Hello Russell,

Congratulations on your latest publication.

Today on my way home I begin to question whether or not I still
believe self-sampling assumptions are valid tools for drawing
conclusions.  I decided that though self-sampling assumptions may lead
to conclusions that are true for the greatest number of observers,
correct conclusions are entirely coincidental.  In the same way
correlation is no indication of causation, likelihood of truth for the
majority of observers is not caused by something being true for one's

By definition every OM with a non-zero measure has a 100% guaranteed
chance of being experienced, even if its measure is 10^(-20) that of
another more prolific OM.  The only thing that can be reasoned from
current experience is that one's current OM has a non-zero measure.
Attempting to use properties of one's vantage point to draw
conclusions about other OMs can be disastrously wrong, for example
take the Doomsday Argument:

The doomsday argument allows the largest number of observers to
correctly predict the doom of their civilization, but it achieves this
by having every observer who has ever lived believe that doom is just
around the corner.  If a nuclear holocaust occurs tomorrow, the 6.66
billion alive today would have been correct, but the people alive
today represent just 10% of the total number of humans who have ever
lived, leading 90% to be wrong.

The main objection I have to anthropic reasoning in this case, is that
it leads to the conclusion that life forms which are reactive to their
environments and capable of thought / decision making are
philosophical zombies.  Though it is easier to imagine that ants are
not conscious, what about other animals far more numerous than
humans?  Are chickens, mice, and sheep zombies?

I also do not see how the leap from "Russell Standish" is conscious,
to "All other humans are conscious" can be made yet stop short of
"Bonobos are conscious", "Chimps are conscious", and perhaps even
lemurs and squirrels are conscious.  How does the ability to produce
viable offspring with another relate to whether or not that other can
be conscious?  Drawing the line between species seems arbitrary to me,
especially considering how small of steps evolution takes.  If you
conclude other humans are conscious because we have similar brains,
could you not likewise conclude all mammals are conscious because
mammals too have similar brains and share a common ancestor?  Where in
the evolutionary tree did the first human ancestor's consciousness
appear?  The term consciousness was not clearly defined in your paper,
do you consider it to be a binary property, or something that can have
varying levels of sophistication?

I look forward to your response,


On Feb 27, 9:48 pm, Russell Standish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I have just submitted my "ants are not conscious" argument to a
> journal, and to arXiv. If you're interested, the arXiv identifier is
> arXiv:0802.4121. Please wait a few hours before trying arXiv, though,
> until the paper is made public by the system.
> Cheers
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> Mathematics
> UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Australia                                http://www.hpcoders.com.au
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to