[ExI] Quantum consciousness, quantum mysticism, and transhumanist engineering

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 16:46:45 UTC 2017

On Fri., 10 Mar. 2017 at 12:56 pm, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Mar 9, 2017  Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

>  The point I was making is that the implausible idea that evolution
chanced upon the only way to produce consciousness

if Evolution just got lucky and came up with a consciousness gene by
accident it wouldn't have been able to keep it for long
if consciousness is not a byproduct of intelligence;
it would be lost by genetic drift. All genes experience mutation but if the
gene is vital and the mutation renders it inoperative then
that nonfunctional gene
will not be passed
into the next generation
but the
consciousness gene has no effect o
so there would be no way for natural selection to even notice it was missing
​ much less select against it​
. So in just a few generations humans would be a race of zombies
with a mutated consciousness gene that no longer worked
 And yet I know for a fact that I am conscious.

There are only 3 ways out of this contradiction:

1) Darwin was dead wrong.
2) I am unique, I am the last conscious being in the universe
Consciousness is the unavoidable byproduct of intelligence because
consciousness is just the way data feel when it is being processed.

​I don't think Darwin was wrong so it's got to be #2 or 3.​

I think it's 3, but the other possibility is that consciousness is tied to
organic chemistry, and if evolution had electric circuits to play with, for
example, then the world would have been filled with zombie robots instead
of conscious animals. On the face of it this is implausible but not absurd;
but if true it leads to absurdity, as below.

>   leads to the even more implausible idea that consciousness is
independent of brain function.

A change in the physical chemistry
​of my brain ​
leads to a change
​in my​
 consciousness, and
 conscious experience, such as a itch, leads to a change in a physical
object, such as
 hand scratching
 nose. I just don't understand what more evidence the skeptics of a
physics-consciousness link need.

The proponents of the idea that consciousness is tied to organic chemistry
would say that swapping biological parts for non-biological functionally
equivalent parts would lead to zombies, or at least differently conscious
beings. At first glance, that seems to be correct. But with a little
further thought it becomes evident that this would mean either that
consciousness and behaviour are decoupled, or that it would be possible to
have an arbitrarily large change in your consciousness and not notice.
these bizarre situations can be avoided if consciousness is, as you say, a
necessary side-effect of intelligent behaviour, regardless of how it is

Stathis Papaioannou
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