Re: Belief Statements

From: John M <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 18:12:28 -0500

(Sorry for the convoluted editing: it comes from Russell's format as
attachment only, without strraight readability as an e-mail)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Russell Standish" <>
To: "John M" <>
Cc: "Hal Ruhl" <>; <>
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 6:50 PM
Subject: Re: Belief Statements

Dear Russell,
since you e-mail without words (only an attachment) I copy your text here to give my reply to it - interspaced, if you don't mind :
On Mon, Jan 10, 2005 at 04:08:15PM -0500, John M wrote:
> > At 07:40 PM 1/9/2005, you wrote:
(Russell Standish):
> > >A compromise on these two views occurs through my assumption of "Time" being a necessary property of bserverhood. Sure atemporal worlds exist, but there's nobody in them to observe them. Similarly, Hal Ruhl's dynamic process is simply the process of observation.
> > > Cheers (R.St.)<<<
>> Russell seems to restrict 'observerhood' to timed worlds (maybe: humans?) ("there's nobody in them to observe them").
>>I leave 'observation' open to ANY absorption of information, in >>'our' sense or otherwise. I don't 'deny' existence to formats we >>have no idea about. We just don't know. (JM )
> ( R St now ) :
It is an assumption (or perhaps postulate: the Time postulate). It is
amenable to debate, just as Euclid's axioms are. I offer the following points in its favour:

1) Observation is the process of creating information, by
   distinguishing differences between things (aka bits).

JM: IMO observation does NOT CREATE information, it collects it. Information is the acknowledged difference and I agree with point 2: there must be at least 1 mutual dimension for a comparison (to have an acknowledgeable difference) aka information. Two dimensionally unconnected 'facts' do not constitute a difference, nor provide information on the two together. Desultory knowledge is irrelevant in this case.
(Bits: I may not understand it right, but IMO a 'bit' does not disclose a meaning - it is applicable in any context applied.
So I would reverse Wheeler's 'it from bit' into 'bit from it'. We do not 'create' the world according to the computer bits - but in the contrary, the bits represent (stand for) the "its".)

2) To have a difference, obviously requires at least one dimension.

3) To compare two different entities requires that the properties of
   the two entities be brought together (inside the observer's
   "mind"). Thus the one required dimension must be "timelike", with the observer passing from point to point.

JM: I don't see the conclusion about "timelike": observation can compare e.g. overlapping pictures atemporarily, in one.
But this, again, is the reflection of human habits (logic and capabilities).
If we consider 'information' as I propose in generalization:
acknowledged difference, not restricted how and by what acknowledged, "our" time concept does not enter the picture.

4) For those who believe in Computationalism, the Turing model of
   computation implicitly requires this Time postulate.

JM: I don't. It is a human representational way of OUR world model. Even if we try to 'apply' it to "other" worlds.

5) It appears to be a necessary ingredient to obtain Quantum Mechanics from first principles (see my "Why Occams Razor" paper)

JM: ditto, see my remark to #4

None of this is a proof. However, it is very persuasive and
general. For someone to claim that this postulate is invalid, they
would probably need to show a model of observation that invalidates it, just as Gauss showed Euclid's 5th axiom was not necessary by showing a consistent geometry in which he axiom was invalid. And that would be a very interesting development.

JM: Nobody has to show an unproven idea as invalid. The idea must be verified first for argumentation. Furthermore: it is nice to show an alternative, however an unlikely idea can be deemed unlikely without providing an alternative.
Ideas are 'persuasive' within the belief system they fit into. Comp and QM are "general" chapters within the (limited) model we have in contemporary science about THIS world. Not valid in an openminded multiverse of no restrictions.


Russell Standish


John Mikes
Received on Tue Jan 11 2005 - 18:18:23 PST

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