On 20 Jul 2010, at 12:43, Allen Rex wrote:
On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 4:01 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be>
Are you saying that the book provides evidences that we are not
As far as I know, Cooper doesn’t state his position on this question.
Or that the prime character of the number 17 evolves in time/space?
So I don’t think this part of the debate is going too far. I’m
primarily interested in defending my position.
I’m not as interested in defending Cooper’s position. :)
If I remember well, your position is that consciousness is the
I tend to appreciate that (religious) position, and I think mechanism
somehow can give credit to such a view, or to a rather related view.
We have already talked about that. The TOE is given by the elementary
arithmetic, or the SK combinators, or any universal system. We could
take a universal unitary transformation, but this would prevent the
simultaneous derivation of a theory of qualia with the quanta (given
that the quanta have to be first person sharable qualia, like with
However, I will quote the passages that made me think he was probably
not in sympathy with your views. Also, see the quotes in my initial
response to Brent.
"Today, in the general drift of scientific thought, logic is treated
as though it were a central stillness. Although there is ambiguity in
current attitudes, for the most part the laws of logic are still taken
as fixed and absolute, much as they were for Aristotle. Contemporary
theories of scientific methodology are logicocentric. Logic is seen
common as an immutable, universeal, meatscientific framework for the
sciences as for personal knowledge. Biological evolution is
acknowledged, but it accorded only an ancillary role as a sort of
biospheric police force whose duty it is to enforce the lgoical law
among the recalcitrant. Logical obedience is rewarded and
disobedience punished by natural selection, it is thought. [...]
Comfortable as that mindset may be, I believe I am not alone in
suspecting that it has things backward. There is a different, more
biocentric perspective to be considered. In the alternative scheme of
things, logic is not the central stillness. The principles of
reasoning are neither fixed, absolute, independent, nor elemental. If
anything it is the evolutionary dynamic that is elemental. Evolution
is not the law enforcer, but the law giver.
The Principles of pure Reason, however pure an impression they may
give, are in the final analysis propositions about evolutionary
processes. Rules of reason evolve out of evolutionary law and nothing
else. Logic is a life science.
‘How do humans manage to reason?’ Since the form of this question is
the same as that of the first, it would be natural to attack it in a
similar two-pronged fashion. One part of the answer, with might
naturally be placed at the beginning of a treatise on the question,
would consist of logical theory. the different kinds of logic -
deductive, inductive, mathematical, etc. - would be expounded and
derived from first principles, perhaps in the form of axiomatizations
of the various logical calculi. These ideal systems would be taken to
define the rules of correct reasoning. The explanation of how humans
evolved in ways that exploit these principles would come later on.
The stages of adaptation to the rules of logic would be discussed,
including some consideration of how well or poorly the human mind
succeeds at implementing the fundamental logical principles set forth
in the first part. [...] There would again be two parts to the
exposition, a first part explaining the laws of logic and a second the
laws of evolution. All this seems, on the surface at least, in good
analogy with the explanation of bird flight.
What the Reducibility Thesis proposes is that it is a *false* analogy.
There are no separable laws of logic. It is tempting to think of the
power of reasoning as an adaptation to separate principles of logic,
just as flying is an adaptation to separate laws of aerodynamcis. The
temptation should be resisted."
"logic" is a confusing term. Informally "non logic" = error, madness,
To fight against logic is dramatic when you see how people accept so
easily conclusion of invalid inference (like in the political health
Cooper seems unaware of the branch of math called logic, which
illustrates that there is many logics. There is almost as much logic
as they are mathematical structures.
Then classical logic is the most simple and polite logic to describe
all those different logics.
SO...taken with the quotes I provided in my initial response to Brent,
how friendly do you think he sounds to your position?
I think he sounds friendlier to mine!
Cooper's position is non sense. I'm afraid. He is the one stuck on
Which, to recap is this:
If our conscious experiences are caused by some more fundamental
underlying process, then no one presents or believes arguments for
reasons of logic or rationality.
The word 'cause' is so much ambiguous. I can agree and disagree,
according to the way you may explain what you mean by 'cause'.
Instead, one presents and believes arguments because one is *caused*
to do so by the underlying process.
The underlying process *may* be such that it causes us to present and
believe logical and rational arguments, but there is no requirement
that this be the case.
There is no logical requirements, as the dream argument shows, but
there is a biological or Darwinian requirement. If you altimeter makes
you believe your plane is 1000 miles up in the air, and the plane is
actually (in your most probable relative computations) only 500 miles
up in the sky, your probability of crash is made higher.
If the underlying process doesn’t cause us to present and believe
rational arguments, there would be no way to detect this, since there
is no way to step outside of the process’s control of one’s beliefs to
independently verify the "reasonableness" of the beliefs it generates.
We can make lucky guesses.
In other words: crazy people rarely know that they’re crazy. Wrong
people never know that they’re wrong.
Except the liars.
Further, this is true of every possible position that has conscious
experience caused by a more fundamental process.
1) The universe’s initial conditions and causal laws *may* be such
that they cause us to have true beliefs about reality, but there is no
requirement that this be so.
Why? What about the surviving requirement relatively to your most
2) Our God *may* be such that he causes us to have true beliefs about
him and reality, but there is no requirement that this be so.
Logically it may be a malin génie, but it may be a nice fellow too.
How can you know there is no such requirement. It is not because;
logically, God can be a malin génie that God is a malin génie. We just
3) Our fundamental and uncaused conscious experiences *may* be such
that they hold the experience of true beliefs about reality, but there
is no requirement that this be so.
You lost me. If I understand you well, you are saying this matter is
independent of the question of the primality of consciousness. This
makes your position entirely empty.
In all cases, we are depending on luck. Luck that we live in a
universe with "honest" initial conditions and causal laws.
Not if we are turing emulable. We are depending only on the facts that
1+2 = 3, and similar facts.
we have a "honest" God (but then how to explain schizophrenics and
manic-depressives?). Luck that our uncaused experiences are of true
You don't argue why our experiences are 'uncaused'. Your plea seems
against any form of science. It is a bit like the materialist, with
respect to matter. It is a negative belief leading to the abandon of
the research of an explanation of both matter and consciousness.
I think that the UDA proof refutes such a (vague) position, given that
it isolates a testable explanation/theory of the perception of quanta
and qualia-consciousness (up to a gap, the existence of which is
itself entirely justified).
Because in *no* case, can we step outside of our beliefs (be they
caused *or* uncaused) and verify that they are logical and rational.
There are logical and rational explanation why universal machines are
necessarily confronted with non logical and non rational truth.
Your position makes sense if we are not Turing emulable. But even in
that case, it leads just to an abandon of the scientific attitude, and
apparently for no purposes. It looks like "don't ask".
Of course there are only guesses, but some can be lucky. That's what
science is all about. We can never know in a public way FOR SURE, that
our guesses are true. Honest science is a form of modesty.
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