Re: Consciousness

Tue, 17 Jun 1997 15:37:22 -0400 (EDT)

John K Clark <> wrote:

> On Sun, 15 Jun 1997 Brent Allsop <> Wrote:
> If you keep asking a sequence of "why" questions, before very many steps
> 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 is.

Because we exist in the universe we will never be able to completely
understand it. However, in theory, using the resources of the universe we
should be able to accelerate ourselves to a point where we can make an
educated guess. As for the question "Why is there something rather than
nothing?" there isn't, what we percieve as something is nothing. The
question "Why does intelligence produce consciousness?" the dictionary
defines consciousness as "aware, knowing" - The question answers itself.
There is always a lot of confusion about what consciousness is, this is
because the word is used to discribe some sort of mythical magical thing,
which can obviously not be explained for the same reason you can't explain
why there are invisible pixies at the bottom of my garden.

> >>Me:
> >>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.

We are conscious, we are aware, therefore we react. You are not in control
of it, the only way you could change what has happened and what is going to
happen (the same thing) is to change the first glimmer of movement in the
universe (obviously impossible because you are the result of that movement).
Everything ever since is a chain reaction, the only reason you're reading
this is because you have no choice (you made a decision to read - but that
decsion was not your own, it was based on the trillions of things that went
before it).

[big snip]
> 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

I have no idea why you would consider the soul and consciousness as the same

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

Information is 'about' physical things. It must be representing something
physical and it must be represented by something physical.

How are you defining the soul exactly ? If the soul is like information,
what is the information on ?


> >just because abstract binary representations can represent color
> >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
> the same.

An abstraction would only seem the same, on a physical level it would not be
identical and nor would it react the same. Science would not look at the
software representing your brain on a computer, it would look at the physical
reactions of the computer (at a level deeper than the fact it sounds the

> >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
> What evidence do you have that two entities can behave exactly the same
> yet have different consciousness?
> It seems to me that the mind is what the brain does, if two brains are
> the same thing then there is only one mind.

Only if they occupy the exact same space, otherwise they are seperate. All
of the differences between seperate objects are due to position and movement.