Semiotic theory of ID

Upright BiPed has been proposing what he has called a “semiotic” theory of Intelligent Design, for a while, which I have found confusing, to say the least.  However, he is honing his case, and asks Nick Matzke

…these three pertinent questions regarding the existence of information within a material universe:

  1. In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)
  2. If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)
  3. If 1 and 2 are true, then is it even conceivably possible to functionally transfer information without the irreducibly complex system of these two arrangements of matter (representations and protocols) in operation?

… which I think clarify things a little.

I think I can answer them, but would anyone else like to have a go? (I’m out all day today).

1,027 thoughts on “Semiotic theory of ID

  1. Toronto,

    You are once again getting hung up on the distinction between transcription and translation, which are two very different material things. And when I say that information transfer requires a protocol, it is abundantly clear from the argument that I am talking about being transferred from representation to effect (which includes both transcription and translation).

    This issue has been dealt with at least twice already on this thread. If you cannot be bothered to concern yourself with the data, or will not take the time to understand it, then I cannot help you.

    Try reading here:

     http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=659&cpage=9#comment-14001

  2. Upright BiPed,

    Upright BiPed: “And when I say that information transfer requires a protocol, it is abundantly clear from the argument that I am talking about being transferred from representation to effect (which includes both transcription and translation).”

    And yet again, as has been explained to you, what you are describing is NOT a protocol.

    A protocol is a set of “agreed upon functions” as applied to communications.

    If you want to use different definitions, make up your own terms.

    Don’t use commonly understood terms and try to redefine them.

     

     

  3. Toronto, you mean its NOT a human “protocol” in the narrowest anthropocentric definition you can possibly come up with in order to obfuscate the actual material observations being made.

    Please refer back to the passage you are objecting to. Here it is:

    “There may be various words within the English lexicon which could appropriately describe the systematic role this material object serves, but it is that material role that is of importance. This is the material definition of a systematic formality; a transfer protocol.”

    In other words Toronto, please feel free to call it anything you wish. For the substantial bulk of the remainder of humanity, the term “protocol” describes it with a clear understanding.

    cheers…

  4. Upright BiPed,

    Merriam-Webster: b : a set of conventions governing the treatment and especially the formatting of data in an electronic communications system <network protocols>”

    This is the context of protocol that we are discussing, the transfer of information.

    I can use the TCP/IP protocol over a wireless link or over an Ethernet link and the actual protocol is identical.

    The “matter”, or medium however, is different.

    Humans use the term “protocol”, in my sense, i.e., a set of functions agreed upon by two parties in a communication.

    By co-opting the term “protocol”, you are implying an intelligence at work and then claiming that as proof of, …wait for it,  ID!

    That won’t work.

    You actually have to prove your case.

    Re-defining existing terms to smuggle in implicit conclusions will never work.

    Why your side keeps trying to do this, I don’t know.

    It’s almost like you don’t really have a case that can’t stand without obfuscation.

     

     

  5. OK, I’ll admit I’m just too dense to understand, without a simple direct explanation, just what this “semiotic theory” has to do with Intelligent Design. The thing is, I’m certain that the vast majority of those who would call themselves Intelligent Design proponents couldn’t explain it either. Where’s the “intelligence”; whence the “design”?

    In fact, there’s a challenge. 

    Can any Intelligent Design adherent explain UB’s Semiotic Theory Of ID, (with particular emphasis on the link between the Theory and Intelligent Design) in terms likely to be understood by most of, say, a class of first-years at a reputable University? For the sake of clarity in discussion, UB’s meanings of the words “information”, “protocol”, “transfer”, “material”, and “semiotic” are accepted, whether or not they agree with dictionary definitions.

    Anyone? 

  6. Toronto,

    Here is what you say:

    “By co-opting the term “protocol”, you are implying an intelligence at work and then claiming that as proof of, …wait for it,  ID!”

    And here is what the argument says:

    Yet, the descriptions of these entailments makes no reference to a mind. Certainly a living being with a mind can be tied to the observations of information transfer, but so can other living things and non-living machinery. It must be acknowledged, human beings did not invent iterative representative systems, or recorded information. We came along later and discovered they already existed. Therefore, the search for an answer to the rise of the recorded information in the genome needs to focus on mechanisms that can give rise to a semiotic state, since that is the way we find it.

    So like a perfect automoton, entirely unable to stop yourself, you have imported a strawman into the argument, then turned to attack it.

    Good for you.

  7. Upright BiPed,

    Upright BiPed: “It must be acknowledged, human beings did not invent iterative representative systems, or recorded information.”

    Of course we did!!

    They are “representative” of our understanding of them.

    Upright BiPed: “Therefore, the search for an answer to the rise of the recorded information in the genome needs to focus on mechanisms that can give rise to a semiotic state, since that is the way we find it.”

    No, it is simply your assertion that the genome contains “recorded information” that is “semiotic“.

    That is what your are supposed to make a case for!

    You have failed to do it when your only evidence are assertions, in this case, only yours.

    You can convince me of a “protocol” if you can identify both sides of the “protocol”, but you haven’t done that.

    At least define this protocol.

    In what cases can I NAK a packet of data?

    Where is the CRC if any?

    What states does the protocol have to go through for us to accept the transfer as being completed successfully?

    You don’t have answers to any of these questions but insist we accept your assertions at face value.

    Show me the transfer “protocol” and what happens when an error is detected.

     

  8. When we think on many abstract matters, we do so via the medium of language. Language is useful not just for communicating ‘semiotically’ with others, but for communicating with oneself. We integrate an experiential whole – sensory inputs, memories and more abstract thoughts articulated via an internal monologue/dialogue-with-oneself.  It is hard, indeed, to think on many matters without articulating it in language. So the materialist would be with you on that one – notions of Thought, Mind, Intent etc are demonstrably based upon material substrates processing semiotic ‘information’. Peptide bond formation – not so much.

    If we accept that a material substrate is essential for the transfer of information – such as, from one part of a mind to another – are you not in danger of throwing the ID baby out with the bathwater? The Designer cannot process the vast amounts of information necessary to [do whatever we decide the Designer did] without a material set of ‘entailments’, ‘protocols’ etc. The Designer, to be an information-processing-entity, must on your argument be material – which leads to the same cul-de-sac that all ‘necessary being’ arguments do.

    And further, are not most ID-sympathisers dualists? How do you persuade them that information can only pass via ‘material’ exchanges (I think it true, but they don’t!)?

  9. Upright BiPed,

    Upright BiPed: “Yet, the descriptions of these entailments makes no reference to a mind.”

    Then what is the point of calling this post “The Semiotic Theory Of ID”?


  10. Upright,

    For those on this thread who think I have not answered Dr Liddle’s utterly laughable question as to why I think this is an argument for ID – here’s a clue. Dr Liddle and I started this conversation more than a year ago. At the time we began, she basically denied every observation I was making regarding the material consequences of information transfer. Over the course of that year, she has now come to concede basically every one of those material observations. In that entire time she never once questioned why I think that the argument is one for ID. She did not question it (not even once) because she knew all along. Bottom line: She has conceded the material observations (not for the sake of argument, but because of it) yet she is ideologically prohibited from acknowledging the possible implications of those observations. Simply put, she would now like to talk about something else.

    You still haven’t answered her question, Upright. Why is that?

