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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on July 22, 2003 20:23:48 UTC


Don't worry about dismissing my thoughts! You have a lot of company there as the process seems to be the norm. I have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics but, because I found what I felt were significant logical problems in the underpinnings of physics, I dropped out of professional employment and rather spent my time considering those underpinnings. When I found what I thought was a rational attack on the issues, I could find no one who could follow the math who would even listen to my arguments. I had apparently so thoroughly alienated my thesis advisor (by failing to pursue the field he had prepared me for) that he actually refused to even look at my work. He told me that no one would ever read my stuff because I had not "paid my dues"! He was apparently correct. I only asked about your background in order to discover if there was any chance you might be able to follow my thoughts. Your comments on the forum could be taken to imply a well rounded understanding of modern physics.

My discovery implies what I find to be some very interesting philosophical issues. I tried very hard to explain my thoughts to Harv but failed miserably. We finally agreed to disagree as to what is and is not interesting. You seem to be very good at maintaining a strong logical position on rational thought in spite of heavy psychological battery. I have been impressed. With regard to my comments on Gothier's paper, I was curious about your reaction to my final comments that the only real issue is explaining the fact that the claims are made. The truth of the claims resides in understanding exactly what the claimant means which is clearly beyond our ability to verify.

With regard to your comments concerning pain, I would say that perception of anything is a subconscious phenomena and, as such, would depend very strongly on how the subconscious itself functions (and likewise, with regard to machine intelligence, how the background programming functions). The probability that any reliable explanation will come forward in the near future is, I think, quite small. But that to propose that this is good evidence that machine duplication of subconscious behavior is impossible is a step of faith, not logic.

Even if you can indeed clearly state as a fact that people need to know they're supposed to be in pain to start feeling it (which I don't believe you can show), then the causal link simply must include what ever brings it to their attention and is not moot at all. As I have already implied, my perspective is quite askew of the norm and, as such, quite difficult to communicate. I will try to put it in another way which I have not tried before.

This is not metaphysics but rather a very careful analysis of what one should expect of a careful analysis of anything we would like to understand. What is important to my perspective is the fact that in order to know anything, we must develop a reference mechanism. This is some way to catalog what we know, a mechanism to tag and identify things. What the things are is immaterial if we have no way of referencing them. We can't know anything if we can not refer to anything!

My central point here is that everyone presumes that their conceptual identifications of things they know are the only possible acceptable identifications. I hold that you only "know" what you are talking about if you can identify what you are talking about in your own mind. The ability to tag those things is a primary requirement to any thought at all. This is the reason I want to work with the tags themselves in the absence of meaning; an attack so alien to everyone that, except for a very few, I cannot get anyone to even consider the problem.

When I say that I "know" something, what I mean is that I have it tagged in my mind. I can think of it, I can refer to it and I can talk about it (we can worry about what "talk about it" means at some later date). It seems to me that you must be able to see "what you know" in much the same way: if you know something, you can think of it, you can refer to it and you can talk about it. These processes have to do with identification, not with what is being identified. Let us postpone worrying about exactly what it is that we are thinking about!

So labeling is the basic process underlying any thought. Without it you cannot think. Giving meaning to those labels involves a higher order process. In fact, it is that higher order process which we really want to understand. How does it happen, how can it happen? Before we even think about that question, we must be able to comprehend the existence of those labeled things without knowing what they are. If we cannot do that, we cannot even comprehend the problem we are trying to understand. This is the major reason I use numbers as labels. Certainly we can think of the labels without first knowing what is being labeled.

So, given that start, all the things we know (or think we know) can be labeled (with numbers by any means we might wish to use). Now, if we deal only with the labels themselves and forget what they are, we can analyze our thoughts in an objective manner in the absence of any preconceived ideas about what is and what is not and what those things label.

Those labels can (conceptually) be divided into two sets: the things we know and the things we think we know. Here I regard the "things we know" as that set of things which god himself would agree were things correctly known by us. Or better yet, things a scientist a million years from now would agree were correctly known by us. Or maybe even better than that, those things about which you will never change your mind no matter how long you wait. Or perhaps those things that you didn't change your mind about when you discovered that error in your beliefs (the last error you discovered). Of course, if you have never discovered an error in your beliefs, you have no need to talk to me as you clearly know all there is to know.

Then there are those other things. Those things you think you know which may someday be changed by the fact that you "learn something" that you don't presently know. The important fact here is that these things may change between now and the future while the others cannot. This qualitative difference is fundamental to the whole issue of understanding anything.

