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Do Jeffrey Shallit’s writings offer more information than a blank page?

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Michael Egnor wonders whether that’s true. But he faces the difficulty of convincing anti-ID mathematician Jeffrey Shallit, that he, at least, ought to think they do:

The irony is that in denying that information content is increased by carving a sculpture, Shallit implicitly denies that information content is increased by carving words on a computer screen or equations in a book. Shallit blogs regularly, and he writes books and papers, and by his own analysis, he has added no information to the world by doing so. Is Dr. Shallit sure that he adds no information to computer screens and pages in a text?

We can rephrase Dr. Marks’s observation as follows:

“We all agree that a page of Dr. Shallit’s textbook contains more information than a blank page.”

Dr. Shallit doesn’t agree. The one point in Dr. Shallit’s defense is that it may be argued that his blog posts add no useful information at all. That may be true, and it would not be a stretch to say that Shallit’s blog posts subtract information, like little self-refuting black holes.

Michael Egnor, “Rankled by Mount Fuji, Darwinist Jeffrey Shallit Offers Little Self-Refuting Black Holes” at Evolution News and Science Today

See also: Jonathan Bartlett replies to Jeffrey Shallit’s pedantry

and

Jeffrey Shallit also holdsforth on Yale’s David Gelernter

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Comments
. Hi Eugene, I think Brenner's many statements in that interview are powerful in many ways. Also, to my mind, Hoshika et al have done some very interesting things, but they haven't actually increased the extant code because they have yet to establish any interpretive constraints to accommodate the additions. Those constraints aren't incidental, they are necessary.Upright BiPed
October 19, 2019
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I stand corrected with respect to my comment #51. This weird response I got to a different post actually. There I was pointing to the work of American biologists who synthesized an 8-letter nucleotide alphabet. I said that this was nothing less than a POC for ID, that this suggested that there is physical indeterminacy in how translation of biological information is organized, and that whatever is created by a mind can also be reverse-engineered by a mind. The same person who responded to this post of mine, actually responded to the quote I posted in #47 above. That is why I made a mistake. To this quote, he said that the article misinforms the reader ))EugeneS
October 18, 2019
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UB Interestingly, I got a response to this quote from a reader of my Russian blog. He said I was dragging in miracles into science under false pretenses. Oh, boy. BTW, I have seen Brenner's video. Very nice.EugeneS
October 18, 2019
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Wow, UB. No I haven't seen it. Looking forward to watching it. Thanks!EugeneS
October 17, 2019
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. ES, you've probably already seen this, but if not, you'll find it interesting: Sidney BrennerUpright BiPed
October 17, 2019
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Perfect, ES Von Neumann's quiescent (non-dynamic) description, and his pondering on why the molecules of life are the sizes that they are. Thank you.Upright BiPed
October 17, 2019
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A somewhat lengthy quote from David H. Ardell, Informatic Approaches for Molecular Translation, doi: 10.1007/3-540-32392-9. This quote shows that what UB says is correct. These things are already part of general knowledge.
Crucial for the remainder of our arguments is that there is a duality between the effective component, which in biological terms could be called the “soma” and the quiescent description, called the “germ-line.” In this duality the germ-line plays a dual role: both as a source of programmatic information and as a passive source of data for copying. The description represents, and instructs the creation of, the machines that copy and express it. I assert that living information flows are almost always representational (if not self-representational) and therefore always consist of a duality between a mediated signal and a machine that must transduce the information in that signal. To my knowledge, the aforementioned Scientific American article to the contrary, neither Von Neumann nor anyone else ever proved that this duality was necessary for self-reproduction, that is whether genetic descriptions are a requirement for self-reproduction. An organism could also use itself directly as the source of information necessary to construct itself. Yet Von Neumann and others make some compelling arguments about the advantages of genetic descriptions for self-reproduction and other powers: Homogeneity of components: the information has its basis in a small number of like components. Thus the problem of replication (the reproduction of information) can be simplified tremendously. Defined state: the whole concept of an active, dynamic entity directly using itself as a source of information for reproduction is complicated by the fact that the stimulation associated with observation and necessary for copying may change the state of other components of the automaton. At best this would reduce the fidelity of self-reproduction and at worst could lead to undefined conditions. This shows clearly why Von Neumann emphasized “quiescence” as an aspect of the description. Consistency: Von Neumann constructs self-reproduction in the stronger context of universal construction. He suggests that it is unlikely that a machine with the power of universal construction can be programmed to obtain descriptions of itself directly from itself without entering logical fallacy. Completeness: By containing an independently copied representation of itself, the automaton avoids representing its own representation ad infinitum to maintain this representation for its offspring. Generalizability: Von Neumann constructs his scheme for self-reproduction in a context that is immediately generalizable to the reproduction of a more general automaton, itself plus a generalized component, and this is demonstrated through the use of the description. In this way Von Neumann argued that quiescent descriptions allow self-reproducing automata to construct automata more complex than themselves, something machines generally cannot do. Evolvability: Variations in quiescent descriptions can occur without altering the integrity of the automaton itself, facilitating the generation of variation to be acted on by natural selection. These properties are strikingly reminiscent of design principles of programs and programming languages.
