Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end

Wow, this is at the very least incredibly interesting. I wish I had the technical expertise to understand the equations.

check this out

Science of Intelligent Design

If after I show the scientific nature of ID in this post, you still disagree with me as to the scientific status of ID, then we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that issue. However, I hope that I have been able to at least articulate and explain how ID and my resulting hypothesis below, as well as the ideas I have postulated on my blog, are logically coherent and consistent ideas with scientific potential. Furthermore, these ideas are a more logically coherent explanation re: cause of information processors than any random, chance, accidental occurrences.

Before I begin, I would like to provide some definitions:

re: scientific method from here
Essential elements of a scientific method:
-Characterizations (Quantifications, observations, and measurements)
-Hypothesis (theoretical, hypothetical explanations)
-Predictions (reasoning including logical deduction from hypothesis and theory)
-Experiments (tests of all of the above)

Data = factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation

Statistics = a quantity (as the mean of a sample) that is computed from a sample

Now, I'c like to include a comment from another blog, Telic Thoughts, to help somewhat clear the fog regarding ID misconceptions.

The comment that I am replying to is centered:

I thought that ID ended with the inference that a particular biological structure was designed.

MY understanding of the issue (how I view ID) is that ID is interested in discovering how to define the phenomenon we understand as "intelligence" and then to discover the relation between intelligence and other natural systems. Furthermore, ID attempts to discover which phenomenon (if any) is a necessary result of or necessarily a result of the phenomenon known as intelligence. This is where informational systems and information theory comes into play. ID deals with so much more than just biological structures; it deals with complete (informational) systems. So far, the math behind articles such as those of Dr.s Trevor and Abel seems to hold that informational systems will not generate themselves through stochastic processes. Furthermore, intelligence has the capacity to generate informational systems. To simplify and make a long argument short, add it up and you just might get a correct answer. There is nothing "mystical" or religious going on here … unless you think that intelligence is inherently religious or "mystical."

To me, the interesting stuff would be when, how, why and of course who designed the structure, but as I understand it all of that is outside the scope of ID.

Well, as far as I am aware, apart from psychoanalysis "why" questions can't be answered scientifically.

As to "when" and "how", those are definitely interesting questions that many scientists have and are working on. Ie: when did the first informational system appear in our universe? As to the how, when it comes to ID there are many opinions … some easier to test than others … all the way from "the universe is programmed to necessarily produce life" all the way to "an outside intelligence had to intervene and seed life." The initial, in my opinion is the more scientific and perhaps testable with mathematical and computer models and simulations, starting with an understanding among many phycisists and cosmologists that the universe itself is the result of the processing of information.

Now, this is where the "who" question comes in. However, I don't know if we can scientifically verify "who" even if a model positing the causal phenomenon as intelligence is the best and most coherent explanation, although that may be further possible ID research (such as the further research which nails the perpetrator after an examination of the forensic evidence posits an intelligent cause).

In addition ...

Here is a cycle that is observed within nature: If previously programmed by INTELLIGENT information processors, INFORMATION PROCESSORS can produce PROGRAMS which cause LAWS which, can produce DESIGNS and further INFORMATION PROCESSORS directly or
through evolutionary means. This observation is the description of the creation of evolutionary algorithms to provide solutions to engineering problems and the creation of virtual intelligent information processors.

There are also two other related phenomenon seen in nature: Natural law itself, which is now seen to be a result of the processing of information which causes the program we know as our universe; and the laws produced by the program of life which results from the replication and processing of information. The relation between these two systems -- our universe and life – and the aforementioned cycle is that they follow the cycle from INFORMATION PROCESSOR to PROGRAM to LAWS to further INFORMATION PROCESSORS. Now, we just need to discover the cause. According to the observed cycle mentioned above, programming by an intelligent information processing system is the most probable (and only observed) cause of this type of cycle, instead of accidental generation of information processors (resulting from nothing but chance and necessity) to begin the cycle.

