[Haskell-cafe] Quanta. Was: Wikipedia on first-class object

Ketil Malde ketil+haskell at ii.uib.no
Sun Jan 6 15:02:17 EST 2008

Derek Elkins <derek.a.elkins at gmail.com> writes:

>> I don't understand your point. We know what swimming is: floating and
>> moving autonomously. 

You're the first one I've heard who would use the term 'swimming' for
ships.  (And to be pedantic, wouldn't you say that fish swim, except
when they float?)

The point - stolen from Dennet, I think -- is that it is not terribly 
relevant wheter machines can think or just, you know, float and move
autonomously, forever voyaging through dark seas...

>> For goodness sake, I have *REALLY* the impression that those guys who
>> speak about computability of the Universe, 

Who is speaking about computability of the universe?  This looks like
a straw man to me.

>> have the mentality of 18 century thinkers for whom the world was
>> simple and mechanistic. Or even the mentality of people
>> contemporary of Democritus, for whom everything "reduced" to some
>> dance of atoms.

> Or a wave function for the Universe...

So - your counterclaim is that something complex and mystic and
incomprehensible cannot arise from the simple, tangible and
understood?  Perhaps my views are *so* 1980s, but not 18th century, I

Why is it that we cannot design roads so that we avoid traffic jams?
Don't we understand cars and asphalt?  Quantum effects in the
combustion engine, perhaps?

More seriously, perhaps "quantum" enters into the equation in how the
brain works, perhaps it is even necessary for "thought".  However, I
get worried it's just another mystical mantra, a gratuitous factor
that, lacking any theory about how and what it does, adds nothing to
help understanding the issue.

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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