On Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:35:11 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 3:39 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > how can reason be completely different from evolution if reason itself 
>> is a consequence of nothing but evolution. 
> Random mutation can wire together a small number of cells such that if 
> there is a sudden change in the light levels in the environment, like a 
> shadow covering it, a snail will retreat into its shell. This mutation will 
> aid in survival so it will enter into the next generation. A further random 
> mutation might be such that if the shadow does not lead to a attack the 
> connection between shadow and retreat into your shell will be weakened, and 
> if it does lead to a attack the connection will be reinforced. This is the 
> utilization of rudimentary induction, something not seen in the inorganic 
> world until humans started making computers. Evolution is just random 
> mutation and natural selection, and induction is not part of any of that, 
> but it can and has produced something that is. And simple induction is the 
> first step toward more complex inductions, and then deduction and then 
> large brains that produce minds that argue about philosophy.

This is actually a good explanation of your position, and it is a 
respectable position that is adequate for engineering purposes. Since, 
however, we are talking about defining awareness itself, consciousness, and 
the difference between biology and inorganic chemistry, I think that we 
have to look more closely at your initial assumptions. As with the case 
with all of these arguments, it is the initial framing of the issue in 
which the real question is overlooked, rather than a broken link in the 
chain of logic.

When you say "Random mutation can wire together a small number of cells 
such that if there is a sudden change in the light levels in the 
environment, like a shadow covering it, a snail will retreat into its 
shell", you have assumed sense and awareness to begin with. In theory, 
random mutation can't wire together anything. Nothing can be wired together 
in a universe which is devoid of any capacity for detections, responses, 
and their meta-consequences. This is already awareness. You are already 
assuming a mechanism in which one thing can have something to do with 
another thing - where there can be a such thing as 'light levels' or other 
experiences of coherent sensation/detection. You are already assuming 
participatory efficacy in the perception event - the snail will retreat 
into its shell means that something is able to detect the external 
condition and causally effect the behavior of the cells of the snail to the 
point that they physically contract and move into a different position 
within the shell. This may seem like a trivial detail to go from randomness 
to a single low level biological reflex, but ontologically it already 
crosses a chasm which is infinitely wide. You already have billiard balls 
which are able to tell the difference between Spring and Fall. It is a leap 
which is not supported in my view. 

Once you have sense, it is easy to imagine how sensations might evolve into 
richer sensations, emotions, thoughts, etc, but these evolve from the 
qualities of experience themselves, not from the random selection which 
dictates which hereditary line is most promising. It is the experience 
which becomes more and more conscious and more intelligent through the 
realism of its participants, not from some assumed disembodied logic of its 
spatial-mechanical configuration. They are two very different things. 
Evolution can determine which socks get lost in the dryer and which pairs 
survive, but it is still socks that are the relevant item. Socks don't 
appear just because conditions are right in the dryer

If you can begin to understand that 

1) I understand and respect your argument here 100%.
2) I think that I have a better explanation

then we can continue if you like and I can explain how I think qualitative 
significance progresses in a completely different way than evolution. If 
you don't believe 1)  and intend to go on trying to make your same case 
over and over then I don't want to waste your time and we should stop.


> > You say that they are different but you explain nothing of how it is 
>> possible for evolution to become so different from itself.
> Evolution hasn't changed a bit in billions of years, it's still just 
> mutation and natural selection and it doesn't have a scrap of induction or 
> deduction or intelligence in it , but it has managed to produced billions 
> of things that do because in their niche those things pass on their genes 
> better than things that don't have those properties. And Evolution has 
> produced at least one thing that's conscious too. 
> > What does Darwin being right about evolution have to do with you being 
>> right about biology being unnecessary?
> As I've said before, Evolution can't see consciousness only intelligence, 
> and yet Evolution produced consciousness at least once with me, therefor 
> consciousness must be a byproduct of intelligence. And we now know for a 
> fact that biology is not necessary for intelligence so it's not necessary 
> for consciousness either.   
>   John K Clark

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