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fdpugh comments on An Alien God - Less Wrong

80 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 November 2007 06:57AM

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Comment author: fdpugh 13 May 2010 12:17:09AM 2 points [-]

Oh but I disagree that we do not see "machines with many parts working efficiently for a specific purpose"; we have so many examples of such around us each day we take them for granted as a part of nature.

The difference is that the machines in nature are made out of wood and meat (or similar squishy substances), instead of plastics and metals.

The chemistry necessary for spontaneously replicating molecules to form proteins and nucleotide sequences seems to be favorable to the types of materials we have classified as "organic" given the conditions here on this planet.

Because life appears to be based exclusively on organic chemistry, we need to look at the building blocks to see the flaws in the analogy more clearly.

Cells are self-contained machines of some considerable complexity with no apparent purpose if viewed without the context of a greater organism, or rather they are simply self-reproducing organic machines.

Blurring the line even further - Viruses are simply RNA code encapsulated in a protein sheath. They have no self-fulfilling purpose, and can only be reproduced in the presence of working cells - They are functionless spare parts if you will, that have the appearance of complicity and design.

How is the simple feedback mechanism of photo-receptors in certain cellular organisms different from an analogue circuit in a man-made machine that senses light levels and responds electronically?

It seems that the only remaining foothold of the design argument is that animals and to some degree plants also, have the ability to autonomously react to their immediate environments, and we do not see our simple machines doing so... yet - I can foresee the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience becoming so inter-related that the line between animal and robot is ambiguous at best, and I can see it happening soon.

Comment author: Cyan 13 May 2010 03:13:48AM 3 points [-]

Viruses are simply RNA code encapsulated in a protein sheath...

Fact check: viruses can have RNA or DNA genomes.