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Why human language is hard to address in a mechanistic way


From a review of the Dictionary of Untranslatables:

This cartography can be rich and complex, even with a familiar concept like “liberty” — specifically, the ancient Greek word eleutheria, variously translated as liberté, Freiheit, and “liberty” or “freedom” in English. The Dictionary discusses the mistaken traditional Greek etymology — which, in a tradition that antedates Aristotle, associated eleutheria with freedom of movement (via the phrase elthein hopou erai, or “going where one likes”). In fact, the Dictionary tells us, the concept emerged from the Indo-European radical *leudh — meaning “to grow or develop,” which serves also as the basis for the German word for “people,” Leute. At its root, “liberty” wasn’t about revolutionary emancipation from constraint but about rootedness in nature, an empowering sense of belonging, and “the idea of growth that leads to a complete form, which ends in its full flourishing.” This origin doesn’t give the lie to later terms in other languages — the Latin libertas, with its long history evoking “the idea of pure spontaneity” and “the notion of a will that is not in any way determined to choose one or another of two contraries,” which finds its way into French and English through ideas of self-determination. These, too, are part of the “philosophically weighty” history of eleutheria, which the Dictionary encourages us to understand in all its variety, without “homogeniz[ing] the diverse meanings and flatten[ing] the richness of Greek.” “Liberty,” it turns out, is much more than a mere calque from the Latin. More.

RB: you reminded me of just how deep the problem is, Computer MEMORY. They neither remember nor know nor care. There are storage registers that hold read-write or read only info. That is one thing in common, info, storage and in the broad sense processing. But there is a huge gap on how. KF kairosfocus
kairosfocus Amen. The computers do not learn. Yet they do have memory of human knowledge. They just don't know it. Computers do bump into the issue in human thinking between memory and thinking. Robert Byers
Mapou, I should add that Descartes' conundrum had to do with an excess of reliance on the power of doubt in western phil. He painted himself in a corner . . . to doubt is to dismiss save we have certain proof, in effect . . . and tried to get out through a perceived self evident truth, self-aware cognition. The subsequent ugly ditch between the inner world and the outer one runs into the difficulty highlighted by Bradley. Namely to claim to know we cannot know the external world is to claim to know something of the external world. Self referential incoherence. Instead, we will find it profitable to view any claim that points to general delusion as self-undermining. For the obvious reason. Intelligence is closely tied to understanding and that manifests itself in concepts, perceptions, awareness, intuitions etc etc. The notion that these are simply reducible to connexions of arrays of neurons or similar processor elements runs straight into the search space challenges at the heart of ID, and pivotally beg questions on representation of info and how we find ourselves on or close to islands of function esp when blind chance and mechanical necessity are deemed the only acceptable formative forces. Intelligence is linked to awareness of patterns, but suggesting that if such are not reduced to coded symbols then the cause-effect blind processing issue is irrelevant again begs questions. And I repeat, the heart of Searle's point is not about language but the difference between acting blindly and with insight. I don't know if your paradigm is a roadblock to seeing that but please note that language has never been my prime focus. Insight has. KF kairosfocus
RB: The machines simply are not learning save in a confusing metaphorical sense. KF kairosfocus
Mapau I agree computers can easily learn language. its just memorized segregated combinations of sounds for us. Yet they don't know what the hell they are talking about. they are just memory machines. They would only know language because we told them to memorize it. its not their idea. no one there. Language is just sounds but it comes from souls trying to express thoughts. computers have no thoughts. So language is just memorized things to them with no meaning. Robert Byers
PPS: As an illustration of the first problem, observe Wiki:
The [connection] weights in a neural network are adjusted according to some learning rule or algorithm. Thus, connectionists have created many sophisticated learning procedures for neural networks. Learning always involves modifying the connection weights. In general, these involve mathematical formulas to determine the change in weights when given sets of data consisting of activation vectors for some subset of the neural units. By formalizing learning in such a way, connectionists have many tools. A very common strategy in connectionist learning methods is to incorporate gradient descent over an error surface in a space defined by the weight matrix. All gradient descent learning in connectionist models involves changing each weight by the partial derivative of the error surface with respect to the weight.
