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View Diary: Does technology have a "life of it's own" or are we in control? (72 comments)

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  •  this is kind of getting ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

    Turing quietly admitted that what is not computable?

    There was nothing quiet about his work on computability.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    This looks like one of those rants that use scientific sounding words without really referring to anything.

    •  Turing wrote about non computability (0+ / 0-)

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:43:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also this book spells it out in great detail (0+ / 0-)

      More Than Life Itself: A Synthetic Continuation in Relational Biology (Categories)

      A. H. Louie's More Than Life Itself is an exploratory journey in relational biology, a study of life in terms of the organization of entailment relations in living systems. This book represents a synergy of the mathematical theories of categories, lattices, and modelling, and the result is a synthetic biology that provides a characterization of life. Biology extends physics. Life is not a specialization of mechanism, but an expansive generalization of it. Organisms and machines share some common features, but organisms are not machines. Life is defined by a relational closure that places it beyond the reach of physicochemical and mechanistic dogma, outside the reductionistic universe, and into the realm of impredicativity. Function dictates structure. Complexity brings forth living beings.
      and try this:
      Impredicativity
      The vicious circle principle was suggested by Henri Poincaré (1905-6, 1908)[2] and Bertrand Russell in the wake of the paradoxes as a requirement on legitimate set specifications. Sets which do not meet the requirement are called impredicative.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:52:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no I get that part (0+ / 0-)

        I just don't get the claim about science or logic rejecting any of that.

        •  I guess you are unaware of the reason (0+ / 0-)

          why Louie had to write his book.   I have spent a lot of time and energy at scientific meetings trying to break through to people on this.  I have had some interesting conversations with Nobel physicists who just won't accept anything impredicative as real.  The whole AI and A Life sections of science are in that camp as well.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:28:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose I still don't get (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky

            Where it crosses into realm of 'reality' -- or science? That is,  impredicativity is a property of some formal systems (blabla Russel blabla Godel). True, science is [partly] modeling real phenomena with constructed systems but who's to say that some formal models would not come in useful for modeling even if they do not make intuitive sense. Hell, probability and quantum theory make no 'intuitive' sense.

            Am I completely off the point? :)

            •  No not completely. You leave out too much. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              debedb

              Complexity theory came into being against hard opposition.  This was unfortunate because it delayed progress.  No one has condemned the formal models.  What we have struggled against is their proponents insistence that they have the ONLY way to do science.  That has caused great harm.

              An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:41:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The difficulty in finding good collective (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                debedb, don mikulecky

                variables is a significant element in why complex systems are so hard to study.

                The above is an important element as to why the philosophical biases physicists have occasionally hinder their own success in addressing complex systems.  For instance, physicists love power laws and universality ... both being calling cards of criticality and emergence (a la phase transitions and critical phenomena).  The notion of universality leads physicists to truly believe that details don't matter.  However, what many neglect to notice is that only details that related to particular coarse-graining operations do not matter.

                Some colleagues of mine attempted to do statistical mechanical models of recombination in microbes.  Their initial prejudices were that most details wouldn't matter.  As it turned out, they ended up being surprised when details that they initially assumed would be unimportant turned out to be of central importance.  Specifically, they found that 1-sided versus 2-sided homology requirements of recombination systems make a huge difference in patterns formed by mutation.  Had they not been such careful scientists and not heeded the advice of their biologist colleagues, their work would have gone nowhere.

                I bring up coarse-graining because this is another way to understand what Don has been referring to when speaking about causality and causal-loops.  Specifically, causal-loops occur when a model has no dependence on coarse-grained details.  For those who have some familiarity with Rosen's work, this is equivalent to having everything within a model be entailed by something else within the model.  The resulting category-theoretic diagrams one draws then inherent then have "loops."

                Anyhow, one problem with the claims that canonical science doesn't already allow for such loops, is that mathematics of quantum mechanics already has such loops.  I must qualify this statement by saying that the everything is adequately entailed in quantum mechanics other than the number field that all the functionals map to.  This would imply, by Rosen's own thesis, that quantum mechanics is adequate to describe life.  The problem however is that quantum mechanics also suffers from the curse of dimensionality.  Thus, even though it may provide an adequate formal framework, it is limited as modeling framework.  Thus, were are still forced to return to Rosen's relational models.

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