On Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 6:52:27 AM UTC-6, telmo_menezes wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 11:43 PM, Lawrence Crowell 
> <goldenfield...@gmail.com <javascript:>> wrote: 
> > It is interesting in some ways. However, it involves speculations on 
> things 
> > we have no knowledge of. 
> > 
> > The idea involves these filters. The one "behind us" involves the 
> barrier to 
> > intelligent life similar to us. There are few examples of brainy animals 
> > similar to us. Cetaceans have large brains and clearly their songs 
> contain 
> > complex information important to them. It is not clear that this is 
> > equivalent to complex thought such as mathematics. The other filter 
> involves 
> > post-ET development where such life is limited by either 
> self-extermination 
> > or the limits of light speed and the unapproachable scale of putative 
> > interstellar flight. 
> > 
> > I suspect planets with complex life above that of prokaryotic-like life 
> are 
> > few in number per galaxy. It is hard to know how even prokaryotic-like 
> life 
> > starts. The ribosome is a complex of RNA with polypeptides, and this 
> thing 
> > is fairly universal. As yet we are not sure how this came about. So it 
> could 
> > be that the life bearing planets are already extremely rare. This would 
> make 
> > planets with complex life most likely very rare, and then up the ladder 
> the 
> > occurrence of intelligent life exceedingly rare. 
> > 
> > The occurrence of life might be a case of what is called hard emergence. 
> > Soft emergence is something like the emergence of chemistry from the 
> quantum 
> > mechanics of atoms. Strong emergence is the occurrence of entirely 
> different 
> > principles, where this is not an established scientific concept. This is 
> of 
> > course a completely unknown territory. How life emerged is one of the 
> great 
> > scientific questions. 
> Are you sure this hard/soft distinction is meaningful? Life is what 
> happens when imperfect self-replicators enter the stage. It is true 
> that this appears to be a very unlikely event, and that how it 
> happened is an open scientific question, but what do you mean by 
> "different principles"? 
> Telmo. 

Hard emergence is where a set of principles spontaneously occur without any 
formal or causal connection with other principles. We are familiar with the 
absorption of Goldstone bosons by gauge bosons that give them a 
longitudinal mode and hence a mass. This would be a case of soft emergence. 
Of course the boundary between hard and soft emergence is hard to know. The 
ribosome is a pretty invariant structure in biology, and it is horribly 
complex. This in some embarrassing way sounds similar to the irreducible 
complexity argument of the creationist camp. As a result there may be a 
sort of intellectual impasse here, and potentially some clearer 
understanding of what is meant by hard emergence might play a role.


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