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BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 23 2010,07:04   

I was going to work methodological naturalism into this but opted against.

Godel's theorems have been used to justify a lot of crank-ish science. Usually if you hear someone explain what quantum systems are doing that affects your life somehow,  what amazing things fractals can heal or what shocking thing Godel's theorems prove...Odds are you've encountered a crank.

But,

Douglas Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach as  some/many/most of you know from having read it, is not crank science/math/philosophy. In it, Hofstadter raises questions that go far beyond a neural application. One is that to  try to add to the system at a certain point you have to say that thinking is non-algorithmic strikes me as pretty unlikely. To justify that, all I can really say is that I've been doing a little homework. It's not that hard to design a simple neural style network anymore and Pougot's bayesian brain model is having some sucess as are Hofstadter's ongoing evolved operators, Dennett too.. etc the list is long.

Any modeling process is algorithmic. If any of you are familiar enough with it to have a copy at your desk, you could verify this for me. Because I don't pack it for travel very often. :) Otherwise, it isn't critical. But as he's describing the process of adding new Godel numbers and running the ordinals up also infinitely and etc, showing how you transcend the levels one at a time he gets to the linits of the system being the self because there is no more complex place to go to get more godel numbers because our brains have just hit their max.

Anyway, Bills thread got me thinking and this is what I wondered:

SCIENCE: LEVEL INDEPENDENT METHODOLOGY? And then I fixed caps lock. Do we have a sort of heuristic ability to expand our models by just throwing shit at things and studying it when it sticks?

Science, the empirical method, works at whatever level of resolution we choose to apply it. In a very simple and straightforward way, the scientific method is simply a highly reliable technique for precise pattern detection. Our ability to shift recursive levels and 'see' the interaction of atoms and chemicals as an independent series of repeating patterns or see the trees behaving according to their own unique repeating patterns affords us our basic tool of awareness. Recognizing patterns and how they repeat enables the organism to navigate those patterns and respond to them appropriately.

We recognize things like frequency of repetition: every time we mix pigment with oil we get paint; every Autumn the trees lose their leaves; every forest provides building material; the berries and bark of every cascara tree induce diarrhea, and so on. We assess the isolation level of a pattern: rocks on the ground near us do not affect the resulting mixture of pigment and oil; leaving the skins on the fruit from which we extract pigment weakens the durability of the resulting paint; cascara trees grow within a certain range of conditions, and so on. We note the duration of a repeating pattern: well mixed paint remains waterproof for a range of time before it starts to break down; it takes approximately three hours to cut down a cascara tree and collect the bark and berries; the embers glow until the wood completely turns to ash; the sun shines a little longer every day until a certain point at which it shines for a little less time until the pattern repeats, and so on. We classify patterns so that we recognize the source and conclusion of its operation. That way, even if we search in vain for seeds, we know that where a tree grows, once upon a time a seed sprouted there. A dog-shaped mat of dog hair clinging tenaciously to the rug is a part of the dog shedding repeating pattern. We know the dog slept there and we might know if is likely to sleep there again.

Testing the accuracy and reliability of our pattern recognition keeps us alive, fed, clothed and sheltered. Accuracy completes the modeling-time loop since without accuracy, modeling is normally just called dreaming. The impetus to develop accurate models and predict correctly isn't hard to fathom. Hunting involves understanding the predictable patterns of the prey. Building involves understanding the patterns of material integrity. Farming and agriculture involve knowing the patterns of plant growth and animal reproduction. All of these require accurately predicting the forces involved, estimating the level of control we expect to exert over the process, and predicting the outcome of complicated patterns- It's what we do. That skill, the magic of modeling more time, more than our organism needed for one lifetime, enough to feel confident that it could hatch a plan that would still succeed even beyond the death of the individual, propelled us out of Africa, across the globe, and beyond; at this point it has taken our species to the moon and extended our senses to the entire solar system. The scope of the new model we are building with the expanded storage and computing power of a networked world can hardly be overstated. It seems we know something about 'out there': 'out there' unflinchingly follows repeating patterns, which, once glimpsed, open up doors to new patterns within the universe unimagined by even the previous generation.

