Intelligent Design

UB Hammers a Darwinbot

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In a comment to another post that deserves its own post, the venerable Upright Biped hammers rvb8 and in the process gives us one of the most succinct and pithy summaries of the information issue I have seen:

Pierce’s 1860’s model of signification (i.e. the ability to specify something among alternatives) suggested that all representation requires interpretation in order to exist. This model is not only consistent with naturalist views of reality, it is basically demanded by those views — and for good reason. It’s true. Then Turing showed that we can impute representation and interpretation into an arrangement of matter (i.e. a physical system) and cause novel function to come into being. Von Neumann then took Turing’s machine and used it to show what is required for an autonomous self-replicator to exist, thereby establishing a threshold of complexity for such a system. He did this several years before his model was demonstrated inside the living cell. Crick then showed how a DNA molecule could carry a code, and further predicted that a set of adapters would be required within the system, which Zamecnik and Hoagland found three years later. But the code in DNA would still have to be demonstrated in order for us to know what it is (i.e. it could not be calculated from its dynamic properties). Nirenberg set out to accomplish this demonstration and won the Nobel prize for doing so. Pattee then carefully described the physics of the system, and at the very center of that system is a set of (rate-independent) physical representations and a set of (non-integrable) constraints to interpret those representations. Two things, rv, you can’t specify something in the physical universe without two things. This empirical fact was proposed in theory, confirmed by experiment, and has been universally demonstrated throughout all of history. Write that down. No one at your ideological cesspools has solved the symbol-matter paradox.

32 Replies to “UB Hammers a Darwinbot

  1. 1
    Origenes says:

    Just a comment on what is perhaps a trivial point.

    Pierce’s 1860’s model of signification (i.e. the ability to specify something among alternatives) suggested that all representation requires interpretation in order to exist. This model is not only consistent with naturalist views of reality, it is basically demanded by those views — and for good reason. It’s true.

    I have little doubt that this model is true, but I am not convinced that ‘representation’ and/or ‘interpretation’ is consistent with naturalists views, let alone that they are demanded by those views.

    So much the worse for naturalism, surely.

    I am not saying that the vast majority of naturalists is aware of the fact that naturalism has profound problems grounding these fundamental phenomena. I am not saying that at all.

    Representation, by its very definition is about something and this poses a problem for naturalism. Rosenberg explains it unambiguously:

    What we need is a clump of matter, … , that … points at, indicates, singles out, picks out, identifies (and here we just start piling up more and more synonyms for “being about”) another clump of matter …. But there is no such physical stuff.
    Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort. There are just fermions and bosons and combinations of them. None of that stuff is just, all by itself, about any other stuff. There is nothing in the whole universe … that just by its nature or composition can do this job of being about some other clump of matter.

    The problem that aboutness / representation poses for naturalism is so irresolvable that Rosenberg feels compelled to take the next deep plunge into utter irrationality:

    So, when consciousness assures us that we have thoughts about stuff, it has to be wrong. The brain nonconsciously stores information in thoughts. But the thoughts are not about stuff. Therefore, consciousness cannot retrieve thoughts about stuff. There are none to retrieve. So it can’t have thoughts about stuff either.
    [A. Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide To Reality’, Ch. 8, ‘The brain does everything without thinking about anything at all’]

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  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    So, when consciousness assures us that we have thoughts about stuff, it has to be wrong. The brain nonconsciously stores information in thoughts. But the thoughts are not about stuff. Therefore, consciousness cannot retrieve thoughts about stuff. There are none to retrieve. So it can’t have thoughts about stuff either. –A. Rosenberg

    What can you say to a person who gazes at the blazing sun and denies its existence?

    UB +1000

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Origenes,

    Perhaps Rosenberg is wrong about physics. 🙂

    That’s why Howard Pattee is a great resource. He doesn’t hesitate to point out the issues but he also doesn’t take Rosenberg’s way out. He says, these are the facts. We must deal with he facts. Not what we wish is true.

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    Mung: Perhaps Rosenberg is wrong about physics.

    Wrong about physics? Fogettaboutit! Surely, Rosenberg understands that you cannot be wrong about physics, because there is nothing that can be about physics. There can be no neurons in Rosenberg’s brain about physics. There are no books, papers or whatever about physics. And surely physics is not about things in the world.
    Get it? 🙂

    Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    so true

  7. 7

    Hello all,

    Thanks BA, TW, Mike, and Mung.

