Let me explain how contraining the scale of the birthing environments to
"planets" and observers to "humans" creates a logical loop-hole through
which the epistemological filter argument is creeping:
To be clear: the argument I'm addressing is thus (I'll emphasis the part I'm
really going after):
"One 'data point' (one planet and one intelligent life) tells us nothing
about the possible appearance of other such data points, since no matter
what the odds of a data point coming into existence, we know that we are
necessarily in one of the realities that has done so at least once.
**However, a SECOND data point would be useful information (a second planet
and a second intelligent life.)**"
Without the discretionary ability arbitrarily decided upon in Nick's
phrasing of the AP, this concept of a second data point goes away: it's all
*one data point* -- i.e.: _The single set of all observers in this
reality._ Making a distinction between 'our' planet and 'their' planet is
arbitrary use of locality as means of seperating the two processes and fails
to recognize that both planets share 'this reality' as a common factor.
To restate simply: The AP does not recognize a second intelligence as being
a second data point. It's just more intelligences in the same ole' petri
dish. The only data points in the AP are *other realities,* which may or
may not sustain life at all. The AP -does- have discretionary power over
those realities-- we know observers must necessarily exist in realities that
are being observed.
The separation of locality is a very important distinction for the purposes
of doing hard science, but irrelevent to the AP which addresses itself to
_the nature of the reality that we inhabit_ (life sustaining)
This is why I asked if Martians would count as a second data point. Just so
I can re-use the example for a second, let's pretend that there are no
interstellar transmission vectors available to life: Martian life counts as
a separate instance of the emergence of intelligence in the universe. (Ok
Eugene?) If I arbitrarily reword my posing of the AP, I get the following:
"No matter how small a fraction of all solar systems in our infinite
universe develop life, we would by neccessity find that we (Earthlings and
Martians) originate from one of the exceptional ones that did."
By changing "planets" to "solar systems" and we [humans] to we (Earthlings
and Martians), we find again that our observations are biased: we apparently
aren't able to make predictions about life appearing in other solar systems
(under the AP.) This will continue ad infinitum-- while tremendously
rewarding to hard science, the observation of additional intelligences adds
no further information under the AP.
My point is this: for any arbitrary demarkation under the AP, there exists a
higher scale demarkation that invalidates the usefulness of additional data
points. The whole thing is a tautology, under the turtles: more turtles.
The AP is only valid at the broadest scale (and therefore, it doesn't say
Now, if you want to argue this, please address the major question: why
*wouldn't* we share in the observer bias under the AP with other observers
possessed of differing locality?
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