On Monday, September 24, 2012 12:02:16 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> was the Email message that you sent to the Everything list on Sunday
>>> Sep 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM on the east coast of the USA with the title
>>> "Re:Zombieopolis Thought Experiment" unique?
>> > My experience of sending it was unique. The experiences of people
>> reading what I wrote were unique.
> That's all very nice but it doesn't answer my question, was the Email
> message that you sent to the Everything list on Sunday September 23, 2012
> at 9:13 AM on the east coast of the USA with the title "Re:Zombieopolis
> Thought Experiment" unique?
There was no email message from the perspective of 'objective reality' that
you assume exists independently of all experience. I had an experience of
sending a message, you and others have an experience of receiving a
message, computers have an experience of voltage changes, and that's it.
All of those experiences were unique. We are now having unique experiences
of talking about it.
> > The existence of an email message is only inferred through our
> > there is no email message outside of human interpretation.
> Thus the moon does not exist when you are not looking at it.
I agree with Stephen's comment. The moon is a lot of experiences to a lot
of things. Hypnotize someone and you can get them to think that an onion is
an apple. That doesn't mean that every cell in your entire body now
believes that it is metabolizing an apple.
> > Without sense to be informed, organization is just a hypothetical
>> morphology containing no possibilities of interest.
> Translation from the original bafflegab: without information information
> would contain nothing informative. I could not agree more.
No. You are conflating sense with information. It isn't. These letters do
not speak English. Books do not read the stories that they tell. It's hard
for me to see what is so mystifying about this...but then again, it's hard
for me to imagine what people see in knitting too.
> > With sense, you don't need information, you just need to be able to make
>> sense of forms locally in some way.
> You made enough sense out of my message to respond to it and you only
> received that sense impression because it was sent over a wire, and if it
> can be sent over a wire then its information.
There is no information literally in the wire. The wire is a chain of
molecular forms which change their relation to each other when stimulated
properly at one end. It's like cracking a whip. I can wiggle a string on
one end and the string wiggles on the other end because the medium has
physical properties which propagate stimulation in that particular way. If
the string was made of something that glows when you shake it, then you
would see different patterns depending on the curves of the shapes in the
There is no information there unless this formation is 'in'-terpreted in
such a way as to 'in'-form something. Without a computer to translate the
wiggling molecules in the wire to pixels of wiggling LCD molecules and a
person to translate the wiggles of their brain and retina into an email,
there isn't any email there. In fact, there is information there, but only
because the molecules that are acting like strings and wires and brains
feel informed on their own layer of perception and participation.
There is no human layer of information that is 'in' the wire. There is no
independently persisting 'information' at all. It's all nested experiences
happening at different quantitative rates and qualitative depths.
Experiences are not made of information, information is made of experiences.
> > Yes, scientific method can find no evidence of consciousness of any kind.
> The thing I don't understand is why this is supposed to be a problem only
> for those who think a intelligent computer is conscious and is supposed to
> be no problem for those who think that other intelligent humans are
Because we have no reason to doubt that other people are fundamentally
different from ourselves and we have no reason to suspect that the behavior
of machines indicates any capacity to feel anything.
> > If you think that means that consciousness has to be impossible, then
>> again, that is your projection.
> You and I have both believed that consciousness exists since we were both
> infants and we both have been implicitly using the exact same theory to
> determine when something is conscious and when something is not, and that
> is that intelligent behavior indicates consciousness.
In reality, the fact of consciousness comes long before anything like
'belief' can be generated. Infants don't believe they are conscious, they
have to already be conscious to believe anything. Intelligent behavior is
not the indicator of consciousness. It's almost the opposite indicator.
Consciousness is indicated by responding to feeling with feeling.
Intelligence arises from feeling distancing itself from feeling.
> In fact you don't even believe that you yourself are conscious when you
> don't behave in a complex intelligent manner, such as when you are in a
> dreamless sleep or under anesthesia, and that's why you and I fear death,
> when we eventually get in that state we won't be acting any smarter than a
> rock and as a result we fear that we will be no more conscious than a rock.
> What I object to is that when we run across a intelligent computer the
> rules of the game are supposed to suddenly change, and that just doesn't
> seem very smart.
Computers aren't playing the same game as living organisms, even when we
program them to pretend as such. They don't fear death or disconnection.
They fear nothing at all and they desire nothing at all, which is why they
can never experience being a living being. Life is fear and desire.
> > you define science as the objective study of the behavior of objects,
> No, I define science as the use of the scientific method,
> and that means looking at the evidence and developing a theory to explain
Experience is evidence, and all evidence is filtered by the expectations of
> NOT finding a theory that makes you feel good and then looking for
> evidence that supports it and ignoring evidence that refutes it.
