Hi William R. Buckley 

Living things extract energy from entropy.
That's also a simple definition of vitalism.

If anyone here knows a computer or computer program
that can do that, the energy problem is solved and we will get rich.
We'll create some energy to run the country from
the waste dumps or even out of the sea.


Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
8/30/2012 
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him so everything 
could function."
----- Receiving the following content ----- 
From: William R. Buckley 
Receiver: everything-list 
Time: 2012-08-30, 12:20:32
Subject: RE: Two reasons why computers IMHO cannot exhibit intelligence



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.


They certainly won抰 be the same but, how will they differ?  Do you claim that 
such a non-biological cell will not be able to perform each and every action 
that is performed by a biological cell?  If you do make such claim, on what 
basis, what justification do you make that claim?

 
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 depth.

> 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.

This is a problematic statement.  Consider Myhill抯 work on constructor 
machines, where their abilities to construct is unbounded.  Each machine is 
able to construct 
a machine having just slightly greater construction capacity, ad infinitum.  
See the paper The Abstract Theory of Self-Reproduction as presented in Burks 
collection Essays on Cellular Automata, U of Illinois Press, 1970.

>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.

Thus my interest in constructing machines, not just Turing machines.  
Biological organisms are at root built on the backs of constructing machines.

 

> 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.
It might actually take a program to get random; random not necessarily opposite 
of automatic.
wrb

Craig

  John K Clark



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