Is there any reason to think there are any limits to the vertical/outward ascent of rule transcending? (as opposed to plank lengths etc.) How complicated would we make our models before we stopped figuring stuff out?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 24 2010,13:36   

Haha. I should have asked if it's context independent. Please disregard all posts I make when I'm traveling. I'm likely out of sorts. :)

Feel free to delete this thread Wes. It would take me a hundred pages to explain what I was thinking about. Or leave it as a paean to randomness.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Patrickarbuthnot



Posts: 21
Joined: Feb. 2010

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,02:19   

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 23 2010,07:04)
I was going to work methodological naturalism into this but opted against.

Godel's theorems have been used to justify a lot of crank-ish science. Usually if you hear someone explain what quantum systems are doing that affects your life somehow,  what amazing things fractals can heal or what shocking thing Godel's theorems prove...Odds are you've encountered a crank.

But,

Douglas Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach as  some/many/most of you know from having read it, is not crank science/math/philosophy. In it, Hofstadter raises questions that go far beyond a neural application. One is that to  try to add to the system at a certain point you have to say that thinking is non-algorithmic strikes me as pretty unlikely. To justify that, all I can really say is that I've been doing a little homework. It's not that hard to design a simple neural style network anymore and Pougot's bayesian brain model is having some sucess as are Hofstadter's ongoing evolved operators, Dennett too.. etc the list is long.

Any modeling process is algorithmic. If any of you are familiar enough with it to have a copy at your desk, you could verify this for me. Because I don't pack it for travel very often. :) Otherwise, it isn't critical. But as he's describing the process of adding new Godel numbers and running the ordinals up also infinitely and etc, showing how you transcend the levels one at a time he gets to the linits of the system being the self because there is no more complex place to go to get more godel numbers because our brains have just hit their max.

Anyway, Bills thread got me thinking and this is what I wondered:

SCIENCE: LEVEL INDEPENDENT METHODOLOGY? And then I fixed caps lock. Do we have a sort of heuristic ability to expand our models by just throwing shit at things and studying it when it sticks?

Science, the empirical method, works at whatever level of resolution we choose to apply it. In a very simple and straightforward way, the scientific method is simply a highly reliable technique for precise pattern detection. Our ability to shift recursive levels and 'see' the interaction of atoms and chemicals as an independent series of repeating patterns or see the trees behaving according to their own unique repeating patterns affords us our basic tool of awareness. Recognizing patterns and how they repeat enables the organism to navigate those patterns and respond to them appropriately.

We recognize things like frequency of repetition: every time we mix pigment with oil we get paint; every Autumn the trees lose their leaves; every forest provides building material; the berries and bark of every cascara tree induce diarrhea, and so on. We assess the isolation level of a pattern: rocks on the ground near us do not affect the resulting mixture of pigment and oil; leaving the skins on the fruit from which we extract pigment weakens the durability of the resulting paint; cascara trees grow within a certain range of conditions, and so on. We note the duration of a repeating pattern: well mixed paint remains waterproof for a range of time before it starts to break down; it takes approximately three hours to cut down a cascara tree and collect the bark and berries; the embers glow until the wood completely turns to ash; the sun shines a little longer every day until a certain point at which it shines for a little less time until the pattern repeats, and so on. We classify patterns so that we recognize the source and conclusion of its operation. That way, even if we search in vain for seeds, we know that where a tree grows, once upon a time a seed sprouted there. A dog-shaped mat of dog hair clinging tenaciously to the rug is a part of the dog shedding repeating pattern. We know the dog slept there and we might know if is likely to sleep there again.

Testing the accuracy and reliability of our pattern recognition keeps us alive, fed, clothed and sheltered. Accuracy completes the modeling-time loop since without accuracy, modeling is normally just called dreaming. The impetus to develop accurate models and predict correctly isn't hard to fathom. Hunting involves understanding the predictable patterns of the prey. Building involves understanding the patterns of material integrity. Farming and agriculture involve knowing the patterns of plant growth and animal reproduction. All of these require accurately predicting the forces involved, estimating the level of control we expect to exert over the process, and predicting the outcome of complicated patterns- It's what we do. That skill, the magic of modeling more time, more than our organism needed for one lifetime, enough to feel confident that it could hatch a plan that would still succeed even beyond the death of the individual, propelled us out of Africa, across the globe, and beyond; at this point it has taken our species to the moon and extended our senses to the entire solar system. The scope of the new model we are building with the expanded storage and computing power of a networked world can hardly be overstated. It seems we know something about 'out there': 'out there' unflinchingly follows repeating patterns, which, once glimpsed, open up doors to new patterns within the universe unimagined by even the previous generation.

