Hi John,

On 21 Feb 2010, at 22:11, John Mikes wrote:

interesting exchange with Stephen.

I have a sideline-question:
why do you 'refer-to' and repeatedly invoke into your ways of your advanced thinking the NAME (I did not say: concept) of GOD, a noumenon so many times and many occasions mistreated and misused over the millennia - throughout the entire history of mankind? So much baggage is attached to this noumenon that just mention it brings false ideas into most of the minds: positively and negatively. Sometimes pretty strong ones.

I am not talking about 'The Old Man in the Nightgown" or Allah, or Quetzalcoatl, or the Big Bear, or whatever comes to mind, I talk about the 'idea' of misuse and misidentifications for purposes unlimited, faith and hate, rules and sins, priests and money, power, killing etc. with the unlimited prejudice of unlimited kind. The overwhelming part of humanity is involved in such misconstrued vocabularies. It makes it very hard to stay "scientific".

The whole point consists in reintroducing the scientific attitude (that is modesty) in theology. And given that there has been a millennium of such study, I prefer to keep the usual vocabulary, if only just to be short. I made clear that I use the notion of God of Plato (truth, transcendent, etc.). It is just a bit better than "Universe", ... Note that I have use "God" in quotes. Sometimes I use "<what is his name>". It is the big unnameable ONE.

If we use new terms, people may think it is something else, and they would not introduce the doubt in their (implicit or explicit) theology.

If people use a term badly, the best way to help them is to use the same term correctly. If not they believe you are talking on something else, and continue they bad use of the notion behind the term.

I guess in Europa, most theologians use the term correctly (except in Churches).

I don't think you aspire for the title: "The Priest of Arithmetix" (or the Universal computer)?

No. But I may vindicate the title of (neo-neo-platonist) theologian, or of computer scientist specialized in machine's theology.

If theology does not come back in the sphere of the "academic" doubt, we will continue to err in that field. (Despite some academies can already act like pseudo-religious church, but nothing is perfect).

PS. Upon your earlier remark "if you accept an artificial brain from the Dr" I frowned first on the "artificial" - is it restricted to "man-made" or "comp-made"? (in the latter case: does 'comp' include limitless potentials (limitless, indeed, including possible and impossible?) Then I formulated my negative response upon ANY human description of "BRAIN" - a construct, while I do not condone a structural (physics? or any other human idea) definition for the mentality - except for our limited capabilities to apply information. So I would not change my (unlimited?) 'mind' for a namable construct however extended. - JM

This is probably confirming the fact that you are a self-referentially correct Löbian. None can understand the identity of their "soul" (Bp & p) and their body (or belief on their body) described by Bp. So you are logically right.

This is why I insisted that saying "yes" to the doctor needs an explicit act of faith. Comp *is* a scheme of religion. You have to make an illogical act, and nobody should force you to act in that way.

It is a bit like the Gödel sentence: comp entails the non knowledge/ believability of comp. It is math, when you study a theology of a simpler (than you) machine. But you need *faith* to lift that theology on yourself.

Correct machine will find as hard as ourself the possibility that they are machine (locally finitely describable).


On 2/21/10, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
Hi Stephen,

On 20 Feb 2010, at 19:52, Stephen P. King wrote:

Nature has repeatedly proven herself to be vastly more clever than we can imagine. Quantum coherence is used in photosynthesis by plants to increase the efficiency of photon energy capture by the use of structures that act to hold decoherence off just in the right place for long enough. I will leave it up to the experimentalists to explain the structures.

There may be some new evidences. It is good to stay the most open minded possible.

He pretends that his trivial model is exact enough to prove that there can be no exploitable coherence effects. I only claim that the brain is exploiting coherence effects at small scales that would allow for increased efficiencies. I am considering an idea different from that of Hameroff based on resonance damping. But Hameroff’s discussions minus the “Objective Reduction” stuff, IMO, is still valid.

I can follow you.


Thanks. Look interesting.

From the evidence we have so far, quantum effects seem limited to existing within the cells and not between them, but there may be protocols that allow for exploitation between cells. I am trying to figure this out but am very limited in my ability.

