# Re: COMP refutation paper - finally out

```On 8/9/2011 1:50 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 2:13 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:
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On 8/9/2011 7:37 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Aug 9, 2011, at 1:38 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
<mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

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```    On 8/8/2011 9:16 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
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On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM, benjayk

I am getting a bit tired of labouring this point, but
is postulating something that seems nonsensical to me. Why
on earth would I
believe in the truth of something that *can never be known
in any way*
(namely, that arithmetics is true without / prior to
consciousness)?

Ben,

Do you think that the 10^10^100th digit of Pi has a certain
value even though we can never know what it is and no one has
ever or will ever (in this universe at least) be conscious of
it?  If I assert the digit happens to be 8, would you agree
that my assertion must be either true or false?  If so, where
does this truth exist?

Note that one cannot say it has an indefinite or value, or that
its value is inconsequential because that level of precision
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will never make a difference in any equation we work with. Euler's identity: e^(Pi * i) + 1 = 0, would be false without
```    each of the infinite digits of Pi having a definite and certain
value.  These values that are unknown to use, but nonetheless
must be there.
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Mathematical existence isn't a matter of being "there", it's a
matter of satisfying, making true, a certain proposition.  So
why does the putative digit of pi have the value it does,
because it satisfies certain propositions which we infer from
other propositions we are pleased to hold hypothetically true as
axioms.
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Then what is the ontological status of propositions that are true
but not provable in ones set of hypothetitcally held axioms?

In that case there is something that is true but not reachable
through chains of propositions.
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Why is that a problem.  There's a refrigerator in my kitchen.  I
reach it through a doorway, not a chain of propositions.

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So you refridgerator exists, not because it is reachable through a doorway or not. It's existence is independent of doorways in the same way mathematical truth is independent of axioms.
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Notice that you switched predicates from "exists" to "true".

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```    Existence in the usual sense never enters into it.
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Do you think our universe is mathematical or magical?
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I think it's physical -- I'm just not sure what that means.

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This is the crux of the issue. What is different between a physical object as seen from the inside and a mathematical object as seen from the inside?
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It is not clear to me what it means to "see a mathematical object from the inside".
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If our universe can be understood mathematically then it is one
example of a mathematical object that has physical existence.
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Can understand that the number of dwarves is seven.  That doesn't
mean the Seven Dwarves exist.  "To understand mathematically" just
means to have a mathematical model that works.

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Again, take into account what I asked above, on the difference between a perfect mathematical representation of our universe and a physical universe. If there is no difference that makes a difference why consider them different?
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The physical one is here. There is no perfect representation of the universe and it is certainly not a given that such could exist.
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What more evidence would you need to believe mathematical objects
exist?
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I haven't seen any evidence yet.  Mathematical objects are
inventions of our minds dependent on language.

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Then what about the physical universe, it is a mathematical object. Who invented it?
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They made be said to exist in Platonia or in some other way, but
I think it is a confusion to suppose they exist in the sense of
physical objects.

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This could make sense, if you can explain what is different between a "physical universe" and a "mathematical universe" having the same structure and properties.
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QM shows the existence of perhaps an infinite number of solutions
to the wave function.
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It doesn't show that - it's consistent with an interpretation that
asserts that.

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Everett's interpretation is the most preferable according to Occam's principle. Do you have a reason to prefer the CI or some other interpretation?
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By Occam's principle I would prefer Asher Peres or Roland Omnes.

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```     String theory has nothing in it which rules out other universes
with different physical laws.
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Indeed.  But not having ruled out something is not the same as
ruling it in.

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To rule something out requires additional information. Consider that in a block of marble, it contains all possible statues inside it until information is added, to whittle down from all possibility down to one actuality. Or consider that you are awaiting an e-mail message (perhaps from me). Until you receive that message, all possibilities exist for what message I might send you. Only the addition of the information determines which of all possible messages I sent. Information is not needed to create possibilities, information eliminates possibilities. If string theory enables all possibilities, and contains no prohibition against their reality, the default should be to consider those other universes implied by the theory just as real as our own.
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If there were any evidence for string theory. Have you read Susskinds idea of black hole complementarity? It postulates that someone falling through a black hole horizon is both has their information frozen on the surface and notices nothing. I'd say that's a reductio.
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Why believe only the math of string theory has been blessed with
phyical existence?
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I don't believe that.

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So you do believe other universes described by different equations have a physical existence?
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```    You might say because we cannot see those other universes.

This is not evidence against the theory because the theory
explains why you would not observe them.
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That's what my Christian friends say: "You rule out a supernatural
God.  And our theology explains why you can't observe Him."

See Everett's letter to DeWitt, who made the same argument you are making:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/orig-02a.html

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```    Occam also fails here, for the proposition that all possible
structures exist has fewer assumptions than the idea that only
these structures exist and no others are possible.