Is there any reason to think there are any limits to the vertical/outward ascent of rule transcending? (as opposed to plank lengths etc.) How complicated would we make our models before we stopped figuring stuff out?

Can't add much except the obvious science is not just about collecting obscure facts. Science is also about constructing, testing, and applying scientific theories, particularly the predictive ones..

--------------
Thomas Edison said: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,05:24   

Quote (Patrickarbuthnot @ Feb. 25 2010,03:19)
Can't add much except the obvious science is not just about collecting obscure facts. Science is also about constructing, testing, and applying scientific theories, particularly the predictive ones..

Good thought (and welcome!)

Pattern recognition alone and prediction from recognized patterns is a human cognitive endowment that is not unique to science. Assessing and calibrating the accuracy of such predictions is a start - but ultimately a function of making such observations is to test one's underlying theory regarding the cause of the observed regularity - and perhaps use that model to predict the existence of other regularities that had not heretofore been observed.

So perhaps it is more accurate to say that pattern recognition is a natural part of empiricism.

So described, it is a protean tool, applicable at many levels of observation.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2592
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,10:57   

[quote=Reciprocating Bill,Feb. 25 2010,03:24][/quote]
It's also in part a social endeavour. There's no universal "pattern recognition", really, hence peer review.

Like the Bloom County cartoon:

"That cloud looks like a fat little piggy."
"Or man's constant turmoil in struggling to free himself of an oppressive worldview which stifles his creative nature."*
"Yeah, that too."

*Approximated from memory.

--------------
"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

"I am in a rush to catch up with science work." -- Gary Gaulin

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,11:19   

Wow. I am amazed that anyone picked up on the point at all. That's pretty cool because I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I'd like to discuss it. After reading my inebriated attempt to outline the question, I figured that it required too much background and gave up.

Since it apparently resonates enough to be able to skip the introduction, I'll make a serious response this afternoon.

Thanks all.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,16:20   

Hi BWE,

While I agree with a lot of what you are saying in the opening post, there are some things I would like to challenge.  For example, the sentence...

"Any modeling process is algorithmic."

...is assuming a conclusion (i.e. "Begging the Question" fallacy) if it is being used to arguing against non-algorithmic presumptions.

The theistic worldview is a non-algorithmic model.

Declaring this is an invalid model or employs an invalid modeling process results in another logical fallacy, “No True Scotsman”.

It is quite possible I am misunderstanding what you mean, but it seems to me you are arguing for the affirmative to the thread topic Is empiricism a natural part of pattern recognition?

One of the most significant patterns I have recognized is that we live in a universe where if something can happen, it does.

When I was in college learning about Maxwell’s equations  I could understand how the equations fit together but I was troubled that it didn’t make sense as to why electromagnetic waves happened at all.  It was then I noticed someone wearing a T-shirt that read…



It was an AH-HA moment for me.

No, I didn’t run to the nearest church and pray.  Instead, I laughed out loud at the realization light exists because it can.

Can a blind man know light exists?

Do you think Roger Penrose needed empirical evidence before he was convinced Black Holes existed?

Like it or not, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems show it is possible the Universe can exist beyond the limits of algorithmic modeling.  More than possible, pattern recognition suggests it is a certainty.

My consciousness may, or may not, be more than a complex computer program capable of pattern recognition.  However, I presume non-algorithmic processes exist and are involved in the process of consciousness.  If a non-quantum based computer can be built that is indistinguishable from the living equivalent then, my presumption will have been falsified.  If the field of Quantum Biophysics continues to grow and includes the brain, then my presumption will have significant supporting evidence.

If both happen, then we will have a new Culture War involving thinking machines verses thinking biologicals.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10762
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,16:23   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 25 2010,16:20)
If both happen, then we will have a new Culture War involving thinking machines verses thinking biologicals.

Well at least the Republicans will have something to get upset about.

--------------
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qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,17:30   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 25 2010,16:20)
Do you think Roger Penrose needed empirical evidence before he was convinced Black Holes existed?

