23 June 2006

Copy-Cat-astrophic response

Saddens me to see that Paul Wayper didn’t draw as much amusement from the Copy-Cat article as I did. A pity, because there’s an undeniable opportunity in it.

Copying a computer should tell us a couple of things, one of them that we’ve got a feindishly complicated design for something which should be relatively straightforward compared with something else which ingests, respirates, reproduces, self-heals and all manner of other stuff not so typical of an Opteron or PowerPC.

The other thing it implies is that copying should be (literally) a dead-simple option compared with building a cat (or for that matter a mosquito, crab... name it) but it isn’t. This should give us a smidgeon of an idea of what to expect with an actual lifeform. An ordinary earthworm, for example, has squillions of times as many parts as this laptop, and in a much more concentrated and dynamic form — a computer should be far more simple to copy, with or without wave-soldering equipment.

In point of fact, there are several kinds of ID which are radically different from any conventional ideas about something most people’d call divine in any way. Mutation may or may not move away from anyone’s particular “ideal” but tinkering with something so complicated, death-prone and which works ain’t going to come out all that well, typically.

That’s nobody’s circular reasoning, it’s basic rationality at work, the same kind of rationality which tells you that raffles are fundamentally a taxation on people who are poor at maths (so is most gambling).

Now... I’m not making any particular claims to support ID here, but if you’re going to shoot it down, please use real ammunition (rather than an emotive rant). Your rant could be applied almost-intact to so many branches of science and/or philosophy — please go & actually visit some real ID sites, you’ll find most of the emotive points get hammered flat (with examples); the whole approach would work better if it were less emotive & more specific.

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