28 Replies to “Footnote: LT objects to the inference from pattern of signs to signified object, on a warrant

  1. 1
    Neil Rickert says:

    Larry Tanner said:

    GEM leaves us to guess what he finds interesting in the “silence from objectors.” Perhaps he takes it as consent or befuddlement. I rather think people simply shrugged their shoulders in apathy.

    Yes, that pretty well summed up my reaction.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    NR:

    Your reaction, unfortunately, suggests this.

    Have you a credible explanation of how not only language and algorithms, but also co-ordinated encoding, transmitting and decoding then applying mechanisms originated by chance plus necessity, backed up with empirical observational support?

    We observe that communication systems, routinely, are created by intelligence.

    So, absent a priori Lewontinian evolutionary materialism, which is the more reasonable explanation for such?

    And, can you explain to me how the inference to signal does not imply an inference to intelligence rather than noise, in light of the infinite monkeys issue?

    GEM of TKI

  3. 3
    Upright BiPed says:

    KF waits for a response on the merits. Tanner rocks back and forth until he channels a Popperian conventionalist. He burps a page of the most trivially unimportant up-in-your-head observations he could have possibly compiled. And now Niel picks up on Larry’s placemat insult and posts it here as a response.

    Meanwhile, the intractible observation goes untouched that meaning was physically instantiated into matter (long before human intelligence could have had anything to do with it).

  4. 4
    LarTanner says:

    I’m afraid I don’t have much of a response to GEM’s long assessment of my post.

    I had a laugh at this part, however:

    29 –> But this tripartite division (and notice how I am speaking of red and blue ends, not the mushy middle in the OP!) in no wise leads to the conclusion that the inference to objective state of affairs or to object or to meaning, is an arbitrary mental process, with no proper or real connexion to the objective world. (Kant is wrong here: if he knows enough about the world to know that our senses and interpretations of our experiences in the world may be distorted, he in fact implies a profound knowledge of objective reality, the possibility and presence of error. And, that error exists is both an experience and an undeniable truth. For to try the denial instantly reduces to obvious absurdity, i.e this is a self-evident truth.)

    GEM’s not really sync-ing with my point, which was not to make any sort of denial of objective reality.

    The point is that “the inference to signal” is virtually always also an “inference to intelligence.”

    But when (1) that signal is not clearly known to be from a human being and (2) that intelligence is absent, then the “inference to intelligence” is almost purely the invention of the observer.

    What you need to do is justify the signal as signal, and show why its material source doesn’t go back far enough.

    BiPed, it’s not just human intelligence that can make and interpret signals. It increasing seems to be a property of all life, with or without what we might commonly call “intelligence.”

  5. 5
    kuartus says:

    It seems that the old notion that an infinite number of monkeys given an infinite number of time could write shakespear is false!

    http://milesmathis.com/monkey.html

  6. 6
    kuartus says:

    Correction:
    The notion that they MUST write shakespear as if it is an inevitability is false.

  7. 7
    Neil Rickert says:

    kairosfocus (#2):

    Your reaction, unfortunately, suggests this.

    Perhaps you are confused by “apathy.”

    I’m a finite creature. I cannot be expert in everything. I choose not to spend time on semiotics. Perhaps one day something will come of it, and I will have to spend the time. But for now, I have better things to think about. That’s apathy, but it isn’t a closed mind.

    Have you a credible explanation of how not only language and algorithms, but also co-ordinated encoding, transmitting and decoding then applying mechanisms originated by chance plus necessity, backed up with empirical observational support?

    I have recently posted a series (at my blog) on purposeful behavior and how that arises naturally.

    Upright BiPed (#3):

    And now Niel picks up on Larry’s placemat insult and posts it here as a response.

    Admitting my own apathy can hardly be an insult of anybody other than myself.

  8. 8
    Upright BiPed says:

    Gee Neil, I thought you might have posted Tanner’s insult as way of not responding on the merits.

    Now I can see I was completely wrong. You poor man; fighting off apathy long enough to post how apathetic you are.

    Demonstrating apathy through action – it must be tiresome just thinking about it.

  9. 9
    Frost122585 says:

    In Catholic teachings apathy is viewed as almost the same thing as “indifference” and often closely related to sloth (that is being too lazy to do the right thing). In this case here I think the apathy we see is really not apathy but probably denial posing as such. It is one thing to honestly believe that there is nothing important about a particular issue (even when there is) but it’s quite another thing when that issue in its integrity and relevance is at the crux of the matter.

    In philosophy of science we must admit that there is some design- that there exists some intelligence and order. If not then we are simply arguing about nothing. That is, the universe can not be intelligible if there is no intelligence in it. If this was the case, the order of such things as ethics and morality would only be a self imposed illusion. Hence, there must be some intelligence, some design and some order- otherwise there can be no objective knowledge.

    The point is that systems of communication are obviously candidates of design- and to not recognize the importance of this realization is indifference at best and probably even denial specific to the matter altogether.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    NR:

    Pardon, but the issue I have addressed is not full bore semiotics, but the basic clarification of what we do when we do something very routine: make an observation. Something at the heart of the scientific method.

    In particular, what does it mean when we have an array of hairs in the inner ear that are doing a real time Fourier transform on sounds, triggering resonance of bands at different frequencies, and firing off neurons at different rates depending on intensity. Similarly, in retinas, rods and cones are firing off, and a matrix of signals is being reduced and sent to the visual cortex.

    In that context, we hear as and we see as.

