Re: De-Anthropomorphizing SL3 to SL4.

From: Paul Hughes (
Date: Mon Mar 15 2004 - 02:18:40 MST

--- Keith Henson <> wrote:

>>The thing that separates us from the Neanderthal
>>brain size, or brute strength, but a symbolic
>>manipulation capability.

>This may be true, but I don't think you can prove it

I think the evidence is on our side. We are the only
species who has left behind any significant artifacts
of any kind. Whether they be cave paintings, or
sophisticated tools. All of which we developed before
writing. I think the evidence is pretty strong that
the Neanderthals did not have general purpose symbolic
manipulation ability. There is no evidence that they
did, but the evidence for Homo Sapiens is abundant.

>>Even chimps have a certain degree of culture that
varies from place to place. It is hard to say just
exactly when people became critically
dependant on culture. It could have been carrying
unworked stones to drive off major predators. If you
decide worked stone to be the boundary, then we are
talking about 2.6 million years ago.<<

I think you missed his point. He is talking about a
first level of abstraction (i.e. logos) - a symbol, a
grunt, a word, or picture, *representing* something.
Basic survival knowledge is not abstraction, it is
visceral experience that happens with every species,
even the amoeba on some level.

>>We, as a species, have been driven by memes for the
>>last hundred thousand years, and this has forced us
>>further and further away from any direct connection
>>with the natural world.

>Until we can live on electric power, this is a bit

How is it overstated? Right now, sitting at your
computer in your house or apartment, your are
surrounded by artificiality, lights, tools, batteries,
kitchen knives, oven, roof, walls, windows, glass,
cars, telephone polls, the spoken word, TV,
newspapers, soda pop, running water, pipes, etc, etc.
We are practically drowning in logos!

>>So we have three waves, biological, linguistic, and
>>technological, which are rapidly moving to
>>concrescence, and on their way, as they interact,
>>produce such a tsunami of novelty as has never
>>been experienced in the history of this planet.

>The real question is "does anything interesting
>survive"? (Where
>entities able to tame wild galaxies >are

Yes, that would be a very desirable outcome! :-)

>>>*If* technophilic life is common then the answer is
*no.* Our chances are really rotten if the last 10 or
100 million species to reach this state were eaten by
gray goo or unfriendly AIs. If species that reach our
stage are so rare that there are none in our light
cone, then the future is unknown. Scary perhaps, but
not a death sentence.<<<

Of course, but as you pointed out, ďas far as we know,
this process has [only] been centered on a certain
small planet.Ē

Paul Hughes

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