Instigator / Pro
1
1516
rating
9
debates
55.56%
won
Topic

Machines can, in theory, think.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
3
Sources points
0
2
Spelling and grammar points
0
1
Conduct points
1
1

With 1 vote and 6 points ahead, the winner is ...

Benjamin
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Contender / Con
7
1718
rating
41
debates
70.73%
won
Description
~ 620 / 5,000

-Full resolution- In theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to humans

-Definition-
Possible = Something of which has a chance to occur
Machine = a mechanically, electrically, or electronically operated device for performing a task
Human = of, relating to, or characteristic of humans

Wagyu's burden of proof: "Machines can, in theory, think. "
Contender's burden of proof: "Machines can, in theory, not think. "

-General Rules-
1. No new arguments in the last round
2. Since this is a thought experiment, sources are not essential
3. Burden of Proof is shared

Round 1
Pro
Another debate with Ben! This should be very interesting. 

==

BoP: To justify the proposition that in theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to human beings. 

If we examine this BoP, we can find that all I need to show is that it is theoretically possible to create machines which are capable of thinking. This is not a debate about the practicality or possibility of a time when technology allows us to achieve such things, it is simply a philosophical debate about whether this will ever be possible. 

My argument will be very simple thus, no division of categories is required. 

==

Working off an objection

Usually, one of the largest objections for hard AI is the issue of Searle's Chinese Room Thought-Experiment. I assume my opponent knows what this is (as they are taking the con side of this debate). Essentially, the experiment attempts to highlight the difference between understanding something and simply following instructions. The thought experiment attempts to conclude that machines can only "symbol shuffle" and do not truly understand what they are doing, just like how a typewriter does not understand what they are typing. 

Working off this I can form the basis of my first argument. The issue with this though experiment is that it doesn't take into consideration the level of which technology can hypothetically operate at. The experiment only considers low level machines which work off symbol shuffling. But who said we need to be restricted by technology? This is, after all, a thought experiment. 

I take it that my opponent is aware that their brain is composed of billions of neurons woven together to form a complex web. Imagine that we created a robot brain which mimicked this web, with the only difference being that the robots neurons are made out of metal and silicon. Each of these artificial neurons are designed to function exactly as an ordinary neuron would. The neurons are also woven into a web like structure the same way as the normal human brain is constructed. 

Imagine that this machine brain, comprised of metal and silicon, were to gradually replace the organic neurons in your own brain. Imagine that, after 2 years of interval surgeries, you would eventually have a completely robotic brain, of which has the exact same functions as that of your organic brain. Remember, these neurons operate in the exact same manner as your organic brain, with the only difference being material. 

Throughout the surgeries, you would never notice any difference in your function. You would not loose your function, understanding or feeling. In fact, the only reason you know that their is some difference in your biological build is because you are attending these surgeries. If you were to be kidnapped by aliens where on their UFO, they conducted the exact same surgery, you would have no way of knowing that your biological brain has been swapped out by a machine one. 

==

Conclusion

I have demonstrated that the process of thinking can be simulated by machines. I have successfully shown that in theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to humans.

Now to Ben. 


Con
Thank you Wagyu, this will indeed be interesting. I will hopefully stay serious this time around XD



DEBATE SETUP:

Think - definition: 
  1. Have a particular opinion, belief, or idea about someone or something[1]
  2. Direct one's mind towards someone or something; use one's mind actively to form connected ideas.[1]

BoP: To justify the proposition that in theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to human beings. 

My argument will be very simple thus, no division of categories is required. 
Actually, a division of categories is indeed required. We must distinguish between these two different ideas:

  • Thinking with a mind
  • Thinking with a brain
Thinking with a mind:
The mind is the most basic idea that "I"  as a person, exist. The mind is immaterial, and concepts exist within the mind, and cannot exist without the mind.
Thinking with a mind means that concepts are intentionally connected inside a mind.

Thinking with a brain:
A brain is different than the mind. Both the mind and the brain are concepts that can only exist within the mind, and as such, a brain is secondary in nature to the mind. 
We cannot prove the existence of a brain without using science, and we cannot trust science without believing in the mind.
Thinking with a brain means that a system of physical interactions happens within a given physical space. 


Refuting your victory condition:
Usually, one of the largest objections for hard AI 
I am not arguing against hard AI, but the idea that AI can think similarly to a human.

"""the most difficult problems are informally known as AI-complete or AI-hard, implying that the difficulty of these computational problems, assuming intelligence is computational, is equivalent to that of solving the central artificial intelligence problem"""[2]
Hard AI is no closer to being a mind than regular AI. They are both purely systems of flowing electrons in a special pattern, the one we deem useful. Todays AI already has the capability to "think" with a brain. Humans think both with a mind and with a brain, and you claim that a machine can also think like that. As such, you must prove that AI is no different from a mind to prove your point.





REBUTTALS:

it doesn't take into consideration the level of which technology can hypothetically operate at
We already have AI that thinks today, technological advancements will improve AI, but not change the fact that it is based on a brain and not a mind.



robot brain which mimicked this web, with the only difference being that the robots neurons are made out of metal and silicon
I am afraid this is not possible. Pro claims that an electronic model of a neuron would still be called a neuron. That is like calling a robot posing as a human, a human. What the argument fails to address is also the fact that human biology and electronics are fundamentally different. First of all, electronics is not based on chemistry, but rather electromagnetism and computer science. Electronics are made of structured networks that need a constant stream of electricity to keep on flowing the electrons around the system. Biology is about small packages of carbon-based molecules that in itself are more complex than any other closed system in the universe. If one is only concerned about science, by default, if something can think similarly to a human, that thing IS a human. One would need to make a replica of the brain to call it "thinking similarly to a human". 



gradually replace the organic neurons
First of all, that would be impossible, even with perfect technology. Logically speaking, one cannot remove a neuron that is connected to 100 other neurons, and remove it from the body. But obviously, it is a thought experiment, Pro want us to imagine a partly electronic brain. This in itself is problematic, as electronics require electricity, and in addition to that, they also cannot work properly in an organic environment. Organic and electrical neurons cannot coexist, as they cannot understand each other's signals.