I realize this doesn't really matter for your overall point, but yes, Penrose needed and had empirical evidence before he was convinced black holes existed. He needed evidence about the behavior of matter and gravity.

Everything in science is based on empirical evidence. Even when someone postulates something that has never been observed, it's still based on things that have been observed.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,20:12   

Thank you qetzal,

Both for your response and the politeness by which you gave it.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,17:30)
I realize this doesn't really matter for your overall point, but yes, Penrose needed and had empirical evidence before he was convinced black holes existed. He needed evidence about the behavior of matter and gravity.

Everything in science is based on empirical evidence. Even when someone postulates something that has never been observed, it's still based on things that have been observed.


I thought of that as I was typing my previous comment but decided to let it go and respond to the inevitable challenge.

As I see it we all start out with some necessary presumption beginning with existence.

To most people, it makes sense to think they and others exist.

As babies, it makes sense to presume those hands we control are ours.

My “it makes sense” is similar to BWE’s pattern recognition.

We can change our presumptions but it is disconcerting and bothersome.  It bothers us enough we work hard to avoid having to make changes.  Some attempt to avoid changing presumptions by embracing those which can’t be disproven (i.e. supernatural).  Others withhold judgment until the presumption passes direct rigorous empirical tests multiple times.

I’m the type who makes presumptions on how best to piece the whole puzzle together.  I find it unacceptably frustrating when there are obvious pieces not fitting together.  I suspect Roger Penrose has a similar attitude.

I realize it borders on blasphemy to say this in a roomful of scientists but I am much more impressed when the math works than I am by scientific experiments.  My bias in this has undoubtedly been influenced by an experience I had in college.

It was one of my first lab assignments.  It was supposed to show us about kinetics and momentum.  To make a long story short, the data I had obtained “demonstrated” momentum wasn’t conserved.  Unfortunately, the response of the lab proctor was to simply give me an “F” with no exploration or opportunity to figure out what I had done wrong.  The object lesson I took away from this was I needed to know the answer before running an experiment.  To me, this made experimentation, at best, a simple reinforcement of what I already knew.

I understand why scientists need to have repeatable experiments.  Without them, it would be too easy for BS and Group Think to take over.

Personally, I would rather have a fuzzy model of a whole picture than multiple disjointed hypotheses backed up by competing experiments.

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,21:39   

TP,

I fear you learned the wrong lesson from that experiment. It's never about knowing the answer before you run the experiment.

Fuzzy models are fine in many situations, especially if they help to generate better hypotheses. However, fuzzy models are only good if they adequately fit the empirical evidence. If your model insists on A but the evidence clearly shows B, the evidence wins. (That's one of my presumptions.)

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 26 2010,09:02   

Hi qetzal,
 
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,21:39)
It's never about knowing the answer before you run the experiment.

I'm not surprised by your response.  However, using the words "never" or "always" is generally risky.

Did we not "know" Black Holes existed before we performed experiments to detect them?

Let me concede the scientific method is a feedback loop of hypothesis begetting experiments which beget more hypotheses which...

Empirical data that does not make sense is all but valueless except as motivation to make sense of it.

I have a though experiment.  What if, one day, the sun rose from the West and set in the East?  Then the next day and subsequently the sun went back to its normal routine.

It's a sad commentary I suspect a majority of people wouldn't notice or care until the media told them (either sad the I am overly cynical or sad because it is likely to be true).

Only slightly more disturbing would be the religious people declaring it proof of their particular belief.

I use this thought as an example of something that would cause me severe doubts about my philosophical outlook (i.e. "shake my faith").

I suggest most of us would end up rejecting this empirical evidence.  Oh, we would come up with excuses like "mass hallucination" or "ET trickery" because...

it has to make sense for us to "know" it is true.

EDIT - added an "e" to "sever" = "severe"

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 27 2010,21:53   

Over at TT the ID proponents are attempting some historical revision concerning Galileo.  Just like the inquisitors of old, the revisionists are focusing in on Galileo's theory that the tides are caused by the earth orbiting around the Sun instead of the moon.

The reason I am bringing this up in this thread is that it reinforces my thoughts concerning empericism.

