Brent Meeker wrote:
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.
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.
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?
'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
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.
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