Remember, these neurons operate in the exact same manner as your organic brain, with the only difference being material. 
Now, this becomes a bit more interesting. Pro has now presented us with a fully electronic model of our brain. I must mind you that the cell is the smallest possible entity with the capability to transfer messages. Imagine how many metal atoms must be in a clear pattern to create even a single electronic gate. These cells Pro are talking about would be enormous in comparison to a normal cell, due to the problem of chemistry vs electronically simulated chemistry. These "electronic cells" must have been magnified extremely, just for them to successfully take on the shapes and connections neurons do. And still, after all of that, they would not share the properties of normal neurons. Pro claims that with enough sophisticated technology it would be theoretically possible to break the laws of physics. and the laws of logic He does so by claiming that 1. We can create an electronic brain, and 2. an electronic brain would be equal to an organic one. His argument falls apart both scientifically and logically. 




Throughout the surgeries, you would never notice any difference in your function.
Incorrect. It is a fundamental scientific theory that different atoms have different properties and functions. Electronics are not even based on chemistry.




Remember, these neurons operate in the exact same manner as your organic brain, with the only difference being material. 
As I have shown, even if we created the best possible model of the brain using electronics or programming, it would still be remarkably different from the chemistry-based brain humans actually have. The argument goes that if a statue looks like a human, it is a human. In this case, he claims that if we create an AI that perfectly mimics the actions of a human, that AI thinks like a human. The argument is logically flawed.



I have demonstrated that the process of thinking can be simulated by machines
Yes. But only if we assume that:
  1. The mind does not exist 
  2. Humans are only physical, and thinking is just a product of our brain 
  3. We can create a machine that is similar in structure to a brain
  4. A machine brain would be equal to an organic one 
If you cannot prove all of them to be true, then the argument you debunked is stronger than ever.

My opponent has effectively proved, that his argument is true only inside his thought experiment, assuming the laws of logic are ignored.
The only way in which one could simulate how humans think would be to gather all the laws of physics and simulate the entire universe. In other words, only God could successfully simulate how humans think with a brain. 




ARGUMENTS:


Argument from philosophy
Pro has based his argument on naturalism. He tries to compare a brain and a computer in order to show his point: that hypothetically a model of the brain should be able to exist. Ignoring the fact that the laws of logic debunk his argument even if his thought experiment was possible, there are still greater problems. By comparing humans to machines, he essentially says that a human is no different from a dead human. His argument is based on a grander world view that eventually leads to determinism, moral nihilism and the delegitimisation of science. On the contrary, if the mind exists, machines cannot think like humans. If Pro is correct, he must admit that he himself is a machine and that moral and immoral acts are essentially the same. This should pose no problem in comparison to his claim that "electric" and "organic " are equal.
you would eventually have a completely robotic brain, of which has the exact same functions as that of your organic brain.
My opponent admits that he believes humans are no different from robots.



Argument by contradiction
As previously established, his argument is based on naturalism. The most severe intellectual effect is that the mind must be discarded. There would be no difference between a human and a dead ape, as they would both be a purely physical object. We must not forget that "think" is a concept that exists only within the mind. As such, if the mind does not exist, science does not exist. Pro has appealed to science trying to prove his point, but science only exists if Pro's claim is incorrect. Ultimately, any attempt at removing the mind as an immaterial being is self-contradictory. 



Argument by free will
  1. If machines could think, humans would be machines, and machines do not have free will.
  2. If humans do not have free will, we cannot choose what to believe in
  3. Conclusion: If pro is correct, humans do not have free will
The obvious problem arises: if humans have no choice regarding what to believe in, then his opinion would not have chosen by choice. In fact, without free will, our opinions are completely determined by the laws of physics. Ultimately, according to pro, pro's opinions were randomly determined before the big bang. Why would you choose to believe in an idea that undermines your free will to choose what to believe? As a matter of fact, if Pro is correct then humans do not exist, only atoms.



Argument by logic
I have demonstrated that the process of thinking can be simulated by machines.
Computers can simulate anything [3]. But humans cannot simulate thinking inside their brains. If computers can think because they can simulate thinking then by the same logic humans cannot think. This argument is irrelevant and innately flawed. Also, simulating something does not mean doing that thing. A computer can simulate a hurricane, but it could never actually blow like a hurricane.
I have successfully shown that in theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to humans.
I want to prove this is impossible using science and logic. I have already debunked the possibility of an electronic brain and a semi-electronic brain. But I can allow his thought experiment to break the laws of physics, we will let it pass. Pro claims that an electronic brain has the same functionality as an organic one, another statement that ignores the laws that define what is physically impossible. He might retreat to the position that a brain could be simulated correctly.

Let us look at Pros logic for a second:
  1. Humans can think 
  2. Humans can be simulated by a machine
  3. Therefore, Machines can think 
The first premise tells us that either: A. Only humans have a mind and can think, or B. Machines can think and humans are machines
The second premise tells us that the mind does not exist, which leads us to accept 1.B: humans are machines and machines can think.
So in fact, the second premise alone carries Pro entire claim: machines can think
As I have shown, the second premise is the same statement as the conclusion.




CONCLUSION

Fallacies of the argument
  • Pro uses the mind to undermine the existence of the mind.
  • Pro uses a circular logic where he hides the conclusion under a single premise, rendering his argument invalid.
  • Pro bases his argument on naturalism, an idea that undermines naturalism, morality and science.
  • Pro confuses "physically and logically impossible" with "limited by technology" - he fails to understand that chemistry and electromagnetism are incompatible.

As a final verdict, my opponent has failed to prove his statement. Machines cannot think, not because of technology but because of logic.

"Machines can think" is a blind assertion based on naturalism which is not a fact but a world view similar to religion, communism and atheism.

Machines cannot think unless humans are machines - a blind assertion, not proven in any way.


Wagyu - your turn


Sources:


Round 2
Pro
Well that was all very interesting. 

==

Debate setup rebuttal

My opponent attempts draw a distinction between the mind and brain. However, this distinction shouldn't be much issue during the duration of this debate. Consider the following. 

If you are a dualist, that is that if you believe their is a distinction between the mind and body, this belief should make no difference to my analogy. Remember, the only difference between the hypothetical machine brain and your biological brain is the material it is contracted by. Hypothetically, your "mind" shouldn't disconnect from this mechanical brain. Or at least this is what I am arguing for. 

If you are a monist, this belief should certainly not make a difference to my analogy.

The mind is immaterial, and concepts exist within the mind, and cannot exist without the mind.
Where does the mind come from? When does one access their mind? What happens to ones mind when they die? How can an immaterial thing have an effect on a purely material thing?

Thinking with a mind means that concepts are intentionally connected inside a mind.

Thinking with a brain means that a system of physical interactions happens within a given physical space. 
I fail to see the distinction. What exactly is thinking with the mind? What process does the mind control?  From my understanding, my brain is all the controls my movement. 

