On 07 Aug 2012, at 17:24, John Clark wrote:

On Tue, Aug 7, 2012  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> >I would be very interested if a theory of everything exists, but there is no reason ti think it must.

> That is why we need a bit of faith in fundamental research.

The theory either exists or it does not and in either case faith is not needed to know that fundamental research will teach us more about how the world works.

You need faith in some world/reality, to do *fundamental* science.

> But with comp, the question is easily settled.

With this thing you call "comp" if matter is organized in certain ways then the adjective "conscious" can be used to describe it and that's all that can be said about consciousness;


however that's not all that can be said about matter;

Apparent matter, or primitive matter. In our context everything is in that difference.

if a theory of everything exists then there is a finite amount of more stuff that can be said about matter and if there is not such a theory then there is a infinite amount of more stuff that can be said. To tell you the truth I don't even have a gut feeling about whether a theory of everything exists or not, I just don't know.

>> Imagine if you and some of your friends decided to collaborate to prove something about the real numbers, but one of you thought "real numbers" meant a right triangle, another thought the points on a line, another thought it meant a oblate spheroid and still another a ice cream cone. You decide to worry about what "real numbers" means until after the proof is finished. Do you think the resulting proof would be any good?

> All what is needed is to agree on some basic properties for the terms of our theory.

Yes I agree that is certainly needed, and yet I see on this very list endless debates about if people have free will or not or if God exists or not and there is not the slightest agreement about what "free will" or "God" means.

I gave the definitions. But you reject them! You seem to prefer the literalist one, despite known to be from authority, and then you only mock them. To be honest I find this to be a quite unscientific attitude.

People very very literally don't know what they're talking about, but whatever they're talking about they are doing so with great passion. It's no wonder the debate never goes anywhere!

> you can take such definition[ of God], and then be open to critics for some feature. We don't need to believe in their theory on God, to accept partially some definition. [...] It is frequent to have many definition/theories. then we compare, reason, etc.

I just don't get it. If I said "Is your name Bruno Marchal?" you wouldn't respond, as Bill Gates once did under oath during a antitrust hearing, with "That depends on what the meaning of "is" is " , instead you'd just answer the damn question. But if I said "are you a atheist?" the response is full of evasions, obscure definitions, qualifications, demands for clarification, and enough legalese and general bafflegab to make the lawyer for a crooked politician gag. I just don't get it.

No, I find that normal. Atheism needs a precise notion of God to make, but all serious theologian and mystics tend to think that God, like truth or consciousness does not admit a simple definition, making atheism a very vague position, unless it means only I don't believe in the literalist abramanic definition of God. In which case 99% of the mundial population is atheist, and that makes the notion quite trivial.

> I don't believe in any literal definition, of God, universe, whole, etc.

If that's what you believe, or rather what you don't believe, then why are you unable to utter the simple crystal clear declarative sentence "I am a atheist" ? Why all the gobbledegook?

Because I am not an atheist. I am fascinated by most discourses by many theologians and mystics belonging to a wide variety of traditions. I have studied classical chinese to be sure I did not misinterpret the taoists, which have been my favorite for a long time. I have read Plato and Plotinus. I am a neoplatonist believer, if you want, and as far as I can conceive that comp is correct, I am a Pythagorean. I believe in 0, 1, 2, 3, ... and all the rest is a logical consequence of addition and multiplication (and definitions). In particular, as far as I believe comp possible (that my brain works like a digital machine at some level), I don't believe in a primary universe or nature. Those are emergent pattern in arithmetic when seen from inside, by machine or relative number. I provide a constructive proof making the computationalist hypothesis testable. You stopped at step 3 for reason which still eludes me.



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