First, we see anthropomorphising a heuristic procedure as "learning." (Well do I recall behavourism's operant conditioning games, where successful patterns in a search space were reinforced and learning was equated to acquired behaviour patterns.) Second, we see our old friends of evolutionary computing. Including in effect a fitness function and things like steep slope seeking goal directed algorithms. When we deal with relevant complex functionality, the islands isolated in the search space eat up the possibility of successful search, unless of course one is effectively starting within the shores of an island. This points to search for search challenges. Which, per evo mat influenced ideas, is driven by blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of solar system or observed cosmos. Thus hitting the FSCO/I threshold challenge. Genuine creative insight is light years away from this sort of thing. However we do it, we perceive key relationships and possibilities, and can evaluate likeliness to succeed. Then, if we are good at it, we can plunk down close enough for debugging to carry us the rest of the way absent nasty black swans lurking. kairosfocus
PS: That a neural network can carry out a steepest descent or similar algorithm is not in dispute. Whee that comes from is not either. Computation is not contemplation and rocks only make it so far as the former, for fundamental reasons. kairosfocus
Mapou, Intelligence is conceptual which may be spatial, linguistic, movie in the head and more but always it depends on insight. Understanding. That is the underlying force of Searle's thought case. Absent insight and linked creative imagination, intelligence becomes a problem. KF kairosfocus
kairosfocus, I just finished saying that intelligence, artificial or natural, is not symbolic and never was. True intelligence is entirely about the temporal correlations between discrete sensory signals. This is what knowledge is made of and it is the basis of my own research. I'm afraid that this debate must come to an end because I sense that you are not reading my comments. Thanks. Mapou
Mapou, consider why Searle's CR worked . . . it was not acting on understanding. KF +++++++++++++ The Chinese Room by Searle: >> Imagine that a person—me, for example—knows [--> i.e. understands] no Chinese and is locked in a room with boxes full of Chinese symbols and an instruction book written in English for manipulating the symbols. Unknown to me, the boxes are called “the database” and the instruction book is called “the program.” I am called “the computer.” People outside the room pass in bunches of Chinese symbols that, unknown to me, are questions. I look up in the instruction book what I am supposed to do and I give back answers in Chinese symbols. Suppose I get so good at shuffling the symbols and passing out the answers that my answers are indistinguishable from a native Chinese speaker’s. I give every indication of understanding the language despite the fact that I actually don’t understand a word of Chinese. [--> parodies Turing test] And if I do not, neither does any digital computer, because no computer, qua computer, has anything I do not have. It has stocks of symbols, rules for manipulating symbols, a system that allows it to rapidly transition from zeros to ones, and the ability to process inputs and outputs. That is it. There is nothing else. >> kairosfocus
This is anthropomorphising as a fallacy. Machines are acting mechanically, per cause effect without genuine understanding, one of the points aptly illuminated by the Chinese Room thought exercise.
