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Author Topic: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion  (Read 6512 times)

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #75 on: August 30, 2018, 12:40:53 pm »

I will admit, I am no physicist. The fact that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, at least as far as I can tell, would mean that there is a point at which the universe would be expanding so fast that even if a Boltzman brain did spontaneously appear, it would cease to be meaningful due to the expansion of the universe around it rendering what was originally a small distance between each component immensely vast (since the metric of distance between each component would be growing at an infinitely accelerating pace).
Nope, or else the same thing would be happening to the Earth. Gravitationally bound systems don't expand, only the space between them — so the "components" of everything remain at the same distance from one another. Formally, it's possible to describe gravity as a process of space contracting between massive objects.
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Ispil

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #76 on: August 30, 2018, 12:56:43 pm »

Right, but would there not be a point where the expansion overtakes the counter-force of gravity?
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #77 on: August 30, 2018, 01:04:09 pm »

When matter becomes diffuse enough, which might happen if all the dark matter gets sucked into black holes and all the black holes decay. If there's clumps of dark matter left after all black holes decay (quite unlikely), then gravity will prevail. If not, expansion will.

This is all something like 101010120 years out, if I recall.

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #78 on: August 30, 2018, 01:06:49 pm »

Right, but would there not be a point where the expansion overtakes the counter-force of gravity?
Short answer, we can't tell, but it doesn't look like it.

That's actually the so-called "Big Rip" theory of the future of the universe, where expansion accelerates enough that gravity cannot compensate and everything comes apart at the level of fundamental particles. Broadly speaking, if a certain parameter of the universe is less than -1, a Big Rip happens; more than -1, and a Big Crunch happens where gravity overcorrects and everything does collapse back into a singularity eventually; and at exactly -1 things can pretty much just keep going. Current observations show that the parameter is close enough to -1 that we can't tell which of the three scenarios is the case, and, if it is greater or less than -1, it would take an incredibly long time for the corresponding destructive end to take place.
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Ispil

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #79 on: August 30, 2018, 01:17:08 pm »

So ultimately the Boltzman brain thing comes down to a big "we don't know" part of physics. Close enough for me.


As for the consciousness stuff, through a great deal of research we've actually even figured out what the evolutionary value of consciousness would be- learning over time. The system seems fundamental for the movement of information into working memory, which is experimentally verifiable.


EDIT: Something even more definitive- over the years researchers have improved the technology for brain-implanted electrodes used in epilepsy patients. They now can record the activity of individual neurons. Researchers decided to see how exactly those neurons worked, and found out something absolutely staggering- conceptual information sets off specific individual or very small clusters of neurons. In one particular subject, they had a specific, singular neuron in the anterior temporal region (where they measured all of these neurons) for Bill Clinton. It would fire when they were shown a picture of Bill Clinton, but only if they were consciously aware of it; masking techniques blocked its firing. Reading his name would trigger it. Thinking of him would trigger it. No other circumstances would trigger it- it was strictly related to the concept of Bill Clinton entering the conscious mind. A majority of anterior temporal neurons work this way, with that degree of specificity. Memory recall also sets them off.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 03:23:51 pm by Ispil »
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"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #80 on: August 30, 2018, 03:16:10 pm »

...what have I done?
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #81 on: August 30, 2018, 03:43:08 pm »

It's worth noting in the edit I made above, that in later experiments, they tried electrically stimulating some of those neurons. Result was what you would expect- patients experienced anything from the smell of burnt toast to hearing a full orchestra playing, to reliving a childhood memory.
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"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."- Voltaire

I transcribe things, too.

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #82 on: August 30, 2018, 04:54:09 pm »

Wait, I should note: Occam's razor implies that everybody else has consciousness because "I am perfectly unique" makes fewer assumptions than "most humans is the same as me in most regards".

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #83 on: August 30, 2018, 05:07:31 pm »

Wait, I should note: Occam's razor implies that everybody else has consciousness because "I am perfectly unique" makes fewer assumptions than "most humans is the same as me in most regards".
Instead, it's better to note that Occam's razor says different things to different people because different people have a different understanding of what a "qualifying" assumption is.

In a perfectly literal sense, all arguments require exactly the same number of assumptions: all of them.

Of course, in the original formulation, Occam's razor makes reference to entities, not assumptions, which may or may not be a whole different kettle of fish depending on your philosophical prejudices.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #84 on: August 30, 2018, 08:59:33 pm »

Yudkowsky even argues that the metric that theories should be judged by with Occam's razor is the complexity of their laws, not the number of things. That's a third interpretation, and I think I prefer it to the things-formulation, as the known universe has expanded dramatically in size over the course of scientific history. Law-Occam would have said "yeah, that could happen", whereas Things-Occam would have predicted the opposite. Predicting the past accurately should be a good indication of being possibly true.

And Law-Occam doesn't just not disallow an expanding known universe, it also predicts that seemingly unrelated phenomena will tend to be produced by the same fundamental laws, and that unification is generally possible. The former is definitely true (electricity and magnetism, heat and motion, etc.) and the latter... well, that's a true prediction, isn't it? All the other predictions were after the fact, but we haven't found a Grand Unified Theory yet.