    So, an inferential process is deeply embedded in the act of sensing our environment. (I remember being struck hard many years ago when I heard of Pygmies brought out to the plains,and looking across the plains asking what are those insects? They were perceiving animals the better part of a mile off as being nearby insects.)

    So, we are looking at how we observe patterns of signs, and organised sets of symbols, and how we warrant our perception. Subjectivity joined to objectivity, with room for error, and for correction of error.

    Notice my example:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    (I, an observer see a pattern of signs, and infer to an object or objective state of affairs on a warrant.)

    e.g. deer tracks on the Portland side of the Blue Mountains, in Ja

    I: {sy} –> M, on W

    (I, an observer see a set of symbols, and infer to a meaning on a warrant.)

    e.g. text in this post

    Surely, that much is basic common sense.

    I would say these should be uncontroversial, but the linked exchange shows just how controversies can be stirred up.

    All, because the design theory (inter alia) goes on to the inference that certain sets of symbols are also a sign that points to design.

    GEM of TKI

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Time for a footnote on a footnote . . .

    Wiki, called as a hostile witness testifying against interest:

    ________________

    Semiotics:

    >> the study of cultural sign processes (semiosis), analogy, metaphor, signification and communication, signs and symbols. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which in its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically. Semiotics is usually divided into three branches, which include:

    * Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
    * Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures
    * Pragmatics: Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them >>

    Signs:

    >> In semiotics, a sign is “something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity”[1] It may be understood as a discrete unit of meaning, and includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another . . . .

    Peirce . . . characterized the three semiotic elements as follows:[12]

    1. Sign (or representamen[13]): that which represents the denoted object (cf. Saussure’s “signifier”).
    2. Object (or semiotic object): that which the sign represents (or as some put it, encodes). It can be anything thinkable, a law, a fact, or even a possibility (a semiotic object could even be fictional, such as Hamlet); those are partial objects; the total object is the universe of discourse, the totality of objects in that world to which one attributes the partial object. For example, perturbation of Pluto’s orbit is a sign about Pluto, but not only about Pluto. The object may be
    1. immediate to the sign, the object as represented in the sign, or
    2. dynamic, the object as it really is, on which the immediate object is founded.
    3. Interpretant (or interpretant sign): a sign’s meaning or ramification as formed into a further sign by interpreting (or, as some put it, decoding) the sign. The interpretant may be:
    1. immediate to the sign, a kind of possibility, all that the sign is suited to immediately express, for instance a word’s usual meaning;
    2. dynamic, that is, the meaning as formed into an actual effect, for example an individual translation or a state of agitation, or
    3. final or normal, that is, the ultimate meaning that inquiry taken far enough would be destined to reach. It is a kind of norm or ideal end, with which an actual interpretant may, at most, coincide. >>

    Symbols:

    >> A symbol is something such as an object, picture, written word, sound, or particular mark that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for “STOP”. On maps, crossed sabres may indicate a battlefield. Numerals are symbols for numbers (amounts). All language consists of symbols. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. >>
    _____________________

    With the above in mind, it should be reasonably simple to see that in my original post, I was generally following the lines laid down by Pierce, without taking up the detailed analysis or complex terminology, and that I marked a distinction between signs [considered largely from the perspective of an observer looking at empirically recognisable signs of X, e.g. perturbations of Uranus pointing to Neptune] and symbols on a context where the symbol is essentially a convention or a culturally based allusion or resemblance between an object of one kind, and another, that is its meaning.

    This of course cuts across the way of thought of those who are influenced overmuch by Kant’s distinction between the world of things in themselves and as we experience it. Of course we are prone to distort and to make errors, but the very fact that we know enough about the world beyond ourselves to know that, itself tells us we can confidently and reliably know about the external world. We are not just locked up in our own heads, and living in a world where what happens is all a Plato’s Cave game of socially manipulated false shadow shows; en-darkenment in the name of enlightenment.

    Indeed, even in that parable, we can notice how the freed prisoner got up, and was able to see — and know beyond reasonable doubt — the fire, the parapet, and the players with the images being projected, with all that is implied by that shocking revelation of knowledge; warranted, credibly true belief.

    Or, on our symbolised — and yes, we see here the recursive, spiral nature of this exercise that orbits and elaborates, building up a better and better insight on the truth as it goes in ever wider loops — summary:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    (I, an observer see a pattern of signs, and infer to an object or objective state of affairs on a warrant.)

    So, the freed man was able to see — and to understand on the implicitly accepted reliability of the signs given to him by his cornea, lens and retina [i.e. the image formation process and resulting image representation of reality of the eye as instrument is an index pointing beyond itself to an objective external state of affairs that gives rise to the image, that on warrant is plainly sufficiently veridical to be trusted] — that there was more to the real world than he had hitherto recognised.

    And, unless we recognise that functionality of sight and other senses like that working in reasonable environments — never mind the signal processing apparatus involved — we are left in a hall of distorting mirrors and shadow shows.

    (Never mind, what happens when the freed prisoner goes out of the cave and begins his real education, having been set free from the prison of an artfully constructed deception. And yes, the story plainly implicates willful deception by the powerful who set up the cave, the stocks, the fire the parapet wall and the shadow show. Deception that has in it a corps of willing participants who manipulate the apparatus they MUST know create a distorted view of the world for their fellows who are in chains. So, the issue of moral responsibility surfaces, with particular reference to educators, media figures and those who are charged to research, warrant and present to the community the truth about our world based on observation, experiment, analysis, modelling and informed discussion, i.e. scientists.)

