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#201 Adam Nagy

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:59 PM

I feel quite suspicious right out of the gate. My experience tells me that the announcing of such ahead of time -- as profound and compelling -- signals an attempt to sell me something that is anything but compelling. If it's profound and compelling it's not hard to sell, by definition, like expecting the sun to rise tomorrow.

So, you've been asking me questions, and I've been answering. Now tell me: what is this "profound and compelling" evidence of which you speak, and what does it compel one toward?

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Hold your horses. While I would love to see you saved and I am intent on sharing the gospel with anyone God leads me to. I would like to get after some core issues first, if that's okay?

I'm just letting you know that people and intelligent people who have struggled through these issues also found it compelling. I'm not saying anything about you. I'm stating a fact. Do you disagree that many thoughtful people are greatly compelled by Jesus of Nazerath?

Basically, while some scoff at the notion of God and the evidence around Jesus others search and find the revelation of God as revealed in scripture, the condition of their own hearts and the sign posts for God around us, as more valid and conclusive than the very laws that govern nature.

I don't want to debate particulars with you yet because I think we would get lost in a sea of confusion but I would like to know what your epistemological foundation is and if it is sound and capable of withstanding scrutiny. Are you game?

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 07:16 PM

Hold your horses. While I would love to see you saved and I am intent on sharing the gospel with anyone God leads me to. I would like to get after some core issues first, if that's okay?

Sure, that's fine.

I'm just letting you know that people and intelligent people who have struggled through these issues also found it compelling. I'm not saying anything about you. I'm stating a fact. Do you disagree that many thoughtful people are greatly compelled by Jesus of Nazerath?

Yes, of course. I was a Christian myself for 30-some years. I know many thoughtful people who are so compelled.

Basically, while some scoff at the notion of God and the evidence around Jesus others search and find the revelation of God as revealed in scripture, the condition of their own hearts and the sign posts for God around us, as more valid and conclusive than the very laws that govern nature.

I don't think it's something to scoff at. But you allude to the fundamental watershed here -- hearts, desires, subjective dispositions. These lead to very different "axioms" and intutions.

I don't want to debate particulars with you yet because I think we would get lost in a sea of confusion but I would like to know what your epistemological foundation is and if it is sound and capable of withstanding scrutiny. Are you game?

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Sure. that's why I'm here, so long as you'll stand to scrutiny yourself.

-TS

#203 Adam Nagy

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 07:40 PM

I don't think it's something to scoff at. But you allude to the fundamental watershed here -- hearts, desires, subjective dispositions. These lead to very different "axioms" and intutions.

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Since I'm a Christian I'm sure you're amply aware of my axioms. Here is a thread I started to see if a materialistic epistemology can stand up:

http://www.evolution...?showtopic=2241

#204 Yorzhik

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:46 AM

Sure, that's fine.

Yes, of course. I was a Christian myself for 30-some years. I know many thoughtful people who are so compelled.

I don't think it's something to scoff at. But you allude to the fundamental watershed here -- hearts, desires, subjective dispositions. These lead to very different "axioms" and intutions.

Sure. that's why I'm here, so long as you'll stand to scrutiny yourself.

-TS

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Don't mean derail things too much... this is just a minor aside.

I'm just curious. I ask this of any former Christian and there is no right or wrong answer, and this is not a scientific survey.

Did you believe that God was "Omniscient" when you were a Christian in that He knew everything past/present/future exhaustively? -OR- Did you believe that God had a plan for life in that all the good and especially the bad things that happened were a part of that plan?

#205 Yorzhik

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:18 AM

Diving headlong into that semantic trap is almost the entire procedure behind the production of standard evolutionist arguments regarding information. And just as predicted, the complaints against Gitt's work all boil down to "it isn't the same as Shannon's".

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Since Shannon information is eminently measurable, I think it's fine to stay in that realm. That's not to take away from Gitt's work, but it just shows that evolutionists are wrong and we beat them on our ground or their ground.

#206 CTD

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:24 AM

Shannon discovered, or maybe I should say "rediscovered", a basic mathematical relationship from statistical mechanics in the application of symbolic communications. But like many discoveries, Shannon's model is generally applicable, and not restricted to "telecom". It's a statistical model for symbol streams, and anywhere you can identify discrete symbols, you can apply Shannon math. If that's not clear, maybe it helps to look at Boltzmann's formula for thermodynamic entropy:

    S = k ln W

Where S is the entropy of an isolated system, k is the Boltzmann constant,  and W is the ensemble of mircostates for the system. That's Shannon entropy, just applied to thermodynamics. Maxwell and Boltzmann worked out the application of the relationship in thermodynamics well before Shannon arrived on the scene, but Shannon, although working on a communications problem, ended up with a general mathematical model that found Boltzmann's formula to be just a specific application of the general mathematical principle.

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And how much of the entropy involved in transmission of Shannon information is directly attributable to the openness of the system? Or maybe it's be easier to ask "how much isn't?"

All of which to say, one can grouse as necessary about Shannon information's eschewing of any notion of semants or "meaning", but as a mathematical model to apply to the real world, it's very useful, generally useful, and in fact has the field of statistical mechanics to point to as evidence of this (among others).

