[ExI] aeon article - you have no memory

Will Steinberg steinberg.will at gmail.com
Sun May 22 01:38:07 UTC 2016

God, this article is awful.  I can't even begin to address all the wrong
points because there are too many.  I don't think that the brain is a
digital computer, but it shares a lot of concepts.

The biggest issue here though is that it's all semantics.  At the end he
says "We are organisms, not computers."  What an uninformed sentence.
Because--what IS an organism?  What is a computer?  Was he really thinking
about that when he wrote it (hint: no)?  They're nebulous terms that could
be made to appear similar or different depending on what you emphasize.  I
could make an argument for why a ham sandwich is a good metaphor for a
brain, an equally good argument for why a ham sandwich is a good metaphor
for soil layers, and a third, also equally good argument for why soil
layers are a bad metaphor for the brain.  When you traffic in metaphors, if
you're EVER making absolute statements, you know something is wrong.
Metaphors are not the realm of absolutes, rather the opposite.

And that's all ignoring the fact that there is compiled evidence of people
who ARE able to draw perfect representations from memory.  What the author
did here is incorrectly extrapolate from the quite obvious fact that the
symbols in a brain for, say, a dollar bill are NOT an ACTUAL, PHYSICAL
dollar bill (holy shit, what a surprise!).  We already know that.

How about THIS: the dollar bill (let's say the hundred because of changing
more often) has been updated over the years, so the current hundred is
actually a REPRESENTATION of the collective PSYCHIC/MEMETIC construct of
the hundred dollar bill!  It's turtles all the way down!

Seriously, the first sentence gives it away.  So: "Your brain does not
process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your
brain is not a computer".  Anyone could make that statement (it would
probably always sound ridiculous...) so long as they decide on definitions
of "process information", "retrieve knowledge", "store memories", and
"computer" which make the argument work.  And arguing for the opposite
conclusion would be just as possible by taking out those two "not"s.

Just a bad article that shows a real lack of understanding.  Terrible.
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