New Intelligent Design Documentary

#1
Here's the latest from the Discovery Institute.
And the blurb which goes with it:


Information drives the development of life. But what is the source of that information? Could it have been produced by an unguided Darwinian process? Or did it require intelligent design? The Information Enigma is a fascinating 21-minute documentary that probes the mystery of biological information, the challenge it poses to orthodox Darwinian theory, and the reason it points to intelligent design. The video features molecular biologist Douglas Axe and Stephen Meyer, author of the books Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#2
So the first lie is told around 1:56. The next at 2:02. Oversimplification at 5:50. Lie by omission at 5:55. Again at 6:15.

Then we have to suffer through the Wistar Institute conference in 1966. Repeating the lie by omission.

On to the combinatorial problem. Comparing evolution to random or sequential search of a padlock combination, with absolutely no selection involved. Again, the lie by omission.

Now we have Axe's 2010 paper about the origin of protein folds. Ho hum. Everyone agrees that random search does not explain life as we know it, as said at 15:50.

Back to asking about the information. Assertion: Only intelligence is capable of producing information. I guess none of the natural processes are producing information, or else they are constantly guided by intelligence. It must be the latter, because otherwise we could not glean any information from natural processes.

~~ Paul
 
#3
Back to asking about the information. Assertion: Only intelligence is capable of producing information. I guess none of the natural processes are producing information, or else they are constantly guided by intelligence. It must be the latter, because otherwise we could not glean any information from natural processes.~~ Paul
Information, as a term, can cover wide ranges of points-of-view. There is an objective PoV for the term information: as the structure to communication. In biology it is this transmission of "messages" through signaling, which is of highest interest. At the molecular level, DNA is an amazing mechanism that confers instructions in ways that are measurable in terms of Shannon entropy (formal information). It also conveys meaningful messages in these same analog signals.

At the level of animal survival - intelligence (as cunning) is presumed. Living things sensate AFFORDANCES in their environs. Affordances are useful configurations in the immediate environment and are the prime focus for evolutionary development of the senses. We (all living things) detect food configurations, reproductive opportunities, sense sheltered environs and detect social signals. Each of these are major classes of affordances. Shannon entropy is ideally suited to measure the transmission of signals that create the mutual information. It is this mutual information that becomes knowing and understanding.

Adaptive behavior, of course, drives evolution. The mutual information a living thing shares with its environment is critical to survival. This different "level of information", brings to bear the idea of useful targets in the environment is based on the mutual information an organism shares with the logical affordances detectable by its sense array. Mutual information being --- what happens when a living things integrate internal and external perception.

I think that intelligence is a primary goal-related attribute of the general bio-information processing of naturally occurring life. Who can doubt the cunning of the strategies of micro-organisms? Paul you are at the modern-crossroads. Do you accept the "naturalness" of bioinformation processes and with it the reality of structured information being a province of mind - and not brain? Or cling to information as a strictly physical phenomena with no scope beyond the actions of ongoing manifest physical events.
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#4
I think that intelligence is a primary goal-related attribute of the general bio-information processing of naturally occurring life. Who can doubt the cunning of the strategies of micro-organisms? Paul you are at the modern-crossroads. Do you accept the "naturalness" of bioinformation processes and with it the reality of structured information being a province of mind - and not brain? Or cling to information as a strictly physical phenomena with no scope beyond the actions of ongoing manifest physical events.
I accept that bioinformation processes are natural processes.

I don't know how "structured information" differs from regular information. I don't suppose you are defining it to be "information as processed by the mind," because that would be begging the question. Can you define it?

Meanwhile, any claim that "only intelligence is capable of producing information" is simply wrong.

~~ Paul
 
#6
The concept of information is one that the creationists have been having an especially hard time with lately. Dembski tried unsuccessfully to define a new kind of information a few years ago, one that would include the works of Shakespeare but not the output of a random number generator. It did seem like to me that his distinction was "information as processed by a mind," which just begs the question.

