Category: Comp. Sci. / Eng.
|November 12, 2016||Posted by johnnyb under Animal minds, Artificial Intelligence, brains and computation vs contemplation, Comp. Sci. / Eng., Mind, Minds, Naturalism, Neuroscience, Video|
John Searle gives a nice talk at Google about real intelligence vs. machine intelligence. The conversation is interesting for a number of reasons, including some historical background of Searle’s famous “Chinese Room Argument.”
|June 26, 2016||Posted by johnnyb under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Informatics, Intelligent Design, Video|
This video is from the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism 2016 conference held earlier this year. It deals with using non-naturalism in order to improve the quality of machine learning programs using a technique called “imagination sampling.” The results of a limited test run are given.
|April 14, 2016||Posted by PaV under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, Irreducible Complexity|
For the delight of programmers here at UD, I include this post. Over at the “Reference Frame,” a blog by Lubos Motl, string theorist, and physicist extraordinaire, he has this post on a new game for “gamers” calledQuantum Moves. I don’t have time for any in-depth comment; however, for the programmers among us, here is […]
|January 9, 2015||Posted by Eric Anderson under Comp. Sci. / Eng., General interest|
I know this may be a bit unusual for the typical fare, but since we have a number of engineers and other tech-savvy readers, I thought I would solicit your help with a quick tech-related survey. Recently I have been in discussion with a Google engineer about gmail. The discussion began when he asked me […]
|July 15, 2014||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Self-Org. Theory, thermodynamics and information|
A thermodynamically closed system that is far from equilibrium can increase the amount of physical design provided it is either front loaded or has an intelligent agent (like a human) within it. A simple example: A human on a large nuclear powered space ship can write software and compose music or many other designs. The […]
|May 5, 2014||Posted by Winston Ewert under Comp. Sci. / Eng.|
The evolutionary model, Avida, is best known for evolving the EQU function. In the supplementary materials for the 2003 Nature paper, the authors presented the shortest known program to compute EQU taking 19 instructions. They note that it hasn’t been proven that it was the shortest program. In fact it is not, and I present […]
|April 7, 2014||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., News|
DNA Skittle was a DNA visualization program pioneered by John Sanford to help identify design features of DNA that are recognizable to the human visual system. The program is available for free, but the Skittle developers need help with ensuring it is usable through internet channels. Can you spare 10 minutes and review the product […]
|January 29, 2014||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Intelligent Design, Mathematics, Privileged planet|
First, an excerpt from Dr. Herrmann’s personal history: I was associated with the occult from birth, but in 1946 when I was 12 years old, I suddenly became extremely interested in occult manifestations and simultaneously became, what is sometimes called, a “mental giant” – indeed, a child scientist. I delved into any aspect of the […]
|December 21, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, Mathematics, News|
The reason the 500-fair-coins-heads illustration has been devastating to the materialists is due to a fact that has somewhat escaped everyone until Neil Rickert (perhaps unwittingly) pointed it out: the sides of the coin are distinguishable, but not in a way that biases the probability. This fact guarantees that chance cannot construct recognizable symbolic organization, […]
|December 10, 2013||Posted by scordova under Chemistry, Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, Engineering, News, Physics|
In terms of textbook thermodynamics, a functioning Lamborghini has more thermal entropy than that same Lamborghini with its engine and other vital parts removed. But intuitively we view such a destruction of a functioning Lamborghini as an increase in entropy and not a decrease of entropy. Something about this example seems downright wrong… To fix […]
|December 8, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, Physics|
There is a forgotten creationist book by engineer and physicist Robert Gange, PhD: Origins and Destiny that was published in 1986. It is available for free online, but for how long, I do not know. It was pioneering, and anticipated arguments that would be found in ID for the next 27 years, and likely beyond. […]
|November 25, 2013||Posted by Winston Ewert under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information|
CSI has come to refer to two distinct and incompatible concepts. This has lead to no end of confusion and flawed argumentation. CSI, as developed by Dembski, requires the calculation of the probability of an artefact under the mechanisms actually in operation. It a measurement of how unlikely the artefact was to emerge given its […]
|November 25, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information|
Consider the following numbers and concepts (dare I say platonic forms): 1 1/2 1/9 or 0.111111….. PI PI squared The Book War and Peace by Tolstoy approximate self-replicating von-Neuman automaton (i.e. living cells) Omega Number, Chaitin’s Constant Chaitin’s Super Omega Numbers I listed the above concepts in terms of which concepts I estimate are more […]
|November 24, 2013||Posted by Winston Ewert under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information|
A number of posts on Uncommon Descent have discussed issues surrounding specified complexity. Unfortunately, the posts and discussions that resulted have exhibited some confusion over the nature of specified complexity. Specified complexity was developed by William Dembski and deviation from his formulation has led to much confusion and trouble. I’m picking a random number between […]
|November 23, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information|
