News Briefs 23-05-07

Plenty of stuff to be debating today. Post your thoughts.

Quote of the Day:

Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory is too good.

Friedrich Nietzsche

  1. Consciousness
    Ok, I read the whole comment on the book.

    If the comment is correct, the book author (Galen Strawson) proposes that there is no such thing as emergence. That is, complex behaviour cannot arise from simple components, unless the complex behaviour is embedded, pre-programmed, or somehow inherent in the simple components.

    To illustrate that Strawson’s proposal that there is no emergence is just plain silly, I give you 2 examples:

    Conway’s Game of Life and


    Most people feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    1. Another or many unknown dimensions
      Dear earthling,

      What if it is somewhere between both schools of thought. That there are variables on emergence. That, (how can I simplify this?) all the components are there in states exclusive to it, then when the combination of the components in another state, there is an emergence of something different or a higher product. In other words, it’s there, always was and always is. That part is the “no emergence” stance. The other side is that X produces Y there are qualities inherent in X to produce Y.

      My stance is that X is a stand alone component, neither aware nor unaware but simply is. The variable would be the causitive agent to produce Y.

      (Anyone may feel free to shoot me down on this. This is basically me thinking on the possibility of other fields of existance, parameters we are not yet aware of that have influence upon matter yet not known. The not factoring in “beyond 3 dimensional thinking” that has us bogged down. We have not yet factored in another part of the equation as we simply are not aware of it.)

      So, in essence we have just part of the problem and just part of the equation. We have yet to factor in all of the variables nor even a part of them. These variables skew the results in a myriad of ways. Infinite ways.

      I’ll just shut up now, since I probably should not even be making a comment regarding this. Here is a link to read.
      Love, Pam —————————–Truth is stranger than fiction.

    2. Emergence
      Is not the game of life programmed to control the whole environment and the laws?

      Surely, each pixel would not know that there were greater rules that had conditioned every aspect of each pixel’s, or cell’s appearance and behavior.

      The game of life did not spontaneously appear in a computer memory and self execute.

      See what I mean?

      1. for both Pam and Richard
        To show that emergence can happen we need only 1 example. We don’t need a philosophical debate to show that it is possible.

        If there is one single example, then clearly it can happen.

        As for the game of life, being programmed for all possibilities – emphatically no it is not.

        There are only a few simple rules, and there is nothing in those rules to predict all the interesting patterns that arise. Neither did the inventor of that game, an ordinary human, have in mind all the patters that come from those rules.

        I recommend a study of cellular automata, it is actually quite a simple concept.

        My simple point is that it is very obvious that emergence happens. Philosophy or no philosophy, it is a clear and present fact. Whether we understand why it happens is a seperate matter.

        The philosophical argument, “I don’t understand it, therefore it must not be there” is just plain silly.

        Most people feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

        1. Sorry Earthling
          I don’t see what is your point at all.

          The game of life is a program. It is not relevant that you can’t predict what it will generate, it still is a program. That program was created and did not spontaneously poof into existence. It does not generate anything that is outside of the rules of the program.

          I am not sure what the point is with the anthills.

          There is nothing philosophical about what I was saying but I don’t feel like arguing about it.

          You are probably right and I probably simply am not following your train of thoughts properly here.

          1. yes
            yes you don’t follow what I am saying

            The point is that complex behaviour can, and does, arise from simple parts. When those simple parts have nothing in them that can make the simple parts behave in more complex ways.

            Ants are stupid, anthills have some intelligence.

            The game of life program has no pre-programmed patterns. The patters arise from the interactions, and those interactions are not built in to create the complex behaviours.

            I know that you are an intelligent person, I just reommend that you study some simple automata theory. It is not magic, just pretty straightforward mathematics.

            You don’t need a computer to lay Conways Game of Life. And computer programs are not magic.

            Life is a sexually transmitted disease with 100% mortality.

  2. Nietsche
    Like many engineering types, I have invented many many things. But few things I invented the first time. Someone else had thought of it before. Sometimes centuries before I thought of it.

    But that should not stop us.

    I also disagree with the Dead, that Nietsche is God. He was just a guy 🙂

    Most people feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  3. Excellent article
    Jameske I really liked the article on accidental plagiarism.It is too true, how much of what anyone says hasn’t already done the rounds.
    At a personal level, that is, not in poetry, we talk in cliches and write words that have already been used in the same way for ever.


    1. Nothing New
      I’ve studied storytelling and write short stories by the dozen and I can tell you it is almost impossible to write fiction without inadvertantly copying someone. Originality is really the way you put the things that have been done before together, and the variation of patterns you can think up.
      I think a similar thing happens with emergence, by the way.

      Sin is what you’ve done once you’ve been caught.

      Anthony North

      1. nothing new
        Indeed, try to tell a story about a hero and his quest, without copying the Gilgamesh epic.

        Most people feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

        1. Earthling – sorry to disagree with you
          Ants are some of the smartest creatures around. You should study them more. Their behaviour is actually quite fascinating, and much can be learned from them. Maybe we have an advantage in Oz as we have nearly 4000 different varieties of ants, all with different behaviour patterns.

          Regards, Kathrinn

          1. ants
            Ok Kathrinn, I am assuming you responded to my comments about ants and anthills. As opposed to my comments about Gilgamesh.

            My understanding is that individual ants are really stupid, but anthills show some purposeful behavior.

            My point is that there is indeed emergent behavior. The individual ant does not know what it is doing for the bigger purpose of the anthill. But the anthill still executes larger scale behavior, well above what an individual ant knows.

            So we can see some examples where intelligence is gained, as we get to larger levels of organization.

            But I think we can also see that intelligence can be lost as we go to larger levels.

            Do cities composed of thinking humans really act like thinking beings?

            Do universities, as collections of highly educated people, really act as highly educated organizations?

            Back to the first points, no I really don’t believe ants have any smartness worth mentioning. They will show the same behaviour to the same stimulus, no matter what.

            But an anthill is another matter.

            Life is a sexually transmitted disease with 100% mortality.

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