On Wednesday, August 29, 2012 3:54:49 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 28, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whats...@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. 

No, it doesn't matter what names you call someone, or whether you think 
they are true, the point is that name calling is not a logical argument and 
that it derails the discussion.

> 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. 

It is because that you say that I have something to do with defending 
vitalism that I know you don't understand my ideas. There is nothing 
special about organic matter that makes life possible. There is nothing 
about matter that makes anything possible. It is the sense that is made 
through matter that makes things possible, and that sense has qualitative 
potentials which are represented in particular ways. The way that 
biological qualities are represented in space and matter is as living 
cells, tissues, and living bodies. Being cell like doesn't make something 
alive, being alive leaves a cell like footprint.

> > 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. 

Um, no. Because you can't control hamsters. I don't care if hamsters were 
made of cobalt and zinc, you can't make a computer out of them because they 
have their own agenda that you can't effectively control. I don't want to 
sink to your level, but if you continue with your false accusations and ad 
hominem horseshit, the I'm not going to bother with you.

>> > 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.  

Your opinions about what sucks might be interesting to some people. You 
should find them. To say that there is a qualitative breakthrough between 
biology and zoology is vitalist how? I would say that the qualitative bump 
from single cell to animal is even more significant than the bump from 
molecule to cell, or atom to molecule. I am talking about a punctuated 
equilibrium of scale and history, not a categorization of substances.

> > This is not vitalism.
> How would your above idea be any different if it were vitalism?? 

Vitalism would be that there are some substances which are used by 
biological organisms and others that are not. There would be no bump from 
cell to animal to human being, or even from molecule to cell - vitalism 
would be that living cells are composed of life-giving molecules which are 
fundamentally different from non life-giving molecules. I'm not saying that 
at all. I am saying that you can have all the organic chemistry you like 
and you still won't get cells unless the molecules themselves figure out 
how to make them. I don't say that silicon can't make cells, only that they 
haven't so far, and that if we force silicon to act like cells, they won't 
be the same as organic cells which generate themselves naturally.


> Clearly you believe that organic chemistry has something that computer 
> chips lack; 

Clearly you believe that there is nothing that a ham sandwich has that a 
bag of sand lacks.

> 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.    

No, it is not the same thing in any way. I am specifically saying that 
there are no forces or fields in the universe. None. Not literally anyhow. 
No more than there is a force which stops my car at a red light. There is 
only sense: perception and participation on different levels of qualitative 

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

That's like saying 'If soft drinks were just carbonated sugar water with 
drugs in it, they wouldn't have become a  multibillion dollar industry...". 
It's a fallacy and a misrepresentation of my comment. I didn't ever say 
that computers can only 'do trivial stuff', only that their capacity to 
exceed the constraints of their programming is trivial. Computers have 
capacities that far exceed our own, but only in some respects and not 
others. They are good at doing boring repetitive shit that we can't stand 
doing. Why are they good at it? Because they are unbelievably stupid. They 
will compute Pi to the last digit until they corrode just because someone 
accidentally pressed the enter key. Dumb. Not sentient. No awareness. They 
don't care, they don't feel, they don't understand...anything at all. Those 
are things that we are (supposedly) good at.
> >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.  

You are missing my point entirely. It is no trick to make Elvis from a 
machine which has the correct initial conditions to make Elvis. The point 
is that no amount of GoL transitions strung together will ever become 
anything other than what it is - recursively enumerated digits. There is 
nothing to generate any qualities other than that in the machine or the 
program - any patterns which we project on this data; 'gliders', 'cells', 
whatever, are nothing but simulacra...the projections of our own psyche.

> > 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.

That is your completely unsupported prejudice. The legal system of every 
human group that has ever persisted on Earth would disagree. The opposite 
of automatic, according to them, is voluntary or intentional. Welcome to 
planet Earth, where there are things we like to call living organisms who 
are able to do things 'on purpose' rather than randomly or unconsciously.


>   John K Clark

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