Re: Invasion of the Meme Snatchers

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 13:48:30 MST

Spud Howe quoted thus:
> << Suppose a nanocivilization sent out nanobots aboard a von Neumann probe
> otherwise) to our "lovely" planet. Their mission is to destroy any
> gathered by humans of the galactic civilization that in fact exists out
> there. Is this scenario physically possible? >>
And remarked,
> The simple answer is no. There is not one piece of evidence that such a
> nanobot does exist,

I think we may be talking past each other here. I realize that sometimes
when people say 'possibility' they mean something like 'plausibility' or
'probability' but this is not what I was asking at this stage. What I am
asking is whether this sort of meme snatching would violate anything we know
about the physical laws of the universe, e.g., if human brains were of such
a delicate and interwoven constitution that removing one memory would
destroy the whole brain then this would count against the physical
possibility of this scenario. Of course, what we know of human brains is
that they are not like this. As for the plausibility of the meme snatcher
conjecture perhaps it will help to clarify if I put the point about evidence
for this scenario paradoxically: the best evidence we have for the
conjecture is that we do not have any evidence for the conjecture.

> On another matter, your conference on Practical Cosmology, perhaps needs
> include something like Existential Cosmology, touching upon meaning, or
> pain-relief, (at least!).
I hope the subject matter is already sufficiently broad to attract interest.
Furthermore, it is possible that some aspects of the topics of meaning and
pain reduction might already fall under the purview of Practical Cosmology
in that they might figure in agents practical reasoning about how to remake
the universe. However, I will keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks! Mark.

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