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Human and Animal Differences

In the comments below, reply saying which is the first sentence you disagree with, and why you disagree.

Minds are software. Suffering is a state of mind. Physical information signals, whether from the eyes or from pain nerves, have to be processed by the software before they can cause suffering, be liked or disliked, etc. Before that they're just raw data and no meaning has been determined yet by the conscious mind.

Brains (both human and animal) are universal classical computers. The hardware between humans and some animals is similar. Hardware similarity doesn't tell you about software similarity. Computation is hardware independent. Similar or even identical hardware can run totally different computations. Studying hardware and comparing hardware similarities is a red herring.

All animal behavior follows algorithms specified by their genes. Human genes specify a different type of algorithm – general intelligence – which involves the ability to create/design new knowledge, just as biological evolution created/designed the knowledge of optics in our eyes, the knowledge for how to build a computer out of neurons, the knowledge for what situations a rabbit should run away in, etc. General intelligence is the ability to evolve new knowledge. It’s the ability to replicate ideas with variation and selection, just as biological evolution proceeds by replicating genes with variation and selection. With animals, all the knowledge comes from biological evolution. Humans can do evolution of ideas inside their brains to create new knowledge, animals can’t.

Elliot Temple on November 21, 2019


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