I spent 5 minutes googling for von Neumann's quiescent description.EugeneS
October 17, 2019
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. I think I was already clear, Seversky. My comments shouldn‘t need any further explanation. When you are confronted with physical evidence that doesn’t comport to your liking, you quickly gather up an irrelevant observation and incoherent reasoning to erect an escape hatch; and you jump. You brought the up the mystery of consciousness specifically so that you could hide in the tall grass, and this is certainly not the first time you’ve done so. Just a few months ago I was talking to you about this same system (this organized physical mechanism that you gave examples of above) in relation to DNA. I was commenting on the significant recorded history of prediction and discovery related to this system in DNA. There were predictions made by some of the greatest intellects of the modern era; there were subsequent discoveries that forever removed the mystery of how a cell freely specifies a protein in heredity. Your answer (full of meandering babble) was to focus on the idea that we had only discovered DNA a half century ago, thereby implying that some as-yet unraveled mystery would certainly explain and counteract whatever was being said in favor of design. And what was being said is that the symbol system that enables DNA to function was predicted as fundamentally necessary prior to its discovery and confirmation. You sought further cover by suggesting that design proponents, absent any first-hand evidence of a designer, must first eliminate any unknown natural causes for anything they suggest as a candidate for design. Not only does that ridiculous standard render materialism completely non-falsifiable (and therefore unscientific), but just a few words later, with the shoe on the other foot, you substitute a whole new standard for the complete lack of any materialist explanations: “the fact that we do not know of something does not mean it does not exist”. You are completely incoherent Seversky, but this is what you do here. You run from physical evidence and reason (and recorded history as well). As I said then, in the face of physical evidence, you sell fear and ignorance.Upright BiPed
October 15, 2019
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Earth to seversky- Materialists cannot account for living organisms. They definitely don't have a mechanism capable of producing brains. Materialism is and always has been, a non-starter.ET
October 15, 2019
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hazel:
This brings up the question of how does the immaterial interact with the material?
By design. Information made the material world, by design, hazel.ET
October 15, 2019
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I am well aware that the interpretation of sound is not inherent in a vibrating membrane any more than the interpretation of image-forming light is inherent in Wald's visual cycle. My original post was written to offer my perspective in answer to the question Hazel asked "This brings up the question of how does the immaterial interact with the material?" Please explain where you think I have been dishonest.Seversky
October 14, 2019
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. Consciousness was never even mentioned, Sev. The internal processing of the brain was never mentioned. In abject fear of science and reason, you literally made up an escape door and ran through it. You know damn well that the interpretation of sound is not inherent in a vibrating membrane, whether that vibrating membrane is attached to a human brain or the lead wires of a microphone. You may very well be the weakest man to ever visit this site Sev - not because you are ignorant (you are certainly not that) but because you are steadfastly dishonest about these issues.Upright BiPed
October 14, 2019
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All I see here is another facet of the hard problem of consciousness. How are the 'signals', generated by the interaction of the physical sense organs with environmental stimuli, processed and integrated to render our conscious experience of the physical reality we assume is out there? I think we can agree that nobody has yet come up with a persuasive theory of how it happens but that, of itself, does not mean that there isn't one. And if materialists are having a hard time constructing a materialist explanation of how the conscious mind exists and works, proponents of an immaterial mind have an even more difficult job explaining what it is and how it works.. Because without that it seems to me to be indistinguishable from spiritualist or supernaturalist narratives which are not really explanations at all.Seversky
October 14, 2019
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. Just in case you were pondering the implications… This phenomenon you’ve given examples of (where one arrangement of matter serves as a medium of information and a second arrangement establishes what is being specified); there is a higher order of this mechanism which has been well-described by science. It is where multiple referents are specified from a common medium. It requires the organization of a token code to function, using spatial orientation within the medium to differentiate one token from another, and it becomes transcibable between mediums. This organization appeared at the origin of life because it offers the capacity necessary to describe the multiple interpretive constraints in the system, enabling the organization to begin and persist over time. And did I mention, the only other place that science has been able to document such a physical organization is in human language and mathematics – two unambiguous correlates of intelligence?Upright BiPed
October 13, 2019
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.
