X-Message-Number: 3336
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 1994 22:21:45 -0400
Subject: CRYONICS Stodolsky's "science"

I hate to be tactless, but I am dumfounded by what seem to me Dr. Stodolsky's
egregious errors. Possibly there has been a failure of communication--but I
can't resist adding that, as the professional psychologist, Dr. Stodolsky is
the one who should be more expert in communication--both sending and

This is a tiresome exercise, but let's get on with it. I'll shorten it by
just getting to the nub, rather than quoting and answering point by point, in
some cases. 

Internal states (or the brain states that give rise to them) are not
"unobservable"--just (so far) unobserved, or in some cases perhaps just
unrecognized for what they are. It is a high-order PRESUMPTION that one day
we will be able to categorize and measure internal states. Anyone who denies
this is bucking the main stream of scientific tradition. WHY should any part
of the brain's machinery remain forever unobservable or incapable of

Is my "entire argument... based upon unobservable internal states"?  WHAT
argument? I have merely made essentially one basic statement, which seems to
me virtually self-evident (and scarcely original, even though neglected):  

***The most important conditions/events in the brain are those pertaining to
feeling and consciousness--the subjective condition, qualia, etc.--because
these constitute our ground of being.***  (Any system that does not have
subjective experiences is not a person, regardless of intelligence and

>From this it naturally follows (without any "argument" being necessary) that
neuroscientists should, as and when feasible, try to focus on subjectivity as
the key to the central self and criteria of survival. 

Will I "have an argument" only after internal states "have been measured"?
This is like saying that Aristotle had accomplished nothing when he decided
to study nature, or Vesalius decided to study anatomy, or Lewis & Clark
decided to head west--that the achievement was zero until he had implemented
the job. Pointing out that a certain area of potential study is important is
certainly no great achievement, but it isn't zero either.

Incidentally, it isn't true either that merely "qualitative" phenomena are
outside the realm of "science." A very great deal of extremely useful
information can be conveyed without using any (explicit) numbers at all.

Robert Ettinger

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=3336