2008/7/29  <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:

> Point (1) there is a clear evolution to the universe. It started from
> a low-entropy-density state, and is moving towards a higher-entropy
> density, which, remarkably, just happens to coincide with an increase
> in physical complexity with time. In the beginning the universe was in
> a state with *the lowest possible* entropy. This is expressed in the
> laws of thermodynamics and big bang cosmology. So it simply isn't true
> that there is no teleology (purpose) built into the universe. The laws
> of thermodynamics and modern cosmology (big bang theory) clearly
> express the fact that there is.

You'll have to explain what you mean by teleogy/purpose. If you claim
that rocks roll downhill because it is their purpose to do so, that's
not using the term in a conventional way.

> Here is the point that most haven't quite grasped - Occam's razor is
> *a set of aesthetic principles* - the notion of 'simplicity' is *a set
> of aesthetic principles*; Why? Because it is simply another way of
> saying that some representations are more *elegant* than others, which
> is the very notion of aesthetics! I repeat: the whole of science only
> works because of a set of *aesthetic principles* - a *set of values*.
> If all values are only subjective preferences, it would follow that
> the whole of science relies on subjective preferences. But subjective
> preferences have only existed as long as sentiments – therefore how
> could physical laws have functioned before sentiments? The idea that
> all values are subjective leads to a direct and blatant logical
> contradiction.

Not necessarily. It may be that some mindless, valueless objective
quality coincidentally produces aesthetic feelings. For example, we
may find the human form beautiful, and some human forms more beautiful
than others. But that doesn't mean that there is some absolute,
objective sense in which humans are beautiful; it's just that our
minds have evolved to think this way. Similarly, if we find that some
other aspect of physical reality corresponds with what we recognise as
an aesthetic principle, this is just a contingent fact about the way
our minds work. There are plenty of things in nature which are
complicated and ugly, and they don't try to reform themselves on our

> Both these points are related and simply inexplicable without
> appealing to objective terminal values. At the beginning of time the
> universe was in the simplest possible state (minimal entropy density).
> Why? Occam's razor is wide-ranging and pervades the whole of science.
> The simple is favored over the complex – that is– Occam's razor is a
> set of aesthetic value judgments without which not a single Bayesian
> result could be obtained.
> *Every single Bayesian result rests on these implicit value judgments*
> to set priors. It must be repeated that *not one single scientific
> result could be obtained* without these secret (implicit) value
> judgments which set priors, that our defenders of the Bayesian faith
> on these forums are trying to pretend are not part of science!
> The secret to intelligence is aesthetics, not Bayesian math.
> Initially, this statement seems preposterous, but the argument in the
> next paragraph is my whole point, so it merits careful reading (the
> paragraph is marked with a * to show this is the crux of this post):
> *As regards the optimization of science, the leverage obtained from
> setting the priors (Occam's razor – aesthetics – art) is far greater
> that that obtained from logical manipulations to update probabilities
> based on additional empirical data (math). Remember, the aesthetic
> principles used to set the priors (Occam's razor) reduce a potentially
> infinite set of possible theories to a manageable (finite) number,
> whereas laborious mathematical probability updates based on incoming
> empirical data (standard Bayesian theory) is only guaranteed to
> converge on the correct theory after an infinite time, and even then
> the reason for the convergence is entirely inexplicable.
> The * paragraph suggests that aesthetics is the real basis of
> intelligence, not Bayesian math, and further that aesthetic terminal
> values are objectively real.

I've long been puzzled by the phenomenon of delusion in intelligent,
rational people who develop psychotic illness. For example, out of the
blue, someone starts to believe that their family have been replaced
by impostors. Their facility with deductive logic remains intact, and
it is tempting to try to argue with them to show that their belief is
false, but it doesn't work. The Bayes equation is:

Pr(A|B) = Pr(B|A).Pr(A)/Pr(B)
A = they are impostors
B = they're acting weird

The problem is that they overestimate Pr(A), the prior probability,
and underestimate Pr(B). A very dull, but sane, person can see this,
but they can't. Intelligence doesn't seem to help at all.

Stathis Papaioannou

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to