Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 29, 2017.
Oh wait... I subconsciously quoted this:
I don't think information science is "expanding" physics. I think physics kept measuring reality and found that there is another aspect of reality that must be probed in a similar math manner, but is not based on physical measurements. I see physics and information science as two, basically asymptotic, fields of study. I "steal" thermodynamics, from the category of physics - because it is measuring entropy - a non-physical abstraction. Of course, Shannon, Von Neuman and Wiener all understood the fundamental math relationship (hence ontological) between Boltzmann's formula and Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication. Both thermodynamics and the MTC generate units of measure that are not material - but, in essence are informational and at a separate level of abstraction from physical models!!
Physical activity is from force. Organized activity is from communicated instructions. DNA uses hydrophilic and hydrophobic forces to work. DNA uses instructions to build proteins.
This rant is about keeping instructions, planning, purpose and deeply felt meaning -- in one category AND to keep forces and molecular structure on another. Surely all these interact in way that we can simulate through programs -- but that is a study of their interface and interaction. Physical and Informational activity are apples and oranges, as to the process's computational methods.
The grounding of the structural aspects of reality (in my humble opinion) land right on top of the bits and bits measured by Shannon's transfer of information. Shannon was perfectly clear - that the bit strings have no meaning. They - like mass - define real world probabilities for structure. With mass, the structure is able to "hold" energetic states. With integrated bits of information the result is they are able to hold meaningful states! In chemistry there is NO DIFFERENCE between organic molecules and inorganic ones!!!! In following the information communicated between bio-molecules and ones in an unaware system (at the informational level); one is much more active then the other.
To me -- SR (structural reality or structural realism) is the nut and bolts of "information objects" created by natural programming and as well as man-made programming.
Rupert is amazing that way!
Then again, this is kinda disappointing... just not well thought out:
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I don't understand what makes entropy (in the thermodynamic sense) a non-physical abstraction? Any value with units attached is not abstract. Pure math (sets without units) could be thought of as non-physical abstractions because pure math deals with the super-sets of all things (e.g. the abstract notion of "1" is the super-set of all singular things, "2" is the super-set of all double things... (2 sheep, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 2 hogs, 2 coats, 2 boats... etc) and the way we pattern overlay or frame up reality to define "things" is arbitrary and a matter of intent to distill out the essential similarities and differences for a particular purpose).
Well... okay, but the unit of a Shannon or a bit - like the numbers I mentioned above - is a super-set of all possible real-world binary comparisons: spin of an electron, voltage threshold in a logic gate, beeps from a telegraph, puffs of smoke on top of a hill, etc.
Couldn't we consider a physical object to be a symbol and a force to be a communication? For example, two electrons headed on a collision course could symbolize the forceful interaction between them (communication). After the interaction their new states (position, velocity) could be thought of as symbolizing a memory of the interaction. A base ball bat making contact with a baseball could be thought of as communicating with the skin of the baseball which in turn communicates with the core of the baseball and then the baseball moves as an organized unit and altogether the final state of the bat and ball symbolize the interaction.
So one form (physical form) in-forms another form and the final form stores a memory of the information. A crime scene investigator for example learns to decode the physically stored information that was communicated in a (violent) interaction.
That seems very pragmatic to wall these off into two separate domains, and we do that all the time in science to simplify things for the purpose of studying essential elements, but it seems to me like we should keep in mind that such a wall is arbitrarily erected for purposes of construction and that we can tear it back down if needed. I could think of all the physical reality around me as symbols of types of experiences that I can have if I interact with it and that my interaction with the physical forces is a type of communication of information.
I guess I don't see that?
In what way do these abstract bits exist? And how do the abstract bits support the physical structure if we wall them off as two separate categories? Seems like we're just recreating the old problems of dualism? And information requires the sender and a message... who's the sender? And what is the message?
Entropy exists at the level of abstraction of systems of particles. The measure is not on a physical property of matter -- but on the level of organization in groups. Likewise a binary digit (bit) is an abstraction. Just like a "naked" 2 is an abstraction and 2 bits related to a system is a measure of its structural capability to "carry" communication.
