This prominent scientist says life is meaningless… and he’s serious |314|

This is a perfectly normal and emotional astute comment. Nothin' wrong with it. I just see something different for science analysis. I see the meaning (informational objects) as already part of the environment - just like the forces and masses of physical objects are there in a physical exchange. How we live transforms meanings and real-world probabilities into newly constituted meanings. In this way information objects convert from prior states to currently manifest states and set-up new information objects in new states.

Think of the laws of conservation of matter and energy and project them to the informational environment. Time are space can be replaced with state and sequence structure. I am comfortable with understanding the Materialist/Physicalist position as a robot, because methodological materialism is a valid set of math models to describe physical events.

Second, robotics is real and I have a 20 year fascination of how AI is useful in reality. Thinking of human behavior - as if we are robots is a valid description of events - however incomplete. It gives a mechanical level of abstraction to study. Robots work by programming and a robotic program is an integrated network of OOPs. Hence, as in informational realist - I can appreciate the robot's program output and compare and contrast to actual human behavior data. I argue the incompleteness of materialism - like a number of other posters here. I have an agenda to compliment mechanical metadata with informational metadata.

Can a robot detect meaning in its environment? Yes - they can choose pre-programmed clues. Can a "robot feel a room" at a party and get the crowd to laugh and like them? Not so well. Living things detect meaning at a different level of abstraction. (LoA) I argue the understanding of anything is a sense, in terms of interacting with ambient information objects.
Can you explain what you mean by saying that my comment is emotional?
 
This is a perfectly normal and emotional astute comment. Nothin' wrong with it. I just see something different for science analysis. I see the meaning (informational objects) as already part of the environment - just like the forces and masses of physical objects are there in a physical exchange. How we live transforms meanings and real-world probabilities into newly constituted meanings. In this way information objects convert from prior states to currently manifest states and set-up new information objects in new states.

Think of the laws of conservation of matter and energy and project them to the informational environment. Time are space can be replaced with state and sequence structure. I am comfortable with understanding the Materialist/Physicalist position as a robot, because methodological materialism is a valid set of math models to describe physical events.

Second, robotics is real and I have a 20 year fascination of how AI is useful in reality. Thinking of human behavior - as if we are robots is a valid description of events - however incomplete. It gives a mechanical level of abstraction to study. Robots work by programming and a robotic program is an integrated network of OOPs. Hence, as in informational realist - I can appreciate the robot's program output and compare and contrast to actual human behavior data. I argue the incompleteness of materialism - like a number of other posters here. I have an agenda to compliment mechanical metadata with informational metadata.

Can a robot detect meaning in its environment? Yes - they can choose pre-programmed clues. Can a "robot feel a room" at a party and get the crowd to laugh and like them? Not so well. Living things detect meaning at a different level of abstraction. (LoA) I argue the understanding of anything is a sense, in terms of interacting with ambient information objects.
Hi Stephen
You misunderstood my comment.
I was referring to the personal meaning of life in this world for conscious souls

About your notion of meaning and information:
Meaning refers to an experiencing subjective consciousness – a knower
That is the proper use of the word; ditto with information
Your notion of meaning as an inherent ontological quality in objective reality is a projection of your mental model
which collapses the meaning of meaning into a meaningless term
Any aspect of objective reality can be meaningful information for an experiencing consciousness
But meaning and information refer to a process in the cognising consciousness

The issue for you I submit may be that you want a model of reality which excludes consciousness as a distinct existent. And even though your model is entirely subjective and mental – existing only in your personal subjective consciousness – you want it to be completely objective and true of Reality

That is where the danger of fundamentalism comes in
When we begin to believe that the nature and structure of Reality is identical with our personal beliefs

It is useful to develop and present your kind of computational perspective on reality as a metaphor or model which may provide useful insights and agency and technology. But I submit it is not useful to conflate ones model with ontological objective Reality

The history of science is replete with models which have outlived their usefulness and been discarded. That is the way it ought to be and will continue to be as human knowing and science grows and expands and hopefully deepens

Mistaking our mental constructions to explain Reality for Reality itself is the most common human intellectual error and obstruction to science and truth

Just my views

All the best
 
Your notion of meaning as an inherent ontological quality in objective reality is a projection of your mental model
My rough sketch model as posted here, is surely not clear. I am not looking for a notion or a mental model. I am looking for data and predictive procedures that can be searched for patterns revealing structure in nature. The study of Psychology is a valid science and can teach us a lot about the factual side of the behavior of living things, from an 3rd person view.