All Searle has proven is that symbolic AI is a bankrupt paradigm. It is bankrupt because it falsely assigns symbolic meaning to non-symbols. This is false symbolism. But that's old news. AI research is no longer based on the symbol manipulation model. There is nothing to prevent a learning computer from creating multiple unique pools of temporal sensory data and then associating one such pool with another. This is true symbolism. You speak of computers not being able to create new knowledge but this is not a prerequisite for understanding language. Brains and intelligent machine construct knowledge piece by piece from incoming sensory data. Sure, a signal coming from a light sensor is no different than a signal coming from an audio sensor. But this is true for both brain and computers. Obviously, there must be a non-symbolic way to infer semantic meaning from sensory signals. Neither brains nor computers can represent anything that is in the world. This line of thinking led Descartes to write "I think, therefore I am" because he could not prove, even to himself, that there is a real world out there. All we can say is that one pool of data in memory can represent another pool of data, neither of which exists externally in the world. We can infer, if we want to, that there is a real world underlying our internal data but that is just an inference. What I am getting at is that the temporal relationships/regularities in sensory data are sufficient to create semantic entities. The temporal signature of sensory data is what gives meaning to them. Temporality is the new AI paradigm. Searle's argument is no longer relevant for this reason. Mapou
Mapou at 11: Even a cat can understand spoken commands. Unlike a machine, he is free to disobey them (as he generally does, but he knows perfectly well what we want him to do). I suggest bringing the machine up to the cat level first. News
The Turing Test is Dead. Long Live the Lovelace Test. - Robert J. Marks II - July 3, 2014 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/07/the_turing_test087391.html bornagain77
V, engagement with Philo and his thought world is longstanding for Christian thinkers, indeed . . . speaking of the wider streams of thought that probably flowed strongest in Alexandria . . . it is in the NT. Kindly cf the just above to Q, esp that link. Also, try Catholic Enc 1911 here. Philo represents some syncretising that would gradually lead to various forms of what we call Gnosticism. In Hebrews, arguably the most Hellenistic book in the NT once one probes below the surface, the evidence is, it is ALSO probably the most militantly Hebraic NT work, and seeks to correct the syncretising trend from a distinctly Christian perspective. You may find Nash's The Gospel and the Greeks a useful read. KF kairosfocus
Q, well said. Here are some wider remarks by Christian scholars over the past 150 years or so, in a shorter doc. I note, I always read Jn 1 in the context of Col 1 and Heb 1, which also speak to the same cluster of issues in the same general culture:
John 1 Amplified Bible (AMP) 1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [b]Himself. 2 He was present originally with God. 3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. 4 In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. 5 And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it] . . . . 10 He [the LOGOS/Word] came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him]. 11 He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own—His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. 12 But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name— 13 Who owe their birth neither to [c]bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!] 14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. Col 1:13 [The Father] has delivered and [m]drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son [n]of His love, 14 In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins. 15 [Now] He is the [o]exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation. 16 For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. 17 And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together). 18 He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]. 19 For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him [p]permanently. 20 And God purposed that through ([q]by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled [r]back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross. [AMP] Hebrews 1 Amplified Bible (AMP) 1 In many separate revelations [[a]each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, 2 [But] in [b]the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order]. 3 He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, 4 [Taking a place and rank by which] He Himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name (title) which He has inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did [God] ever say, You are My Son, today I have begotten You [established You in an official Sonship relation, with kingly dignity]? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son? 6 Moreover, when He brings the firstborn Son [d]again into the habitable world, He says, Let all the angels of God worship Him. 7 Referring to the angels He says, [God] Who makes His angels winds and His ministering servants flames of fire; 8 But as to the Son, He says to Him, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever (to the ages of the ages), and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of absolute righteousness (of justice and straightforwardness). 9 You have loved righteousness [You have delighted in integrity, virtue, and uprightness in purpose, thought, and action] and You have hated lawlessness (injustice and iniquity). Therefore God, [even] Your God ([e]Godhead), has anointed You with the oil of exultant joy and gladness above and beyond Your companions. 10 And [further], You, Lord, did lay the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain and continue permanently; they will all grow old and wear out like a garment. 12 Like a mantle [thrown about one’s self] You will roll them up, and they will be changed and replaced by others. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end nor come to failure. 13 Besides, to which of the angels has He ever said, Sit at My right hand [associated with Me in My royal dignity] till I make your enemies a stool for your feet? 14 Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?
