Friday, February 9, 2007

law/life -> information/processing system -> mind

Before there is even any discussion of random mutation of information causing evolution, three systems must already exist. An information storage system, an information processing system, and a replication system must be present.

Information can not exist alone, for it is the compatible information processing system which defines the information as such by converting it into a functioning, interrelated system. And, of course an information processing system can not be defined as such if there is no information to process. Then, given these two preceeding systems, there still can not be any evolution of the information unless a replication system is tagged on within the lifetime of the information processing system.

Moreover, is there any reasonably scientifically valid inference to the above three systems being “randomly accidentally actualized?” Is there even any need to postulate such an unreasonable accident? Then,is there any scientific testable and repeatable and predictable method of discovering if at least an information storage and processing system (even leaving out the replication system for now) will randomly organize itself?

Finally, why even postulate such unreasonable, improbable events when we already know that information (sign systems) is a subsystem of mind (refer to Albert Voie’s peer reviewed published article) and that the universe and its natural laws behave as if it were a computer programmed from information (discussed by almost every phycisist [including anti-IDers]). Add onto this, the fact that every law within a program is the result of a foundation of information and every example we see of information arises from a mind. So, since the UK professor for the public understanding of science (Dawkins)tells us, the public, that we shouldn’t create improbable explanations when prefectly plausible ones already exist, then the most reasonable scientific explanation for an information processing system is an intelligent mind.

Now, our next scientific goal is to discover how life was programmed to come into existence within the larger program of the universe. Who knows, maybe the information underlying our natural laws had something to do with it.

And who said that ID was an unscientific argument from ignorance which stifles further scientific research?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

here is more on "information."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The imperfect and flawed mind

I would like to discuss an opinion presented by Dr. Wilczek in:

Frank Wilczek on Magic Moments

from SEED November 2006 issue, pg. 39

He begins by stating:

“Natural selection drives us to keep going, but its mechanism is haphazard and crude. The mind it has sculpted for us is imperfect: Our self-awareness is flawed as is our self-control.”

First, I will have to very strongly disagree with Dr. Wilczek’s first sentence and argue that it is not natural selection which drives us to keep going. Rather, it is the program of life within us that drives us to keep going. Natural selection only kills off those programs which are not suited for their environment, and “selects” those which survive and continue to propagate and thus continue to survive. It is a type of “weed whacker,” whacking those organisms which possess programs and functions which are detrimental to survival and reproduction within their respective environment. Basically, it is a scientific term used to describe the over all effect seen when some programs and functions become extinct within a certain environment because they can’t reproduce effectively within it while others survive and reproduce effectively within that same environment. Indeed, natural selection is not the creator of novelty, nor is it a driving force. Using the environment, it only selects between different organisms which are driven by the program of life. Natural selection is merely a scavenger, picking apart those programs and organisms that have been left behind in the race of life and yes, its mechanism is haphazard and cruel.

Then, Wilczek makes the statement that our minds which natural selection has supposedly sculpted for us are imperfect. I’m sure he is here saying that a flawed program is an argument for no purposeful design and rather is an argument for random design. Of course, he is assuming that programs are not necessarily produced by intelligence and that programs can be randomly realized. I will first respond to Wilczek’s statement that our minds are imperfect, then look into his argument that flawed programs are more likely to be randomly programmed than purposefully designed.
Furthermore, as I look into this argument I will also discuss whether or not a program that is designed would indeed be “radically different” than one that is selected for by a process such as natural selection, which is a point he seems to imply.

I’m quite sure it could be said, in accordance with natural selection which seems to be Wilczek’s guideline, that the better a program is at surviving in its environment, the closer that program is to existing in a state of perfection. Well, even given natural selection as a premise, since our minds seem to be surviving quite well in a variety of environments, and indeed changing our environment to suite us, I’d say that our minds are quite close to perfection.

However, it is not clear to me the criterion Wilczek is placing on perfection. Nor is it clear whether a quantification of perfection can even be created using natural selection as a guideline. But, it is clear that he is saying that our mind, being the construction of nothing more than random mutations and natural selection, is flawed and he is showing two factors within our mind which he believes are flawed. These factors are our self-awareness and our self-control.

Of course, self control may be harder to define in context with this discussion than one first realizes, and I will explore a few methods of defining self-control and the results that arise upon applying these definitions to Dr. Wilczek’s argument.

I wonder what perfect self-control would look like, anyway? In fact, given the idea of what defines self-control, you would need to allow the temptation and ability to give in to being un self-controlled to even give self control any meaning.

On the other hand, I guess you could say that programs have perfect “self control.” They only do what they have been programmed to do. They aren’t ever tempted to cheat and jump a few lines of code when they aren’t programmed to do so. In this case, to have perfect self control one could not choose to be un-self controlled. According to this definition, in order for a human being to be perfectly self-controlled, he would not do anything other than what he had been programmed to do by either an intelligence or random mutations and natural selection. If this were the case, and
Wilczek is stating that our self control is flawed, and not perfect then he is stating that we do indeed have free will to operate on a level above our own programming. How this freedom of will could be used as an argument for our mind being imperfect and thus the cause of random mutation and natural selection, I can not see.