    So, we can see where the trustworthiness of our senses is a key issue.

    So also the trustworthiness of instruments and equipment that extends such senses, e.g. the telescope [recall those who did not trust the Galilean telescope to show truly what was going on in the heavens, in light of its limitations that were so strong that Newton invented the reflector to escape them], the microscope, the camera, the camcorder the screen, the photograph. The clock, the ruler, and so on.

    So also, we come to the scientific observation or experiment, where we look at the behaviour of nature, and see a pattern of observed behaviour that embeds the sign of an apparent natural regularity. E.g. the swinging pendulum’s behaviour, in a certain cathedral in Italy as Galileo looked on. Or the pattern of relationships between the rate of fall of an apple here on earth, the centripetal force keeping the moon in orbit, and longstanding measures of the size of the earth and the distance to the moon. On that pattern [as the just linked discusses in more details], Newton, figuratively sitting under an apple tree on his family’s farm, deduced the universal law of gravitation. That is, a certain pattern of signs, on inference, led to a certain conclusion about the evident state of affairs of the cosmos, on a warrant. Natural regularities are signs that point to the laws of mechanical necessity.

    Going beyond that, in centuries following, scientists became increasingly aware of the contingent behaviour of certain systems, e.g. classically, the behaviour of a gas, as analysed. So, we saw a recognition that there were contingent systems that had behaviour that could be seen based on random models rooted in the probability theory developed to deal with tossing dice and playing at cards and roulette. Soon, statistics emerged and showed a pervasive presence, e.g. astronomical or surveying observations are inherently limited by a scatter and a bias that cannot be wholly eliminated. Ultimately, it would be embedded in quantum theory.

    So, on certain other signs, we infer to chance processes as objective states of affairs.

    But in all of this, we are ourselves acting, and credibly choosing.

    In writing a post like this, for instance, I choose words, sequences of letters etc etc, and move my fingers to give effect to that choice, acting as a self-moved initiating intelligent cause. A mind acting through a body.

    And, the intelligible message, that chains meaningful symbols, is plainly and recognisably distinct from a natural regularity, and a credibly undirected, stochastic contingent pattern that follows a statistical distribution rooted in a probability model. The same would hold for the source or object code of a computer. (Notice, how I am making a distinction on the specific case of the symbol. We could argue that sign is general, and symbol is a subset, but it is sufficiently distinct, even as the semiotics remarks excerpted show, to make the distinction that symbols are very different indeed from the general case of a sign pointing to an object or objective state of affairs, as we are now dealing with meaning through mental representation based on rules and culture, where we see conventions emerging such as the letters, numerals etc and grammar, and vocabulary etc of English.)

    That is, we are seeing a third possibility here: intelligent cause that acts by purposefully directed configuration of physical objects, and so instantiates meaning into matter through the power of the symbol or the signal [that transmits the symbol using modulation techniques], using the capacity to undertake functionally specific complex organisation that exploits the materials and forces of nature towards a goal.

    And, when we look at the associated functionally specific, complex information, we see that the pattern of such information is a sign of the act of design as an objective causal state of affairs. For instance in Plato’s Cave, the stocks, the parapet, the projecting fire beyond, the players and orchestrated play [with an implied underlying script, thus a plan . . . ] all point to a designing intelligence as causal factor.

    That is, we see here how we have arrived at the relevance, ubiquity and patent validity of the design inference explanatory filter. Indeed, this seems to be an integral and natural part of the work of science, and of applied science. Indeed, here we can see how the Glasgow coma test assesses consciousness by a numerically scaled design inference.

    A MEASUREMENT of mind in action through body!

    In a literally life and death, routinely seen situation.

    Why, then is this so controversial and so subject to heated objection?

    Simple: it points where some would not go, on origins.

    For, as Upright Biped has repeatedly pointed out, when we observe life, we see in it the use of a digitally coded, symbolic code to manufacture the protein workhorse molecules. We see algorithmic code and the nanomachines that make such work. meaningful, symbolic patterns impressed into matter, long before we were around as possible intelligent causes.

    Symbols, that on another aspect become signs. Signs that point, on consistent and reliable empirical observation and on the infinite monkeys analysis, to design as their best explanation.

    An explanation that is very hard for some to swallow.

    Which is very different from whether it is credibly well warranted. (HT: Mrs O’Leary.)

    For, manifestly, absent question-begging, selectively hyperskeptical a priori materialism, it is.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: NR, do you see why the response above, in effect, “I ‘ent care,” is not good enough, by a very long shot? And why it looks a lot like denial in the teeth of unwelcome evidence? So, also, could you please tell us of how the inference to signal not noise is not a design inference, routinely used and vital in communications, even as the Glasgow Coma Scale is a design inference routinely used in life and death situations.

  12. 12
    Neil Rickert says:

    kairosfocus (#7):

    Pardon, but the issue I have addressed is not full bore semiotics, but the basic clarification of what we do when we do something very routine: make an observation. Something at the heart of the scientific method.

    No, it isn’t. Scientists can safely ignore everything in semiotics, yet not find themselves in any way inhibited in their scientific work. In fact, most scientists do ignore semiotics.

    I can be apathetic about semiotics, because there is no clear and convincing evidence that it has any importance except to semioticists.

    In particular, what does it mean when we have an array of hairs in the inner ear that are doing a real time Fourier transform on sounds, triggering resonance of bands at different frequencies, and firing off neurons at different rates depending on intensity.