Stephen Meyer has been the latest confusion-generator, taking what Dembski started and then just equivocating on top of that. His equivocation has to be intentional, therefore I think he's a dishonest shill for the D.I.

Any mutation will either increase or decrease the amount of information in DNA by a small amount. There's nothing that says that only the "information-increasing" direction is allowed; they're both equally likely. The DI's claim that this "information enigma" presents a challenge to biological evolution is just a lie.
 
#10
Can he be more illogical? His argument is a complete mismatch of levels of abstraction. Social rules are not the rules of empirical science. Life is "special" because of functionality, specifically informational functioning. Living things guide their function utilizing scientifically measurable processes: in terms of goal-directedness, creating communication, ordering their environments for self-benefit and in gaining an understanding able to recognize affordances in both immediate and distal environments.

Now, many people infer it from the specialness of life, as being privileged over inanimate matter. I argue that it isn't. - Dixon
Dixon's language is illogical because a term with context of social interaction - privilege; has no context in a natural physical space with information science measured variables.

Inanimate objects, without an inflow of information from an outside source, do not exhibit any functional propensity for scientifically measurable processes: in terms of personal goal-directedness, creating communication, ordering their environments for self-benefit and in gaining an understanding able to recognize and willfully connect to affordances in their environments. Inanimate objects do not inhabit the same scope of real world informational environments, as do living things.
 
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#11
Can he be more illogical? His argument is a complete mismatch of levels of abstraction. Social rules are not the rules of empirical science. Life is "special" because of functionality, specifically informational functioning. Living things guide their function utilizing scientifically measurable processes: in terms of goal-directedness, creating communication, ordering their environments for self-benefit and in gaining an understanding able to recognize affordances in both immediate and distal environments.

Dawkins language is illogical because a term with context of social interaction - privilege; has no context in a natural physical space with information science measured variables.

Inanimate objects, without an inflow of information from an outside source, do not exhibit any functional propensity for scientifically measurable processes: in terms of personal goal-directedness, creating communication, ordering their environments for self-benefit and in gaining an understanding able to recognize and willfully connect to affordances in their environments. Inanimate objects do not inhabit the same scope of real world informational environments, as do living things.
You seem to be talking about consciousness here. The author (Bill Dixon, not Dawkins) seems to be talking about basic biological life and the suggestion that scientists are on the path to being able to create cells capable of reproduction (which I assume is how he is defining life here).

That said, in terms of the information processing that you're referring to that produces awareness, are you suggesting that those processes would not be functional in principle outside of living beings?
 
#13
scientists are on the path to being able to create cells capable of reproduction (which I assume is how he is defining life here).
I'm not sure if you are arguing for or against, well, anything here, but I'm curious: why is it that every time someone points to evidence of the emergence of intelligent life forms from inanimate matter, it sites how scientists were able to CREATE or RECREATE evolutionary "conditions".

We will never be able to prove evolution without the interaction or "help" from a conscious entity. Ever. We cannot remove ourselves (nor our biases or expectations) from the equation. So the evolutionary debate will continue on basically forever. Unless we got some sort of absolutely irrefutable proof of a creator that superseded all of creation as we know it.
 
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#14
Hmmm. The old "life is meaningless, yet meaningful" trope, eh?

He's done jack crap in the way of answering Johnny's question. And it's a legitimate question. How does sentience arise from non-sentience? After all, in an effort to stop tripping all over themselves with this massive brick in the road of the "life as organic robot" paradigm, they created the philosophy of panpsychism. Even an electron has some sort of rudimentary sentience! F-in serious?

The lengths these guys will go to, to twist and contort their pet theories to fit where it clearly doesn't.
 
#16
I'm not sure if you are arguing for or against, well, anything here, but I'm curious: why is it that every time someone points to evidence of the emergence of intelligent life forms from inanimate matter, it sites how scientists where able to CREATE or RECREATE evolutionary "conditions".
No, I wasn't arguing for or against what he wrote, just attempting to summarize what I thought his position was.

