Design as the Inverse of Cognition

     Several regulars have requested that I put together a short OP and I’ve agreed to do so out of deference to them. Let me be clear from the outset that this is not my preferred course of action. I would rather discuss in a more interactive way so that I can learn from criticism and modify my thoughts as I go along. OPs are a little too final for my tastes.
      I want to emphasize that everything I say here is tentative and is subject to modification or withdraw as feedback is received,
      It’s important to understand that I speak for no one but myself it is likely that my understanding of particular terms and concepts will differ from others with interest in ID. I also want to apologize for the general poor quality of this piece I am terrible at detail and I did not put the effort in I should have due mainly to laziness and lack of desire.
  With that out of the way:
Background
     For the purpose of this discussion I would like to expand upon the work of Phill Mcguire found here  and stipulate that cognition can be seen as lossless data compression in which information is integrated in a non-algorithmic process. The output of this process is a unified coherent whole abstract concept that from here forward I will refer to as a specification/target. Mcguire’s work thus far deals with unified consciousness as a whole but I believe his incites are equally valid when dealing with integrated information as associated with individual concepts.
     I am sure that there are those who will object to the understanding of cognition that I’m using for various reasons but in the interest of brevity I’m treating it an an axiomatic starting point here. If you are unwilling to accept this proviso for the sake of argument perhaps we can discuss it later in another place instead of bogging down this particular discussion.
     From a practical perspective cognition works something like this: in my mind I losslessly integrate information that comprise the defining boundary attributes of a particular target; for instance,”house” has such information as “has four walls”, “waterproof roof”, “home for family”, “warm place to sleep”, as well as various other data integrated into the simple unified “target” of a house that exists in my mind. The process by which I do this can not be described algorithmically. from the outside it is a black box but it yields a specified target output: the concept of “house”.
     Once I have internalize what a house is I can proceed to categorize objects I come across into two groups: those that are houses and those that are not. You might notice the similarity of this notion to the Platonic forms in that the target House is not a physical structure existing somewhere but an abstraction.
Argument
     With that in mind, it seems reasonable to me to posit that the process of design would simply be the inverse of cognition.
    When we design something we begin with a pre-existing specific target in mind and through various means we attempt to decompress it’s information into an approximation of that target. For instance I might start with the target of house and through various means proceed to approximate the specification I have in my mind into a physical object. I might hire a contractor nail and cut boards etc . The fruit of my labor is not a completed house until it matches the original target sufficiently to satisfy me. However, no matter how much effort I put into the approximation, it will never completely match the picture of an ideal house that I see in my mind. This is I believe because of the non-algorithmic nature of the process by which targets originate. Models can never match their specification exactly.
   Another good example of the designing process would be the act of composing a message.
   When I began to write this OP I had an idea of the target concept I wanted to share with the reader and I have proceeded to go about decompressing that information in a way that I hoped that could be understood. If I am successful after some contemplation a target will be present in your mind that is similar to the one that exists in mine. If the communication was perfect the two targets would be identical.
   The bottom line is that each designed object is the result of a process that has at its heart an input that is the result of the non-algorithmic process of cognition (the target). The tee shirt equation would look like this
CSI=NCF
    Complex Specified Information is the result of a noncomputable function. If the core of the design process (CSI) is non-computable then the process in its entirety can not be completely described algorithmically,
    This insight immediately suggests a way to objectively determine if an object is the result of design. Simply put if an algorithmic process can fully explain an object then it is not designed. I think this is a very intuitive conclusion, I would argue that humans are hardwired to tentatively infer design for processes that we can’t fully explain in a step by step manner. The better we can explain an object algorithmically the weaker our design inference becomes. If we can completely explain it in this way then design is ruled out.
     At some point I hope to describe some ways that we can be more objective in our determinations of whether an object/event can be fully explained algorithmically but as there is a lot of ground covered here so I will put it off for a bit. There are also several questions that will need to be addressed before this approach can be justifiably adopted generally such as how comprehensive an explanation must be to rule out design or conversely when we can be confident that no algorithmic explanation is forthcoming.
    If possible I would like to explore these in the future perhaps in the comments section. It will depend on the tenor of feed back I receive.
peace

923 thoughts on “Design as the Inverse of Cognition

  1. fifth:

    I think this thread has just about fulfilled it’s purpose. I came here to see if I could tidy up my thoughts and I have done that.

