On Tue, Aug 28, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> do not think that accusations of vitalism add anything to the issue. It's
> really nothing but an ad hominem attack.

It's not ad hominem if its true. We can't be talking about anything except
vitalism and as one of the most enthusiastic apologists of the idea on this
list I'm surprised you consider the term an insult.

> We use certain materials for computer chips and not hamsters

Because (you think) hamsters have some sort of horseshit vital force that
computer chips lack.

> > organic chemistry, biology, zoology, and anthropology present dramatic
> qualitative breakthroughs in elaboration of sense.

That's exactly what I'm talking about, vitalism; a idea that sucked when it
was all the rage in the 18'th century and suckes even more so today.

> This is not vitalism.

How would your above idea be any different if it were vitalism??  Clearly
you believe that organic chemistry has something that computer chips lack;
perhaps you don't like the phrase "vital life force" for that difference
and prefer some other euphemism, but it amounts to the same thing.

> Programs can and do produce outcomes that are not directly anticipated by
> the programmer


> but that these outcomes are trivial

If they could only do trivial stuff computers would not have become a
multitrillion dollar industry that has revolutionized the modern world.

>Conway's game of life can produce a new kind of glider, but it can't come
> up with the invention of Elvis Presley,

Not true. You can make a Turing Machine out of things other than a long
paper tape, you can make one out of the game of life by using the gliders
to send information; and if you started with the correct initial conditions
you could have a game of life Turing Machine instruct matter how to move so
that the matter was indistinguishable from the flesh and blood king of rock
and roll.

> We only use materials which are subject to absolute control by outside
> intervention and behave in an absolutely automatic way to sustain those
> introduced controls. Living organisms are very much the opposite of that

The opposite of  "automatic way" is random way.

  John K Clark

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