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Comments

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War Over Arsenic Based Life

Burnhard Re:Scientific Method (155 comments)

Yes, and as you know the doubling of CO2 should produce approximately 1C of warming. All of the rest, including your stupid link to "realclimate" (a marketing site for discredited activist scientists like Michael Mann), is conjecture based on no evidence whatsoever.

more than 3 years ago
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War Over Arsenic Based Life

Burnhard Re:Scientific Method (155 comments)

I don't know how many times I have to say this; perhaps people like you will one day get the message: running a model is not the same as performing an experiment. If all models have the same bias, then you cannot claim they are correct just because they come to a consensus.

more than 3 years ago
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Lockheed Martin Purchases First Commercial Quantum Computer

Burnhard Re:Wiki (189 comments)

I sympathise with the guy. I just read the article about adiabatic quantum computation and didn't understand what the hell it was going on about. I've been an SD for ten years. If these things take off, I'm very definitely out of a job.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Consciousness. (729 comments)

I would suggest that consciousness is the canvass that physics paints on. I realise this isn't very scientific and is not an explanation, but in the absence of any theory of what consciousness actually is (except of course the idea that it's just an illusion, although what is being fooled is itself a question that has not been answered), that is how I prefer to visualise it.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Standard Model is enough (729 comments)

the idea that known physics will be able to account for the brain is enormously far in the lead

You're making an error in your analysis here, by assuming that the physical facts determine all of the facts. A functional/materialist description of the brain does not solve the "hard problem". The only solution to the hard problem I've ever read is one that simply denies it exists. Not a very satisfying solution. Let me ask you a question: once all of the forces, fields, particles and laws of physics have been enumerated, will there be anything else left to explain?

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Penrose is a mystic (729 comments)

Why do you assume QM is only a low level causal phenomena? Do you subscribe to the view that state vector collapse is a real procedure, then? I realise that I cannot get an interference fringe by throwing cricket balls through slits at a screen, but perhaps the classifications you have made (the hierarchy of levels) are a function of your conscious experience, or rather the regularities that your brain is able to distinguish between therein, rather than a function of how the Universe actually is? Things are not as they seem, are they.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Recently? (729 comments)

Which goes to show how people prefer reading material that confirms their already strongly held opinions.

I also read both Hoftstadter and Dennett. The former made a similar mistake to the one you accuse Penrose of making: attaching almost mystical properties to the concept of recursion and the emergence of complexity. Dennett has similar problems, but more than that he has mistaken a model of cognition for a model of conscious experience. He side steps the explanatory gap by simply denying it exists, just as Hoftstadter denies it by promoting the idea that it is simply an emergent property, without being about to explain exactly what the nature of that property actually is.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Consciousness is weird (729 comments)

This argument is a fallacy, because it's not one that Penrose has ever actually made. His argument has a great deal more subtlety about it than the absurd reduction you present.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:Quantum Theory is not relevant (729 comments)

There's a gigantic chasm there that philosophers generally call "the explanatory gap".

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard Re:First things first (729 comments)

Explain fMRI studies that indicate that one actually makes decisions PRE-consciously yet still makes consciousness relevant

Penrose included the implications of these experiments in his book, Shadows of the Mind. But to turn the argument on its head, what would be the point of evolving any kind of conscious awareness at all if consciousness is simply a detached observer of events in the brain? The argument that it must have some causal role is a powerful one, even if it is not immediately obvious (and I'm sure you'll agree that this one set of experiments is not the last word on the matter).

I think Penrose is on much firmer ground when he states that QM effects are taken advantage of by the brain. After all, large scale QM effects are taken advantage of in other biological systems (photosynthesis for example). A relationship between QM and consciousness has long been suggested and I think it would be foolish to simply dismiss it.

more than 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

Burnhard The Emperors New Mind (729 comments)

I'm sorry, but "recently"? I read Penrose first book on this subject in 1990. Actually it was reading this book that inspired me to go to University to study Intelligent Systems (an oxymoron, so I discovered). I also have his second book on this subject, Shadows of the Mind, on my bookshelf.

I find that his basic argument that there is something missing in our conception of reality that makes understanding of conscious experience impossible, to be fundamentally correct. Philosophers differ on whether or not consciousness and the mysteriousness of QM are related. Intuitively I would suggest that they are, but science by intuition isn't very robust so I won't explain why.

It's important not to forget that Physics and Mathematics are good tools for describing the regularities of experience, but they have absolutely nothing to say about the nature of that experience. Philosophers like Dennett would do away with the entire problem by simply denying it. David Chalmers would take the opposing view, that conscious experience can never be explained with a purely functionalist or materialist world view.

