Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is the Whole World Just a Code?


"I might be, just a lil' bit crazy, but I'm ok with that."

- c emerson said that.

"Want some whiskey in your water? Sugar in your tea?
What's all these crazy questions' they're askin' me?
This is the craziest party that could ever be
Don't turn on the lights 'cause I don't wanna see.

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
... That ain't the way to have fun, son."
(Sing365.com - Three Dog Night version, 1970)

Those few who knew me in the day, knew me as something of a genius crazy ... Today, I'm just a half-hippie and a part-time biker, looking for a few answers and a good beer. I still get most of my answers from music, and from literature, but I thought I would give philosophy another chance.

Tires on the pavement ... Danica Patrick in pole position ... it's not what you think ... it's what you know ... first impresssions are so often wrong ... So: Is the whole world just some kind of code?

Over on Feser's blog, as comments were winding down on Prof Feser's Craig versus Rosenburg post,

Alan said this:
"As another stone for the sarcophagus of determinism or gnu style scientism, a physicist has now demonstrated Aristotelian-Thomistic First Cause - he ... demonstrates mathematically though quite unintentionally, that it is impossible to reduce intentionality from the universe at the very basic quantum level ...", referring to and citing a paper by Jae-Weon Lee - Physics from Information - arxiv.org/pdf/1011.1657v2.pdf.

I saw Alan's comment, and responded: "If the mathematics were to so demonstrate, wouldn't that support panpsychism as much, or even more, than Aristotelian-Thomist theism?"

Alan next: "I would not say that - I would not see it as having a 'mental' aspect but a purpose-built character. As a logic circuit or printed circuit board. The 'information equations' he is using represent the signature of a cell phone or radio transmission. There is no awareness in the broadcast but there is information which the receiver is required to decode."

Then me: "Your post evokes the following thought: I wonder, if all humans saw everything in just grey and white shades, or perhaps better, in just shades of green and black (the Matrix effect), would we be more likely to see the universe as coded?"

Alan brought his response to my blog as a comment under my previous post, The World's a Big Place.  He asked me if I hated mankind and wished us all punished (tongue-in-cheek I believe), from which I gathered Alan likes it that humans see in such a multitudinous array of colors. So do I, actually, but that's a story for another time.

Alan said: "I was thinking (with my original post) more along the lines of the patterns of structure ... A universe full of bosons and fermions would be like a giant sand box save for the 'structure; of quantum mechanics. And, it turns out, that structure can be modeled by the same mathematics that turn a sine wave into a phone call! As if 'The Word of God' turns a gazillion dots of stuff into the structure of the universe."

I brought up the word, Logos, which can mean word, reason, explanation, as well as a divine creating force. Presocratic sources here. And I suggested what's needed is the physical, as well as metaphysical, if any, organizing principles.

Alan responded that his "pattern-recognizing neurons" jumped straight away to the three thousand year old wisdom "that word, reason and divine creating forces were intertwined. Science confirming philosophy."

Let me say that I agree that word, reason and the notion of divine-creating-forces are interwined. But I am not sure that science has confirmed philosophy. I have not, however, read Jae-Weon Lee's paper. It will be a pleasure to read it.

I am confident, anyway, as to at least one point: that both science and philosophy have to do with what's out there, and how we know what's out there.

That may seem overly simplistic, even "uninteresting", as is sometimes said of simple statements. But then, again, I'm just crazy enough to be cautious.

I see, as I am getting ready to post this, that TxLostWolf and Alan have both posted additional comments on The World's a Big Place.  I will ask them to post future comments under this OP, which will hopefully evoke even more thoughts, and will maintain a title appropriate to the debate. (And I will take the liberty of copying over the last several comments).

Thanks, Alan and TxLostWolf, hope you both stick around.  If no further comments come, that's fine, too. I have a refrigerator full of beer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The World's a Big Place


"The world's a big place. It's okay to have different opinions about it. It's not okay to form a closed-minded, fixed opinion about it."

-- c emerson said that.

Feel free to challenge it.