To say that meaning is meaningless is to contradict oneself. Meaning is simply something Shannon's system does not take into account. Transmission, from an engineering standpoint, does not appear to be impacted by content.

Transmission errors are common and a persistent problem in digital networks, too. If you run WireShark or some similar tool on your computer and watch for ethernet frame errors, you will see them pile up as you work, among a bunch of other errors. Lots of what you see "working" is working only after an error occurred and a retry attempt was made. Analog effects contribute to this, of course (faulty ethernet cabling, for example), but there's any number of ways "digital errors" will interfere with the purity of transmissions on digital networks.

Not much escaping entropy, and the more open the system, the worse the problem gets. I think we cannot help but dismiss the idea that opening a system would confer immunity.

Right.

That's not the assumption at work here, as I addressed above. Shannon was working on communications and "over-the-wire" transmission problems, but that was just the local context for a much more general discovery. Shannon information maths can be applied to any set of symbols that have probabilistic instantiation of symbols from a phase space. Do you suppose statistical mechanics is "all about transmission"?

Rolf Landuaer's insight at IBM, after making a career out of working with Shannon theory and thermodynamic entropy, declared that "information is physical", as a result of developing what is now known as "Landuaer's Principle", that the irreversible destruction of information -- the erasure of a bit, for example -- requires a corresponding increase in entropy. The implications of Landauer's Principle are far reaching (hence his observation that "information is physical"); where you have matter and/or energy, you have information, and Shannon's math provides a model for assessing and describing the statistical features and configurations of that information.

Information is not physical. That's one of the first things one finds out about it. Being subject to loss actually proves this, for the physical is not generally thought to be subject to destruction or creation by mankind. Information is easily created although it can be more difficult to exterminate than any weed once it spreads a little.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 10:54 AM

Don't mean derail things too much... this is just a minor aside.

I'm just curious. I ask this of any former Christian and there is no right or wrong answer, and this is not a scientific survey.

Did you believe that God was "Omniscient" when you were a Christian in that He knew everything past/present/future exhaustively? -OR- Did you believe that God had a plan for life in that all the good and especially the bad things that happened were a part of that plan?

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Hi Yorzhik, My views changed somewhat from the Fundamentalist Baptist beliefs of my upbringing, which where much more "exhaustive" (and Calvinist, although that's not the term I woud have used back then), to a long term embrace of "middle knowledge", the Molinist view God's knowledge. I dug around a lot in the developing discussion of Open Theism, but while that had some attractive solutions to hard problems for Molinist (or Calvinist) views, it was never robust enough, or clean enough exegetically to consider as a serious contender. It was a "path to a better theodicy", and not much more, so far as I could see (see Greg Boyd's work, for example).

But anyway, I think "Molinist" is the answer you are looking for.

-TS

#208 Yorzhik

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:17 AM

Shannon presents a huge problem for evolutionists for a number of reasons. One is that the uncertainty, or better, the lack of uncertainty (which is what information is) can only be defined in the context of meaning between the sender and receiver. However, the sender and receiver systems, especially in evolution as anywhere else, are disparate systems, and a change in one does NOT change the other. A change in one, in fact, breaks communication barring a wacky lucky change that also happens to "tune" the receiver as the sender is changed at the same time.

But the situation is worse than that for evolution because living systems reproduce by definition. And by reproducing, I mean not only the organism as a whole, but all the subsystems regenerating and growing throughout the life of the organism. Going forward, a change in the sender will be treated as noise to the receiver. Fine. BUT, the receiver requires as clear communication as possible because it is creating the next generation of the sending system.

Thus, meaning is implied in Shannon, and affects evolution completely.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 01:37 PM

Thus, meaning is implied in Shannon, and affects evolution completely.

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The sending of a message implies meaning. Shannon demonstrates the inevitable replacement of meaningful with gibberish, although Shannon does not strictly require the original to have meaning.

Now gibberish still constitutes "information" under Shannon, and will be sent again, next time around. Gibberish will accumulate. Evolutionism assumes gibberish is desirable, and this is how they interpret Shannon as supporting them. Once again, something which is not applied in everyday life.

There is also a degree of arbitrariness in the process, which hasn't been eliminated by the math. What is "predictable" or "surprising" will vary from person to person. 1001110 may or may not surprise me. Am I expecting 1001010? If so, why? Indeed, if I'm like Seti, listening to the cosmos, I'm likely to expect gibberish and be surprised if I get "Hello Earthman". (Unless I'm a pretty fanatical true believer, that is.)

#210 Adam Nagy

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 02:03 PM

Indeed, if I'm like Seti, listening to the cosmos, I'm likely to expect gibberish and be surprised if I get "Hello Earthman". (Unless I'm a pretty fanatical true believer, that is.)

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I wonder if anybody played any jokes like that during the SETI program? :unsure: They had to play jokes. It would have been so boring sifting through a bunch of noise.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 03:36 PM

The sending of a message implies meaning.

Yes, as a tautology. This is like saying "bachelor" implies "unmarried". What is at issue is what represents a transmission, a code between the endpoints and the identity attributes of the sender/receiver. These are the resources needed to invest "meaning" in a message.

