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Old 14th October 2019, 11:27 PM   #161
HansMustermann
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The bigger problem though is that a brain isn't just a collection of particles that just happened to bump in the right location, while keeping bumping around randomly. It actually needs to be able to process data, and it needs a bunch of support organs to keep working even for a second.

So, hmm, on one hand a brain could randomly appear in a void by ridiculously infinitesimal probabilities -- even in the uber-simplified data model I was talking about, if your font is just slightly over 1mm wide, the string of zeroes after the 0. would be LITERALLY all the way to the flippin' MOON -- or it could appear by evolution in a real universe, that actually is like this universe. I know which one I'm putting my money on
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Old 15th October 2019, 12:29 AM   #162
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I am pretty sure that in a few moments of conscious experience we don't process more information than would fit in the universe.

And all that would be required is for something to process just enough information for a couple of seconds of conscious experience. And there is an infinite space for it to happen and an infinite amount of time.
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Old 15th October 2019, 02:00 AM   #163
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And I'm saying that literally for that thing to even have the bare minimum of 1 bit for each of your synapses, if you had a bunch of particles in a box with just say, the spin of each being down for false and up for true, that's a 1 in 21,000,000,000,000,000 chance. If you wonder how big that is, with a font that's 1mm wide, that number of binary digits would literally extend beyond Jupiter's orbit. That's a one billion kilometre long number.

If you want actually the analog information, since synapses have a strength, plus the WIRING information, to have an actual same data model as in your head, that's many many orders of magnitude more.

Note that nowhere here did I say anything about processing all the data in the universe. Hell, the requirement isn't even to be able to PROCESS any data at all, yet. It's just for a copy of the information currently in your head to appear in some particles.

You want consciousness for a second, ooer, now that's even more.

Sure, it's not impossible in a closed universe, where apparently gravity doesn't work either, etc, and given literally infinite time. But
A) we're already postulating unsupported woowoo to make that work at all, and
B) I'll go with the more probable explanation anyway.
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Old 15th October 2019, 02:20 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
It's not my idea, it's what Robin said, a brain popping into and back out of existence. Maybe you should read that exchange between you and Robin, to which I eventually responded, again.
A, my apologies. In discussions such as this one must take care to notice who posts what. Anyway, I notice Robin also replied, to I'll take it from there.

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Old 15th October 2019, 02:25 AM   #165
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Infinitely many tries will clobber any kind of improbability you care to mention.

But the point is that you don't need to duplicate the computer, you only need to repeat the computation.

But, yes, I agree theoretical physics is unsupported woo. Mind you it is a better class of unsupported woo than most.
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Old 15th October 2019, 02:35 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
You are confusing two different claims. First, just to simplify matters, let's pretend that science is deterministic. (The move to probabilistic flaws complicates the argument but strengthens my claim about falsifiability. Let's avoid the more complicated analysis.)

It is easy to see that a set of scientific laws is refuted when an event occurs which the laws preclude. Thus,

Any given set of laws is falsifiable.
What I may be confusing is what philosophy is about. Because I talk about science, because that is based in materialism. Any set of scientific laws is falsifiable. That is simply part of the definition for a scientific law. As we seem to agree that any set is falsifiable, this must include the whole set.

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is true. Here, I ignore some of the later philosophy of science (Carnap, perhaps? My memory is fuzzy) casting this into doubt and will take the naive view for granted. Any given set of laws is falsified when an event incompatible with those laws occurs.
Correct.

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But that's not what I was calling uniformity. I was calling uniformity the proposition that there is a set of laws consistent with every event that occurs. I'll further add that this set predicts every event that occurs (to avoid trivial examples like the empty set of laws, which is consistent with every event by not predicting anything).
Uniformity is a theory, and I grant you that it is as of yet unproven. And it may well stay so, from a human POV.

Quote:
Thus, when I say that uniformity is unfalsifiable, I'm saying that there is no possible event inconsistent with the assumption that some set of rules could predict that event.
A bit sneaky, that . I grant that there is a circularity to the way you formulate uniformity. However, I think this is splitting hairs a bit. As a pragmatist, I'm perfectly happy with a definition that might include a "virtually" in some strategic place.

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I think this is fairly clear, but it all depends on how one defines the rules. On a broad definition of rules, take any theory T which is consistent with everything thus far, but not some event E which occurred on 12:00am Jan 1, 1970. Then the new theory consisting of "Everything occurs as T predicts, unless it's midnight 1/1/1970, when E occurs" is a set of rules not falsified thus far. Amend this theory as needed.
However, this is not how science works. We do not just amend rules ad hoc. If something happens that appears to break a given rule, the whole wheel of observation, evidence gathering, theory formulation, testing, confirmation comes into function.

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Old 15th October 2019, 03:38 AM   #167
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Wasn't the discussion about Occam, parsimony, not multiplying entities and so on?

