Gathering perspectives
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09-04-2014, 06:17 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(09-04-2014 02:44 PM)bemore Wrote:  
(09-04-2014 12:43 PM)living thing Wrote:  Imagine that you invent a perpetual motion machine... you'd have to build it to see if it works.
So until we build it then it does not exist? How does that parallel with the brief exchange we had about the start of "existence/life" in material form? Is it only in the realms of probability that it exists?
I’m not sure of what you mean by “existing in the realms of probability”.

For the purpose of this argument, let us define a chair as an object that stands on four supports and provides a resting surface wide enough for an average human being to sit on it. I’m sure there are many better ways to define the term, but I simply want to focus on one for clarity. Let us also presume that you are the inventor of the first chair ever, so that “initially” the idea of the chair is only in your mind. Can the first chair be said to exist while it is only in your mind?

Using the verb in the sense that I use it, that is equivalent to asking if there is an object that stands on four supports and provides a resting surface wide enough for an average human being to sit on it, occupying any specific volume at any specific distance in any specific direction from any reference point. If the chair is only an idea in your mind, then my answer to the question would be no. Ideas do not occupy any volume inside or outside your brain.

Let us say that you begin the construction of the first prototype, maybe by nailing the supports to flat piece of wood. By the time you have attached two of them, is there a four-legged wooden object big enough for you to sit on, anywhere in the room? No, there may be a two-legged wooden object that may be useful for other tasks, but the chair is still an idea in your mind. Only when the object stands on four supports it can accurately be described as an object that stands on four supports.

Similarly, a cell is diploid if it has two “copies” of each chromosome in its nucleus. Your father’s sperm cell and your mother’s egg, however, were haploid cells, each containing a single copy of each chromosome in its nucleus. So during the time while both cells matured each in its appropriate reproductive organ, it is highly unlikely that any diploid cell existed anywhere on this planet with exactly your combination of genes; before your diploid genome became assembled, the things that yielded your existence already existed but you didn’t. But could it not be said that you existed inside both of your parents’ reproductive organs? (Not that you’ve said it, I’m just exploring the possibility).

I wouldn’t describe it that way; not only because that wouldn’t quite qualify as “a specific volume in a specific direction blah blah blah” (it is two volumes in two specific directions blah blah blah), but also because each of the reproductive cells that merged their haploid genomes into your diploid genome had the potential to merge it with that of any other complementary genome, yielding in every case someone that wouldn’t have been you. If you existed before your genes became assembled, you existed as much as all those others that might have been but never were. And if they never were, how would you have been before you were? In that case, they would have been too.

Is that potential existence what you mean by “existing in the realms of probability”?

Also, do you think that existence is the same notion as life? The moon seems to exist, but I wouldn't say it's alive.

(09-04-2014 02:44 PM)bemore Wrote:  I think that the imagination is a very powerful and underused tool of our brains
Truly powerful. But what do you mean by “underused”? Is that individually or collectively speaking? In other words, do you think each person has much more imaginative potential than they actually use, or would you say that some people clearly display inventiveness while others don’t display it so clearly? Or maybe neither?

(09-04-2014 02:44 PM)bemore Wrote:  How do you ever know that you have had a truly original thought, what have you to compare it too?
Truly original? As in “never thought by anyone else before”? I don’t think I’d be able to know, I don’t know what other people think. I often know when a thought is original in my mind, but I don’t think that’s what you mean by “truly original”, is it? I don’t even know why it would be relevant to know if a thought is truly original; in my view, it seems more important whether the thought is useful.

But I’m not saying thoughts cannot be truly original, they obviously can regardless of whether their thinkers are aware of their originality or not. As we learn new notions about reality’s structure and behaviour, we get new concepts that we can shuffle and rearrange in order to see what comes out of it.

Does any of this make any sense?

Have fun anyway!
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12-04-2014, 05:12 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Personal God(s) do not exist, this can be shown through logic. Impersonal God(s) may exist, but they aren't necessary for our universe to exist.

