[ExI] The alleged existence of consciousness (was: Semiotics and Computability)

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Mon Feb 15 18:43:11 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> I know a priori that the human nervous system supports consciousness. I cannot say anything like that about my watch or about computers without stepping outside the bounds of science to science-fiction.
> I consider it a scientific fact that consciousness arises between the nematode to the human. But only in science-fiction does consciousness happen in digital watches or digital computers.

Well, clearly you are wrong to consider that a scientific fact.
Science is based on experiments, not on reason. A priori knowledge has
no scientific validity.

If you're going to bring the scientific method into this, then the
burden is on you to provide an experiment which tests for the
existence of consciousness. The Chinese Room does nothing like this.
The Turing test at least looks like it does, but you have stated
repeatedly that it will give false positives when exposed to a weak

The way I see it, Gordon, you have only two choices: stay within the
realm of a priori reason and logic, wherein intuition and subjective
experience may be invoked as compelling pieces of evidence; or take
the argument into a purely scientific frontier, wherein only objective
measurements count for anything.

Treating the two with a mix-and-match attitude is disingenuous at
best, fallacious at worst. A little bit is unavoidable, but it
disappoints me to see you doing so in such a flagrantly shameless way.

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