    For those who think that I have not answered Reciprocating Bill’s question: I have given him coherent descriptions of both terms, which are not even controversial. The transfer of recorded information is the transfer of form (about something) via a material medium. Semiosis is the descriptive term for the use of representations and protocols. Moreover, the material issues regarding these terms have been explained in appropriate detail over and over again. If Bill is unable to articulate an objection, it is not because he needs additional information, it’s because his objection would be immediately contradicted by examples of normative language use which are too numerous to mention. We call a fire a “fire”; we call a fire tetrahedron a “fire tetrahedron”. One describes the other. But because a fire tetrahedron describes a fire does not mean that they are the same thing, nor does it introduce a logical error into the dialogue about fire.

    You still haven’t answered his question, Upright. Why is that?

  11. This leads to what might be an interesting statistical study. On average, how many times does a creationist evade a simple but uncomfortable question, before he resorts to “I already answered it, but I won’t repeat the answer or even link to it”?

  12. Upright BiPed on June 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm said: Edit

    For those on this thread who think I have not answered Dr Liddle’s Elizabeth’s utterly laughable question as to why I think this is an argument for ID – here’s a clue.

     

    It is not an “utterly laughable” question, Upright BiPed. It is an absolutely fundamental question.  If you offer a “semiotic argument for ID” it is important that you include the part of the argument that is, um, the argument for ID.

     

    Dr Liddle Elizabeth and I started this conversation more than a year ago. At the time we began, she basically denied every observation I was making regarding the material consequences of information transfer.

    No, I did not.  What I denied was that those “material consequences” had anything to do with semiotics.  But I am willing, as I’ve said several times, to grant, for the sake of argument, that they can be described as “semiotic”.  I’m still waiting to hear why this is an argument for ID.

    Over the course of that year, she has now come to concede basically every one of those material observations.

    I never didn’t “concede” them.  What I did not, and have not, conceded, is that they are “semiotic” by what I consider normal usage of the term.  But I am willing to grant your extension of the term, for the sake of argument – which is why I want to hear the argument.

    In that entire time she never once questioned why I think that the argument is one for ID.

    True, but that is because I assumed that your argument was that semiotics are things created by minds, and therefore if we observe semiotics in nature, we must infer creation by a mind.  I considered the argument circular.  However, you have since made it clear that this is not your argument.

    So I am at a loss to know what your argument for ID actually is.

    She did not question it (not even once) because she knew all along. Bottom line: She has conceded the material observations (not for the sake of argument, but because of it) yet she is ideologically prohibited from acknowledging the possible implications of those observations. Simply put, she would now like to talk about something else.

    Utter bullshit.  The only charitable conclusion I can draw is that you have not read my posts.

     

  13. That’s quite helpful, actually. 

    So I was right that it’s essentially Meyer’s argument, a form of IC argument.

    So where is Upright BiPed’s response to the counter-arguments to that one that have been presented here, by Allan Miller and others?

    Upright BiPed?

    And, for that matter, does that mean that if we could generate a code from no-code by means of evolutionary processes, he would concede?

  14. Concede? One former world chess champion said “to defeat me, an opponent must beat me three times – in the opening, in the midgame, and in the endgame” The same seems to apply here. FIRST, you’d have to get him to agree that you were using evolutionary processes. THEN you’d have to get him to agree that the result could be considered a “code”. THEN you’d have to get him to agree that your simulation correctly reflects nature.

    You and Bill can’t even get him to respond directly to simple questions. And you want him to agree that his faith is unwarranted? Seriously? 

  15. UB:

    You concede that the three necessary elements of fire (involved in combustion) i.e. the fire tetrahedron, confirms the existence of a fire. But if there is ANY condition in which you will accept A -> B, B -> A as valid (which you have shown to be the case) then your argument that it’s a “fatal logical fallacy” (needing no evidence) evaporates in front of your very eyes.

    Demonstrating once again that you don’t understand entailment.

    While entailments necessarily follow from propositions, “entailments” =/= “necessary and sufficient conditions.”

    The proposition “It rained” entails “the lawn is wet” because rainstorms necessarily cause wet lawns. Yet wet lawns are not among the necessary and sufficient conditions for rainstorms.

    You describe your “material observations” as observations of “entailments of a semiotic state.” You’ve repeatedly claimed that observations of your entailments “successfully confirm a semiotic state.”

    But having claimed an entailment relationship, your argument has the form A entails B, B, therefore A. That is logically invalid.

    You now instead claim an analogy between your “listed entailments” and the “necessary and sufficient conditions of fire.” In so doing you conflate “entailment” and “necessary and sufficient condition.” 

    But “entailment” =/= “necessary and sufficient condition,” and your characterization of my acknowledgment of the fire tetrahedron as an instance of my accepting an instance of “A -> B, therefore B -> A” is wholly invalid, as my ” -> ” shorthand denotes “entails,” while your “->” in the quote above denotes “is a necessary and sufficient condition for…”

    If you would like to retract your characterization of your “material observations” as observations of the “entailments” of semiotic states, you should do so explicitly, rather than perpetuating your muddle vis “entailment.”

    Otherwise, your reasoning remains defective and your argument fails.

    UB:

    The use of representations and protocols is a necessary condition for the transfer of recorded information.

    The use of representations and protocols is a sufficient condition for the transfer of recorded information.

    The transfer of recorded information is a necessary condition for the use of representations and protocols.

    The transfer of recorded information is a sufficient condition for the use of representations and protocols.

    It follows that X is a necessary and sufficient condition for Y, which is a necessary and sufficient condition for X, which is a necessary and sufficient condition for Y, which is a necessary and sufficient condition for X…

    A causal perpetual motion machine that does nothing but define X in terms of Y, and Y in terms of X. Yet another exercise in perfect circularity.
     

  16. The IC argument seems to require (or be improved by) several laws, like:

    1) Evolution only proceeds by addition, and never subtracts features.

    2) The components of biological systems do not change after the system is in place.

    3) All biological features must be useful at their inception (neutral variation and drift doesn’t happen).

    4) The basic function (usefulness) of features can’t change.

    All of which are demonstrably false.

    Earlier in the discussion, I suggested auto-catalytic molecules as an example of the transfer of “recorded information”. UB rejects these as follows:

    An auto-catalytic structure does not transfer recorded information as described in #1. This again is conflating recorded information with physical information, where the state of an object is deemed as “information” in order that it can be calculable to human observers. To say that information has been transferred in an auto-catalytic structure is to step in as an observer and simply assert that it has.

    There is also a physical distinction between a) a representational arrangement of matter being transferred, and b) the state of an object (serving as a template) being deemed “information” by an observer. That distinction can be elucidated in the physical properties of the systems and their products. One of them can be reduced to those properties, while the other cannot (without the actions of the second arrangement of matter).

    Both structures exist in nature, but one does not explain the other.

    That means that, by UB’s definitions, “recorded information” isn’t necessary for self-replicators, and it isn’t necessary for Darwinian chemical evolution to take place (as autocatalytic molecules that produce variations have been discovered). It’s interesting that the matter that becomes a daughter molecule isn’t seen as obeying a “protocol”. But the terminology doesn’t matter as, however UB wants to define things like recorded information, we can understand that what he wants to discuss is what he sees as the apparent irreducibility of the system at the base of all modern life forms.