From this link
 
Quote
Galileo’s theory of the tides shows that Galileo found the Copernican heliocentric theory so persuasive that he supported it even when observations did not agree with its predictions.

To Galileo, the Copernican heliocentric theory made sense whereas the Ptolemaic geocentric theory (with its epicycles) did not.

The puzzle pieces (Venus' phases, Jupiter's moons, etc) of the big picture were coming together for Galileo.

The Ptolemaic theory matched empirical data because it was forced to do so.  However, it didn't make sense.

The Copernican theory made sense but didn't quite match experimental data (because of factors unknown at the time).

This is how I view the state of Quantum Mechanics today.  Roger Penrose's OR model makes sense combining relativistic reality with quantum reality.  Penrose's twistor space is getting some traction in string theory in that it doesn't need all those extra dimensions.  The four dimensional space-time is good enough, thank you.

A missing piece needed to complete this puzzle is Quantum Consciousness (Orch OR).  The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.

Instead of "E pur si muove"

I would say "E pur si pensa"  (And yet it thinks)

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,09:25   

Quote
The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.
Perhaps they see no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,11:41   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,09:25)
   
Quote
The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.
Perhaps they see no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity.

It's nice to discuss things with people who have reasoned and reasonable arguments.

"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Occam's razor isn't just a suggestion that "simpler is better" otherwise GodDidIt wins all (although Last Thursdayism could challenge it).

Consider the 19th Century scientists studying the age of the Sun.  From this link...

"The energy source for solar radiation was believed by nineteenth-century physicists to be gravitation. In an influential lecture in 1854, Hermann von Helmholtz, a German professor of physiology who became a distinguished researcher and physics professor, proposed that the origin of the sun's enormous radiated energy is the gravitational contraction of a large mass. Somewhat earlier, in the 1840s, J.R. Mayer (another German physician) and J.J. Waterson had also suggested that the origin of solar radiation is the conversion of gravitational energy into heat.1

Biologists and geologists considered the effects of solar radiation, while physicists concentrated on the origin of the radiated energy. In 1859, Charles Darwin, in the first edition of On The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection, made a crude calculation of the age of the earth by estimating how long it would take erosion occurring at the current observed rate to wash away the Weald, a great valley that stretches between the North and South Downs across the south of England. He obtained a number for the "denudation of the Weald'' in the range of 300 million years, apparently long enough for natural selection to have produced the astounding range of species that exist on earth."



The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.

Are we in a similar situation today?


EDIT-added link and used Occam's razor on an unnecessary passage.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,12:37   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 28 2010,12:41)
The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.

Are we in a similar situation today?

I don't see that Darwin introduced any additional explanatory entities vis the age of the earth.  

Rather, he reported and interpreted observations that had to be regarded as anomalous within the framework of 19th century physics.

The mainstream presumption, and the fate of that presumption, is more pertinent to Thomas Kuhn than William of Occam.

- William of Reciprocation

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,13:13   

Quote
The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.  

You must be thinking of a different Lord Kelvin. The one I'm familiar with adjusted his estimates to the evidence as it came in.
Quote
In 1897 Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, ultimately settled on an estimate that the Earth was 20–400 million years old


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thomson,_1st_Baron_Kelvin

The problem with Penrose and his quantum brain is that it solves a problem not in evidence. No one has replicated the full functioning of a primate brain. We're barely able to make a stab at emulating the observable function of individual neurons.

But to the extent we are able to analyze what brains do, we are able to emulate them. Programs can play chess as well as the best humans, and now programs can compose music that cannot be distinguished from that of the best human composers.

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analysing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Penrose sounds a bit Behe-esque in asserting that brains are irreducible.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,13:34   

I think the more relevant concept is that when you don't understand something, adding a layer of sciency sounding puffery does not create an explanation.

In practical terms, do you continue working problems with tools that are proving fruitful, or do you put them aside in hopes that some future, purely mathemagical explanation will emerge.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:08   

Thank you both for your reasoned and reasonable replies.

   
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)
You must be thinking of a different Lord Kelvin. The one I'm familiar with adjusted his estimates to the evidence as it came in.
     
