mns2012 (mns2012) wrote in biosemiotics,
mns2012
mns2012
biosemiotics

К недавней полемике

Обращаю внимание читателей на интересную дискуссию между пользователями Seversky и Upright Biped здесь.

В ответ на комментарии Seversk'ого (см. далее, красный цвет) Upright Biped пишет следующее (cиний цвет). Приведу пространный кусок дискуссии, чтобы было понятно, что и как. Северский прибегает к обычным тактическим приемам противников дизайна, когда им нечего противопоставить аргументации сильного оппонента ("если мы о чем-то не знаем, то это не значит, что этого нет", сюда же идут туманные рассуждения о проблеме моделирования сознания и прочие безумные глаголы). Как обычно, комментарии UB стоит записывать, что я и делаю.

Seversky: We see when photons of light are absorbed by molecules of chemicals in the light-sensitive cells on our retinas. We hear when pressure waves in the air impact our eardrums and cause them to vibrate. If neither of those effects happens then we don’t see or hear anything.

Upright Biped: Are you suggesting that photons of light (being absorbed by our retinas) would have to be physically interpreted as the image of something in the path of those photons? Are you suggesting that pressure waves fluttering across a membrane would have to be interpreted as a sound? Is the interpretation of sound not inherent in the fluttering membrane? And that something else that is establishing the interpretation, wouldn’t it have to be material as well – a specific arrangement of matter of some kind?

Welcome to the irrefutable world of irreducible complexity, Sev. It’s required to specify something among alternatives in a lawful universe.

It shows up in physical history at the origin of life.

Just in case you were pondering the implications…

This phenomenon you’ve given examples of (where one arrangement of matter serves as a medium of information and a second arrangement establishes what is being specified); there is a higher order of this mechanism which has been well-described by science. It is where multiple referents are specified from a common medium. It requires the organization of a token code to function, using spatial orientation within the medium to differentiate one token from another, and it becomes transcibable between mediums. This organization appeared at the origin of life because it offers the capacity necessary to describe the multiple interpretive constraints in the system, enabling the organization to begin and persist over time. And did I mention, the only other place that science has been able to document such a physical organization is in human language and mathematics – two unambiguous correlates of intelligence?


Seversky: All I see here is another facet of the hard problem of consciousness. How are the ‘signals’, generated by the interaction of the physical sense organs with environmental stimuli, processed and integrated to render our conscious experience of the physical reality we assume is out there? I think we can agree that nobody has yet come up with a persuasive theory of how it happens but that, of itself, does not mean that there isn’t one.

And if materialists are having a hard time constructing a materialist explanation of how the conscious mind exists and works, proponents of an immaterial mind have an even more difficult job explaining what it is and how it works.. Because without that it seems to me to be indistinguishable from spiritualist or supernaturalist narratives which are not really explanations at all.


Upright Biped: Consciousness was never even mentioned, Sev. The internal processing of the brain was never mentioned. In abject fear of science and reason, you literally made up an escape door and ran through it. You know damn well that the interpretation of sound is not inherent in a vibrating membrane, whether that vibrating membrane is attached to a human brain or the lead wires of a microphone. You may very well be the weakest man to ever visit this site Sev – not because you are ignorant (you are certainly not that) but because you are steadfastly dishonest about these issues.

Seversky: I am well aware that the interpretation of sound is not inherent in a vibrating membrane any more than the interpretation of image-forming light is inherent in Wald’s visual cycle. My original post was written to offer my perspective in answer to the question Hazel asked “This brings up the question of how does the immaterial interact with the material?” Please explain where you think I have been dishonest.