Perhaps the most interesting recent advance in this area was the discovery that plants take advantage of quantum effects in optimising photosynthesis. Evin Harris Walker makes a convincing argument for quantum effects in the brain (although he tends to focus on tunnelling, rather than the microtubule coherence that Penrose points us to). I would find it extraordinary if the brain did not take advantage of such effects in order to increase its efficiency.

I think the most important point in all of this however, is that we know very little about consciousness and we know very little about how the brain works. But more than that, it is my belief that even after science has enumerated all of the particles, fields and laws of physics, there will still be something left to explain. This is the central mystery of conscious experience that Penrose talks about and it is why Chalmers says that conscious experience does not logically supervene on the physical.

more than 3 years ago
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IBM Now Officially Worth More Than Microsoft

Burnhard Facebook? (295 comments)

Yes. It was valued at $50 billion by Goldman Sachs and as we know Goldman Sachs are experts at running little pump & dump schemes. Coincidentally, Goldman are managing the floatation. What a shock their valuation was!

more than 3 years ago
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Global Warming To Hinder Wi-Fi Signals, Claims UK Gov't

Burnhard Re:Scraping the bottom of the barrel (280 comments)

It's no longer "climate change", it's "climate dispruption". The meme changes whenever the previous one becomes discredited by poor science and research fraud.

more than 3 years ago
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Global Warming To Hinder Wi-Fi Signals, Claims UK Gov't

Burnhard Re:UK Government Hinders WiFi (280 comments)

Firstly, skepticalscience is anything but. It's a shill website, so -1 for referencing it. Secondly, the correlation is almost certainly more complex than the simple-minded one demonstrated there. For example, there's a definite correlation between cosmic rays and stratospheric temperature. Moreover, atmospheric temperature is closely related to sea surface temperature (particularly through El Nino and La Nina), so the correlation is more likely to be something like cosmic rays -> cloud cover -> sea temperature -> atmospheric temperature (the heat capacity of the oceans being 1,000 x greater than that of the atmosphere). As I say, you don't know all of the facts and neither does the propagandist who maintains the skepticalscience website.

more than 3 years ago
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Global Warming To Hinder Wi-Fi Signals, Claims UK Gov't

Burnhard Re:UK Government Hinders WiFi (280 comments)

Actually now I mention it, it would take only a change in cloud cover of 1-2% to cause the observed recent warming signal. I'm fairly certain those facts aren't known and that there's precious little historical data on this of any accuracy.

more than 3 years ago
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Global Warming To Hinder Wi-Fi Signals, Claims UK Gov't

Burnhard Re:UK Government Hinders WiFi (280 comments)

You are basing your assumption on all the facts being known. This is a huge mistake, and it's one that the environmental movement and these activist "post-normal" scientists have been making for decades. I would, for example, wait for the CLOUD experiment at CERN to complete before coming to any conclusions.

more than 3 years ago
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Reform the PhD System or Close It Down

Burnhard Re:"irrelevant to the world beyond academia" (487 comments)

A Ph.D. will immediately get out a hammer and beat on it to see if any rotten pieces fly off

I think you've missed off something important from your analysis: group-think. That is to say, the Ph.D. is something of a course of indoctrination into a paradigm, moderated by fellow believers. It isn't for nothing they say that science progresses one funeral at a time.

more than 3 years ago
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The Encroachment of Fact-Free Science

Burnhard Re:Another drive by hit piece (962 comments)

The article is talking about those who completely deny all facts

Yet it starts by talking about Senator Infhoe, who "believes" that doubling CO2 will cause an increase of around ~1C, but that all the other computer model predictions are bollocks. So how is Infhoe an idiot when an eminent scientist like Richard Lindzen and many others hold the same view? The article should be turned around because it's clearly about activist scientists using science to promote a political agenda and how the public are getting wise to this. In reality, scientists themselves are destroying public trust in science by "marketing" their work for personal or professional gain.

more than 3 years ago
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Gosper's Algorithm Meets Wall Street Formulas

Burnhard Re:Hurh? (124 comments)

Why is this modded "informative"? It should have been modded funny.

more than 3 years ago
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Scientists Cleared of Misusing Global Warming Data

Burnhard Re:Misrepresenting Anthony Watts... (541 comments)

You forgot to include the removal of temperature stations from the network, which has also been going on.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Sun spot activity at a 1,000 year high

Burnhard Burnhard writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Burnhard (1031106) writes "A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer."

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