Emergence and epiphenomena (4)

Salinas17 at aol.com Salinas17 at aol.com
Fri Mar 3 14:42:03 UTC 2006

In a message dated 3/3/06 2:43:07 AM, lists at chaoticlanguage.com writes:

<< That's the _single_ rule then is it?>>

It's how the rule works.  The rule at every turn for every cell is state A = 
1 state B = 0 state C = same, where the state is determined by the # of 
adjacent filled squares (3, <3, >3).  This generates EVERY resulting pattern you 
see, unless God and his angels are intervening to make gliders.

<<Seriously Steve, don't you see what you have done here is describe 
something like a corpus, citing the GOL rules which generate it, the _real_ rules, as 
you go. >>

No, not as YOU go.  YOU are out of it after the first turn.  The rules given 
above take over, your input is done.  The rules generate gliders but also 
generate in most cases empty grids or no "movement" of patterns at all.  The rules 
absolutely dictate the shape of gliders, not the user.  If you want to make a 
glider, the starting shape is not up to you.  Start with a four-sided square 
and you will be disappointed into infinity.  It will disappear in 3 turns, 
every time.  It's decided by the rules.

The best mysterious movement generator is a version I call Coppola's Game of 
Life.  The rules are 1. Every empty cell adjacent to the left of a filled cell 
becomes a filled cell.  2.  Every filled cell becomes an empty cell, except 
if it is adjacent to the left of a filled cell.  

When you use these rules, you never have to worry about your patterns 
disappearing or being static -- every pattern is a glider.  What a difference a 
change in rules makes!

<<You might as well claim to describe the grammar of English by dictating a 


That am not a bad ideas.

<<You cite what you claim is a rule, and then say we cannot perceive it, and 

this is not contradictory?>>

The effects of the law of gravity were always felt.  Stating the law of 
gravity awaited Newton.  I don't understand how that is a contradiction.

<<You don't seem to like my characterization of "direct causes" and "indirect 
causes" so much is clear.  Other than that, what is your point?>>

Well, for one thing -- there's nothing mysterious about gliders. Also, yes, I 
don't understand how direct or indirect causes helps anything.

If the issue is emergence, I'd suggest that what's missing is functionality.  
When we say a combination produces an unforeseen effect, doesn't that happen 
all the time, in all and even the simplest processes?  The real question is 
what does this unforeseen effect have in terms of intended results.  Language is 
seeping with intentions, goals, objectives.  But a pure structural approach 
appears to be blind to all that.

<<The up-shot is the same.... if the underlying system is such that "we 
cannot perceive the process", so long as we go on trying to formalize it in terms 
of what we can 

perceive (grammar itself), we will not succeed. That is my point. That is 

what "emergent grammar" is trying to say.>>

And I would say that's not correct in this sense -- capturing the process of 
cause and effect does not demand that we directly perceive the process, only 
that we can deduce it.  We don't see the change in state of electrical wires 
when we throw on the light switch, but our deductions about the process are 
highly predictive.  For the most part, the lights do go on.  When they don't, we 
look for a burnt filament.

Steve Long

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