Velocity Reviews > Can a computer work anything out?

# Can a computer work anything out?

Patricia Aldoraz
Guest
Posts: n/a

 07-29-2009
On Jul 28, 11:48*pm, John Stafford <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I would like you to examine your prejudices and accusations, too. For
> example, you cast aspersions in order to strengthen your position by
> claiming, for example, that someone just quotes from a book, or that somehow
> someone else's opinion is superior but you have no rationale to support the
> claim, or your constant accusation that someone cannot understand your
> constant claims to something you read from a book, and your application of
> irrelevant fallacies.
>

Perhaps I go too far sometimes.

dorayme
Guest
Posts: n/a

 07-29-2009
In article
<(E-Mail Removed)>,
Patricia Aldoraz <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> On Jul 28, 9:22Â*pm, John Stafford <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > Patricia Aldoraz wrote:
> > > On Jul 27, 10:24 pm, John Stafford <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

....
> >
> > >> And if the number sequence stops
> > >> with either 1 2 3 4 5 43 or 1 2 3 4 5 97, then it is probably not
> > >> random. The deviation is much to great. Besides, it's an inadequate
> > >> sequence to consider.

> >
> > > It has been explained to you over and over again that if you have no
> > > idea how complex the generator is, you have nothing to hang your
> > > judgement that 1 2 3 4 5 is a sign that the formula a(n)=n is the one
> > > that best describes this generator's workings. You have the simple
> > > minded idea that 1 2 3 4 5 is somehow priviliged to continue as 6 7
> > > 8 ... and it is just not so for the reasons given.

> >
> > Absolutely incorrect.
> > You do not understand what a random sequence is.
> >

The fault must be mine then, not yours, Patricia. You have seemed to
explain my idea very well but perhaps not appreciated the difficulty
many people will have with the idea of *having no idea of the complexity
of the generating engine*.

Your co-debater on this, John Stafford, has not moved one iota in
fathoming this idea deep down. He is at the level of understanding that
if you really did come into a room and saw numbers coming up, you might
very well not know *quite* how complex the generating engine is.

He would also understand surely that many sequences of numbers that
might come up can be consistent with a lot of possible formulae. As any
intelligent person would.

However, he is at the level of understanding of the whole thought
experiment being *a half likely one* on earth.

Now, when I have considered the man sitting in front of the numbers
appearing before him, I am thinking, for illustrative purposes, a
situation that abstracts any clues that the screen affords (a screen
means a computer, a computer mean a program, a program means a human
being...) or that the person reasonably suspects this has been set up by
a human being, a researcher for example. If you do not abstract from
this information, it is impossible not to really be in a theory free
state of mind with respect to the generating engine. If we were to
suspect reasonably that it was made by a human, we would already not be
in the thought experiment I am imagining. Why?

Because we already know a bit about the sorts of complexity that a human
is capable of. Humans can be impressively strong, but we know they
cannot pick up military tanks. Similar things we know about their
intellectual capacities.

In order to get a real foothold on randomness, it is useful to imagine a
really thoroughgoing ignorance of the complexity of the generator.
Complexity is not quite the right word nor is generator. For what I am
saying, the numbers could simply appear in the sky and there be no
generator, there is *just* the numbers appearing! But this sort of story
generally gets half-wits guffawing so best stay away from it.

Your John Stafford is right, inside his inability to suspend belief in
any background assumption about complexity that in this world, to
suppose that some sequences would appear to be random and others not to
appear to be so.

--
dorayme

Patricia Aldoraz
Guest
Posts: n/a

 07-29-2009
On Jul 29, 11:02*pm, John Stafford <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> dorayme wrote:

> > Your co-debater on this, John Stafford, has not moved one iota in
> > fathoming this idea deep down. He is at the level of understanding that
> > if you really did come into a room and saw numbers coming up, you might
> > very well not know *quite* how complex the generating engine is.

>

> Further, most complexity reaches a
> practical maximum very quickly

We are not doing practical. This is philosophy, get it?

>
> > He would also understand surely that many sequences of numbers that
> > might come up can be consistent with a lot of possible formulae. As any
> > intelligent person would.

>
> Of course. I wrote the same. But not an infinite number of formulas as
> you suggested earlier.

You are simply a blockhead now. It has been shown time and time again
to you that any set sequence of numbers is consistent with an infinite
number of possible series.

>
> Why do you use the analogy of a computer screen when already such is
> rife with preset notions? Let's not be stuck with passing technology. If
> you are making a mental experiment, make it mental and not analogous.
>

presumably because he thoughtyou had the capacity to abvstarct a few
things from the situation under his explicit instuctions about not
assuming anuytging about the complexity of the generator that supplied
the fifigures to the screen.

You see, this is philosophy and you don't get it, right? You have not
the capacity to do this abstracting. You seem not even to know what to
abstract in spite of it having been explained to you over and over
again.

> > Because we already know a bit about the sorts of complexity that a human
> > is capable of. Humans can be impressively strong, but we know they
> > cannot pick up military tanks. Similar things we know about their
> > intellectual capacities.

>
> Another overstated and still impoverished analogy. I am beginning to
> pity you.

Again you simply are not seeing things. Philosophy is not your game,
you don't seem to "get it",

You can't see the point. You do not even know what the analogy is
trying top pointout but this does not stop you from declaring it
impoverished. You seem to think this is just some sort of ****ing
competition.
>
>
> > Your John Stafford is right, inside his inability to suspend belief in
> > any background assumption about complexity that in this world, to
> > suppose that some sequences would appear to be random and others not to
> > appear to be so.

>
> That is an empty statement of the type called innuendo.

