Re: Flying rabbits and dragons

From: Alastair Malcolm <>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 18:19:25 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: Russell Standish <>
> > > Why it fails is that you assume that all universes are wffs. The
> > > underlying challenge of white rabbits and dragons is that the number
> > > of non-wffs vastly outnumber the number of wffs. The assumption is
> > > that that each non-wff corresponds to to a white rabbit universe. As
> > > we discussed, and you have explained fairly clearly on your web page,
> > > most non-wff universes are in fact indistinguishable from a wff
> > > universe sufficiently close to it, so may be identified with it. In
> > > that case, the number of non-wff universes corresponding to white
> > > rabbits or dragons (ie actually recognisable paranormal phenomena) is
> > > a vanishingly small proportion of the total.
> >
> > No! I am very sorry, but I have to correct this - every sentence above
> > false!!! (Though stemming from one underlying misunderstanding, I
> >
> > One of the main reasons to use the formal systems approach is that it
> > the principal interpretation problem - some symbol strings build wff's,
> > wff's are axiom sets, some axiom sets build theories, some theories
> > universes. In my first post to this thread (my web pages don't mention
> > wff's - yet), wff's rather than non-wff's are selected - wff's are a
> > precondition for the specification of *any* universe (with or without
> > dragons/white rabbits); a non-wff is like a nonsense bitstring - totally
> > irrelevant (except conceivably for some measure purposes).
> We're obviously running up against a misunderstanding here, which I
> believe we should be able to resolve. Surely dragon universes are
> nonsense bitstrings (the non wffs mentioned above), just ones that
> happen to be close to a mathematical system, but not so close to be
> indistinguishable.

By a nonsense bitstring, I meant a *totally* nonsense bitstring - one that
couldn't be interpreted as anything at all. A dragon universe would be
representable by a perfectly good mathematical system (humans in such
a universe could in principle develop a TOE for it, though it would be more
complex than ours), and in fact (in the terms of our earlier scheme) would
have more bits interpretable as visible phenomena than a normal universe,
and so (other things being equal) would have *less* nonsense (or non-visibly
interpretable) bits.

But the scheme I introduced at the top of this thread (and the one you say
you are criticising) has nothing to do with bitstrings. I can only suggest
you reread it, and take note of the fact that it clearly states that *only*
wff's are selected before *any* further analysis is done. (Non-wffs are
totally, repeat totally, irrelevant!)

Received on Tue Oct 26 1999 - 10:44:21 PDT

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