The most parsimonious position I could think of was 'this moment of thinking occurs and that is all'

I have no objection multiplying entities and adding big bangs, light elements, early stars exploding and creating heavy elements, more stars and planets, long chain molecules, primitive replicators, probiotic evolution, evolution brains, all to get back to the same place.

Indeed that is what I go with.

But if you want parsimony then 'this moment of thinking happens and thats all' is the go.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:07 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
When I try to remember a holiday I had in America a long time ago, I recall driving a car (that I rented from the airport) with the steering wheel on the right, and driving on the left hand side of the road. Many other people have also reported this.

Clearly that is a reconstruction of something that couldn't possibly have really happened that way. So I don't see the problem of some computer 'remembering' any number of years in the past, even though the program only started running a few seconds ago.

If you were a Boltzmann brain with memories formed from random accretion of spontaneous particles, you would be equally likely to remember driving a car that you rented from a pencil, driving with the steering cube sticking out of your forehead, driving on the underside of the road, driving a fish, driving a dinner plate, driving a ball of plasma, driving a skyscraper, eating a car, marrying the left hand side of the road, pendrculating the airport, spplampping fg zcadsfds, or [insert trillions of pages of incoherent gibberish here].

There's an anthropic-style argument that addresses the question, "if nonfunctioning brains are vastly more probable than functional ones with remembered experience, what explains my being one of the latter?" Only the functioning brains can experience asking that question. But that argument doesn't answer the question, "if incoherent memories are vastly more probable, what explains my own memories being predominantly consistent and understandable?"

The answer "given an infinite number of tries it's bound to happen sometime" is a good answer to the question "can such a Boltzmann brain exist?" but it is the least explanatory, the worst possible, answer to "why does one exist in this particular randomly chosen instance?"
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:30 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I would be interested in the calculation by which you came about "precisely zero" (even if it is only a rough calculation).

The probability is on the order of 10-x where x is the increasing number of linguistic tokens exchanged.

This approaches zero at an exponential rate.

And it doesn't matter to what extent the exchange of tokens has occurred in the remembered past, because (as I just explained) randomly formed coherent memories of such interaction are just as improbable, in the case of a Boltzmann brain, as the ongoing continuation of it.

Again, for addressing the question "is this particular conversation worth bothering with?" the probability that such a coherent conversation-so-far could spontaneously appear due to random chance alone somewhere in the multiverse is irrelevant. What matters is the probability that this particular conversation is nonrandom and therefore worth continuing. Every coherent character exchanged appends another 9 to the decimal expansion of that probability.

Try conversing with randomly drawn Scrabble tiles sometime. I guarantee you'll quickly notice a discernible difference.
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Old 15th October 2019, 04:44 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Atcually, in the paper referred to, the reference to "observing cosmic microwave background radiation" is in relation to Boltzmann brains observing a spurious illusion of this. Boltzmann brains are defined:

and normal observers are defined:

They are claiming to show that, under certain assumptions, the ratio of Boltzmann brains to normal observers can be low.

While the authors acknowledge the possibility that Boltzmann brains could observe spurious illusions of existing in a coherent cosmos, they nonetheless conclude that our own observations are inconsistent with our being Boltzmann brains. Explaining why we are not Boltzmann brains, when under some assumptions Boltzmann brains might outnumber normal observers, is the premise of the paper.

If you're referring to the paper in support of an argument that we could be Boltzmann brains existing in a random instant of consciousness, you should acknowledge that the papers' authors make no such claim and in fact reject it and build their conclusions from that negation.

Quote:
Thus, the continued orderliness of the world that we observe is distinctly at odds with the predictions of a Boltzmann-brain-dominated cosmology.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:00 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
While the authors acknowledge the possibility that Boltzmann brains could observe spurious illusions of existing in a coherent cosmos, they nonetheless conclude that our own observations are inconsistent with our being Boltzmann brains.
Their very definition of Boltzmann brains that I quoted is premised on their observations being indistinguishable from a normal observer.
Quote:
Explaining why we are not Boltzmann brains, when under some assumptions Boltzmann brains might outnumber normal observers, is the premise of the paper.
You can hardly describe the tentative conclusion they come to as "explaiing why we are not Boltzmann brains."
Quote:
If you're referring to the paper in support of an argument that we could be Boltzmann brains existing in a random instant of consciousness, you should acknowledge that the papers' authors make no such claim and in fact reject it and build their conclusions from that negation.
I never said that the authors make that claim.

Someone said that no-one considers the probabilities of Boltzmann brains and I offered this paper as evidence that they do, in fact that some hard hitting physicists consider these probabilities in some detail.

And they don't come to any definite conclusion one way or the other.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:10 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
The probability is on the order of 10-x where x is the increasing number of linguistic tokens exchanged.