We could be the product of an extremely advanced alien species, which has created us. IE, the simulation hypothesis. There is no evidence for this, though.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis
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12-04-2014, 09:22 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(06-04-2014 08:01 PM)living thing Wrote:  Hello DLJ, how's it going?
Sorry for the length of this post, please feel free to ignore it if it looks boring.

Going... forwards, I guess.
I didn't and it wasn't.

Quote:That sounds interesting, it probably covers lots of different areas. Is it fun to do? Do you enjoy it?

It isn't, it does. It pays the bills. It depends on the quality of my audience.

Quote:... four categories:
1. Absolutely Real
the individual pieces of matter that might constitute every existing thing
2. Virtually Real
temporary complex structures formed by two or more pieces of matter
3. Virtual
patterns of change that occur over time
4. Absolutely virtual
abstract notions meaningful regardless of their location and physical structure.
...

I understand your message but I'm not a fan of your category labels.
'Virtual' does not 'feel' right and I have never been happy with 'absolutes' as there never seem to be any (except as extremes of scales measuring models that we create).

The factors that seem relevant are 'spatiality' and 'temporality' so...

1. is space-dependent and time-independent
2. is space-dependent and time-dependent
3. is space-independent and time-dependent
4. is space-independent and time-independent

Kinda like:

Time Dependent
l
Complex structures . . . . l . . . . Patterns of change
(e.g. chair) . . . . . . . l . . . . . . (e.g. music)
l
Space Dependent ------------------------------------------------------- Space Independent
l
Indivisible particles . . .. . l . . . . . Abstract notions
(e.g. 'atomics') . . . . . l . . . . . . . (e.g. gods).
l
Time Independent

Am I close?

Quote:Have fun!

Well, OK... if you insist Big Grin

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15-04-2014, 01:59 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(12-04-2014 09:22 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
Quote:... four categories:
1. Absolutely Real
the individual pieces of matter that might constitute every existing thing
2. Virtually Real
temporary complex structures formed by two or more pieces of matter
3. Virtual
patterns of change that occur over time
4. Absolutely virtual
abstract notions meaningful regardless of their location and physical structure.
...

I understand your message but I'm not a fan of your category labels.
'Virtual' does not 'feel' right and I have never been happy with 'absolutes' as there never seem to be any (except as extremes of scales measuring models that we create).
If the notions get through, the words chosen to convey them are irrelevant. Presuming we were both able to (which I am not) we might choose to have this conversation using only Chinese words and, as long as the notions got through, it wouldn’t matter.

I choose the word “virtual” as it is sometimes used in the context of information technology, both as opposed to “real” and as an entity that appears over time rather than in space. A virtual machine, for example, is a set of instructions that, if executed in a specific order in time, they make a real computer behave as if it contained a different computer inside it. But the computer “inside” is not actually a real computer inside, it is a piece of software. It does not have the physical structure of a real computer, but it does exhibit its behaviour. It is virtual (as opposed to real) and it is a complex pattern of change over time.

Also, in some programming languages, the key word “virtual” is used in reference to blocks of instructions that may change during the execution of the program, as opposed to “static” code, which does not change during program execution. Moreover, those blocks of instructions may be declared and used but not implemented, yielding what is known in those languages as a pure virtual function. Any definition of an object that includes a pure virtual function is called an abstract class, because no instance of it can be created directly. I guess that is where I got the link between pure virtuality and abstraction. But you don’t have to like it, so don’t worry about not being a fan of the label. I’m not a great fan of fanatism myself.

Regarding my use of the word “absolutely”, when I talk about absolutely real entities, it is a mere distinction from entities that exist for an interval of time (from a beginning to an end). Absolutely real entities, if they exist, do not exist for an interval of time because they have no beginning (they don’t come into existence when simpler components are assembled because no simpler components exist) and no end (they cannot be decomposed into simpler components because they are not a complex combination of two or more components). Do these extremely simple pieces of matter exist? I don’t know, but if they did, I would refer to them as absolutely real because their existence would not depend on the passage of time; there would be nothing virtual in them.

