Re: A Confusing Example

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 07:08:45 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: A Confusing ExampleDate: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 12:23:43 -0800
    >> >> >> 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 threshhold 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.
    This is also the schema suggested by Manfred Eigen in STEPS TOWARD LIFE. The point remains that reproductive capacity, a prime characteristic of life at the species level, itself requires a degree of complexity.
    >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.
    We'd have to complexify them in very specific ways; just any complexity would not do. See THE THEORY OF SELF-REPRODUCING AUTOMATA by John Von Neumann.
    >I'm afraid it's not that simple.
    No, it's complex. And that's the point.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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