On Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 4:52 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> the human genome is at least 700Mb, but yeah it's not a lot.

Let's see, the human genome is about 3 billion base pairs long, there are 4
bases so each base can represent 2 bits and there are 8 bits per byte. That
comes out to 750 meg, so you're right and I was wrong when I said 400 meg.
Maybe there wouldn't be much room to put pop songs onto a CD after  the
human genome was on it after all.

> You can look at what this means in at least two ways though:
> 1) Simple rules generate enormous complexity in the universe.
> or
> 2) Rules are just a tiny part of what the universe is about - it's what
> executes the rules that matters

Both are true because some of the rules, probably most of them, are rules
about what rules to activate and what rules to turn off.

> and experiences.

Those are memories, 750 meg will only get you as you were the day you were
born. Calculating the memory capacity of the brain is more difficult but we
can find a upper limit assuming, as seems very likely, that memory works by
Long Term Potentiation (LTP). There are about 10^11 neurons in the brain
and each neuron has about 10^4 synapses. I have not seen any evidence that
LTP can store more than one bit so that gives us a figure of 10^15 bits or
about 10^14 bytes of storage memory capacity for the human brain. A
3*10^12  byte hard drive cost about $150 and you'd need about 33 of them to
get up to 10^14 and that would cost you about $5000, but the price is
dropping like a rock and next year it will be less than half that.

And this figure of 10^14 is almost certainly a considerable overestimate, I
don't know the true figure but it must be less than that. In the January 28
1994 issue of Science Dan Madison and Erin Schuman found that LTP spreads
out over a large area so you have lots of copies of the same thing.

> so I would say that it really is a view which tainted with reductionist
> ideology.

Tainted? Without reductionist ideology we still be swinging in the trees
and wouldn't even have stone tools.

  John K Clark

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