With due respect and paraphrasing Dawkin's paraphrasing of someone else, "your incredulity is not a convincing measure of a idea's validity" at least not in an objective sense. Nor is mine either, but I wonder if Davies is not on to something when he posits that "strong emergent" phenomena that congeal at various levels of complexity - like consciousness? - may be inexplicable via existing physical "laws".; this because, like Wolframs "strong digitalist" pseudo-random generators, such phenomena are effectively algorithmically "incompressible" given time and resource constraints. Davies cites Lloyd's "softer digitalism" in his estimate of the Landauer-Lloyd limit on the computational capacity of "this" universe given light's speed limit and concludes that, although such phenomena may not be purely random, there's not enough functionally available computing capacity exploitable by Laplace's demon to unravel them. Therefore Davies suggests a new set of principles may well need to be coined regarding such strong emergent processes. The "mechanics" of consciousness may indeed be a case in point and the attempt to "crack" it's code with existing physical principles the wrong tools for the right job.
Now before we go further, this of course assumes the computational resources of other "parallel" universes, assuming they exist at all, are just as exploitively isolated as those beyond the Landauer-Lloyd limit; a big if, I agree. But one that remains prohibitive in absence of any solid evidence to the contrary IMHO.
To quote Davies: "If the micro-laws - the laws of physics as we know them - cannot completely determine the future states and properties of some physical systems, then there are gaps left in which higher-level emergent laws can operate"
Stephen Paul King wrote:
Don't we first have to establish that strings of ones and zeros can encode all of the basic structure that we would agree are necessary for consciousness? I still do not understand how one bitstring can encode necessity of the illusion of making a choice between eating Apples or Oranges and I still have had no explanation of how one bitstring can interact with no kind of change and permanence in change possible.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Brian Scurfield" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: <email@example.com>; "'Stephen Paul King'" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 6:25 AM
Subject: The Sim's of Platonia ( was: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness)
OK, let's suppose we are sim's of Platonia. In particular, let's suppose that us and the world around us are represented by the computational histories of Platonic Turing Machines.
When a TM that supports a sim "executes" steps (quotes cause we're in
Platonia), the contents of its tape change and the read-write head moves
(I'll spare you the quotes on change and move). When we look at a snapshot
of the tape, what is on that tape are zeroes and ones (of course, Platonia
doesn't care whether its apples and oranges on the tape). We are represented
by some of those zeroes and ones. As you have noted, those zeroes and ones
will contain records of what happened in prior snapshots on the tape. There
will also be records of our thoughts and beliefs. Some of those beliefs will
be of time and some of consciousness. The snapshot, however, is totally
static; it in itself does not support consciousness, it is just ones and
zeroes. Similarly the next snapshot is static and the glue that holds the
two snapshots together can be totally described by a static bit-string which
encodes the TM.
It does not seem like we can find our first person experience in this; it's
all just zeroes and ones! Apples and oranges even. But that's just
incredulity. I think the pertinent question to ask is: why do sequences of
zeroes and ones on the tape develop the belief of consciousness?