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Author Topic:   Codes, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
deerbreh
Member (Idle past 791 days)
Posts: 882
Joined: 06-22-2005


Message 211 of 220 (326786)
06-27-2006 10:51 AM


I am going to jump in here after lurking a while to say I think the present discussion about whether DNA is a code is a bit pointless. Why don't we just agree for purposes of discussion that it is a code, given that it walks, talks and quacks like a code. Then we can address the OP, which I take as "Every code known to man to date is a product of a conscious mind. All of them. There is not one example of a naturally generated code."

Now I am not a mathematician but I have a little knowledge of mathematics so I am dangerous. I would argue that there are many examples in mathematics that are codes that are not the product of a conscious mind. It is true that the SYMBOLS of mathematics are products of a conscious mind, but the actual mathematical relationships are not. For example, is not any mathematical sequence actually a code? Am I missing something?

on edit: OK I see that Percy has beat me to the point about math. Drat!

Edited by deerbreh, : To acknowledge Percy's point about math.


  
Discreet Label
Member (Idle past 2962 days)
Posts: 272
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 212 of 220 (326798)
06-27-2006 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 147 by tdcanam
06-23-2006 8:50 AM


Re: Modulous
quote:
quote:

I know how DNA works. That is why I raised the second difference: it is self-replicating. Something that no human code is.

DNA is the medium. The mRNA records info stored in DNA and then takes it to the ribosomes. The ribosomes reads this info and presto, the code is compleate.

A better way to put it. I (mRNA) go to a filing cabinet (DNA) and pull out a plan (code) for a model that our team (body) has been building and now requiers. Say it needs a bit of rebuilding in an area. I (mRNA) photo copy the file (code) taken from the filing cabinet (DNA) and take it to you (ribosome). You (ribosome) read (decode) the plan (code) and start building the model by physically replicating the intangible info (intent/idea) in the file (code). Your product is a tangilble model that the intangible info. (code) represented.

You just replicated. But to do so, you had to have the info/code brought to you and you had to decode/read it. You then, understanding the instructions laid out in the info/code, built an exact replica of the info.

This info stored in DNA isn't the actual outcome. A code for an arm isn't an arm. It represents an arm. You, the ribosome, had to read the code and build a model that the info represented.

That is code. For DNA to "replicate" itself, code is needed. Code in the sense I am talking of.


I think there is an important idea to that Modulous brought up that does need to be addressed in the terms of the definition of codes. (I have read the entire thread). I feel that your definition of code is far to encompassing because it encompasses 'codes' that contain extrememely different characteristics, in other words it over simplifies. 'Code' as I have seen it used in your writing encompasses both codes that are non-replicating, external codes (permanent codes) as well as self-replicating, internal (computer code in the sense of its programs and DNA/RNA).

To define non-replicating and external codes these require two distinct entites both the encoder (sender that encodes data), and reciever (observer/data processor decodes the data). I.e. as your frequently used example of blueprints and a home, someone or yourself, drew the blueprints (encoded blueprints) a set of data that can be used to build a house expressed in a symbol system. A second entity, someone else or yourself, is building the blueprints (observering and processing the blueprints) has a set rules or has made a set of rules that helps the entity to get to the data that was encoded into the blue prints. The prior examples uses a 'concious' decision maker for both end of the processes.

(Bear with me this next example of non-replicating and external might be a little difficult to understand because of the limitations of english in that I must use action verbs that imply conciousness and ability to decide to non-decision makers.)

In this example of a code as applied to rocks it involes a non-decision maker (source) and a decision maker(entity). The earth encodes physical conditions and compositions in which rocks were formed and created (earth as a system has encoded physical data). Then on the end of the reciever (man, observer and data processor) has set up a system of rules to interpret and decode the data present in the rock. This data decoded represents the chemical composition as well as physical processes that were involved in the formation of the rock. Same goes with light from stars. Because elements have a fixed emission spectra when electrons are jumping down orbitals an electron going to a lower orbital level encodes data for a particular emission of light. Man observes this emssion, having no idea what it is, decides to build a system that will help them interpret light in the way that it will report the composition of stars. (this also can be implied about the tree ring bit.)