But, the laws can still create other stochastic processes, such as the pattern created by a leaf fluttering to the ground or the position of where a lightning bolt streaks through the sky, without necessarily being designed to create that exact phenomenon. Stochastic processes will result from any set of laws. If there is matter and laws then there will be stochastic processes which are caused by the laws of attraction between matter.

So, when does this cycle break down, ending at laws and stochastic processes? This occurs when the laws aren’t fine tuned to create further information processors because the starting point information/processing system wasn’t programmed by an intelligent system to cause further information processors. But why must an intelligent system be involved with programming? Because that is the only system which has been observed that can manipulate (program) information. I have defined intelligence in my “definitions” thread, and one should be able to immediately notice that by my definition, the living cell is indeed intelligent, and evolution is merely the cell's process of learning and gathering information. Now, as per the cycle, which intelligent system causes the living cell?

Intelligent Design theorists and proponents operate on the mathematics involved with information theory and on the assumption that the aforementioned OBSERVED cycle is a law of nature, thus EXTRAPOLATING it to related natural phenomenon such as the information processing ability of our universe and life and INFERRING if information exists then previous intelligence (a type of information processor) is the cause.

As an aside, if INFERENCE and EXTRAPOLATION of OBSERVATIONS are not a tool in the
scientists’ methodological kit, then evolution is not a science, even though I do think that evolution from primitive replicating information processing biochemical systems has indeed occurred.

With the above understood ...

-ID Theory: Many features of nature are best explained by an intelligent cause because in our experience intelligence is the sole cause of their informational properties. Because ID has been continually verified by observational statistical data ever since human intelligence began to use language and then even more so when human intelligence began designing computer programs, ID is a theory as opposed to being merely a hypothesis. It is a theory which provides the framework for other hypotheses to emerge.

(Upon a basic understanding and definition of the key terms [information, information processor, and intelligence], which I discuss on my blog, a further hypothesis arises within ID theory. The hypothesis is: information/processing systems are necessarily programmed to arise from previous information processors. This hypothesis contains the same predictions and potential falsification as ID theory.)

-Statistical Data for ID Theory: If we take the sample of all information processing systems in which we know the cause, 100% so far have had an intelligent cause.

-more verifying observations (data): The only observations (data) we have of probabilities being overcome in a direction where further information is being created is through designed programs. One way that ID theory, as it relates to biology and evolution, has already been verified is by these evolutionary programs which are intelligently and purposefully designed to converge upon a solution to a specific problem, through the process of controlled random searches acting within the
parameters of fine tuned information. Thus, evolutionary algorithms (which in our experience must be designed with a goal with which to generate and converge information) are one major verification of ID theory.

-A relevant hypothesis: The universe is described as a program resulting from an information processor.
(scroll down to “bits of a bigger picture” – read that section – then read the whole thing)

more data from physics (I wish I could understand the equations)

-Prediction(necessarily arising from ID theory) regarding abiogenesis: Life is a necessary result of and caused by the programming of the information processor which may give rise to our universe (as opposed to life being merely a random, chance, “accidental” occurrence). Of course, millions of dollars are being spent on OOL research and because of the severity of the problem, its gonna take some time to discover if biochemical replicating information processors are a necessary result of the information processor which may give rise to our universe. Discovering if and how life is necessarily caused by the information processor which may give rise to our universe would be further research consistent with ID theory. Here are two peer reviewed published articles discussing abiogenesis and the problem with obtaining an information processor by stochastic processes:

-Prediction (future observation and experiment which will further verify the above hypothesis and ID theory) : ID theory necessarily predicts that information processing systems will not be created by anything other than a previous information processor and thus life will be verified to be the result of a previous information processor (most likely the information processor which causes the program of our universe). I suggest a model (computer simulation) to be developed which shows how the universe, or any information processor, can be programmed to produce life (replicating information processors).