Quote
In 1897 Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, ultimately settled on an estimate that the Earth was 20–400 million years old


I have little doubt Lord Kelvin adjusted his original 20 million year old estimate in 1897 the year after Becquerel discovered radioactivity.  However, 30 years before that he was arguing against Darwin's suggestion that the earth must be older.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analyzing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 28 2010,12:37)
I don't see that Darwin introduced any additional explanatory entities vis the age of the earth.  

Rather, he reported and interpreted observations that had to be regarded as anomalous within the framework of 19th century physics.

The mainstream presumption, and the fate of that presumption, is more pertinent to Thomas Kuhn than William of Occam.

I would agree this is pertinent to Kuhn’s paradigm shift.

Similar to Galileo and Darwin, Penrose isn't claiming total understanding.  He is just indicating what needs to be in order to make sense of the big picture.

If Penrose is right, the powers that be will adjust their positions and shortly after that scientists will treat Quantum Consciousness as trivially obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:27   

Quote
I have little doubt Lord Kelvin adjusted his original 20 million year old estimate in 1897 the year after Becquerel discovered radioactivity.  However, 30 years before that he was arguing against Darwin's suggestion that the earth must be older.


Kelvin didn't wait for radioactivity to adjust his estimate. He made continuous adjustments.

And he was correct to demand a mechanism that would allow the sun to be older.


As for Penrose, he assumes that brains a re digital, when it is obvious to everyone wo studies neurons in detail that there is a significant analog component. Namely firing rate.

It is quite difficult to do analog computing in silicon. The cost gets astronomical when you try to emulate analog behavior with digital circuits. In another discussion I referred people to the Brains In Silicon project at Stanford.

http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/johnA_bio.html

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:44   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,14:13)
The problem with Penrose and his quantum brain is that it solves a problem not in evidence. No one has replicated the full functioning of a primate brain. We're barely able to make a stab at emulating the observable function of individual neurons.

But to the extent we are able to analyze what brains do, we are able to emulate them. Programs can play chess as well as the best humans, and now programs can compose music that cannot be distinguished from that of the best human composers.

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analysing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Penrose sounds a bit Behe-esque in asserting that brains are irreducible.

A good complement to my earlier comment on another thread:

Seems to me that many elements of the human brain and human subjectivity that are crucially important to human consciousness (including the capacity to represent intentions) are omitted when solely considering abstractions such computational models and quantum indeterminacy.

Human cognition and consciousness, particularly at the very high level of representation and meta-representation that is entailed in "purposing" and discerning others' purposes, is clearly instantiated in an integrated symphony (sometimes a cacophony) of neural structures operating in parallel, an ensemble that has an evolutionary history that has yielded a complex, contingent, and often surpassing strange architecture. These structures range from demonstrable streams of processing that support the entirely unconscious visual guidance of motor actions to highly declarative prefrontal representations of others' representations of our own representations (I think that he thinks I am thinking that he thinks that…). And everything in between, from the reentrant wiring of the hippocampus to the limbic engine of affective concerns (that likely solves the frame problem for human beings) to the reverberant conversation between Broca and Wernike's area conducted by means of the arcuate bundle to the goosing of the cortex by sensory input via the thalami. Not to mention non-neural factors such as one's pure physical and muscular embodiment in the world and a lifetime immersion in a social environment that conducts virtually all commerce using a representatonal coin of agency and intentionality.

We are very far from understanding this symphony/cacophony and very far from the point where we need resort to quantum phenomena to account for the complex and subtle behaviors/experiences that emerge from this racket. Which is not to demean those efforts; rather, should a quantum basis for subjectivity be discovered there would still be a whack of a lot of work to do at the level I describe above before we would really understand human consciousness.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Thought Provoker



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,15:25   

Hi midwifetoad,

Yes, I saw your link on the Brains In Silicon project and enjoyed it.  Thank You.

I would be interested if you have a reference where Penrose assumes brains are digital.  Most of Penrose's statements I have seen on the brain is that he doesn't know much about it.  He has even stated the Orch OR model he presented jointly with Hameroff could easily be wrong in that microtubules may not be the mechanism.

However, he is convinced that some kind of Quantum Consciousness must exist.  Along the same lines Galileo was convinced the solar system was heliocentric.

Penrose is as much of a pioneer of Quantum Physics as Darwin was of Biology.  Darwin needed the earth to be old in order for his Biological theory to make sense.  Penrose needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effect in order for his Quantum Mechanical theory to make sense.