As for what his point was, as I read him, his comment is geared more at whether there is a fundamental difference between life and non-life. His point I believe is that life and non-life are made of the same stuff - whether something is living or not depends on how the stuff is arranged.

We will never be able to prove evolution without the interaction or "help" from a conscious entity. Ever. We cannot remove ourselves (nor our biases or expectations) from the equation. So the evolutionary debate will continue on basically forever. Unless we got some sort of absolutely irrefutable proof of a creator that superseded all of creation as we know it.
This is related to why I am a soft atheist. There is no way to disprove that a creator, or any other deity, universal source, etc. exists.

That said, proof to 100% is an unreasonable standard to expect for any problem outside of logic and math.

Also: what's wrong with ongoing debate? We should be continuously thinking about, questioning, and challenging our ideas. That doesn't mean we don't make decisions along the way. But having people with sharply different views is healthy, imo, for society. Imagine if everyone came to believe the exact same things that no one ever challenged - that is what would stifle progress (also, life would become pretty boring I suspect). The problem is people come to dislike other because of their different views, rather than valuing them for it.
 
#17
Hmmm. The old "life is meaningless, yet meaningful" trope, eh?

He's done jack crap in the way of answering Johnny's question. And it's a legitimate question. How does sentience arise from non-sentience? After all, in an effort to stop tripping all over themselves with this massive brick in the road of the "life as organic robot" paradigm, they created the philosophy of psychiatrist. Even an electron has some sort of rudimentary sentience! F-in serious?

The lengths these guys will go to, to twist and contort their pet theories to fit where it clearly doesn't.
Heh, while I was posting about exactly this kind of attitude you were posting this! Maybe its sychronicity?

The philosophy of pansychism has been around for a looong time! You've got to go back to the ancient greeks, and likely earlier than that, for its origins (see section 2 of this article, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) Is pansychism all that popular amongst the people you identify as the biological robot crowd?

I googled Dawkins and panpsychism and found this tweet: "The fact that dogs are conscious doesn't mean atoms are! http://bit.ly/KmAGkD. Panpsychism is obvious bullshit." I don't know what Bill Dixon (who wrote that article) believes about panpsychism. And while I don't believe everything is conscious, I'm not sure whether we consider it "obvious:" or not is a good argument for or against. Interestingly, in that same Dawkins tweet he refers to a new scientific hypothesis that I've written a lot about recently that doesn't go as far as panpsychism, but is in that direction, hypothesizing that sentience comes from certain arrangements of information and is an inheirant fundamental property. While it is way too early to accept it, even Dawkins writes "IIT just MIGHT not be."

I call IIT panpsychish but its certainly not traditional pansychism, and the originator of it (Tononi) has written so explicitly. Unlike panscychism, IIT would not consider a single electron to be sentient. However, a pair of electronics might, if arranged properly, have some sort of experience - though it would be likely very different from our experiences. IIT hypotheses that it is the integrated system that has experiences. The more integrated information a system contains, the more rich the experience.

This may seem ridiculous to you, and I get the gut feeling to reject it out of hand, but they view this as a testable hypothesis and have been actively doing engaged in such testing. I had a paper awhile back that I have to find again that summarized several of these experiments. I watched a Ted talk the other day talking about IIT which mentioned an IIT experiment that ostensibly accurately picked out who was sleeping/dreaming or in a common/under anesthesia. Haven't tracked down the study yet but I intend to.

The theory has a long way to go before it should be accepted - but early results seem to justify pursuing it. I think their feeling is that even if IIT ends up being wrong, the scientific process they are going through should nevertheless give us some more insight into how consciousness works.

In any event, you might find it interesting and while they don't quite argue that an electron is conscious you might find it somewhat less of a ridiculous concept after looking into it.
 