We see when photons of light are absorbed by molecules of chemicals in the light-sensitive cells on our retinas. We hear when pressure waves in the air impact our eardrums and cause them to vibrate. If neither of those effects happens then we don’t see or hear anything.
Are you suggesting that photons of light (being absorbed by our retinas) would have to be physically interpreted as the image of something in the path of those photons? Are you suggesting that pressure waves fluttering across a membrane would have to be interpreted as a sound? Is the interpretation of sound not inherent in the fluttering membrane? And that something else that is establishing the interpretation, wouldn't it have to be material as well - a specific arrangement of matter of some kind? Welcome to the irrefutable world of irreducible complexity, Sev. It's required to specify something among alternatives in a lawful universe. It shows up in physical history at the origin of life.Upright BiPed
October 13, 2019
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Seversky referencing Trekkies as authoritative scientific sources again??? Triple facepalm http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sY4IKaC8s54/U0M0RXxqmSI/AAAAAAAAGa8/ETxQDnx5q9g/s1600/Triple-facepalm.jpegbornagain77
October 13, 2019
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Hazel@ 34
This brings up the question of how does the immaterial interact with the material? Given that matter and energy, as we know them today, are quantum phenomena that are quite unlike what we use to think “matter” was, why call information immaterial and the quantum matter and energy material? Why separate the two? If information interacts with matter and energy, which you call the material world, then it seems to me information is also part of the material world. I don’t see why you make the distinction between physical world and material world. It’s all working together, so why not just one term?
Good points. I was reminded of a Star Trek: Next Generation episode called "The Next Phase". In this story, Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge and Ensign Ro Laren were beaming back to the Enterprise when an explosion caused the inevitable transporter malfunction. When they rematerialized on board the ship, they were completely invisible to the other crew and undetectable by the ship's sensors. They were able to walk through walls and other people as if they weren't there. They could see and hear the Enterprise crew but could not be seen or heard themselves. For astute Trekkies, this was a problem. We see when photons of light are absorbed by molecules of chemicals in the light-sensitive cells on our retinas. We hear when pressure waves in the air impact our eardrums and cause them to vibrate. If neither of those effects happens then we don't see or hear anything. Since the light and sounds inside the ship were passing uninterrupted right through LaForge and Laren, they shouldn't have been able to see or hear anything at all of the ship and its crew. The same should be true of any immaterial consciousness. Without our physical senses, such an entity could not experience the universe as we do. It couldn't use a material brain either since it would still have no interface with physical reality. As for information preceding the existence of matter and energy, if there is nothing there at all, what is the information about and who or what is being informed about nothing?Seversky
October 13, 2019
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OK bornagain77, I understand what you are saying. As I understand it neither matter nor energy would exist without information, anyway.ET
October 13, 2019
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Without getting too technical in delineating the stark differences between immaterial information and matter and energy, i.e. material, one reason, as has been highlighted on this very thread, is that Darwinian materialists themselves continually refuse to acknowledge the physical reality of immaterial information itself. i.e. Ed G post 15
What is immaterial about it? As complex as the process may be, protein synthesis is still just a chemical reaction. As such, DNA contains “information” in the same way that any chemical compound does. Ed G
to wit:
“Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.” George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist – “A Package of Information” https://books.google.com/books?id=V3x1YPgvOJcC&pg=PA43
Further quotes as to how information undermines atheistic materialism itself
John Wheeler (1911–2008) summarizes his life in physics - February 2014 Excerpt: "I think of my lifetime in physics as divided into three periods. In the first period, extending from the beginning of my career until the early 1950?s, I was in the grip of the idea that Everything Is Particles. I was looking for ways to build all basic entities – neutrons, protons, mesons, and so on – out of the lightest, most fundamental particles, electrons, and photons. I call my second period Everything Is Fields. From the time I fell in love with general relativity and gravitation in 1952 until late in my career, I pursued the vision of a world made of fields, one in which the apparent particles are really manifestations of electric and magnetic fields, gravitational fields, and space-time itself. Now I am in the grip of a new vision, that Everything Is Information. The