This sort of context decisively shaped Christian thought. It is fair comment that when t intersects with the Hellenistic culture, it does so to try to bridge but also to correct. And, it sees its themes as deeply rooted in the Hebraic scriptural and faith tradition, with the pivotal issue being Jesus as risen Saviour and Lord, which vindicates his claim to be the prophesied Messiah. Cf here on. KF kairosfocus
Mapou, to put it more simply, computers cannot create information over and above what is already programmed into them, nor can they understand context. Thus, by taking advantage of those two severe weaknesses in computers it fairly easy to devise questions to defeat a Turing test. Niwrad, listed several ways here: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/artificial-intelligence-or-intelligent-artifices/ since a computer cannot invent information, or to take context into consideration, one simple way of defeating the Turing test is to tell, or to invent, a joke:,,, “(a computer) lacks the ability to distinguish between language and meta-language.,,, As known, jokes are difficult to understand and even more difficult to invent, given their subtle semantic traps and their complex linguistic squirms. The judge can reliably tell the human (from the computer)” Such as this joke: Turing Test Extra Credit – Convince The Examiner That He’s The Computer – cartoon http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/turing_test.png :) The Turing test isn't a test of a computer. Computers can't take tests, because computers can't think. The Turing test is a test of us. If a computer "passes" it, we fail it. We fail because of our hubris, a delusion that seems to be something original in us. The Turing test is a test of whether human beings have succumbed to the astonishingly naïve hubris that we can create souls. It's such irony that the first personal computer was an Apple. - Micahel Egnor - Neurosurgeon http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/03/failing_the_turing_test045141.html bornagain77
there is nothing about language that cannot be mechanized. Machines already understand many spoken commands. Sure, it’s a narrow form of understanding but it shows that it can be done, in principle.
This is anthropomorphising as a fallacy. Machines are acting mechanically, per cause effect without genuine understanding, one of the points aptly illuminated by the Chinese Room thought exercise. Mechanisms that are blind, driven and controlled by chance and necessity cannot create novel FSCO/I beynd the 500 - 1,000 bit threshold, not only as an empirical matter, but as a matter of the implication of the supertask as has been analysed. Cf my recent post here. Particularly observe the attempts to get text by blind processes that is meaningful. Utter failure. And, the game of creating an algorithm programmed with language structures and spewing out verbal responses, is little more than a case of displaced FSCO/I. The creativity is in the programs and the databases in the programs. Blind computation is not equal to insightful, self-aware, meaningful rational contemplation. Let us not fall for the fallacy of trying to get North by going West faster and faster. KF kairosfocus
kairosfocus@3, Great link---thanks! I would add that when considering the meaning of LOGOS as a word or concept (etc.), you soon realize that LOGOS is a symbol of something. In other words, the word, lion, is a symbol, but is not a lion itself. In John, to the quoted hymn or poem to Logos is added that the Logos was made flesh. This is astonishing, especially to the Greeks (think Philo). This passage in John describes an incarnation, but it's not new to the Bible. Way back in Genesis, it is written that God SAID let there be light, and there was light. The word spoken by God was incarnated as the thing itself, in this case light. So the incarnated Word of God, who was named Yeshua, meaning YHVH is Salvation, incarnated the gift of salvation, and was also responsible for all of creation according to the Bible. -Q Querius
Byers, there is nothing about language that cannot be mechanized. Machines already understand many spoken commands. Sure, it's a narrow form of understanding but it shows that it can be done, in principle. It's only a matter of time before we come up with the right perceptual memory system that will allow machines to learn and eventually fully understand all the nuances and associations of language. Your denialism cannot stop it. It is beginning to happen as I write. Mapou
Since our language is just segregated combinations of sounds then a machine could mimic language. Just as dumb parrots do. however they would have to be programmed and have no idea what they are talking about. Robert Byers
bornagain77, I wish you would argue your points succinctly in your own words. Most of us do not have the time to wade through a forest of links. A link should be given only for further reading at the reader's discretion. Information overload is already a big problem in the internet age. You're not helping. Mapou
Mapou you claim,,
I predict that machines will eventually be able to learn language just like us humans. They will be just as proficient in its use as any of us are, to the point of fooling many that they are conscious. This will happen in your lifetimes.