Upright Biped: I think I was already clear, Seversky. My comments shouldn‘t need any further explanation. When you are confronted with physical evidence that doesn’t comport to your liking, you quickly gather up an irrelevant observation and incoherent reasoning to erect an escape hatch; and you jump. You brought the up the mystery of consciousness specifically so that you could hide in the tall grass, and this is certainly not the first time you’ve done so. Just a few months ago I was talking to you about this same system (this organized physical mechanism that you gave examples of above) in relation to DNA. I was commenting on the significant recorded history of prediction and discovery related to this system in DNA. There were predictions made by some of the greatest intellects of the modern era; there were subsequent discoveries that forever removed the mystery of how a cell freely specifies a protein in heredity. Your answer (full of meandering babble) was to focus on the idea that we had only discovered DNA a half century ago, thereby implying that some as-yet unraveled mystery would certainly explain and counteract whatever was being said in favor of design. And what was being said is that the symbol system that enables DNA to function was predicted as fundamentally necessary prior to its discovery and confirmation. You sought further cover by suggesting that design proponents, absent any first-hand evidence of a designer, must first eliminate any unknown natural causes for anything they suggest as a candidate for design. Not only does that ridiculous standard render materialism completely non-falsifiable (and therefore unscientific), but just a few words later, with the shoe on the other foot, you substitute a whole new standard for the complete lack of any materialist explanations: “the fact that we do not know of something does not mean it does not exist”. You are completely incoherent Seversky, but this is what you do here. You run from physical evidence and reason (and recorded history as well).

As I said then, in the face of physical evidence, you sell fear and ignorance.


И, наконец, в качестве иллюстрации корректности позиции Upright Biped приведу цитату из статьи

  • David H. Ardell, Informatic Approaches for Molecular Translation, doi: 10.1007/3-540-32392-9.

Crucial for the remainder of our arguments is that there is a duality between the effective component, which in biological terms could be called the “soma” and the quiescent description, called the “germ-line.” In this duality the germ-line plays a dual role: both as a source of programmatic information and as a passive source of data for copying. The description represents, and instructs the creation of, the machines that copy and express it. I assert that living information flows are almost always representational (if not self-representational) and therefore always consist of a duality between a mediated signal and a machine that must transduce the information in that signal.

To my knowledge, the aforementioned Scientific American article to the contrary, neither Von Neumann nor anyone else ever proved that this duality was necessary for self-reproduction, that is whether genetic descriptions are a requirement for self-reproduction. An organism could also use itself directly as the source of information necessary to construct itself. Yet Von Neumann and others make some compelling arguments about the advantages of genetic descriptions for self-reproduction and other powers:


  • Homogeneity of components: the information has its basis in a small number of like components. Thus the problem of replication (the reproduction of information) can be simplified tremendously.

  • Defined state: the whole concept of an active, dynamic entity directly using itself as a source of information for reproduction is complicated by the fact that the stimulation associated with observation and necessary for copying may change the state of other components of the automaton. At best this would reduce the fidelity of self-reproduction and at worst could lead to undefined conditions. This shows clearly why Von Neumann emphasized “quiescence” as an aspect of the description.

  • Consistency: Von Neumann constructs self-reproduction in the stronger context of universal construction. He suggests that it is unlikely that a machine with the power of universal construction can be programmed to obtain descriptions of itself directly from itself without entering logical fallacy.

  • Completeness: By containing an independently copied representation of itself, the automaton avoids representing its own representation ad infinitum to maintain this representation for its offspring.

  • Generalizability: Von Neumann constructs his scheme for self-reproduction in a context that is immediately generalizable to the reproduction of a more general automaton, itself plus a generalized component, and this is demonstrated through the use of the description. In this way Von Neumann argued that quiescent descriptions allow self-reproducing automata to construct automata more complex than themselves, something machines generally cannot do.

  • Evolvability: Variations in quiescent descriptions can occur without altering the integrity of the automaton itself, facilitating the generation of variation to be acted on by natural selection.

These properties are strikingly reminiscent of design principles of programs and programming languages.
Tags: нейман, неймановское пассивное описание, программирование, система трансляции генетического кода, теория информации, теория клеточных автоматов
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