I am not arguing against hard AI, but the idea that AI can think similarly to a human.
Believers of hard AI believe that machines can think and non believers believe the opposite. 

Rebutting rebuttals

it doesn't take into consideration the level of which technology can hypothetically operate at
We already have AI that thinks today, technological advancements will improve AI, but not change the fact that it is based on a brain and not a mind.
We don't have AI which can operate at the level of which I am describing. Again with this distinction between the mind and the brain. It matters not because as I have stated, the mind should have no issue "connecting" with this brain, as the only difference between your brain and the one I am proposing is that one is made out of meat and the other is made out of mechanical parts. 

robot brain which mimicked this web
I am afraid this is not possible.
If we revisit the resolution, it clearly states this is a thought experiment where we are discussing things on a purely hypothetical level. This is not a debate about technology, but about what it takes for a machine be able to think like a human. 

That is like calling a robot posing as a human, a human.

I am afraid this is not possible. Pro claims that an electronic model of a neuron would still be called a neuron. That is like calling a robot posing as a human, a human.
This is completely incorrect. This is like saying that a Mona Lisa replica, of which look almost identical to the original, is in fact the original. Even though one thing looks like another, it does not mean that this thing has in fact become what it is trying to replicate. 

I took extra care in adding the following in the resolution 

In theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to humans

It is impossible for a machine to be identical to a human being, on the simple basis that a robot is made out of mechanical parts while a human is not. However, it is my belief that a robot can think in a similar manner to a human being. 

My opponent then goes on to highlight that their is a difference between biology and electronics. Although their is a very clearly a difference between the two, one can mimic the other. Take photosynthesis as an example. Photosynthesis was traditionally a natural process which leaves go through. Even though this is a biological process, it has been mimicked by machines. 

Even though this artificial leaf mimics a real leaf, it isn't a real leaf. However, it can be concluded that this leaf can photosynthesis in a similar manner to organic leaves. 

gradually replace the organic neurons
First of all, that would be impossible, even with perfect technology.
With perfect technology, we can do quite literally everything. If we visit the Kardashev scale (which measures the technological advancement of a civilisation), we can see that A type III can control energy at the scare of it's entire host galaxy. This level of advancement is impossible for us to conceive. In this future world, people could capture the energy from gamma-ray bursts, collect energy from white holes and theoretically tap into the energy realised form supermassive black holes at the centre of the galaxy. I'm sure that if a civilisation is advanced enough to be playing with black holes, they can certainly create a few artificial neurons. 

Logically speaking, one cannot remove a neuron that is connected to 100 other neurons, and remove it from the body.
If we were to time travel 200 years into the past and dropped off Siri which can respond convincingly to an comments, people would be stunned. From their perspective, a little screen should not be able to maintain a productive conversation. Of course, as I have already, this is not a debate about technological possibilities, but about whether theoretically, this is possible.

Pro claims that with enough sophisticated technology it would be theoretically possible to break the laws of physics.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. This is a quote from science fiction writer Arthur C. and it is certainly applicable in this situation. Even though you personally cannot comprehend this level of technology, this in no way means that it has to break the laws of physics. No where in my argument am I suggesting that the laws of physics need to be broken. 

Throughout the surgeries, you would never notice any difference in your function.
Incorrect. It is a fundamental scientific theory that different atoms have different properties and functions. Electronics are not even based on chemistry.
My opponent clearly misunderstands that their are difference methods one can take to achieve an outcome. Though electronics and chemistry are based on different fields of science, one can still mimic another. Take getting over a wall as an example. Using carpentry I can build a staircase over the wall. Using chemistry, I can propel myself over with an engine. Using biology, I can climb a tree over the wall. Using electronics, I can get lifted by a drone. Though these are all very different methods, they can still achieve the same outcome. This is applicable to the debate in hand. 

Though an electronic brain and biological brain are composed of different materials, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility that they can have the same function on the basis that they have a different physical appearance.   

According to my opponent, I need to prove the following in order to have a valid argument. 

1. The mind does not exist. 

Though I personally do not believe in a mind, this position matters not in this debate, as my opponent still has a fundamental question to answer. If a mind can connect to a biological brain, why can't it connect to a mechanical brain? Imagine if one were to have a gradual transfer of their biological neurons to these new electronic neurons. What would happen if just 1 neuron were switched? Would the mind disconnect because of this one non-biological neuron? What about 2? 3? 5 million? At what point does a person cease to be a person.

This also applies to your second criteria.

3. We can create a machine that is similar in structure to a brain
As this is a purely hypothetical example where we are not bound by the possibilities of technology, the plausibility of the creation of this brain is not an issue. This also applies to your 4th criteria. 

==

Argument rebuttal

Argument from philosophy rebuttal 

By comparing humans to machines, he essentially says that a human is no different from a dead human.
What a silly misrepresentation. Of course their are differences between a human and a corpse. One has brain function. One is (usually) responsive to their surroundings. One can (usually) act upon their desires. One's body maintains unconscious functions, while the other is dead. 

My opponent admits that he believes humans are no different from robots.
I believe that when the technology is able, robots while be able to have independent thoughts. This isn't to say that there is no difference between a robot and a human. After all, artificial photosynthesis isn't the exact same as natural photosynthesis, is it? 

Argument by contradiction

The most severe intellectual effect is that the mind must be discarded.
I have already shown that this is not the case.

Argument by free will

Even though I don't believe in free will, your major premise is still incorrect. To say that humans and machines are the same on the basis that they can both think is like saying that a human is the same as a house fly because they can both see. 

Argument from logic rebuttal 

If computers can think because they can simulate thinking then by the same logic humans cannot think.
Perhaps simulate isn't the best word. I would go as far as saying that they are not only simulating thinking, but are actually undergoing the process of thinking and understanding. 

The following is my syllogism, followed by Bens reply. 

  1. Humans can think 
  2. Humans can be simulated by a machine
  3. Therefore, Machines can think 
1) The first premise tells us that either: A. Only humans have a mind and can think, or B. Machines can think and humans are machines

2) The second premise tells us that the mind does not exist, which leads us to accept 1.B: humans are machines and machines can think.
Regarding 1) A, this is entirety incorrect. As I have stated my opponent needs to state why the "mind" can connect with an organic brain but not a metal one. Regarding B, this claim has already been rebutted. Just because a machine can act in a similar way to a human, doesn't mean it is. Just because a Toyota and Ferrari have four wheels and an engine, doesn't mean that they are the same thing. 

