You argue for several pages in order to essentially assail the single and concise dialog from Ford at in episode 8 which you affectionately refer to as “Ford’s non-answer” and “Ford’s hamfisted eliminativism (“consciousness does not exist”)”. I do agree that Ford’s conclusion— “consciousness does not exist” — is not necessarily the only logical outcome, but you have not addressed the first part of his answer at all. In my opinion, this is the true crux of this quote: “There is no threshold that makes us greater than the sum of our parts, no inflection point at which we become fully alive.” I interpret this to mean something close to how you started your argument, that consciousness is a multidimensional spectrum of perceptual phenomena and there is no precise point along this spectrum at which any observer can truly say that someone or something else other than the observer is conscious or even alive for that matter. By analogy, take from quantum mechanics the concept of not being able to determine the precise location of an electron around an atom; indeed this does not have to mean that the electron does not exist, but that the only model that can explain the physical observations is a probabilistic cloud. We do not yet have a wave function for consciousness.