I agree that there is in a sense something mysterious about consciousness,
but I think that assembling a human being out of the appropriate chemicals
would necessarily reproduce this mysterious element as well. I also believe
that a human with a computer analogue of a brain would be conscious, unless
it turns out that there is something fundamentally non-computational about
the brain, which would mean that there is something fundamentally
non-computational about chemistry.

As for these ideas taking the "worship and awe out of it all", I am reminded
of the Church's reaction to Copernicus and Galileo. Do you think the
revelation that the Earth orbits the Sun had a negative impact on society?
Even if it did, do you think it should have been suppressed? I don't see the
multiverse idea as essentially different to an extension of the Copernican
principle, and I can't understand why even a theist would limit God and
insist that he wouldn't have done it this way.

Stathis Papaioannou

On 3/11/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On Mar 10, 2:34 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > On 3/10/07, Tom Caylor <[EMAIL PROTECTED] > wrote:
> >
> > On Mar 7, 1:52 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > > > On 3/7/07, Tom Caylor < [EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> >
> > > > > Why wouldn't the *whole* of such a Plenitude be truly superfluous
> to
> > > > > any reality?  According to Bruno's recursion theory argument, most
> of
> > > > > the stuff in the Plenitude is useless junk.  *Someone* (somebody
> > > > > bigger that you or I ;) has to decide what is the good stuff.  The
> > > > > good stuff IN *all* of the Plenitude, not just part of it.  This
> is
> > > > > what I mean by being in charge of it.
> >
> > > > The good stuff knows that it's good stuff,  just as you will still
> know
> > > that
> > > > you're you if you're kidnapped in your sleep and taken to a distant
> > > place
> > > > full of things that aren't you. This is the defining feature of a
> > > conscious
> > > > entity. (This is repeating Russell's answer, but it's perhaps the
> single
> > > > most important idea of this list: everything + anthropic principle =
> > > > observed reality).
> >
> > > > Stathis Papaioannou
> >
> > > Like in my last Meaning of Life post, explaining observed reality is
> > > only half of the equation of the meaning of life.  Modern science is
> > > only in the left side of the brain of humanity.
> >
> > Do you agree then that science can in principle explain observed
> reality, to
> > the point where we might be able to assemble a conscious human being
> from
> > the appropriate chemicals?
> >
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> If it is true that science is looking at only half of humanity's
> brain, do you think that science will be able to build a single brain
> that would truly be part of humanity?  I believe that understanding
> consciousness is at the core of understanding everything.  I believe
> that at the core of consciousness is the question and answer of
> meaning, goodness, creativity and love.  Modern reductionist science
> that you allude to tries it backwards:  try to explain everything in
> terms of mathematical physics from the bottom up ("meaning is only
> mechanical relationships"), then we will understand consciousness.
> With this bottom-up approach, understanding consciousness seems to be
> always beyond our reach.  Getting back to the plenitude, it seems that
> the many-worlds interpretation takes bottom-up to the extreme and
> says, OK we can't figure out how the good stuff happens, so let's just
> say that everything happens. So this is supposed to take the worship
> and awe out of it all:  It's not a big deal that we are here.  We just
> are, so let's just get on with it and mechanically follow our local
> wants.  There isn't any exciting broadsweeping love story to the
> universe that has anything to do with our consciousness.  We are just
> an odd very^very rare string of bits in a random meaningless sea.
> When we feel that we want to talk to someone out there, it is just a
> mistake.  Sorry for bothering you all.  I'll let you get back to your
> local bit flipping ;)
> Tom
> >

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