hi rajiv, thank you so much for your kind words and insights.
*deep breath*... it's time for me to mention, sadly, that the rules of this essay contest, being completely ambiguous (and unfairly applied) meant that i was forced to drastically cut the essay's length to 25,000 *keystrokes* where brendan was in fact measuring the size of a MICROSOFT WORD document as being under 25k in length as the "cut-off" criteria. 25,000 *keystrokes* is around 5 pages in length.
so it was flat-out impossible to add in references to dr hankey's work, or add further explanations, as i was under the impression that the length limit was a whopping 50% less than everyone else has been submitting.
that having been said i'll ask dr hankey for a doi reference (or other) to his papers. it's part of his paper on homeopathy, that much i remember. the basic principle is that operating at a critical instability point is what pretty much all (healthy) biological systems do: operate on a knife-edge between two extremes: implosion or explosion where even a single microscopic change in energy not just rapidly but *immediately* results in a drastic macroscopic whole-organism response.
in speaking with dr hankey last week i expanded on the importance of adding noise into a neural net. neurons operate on the principle that they respond (fire) if either multiple inputs fire (within a certain specific simultaneous time-range) or if *one* (or more) inputs fire *repeatedly* in quick succession.
detection in an eye of a single photon flashing at a low rate is thus flat-out impossible under normal circumstances: the single photon is (by way of being "single") simply not capable of firing multiple neurons, nor is it strong enough to result in the "multi-repeat" threshold.
so how does nature solve this? it does so by causing *all* neurons to fire randomly... and then *filters out* the randomness in *subsequent layers* of the network. so now, averaging over time, whereas previously we had an input of say "0.1" representing the single photon, we have "0.1 + randomness(0.9 +/- 0.12 sigma")... *now* what happens is that the randomness is disturbed by that single photon, one of the neurons fires more than the randomness would otherwise dictate, and we have a means to detect ultra-ultra-slow-speed *single photons*.
thus, paradoxically, by adding randomness into a biological system (instability), it is able to detect microscopic changes. however, having randomness in a system like this could easily result in total garbage... and *that's* what the "critical instability point" detection is all about. it's necessary to *filter out* that randomness but you have to know how much randomness (on average) there was in the first place in order to filter it out. if you *don't* know then you either end up seeing "total darkness" or you end up seeing "total blinding white-light"! and for humans, in that case, the "feedback" mechanism would include "changing the iris size", thus bringing the whole system back to within the range where the randomness is smack in the middle of the detection range.
fasccinating, ehn? :) the even more fascinating thing is: *all* biological systems operate like this!
"My first reaction was what a brilliant argument."
mmm... i appreciate your sentiment: i feel that if you ask the right non-judgemental questions, the answers are genuinely self-evident. if you miss out any of the logical-reasoning steps in between, however, the answers are less than clear.
"then every act of every physical entity in the physical universe would appear intelligent. That is, a change in definition makes everything willful."
welll doooone :) however read very carefully what georgina kindly pointed out, that i missed the fact that *all* DNA is not intelligent: certainly not the experiments recently carried out by some scientists where they used DNA as a "data store" to encode (and then decode) a video, for example (yes, really! look it up!). there *really* is something very very important - the critical-instability feedback - that is fundamental to defining what intelligence really is.
the characteristic which is present within a single electron and within a single neuron is that time-derivative "feedback" loop, resulting in both being capable of:
(a) storing "state"
(b) performing integration over time based on "state" and "input"
(c) performing differentiation over time based on the same
regardless of what the physical entity *is*, if those three characteristics are not present then the whole point of the essay is to state and emphasise that intelligence will *not* emerge. also, as a side-point (explored in more depth in dr hankey's work), if the feedback mechanisms are disrupted, the *capacity for intelligence is drastically reduced or is entirely destroyed*.