This approaches zero at an exponential rate.
Even if you are right about that, given an infinite number of trials that is a piddling improbability.

And how many linguistic tokens do you think we could have processed in a second or so?
Quote:
Again, for addressing the question "is this particular conversation worth bothering with?"...
If this exchange began less than a second ago and will dissipate in the next second then that question would appear to be moot in any case.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:26 AM   #173
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As far as I can see, Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism seems to still come out tops on the Occam scale.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:39 AM   #174
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No. Because it is an irrelevant extra layer. That's what people have been trying to tell you by calling it unfalsifiable.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:49 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No. Because it is an irrelevant extra layer. That's what people have been trying to tell you by calling it unfalsifiable.
Where is the extra layer? It has none. There is just "there is this bit of thinking and that is all". One layer.

If you say "There has to be a mechanism" then that is you adding another layer, not me.

All the big bang, light elements exploding stars, heavy elements etc etc, they are extra layers.

And I can't see how it is unfalsiable that I am experiencing a moment of thinking. It is unescapable there is this moment of experience.
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Old 15th October 2019, 05:57 AM   #176
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Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism wins on the Occam scale because I retain only that which is impossible to deny- there is this moment of thinking.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:04 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Where is the extra layer? It has none. There is just "there is this bit of thinking and that is all". One layer.

If you say "There has to be a mechanism" then that is you adding another layer, not me.

All the big bang, light elements exploding stars, heavy elements etc etc, they are extra layers.

If you don't mind having no explanation for the consistencies in your recollections of experiences, then you don't need any other layers. Just like you don't need wings to not fly.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:07 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism wins on the Occam scale because I retain only that which is impossible to deny- there is this moment of thinking.

Just like starving naked alone in the woods wins on the Simple Living scale.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:09 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
If you don't mind having no explanation for the consistencies in your recollections of experiences, then you don't need any other layers. Just like you don't need wings to not fly.
Why do I need an explanation for those consistencies? How many consistencies could I have recollected in one second?

And I have already pointed out an example of how recollections aren't consistent.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:10 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
What I may be confusing is what philosophy is about. Because I talk about science, because that is based in materialism. Any set of scientific laws is falsifiable. That is simply part of the definition for a scientific law. As we seem to agree that any set is falsifiable, this must include the whole set.
This is just a logical error.

"A given set of scientific laws may be falsified" means that for each possible set of scientific laws, that set is falsifiable. In logical terms:

(*) For all theories T, T is falsifiable.

Uniformity says that there is a theory T which is consistent with and predicts (previous caveat applies) every event. Thus, what I am saying is this:

(**) "There is a theory T that predicts every event that happens" is not falsifiable.

(*) does not entail (**).

Quote:

Uniformity is a theory, and I grant you that it is as of yet unproven. And it may well stay so, from a human POV.
Uniformity is not a theory (in the sense of "scientific theory"). It is a presupposition of science. It is essentially the same as the inductive principle, a principle which cannot be confirmed or refuted by appeal to experience (to paraphrase Russell).

Quote:
A bit sneaky, that . I grant that there is a circularity to the way you formulate uniformity. However, I think this is splitting hairs a bit. As a pragmatist, I'm perfectly happy with a definition that might include a "virtually" in some strategic place.
I don't quite follow you here.

[/quote]
However, this is not how science works. We do not just amend rules ad hoc. If something happens that appears to break a given rule, the whole wheel of observation, evidence gathering, theory formulation, testing, confirmation comes into function.

Hans[/quote]

The question of whether uniformity is true or not (or falsifiable or not) is independent of how science works.

Please, tell me what possible event could cause you to doubt that the universe works according to some set of laws.

Would a million coffee cups sprouting daffodils cause it? Suppose that some of those coffee cups were coincidentally being observed closely in a scientific lab, with reams of data showing an event totally inconsistent with any previous experiences. Would that mean that there are no universal laws? Or would we conclude that there is some explanation (using universal laws) of which we are currently ignorant and should immediately investigate?

Just tell me how the principle that the universe acts according to some set of laws could be falsified?

(Note that when we go from requiring the universe to be deterministic to allowing probabilistic laws, the problem of falsifiability becomes greater. A given probabilistic theory T is not falsifiable in the usual sense. The probability of its truth may tend to 0, but one cannot ever conclude with certainty that a non-trivial probabilistic law is false.)
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:11 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Just like starving naked alone in the woods wins on the Simple Living scale.
Indeed. That is why I never make "simple living" my ambition. That, and I only have one second in any case.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:37 AM   #182
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It's irrelevant because you still have to deal with this universe being "real" in some sense and lasting more than a second.

If you truly believe you're just a temporary cosmic brain that will exist only for a second, go jump out the window. After all, if your window is 5m high or more, the time to impact with the ground is 1.01s or more

But you won't actually jump, will you? Yeah, thought so.