    It means that somebody is caught up in a dubious theory of hearing.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    NR:

    Pardon, but you are tilting at a strawman.

    I have spoken to the act of observation, whereby we see certain things as a sign of something else, e.g. deer tracks or e.g. 2 perturbations of Uranus.

    And, on hearing, I have spoken in brief to the signal processing that occurs in the sensor array in the inner ear; similar to how I spoke tot he signal processing in the sensor array in the eye. Perhaps the Wiki 101 on the ear is a good place to begin:

    _______________

    >> Sound waves are perceived by the brain through the firing of nerve cells in the auditory portion of the central nervous system. The ear changes sound pressure waves from the outside world into a signal of nerve impulses sent to the brain.
    Anatomy of the human ear. The length of the auditory canal is exaggerated for viewing purposes.

    The outer part of the ear collects sound. That sound pressure is amplified through the middle portion of the ear and, in land animals, passed from the medium of air into a liquid medium. The change from air to liquid occurs because air surrounds the head and is contained in the ear canal and middle ear, but not in the inner ear. The inner ear is hollow, embedded in the temporal bone, the densest bone of the body. The hollow channels of the inner ear are filled with liquid, and contain a sensory epithelium that is studded with hair cells. The microscopic “hairs” of these cells are structural protein filaments that project out into the fluid. The hair cells are mechanoreceptors that release a chemical neurotransmitter when stimulated. Sound waves moving through fluid push the filaments; if the filaments bend over enough it causes the hair cells to fire. In this way sound waves are transformed into nerve impulses. In vision, the rods and cones of the retina play a similar role with light as the hair cells do with sound. The nerve impulses travel from the left and right ears through the eighth cranial nerve to both sides of the brain stem and up to the portion of the cerebral cortex dedicated to sound. This auditory part of the cerebral cortex is in the temporal lobe. >>

    _______________

    So, in effect the hearing is by a frequency domain transformation that is converted to nerve impulses. Which is pretty much as I outlined above.

    GEM of TKI

  14. 14
    Upright BiPed says:

    In the late 80s I was given the chance to read over a personal correspondence between two fairly distinguished researchers. They were “arguing” over a topic that both had spent a great deal of their careers researching (the topic was completely unrelated to ID). One was trying to convince the other of the truth of a certain proposition, while the other resisted. You could tell from their cordiality and the way in which they addressed the issue that both had a genuine working respect for the other. This was especially evident in the one who was doing the convincing; he kept ever so slightly suggesting that his colleague was on the very knife’s edge of a flat dismissal – yet he never directly said so. He just faintly intimated it several times in the most gingerly fashion possible. It was clear that simply saying his friend was committing a flat dismissal of the argument would be tantamount to a professional insult.

    Our friend Neil here doesn’t warrant that treatment. He is demonstrably wrong – and in a state of intellectual denial of the history of discovery, and of the observable evidence itself.

    Neil, give it a rest. Your statement that scientist disregard the semiotic content in DNA is demonstrably false. Why? Because if we were still waiting on a purely physical explanation for the mapping of nucleotides to amino acids, then we would have never been able to crack the genetic code in the first place (over 50 years ago). Why? Because there is no purely physical explanation for the mapping of nucleotides to amino acids. Why? Because it is semiotic.

    Researchers discovered the genetic code based upon observing that chemical symbol “a” produced physical effect “b”. They then manipulated the input symbol and recorded the output until the code was complete. They did not record a purely physical explanation connecting input to output, and they never have. And when they were through Neil, they called it a “code”. Why? Because that’s what it is. A semiotic code.

    You are personally free to ignore the evidence if you wish, but don’t think that you can misrepresent that evidence (or the history of discover leading to that evidence) and not be called out on it. You don’t get your own set of facts.

    Go ask Venter if he is ignoring input symbol to output effect. Ask him if he is interested in setting up a new code. Ask him if the machinery will have to be altered in order to process it. Ask him if he plans to dump the entire symbol system and come up with a purely physical model.

    Go ask Shapiro some questions on the subject, Neil. See if he agrees with you about signals and symbols – the very core of semiosis.

    – – – – – – –

    The use of signals is critical for such basic vital functions as homeostatic regulation, adaptation to changing conditions, cellular differentiation, and multicellular morphogenesis. The presence of unpredictable signals in biological processes generates an inescapable indeterminacy that contradicts the central dogma and other reductionist statements of genetic determinism. Signal dependent indeterminacy also produces phenotypic differences between genetically identical cells that is fundamentally distinct from the kind of stochastic noise assumed in most studies of individual cell phenotypes.

    In its information processing, the cell makes use of transient information about ambient conditions and internal operations. This information is carried by environmental constituents and signals received from other cells and organisms. The cell’s receptors and signal transduction networks transform this transient information into various chemical forms (second messengers, modified proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and nucleic acids) that feed into the operation of cell proliferation, checkpoints, and cellular or multicellular developmental programs. These chemical forms act as symbols that allow the cell to form a virtual representation of its functional status and its surroundings. My argument here is that any successful 21st century description of biological functions will include control models that incorporate cellular decisions based on symbolic representations. – James Shapiro, University of Chicago Biological Sciences

    – – – – –

    And by the way Neil, can you point to any example of any information anywhere in the cosmos that does not exist by dicrete mapping of one thing to another (semiosis)?

    If not, then why should we can disregard that fact in biology?

