> Sorry. Can't help myself : Is there any point in completing that term paper really?

Actually, between the above remark made in fun, & the subsequent discussion, there are 
things in common. Above, the joke is that, if one adopts nihilism & the view that 
nothing is worth caring about, then what value would one place in knowing this or in 
knowing anything? Ethics pertains to feelings & values regarding power, submission, 
governing oneself, governing & being governed, decision-making. Then there are also 
feelings & values regarding other things, including knowledge, what's worth knowing, 
exploring, etc., standards of evidence, etc. We have no word like "ethics" for it 
although one might argue that the word "philosophy" was originally meant to mean it. 
These values with regard to cognition & knowledge are values which in a refined & 
deepened form motivate science, & they dissolve under nihilism, along, therefore, with 
science itself. But this in turn leads to the dissolution of nihilism, which used 
scientific ideas. Vicious circle there.

The subsequent discussion (below) concerns whether we really decide anything & whether 
there's any scientific basis for values regarding decisions (or anything else). If 
it's all out of our hands, then we decide nothing, & ethics is an illusion. But 
likewise, if it's all out of our hands, what is our basis for thinking we have any 
access to truth? It seems that we are "determined" to believe X or Y just as we are 
"determined" to do X or Y. So nihilism is just another determined belief. But if in 
spite of this there is truth for us to care about & which we can & do approach, then 
why shouldn't we think that there are right & virtuous decisions for us to care about 
& which we can & do approach? (Is it that truth is "real" but right & virtue are not? 
But that's another argument.)

(Also, a random thought: we talk about the deterministic as if we were still talking 
about a coercive mechanical force imposed on us, rather than about mathematical 
regularities which we believe hold in principle. One question to ask is, who are "we" 
such that we dis-associate ourselves from the particular complex weavings of 
regularities that we represent?)

Pretty amazing for a high-school senior term paper, by the way.

- Benjamin Udell
---------------------------

Eric Hawthorne wrote:

>Sorry. Can't help myself : Is there any point in completing that term 
paper really?

>On a few points.

>I don't believe in the point of view of "nihilism because everything will happen in 
>the multiverse, anyway, regardless of what I do". My reasons are a little vague, but 
>here's a stab at it:

>1. I look at us group of human observer SAS's as results of and guardians of emerged 
>complex order in our universe.
In fact I believe our universe (its temporal arrow etc) is only observable because it 
is the set of paths through the multiverse
that has all this emerged complex order in it.I believe these potentially observable 
sets of paths through the multiverse's general disorder are rare (of small measure.)

2. Somehow, all of us human observers are clearly "in" or "observing" the SAME set of 
paths through the multiverse. Now that is significant. It tells us that in the 
emergent-order paths of multiverse info-state evolution, that those paths are 
observable consistently to ANY observer that emerges as part of the emerged complex 
order present in those paths.

3. I see humans (or other intelligent lifeforms) as in some strange ways the 
smart-lookahead "guardians" of the particular piece of emergent-order their most a 
part of (their planet, their ecosystems, their societies, themselves).The reason we 
emerged (or are still here) is because we have helped make our emergent complex system 
"successful" (robust).

4. For some strange reason, I value the most complex yet elegant and robust emergent 
order (for itself). This is why for example, I'm an environmental activist in my spare 
(hah!) time.

5. I think if one values elegant, robust complex order, and if one is an active part 
of the elegant, robust, complex order, who emerged precisely so that a SAS of the 
emerged system could sense and make sense of the surroundings, and could model and 
influence the future, and guard the SAS's own existence and that of the whole emerged 
system of which it is a part, then "guard away" I say, actively, not nihilistically. 
Model your world. Predict its different possible futures, and use your emerged (and 
cultivated, same thing) wisdom to steer yourself, and your society, and your 
ecosystem, and your planet, away from harm and too-soon reduction to entropy. In the 
very, very end, it is said, entropy wins (like the house wins in Vegas.) But why not 
have as good a game as possible before it ends in a billion or trillions of years.

6. Of course, it doesn't make sense to try to protect (and advance in elegance) an 
emergent order that is indeed truly robust, does it? But my point back there was that 
we are supposed to be part of the emergent system's self-defense mechanism, because we 
can think and plan, and change things in our universe.

