Saturday, September 17, 2005

Randomness vs. design

Apparently, some people think I've ended up arguing for their own case here. My point obviously went over their heads. See, you and I recognize the difference between the Gettysburg Address and random gibberish. That's because the Gettysburg Address is obviously designed. Plus, we understand the English language. Could a person who does not understand English see the difference between "fourscoreandsevenyearsago" and "klasmcoyqwebnkqwoiblklswq?" Of course not.

Let's say that a person does recognize English words, but not their meaning. Could they understand the difference between "four score and seven years ago" and "goat pound yet house usage dog?" Again, of course not. "Goat pound yet house usage dog" is a meaningless phrase even though it uses words we recognize.

How about "to whether the or and no the that?" Pretty meaningless, isn't it? Any design to the phrase? Not that you can tell, I'm sure. Now, let's "zoom out:"
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;

Makes sense now, doesn't it? You recognize the design because you can see the whole thing, not just tiny parts of it. Additionally, the words were in the order I found them in Hamlet's sililoquy (the first word of the first few lines). So even though you didn't see it, there was unseen design to the tiny parts.

Furthermore, "to be or not to be" is meaningful while "be not to be to or" is not. A random placing of words (or letters) does not "work equally well" as a designed placing.

Finally, there is no such thing as or like infinite monkeys bashing away at infinite typewriters for infinite time and there never will be. It's a ridiculous argument that has no reality and no merit. I used it sarcastically to point out the absurdity of the notions which some people desperately cling to in order to justify their beliefs.


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