It makes sense to talk of YOUR or MY body. But in fact,the atoms that we both feel ownership of - are really just part of the physical environment we all inhabit. We are not just our inner environment - when it comes to meaningful events and actual occasions. Objectively each person can be observed in their environment.

Personal meaning is a real thing, but it is only part of a bigger picture. Objective circumstance in our many environments can be seen as objective meaning and it conforms to natural logic (such as found in natural languages like DNA/RNA, in understanding sound as rhythm and music, etc). The sum total of universal meaning is not in the nerve cells of earth's primates. It includes the biotic environments of all living things as well.
Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.
Environmental psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_psychology
 
My rough sketch model as posted here, is surely not clear. I am not looking for a notion or a mental model. I am looking for data and predictive procedures that can be searched for patterns revealing structure in nature. The study of Psychology is a valid science and can teach us a lot about the factual side of the behavior of living things, from an 3rd person view.

It makes sense to talk of YOUR or MY body. But in fact,the atoms that we both feel ownership of - are really just part of the physical environment we all inhabit. We are not just our inner environment - when it comes to meaningful events and actual occasions. Objectively each person can be observed in their environment.

Personal meaning is a real thing, but it is only part of a bigger picture. Objective circumstance in our many environments can be seen as objective meaning and it conforms to natural logic (such as found in natural languages like DNA/RNA, in understanding sound as rhythm and music, etc). The sum total of universal meaning is not in the nerve cells of earth's primates. It includes the biotic environments of all living things as well.
What you seem to be overlooking is that your search….
“for data and predictive procedures that can be searched for patterns revealing structure in nature”
…which is the universal endeavour of all truth-seeking human-beings
Is an endeavour which is carried out in mind by subjective consciousnesses using mental capacities, models, schema etc

It is important in the philosophical bigger picture to be clear that although our mental models give us real knowledge and agency in objective reality, they are not themselves objective reality. This has been clearly demonstrated time and again in the records of human intellectual endeavour

You are correct that our bodies are part of the earth; specifically of the biosphere; and we know the earth through their senses and our mental capacities.
But if you will observe your own knowing, you will immediately see it is completely subjective and inner; and everything in your life that is meaningful for you is known to you as meaningful within your own personal consciousness

From what you say you are a monist of the physicalist or objective form. I know you deny this, but all you are doing is applying the computational model of information processing to material reality; replacing the physical atoms or quarks or strings - or any other theoretical ultimate physical bit you care to use - with computer bits. You are replacing atoms with bits and physical processes with logic

So it's all mixed up
Physical stuff (whatever it really is) belongs in objective material reality
Logic belongs in rational minds
And bits belong as elementary states in computers

Being a monist of the physicalist or objective form means that subjective consciousness cannot be accommodated satisfactorily in your model; so it is occluded or ignored; and thinking – or mentally modelling the environment is characterised in your understanding as if it were an objective environmental process.
But all you have to do is become aware of your awareness and your thinking to see that it is not an objective environmental process. It is radically subjective and mental; inner and private and personal

It is useful to apply computational information theory models to reality; but it is not useful to confuse or conflate the two
 
So it's all mixed up
Physical stuff (whatever it really is) belongs in objective material reality
Logic belongs in rational minds
And bits belong as elementary states in computers
very amusing. Elementary states refer to the states of matter. I have no idea what an elementary state is - in a computer. A bit is a binary digit. It is a numerical/logical concept.

I don't think you understand at all, the ideas I am trying to convey. They are not complex ideas - just new to you, I will be able to refer to published works by others on most matters I am presenting. You are guessing all over the place, and answering with normative ideas that are as old as the hills. You respond without referencing the significant terms. Do you know what an object-oriented program is?
Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming language model organized around objects rather than "actions" and data rather than logic. Historically, a program has been viewed as a logical procedure that takes input data, processes it, and produces output data. The programming challenge was seen as how to write the logic, not how to define the data. Object-oriented programming takes the view that what we really care about are the objects we want to manipulate rather than the logic required to manipulate them. Examples of objects range from human beings (described by name, address, and so forth) to buildings and floors (whose properties can be described and managed) down to the little widgets on a computer desktop (such as buttons and scroll bars).
http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/object-oriented-programming

Before human minds - our natural environment used logical and entropic strategies, such as DNA/RNA programming. Let me try again to point out - Sean Carroll thinks there is no meaning in interacting particles; except that which we mentally assign them.

This is a fallacy, as glaring as the idea that the earth is flat.

I am responding that relations between particles can be more or less ordered and can form meaningful patterns where living things can create information objects that predict actions in their environments -- billions of years before the human mind existed.
 
very amusing. Elementary states refer to the states of matter. I have no idea what an elementary state is - in a computer. A bit is a binary digit. It is a numerical/logical concept.

