Hang in there. I hope you keep working at trying to understand Dick's Chapter 1. You are the only person other than myself, and Dick of course, who has gone through that chapter line by line trying to verify the mathematical derivation. After working on it for a year or two, I came away convinced that his fundamental equation is a theorem of Probability Theory which places necessary constraints on certain patterns in an arbitrary set of numbers. This has direct implications for anything that can be represented by a set of numbers.
I hate to say it, but Harv just doesn't get it. If I had more time, I would engage him in a debate once again. You can find some of our old debates in the archives if you are interested. Part of the problem is that Dick has clouded his mathematical formalism with too much commentary on philosophy, the conduct of scientists, and other subject areas. Perhaps a bigger part of the problem is that Harv is not in touch with how mathematical formalism is developed and what it means.
(To Harv: I realize that this is like kicking the spurs into your flanks, and if I get more time soon, I will re-engage you on this topic. But I just can't let you load Tim up with your views without encouraging him to consider a different point of view.)
Tim, make sure you keep in touch with Dick when you have detailed questions. He is most helpful.