Friday, April 9, 2010

Reply to comment from Rich

"The real problem for tgpeeler is conflating abiogenesis with evolution."

Hi Rick, actually, I don't think so. Evolution cannot get going without life and the naturalist explanation of life (abiogenesis) is the one a true proponent of evolution must agree to so the argument applies equally well. It really doesn't matter if I'm talking about the origination of the information of life or any changes to that information after life began. The central issue remains information. And you can't get to information apart from mind. Physics cannot get you from quarks, leptons, and forces to English, Greek, mathematics, COBOL, or whatever. Or, as I would argue, in the case of the language of life, Mind.


CBD said...

Hi - I read your post on UD

... that's a brilliant argument. Thanks.

CBD said...

Could you answer this objection (here or on a new post)?

Language can be reduced to physics because:
Meaning in language is merely the result of computational minds having the same dictionaries (that they built up by evolution). Symbols represent objects and that matching pattern is stored in the brain. So, the symbols "CAT" match the stored definition and thus "mammal", "purr", etc.

Tom said...

CBD, first of all, thanks for your kind comment. Now for the objection.

Language cannot be reduced to physics because ALL languages must have symbols and rules for organizing those symbols. That is simply the definition of a language. Meaning is an entirely different phenomenon which is also unrelated to physics. It is true that symbols represent other things (objects) and that my recognition of them involves some kind of pattern recognition or matching but that is a long way from understanding why "cat" means ANYTHING in the first place. The laws of physics deal with the material world, sub-atomic particles in energy fields. The symbols and rules of language are abstract. We encode them in various physical substrates but they are abstract. So how could physics, a science of the material world, account for language and information, which occupy the immaterial world? Does this get at the objection? Thanks again.

CBD said...

Sorry for long delay on my reply here, but "Yes" - that's a great answer. There is no such thing as "meaning" in a world where there is only physics. As someone else explained, it would be like living in a world of complete darkness where light has never existed, and finding people explaining that "we don't have any light". It's totally absurd -- and that's Darwinism.