A few notes to the contrary: “Information does not magically materialize. It can be created by intelligence or it can be shunted around by natural forces. But natural forces, and Darwinian processes in particular, do not create information.” - William Dembski What Is a Mind? More Hype from Big Data - Erik J. Larson - May 6, 2014 Excerpt: In 1979, University of Pittsburgh philosopher John Haugeland wrote an interesting article in the Journal of Philosophy, "Understanding Natural Language," about Artificial Intelligence. At that time, philosophy and AI were still paired, if uncomfortably. Haugeland's article is one of my all time favorite expositions of the deep mystery of how we interpret language. He gave a number of examples of sentences and longer narratives that, because of ambiguities at the lexical (word) level, he said required "holistic interpretation." That is, the ambiguities weren't resolvable except by taking a broader context into account. The words by themselves weren't enough. Well, I took the old 1979 examples Haugeland claimed were difficult for MT, and submitted them to Google Translate, as an informal "test" to see if his claims were still valid today.,,, ,,,Translation must account for context, so the fact that Google Translate generates the same phrase in radically different contexts is simply Haugeland's point about machine translation made afresh, in 2014. Erik J. Larson - Founder and CEO of a software company in Austin, Texas http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/what_is_a_mind085251.html A.I. Has Grown Up and Left Home - Dec. 19, 2013 Excerpt: The history of Artificial Intelligence,” said my computer science professor on the first day of class, “is a history of failure.” This harsh judgment summed up 50 years of trying to get computers to think. Sure, they could crunch numbers a billion times faster in 2000 than they could in 1950, but computer science pioneer and genius Alan Turing had predicted in 1950 that machines would be thinking by 2000: Capable of human levels of creativity, problem solving, personality, and adaptive behavior. Maybe they wouldn’t be conscious (that question is for the philosophers), but they would have personalities and motivations, like Robbie the Robot or HAL 9000. Not only did we miss the deadline, but we don’t even seem to be close. And this is a double failure, because it also means that we don’t understand what thinking really is. http://nautil.us/issue/8/home/ai-has-grown-up-and-left-home Stephen Hawking Overestimates the Evolutionary Future of Smart Machines - May 7, 2014 Excerpt: "Model saturation," as it's called, is the eventual flattening of a machine learning curve into an asymptote or a straight line, where there's no further learning, no matter how much more data you provide. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/in_an_apocalypt085311.html Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson Excerpt: 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 phenomena: the creation of new information. http://cires.colorado.edu/~doug/philosophy/info8.pdf Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test - Douglas S. Robertson Excerpt: The basic problem concerning the relation between AIT (Algorithmic Information Theory) and free will can be stated succinctly: Since the theorems of mathematics cannot contain more information than is contained in the axioms used to derive those theorems, it follows that no formal operation in mathematics (and equivalently, no operation performed by a computer) can create new information. since a computer cannot invent information, or to take context into consideration, one simple way of defeating the Turing test is to tell, or to invent, a joke:,,, “(a computer) lacks the ability to distinguish between language and meta-language.,,, As known, jokes are difficult to understand and even more difficult to invent, given their subtle semantic traps and their complex linguistic squirms. The judge can reliably tell the human (from the computer)” Per niwrad https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/artificial-intelligence-or-intelligent-artifices/ Such as this joke: Turing Test Extra Credit – Convince The Examiner That He’s The Computer – cartoon http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/turing_test.png Epicycling Through The Materialist Meta-Paradigm Of Consciousness - May 2010 GilDodgen: One of my AI (artificial intelligence) specialties is games of perfect knowledge. See here: worldchampionshipcheckers.com In both checkers and chess humans are no longer competitive against computer programs, because tree-searching techniques have been developed to the point where a human cannot overlook even a single tactical mistake when playing against a state-of-the-art computer program in these games. On the other hand, in the game of Go, played on a 19×19 board (compared to 8x8 for chess and checkers), with a nominal search space of 19×19 factorial (1.4e+768), the best computer programs are utterly incompetent when playing against even an amateur Go player.,,, https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/epicycling-through-the-materialist-meta-paradigm-of-consciousness/#comment-353454 bornagain77
Why human language is hard to address in a mechanistic way
