Scientific enlightenment vs lamplight probabilities

October 26, 2013 | James Kohl

“To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.”

What should we be worried about?

Excerpt: Bart Kosko, Information Scientist and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Law, the University of Southern California; Author, Noise

“Lamplight Probabilities

We should worry that so much of our science and technology still uses just five main models of probability—even though there are more probability models than there are real numbers.”

My comment:  Haldane’s 1920’s idea that the probability of random mutations justified the concept of mutation-initiated natural selection worries me. It should worry anyone with any knowledge of the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization required to link sensory cause to epigenetic effects on the genome. His idea paved the way for others to ignore the scientific enlightenment associated with the molecular epigenetics of cause and effect. Many people still pretend that biologically based outcomes are akin to mathematical probabilities.

Instead, the outcomes are obviously nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man.  That fact is consistent with Darwin’s theory and his focus on ‘conditions of life,’ which are obviously nutrient-dependent. The metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction is consistent with pheromone-controlled nutrient-dependent survival of the species in all species that have ever existed.  However, human pheromone-deniers, philosophers, and evolutionary theorists continue to uncritically accept Haldane’s idea and tout mutation-driven evolution as if any experimental evidence supported it. This blind acceptance of probability worries me because it prevents the scientific progress that evidence of conserved molecular mechanisms might otherwise enable.

Excerpt: “If 100 billion fold attempts were done each second, then the number of possibilities would be greater than the age of the universe, approximately 10 billion years. These possibilities are impossible for the largest computers to consider.”

My comment: I am worried that some people cannot comprehend the complexity of life. Some of them are touting mutation-initiated natural selection (i.e., mutation-driven evolution) without considering how their mathematical models contribute to the suffering of others whose biologically-based diseases and disorders are not somehow randomly associated with the mathematical models. What on earth (e.g., this planet) are ‘those people’ thinking?

The Singularity Isn’t Near

Excerpt: “This prior need to understand the basic science of cognition is where the “singularity is near” arguments fail to persuade us. It is true that computer hardware technology can develop amazingly quickly once we have a solid scientific framework and adequate economic incentives. However, creating the software for a real singularity-level computer intelligence will require fundamental scientific progress beyond where we are today. This kind of progress is very different than the Moore’s Law-style evolution of computer hardware capabilities that inspired Kurzweil and Vinge. Building the complex software that would allow the singularity to happen requires us to first have a detailed scientific understanding of how the human brain works that we can use as an architectural guide, or else create it all de novo.”

My comment: If only the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes is used as an architectural guide, most people would realize the current approach to The Singularity is purely scientific fiction. The architectural design that enables the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes requires consideration of protein folding, which is a science fact. I reiterate (see above): “These possibilities are impossible for the largest computers to consider.”

It seems unlikely that technology will ever advance to the point where machines can consider the requirements of protein folding, which include theromodynamics of intercellular signaling via changes in base pairs that enable nutrient-dependendent amino acid substitutions and species diversity. If I’m wrong, and the incalculable  number of possibilities required to predict the outcome of protein folding can someday be computed, another problem can be addressed. How is the outcome of protein folding controlled?

In my model of biologically-based cause and effect, the de novo creation of species-specific pheromones results from nutrient metabolism. Pheromones control the physiology of nutrient-dependent reproduction, which is how the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes is also controlled. Starvation-driven changes in protein folding enable the thermodynamics involved in the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes, which is not required when the de novo creation of nutrient-dependent species-specific pheromones provides sufficient feedback to unicellular and multicellular organisms.

Sufficient feedback tells the organism that its ecological niche is secured, which means it has enough to eat. Thus, nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled feedback conveys bottom-up and top-down signals. Top-down signals enable one signaling pathway involving the epigenetic effects of pheromones on protein folding to regulate the bottom-up nutrient-dependent protein folding that is regulated by odors associated with nutrient uptake. There is across species evidence of the ability of one signaling pathway to regulate a second signaling pathway. Experimental evidence of how cells integrate multiple stimuli to produce a coordinated response begins with what is obvious in yeasts at the advent of self vs non-self recognition and sexual reproduction. See: Signaling Crosstalk: Integrating Nutrient Availability and Sex. Yeasts, like other microbes, recognize conspecifics. And at the advent of sexual reproduction, recognition leads to the singularity of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled mating, which is evidenced in all species that sexually reproduce.

Kurzweil Responds: Don’t Underestimate the Singularity

Excerpt: “A classical example is the laws of thermodynamics (LOT). If you look at the mathematics underlying the LOT, they model each particle as following a random walk.”

My comment: Anyone who looks only at the mathematics underlying the LOT may miss the complexity of systems biology that requires both bottom-up thermodynamically controlled de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes and top-down control of that de novo creation by the nutrient-dependent de novo creation of species-specific pheromones, which control reproduction in species from microbes to man. For example, the LOT must result in organism-level thermoregulation if populations of different species are to be included in models that integrate biological facts.

There is nothing random involved in the particles that enable the epigenetic ‘landscape’ to become the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of species from microbes to man. The entirety of every intelligent adaptation requires a form of ‘cognition’ at the cellular level that is also evidenced at the organism level. The intelligence is evidenced by non-random protein folding that is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled, which enables the creation of new species. These new species do not include any in which electronics enables self vs non-self recognition or the stability of speciation, competition, or co-operation that is enabled by ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in my model.

NEMALOAD by David Dalrymple

Excerpt: “The project isn’t dead…. Much of the data is useless… But there will be more publicly visible activity soon (June at the latest).

My comment: On June 14,2013 my model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution was published in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. If we hear anything further about modeling human cognition in nematodes, it will either include the biological facts evidenced in nematoads, or remain largely irrelevant to scientific progress. For example, in June 2013, I wrote:  “…the epigenetic effects of food odors and pheromones are involved in neurogenic niche construction as exemplified in nematodes (Bumbarger, Riebesell, Rödelsperger, & Sommer, 2013), and in flies (Swarup et al., 2013).

In the section “An epigenetic continuum of nutrient-dependent / pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution,” I wrote: “Differences in the behavior of nematodes are determined by nutrient-dependent rewiring of their primitive nervous system (Bumbarger et al., 2013). Species incompatibilities in nematodes are associated with cysteine-to-alanine substitutions (Wilson et al., 2011), which may alter nutrient-dependent pheromone production.”

Evidence of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled neurogenic niche construction in nematodes may preclude further interest in mathematical models of  the Singularity and when it will occur. Obviously, the Singularity will not occur. Paul Allen and Mark Greaves told us why they think the Singularity is not near. I provided evidence in June that it is not even a consideration. The Singularity cannot be considered in any scientific approach that involves what is currently neuroscientifically known about the molecular biology of cause and effect in species from microbes to man. Thus, the technological Singularity is dead. Long live the biological Singularity of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled de novo creation of olfactory receptor neurons in species from worms to man.

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James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones.