Code as an Analogy of DNA?


(Timothy Horton) #242

Big time logic and science fail there. What science actually says is "there is no evidence in the Big Bang, abiogenesis, or large scale evolution of the involvement of any supernatural God or Gods, therefore the presumption is such Gods didn’t do it.

It’s always easier to kick over silly strawmen than deal with the actual science, eh?


Right…we should not assume. :slight_smile: Sorry…couldn’t resist.

We have evidence of functional systems that use abstraction-less hardware translation from input to output everywhere, and where the origin of the systems are documented, abstraction was involved. It does not seem unwarranted to leave open the possibility.

(Timothy Horton) #244

You can leave the possibility open all you want. :slightly_smiling_face: Just don’t expect anyone to agree the entire universe was designed just to make our version of DNA work you come up with some positive evidence.


I don’t expect anyone to agree without evidence, but that would be off topic. The point was that we can’t use an abstraction-less hardware translation system as proof that DNA is not a code.

It seems like the conversion has devolved. Maybe it would be a good way to get back on track if one of the non-code advocates would give us a couple more ways they think the analogy breaks down.

(Timothy Horton) #246

We can certainly use the fact as strong evidence DNA is not a consciously created “Intelligently Designed” code with arbitrarily chosen symbols as abstractions.


This thread appears to be fairly full of loose terms and concepts, which is certainly not unusual given the topic.

I think you just have to decide if you want to actually communicate something, or remain among the ambiguities that are inherent in some of the words we use. Perhaps a person has to decide if someone may legitimately call DNA a “coded medium” –if– it physically operates within its system in the same way as a coded medium physically operates in a system that we would all unambiguously call a code system . Modern humans certainly have enough of them to use as examples.

If such an agreement were being sought, then it would inherently focus attention on the physical characteristics of the system itself, and perhaps many, if not all, of these ambiguities might fall away. For instance (as was already alluded to upthread) a code system first requires a medium of information in order to function. What is required for a medium of information to exist? Does DNA reflect those same requirements within the gene system? Also, an unambiguous code system is (generally a high-capacity) multi-referent system, using spatial-orientation within a single medium to distinguish one referent from another. Does the gene system use spatial orientation within the medium (and its constraints) to distinguish one referent from another? What is physically required for that to occur, and does the gene system reflect those same physical requirements? What about rate-independence? What about the requirement of semantic closure? And so on…

On the other hand, if such an agreement is not amenable to those who argue “DNA is not a code”, then what would be the point of objecting to the word “code” to begin with, and having a discussion about it? It would be a truly meaningless objection and discussion, would it not?


Only if we say so as a philosophical/religious belief…the scientific answer is “I do not know”.

(Timothy Horton) #249

Wrong. Having strong positive positive evidence for something is not the same as saying “I don’t know”. In science there are degrees of knowing from completely unknown to virtual certainty. We can’t disprove gravity fairies but it is scientifically incorrect to say “I don’t know what keeps planets in their orbits”.

(John Mercer) #250

No one is closing the door on the possibility. You’re projecting.

You seem to have closed the door on testing the hypothesis that the assignments are arbitrary, which has already been tested.


@Timothy_Horton @Mercer Then I suggest we follow the advice @Upright_BiPed and “inherently focus attention on the physical characteristics of the system itself”. We are not going to get anywhere if we stay on this path.

(Dale Cutler) #252

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #253

Where are you trying to go?

There are a group of scientists explaining you can not win an scientific argument by asserting an analogy or definition whilst not understanding how the analogy or definition fails. Francis Bacon would say people are falling prey to the idol of the marketplace by continuing on anyway.

Where do you there is to go from here?

(Dale Cutler) #254

The code analogy has not been blown out of the water.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #255

Why would expect to be blown out the water?

It is an imperfect analogy abused in some arguments by taking beyond breaking point. You have stated you have no interest understanding how it fails as an analogy. What more is there to discuss?

(Mikkel R.) #256

You can call it a code all day long if it makes you happy. Just understand that the label you use to describe the object is not any sort of indication how it came about. If you are trying to argue the genetic code was designed, you still have all your work ahead of you and no amount on insisting the genetic code is a code is capable of getting you to that conclusion.

(John Mercer) #257

The scientific answer is that we know it is not arbitrary.

(John Mercer) #258

@Upright_BiPed isn’t doing that. Nor are you. There’s very strong evidence that it’s not arbitrary.

(Timothy Horton) #259

At the very least do you understand analogies are not scientific evidence?

(Dale Cutler) #260

Actually, I think I do. :roll_eyes: Was I ever trying to say that they were?

(Dale Cutler) #261

(You, et al., would be mistaken if you think that I am completely illiterate scientifically.)