    Maybe your thoughts are tidier than they were before, though that is by no means obvious to onlookers. Either way, they’re still a mess.

    An off the top of my head review of what has been accomplished here.

    1)I demonstrated that the method works with the OMagain’s strigs.

    No, you didn’t. Before you can conclude that your method works, you need to show that it works significantly better than chance. You haven’t done that by a long shot.

    2) I discovered that critics are apparently not interested in actually testing this sort of thing out for themselves.

    I’d be a lot more interested in testing your method if

    a) you understood the concepts involved,
    b) you had thought things through carefully,
    c) your idea seemed promising, and
    d) you could answer our objections coherently.

    None of those is the case.

    I don’t have the time, desire, or energy to test every crackpot idea that comes along. I’ve thought carefully about what you’ve written and pointed out significant flaws and errors. Why isn’t that enough for you?

    3) I have explored what the definitional stumbling blocks will be If and when I try to put together an actual argument.

    In other words, you’ve discovered that petrushka is right:

    We have spent hundreds of posts trying to untangle idiosyncratic terminology. Fifth asked for constructive feedback, and this is the priority. Learn standard names for things. Do not expect your audience to adapt.

    Calling yourself lazy is not an excuse for being lazy. Get off your ass and learn the standard terminology instead of expecting us to learn yours.

    4) I got a handle on modifications I will need to make to tryout binary strings.

    That should be trivial.

    5) With the help of Patrick I understood a second testable prediction that my method entails.

    But you have no reason to believe that the prediction is correct.

    6) Despite Keiths bluster no deal-breaker objections were presented to make me rethink this approach. In fact for the most part this discussion has given me faith that I’m on the right track

    That speaks more to your naivete and self-deception than it does to the quality of the objections. For example, how does “my method depends on an assumption, and the assumption is false” not constitute a “deal-breaker”?

    7) My prediction that no minds would be changed has been tested and verified.

    Which reflects poorly on your ideas and the way you’ve presented them.

    8) I was concerned that claiming that design was the inverse of cognition would raise objections I’m surprised that none materialized.

    I didn’t see that as a particularly important point. I was more interested in whether your method made sense as a procedure for detecting design. It doesn’t.

  2. Keith said.

    I didn’t see that as a particularly important point.

    I say,

    I find that to be odd given it was the title of the OP

    I repeatedly asked that for the sake of argument we take the papers conclusions that cognition is non computable as axiomatic.

    Instead we spent 900 comments arguing about the the papers conclusions and how they affect a method that was not even mentioned in the OP instead of the argument I actually made there .

    We also spent lots of time arguing about definitions that are important for that method but unrelated to the argument in the OP.

    That is OK. Sometimes what you don’t say is much more important than what you do say.

    The deep connection between cognition and design is really the only new thing that I offer. Everything else in my method are simply noncontroversial concepts applied in slightly different contexts with some math sprinkled in.

    That is why the silence from the critics on that original topic only gives me faith that my approach work in the end.

    peace

  3. fifthmonarchyman: I repeatedly asked that for the sake of argument we take the papers conclusions that cognition is non computable as axiomatic.

    How can we take that as axiomatic, without also taking dualism as axiomatic? And if we are to take dualism as axiomatic, then this thread is just an exercise in navel gazing.

  4. In this case, accepting your axiom is assuming your conclusion. I don’t think you’ve communicated the underlying metaphor of whatever your post is about.

  5. Neil Rickert says.

    How can we take that as axiomatic, without also taking dualism as axiomatic?

    I say,

    Non-algorithmic does not remotely equal “spiritual” as far as I can tell. It’s possible that a purely materiel brain might be able to integrate information in the manner described in the paper it just won’t do it by algorithmic processes.

    petrushka says,

    In this case, accepting your axiom is assuming your conclusion

    Not at all.

    It very possible that cognition is non-algorithmic but that design has no relationship to cognition.