-Falsification (future observation and experiment which will negate the above hypothesis and ID theory): ID theory has the potential to be falsified by the production of an information processing system by any means other than being programmed by a previous information processor, thus showing that intelligence would NOT be the SOLE CAUSE OF INFORMATIONAL PROPERTIES. I suggest an experiment (again, a computer simulation) which shows that information processors can accidentally and randomly self-organize within a program no matter the laws of the system within which the information processor is generated. This will show that any set of laws can accidentally and randomly generate information processing systems, thus negating the concept of the necessity of previous programming and a previous intelligence to create further information processing systems.

Clarification on prediction and testability.

As an aside, continual observations DO NOT EVER PROVE any scientific theory, since scientific theories are never absolutely proven. It is the theory, which can potentially be falsified, and which has the most verified observations that is the most likely explanation.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Discussion with Thought Provoker

Hello Thought Provoker,

Welcome to my blog. Here is a continuation of our discussion of ID from somewhere in this huge posting at Telic Thoughts.

Quote myself:
“According to the dictionary defintion, I think that my own definition of intelligence is almost "bang on," since all of those processes mentioned by Merriam-Webster can be seen to be related to the ability to process non-quantum information, except MAYBE that of actual "understanding" and "mental acuteness," since these may be more a result of consciousness. Other than these two concepts, both AI and non-conscious biological processes seem to have all the rest of the definition in play as a result of information processing.”

“My focus is more on the ability to learn or adapt. I consider it primary. Anything that can learn and adapt is intelligent. If it can't, it isn't intelligent.”

I have toyed with that concept myself, however the ability to learn or adapt seems, at least to myself, to be somewhat ambiguous. How can you define learning any other way than processing information (keeping in mind that storing information in memory is a part of information processing). As to adapting ... I’m not too clear on your use of “adapt.” Are you using it here in merely an evolutionary sense? If this is the case then I understand what you are saying, in that adapting would necessitate the ability to change by storing new information.

And then, on the flip side, we have a calculator which processes information but does not learn, which makes it an un-intelligent information processor. However the AI in my game is still intelligent because it possess the ability to adapt.

So, I agree with your definition here and I will have to slightly update my own definition.

Intelligence = the ability to process and store new information, thus possessing the ability to learn and adapt. See a more detailed definition at the top of the left hand column under “my view of ID” in “definitions.”

“I would define "information processor" as a computer. A designer would be a specialised computer. A computer that takes information and creates a design.”

Quote myself:
“Ah, I see. You are taking a more literal definition of design, no? Are you saying that a design is only something which is actually manufactured? But still. it (designing) is again the result of information processing. Thus a designer is an information processor, and I would go further to say that any information that is processed which create function (now there's anther term that may need to be
defined) is a design and thus must semantically and necessarily originate from a designer.

So, my question becomes, "can an information processor, process information that is not designed (or a design); or is the AI in my computer game creating the design of a war-savy culture in Civ. IV?" You may say that the AI creates an illusion of design, however, I believe that it is more a representation of an actually war-savy civilization, thus constituting a design.”

“hmmm, I think you went too far. To me, "design" is organised information. Information goes in to a computer, information comes out. A "Designer" is a specialized computer that has, as it's output, a "design".

Implimentation of the design isn't a requirement.”

I do agree with you that organised information is a design. As such a program and its result or function are designs. However, I don’t see why information itself is not a design.

So my question is: “what is the difference between “not-organized” information and organized information (your definition of design)?” How do you define design as anything other than that which is produced by an information processor, and could you please provide example so that I understand what you are saying.”

“Like I said, based on this line of thinking, the problem isn't detecting design, the problem is explaining what isn't designed.

A simple rock is the product of information processing.”

You are on to something here. This is true, however, we already know the program which designs the rock – the physically attractive properties of chemicals which are guided by laws of nature. However, tell me ... What designs information processors?