    To forestall the argument from analogy with our own intelligently designed codes, it’s worth mentioning that the overwhelming majority of organisms that produce signals that can be said to require “UB protocols” are not intelligent designers. The biosphere is rife with “semiotic systems” by UB’s definition, and I’m sure he’d agree (as he’s mentioned dancing bees, and could have chosen bacteria or plants as examples). So, why associate their production particularly with intelligence? I.D.ists often reply to this by saying that the unintelligent organisms are pre-programmed to produce their signals unintelligently, but so are we “pre-programmed” with the ability and tendency to design some of ours intelligently.

    Which leads me to make the observation that I.D.ists don’t like to make.

    UB “semiotic systems” are prerequisites for all known intelligent designers. Does it really make sense to try to explain the origin of x with y when y appears to require an x in order to exist?

    As UB might say: NEGATION: Example of one or more intelligent designers for whom “semiotic systems” are not a prerequisite.

  17. Since UB never wants to answer directly, we are left with guessing what he means.  However, his intent appears to be fairly transparent; to prove, by definition, that living organisms are intelligently designed.

    ID/creationists are constantly nailed for asserting that design is obvious from just looking at a living organism.  So Dembski tries a mathematical approach based on probabilities.  However, his probabilities are simply pulled out of the air with a uniform random sampling distribution.

    If I had to make a guess about what UB is attempting, it would be that he is trying to hide that assertion of design in a quagmire of words and definitions that would make that assertion appear to be a logical consequence of his definition of a “semiotic systems.”

    But, as near as I can tell from his turgid “explanations,” all he has done is transfer the typical ID/creationist assertion of living systems being obviously designed to an assertion that living systems are semiotic.  But to be semiotic, systems have to have “representations and protocols,” so he simply declares that the production of proteins, for example, is an example of a semiotic system because there are “representations and protocols (by assertion).

    So it appears that UB has simply hid the assertion that living systems are “obviously designed” within another couple of layers of assertions from which that first assertion follows as a consequence.  Unfortunately, he still has the same problem with asserting that some physics and chemistry systems have “representations and protocols” and others of his choosing do not.  Where along the chain of increasing complexity in condensed matter do “representations and protocols” take over from chemistry and physics?

    And we still don’t have an answer to how “representations and protocols” push atoms and molecules around.

    How is it that, by some reports, this “conversation” has been going on for over a year?

  18. Upright Biped,

    For those who cannot understand the text, or those who are left only to complain about my prose – please allow me to express my most sincere condolences.

    I’m following Lizzie’s blog rule of assuming all other posters are posting in good faith.  In this case, that means I am assuming that you are interested in effectively communicating your ideas.  Unfortunately, I don’t find that your presentation is achieving that goal.

    In the interest of better understanding what you are saying, I’d like to further discuss two recent comments where I found your response failed to decrease my confusion.  I hope you’ll choose to help clarify your position.

    The first is Reciprocating Bill’s summary of your argument:

    1) All transfers of information entail your “listed entailments.” (We cannot even imagine otherwise). 

    2) All transfers of information are by necessity also semiotic. 

    3) Therefore observation of the listed entailments “successfully confirms” the presence of a semiotic state.

    Could you please respond to each of these with either a “yes” or “no”, confirming or denying that you agree with the statement?  That should indicate where the misunderstanding is occurring.

    The second is your response to Lizzie’s question about how your argument supports ID.  Let’s assume, for the purposes of this question, that you have addressed the logic errors others have raised, that your definitions are accepted as sufficiently rigorous, and that your observations have been replicated.  How, exactly, do you go from that happy state to “Therefore ID”?
     

  19. Unfortunately, he still has the same problem with asserting that some physics and chemistry systems have “representations and protocols” and others of his choosing do not.

    One example I’ve used in the past is energy exchange among atoms.  A hydrogen atom transitions from energy level 2 to level 1, emitting a 10.2 eV photon, which is absorbed by another hydrogen atom that transitions from level 1 to level 2.  We could argue that the first atom’s initial energy level (n=2) is “recorded information” that, according to the “protocol” of the laws of physics, is “represented” as a photon and transferred to the second atom.

    I haven’t followed UB’s comments closely, so I don’t know if he has narrowed his definitions in a way that would preclude this application of his terms.  But it seems like we could come up with examples like this until the cows come home, and UB could likewise come up with reasons to shoot each one down.  This is the kind of semantic game played by armchair scientists who aren’t being funded to do actual productive work.

  20. P.S. And since energy exchange among atoms involves discrete values, it’s digital information transfer.

  21. UB’s citation of the necessary and sufficient conditions of fire is an interesting one, and bears more scrutiny.

    The elements of the fire tetrahedron are both necessary and sufficient conditions for fire. IFF all of those elements are present, then fire is present. We can therefore conclude from observation of those elements that fire is present.

    UB argues that this exemplifies an instance of A -> B. B, therefore A:

    A = Fire.
    B = The necessary and sufficient conditions of Fire.

    * A -> B. The presence of fire “entails” the presence of the necessary and sufficient conditions for fire.
    * B. Therefore A. We observe the necessary and sufficient conditions of fire, and thereby confirm that fire is present.

    UB further argues that because I acknowledge that it follows from an observation of the presence of the elements of the fire tetrahedron that fire is present, I’ve accepted an instance of “A -> B. B, therefore A.” As a consequence, he argues, my repeated assertion that he has committed a fatal logical error when he claims similar reasoning from his “listed entailments” is itself in error.

    UB also argues that his semiotic argument has the same form:

    A = The transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state.
    B = The necessary and sufficient conditions for the transfer of recorded information – AKA the “listed entailments” of the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state.

    * A -> B. The presence of a semiotic state “entails” the necessary and sufficient conditions of a semiotic state.
    * B. Therefore A. We observe the necessary and sufficient conditions/listed entailments of semiosis and therefore “successfully confirm” semiosis by empirical, “material” observations.  

    Why doesn’t this work? Don’t both exhibit the successful confirmation of the presence of something (Fire, a semiotic state) by means of observation of entailments (necessary and sufficient conditions) of that something? Do we not have an instance of A -> B. B, therefore A?

    Here’s why: Neither the elements of fire tetrahedron nor UB’s “listed entailments” (now the necessary and sufficient conditions) of a semiotic state are in fact entailments at all. 

    Recall that entailments necessarily follow from definitions and theoretical utterances. An entailment of the definition of a bachelor is that the next bachelor I encounter is necessarily male. An entailment of my theory of wet lawns is that my lawn will be wet following a rainstorm. Useful theories have entailments that make predictions which, in turn, test the theory. A -> B. If B is absent, then the assertion that A -> B has a problem. But, as before, it does not follow in any event from A -> B that B, therefore A.

    The problem with UB’s claim is that the fire tetrahedron is a theory of combustion, and the individual elements of the tetrahedron are components of that theory. They are not entailments of that theory that may be used to test and “successfully confirm” the theory or its implications. As I identified in my previous post, UB has conflated “necessary and sufficient conditions” with “entailment,” apparently because he believes the “necessary” in “necessary and sufficient condition” denotes the same relationship as the “necessary” in “necessarily follows from.” It doesn’t. 

    That is not to say that the theory of combustion captured by the fire tetrahedron does not have entailments. It certainly does: as an example, it entails that combustion will yield combustion products in exactly the proportions predicted by the chemical theory of the particular combustion process hypothesized to have occurred. 