  15. 15
    Upright BiPed says:

    Larry, I just noticed your comment.

    BiPed, it’s not just human intelligence that can make and interpret signals. It increasing seems to be a property of all life, with or without what we might commonly call “intelligence.”

    I have never said that it’s only human intelligence that can make or interpret a signal. The remainder of the Living Kingdom does just fine. What you need to do is provide an example from anywhere in the cosmos that a signal (symbol, abstraction, mapping, representation) was formed between two or more discrete things, in which that relationship was established by physics alone. You need to do so without asserting a materialist’s assumption in the answer.

    I am happy to wait for your response.

  16. 16
    Eugen says:

    Kairos

    “So, in effect the hearing is by a frequency domain transformation that is converted to nerve impulses. Which is pretty much as I outlined above.”

    We can consider it a frequency to voltage transducer . Such transducers are used in automated systems quite often. Transducer is carefully designed and calibrated depending on application.

    In frequency to voltage case we take 0-10 V signal from transducer output and send it to analog input card which further converts voltage to a number.

    We can now process this number by arithmetic operations if necessary and finally use it in programming logic. It becomes abstract representation of the outside world.

    I’m still reading IOSE blog, now on consciousness and mind article. I had to put another book I’m reading on hold. So many things to read –so little time.

  17. 17
    LarTanner says:

    BiPed (15)

    I am happy to wait for your response.

    I’m not happy to wait. I typically experience a 20-24 hour wait while my posts at UD linger in moderation.

    To your statement

    What you need to do is provide an example from anywhere in the cosmos that a signal (symbol, abstraction, mapping, representation) was formed between two or more discrete things, in which that relationship was established by physics alone.

    I certainly do not need to do this. Part of what I have argued is that when you understand something to be a signal–whether or not it actually “is” a signal–you have performed an interpretive act.

    This of it this way, as an example: If I tell you someone is “king” you will probably assume that the person is male because “maleness” is conventionally and arbitrarily part of the semantics of “kingness.”

    If you tell me that some natural feature is a “signal” or a “sign,” well, these terms also carry some conventional and arbitrary assumptions about what that feature is and what laws/rules/grammar we might expect it to follow.

    GEM, in comment 10, says this:

    the design theory (inter alia) goes on to the inference that certain sets of symbols are also a sign that points to design.

    In light of my comments above, it should be clear that we don’t care whether “certain sets of symbols” are signs of design because signs are conventionally and arbitrarily made.

    What we care about, or should, is whether certain sets of entities are evidence of design, or pre-planning, or intelligence, or agency, or whatever.

    I don’t know what exactly in my earlier posts on this subject made you think to ask me to “provide an example from anywhere in the cosmos that a signal (symbol, abstraction, mapping, representation) was formed between two or more discrete things, in which that relationship was established by physics alone.”

    But you also say things that are utterly incomprehensible to me, like this: “meaning was physically instantiated into matter (long before human intelligence could have had anything to do with it).”

    This is a poetic sentiment, logic and reality be damned!

    :>)

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    Eugen:

    It is actually a time to frequency to electrical pulse repetition rate system!

    (And, e.g. perception of pitch is influenced by loudness and range, i.e. we have a Weber-Fechner log responsive mechanical — electrochemical system here, not a mathematical one. And we have not touched on teh serious neural network processing that happens onward, and the learing that associates sound patterns and grammars [it seems there is a built in language system that has standard position switches, that can be pushed form defaults that are typical of pidgins. And somewhere there is a library of standard sounds. Did I report that there is some evidence I vaguely — this is a vague impression not a trustworthy memory, but I do remember the mike to the ear picking up sounds being processed internally, assumed playback in the ear system, mebbe someone can give me a source and clarification — remember that when we remember sounds a sensitive mike can detect the sound at the ear?] )

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Yup on the more to read than time to read front. I am just now skimming stuff on programme and project management at policy level for development, to address an impending aid crisis. My hope for IOSE is that it is a sufficiently survey doc that it can give a quick and dirty briefing, starting with the summary page meant to be a one day read, view and seminar. You will doubtless recognise the breadth of topics being swept up into the course. Wait till you get to the appendix on scientific methods and related issues!

  19. 19
    Neil Rickert says:

    Upright BiPed (#14)

    our statement that scientist disregard the semiotic content in DNA is demonstrably false.

    I never made any such statement.

    Because if we were still waiting on a purely physical explanation for the mapping of nucleotides to amino acids, then we would have never been able to crack the genetic code in the first place (over 50 years ago).

    As far as I know, Xray diffraction was what led to the breakthrough on the genetic code. I doubt that either Crick or Watson had seriously studied semiotics.

  20. 20
    Neil Rickert says:

    kairosfocus (#13):

    So, in effect the hearing is by a frequency domain transformation that is converted to nerve impulses.

    I was not objecting to the idea that hearing is based on the frequency domain. I was disagreeing with the assertion that there was a Fourier transform. That would imply that data is being collected in the time domain, and a specific mathematical transformation is then being applied. However, the ear directly picks up frequency data. There is no Fourier transform going on. And, actually, it isn’t strictly frequency domain data either – it is a time varying frequency data, a kind of hybrid between frequency domain data and time domain data.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    NR:

    The transformation from time to frequency domain is precisely what the Fourier point is about. Just, it is done mechanically, not algorithmically. And I did not ever want to suggest such; nor did I.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: No electronically observed frequency spectrum of a varying signal is static either [and to have a strict tone, we need a sinusoid that continues forever, from past to future; all else is pulses and transients with the spectra indicated by a fourier integral]. The frequency pattern is being sampled from time to time in effect, and rounded to a “good enough for government work” basis.

