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I Really Don't Want To Discuss Dick's Work

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Posted by Harvey on June 22, 2002 05:11:59 UTC

Hi Alan,

It's not really fair to keep discussing Dick's work since he obviously is not here to defend himself. Is there a way that we can discuss this subject without referring to him?

***He claimed to try to make no assumptions (but admitted some assumptions). What he did was he started with an assumed ontology; looked at the tautological patterns associated with "common ground", and he got: his original ontology! And on the way, he found the laws of physics.***

It's not peer reviewed work. I don't think we can honestly discuss its merits as a result. [Note: if Dick was here, then this is a fair game question since he is a participant, otherwise we must treat this subject as one should do any hypothesis that's been suggested by someone in the sciences].

***Also, that very Mexican stand-off betwen Dick and philosophy might be "contained" in his work; so his work seems to "contain" itself over and over regarding whatever it interacts wth, like nesting Russian dolls, or like an expanding universe of creation, or like Chris Langan's self-swallowing sets.***

That's an irrational universe that you are suggesting. It might be correct, but I think we should focus on rational possibilities before we throw in the white towel and start suggesting irrational possibilities (e.g., a universe that causes itself, etc).

***Somehow we seem to be deeply caught up in the inner life of a creating God, of Existence Himself.***

Each time you say 'Existence Itself' or 'Existence Himself', you give me the impression that you like phrases like 'nothing is something', 'something is nothing', 'up is down', 'down is up', 'truth is a lie', 'a lie is the truth', etc. If you see 'Mystery Men' the character played by Ben Stiller made fun of the character who made such kind of comments. Maybe you will see the humor that I see.

In any case, if God is existence and that's all God is, then your description of 'God' is too general to be of any value. That is, a materialist could say that the indivisible material stuff of the universe is 'God'. Although such a statement might make the most die-hard atheist appear to be deeply religious, it doesn't leave much leftover for theists to be particularly thrilled about. I don't find that kind of material stuff 'God' to be worthy of the Most High's name.

***"The answer in my view is provided by an evolutionary account. Conceptual frameworks evolved along with the organism and a certain amount of wiring was encoded in the genetic code. Instinct, genetic predisposition, etc is all part of our conceptual make-up, which exists prior to our first sentient experience. Hence, an idea is encoded in our genes prior to our matter-experience." This seems to support that "idea" and "material object" evolve from a common origin. You seem to be talking of a materialised idea (genetic) that interacts one day with other material and generates ideas.***

I'm not denying idealism (that 'ideas' exist apart from material objects). What I'm saying is that conceptual schemes evolve as part of the organism. This, in my view, is a proven fact of evolution. Idealism is still viable if one asks why conceptual schemes evolve (not just the 'how' and 'when' questions). The why question is a religious question, and materialism doesn't fit the bill as far as I'm concerned.

****H: "We cannot help but perceive the world with 4 billion years of evolutionary history somehow tainting that perception. If we evolved differently, then 'our' conceptual framework would be quite different, and presumably our matter-experience (as you call it) would also be quite different." A: One could simulate this with a computer prgramme; making "life-forms" that evolved to read virtual reality in different ways."***

Well, computer programs are written by humans who have a particular conceptual framework. In addition, the simulations themselves do not have a very sophisticated conceptual framework, so it is not possible for us to see the world through non-human conceptual frameworks - at least very interesting ones.

***I wrote "But 'What is first' is a time-based question. The answer is that something basic underpins both matter and idea, something outside time: relationship.***

Again, this is a pre-cosmological question, so this can easily get out of hand with the sheer volume of content. So, here we go...

The question 'what is first' is not necessarily a temporal question. It could be a logical question. For example, if the passage of time is eventually reduced to mathematical statements that hold for the universe, then temporalness is reduced to something more basic - logicomathematical structures.

***Basically you answered the question: "structure" may be thought of as an outside-time concept, as eternally present. Relationships are what defines 'structure'.***

Relationships exist? What about relationships of relationships (metarelationships). What about metarelationships of metarelationships? What about an infinite regress of metarelationships, do they exist? Your ontology sounds quite 'heavy'. Be careful of Occam's razor.

It seems to me that most 'relationships' are reducible to primitives. This 'primitive' can be stated as a 'relationship', but perhaps this is only a logical statement that only approximates the nature of this primitive. For example, if a child saw a picture of the earth from space the child might say that the earth is round. The roundness of the earth is a property, but if it is a property this suggests a relationship of a 'point' on the circumference of the earth with other points (hence the reason why it is round). However, the child would be incorrect in saying the earth is round. It is not really round in a spherical sense, hence the 'round' property (hence the relation of points on the circumference) is not actually correct. The property of being round is a crude approximation. My view is that relationships 'exist', but they are reducible to something that is simply 'out there' and that terms like properties, relationships, attributes, etc are all logical descriptions that ultimately breakdown. At its heart, my view is that reality is approximated by logicomathematical statements, not fully defined by logic or mathematics.

***We are invited it appears, by the Creator of all, to create structures that exist eternally beyond space and time. The structures of logically consistent agreements appear to be in a mystical way the very body of Existence, of God. So we live in Him and He lives in us.***

Maybe we can form some kind of agreement. My view is that the evolving universe is approximating God's nature in a minimal way that leads to maximum results (maximum by means of the minimum). If good loving relationships are the best approximation of God, then we would be accomplishing God's will to create and sustain them whenever possible.