more I have pondered the mystery of the quantum and our strange ability to comprehend this world in which we live, the more I see possible fundamental roles for logic and information as the bedrock of physical theory." – J. A. Wheeler, K. Ford, Geons, Black Hole, & Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics New York W.W. Norton & Co, 1998, pp 63-64. https://uncommondescent.com/informatics/john-wheeler-1911-2008-summarizes-his-life-in-physics/ "The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena." Vlatko Vedral - Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College - a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics. “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information” (48:35 minute mark) “In the beginning was the Word” John 1:1 (49:54 minute mark) Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT https://youtu.be/s3ZPWW5NOrw?t=2984 The Foundation of Reality: Information or Quantum Mechanics? - May 18, 2009 Excerpt: it is not the laws of physics that determine how information behaves in our Universe, but the other way round. The implication is extraordinary: that somehow, information is the ghostly bedrock of our Universe and from it, all else is derived. That really is mind-blowing. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/413515/the-foundation-of-reality-information-or-quantum-mechanics/
Verse:
John 1:1-4 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
bornagain77
October 13, 2019
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Thanks for the straightforward answer, ba. I think your view is (correct me if I’m wrong) is that the phrase “physical world” encompasses more than the “material world”: the material world is made of matter and energy, but the physical world includes both the material world and an immaterial component, information. Furthermore, information interacts with the material world: it has “a ‘top down’ physical effect on matter and energy”, in your words. This brings up the question of how does the immaterial interact with the material? Given that matter and energy, as we know them today, are quantum phenomena that are quite unlike what we use to think “matter” was, why call information immaterial and the quantum matter and energy material? Why separate the two? If information interacts with matter and energy, which you call the material world, then it seems to me information is also part of the material world. I don’t see why you make the distinction between physical world and material world. It’s all working together, so why not just one term?hazel
October 13, 2019
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“Landauer said that information is physical because it takes energy to erase it. We are saying that the reason it (information) is physical has a broader context than that.” Scientists show how to erase information without using energy – January 2011 Excerpt: Until now, scientists have thought that the process of erasing information requires energy. But a new study shows that, theoretically, information can be erased without using any energy at all.,,, “Landauer said that information is physical because it takes energy to erase it. We are saying that the reason it (information) is physical has a broader context than that.”, Vaccaro explained. http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-scientists-erase-energy.html Information is physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) - video https://youtu.be/H35I83y5Uro
bornagain77
October 13, 2019
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Physical does not strictly equal material. I am using physical in the broad sense of x having a physical effect on y (George Ellis), not in the strict sense that physical must always equal material. Immaterial information has a 'top down' physical effect on matter and energy, hence immaterial information must be physical in some meaningful sense. (again George Ellis) If immaterial information had no physical effect on matter and energy, then quantum information, which is NOT matter or energy, (i.e. it is immaterial), could not be examined by physics, which is the study of what is 'physical':
physical phys·?i·?cal | ?fi-zi-k?l Definition of physical (Entry 1 of 2) 1a: of or relating to natural science b(1): of or relating to physics (2): characterized or produced by the forces and operations of physics
bornagain77
October 12, 2019
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ba writes,
Immaterial information IS a physically real entity, separate from matter and energy, since it has ‘top down’ physical effects on matter and energy. This would be impossible if immaterial information were not physically real in some meaningful sense.
Don't you see a bit of an inconsistency here, ba. If information "IS a physically real entity, separate from matter and energy," why would one call it immaterial?hazel
October 12, 2019
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Seversky spews nonsense left and right with nothing but bare assertion and ignores all the evidence that falsifies his position. For instance, his claim that quantum mechanics confirms reductive materialism to the nTH degree is pure nonsense. Not even fit for response. But as to this one false claim that Seversky made in particular:
I think you will find that there are developmental biologists who can provide a great deal of information about how embryos reach their adult form.
