Sunday, September 24, 2006

Book TV

Today, Sept 23 I was watching CSpan's BookTV. The show dealt with racial disparities in health care, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. One of the guests explored the effect of "g" on health care disparities, she stated that cognition is not made up of several parts, only "g" matters, which is true. In addition she stated that racial disparities in IQ are very stubborn. Yet, nowhere did she address the fact that if "g" is even partially determined by genetics, then "g" is partially an algorithm.

Most advocates of a hard "g" theory believe that "g" is genetically determined, as such they believe that the mind is in the brain, and processes in the brain constitute the mind. Yet the brain is governed by classical physical laws (quantum mechanics and general relativity have little to no effect) hence it functions like a machine. Since the brain is a machine and processes in the brain constitute the mind then guess what the mind is a machine as well. As such it is an algorithm, hence if one can perform the actions of a universal Turing machine then one can emulate the other algorithm, in principle.

Some advocates of a hard "g" theory, may state that we are more than machines. This implies our mind is not wholly material, hence part of our mind is not determined by the processes in our brains, hence part of "g" is not "in" our brains. Well then where is it? If we are not strict materialists then we must admit supernatural effects on "g", hence "g" cannot be wholly determined by genetics. This also implies that the scientific method may not answer all questions relating to "g".


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October 3, 2006 at 3:14 PM  

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