7. So can we change the multiverse as a whole? Probably not. But all that observers 
can ever co-observe is a single self-consistent universe in the multiverse. Look at 
earth and earthlife like a surfboard and surfer surfing this big coherent wave of 
informationally self-consistent order that is our universe. What we as the surfer can 
do is look ahead, and steer the board, and prolong the ride, and make it as amazing as 
possible before it tumbles into the vortex. That's enough control to say let's delay 
nihilism til the very last possible moment at least, shall we. Let's see where we 
might wash up if we keep riding well. Enough. Enough. This tortured analogy is killing 
me.

8. You may say that there's all these other virtual doppelganger surfers and 
surfboards (even on our same order-wave universe) so why bother steering anyway? One 
of us will make it. Yeah well I don't think so. I think all the emergent systems
kind of compete with each other to organize things, and there's winners and losers, 
and the losers are all just info-noise.

8. I guess the above is premised on the supposition that we CAN steer. That we have 
any say over when and how
our part of our universe degrades into entrop (info-noise.) This is really vague but I 
have some strange sense that what observing AGENT (actor) systems such as ourselves 
are doing is choosing (or having a part in choosing) the way in which their quantum 
world becomes their classical world. I think there's the possibility of free will 
there. It's like their steering the NOW wavefront itself (in their shared universe). 
If the possibly ordered paths through multiverse infospace near these observers are 
more than one possible path, maybe its the observers, by the sum total of their 
collective actions, that micro-manage the choice of future info-paths that will still 
be consistent with the path(s) their all on. Maybe the set of possible 
consistent and ordered paths is narrower and narrower as time goes on for them, but I 
think there are still choices to be made. It's possible that that's an illusion, but 
choice being an illusion is a concept for the theoretical meta-level, for OUTSIDE our 
universe path. Inside our path(s), our paths and the real or illusory choices we make 
within them, are all we'll EVER be able to see. So why not play along with the rules 
of the game your in, be a guardian angel of elegant complex order near you. Why not 
model and see the probabilities ahead with all your learning power and determination, 
and why not then choose 
with all your might? Whether it all amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world or 
not is one of the last mysteries. But mysteries help make it all so fricking amazing. 
Try solving them. What can you lose?

9. But go ahead and explore your point of view in your essay, and maybe post it when 
you're done. I could be entirely wrong the way I see things, and your outline looks 
great. Maybe simplify, cover a little less, but a little deeper, because simplicity 
with complexity underneath it is what it's all about.