    In our humble little A -> B notation, relationship of the observations of the elements of the fire tetrahedron to the presence of fire are actually expressed as: 

    A = Fire. 
    B = The necessary and sufficient conditions of Fire. 

    * B. Therefore A. 

    The fact that UB thinks this describes a relationship of entailment again “successfully confirms” that he does not understand “entailment.” 

     

  22. Bill, on June 8th,

    I want to respond to your post, but first there is an issue I would like to bring to your attention. I took note of this sentence in your last post: “You describe your “material observations” as observations of “entailments of a semiotic state.””

    But I can’t remember ever describing the entailments given as the “entailments of a semiotic state”. I’m not saying I haven’t, but wondered where I said it, so I would know where to fall on my sword if necessary.

    So I went back through the conversation and did a search for “entailments of”. There were 43 instances of that phrase, with 36 of those being made by me (or someone quoting me). None of those were examples of me saying “entailments of a semiotic state”. On the other hand, each of the remaining 7 instances included the phrase “entailments of a semiotic state”, but those were posted by you and Dr Liddle, her quoting you.

    Anyway, since in my last two posts I fully clarified the relationship between the entailments and semiosis to the maximum extent possible, there shouldn’t be any further need of misplacing the terms of the claim.

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Demonstrating once again that you don’t understand entailment.

    Bill I want to ask you a question. What do you think the following means?

    “I am using the word “entailment” in the standard sense – to impose as a necessary result (Merriam-Webster). These physical entailments are a necessary result of the existence of recorded information transfer”.

    It seems to me that several points could be taken away from that quote. One of them is that the use of the word “entailment” could vary. Another is that one of those usages reflects a “standard sense” as validated by a standard dictionary. Yet another is that this valid definition apparently conveys the specific intent of the author. And finally, that the specific intent of the author was demonstrated.

    But it means more as well. It also means that to ask for a clarification regarding other meanings is a valid action to take. With that, it also means that to impose requirements which go beyond what was specifically demonstrated is an invalid action. And lastly, to build an entire counter-argument around an imposed invalid action is an intractably flawed strategy.

    However…

    A web search reminded me of an old book I own, so I stopped by my storage unit on the way home. The book was written by a former lecturer at University College in London, who spent twenty years at Oxford and was knighted for his contributions (Sir Peter Frederick Strawson). He certainly has more authority over the subject matter than I. Maybe even as much as you. 

    Through my previous two posts, I’ve dealt with the issue of A->B,B->A. You’ve accepted equivalent operators in examples involving fundamentally similar dynamics, such as the fire tetrahedron (which for the confirmation of a fire, describes three material requirements actively involved in a specific process). The equivocation is evident in your posts, and your argument is invalidated by it, so there’s no need to spend time with it. Actually, I had a different question for the book.

    In order to justify your equivocation, you have repeatedly stated the conditions you wish to impose on the usage of the term “entailment”, but I wanted to consider the implications of the more formal usage of the term as viewed from an independent yet authoritative source, i.e. what is it to say that ‘one thing entails another’, specifically to say that the “Transfer of Recorded Information entails Representations and Protocols”. Luckily for me, the text had a chapter devoted to Entailment and Inconsistency.      

    “to say that one statement entails another is to say that it would be inconsistent to make the first and deny the second. This explanation, which refers not to particular statements, but to statements in general, we shall express as follows: to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that it would be inconsistent to make S 1 and deny S 2.”

    Inconsistent = make TRI / deny R&P

    “to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that it would be inconsistent both to assert S1 and to assert the contradictory of S 2

    Inconsistent = TRI and not-R&P

    “to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that not-(S 1 and not-S 2 ) is logically necessary”

    Not-(TRI and not-R&P) is logically necessary

    “to say that one statement entails another is to say that the contradictory of the conjunction of the first statement with the contradictory of the second is a necessary statement.” *

    The book then goes on to provide several instances of using the word “entail” in the statement  S 1 entails S 2  in which the usage the term is  valid from a logical perspective. Some of those I have already covered in the above, but three others should be mentioned. S 1 entails S 2  if and only if S 1 is a sufficient condition of S 2, or where S 2 is a necessary condition for S 1 , or in an valid argument whose premise is S 1  and conclusion is S 2.

    This text of course provides me some level of confidence that I have used the term “entailment” in a manner which not only reflects the original intent in the statement in which I used it, but also satisfies the usage of the word from the perspective of making logical statements.

    The text goes on to add:  

    *To say that a statement is necessary, then, is to say that it is the contradictory of an inconsistent statement. We should notice that there is an oddity in using the word ‘statement’ at all in this connexion, and that we only do so by a kind of analogy. When a man makes an ordinary statement (ordinary statements, i.e., statements which are neither inconsistent nor logically necessary, are sometimes called ‘contingent’ or ‘synthetic’), there is, or may be, a question as to whether what he says is true or false; and to determine the answer to it, we must turn our attention from the words he uses to the world, towards whatever it is that he is talking about.

    Bill, your counter-argument has fallen apart, exactly for all the reasons which have been provided in the course of this conversation. Your personal recognition of this condition is no longer necessary; it is evident to any fair reader.

  23. Bill, on June 9th,

    Bill the more you speak the more evident the faults in your position become. One of the things that becomes more evident is the now glowing disparity which exists between the facts on the ground regarding my argument, and the examples you use in order to maintain your equivocation. To wit:

    After acknowledging the necessary and sufficient relationship being claimed between the entailments and the transfer of recorded information, you say this:

    Recall that entailments necessarily follow from definitions and theoretical utterances. An entailment of the definition of a bachelor is that the next bachelor I encounter is necessarily male.

    Being male is ONE of the entailments of being a bachelor. Others include being alive, being single and marriage-able, for instance.

    The entailments of recorded information transfer leaves none of these logical ambiguities which you have repeatedly projected upon it by your reasoning. It describes specific material necessities actively involved in a specific material process, and by that it confirms the existence of the transfer of recorded information. This is exactly what the fire tetrahedron does in regards to the confirmation of fire, yet, this unambiguous condition is entirely lacking from your repeated examples of bachelors and wet ground – fully illuminating your equivocation yet again.

    Your objections have failed.

  24. Upright BiPed,

    Just to make sure I and everyone else understands, do you agree that a “TRUE assertion of A resulting in B being TRUE”, does NOT lead to the conclusion that a “TRUE assertion of B must result in A being TRUE”?

     

     

  25. UB,

    I read through all of your post and your detailed logic, and I must confess I still don’t get it. I fully understand the philosophical meaning of entailment you quoted from your book – that if S1 entails S2, then if S1 obtains S2 must follow. But nowhere in all your verbiage did you address what can be logically concluded about S1, knowing ONLY S2.

    And this is what Bill has been pointing out all along. If S1 entails S2, we all agree that if S1 is the case S2 must also be the case. But if S2 is the case, we can say NOTHING about S1. Entailment only goes in one direction in EVERYTHING you quoted, without exception. Can’t you see that? Just because S1 is a necessary condition for S2, does NOT mean that S2 is a necessary or sufficient condition for S1.