    Origenes thanks for bringing up Rosenberg. I am currently writing a paper on this subject, and Rosenberg appears briefly in that paper. When he says that no clump of matter can be “about” any other clump of matter, he is entirely correct. That’s the point. “Aboutness” is a product coordination and organization, not physicodynamics. I don’t want to spill the beans on my paper just yet, but here is a short clip:

    The strength of Pierce’s model of signification is that it provided an outline of how a clump of matter can represent something while not being about the thing it represents. Pierce presented the notion of three broad categories of entities involved in the process of signification; the sign, the object, and the interpretant. In this model the “sign” is the representation, the “object” is the thing it represents, and the “interpretant” is the establishment of a systematic relationship between the sign and the object. This relationship is context-specific, meaning it occurs within the organization of the system that receives the sign, and thus, the clump of matter that the sign is made of doesn’t have to be “about” the thing it represents because it is the system itself that will establish the relationship. In short, with the addition of an interpretation to the process, an act of genuine representation becomes physically possible, and a medium of information is thus created by the organization of the system. Almost 70 years later, near the dawn of The Information Age, Pierce’s intuitions of signs and interpretants would reemerge in the …

    The bottom line as it relates to IC (the topic at the time I posted to rv) is that every person who thinks Irreducible Complexity is an issue that has been dealt with is just simply dead wrong. It’s starring every OoL researcher right in the face, whether he or she realizes it or not. It is little wonder why materialist ideologues like rv are so desperate to sell its demise. In his defense, he never things about these things too deeply, so he has no idea what the issues are.

  8. 8
    rvb8 says:

    UB,

    your very first sentence confuses me, thus I suppose confirming the greater intelligence of the posters here, as upposed to mine own weak intelligence;

    “Pierce’s 1860s model of ‘signification'(i.e. the ability to specify something among alternatives)suggested that all representation requires interpretation in order to exist.”

    Now help me please, it is just that when I read, and listen to Biologists generally, and Evolutionary Biologists in particular, I can almost always follow their descriptions, and definitions,

    So here is my question; ‘What the hell does this sentence mean?’

    Does it mean nothing exists without a sentient being to see that thing? You say Pierce’s model, ‘suggested’, sorry but many things are ‘suggested’, there is no rule, or law in a suggestion, unlike of course, evolutionary observation, and fact.

    “all representation requires interpretation in oreder to BE”, I paraphrase.

    Well, that’s patently not true! The last Passenger Pidgeon, DoDo, and any other extinct species no doubt plainly, ‘represented’ themselves to nature, desperately in search of a mate, only to be ‘uninterpreted’ by none of its non-existant fellow species: they ‘represented’, existed, and were ignored.

    Have I wholly missed your argument? If so, try again, and before you do read Hitchens, he’ll give you great pointers for explaining a complex idea clearly; a problem BTW that appears universal in ID circles.

    Sorry, I did not get much beyond the tortuous first sentence, but there appeared a pattern of solid steps leading to improvement, or just modification, sounds very evolutionary to me.

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    rvb8: Have I wholly missed your argument?

    Didn’t you just admit that you did?

    The strength of Pierce’s model of signification is that it provided an outline of how a clump of matter can represent something while not being about the thing it represents.

    Perhaps you simply deny that one thing can signify another. Is that what you’re hung up on?

    Do you agree that a clump of matter can represent something else? Because if you disagree, why are you posting here?

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    I must be truly thick, I apologize:

    “The strength..” :)Heh, “of Pierce’s model of signification is that it provided an outline of how a clump of matter..”, do you mean an object, or thing? “can represent something while not being about the thing it represents>”

    “while not being about the thing it represents.”

    What does this mean? Really, I want to know, and your fumbling opaque explinations aren’t helping.

    How does this vagueness assist ID, in any way?

    A cup is a ‘clump’ of matter I hope you agree. In what existance can I desribe this clump of matter as, ‘being about’ anything, it’s simply bad English. I suppose a mouse, ‘bees about being a mouse’, and I, ‘be about being human’, but what about the cup or rock, or anything inanimate.

    If you are allowed to play bad English word salad games, to give ID a mystique it certainly doesn’t have, so can I. It’s what I, ‘be about’. Uggh!

  11. 11

    Sorry rv, I am not going to pretend that you don’t know what it could possible mean to interpret a representation. Why would I do that?

    If you want to engage the conversation without the childish intellectual limp, then you can start by answering a simple question:

    When you look up in the sky and see a bird, is there a bird traveling through your optical nerve to your visual cortex –or– is there a neural representation of the bird, mechanically created by the specialized organization of your eyes?

  12. 12
    rvb8 says:

    My senses evolved to help me, and the billions of organisms that have gone before me, to navigate the world, and avoid danger.

