Brent Meeker wrote:
On 10/23/2010 2:37 PM, Colin Hales wrote:
I am pretty sure that there is a profound misinterpretation and/or unrecognized presupposition deeply embedded in the kinds of discussion of which Van F and your reply and Bruno's fits. It's so embedded that there appears to be no way that respondents can type words from a perspective in which the offered view may be wrong or a sidebar in a bigger but unrecognised picture. It's very hard to write anything to combat view X when the only words which ever get written are those presuming X, and X is assuming a position of explaining everything, yet doesn't.

In the long run I predict that:

1) The 'many worlds' do not exist and are a product of presuppositions about scientific description not yet understood by the proponents of MWI. 2) QM will be recognized as merely an appearance of the world, not the world as it is. 3) The universe that exists now is.the only universe that exists at the moment. Despite this, the "many worlds" are explorable, physically by 'virtual matter' behaving as if they existed (by an appropriate entity made of the stuff of our single universe) 4) The MWI has arisen as a result of a human need to make certain mathematics right, not the need to explain the natural world. This, in the longer term will be recognised as a form of religiosity which will be seen to imbue the physicists of this era, who are preselected by the education system for prowess in manupulating symbols.

You are presuming a lot about physicists. The idea that QM, and more generally mathematics, is just description and a representation of one's knowledge, not reality, is very common among physicists.
I didn't think I was presuming anything! I am surrounded by physicists. I haven't met one yet that had a clear idea of the difference between the description and the thing. Same with mathematicians. I haven't met one yet that had even encountered the idea of the epistemic difference between a system, 'being' in that system and 'observing/describing a system by being in it'. It's profoundly problematic for me as a researcher trying to invest in knowledge which recognizes the distinction.

For example, if you speak of the difference between EM phenomena in a brain (a description) and 'BEING' the fields (which is what we actually do), they get this strange look on their face, like you've just fed them a shite sandwich.

The difference between this behaviour and explaining the natural world is not understood by the physicists/mathematicians of this era. (In contrast, I regard myself as a scientist .... an explainer of things-natural ...which I claim as different to being a physicists/mathematician in this strange era we inhabit) 5) COMP is false.... a computer instantiation of rules of how a world appears to be, and a world are not the same thing. 6) COMP is false.... a computer instantiation of rules of how a brain appears to be is not a brain. 7) Corollary: scientific description of how the world appears and what the world is made of are not the same description _and_ computer instantiations of either set is not a world. 8) The issue that causes scientific descriptions (like QM) to be confused with actual reality is a cultural problem in science, not a technical problem with what science has/has not discovered. 9) That most of the readers of this list will stare at this list of statements and be as mystified about how I can possibly think they are right as I am about those readers' view that they can't be right.

BTW I have a paper coming out in Jan 2011 in 'Journal of Machine Consciousness' in which I think I may have proved COMP false as a 'law of nature' ... here in this universe, (or any _actual_ universe, really). At the least I think the argument is very close....and I have provided the toolkit for its final demise, which someone else might use to clinch the deal.

This leads to my final observation:

10) I think the realization of the difference between 'wild-type' computation (actual natural entities interacting) and 'artificial computation' (a computer made of the actual entities interacting, waving its components around in accordance with rules /symbols defined by a third party) will become mainstream in the long run.
It's quite possible that the COMP of the Bruno kind is actually right , but presented into the wrong epistemic domain and not understood as such. Time will tell. The way the Bruno-style' COMP can be right is for it to make testable predictions of the outward appearance of the mechanism for delivery of phenomenal consciousness in brain material

NC (natural computation) and AC (artificial computation) is the crucial distinction. I don't think the QM/MWI proponent can conceive of that distinction. Perhaps it might be helpful if those readers try and conceive of such a situation, just as an exercise..

I can conceive of it as relative. If there is a world N which is very large and complex compared to a part, A, of that world and the computation in A is used to represent something in N, then I can see regarding A as artificial relative to the "real" N. But that's not an absolute distinction, since N could be a simulation embedded in a still larger computation.

I could also conceive of it as analog vs digital. It might be that the real world can only be described by real or complex numbers and digital computations can't completely simulate it - but this seems both very doubtful and probably impossible to test.

So how do conceive the distinction?


easy    consider

'I' am the first '1'. I am 'being the left hand 1'.
Q1. What does the other '1' look like during the process of addition? Or better 'what is it like to be a '1' in that circumstance? A1. Not yet specified or even recognized by science. However, there is one obvious fact:
           A1 has got nothing directly to do with the statement 1+1=2.

I can see how to answer A1 ....the fact that A1 doesn't exist yet doesn't mean that that kind of description is impossible.
It's certainly possible if a thickhead like me can dream it up.
It just means we haven't realized we haven't started doing it yet. I can't even talk about it with anyone.

Here's another example.

Q2 'What is it like to 'be' a particle in a Feynman diagram?
A2  completely unspecified, unaddressed undiscussed
   We can be sure it's nothing directly to do with the Feynman diagram.

Here's another one....

Stephen Wolfram wrote "A New Kind of Science" in which he systematically worked his way through pretty much the whole of science from the point of view of the cellular automaton. Q3 Did he ever ask, ever 'What is it like to 'be' a cell in a cellular automaton?
A3 Nope! Not a word.
But we can be sure it's got nothing directly to do with the rules of the cellular automaton

Nothing I've ever seen on this list has even begun to address the matter. We think we've started this '1st person' maths but we haven't.

Very frustrating.
Colin Hales

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