John K Clark (
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 21:08:28 -0700 (PDT)


On Sun, 15 Jun 1997 Brent Allsop <> Wrote:

>He [Dennett] basically argues that: we don't have qualia, "It
>just seems that we do". (Quote from Consciousness explained.)
>But this is absurd if you think about it.

You're being much too serious, Dennett was just having some fun and engaging
in a little wordplay, like saying "you don't think, you just thing you think".
If it seems to you that you have qualia then obviously you do.

>>unlike theories of intelligence, consciousness theories are very
>>easy to dream up, far, far too easy. These theories have no
>>objective facts they must explain so there is no limit to the number
>>of them you can crank out. How could we ever know which theory is

>We'll we can't know that anyone really went to the moon either.[...]
>What matters is people can go to the moon, do things like ger rocks
>and resources and everything else as if it really existed. Of course,
>even though it isn't correct, we must take the simplest theory.

The "moon theory" explains lots of things, things, like RADAR reflected off
its surface, the tides, the chemical analysis of rocks, and photons entering
our eye. The only thing the "conscious minds other than me" theory explains
is behavior, if as you say it can't even do that then it's useless and
logically I'd have to take solipsism very seriously.

>I don't care if I really didn't go to the moon as long as I will
>never be able to tell that I didn't.

I agree, and it's why I don't take solipsism very seriously.

>eventually there must be an entire set of physics developed to
>describe all our spiritual, or phenomenal sensations down to the
>most precise possible experiential detail.

If you keep asking a sequence of "why" questions, before very many steps you
will come to a ontological primitive that no theory can answer, such as,
"Why is there something rather than nothing?" or "Why does intelligence
produce consciousness?". The only answer is that's just the way the Universe

>>I think the idea of intelligent zombies is crazy

>No! We have zombies today. A color sensing computer can tell us
>what color something is far better than we can!

I said INTELLIGENT zombies. I have to see an intelligent computer, color
sensing or not, when I do I will conclude it's conscious.

>But this [The Genetic Code] still does not tell us precisely the
>nature of our conscious representations and what they are
>fundamentally like.

True, but it does tell me that the basic architecture of my consciousness was
grown from a DIGITAL seed, The Genetic Code. My present consciousness was
also influenced by the experiences I had in my life up to now, and every bit
of it came to me through my senses and they can be represented digitally also.

>>Nobody has ever seen even a hint of fundamental new physics in the
>>matter of the brain,

>That is simply because we filter all information through the
>abstracting filter of our senses.

I don't quite know what to make of that. Of course, everything we know or
will ever know about the world ultimately comes from our senses. So what?

Science can find no difference between one atom and another, a Hydrogen atom
in my body is identical to one in yours so that can't be what makes my
consciousness different from yours. True, matter is needed for me to exist,
but that's not the important part because matter is generic so any matter
will do, good thing too, the matter in my body is quite different than it
was a year ago. The important thing is the way the matter is organized and
the name for that is information. I am not an object, I am not a noun, I am
an adjective, I am the way matter reacts when it is organized in certain ways.

>We have never looked for or even had the tools to look for actual
>phenomenal qualities.

If we have ever "looked" we must have used senses to do so.

>We know, abstractly, how an atom interacts with other matter

Yes, I even know how you interact with other matter.

>but we have no idea what it is like to be that atom.

True, I'm not an atom, so I can not be something I'm not. I'm not you so
I'll never know for sure exactly what it's like to be you, only you know that,
in fact, I think that's the definition of "you". If I did know what it's
like to be you then I'd be you.

>information is nothing unless it is represented by something
>physically real.

Two erroneous opinions I have plus two other erroneous opinions I have are
still equal to 4. Are my erroneous opinions physically real?

There is no point dancing around it, what we're talking about is the soul.
Information is as close as you can get to the traditional concept of the soul
and still remain within the scientific method. Consider the similarities:

1) The soul is non material and so is information.

2) It's difficult to pin down a unique physical position for the soul, and
the same is true for information. Exactly where is the location of the
information that Caesar was a Roman or that 2 +2 =4 ?

3) The soul is the essential, must have, part of consciousness, exactly the
same situation is true for information.

4) The soul is immortal and so, potentially, is information.

There are also important differences between the soul and information:

1) The soul can't be duplicated but information can be.

2) The soul is and will always remain unfathomable, but information is
understandable, in fact, information is the ONLY thing that is

3) Information unambiguously exists, I don't think anyone would deny that,
but even if the soul exists it will never be proven.

>just because abstract binary representations can represent color as
>good as our sensations can doesn't mean they are the same
>fundamental representations.

Why not? In Science if two things react in exactly the same way then they're
the same.

>They are not consciously like each other though they can both
>simulate or represent each other in an abstract way.

I strongly disagree. In daily life we use behavior to determine what other
people are thinking and are likely to do next, it seems to work pretty well.
What evidence do you have that two entities can behave exactly the same way
yet have different consciousness?

It seems to me that the mind is what the brain does, if two brains are doing
the same thing then there is only one mind.

>A red sensation is not an unobservable characteristic.

I can't prove it but the evidence is very good that what you say is true.

>We just don't yet have the tools to eff such feelings.

But we already have the tool, imperfect though it may be, it's the exact same
tool that evolution used to make consciousness in the first place, behavior.
The conclusion is clear, intelligence is impossible without consciousness.

John K Clark

Version: 2.6.i