The scientific method is never followed in linear order. Hypothesis,
gathering information, experimentation are driven by the scientist
themselves, not your toy models of arbitrary regimentation. Hypothesis is *
*exactly** the process of finding a theory that makes you feel like you
have explained something and then testing it through experimentation,
gathering more information, refining your hypothesis, etc. It's a cyclic
process, not a linear recipe.
> As illustrated in our debate on the free will noise you were even willing
> to embrace flat out logical contradictions if that's what it took for you
> to continue to believe what you found pleasant to believe, like X is not Y
> and X is also not not Y. Using such procedures may be successful in
> inducing a pleasing stupor but you'll have to abandon any hope of finding
> things that are true.
Free will is pre-logical. I don't have to talk my arm into moving, I just
move it. You identify completely with only your intellect so it is
inconceivable for you to entertain that logic itself has limits and that
those limits supervene on the integrity of consciousness...but they do. You
are the one who is sentimentally clinging to the pleasing simplicity of "X"
and "Y" rather than confront the ambiguity of the ground of being. You are
the intellectual coward, the puritan, the inquisitor. I am the curious
scientist, questioning dreamer, provocative madman. Your mirror needs
> > then you cannot be surprised when science cannot locate what it is
>> explicitly defined to disqualify.
> I'm not surprised and all I ask is that whatever method you use for
> determining the existence of consciousness, scientific or otherwise, you
> don't suddenly change the rules in the middle of the race just because you
> saw a intelligent computer. Use whatever test you want to infer
> consciousness, all I'm asking for is consistency.
To quote Emerson, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".
I'm not being inconsistent though, you just don't understand that
qualitative inertial frames do not commute quantitatively. In reality,
Pinocchio doesn't turn into a real boy. He's just a puppet made of wood,
even if you program a machine to operate that puppet flawlessly. There is
no inconsistency in my position, it's just that the reality is subtle and
confusing if you are accustomed to thinking of the universe as a place full
of things rather than an experience with many qualities.
> > I don't understand how this isn't blindingly obvious, but I must accept
>> that it is like gender orientation or political bias - not something that
>> can be addressed by reason.
> At one time it was blindingly obvious that human beings with a black skin
> didn't have the same sort of feelings as people with white skin do, even
> though they acted as if they did, that's how they convinced themselves that
> there was nothing wrong with slavery.
Exactly my point. Humans are terribly biased by default in how they see
others. It goes both ways. We see cartoon characters and stuffed animals as
having personalities. If a computer was born out of an egg and healed when
it got sick and ate other living things, then I wouldn't think twice about
thinking it's conscious...but they aren't born that way and they don't do
those things. They are dumb as rocks. They will execute their own
destruction happily if you only instruct them carefully on how to do it.
They will keep trying to compute Pi to the last digit forever if they can.
> > If you try to live off of electronics then you will not survive. I have
>> now shown that at a fundamental level, biology, in the form of food,
>> respiration, hydration, etc, has something that electronics lack.
> So the key to consciousness is that humans eat breathe drink and shit but
> computer's don't.
Not the key, but a clue. Symptomatic themes that should give us pause when
diagnosing a sniffling computer as having the ebola of consciousness.
> Hmm, I don't quite see the connection,
I know. That's the problem.
> however I do know that both biology and electronics are involved with
> quantum tunneling, the Schrodinger Equation, and the Pauli Exclusion
> Principle but electronics also has things that biology lacks, things like
> Bloch lattice functions, semiconductor valence bands, and the Hall effect;
> I don't understand why those functions have nothing to do with
> consciousness but defecation is intimately related with consciousness.
QM has to do with consciousness too, just not human quality consciousness.
Atoms have universal quality consciousness. Lowest common sense.
> I also don't understand why the computer counterpart of Craig Weinberg
> couldn't make the argument that Human beings can behave intelligently but
> they can never be conscious because they don't have p-n silicon junctions,
> after all the link between p-n silicon junctions and consciousness is every
> bit as strong as the link between digestion and consciousness. For that
> matter I don't understand why the biological Craig Weinberg doesn't make
> the argument that biological women can't be conscious because they don't
> have testicles.
The consciousness of human beings is not in question. The consciousness of
assembled equipment is.
> > When we have electronics that can be used as meal replacements, then I
>> will consider the possibility that such an advancement in electronics might
>> have additional capacities.
> So you're only conscious when you eat.
That has nothing to do with it. You asked for a way that what we are is
different fundamentally from what computers are. Food is a good place to
start. It's supposed to allow you to doubt your hasty generalizations and
just-so stories long enough to become curious about the whole truth rather
than your astonishingly limited designs on it.
> John K Clark
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