Please, keep us informed if there are progresses in that direction.

Ok, maybe I was a bit harsh on Tegmark, but nevertheless how many research grant proposals have been shot down because of his paper? I myself have the blunt force of it on my timid querries.

I can understand. It is like Minsky and Paper for then neural nets. Scientist should be cautious when talking on possibilities and impossibilities. But it is difficult. I found Tegmark paper honest and almost convincing. Not 100% convincing, because there is a sense nature harness "high level chemistry" since a very long time, and decoherence/coherence is a rather tricky notion, and we have already be taken by surprise (with superconduction, laser, etc.). And then, as far as science talk about reality, it can never be 100% convincing. Science is doubt.

My only complaint with your work is that it reduces the physical world to epiphenomena

What?   With all my respect, I disagree :)

and in so doing seems no better that material monism.

I will make some coffee.

I like that it does not ignore consciousness as it puts logic in its core notions, but there still something missing. There is no necessity for there to be the phenomena of a physical world evolving in time in Comp.

You worried me, but I see you just have not yet seen the point. It is OK. It is a very subtle point, where "Aristotelians" can have some difficulties. Actually, recently an expert on Aristotle confirmed my feeling (after my reading of Aristotle and Plotinus), that Aristotle got that "subtle point", and that Plotinus found indeed the most plausible correction of Aristotle theory of Matter coherent with the Plato type of "reality/truth/God".

Matter is no more an epiphenomenon than consciousness. If you really insist to see an epiphenomenon in comp, you may say that it is the whole coupling matter/consciousness which is an epiphenomenon bearing on the number theoretical relations.

Not only comp preserves and give a role to consciousness, but it preserves the interaction of mind and matter. And this in the usual two way directions.

You can define a cosmos, or a cosmic history, by a set of "events" and their closure for matter-matter interactions, and those are very solid, given that they sum up the whole (sigma_1) arithmetical truth "everywhere".

You can define an accessible multiverse, by the the closure mind- matter interaction, this extend vastly any observable cosmos or branch of reality. It makes possible to share our dreams. It makes possible all couplings of Universal machines with themselves.

The multiverse is just not the whole thing, eventually it is the border of the ignorance of 'God''. Matter is the highly indeterminate part of the arithmetical reality when trying to see itself. It forces the appearance of indeterminacies for each local entities trying to figure out what it is made of, when getting near its substitution level.

Now, if you want a "time" à-la Prigogine, i.e. if you want time fundamental and primitive, then neither comp nor general relativity nor Plato, nor Plotinus, nor any theory with a notion of block - ontological thing can satisfy you. But this is not related to the "epiphenomena" question. With comp, the simplest ontology is the block-(sigma_1) arithmetical truth, or the universal dovetailing trace (UD*), but from this emerges, as seen form inside (defined by the hypostases) a coupling consciousness/matter, but also a coupling <what is Its name>/consciousness, and other "hypostatic" couplings.

You may say that matter is an epiphenomenon when seen *directly* relatively to "God". "God" probably cannot act on matter, but "God" can act on consciousness, and consciousness can act on matter, and matter can act on consciousness which can act on God. Very roughly speaking; You may try to read the ennead "on the two matter" by Plotinus. Somehow matter is what the souls do, when they fall. And it is what they use, if only to come back. Sort of dynamical two ways road, perhaps the famous Chu transform (you talked to me about sometimes ago).

If you read Plotinus, you may be unpleased by the (common among Platonists) identification of matter with evil, but this is related to the fact that matter is mainly built on an absolute and infinite first person(plural) indeterminacy (cf "God" cannot tell you in advance if you will wake up in Washington or Moscow, and your next state, as an observer, is determined by an infinity of computations).

Note that the Löbian machines explain both the intelligible matter (the necessity of the quanta and their laws), and the sensible matter (the necessity of private qualia, and their laws). And quanta appear to be qualia, albeit first person plural sharable. And, thanks to local brains and hands, minds can manipulate both of them.

With comp, matter is no more primitive, but still fundamental.

I hope this can help.

Best Regards,

Bruno Marchal


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