    You see this is the simple understandable answer to your complexity, which is among other things, depressing to read.

    Yes the bird is there, and if I can spear it I can eat, use its feathers, and survive.

    My evolved brain, takes the light, heat, pressure, sound, and smells, and transforms that physical information, into neural firings that are interpreted by the brain, to protect my existance.

    This, ‘you are a bag of chemicals’, a ‘clump of matter’, etc is an embarassing avenue of argument. What’s more it proves nothing, as you can endlessly play at word scrabble.

    BA is constantly telling me, my life and opinions are meaningless, as, apparently, I’m an illusion, or some such nonsense.

    Let’s say he’s right, and I am an unimportant, amorphous, thought experiment, and have no free will. So bloody what? I feel alive, even if that is illusiory, I like eating, breathing, sex, friendships etc.

    And then you and he come along with prepostirous, psudo-intellectual, gobbledegook, and say, as a materialist I don’t exist, or have no morality, or don’t desrve to exist.

    Where on earth, or any where else in the universe do you believe this line of argument will lead to?

    It’s barren, pointless, and of benefit to no one: ‘a clump of matter, a bag of chemicals, mechanically created, specialized organization’, for crying out loud!

  13. 13
    Marfin says:

    Rvb8- you miss the whole point of the bag of chemicals argument, which is please explain using science ,the science you say is the crux of all knowledge how a bag of chemicals can know, think,reason have free will and make reasoned arguments in favour of one view over another , and then know for sure the conclusions are logically valid.Jerry Coyne calls us neuronal illusions because that is the logical conclusion of his material position but does not understand that if he is just a neuronal illusion what does this ultimate conclusion stand on as it has no basis for reality, and its the neurons in his brain drawing these conclusions ,as there in no one at the controls.
    Here`s a simple question the “you and I” you keep referring to what is it,is it just the chemicals in you brain or is it something more, please provide the science and not your opinion for your answer.

  14. 14

    My evolved brain, takes the light, heat, pressure, sound, and smells, and transforms that physical information, into neural firings that are interpreted by the brain

    So now you know what representation and interpretation is.

    Good for you. Do you have any other questions?

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    LoL. Short and to the point.

  16. 16
    rvb8 says:

    I suppose I do UB.

    Here’s a question, why couldn’t you state ‘representation and interpretation’, as clearly as I did? If you had we wouldn’t be wasting endless word screeds missing each other’s point.

    But that is the point of ID isn’t it? Baffledegab; an endless spew of sciency jargon in the hope that the emperor won’t be noticed. Have you ever tried to read all of Kairos’s posts, or worse, BA’s?

    RM+NS(and Sexual Selection, and Genetic Drift)= Evolution.

    And yours, in 15 words or less?

  17. 17

    rv,

    I already told you that I have no intentions whatsoever of pretending that you don’t know what is meant by “representation” and “interpretation”. Your sudden inability to understand common words and act out in a tantrum was as predictable as sunrise following sunset.

    In any case, you now know that to specify the amino acids in a protein requires both representation and interpretation. This relationship is irreducibly complex for exactly the reasons the naturalist philosopher Alex Rosenberg describes; no clump of matter is about any other clump of matter. And the function that is lost in the absence of these irreducible relationships is the very capacity to organize the living cell in the first place.

  18. 18
    Marfin says:

    rvb8 – Why do you never actually engage in scientific discussion or present actual scientific data from work done in the various fields you say are scientific fact.
    If as Jerry Coyne says that RM produces all the raw materials for evolutionary change , can you, YOU please explain how this actually works and support your answer with data from observation , experimentation, etc.
    If you don`t do this can I then assume you are like all the other atheist materialist`s that are out there who worship at the feet of Dawkins Krauss,Coyne et al and just accept what these guys say as Gospel. Talk about worship and blind faith ,are you just another follower and disciple of evolutionary faith , unable to think, and reason for himself.I hope I am wrong about you and you do present said evidence and we can then engage with the science you love so much.

  19. 19

    rvb8 said:

    RM+NS(and Sexual Selection, and Genetic Drift)= Evolution.

    And yours, in 15 words or less?

    ID+RM+NS+SS+GD = Evolution.

    See, all that IDists hold that you are missing in you equation is what they consider to be a necessary extra element – ID. Now what?

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    UB,

    it seems like the morphogen gradients are among the many cases of “representation” & “interpretation” in biology, right?

  21. 21
    Dionisio says:

    Marfin @18:

    Why do you never actually engage in scientific discussion […]

    I understand your frustration, but seriously, can we get apples from a mango tree? Perhaps, but shouldn’t a radical change take place first? There’s a fruit that looks like an apple but tastes like a mango, it’s called apple mango. But a common mango tree does not produce common apples just like that.