All three of these examples demonstrate two distinct entities/sources one which encodes a particular set of data, environmental, housing, light etc. And then a decoder, an external source, that is attaching meaning to the encoded data. IOW there is an interpretive act present. These particular examples better flow from Percy's posting of wikipedia definition.

quote:
In communications, a code is a rule for converting a piece of information (for example, a letter, word, or phrase) into another form or representation, not necessarily of the same type. In communications and information processing, encoding is the process by which a source (object) performs this conversion of information into data, which is then sent to a receiver (observer), such as a data processing system. Decoding is the reverse process of converting data, which has been sent by a source, into information understandable by a receiver. (see Decoding methods) A codec is an implementation of that rule (or algorithm) for coding and decoding, for example MP3, which may be a hardware implementation or a software implementation, and which may include compression.

Internal and self-replicating codes are codes that have non-decision makers on both the encoding and recieving end. (stupid english I wish there was a word set that would imply action without assigning human characterists to the subjects). In particular with computer code it follows strict interpretive acts (this is why I feel it is a non-decision maker). (note all my understanding of computer code has been based on how I've understood computer code as it has been discussed on this forum so if it is wrong or to vague I'll try and put more thought into expanding it). Now to tackle have you have described DNA.

quote:
A better way to put it. I (mRNA) go to a filing cabinet (DNA) and pull out a plan (code) for a model that our team (body) has been building and now requiers. Say it needs a bit of rebuilding in an area. I (mRNA) photo copy the file (code) taken from the filing cabinet (DNA) and take it to you (ribosome). You (ribosome) read (decode) the plan (code) and start building the model by physically replicating the intangible info (intent/idea) in the file (code). Your product is a tangilble model that the intangible info. (code) represented.

When you brought up this particular point I feel you neglected to adequately address Modulous's point of self-replication. But what you did provide is a foundation for which to build upon.

I hope to better describe DNA we will start like this. DNA is the filing cabinet, mRNA is one half of the helical strand of DNA, either half can be used to rebuild the DNA strand, because of the 1:1 relationship between AT or AU and GC thus one half of DNA strand is split and can be made into 2 strands of DNA. The way, again as i understand it, that a ribosome "builds" a protein that will be later used by a body is that a ribosme has a fixed configuration, that forces a protein chain to be built in a SPECIFIC and FIXED way. IOW there is zero interpretive act involved within protein building because to build a particular protein requires a forced configuration. For any given mRNA strand there will only be one specific outcome because of the way it must conform on the ribosome. (again if this is a flawed understanding of how ribosomes work i'd ask the a biologist/biochemist kinda of clarify).

So what occurs, again to my understanding, is that in DNA replication and protein building that it is a system in which a chemical 'signal' produced in the body starts a particular protein to be built due to a change in the chemistry within the cell. After the chemical 'signal' is removed, taken care of and met. The protein 'building' stops.

Again if this needs to be more developed or clarified hopefully we can work it out.

Oh yes, and I would appreciate (and I am sure others would as well) if instead of vaguely referring to past messages where you say you have answered points by another poster, please post the specific message(s) that you feel are pertinent to your answer. This will help on both sides because it will make it a great deal easier to follow the discussion.

Edited by Discreet Label, : Streamlined post.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 147 by tdcanam, posted 06-23-2006 8:50 AM tdcanam has not yet responded

    
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 213 of 220 (327035)
06-28-2006 1:52 AM


tdcanam writes:

Message 111

DNA has no consciousness. It can't display intent on it's own. The codes contained within DNA however contain intent. The code sent from DNA contains specific instructions to build a specific thing to specific dimensions. That is intent. The ribsome is meant to get the code, it is meant to understand it, it is meant to replicate it and the intended outcome, already precoded in the DNA, comes out as it was intended. That's intent.

Let's say that for a second we assume DNA is encoded information.

If (according to you) it takes an intelligence to encode the information, then why does it not take an intelligence to decode the information?

If ribosomes are all the intelligence required to decode the information, then why is not ribosomal intelligence enough to encode the information in the first place? And, afterall, ribosomes are nothing more than chemicals. And so it would reason that this "intelligence" that you are talking about that encoded DNA could very possible just be chemicals, and not necessarily some "higher power."

The code sent from DNA contains specific instructions to build a specific thing to specific dimensions. That is intent.

No, that's not intent; that's just matching up the other half. DNA cannot "read" the code. It can't tranlsate it from one form to another. All it can do is rip itself apart and then wait for the other ends to fall into place. It's like saying the basketball shows intent because it always falls downward, and never upward.

You see, certain things always happen one way, and they will keep happening that one way. And just because the DO happen that one way, does not mean that it's intentional.

Jon


  
jaywill
Member
Posts: 4517
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 214 of 220 (328867)
07-05-2006 12:35 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by Jon
06-26-2006 11:14 PM


Re: Levels of Abstraction
Invictus,

Musical notes are a different thing. With musical notes, there is information (the vibrations) which are being encoded into symbols on a page. Then they are later decoded on stage as the pianist reads them and decodes them into vibrations.