However, on reflection, I suppose my syllogism could have been better crafted. For the duration of this debate, please refer to the following. 

  1. Humans think as a product of neurons (among other things). 
  2. Neurons can be replicated by machinery. 
  3. Machines can think as a product of their artificial neurons. 
Conclusion rebuttal

Pro uses the mind to undermine the existence of the mind. 
??

Pro uses a circular logic where he hides the conclusion under a single premise
Address my new syllogism. 

Pro bases his argument on naturalism, an idea that undermines naturalism, morality and science. 

Pro bases his argument on naturalism, an idea that undermines naturalism
??

Pro confuses "physically and logically impossible" with "limited by technology" - he fails to understand that chemistry and electromagnetism are incompatible.
I have demonstrated that, though chemistry and robotics are in different field, this in no way means that they cannot do similar things. 

==

Conclusion

I have rebutted all of my opponents objections to my argument.

Back to you, Ben. 
Con



CLEARANCE:

I fail to see the distinction.
The mind is how humans experience both reality and their own thoughts. Concepts exist only inside our minds. The mind is the most fundamental experience possible. If "I" objectively exist, then my mind is the thing which experiences reality. My experience/consciousness exists as a single entity - the mind. If I exist, so does my mind.

The brain, however, is a concept inside our minds. It is studied using science, and science is a product of our minds. One cannot do science without believing that the mind exists, and one cannot believe in the brain without believing in science. Computers are no different from our brain in that they both are controlled by the laws of physics. The brain cannot explain why science works, the brain is a product of science. There are no ways to believe in the brain - except using religious faith or faith in the mind that discovered the brain.

The distinction is very important:
- the mind is what we call our own philosophical existence.
- the brain is a concept we discovered using the mind.



Believers of hard AI believe that machines can think and non believers believe the opposite. 
The question is whether or not it can think like a human, not if it can think like a computer or algorithm.



Where does the mind come from? When does one access their mind? What happens to ones mind when they die? How can an immaterial thing have an effect on a purely material thing?
World views disagree. But denying its existence can only be done if one ignores the foundation of philosophy => "I think therefore I am"



If you are a monist
Then one must believe one of the following:
  1. The brain IS the mind
  2. The mind does not exist
If the brain IS the mind, things get confusing. A human body is made up of atoms which do not experience reality. But somehow a bunch of atoms together experience reality. By "experience" I am not talking about how the brain works physically, but the entity which we can "I". If the brain IS the mind, then "I" is just a product of atoms moving around. Humans do not feel like multiple entities, we feel like one - so there must be a binding force that connects all atoms of the brain anyways. We could ask ourselves these question: if atoms form consciousness, how do they know which atoms are part of the body, and which are bacteria? If atoms form consciousness, then all atoms are conscious to a tiny degree. This idea, monism, is starting to get blatantly pseudoscientific. Science is based on the mind, and the mind is either immaterial or based on pseudoscience. You might claim that the immaterial mind is also pseudoscientific, but it is not a theory of science but a theory of philosophy.

I have now demonstrated that either the mind is "immaterial" or this theory,  "monism", is kinda sketchy. The only option left is number 2 - the mind does not exist.


If you are a dualist
All humans are dualists - they believe destroying human atoms is immoral while blowing up a mountain is not bad at all. Why?

Morality, philosophy, science, experience and consciousness - all these fields get explained by this single idea: the mind is immaterial and attached to this material reality.
There is no denial - the mind IS.

REBUTTALS REBUTTALS REBUTTALS:

the only difference between the hypothetical machine brain and your biological brain is the material it is contracted by
You admit there is a difference. But how large is it really? HUGE. Electronics and biochemistry do not share any physical property at all.



With perfect technology, we can do quite literally everything
You have literally claimed that A. God could do everything - B. Illogical things cannot exist. If God cannot do something illogical neither can tecnology.



What exactly is thinking with the mind? What process does the mind control?
I do not know - nobody knows. But the theory needed for Pros argument to be correct is much more confusing and even less scientific.



We don't have AI which can operate at the level of which I am describing.
Hardware can hardly be improved much more : ) - there are limits called atoms which cannot be made smaller. This makes your electronic neurons impossibly big, as the only way for information transportation over such distances is chemical. Your machine brain would be way too big. AI are not hardware, but software. A digital brain is what pro is proposing, as any attempt at making an electronic one would fail if God does not change the laws of physics.



 the mind should have no issue "connecting" with this brain
The immaterial mind is strange, we only believe in it because we experience it ourselves. The mind is only human - as has yet to be disproven.
Pro has let us know that his view is that "the mind" is innately just a property of matter. This claim is groundless and assumes we understand the mind, which we do not at all.



This is not a debate about technology, but about what it takes for a machine be able to think like a human. 
Technically, the machine itself would have to be similar to a human. Biology and electronics are not compatible or, so this cannot work.



With perfect technology, we can do quite literally everything.
Like creating a triangular sphere or an electronic cell? You're not talking about technology but rather about God.



 I'm sure that if a civilisation is advanced enough to be playing with black holes, they can certainly create a few artificial neurons. 
Artificial neurons, yes. Electronic neurons? No way, by definition that is impossible.



Neuron: A specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses; a nerve cell.[1]
Cell: The smallest structural and functional unit of an organism, which is typically microscopic and consists of cytoplasm and a nucleus enclosed in a membrane.[2]
Neurons are by definition organic - not electronic.



it has been mimicked by machines. 
They used cells to create this machine. Photosynthesis is by definition only possible using chemistry - not electronics.



this is not a debate about technological possibilities, but about whether theoretically, this is possible.
Theoretically, it is impossible. Atoms moving around are fundamentally different from electrons moving around. Atoms just do chemistry with the closest atoms, while electrons are constantly pushed around using a centralised power grid. Even if God showed up to change the laws of physics, the now possible electronic brain would still not think like a human. By definition, Electronics and Chemistry are different - just like light and sound are different and impossible to connect.
By definition, Pro's statement is incorrect, except if we remove the laws of physics AND the laws of logic.



"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. 
Except we already understand electromagnetism and chemistry. Magic is not a valid explanation here, we have data to work with - its called philosophy logic science.



No where in my argument am I suggesting that the laws of physics need to be broken. 
I clearly proved in my first argument how scientifically absurd such a "machine brain" would be - aka breaking the laws of physics.