***But what IS the framework made of, originally, before it built up to a level of detail sufficient to interpret the sound associated with the shape of an "a" for example? Is it a materialised collection of ideas that became aware of itself? Whose ideas?***

The consciousness question is not one that I have an answer. I suspect that science will make great progress on complexity in that nature can self-organize from many 'nodes' and evolve an architecture that is capable of quite sophisticated behavior. My view is that consciousness (i.e., a conscious conceptual scheme) is the complex arrangement of nodes that are self-organized to act and behave as a conscious whole. There's problems with this idea, but I'm hopeful that eventually this will prove the best means to explain consciousness. Again, at root I believe that nature evolves according to God's will (hence the why of complexity), and our conscious states do come from God, but I look for a naturalistic (complex) answer to these questions.

***Maybe Dick did not confuse ontology with epistemology; but saw them as two sides of one coin. I think that Dick "removed himself from a conceptual framework" by default, by accident. He tried to minimise his framework; he looked at how it interacted with the law of non-contradiction and looked at its minimum structural patterns. He found physics laws along the way. He ended out back where he started and figured that he had as it were jumped out of the framework.***

There's many, many assumptions here. There's so many assumptions that it is perhaps plausible that symmetry and other related assumptions (e.g., use of well-known operators) that led to his 'accomplishments' (again, we are dealing with a work that is not peer reviewed and we shouldn't be discussing it since we are both not in a position to comment on its conclusions - don't take this too lightly, most of these kind of efforts by non-experts, such as Dick, are mistaken in fundamental way and that is the reason they do not gain the attention for serious scrutiny).

In any case, just for the record, he did confuse ontology with epistemology quite often. When he spoke of 'reality' he was talking in terms of ontology (i.e., 'what is'), but then he would quickly changeover to epistemology by talking in terms of what he couldn't justify in saying that he could know (e.g., the image of reality as based on his senses). If you followed my conversations in any detail, you will notice how frustrated I became when he would continually shift back and forth between epistemology and ontology. The whole reason that I suggest 'R1' was to pin him into epistemology. I wanted to prevent equivocation of the term reality which is how he often made the switch from ontology to epistemology and back again. You saw the reaction of Dick, he very much rejected this 'R1' label because, I believe, he knew it would limit his ability to move back to ontology. Without equivocation, Dick cannot amaze his audience.

***I agree with your argument about the prisoner of war. But what Dick did would be like the prisoner of war figuring out that "prisoner of war" is "a way of looking" at data such that you could look at any data in any universe and see an equivalent pattern to "prisoner of war". So he starts thinking just what is reality?***

You don't understand Alan. If you are a prisoner of war, even your desire to 'look at the data' is already tainted by your experience of being a prisoner of war. You naturally ignore details that a non-prisoner would pay attention to, and you pay attention to details that a non-prisoner would ignore. We can do the exercise of seeking meaningful data that we can put in mathematical format, but any theorem is based on an interpretation that is founded on the original meaning that we placed on the 'data'. In this case, we see emphasis placed on redefining reality to mathematics (i.e., mathematical model) and then later using reality as it is defined as its use in ontology. It was all slight of hand.

Anyway, let's please stop talking about Dick!

***If this is true, then you are not trapped with your "prisoner of war" framework! There are alternative perspectives available!***

Data does not come to us as 'objective' information of the world, we have to interpret data and this is how our conceptual schemes are affected by our experiences. If an experience is strong enough to mold our conceptual scheme and change our perception of incoming sense data, then the interpretation of that data is affected by our new conceptual scheme. Even if we have memory of our past conceptual scheme, we certainly have no memory of another person's experiences and genetic disposition.

***Do you see what I'm getting at? Apparantly we are not trapped; we can experience a different perspective. Incredibly, there can be "A new Heaven and a new Earth". What if "what we are" is "our perspective" + "our relationship with Existence (our honesty)? We are created as a relationship with Existence.***

We are experiencing new perspectives as we age, but it is not a discontinuous transformation. Even people with split personalities who have little knowledge of their other personalities are acting out the consequences of the experiences that led to their mental dilemma. By the fact that multiple personalities is often a curable disorder, gives full indication that the multiple personalities can be reintegrated. This would not be the case if we actually underwent discontinous change (i.e., with something as severe as multiple personalities).

As far as your religious views, I can't fully identify with those ideas. I agree in a 'New Heavens and a New Earth', but I see all of this occurring at the end of our universe once it undergoes an infinite expansion (I'm also speculating). I see this expansion (which looks possible given evidence of accelerating expansion in the universe) as causing some kind of 'trigger' that brings about a new universe. Unlike this universe, my hope is that the 'new universe' will correct all the evils and injustices that occurred in our timeline.

As far as 'we' are concerned, I speculate that timeline information is not lost in the passage of time. That is, I speculate that there is a 'genetic code' to spacetime such that our souls exist (sort of like a wavefunction equation which partly composes spacetime). When (speculating) the universe expansion accelerates to a certain point, the 'laws' of the universe breakdown causing a paradox. The paradox has to be 'fixed' and so God 'creates' a new universe by evaluating (judging) all the information of our timeline and this this new universe is a heavenly paradise.

It's a lot of speculating I realize, but I'm sorry. I just can't resist comparison of modern cosmological findings (which show an infinite acceleration is perhaps looking more likely as the universe's end) and the Revelation 21:1,4 scripture which states "And I saw a new heavens and a new earth, for the first heavens and first earth had [departed]... for the former things have [decayed away}."

(I improvised on the Greek words, but I think they are accurate).

Warm regards, Harv

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