On 8/18/2014 1:49 AM, Pierz wrote:

On Monday, August 18, 2014 5:33:19 AM UTC+10, Brent wrote:

    On 8/17/2014 5:43 AM, Pierz wrote:
    > Thank you Bruno for your response. Honestly I don't know if I'd say yes 
to the
    > It's cowardly of me, but I think I'd like to see the device work on 
someone else
    > If they appear to be fine after the operation then I guess I'll go under 
the knife
    - and
    > have to swallow the logical consequences whole! Your reply helps. I 
suppose what I
    > is missing from the account is the *necessity* of qualia, because it 
seems to me that
    > everything that exists, necessarily exists, and as it stands in the comp 
account, the
    > necessity for there to be an interior to mathematics remains mysterious. 
My guess is
    > that comp is wrong, but it may be that it is still a whole lot more right 
    > materialism. It may be wrong in the same way that general relativity and 
QM are
    > i.e., correct, but to some limit. My next step is to read the Amoeba's 
Secret and
    see if
    > I can start to wrap my head around the S4Grz and the []p & p - the maths 
is still
    > largely a mystery to me.
    > However I wanted to put some less argumentative and more curious 
questions to you
    > the way you imagine the comp-driven universe to be (yes, there's no 
universe, I know,
    > but I lack words: this apparent "space" we inhabit?). The question comes 
up in the
    > account about the physical explanation for the origin of the Löbian 
organism the
    > self-consistency of whose mind creates the appearance of matter 
(allegedly). Liz and
    > Brent were throwing around this "if a tree falls in the forest" question 
on the MGA
    > thread. The account whereby the observer arises out of the long, deep 
history of
    > sure looks convincing. What is the status of this alternative origin 
story if the
    > observer is actually grounded in Platonia? I seem to recall you talking 
about the
    > that the observer's self consistency demands that it also find a 
    account of
    > itself in the "material hypostases". OK, I can go with that, but 
something here still
    > troubles me. We can't surely dismiss these origins as fictive any more 
than we can
    > dismiss the other observers we find in our environment as fictive. How do 
you see the
    > relationship between these accounts (the exterior physical and the machine
    > psychological)? It occurs to me that in some ways the anthropic 
explanation of the
    > coincidences of the laws of nature resembles the machine psychology 
account - in that
    > the requirements of existing as a complex self-aware machine in a sense 
    the laws
    > of the universe to be what they are. The need for logical consistency 
constrains the
    > environment and its laws in very specific, complex ways. It's almost 
strange that
    > taken us so long to realize just how extraordinary it is that the "laws" 
    that they
    > are capable of creating the complexity and beauty we see.

    Check out the book "The Comprehensible Cosmos" by my friend Vic Stenger.  
It goes
    way in explaining this.

I'm not sure how much more explanation it requires. The anthropic principle plus multiverse will do it, won't it?

Stenger's approach to physics is that it is based on point-of-view-invariance, i.e. we want physical laws to hold for everyone in every time and place and direction and state of motion, and...whatever else we can include. It's sort of what we mean by "physical law" in contrast to geographical or historical accident. He shows that we can get a suprising amount out of this (at least surprising if you don't already know who Emma Noether was).

    > Only a huge, unfathomable amount of selective work could lead to a 
structure like the
    > calabi yau manifolds etc, with its staggeringly elegant capacity to 
    > from simplicity. So... that work I describe would be the infinite 
computations in the
    > UD, and just as all the complexity in the UD is surrounded by a vastly 
    region of
    > garbled junk, so the physical account relies on a similar surrounding 
region of
    > incoherence. Which makes me wonder: are the two accounts just mirror 
    somehow? Are
    > the garbled, dead, sterile, incoherent universes the reflection of those 
    > sterile computations? Is there an observer of these dead regions? Or are 
    > like fleeting Boltzmann brain or quantum fuzz in the void: incoherent, 
    > aware, but just there enough? I hope I make sense...
    > Now a second thing. Comp suggests, or predicts, Many Worlds, and says 
physics arises
    > from the measure of the observer computations. But string theory suggests 
    > physics(es!). So this is intriguing. Are we humans (and other animals in 
    > multiverse) bound to one set of physics as it were, while perhaps other 
    > observers occupy a world with different laws? Because it seems we have 
only one of
    > options. Either the other possible physics are all sterile, or there is 
    > the types of mathematical structures that we are that keeps us bound to 
    > set of observer states, not letting us "slip over" into universes with 
    >  Might we not be capable of a kind of mathematical state change that 
would see us
    > metamorphose, wake up in a world with different laws? Might death and 
birth not be
    > state changes? (This last suggestion no doubt getting too mystical for 
many whose
    > self-appointed job it is to crush any idea that smacks of the Big Guy 
Upstairs who
    > had so much trouble with in the past, but you're not afraid of the G-word 
    seems, so I
    > ask anyway (not that survival of death has to bring God with it, but some 
people are
    > sensitive about these things.))