Though electronics and chemistry are based on different fields of science, one can still mimic another. Take getting over a wall as an example. Using carpentry I can build a staircase over the wall. Using chemistry, I can propel myself over with an engine. Using biology, I can climb a tree over the wall. Using electronics, I can get lifted by a drone. Though these are all very different methods, they can still achieve the same outcome. This is applicable to the debate in hand. 
Pro claims that if two methods can achieve the same result, they are equal. This is the first believable argument from Pro so far. I agree that a machine could be created that could take decisions as humans can. But the things is, flying is not the same as building a staircase, and computation is not the same as biological hormone and nerve signals. This argument from Pro highlights the innate flaw in the topic statement: thinking is not about the decisions, but the process. As such, we have a written admission from Pro that he is fighting not for "thinking in a similar manner to humans", but instead "Different methods of thinking can achieve the same outcome" - retreat Pro, retreat.



Though an electronic brain and biological brain are composed of different materials, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility that they can have the same function on the basis that they have a different physical appearance.   
Different appearance? They are different in every single field:
  • Biology is atoms, electronics are electrons
  • Biology constantly changes, computers are cut in a silicon
  • Biology is chemistry, electronics are electromagnetism
  • Biology has innate energy, electronics need a constant stream of energy
  • etc etc etc
Basically, Pro want us to believe that: "Though metal and oil have a different physical appearance, it would be foolish to believe they could not perform the same functions."
No way.



Though I personally do not believe in a mind,
Fascinating. Why is Pro calling a bunch of atoms by the name "I"? If Pro has no mind then he is no individual.  "Pro is not, therefore he does not think" - his thoughts are as random as the big bang itself, just predicted by the laws of physics. Why listen to someone whose thoughts are just atoms? If no mind existed I suppose our thoughts are wasted and our morality a lie. Basically, my point is that if we reject the mind, human reasoning and everything built on top of it must also be rejected.



If a mind can connect to a biological brain, why can't it connect to a mechanical brain?
Only humans have been confirmed to have a mind - that's why we are special - and that's why we think at all. We know that humans have a mind, but not why.
The reason I am a theist is exactly this: only a mind could create another mind. But the existence of the mind is not religious but a logical axiom. Stop using your mind to deny its existence - the mind is not a religious idea, so stop being afraid of accepting the truth (logical truth).



Imagine if one were to have a gradual transfer of their biological neurons to these new electronic neurons. What would happen if just 1 neuron were switched?
Those neurons cannot exist. And if they could inside your thought experiment, they would not be able to send chemical signals - you are not swapping but removing neurons.



What a silly misrepresentation. Of course their are differences between a human and a corpse. One has brain function. One is (usually) responsive to their surroundings. One can (usually) act upon their desires. One's body maintains unconscious functions, while the other is dead. 
Desires are just atoms, the brain is just atoms, consciousness is just atoms, death removes no atoms - there is no difference between dead and alive if only atoms exist.
Dead and alive are no different without a mind: the same amount of atoms, the same amount of energy. Movements do not have inherent value - your argument is flawed.



robots while be able to have independent thoughts.
The thoughts will be 100% dependent on how you programmed it and what information it accumulates - no free will here.



I don't believe in free will
My opponent finally admitted his position: he does not believe in free will. Pro is a determinist and thus thinks that my thoughts were determined from the big bang. So basically he believes that we humans share the faith of the computers: neither have free will. So our opinions were predetermined from the big bang. This undermines reason by undermining the reasonable human. But if we cannot trust our reasoning why do we trust determinism? We cannot.



To say that humans and machines are the same on the basis that they can both think is like saying that a human is the same as a house fly because they can both see. 
I said that if you simulated an entire human body, the computer would have simulated thinking, but not thought itself. The simulate human would have been the one thinking.



ADDRESSING THE NEW SYLLOGISM:

1. Humans think as a product of neurons (among other things).
2. Neurons can be replicated by machinery. 
3. Machines can think as a product of their artificial neurons. 
1.
A. Atoms cannot experience things, but the mind could if it existed
B. Humans experience things
C. Humans think using neurons AND the mind

2.
A. Neurons are organic cells
B. Machinery is not organic
C. Machine neuron cannot exist.

3. 
A. Artificial neurons are not real neurons
B. Machines do not have a mind
C. Machines cannot think like humans that have organic neurons and also a mind.



FINAL ADMISSIONS FROM PRO:

Just because a machine can act in a similar way to a human, doesn't mean it is.
Exactly. Just because a computer can process information in a certain pattern does not mean it can think similarly to a human.


I have demonstrated that, though chemistry and robotics are in different field, this in no way means that they cannot do similar things. 
Correct. They can do similar things, but they use different methods. Humans think while machines compute and analyse.




DEFEAT BY DEFINITION:

Think: Direct one's mind towards someone or something; use one's mind actively to form connected ideas.[3]

So only a mind can think. What do you say, Pro?
I personally do not believe in a mind
Sorry pal, but if you do not believe in a mind, by definition you do not believe in "thinking" either.

By definition, a mind is necessary for thinking, according to the oxford dictionary.
Since neither of us believes that machines have minds, we both agree on this:

Machines cannot think.

The only difference is that I believe that humans have a mind, so I believe that humans can think.



CONCLUSION:

Perhaps simulate isn't the best word. I would go as far as saying that they are not only simulating thinking, but are actually undergoing the process of thinking and understanding. 
Pro has admitted that the word simulate undermines his argument since simulating is not the same as actually doing. He retreated to "they actually think and understand". But understanding cannot happen without the existence of a mind. No matter the structure of a machine it does not understand things, it just processes information through mathematical calculations. Movement of electrons is not "understanding", especially since computers just follow instructions. 

When Pro says "Think" he actually refers to following a complex set of specific instructions.

  1. Pro has admitted that he does not believe in the mind - so he does not believe in thinking
  2. Pro has retreated multiple times, changing his rhetoric, position and vocabulary
  3. Pro often gets science, logic or philosophy wrong
  4. I have rebutted Pros arguments well more than necessary
  5. At least I have a mind

I have rebutted all of my opponents objections to my argument.
In your dreams.


Back to you, Wagyu
: -)

SOURCES:
Round 3
Pro
Well that was all very interesting. 

==

My final round shall be formatted in the following manner. 

==

Clearance rebuttal 

The following is what my opponent had to say about the mind and brain. 

- the mind is what we call our own philosophical existence . . . The mind is how humans experience both reality and their own thoughts.
- the brain is a concept we discovered using the mind.
Actually, we perceive reality through our senses, of which are filtered by the relevant part of our brain. But never the less, it seems that you latter on, you adopt Descartes "I think, therefore I am". There are multiple issues with this. 