    🙂

  22. 22
    asauber says:

    Why do you never actually engage in scientific discussion or present actual scientific data from work done in the various fields you say are scientific fact.

    To gratuitously pile on…

    Just take all the Climate Change/Global Warming scientismic images and character strings that the atheist/materialists around here profess to cling to. They may be able to regurgitate talking points and links, but as far as understanding any of it, they may as well be presenting dessert recipes. Dr. Julia Child sure is smart.

    They want to appeal to the authority of science, but their brains don’t work logically, so they have no idea what they are doing. They are too dumb to even use a fallacy. They just worship the ideas that their culture requires. It’s really pathetic.

    Andrew

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    Now, now, now, you guys don’t be too hard on the old automaton known as rvb8. After all there is no person within the unit named rvb8. Only the laws of physics randomly generating responses through the automaton known as rvb8.

    Automatons have no clue if their responses are logically consistent, meaningful, or not.

    You guys might as well get upset with the laws of physics rather than automaton rvb8.

    automaton rvb8 is simply a neuronal illusion.

    I don’t mind being a ‘neuronal illusion’,
    – rvb8
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-625361

    Supplemental note:

    “Your Computer Doesn’t Know Anything” – Michael Egnor (January 23, 2015). .
    Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich. Your math book doesn’t know algebra. Your Rolodex doesn’t know your cousin’s address. Your watch doesn’t know what time it is. Your car doesn’t know where you’re driving. Your television doesn’t know who won the football game last night. Your cell phone doesn’t know what you said to your girlfriend this morning. ¶ People know things. Devices like computers and books and Rolodexes and watches and cars and televisions and cell phones don’t know anything. They don’t have minds. They are artifacts — paper and plastic and silicon things designed and manufactured by people — and they provide people with the means to leverage their human knowledge. ¶ Computers (and books and watches and the like) are the means by which people leverage and express knowledge. Computers store and process representations of knowledge. But computers have no knowledge themselves.
    http://afterall.net/quotes/mic.....esnt-know/

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, I could swear my HP 50 knows a lot of Math, and lets me in on the secret every now and then! KF

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    kairosfocus you, of all people, think that your computer ‘knows’ math?

    Surely you are jesting?

    “The mechanical brain does not secrete thought “as the liver does bile,” as the earlier materialists claimed, nor does it put it out in the form of energy, as the muscle puts out its activity. Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day. “
    Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician – (Cybernetics, 2nd edition, p.132)

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas G. Robertson – 1999
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomenon: the creation of new information.
    “… no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    The mathematical world – James Franklin – 7 April 2014
    Excerpt: the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,,
    James Franklin is professor of mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/world-.....-be-about/

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”
    http://machineslikeus.com/news.....-stupidity

    Robert Marks: Some Things Computers Will Never Do: Nonalgorithmic Creativity and Unknowability – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0s7ag3SEc

    “Computers are no more able to create information than iPods are capable of creating music.”
    Robert Marks

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    bornagain77 says:

    I thought so. But given the context, your wit could have been a bit more pronounced so as to avoid any ambiguity.

    By the way, does your HP 50 sigh when you make a mistake? I believe it is a new feature on some models! 🙂

  28. 28
    Dionisio says:

    it was obvious that KF was joking @24.

    As we all have seen posted here, serious scientists and philosophers like Chalmers and Penrose are between a rock and a hard place trying to figure out the hard problem of consciousness. Computer Science seems much easier to understand than Lego for toddlers when compared to consciousness, which is a complexity category in itself.
    Strong AI is as much nonsense as one can get.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    To those who know kf the joke was obvious.

    Yet as obvious as the fact is that ‘Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich’, I was very surprised at the gullibility of some supposedly very smart people in their belief that computer intelligence is basically equivalent, if not superior, to human intelligence,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity#Intelligence_explosion

  30. 30
    Dionisio says:

    BA77, I see your point.
    A bottom line question is who made what?
    Not what made whom?
    Computers are designed by human minds.
    Human minds are not designed by computers.
    It gets as simple as that.
    One can’t understand more than one wants to.
    Some politely-dissenting interlocutors may have decided not to understand certain things you or KF write here, and there’s not much any of us can do to change it.
    They miss it. Too bad. Poor things.
    I definitely use some of the information KF and you post quite often. Thank you.

  31. 31
    Pindi says:

    Could the last one who leaves please turn out the lights?

  32. 32
    Darwins_downfall says:

    Could the last one who leaves please turn out the lights?

    🙂

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