I don't think you understand at all, the ideas I am trying to convey. They are not complex ideas - just new to you, I will be able to refer to published works by others on most matters I am presenting. You are guessing all over the place, and answering with normative ideas that are as old as the hills. You respond without referencing the significant terms. Do you know what an object-oriented program is?

http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/object-oriented-programming

Before human minds - our natural environment used logical and entropic strategies, such as DNA/RNA programming. Let me try again to point out - Sean Carroll thinks there is no meaning in interacting particles; except that which we mentally assign them.

This is a fallacy, as glaring as the idea that the earth is flat.

I am responding that relations between particles can be more or less ordered and can form meaningful patterns where living things can create information objects that predict actions in their environments -- billions of years before the human mind existed.
Yes you are right I have no idea what you are talking about
All the best
 
Yes you are right I have no idea what you are talking about
All the best
I can understand your disdain. Sorry to be firm. IR and Luciano Floridi are brand new on the scene. However, it should be noted that in 2008 he was the first philosopher/logician awarded the very prestigious Gauss Professorship, in its history of funding research for physicists and theoretical mathematicians.

The idea of a "substantial" object - made up of meaningful probable futures and bits of data - goes against the heart of our innate perception of the world. 5 senses detect reality and the mind describes it - is what every person knows. I assert that mind is sense that detects ambient information objects.

Now it is time to consider living things, embedded in the the environment, as receivers and organizers of energy, materials, opportunities and bytes of data..

Floridi’s information ethics looks at information as an entity, thereby endorsing an ontological approach. Imagine looking at the whole universe from a chemical perspective. Every entity and process will satisfy a certain chemical description. A human being, for example, will be between 45% and 75% water. Now consider an ontological informational perspective. The same human being will be described as a cluster of data, that is, as an informational entity. Please note the words “will be described as”. They are important as they stress that the entity is described in those terms, not that a human being – or any other entity – is only or essentially a cluster a data. It is just a way of looking at entities or, more correctly, the explicit choice of a Level of Abstraction (see Chapter 4).

The agent/patient pair stands for any informational entity that either produces some effects on the environment – an agent – or is the recipient of such a change – the patient. The ontological approach just described implies a very inclusive definition of an entity. An informational entity does not need to be alive, let alone conscious or even embodied. Therefore, at a given level of abstraction, an informational entity, either as an agent or as a patient, can be a person, animal, and plant but also anything that exists, from a painting and a book to a star and a stone; anything that may or will exist, like a future generation; and anything that was but is no more, like one of our ancestors or an old civilization, or even an ideal, intangible or intellectual object. From this perspective, informational systems, rather than just living systems in general, are raised to the role of agents and patients of any morally relevant action, with environmental processes, changes and interactions equally described informationally.

The infosphere is the sum of all the informational entities and of their relations
. It can be thought of as the informational equivalent of the biosphere as long as we remember that at a given level of abstraction the biosphere can also be considered informationally..........

Information ethics is an ecological ethics that replaces biocentrism with ontocentrism and suggests that there is something even more elemental than life, namely being – that is, the existence and flourishing of all entities and their global environment – and something more fundamental than suffering, namely entropy.
http://www.socphilinfo.org/node/79
 
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I can understand your disdain. Sorry to be firm. IR and Luciano Floridi are brand new on the scene. However, it should be noted that in 2008 he was the first philosopher/logician awarded the very prestigious Gauss Professorship, in its history of funding research for physicists and theoretical mathematicians.

The idea of a "substantial" object - made up of meaningful probable futures and bits of data - goes against the heart of our innate perception of the world. 5 senses detect reality and the mind describes it - is what every person knows. I assert that mind is sense that detects ambient information objects.

Now it is time to consider living things, embedded in the the environment, as receivers and organizers of energy, materials, opportunities and bytes of data..


http://www.socphilinfo.org/node/79

I quote this directly from the piece you quoted....

"Please note the words “will be described as”. They are important as they stress that the entity is described in those terms, not that a human being – or any other entity – is only or essentially a cluster a data. It is just a way of looking at entities or, more correctly, the explicit choice of a Level of Abstraction"

and I repeat the important passages that state what I have been failing to explain to you....

It is not that a human being is a cluster of data. It is just a way of looking at entities. It is the explicit choice of a level of abstraction.

I cannot put it any clearer than those words which you yourself chose to post

But since you posted them, I doubt you will understand even now

ps: look up the term bit - and you will learn that as well as being a mental construct a bit is also an elementary state of a device in a computing mechanism
ie the basis of a computer is a device that has two possible states eg open or closed, conceptualised as 0 or 1
The modern computer has lots of these devices
 
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It's taken me a while to listen to this episode due to the nature of the thing. I've run out of other historical episodes, so finally go around to listening to this guy. Heh. Hope it's all right to revive this thread. The below is about the podcast, not the 18 pages of forum thus far.

