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Old July 15 2014, 11:58 PM   #45
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Re: Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone - July 2014

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
In the shot of the doctors at the conference, the second one from the left could be Asian, or maybe not. The guy with the goatee seems possibly Middle Eastern or South Asian, and the second guy from the right looks ethnically ambiguous, and it almost looks like he has a trace of Bajoran nose ridges. But they're all ambiguous enough that it's hard to tell. Oddly, though, they all appear to be male.
There's one female doctor in the first set, I think; though she has a rather "mannish" jaw, so maybe she managed to fool them and thus get round the "no girls" rule.
Do you mean the second one from the left? I wasn't sure about that one, but now that I look more closely, I think there's a ponytail there (I thought it was part of the background scenery before), and though there aren't any unambiguous curves, that doctor's build is rather slender compared to the rest. (Maybe that doctor's a Hermat?)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Just out of curiosity, at what point is a human child considered to be truly sapient? You've discussed before the fact that dogs might be at four-year old level, which surprised me (and caused me, actually, to rethink my attitude toward them), and I recall you posting an interesting link to a discussion of sapience or its potential in octopus, in spite of their short lives. So is there a consensus or majority position on when a human makes the transition from sapience-in-potential to true sapience, if such a determination can even be made?
I don't think there's a line you can draw there; it would be more of a gradual transition as the brain organizes itself to work on a conscious level. I recently read an article about how anaesthesia works, and it suggested that when a brain recovers from deep anaesthesia, it sort of "reboots" itself, its different parts testing out a variety of ways of interacting and feeling their way back by trial and error to the mode of interaction that allows them to interconnect smoothly, resulting in the emergent property of conscious thought. I would imagine that an infant's brain does much the same thing more slowly, because it's learning for the first time. We know that a human brain actually has more neural pathways to start with, and that as the most useful connections are established or reinforced through trial and error, the extraneous ones are discarded. A mind isn't really a single entity -- it's countless components gradually learning how to work together and form a pattern that operates on a higher level.

And by the same token, consciousness isn't a single process but a bunch of different processes working in concert, processes that develop at different rates. So there's no Rubicon to cross, no clear dividing line between sapience and its absence; there's just a series of developmental milestones. What we consider full sapience is the sum of all those milestones, but many of the individual ones are found in the animal kingdom.
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 11/16/14 including annotations for "The Caress of a Butterfly's Wing" and overview for DTI: The Collectors

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