Sorry if I was unclear. I meant to say that according to physics, the arrangement of the stars is governed by gravity (not by anything to do with messages). So that is what I meant by causally disconnected (there is no law which would suggest that the stars should align to spell out the Illiad, except, perhaps, the law of large numbers).
Whether there are laws or not is not for me to say (what I can say is that in the first lecture found here
, Feynman makes a convincing argument that physics is deeply undersold given how amazingly accurate certain predictions are).
As to whether I consider unthinking robots to be thinking...well, it seems that the deck is stacked. In a sense, the notion is kind of incoherent to me. What would it be like for me to meet someone who acts like they have a mind, but really don't? Would I feel foolish having believed that they have a mind? How would you convince me that this person I met doesn't have a mind? I guess, I could assume that anything that isn't made of the same stuff as me doesn't have a mind, but that's not fair to any self-aware alien species made of other stuff.