[ExI] Possible seat of consciousness found

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Feb 18 13:20:08 UTC 2020

On Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 1:16 PM Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com> wrote:

>> It's all about Evolution! If what you say about consciousness is correct
>> then Evolution would have never produced it, and yet I know for a fact
>> that it did at least once.
> *> You keep saying that, but that doesn't make it true. *

Repetition doesn't make it true but it's 100% true nevertheless.

> *> Evolution isn't some omniscient overseer tweaking genes to achieve a
> desired result.*

Thank you Captain Obvious.

> *It's random mutations that have completely unintended consequences.*

Mutation is random but that's only half of Evolution, the other half is
Natural Selection, neither half has intended consequences because neither
half has foresight, but Natural Selection is very far from being random.
Evolution will cause animals to be conscious ONLY if it causes BEHAVIOR
that enhances the probability that the animal will survive long enough to
reproduce or is the byproduct of something else that does. Evolution can't
see my consciousness anymore than you can see my consciousness, so why did
Evolution produce a sentient being like me? Because all animals express
behavior, and that includes millions of generations of my ancestors, and
intelligent behavior is much more likely to promote survival than stupid
behavior and because consciousness is an inevitable byproduct of
intelligence. There is simply no other explanation.

Evolution can't tell the difference between conscious behavior and
unconscious behavior and so Natural Selection can't select for it. But
CAN tell the difference between smart behavior and stupid behavior and so
it can select for that, and it has been doing it for many millions of
years. Evolution is giving us a vital insight into the nature of
consciousness we just have to look.

*> Consciousness happened not because "Evolution" wanted it to, but because
> the right pieces came together the right way.*

I don't understand the quotation marks but if the right pieces coming
together to produce consciousness didn't also produce intelligent behavior
that promoted survival then genetic drift would see to it that those pieces
didn't stay together for long.

*> it's possible that both intelligence and consciousness improve fitness
> but they're basically independent.*

If both improve fitness then they have something in common and can't be
totally independent. If consciousness improves fitness that means it
affects behavior. So if a human's behavior was sufficient for you to make
the judgment that he is not sleeping or under anesthesia or dead and thus
was conscious then you'd have to also conclude that a robot that behaved
the same way was conscious. In other words the Turing Test would work not
just for intelligence but for consciousness too.

John K Clark
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20200218/49fd1319/attachment.htm>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list