Rough draft...  posted 7/16/2006


                                15 July 2006

                       Copyright (C) 2006 Homer W. Smith
            Redistribution rights granted for non commercial purposes.


      This paper is about the Machine Certainty Theorem (MCT) and its
possible ramifications.

      The MCT states that a machine can not learn anything with

      This statement depends heavily on the definitions of machine,
learn, and certainty.

      A machine is defined as any system of parts interacting via cause
and effect across a space time distance.

      Learn is defined as come to know.

      Certainty is defined as perfect certainty, that which can not be

      Among other things a machine can not learn with certainty whether
or not it or anything else exists, nor whether or not any effects are

      This is because a machine learns by being an effect of causes, even
when it is learning about itself, and since effect does not prove cause,
a machine can never learn with certainty if cause exists merely by
studying alleged effects.

      Cause and its nature forever remain a theory to a machine.

      The application of the MCT is in the reverse, since consciousness
can learn with certainty a number of things, including its own existence
and personal agency (causation), one is led to conclude that
consciousness is not a machine.

      The formal statement of the MCT and its application are as follows.

                        MACHINE CERTAINTY THEORM
                             (The "Proof")

      Learning biconditionally implies learning with certainty or not
learning with certainty.

      Distance and learning implies learning by being an effect.

      Learning by being an effect implies not learning with certainty.

      Learning with certainty, therefore implies Learning but,

      Not by being an effect, and

      Not across a space time distance.


      This work is about Learning, Certainty, Causality and Consciousness,

      Specifically it is about learning with certainty about causality in

      Historically it has been admitted that the physical sciences do not
provide certainty of truth, only high probabilities of workable
dependability.  What other certainties we might profess have generally
been relegated to faith.

      Note that faith and certainty are oxymorons.

      Put simply, in a mechanical space time universe, causation is not
sufficient to witness causation.

      Causal pathways are the propagation through space and time of cause
from a source point to an effect point.

      Causal pathways can not be used to verify the theoretical integrity
of causal pathways.

      "More causal pathways do not a more certain causal pathway make."

      This is because in the physical universe, learning is always done
at the effect end, and the effect is blind to the source end.

      So although we are depending upon cause to give us theoretically
proper effects, we can not use that causal mechanism to verify the cause
nor that cause even exists for the effect at all.

      Thus we say that causation is not sufficient to witness causation,
causation is only sufficient to witness the effect.

      That is, learning by being an effect is not sufficient to prove the
existence of cause, nor does learning by being an effect allow us more
than to model or theorize about the true nature of that possible cause
if it does exsit.

      However there is a certainty of interest that resides between the
absolute uncertainities of the physical sciences and the world of faith.

      This is the certainty of consciousness, the certainty we have that
we are conscious and that we exist, the certainty we have of what we are
conscious of, for example the color forms of the visual world around us,
the reds and the greens and other conscious experiences, and the
certainty we have of our own personal agency or causation in the world.

      There is a view that consciousness is an epiphenomenom of the brain,
something arises from the brain, but is otherwise not capable of
affecting anything.

      Thus the brain can cause changes in the consciousness, but
not the reverse.

      If this were true, then the brain could never know there
was a consciousness, and we could never end of talking about it or
writing about it.

      Remember that just because A affects B, doesn't mean that
B affects A, and if B does not affect A, then A can never learn
about B not even that B exists, no matter how much A affects B.

      Thus there must be two way cause and effect going on between the
brain and consciousness, if the brain even exists.  :)

      Tell a conscious unit there is no cause in the world, and you have
told him he does not exist.

      The search for causation in the physical universe is actually an
anthropomorphization of directly perceived causation in ourselves.
Since we can see by direct perception, and thus with perfect certainty,
that there is causation within our consciousness, we conclude that there
must be causation out there in the physical universe.

      (Some may be tempted to say that our perception of personal agency
is just that, simply a perception, and it doesn't indicate the actual
existence of such a thing as cause with certainty.  They are saying that
inspite of our direct perception of cause in our selves, perhaps there
still is no cause anywhere in the universe.  Think about that for a

      It is this perfect certainty of our own existence and agency that
makes consciousness special and leads us to some startling conclusions
about its non mechanical, non space time, nature.

      The material of this paper started with the question could a
machine learn with certainty of its own existence or of anything for
that matter.

      As will be developed, the answer is no, and yet as a conscious unit
we are perfectly certain we exist and are agent and thus we are forced
to conclude that we as a conscious unit are not a machine, although we
may be interfaced with one, namely the body/brain system.


Fri Oct 30 17:14:46 EDT 2015