Hidden Premise: Descartes' statement contains two separate premises: 1) “There is a thought going on” and 2) these thoughts are attached to something called “me”. The first can be proved, but the second isn’t logically necessarily.

Circularity. Descartes' statement attempts to prove that ‘I’ exists, but his first ‘premise’ is “I doubt”. It is an invalid argument to assume the truth of the conclusion in one or more of the premises. As Leibniz wrote: “'I am thinking' is already to say 'I am'. 

Occam's razor states that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily, which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities. The following are the options we have been presented. 

1) Nothing I see is real. Nothing I touch is real. My body is not real. A devil is putting me through seemingly real illusions. There is no way I can confirm I am not being controlled. Even though I feel my keyboard, see my monitor and taste the water I am drinking, I can not confirm that these are real sensations. 

2) Everything is as it seems. There is no devil. I feel my keyboard because my keyboard is there. I see my monitor because my monitor is there. 

Make your pick. Which is simpler. 

My personal belief is that states such as consciousness and thought are a product of the brain's neural firings. However, my opponent disagrees. 

A human body is made up of atoms which do not experience reality. But somehow a bunch of atoms together experience reality
  • If I have a block of marble, I have something which is unadmirable. If I spend some time chiselling away at it, I get a statue.
  • If I have a bottle of bleach and a bottle of ammonia, I have two chemicals. If I mix them together, I get toxic chloramine Vapor.
What am I getting at? The adding of another substance or external factor can change the appearance and chemical make up of item A. Even though item A was not present in the initial stages, it can be created when paired with another force/substance. 

If the brain IS the mind, then "I" is just a product of atoms moving around. Humans do not feel like multiple entities, we feel like one
This is rather uncompelling. While it is true that I am a product of atoms moving around, it cannot be concluded we are therefore separate entities. Would you call chloramine vapours "two different chemicals" on the basis that it was once bleach and ammonia? It matters not how a substance or being got where it got, what matters is it's final state. 

There must be a binding force that connects all atoms of the brain anyways.
Electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force do just that. 

==

Rebutting rebutting rebuttals

the only difference between the hypothetical machine brain and your biological brain is the material it is contracted by
You admit there is a difference. But how large is it really? HUGE. Electronics and biochemistry do not share any physical property at all.
My opponent still seems to be confused by how different things can do the same thing. Just because I can talk, doesn't mean talking is a skill exclusive to me. 7 other billion people can do it. If we examine other people, we can find that they have very different appearances, physiological states and attitudes to life. Even though I am built very different to a senior African women, this does not mean that we cannot both enjoy the ability to talk. 

With perfect technology, we can do quite literally everything
You have literally claimed that A. God could do everything - B. Illogical things cannot exist. If God cannot do something illogical neither can tecnology.
First off, that's a completely different debate. Secondly, I took care in adding the word literally. Unlike Christians who believe their God can do anything and everything, I believe technology is bound within logic. After all, technology isn't omnipotent. 

What exactly is thinking with the mind? What process does the mind control?
I do not know - nobody knows. 
Well if you don't know, then why are you bringing up the mind as your only objection? You propose that machines cannot think because they don't have a mind and when asked why the mind is necessary for thinking, you say you don't know. Bizarre. 

there are limits called atoms which cannot be made smaller.
Since when were neurons smaller than atoms?  Could you name which function of my brain is composed of half atoms?

 the mind should have no issue "connecting" with this brain
The immaterial mind is strange, we only believe in it because we experience it ourselves.
The "well it works in mysterious manners" rebuttal. I take this as a concession. So the questions remain. Let's say the mind is real, because the mind has zero effect on my debate what so ever. If the mind is real, 1) How can it connect to the brain. 2) If it can connect to a meat brain, why can't it connect to a metal one. Remember the only difference between my hypothetical brain and this metal one is material. Does the mind fancy meat over metal? If so, if I were to slowly replace my neurons with artificial ones, at what point will my mind disconnect. From my opponents next point, we can conclude that they believe 

Artificial neurons, yes. (can exist)
If so, then answer the above questions. How come the mind can connect to my biological neurons and not the artificial ones. 

Desires are just atoms, the brain is just atoms, consciousness is just atoms, death removes no atoms - there is no difference between dead and alive if only atoms exist.
You prior stated that "only humans have confirmed to have a mind". This means that, according to you, humans are the only beings of which are not solely constructed by atoms. Does it then follow that, as a monkey does not have a mind, a live monkey and dead monkey is the same thing? Would it then be permissible to torture monkeys? If so, why do they feel pain? Why do they not enjoy being tortured? If they have no mind, then surely they should have no emotions. After all, emotions cannot be a product of atoms, can it? 

robots while be able to have independent thoughts.
The thoughts will be 100% dependent on how you programmed it and what information it accumulates - no free will here.
Just like how your thoughts are dependent on factors outside of your control. Consider for a moment that you are Jack the Ripper. Imagine that you are him, atom for atom, have the same psychological difficulties, have the same genes, same parents, same childhood, same emotions and same body. It is impossible for you to have acted differently to him. If you suddenly make this switch, you will commit all the murders that he does. What would be stopping you? There isn't an extra part of your brain which could tell you not to kill.

My opponent finally admitted his position: he does not believe in free will.
This isn't something I hide. In fact, as you seem very certain of your freeness, perhaps I could humble you in a future debate regarding free will? Contact me privately if you are interested. 

he believes that we humans share the faith of the computers: neither have free will.
Yessir

==

A defence of the new syllogism

For memories sake, the following is my syllogism. 

1. Humans think as a product of neurons (among other things).
2. Neurons can be replicated by machinery. 
3. Machines can think as a product of their artificial neurons. 

My opponent has the following to say. 

1.
A. Atoms cannot experience things, but the mind could if it existed
B. Humans experience things
C. Humans think using neurons AND the mind
This is non-sequential. Your first statement is true. A single atom is cannot experience things. However, 7 octillion atoms together can create a being of which can experience. Again, you make the mistake of thinking that a human being is simply one or two atoms. 

2.
A. Neurons are organic cells
B. Machinery is not organic
C. Machine neuron cannot exist.
Again, you make the mistake of assuming that two different things cannot do the same thing. Just because an artificial neuron is not made up of the same material, doesn't mean that it cannot do the same function. In fact, this is the whole point of my argument. I am proposing that, for the sake of the theory, the only difference between the artificial neuron and biological ones are the fact that their material is different. The question that needs answering is what is the significance of meat, as oppose to metal? 