The fine tuning of the universe confirms to a high probability
that something is wrong with the following proposition:
There is only one set of physical laws with physical existence
and these laws were not intelligently chosen.

So I ask you, where is the error in that statement?
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First it assumes there is something called "fine tuning" (c.f. Vic
Stenger's "The Fallacy of Fine Tuning").

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Stenger seems to have a personal bias against fine-tuning because he thinks it is used as evidence of intelligent design.
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He has engaged the question because he sees science being misused to support superstition. But there's nothing personal about his arguments. They are straightforward physics.
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```From his website:

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"A number of authors have noted that if some physical parameters were slightly changed, the universe could no longer support life, as we know it. This implies that life depends sensitively on the physics of our universe. Does this “fine-tuning” of the universe also suggest that a creator god intentionally calibrated the initial conditions of the universe such that life on earth and the evolution of humanity would eventually emerge? Some influential scientists, such as National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, think so. Others go even further, asserting that science “has found God.”
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In this in-depth, lucid discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, physicist Victor J. Stenger looks at the same evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He states at the outset that as a physicist he will go wherever the data takes him, even if it leads him to God. But after many years of research in particle physics and thinking about its implications, he finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist."
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Steve Weinberg, Leonard Susskind, and Max Tegmark each well accomplished physicists who believe fine tuning is something in want of an explanation. They are not philosophers trying to prove science hasn't found God.
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Vic is an accomplished physicist too. He was part of the group that proved that neutrinos have mass. He's only gone into philosophy since he retired from active research. Read his book. He discusses almost all the commonly puted instances of fine-tuning. Weinberg himself has criticized the most famous example, Fred Hoyle's prediction of the excited state of C12, as not really being fine-tuned.
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Second physical laws are models we make up.  Third, all experience
shows that improbable things happen all the time.

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For improbable things to happen all the time requires that different things happen all the time. When the thing in question is "the physical laws" then for uncommon or special physical laws to happen or be expected, it requires that different physical laws happen all the time. If, as you believe, physical laws were a one shot deal, are you not surprised at the number of (seemingly likely) disasters that were avoided to enable life in this universe?
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Let's put the debate on fine tuning aside for the moment: If fine tuning were true, would you accept a large number (or all) possible physical universes exist?
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Not on that basis alone.

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The only way to escape it is to say the idea of fine tuning
itself is flawed, but this is a last ditch attempt to stick to
the model of a single universe.  The bulk of evidence points
strongly to the idea that intelligent life would not arise in the
majority of possible structures.

Use baysian analysis to consider the following possibilities:
1. There is one set if laws not intelligently selected.
2. The laws were intelligently selected or there is more than one
set of physical laws.

Since we have evaluated no other evidence at this time, let's
assign a 50% chance to each.

Now let's say we determine the probability of any given set of
laws having the right properties for life is one in 100.  What
would baysian analysis say of the new probability that
proposition 1 is correct?
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A Bayesian must consider ALL the evidence.  So he would look
around and conclude that something improbable had happened (or
maybe that his prior was wrong).

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Well lets put in all the evidence we have. What evidence for or against proposition 1 do you have?
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We intelligently select the laws we formulate to describe the world. So I have good evidence there is at least one such set. What evidence do you have?
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```What evidence for or against position 2 do you have?
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This is a compound proposition. There is some reason to think we may be able to find a set of laws that are a TOE in limited sense of having a only historical accident in the complement of its domain. The reason is mainly the historical success of this approach. I note that Hawking and Mlodinow speculate that this complete integration may not happen.
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Note that observing the universe is friendly to life *cannot*
count as evidence for intelligent design (c.f. Ikeda and Jefferys).

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Faced with proposition 2, would you be more likely to accept
intelligent design or the existence of other (or all)
mathematical structures?

Mathematical existence isn't sone fuzzy abstract form if
existence.  Look around yourself.  You are in it.
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Exactly what my Christian friends say when I ask "Where is the
evidence for this God?"

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Well their concept of an omniscient God is not unlike Plato's heaven. All objects in Plato's heaven are present in an omniscient mind. I would say your friends have more evidence (currently) that everything exists, then you have for that only what we can see exists.
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I never suggested that only what we can see exists. But that's no reason to suppose "everything" (in some undefined totatlity) exist. There are many things I'm fairly confident do not exist.
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Concluding that this universe alone exists is much like someone raised in a windowless prison cell concluding only his cell exists (because it is all he can see). Yet the cell existing without a whole world and universe around it does not make any sense. I think the same is true when considering this universe: it does not make sense for this universe to exist without the other objects in math existing with it.
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Which other objects?  I don't think Tegmarks "everything" is even coherent.

Brent

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Jason

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