[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 15 01:25:45 UTC 2010

--- On Sat, 2/13/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> The watch performs the function of telling the time just
> fine. It simulates a sundial or hour glass in this respect. However,
> when a human tells the time there are thousands of extra nuances
> which a watch just doesn't have. So the watch tells the time, but
> it doesn't understand the concept of of time. Comparing a watch with a
> human is like comparing a nematode with a human, only more so. 

I compare my watch to a computer, not to a human. My digital watch has intelligence in the same sense as does my digital computer, and in the same sense as does the most powerful digital computer conceivable. 

I think you want me to believe that my watch has a small amount of consciousness by virtue of it having a small amount of intelligence. But I don't think that makes even a small amount of sense. It seems to me that my watch has no consciousness whatsoever, and that to say otherwise is to conflate science with science-fiction.

> What would you say to the non-organic alien visitors who make the case
> that since a nematode is not conscious, neither can a human be
> conscious, since basically a human is just a more complex nematode?

You beg the question of non-organic consciousness. As far as we know, "non-organic alien visitors" amounts to a completely meaningless concept. 

As for nematodes, I have no idea whether their primitive nervous systems support what I mean by consciousness. I doubt it but I don't know. I classify them in the gray area between unconscious amoebas and conscious humans. 



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