Re: A Confusing Example

From: Dace (
Date: Sun Jan 27 2002 - 20:23:43 GMT

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    Subject: Re: A Confusing Example
    Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 12:23:43 -0800
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    > >> >> The dynamically recursive mind that emerges from the complex
    > >> >> material substrate brain experiences and acts.
    > >> >
    > >> >Joe,
    > >> >
    > >> >Water is a property that emerges, quite surprisingly, from the
    > >> >agglomeration of H2O molecules. This would be a nice example
    > >> >of emergent property. So, does water somehow reach back into
    > >> >its molecules and influence their configurations? Yet the mind
    > >> >influences the brain. Without this, there would be no possibility of
    > >> >free will.
    > >> >
    > >> There is a difference in complexity that supervenes over several
    > >magnitues; to desceibe your analogy as simplistic would be the
    > >understatement of the millennium.
    > >>>>
    > >It's your analogy, not mine. You're claiming that mentality works
    > >according to the same principle that produces water from H20
    > >molecules. Water isn't even alive. Emergent properties don't tell us
    > >anything about what makes a thing alive, much less intelligent.
    > >
    > Emergent properties are those that do not inhere within an existent system
    until it passes a threshhod of complexity. The nucleic acids could not
    replicate until they united into strings of complex code pairs; when they
    did, they became alive.

    DNA and protein are far too complex to have existed at the beginning of
    life. Check out *Seven Clues to the Origin of Life,* by A. G. Cairns-Smith.
    Most likely, the original organisms were based on clay crystals rather than
    nucleic acids. Later, when the framework was in place, the clay was
    gradually replaced by the more efficient nucleic acids.

    You seem to be suggesting a vitalistic conception of life based around
    complexity. The "elan vital" that animates living things is their
    complexity. Life is a product of molecular complexity, while consciousness
    is a product of neural complexity. If this were true, machines would spring
    to life once we've sufficiently complexified them.

    I'm afraid it's not that simple.


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