#18
No, I wasn't arguing for or against what he wrote, just attempting to summarize what I thought his position was.

As for what his point was, as I read him, his comment is geared more at whether there is a fundamental difference between life and non-life. His point I believe is that life and non-life are made of the same stuff - whether something is living or not depends on how the stuff is arranged.



This is related to why I am a soft atheist. There is no way to disprove that a creator, or any other deity, universal source, etc. exists.

That said, proof to 100% is an unreasonable standard to expect for any problem outside of logic and math.

Also: what's wrong with ongoing debate? We should be continuously thinking about, questioning, and challenging our ideas. That doesn't mean we don't make decisions along the way. But having people with sharply different views is healthy, imo, for society. Imagine if everyone came to believe the exact same things that no one ever challenged - that is what would stifle progress (also, life would become pretty boring I suspect). The problem is people come to dislike other because of their different views, rather than valuing them for it.
Nothing is wrong with ongoing debate, but the evolution "debate" isn't really a debate now is it? It's one side claiming "won" with the other side (and everything in between) being declared a bunch of mouth-breathing miscreants.
 
#19
Heh, while I was posting about exactly this kind of attitude you were posting this! Maybe its sychronicity?

The philosophy of pansychism has been around for a looong time! You've got to go back to the ancient greeks, and likely earlier than that, for its origins (see section 2 of this article, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) Is pansychism all that popular amongst the people you identify as the biological robot crowd?

I googled Dawkins and panpsychism and found this tweet: "The fact that dogs are conscious doesn't mean atoms are! http://bit.ly/KmAGkD. Panpsychism is obvious bullshit." I don't know what Bill Dixon (who wrote that article) believes about panpsychism. And while I don't believe everything is conscious, I'm not sure whether we consider it "obvious:" or not is a good argument for or against. Interestingly, in that same Dawkins tweet he refers to a new scientific hypothesis that I've written a lot about recently that doesn't go as far as panpsychism, but is in that direction, hypothesizing that sentience comes from certain arrangements of information and is an inheirant fundamental property. While it is way too early to accept it, even Dawkins writes "IIT just MIGHT not be."

I call IIT panpsychish but its certainly not traditional pansychism, and the originator of it (Tononi) has written so explicitly. Unlike panscychism, IIT would not consider a single electron to be sentient. However, a pair of electronics might, if arranged properly, have some sort of experience - though it would be likely very different from our experiences. IIT hypotheses that it is the integrated system that has experiences. The more integrated information a system contains, the more rich the experience.

This may seem ridiculous to you, and I get the gut feeling to reject it out of hand, but they view this as a testable hypothesis and have been actively doing engaged in such testing. I had a paper awhile back that I have to find again that summarized several of these experiments. I watched a Ted talk the other day talking about IIT which mentioned an IIT experiment that ostensibly accurately picked out who was sleeping/dreaming or in a common/under anesthesia. Haven't tracked down the study yet but I intend to.

The theory has a long way to go before it should be accepted - but early results seem to justify pursuing it. I think their feeling is that even if IIT ends up being wrong, the scientific process they are going through should nevertheless give us some more insight into how consciousness works.

In any event, you might find it interesting and while they don't quite argue that an electron is conscious you might find it somewhat less of a ridiculous concept after looking into it.
Ouch. Thanks for the subtle insinuation that I'm a moron.

I will confess, I was not aware of the origins of panpsychism. I will educate myself.

As for IIT, it comes across at first glance of just a repackaging of old arguments. Again, haven't looked into it much, but let's not derail this thread. There are plenty of previous threads regarding IIT and how it may(not) explain consciousness.

My base argument still stands. And it's not about "disproving" a creator. It's the same problem in consciousness. We will *never* be able to stand outside of the problem. Therefore, there will always fundamentally be aspects of both evolution and consciousness that we will never fully be able to understand. It's arrogance and pure nonsense that claims we can.
 
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