Rex Allen wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:30 PM, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>> On 04 Dec 2009, at 19:15, Brent Meeker wrote:
>>>> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>>>> Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the
>>>>> physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers
>>>>> addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to
>>>>> tackle the identity problem "why I am I", "who am I really?", etc.
>>>>> (cf soulcatcher☠ question)
>>>>> In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige
>>>>> movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin
>>>>> Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a "total
>>>>> amnesia", THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible
>>>>> form of the computationalist immortality.
>>>> That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all,
>>>> then I don't see how the construct we refer to as "you" can even be
>>>> identified.
>>> The universal person. The virgin universal purpose computer, any
>>> interpreter. Today, unfortunately, when you buy a computer, it is
>>> already full of software which hides its universality. A universal
>>> machine is not a trivial object. Babbage did already see that it can
>>> eat its own tail.
>>> Imagine sort of universal baby. It knows nothing, but can do
>>> everything (doable). It is infinitely intelligent and creative at the
>>> start. The hard things is to keep it that way.
>> It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's
>> nothing to me.  This is just another form of the "everything" universal
>> acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're
>> interested in must be in there somewhere.
> What is your alternative to the "everything" universal acid?  That
> things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
> explanation for that.  Right?

Exactly so.  "It's just happened that way" and "Everything happens and 
so this happens too." are both equally useless.  Progress is only made 
when we can explain why this rather than that.
> So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
> narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
> involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
> do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
> propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?
> How is that better than a narrative that allows for "everything"?
> They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
> zero.
We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it 
may have happened which are testable.  Of course any explanation for the 
big bang and the origin of the universe will very likely allow that 
there are arbitrarily many other universes; otherwise the theory would 
have to include some unique constraint.  But that doesn't mean we gain 
anything by postulating those other universes in advance.  The 
multiverse, if we are to give it credence, must arise from theories that 
are supported by other evidence.



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