# Re: COMP refutation paper - finally out

`On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:`
```
> **
> On 8/9/2011 1:50 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>
>
>
> On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 2:13 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>
>>  On 8/9/2011 7:37 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> On Aug 9, 2011, at 1:38 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>
>>  On 8/8/2011 9:16 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM, benjayk
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  I am getting a bit tired of labouring this point, but honestly your
>>> theory
>>> 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 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.
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>>
>>  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.
>>
>>
>>  Why is that a problem.  There's a refrigerator in my kitchen.  I reach it
>> through a doorway, not a chain of propositions.
>>
>>
>  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.
>
>
> Notice that you switched predicates from "exists" to "true".
>
>
The truth that "9 is composite" depends on the existence of its factor 3.

>
>
>
>>
>>
>>  Existence in the usual sense never enters into it.
>>
>>
>>  Do you think our universe is mathematical or magical?
>>
>>
>>  I think it's physical -- I'm just not sure what that means.
>>
>>
>  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?
>
>
> It is not clear to me what it means to "see a mathematical object from the
> inside".
>
>
>
What I mean is: Assume there is an object in Plato's heaven which is
identical to the 4D structure of this physical universe.  Could the Brent
inside that object determine he is in an object in Plato's heaven, rather
than a physical universe?  If he can't then what additional information is

>
>
>>
>>
>>  If our universe can be understood mathematically then it is one example
>> of a mathematical object that has physical existence.
>>
>>
>>  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.
>>
>>
>  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?
>
>
> The physical one is here.
>

Maybe you are the Brent inside the object in Plato's heaven, and you are
confusing here for over there, where the real "physical" universe is.

>   There is no perfect representation of the universe and it is certainly
> not a given that such could exist.
>

How can something exist if it can't be represented in any theory by any one?

>
> What more evidence would you need to believe mathematical objects exist?
>>
>>
>>  I haven't seen any evidence yet.  Mathematical objects are inventions of
>> our minds dependent on language.
>>
>
>  Then what about the physical universe, it is a mathematical object.  Who
> invented it?
>
>
>>   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.
>>
>>
>  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.
>
>
>>
>>  QM shows the existence of perhaps an infinite number of solutions to the
>> wave function.
>>
>>
>>  It doesn't show that - it's consistent with an interpretation that
>> asserts that.
>>
>>
>  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?
>
>
> By Occam's principle I would prefer Asher Peres or Roland Omnes.
>
>
Could you recommend some online sources which explain their interpretations?

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

I thought that this was implied by relativity in general, not string theory.
An observer who sees someone fall into a black hole sees it take infinitely
long to happen due to gravitational time dilation, but the person falling in
doesn't experience the time dilation.

>
>
>>  Why believe only the math of string theory has been blessed with phyical
>> existence?
>>
>>
>>  I don't believe that.
>>
>
>  So you do believe other universes described by different equations have a
> physical existence?
>
>
>>
>>
>>  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.
>>
>>
>>  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
>
>
>>
>>  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?
>>
>>
>>  First it assumes there is something called "fine tuning" (c.f. Vic
>> Stenger's "The Fallacy of Fine Tuning").
>>
>
>  Stenger seems to have a personal bias against fine-tuning because he
> thinks it is used as evidence of intelligent design.
>
>
> 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.
>

How many of the supposed coincidences does he tackle?  And does he show that
they are not fine tuned at all or only that the range may be greater than
expected?

In particular, does he explain why the proton's mass is less than the
neutron's mass?  (It could have been the other way around?)
Why the strong force is stronger than the electromagnetic force (50/50
chance it could have been the other way around?)

Even with those 2 physical parameters, and a very conservative range of
values we could with some confidence say there is a 1 in 4 chance this
universe could support life.  Yet there are dozens of such parameters.  If
you consider just 10 values with a 50:50 chance of being correct, you are
down to a 1 in 1024 chance that the universe would be hospitable.

>
>
>  From his website:
>
>  "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.”
>
>
>  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."
>
>
>  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.
>
>
> 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.
>
>
Weinberg still believes that had the fine structure constant varied 10% from
its observed value, that excited state would not exist.

Look at some of the other examples Tegmark provides:
http://arxiv.org/abs/grqc/9704009
starting on page 14.  It only takes a small number of valid fine tuning
examples to lead to a high probability of a lifeless universe.

>
>
>
>
>>  Second physical laws are models we make up.  Third, all experience shows
>> that improbable things happen all the time.
>>
>>
>  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?
>
>  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?
>
>
> Not on that basis alone.
>
>
>
>
>>
>>
>>  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?
>>
>>
>>  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).
>>
>
>  Well lets put in all the evidence we have.  What evidence for or against
> proposition 1 do you have?
>
>
> We intelligently select the laws we formulate to describe the world.
>

Though we describe them, we didn't choose them.

> So I have good evidence there is at least one such set.
>

There are two models used for creating firewall rules.  Default deny, that
block everything unless explicitly allowed, and there are firewall rules
that accept everything unless explicitly allowed, Default allow.  It seems
that this is the primary philosophical difference between our view points.
You deny unless you see evidence for something, I accept unless I see
evidence against something (such as logical inconsistency).

> What evidence do you have?
>

- The physical universe appears to be governed by simple mathematical
rules. (Wigner and Einstein both remarked on this)
- Our universe can be conceived as timeless and unchanging, there is even
physical evidence for it. (In special relativity)  Note that had this
timeless conception been impossible it would have been strong evidence
against the idea that the universe is a platonic object, but instead we have
confirmation.
- The universe is either infinitely large or infinitely varied (as
suggested by many-worlds).
- The trend of scientific discovery has been to expand our concept of
reality.  (Once we were geocentric, then heliocentric, even milkway-centric.
Currently most informed individuals are universe centric (since other
galaxies were discovered in 1920), but there are clues we have further to
go: Eternal inflation, Many worlds, String theory, Mathematical Universe
Hypothesis)
- Mathematical truth appears to be discovered and explored, rather than
invented. (Most people believe in infinity, most mathematicians are
platonists, Godel showed no axiomatic system captures all of mathematical
truth)

>
>
>  What evidence for or against position 2 do you have?
>
>
> 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.
>
>
>
>>
>> Note that observing the universe is friendly to life *cannot* count as
>> evidence for intelligent design (c.f. Ikeda and Jefferys).
>>
>>
>>
>>  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.
>>
>>
>>  Exactly what my Christian friends say when I ask "Where is the evidence
>> for this God?"
>>
>>
>  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.
>
>
> 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.
>
>
What are these things, and from where do you derive that confidence?

There are objects which are ruled out by their own definition, such as an
odd number x, such that x modulo 2 = 0.  Aside from these types of
inconsistent objects, I don't see why possible things should not exist.

>
>  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.
>
>
> Which other objects?  I don't think Tegmarks "everything" is even coherent.
>
>
> Brent
>
>
>  Jason
>
>
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