Quote myself:
“But still. it (designing) is again the result of information processing. Thus a designer is an information processor, and I would go further to say that any information that is processed which create function (now there's anther term that may need to be defined) is a design and thus must semantically and necessarily originate from a designer.”

“Unless we draw boundries this definition means all things are designed. From the tiniest electromagnetic wave to full grown human.

I don't mind, but you might, if your intent is to claim ID is something other than defining the obvious.”

First, can you tell me why my definition of design necessitates that all things are designed and produced by a designer?

Secondly, can you tell me why it is so OBVIOUS that everything is designed (if this is indeed what you refer to when you say “defining the obvious”)?

And yes, when dealing with programs, laws, and information/processing systems, ID theory is scientifically stating the obvious. It takes great effort and blind faith and denial of reality to ignore it.

BTW: If there is a difference between intelligence and mere information processing, then there is a difference between a designer, an intelligent designer, and a conscious designer.

Calculator = designer (processes information)

Cell/AI program = intelligent designer (adapts and processes information)

Conscious designer = humans/higher animals (purposeful designers)

The key here, now, is to understand the origin of information processors, which is what ID theory is all about.

“This is the distinction between our two definitions of intelligence. The biomass learns and adapts. It learns through whatever evolutionary process you wish to accept and it remembers via DNA and whatever other mechanisms you wish to accept.

I submit that trying to dismiss biomass's intelligence as a whole would be like dismissing human intelligence because toenails don't think. In fact, Biomass is more universal than humans both as an information processor and as a learning machine. Either way, biomass is intelligent by either of our definitions, IMO.

(remember awareness isn't a requirement for either of us)”

I’m still not sure if you are correct here. We both agree that the biomass is most definitely a conglomeration of intelligence -- a conglomeration of adaptable information processors. However, the analogy of the biomass to a human, IMO, is flawed. The human itself is intelligent because of its brain (a specific information processing, adaptable organ) which LEADS the rest of the conglomeration of intelligence NOT MERELY BECAUSE of a conglomeration of intelligence such as toenails
and livers. It is the brain which leads the human and causes it to be intelligent. However, there is no brain to lead the biomass, just a conglomeration of interacting intelligent information processors.

However, the office environment is intelligent because there is a brain (company boss) which leads the information processors (employees) in a specific direction for the creation and storage of further information.

However, for the sake of argument, I will concede that the biomass in indeed intelligent since its brain, instead of being a physical unit, can be thought of as more of a process – evolution (as long as an INFORMATION INCREASING DIRECTION is a necessary result of the evolutionary process).

“"PHILOSOPHY of science" isn't science by my definitions, it is philosophy.”

I DID NOT say that “PHILOSOPHY of science” WAS science. I was merely pointing out that science itself is rooted in philosophy ... ie: it is a philosophical system in which to interpret and describe reality and it just happens to work very well. Philosophy = a viewpoint of reality and science is one such practical and knowledge producing viewpoint. Logical thought produces philosophies and science is one of them. Science involves philosophies of logic – the importance and flaws of systems
such as induction, deduction, and inference mixed with testability, repeatability, predictablility, and falsifiability. The philosophy of science also deals with extrapolations and interpretations of data. Science wishes to explain all phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect – that is its PHILOSOPHY.

“Philosophy deals with ideals, beliefs and concepts. Science deals with reality.

Separating the philosophy of science, from science itself isn't a problem for me.”

Science deals with reality in terms of beliefs and concepts. A scientific discovery is only as good as the brain which produces and interpretes it.

The belief behind science is that we CAN accumulate knowledge of the workings of our universe because everything operates in a law like manner and the “how” of phenomenon can be discovered using certain tools and methods.

The concepts which underlie science are the concepts of math, logic, and laws.

And science does deal with reality (depending on how you philosophically define “reality”)

The philosophies of science, although they are not science, are foundational to the workings of science.

