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January 27, 2011

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Neuroteach

I think it's important to distinguish "nondeterministic" from "unpredictable". It is true that the brain does not obey any "simple determinist calculus" but that is not to say it does not obey a "complex" or even "chaotic determinist calculus." Take the weather, as an example: we can now predict the weather with a fair amount of accuracy up to a few days in advance, but past that, the ability to predict falls off rapidly to the point of being little more than a guess. This does not mean that it is nondeterministic, it simply means that it is chaotic and therefore unpredictable. The same is true of the brain and also the mind. The only truly nondeterministic events known to physics are quantum phenomena which (contrary to what Sir Roger Penrose believes) do not really apply when talking about the brain. And it's a good thing they don't, because that would make the brain random, and that would be a terrible thing indeed!

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