[ExI] Bringing new life to dead matter

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Mon May 28 17:43:37 UTC 2012

On Sat, May 26, 2012 at 8:30 PM, The Avantguardian
<avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com>
>> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>> Cc:
>> Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2012 12:54 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ExI] Bringing new life to dead matter
>> OK, if you want to redefine it, then I suppose my bedroom slippers are
>> conscious too. :-)
> At the very least, your slippers seem to remember they are slippers rather
> than amourphous fuzzy blobs. Will's point is that unless you are willing to
> believe that there is a *qualitative* difference between living and non-living
> matter, then all differences must necessarily be quantitative in nature and
> involving the interplay between energy and entropy. So unless you have a
> soul, your slippers are less conscious than you, but still conscious.

All right, no need to get nasty and accuse me of believing in a soul...

I think I draw the line at the beings that have some kind of central
nervous system and those that don't. I do not believe that amoebas
have anything approaching consciousness. Dogs, cats, yes. Maybe even
sea stars. And then you are at a quantitative difference, a huge one
to be sure... but without a brain, I don't know how you could claim

>> How do you "perceive" if you are a pancreas? I must admit that I find
>> your understanding of consciousness to be very foreign from mine.
> The pancreas percieves your other organs and thus its "world" chemically.
> The pancreas thus is able to know when you have just eaten so it can
> squirt digestive enzymes into your intestines.

So any kind of reflex is consciousness? Really?

>> So if a pancreas doesn't understand language and culture, then is it
>> conscious? I think that at a minimum consciousness would involve
>> communicating with similar creatures. Thus dogs and cats are
>> conscious. Ants might be conscious, but perhaps less so. It's probably
>> a continuum. But the earth doesn't "communicate" with any other
>> planets, does it?
> If you define communication as "influencing from afar" then yes, the
> earth does communicate with everything else in space-time by curving
> space-time. Similarly in quantum mechanics, every particle-wave influences
> every other particle-wave at FTL speeds no less. If you are a many-worlder
> than every particle in every possible universe is described by one
> gigantic unitary wave function.

I don't count gravitational pull as consciousness. Sorry.
Consciousness requires emergence, emergence requires energy, and
patterns of behavior, not just wave functions, but responses to wave
functions other than just following the basic laws of physics. If you
accept Gaia, then you have to accept that the entire universe and
multiverse are conscious too.

> Therefore there is no evidentiary contradiction to the mystic idea of the
> fundamental unity of all things.

There's no evidence, either.

> Every atom might have an "atom's worth"
> of consciousness capable of making decisions that in essence determine
> when and where that atom manifests or decays into a different atom.

So mount Everest is more conscious than me because it has more atoms?
I am not buying what you are selling.

> The
> idea is called panpsychism and is very difficult to rule out scientifically.

Stuart, I can't rule out Nessie scientifically, but I don't really
think there is a plesiosaur in Loch Ness. I can't prove that remote
viewing doesn't work. I can't disprove God scientifically either. See
Dawkins tea cup analogy.

Do you have ONE SHRED of evidence to back up this claim?


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