Ah, music!

Something else is going on with music. The arrangement of the vibrations, the simultaneous sounding of them, and their relationship to each other, and how they approach a final state of resolution, display a certain amount of wisdom of the composer. The notes could be randomly performed. But the composer has arranged them in patterns and designs which, if done well, never fail to draw forth apprection for the wisdom and knowledge with which some designing mind has created that particular arrangement.

The tones themselves are neutral. People recognize that what has been done to arrange the tones has given rise to a satisfying sense of intelligence in the arrangement. They appreciate the intelligence with which the tones have been made to relate to each other.

At that level of abstraction skill and wisdom are quite normally recognized and appreciated.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 208 by Jon, posted 06-26-2006 11:14 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
Izaac
Inactive Member


Message 215 of 220 (329348)
07-06-2006 12:02 PM


Codes and Causation
The original definition of a code, as communication from an encoder to a decoder, was IMO correct. But, put it this way: Information is informative only to the informed. Ya gotta know the territory. Only momma knows baby's squeak. A CAD/CAM factory grinding out products means nothing but to the consumer (if any). DNA is meaningless but to the process of reproduction of replicates, and to the molecules waiting to fit into place in the daughter string during mitosis. Biology is just another CAD/CAM factory, devoid of meaning but to - - well, to whom, or what? To you, my present reader, than whom there is (for you) no higher authority.

Information, then, is informative only to a self-aware and other-aware entity, like me and I suppose like you, on the inside looking out at experienced and remembered existence. Reality is in the eye of the beholder, and you are your only beholder, aside from reasonable surmises.

The original question was thus just a teaser (and a good one). But in figuring out reality, it seems to help to believe that causes and effects cascade: of two successive experiences, the first may have made the second happen. Not always, but with close attention it often works. That’s pragmatic causality.

And it works at least bottom-up. Effects accumulate, and we can trace the causality backwards. Back to sheer existence, if we wish; that something rather than nothing exists. That’s Bottom-up Causation, of which the Darwinian explanation is a prime example. Chance variation of the simple, caught in the net of survival on its merits, becomes emergent life form. Eventually, you and me.

Can we trace causality (and evolution) upward, to something always more complex, to a First Cause? But hey, one good inquiry deserves another; what caused the First Cause? No answer? Then there was no First Cause.

Tracing back along Bottom-up Causation works, whereas tracing back along Top-Down Causation does not work. And that is the basic problem with Intelligent Design. It sets foot on the imagined but nonexistent path to ever-higher explanations.

It also, not necessarily but typically, uses “immaterial” causes; matter being pushed around (as in the free DNA molecules falling into place) not randomly but cleverly, yet without a means to that end. How do it do dat? It does not do dat. Newton said that only matter affects matter, and I choose to believe him. The whole idea of ID is an amateurish fairy tale. Intelligent Design is not only a cart on a road which leads nowhere, but a cart which lacks even the wheels to go there with.

Intelligent Design is a revived fragment of the Great Chain of Being which preceded Darwinism. Darwin, shocked by his own dawning theory, said "it is like confessing to a murder.” Armed by Newton, Darwin did “commit a murder” — the murder of the great chain of being. ID was dead when it was dragged on-stage. The sooner it is dragged back off, the better.

Visit (and comment) at http://pov.wikia.com/wiki/DarwinianMurder and, for more on ID and its ineffectual gyrations, http://brainstorm.eponym.com.


Replies to this message:
 Message 216 by Wounded King, posted 07-06-2006 12:11 PM Izaac has responded
 Message 218 by jaywill, posted 07-12-2006 5:25 PM Izaac has responded

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1993 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 216 of 220 (329354)
07-06-2006 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 215 by Izaac
07-06-2006 12:02 PM


Re: Codes and Causation
Izaac writes:

Intelligent Design is not only a cart on a road which leads nowhere, but a cart which lacks even the wheels to go there with.

Presumably a cart with a horse behind it.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
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Izaac
Inactive Member


Message 217 of 220 (329385)
07-06-2006 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by Wounded King
07-06-2006 12:11 PM


Re: Codes and Causation
Yes, the metaphor has too many featurs. I could have said, the cart lacks both its horse and its wheels. I need a metaphor which expresses the lack of both means and ends.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 216 by Wounded King, posted 07-06-2006 12:11 PM Wounded King has not yet responded

  
jaywill
Member
Posts: 4517
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 218 of 220 (331230)
07-12-2006 5:25 PM
Reply to: Message 215 by Izaac
07-06-2006 12:02 PM


Re: Codes and Causation
Tracing back along Bottom-up Causation works, whereas tracing back along Top-Down Causation does not work. And that is the basic problem with Intelligent Design. It sets foot on the imagined but nonexistent path to ever-higher explanations.