"What does the theory say, if electrons' aims are in opposition to atom's aims, atom's aims are in opposition to that of the hosting molecule or to another atom in the same molecule, and so on at each level in hierarchy?"
taking just the "electron's aims in opposition to atom's aims" part, that would indicate that someone's fired an electron at an atom using a particle accelerator, *completely* overcoming and overwhelming the atom's "aims" resulting in gamma radiation and other messy but ultimately beautiful patterns inimical to biological life (and the rest of the hierarchy).
to whit: operating *outside* of the stability constraints at one level *massively* disrupts their ability to be part *of* one (otherwise anticipated) stable hierarchy... moving them to another level instead (such as inside of a star, where such hugely energetic reactions are everyday / everynanosecond occurrences as part of *that* hierarchy).
whew, getting to be a long response... allow me the liberty of skipping question 1... :)
"Second, why do I not feel that I am in opposition to the will of any organ in my body, or that I am resolving the issues among multitude of organs in my body."
ha, veery good question! so tell me... have you never stayed up late at night, tired and irritable, then got ill for 2 days as a result, or eaten food that you *know* will get you into trouble, even though you *know*, from recent reports and scientific discoveries, that 75% of our immune system is actually in our intestines and that the wrong food or lack of sleep can disrupt the bacteria in our gut and make us ill?
have you never pushed your body beyond its physical strength and pulled a muscle, even though you *know* that if you exercise without enough water our bodies pull water away from non-critical areas (such as brain and organs) and put it into muscles instead?
have you not heard of breatharians, or the story of the old lady who took silicon (or some other supplement only 1 atomic number away from calcium) and stunned her doctors when her bones were shown in x-rays to have been completely healed of osteoporosis?
yeah we damn well *do* over-ride our body's organs' "will" with our own, where most creatures in the animal kingdom listen very very carefully, and we suffer greatly as a result! you've heard stories of peoples' hair *literally* going white overnight as a result of deep shock, i'm sure.
"I mean, what intelligent source in the universe is beating the acts of these entities to enforce increase in entropy?"
ha! very very good question. i do cover this point, briefly (annoyed that i had to cut it short). ok, so let's set up a universe where there is a completely uniformly random distribution of atoms. BOOMF, immediately you get some huge explosions as the various atoms react very very badly with each other, lots of fireballs result, but then they implode, leaving vacuum behind, gravity takes over and you get stars, black holes, blah blah.
random distribution started... total uniform distribution... infinite entropy at the beginning.... but VERY VERY QUICKLY entropy *DECREASES* (on average).
straight out of the wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(order_and_disorder):
Locally, the entropy can be lowered by external action. This applies to machines, such as a refrigerator, where the entropy in the cold chamber is being reduced, and to living organisms. This local decrease in entropy is, however, only possible at the expense of an entropy increase in the surroundings."
in the case of outer space, stars and galaxies *deprive* space of the opportunity to create entropy-lowering "entities" by TOTALLY DEPRIVING SPACE OF RESOURCES.
and that's really the point: entropy-lowering self-organising entities - at each level of the intelligence hierarchy - deprive their surrounding higher-entropy environment of the resources required to beat them.
so it's actually really rather simple, and is the underpinning behind evolution. darwin missed the opportunity to make this clear and common knowledge because he was primarily a taxonomist and researcher.
regarding the science-fiction concept of an electron demonstrating intelligence beyond its "station", that _would_ be fascinating but also, having read the "Turkey Lexicon to wannabe Sci-Fi writers" (look it up: it's hilarious) it would unfortunately not really be believable to the average modern sci-fi reader.
a much *more* believable story would be if some Evil Scientists worked out how to place quantum-entangled electrons *stably* into orbit around atoms (qty 1 or more), then used that to "influence" or spy on people... but the external intelligence would be the minds of the "Evil Scientists" rather than in the actual electrons themselves.
this potential story illustrates an important point, namely that the *system* has to include some agent beyond the scope of the electron itself in order to demonstrate intelligent behaviour beyond the scope of an "ordinary" electron. appealing as it might be for a single electron to gain intelligence beyond its station :)
we know however that if an electron gains sufficient energy to go "beyond its station" and still have some form of electron-like properties, it also gains mass... and becomes a muon, not an electron.
unfortunately we have to assume that sci-fi readers of today would be familiar with leptons etc. there *really are* some fundamental laws at work here, sadly, which prevent the sci-fi scenario from being plausible to the modern reader of today, rajiv :)
lastly, i perfectly understand your reticence to provide a rating, but i am just grateful for your insights and questions which i have really enjoyed answering, helping as they do to emphasise and communicate more effectively.
thank you rajiv.
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