  
Thought Provoker



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,15:32   

Hi Reciprocating Bill,

As suggested in my response to midwifetoad, I doubt Penrose could or would attempt to explain the functions of the brain any more than Darwin could explain the age of the Sun.

  
midwifetoad



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,16:11   

Quote
However, he is convinced that some kind of Quantum Consciousness must exist.  Along the same lines Galileo was convinced the solar system was heliocentric.

I hardly think Penrose has anything equivalent to the phases of Venus.

My problem with Penrose is that productive research continues along conventional channels.

Are you (and Penrose) suggesting that even tropisms are quantum rather than chemical or electrochemical? What about eye spots? brains with only a few neurons?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,17:39   

Hi midwifetoad,

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
I hardly think Penrose has anything equivalent to the phases of Venus.

The "phases of Venus" data point was incorporated into the geocentric meme by Tycho Brahe (see Tychonic System).

To remain topical to the thread, I will point out that if one relied only on empiricism the Tychonic System fit the data better.

To me, Penrose’s offers an understandable explanation (Objective Reduction) for the repeatable results of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.

The alternative explanations are either much worse than epicycles or an IOU stating someday science will figure it out.

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
My problem with Penrose is that productive research continues along conventional channels.

Defenders of the status quo could have said the same thing to Darwin and Galileo and probably did.

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
Are you (and Penrose) suggesting that even tropisms are quantum rather than chemical or electrochemical? What about eye spots? brains with only a few neurons?

Again, Penrose makes it clear he isn't a biologist.  However, since I can be thought of as an internet troll espousing quantum quackery, allow me to copy and paste the following from a paper titled
Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes

IV. DISCUSSION
The last section presented numerical evidence for the existence of entanglement in the FMO complex for picosecond timescales { essentially until the excitation is trapped by the reaction center. This is remarkable in a biological or disordered system at physiological temperature. It illustrates that non-equilibrium multipartite entanglement can exist for relatively long times, even in highly decoherent environments. While the length scales over which entanglement was shown to persist were small, we expect that such long-lived, non-equilibrium entanglement will nevertheless also be present in larger light harvesting antenna complexes, such as LH1 and LH2 in purple bacteria. This is because they contain the key necessary ingredient; namely, moderately strongly coupled chromophores that can lead to significant coherent delocalization of electronic excitations. In fact such delocalization has been observed and studied recently in connection to superradiance and ultrafast radiative decays in molecular aggregates [13, 35]. In larger light harvesting antennae it may also be possible to take advantage of the ability to create and support multiple excitations in order to access a richer variety of entangled states.


While this doesn't necessarily mean Heliotropism or Phototropism (or any other tropism) are quantum based, it is an interesting data point.

  
Cubist



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(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,21:17   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 28 2010,11:41)
"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Occam's razor isn't just a suggestion that "simpler is better" otherwise GodDidIt wins all (although Last Thursdayism could challenge it).
You sure about that? GodDidIt only wins if you assume, up front, that God is necessary. Absent that presupposition, I honestly don't see how GodDidIt can possibly beat ItJustIs.

  
midwifetoad



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(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,08:52   

Quote
The "phases of Venus" data point was incorporated into the geocentric meme by Tycho Brahe (see Tychonic System).


Tyco's system explained the phases of Venus by having the planets revolve around the sun.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
midwifetoad



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Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,08:56   

Quote
To me, Penrose’s offers an understandable explanation (Objective Reduction) for the repeatable results of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.


I thought we were talking about brains. Sorry.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



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Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,11:13   

Quote (Cubist @ Feb. 28 2010,21:17)
You sure about that? GodDidIt only wins if you assume, up front, that God is necessary. Absent that presupposition, I honestly don't see how GodDidIt can possibly beat ItJustIs.

touche'

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,11:25   

Hi midwifetoad,

I'm not sure whether or not you are being sarcastic.

Furthermore, I don't know which is worse, you just being snarky or we actually failing to communicate.

In case it is the latter, let me try again...

In order for Darwin to make sense of reality, he needed the Sun to be older than 20 million years, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Galileo to make sense of reality, he needed the earth to be moving, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Penrose to make sense of reality, he needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effects, even if he has no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

  
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