Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

info in nature & the future of Sci-Tech

Why look at AI-linked themes — what is the relevance to ID as a scientific enterprise?

One of the key ideas and driving assumptions of modern evolutionary materialistic scientism is that mind can be explained on brain without residue. In an extreme form, we can see it in Crick’s the Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing. Philip Johnson, of course, replied the next year, Read More ›

AI and the Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript has long been a mysterious object, seemingly a medicinal or magical survey of plants, or someone’s play on such documents, but written in an unknown alphabetic script: AI is now being brought to bear on the matter.  According to phys dot org: >>U of A computing science professor Greg Kondrak, an expert in natural language processing, and graduate student Bradley Hauer used artificial intelligence to decode the ambiguities in human language using the Voynich manuscript as a case study. Their first step was to address the language of origin, which is enciphered on hundreds of delicate vellum pages with accompanying illustrations. Kondrak and Hauer used samples of 400 different languages from the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” Read More ›

A Maxwell Demon engine in action beyond the Carnot/ “standard” Second law limit

Maxwell’s Demon (sometimes, “Max”) has long been a fictional device for discussing how if we have access to information we can manipulate molecular scale particles to extract work. Now, physics dot org is discussing a case: >>Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine’s efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound . . . . [R]ecent experimental demonstrations of information engines have raised the question of whether there is an upper bound on the efficiency with which an information engine can convert information into work. Read More ›

BTB: Points to ponder as we look at Crick’s understanding of DNA as text, since March 19, 1953

A few days back, I headlined a clip from Crick’s letter to his son Michael, March 19, 1953: The main text is accessible here (with page scans). Sans diagrams: >>My Dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery. We have built a model for the structure of des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read it carefully) called D.N.A. for short. You may remember that the genes of the chromosomes — which carry the hereditary factors — are made up of protein and D.N.A. Our structure is very beautiful. D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out. The flat bits are called the “bases”. […] Now we have two of these chains winding Read More ›