    Given that you don't remember any past life (though some people claim to) 
    question is,
    what survives?  Is there a kind of soul that is independent of memory but 
is a

That is a good question. There is some pretty hard to explain research done by Ian Stevenson on children who claim to recall past lives. Stevenson is legit, the research very thorough, and the data just very hard to explain away.

Stevenson questioned thousands of children (many through a translator) and found a few dozen instances in which evidence he interpreted as showing a past life had no possible mundane explanation (according to him). He started with a theory that illnesses and birthmarks can be derived from past lives. His theory was unfalsifiable, but if enough cases are looked at one may find some confirmation.

I guess if that is right, then comp is false. Or is it necessarily?

It's right in line with comp, at least as interpreted by Bruno. If there's just one person then obviously that one person is incarnated billions of times.

I haven't tried to think this through rigorously but with the idea of simulators within simulators perhaps comp might still work? I would say that failure to recall past lives is absence of evidence of them, not evidence of absence. So it's not argument against them, only a way to place the burden of proof on the believer. I'm not interested in trying to prove it because I'm agnostic on what happens after death, and because those debates are tiring and fruitless, but I am certainly more open to the possibility than I once was, having looked at the research.

    > My own pet idea at the moment is a simple rule that seems at the least 
    > suggested by scientific experience to date and to me just intuitively 
    It is
    > simply that there are no brute facts. Or another way of saying this is 
that there
    are no
    > "hard" ontological boundaries, no places where that which exists nakedly 
    > non-existence, in the way that a brute fact is encased as it were in a 
boundary of
    > nothingness beyond which one cannot travel. So far, wherever we look we 
find that
    > apparently hard boundaries are illusions. Every apparently closed system 
turns out
    to be
    > incomplete (yes Gödel again),

    But the integers were not even apparently closed, ex hypothesi every number 
has a
    successor, and it's this infinity that leads to incompleteness.

OK, but I'm not invoking Gödel in any rigorous sense to prove my point. I can't prove it, I merely believe it from intuition, and from extrapolating from the history of science. Deutsch argues something similar with his idea that explanation will be infinite.

    > to be contained as a special case within some more encompassing whole. I 
    this is
    > true infinitely and in all "directions". And so when people pin their 
hopes on string
    > theory as a Final Explanation, I don't believe it, just as I don't 
believe the
    > dimensions will stop at the current count of 11. They can't, if my idea 
is correct,
    > because that 11th dimension would be a hard boundary. The flower of 
knowledge will
    > opening and opening.

    But you're looking at our theories as reality.  If you look at them as 
models we
    invent to
    explain the world then it's not so mystical and it's easy to understand 
that not
    only does
    the flower of knowledge open, it also gets discarded and replaced.

Ah no, I'm not mistaking the map for the territory. I don't know why you say that. I'm saying the territory is infinite in all directions (according to my guess), but our maps are finite and so have to have false boundaries drawn around them.

I said that because it is our maps that are infinite. If you take the natural numbers and arithmetic as the ontology of your TOE, you've assumed an infinite map. There is no observable infinity, it's an abstraction we've invented. It might be right or it might not. The very title of this list implies it consists of people whose preferred map is "everything". So it is not modest agnosticism to suppose the territory is infinite - that not something known.


That allows them to be accurate to some approximation, but I am hypothesizing we'll never close the loop completely.


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