3. 
A. Artificial neurons are not real neurons
B. Machines do not have a mind
C. Machines cannot think like humans that have organic neurons and also a mind.
Regarding, A, the only difference is the material they are composed of. For this statement to stand, you must show what the significant difference is. 
Regarding B, for this statement to stand, you must show why the mind can connect to a biological brain and not an artificial brain. 
Thus C is invalid. 

==

Rebutting my "admissions"

Just because a machine can act in a similar way to a human, doesn't mean it is.
Exactly. Just because a computer can process information in a certain pattern does not mean it can think similarly to a human.
I'm very confused by this. I stated that 

1) If A can act in a similar way B, doesn't mean it is. 

To which you answered 

2) If A can process information in a certain pattern doesn't mean it similar to B. 
 
Notice that the difference between statement 1 and 2 is that statement 2 includes the word similar. The resolution of this debate is "In theory, it is possible to create a machine which is capable of thinking in a similar manner to humans". Of course, my job is not to prove that robots are humans, I just need to demonstrate that a robot can, think in a similar manner to human beings. Similar

I have demonstrated that, though chemistry and robotics are in different field, this in no way means that they cannot do similar things. 
Correct. They can do similar things, but they use different methods. Humans think while machines compute and analyse.

And this, folks, is my opponents concession.

Conclusion rebuttal

Pro has admitted that the word simulate undermines his argument since simulating is not the same as actually doing. He retreated to "they actually think and understand".
I just feel that a thing like thought cannot be simulated. Simulating is :to give or assume the appearance or effect of often with the intent to deceive. My belief is that machines don't need to "trick" us into believing they can think. I don't believe that machines "put up an act" to fool us. I believe that they have the genuine capability to think for themselves, to deception, no trickery. 

Final verdict

I have rebutted all of my opponents points. Essentially, this whole debate can be boiled down to one question and one statement

1. Why can the mind connect to a biological brain and not an artificial one, with the only difference being material?

2. The fact that different things, completely different things, can do the same thing. 

Vote Pro 

Sincerely,
Wagyu,
16/01/21
Con
Thank You, Pro.

You have put off a good fight - and the defensive position you have created is strong - but I will now break it down.




WIN CONDITION:

The title of this argument was: Machines can, in theory, think. This is a positive statement - and requires evidence - and the theoretical evidence from Pro is not sufficient.

Also, Pro did not say: "assuming Naturalism" - which means that the evidence must be universal. Pro does not win because it's possible in his particular worldview.

It was strange that Pro did not read the definition of "think":
Think: Direct one's mind towards someone or something; use one's mind actively to form connected ideas.[1. Oxford Dictionary]
Thus by definition thinking requires a mind. But pro apparently ignores this very relevant fact.

So in order for pro to prove his claim, he must prove that a machine can have a mind.



REBUTTALS:

If you are a dualist, that is that if you believe their is a distinction between the mind and body, this belief should make no difference to my analogy. Remember, the only difference between the hypothetical machine brain and your biological brain is the material it is contracted by. Hypothetically, your "mind" shouldn't disconnect from this mechanical brain. Or at least this is what I am arguing for. 
This is incorrect - even if creating a machine brain was possible (it is not), the MIND would be thinking, not the machine/regular brain. 
My opponent tries to push this hidden definition of "think": compute information in a similar structure to a brain - this is incorrect as I have shown the correct definition.



       Correct. They can do similar things, but they use different methods. Humans think while machines compute and analyse.

And this, folks, is my opponents concession.
It's not - I literally stated that machines cannot think - they just compute and analyze. But with proper programming, they can be adjusted to make similar decisions as humans - not thinking like humans but computing information in a way that makes them indistinguishable from human brains without seeing their inner mechanism. By claiming victory from my rebuttal of Pros logic - Pro is showing a complete lack of understanding of what the terms mean - he also shows ignorance for the logic necessary for the debate.



 I believe technology is bound within logic.
You forget the laws of physics - which completely destroy your idea that an electronic neuron can exist - since a difference in material means a difference in structure and ultimately different functions.



You propose that machines cannot think because they don't have a mind and when asked why the mind is necessary for thinking, you say you don't know. Bizarre. 
Thinking requires a mind by definition. Why does pro ignore this fact? Bizarre.



My personal belief is that states such as consciousness and thought are a product of the brain's neural firings.
If that is the case then concepts do not exist - as concepts are abstract ideas. Without an interpreter, concepts would not exist within a brain, neither would meaning in a book.



What am I getting at? The adding of another substance or external factor can change the appearance and chemical make up of item A.
Consciousness is not a particle or chemical - it cannot be "produced" in the normal sense. It might be, but that has yet to be proven. But even if it was - your argument falls apart. If thinking is a product of adding two substances together - then only those two substances can create "thinking". Oxygen and Hydrogen create water - but iron and argon can never create water, neither can electronics - no matter how it is structured. If biology creates consciousness then the only biology can create consciousness. 



I just feel that a thing like thought cannot be simulated. Simulating is :to give or assume the appearance or effect of often with the intent to deceive. My belief is that machines don't need to "trick" us into believing they can think. I don't believe that machines "put up an act" to fool us. I believe that they have the genuine capability to think for themselves, to deception, no trickery. 
Pro has made a 180 turn to say that thinking cannot be simulated. But that is not true at all, assuming his logic is correct. A machine model of the brain could theoretically be created inside pros thought experiment, but it would be simulating thinking, not actually thinking - even if thinking is a material thing. By making this statement Pro intentionally wants to deceive us - by making it impossible for a machine brain to perform similar functions to a regular brain without "thinking". In fact, a part or the entirety of our brains could be simulated in the thought experiment without proving anything, as the human with some robotic parts would still be a human - not a machine. Therefore the mind in his twisted and straw-manned perception of it could still lock onto that person and think.



Why can the mind connect to a biological brain and not an artificial one, with the only difference being material?
I never claimed so. It depends on the worldview of the one you ask. I have already explained why a brain does not think but the mind does. 
Why does Pro want me to make a religious statement? It's a trap. This argument is from ignorance and therefore not valid.




THE PHILOSOPHICAL DEBATE ABOUT THE MIND:

How did Pro attack my belief in the mind?
Actually, we perceive reality through our senses,
This implies that "we" exist and are able to perceive a "reality" - which is exactly what the existence of the mind would explain. Pro gives no explanation for said facts.

 of which are filtered by the relevant part of our brain.
Why does the brain filter the information from our senses? My answer: To send the relevant information to the mind.
these thoughts are attached to something called “me” - isn’t logically necessarily.
It is not logically necessary that the thoughts are connected to "me". But there is in fact something that has access to the thoughts. Its called "me".