    I think cognition and design are deeply connected but I would definitely need to demonstrate that if my argument was to be accepted. I’ve never seen an ID discussion where the connection was made explicit. I have no Idea if others interested in ID even hold this to be true,

    What I found to be surprising is that none of you guys seemed to bat an eye at the connection at all but simply moved on to other things not even mentioned in the OP.

    I think a lot of the confusion about what I was talking about resulted from not adequately exploring the cognition-design connection when we could have.

    All of this is water under the bridge now. We can’t go back and replay what happened here.

    peace

  6. 900 aimless posts is one of the consequences of not starting with agreement on terms. As for you axioms, I think they are simply wrong.

  7. It also appears you would like to apply deductive reasoning to an unsuitable problem.

  8. petrushka says,

    As for you axioms, I think they are simply wrong.

    I would hope you guys understood what “for the sake of argument” means.
    900 posts seem to say otherwise.

    peace

  9. fifthmonarchyman: We can’t go back and replay what happened here.

    ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.

  10. Alan Fox.

    Nice Heraclitus quote

    I wish I could go back and replay the day they explained how to post Greek fonts here because I’m sure a Hebrew quote translated into English just does not have the same impact.

    but I still can’t resist

    quote:

    All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
    (Ecc 1:7-10)

    end quote:

    peace

  11. fifth:

    We can’t go back and replay what happened here.

    Thank God (so to speak) for that.

  12. fifth,

    Design is a form of cognition, not its inverse.

    I didn’t pursue your “design is the inverse of cognition” idea because a) it’s obviously wrong (see above), and b) I’m far more interested in looking at proposals for detecting design and analyzing them to see if they make sense.

    That is why the silence from the critics on that original topic only gives me faith that my approach work in the end.

    That’s quite naive.

  13. fifthmonarchyman: I would hope you guys understood what “for the sake of argument” means.
    900 posts seem to say otherwise.

    Where I come from, axioms are expressed with great precision.

    We could not accept your axioms for the sake of argument, because we have never had a clue as to what your axioms are. And you complain when we ask for definitions.

  14. Neil Rickert says,

    Where I come from, axioms are expressed with great precision.

    I provided a 6 page peer-reviewed article with the axiom spelled out in the abstract.

    quote:

    We prove that complete lossless integration requires noncomputable functions. This result implies that if unitary consciousness exists, it cannot be modelled computationally.

    end quote:

    I’m not sure how much more precision we could give it.

    peace

  15. fifth:

    I repeatedly asked that for the sake of argument we take the papers conclusions that cognition is non computable as axiomatic

    The paper’s conclusion is that unitary consciousness, not cognition, is noncomputable.

    Didn’t you notice that?

  16. Keiths says,

    The paper’s conclusion is that unitary consciousness, not cognition, is noncomputable.

    I say

    geez,

    I’m really am not in the mood to go down a road we should have went down 900 comments ago. If you had a problem with the OP you should have said something way back then.

    I just don’t have time to waste on such foolishness now.

    I’ll give you a hint on where to look if you are interested

    check it out

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-unity/

    When one experiences a noise and, say, a pain, one is not conscious of the noise and then, separately, of the pain. One is conscious of the noise and pain together, as aspects of a single conscious experience.

    and

    https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Cognition

    Cognition is the set of all mental abilities and processes related to knowledge: attention, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language, etc

    and

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cognition

    noun-the act or process of knowing; perception.

    peace

  17. None of these assertions are axiomatic. We have long arguments about them some are current threads.

    We did object early on to nearly all your assumptions. You waved away the objections by putting a pin in them.

  18. fifth, now:

    I’m really am not in the mood to go down a road we should have went down 900 comments ago.

    fifth, in the OP:

    I am sure that there are those who will object to the understanding of cognition that I’m using for various reasons but in the interest of brevity I’m treating it an an axiomatic starting point here. If you are unwilling to accept this proviso for the sake of argument perhaps we can discuss it later in another place instead of bogging down this particular discussion.

    fifth, in the comments:

    I would hope you could accept my axiom for the sake of argument, I’d hate to get bogged down so early in the discussion.

    LOL. In other words, “You should have raised this objection 900 comments ago, when I told you not to!”

    You crack me up, fifth.