  22. 22
    Upright BiPed says:

    Neil,

    your statement that scientist disregard the semiotic content in DNA is demonstrably false.

    I never made any such statement.

    You are correct. You said:

    “Scientists can safely ignore everything in semiotics, yet not find themselves in any way inhibited in their scientific work. In fact, most scientists do ignore semiotics. I can be apathetic about semiotics, because there is no clear and convincing evidence that it has any importance except to semioticists.”

    Which is demonstrably false.

    As far as I know, Xray diffraction was what led to the breakthrough on the genetic code. I doubt that either Crick or Watson had seriously studied semiotics.

    X-Ray diffraction led Watson and Crick to an understanding of the structure of DNA in 1953 (which did nothing to crack the code). The presence of the DNA molecule does not create functioning proteins. It is the sequence of nuceotides that matters; symbols presented in a specified order.

    The code was deduced by mapping the input signal to the output product. Nirenberg and Matthaei fed a polyuracil RNA (UUU repeated) into the translation system of E coli and mapped it to the addition of radioactively-marked amino acids during protein synthesis. They had found the genetic code for phenylalanine. Then they did the same thing with cytosine, and mapped it to proline. Voilà.

    They manipulated the input signal and discovered its relationship to the output product.

    They accomplished their work by studying the relationship of the two. Later, it was discovered that this relationship is physico-dynamically inert, and in fact, it must be so. After all, it is information. The information medium must be able to carry that information, which it could not do if it were ordered by physics.

    It requires a symbol system, and that is what we find.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N:

    I see LT appears at 4 above, and I need to point out that the relevant remarks are in another thread.

    A few remarks are in order, on points:

    ___________

    >> GEM’s not really sync-ing with my point, which was not to make any sort of denial of objective reality.

    a –> not so, cf the excerpted remark to follow, replicated from the previous correction as just linked, especially the part that was not cited by LT at 4 above:

    25 –> We now find the key radically relativist subjectivism emerging [on LT’s part]:

    The observer of an indexical, iconic, or symbolic sign determines–through interpretation–the integrity of the sign and makes it meaningful. I cannot exaggerate the importance of this point: the observer makes meaning from the sign.

    26 –> Nope, in many cases, the sign [as I have used the term] points to the objective, causally connected state of affairs that gave rise to it. That screeching sound [an index of fiercely pressed brakes] and blaring horn [a warning symbol] may well be warning you of an approaching automobile that could knock you down, and the smoke smell and flickering reddish light point to smoke and perhaps a fire in the theatre.

    27 –> By contrast, the EXIT sign that now lights up and the alarm tone that sounds, tell us SYMBOLICALLY, how to respond on certain conventions.

    28 –> In the middle, certain objects like the image of a lion or that of a crown or a flag or the tune of an anthem, are obviously or culturally so strongly associated with certain things that they serve as intuitive representations, i.e icons.

    The point is that “the inference to signal” is virtually always also an “inference to intelligence.”

    b –> In any case where I did speak to the inference to signal, I did so in the context of modulation and/or coding, and so the inference of signal not noise is in fact an inference to design,

    c –> Why? Simple, it is bound up with the communication system that captures a message, modulates a carrier, encodes where that is part of the process, transmits, receives and demods/decodes.

    But when (1) that signal is not clearly known to be from a human being and (2) that intelligence is absent, then the “inference to intelligence” is almost purely the invention of the observer.

    d –> brazen dismissal of the issue of the functionally specific complex organisation and associated information.

    e –> Can you show where in our observation FSCI comes about by lucky noise or lucky noise and mechanical necessity? Not at all, but there are any number of cases where the same comes from intelligence, and there is the infinite monkeys analysis to back it up.

    f –> So, we are entitled to infer on best explanation to what is causally capable and against what is credibly not capable.

    What you need to do is justify the signal as signal, and show why its material source doesn’t go back far enough.

    g –> We have a very simple case in point, which has been presented several times, protein sythesis and the specific genetic code and step by step algorithmic process that makes such.

    h –> the code is just that, a code.

    i –> And messages that specify functional proteins that fold and work in the cell are highly specific, so we see that we have a signal, and one made up of digital symbols.

    BiPed, it’s not just human intelligence that can make and interpret signals.

    j –> replicate and use is more like it, just like well any computer.

    It increasing seems to be a property of all life, with or without what we might commonly call “intelligence.”

    k –> And in the heart of life lies a communication system that drives a discrete state controller that assembles the workhorse molecules of life on a step by step [ = algorithmic], code based, digital message stored in a string data structure.

    l –> In short, life itself looks like someone’s technology, and in fact you have inverted the burden of warrant.

    m –> The best known explanation for such things per observation is intelligence, and the infinite monkeys type analysis shows that such things are so maximally unlikely on chance plus necessity on the gamut of our observed cosmos, that they are as empirically unlikely as a significant violation of the second law of thermodynamics, which has a very similar foundaiton.

    n –> What is happening is that bare logical possibility is being resorted to in the teeth of the evidence, because of an a priori commitment to evolutionary materialism, and in defiance of the canons of scientific reconstructions of the past based on observed causally sufficient means in the present. >>
    _____________

    GEM of TKI

  24. 24
  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Follow up:

    Mr “Tanner” has emailed me drawing attention to a further set of remarks here, in which he claims that “I have answered your call to explain how language and algorithms originated. And I challenge you to provide another explanation that is also credible.”

