Testing the claim that intentional mutations can be differentiated from nonintentional mutations

fifthmonarchyman has helpfully explained how we can detect intention for specific mutations:

No, I have suggested that humans are hardwired to infer that intentional things are non-random and non-algorithmic.

Therefore directly intentional mutations would be differentiated from those that would be categorized as nonintentional by this property.

Given that statement, I hope that fifthmonarchyman can give a demonstration of how to determine if specific mutations are directed or not.

So, fifthmonarchyman, can you walk us through the process of how you perform that differentiation? Or will you admit that this claim cannot be grounded in reality and that you nor anyone else cannot perform any such differentiation?

I can give some examples of fully sequenced mutations in human populations if that would be useful fifth? Or pick your own, it really does not matter as it’s more about the process then the specific mutation.

 

132 thoughts on “Testing the claim that intentional mutations can be differentiated from nonintentional mutations

  1. newton: What does you intent detector say?

    Do you have an specific example you are curious about?

    Kantian Naturalist: It has all the flaws that the design inference (Dembski’s “explanatory filter“) has always had.

    such as?

    Kantian Naturalist: You can define your premises however you wish; that doesn’t mean that any of them are true.

    That goes with out saying with any syllogism.
    If any of the premises are false the conclusion is not justified.

    The trick is to find premises that seem to be true.

    peace

  2. fifthmonarchyman: There is simply no way to infallibly prove the existence of other minds.

    Maybe not, but it is possible to show that without a basic awareness of interesubjectivity in experience, nothing at all like knowledge would be possible.

  3. fifthmonarchyman: Exactly, it’s important to realize you can be fooled. Either when you infer intent or when you don’t

    Its not enough to realize you can be fooled the question is how do you go about insuring that you aren’t fooling yourself in any given situation/evaluation.

  4. Erik: How about a proof, full stop?

    You can’t “prove” that other minds exist either

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/other-minds/

    What you can do is try to find patterns that the majority of humanity would attribute to intentional processes.

    Erik: And where did you get this premise? Why should I take this premise seriously?

    The idea is to conduct a survey asking regular folks to choose which of the three possible types of patterns would most likely be intentional.

    My hypothesis is that when asked they will most often choose patterns that are nonrandom and non-algorithmic

    peace

  5. PeterP: Its not enough to realize you can be fooled the question is how do you go about insuring that you aren’t fooling yourself in any given situation/evaluation.

    You can’t “insure” you aren’t being fooled. It’s possible you are a brain in a vat. It’s possible you are the only mind that exists in the universe.

    All you can do is trust that your faculties are usually reliable and be willing to modify your inferences as more information becomes available. The key is to remain curious and not rule any possibility out.

    peace

  6. Kantian Naturalist: Maybe not, but it is possible to show that without a basic awareness of interesubjectivity in experience, nothing at all like knowledge would be possible.

    Now you sound like a presupositionalist.

    😉

    peace

  7. Alan Fox: Then you need an intender!

    That goes with out saying. If no minds exist then nothing at all is intentional really

    peace

  8. Entropy: Given those backgrounds (and all the stuff I didn’t mention for lack of time and interest to being comprehensive), I don’t think there’s room to speculate about intentional mutations in nature

    That is your contention. What would you say to someone who disagreed? There is simply no way to rule out intentional mutations.

    Your unwillingness to even entertain a speculation says more about your own personal bias than it does about what is possible.

    peace

  9. PeterP: I think an argument could be made that all three sequences have been generated intentionally.

    I agree, My theological position is that there is no such thing as an unintentional phenomena.

    however that is immaterial

    The sort of poll I’m suggesting will not allow you to choose”all the above”

    peace

  10. newton: And how the intender does what he does.

    nope,

    You don’t know have to know how the rustle in the bushes was produced to infer that it happened as the result of a purposeful act.

    peace

  11. fifthmonarchyman: The sort of poll I’m suggesting will not allow you to choose”all the above”

    Then your experiment is flawed from the outset and any conclusions drawn are likely to also be flawed.

    ‘You’ also could argue that none of the three sequences/plots were intentionally generated (outside of producing the visual display of the data).

  12. fifthmonarchyman: nope,

    You don’t know have to know how the rustle in the bushes was produced to infer that it happened as the result of a purposeful act.

    You do know how animals behave,you know how leaves crunch when stepped on ,you know how the wind sounds when it causes rustling . You have lots of knowledge. These are known patterns.

    You seem to be using design ,purpose, intent and meaning interchangeably, are they equivalent?

    peace

  13. newton: You do know how animals behave,you know how leaves crunch when stepped on ,you know how the wind sounds when it causes rustling . You have lots of knowledge.

    of course, we have lots of background knowledge. We always do.

    Cro-Magnon man did not necessarily infer that the rustling was from stepping or even an animal. It might have been from a ghost of an ancestor or from the spirit of the bushes. All he inferred was that there was some how intention involved.

    newton: You seem to be using design ,purpose, intent and meaning interchangeably, are they equivalent?

    No, but they are related concepts.

    peace

  14. fifthmonarchyman: Depends on what you mean by *reliable*. certainly not infallible but better than random chance…

    I’m not sure what you mean by “natural events” are you saying you have proof that things like that {angry volcanoes, righteous lightning, and beneficent rain} are not intentional?

    How can you support a claim about the reliability of intention-detection when you aren’t even clear as to whether volcanoes are intentional events or not?

    Are volcanoes random or algorithmic?

  15. fifthmonarchyman: The idea is to conduct a survey asking regular folks to choose which of the three possible types of patterns would most likely be intentional.

    My hypothesis is that when asked they will most often choose patterns that are nonrandom and non-algorithmic

    So you have no systematic argument and no empirical proof. You just poll people: Is this intentional? And you simply hallelujah the results.

    This is not how science works and it’s not good that this needs to be pointed out to you.

  16. KN:

    One doesn’t make an inference from “cow-shaped patterns in my visual field, therefore probably cows”.

    keiths:

    Sure we do. It’s just that it’s not a conscious inference.

    KN:

    Rather, one just sees the cows.

    keiths:

    Perceptual inferences are still inferences, though they may take place below the level of conscious awareness.

    KN:

    I’m perfectly well aware that there are all sorts of top-down effects on lower-level sensory processing.

    They don’t have to be top-down to count as inferences.

    The question isn’t whether they are real and interesting but whether it makes sense to call them inferences.

    Why wouldn’t it?

    There’s a sizeable literature in cognitive science on perceptual inference, active inference, and so on. But science is never immune from making philosophical errors, and this could be one.

    Until someone identifies such an error, there’s no good reason to avoid using the term “inference”.

  17. Erik: So you have no systematic argument and no empirical proof. You just poll people: Is this intentional?

    Yes, polls are generally how you learn what people infer in given circumstances.

    If the majority of people infer intent from the same thing types of patterns you can be justified in holding that this type of pattern tends to produce that inference in people.

    Erik: This is not how science works and it’s not good that this needs to be pointed out to you.

    That is generally how it works when dealing with subjective things in the field of Psychology like theory of mind.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-017-3080-x

    peace

  18. fifthmonarchyman: That is generally how it works when dealing with subjective things in the field of Psychology like theory of mind.

    So your intention-detection works by polling. And, by extension, I assume your design-detection works the same way. Why didn’t you say so right in the beginning so I would have known to stay away from this thread.

  19. Erik: So your intention-detection works by polling. And, by extension, I assume your design-detection works the same way.

    I’m not doing intention or design detection at all. I’m hypothesizing that humans are hardwired to infer intention when presented with certain patterns.

    I’m also trying to make that process a little more systematic.

    Erik: Why didn’t you say so right in the beginning so I would have known to stay away from this thread.

    I did say so at the beginning of the first thread on this topic and several times since then.

    I find that often folks here don’t pay attention to what is actually being said and instead hear what they want to hear.

    Perhaps that tendency is hardwired as well. 😉

    peace

  20. fifthmonarchyman: I’m not doing intention or design detection at all. I’m hypothesizing that humans are hardwired to infer intention when presented with certain patterns.

    Ok, but just because an animal has been ‘programmed’ (by millions of years of natural selection) to classify certain patterns as ‘intentional’ and to respond accordingly tells us nothing about whether there’s any ‘real intentionality’ which is the cause of those patterns.

  21. Kantian Naturalist: Ok, but just because an animal has been ‘programmed’ (by millions of years of natural selection) to classify certain patterns as ‘intentional’ and to respond accordingly tells us nothing about whether there’s any ‘real intentionality’ which is the cause of those patterns.

    It’s entirely possible that there is no ‘real intentionality’ in the universe and we are all philosophical zombies.

    Denying ‘real intentionality’ is the pastime of the sophist.

    The fact remains that “normal” individuals infer that “intent” does exist and is perhaps behind certain patterns that we observe.

    I expect that inference is as good as we can expect to ever get.

    I have repeatedly said that if we could infallibly “detect” intent we could construct an algorithm to mimic it perfectly. Thereby demonstrating it was not intent in the first place.

    peace

  22. fifthmonarchyman: It’s entirely possible that there is no ‘real intentionality’ in the universe and we are all philosophical zombies.

    Philosophical zombies lack consciousness, not intentionality.

  23. fifthmonarchyman: How can you have intentionality with out consciousness?

    peace

    If you think that there are unconscious intentions, then it is logically possible that a being could have entirely unconscious intentions, and so could have intentionality without consciousness.

    I’m not a fan of this approach, but that’s the view.

  24. Kantian Naturalist: If you think that there are unconscious intentions, then it is logically possible that a being could have entirely unconscious intentions

    I suppose in your opinion If you think there are square circles then it is logically possible there could be square circles.

    Does this have to do with your contention that the law of non-contradiction is not universally binding?

    peace

  25. Kantian Naturalist: If you think that there are unconscious intentions, then it is logically possible that a being could have entirely unconscious intentions, and so could have intentionality without consciousness.

    I’m not a fan of this approach, but that’s the view.

    Whose view is it? I’m sure there can be subconscious intentions, but to call subconsciousness unconscious, whose view is it?

  26. fifthmonarchyman: I’m not doing intention or design detection at all. I’m hypothesizing that humans are hardwired to infer intention when presented with certain patterns.

    Nice hypothesis, but polling does nothing to further it or confirm it or disconfirm it. You want to confirm it empirically/scientifically, don’t you?

  27. Erik: Nice hypothesis, but polling does nothing to further it or confirm it or disconfirm it.

    I’m not sure if you understand what I would do here.

    I would present participants with 3 patterns one from a random number generator one from an algorithm and one from a source that is non-random and non-algorithmic.

    This website is a good place to find patterns like that or any pattern whatsoever for that matter.

    https://oeis.org/

    Then I would ask them which one is more likely to be from an intentional source. Repeating the process several times with different sequences (and the same sequences to insure consistency of judgement)

    If my hypothesis is incorrect there will be no clear consensus or participants will choose the algorithmic or random sequences more often.

    I’m also interested in whether folks on the Autism spectrum or with Schizophrenia will choose differently than everyone else.

    I really think this “hardwired intention inference thingy” is all tied up in our ability to form a Theory of Mind.

    what is wrong with that set up?
    peace

  28. fifthmonarchyman: what is wrong with that set up?

    Everything. Absolutely everything about it is wrong.

    What does “intentional source” mean when people see random numbers in front of them? How can anyone sensibly answer this question? They are just random numbers!

  29. fifthmonarchyman,

    Here’s a sequence of numbers for you: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Can you answer: Intentional source or not?

    A more crucial question: What the hell does it mean to say “intentional source” in this case and why would you assume that the given sequence bears any relation particularly to that source?

    You are fundamentally and presuppositionally misguided.

  30. Erik: Here’s a sequence of numbers for you: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Heh, that argument looks familiar. Have you heard of Jenny?

  31. Erik: Whose view is it? I’m sure there can be subconscious intentions, but to call subconsciousness unconscious, whose view is it?

    I was drawing the idea of unconscious intentions from Freud. I’m aware of a distinction between subconscious and unconscious but I’m not sure how much hangs on it in this conversation.

    In any event, I only brought it up in order to correct FMM’s remark that a philosophical zombie would lack intentionality.

    David Chalmers, who gave us the zombie argument, is explicit in allowing that intentionality could be given a purely functionalist, third-person explanation. (Though he doesn’t think that any of the options available as of 1996 were compelling.) By contrast, his whole argument there is that a functionalist explanation of consciousness is impossible in principle. That’s precisely why zombies are logically possible.

    My objection to Chalmers is quite fundamental: I don’t think that metaphysics is about the elucidation of logical possibilities. Put otherwise, logical possibility is a feature internal to the rules of whatever semantics one is using, and that tells us nothing about the fundamental structure of reality.

  32. Kantian Naturalist: Put otherwise, logical possibility is a feature internal to the rules of whatever semantics one is using, and that tells us nothing about the fundamental structure of reality.

    Okay. Thanks for telling. But this applies only if the semantics has no relation to (the fundamental structure of) reality either. Or, if it does, the relation is untestable or unverifiable. Now, I agree that some (probably internally coherent) philosophies are just castles in the air with no empirical relevance or other relation to reality, but do you really believe that there is no logical possibility that could have any say on actual possibilities?

    Are you saying that there are unexpected miracles in store for every philosopher who thinks he has gone over everything possible in his mind? I suspect you are.

  33. Corneel,

    Happy to meet Jenny!

    fifthmonarchyman: suppose you were Jenny and you observed the following three sequences

    3,4,5,6,7,8,9
    3,1,4,9,4,1,7
    8,6,7,5,3,0,9

    Which one would you deem to most likely to the result of intent?

    Instead of which, I would ask why would I deem any of them likely to be the result of intent.

    Down the line, they are all “the result of intent” in the sense of someone having had to type them. The algorithm makes no difference.

  34. Kantian Naturalist: Put otherwise, logical possibility is a feature internal to the rules of whatever semantics one is using, and that tells us nothing about the fundamental structure of reality.

    Beautifully put.

  35. Erik: Can you answer: Intentional source or not?

    no, Once again that is not a question I’m asking

    with out more context I can’t even say if it looks intentional to me.

    Erik: What the hell does it mean to say “intentional source” in this case and why would you assume that the given sequence bears any relation particularly to that source?

    I’m assuming that a sequence has a relationship to the “process” that it represents.

    Erik: Instead of which, I would ask why would I deem any of them likely to be the result of intent.

    If you were Jenny or someone who knows her I would hypothesize that you would tentatively deem number three to be more likely to be intentional because you are hardwired to do so.

    The reasons why number three seems to be more likely to be intentional are not entirely clear. It would be nice to understand that process better.

    peace

  36. Erik: Down the line, they are all “the result of intent” in the sense of someone having had to type them. The algorithm makes no difference.

    I am a Christian of Calvinist bent so I assume that if you go down the line far enough everything in the universe is intentional.

    That does not change the fact that I tend to infer direct intention when presented with certain patterns and not so much when I observe others.

    peace

  37. fifth:

    If you were Jenny or someone who knows her I would hypothesize that you would tentatively deem number three [8,6,7,5,3,0,9] to be more likely to be intentional because you are hardwired to do so.

    Don’t be ridiculous. No one is hardwired to see that sequence as intentional.

    If we were hardwired that way, it wouldn’t matter whether or not we knew Jenny (or the song).

    It’s not hardwired. It’s learned.

  38. fifth:

    The reasons why number three [8,6,7,5,3,0,9] seems to be more likely to be intentional are not entirely clear. It would be nice to understand that process better.

    Well, it certainly has nothing to do with your broken “non-random” and “non-algorithmic” criteria.

    Like every sequence, that one can be produced both by a random source and by an algorithm. If you were honoring your criteria, you wouldn’t infer intent in this case.

  39. fifthmonarchyman: no, Once again that is not a question I’m asking

    Once again: What is the question that you are asking? You are doing a poll, so what’s the question in the poll?

    Based on your “setup” comment, you said “Then I would ask them which one is more likely to be from an intentional source.” If not this, then what are you asking?

    fifthmonarchyman: If you were Jenny or someone who knows her I would hypothesize that you would tentatively deem number three to be more likely to be intentional because you are hardwired to do so.

    All the sequences are equal gibberish.

    fifthmonarchyman: The reasons why number three seems to be more likely to be intentional are not entirely clear. It would be nice to understand that process better.

    First, what does it even mean to say “number three seems to be more likely to be intentional”? What does it mean to say that a gibberish sequence of numbers is “intentional”? You never answer.

    Second, you have not shown (1) that Jenny or anyone prefers any sequence to any of the others, and (2) how your suggested procedure helps to understand the reason why one particular sequence is preferred to any of the others (provided that such preference is there in the first place).

  40. Erik: What is the question that you are asking? You are doing a poll, so what’s the question in the poll?

    In your opinion which of these three sequences is more likely to be from an intentional cause?

    I’m not trying to discover which one is actually intentional I’m trying to discover which one humans tend to think is more intentional. That is an important distinction

    Erik: First, what does it even mean to say “number three seems to be more likely to be intentional”?

    It means simply that number three seems to the observer to be more likely to be intentional. That seems like pretty self evident conclusion

    Erik: What does it mean to say that a gibberish sequence of numbers is “intentional”? You never answer.

    I think you are focusing on the sequence itself while I am focused on our hardwired response to the sequence. It does not necessarily mean anything at all about the sequence. It only means that humans are more likely to infer that certain kinds of patterns show intention.

    I think this is a reasonable and uncontroversial hypothesis.

    After all we have all heard sounds in the bushes or attic and instantly inferred that there was someone over there.

    When we hear other kinds of sounds we infer that it came from something like the wind

    I want to understand the difference in the two kinds of sounds.

    Erik: Second, you have not shown (1) that Jenny or anyone prefers any sequence to any of the others,

    that is what the poll is for

    Erik: (2) how your suggested procedure helps to understand the reason why one particular sequence is preferred to any of the others (provided that such preference is there in the first place).

    each “survey question” will have three sequences.
    One from a random number generator
    One from an obvious algorithm
    One that can’t easily be categorized as random or algorithmic.

    participants will be given several “survey questions” like this and asked which one is more likely to be from an intentional process.

    If I’m right observers will tend say the third type is more likely to be from an intentional process. That will confirm my hypothesis that we tend to believe that non-random non-algorithmic patterns are from intentional processes

    peace

    PS I apologize if I’m being repetitive. This all seems to be very elementary stuff to me so I’m having a hard time understanding why you don’t get what is taking place

  41. fifthmonarchyman: If you were Jenny or someone who knows her I would hypothesize that you would tentatively deem number three to be more likely to be intentional because you are hardwired to do so.

    I sort of agree, we are generally hardwired to recognize patterns. The explanations for the existence of the patterns is learned.

  42. fifthmonarchyman: PS I apologize if I’m being repetitive. This all seems to be very elementary stuff to me so I’m having a hard time understanding why you don’t get what is taking place

    Maybe because you are not hardwired to understand the pattern you are seeing.

  43. fifthmonarchyman,

    There’s a significant body of literature covering humans` ability to perceive randomness, and the systematic mistakes that we make (we perceive random sequences as having too many repeated characters, and the related Gambler`s Fallacy).
    Try this article and the references therein for a start. Kahneman and Tversky have been studying these phenomena for over 45 years – check out his book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”
    It’s really interesting stuff, although it’s relevance to “Design Detection” is that we are nothing like as good as we think we are at it…

  44. Erik: Okay. Thanks for telling. But this applies only if the semantics has no relation to (the fundamental structure of) reality either. Or, if it does, the relation is untestable or unverifiable. Now, I agree that some (probably internally coherent) philosophies are just castles in the air with no empirical relevance or other relation to reality, but do you really believe that there is no logical possibility that could have any say on actual possibilities?

    If physical or metaphysical possibilities are a sub-class of logical possibilities, then knowing the logical possibilities alone cannot tell us what events belong to the sub-class of physical or metaphysical possibilities and which ones do not.

    (I have some views about how to understand the relation between language and reality, but I’m still working out the details. I think this stuff is all much more complicated than philosophers in the Western tradition have thought.)

    Are you saying that there are unexpected miracles in store for every philosopher who thinks he has gone over everything possible in his mind? I suspect you are.

    I don’t know what you mean by “miracles” here, but I do think that it’s always possible to be surprised by the unfolding of reality, no matter how consistent and seemingly comprehensive one’s metaphysics.

  45. fifthmonarchyman: I think you are focusing on the sequence itself while I am focused on our hardwired response to the sequence.

    I’m focused on both.

    fifthmonarchyman:It does not necessarily mean anything at all about the sequence. It only means that humans are more likely to infer that certain kinds of patterns show intention.

    And this is gibberish. You are conveying nonsense here.

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