I will add that science works amazingly well to produce knowledge, technology, and advance the quality of life -- these are further ideals of science.

“We may be having a problem with definition of knowledge.

When does philosophy become religion?

The Pythagoreans practically worshiped ideal shapes, especially the dodecahedron.

To me, Philosophy is the search for Truth. And there is a subtle difference between knowledge and wisdom.”

Knowledge ... hmmmm ... that may be hard to define. How do YOU define knowledge?

I see wisdom as the ability to just be able to properly apply the right knowledge in a specific situation.

A person’s PHILOSOPHY is their (hopefully) coherent view of reality. As such, if reality = that which is true, then philosophy is most definitely the search for truth. However some philosophical systems deny existence, reality, and truth itself. Some systems of philosophical thought tell us that there actually is NO knowledge, thus nothing to know or that we can not KNOW anything. I see these as either completely self-defeating or else just plain impractical and useless, and hardly a
definition of OUR reality in which we at least appear to exist. I prefer a more straightforward philosophy which doesn’t just shrug off everything as an illusion.

A person’s philosophy may contain a religious view, and once one has decided on a certain philosophy – ie: there is a higher being from which reality flows – they may choose to adopt a religous view or doctrine of what they OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do with their life.

Thus philosophy is a viewpoint OF reality and religion contains doctrine and morality and shows what one OUGHT to do WITH their life within that reality.

Thus philosophy becomes religion when it tells you what you OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do with your life as a result of the philosophy.

IE: my philosophy (viewpoint of reality) takes on scientific, philosophical considerations, and history to inform me that God exists, Jesus dies for my sins yet is now alive, etc. However, this is where things change a bit with Christianity compared to most other religions that I am aware of. While I definitely do my best to live my life by Jesus’ standard, many Christians myself included, do no see
themselves as basing their morality on a bunch of rules and regulations (doctrine) but on their relationship and “connectedness” with God which causes them to desire to love others. Of course this is in line with Jesus’ greatest command of Love. Thus many Christians don’t see Christianity as a “religion (full of does and don’ts)” but as a relationship with God.

Of course, from here, the Christian’s morality is to be consistent with that which shows God’s love to others and looking at Jesus life does provide the perfect overall example. So, for the purpose of this discussion the religion of a Christian entails the Love which arises from his/her relationship with God, which provides moral and thus an objective definition of what the Christian OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do – thus a religious context

“Sorry, even an Atheist has a belief system, and a doctrine that comes from it. There may be only one member to his/her "religion", but it would still be a religion unless you insist it must be based on "God" and no sustitute.

I use the term "philosophy"..”

I never said religion was based on God and no substitute. I said that (IMO) religion is a doctrine of what one OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do as based on their philosophical views.

However, defining atheism as a religion may have an impact on the relation between religion and science, thus shattering NOMA. If atheism is a religion and NOMA informs us that religious doctrine can not be scientifically verified or disproved and that science can not be guided by religious doctrine, then the religious doctrine of atheism (whatever that would be -- materialism?) has no place in science.

The reason that I see atheism as non-religious is found within my definition of a doctrine (a necessity of religion) as “that which one OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do as based on that persons belief (or philosophy).” Thus there is an explicit connection and interplay between doctrine and morality. Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing that the atheist OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do if there exists no foundation of purpose from which reality originates, which is why the atheist can not lay claim to
either OBJECTIVE morality, doctrine, or religion. All of the atheist's views must be subjective. ie: created by subjective humans and guided by evolution, culture, and majority rule, instead of an objective law which is then discovered by subjective humans.

Herein lies the difference between a religious system and a philosophical system. A religious system uses philosophy and results that arise from that philosophy to tell us what we OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do, however a philosophical system is merely a belief in what CAN and/or DOES exist or even in that which DOES NOT exist in regard to reality. Ie: philosophy of science = natural laws do exist and we can study them to add to our knowledge of reality. If there was a religion of scientism, it would tell us what we OBJECTIVELY OUGHT to do with our life based on the findings of science.

