RE: virus: Re: Technology (was manifest science)

Carl Wagener (
Sat, 5 Jun 1999 18:09:00 -0500

Dylan Durst said: "... conciousness exists only at our level. I know its here, but I'm not going to even BEGIN to doubt that it does not exist on other scales."

Um, now think about that a moment Dylan. This is the same as the
"agnostic" argument, and deserves the same reply.

There is no convincing positive evidence for any form of conciousness other than human conciousness, although we concede that our close relatives (chimpanzees, orangotangs, gorillas and many ape species) and some large aquatic mammals (dolphins and whales) and possibly elephants may have some level of conciousness. We have no evidence for any form of
"superior conciousness" whatsoever.

Given these facts, and the lack of necessity of an equivalent or superior conciousness to explain anything that we have observed to date, the only viable position we can take is to accept as the working theory that alternative forms of conciousness do not exist (easily falsified by demonstrating alternative forms of conciousness or some effect which requires an alternative form of conciousness).

Given that the "real" Universe is a big place, and has been around for a long time, and we only know about a relatively small patch of it, and we have known a little about that patch for an almost insignificant period of time, it seems probable that there may well be other forms of conciousness out there. But given the lack of evidence to date, we can't simply assume that it is there. We have to take the least hypothesis that it is not. Anything else would be irrational. We might as well say that there are gods or fairies or invisible pink unicorns. Of course, the "real" Universe is explorable, and hopefully we will eventually do that, and if other forms of conciousness exist, we will modify our hypothesis (if we or it survive the meeting).

So toss that "agnostic position". Agnosticism is simply a retreat from reality and the scientific method and a retreat into "we can't discuss what we are not familiar with" which is obviously not true.