RE: MD Can Only Humans Respond to DQ?

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sat Nov 23 2002 - 16:15:55 GMT

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    Glenn said:
    If we accept the common notions that speaking a language involves
    symbol manipulation, and that saying someone is "nowhere intellectually"
    means he or she is "not intellectual", then the definition of
    'intellectual' as the ability of the mind to "collect and manipulate
    symbols" is incompatible with the statement that Lila is "nowhere
    intellectually", because Lila speaks a language.

    DMB says:
    Language is a social level thing. All normal humans can speak and we've been
    talking for hundreds of thousands of years, long before the intellectual
    level was born. I could talk like Lila and say, "you think you're so big and
    strong". An utterance like this requires no intellectual values and is
    something a four year old child is perfectly capable of saying. The
    manipulation of symbols that intellect can engage in goes way beyond the
    basic acquisition of language.

    Glenn said:
    On the debate over whether an instrument can detect the President of the
    United States, the answer depends on how you interpret the phrase
    "President of the United States". If you take this to mean a particular
    man, like George Bush, then the answer is yes. You simply run his finger-
    prints through a national database. If you take it to mean something more
    abstract, like "presidency" or "presidential", then the task gets tougher,
    or impossible. There are many qualities that make a person presidential,
    not all of them are hard and fast, and many are not detectable by current
    technology. One that might be is poise under pressure. You can wire up
    two candidates during a presidential debate and monitor their perspiration
    and respiration. A machine could have predicted that JFK was more
    presidential than Nixon on this count. As for the things that are hard to
    objectively quantify, like loyalty to country, democratic convictions, and
    a love of freedom, it's worth noting that even people have trouble assessing

    these qualities accurately in a person, and suffer the same barriers to
    these that an instrument would.

    DMB says:
    Look, this really isn't very complicated. As Pirsig says, the first two
    levels are objective and the top two are subjective. SOM says that these
    subjective things are really real, whereas Pirsig's SOM says these
    "subjective" patterns are as real as rocks and trees. BUT the fact remains
    that these subjective patterns can't be measured in terms of physical
    attributes. Hooking candidates up to wires will not detect the President,
    only their sweat and breath, which is nothing more than the biological
    correlates of stress.


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