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

>>I am writing my high school senior project term paper on defending ethical and 
>>existential nihilism based on quantum and multiverse theory. I was looking for any 
>>comments on the subject. Here I place my outline for said paper:
>>
>>------------------------------------------------------- 
>>A Scientific Basis for Ethical and Existential Nihilism
>>
>>I. Introduction
>>    A. Societal habit of classification of moral disciplines
>>    B. Difference of anyone to a possibly fitting classification makes such divvying 
>> impossible
>>   C. One must evaluate the individual sets of moral principles to establish their 
>> validity
>>II. What is ethical?—Establishing a Basis for Reference
>>    A. Definition of ethic/moral
>>        1. Participation/contribution
>>        2. Action
>>        3. Earning
>>    B. Earning as an ethical point for reference
>>        1. Earning governed by psychological history
>>        2. Psychology influenced by the physical
>>        3. The physical is governed by causality
>>    C. Ethic is debunked by the causal nature of space-time and quantum 
>> superpositioning
>>III.   Space-Time and Quantum Physics form a basis for inevitability
>>   A. The “So-Called Relativity Theory” Perspective
>>       1. The space-time manifold is a substrate upon which things exist
>>       2. The future condition of events or anything can be determined using 
>> equations to model energy and position over time
>>       3. All things have a definite past, present, and future, ontologically
>>       4. Limited by information acquisition
>>            a) speed of light
>>            b) infinitesimal spaces governed by quantum theory
>>    B. Quantum Physics Perspective
>>       1. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle
>>            a) impossible to know one’s future
>>            b) definite past
>>       2. Schrödinger’s wave function
>>            a) Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox
>>            b) superposition of waves
>>            c) collapse of the wave function
>>            d) Copenhagen Interpretation (CHI)
>>            e) Hugh Everett III’s theory that all possible resultant collapses can 
>> be defined by a superposition in Hilbert Space
>>    C. Multiverse Theory—Multiple Universes in which all possibilities are played out
>>        1. There is a total number of possible arrangements of matter based on the 
>> limits of the entropy of space-time, where the total is equal to the permutation of 
>> particles and energies and dependent on the total number of particles
>>        2. All these possibilities are superimposed upon one another to form an 
>> infinite-dimensional Hilbert Space in which the wave function resides, evolving 
>> over time
>>             a) Each universe is a subset, a space-time system in which one 
>> arrangement of matter exists
>>             b) One space-time event sequence is merely the use of time and physical 
>> law/rules to determine a valid progression of one universal space to another
>>             c) This creates multiple space-time pathways, each of which encompasses 
>> a version of the past, present, and future
>>             d) Each point has a past with possible futures to be determined upon 
>> collapse of the wave function
>>             e) Our own physical, present reality, interpreted as a resulting 
>> situation of the collapse, is one point in space-time with a sequence of 
>> probability states with the same past configuration
>>             f) This course of action leading to each possible reality yields 
>> multiple pathways from the beginning to the end of time
>>             g) Each point in time has nearly infinite future possibilities, but 
>> each path contains only itself—one path with two endpoints—essentially arriving 
>> from the restraints of causality on the topological set
>>IV. Philosophical Implications
>>     A. Every person has a definite past
>>        1. Every person is the result of the path of space-time upon which its 
>> universe’s energy has traveled
>>        2. Because of causality and entropy bounds, one has no control over the past
>>        3. A future is simply the result of influences of the wave function and its 
>> probabilities on space-time 
>>     B. A person’s future is inevitable
>>        1. No matter what decision one chooses, the psyche’s action is defined and 
>> controlled by the wave function in its space
>>        2. All decisions, choices, and outcomes are predefined, if only in a 
>> superposition of probabilities
>>        3. This leads to a lack of personal contribution on the part of the person.
>>     C. A person is not to be held accountable for what he/she cannot control
>>        1. If a person cannot control the set of probabilities of the outcome, then 
>> are they really making a decision?
>>             a) Yes, they do define a pathway,
>>             b) But, there is no preference of one over the other physically, except 
>> what is determined by the probabilities defined by the wave function
>>             c) No one outcome is more likely then another with respect to its 
>> predefined wave-function probability of occurrence within the Hilbert Space
>>        2. Not having any preference of one course of action over another causes a 
>> void of emotional imperative
>>   D. The lack of responsibility on the part of the individual results in a 
>> demoralization of human will
>>        1. Human will is merely the result of a manifestation of a pathway of the 
>> wave function
>>             a) There is no earning, as everything is determined as a whole of the 
>> state of the universe—everything is part of the same system and coordinates the 
>> various conditions for future outcomes
>>             b) If there is no preferred human will, there is no moral imperative
>>        2. Morals are the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group
>>             a) This is devoid of valid background
>>                  (i) There is only the physical that actually governs someone
>>                  (ii) An ethic is “a guiding philosophy” that drives people to an 
>> end based on moral obligation 
>>                  (iii)  They have no sound logical basis, s there is no preferred 
>> action over another
>>             b) This yields a demoralization of the ends of ethics to which people 
>> are judged
>>V. Conclusion
>>     A. Societal Taboo
>>        1. Societal taboo is the aversion of standard moral or ethical principle
>>        2. Because any ethic/moral end is void, so are society’s totems and taboos
>>     B. Existential Nihilism
>>        1. In addition to the invalid social ends, there is no scientific 
>> justification for morals of any sort, only that in the Darwinistic sense
>>        2. Everything is merely its own existence in the Hilbert Space-time framework
>>        3. Thus, existential and ethical nihilism replaces moralism.
>>----------------------------------------
>>Feel free to comment on this.  Is my logic sufficiently justified? If not, how so?  
>>Thanks
>>
>>--Cesar C

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