Re: transmission

Date: Wed 21 May 2003 - 23:11:57 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: transmission"

    > on 5/19/03 2:13 PM, at
    > wrote:
    > > . . . word strings can be
    > > unique. If Jack wrote down on a piece of paper, or simply said
    > > (same example, different action encoding mode and recipient
    > > perceptual path) "I love you and want to marry you, Jill, and your
    > > father, holding what I hope and pray will be our engagement ring, is
    > > waiting to board the bus at the next stop. When he gets on, will
    > > you grant me the supreme honor of agreeing to be my wife?", the
    > > chances that that particular message (sign string) had ever been
    > > presented to her before, or that she had made that association on
    > > her own, is practically nil. As it is with many sentences that
    > > occur in common text or discourse. Definitely, information has been
    > > transmitted and received.
    > All you've done is taken an example of a fairly ordinary conversation
    > and said "that's information transmission." You don't really know how
    > it happens, but you want to talk about it as transmission and, I
    > assume, replication, and mutation and all that good stuff that's
    > fairly well-understood in biology. Well, you can do that, but the
    > fact that the biologists understand what they're talking about doesn't
    > change the fact that linguists and philosophers and psychologists
    > don't understand Jack's proposal & Jill's response in any satisfying
    > detail. I can't explain what's going on there, Noam Chomsky can't,
    > Steven Pinker can't, Terrance Deacon can't, nor can anyone else that I
    > know of.
    > Applying a biological analogy to human culture and communication does
    > not magically transfer biology's explanatory efficacy to psychology.
    > It gives the illusion of understanding but not the power. It's a con.
    We DO know that information that Jack had that Jill did not have was transferred from jack to Jill. We know the semiotics and the genetic epistemology of the sigh-referent associations, and we know the power of language to allow these referents to be intentionally arranged in novel and meaningful strings which are coded in a commonly understood language. If that is not information transmission, then it does not exist, and you are simply indulging in a solipsistic dream when you type your objections to your alter ego. The 'how' is basically known, requiring only fine-tuning, as is the 'where' (the temporal lobes and association cortex and the mouth-ear nexus (hijacked by a second- order mutation, according to Philip Lieberman, from the hand-eye coordination system), including Broca's and Wernicke's areas and their connection via the arcuate fasciculus; the 'what' is rationally indisputable.
    > ==============
    > So, explain to me, step-by-step, how the transmission takes place,
    > from Jack's brain to Jill's. At each step demonstrate that the
    > process of transmission is like that involved when, for example, we
    > scan a photograph into a computer file, or when we transmit that file
    > from one computer to another and then reproduce the image in a
    > recognizable, if not exact, form. You might, for example, decide the
    > process has these steps:
    > 1. Idea in Jack's head > words in Jack's head.
    > 2. Words in Jack's head > words written on paper.
    > 3. Paper in Jack's hand > paper in Jill's hand.
    > 4. Words written on paper > to words in Jill's head.
    > 5. Words in Jill's head > idea in Jill's head.
    > I'll concede step three. You can propose a different set of steps if
    > you wish, though you'll have to give reasons for it. But you cannot
    > propose a different sense of transmission. The sense of transmission
    > that I specified is one that we understand in a very rich way. And
    > that's what I'm after, understanding.
    > You might want to begin by providing an account of the photographic
    > example. Then you could augment and modify it to cover the human
    > example, thus:
    > 1. photograph > computer file.
    > 2. file in computer A > file in computer B.
    > 3. computer file > printed image.
    > ===============
    > FWIW, I plan to make one more major post in my current interruption of
    > normal activities on this list -- a reply to Keith's post about the
    > before and after images of a brain that's learned a phone number.
    > After that I'm pretty much out of here for awhile. I may make a few
    > minor posts here and there, though a really splendid post might make
    > me change my mind.
    > --
    > William L. Benzon
    > 708 Jersey Avenue, Apt. 2A
    > Jersey City, NJ 07302
    > 201 217-1010
    > "You won't get a wild heroic ride to heaven on pretty little
    > sounds."--George Ives
    > Mind-Culture Coevolution:
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    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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