New UD commenter ayearningforpublius has put up a comment on the implications of facial recognition, several times. I think it significant enough as a case of FSCO/I and the challenge of addressing its origin, to headline it. But first, let’s put up the vid clip he links:
Now, his remarks:
>> The following scenario is familiar to most of us, particularly as we grow older:
We walk into a crowded and noisy room full of mostly strangers and unfamiliar heads bobbing up and down. Then off to the side and slightly behind we hear and recognize a familiar voice … we turn our head searching for that old friend we know is there, and after a short search … there she is, head slightly turned away from our view, but recognizable none-the-less. We are surprised and pleased to meet our old friend once more after some number of years and begin renewing the friendship.
The recognition of the voice and face is instinctive and very quick; and we take it for granted with no thoughts of anything unusual other than the mere co-incidence of the meeting.
But behind the scenes in our ears, eyes, nerves and brains is a marvelous and miraculous process called pattern recognition. A pattern recognition that is able to pick out and recognize individual faces and voices out of the billions of faces and voices surrounding us in the world. So let’s take a brief tour of what’s involved in meeting up with our old friend.
The hearing system that most of us have is a partnership between our ears and brain along with the connecting nerves between the two. This stereo audio system is able to sift through the many amplitudes (volumes) presented – the multitudes of widely spread and finely differentiated frequencies – the various timbres presented by the many voices surrounding us in that room full of strangers. And we are able to pick out that distinctive and familiar voice among the multitudes. And by the way, that same set of ears, in the form of the semi-circular canals, is instrumental in our balance system which keeps us from stumbling around in that crowded room.
And the eyes … my gosh what a gift … a gift of obvious design which enables us to stand in awe at the many wonders of our everyday world.
The eyes, as with the ears, are continually involved in a massive process of pattern recognition that allow us to function smoothly within our very busy, active and dangerous world. Eyes that are quick to warn us of the dangers of that car moving too close to us on the freeway. Eyes that quickly recognize that old friend even in a crowded and busy room.
In our modern technological world we have analogies to that busy room. Our Navy ships scan the depths of the ocean with sonar. The pulses transmitted from the sonar antenna bounce off; the ocean floor, schools of fish and even the surface of the ocean, returning a bewildering stream of noise that the computers of the sonar must sift through, filter and cluster to present the operators and commanders an array of potential hazards and threats to the fleet. These sophisticated sonar system require sophisticated computational systems and large amounts of memory storage to accomplish the task in real-time. But most fundamentally they require intelligent designers to create the systems required.
Pattern recognition in the visual world is no less wondrous. When you take a picture of that group at a reunion with a modern state of the art camera, have you noticed the little boxes surrounding the faces? Somehow some very smart scientists and engineers have figured out how to program a computer in your camera to recognize that human faces are part of the picture and visually highlight them for you. And after you take them you can ‘tag’ the individual faces with names in programs like Facebook. Again, sophisticated computational power and large amounts of memory storage are required for the job. And, as in the case of sonar processing, intelligent designers are necessary to create the systems required.
Pattern recognition is not a trivial task in the engineering world. Take the time to read about the complexities and mathematics of pattern recognition, for example a Wikipedia article on “pattern recognition.”
So I ask you my friends who believe that Darwinian Evolution … a belief in unguided, unintelligent and strictly natural processes; is it reasonable and rational that such a process could guide you to that reunion in a crowded room? Can you really believe that? Can you set aside your dogmatic atheism and look at what nature presents to you?
You atheists at NCSE [–> this seems to be a remark he has shared at NCSE, we would like the link, it does not come up easily in web searches . . . ] need to apply real science to the multitudes of designs all around us and within us. Science that takes an honest researcher to wherever the evidence leads. Evidence like I have cited above, evidence that is obvious even to a sea-going corporal. Take the leap and cast off your irrational atheism and discover the secrets of the designs you so flippantly cast aside as illusions or false appearances. Many of you have PhDs, but have not the common sense that should go with it.
And to those of you who denigrate and insult those of us who believe such natural capabilities are the result of an Intelligent Design (ID), I would ask … which of us is the IDiot?
I put this scenario up before the folks at NCSE recently, and it sparked quite an exchange between myself and NCSE friendly commenters. Interestingly, even though my post asks for Darwinian explanations and evidence for the scenario I presented (including evidence for the evolution of vision), no one stepped up to the challenge. If you read the responses you get the usual stuff about ID being religion etc.
So I continue to wonder about that “mountain of overwhelming evidence.” I don’t see it. What I do see is a relatively small set of bones and rocks with the supposed connecting dots of evolution.>>
Mapou’s remark in response was:
Nice piece, even if off topic. As someone who does research in AI, especially in visual and auditory pattern recognition, I know that there is no way this capability could have evolved by chance and natural selection. One of the hardest unsolved problems in computer science is the so-called cocktail party problem, the ability to recognize and focus on a single voice or sound in a noisy environment. The brain handles it with ease. During REM sleep, there is a mechanism that goes through the brain’s cortex and cleans up any bad synaptic connection that was acquired during the day. If that did not happen, we would lose our ability to see and hear within days and likely go mad. You cannot design a sophisticated pattern recognition system such as exists in the brain without knowing in advance that you will need a sleep-activated cleanup mechanism and why it is necessary.
So, how do we explain such on evolutionary materialist, chance and necessity terms, without begging questions through a priori impositions. END