Shannon demonstrates the inevitable replacement of meaningful with gibberish, although Shannon does not strictly require the original to have meaning.

Does not strictly require? He disavows any treatment of at all. Shannon info is completely agnostic with respect to meaning. It's a statistical model based on the symbols used (potentially) to convey meaning.

Now gibberish still constitutes "information" under Shannon, and will be sent again, next time around. Gibberish will accumulate. Evolutionism assumes gibberish is desirable, and this is how they interpret Shannon as supporting them. Once again, something which is not applied in everyday life.

How's that? "Gibberish" as desirable, according to the theory? Can you point me to something that substantiates that? Selection tends to weed out any information that is a) important to the organism and :unsure: detrimental to its ability to survive and propagate in the environment. If by "gibberish", you mean variations or mutations which do not confer propagation advantages, then MET understands the environment to a rather merciless and fastidious remover of "gibberish". If you don't mean variations that are inert or deleterious, I can't think of what you mean, here.

There is also a degree of arbitrariness in the process, which hasn't been eliminated by the math. What is "predictable" or "surprising" will vary from person to person. 1001110 may or may not surprise me. Am I expecting 1001010? If so, why?

The asking of that question should suggest to you that you misunderstand the theory, the model. I see Yorzhik is thinking the same lines, so for both of you, "predictable" and "surprising" in the Shannon model have NOTHING to do with "human surpise" or "human expectation". These are terms used to indicate probabilistic outcomes. Per Shannon, information entropy is the "reduction of uncertainty" or the "degree of surprise", which is just a way of stating that unlikely events reveal more information than unlikely events..

Indeed, if I'm like Seti, listening to the cosmos, I'm likely to expect gibberish and be surprised if I get "Hello Earthman". (Unless I'm a pretty fanatical true believer, that is.)

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I think Shannon is cursing from beyond the grave just now.

-TS

#212 Yorzhik

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 05:22 PM

Hi Yorzhik, My views changed somewhat from the Fundamentalist Baptist beliefs of my upbringing, which where much more "exhaustive" (and Calvinist, although that's not the term I woud have used back then), to a long term embrace of "middle knowledge", the Molinist view God's knowledge. I dug around a lot in the developing discussion of Open Theism, but while that had some attractive solutions to hard problems for Molinist (or Calvinist) views, it was never robust enough, or clean enough exegetically to consider as a serious contender. It was a "path to a better theodicy", and not much more, so far as I could see (see Greg Boyd's work, for example).

But anyway, I think "Molinist" is the answer you are looking for.

-TS

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OK. Thanks.

#213 CTD

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:33 PM

There is also a degree of arbitrariness in the process, which hasn't been eliminated by the math. What is "predictable" or "surprising" will vary from person to person. 1001110 may or may not surprise me. Am I expecting 1001010? If so, why? Indeed, if I'm like Seti, listening to the cosmos, I'm likely to expect gibberish and be surprised if I get "Hello Earthman". (Unless I'm a pretty fanatical true believer, that is.)

The asking of that question should suggest to you that you misunderstand the theory, the model. I see Yorzhik is thinking the same lines, so for both of you, "predictable" and "surprising" in the Shannon model have NOTHING to do with "human surpise" or "human expectation". These are terms used to indicate probabilistic outcomes. Per Shannon, information entropy is the "reduction of uncertainty" or the "degree of surprise", which is just a way of stating that unlikely events reveal more information than unlikely events..

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Well, the equipment certainly isn't going to be surprised, now is it? When Shannon's procedures are used to compare that which is sent to that which is received, they may be objective. When they're used to assign "values" and "probabilities" to messages, they introduce an arbitrary element. Without assuming a context, there is no possible way to say one message is more probable than another (or more surprising or anything of the sort, since you like to use different terms). No known set of assumptions can cover all contexts.

I think Shannon is cursing from beyond the grave just now.
-TS

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Oh? Was he an evomonger? He isn't now, even if he used to be.

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:42 PM

How's that? "Gibberish" as desirable, according to the theory? Can you point me to something that substantiates that?

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Who said anything about a theory? Can you point me to one?

Nobody else has.

#215 Yorzhik

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:02 AM

Shannon info is completely agnostic with respect to meaning. It's a statistical model based on the symbols used (potentially) to convey meaning.

No. Adding noise does not add information. Read Weaver's quote.

How's that? "Gibberish" as desirable, according to the theory?

Yes. Noise (random mutations) are required for the theory. In the context of a message, noise is called "gibberish". You should have been smart enough to understand what was alluded to.

I see Yorzhik is thinking the same lines, so for both of you, "predictable" and "surprising" in the Shannon model have NOTHING to do with "human surpise" or "human expectation". These are terms used to indicate probabilistic outcomes. Per Shannon, information entropy is the "reduction of uncertainty" or the "degree of surprise", which is just a way of stating that unlikely events reveal more information than unlikely events..

I used it correctly.

How do you explain senders and receivers changing, continually, at the same time to be able to communicate with each other? The luck of random mutation?




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