    On points:

    1 –> He begins abusively [notice the categorisation “religious nutbuggery”], and in my reply to him, I called on him to be civil in future. (And that uncivil conduct would justify keeping him in moderation here at UD, which is not the same as censorship. Indeed, it is quite evident from the cases where I have made comments to his posts, that he holds me in moderation at his own blog; with far less justification, for I have not been uncivil or personally abusive. [I say that, of course, not being a moderator here at UD.])

    2 –> LT returns to the theme that I have “distorted” C S Peirce. But since — as I explicitly said — I only ever intended to follow his general ideas, that is not relevant; though it is of course rhetorically calculated to suggest that I am “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.” Cf. 1 just above.

    3 –> I stand by the reasonableess of the distinction between (a) signs that point naturally to causal processes and are indexes that we routinely use to identify the presence of an objective state of affairs or an object that is linked to the causal process, and (b) symbols that we assign representation conventionally.

    4 –> Even, (c) in the case of icons where through resemblance or cultural association, certain things that are natural or are representative of or abstracted form such natural things hold symbolic function, e.g. the lion as a symbol of courage or royalty, never mind the real lion’s common failure to live up to such high standards.

    5 –> Now, on the main new business, LT cites a PBS NOVA programme announcement:

    Program Description

    Where did the very first living thing on Earth come from? Scientists have long argued that billions of years ago, life emerged on its own—but no one knows exactly how. Now, in a landmark discovery, chemist John Sutherland has created the conditions in which the building blocks of RNA, one of the key molecules of life and the probable precursor to DNA, assemble themselves naturally.

    6 –> This sort of exaggeration of the significance of quite narrow results, instead, is utterly revealing on the paucity of the actual evidence, and in fact does not even begin to address the origin of the code impressed into D/RNA, the specific information required to code for the specifically functional proteins and other associated molecular nano-machines, or their organisation into a functional living cell.

    7 –> Presumably, the programme means that the chemist has intelligently set up an arrangement of apparatus that allows for cytosine to form, along with the other four relevant monomers in D/RNA. Conspicuously absent from the announcement: how the chirality — molecular handedness — problem was resolved [the wrong handedness has same energy of formation but wrong geometry to work in life and the tendency under chemical as opposed to life form conditions is to form a 50-50 racemeic mix that then frustrates onward one-handed chaining of a polymer], how the problem of interfering cross-reactions producing a useless tar was averted, how these molecules were trapped out and preserved against the natural tendency to dis-assemble such energy rich molecules which tend to absorb a lot of energy to form.

    7 –> Since these are well-known significant issues with pre-life chemistry, if a solution had been developed, that would have been headlined. The silence on these aspects is therefore quite loud.

    8 –> We can therefore confidently infer that he experiments being reported on indicate only this: through suitably controlled and intelligently designed conditions, using expensive and carefully prepared input ingredients, it is possible for CHEMISTS — one is named — to synthesise and trap out the relevant monomers. [Cf the discussion on such in TMLO, in 1984.]

    9 –> In short, we here have inadvertent support for the intelligent design of life’s underlying building bricks.

    10 –> Now, all of this is utterly irrelevant to, distracts from and strawmannises the challenge I issued in comment 2 above:

    Have you a credible explanation of how not only language and algorithms, but also co-ordinated encoding, transmitting and decoding then applying mechanisms originated by chance plus necessity, backed up with empirical observational support?

    10 –> We have some support for how the monomers used for the above in life forms can be initially intelligently designed. We already know that once these have been so designed, technology of sufficient sophistication can in principle organise and arrange such to form a self-replicating, metabolising cellular automaton, creating first life. We have not yest made such a vNSR based cell, even on the clanking replicator scale, but we can see the general lines of how to do it.

    11 –> Similarly, “language and algorithms, . . . co-ordinated encoding, transmitting and decoding” are routine aspects of ICTs technology, the challenge here being to miniaturise and integrate into a vNSR.

    12 –> But I am responding to a distraction.

    13 –> We must note the unmet problem that was distracted from by diverting attention to a piece of intelligently directed chemical synthesis.

    14 –> Namely, LT and NR have not shown us an empirically backed model or explanation of how relevant codes, algorithms, protocols for communication, and functional organisation of the required implementing machines could have come about in Darwin’s warm little electrified pond or the like. This, after 80-odd years of trying since Oparin and Haldane in the 1920s.

    15 –> A little gap or two that somehow usually do not make it into PBS Nova documentaries, or textbooks or breathless press releases announcing the latest breakthroughs in OOL research.

    [ . . . ]

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    16 –> In short, we are seeing ideological indoctrination in action, where, having imposed a priori Lewontinian evolutionary materialism, whereby spontaneous abiogenesis MUST have happened, any empirical data that can be construed as pointing that way is easily exaggerated into a far stronger support than is warranted.

    17 –> Finally, LT returns to his tattered dismissal of “analogy”:

    I can hardly imagine what would divest GEM of his bad analogy:

    intelligent beings:communication systems::intelligent designer:cellular communication systems

    Perhaps if he sees the analogy in this form, he will begin to come to his senses. I don’t doubt that he’ll want to tweak what I have above, which is fine.

    18 –> Obviously, LT has refused to understand that analogy lies at the heart of inductive reasoning, where induction is the basis of our knowledge of empirical reality.

