Re: subjective reality

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 15:15:43 +0200

Hi John,

You referred me to your web page on "Science Religion, a Historical
View". Here:

I read it with great interest. I could agree up to a point, which I
will try to make clear. And then I comment your last post.

You are using human natural science and human science (history) to
relativize religion.
And then you are doing the same to relativize an, admittedly
widespread, "religious" belief in science (say).
"Religious" with quote is always put for some pejorative view of
religion, that is a view with "authoritative arguments".

Somehow let me say that I agree 99,9999999999999999...%. But it
remains a stubbornly infinitesimal point of disagreement (even if I
totally follow your critical conclusions on the "religious" science).

To make clearer my critic, I will relate it with both Descartes
systematic doubting procedure (which I would argue is at the origin
of modern theoretical sciences), and the Buddhist notion of *the
center of the wheel" which provides a good image.

Of course I don't know what is a human being. But, as you know, for
reason of clarity and modesty, I have *choose* a theory, and I have
even choose a theory sufficiently precise so that we can derive
precise conclusions. All what I say must be remembered as having been
casted in the frame of that theory.

I don't want to be specific on the details. The theory, in its
intuitive description appears already in "The question of King
Milinda" and many other old "religious texts", but in his modern
form, applied to animals, it is attributed to Descartes and is called
"mechanism", and I take the digital restriction: digital mechanism,
or computationalism, or just comp.

Now, with comp, there is a little problem in your strategy. If human
are machines, by using human sciences to relativize human science,
you will applied a computable transformation on the space of the
computable transformations, and it can be shown that you will get a
fixed point. It is like making rotating a wheel: all its points-
propositions will move (put in doubt) and be relativized except one:
the center of the wheel.

This fixed point is related to the space of the un-doubtable, but the
epistemological price of comp will be that science must be
(provably!) modest. All (sufficiently rich, universal) theories are
necessarily hypothetical. This happens when we enlarge the space of
the sound human platonist reasoner into the space of the Lobian

What is the fixed point? in a nutshell it is science itself, but
where science is understood as an ideal of communication conditionned
by hypothetical statements (some scientists forget this; most forget
this when talking on colleagues' fields).

>> BM:
>> You put the finger on one of the main difficulty to
>> keep the dialog
>> between logician and physicist: they interchange,
>> almost but alas not
>> completely, the use of the words "theory" and
>> "models". Logicians use
>> the word "model" for the intended reality they want
>> to describe with a
>> theory (like the painter how call the naked person
>> in front of him, the
>> model). The painting, is the theory, the little
>> things we put on a
>> paper.
> JM: $fine. I like that kind of 'model' if she(!) is
> pretty.
> I differentiate also the "simulation" model, as the
> mathematical or physical simulation of a thing to make
> it accessible to our feeble knowledge. Now MY model:
> as you know I think in totality (wholeness) at least I
> try. Our mind is incapable of envompassing ALL, so we
> select segments we can handle (if we can...) and
> REDUCE our vision to them (=MY reductionism). Such
> segment is a (MY) model if it disregards the 'rest of
> the world' (as it should to serve our feeble mind). It
> can be a person, a theory, a science-topic, a thought,
> a car, or anything topically (or functionally)
> surrounded by boundaries (our mental model-horizon). I
> took the word from Robert Rosen. A limited model is
> what we can use in our thinking. If we widen it beyond
> ALL boundaries it becomes a "natural system", maximum
> model (nonsense) = the 'thing' itself. This is my
> vocabulary and you cannot argue about it - it is MINE
> (ha ha).
> There is nothing wrong with model-thinking, it helped
> us to all we know of the world and to our technology.
> Not to 'understanding' the connections.

Why? There is only a (necessary) problem with understanding

> Wriong it is,
> if we draw 'universal' conclusions from considerations
> upon a model - regard it universally valid.

I have no models in that sense. The theory which is isolated from the
machine's interview is embeddable in number theory.