This brand of conversation always leaves me wondering, "What does it take?" In this particular talk, I ending wondering more pointedly if there is some line of logical dialectic that might invite such a person to reconsider their position.

It's almost like you need to preface the conversation with truth serum or an NLP barrier breakdown to bring both parties into a state of mutual willingness to see the other side. And then you have to have an arbiter to ensure that certain points can't be sidestepped without being addressed.

The hard stuff of this disconnect, though, may be that we're stuck measuring Sean's "science" with materialism-based tools for the most part. He doesn't like the storytelling- / witness-based evidence that NDE research relies on, I imagine (many of his camp don't). He wants a machine that can see consciousness; with this as a starting point, where can he go?

Most folks don't appreciate that science itself is not exact. Experiments always come to their conclusions after N trials are decided as sufficiently compelling by a human element. That's not fact. In the end, we're choosing where and what to believe. Gravity happens a lot. It's not proven, though. In fact, we don't know why it happens. We just have data that implies stuff and we agree that it's pretty likely to still happen tomorrow.

So Sean doesn't want to learn about NDE research. That's not really surprising. He's got a paradigm he's happy with.

While I appreciate the staying power Alex shows by continuing the conversation, I tend to wonder if it's even possible to steer this ship. At least as a public forum, this might be helpful to the fence sitters or truly curious.

This is useful to consider: Once after lots of NDE reading and frustratingly fruitless conversation with atheists, I happened to open the Bible (hadn't opened it lately; serendipity...). The chapter I'd opened up to was John 9. As I read, I found the metaphor encouraging and it stuck with me: Jesus heals a blind man and incenses the Pharisees. At 9:18 these mainstream fundamentalists are so committed to their disbelief that they start doubting he was ever blind or that his parents have the right guy. On and on, they grasp at various other unlikely explanations.

This is what I see when I talk to guys like Sean anymore. I'm ready to let them sort it out later. It doesn't frustrate me as much because I've come to accept that there's no amount of proof that will convince them. Hey, you could have Jesus Christ come and heal your local blind-from-birth guy and they'll still doubt it. Maybe they need to open up from within at some point. Or have their own NDE. Even having another atheist switch sides doesn't do it for them ('member that guy?).

Thanks, Alex. Always appreciate the podcast and the subject matter you're after.
 
This is what I see when I talk to guys like Sean anymore. I'm ready to let them sort it out later. It doesn't frustrate me as much because I've come to accept that there's no amount of proof that will convince them.
I've come to a similar poisition. my personal spiritual mantra/question for this situation:
6. Is it possible those who think differently (about rather obvious stuff like this) are on their own journey?

my process of getting to this little bit of occasional acceptance has been a growth thing for me :) i.e. I never really believed that people like Sean were for real... I thought it was some kinds of act or something.
 
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i.e. I never really believed that people like Sean were for real... I thought it was some kinds of act or something.
It has been my experience that many skeptics think the same about proponents, the "how can they really think that?" response... It is good to move past this, for both 'sides'.
 
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It has been my experience that many skeptics think the same about proponents, the "how can they really think that?" response... It is good to move past this, for both 'sides'.
But Carrol is no skpetic.
He isn't skeptical at all about his radical conviction that "we got it all figured out" and that scientific reductionism "explains it all".

He might be good at what he does (and I personally think so) but his intellect doesn't strike ma as that of a "great thinker". He's a good physicist rambling about ultimate questions and pretty much making a fool of himself. History of science is full of those characters. :D

Cheers
 
I think this is what keeps pulling me back: I keep expecting to eventually hear something close to a solid, logical argument. And hopefully I'd be able to spot where it's flawed, point it out to them and they'd kindly reply, "Oh, huh, yeah. Ok, sure. I think I see how that would be. Cool. Thanks."

I have had similarly disheartening results from talking with fundamentalists.

Naive fantasy, but my love of both the topic and of mutual logic is really willing and waiting for such a talk to transpire someday.
 
But Carrol is no skpetic.
He isn't skeptical at all about his radical conviction that "we got it all figured out" and that scientific reductionism "explains it all".

He might be good at what he does (and I personally think so) but his intellect doesn't strike ma as that of a "great thinker". He's a good physicist rambling about ultimate questions and pretty much making a fool of himself. History of science is full of those characters. :D

Cheers
I wasn't talking about Carrol.
 
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