What is a decision?

Arcatia has stated that before any thought can occur, first there must be a chemical change in the brain.  So if before any decision is made, we first need a chemical change, then it is not really a decision, now is it?  It is merely a response to that chemical change, for which we have no control over.


On several occasions keiths has ducked and dodged away from this problem.  Arcatia now seems to want to run away from it, as has every other materialist here on this forum.  About the best you can hope for is some kind of obfuscated rant about what is meaning, what is will, how do we know we know, what’s the epistemological  nature of the epistemology…and on, and on the deflections to anything that could be considered an answer go.  Generally people here pretend that if you stick the suffix “sian” at the end of any name, you have said something profound.


So it deserves it own thread.  Let the bullshit answers speak for themselves.  In the end we will see if anyone actually tries to address it.  Its the toughest question for materialists to wiggle out of in my opinion.

Is language a search?


Given sentences can be expressed in a hierarchy / taxonomy that can have moveable, functional elements, are they amenable to exploitation / investigation by GAs? (We already know Markov Chains work – http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/idbots/ )

If All ideas can be expressed in language then could digitally evolved sentences be genuinely creative? It’s like genetic programming for people language 😀

H/T Mung.

A One Line GA

Please post your software implementation of a GA that can be expressed in a single line of executable code.

Here’s mine:


A minimalist GA – Inspired by Allan Miller at TSZ

pop = Array.new(10) {“I AM APE-ISCH”}.map! {|ape| ape.dup}

The original population is copied and eliminated.

Further Thoughts on the Evolution of Consciousness

Continuing a discussion I and one or two others were having in the thread vincent-torleys-disappearing-book-review it is of little surprise that those responding to what I said, along with many of the posters here, regard consciousness as a product of matter. I believe that it is the other way round. As with Owen Barfield and John Davy, I came to this conclusion many, many years ago, and for me like them, Rudolf Steiner was a big influence in solidifying this view. Here is an extract from an article about Owen Barfield from Richard A. Hocks

Barfield’s precoccupation with the history of consciousness is different from even the most saturated analyses of the past, such as Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis. Barfield maintains that, in any thoughtful consideration of evolution, it is both more reasonable and more illuminating to hold that mind, or consciousness, precedes matter rather than the reverse–though not individualized mind or self-consciousness. Not only does the origin of language point toward this supposition but also the content of the great myths, indeed even the very archetypes that a thinker like Jung explores so deeply yet without ever considering that that they might inhabit the world “outside” the human head–or a vast collection of human heads. In other words, evolution for Barfield begins with mind as anterior to matter, as a given “field” out of which, as it were, matter compresses. Barfield’s thesis herein does not merely challenge the Darwinian argument; in a sense it turns that argument on its head: for not only does mind precede and bring matter into being, and a form of intentionality replace chance-ridden natural selection, but the very same physical evidence used in support of the received position is never directly challenged or discredited, but interpreted differently…

Here are some words from John Davy (pseudonym, John Waterman) who gives an overview of Steiner’s thoughts on the evolution of physical life better than I ever could:

John Davy:

The evolution of man, Steiner said, has consisted in the gradual incarnation of a spiritual being into a material body. It has been a true “descent” of man from a spiritual world into a world of matter. The evolution of the animal kingdom did not precede, but rather ;accompanied; the process of human incarnation. Man is thus not the end result of the evolution of the animals, but is rather in a certain sense their cause. In the succession of types which appears in the fossil record-the fishes, reptiles, mammals, and finally fossil remains of man himself-the stages of this process of incarnation are reflected. Continue reading

The Tide Turns in Landlocked Ohio

Back in May of this year, Zack Kopplin reported that an Ohio school district was teaching creationism using a video from Harun Yahya. Yahya is the pseudonym of Adnan Oktar, an Islamic televangelist and creationist.

Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, notes the that new CEO of the Youngstown school district is putting a stop to that. Starting immediately, science classes in the district will conform to state standards. Creationism, including the intelligent design variant, are definitely not part of those standards.

It looks like a good start to the school year in Ohio.

Some Questions on Genetic Algorithms


I was very struck by Glenn Williamson’s [vjt meant GlenDavidson] remark that creativity is not the same thing as complexity. Very deep. Glenn seems to think that people are good at the former, but the blind processes can outdo them in the latter. That’s an interesting view, but I’d want to see evidence that blind processes are actually capable of producing systems with a high degree of functional complexity, of the kind Axe described in his book. Even a computer simulation would be something.

What with all the experts in writing GA’s here at TSZ I was hoping VJT would have elicited more of a response.

Continue reading

Vincent Torley’s Disappearing Book Review

I guess many folks here are familiar with Dr (of philosophy) Vincent Torley as a contributor of many posts at Uncommon Descent now operated by one Barry Arrington.

Vincent strikes me as a genuinely nice guy whose views are very different from mine on many issues. Possibly one of his most remarked-upon idiosyncracies is his tendency to publish exceedingly long posts at Uncommon Descent but (leaving Joseph of Cupertino in the air for a moment) lately Vincent has become a little more reflective on the merits of “Intelligent Design” as some sort of alternative or rival to mainstream biology. Continue reading

Some evidence ALUs and SINES aren’t junk and garbologists are wrong

Larry Moran, Dan Graur and other garbologists (promoters of the junkDNA perspective), have argued SINES and ALU elements are non-functional junk. That claim may have been a quasi-defensible position a decade ago, but real science marches forward. Dan Graur can only whine and complain about the hundreds of millions of dollars spent at the NIH and elsewhere that now strengthens his unwitting claim in 2013, “If ENCODE is right, Evolution is wrong.”

Larry said in Junk in Your Genome: SINES
Continue reading