Consider the problem as seen by god himself: he knows exactly what you think you know which is wrong and what you think you know which is correct. Or better yet, that scientist a million years from now who could point out many things you think you know which are wrong and what you think you know which is correct. Or maybe even better than that, the things you think you know which you think are correct and the thing you have just discovered which you thought you knew but which turned out to be wrong.

These two categories are what I refer to as "knowable data" (that which you think you know which is correct) and "unknowable data" (that which you think you know which is not correct). "Correct" here being defined any way you wish consistent with the discussion in the three previous paragraphs.

The first thought which should arise in your mind is "how does one come to know that something they thought they knew was actually wrong?" It should be clear that this happens whenever one becomes aware of an inconsistency in what they think they know. The process by which they rearrange what they think they know so as to remove the inconsistency is really immaterial to this argument; what is important is that the process is successful if the contradiction can be removed by changing what they think they know. They will then presume that what they think they now know is true.

What you need to do is get a good grasp on the problem as presented directly above. Then recognize that, in absolutely any field, the only acceptable solution to the problem of understanding anything is an explanation which is consistent with all of the available information. What is important here is that the statement just given is a description of the accepted solution both now and in the future. The available information may change but the requirement that the correct explanation must be consistent with that new information remains.

Two very important issues arise here. These issues are actually intimately related to one another. The first issue is: is it possible to have found an incorrect solution which is consistent with all of the available information? Clearly, the answer to this question must be yes (the alternative implies nothing exists in the future which might lead to a reappraisal: i.e., we know all there is to know), of course, religion being excepted here by convention. The second question is: is it possible that many explanations exist which are totally consistent with all of the available information? Again the answer must also be in the affirmative. We immediately have the fact that, being without all the possible information, we know the first case exists. We thus know that both an incorrect answer fitting all the known information and a correct answer fitting all the known information must exist. Certainly, if there are more than one acceptable explanations we must admit that there exists no proof that there cannot exist many acceptable explanations.

Thus it is that I propose that the problem is to discover "all" possible acceptable explanations given absolutely any set of "known" information. Each of these explanations can differ only in the information implied to be correct by the known information and the particular explanation which is to generate those implications. They must all have one set of known things in common: that set which will be recognized as correct by everyone who has solved the problem. These constraints will be as true a million years from now as they are at this moment! Everything which does not fall in that category must very between the various solutions (otherwise, it is something in common and all will agree the knowledge is correct).

Going back to those numerical labels, the central issue is that the specific labels can be divided into two sets: those things which all agree exist (what I call knowable data; that data on which all acceptable explanations must depend) and those things the particular explanation implies exist (what I call unknowable data; the data a particular explanation implies must also exist). Any member of that set of "all" possible acceptable explanations must be a collection of label-able things; things which can be labeled with a set of numbers.

What is important here is that the explanation, in order to be acceptable, must consist of a set of rules together with that set of implied things which make the "knowable data" the only possibility.

The scientific community normally takes the rules as the thing to be discovered and then, presuming their current beliefs are the correct solution, search out the various implications. When the implications differ from the known information, they punt (wait for someone to find a new set of rules or at least a variation on what they currently think)!

What I have proved (this is a specific mathematical proof) in my unpublished paper is that, if one accepts the rule F=0 (F being specifically defined in my paper) as the fundamental rule of the universe then there exists a set of "unknowable data" which will yield an acceptable explanation of any collection of knowable data conceivable.

Why is my attack valuable? First, I can prove that it will explain absolutely any collection of "knowable data" (i.e., it is a completely universal attack). Second, the implications are so simple as to yield no future necessity to "punt" (that is, the rule never changes).

Finally, by taking the trouble to give specific meanings to the entities labeled (in the presentation, the numerical labels, taken in triplets, are taken to be three dimensional Euclidean coordinates of events, including both real and implied events), I have provided a very straight forward deduction of modern physics, providing a conceptual mapping of my solution into the accepted modern picture of the universe (with the exceptions of a few well known problems in modern physics).

With regard to the exceptions I refer to, the most significant is the fact that the conflicts between quantum mechanics and relativity completely vanish. I also provide a specific solution to the many body problem and an alternative way of viewing the universe which opens doors inconceivable under the conventional view.

So I have presented an alternate view of the universe which is guaranteed to be consistent with what ever it is you "know". The rule is absolute (F=0) and the only thing left to discover is "what exists?"

Perhaps that is a better introduction to my position. If it interests you, let me know. If not, I won't bother you again. This is not to say that I have no interest in your thoughts but rather that you could not begin to fathom my reactions to your thoughts if you cannot comprehend my perspective.

Thanks for reading it -- Dick

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