OK, great, we're on the same page. Now my next question is, why can't a synthetic organism (like one made of silicon that you have allowed may be alive, given the proper organization) have subjective experience? Again with the usual reminders that carbon-based and silicon-based life forms would both be subject to identical electromagnetic/nuclear/gravitational forces.
Terren On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote: > On Jan 29, 10:34 pm, Terren Suydam <terren.suy...@gmail.com> wrote: >> So if in your theory life is explainable in terms of a "step from >> organic molecule to biological cell", then why is that one could not >> make a similar step from a synthetic (silicon, say) substrate to a >> synthetic cell? What is the difference? > > There may not be a difference at all. If you can make a silicon cell > that lives and dies and grows by itself, then you might indeed have > synthetic life. The problem is that it would be uncontrollable to the > same extent that it is alive. If we could make computers out of living > tissues or organisms now, we would do it, but they aren't reliable. > They have their own agenda. I don't see why silicon life would be any > different. > >> Both the organic molecule >> and the silicon (or whatever) substrate are subject to the same >> electromagnetic (and nuclear etc) forces, so what specifically makes >> life possible with one and not the other? > > Gathering from what we see in the universe, either > > 1. Carbon happened to get lucky first but anything can become alive > under the right conditions. Everything will come to life eventually or > some things will randomly. > > or > > 2. Carbon is uniquely chemically friendly because of it's atomic > properties. Maybe no other atom can substitute. Synthetic life may > never be conscious and DNA is a unique recipe. > > 3. Life may be a top down phenomena with a cell as it's irreducible > unit, like a language, which uses a particular range of low level > molecular configurations as we use circles, lines, dots, and loops to > form our written language. Life can't make it's complex genetic > spaghetti out of just any substance, it has to be able cook itself al > dente, just as we can't build our computers out of pasta. We could > make synthetic life from another recipe, but it has to be similar to > DNA. > > 4. Life may be in the eye of the bolder. If we were the size of > Jupiter and lived for billions of years, our scope of perception might > be such that the atmospheres of planets were like waltzing cells or > faces that sum up the content of the entire planet's activities as our > perception sums up our brain's activities. We could be neurons in the > Earth's brain, who knows? In which case, life vs non life is a matter > of perspective - anything can come to life under the influence of the > right stuff. > > 5. Life may be relative to a point, but have invariant properties as > well. Maybe even at a rate of a thousand years a minute, the solar > system is still too dull to be thought of as life. Maybe it's a > different kind of sensemaking than life. Synthetic life could be life- > like, but never really alive. > > 6. Comp - Life is a degree of complexity and self-reflexivity in > logic. Intelligence and compassion are just an android away... > > Craig > >> >> >> >> On Sun, Jan 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> >> wrote: >> >> > On Jan 29, 10:20 am, Terren Suydam <terren.suy...@gmail.com> wrote: >> >> OK, I think I understand you a little better. You are a vitalist who >> >> makes life its own ontological primitive. >> >> > No. Life is only a step from organic molecule to biological cell. >> > Neither are primitive. There is only one primitive and that is ense, >> > aka sensorimotive electomagenism. Biology is important to us because >> > we are biological. Animals, people, and members of our social groups >> > are imporant to us for the same reason. Life is as special and not >> > special to the universe as it seems. Now sacred and protected.. now >> > forsaken and cursed. >> >> >> There is a difference >> >> between living things and non-living things, and the gap between them >> >> cannot be bridged. Life is magical, in the sense that it cannot be >> >> explained. >> >> > No. Sounds like you are interested in pidgeonholing me. Viruses and >> > crystals bridge life and abiotic structures. Life is important to >> > living things. That you must admit. If you think that is a mistake >> > that should be corrected, I understand, but I disagree. The >> > significance of survival is not an illusion. >> >> >> I cannot subscribe to such a "theory" because it draws a line where no >> >> more questions can be asked (like religion). Anyway, I think it's more >> >> interesting, challenging, and rewarding to consider possible theories >> >> and explanations of how living things can and do self-assemble from >> >> non-living parts. >> >> > What makes atoms form molecules is the same thing that makes molecules >> > form cells, etc. It's sense. Not just logic or arithmetic or physics, >> > but experiences of worlds. >> >> > Craig >> >> >> On Sun, Jan 29, 2012 at 2:11 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> >> >> wrote: >> >> > On Jan 28, 5:20 pm, Terren Suydam <terren.suy...@gmail.com> wrote: >> >> >> I don't understand why you don't allow machine consciousness if in your >> >> >> theory all forces give rise to sense. >> >> >> > It's the other way around, sense experience gives rise to all >> >> > appearance of force. >> >> >> >> What is special about the kinds of >> >> >> "forces" inherent in a biological organism? It smells like vitalism. >> >> >> > Biological organisms are alive. They eat other living organisms to >> >> > survive. Most matter is not alive and we cannot eat it. This isn't >> >> > some flaky theory, it's just pointing out the obvious. We distinguish >> >> > biology from chemistry for a reason. It's only special to biological >> >> > organisms. They have an opinion about whether they keep living or not. >> >> >> >> What is especially confusing about your position is that you allow that >> >> >> structure puts limitations on subjective experience (I.e. lack of rods >> >> >> and >> >> >> cones will prevent one from seeing color). Based on that you are >> >> >> already >> >> >> close to comp. It is very hard for non-comp theories to account for the >> >> >> changes in subjectivity that occur in tandem with brain damage, >> >> >> psychoactive drugs, and so on. >> >> >> > The structure and the experience are opposite parts of the same thing. >> >> > If you change one, it can have an influence sometimes on the other. >> >> > Not always though. They overlap and diverge. I can consciously >> >> > breathe, or I can observe that I am breathing. I can control my body >> >> > in important ways, my body can control me in important ways. >> >> >> >> Somewhere in your theory must be an account of the differences between >> >> >> biological cell and a functional silicon-based equivalent, since the >> >> >> same >> >> >> low level forces are involved in both. Why does the substance matter >> >> >> when >> >> >> any physical substrate is subject to basic electromagnetic and nuclear >> >> >> forces? If that silicon version has the proper structure >> >> >> (organization) >> >> >> then why in your theory wouldn't it have subjective experience? >> >> >> > It matters for the same reason that we can't survive on the Moon >> >> > without a space suit. Why are all cells made of carbohydrates and >> >> > amino acids and not silicates and sulfuric acid? Why is 79 protons >> >> > gold but 79 golf balls just a bucket full of balls? Because the >> >> > universe that we see as matter and machines is only the exterior. The >> >> > interior is a universe of private narratives that accumulate over >> >> > time. The carbon based story turned out to be more interesting for us. >> >> > Is it because we're made of carbon or are we lucky that carbon >> >> > happened to be interesting. My hunch is a little of both. >> >> >> > Craig >> >> >> > -- >> >> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google >> >> > Groups "Everything List" group. >> >> > To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. >> >> > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to >> >> > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. >> >> > For more options, visit this group >> >> > athttp://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. >> >> > -- >> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups >> > "Everything List" group. >> > To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. >> > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to >> > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. >> > For more options, visit this group >> > athttp://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "Everything List" group. > To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit this group at > http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.