[ExI] Understanding is useless

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 29 23:39:37 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> --- On Fri, 1/29/10, John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:

>> it's true I don't have a clue what I'm talking
>> about, but I don't consider that an insult.

Congratulations, John.  How many people feel compelled to know, to be
right, and to have and give the correct answer to whatever question
may be posed?  How many feel embarrassed -- even ashamed -- at being
publicly seen as not knowing, or -- horrors! -- being found to be

Please, show me to the company of those who easily, even
enthusiastically declare, "I don't know." for these three little words
are the beginning of wisdom.

>... I suppose typewriters and cell phones should have civil rights too.

Once they become smart enough to assert that they deserve them.

Of course the real problem is that once they become just a little
smarter than that, say smart enough to understand the concept of
payback, they may just come to wonder why primitive, irrational,
impulse-driven biological pseudo-intelligences with  a lousy track
record should control who gets and who doesn't get "civil rights".

I limited my participation in the Syntax macht nicht Semantics, and
follow on discussions, when it became a Mexican standoff.  Gordon
would not be dissuaded from his position without empirical evidence to
counter his view, and the required evidence -- a materialist,
non-magical neurological explanation for consciousness, intelligence,
intentionality, mind, etc --does not yet exist.

The problem is the human inability to accept the materialist reality,
because materialism inevitably contravenes all religious conjurations,
and ends with the nullification of any notion of human specialness.

I killed a tiny winged insect the other night.  Tiny -- maybe a couple
of millimeters long -- and perfect in every detail -- legs, wings,...
the whole deal.  I pressed down with my finger, and the "miracle" of
life, of evolution, of a DNA(indistinguishable from human DNA) -driven
program, became a grey milligram smear of dust.  And I thought to
myself "No difference between that tiny smear of dust and me, except
of course that I was still alive."

So, sorry Gordon, but it's all -- we're all -- just stardust in the
petri dish.  No special juju.  Unique ***configurations*** of stardust
which exploit unique details of physics and chemistry.  But no juju.
Rust, tumbleweeds, consciuosness, cow patties,... it's all the same.
When the particular details are adequately understood, and applied,
then your toaster will probably have something to say about civil
rights.  I find it liberating, but ymmv.

Best, Jeff Davis

 "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                         Ray Charles

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