Can An Evolutionary Process Generate English Text? Guest Post by David Bailey!

The Mormon Organon welcomes again guest blogger David H. Bailey! David is a researcher at the High-Performance Computational Research Department at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, California. He is a leading figure in the field of high-performance scientific computing. He has over 100 scientific papers in that area, but to Mormon audiences he is best known for his insightful writings about Mormonism and Science issues. Welcome David!

Introduction

A fundamental precept of evolutionary biology is that a combination of random variation and natural selection is the fundamental driving force for evolution. The consensus of the vast majority of biologists is that over the course of many generations, species have diverged and adapted to their local environment, thus producing the remarkable variety of life presently seen on earth. Continue reading Can An Evolutionary Process Generate English Text? Guest Post by David Bailey!

Dueling Dualists: In which I use the word screwywompous

    “Ah, good, Data. At least you’re functioning.”
    “Fully, Captain.”
    “Data, intoxication is a human condition. Your brain is different, not the same as–”
    “We are more alike than unlike, my dear Captain. I have pores, humans have pores. I have fingerprints, humans have fingerprints. My chemical nutrients are like your blood. If you prick me, do I not .. leak?”
    1. Picard and Data in Star Trek the Next Generation “The Naked Now”

  • The easy answer is that Mormons believe that our spirit that gives us consciousness. Continue reading Dueling Dualists: In which I use the word screwywompous

    The ineffable feeling of zombiehood

    One of the standard devices philosophers use to explore consciousness is the philosophical zombie. My zombie is something that looks just like me, acts like me, and in every case would do whatever I would do—except it has no conscious experience. So at Christmas my zombie would read the story from Luke and get all teary-eyed. It would go for runs and in those cases where I might speed up or slow down or take a new turn and explore routes it would do the same. If it were teaching a class it would pause in the exact places I would, make mistakes in pronunciations, and in every situation it were placed it would do what I would do—except it has no sensual experience at all. No thoughts. Nothing. Continue reading The ineffable feeling of zombiehood

    What is it like to be a bat—both the mammal and the baseball kinds?

    What can science tell us? I want to take a few posts to explore scientific limitations (and yes there are some) and consider why those limitations should never be set in stone. And why we as LDS need not be threatened by the materialist assumptions used in science. My example comes from something, held by some philosophers of mind, as not being amenable to scientific explanation: Consciousness.
    Continue reading What is it like to be a bat—both the mammal and the baseball kinds?