Absolutely virtual concepts, on the other hand, have nothing real in them. They are implications conveyed by the motion of matter in relation to more matter, but they don’t have any material structure themselves. They do not occupy any volume anywhere in relation to anything. For example, many years ago, when wireless communications were much more rustic, you might call your friend in his or her room by throwing a little stone to his or her window. You accelerated the stone in relation to your body, the stone moved towards the window and bounced against it; part of its motion was absorbed by the glass, which vibrated at its resonant frequency and its harmonics, and that periodic motion was propagated to the air inside the room. Those oscillations caused your friend’s eardrums to vibrate as well, transferring most of that motion via a set of tiny bones to the liquid inside his or her cochleas. There, the conic shape of the organs and the distribution of cells along their walls caused some of those cells (those resonant to frequencies occurring in the window’s vibration) to become excited and send an electrochemical signal to his or her brain.

You, the piece of stone, the glass in the window, the different molecules of air in the room, your friend, his or her outer and inner ears, and his or her brain, all those are virtually real entities; each occupies some volume somewhere, from the moment it begins existing to the moment when its existence ceases. The motion of the stone, the vibration of the glass, the variation of air pressure in the air of the room, the vibration of the different parts in the hearing apparatus of your friend, and the variation of electrochemical potential that are the nervous impulses along his or her nerve cells, all those really are virtual entities; each happens over a period of time as things that occupy some volume move in relation to other things. But they are all circumscribed to the locations and degrees of freedom of those movable things; they are not completely independent of space. However, the implication carried by the whole system (“hey, I’m down here, come to the window”) is not limited to the locations and degrees of freedom of any object in the chain; it “jumps” from one motion to another. Abstract implications are absolutely virtual in the sense that they are independent of space and they don’t have any real structure.

(12-04-2014 09:22 AM)DLJ Wrote:  The factors that seem relevant are 'spatiality' and 'temporality' so...

1. is space-dependent and time-independent
2. is space-dependent and time-dependent
3. is space-independent and time-dependent
4. is space-independent and time-independent

Kinda like:

Time Dependent
l
Complex structures . . . . l . . . . Patterns of change
(e.g. chair) . . . . . . . l . . . . . . (e.g. music)
l
Space Dependent ------------------------------------------------------- Space Independent
l
Indivisible particles . . .. . l . . . . . Abstract notions
(e.g. 'atomics') . . . . . l . . . . . . . (e.g. gods).
l
Time Independent

Am I close?
I don’t know, I don’t know where you are. You might be my next door neighbour and I wouldn’t necessarily know, although I have never heard my next door neighbour speak English, so you’re probably not that close Tongue

I like the graphicality in your diagram, if that is a word, but I am not sure it conveys the same notions I am speaking of. I don’t think there are any more contexts for information to appear other than space and time, so if abstract notions were truly independent of space and time, I’d be wondering in what context they would appear.

How could I put this in a diagram? If an entity occupies a specific volume in space, it is real. If an entity happens during a specific interval in time, it is virtual. But virtual entities can be further divided into three kinds: those that occupy a specific volume in space during a specific interval of time, those that do not occupy any specific volume in space but are circumscribed to the region where some kind of motion or change is happening, and the abstract implications that may be conveyed by such motion. But it is important to stress out that those abstract notions require motion for them to be conveyed, and motion always happens over a period of time; no physical object can move in relation to any other at an infinite speed. So I don't think abstract notions can be said to be time-independent.

Does any of this make sense? Can you think of a graphical way to depict it?

Thanks!
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15-04-2014, 09:55 PM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(15-04-2014 01:59 PM)living thing Wrote:  ...
Does any of this make sense? Can you think of a graphical way to depict it?

Thanks!