> As in the
> sciences (including I think logics, which is cut to
> the thinking habits of the HUMAN brain (mind).

No. It is build frrom the consideration of being the less dependent
on prejudices or even just meanings. And there are many many logics.
You should explain why you think science (and not its mediatic
"religious" perception) is cut for human thinking habits, when the
whole story of science and logic illustrates a (never ending)
abstraction of all our contingent conditions.

> Physix
> is a model, with all the 'explanations' WITHIN the
> model.

For those who assumes the explanation-closeness of the physical
world. Not everyone accept this, and it is well know that all physics
attempt to get a coherent talk of consciousness, mind and first
person have failed. As for me, the concept of a physical world is
just epistemologically incompatible with my working hypothesis.

> Von Bertalanffy's System Kohler's Gestalt opened the
> way and Bohm made it the implicate (sort of). Rosen is
> lost in explaining within the science language for a
> reductionist audience (he was (+1998) a mathematician-
> biologist) and started to generalize from models. I
> started from generalities (nothingness) and "modelled"
> down myself to common (human!) sense. We met. (Never
> in person, I even did not read his books).
> The thing IMO is future thinking, not as you put it
> below. We don't even have expressions to talk with.

Rosen has misunderstood the impact of Church thesis. I think. We can
come back on this.
An excellent book on Church Thesis is Judson Webb's book (ref in my
Lille thesis, in my url).

>> We will come back on this but remember that once you
>> say yes to the
>> doctor (for the artificial brain) then that brain
>> does not vehiculate a
>> model of you, but you yourself (assuming comp).
> $I am not clear with that 'doctor' if it is a machine,
> it can only 'vehiculate' within its boundaries: a
> model of me. "I" am part of the totality with certain
> affinities (I am just working on how to define that)
> which make me LOOK like an individual. Maybe 'comp'
> may help, (again something not clear to me).

I definitely think it could.

> $which of course are all models cut from the total
> inteconnectedness by topical boundaries. Incl: theory.

The third person description are indeed cut from that
interconnectedness, given that you comp 'soul" can be "saved" on a
finite disk. The first person keep all its whole-related infinite
interconnectedness. Actually comp protects that first person. Comp is
really a vaccine against all namable reductionism.

>> Except in politics, I would say big regression,
>> isn't it?
> $No, I see the same brutal beast with different tools.
> More organization, more hypocrisy, more sneaky/lying.

OK. But much less blood, and much less starvation.
Much less sincere spiritual concerns, but that has a long complex

> $depending how you define as the nonreligious theology

Truth *about* machine (as opposed to truth provable by (correct)

> as a pantheistic wholeness? then I agree.

"pantheistic wholeness"? is still but a (human) name. Sound lobian
machine are more wise by staying mute, here.

> What is god
> in such weird idea: the change? the interconnection?
> the informative efficiency? Ask me 200 years from now.

Never ask me. If you have the cognitive ability to understand an
answer (which I don't have), you would have the ability to get the
answer by yourself.

>> Of course I have use "religion" in its pejorative
>> sense; its means
>> anything using authoritative argument.
>> The nest millenia? It will be "pschhht!" or,
>> something like an
>> uncontrollable creative big bang, from what I smell
>> from comp.
> $Pessimist! We came a long way from the cave and
> before that, I am an optimist, unless we overshoot our
> own intelligence (do we really have sone?) and
> self-destruct.

This is more or less what I was trying to say.

> Not humanity, it will be over within a
> century,

If there is just one present or future, there will be continua of
future for humanity.

> but the biosphere with its evolving conscious
> creatures in the run. Thinking clouds? non-matterics?

In those futures where humanity lasts, humanity will take many
shapes. What is important is memory of its past(s): geographies and

> I keep my mind open as long as it works.

I wish you the best,

Received on Mon Aug 29 2005 - 09:17:53 PDT

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