Why do we think there are 'computers' in nature?
The words 'computer', 'digital', etc. are terms that we use for ideas.
These are some kinds of structures in our brains, somehow 'compostions'
of some innate structures that we all carry, so that these ideas can
quickly be explained.
So, the idea of computer is in our mind, so in that sense it is in nature.
But we impose the idea of 'computer' upon structures or systems in nature.
Saying that something is 'digital' or 'computational' is exclusively a
matter of human judgment. It is a 'map', no the territory. It is a helpful
model, sometimes, for investigation.
That said, those natural systems have some structure that can stimulate our
judgment of 'computational'. Whatever those qualities are, we must think
of them as FIRST offering us insight into OUR perception. Once we learn about
our perception, we can correct for it, and see how external systems could
be considered computational, based on some new definition that will emerge.
We know how to make an 'analogue' computer into a 'digital' one. We also
know that what we perceive of as analogue computers have abilities that
digital computers don't, if we were to stick with one of the imposed
definitions since Alan Turing's. Turing's was an attempt to codify our
notion of 'computation', but that is impossible, because it is an attempt
to do it 'externally', when the meaning is in the human brain.
Is a digital computer just a highly constrained system?
Is that what impresses us? Are we tickling our conceptual
and compositional and abstraction and objectification
and naming abilities/attitudes/faculties in some way?
On this site, I will try to approach these questions. Until we make some progress,
I believe we should suspend judgment on whether anything in the natural world is a
'computer', 'network', 'object' or could be called 'digital'. or anything in the man-made world,
for that matter.