    To put it as bluntly as your philosophy book has done, S2 does NOT entail S1. Yes, yes, yes it would be inconsistent to assert S1 and deny S2. But it would NOT be inconsistent to observe S2 and deny S1. Rain entails a wet lawn. A wet lawn does not entail rain. A bachelor entails being a male. Being a male does NOT entail being a bachelor.

    Your own source tried so very hard to penetrate, and you quote it at loving length, and you STILL don’t see the problem!     

  26. Upright,

    What’s “evident to any fair reader” is that you are desperately avoiding Bill’s and Lizzie’s simple, pertinent questions.

    Bill’s question:

    What does “a semiotic state” entail that “the transfer of recorded information” does not? If nothing, why invoke it? If something, then what?

    Lizzie’s question (she even put it in bold and ALL CAPS to get your attention):

    UPRIGHT BIPED: WHY IS YOUR “SEMIOTIC ARGUMENT” AN ARGUMENT FOR INTELLIGENT DESIGN?

    Is your “semiotic theory of ID” so weak that you cannot answer these questions for fear of undermining it?

    What do you say to ID supporters reading this thread who wonder why you run away from such simple and relevant questions instead of addressing them clearly and directly?

  27. Bill the more you speak the more evident the faults in your position become. One of the things that becomes more evident is the now glowing disparity which exists between the facts on the ground regarding my argument, and the examples you use in order to maintain your equivocation. To wit:

    No, no, no. Bill is entirely correct, there is no disparity, and no equivocation. Your argument is NOT LOGICAL. Produce a logical argument, and we can examine the evidence.

    After acknowledging the necessary and sufficient relationship being claimed between the entailments and the transfer of recorded information, you say this:

    Recall that entailments necessarily follow from definitions and theoretical utterances. An entailment of the definition of a bachelor is that the next bachelor I encounter is necessarily male.

    Being male is ONE of the entailments of being a bachelor. Others include being alive, being single and marriage-able, for instance.

    Amazing density! You are right, being a bachelor DOES entail being alive, being single, and being marriagable. But being alive does NOT entail being a bachelor, and being single does NOT entail being a bachelor, and being marriagable does NOT entail being a bachelor. Your very examples illustrate your repeated logical fallacy. Over and over. 

    The entailments of recorded information transfer leaves none of these logical ambiguities which you have repeatedly projected upon it by your reasoning. It describes specific material necessities actively involved in a specific material process, and by that it confirms the existence of the transfer of recorded information.

    NO IT DOES NOT! EVEN IF “recorded information transfer” is ONE OF THE MANY WAYS THE MATERIAL OBSERVATIONS COULD RESULT, this does NOT mean that the particular way you WISH to find happens to BE how those material results came about. Nobody is claiming the lawn is dry. We’re only trying to get through to you that observing a wet lawn is NOT sufficient to deduce rain.

    Bill is doing no equivocating. He’s pointing out that if many possible processes can bring about the observed conditions, you CAN NOT conclude that your selected process must have been responsible, no matter how well you can document the observed conditions.

    By now, everyone but you is fully in agreement that every dog has four legs, this does NOT mean that everything with four legs is a dog. And you can count the legs over and over, and everyone can agree the number is four. But that does NOT make the object necessarily a dog. It means others are willing to agree it has four legs (even if you have redefined “legs” to include heads and tails), just to see where your argument goes from there.   

  28. I have no confidence in UB’s possible reply to Bill’s question, because by now it’s obvious that UB has no clue what an entailment actually is. He seems to think it’s some sort of association, kind of like peanut butter entails jelly and jelly entails peanut butter IF you observe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    As for Lizzie’s question, when she asked it she got a load of such utter bullshit she had no choice but to call it utter bullshit. Basically, it was an accusation that Lizzie’s ideology is so dishonest that she refuses to admit “implications” which have NEVER been specified, argued for, derived from anything, or otherwise articulated. 

  29. I haven’t followed UB’s comments closely, so I don’t know if he has narrowed his definitions in a way that would preclude this application of his terms. But it seems like we could come up with examples like this until the cows come home, and UB could likewise come up with reasons to shoot each one down. This is the kind of semantic game played by armchair scientists who aren’t being funded to do actual productive work.

    I don’t know the history of this argument, and I haven’t followed it very closely either; but from what I have seen so far, I looks like an endless quagmire of arguing over the meanings of the meanings of the meanings of words and phrases. All of it appears to be an attempt to hide the fallacy of affirming the consequent in a blizzard of obfuscation. Apparently we aren’t supposed to know about that fallacy.

    On the other hand, maybe he is trying to prove that no such fallacy exists. That would be a major breakthrough for ID/creationists; proof by assertion then gets by all the courts and into all the science textbooks. I suspect the shtick will never work and will have to be enforced by changing the laws and stacking the courts.

  30. UB:

    But I can’t remember ever describing the entailments given as the “entailments of a semiotic state”.

    I lapsed into using quotes when I was paraphrasing your argument. I apologize. 

    UB:

    Luckily for me, the text had a chapter devoted to Entailment and Inconsistency.

    I’m not so sure this was so fortunate for you.

    Strawson: “to say that one statement entails another is to say that it would be inconsistent to make the first and deny the second. This explanation, which refers not to particular statements, but to statements in general, we shall express as follows: to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that it would be inconsistent to make S 1 and deny S 2.” 

    Inconsistent = make TRI / deny R&P 

    “to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that it would be inconsistent both to assert S1 and to assert the contradictory of S 2”  Inconsistent = TRI and not-R&P 

    “to say that S 1 entails S 2 is to say that not-(S 1 and not-S 2 ) is logically necessary” 

    Not-(TRI and not-R&P) is logically necessary 

    “to say that one statement entails another is to say that the contradictory of the conjunction of the first statement with the contradictory of the second is a necessary statement.”

    Unfortunately, none of this rescues your misuse of “entailment,” as it does not follow – even given strict logical entailment – from any of the above that if S2 is true, then S1 must be true. (Stated another way, it does not follow from the fact that A entails B that B therefore entails A.) 



    To the extent that your argument is that the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state must result in your listed entailments (and that every known instance has), and that upon observing those entailments you have therefore “successfully confirmed” the presence of the transfer of recorded information/semiotic state, you commit that error. 

    But, as I indicate above, what you call entailments turn out not to be entailments at all. Your claim is now not that the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state results in the listed entailments; rather, it is now that they result from those entailments, which are necessary and sufficient conditons for the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state. 

    S1 entails S2 if and only if S1 is a sufficient condition of S2, or where S2 is a necessary condition for S1, or in an valid argument whose premise is S1 and conclusion is S2.

    This is no help either, particularly vis the fire tetrahedron and the form of your argument you analogize to the relationship of the fire tetrahedron to fire, because you’ve become confused over just what entails, and what is the entailment – that is, what maps onto S1 and what maps onto S2. 



    In the instance of the fire tetrahedron, the necessary and sufficient conditions of combustion are not entailments of fire; rather, fire is an entailment of those necessary and sufficient conditions – which conditions are essentially a (well established) theory of combustion. Vis strawson’s quote immediately above, S1 maps onto those necessary and sufficient conditions while S2 maps onto fire. 



    Of course if the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then phenomenon is present – as I stated above (B is the necessary and sufficient conditions for A. Therefore B -> A.) 

    

Mapping this on to your argument vis the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state, what you identified repeatedly as the “listed entailments” of the transfer of recorded information/semiotic state you now claim are the “necessary and sufficient conditions” of the transfer of recorded information/semiotic state. Therefore, just as with the fire tetrahedron, it is the “listed entailments” that are that which entail, and the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state that is (are?) the entailment(s). Vis strawson’s quote immediately above, S1 maps onto your mis-named “listed entailments” and S2 maps onto the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state. 



    In short, given your recent invocation of “necessary and sufficient conditions,” what you’ve been calling “listed entailments” are not entailments at all, demonstrating once again that, even with Strawson’s help, you remain muddled about entailment. 



    What you are left with is a bare claim regarding what just what the necessary and sufficient conditions of a the transfer of recorded information/a semiotic state are. This isn’t an empirical observation; it is theoretical claim, your impoverished theory of semiosis. Many of us, however, argue that a necessary condition of the transfer of information by means of signs and symbols (semiotics) is the presence of producers and consumers of those symbols who have a shared history by means of which they understand both one another’s communicative intentions and the specific referents of the signs and symbols. Such actors are absent (on both ends) in the translation of DNA into proteins. Therefore characterizing that process as “semiotic” is inappropriate. 



    More important, whether or not that is the case, your characterization of those processes as semiotic is scientifically barren, as you don’t seem willing or able (not sure which) to state what your theory asserts that a semiotic state entails beyond the the necessary and sufficient causes of the transfer of recorded information (AKA your “listed entailments”). 



    UB:

    But it means more as well. It also means that to ask for a clarification regarding other meanings is a valid action to take.

    I agree. For example, one might ask, “what does a semiotic state entail that the transfer of recorded information does not? If nothing, then why invoke it? If something, then what?”

    

Hoping for a straight answer isn’t such a good idea, however.  

  31. UB, quoting Strawson:

    S1 entails S2 if and only if S1 is a sufficient condition of S2, or where S2 is a necessary condition for S1, or in an valid argument whose premise is S1 and conclusion is S2.

    There is an instance of the Strawson quote in which S2 maps onto an entailment that is a necessary condition. So let’s parse this passage carefully.

    What you are attempting to rescue is the formulation that A -> B. B, therefore A, and therefore that observing B “successfully confirms” A. That claim may also be expressed as S1 -> S2. S2, therefore S1.

    The three elements of Strawson’s passage quoted above, slightly restated:

    S1 is a sufficient condition of S2. Therefore S1 entails S2

    It does not follow that S2 entails (“successfully confirms”) S1. There may be other sufficient conditions for S2.

    S2 is a necessary condition for S1. Therefore S1 entails S2.

    Here S2 maps onto a “necessary condition” entailed by S1 – so my mapping comments in the previous post do not apply in this instance.

    Nevertheless, it does not follow that S2 entails S1. There may be other necessary conditions for S1.

    There is a valid argument whose premise is S1 and conclusion is S2. Therefore S1 entails S2.

    It does not follow that S2 entails S1. There may other valid arguments with premises other than S1 whose conclusions are S2.

    None of Strawson’s examples support the notion that A -> B. B, therefore A.

  32. So, if I’m understanding this correctly, Bill:

    1. S1 entails S2 if S1 is sufficient for S2.
    2. S1 also entails S2 if S2 is necessary for S1.

    So, in both cases, if we observe S1, we can infer S2.

    An example of the first might be:

    • Fire generates heat, therefore if we observe a fire, we can infer heat.

    An example of the second might be:

    • Fuel is necessary for fire, so if we observe fire, we can infer fuel.

    However heat is generated by some events other than fire, so although if we can infer heat from observing a fire, we cannot infer a fire if we observe heat.

    Also, while we can infer fuel from the observation of fire, we cannot infer fire from the observation of fuel.

    So Upright BiPed’s point would seem to be that if we never observe the transfer of recorded information without representations and protocols, then we can conclude that representations and protocols are necessary for transferring recorded information, and that therefore if we observe the use of representations and protocols, we can infer that information has been transferred.

    He also says that if we never observe representations and protocols without the transfer of recorded information, then, if we observe the transfer of recorded information, we can infer the use of representations and protocols.

    The problem, of course, is that if we never observe the two separately, then we don’t need to do any inferring at all.

    If cats are only observed with grins and grins are only observed with cats, then we don’t have to infer the cat from the grin, or the grin from the cat.  We can just observe the cat (or the grin) directly.

    And if grins are observed in the absence of cats, and cats in the absence of grins, then the basis for our confidence that we can infer one from the observation of the other is undermined.

    So I still don’t know a) what his semiotic argument actually is and b) why it’s an argument for ID.

  33. Bill, you’ve posited two lines of objection since the very start of this conversation. One of those objections is that my use of the term “entailment” is invalid. The other is that A->B, B->A is not logical. Both of these objections have been individually refuted. The first has been refuted by the observation of valid logical statements specifically using the term “entailment”. Your imposition, in which an “entailment” can only refer to the product of the thing creating the entailment (but not its existence), is not logically valid. As an example, the existence of footprints at Laetoli logically entails the existence of a bipedal hominid. That is a logically valid statement, despite your idiosyncratic imposition otherwise. Your second objection has been refuted in several ways. One of those is your demonstrated equivocation on the use of operators in your counter-examples. When attacking the statements made in the argument, you apply only implicative operators, yet you accept equivalent operators otherwise. Your acceptance of the very thing you refer to as a “fatal” flaw, is illogical.     

    Having been refuted on both counts, you now want to conflate them in an attempt to camouflage that refutation. This is made evident in your opening sentence:

    Unfortunately, none of this rescues your misuse of “entailment”…

    On the contrary, it suggests in the strongest terms that my use of the word “entailment” is logically valid. Your objection has no logical grounding.

    …as it does not follow – even given strict logical entailment – from any of the above that if S2 is true, then S1 must be true.

    And here you switch from one refuted objection to the other refuted objection in the space of a single sentence. The remainder of your post is merely a continuation of this strategy, yet you cannot disguise the issue:

    if the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then phenomenon is present”

    You continue to make my point, even as you deny it.

  34. In your second post you continue to conflate your two objections. The Strawson text was provided by me as a demonstration that I have used the term “entailment” in a logically valid manner. That issue is now dead. But you have taken these quotes and are trying to apply them to the issue of whether or not “B->A” is a “fatal logical flaw” (meaning invalid in any instance in which it appears). This was not Strawson’s intent in his observations of the use of “entailment”, nor was it mine in providing them. However, since you accept that “B->A” is valid in statements where B is necessary and sufficient for A, then your repeated characterization of it as a “fatal logical flaw” is not sustainable. Consequently, that issue is dead as well.

    You are now left to simply ignore the direct refutations of your objections. This would indicate that you do not intend for your objections to be subjected to reason, logic, or demonstration. These two latest posts of yours are a perfect example. For instance, in your previous post you had returned to the example of males and bachelors in order to demonstrate your objection regarding B->A. You stated:   

    An entailment of the definition of a bachelor is that the next bachelor I encounter is necessarily male.

    To which I responded:

    Being male is ONE of the entailments of being a bachelor. Others include being alive, being single and marriage-able, for instance.

    The entailments of recorded information transfer leave no such logical ambiguities [which] you have repeatedly projected upon it by your reasoning. It describes specific material necessities actively involved in a specific material process, and by that it confirms the existence of the transfer of recorded information. This is exactly what the fire tetrahedron does in regards to the confirmation of fire, yet, this unambiguous condition is entirely lacking from your repeated examples of bachelors and wet ground – fully illuminating your equivocation yet again.

    Yet you provided no response whatsoever to this (now repeatedly demonstrated) equivocation.

    It has been demonstrated that your counter-arguments fail. That demonstration has been thorough, and is now recorded in detail within this conversation. It is also evident that your personal recognition of this fact is no longer even necessary.

  35. Upright BiPed’s point would seem to be that if we never observe the transfer of recorded information without representations and protocols, then we can conclude that representations and protocols are necessary for transferring recorded information

    Correct.

    …and that therefore if we observe the use of representations and protocols, we can infer that information has been transferred.

    Correct also, but not because we never observe the transfer of recorded information without representations and protocols, but because we never observe representations and protocols without the transfer of recorded information.

    He also says that if we never observe representations and protocols without the transfer of recorded information, then, if we observe the transfer of recorded information, we can infer the use of representations and protocols.

    Correct

    The problem, of course, is that if we never observe the two separately, then we don’t need to do any inferring at all.

    It’s only a problem for those who ignore, discount, and obfuscate what is materially demonstrated in front of their very eyes. That would include this person:

    QUESTION ONE: 1) In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)

    ANSWER ONE: “No”

    QUESTION TWO: If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)

    ANSWER TWO: “No”

    QUESTION THREE: If 1 and 2 are true, then is it even conceivably possible to functionally transfer information without the irreducibly complex system of these two arrangements of matter (representations and protocols) in operation?

    ANSWER THREE: “I don’t see why such an arrangement should be “irreducibly complex”.”

  36. UB:

    Bill, you’ve posited two lines of objection since the very start of this conversation. One of those objections is that my use of the term “entailment” is invalid. The other is that A->B, B->A is not logical…Having been refuted on both counts, you now want to conflate them in an attempt to camouflage that refutation.

    They are the same objection. Your failure to grasp that “A entails B, B, therefore A” is invalid reasoning IS your problem with entailment. I can hardly conflate that observation with itself. 

  37. I see no equivocation with Bill’s argument, I see a clear fallacy with UB’s argument. UB’s argument fails, Bill has shown how and why in exhaustive detail. So in boxing terms, UB lies bleeding on the canvas, having been counted out, saying “I win, I have demonstrated victory, no opponent is even necessary for my victory.” This is, uh, transparently hollow.

    Now, If I made a poor argument and every commenter without exception agreed that it was a poor argument and explained why, what sort of person would I be if I simply ignored them, repeated my argument, failed to answer their direct questions (repeatedly, even when others echoed those questions) and then pounded my chest and declared myself obviously right after all?

    And if, on top of this, I completely misrepresented the foregoing conversations, despite every word being available for all to see, and did so in an insulting, condescending and self-serving manner, would this serve to reinforce the sort of person I am?   

  38. Flint:

    And if, on top of this, I completely misrepresented the foregoing conversations, despite every word being available for all to see, and did so in an insulting, condescending and self-serving manner, would this serve to reinforce the sort of person I am?

    I don’t pay his meta-comments no nevermind. 
      

  39. Upright BiPed on June 10, 2012 at 8:06 pmsaid:

    Bill, you’ve posited two lines of objection since the very start of this conversation. One of those objections is that my use of the term “entailment” is invalid. The other is that A->B, B->A is not logical. Both of these objections have been individually refuted. The first has been refuted by the observation of valid logical statements specifically using the term “entailment”.

    You are confusing logic with empirical observation again!

    If it is your case that we never observe A without also observing B, and that we never observe B without also observing A (in other words that A does entail B and B does entail A) then we don’t need to infer anything from the observation of one, because we will necessarily be able to observe the other directly.

    Your imposition, in which an “entailment” can only refer to the product of the thing creating the entailment (but not its existence), is not logically valid. As an example, the existence of footprints at Laetoli logically entails the existence of a bipedal hominid. That is a logically valid statement, despite your idiosyncratic imposition otherwise.

    No, it’s not a “logically valid” statement.  It’s just rather pointless claim.  What would be of far more use would be to cast it as a testable hypothesis: the footprints at Laetoli were made by a bipedal hominid.  Similarly, you could test the hypothesis that “all recorded information transfer is achieved by means of representations and protocols”.  But to do that you’d need an operational definiton of “recorded information”.  Which you still don’t have.

    Your second objection has been refuted by in several ways. One of those is your demonstrated equivocation on the use of operators in your counter-examples. When attacking the statements made in the argument, you apply only implicative operators, yet you accept equivalent operators otherwise. Your acceptance of the very thing you refer to as a “fatal” flaw, is illogical.   

     

    The problem, Upright BiPed, is that on the one hand you claim that TRI implies R&P – that all instances of recorded information transfer involve Representations and Protocols (i.e. that TRI entails R&P)

    And as you also also claim that “Semiosis” is implied by the use of Representations as Protocols (i.e. that R&P entails semiosis) – if you are correct, then all recorded information transfer is semiotic.

    Then, on the other hand, instead of attempting to demonstrate that TRI entails R&P or that R&P entails semiosis, you point to the observation that, in the cell, TRI is achieved by means of R&P, and simply define “semiosis” as recorded information transfer that is achieved by means of R&P.

    But in that case your arguments about “entailments” is irrelevant.  TRI need not entail R&P for your case to be supported.  You can just define semiosis as you do, and say that, under that definition, translation is semiotic, because it involves TRI by means of R&P.  Which many of us are willing to concede (albeit not terribly happy about the definition).  We just don’t see why this is an argument for ID.

    However, you insist that your argument depends on the observations of entailments.

    And that is where the logical incoherence comes in.

    If you are trying to make the case that TRI entails R&P, then you need to tackle every instance proffered of TRI putatively achieved without R&P, and either show that it is either not True TRI, or that in fact R&P is involved.

    And yet all you do is point to the observation that in the cell, TRI is achieved by means of R&P. That does not demonstrate that TRI entails R&P at all.

    Not that it matters, because to demonstrate that semiosis (by your definition) occurs in the cell, you don’t need to demonstrate that TRI entails R&P, you just need to demonstrate that in the case of the cell, TRI is achieved by means of R&P.

  40. Bill, the argument as it is actually presented does not indicate the formulation A->B, B, therefore A. That is a failed amalgamation you attempted to impose from “Demonstrating a system that satisfies the entailments (physical consequences) of recorded information, also confirms the existence of a semiotic state” which you took from the 13th paragraph of the argument. The correct formulation stems from the necessary and sufficient relationship between A and B, which is made clear in the 7th and 8th paragraphs. This is yet another refutation which you have simply chosen to ignore.  

    But yes Bill, you have made your line of logic perfectly clear regarding entailments:

    If a thing exists, its existence cannot entail the cause or condition required of its existence.  (Unless it’s a fire tetrahedron).

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  41. Bill, if a specific thing only exist under specific conditions, then does it existence entail the existence of those specific conditions?

    Or is that illogical?

  42. If you are trying to make the case that TRI entails R&P, then you need to tackle every instance proffered of TRI putatively achieved without R&P, and either show that it is either not True TRI, or that in fact R&P is involved.

    QUESTION ONE: 1) In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)

    ANSWER ONE: “No”

    QUESTION TWO: If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)

    ANSWER TWO: “No”

  43. Upright BiPed on June 10, 2012 at 10:00 pmsaid:Edit

    Upright BiPed’s point would seem to be that if we never observe the transfer of recorded information without representations and protocols, then we can conclude that representations and protocols are necessary for transferring recorded information

    Correct.

    Except that many examples of the transfer of information without the use of representations and protocols (as per your definitions in this thread) have been offered to you in this thread, including my own little example of the information that my deck table had an umbrella hole in it that was recorded by the snow, and transferred, layer by layer, to the top layer of snow, where the resulting central dimple was decoded by my mother.

    So I submit that your premise is wrong.  R&P are not necessary for transferring recorded information.  Non-arbitrary physical impressions will do the job just fine.  Therefore TRI does not entail R&P.  Unless my snow-table does count, in which case, it doesn’t appear that information transfer is a phenonemon beyond the reach of entities with the intelligence of snowflakes.

    …and that therefore if we observe the use of representations and protocols, we can infer that information has been transferred.

    Correct also, but not because we never observe the transfer of recorded information without representations and protocols, but because we never observe representations and protocols without the transfer of recorded information. 

    This may be true, I’m not sure (I’d have to squint harder at your definitions).  But even if is true that R&P entails TRI, we cannot of course infer that TRI entails R&P, and I have, I think, demonstrated above, that it does not.

    He also says that if we never observe representations and protocols without the transfer of recorded information, then, if we observe the transfer of recorded information, we can infer the use of representations and protocols.

    Correct

    The problem, of course, is that if we never observe the two separately, then we don’t need to do any inferring at all.

    It’s only a problem for those who ignore, discount, and obfuscate what is materially demonstrated in front of their very eyes.

    It’s not a problem for me at all, but it is a serious problem for you, because it renders your argument circular.  If the basis for your premise that TRI implies R&P is that you never observe TRI without R&P, then if you only observe TRI then you can’t infer R&P, because you’d be assuming your conclusion.  The entailments business is therefore irrelevant to your own argument.  You’d be better off just saying that TRI by means of R&P is by definition semiotic, and it occurs in the cell, therefore cells are semiotic.

    At which point, we ask you (yet again) why this is an argument for ID.

    That would include this person:

    QUESTION ONE: 1) In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)

    ANSWER ONE: “No”

    QUESTION TWO: If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)

    ANSWER TWO: “No”

    As long as your definitions of “representation” and “protocol” cover my snow-covered table, my answers remain “no”.  I entirely agree (and have never disagreed) that information transfer requires some kind of rearrangement of matter.  In the case of my snow-covered table, the arrangement of each layer of snowflakes “represents” the shape of the table beneath, and the falling of the snowflakes is another “arrangement of matter” that ensures that arrangement of snow on the layer already fallen is repeated in the new layer. If they do not, then I would have to revise my answer.

    QUESTION THREE:If 1 and 2 are true, then is it even conceivably possible to functionally transfer information without the irreducibly complex system of these two arrangements of matter (representations and protocols) in operation?

    ANSWER THREE: “I don’t see why such an arrangement should be “irreducibly complex”.”

    Still don’t.  And you have not explained why you think it should be.

  44. Upright BiPed on June 10, 2012 at 11:09 pmsaid:

    If you are trying to make the case that TRI entails R&P, then you need to tackle every instance proffered of TRI putatively achieved without R&P, and either show that it is either not True TRI, or that in fact R&P is involved.

    QUESTION ONE: 1) In this material universe, is it even conceivably possible to record transferable information without utilizing an arrangement of matter in order to represent that information? (by what other means could it be done?)

    ANSWER ONE: “No”

    QUESTION TWO: If 1 is true, then is it even conceivably possible to transfer that information without a second arrangement of matter (a protocol) to establish the relationship between representation and what it represents? (how could such a relationship be established in any other way?)

    ANSWER TWO: “No”

    Please see my response above, but let me elaborate:

    You have since, in your definitions of R&P introduced the word “arbitrary”.  It does not appear above.  If “representations” include non-arbitrary arrangements of matter such as templating molecules or layers with specific shapes, then clearly, the answer to Q1 is “no”.  You can’t have a transfer of information without some material change in something.  Similarly for Q2 – not only does there have to be some kind of material change, that change has to be part of a cascade of events that brings about change in the receiving system.  So if a rock falls off a cliff, and lands on a beach, making a dent in the sand, it leaves “information” to someone coming along about that the event that caused the rock to fall.  So there is the dent (a readable “represention” of the event) and a “protocol” (an arrangement of matter – the process by which the rock made the dent) that relates the “representation” to the event.

    But it is not arbitrary.  If you are insisting that R&P must be arbitrary (as a linguistic community arbitrarily represents small domestic felines by the sound cat), then there are many instances of information transfer that do not involve R&P.

    But it seems you have Hobson’s choice here, UPD:

    Either you include the examples given here as examples of information transfer and concede that TRI does not entail R&P, or you exclude them on the grounds that the “R&P” I have described isn’t arbitrary, in which case you have simply made TRI entail R&P by definition, not by observation.

    The way out it to concede that entailments are irrelevant to your argument, and that the case you are really making is that TRI by means of arbitrary systems of R&P are unevolvable.

    But you haven’t actually made that case.

    But

  45. Upright BiPed,

    Just to make sure I and everyone else understands, do you agree that a “TRUE assertion of A resulting in B being TRUE”, does NOT lead to the conclusion that a “TRUE assertion of B must result in A being TRUE”?

     

  46. Yes, it does. So that would be a valid use of “entailment.”

    Not a very useful entailment, however, as you must already know that a phenomenon has both necessary and sufficient conditions, and what they are, before reaching your conclusion that those conditions obtained.

    But, I take your point.

  47. So UB is making the claim that A implies a set B which contains all the entailments that are used in defining A.

    Then he is saying that B implies A which is essentially the same as saying that we observe everything that is used to define A, therefore A.

    I see all the entailments of a cello, therefore a cello exists. I see all the entailments of design, therefore design exists.

    In the first case, one could be hallucinating.  In the second case, one could be seeing what one wants to see by definition.  In neither case do the set of defining entailments guarantee the existence of that which the entailments define.

  48. UB:

    Bill, the argument as it is actually presented does not indicate the formulation A->B, B, therefore A.

    Many of your statements have exactly that form. For example:

    Satisfying each of the four physical entailments confirms the existence of recorded information transfer, as it is demonstrated in every form of information transfer known to exist.

    Restated:

    As the four physical entailments are demonstrated in every form of information transfer known to exist (A -> B, in every known instance), satisfying each of the four physical entailments confirms the existence of recorded information transfer. (B, therefore A).

    You repeat similar assertions throughout the discussion.

  49. Bill, if a specific thing only exist under specific conditions, then does it existence entail the existence of those specific conditions?

    The problem with this is, it’s not something one can establish empirically. If every time we observe B, we also observe A, AND if A and B are actually different things, then we have observed a pattern but not established that it is mandatory.

    If we observe thousands of white swans giving birth to white swans without exception, then if we should see a white swan, can we KNOW it had white parents? Is this an entailment, or simply a pattern being observed? Even if we did know that every swan has always been white, we cannot conclude that nonwhite swans are impossible. 

     

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