So yes, Occam's razor can mean vastly different things to different people.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #85 on: August 30, 2018, 10:27:19 pm »

Yudkowsky even argues that the metric that theories should be judged by with Occam's razor is the complexity of their laws, not the number of things.

Uh, if I recall from the book, I'm pretty sure he means proper information-theoretic complexity, i.e. how many bits of information are required to state the whole thing. It's a bit too concrete (or abstract, I guess?) to apply in any useful way to discussions, even with other people who have this knowledge, so I sort of forgot about it completely until you mentioned it just now.

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #86 on: August 31, 2018, 06:44:47 am »

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #87 on: August 31, 2018, 06:49:21 am »

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago
Exactly. I don't understand GC's argument very well.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #88 on: September 01, 2018, 06:07:25 am »

Wrong. Just plain wrong. Physical consciousness and the existence of other people are not mutually exclusive. It just means that their consciousness is also physical. And my definition of consciousness is different (clarity of thought), as a consequence of my disbelief in free will.

I have already explained why physical consciousness is mutually exclusive with the existence of the consciousness of other people.  That reason in summary that the consciousness of other people is theoretical while your own is directly empirical.  Empirical things are not subject to Occam's Razor, if you actually see how something explains something, you can have unnecessary elements but if you invent something to explain something else then it does apply. 

The twist here I have not been clear is that the reason empirical things are immune to Occam's Razor is that they are part of consciousness through being observed.  Consciousness then is actually immune to Occam's Razor, but to then argue that it is a physical entity at this point makes that immunity special pleading; only by being outside of the physical world can it not be subject to the same rules that material entities are. 

Free will is a separate subject to this.  Free will currently stands on empirical observation by itself and would fall if the functioning of the brain-body was found to be entirely deterministic, that is the empirical observation would be established as illusory.  I don't have a theoretical problem with a dualistic consciousness that has no free will. 

That's pretty long post, GoblinCookie, but I think it all rests on the assumption that you have evidence of your own consiciousness that you don't find in others.

If it is thinking, given that all things you think about are words or can be put into words, what distinguishes it from merely a logical machine?
In a conversation between you and someone else where both participants can follow the train of logic, what's the difference?

There is indeed little or no difference and the consciousness is only aware of a small amount of the total amount of thinking going on in it's creature.  Thinking does not make you conscious and no means exists to determine through observation whether a thinking creature is consciously aware of it's own thoughts, aside from actually being that creature. 

Presently the only way to empirically observe consciousness is to actually *be* the creature in question.  Problem is that you can only *be* one creature at a time, so to be one creature is to render the consciousness of all other beings theoretical rather than empirical; at that point Occam's Razor strikes. 

Wait, I should note: Occam's razor implies that everybody else has consciousness because "I am perfectly unique" makes fewer assumptions than "most humans is the same as me in most regards".

 ??? ??? The very argument you appear to have made is an argument for what I have been saying, I shall assume that is a typo.

I refer you back to an earlier analogy: there are 7 billion monkey wheels turning.  None of those wheels require monkeys to turn them, but it is possible that a monkey *could* turn them.  You observe one monkey turning one wheel, but see no other monkeys turning any other wheels.  The fact you saw one visible monkey, turning one wheel does not mean that there are 7 billion other monkeys that are invisible to you turning the other wheels.

So yes, Occam's Razor supports the idea that you are unique, the only "unneccesery monkey", since 1 monkey is fewer monkeys than 7 billion monkeys. 

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago

It has to do with how a non-physical thing can be exempt from the normal principles without this being special pleading, but a physical thing very much cannot. 
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KittyTac

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #89 on: September 01, 2018, 06:15:22 am »

Wrong. Just plain wrong. Physical consciousness and the existence of other people are not mutually exclusive. It just means that their consciousness is also physical. And my definition of consciousness is different (clarity of thought), as a consequence of my disbelief in free will.

I have already explained why physical consciousness is mutually exclusive with the existence of the consciousness of other people.  That reason in summary that the consciousness of other people is theoretical while your own is directly empirical.  Empirical things are not subject to Occam's Razor, if you actually see how something explains something, you can have unnecessary elements but if you invent something to explain something else then it does apply. 

The twist here I have not been clear is that the reason empirical things are immune to Occam's Razor is that they are part of consciousness through being observed.  Consciousness then is actually immune to Occam's Razor, but to then argue that it is a physical entity at this point makes that immunity special pleading; only by being outside of the physical world can it not be subject to the same rules that material entities are. 

Free will is a separate subject to this.  Free will currently stands on empirical observation by itself and would fall if the functioning of the brain-body was found to be entirely deterministic, that is the empirical observation would be established as illusory.  I don't have a theoretical problem with a dualistic consciousness that has no free will.
Just thinking about it, your second paragraph makes no sense. Consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor and... then what? What is your point? Your argument is built on the non-physicality of consciousness, it just falls apart if we assume that it is physical. You are saying that material things are not subject to OR, but if we assume that consciousness is physical, it is not subject to OR and then the consciousness of other people exists. Maybe I have misunderstood you.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 06:24:49 am by KittyTac »
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