I once offered to donate $100 to Darwinist Dave Thomas’ favorite Darwinist organization if he could write an genetic algorithm to solve a password. I wrote a 40-character password on paper and stored it in safe place. To get the $100, his genetic algorithm would have to figure out what the password was. I was […]
|November 20, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, News|
Having participated at UD for 8 years now, criticizing Darwinism and OOL over and over again for 8 years is like beating a dead horse for 8 years. We only dream up more clever and effective and creative ways to beat the dead horse of Darwinism, but it’s still beating a dead horse. It’s amazing […]
|November 18, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Complex Specified Information, News|
NLF theorems are stated in terms of the average performance of evolutionary algorithms, but ID proponents must be mindful whenever the word AVERAGE is used, because it implies there may be above average performers, and I’m surprised Darwinists have been slow to seize refuge in the possibility of above average outcomes. To illustrate, the house […]
|November 17, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Intelligent Design|
So what is the evidence of intelligence? I would suggest the ability to construct artifacts or events with Specified Improbability (the usual term is Specified Complexity, CSI, etc. but those terms are too confusing). Thus factories with robots, smart cruise missiles, genetic algorithms, bacteria, a collective network of ants, etc. can be considered intelligent systems. […]
|October 29, 2013||Posted by kairosfocus under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization, ID Foundations, Science, worldview issues/foundations and society|
For some little while now, RDF/AIGuy has been advocating a strong AI claim here at UD. In an exchange in the ongoing is ID fatally flawed thread, he has said: 222: Computers are of course not conscious. Computers of course can be creative, and computers are of course intelligent agents. Now before you blow a […]
The Blind Watchbreaker would dispose of lunches even if they were free — mootness of anti-NFL arguments
|July 16, 2013||Posted by scordova under Comp. Sci. / Eng., Darwinism, Intelligent Design|
Our colleague Elizabeth Liddle has described the process of human design as trial and error, tinkering and iteration. Like Dawkins, she has argued nature (like human designers) is able to construct biological designs via trial and error, tinkering and iteration. However, when nature is properly compared and contrasted with the way humans go about creating […]
But nature is no so kind with dysfunctional designs. In nature, especially if a function is vital, partially formed or failed variants are dispensed with. Variants could be lethal to the organism, thus natural selection rather than fostering innovation, precludes it. As has been said by other scientists:
many genomic features could not have emerged without a near-complete disengagement of the power of natural selection
opening, The Origins of Genome Architecture
a relative lack of natural selection may be the prerequisite for major evolutionary advance
Mae Wan Ho
The internal contradiction in its [natural selections’] major theoretical cornerstone — Fisher’s fundamental theorem
traits having been subjected to heavy selection pressures, because of their importance in the lives of the organisms, should be less variable than less important traits….
traits that have been most important in the lives of organisms up to this moment will be least likely to be able to evolve further!
Critique of Natural Selection
As Stephen Gould wisely said, “what good is half a wing?” Non-functioning wings ought to be a liability that selection would eliminate. The false presumption by Dawkins is that in going from simple primitive forms to final complex forms, the intermediate forms are more functional than the simple forms. But that assumption is false, except possibly for some pathological examples. As an illustration, consider evolving a new kind of heart with different plumbing, the intermediate stages would be lethal….
Important transitionals are not found in the fossil record because in principle they could not exist. Natural selection hinders innovation, it doesn’t foster it. The transitionals are not found in the fossil record maybe because they were never there.
Thus, it is wrong to presume selection implies a road to higher complexity and innovation. It does not. Part of the reason for this false belief is selection is falsely called a mechanism when instead it should be called an outcome. [Note: no Darwinist has even challenged that essay, was it because the points were too unassailable? :-)]
Intelligence has foresight, natural selection doesn’t. A tinkering intelligence will see the value of exploring partially formed or ill-formed designs in his mind or workshop. Blueprints and incomplete ideas can stay alive on the shelf for long periods before being revisited. Da Vinci conceived of a submarine about 400 hundred years before the submarine came to serious fruition. The conception of an airplane may have been at least 1000 years before the Wright brothers, through many failures, created controlled powered flight. The failed intermediate airplanes didn’t stop them from improving, whereas in nature, if the path to improvement must be through non-functioning forms, selection will not construct flying machines. Wilbur Wright, in the midst of despair after one of his failed experiments said:
Not within a thousand years will man ever fly.
But intelligence often has purpose, sometimes relentless purpose, whereas mindless nature does not. So what if beetles lose their wings and pterodactyls go extinct, nature, unlike Wilbur Wright and Werner von Braun, has no reason to reassemble phoenix from ashes of failed experiments and reach for the stars….
THE EFFECT OF MUTATIONS IN THE MIND VERSUS MUTATIONS IN THE WILD
Mutating ideas in the human mind or even in Genetic Algorithms doesn’t necessarily kill the idea. For example, I uncovered a very embarrassing fact in Avida 1.6. I had this population of Avida organisms, and I cranked up the simulated cosmic radiation level to the maximum. I likened the cosmic bombardment simulation to putting a creature in a microwave/x-ray oven for 3 weeks and then demanding the creatures reproduce — and the creatures kept happily reproducing!
