Re: Is the universe computable?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 15:50:03 +0100

At 15:05 16/01/04 +0100, Georges Quenot wrote:
>Possibly making you not better than them. But this not that
>simple. They do not disagree with dialog and argumentation.
>Rather they argue in different ways and/or with different

OK, so I perhaps did not understand you fully. I thought they did
not even accept AR, or "2+2=4" for the sake of the argument.

> > >If they finally have to abandon these positions due to the amount
> > >of evidence in favor of it, the last line of defence for their
> > >conception of a personal God and for a significant role for Him
> > >could be at the level of artihmetical realism. Artihmetical
> > >realism by itself (not from a distinct personal God) is therefore
> > >seen as evil by them. As I mentionned, they usually do not put it
> > >that way. Rather they argue that such a view would prevent the
> > >foundation of human dignity and the like.
> >
> > They make probably the same confusion of those who believe
> > that determinism is in contradiction with free will.
>I would say that one of the concern they have behind this is the
>question of free will versus determinism (and/or randomness). You
>and others might see this as making "the same confusion of those
>who believe that determinism is in contradiction with free will".
>But there might also be more than one conception of free will
>and we could also consider that what they are doing is trying to
>defend another conception of free will that the one which is not
>in contradiction with determinism (and/or randomness).

Look, I have no problem at all with any people open to defend
they point, I am always prepared to make evolve my own position.
But I really don't appreciate those who wants to impose any
position (even mine). By its very nature free-will is hard to define
and I quite believe there is as many conception of free-will
than there are free-person.

>Though we
>may or may not share this conception, I don't think that we can
>dismiss it. The only thing we can say is that they cannot convince
>us of it or possibly even of its meaningfulness but in the same
>way we have no ground to prove them they are wrong.

No problem as long as they don't use authoritative argument.

>Basically, they want to believe that we humans are not reducible
>to numbers and I think that such a reductibility cannot be proved
>either way.

Er... No scientific proposition can *ever* be proved. Only refuted, or
confirm. Except perhaps a tiny part of intuistionist mathematics.

>Also I understand that one could feel offended by the
>idea that he could be reduced to mere numbers (not more but not
>less he would feel offended by the idea it could be reduced to a
>set of interacting molecules) even if these ideas are considered
>as just hypotheses. They want to believe (and they want to be
>generally believed) that there is (much) more than this in human
>beings (and incidently in themselves).

It is ok, in principle. It all depend on the way they will make us
to believe their proposition. I am used to met people who are
shocked by the idea of being a machine. I think those people
ahave just a lack of trust in themselves. If I like myself and if I learn that
I am a machine, then I will say "formidable, some machine can be nice
like me". If I dislike myself, and I learn that I am a machine, then I
will say "I knew I was just a stupid machine". Just to say that
if someone has the faith (or some deep faith) he/she will not be afraid
by *and* hypothesis. Those who are afraid by hypotheses are really
afraid of the fragility of their own ideas or of their own faith.

> > Actually I tend to think that Godel's and other incompleteness
> > result makes comp a sort of vaccine against reductionist view of
> > self and reality (and arithmetic).
>This is not obvious to me. Maybe what "reductionist" actually
>means needs to be clarified.

Sure. It is a very big thread by itself.

> > You know "reason" works only through doubt, and through the ability
> > to listen to different opinions.
>I tend to agree but it does not seem enough just to say it.

I guess it is not enough. As I said it is linked to "trusting oneself".
This trust is given, I think, by appropriate love and education
from generation through generation. That is, a very long work.
may be some shortcut exists, but there is probably no universal simple

> > Now with Godel we can say more,
> > which is that "good faith" never fears "reason" and rationality.
> > Sincere Faith can only extend Ratio, and is always open to dialog.
>It seems that there exists other conceptions of what "good faith"
>and/or "Sincere Faith" should be. Idem for "Ratio".

Which one?

Received on Mon Jan 19 2004 - 09:50:46 PST

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