.B:- There are four main states of unconsciousness. Inanimate, non-REM, REM and awake -

DC:- It huuuuuurrrts! Turn it off if it's an illusion! -

Dr.B:- I'm afraid I'm not that kind of doctor. I'm a made-up one. Turn off yourself with this book on material meditations. We find all Self-components similarly optional by design, or by accident -

DC:- A trivial truism. But who or what is being deluded? And how can you know? - that is the hard problem -

Dr.B:- The limits of epistemology are the same for external reality. Your nested circularities evaporate on starting from non-self. You can know this awake, just not believe it. Starting with presupposed self like Descartes is obviously futile. Any starting point on your circle should be equally valid if it were true. However, starting at any point other than Self you can't get back around to it. If you like, make the circle an infinite line, a road perhaps. The instruments say either the road, or the driver is illusory. But the road can crash the driver, the driver can't crash the road. -

DC:- If that were true, reality at the level of Self could be engineered! -

Dr.B:- Ok, time for darts.