Marc,
your (long) post gave me a feeling of having returned into my childhood.
Back to the reductionist figments of the model view 'physical world' and
'conventional sciences'.
I should interjet a lot into your long text, in view of a 'totality-view'
(not yet adaquately formulated) - I choose to pick some details (as Stathis
did commendably) for some brief reflection. Kim picked 1 item: aesthetics.
*
Entropy is not a 'state', it is a math expression within thermodynamics, a
figment of a developmental stage in primitive, inadequate explanations of
inadequate observations over the millennia.
Big Bang cosmology is an erroneous fairytale based on an idea of Hubble (not
scrutinized for alternates) and a linear retrogradation in a nonlinear
development from an arbitrary state - incomparable with our today's
observable physical world system - applying the laws and concepts of the
latter. Hence all the marvels it contains wishfully.
Evolution of the universe handles the implied topic of the (physicists')
20th c. figment in the spirit of 18th c. Darwinism.
To escape from that I constructed a 'narrative' - (no claims for any
scientific acceptabilitiy) in which the timeless 'universe' - flash
undergoes, as looked from the inside <organized into space and time>, a
'history' from occurrence to re-dissipation,  called evolution. That may be
(sort of) teleological, since it has a final point to attain: the
re-distribution into the unspecified plenitude, invented for the narrative
only for 'living with our ignorance about the *origins*'.
*
The 'totality-view' represents an unlimited complexity beyond our present
capabilities to comprehend, or inspect in toto. This is why we think in cut
(limited) topical/functional/ideational models (including the sciences).
Occam's razor is a '2nd step' reduction (even simpler modeling) in the
already formed models - omitting the rest of the connections. Making it EVEN
simpler to handle, even further away of the 'total complexity'.
*
"objective terminal values"? all we have is subjective, even virtual,
explained by mentality to the level of our capabilities. Values are culture
oriented and defined, especially morality, a social compromise for survival
within the appropriate culture. Eating the young flesh of the sacrificed
girl was very moral for the high priests. Taking interest on loans is
immoral for Islam. - Physical law depends on the extent of the complexity we
use for our observation restricted to the 'level' of measuring instruments
and to the timely '(era) math' applied for the explanation within the given
level of the then epistemic cognitive inventory. (Give or take 1000 years?).

*
Intelligence IMO is the capability of 'reading between the words' (as in
inter lego) with ELASTICITY of the thinking (not plasticity) allowing to
accept an idea, pondering about it, altering it, or rejecting it. (My main
objection vs. the computer-based Ai as such, working in fixed words).
*
Marc, I wrote these remarks in view of a 'new' way of thinking, enjoying
your historically sound and interesting post.

John Mikes
----------------------------------------------


On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:22 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>wrote:

> 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
> account.
>
> > 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
>
> >
>

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