I kinda liked the idea that, as per the cross-hair diagram, gods were relegated to the spaceless, timeless section i.e. not really existing.
Indeed, this is what apologetics like William Lane Craig have been saying for a long time about their gods ... erm... not the non-existing part but the spaceless, timeless part.

But I get what you say about the abstract notions (like the thrown stone's message) requiring a time-factor.

I'll have to think about it
(Thinking - Virtual, Pattern of Change, Time Dependent and Space Independent (unless one counts the space between my ears)).

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16-04-2014, 05:16 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(15-04-2014 09:55 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I kinda liked the idea that, as per the cross-hair diagram, gods were relegated to the spaceless, timeless section i.e. not really existing.
I think I can see why that would be neat.

I achieve the same piece of mind by considering existence the same as occupying a specific volume in a specific location in relation to some reference point, not simply my ability to think about something. In my view, gods do not really exist; they simply occur in my mind with the motion of things that exist in my brain.

(15-04-2014 09:55 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Indeed, this is what apologetics like William Lane Craig have been saying for a long time about their gods ... erm... not the non-existing part but the spaceless, timeless part.

But I get what you say about the abstract notions (like the thrown stone's message) requiring a time-factor.

I'll have to think about it
(Thinking - Virtual, Pattern of Change, Time Dependent and Space Independent (unless one counts the space between my ears)).
That last point raised is an interesting one. If those abstract notions occur within the region enclosed by our skulls, how can they be considered absolutely virtual?

Because those abstract notions are not just circumscribed to the region between your ears; they can be propagated from your brain to mine and other brains. They can even be attached to symbols that are meaningful by convention, just like we're doing when we type in our views.

I am glad that you'll think about it, but my advice (if I may take the liberty to offer you some) is that you think about it very critically. Do not believe any discrete "fact" in whatever I may write, because every one of them may be wrong.

Other than that, I am happy if I have managed to get a message across :-)

Enjoy whatever course you may give today!
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19-04-2014, 06:30 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Maybe a couple of images are easier to see.

In real information, the implications arise from the relative location of individual items. In virtual information, the implications arise from the relative motion of individual items.

    Real.png
    Virtual.gif

But note how the word "virtual" is not there in any specific frame within the animated gif file. It only appears over a length of time, with the motion of things that are somewhere at every instant.
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19-04-2014, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2014 07:50 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Gathering perspectives
(19-04-2014 06:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  ...
In real information, the implications arise from the relative location of individual items.
In virtual information, the implications arise from the relative motion of individual items.
...

This has been nagging at me for a while now...

Particle... requires 3 dimensions... location, location, location.
Wave... requires 4 dimensions... location, location, location + time.

We need to get cjlr in on this one.

Regarding
Quote: ... abstract notions are not just circumscribed to the region between your ears; they can be propagated from your brain to mine and other brains. They can even be attached to symbols that are meaningful by convention, just like we're doing when we type in our views.

I am currently reading a new guide that covers 6 information layers.

I'll type it up for you when I get a spare hour.

EDIT: I probably won't get a chance to type it up for a few days but I found this that covers the gist:
[Image: COBIT%205%20and%20Information.jpg]

I can see where the rock would fit on this. Where would you place the abstract notions?

Consider

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19-04-2014, 09:58 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
(19-04-2014 07:37 AM)DLJ Wrote:  This has been nagging at me for a while now...

Particle... requires 3 dimensions... location, location, location.
Wave... requires 4 dimensions... location, location, location + time.

We need to get cjlr in on this one.
Yes, he hasn’t written anything here for a while; I’d like to read cjlr’s thoughts on this subject. Meanwhile, I’ll try to explain how I view what you’ve raised, if you don’t mind.

Particles of many levels of complexity conform the structure of reality; at any instant during their existence, each is located somewhere in relation to every other and, as you say, the relative location of any object can be described using three parameters: its distance from a reference point along three orthogonal axes.

