# Re: How can a grown man be an atheist ?

`On 19 December 2013 13:35, Stephen Paul King <stephe...@provensecure.com>wrote:`
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> On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com> wrote:
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>> On 19 December 2013 12:16, Stephen Paul King
>> <stephe...@provensecure.com>wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> What else is a mathematical theory, such as SR, GR and QM, for but to
>>> "...perform a particular calculation"? This is the problem, we figure
>>> out ways to make ourselves believe that we can "know" all that there is to
>>> know about the world given some theory (mathematical or other). Can we
>>> gaze upon the space of solutions of SR, etc? No! But we can get some pretty
>>> good ideas exploring exactly how the "particular calculations" work. One
>>> has to plug in a set of numbers that include the specification of
>>> the inertial frame of reference (which involves the masses and velocities
>>> of the objects that are considered in the calculation). One then "turns the
>>> crank" and out pops a solution that is true* for that particular
>>> inertial frame*.
>>>
>>>  My point is not about any kind of "specialness", *the same condition
>>> follows for any frame that is consistent with the math*. There is no
>>> such thing, mathematically, as a "view from nowhere" or, equivalently, for
>>> a "god's eye point of view." God is dead and so is his "view".
>>>   For QM, things are even more restrictive: one has to assume that the
>>> Hilbert space of the wave function is *finite* and a choice of the basis
>>> of that space <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basis_(linear_algebra)>must be
>>> done. That's the math...
>>>
>>> That isn't quite correct. The "view from nowhere" *is *the equations.
>>
>
> LOL, nice semantic trick. A mathematical system is a "view". Seriously!
> That argument is rubbish. Nagel was great on some of his stuff, but that
> argument have serious problems.
>

It isn't a semantic trick. That's what a scientific theory is - a general
description of the system in question (e.g. the universe or a hydrogen
atom). If you expect more than that you are deluding yourself, because
that's exactly what you get. The equations are general, hence they aren't
taking any specific view / frame of reference / basis.

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>>
>>>> I think the use of the word "bias" in the context of reference frames
>>>>
>>>
>>> Not at all. It is a bias. Anything a choice is made from a non-singular
>>> collection of possibilities, the result is some subset of that collection.
>>> If no member is "left out" then we could say that the choice is unbiased,
>>> but what kind of choice is the one that pulls a "I'lll take them all!" when
>>> "all of them" can not be simultaneously chosen? Nature works that way,
>>> there is no such thing as an unbiased choice, therefore...
>>>
>>> "Bias" as normally used has various psychological implications that
>> don't apply to calculations in physics. It might be better to use a word
>> without such connotations (frame of reference or basis, for example).
>>
>
> Semantics... Could you offer a better word?
>

Frame of reference or basis.

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>>>>>>
>>>>>>>    That change can be identified with a static pattern in a higher
>>>>>>> dimensional space is OK, so long as we don't ignore the fact that it is
>>>>>>> we,
>>>>>>> as transitory entities, that are interpreting that map. The map is never
>>>>>>> the territory. When we try to use a timeless interpretation of the
>>>>>>> universe, we can only do so by abstracting our own sapience out of the
>>>>>>> universe: this is cheating don't you think?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> No I don't see any cheating. Everything we can say about the
>>>>>> universe is our interpretation, so bringing that up seems at best
>>>>>> tangential and at worst a non sequitur.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Ah, but neglecting the "interpretation" and its selection bias - as if
>>>>> it did not exist!- is the problem I am pointing out.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> As far as I'm aware it doesn't exist in the theory, only when a
>>>> specific observer is making a specific measurement.
>>>>
>>>
>>> OK, it doesn't exist in the theory, so where is it coming from?
>>>
>>
>> From when a specific observer makes a specific measurement. The theory
>> covers all possible "selection biases". Theories try very hard to be
>> general in that sense.
>>
>
> OK, so there it is: "...when a specific observer makes a specific
> measurement". There does not exist an entity that can have states of
> knowledge of something that cannot exist. There is no god and no view that
> it, if it could exist, could have. Any reasoning that assumes otherwise is
> wrong from the bang.
>

I can't parse the above. But to reiterate, a theory is a set of equations
which tries to apply to the general case. When someone uses it in a
specific situation, then they select a frame of reference.

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>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>>  We don't "extract sapience" (whatever that means) by inventing
>>>>>> mathematical explanations - I would say we apply sapience. Adding
>>>>>> verbiage
>>>>>> about change and interaction adds exactly nothing to the description of
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> world we obtain from SR, GR and QM. Nothing else is required to account
>>>>>> for
>>>>>> our experience of change beyond an embedded pattern in space-time, and if
>>>>>> anyone is going to claim that something else is required, it's up to them
>>>>>> to explain why.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Part of my research is looking at space-time as an emergent ordering
>>>>> of events. People like Renata
>>>>> Loll<http://www.hef.ru.nl/~rloll/Web/research/research.html>and Kevin
>>>>> Knuth <http://arxiv.org/abs/1209.0881> have some pretty good
>>>>> arguments against the idea that space-time is something that "we are
>>>>> embedded in". This "fishbowl" or "container" conceptualization of
>>>>> space-time is just another version of the Laplacean vision...
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I don't know about Kevin Knuth, what is he suggesting? Renate Loll is I
>>>> believe an exponent of CDT, which as far as I know doesn't make any changes
>>>> to the notion that events and so on are embedded in space time.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Read Kevin's paper that I linked to his name. Its neat! There is a video
>>> of a talk that he gave on the subject. The Q&A session at the end is very
>>> interesting.
>>>
>>
>> The abstract is enough to tell me that it doesn't make any changes to the
>> idea of events being embedded in space time. Indeed he's trying to recover
>> that concept from his chains of events. It sounds similar to CDT in that
>> way.
>>
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> Watch it. Kevin reasons very slowly and carefully to a very astonishing
> result.
>

Unfortunately I don't have time for slow careful reasoning, can we skip