First off, developmental biology is not your friend
Developmental gene regulatory networks—an insurmountable impediment to evolution - by Jeffrey P. Tomkins and Jerry Bergman - August 2018 Excerpt: As Davidson has documented, a dGRN that regulates body-plan development “is very impervious to change” and usually leads to “catastrophic loss of the body part or loss of viability altogether”.12 This observable consequence virtually always occurs if even one dGRN subcircuit is interrupted. Because most of these changes are always “catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected … there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species can develop in only one way.”12 In his book, Intelligent Design proponent Stephen Meyer noted that “Davidson’s work highlights a profound contradiction between the neo-Darwinian account of how new animal body plans are built and one of the most basic principles of engineering—the principle of constraints.”26 As a result, “the more functionally integrated a system is, the more difficult it is to change any part of it without damaging or destroying the system as a whole”.26 Because this system of gene regulation controls animal-body-plan development in such an exquisitely integrated fashion, any significant alterations in its gene regulatory networks inevitably damage or destroy the developing animal. This now-proven fact creates critical problems for the evolution of new animal body plans and the new dGRNs necessary to produce them, preventing gradual evolution via mutation and selection from a pre-existing body plan and set of dGRNs. Developmental biologists openly recognize these clear problems for the standard evolutionary synthesis. The problem as elaborated by Davidson, noted that neo-Darwinian evolution erroneously assumes that all microevolutionary processes equate to macroevolutionary mechanisms, thus producing the false conclusion that the “evolution of enzymes or flower colors can be used as current proxies for study of evolution of the body plan”.12 Typical evolutionary research programs involve studying genetic variation within a species or genus involving inter-fertile natural populations or populations from controlled crosses. From a developmental systems biology perspective, the genes or regulatory features involved in such variability lie at the peripheral nodes and do not explain novel body plans associated with macroevolution. Davidson notes that the standard evolutionary synthesis “erroneously assumes that change in protein-coding sequence is the basic cause of change in [the] developmental program; and it [also] erroneously assumes that evolutionary change in body-plan morphology occurs by a continuous process”.12 Davidson also aptly notes that “these assumptions are basically counterfactual” because the “neo-Darwinian synthesis from which these ideas stem was a pre-molecular biology concoction focused on population genetics and adaptation natural history”.12 Neo-Darwinism in any form does not provide a mechanistic means of changing the genomic regulatory systems that drive embryonic development of the body plan. Alternating the peripheral differentiation process associated with observable variability is an entirely different scenario from building a new form of animal life by changing the fundamental structure of a resilient dGRN.,,, Summary At the very core of the validity of models for macroevolution is how organisms develop. Any form of Darwinian evolution requires that new developmental adaptations arise via random mutations that somehow provide a novel advantageous selectable trait. Decades of developmental genetics research in a wide variety of organisms has documented in detail the fact that once an embryo begins to develop along a certain trajectory, mutations in top and mid-level transcription factor genes in the hierarchy model of regulation described by Davidson cause fatal catastrophe in the program. This mutation-intolerant obstacle poses a complete barrier for the modern Darwinian synthesis, the neutral model, and saltational evolution. Another important aspect of the developmental genetics paradigm is the paradox of conserved protein sequence among top-level transcription factors combined with their intolerance of mutation. It is quite a quandary for the evolutionist—extreme conservation of sequence would seem to support common descent yet lack of mutability negates the fundamental requirement of evolutionary change. An Intelligent Design model, however, would predict that common code serving a general common purpose would be found among unrelated engineered systems that were the work of the same Creator—exactly as we find in man-made systems. https://creation.com/developmental-gene-regulatory-networks
Secondly, dGRN's are not deterministic but are 'context dependent'
Rethinking gene regulatory networks in light of alternative splicing, intrinsically disordered protein domains, and post-translational modifications - 2016 Abstract Models for genetic regulation and cell fate specification characteristically assume that gene regulatory networks (GRNs) are essentially deterministic and exhibit multiple stable states specifying alternative, but pre-figured cell fates. Mounting evidence shows, however, that most eukaryotic precursor RNAs undergo alternative splicing (AS) and that the majority of transcription factors contain intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) domains whose functionalities are context dependent as well as subject to post-translational modification (PTM). Consequently, many transcription factors do not have fixed cis-acting regulatory targets, and developmental determination by GRNs alone is untenable. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4341551/
Simply put, the fact that dGRNs are not deterministic but are context dependent means that, "There is, in short, nothing in the genomes of fly and man to explain why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings, and a dot-sized brain and we should have two arms, two legs, and a mind capable of comprehending that overarching history of our universe."