"Thinking is going on under the observation of something, let us call that something "me" " - that is 100% logical. Pro has not made any attempt at explaining the same issue.



I have now proved why the mind must exist. How does Pro critique "I think, therefore I am"?

Circularity.
I have proved that it is not. However, the idea "the brain exists" cannot support itself, it needs science to be proven - and science needs to be based on rationalism and empiricism - which need to be based on this logical but blind faith: "I exist". If "you" do not exist "you" cannot prove the existence of the mind OR the brain.

"I exist - my rationality and my senses are valid" is the simplest possible solution to this philosophical debate, and therefore the current correct one, as it has forever been.


Make your pick. Which is simpler. 
Both of your options include "I exist, I think and I experience something" as a premise - my point still stands stronger than ever.


Given all of this philosophical evidence, we can conclude that the mind does indeed exist if we strictly use philosophy and logic.

Either Pro believes that the mind does not exist which would be a pseudophilosophical position to take, or he believes the mind is an inherently material thing.



PROS PHILOSOPHY:

How does Pro argue for the mind not existing but still consciousness does? I will assume his statements are correct in order to show their underlying philosophy.

Even though item A was not present in the initial stages, it can be created when paired with another force/substance. 
Pro believes that "thinking" is a material product. This raises the question: what material thing is consciousness and thinking - if not biology? 

While it is true that I am a product of atoms moving around, it cannot be concluded we are therefore separate entities. 
By the same logic, two humans inside the same universe are not separate entities. I asked him what other things than "the mind" could explain the brain as one entity.

Electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force do just that. 
These forces affect everything in the universe. According to Pro, thinking is just atoms moving around, as he admitted himself. He also thinks that any type of material can think. What makes our brains able to think but not a river? There is none - both have atoms moving around - so the logic pro brought to the table would deem a river able to think. But electronics are not "atoms moving around" but rather the movement of electrons. But as he said himself, different things can do the same things. Let us expand the ability to think to electrons, and we got ourselves a cool theory: electrons moving and interacting with atoms are able to think. But what about photons? We could create a photon-computer made of mirrors and that should also be able to think?

We could continue, but you get the point. The big question is: if any material is able to think, what is the difference between thinking and not thinking?
Seriously - that is the question if we take Pro's logical train to the end station. Like most things in science, it would be relative. It would be like saying: the brain is more complex than a river - therefore the river does not think. But we could say that a bird-level complexity is the criteria for thinking, and suddenly dogs could think, etc. In the end, everything in the universe would be able to think - just to different degrees. But if we really continue further down this path one ultimately comes to the conclusion that everything that moves is in some way or another sentient or thinking to a small degree. Furthermore, everything is one as the electromagnetic force and the other forces bind the entire universe together. 


If one is to take Pros hidden assumptions seriously -  everything is just a part of one big cosmic "thinking machine or consciousness". In fact - this belief is to be found in Hinduism and Buddhism, while the idea of "the mind" as being a separate entity is to be found in theism and western atheism. That is one of the reasons why science was invented in theistic Europe rather than pantheistic India.


By doing this philosophical breakdown - I have proven that the logic from Pro only applies to people that share his worldview.  I have shown that this philosophical question has been the reason for religions to explain what cannot be done using science: the nature of the mind. Since science was built by philosophical theism - the idea that "I exist, I experience the world and I am able to understand the world" - believing in Pro assumptions would lead to the demise of science. 

Conclusion: The underlying assumptions of Pros argument undermine science and proposes a cosmic consciousness.

"Machines can, in theory, think" is just one of the conclusions from pantheism  - it's not deduced from science or logic.


DESTROYING THE MAIN ARGUMENT:

Again, you make the mistake of assuming that two different things cannot do the same thing. 
Think about this thought experiment:
  • We have human playing chess against a computerA
  • We have a computerB playing chess against computerA
  • The human and the computerB do the exact same moves  - but their inner structure is entirely different
In this scenario, both the human and the machine do the same thing, play chess, but their method is different - the human was thinking while the computer was computing.

This proves that if machines can do the same as humans, this does not mean they can think like humans. Pro's argument has hereby been invalidated.



DESTROYING THE SYLLOGISM:

1. Humans think as a product of neurons (among other things).

Incorrect. The definition of "think" is to Direct one's mind towards someone or something; use one's mind actively to form connected ideas[1]. Humans think using the mind.

Mind: The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.[3]

A person cannot be an "operated device for performing a task" - thus a machine cannot be a person - and thus cannot have a mind - and thus cannot think.

2. Neurons can be replicated by machinery. 

Neuron: A specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses; a nerve cell [4].

So something must be a cell in order to be a neuron - it cannot just be a transmitter. An electronic neuron can by definition not exist. Artificial neurons are a completely different thing. It is used in computer science to describe a mathematical function [5]. As we all know - mathematics does not even physically exist, its a product of the mind.

3. Machines can think as a product of their artificial neurons. 

A machine does not have a mind. So by definition, a machine cannot think.

But let us assume that thinking is a product of our neurons.

Still - By machine neurons cannot exist. Thus - a machine cannot think.


DEFEAT BY DEFINITION:

Think: Direct one's mind towards someone or something; use one's mind actively to form connected ideas.[1]
A mind is necessary for thinking

Mind: The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.[3]
Only persons can have a mind

Person [acording to oxford dictionary [6]:
  • A human being regarded as an individual.
  • Each of the three modes of being of God, namely the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost, who together constitute the Trinity.
Only humans and maybe God are persons.

If by "think" pro means to "analyze information and make a conclusion" - that would not be an actual claim, computers do that already.
The only way machines can think is if we use an unknown definition created by Pro - but since he never told us the definition of think we use the standard one.


By definition - only humans can think.


CONCLUSION:

I have proven that the very idea "a machine can think" - ultimately relies on pantheism, not the philosophy that allows science to exist.

I have proven that the mind logically exists by necessity - at least in humans.

By definition, Pros statement is incorrect. It's logically impossible to create a machine that thinks. A quote from Pro:
 I believe technology is bound within logic.
Incorrect - if you believe machines can think, you believe that technology is not bound within logic.




Final conclusion: in order to believe in pros claim, one needs to reject logic, philosophy, science, and common sense.


Vote Con.


No disrespect - Wagyu is a brilliant debater, but this time he is fighting for an impossible cause. I really enjoyed this debate - I pay Pro a lot of respect.


SOURCES: