Jump to content
Hrvoje1

The nonsense of antropomorphism

Recommended Posts

I noticed an interesting topic here :
https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/15375-how-do-catalysts-work/

There was a guy RBS who had some funny ideas about explaining how catalysts work, which I didn't follow or investigate where they lead, I believe to India, according to names he mentioned, but nevertheless, there were some ridiculous reactions to his writing, such as by mooeypoo and mississippichem. Regardless of how substantiated was anything that RBS wrote, claiming that there is anything "anthropomorphic" about "knowledge" is just a plain and utter BS. I hope I don't have to prove to anyone here that anything living can possess knowledge, but if I have to, I can, and the more important point is that non living things can too, without much twisting of the definition of the term knowledge. Second point is that claiming that "knowledge" is not "beyond" "matter" is also problematic, because that is actually true, it is just not true that "knowledge" is "beyond" "nature". Knowledge is connected to information, and its instantiation is "beyond" the material substrates in which it is instantiated. OK, maybe "beyond" is not the right term here, but to instantiation of information, material substrate in which that occurs, is definitely irrelevant. So, I am not surprised RBS didn't post any more on this forum after that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

the more important point is that non living things can too, without much twisting of the definition of the term knowledge. 

I would say that distorts the meaning of “knowledge” so much as to make the word meaningless. 

 

4 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

So, I am not surprised RBS didn't post any more on this forum after that.

It is probably because he realised that a science forum is not going to be receptive to his type of drivel.

 

Anthropomorphism is not always bad thing. We use it all the time in a metaphorical sense. For example, "the weather has been kind to us" or "water wants to flow downhill."

It is only bad when it is taken literally. If you think that the weather was kind because you asked it to be, or gravity os caused by the inner desires of water molecules. (That appears to be where RBS was coming from.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Strange said:

I would say that distorts the meaning of “knowledge” so much as to make the word meaningless. 

Nonsense. I would say that if machine is capable of learning, it should be capable of knowing. Besides that, the enzymes that are capable of synthesizing certain kind of protein, are able to do so due to the information they are provided with, by DNA. If I had to choose consequently the word to describe that their ability to do their work, that would not be energy, that would be knowledge. And the enzymes are not living entities, they are just molecules, molecular machines capable of utilizing information.

14 hours ago, Strange said:

It is only bad when it is taken literally.

No, it is only bad when it is mentioned, and there is no sign of it. Such as in mississippichem case.

Edited by Hrvoje1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I would say that if machine is capable of learning, it should be capable of knowing.

Granted.

20 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

Besides that, the enzymes that are capable of synthesizing certain kind of protein, are able to do so due to the information they are provided with, by DNA. If I had to choose consequently the word to describe that their ability to do their work, that would not be energy, that would be knowledge.

And I think that would be a misuse of the word knowledge (and an example of unjustified anthropomorphism).

20 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

No, it is only bad when it is mentioned, and there is no sign of it. Such as in mississippichem case.

So this is another "people don't use words the way I do, and they must stop it" thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Strange said:

So this is another "people don't use words the way I do, and they must stop it" thread.

No, this is another thread about the foolishness of anthropocentrism. One instance of it is using the term anthropomorphism, without any reason or justification.

I mean, I just explained to you how unreasonable is to talk about anthropomorphism in this case, and you agreed by saying "Granted", and there you go again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I noticed an interesting topic here :
https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/15375-how-do-catalysts-work/

There was a guy RBS who had some funny ideas about explaining how catalysts work, which I didn't follow or investigate where they lead, I believe to India, according to names he mentioned, but nevertheless, there were some ridiculous reactions to his writing, such as by mooeypoo and mississippichem.

Pointing out that crackpottery is not an appropriate response in a mainstream thread is not ridiculous 

18 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

 So, I am not surprised RBS didn't post any more on this forum after that.

Neither am I; once they find out that they do not have free reign to post nonsense, purveyors of woo sometimes choose not to return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, swansont said:

Pointing out that crackpottery is not an appropriate response in a mainstream thread is not ridiculous

It is, if you bring out another kind of crackpottery in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I mean, I just explained to you how unreasonable is to talk about anthropomorphism in this case, and you agreed by saying "Granted", and there you go again.

I agreed with the use of "knowledge" in one case. I disagree with your general point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

It is, if you bring out another kind of crackpottery in the process.

Pointing out that molecules do not have homeopathic-like “knowledge” isn’t in that category.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 9:33 AM, Strange said:

I disagree with your general point.

My general point is that human is not the only being capable of gaining knowledge. Nobody objected (yet) to the claim that every living being is capable too, that is more or less conditio sine qua non of survival. Then you objected to the claim that non living things are able too, at least without distorting the meaning of the word (which we did not define precisely yet), and then you stepped back with respect to artificial intelligence, that is obviously capable to achieve knowledge superior to human's, autonomously, and to store it to its neural network, such as in case of Alpha Zero. And now, rare are people who dispute that that NN understands better these games that it plays (chess, go and shogi), than human players, because there is simple test for that. But you are still not convinced about enzymes that synthesize proteins, how would one dare to say that these molecules "know" how to synthesize proteins? Well, they do, because, if living entities can gain knowledge, and non living objects cannot, and you believe in sharp delineation between them with respect that ability, then you are vitalist. There is no sharp delineation between living and non living in general, virus is just one example, that's why it cannot be with respect to that, too. There must always be something in non living world that enables implementation of any characteristic of life in living beings (ability to possess knowledge is just one of them). If that's not true, then people will never manage to produce artificial life, and natural life must have arose supernaturally. And I don't believe that's true. Do you?

Funny thing is that human knowledge how to make synthetic proteins from scratch is maybe still inferior, and we still may be producing proteins only with our bodies, but if you follow scientific reports about it, you will see that things are going in the exactly opposite direction with respect to that, than in case of AI, and we will soon be able to produce it in labs. In case of playing strategic games, our ability slowly became more and more inferior to that of machines, but in case of producing proteins and DNA, our ability slowly becomes less and less inferior to those of these complex molecules.

22 hours ago, swansont said:

Pointing out that molecules do not have homeopathic-like “knowledge” isn’t in that category.

The subject of that topic were catalysts, and not homeopathy. The subject of this thread is to debunk silly myth of anthropomorphism.

Edited by Hrvoje1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hrvoje1 said:

 The subject of that topic were catalysts, and not homeopathy. The subject of this thread is to debunk silly myth of anthropomorphism.

You referred specifically to the post by RBS, and the “knowledge” they mentioned was homeopathic. Calling that out is not ridiculous. Molecules do not have memory or knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hrvoje1 said:

The subject of this thread is to debunk silly myth of anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism is not a myth, silly or otherwise, but a recognised and documented effect.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?ei=rcV7XLv7Btee1fAPhtWR0Ao&q=anthropomorphism&oq=anthropomorphism&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0j0i131j0l8.2892.11124..11596...0.0..0.176.1338.13j3......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i67j0i131i67.OvxW1cO6f0A

The question of whether it is scientifically justifiable to do this for scientific purposes is obviously open to debate.

I would agree with you here that it is not, except as clearly expressed analogies where it is definite that the human projection is only an analogy.

It is used to great effect in the art world.

Should we also debunk art as silly?

16 minutes ago, swansont said:

You referred specifically to the post by RBS, and the “knowledge” they mentioned was homeopathic. Calling that out is not ridiculous. Molecules do not have memory or knowledge.

 

Even that statement is blurred at the edges these days

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_polymer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, swansont said:

Not the same thing.

Can't see how anyone can determine that since no one has been specific about what memory as applied to molecules means.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/1/2019 at 11:55 PM, Hrvoje1 said:

I would say that if machine is capable of learning, it should be capable of knowing.

The notion of "machine learning" has a specific technical meaning. It clearly has nothing to do with what it is that you would say it has. Bad choice of example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, studiot said:

Can't see how anyone can determine that since no one has been specific about what memory as applied to molecules means.

Homeopathic “memory” is pretty well defined, as is the “memory” of shape memory. They aren’t remotely the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, swansont said:

Homeopathic “memory” is pretty well defined, as is the “memory” of shape memory. They aren’t remotely the same thing.

A responder to a previous thread, quoted as an example by the OP here, may well have offered a strictly homeopathic connotation.

But the OP here specifically generalised it for this thread.

On 3/1/2019 at 4:45 AM, Hrvoje1 said:

but to instantiation of information, material substrate in which that occurs, is definitely irrelevant.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

My general point is that human is not the only being capable of gaining knowledge.

I can't see how that is relevant to ... well, anything much.

6 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

then you stepped back with respect to artificial intelligence, that is obviously capable to achieve knowledge superior to human's,

I don't know that an AI is "obviously" capable of achieving knowledge superior to a human. 

Quote

And now, rare are people who dispute that that NN understands better these games that it plays (chess, go and shogi), than human players, because there is simple test for that. 

I don't think they understand the games any more than a book of rules does. But you would need to provide a precise definition of "understand" to discuss that further.

6 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

The subject of that topic were catalysts, and not homeopathy. 

And yet that was one of the idiotic anthropomorphic claims made by the poster. So it is relevant.

6 hours ago, Hrvoje1 said:

The subject of this thread is to debunk silly myth of anthropomorphism.

How can it be a myth when it is something people do when they say things like "my car doesn't like going uphill" or "nature abhors a vacuum". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AI in no way demonstrates that "knowledge" can be generated by automata. What it does demonstrate is that machines are able to assimilate knowledge that has been formalized and presented to them about the outside world, and with that as a starting point, generate suggestions of strategies for how to deal with outside world phenomena, with examples such as chess, go, shogi and limit Texas hold'em being quite relevant. But the point is that the machine has no more knowledge available to it than was presented to it from the outset by the user.

The whole point is, to phrase it succinctly, that knowledge about the world simply cannot be deduced purely logically. It has to be experienced. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, studiot said:

A responder to a previous thread, quoted as an example by the OP here, may well have offered a strictly homeopathic connotation.

No, the person who was mentioned (RBS), and linked to, offered that definition. The responders called it out as nonsense, and the OP labeled that as ridiculous.

It was unnecessary to link to the argument to bring up a criticism of anthropomorphism and knowledge. RBS made a specific argument, and the rebuttal was aimed at that argument, but in this thread it has been twisted to suggest that it was a general argument. There is something ridiculous here, but it was not the responses in the other thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, swansont said:

No, the person who was mentioned (RBS), and linked to, offered that definition.

Which is exactly what I said.

4 hours ago, studiot said:

A responder to a previous thread, quoted as an example by the OP here  =  (your words) " the person who was mentioned (RBS), and linked to,"

may well have offered a strictly homeopathic connotation. = (your words) "offered that definition."

 

26 minutes ago, swansont said:

The responders called it out as nonsense, and the OP labeled that as ridiculous.

Indeed so.

Which is why I didn't dwell further on the previous thread. Something I understand is also semi-bad form here.

The OP then went on to a rather scrambled declaration which seems to me to extend the scope of knowledge and information beyond homeopathy to things both living and non living.

On 3/1/2019 at 4:45 AM, Hrvoje1 said:

I hope I don't have to prove to anyone here that anything living can possess knowledge, but if I have to, I can, and the more important point is that non living things can too, without much twisting of the definition of the term knowledge. Second point is that claiming that "knowledge" is not "beyond" "matter" is also problematic, because that is actually true, it is just not true that "knowledge" is "beyond" "nature". Knowledge is connected to information, and its instantiation is "beyond" the material substrates in which it is instantiated. OK, maybe "beyond" is not the right term here, but to instantiation of information, material substrate in which that occurs, is definitely irrelevant.

 

Since there is some conflict in this declaration with the accepted definition of antropomorphism, I provided a link to an accepted definition.

Based on these considerations I made my point and asked my question about the wider applications of the Englsih language construction, in particular to art

pointing out that these other applications are neither silly nor a myth.

6 hours ago, studiot said:

The question of whether it is scientifically justifiable to do this for scientific purposes is obviously open to debate.

I would agree with you here that it is not, except as clearly expressed analogies where it is definite that the human projection is only an analogy.

It is used to great effect in the art world.

Should we also debunk art as silly?

 

I fail utterly to understand how your interpretation of my flow of reasoning, as presented can be justified.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, studiot said:

It is used to great effect in the art world.

