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Conservation of Information

Origenes: “The Emergence of Emergentism: A Play for Two Actors”

The stage is in darkness, with sombre mood music, then light rises . . . Origenes, 226 in the Pregnancy thread: <<Two desperate naturalists in a room. A: “I feel completely desperate. There is no way we will ever be able to explain life and consciousness.”B: “I feel the exact same way. The main issue is that we have nothing to work with. All we have is mindless particles in the void obeying mindless regularities. Starting from that, how can we possibly explain life, not to mention personhood, freedom, and rationality? There is simply no way forward.”A: “Exactly right. Sometimes I feel like such a loser. The other day I heard that current science cannot even explain liquidity.”B: “What did Read More ›

At UnDark: Is risk aversion ruining science?

Sutter: I’ve met many junior scientists who were given similar advice, and senior scientists — now that I number among their ranks — confide that their top priority is in achieving deltas: a physics jargon word that they use here to refer to tiny, incremental advances of their current research. Read More ›

Bill Dembski on the primacy of information for science

The conversation with Fred Skiff, chair of the physics department at the University of Iowa examines why information is the most basic object of study in science and how Conservation of Information naturally leads to the conclusion that intelligence is the ultimate source of information. Read More ›

Is Mathematics falling under the sway of a computerised, AI-driven celebrity-authority culture?

Two recent remarks in VICE (a telling label, BTW) raise some significant concerns. First, Kevin Buzzard — no, this is not Babylon Bee [itself a sign when it is harder and harder to tell reality from satire] — Sept 26th: Number Theorist Fears All Published Math Is Wrong “I think there is a non-zero chance that some of our great castles are built on sand,” he said, arguing that we must begin to rely on AI to verify proofs. [ . . . ] Kevin Buzzard, a number theorist and professor of pure mathematics at Imperial College London, believes that it is time to create a new area of mathematics dedicated to the computerization of proofs. The greatest proofs have Read More ›

Access Research Network’s new Question of the Month

Win a $50 VISA gift card for the deemed best answer to this question: Given the pervasive pattern of “sudden appearance” and “stasis” in the fossil record, does science need a Theory of Stasis or Theory of Conservation to better explain how nature actually functions. Explain. How would such a theory help to strengthen an inference to intelligent design? Feel free to hash out ideas here. For possible hints go to: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen and Law Of Conservation Of Information vs Darwinism Last month’s question was How would you would respond to someone when they claim that Intelligent Design is merely an appeal to a “god-of-the-gaps”? Entry 6 was selected.

Latemarch on the evolution of AI

Sometimes a comment is too good to leave there in the combox. So: LM, 2 in the AI intelligent agency thread: >>It brought to mind the evolution of AI. It all began with lightning (electrons) striking rocks (silicon) for billions of years (might a nearby warm pond be helpful?) until now we have the delicate motions of electrons thru silicon that we know of as computers. The software is the result of random noise in the bits and bytes of the operating system (we’re still working out how that originated. Any day now!) that were duplicated as a separate file and eventually, driven by natural selection, resulting in the wonderful programs we enjoy today. At the furious rate of evolution Read More ›

AI, state/configuration space search and the ID search challenge

In his well-known work, No Free Lunch, p. 11, ID Researcher William A Dembski has illustrated the search challenge concept in terms of an arrow hitting a target amidst a reference class of possibilities. In so doing, he reaches back to the statistical mechanical and mathematical concept of a phase space “cut down” to address configurations only (leaving out momentum), aka state space.  He then goes on to speak in terms of probabilities, observing: >>. . . in determining whether an event is sufficiently improbable or complex to implicate design, the relevant probability is not that of the event [= E] itself. In the archery example, that probability corresponds to the size of the arrowhead point in relation to the Read More ›

Upright Biped’s summary on information systems in cell based life

UD participant Upright Biped (of Complexity Cafe U/D: Biosemiosis) has commented recently in the what is knowledge thread, replying to frequent objector CR by summarising key aspects of the role of information systems in observed cell based life. His remarks are well worth headlining: __________________ UB, 195: >>We can start by summarizing the core physical requirements of the system we are trying to explain: an autonomous self-replicator with open-ended potential (i.e. it can describe itself or any variation of itself). The system requires: 1) a sequence of representations in a medium of information. 2) a set of physical constraints to establish what is being represented. 3) a system of discontinuous association between representations and referents, based on spatial orientation (i.e. Read More ›

GP on the Origin of Body Plans [OoBP] challenge

. . . here (at 194) in his amazing engineering thread as he responds to Dionisio: >>Dionisio: Thank you for summarizing that interesting discussion. I will summarize it even more. 1) Nobody knows how morphogenesis is controlled and guided. 2) Moran is no exception to that. 3) “Experts” are no exception to that. 4) However, according to Moran (and, unfortunately, he is probably quite right): “experts do not see a need to encode body plans and brain in our genome” 5) You and I, and probably some more sensible people, do see that need. 6) So, it seems, the problem is not about what we know, but about what we see as a need. Now, I notice that Moran says: Read More ›

Aurelio Smith’s Analysis of Active Information

Recently, Aurelio Smith had a guest publication here at Uncommon Descent entitled Signal to Noise: A Critical Analysis of Active Information. Most of the post is taken up by a recounting of the history of active information. He also quotes the criticisms of Felsentein and English which have responded to at Evolution News and Views: These Critics of Intelligent Design Agree with Us More Than They Seem to Realize. Smith then does spend a few paragraphs developing his own objections to active information. Smith argues that viewing evolution as a search is incorrect, because organisms/individuals aren’t searching, they are being acted upon by the environment: Individual organisms or populations are not searching for optimal solutions to the task of survival. Organisms are passive Read More ›

Signal to Noise: A Critical Analysis of Active Information

The following is a guest post by Aurelio Smith. I have invited him to present a critique of Active Information in a more prominent place at UD so we can have a good discussion of Active Information’s strengths and weaknesses. The rest of this post is his.
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