I predict that machines will eventually be able to learn language just like us humans. They will be just as proficient in its use as any of us are, to the point of fooling many that they are conscious. This will happen in your lifetimes. Mapou
KF, ignore previous post regarding Philo. Your cited thesis does indeed contain a treatment of Philo. I had to update my PDF reader to get the entire document loaded for some reason. Thanks. Vishnu
Of note: The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited - July 2010 Excerpt: …as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation. (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos),,, Jaki notes that before Christ the Jews never formed a very large community (priv. comm.). In later times, the Jews lacked the Christian notion that Jesus was the monogenes or unigenitus, the only-begotten of God. Pantheists like the Greeks tended to identify the monogenes or unigenitus with the universe itself, or with the heavens. Jaki writes: Herein lies the tremendous difference between Christian monotheism on the one hand and Jewish and Muslim monotheism on the other. This explains also the fact that it is almost natural for a Jewish or Muslim intellectual to become a patheist. About the former Spinoza and Einstein are well-known examples. As to the Muslims, it should be enough to think of the Averroists. With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,, Fr. Paul Haffner writes: Modern experimental science was rendered possible, Jaki has shown, as a result of the Christian philosophical atmosphere of the Middle Ages. Although a talent for science was certainly present in the ancient world (for example in the design and construction of the Egyptian pyramids), nevertheless the philosophical and psychological climate was hostile to a self-sustaining scientific process. Thus science suffered still-births in the cultures of ancient China, India, Egypt and Babylonia. It also failed to come to fruition among the Maya, Incas and Aztecs of the Americas. Even though ancient Greece came closer to achieving a continuous scientific enterprise than any other ancient culture, science was not born there either. Science did not come to birth among the medieval Muslim heirs to Aristotle. ….The psychological climate of such ancient cultures, with their belief that the universe was infinite and time an endless repetition of historical cycles, was often either hopelessness or complacency (hardly what is needed to spur and sustain scientific progress); and in either case there was a failure to arrive at a belief in the existence of God the Creator and of creation itself as therefore rational and intelligible. Thus their inability to produce a self-sustaining scientific enterprise. If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation. These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos. http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/08/the-war-against-the-war-between-science-and-faith-revisited/ The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed) http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/07/the-god-of-the-mathematicians The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://vimeo.com/34084462 Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and blood – He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.” Moreover the Near Death Experiences from eastern cultures are, to put it mildly, unpleasant: India Cross-cultural study by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia Medical School and Dr. Satwant Pasricha of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India Excerpt: "Suddenly I saw two big pots of boiling water, although there was no fire, no firewood, and no fireplace. Then, the man pushed me with his hand and said, "You'd better hurry up and go back." When he touched me, I suddenly became aware of how hot his hand was. Then I realised why the pots were boiling. The heat was coming from his hands! When I regained consciousness, I had a severe burning sensation in my left arm." Mangal still had a mark on his left arm that he claims was a result of the burning. About a quarter of Dr Pasricha's interviewees reported such marks. http://www.rediff.com/news/1999/apr/06pas.htm Near-Death Experiences of Hindus Pasricha and Stevenson's research Except: "Two persons caught me and took me with them. I felt tired after walking some distance; they started to drag me. My feet became useless. There was a man sitting up. He looked dreadful and was all black. He was not wearing any clothes. He said in a rage [to the attendants who had brought Vasudev] "I had asked you to bring Vasudev the gardener.,,, In reply to questions about details, Vasudev said that the "black man" had a club and used foul language. Vasudev identified him as Yamraj, the Hindu god of the dead. http://www.near-death.com/hindu.html Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999: Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient. http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm bornagain77
