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Wow. I can't believe you of all people would be posting something like this. First, the proponderance of the evidence indicates that the technology for machine guns was not present anywhere in 1600 BCE. Given what we know about the historical progression of technology it is highly unlikely that such technology was available even in unknown societies of that period. Therefore, the correct application of Occam's razor is to assume that the Xia dynasty was not substantially more advanced than the other leading civilizations at the time, and therefore did not have machine guns, or nuclear weapons for that matter.

Hey now, no need to get tetchy if you don't like this line of reasoning; I'm just trying to apply the same logic to "machine guns" that you're in the habit of applying to "intelligence." If what I'm saying makes no sense to you, that's fine with me. It makes very little sense to me either.

You insist that machine guns can only come about through "the historical progression of technology." Great. Why? Because we've seen the historical record implying that machine guns come into existence through technological changes that rely on purely physical laws and processes -- that is to say, the behavior of human beings, who operate in the material world. We have never seen an example of a machine gun that didn't require such a thing.

We know much the same thing about brains. We have seen the historical record of brains coming into existence; we know that they come about as the end product of highly complex natural processes. We have never seen a brain that didn't require such a thing. No magic. No anachronisms. No human brains appearing out of place during the Cambrian explosion. No signs of brains that are as smart or smarter than ours during times when plants or bacteria were the dominant life forms on earth.

Is it possible to imagine a magical brain that exists outside of earth and didn't require an evolutionary process? Sure it is, and by the same token, it's possible for a fully formed machine gun to have spontaneously appeared in the hands of Emperor Yu's enemies, without the need for all that messy "historical progression of technology" to get in the way. I can't prove that didn't happen, nor can I prove that there isn't a superbrain that didn't evolve.

But I don't find it a plausible assumption in either case. If you don't like the logic of having a machine gun in 2000 BC, then I think I'm free to raise the same objection to having a brain in 10 billion BC.

For this question, Occam's razor would suggest that a conclusion is not possible given the lack of data.

No, Occam's razor advises that you don't assume stuff that don't require assuming. You can assume the existence of a cosmic brain, but only if you will grant me that I can assume the existence of a pre-technology machine gun.
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