In one of the most exhausting debates between a Creationist and Darwinist I’ve ever witnessed on the net, Richard Hoppe and I, politely and civilly argued for weeks. He had me up against the ropes because I was unfamiliar with Avida, but then I got a break when I demonstrated Avida creatures kept replicating even under intense simulated cosmic radiation. In the real world, survival (much less upward evolution) under such intense radiation won’t happen, but in the make-believe GA world of ideas anything is possible! ( you must be logged into ARN, then follow this link: RBH vs. Sal: Natural Selection Goes the Wrong Way).
Hence, ideas don’t die even if they are mutated into functionless zombies. Ideas can be dead and then later brought back to life in the mind. What constitutes survivability for ideas in the mind is arbitrary. But this is not the case in nature. Mutations in the wild can lead to deterioration and death, not innovation toward more integrated complexity.
Hence, even supposing there are free lunches in man-made genetic algorithms, nature doesn’t work like a man-made genetic algorithm. In nature, physics and chemistry determine what ideas and designs can live on to the next generation, whereas in the mind or in genetic algorithms, there is no such requirement.
DIRECTED MUTATIONS VERSUS RANDOM MUTATIONS
Like a locksmith or lock factory creating a key for a lock, the keys are crafted with the lock in mind versus taking random lumps of metal and mutating it with random strikes of a hammer or cuts with a grinding tool and via random trial and error arriving at a working key. Because a real watchmaker has an architecture in mind, he reduces the search time to find or create the matching parts versus using random swings of a sledgehammer on random materials to make a watch. Even with man-made genetic algorithms, the fitness functions are carefully crafted, they are anything but randomly hammered fitness functions.
By way of contrast, mutation and selection in the wild, like a blind watchbreaker, will find a way to diverge from a design solution (such as with mass extinction, blindness in cavefish, antibiotic resistant bacteria, wingless beetles, etc.). When a lunch might possibly be free through a little foresight (such as matching locks to keys, or parts of a watch with the whole of the watch), nature won’t take the free lunch, because it has no reason to craft fitness functions that will take advantage of a free lunch. All of Darwinist railing against NFL theorems are moot if nature takes random fitness functions or anti-design fitness functions over ones that would work.
In accelerated mutation experiments, we see where mutation leads — usually to disaster, not greater complexity. On what grounds should we suppose slower mutation rates will necessarily build integrated complexity? This is like saying we’ll smash watch parts with a hammer only once every 10 years instead of every 10 seconds, the final result is the same, a broken watch. In biology, the slow mutation rates allow populations to sometimes eliminate defects, and recover, but the point is, if fast mutation leads to no new innovation, on what logical grounds should slow mutation lead to new innovation either? Slow mutation only keeps the population from dying, it is misleading to suggest that slow mutation necessarily leads to innovation. Slow mutation and population persistence may allow for more trials, but if selection destroys necessary (but dysfunctional) intermediates, at best, slow mutation rates hide the problem mutation poses for Darwinism, it doesn’t eliminate it.
It is understandable that we might be inclined to think nature works like a watchmaker when we see mutation followed by occasional adaptation. Superficially, selection in the wild appears to parallel the way we think and design, but the apparent parallel disappears upon closer inspection.
Darwinist statistics on the success of natural selection are distorted by confirmation bias. Darwinists focus primarily on nominal adaptations rather than including complete extinctions in the fossil record and ongoing extinction in the present day. Secondly, the adaptations are often of the dysfunctional variety (broken pumps in bacterial antibiotic resistant bacteria, winglessness in beetles) or trivial variety (coloring of peppered moths of thickness of beaks in finches). Further, selection is falsely called a mechanism when it should be called an outcome to the exclusion of other mechanisms that create complexity (such as bacterial or even human genetic engineering).
And if biological complexity in the wild is declining, in addition to the above considerations, it is clear, mindless nature is not a blind watchmaker but rather a blind watchbreaker. It is thus a moot point if free lunch can be discovered via Darwinian processes since nature seems to ignore or dispose of the lunches it already has. Nature has no inherent reason to select life over death (in fact the laws of physics dictate that nature should be more likely to select death and dysfunction rather life and function). This fact is borne out by empirical observation.
Ideas can survive mutations in the mind of the designer because even ill-formed ideas can remain in the mind until they are improved, but ill-formed designs in the wild will not survive to find further improvement. The process of directing mutations by designers (tinkering) is nothing like the process of random mutation in the wild which are empirically demonstrated to destroy function.
If Elizabeth Liddle, Richard Dawkins or others argue natural selection works like blind watchmaker, consider this essay. Nature is not a blind watchmaker it is a blind watchbreaker. If you can grab a free lunch, grab it, because the blind watchbreaker won’t.