  19. And then there’s the fact that Tom English asked you that very question a full month ago:

    fifthmonarchyman,

    How are cognition and consciousness related?

    Your answer confirms the validity of my objection:

    I would say consciousness is more general awareness and cognition is awareness in a more restricted particular sense.

    They aren’t the same, according to you. Therefore your claim is incorrect:

    I provided a 6 page peer-reviewed article with the axiom spelled out in the abstract.

    Are you beginning to understand why we keep asking you to slow down and get your shit together?

  20. fifthmonarchyman,

    I think this thread has just about fulfilled it’s purpose. I came here to see if I could tidy up my thoughts and I have done that.

    An off the top of my head review of what has been accomplished here.
    1)I demonstrated that the method works with the OMagain’s strigs.

    No, two data points are insufficient to reach that conclusion.

    2) I discovered that critics are apparently not interested in actually testing this sort of thing out for themselves.

    That’s not a fair conclusion. Your argument hinged on a large number of terms for which you provided no operational definitions. It is literally impossible to know what you mean. If you have a method for detecting design, many people here would be very interested in trying it out for themselves. Thus far you’ve given no reason to believe you have such a mechanism.

    3) I have explored what the definitional stumbling blocks will be If and when I try to put together an actual argument.

    “Stumbling blocks” is an interesting perspective. I suggest that the most valuable lesson you can take from this discussion is the vital importance of clear, unambiguous operational definitions. It is essential that the concepts on which you base your argument are understandable by any interested reader.

    4) I got a handle on modifications I will need to make to tryout binary strings.

    I look forward to seeing your results from the remaining four strings I provided.

    5) With the help of Patrick I understood a second testable prediction that my method entails.

    Which was that?

    6) Despite Keiths bluster no deal-breaker objections were presented to make me rethink this approach. In fact for the most part this discussion has given me faith that I’m on the right track

    You may want to revisit keiths’ comments. Call it bluster if you must, but he has summarized a number of issues, raised by several people, that utterly destroy your argument if not addressed.

    7) My prediction that no minds would be changed has been tested and verified.

    I suggest this is more the fault of your lack of operational definitions and rigorous logic than of any bias in your interlocutors.

    8) I was concerned that claiming that design was the inverse of cognition would raise objections I’m surprised that none materialized.

    For my part, I never had time to get to that claim. It suffers from the same lack of definitions and rigor as the rest of your argument. When you can define “cognition” and “design” unambiguously and learn what “inverse” means mathematically, that statement might be worth discussing.

    That is a lot for a little idle time on the internet.

    I think at this point I will spend some time modifying my game so that It can handle binary like Patrick provided and working on coding it all into a shareable app so I can get to some more rigorous hypothesis testing.

    Once that is done I’ll think about gathering my thoughts and findings into one place and perhaps we can give it another go at that point

    I do respect your willingness to venture out of the UD echo chamber and subject your argument to open debate. I also look forward to your results from the remaining four strings I provided.

    If you take anything at all away from this discussion, please let it be the importance of rigor. I understand that you have an intuition, based partly on three unrelated papers, that you think indicates design detection is possible. You do not yet have a testable hypothesis. That is much harder to develop than the original intuition.

  21. fifthmonarchyman,

    Neil Rickert:
    Where I come from, axioms are expressed with great precision.

    I provided a 6 page peer-reviewed article with the axiom spelled out in the abstract.

    quote:

    We prove that complete lossless integration requires noncomputable functions. This result implies that if unitary consciousness exists, it cannot be modelled computationally.

    end quote:

    I’m not sure how much more precision we could give it.

    That’s an assertion unsupported by the paper. You haven’t addressed the fact that repeated access of memories changes those memories, contrary to what is stated in the paper. This is one of several issues that undermine the conclusions you would like to draw from it.

  22. fifthmonarchyman:
    Neil Rickert says,

    I provided a 6 page peer-reviewed article with the axiom spelled out in the abstract.

    quote:

    We prove that complete lossless integration requires noncomputable functions.This result implies that if unitary consciousness exists, it cannot be modelled computationally.

    end quote:

    I’m not sure how much more precision we could give it.

    peace

    You could provide operational definitions for the many inadequately defined terms in that abstract.

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