    19 –> Of course inductive reasoning does not deliver deductive certainty, but then deductive reasoning is no stronger than its premises, and those premises are based on experience of the world, once we address external realities.

    20 –> Citing Wikipedia as a hostile witness testifying against interest:

    Analogy (from Greek “????????” – analogia, “proportion”[1][2]) is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. In a narrower sense, analogy is an inference or an argument from one particular to another particular, as opposed to deduction, induction, and abduction, where at least one of the premises or the conclusion is general. The word analogy can also refer to the relation between the source and the target themselves, which is often, though not necessarily, a similarity, as in the biological notion of analogy.

    Analogy plays a significant role in problem solving, decision making, perception, memory, creativity, emotion, explanation and communication. It lies behind basic tasks such as the identification of places, objects and people, for example, in face perception and facial recognition systems. It has been argued that analogy is “the core of cognition”.[3] Specific analogical language comprises exemplification, comparisons, metaphors, similes, allegories, and parables, but not metonymy. Phrases like and so on, and the like, as if, and the very word like also rely on an analogical understanding by the receiver of a message including them. Analogy is important not only in ordinary language and common sense (where proverbs and idioms give many examples of its application) but also in science, philosophy and the humanities. The concepts of association, comparison, correspondence, mathematical and morphological homology, homomorphism, iconicity, isomorphism, metaphor, resemblance, and similarity are closely related to analogy. In cognitive linguistics, the notion of conceptual metaphor may be equivalent to that of analogy.

    21 –> So, we must recognise that analogical reasoning, especially the reasoning on family resemblance, is a key aspect of scientific work.

    22 –> Having noted that, I then point out that the identificaiton of the processes in the cell that use digitally coded D/RNA molecules to drive an assembly process is NOT an analogy, it is an instantiation.

    23 –> The cell embeds digitally coded [thus, linguistic] symbolic information, and uses it in a protein assembly process that shows flexible programming implementing algorithms with finite step by step processes involving initiation, sequence of steps, and halting.

    24 –> Discrete state process control involving an embedded digitally coded communication model, as I have designed and implemented on a far cruder, much grosser size, as an applied physicist.

    (NB: Regrettably, I must specifically add this note, as LT closes off by making a shameful personal attack on qualifications. What are his qualifications to speak dismissively to matters of discrete state control involving digital coded messages, organised communication systems and step by step algorithmic process?)

    25 –> On the uniformity principle highlighted by Newton and used by Lyell, Darwin and others, that lies at the foundation of origins science research, if I see an effect and it shows characteristic distinguishing signs that point to a known causal process sufficient to produce that effect, I am warranted to infer on best explanation to the relevant observed causal process as the most credible cause.

    26 –> In this case, we are looking at discrete state controllers, using embedded digital communication systems, in turn requiring codes, knowledge bases to put meaningful and functional content into the codes, integrated, organised implementing machinery etc.

    27 –> All of these exhibit FSCO/I, and the known routinely observed cause — the ONLY such observed cause — of such is intelligent design, involving designers.

    28 –> In addition, the infinite monkeys type analysis points to good reasons why such a complex, integrated functional organisation and associated knowledge driven coded information, will not credibly come from undirected forces of chance and necessity, as on the gamut of our observed cosmos, such will be well below the threshold of credible observability.

    29 –> I trust that analysis when I study claimed high efficiency energy conversion devices, and so I also see that there is no good reason for me not to trust same in this context.

    30 –> So, we can see the best, most reasonable explanation of the origin of life involving a vNSR and metabolic mechanisms, is design.

    31 –> We also see how blatantly fallaciously those who reject it are reasoning, as above.

    32 –> So, this enhances our confidence in the reasonableness of the inference on best empirically warranted explanation from the sign, FSCO/I to the warranted, credible state of affairs: design as the most likely cause.

    GEM of TKI

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Note: I have commented at Mr Tanner’s blog as follows:

    ___________________

    >> Mr “Tanner:

    I have responded to the above here, and draw your attention to the correction of an exaggerated inference.

    In addition, it is plain that you need to learn civility.

    Good day sir

    GEM of TKI >>
    _____________________

    As of 2:40 am, the comment is listed as posted there.

    GEM of TKI

  28. 28
    LarTanner says:

    GEM, That’s fine. I have responded there, and will do so here.

    For the record, I have never intentionally (or unintentionally, afaik) moderated “out” any post by you or anyone else.

    Here’s what I wrote:

    I wonder why GEM thinks I dismiss all analogical reasoning out of hand when really I criticize only his specific analogy?

    My question to GEM is fairly straightforward: do I have the analogy presented correctly or not? If I do, then fine. If not, please correct.

    My quick skim of GEM’s reply shows that, as predicted, he dismisses the actual research being conducted on pre-biotic earth. Sutherland’s research is of no value to GEM and just leaves all the old gaps and some new ones to boot (hence, gap reasoning).

    Of course, the point is that credible explanations are being developed and tested to strengthen our model of how early earth could have generated the first life forms by itself.

    But GEM does not accept that evolution is the answer (or even, apparently, an answer) to his question. Instead, he makes evolution part of the question, which is fine to do, but the questions need to be separated out.

    Now, does GEM explain how the designer worked? Yes, kind of. If I’m reading his note #10 correctly, his basic pitch is that however we people eventually create new life on our own (outside of sex, of course; let’s not talk about that) will be how the designer did it on pre-biotic earth. Viola!

    Holy anthropocentrism, Batman.

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