The way I see it the bottom up Causation is like this:

The meaning of these letters which you are reading and the words and phrases they represent and communicate come out of the molecules of the material that makes up the pixels forming each letter. There is no outside agent assigning meaning to the letters and their combinations.

What I'm trying to say may be expressed better here:

"Evolution is thus basically an attempt to explain the origin of life from matter and energy without the aid of know-how, concept, teleonomy, or exogenous (extra-material) information. It represents an attempt to explain the formation of the genetic code from the chemical components of DNA without the aid of a genetic concept (information) originating outside the molecules of the chromosomes. This is comparable to the assumption that the text of a book originates from the paper molecules on which the sentences appear, and not from an external source of information ..." A.E Wilder-Smith, Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, University of Reading (England)

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 215 by Izaac, posted 07-06-2006 12:02 PM Izaac has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 219 by Izaac, posted 07-12-2006 7:53 PM jaywill has responded

  
Izaac
Inactive Member


Message 219 of 220 (331287)
07-12-2006 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 218 by jaywill
07-12-2006 5:25 PM


Re: Codes and Causation
So far as books are concerned, you seem to agree with me and not with Wilder-Smith. Yes, the physical “text” is molecules of paper and ink which create sensory stimuli sent to the brain, and are there subjected to pattern recognition routines with outputs which work their way up to consciousness. But it is there interpreted in context with the authoring process; which is not its cause but its context. I think you agree with me on that, whereas Wilder-Smith seems to ridicule it.

To predict the “story” in the book from the properties of paper and ink fails for lack of context, as does prediction of the genetic code from its chemical components. The molecules had to flail around for a while before durable formations developed by self-reproduction. Ursula Goodenouth explains this well in The Sacred Depths of Nature. There is no need for exogenous information, that is, top-down causation. All causation is bottom-up, much as it is obscured by closed-loop stabilization.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 218 by jaywill, posted 07-12-2006 5:25 PM jaywill has responded

Replies to this message:
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jaywill
Member
Posts: 4517
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 220 of 220 (331357)
07-12-2006 11:32 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by Izaac
07-12-2006 7:53 PM


Re: Codes and Causation
Yes, the physical “text” is molecules of paper and ink which create sensory stimuli sent to the brain, and are there subjected to pattern recognition routines with outputs which work their way up to consciousness.

Pattern recognition?

Then patterns were authored into the text. And the reader recognized these patterns? Doesn't that call for a concept of patterns in the arrangement of the molecules into physical text?

Doesn't that mean that information had two functions. One - information contributed to the arrangement into patterns. And second - information contributed to the recognition of the patterns.

Isn't that the case? If so did this information in the arrangement of the text imposed from outside the molecules of the text or did it come from within them?

But it is there interpreted in context with the authoring process; which is not its cause but its context.

I don't fully understand what you mean here. But does the limits and scope of context come from a concept imposed upon the text from without the molecules of the text or not?

Is context recognized? If so there must have been a concept determining the arrangement of the text which was in turn recognized. Information was imposed upon the text to determine context and information was employed to recognize context.

To predict the “story” in the book from the properties of paper and ink fails for lack of context, as does prediction of the genetic code from its chemical components. The molecules had to flail around for a while before durable formations developed by self-reproduction.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here about context.

I think I do understand what you say about molecules flailing together causing dirt to give rise to brains over a long period of time. And these brains flailed together randomly from molecules, can dream, imagine, calculate, question, argue, explain, and involve themselves in self discovery and conceptualize abstractions such as numbers.

These living minds and these selves, I think you say, are not the product of information imposed upon material from outside of the material.

It is too much to ask me to consider plausible. The same author writes

"Thus according to the laws of physics it is impossible for matter to have organized itself without the aid of energy and of teleonomic machines!"

Scientists always add "know-how" and energy in their experiments to allegedly make successful atempts to create artificial life. Wilder-Smith says that life requires the input of information: the genetic code.

The formula for life is then "matter plus energy plus ideas = life."

I think you are arguing that "matter plus energy = life". Or perhaps "matter plus energy plus huge amounts of time = life."

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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