It does not look empty to me. dorayme has identified that you simply
lack the capacity for abstraction needed to do this part of
philosophy.

dorayme
Guest
Posts: n/a

 07-30-2009
In article
<(E-Mail Removed)>,
Patricia Aldoraz <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

Your co-debater on this, John Stafford, is at the level of understanding
that if he really did see numbers coming up one after the other, he
would be able to make an informed guess about how they would go on or at
least be able to judge whether they were random or not.

And this, indeed, is what we would all have a go at and this is science
in action. There are established procedures for mathematicians and
statisticians to tell if a series of numbers are random or not in the
normal scheme of things.

But he is not understanding that for any given set of numbers there are
an infinite number of ways those numbers could go on. Or to put this
another way, for any given set of numbers there are an infinite number
of formulae that describe the different ways the numbers could go on.

Perhaps he missed my post where I explained this?

For example, suppose the screen showed one number after the other, we
were to guess what might be next at each stage. But we had no idea at
all about the complexity of the program of the machine that was
producing the numbers or even if anything was producing the numbers, it
being perhaps a magical happening. What could we say was a more likely
number than any other after the very first number (n=1), 1? There is
simply no number that is more likely than any other number for second
place.

Here are some formulae to cover a few of the possibilities. Most folk
with elementary maths skills should be able to see that these can be
added to at will and they will all start a series with 1 and diverge
from there on. The principle is not different if we had more starting
place numbers to be constant across possible series, it is just that the
formulae would be more complex.

a(n)=n
a(n)=2n-1
a(n)=3n-2
a(n)=4n-3
a(n)=5n-4
a(n)=6n-5
a(n)=7n-6
a(n)=8n-7
a(n)=9n-8

Each of these formulae generate a different series, but all of them

It is easy enough to devise formulae types (you should notice a pattern
above) to cover a larger number of places than just where n=1. But not
so easy when the number of places needing covering becomes large. But
ease is not the issue here.

Or perhaps he missed Jim Burns's further elucidation and particularly,
his "Actually, it's still pretty easy, conceptually. True, the
required calculations grow pretty quickly" to a point in this. To which
I replied:

Yes, indeed, conceptually dead easy. It is even easy to give an
unmathematical person many rules that start a series with Â*1 2 3 4 5 ...
but continue in quite different ways:

Make the first five places as if counting from 1 and then keep repeating
the count for each set of five place: 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2
3 4 5...

Make the first five places as if counting from 1 and then reverse count
these same numbers for the next five places, alternating both
procedures: 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 5 5 4 3 2 1...

It should be obvious that there is no limit to the series that begin
with any numbers continuing in "a different way". For those with a
*philosophical* interest in this matter, I put the last phrase in quotes
because, in fact, if any rule *at all* is being followed (eg. a person
or program is really using it to generate the numbers), it does not
matter what the 6th and subsequent places in the series are: the numbers
are following in *the same way*. The *same way* refers to the actual
rule being followed, not some other imagined rule that would generate
the first five places.

>
> > Further, most complexity reaches a
> > practical maximum very quickly

>
> We are not doing practical.
>

Indeed quite so. I don't think Stafford has any background in Philosophy
itself. Perhaps he has dabbled in a bit of maths at school?

Perhaps what he has not connected is the idea of complexity of the
generator with the complexity of the formula it uses to generate the
numbers. A simple child can count simply, a more advanced one can
generate a more complex series, a clever mathematician or savant could
generate very complex.

But the point of imagining no knowledge at all of the generator's
complexity is to mirror the logical situation of a theory free
environment. In this environment, every formula is as likely as any
other formula. And here the concept of randomness is to be found in its
purest form.

Unfortunately Patricia, you are dealing with Platonic Cavemen types,
used to thinking the shadows they see on their walls are the real thing.
<g>

--
dorayme

Patricia Aldoraz
Guest
Posts: n/a

 07-30-2009
On Jul 30, 10:25*am, John Stafford <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Patricia Aldoraz wrote:

....
> >> Further, most complexity reaches a
> >> practical maximum very quickly

>
> > We are not doing practical. This is philosophy, get it?

>
> Philosophy is not just a game of your uninformed, impressionistic
> bullshit ...

No, it's a game where the knack is to see what is relevant to what and
that is what you are having so much trouble with, you cannot separate
out relevant things from irrelevant things.
>
> If you believe you have an original insight, then state it and make it
> so. Objecting to anything you read here is not building. It is just noise..
>

This shows you think it is some sort of ****ing competition game. It
is not. It is about how things are in all sorts of ways, mainly at a
conceptual level. Perhaps you are a kind of dog looking for trees to
raise your leg on? It is not my fault that you are like this.

> > You are simply a blockhead now. It has been shown time and time again
> > to you that any set sequence of numbers is consistent with an infinite
> > number of possible series.

>
> "Infinite" does not automatically conjure up magical thinking; it
> * does not automatically excuse you from demonstrating that it is true.
> Show us how, or shut the **** up.
>

You have been shown how. There is nothing you understand. You have the
choice to shut up too, but like most things, this simply does not
occur to you? I suspect that it is because in your heart of hearts you
know you are before a powerful set of ideas and they mesmerise you
like they fascinate me. I am extremely grateful to dorayme for the
opportunity to contemplate these matters. Now I have to duck out and
be sick. Excuse me.

> >> Why do you use the analogy of a computer screen when already such is
> >> rife with preset notions? Let's not be stuck with passing technology. If
> >> you are making a mental experiment, make it mental and not analogous.

>
> > Presumably because he thought some people here had the capacity to abstract a few
> > things from the situation under his explicit instuctions about not
> > assuming anything about the complexity of the generator that supplied
> > the figures to the screen.

>