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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Those chems
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 20:15:20 -0500

Dan'l wrote:

>So how do we differ from the chems? "Glands?" Pfui; the
>equivalent can be programmed, or hardware-coded -- the little
>we learn of chem reproduction leads me to think the latter.

Why would any robot designer in their right mind even _consider_ building
one hardwired (or programmed) to be subject to the equivalent vagaries of
human emotions occasioned by glandular secretions? Hard to imagine Marble
with a robot version of PMS. Would Sand have been any meaner to Silk if he
had cranked out a little more of the robot version of testosterone?

And where _do_ those parts needed to build a new chem come from? Central
warehouse? I guess not, or Olivine wouldn't have been left in the lurch.
(There shouldn't have been a shortage of fem-chem parts; there never had
been many females.) Carried inside the chem parents? Then how is it that
Hammerstone and Marble used up theirs?

>> The gamut of human emotions attributed to the head movements and
>> body language of Marble exist only in the eye of the beholder;
>> they are learned associations or fanciful projections with no more
>> (probably less) real-world meaning than those my wife assigns to
>> one of our cats.
>And here the agenda steps forward: Roy, you are a victim of
>pseudoscientific behaviorism, the idea that humans are somehow
>the only creatures with real emotions or consciousness. While
>only a fool would claim that the _exact_natures_ of a cat's
>consciousness and emotions are identical to a human's, it is
>equally silly to suppose that they don't have 'em ... in fact,
>the only plausible argument for this is a religious one that
>we have souls and they don't.

Perhaps you missed the "(probably less)" part of that quote. Anyone who has
seen a whipped cur, or one that has just been handed a piece of meat, can
see that the dog acts very differently in those cases. Likewise the cats
don't purr when I yell at them to get off the screen door. Animals seem to
have a certain degree of consciousness and emotions, sure; they just don't
have the ones my wife projects them to have: they can't--their brains don't
have room for that complexity, even if they could think like a human, which
they can't.

>Let me make clear that I am not a PETA loonie and do not
>seek to shut down all animal research; far from it, I am
>a supporter of animal research for medical and scientific
>purposes. However, I believe that this is a case of the
>"naked lunch" principle -- which I describe as the idea
>that those who eat meat need to visit a slaughterhouse,
>see what is done, and understand that they are hiring
>people to do this for them. Use of animals for our own
>purposes is (in my very firm opinion) morally acceptable
>only by those who clearly and fully understand what they
>are doing.

Although this animal-rights stuff had nothing to do with my post, you have
several times brought up Heinlein on this list. In TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE he
said that when the need arises you must be able to shoot your own dog. I
can; I have. That doesn't mean I liked it. I wouldn't eat chicken for years;
I kept seeing them headless, flapping around spouting blood as I had seen
them as a kid when they were fresh killed. But I got over it. And I know how
sausage is made.



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