Or, maybe you could say that a program with perfect self control would only be controlled by its own programming and not by any forces outside of its program. In this case, you would have an infinitely looped program or a dead end program which would not allow any input. However, given that it does not have the capacity to operate in a non-self controlled manner, it wouldn’t actually operate within our idea of self-control. Furthermore, our mind definitely does allow input, so we can not use this definition of self control.

You could even take the opposite end of the spectrum and say that a program possesses no self-control whatsoever, since the program can not take control of itself and operate however it wishes outside of its programming. Therefore, taken the assumption that the mind is nothing but a computer made of meat, self control must be some grand illusion and, in reality serves no meaning in a discussion of reality.

However, if self control is an illusion, who is it fooling? Some meaty computer who thinks it has the ability to be self-controlled? If we can truly control ourselves apart from our programming, then I guess that would affix some bizarre notion of responsibility upon us, where we are responsible for our own programming. Even a learning program doesn’t possess this type of responsibility. It only learns everything that it has been programmed to learn. Unless, maybe we are learning that we aren’t supposed to just learn and do everything, and that some things that we don’t want to do and learn, we should do and learn. Thus arises the possibility of self-control. (Give examples of athletes being self-controlled to do things that they don’t want to do as well as religious people taking vows to control certain programmed instincts) How the program would decide to learn to do this is
anyone’s educated guess, and any Darwinist’s “just-so” story. Thus, only when the program becomes responsible for its own programming does it possess the ability to be self-controlled. Furthermore, as stated earlier the ability to be self controlled would also necessarily constitute this program’s ability to be un self-controlled and decide to act contrary to what it had just learned.

Apparently, it seems that the learning program within the human mind is within the aforementioned level of programming, and therefore we are responsible for our own programming. So, assuming that self-control is not an illusion, the fact that we do possess that ability at all would not indicate any amount of imperfect design. What are the other options for the programmer – programming into us perfect self control or no self control, all the time, as seen in any computer program without freedom of choice? Well sure, that’s an option, if the programmer wanted to develop a robot with no freedom of choice. But, that does not seem to be the case with humans. It seems that the programmer wants us to be responsible for our own achievements throughout our lifetime. I believe that it is obvious that this responsibility is essential for the production of any sense of achievement at all. How else could you have a sense of achievement unless you knew that you also had the option to under-achieve yet chose not to stoop to that level?

However, what if we are only dealing with the question of our flawed usage of self control? Well, I would have to ask if Wilczek is blaming natural selection, accumulated random mutations, and the vast scheme of evolution for the fact that many people haven’t chosen or taken the time to develop their self-control. If this is the case, then does he also blame the same process for the fact that many people have chosen to take the time to develop their self-control? If we are only following our
evolutionary programming either way, then we don’t truly have free will and self control, again, is an illusion and a non-issue.

Therefore, if we can even produce any amount of true self-control within us, this becomes evidence of a supremely and brilliantly designed program – if it can even be called “merely” a program. As seen, self control can not be labelled as perfect or imperfect -- just as anything which is a matter of freedom of choice can not be labelled as perfect or imperfect. Our two options are that it is either each individual’s responsibility to develop self control to the level desired or else self control is an illusion and non-issue within any discussion of reality.

Thus, what Wilczek is essentially saying is that a program that doesn’t have freedom of choice is obviously intelligently designed, whereas a program that has true freedom of choice – to be self-controlled or not – is somehow flawed and obviously not designed with any intelligent guidance. It seems that, to Wilczek, freedom of choice is the hallmark of flawed programming. Yet, how many times do you see programs accidentally develop freedom of choice and the possibility to be self
controlled as a result of flawed programming by inept programmers? Freedom of choice and the possibility to be self-controlled, if the result of programming, would be the ultimate and most brilliantly and intelligently designed program out there.

Furthermore, according to Wilczek, one should theoretically be able to differentiate between a program which has been “designed rather than selected for.” Again, I completely disagree, since the same evolutionary process that supposedly created the mind must be responsible for the “emergence” of teleological processes within the mind, which are then employed to design programs. Thus, the mind is the result of and restricted to its programming as accidentally realized and utilized by natural laws and evolutionary selection and any teleologically designed system is supposedly the end result of an ultimately purposeless, “selected for” process. Any program created by this “selected for” process is the end result of that “selected for” process. Of course this would also hold true for any and every thought and every mental concept. Therefore, in this scenario from a naturalistic viewpoint, there is no true differentiation between “designed rather than selected for.”

However, Wilczek continues on and gives us his criterion for distinguishing between a truly designed system and one that is the process of random accidents and natural selection. It seems that he is saying first and foremost that the main difference between a mind that has been designed rather than selected for would be in regards to its self-control and self-awareness. Well, I’ve already discussed the issue of self-control, and as I am not quite sure what is meant by self-awareness, I haven’t responded to the issue of self-awareness.

Nevertheless, I will say that just because the average human may not operate on a very high level of self-awareness, it does not necessarily follow that our self-awareness, or self-consciousness (as he may be defining the term), will not improve through certain avenues of self development. This may be another case of free-will and self development.

Along Wilczek’s line of logic, the fact that someone has undeveloped muscles because of deliberate lack of use becomes an argument for the human body being the result of random actualization and natural selection rather than intricate design. Altogether, it seems that his self-awareness issue bears much the same flaws as that of the issue with self control.

Stay tuned for part 2. (It may be a while ‘cause I have some other thoughts stewing on the backburner.)