KF, that thesis doesn't even mention the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo, who wrote extensively using "Logos" as primary tag for the person of the Angel of Yahweh in all his dimensions. Odd that someone would leave all that out of a thesis about John's use of Logos. Philo is a rich source. I recommending reading all his treatises. His writings demonstrate the "Logos as a secondary divine person", "bridge", "mediator", "demiurge", "high priest", "creator", "son of God", idea existed prior to John's gospel. It's difficult to believe Philo is not the source of John's logos doctrine. See "Two Powers of Heaven" by Alan Segal, if you can find a copy. (University libraries are a good place.) And "The Great Angel" by Margaret Barker for a good compendium of sources. Vishnu
V, try here for a starter. KF kairosfocus
Interesting how Philo used "logos" to refer to the demiurge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo%27s_view_of_God#The_Logos In Philo's view, the "Angel of Yahweh" was the Logos, and was represented metaphorical as the "high priest", "the Reason", "the True Prophet", "True Moses", "The Bridge", "the Son of God", etc. This is the histprical backdrop of "Logos" from which John 1 is derived. This would have been clear to any of the readers of John 1. Jesus was the "Angel of Yahweh", the "High Priest", the "True Moses", "the Divine Manifestation", "the fullness of God", etc, etc. The one in whom was invested the divine name of Yahweh (Exodus 23:21) Food for thought for the Christians out there. Vishnu
A few notes on language and meaning in general:
"Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning." CS Lewis – Mere Christianity
i.e. When an atheist says 'because condition X exists (usually evil) then that means the universe has no meaning', then that is a self refuting statement since meaning has to be assigned to condition X and imputed to the universe in the statement in order to derive the conclusion. Moreover,,,
'Finding information in life, in ALL life on earth, is very peculiar for information requires 'meaning' to exist before the information can exist. Therefore finding information in life is very close to finding meaning for ALL life on earth.' - paraphrase UprightBiped UD blogger
For information, and even knowledge, to exist meaning has to exist in the first place:
Do the New Atheists Own the Market on Reason? - On the terms of the New Atheists, the very concept of rationality becomes nonsensical - By R. Scott Smith, May 03, 2012 Excerpt: If atheistic evolution by NS were true, we'd be in a beginningless series of interpretations, without any knowledge. Yet, we do know many things. So, naturalism & atheistic evolution by NS are false -- non-physical essences exist. But, what's their best explanation? Being non-physical, it can't be evolution by NS. Plus, we use our experiences, form concepts and beliefs, and even modify or reject them. Yet, if we're just physical beings, how could we interact with and use these non-physical things? Perhaps we have non-physical souls too. In all, it seems likely the best explanation for these non-physical things is that there exists a Creator after all. http://www.patheos.com/Evangelical/Atheists-Own-the-Market-on-Reason-Scott-Smith-05-04-2012?offset=1&max=1
Also of note
Young Children Have Grammar and Chimpanzees Don't - Apr. 10, 2013 Excerpt: "When you compare what children should say if they follow grammar against what children do say, you find it to almost indistinguishable," Yang said. "If you simulate the expected diversity when a child is only repeating what adults say, it produces a diversity much lower than what children actually say." As a comparison, Yang applied the same predictive models to the set of Nim Chimpsky's signed phrases, the only data set of spontaneous animal language usage publicly available. He found further evidence for what many scientists, including Nim's own trainers, have contended about Nim: that the sequences of signs Nim put together did not follow from rules like those in human language. Nim's signs show significantly lower diversity than what is expected under a systematic grammar and were similar to the level expected with memorization. This suggests that true language learning is -- so far -- a uniquely human trait, and that it is present very early in development. "The idea that children are only imitating adults' language is very intuitive, so it's seen a revival over the last few years," Yang said. "But this is strong statistical evidence in favor of the idea that children actually know a lot about abstract grammar from an early age." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410131327.htm Origin of the Mind: Marc Hauser - Scientific American - April 2009 Excerpt: "Researchers have found some of the building blocks of human cognition in other species. But these building blocks make up only the cement footprint of the skyscraper that is the human mind",,, http://www.wjh.harvard.edu?/~mnkylab/publications/rec?ent/mindSciAm.pdf
Supplemental videos
Intelligent design: Why can't biological information originate through a materialistic process? - Stephen Meyer - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiXNxyoof8 John Lennox – Is There Evidence of Something Beyond Nature? (Semiotic Information) – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6rd4HEdffw
Verse and Music:
John1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is the root word from which we derive our modern word logic http://etymonline.com/?term=logic Nichole Nordeman "Holy" (LIVE) - Today's Christian Videos http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0B1EMNNU

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