Between Sapientia and Scientia — Michael Aeschliman’s Profound Interpretation James Le Fanu - September 9, 2019 Excerpt: The ability to spell out the full sequence of genes should reveal, it was reasonable to assume, the distinctive genetic instructions that determine the diverse forms of the millions of species, so readily distinguishable one from the other. Biologists were thus understandably disconcerted to discover precisely the reverse to be the case. Contrary to all expectations, many DNA sequences involved in embryo development are remarkably similar across the vast spectrum of organismic complexity, from a millimeter-long worm to ourselves.7 There is, in short, nothing in the genomes of fly and man to explain why the fly should have six legs, a pair of wings, and a dot-sized brain and we should have two arms, two legs, and a mind capable of comprehending that overarching history of our universe. So we have moved in the very recent past from supposing we might know the principles of genetic inheritance to recognizing we have no realistic conception of what they might be. As Phillip Gell, professor of genetics at the University of Birmingham, observed, “This gap in our knowledge is not merely unbridged, but in principle unbridgeable and our ignorance will remain ineluctable.”8 https://evolutionnews.org/2019/09/between-sapientia-and-scientia-michael-aeschlimans-profound-interpretation/
Shoot, Darwinists can't even explain how a single protein might achieve its final folded form much less how billions of trillions of proteins in an organism might arrive at the final form of an organism:
The Humpty-Dumpty Effect: A Revolutionary Paper with Far-Reaching Implications – Paul Nelson – October 23, 2012 Excerpt: Put simply, the Levinthal paradox states that when one calculates the number of possible topological (rotational) configurations for the amino acids in even a small (say, 100 residue) unfolded protein, random search could never find the final folded conformation of that same protein during the lifetime of the physical universe. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/10/a_revolutionary065521.html
bornagain77
October 12, 2019
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ET:
But bornagain misspoke about it being physical. If it isn’t matter nor energy it isn’t physical.
No, in so far as immaterial information has physical effects on matter and energy, i.e. on material, I did not misspeak. Immaterial information IS a physically real entity, separate from matter and energy, since it has 'top down' physical effects on matter and energy. This would be impossible if immaterial information were not physically real in some meaningful sense. As George Ellis himself stated,
Recognising Top-Down Causation George Ellis, University of Cape Town Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view: Definition 1: Causal Effect If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y. Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,, Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter). This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,, Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities: Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored. The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts. Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,, Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities. http://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Ellis_FQXI_Essay_Ellis_2012.pdf
bornagain77
October 12, 2019
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‘Information is information, neither matter nor energy. Any materialism that fails to take account of this will not survive one day'.- Norbert Weiner
Information is a fundamental entity. It is a real entity. It exists in the real, physical world. But bornagain misspoke about it being physical. If it isn't matter nor energy it isn't physical.ET
October 12, 2019
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"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system of the atom together . . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind."- Max Planck
Max Planck was first to formulate quantum theory so it seems it isn't materialistic at all.ET
October 12, 2019
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"Newtonian materialism" is nonsense seeing that Newton posited an Intelligent Being and saw science as a way to understand God's Creation.ET
October 12, 2019
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I have had this discussion with others, possibly including ba. Obviously classical deterministic Newtonian materialism has been shown to be insufficient and outdated for at least 100 years. However, the introduction of such things as relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory have grown out of studying the physical world: what one might call neo-materialism has changed and expanded our concepts of the physical world, but, as Sev is pointing out, not added anything that goes beyond the physical world. The physical world is just very different than we once thought it was.hazel
October 12, 2019
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Bornagain77@ 6
i.e. It has now been experimentally demonstrated, contrary to the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, that immaterial information is a physically real entity that is separate from matter and energy.
I look forward to seeing you and the researchers explain how immaterial information can also be a physically real entity that is separate from matter and energy because I don't think they are saying what you think they are saying.
And as the following article states, “Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy,,, A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems.”
You reject materialism yet even quantum entanglement is describe here as a "physical resource". Maybe you need to reconsider your position on materialism?Seversky
October 12, 2019
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