I appreciate the quick reply and your patience in answering my
questions.  Perhaps it would help if I explained the thought process
that led me to where I am.  When reading your "ants are not conscious"
paper two questions came to mind that I could not resolve:

1. If anthropic reasoning is valid for determining whether or not
other species are conscious, then every rare species should conclude
they are the only ones capable of consciousness. (sould they not?)
2. What if the problem were stated differently, instead of starting
with the class of "humans" what if it had been "animals with brains",
this would lead to an entirely different conclusion.  Instead of
concluding only humans (and a few human-like) animals are conscious,
we would have concluded only animals with brains (and brain-like nerve
complexes) are conscious.  We could have compared the extreme rarity
of animals with brains vs. protozoa or bacteria.

I hope that I have bot burdened you with all these e-mails, this one
will likely be my last on the topic of "Ants are not conscious" unless
you or others have further questions about my view.

Best Regards,

Jason Resch

On Mar 28, 2:17 am, Russell Standish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 01:28:42AM -0500, Jason Resch wrote:
>
> > Yes, I've read it, and I think I have a more formal way of describing
> > my objection to it.  If there were a device that could randomly pick a
> > conscious observer moment from among all conscious observers on earth,
> > and allow you to experience that perspective for a moment, I would
> > have the opinion this machine is a valid tool for drawing conclusions
> > on the likelihood of certain creatures being conscious, even if you
> > could only use the tool once.
>
> > My formal objection, however, is that making the same judgment based
> > on one's current perspective ignore conditional probability.  It
> > ignores a blindingly obvious premise that we already are a human.
> > Anthropic reasoning in your paper asks "What is the probability that I
> > should be a human?"  I think a truer formulation is really "What is
> > the probability that I should be a human, given I am Russel
> > Standish?".  In the example I gave where some device could teleport
> > your awareness into a random creature, there is no preexisting
> > condition, but when we draw the conclusion starting from already being
> > a human, the question is meaningless.  This is just how I now see
> > things, if you have a reason why the initial premise (of starting from
> > a human perspective) can be ignored I am very interested in hearing it
> > as it could change my perspective on the subject.
>
> > Thanks,
>
> > Jason
>
> I've heard this objection before, indeed I had a debate about it with
> someone (I can't quite remember who it was - perhaps its was
> you). Sadly, I really don't understand it, as I have never premised
> anything on being Russell Standish, nor even on just being a
> human. The only thing it is premised on is being a conscious being.
>
> Given this objection has come up before, perhaps there have been some
> papers discussing it. It would have important ramifications for all
> anthropic arguments, not just the ant one. If there are no papers on
> the topic, then there's a publishing opportunity for you :)
>
> Cheers
>
> --
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
> Mathematics
> UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Australia                                http://www.hpcoders.com.au
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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