“Once again, based on the definitions everything living and non-living are completely compatible with the ID theory you may be proposing.”

I now have those posts on my blog which clarify my position on ID theory. (Upper corner of the left margin – “my view on ID”)

5 Point Summary

1. The only scientific verification we have of probabilities being CONSISTENTLY overcome in a direction where further information is being created is through designed programs. Thus, evolutionary algorithms (which in our experience must be designed with a goal with which to generate and converge information) are one major verification of ID theory.

2. Furthermore, the nature of information processors (no matter their chemical constituents) is such that they can not exist independantly of the information they process, since an information processor is defined in terms of its ability to process information and information is defined as such by its compatible processor -- the two qualities are useless without each other. If evolution is the process which generates information, evolution can not occur before an information storage medium and its compatible processor already exist.

3. Take into account that information is not defined by physical laws of attraction (there is no physical law relating the units within complex specified information) and that information processors convert PRESENT specific coded information into a FUTURE specific goal in the form of function (thus constituting a goal oriented, although NOT necessarily conscious process -- in the same way that computer programs are goal oriented but not conscious), it makes absolutely no logical sense, nor is there any scientific inference or validity in thinking that information and its compatible processor will randomly actualize no matter the chemical reactions by which it is preceeded.

4. The only scientifically verifiable and logical construction of an information processor is accomplished by a previous information processor. Add on to this the fact that the universe is now viewed as a program resulting form a deeper information processor and consciousness may be a result of quantum (sub-natural law) information processing. As stated in point three, there is NO ROOM FOR NATURAL LAWS OF ATTRACTION to create information and there is NO LOGICAL ROOM FOR ACCIDENTAL PROCESSES WHICH ARE NOT DIRECTED to create a goal oriented system such as an information processor.

5. Furthermore, why even bother postulating ACCIDENTAL OCCURENCES for the origination of the first information processor within our universe, when science deals in terms of LAWS of cause and effect? The law of cause and effect that creates information processors are always summed up in terms of laws within a program that results from a previous information processor. IE: computer information processors are caused by mental programs arising from intelligent information processors (the human brain); thus biochemical information processors most likely unfold from the deeper quantum information processor which causes the program of the universe to exist. Now all we need to do is discover how an information processor can be programmed to produce further information/processing systems within its program.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The birth of Modern Intelligent Design Theory

"From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 Mev energy level in the nucleus of 12C to the 7.12 Mev level in 16O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? Following the above argument, I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature." (Hoyle, F., "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 20, 1982, pp.1-35, p.16).

"Oxygen and carbon atoms are about equally common in living material, just as they are in the Universe at large. While it is possible to imagine life in a Universe with a moderate imbalance between oxygen and carbon, a really large imbalance would seem to forbid its existence. A great excess of carbon would prevent the formation of many materials on which life is vitally dependent, rock and soil for example, while a great oxygen excess would simply burn up any carbon bearing biochemicals that happened to be around. The necessary balance between oxygen and carbon depends on the details of the origin of the chemical elements by nuclear reactions inside stars, a subject which has been intensively studied over the past three decades, and one which we have already touched on in this book. The details are concerned with how neutrons and protons group together to form the nuclei of atoms. Oxygen and carbon are like two radio receivers, each tuned to a particular wavelength. Unless the tunings are right, with the two dials set at the appropriate wavelengths far more oxygen is produced than carbon. But, as it happens, the tunings are indeed correct, so that oxygen and carbon atoms are produced in the Universe in appropriately balanced amounts. The problem is to decide whether these apparently coincidental tunings are really accidents or not, and therefore whether or not life is accidental. No scientist likes to ask such a question, but it has to be asked for all that. Could it be that the tunings are intelligently deliberate?" (Hoyle, F., "The Intelligent Universe," Michael Joseph: London, 1983, pp.218-219).