Waves are part of the universe’s behaviour, and every behaviour involves, in one way or another, the change in relative location or orientation of some real structure with respect to some other. But no real object can move in relation to anything at an infinite speed; every kind of motion takes an interval of time for it to occur. That is why, in order to describe a behaviour, you need a fourth parameter reflecting how time progresses. Waves really are virtual entities; they really are entities that appear over a period of time with the motion of things that occupy some volume in space.

For example, let us consider Akira Tonomura’s implementation of Feynman’s famous electron double slit thought experiment, which provides evidence to the claim that electrons exhibit particle-like features and wave-like features. In the experiment, a hot tungsten wire was used as a controlled source of electrons, which were accelerated towards a sensitive plate by means of an electric field. Along the way, the electrons went through a double slit in a gold coated silicon membrane.

What the experimenters found is that each electron fired arrived at a discrete location on the sensitive plate, appearing as a small white dot on a black screen, and the locations of those arrivals seemed to be random. However, when the experiment was allowed to run for two hours without erasing the points on the screen, an interference pattern appeared, typical of waves. But note how this wave-like behaviour appeared when the experiment was run over an interval of time. At the instant of each electron’s arrival, only the particle-like behaviour could be observed. Why? Because virtual information is not there at any specific instant in time, it only appears over an interval of time.

A puzzling behaviour occurs in double slit experiments when a detector is placed in one of the slits so that the experimenter can learn through which one the fired particle goes. Funnily enough, when the detector is turned on, the interference pattern disappears and the double slit experiment behaves more like a single slit experiment; the particles behave more like particles and less like waves. Why can that be?

Because knowing is containing information. In order for you to learn an abstract notion, you need to extract motion from the scene your are observing, and that is applicable regardless of whether you are a relatively intelligent living being, or a relatively stupid machine built by a living being. In order for the detector to be able to detect something in a system, it needs to absorb enough motion from the system to convey whatever abstract notion the detector is able to convey. And once that energy is in the detector, it is not in the system any longer. Your pupils are black because most of the visible light that comes into your eyes does not come back out; its energy (plus the energy contained in your cells) drives the signals that are carried to your brain. Once you absorb a photon, its energy drives the notion in your brain, but the photon is gone. So I am not surprised that, if you turn on a detector that will subtract energy from the system, the entities in the system will behave less like a wave and more like a particle.

Do you understand what I mean?

Regarding this new diagram, it seems to view information as the entity that may be carried by a physical structure, gathered empirically through some kind of access channel, analysed syntactically by studying its intangible structure, semantically by studying its meaning, pragmatically by studying the meaning in its context of usage, and then arriving to some sort of social cloud through its combination with many other social aspects. But in my view, such an entity is just a subset of all the possible information: it is abstract information. I find abstract notions at every level of the ladder -from the implications conveyed by the motion of a single electron in a transistor within some circuit of the physical media, to the complex social notions achieved by successive combination of simpler ideas- because it seems to give the label “information” to the same entity that I call “abstract information”.

A self-complementary strand of RNA that is able to fold onto itself, thus protecting its sequence from the environment, is an example of virtually real information (it is a temporary arrangement of “atoms” in space with a specific set of implications). However, it already conveys the abstract notion that, by folding onto itself, its sequence is protected from the environment. In my opinion, that was probably the first abstract notion learned by any living thing. Abstract notions are the intangible implications conveyed by the motion of existing things.

Or maybe not, I cannot say that any of this is an objective truth. It’s simply the way I view my environment. Does the universe seem very different from your point of view?

Cheers, have fun!
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19-04-2014, 10:42 AM
RE: Gathering perspectives
Erm... probably.

I know of the double split experiment.

Is the detector detecting at a point of time (therefore seeing particles) or over a period of time (therefore seeing motion)?

By 'extract' do you mean 'subtract' (withdraw) or 'deduce'?

I think I'm getting a bit lost. What do you mean by 'abstract information'?

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