[ExI] How not to make a thought experiment

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 21 03:22:34 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com>:
>> I would not be surprised to learn that Gordon has never written a computer program in his life.
> Really? I've written many programs. I spend 50+ hours per week programming, deploying or troublshooting computers.

This, on the other hand, surprises me greatly.

Then again, my father is a professional software developer and he
doesn't know any more about the vagaries of low-level information
processing than a stereotypical soccer mom. I wrote an extremely
simple program in Haskell once, to his specifications in fact, and he
was utterly blown away.

I explained it to him as he was reading it, quickly at first and then
more carefully as it rapidly escaped him, until eventually he was
forced to re-do it himself based on vague impressions he gleaned from
my apparently alien solution. It is a well-documented fact that I am
excellent at explaining complex subjects, mind you. I've been told
more than once that I'd make a great teacher.

I spend less than an hour a week programming. I am certainly not a programmer!

So, Gordon, it seems I have reached an impasse: I had assumed that you
were pretty much computer-illiterate, based on the way you talk about
symbols, and I can't decide whether that gave your intelligence too
little credit or too much.

None of this is terribly useful. I feel compelled to say it, nevertheless.

At this point I think it would be a great idea to abandon the CRA
entirely, seeing as it was only meant as an illustration of a broader
argument. It's done nothing but obscure the matter, from what I can
see. A completely unrelated thought experiment is long overdue.

I've just read the Wikipedia article for the CRA in more detail, as
well as the following:

It helped to clear away a few layers of confusion accrued from
spending all my time in Extropy-Chat. So, now I'm beginning to agree
with Searle. We'll see how things have settled in my mind after I
sleep on it.

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