Come on Craig, admit you wrote that. It's the last paragraph that is the 
dead give-away.

On Wednesday, October 30, 2013 4:07:59 PM UTC+11, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> A Quora answer to the following question. Nothing new for me here 
> probably, but It's maybe organized in a more concise way.
>> Philosophy: If human beings are nothing more than matter, why are you 
>> conscious as 
>> yourself?<>
>> The implication of materialism is that we are in essence wet robots, 
>> without free will, just chemical reactions. But if this is true and we are 
>> conscious, then does it logically follow that all chemical reactions have 
>> "consciousness" to some degree? If the human mind is just an extremely 
>> advanced computer, then at what point does "consciousness" occur? 
> We don’t know that chemical reactions are unconscious, but if they were, 
> then it makes sense that the entire universe would also be unconscious. It 
> is very tricky to examine the issue of consciousness and to draw parallels 
> within common experience without unintentionally smuggling in our own 
> expectations from consciousness itself. This is the Petito principii or 
> circular reasoning which derails most fair considerations of consciousness 
> before they even begin in earnest. 
> Unlike a clock which is made up of gears, or a particular sized pile of 
> hay, the addition of consciousness has no conceivable consequence to the 
> physical function of a body. While we can observe a haystack burst into 
> flames because it has grown too hot, we cannot look at the behavior of a 
> human body see any special difference from the behavior of any other 
> physical body. There is complexity, but complexity alone need not point to 
> anything beyond an adjacency of simple parts and isolated chains of effects.
> Just as no degree of complication within a clock’s mechanism would 
> suddenly turn into a Shakespearean sonnet, the assumption of universal 
> substitution is not necessarily appropriate for all phenomena, and for 
> consciousness in particular. To get a color image, for instance, we need to 
> print in colored dots, not black and white. Color TV programs cannot be 
> broadcast over a monochrome display without losing their color. 
> Unlike chemical or mechanical transformation, the nature of awareness is 
> not implicated in the shuffling of material particles from one place or 
> another. Any natural force can be used to do that. We have no scientific 
> reason to insist that conscious participation and aesthetic appreciation is 
> derived from some simpler functioning of complex systems. To the contrary, 
> ‘complexity’, and ‘system’ can only make sense in the context of a window 
> of perception and attention. Without some teleological intent to see one 
> part as part of a whole, and to compare remembered events with current 
> perceptions, there is no such thing as ‘function’ at all. 
> There are several important points wrapped up in this question, which I 
> will try to sum up.
> *1. The failure to consider consciousness metaphysically.*
> This is the most important and most intractable issue, for three reasons:
>    - because it is difficult for anyone to try to put their mind outside 
>    of mind. It’s annoying, and winds up feeling foolish and disoriented.
>    - because it is difficult in particular for the very people who need 
>    most to get past the difficulty. I have found that most people who are 
> good 
>    with logic and scientific reasoning are not necessarily capable of doing 
>    what others can. The skillset appears to be neurological, like handedness 
>    or gender orientation.
>    - because those who do have difficulty with thinking this way are 
>    often not used to intellectual challenges that escape their grasp, their 
>    reaction is so defensive that they react with intolerance. It’s not their 
>    fault, but it cannot be cured it seems. Some people cannot see 3-D Magic 
>    Eye art. Some cannot program their way out of a paper bag. In this case it 
>    is the ability to consider consciousness from a prospective rather than a 
>    retrospective view which can prove so inaccessible to so many people, that 
>    frothing at the mouth and babbling about unicorns, magic, and the 
>    supernatural is considered a reasonable and scientific, skeptical 
> response. 
>    Of course, it is none of those things, but it takes a lot of patience and 
>    courage to be able to recognize one’s own prejudices, especially when we 
>    are used to being the ones telling others about their biases.
> *2. The taboo against metaphysics, panpsychism, and transrationality*
> Long after Einstein, Gödel, and Heisenberg shattered the Humpty Dumpty 
> certainties of classical math and physics, we are still trying to piece him 
> back together. Regardless of how much we learn about the strange properties 
> of matter, time, energy, biology, and neurology, there are a huge number of 
> very intelligent people who are convinced that we will only know the truth 
> about the universe when it all looks like a vast deterministic mechanism. 
> The compulsion to reduce awareness to passive mathematical or physical 
> states is ironic, given that the defense of automaticity is often 
> accompanied by very hands on personal intention. Even when it is pointed 
> out that arguing against free will is futile (since someone without free 
> will could not change their own opinion about it even if they wanted to, 
> let alone someone else’s opinion), the mind of the determined determinist 
> will always find a way of insist upon being in the right, even when they 
> are ultimately sawing of the limb that they are sitting on.
> When it comes to anything that suggests the possibility of non-human 
> awareness, many people not only become personally uncomfortable, but they 
> become socially uncomfortable as well. The taboo against unconventional 
> views on science (even when backed by anthropological universality) is so 
> pervasive and xenophobic that it is career suicide for a working scientist 
> to publicly acknowledge them in any but the most condescending tones.
> *3. The pathetic fallacy*
> The pathetic fallacy is to take a metaphor in which some inanimate object 
> is given a human quality (“The camera loves you”), and take it literally. 
> While I count myself among those who once saw computation and pattern as 
> being the only ingredient necessary for awareness or life, my understanding 
> now is that no pattern can exist without a capacity for pattern 
> recognition. The ability to receive and make sense of the real world is not 
> a matter of generic relations of disembodied bits of “information”, but is 
> in fact the concrete reality of the cosmos. The universe does not exist for 
> us humans, but it cannot exist as silent, unconscious, intangible physics 
> for billions of years and then suddenly invent the whole of sensation, 
> emotion, intuition, cognition, etc, just for some hominids on this 
> backwater planet. It now strikes me as profoundly anthropocentric to 
> imagine that the entire universe could be devoid of perceptual content 
> until life evolved.
> In my view, the universe itself is nothing but a continuum of qualities of 
> consciousness. These qualities, however, relate to experienced contexts. We 
> cannot take the human-ness out of a human and put it into a machine. 
> Biology has mechanisms and performs computation, but if that’s it was doing 
> then the inside of the brain would look like logic, not like sex and 
> violence and musical theater.

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