Re: Beam me up, Scotty

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 02:05:08 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: Beam me up, ScottyDate: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 09:45:52 -0800
    >From: Joe Dees
    >> >I've never suggested that form (morphe) is beamed into our heads. My
    >> >claim is that memory is a property of nature. What distinguishes life
    >> >from, say, books and computers, is that living things possess natural
    >> >memory-- the retention of the past-- while books and computers rely on
    >> >storage of material configurations.
    >> >
    >> How droll. And disingenuous. The manner in which our brains store
    >information (in configurations of dendrite-and-axon-connected neurons)IS
    >natural; it naturally evolved.
    >Mechanism confuses the distinction between nature and artifice by claiming that mechanical objects evolved naturally. While our brains did indeed evolve through natural selection, it would be the most astonishing coincidence if they just happened to develop into essentially the same device designed and manufactured by human intelligence. The idea that brains are computers-- with artificial memory and logic-- is crude, anthropic projection.
    Of course, we made computers to operate like their intentional model, the human brain. It's not that brains are computers, it's that computers are modeled after brains (and imperfectly). But one thing that people who built computers got right is the fact that brains store knowledge and memories, so they intentionally built an analogue into computers for the naturally evolved ability of human brains to store memories and knowledge in neuronal-axonal-dendritic-synaptic configurations.
    >> >Elsasser realized that organisms would have no way
    >> >of knowing how to develop from the egg without some kind of "holistic
    >> >memory." As a physicist, he rejected the notion that DNA could
    >> >somehow set in motion a purely physical process of development. He
    >> >based his reasoning on the fact that physical systems can be
    >> >understood according to fairly simple calculations, whereas biological
    >> >systems are "transcomputational."
    >> >
    >> So he was a physicist, ayy? That explain a lot, like, why he was unable
    >to understand the idea of informational encoding in DNA like any reasonable
    >biologist can.
    >Biologists make no effort to untangle the physical chain of cause-and-effect by which DNA allegedly builds bodies. They simply place the question in a "black box" and assume that someone will work out the details later.
    Biologists understand them imperfectly, but they are trying to do so, and succeeding to some degree; otherwise we would not have the genetic engineering that makes monkeys bioluminesce with jellyfish cells and makes goats that produce spiderweb protein in their milk.
    >asser took a look at the problem and declared it insoluble. Organic processes are vastly more complex than anything that could ever be described according to known physical principles. For example, the possible gene combinations in the formation of penicillin in a mold is 10 to the 300th power. By contrast, the number of particles in the universe is a mere 10 to the 80th power. And this is a single-celled haploid organism. The "supercomplexity" of organisms, all the way back to prokaryotes, renders them opaque to physical analysis. We cannot comprehend bodies the way we comprehend machines or solar systems or even complex gases. The assumption that organisms are machines can never be verified. It is now and shall always remain scientifically meaningless. See: Walter Elsasser, Reflections on a Theory of Organisms, Johns
    >Hopkins University Press, 1987/1998
    Organisms are not the same as machines, which are intentionally created by a reflective self-consciousness for specific purposes. However, we are able to understand much about organisms, and more with each passing day, and act upon it. The complexity of organisms just means that this will take a while. Of course, there is no need to try understanding machines, for we built them according to engineered understandings, and thus already do understand them.
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