I have no right to be so confident in my responses. But, I think I see the methodological side pretty clearly. Physics traditionally is focused on properties of materials and actions of forces. These had "differences" that we can measure directly and empirically. We measure bits indirectly via the consequences of mutual information. The measure of entropy is not about material structures (quantum, atomic, molecular), but is the interrelations of elements in a system. These relations, such as a logical arrangement of their properties to create a target state, are ripe for inner communications.
Any natural signal carries information, which can be decoded by an agent. The message of any natural signal is the bits (latent structure) fixed by previous energetic activity that promoted the signal. The cosmic background radiation - is not a sourced message from Mr. Cosmos. It is a residual signal that can be decoded with physics. The information can "speak" to us billions of years later - but no intention need be attributed to its generation.
As said before - besides the two LoA - one where material/energetic transforms are modeled and one where information objects (like a decoded CMB signal) transforms are modeled -- I still see additional level or levels of reality. So maybe I subscribe to triadism, or more kinda guy. I am pointing to science methodology where information science just gets its due, alongside materialism. Physical structure, as any good mechanical engineer will tell you has a unique set of concepts and equations. Logical structure is a different set of units, measures, algorithms and outcomes.
I started writing a long response but feel like I'm getting lost in the weeds and no longer remember what we were talking about... lol
Having listened. Re Randi and the telephone calls:
Also, it is disingenious to describe Doctors Long and Van Lommel as non-religious, as Alex did in this interview.
Asking why the powers-that-be would have a vested interest in defending materialism is something I hadn't actually thought of! Interesting....
One answer could be consumerism, nothing keeps the tills ringing like a gnawing hole in the culture. But this alone seems like an unlikely candidate.
Much more likely, I reckon, is fear. It's an old and very useful political tool and we're drowning in the stuff currently. Personally, I believe that an expanded view of reality greatly reduces the ability fear (even rational fear) has to shove us into convenient and compromising postures.
It's just a thought.
Hmm... ad hominem much?
How is this relevant or important?
For the reason Alex stressed it I guess.
Can you elaborate?
money and fear, eh? 'bout sums it up
Long is not a religious person. I've asked on a couple of occasions. He grew up in Iowa so he may have been raised Christian and may still be a nominal Christian (I'm not sure one way or another), but it's not a worldview kinda thing.
Can't remember re Van Lommel... but it done's seem to factor into his original interest in NDEs, or his conclusions.
Again, both of these guys conclude that the "primacy of Christianity" thing is bullshit... i.e. contradicted by their findings.
Why did Alex mention that they weren't religious people?
Relisten to PVL's skeptiko interview. He goes way beyond any conclusions one could draw from his Lancet study. These further speculations appeared to be informed by his religion.
Long isn't really doing anything more than collecting and curating stories (outside of aware, that may apply to the entire NDE field). Is that science? Maybe in the softest sense. Has he had a study published? I will relisten to his interview but I seem to remember he was up front about his Christianity.
What's wrong with speculation?
But I asked you why do you think it's relevant or important?
Ask Alex, he brought it up in the interview. I think he made an error is all.
Here's the thing. I don't think it's that important.
E.g. Rupert Sheldrake in recent years has openly spoken about his Christian faith. Does this invalidate his work or his integrity as a scientist? I don't think it's even relevant. It's the research that has to be solid and withstand replication and peer analysis.
I can't see how scrutinizing every researcher's belief and conviction would help us gauging the merits of their work.
What I suspect some folks are trying to argue here is that researchers may not be religious in a literal sense (e.g. faithful Christians or Muslims) but rather in a non denominational fashion: e.g. belive in an afterlife, immortality of the soul, God as primal mover rather than the temperamental bearded guy in the sky, etc.
From there goes the allegation that these beliefs are "coloring" their research and the conclusions they make. I.e. those are not objective conclusions, rather they are influenced by previous belief.
Well, surprise surprise, welcome to the world. Scientists are human beings, if this obviousness had to be restated. Find me one without any form of belief or convictions!
If we're not to believe the conclusions of scientists that have a more or less developed spiritual side, I don't see a good reason to believe those who deny any form of spirituality.
Are we going to disocunt Einstein's work because he believed in a superior mind? 
I find this whole argument a big slice of baloney (or mortadella, as it's called over here, the actual salame I mean).
But it's you that have claimed this is disingenuous.
Care to articulate your thoughts? Or is more about busting balls?
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