On Feb 13, 2:04 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 2/13/2012 10:39 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> > On Feb 13, 12:29 pm, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net>  wrote:
> >> I'm aware of that.  It doesn't follow though that you must match every 
> >> interaction (e.g.
> >> cross-section for cosmic gamma rays) or that every match is equally 
> >> important.  I've
> >> already speculated that a silicon based substitute might produce subtle or 
> >> occasional
> >> differences in conscious thoughts.  Craig however denies that a silicon 
> >> based brain can be
> >> conscious at all.
> > No, I think that silicon is already 'conscious', only to a very
> > limited extent (detection-reaction). My view is that it cannot be
> > scaled up mechanically to become human consciousness. If you can make
> > a silicon based cell that lives and breathes,
> What does "live and breathes" mean?

Literally that. It lives the life of a cell. It has cellular
respiration which cannot be suspended for long without killing the
cell. It has to be able to experience mortality first hand.

>  A silicon based neuron wouldn't reproduce...but
> neither do biological neurons.  A biological neuron metabolizes...but so 
> would a silicon
> based neuron.

But the silicon based neuron doesn't die when it's metabolism is
interrupted, and the silicon based neuron is not produced by silicon
stem cells. It may be important for consciousness that all processes
are derived organically from a single dividing cell.

>  So you're just speculating that there are some essential functions of
> biological based neurons that can't be realized by silicon based neurons.

Essential to human consciousness, yes. Just as there are some
essential functions of DNA that can't be realized by silicon based
molecules for creating biological cells.

> > then we very well might
> > be able to make a conscious brain out of that...but we probably won't
> > be able to control it any better than we can control an animal.
> > Our definition of consciousness is entirely human. If we talk about
> > something being conscious, we are really talking about it being human.
> That's begging the question.

No, I'm talking about how we conceive of consciousness, not the
possibility of it existing outside of humans. I'm making a distinction
between consciousness and something like height. We know what height
is and we can be sure that it can be generalized to any solid object.
In that case, it would be begging the question to say that human
height can only come from humans. I'm not saying that though. I'm
saying that without human consciousness as an example, we don't know
what we are talking about if we try to define it. It's not a matter of
saying only humans can be conscious like a human, it's a matter of
realizing that they are one and the same thing as far as we know for

> > All I'm saying is that we cannot discount the possibility that there
> > is a good reason why humans are only made of DNA and not sand.
> You've been asserting that it's the case...not just cautioning about 
> possibilities.  So
> let's hear one of those 'good reasons'; one that is not just a speculative 
> possibility.

How do you go from me saying 'we cannot discount the possibility...'
to demanding an answer that is not a speculative possibility? If I say
we cannot discount the possibility that cigarettes cause cancer, does
that mean that you can demand that I produce the precise mechanism by
which they cause cancer or else it invalidates the possibility that it


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