Should we also debunk art as silly?

I am not talking about fables here, Aesop, La Fontaine and similar authors, there is nothing silly about them, or anthropomorphism in that context. Saying however that molecules having memory or knowledge is anthropomorphic, is silly, and this myth should be debunked, because there is nothing anthropomorphic in that claim.

 

6 hours ago, studiot said:

Even that statement is blurred at the edges these days

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_polymer

Not just that, take for example this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_digital_data_storage

And you don't have to consider human manipulation with DNA at all. DNA is natural cell's memory that stores genetic information, which is information with causal power, which is according to David Deutsch, knowledge. That is his current working definition of knowledge.

6 hours ago, taeto said:

The notion of "machine learning" has a specific technical meaning. It clearly has nothing to do with what it is that you would say it has. Bad choice of example.

Anything capable of learning, should be capable of knowing, because knowing is a result of learning. OK? There is nothing specifically technical about it. Bad logic of yours.

 

1 hour ago, taeto said:

But the point is that the machine has no more knowledge available to it than was presented to it from the outset by the user.

That is not the case with Alpha Zero. It created knowledge by itself.

2 hours ago, Strange said:

I can't see how that is relevant to ... well, anything much.

It is relevant, because labeling some claims that attribute knowledge to something else than humans as anthropomorphism, means that you don't allow anything else but humans to have that property.

Edited by Hrvoje1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

I am not talking about fables here, Aesop, La Fontaine and similar authors, there is nothing silly about them, or anthropomorphism in that context. Saying however that molecules having memory or knowledge is anthropomorphic, is silly, and this myth should be debunked, because there is nothing anthropomorphic in that claim.

Thank you for clarifying the scope of your subject.

What exactly is your definition of anthropomorphism as it seems to differ from the one I offered?

9 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:
6 hours ago, studiot said:

Even that statement is blurred at the edges these days

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_polymer

Not just that, take for example this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_digital_data_storage

And you don't have consider human manipulation with DNA at all. DNA is natural cell's memory that stores genetic information, which is information with causal power, which is according to David Deutsch, knowledge. That is his current working definition of knowledge. 

I fail to understand how the response is connected to my statement.

Shape memory in inanimate certain objects is well established Science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Strange said:

I don't know that an AI is "obviously" capable of achieving knowledge superior to a human.

If you don't know, and you are aware of it, then study things a bit first, and then return for discussion, please.

1 hour ago, Strange said:

I don't think they understand the games any more than a book of rules does. But you would need to provide a precise definition of "understand" to discuss that further.

See my previous reply. Book of rules does not contain strategies on how to apply rules successfully to beat your opponent, that is something Alpha Zero came up with by itself. And if it can beat the best human player thousand times, out of thousand games played, using these strategies that humans don't understand, then it understands that game better. Is that good enough definition for you?

5 minutes ago, studiot said:

Shape memory in inanimate certain objects is well established Science.

I am not saying it's not, I just gave another example of molecules storing information. If they can store information, they implement memory.

8 minutes ago, studiot said:

What exactly is your definition of anthropomorphism as it seems to differ from the one I offered?

We agree on definition, you just didn't understand what was my objection to its usage, I apologize if I was unclear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

It is relevant, because labeling some claims that attribute knowledge to something else than humans as anthropomorphism, means that you don't allow anything else but humans to have that property.

Really? So if I say that humans have legs, does that mean that no other animals have legs?

I think you need to study logic.

26 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

If you don't know, and you are aware of it, then study things a bit first, and then return for discussion, please.

What I meant was that it is not "obvious" that an AI is capable of achieving knowledge superior to a human.

But feel free to provide some references.

26 minutes ago, Hrvoje1 said:

See my previous reply. Book of rules does not contain strategies on how to apply rules successfully to beat your opponent, that is something Alpha Zero came up with by itself. And if it can beat the best human player thousand times, out of thousand games played, using these strategies that humans don't understand, then it understands that game better. Is that good enough definition for you?

No.

7 hours ago, studiot said:

Even that statement is blurred at the edges these days

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_polymer

The use of "memory" in that context is itself an anthropomorphic metaphor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.