So any usable explanation will still have to deal with the universe as being real. Maybe you're dreaming it, maybe it's a simulation, but you still have to deal with gravity being "real" in this universe you're dreaming. And able to hurt you very badly.

Adding some brain that is just dreaming all of it is (A) an extra layer on top of that, and (B) unless you can actually walk off a cliff and keep walking on air like Will E Coyote by refusing to think of gravity, then it's an extra layer that isn't needed by any actual data.
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Old 15th October 2019, 06:46 AM   #183
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Additionally, "it's a Boltzmann brain dreaming" is not actually explaining everything, just like "God did it". It's answering a WHY with a WHO. It's not even answering the same questions.

Why is the sky blue in this universe you're dreaming? Why is a beam of sunlight splitting into more colours as it passes through the edge of a glass of water?

As long as this universe still works by rules you can't abolish by just stopping believing in them, to do anything practical for the duration you have here (dreamed or not), you need the answers to that kind of questions. You have phenomena, and if you understand why they happen and can make predictions, you can create your own replicas of those phenomenons to do something for you.

Just going "it's a cosmic brain dreaming" is just a flippin' useless and not explaining anything as "God did it".

So no, it's not a simpler explanation, it's not even an explanation at all for anything. As in, any actual data. It's not even an alternative to use Occam on.
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Old 15th October 2019, 07:24 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
In that small way, materialism is as unfalsifiable as solipsism. Materialism, however, still holds the advantage that we have to at least act like it's true - for however long we get to act before they reboot the sim.
Why would you have to act like it's true?
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Old 15th October 2019, 07:28 AM   #185
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I think he means in the sense that we have to not step in front of the bus, because it's a real bus and will smush us.

shouldn't put words in his mouth
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Old 15th October 2019, 08:23 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
I think he means in the sense that we have to not step in front of the bus, because it's a real bus and will smush us.

shouldn't put words in his mouth
Idealists dodge the bus too, because idealist pain hurts just as much as materialist pain.
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Old 15th October 2019, 08:40 AM   #187
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And that's why I call the whole thing irrelevant.
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Old 15th October 2019, 08:42 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Additionally, "it's a Boltzmann brain dreaming" is not actually explaining everything, just like "God did it". It's answering a WHY with a WHO. It's not even answering the same questions.

Why is the sky blue in this universe you're dreaming? Why is a beam of sunlight splitting into more colours as it passes through the edge of a glass of water?

As long as this universe still works by rules you can't abolish by just stopping believing in them, to do anything practical for the duration you have here (dreamed or not), you need the answers to that kind of questions. You have phenomena, and if you understand why they happen and can make predictions, you can create your own replicas of those phenomenons to do something for you.

Just going "it's a cosmic brain dreaming" is just a flippin' useless and not explaining anything as "God did it".

So no, it's not a simpler explanation, it's not even an explanation at all for anything. As in, any actual data. It's not even an alternative to use Occam on.
Problem is that "matter simply is" also doesn't explain anything. It's as good explanations as "mind simply is" or "god did it". Science can't prove if the whole world is my dream or not, not to me.
I think the question is fair. There is no stupid question. It just has to be answered the right way. Proposing testable theory, and then test it. If we can't do that, it doesn't mean it's nonsense. Often it means it's irrelevant, because relevant things tend to be testable. But you will never really "know".

Of course, what woo people typically do, is they assume things about what they can't test. "I don't know how this and this works, therefore this must be true". Well, people lived with nonsense world theories for millennia, I think it will be fine.
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Old 15th October 2019, 09:44 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Indeed. That is why I never make "simple living" my ambition. That, and I only have one second in any case.

In order to evaluate your hypothesis of existing for only one second, I need you to be a bit more specific. Which second are you claiming you exist in?

Is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Why do I need an explanation for those consistencies? How many consistencies could I have recollected in one second?

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin
And I have already pointed out an example of how recollections aren't consistent.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism wins on the Occam scale because I retain only that which is impossible to deny- there is this moment of thinking.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Where is the extra layer? It has none. There is just "there is this bit of thinking and that is all". One layer.

If you say "There has to be a mechanism" then that is you adding another layer, not me.

All the big bang, light elements exploding stars, heavy elements etc etc, they are extra layers.

And I can't see how it is unfalsiable that I am experiencing a moment of thinking. It is unescapable there is this moment of experience.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
As far as I can see, Solipsistic One-Second-Agoism seems to still come out tops on the Occam scale.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Even if you are right about that, given an infinite number of trials that is a piddling improbability.

And how many linguistic tokens do you think we could have processed in a second or so?

If this exchange began less than a second ago and will dissipate in the next second then that question would appear to be moot in any case.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Their very definition of Boltzmann brains that I quoted is premised on their observations being indistinguishable from a normal observer.

You can hardly describe the tentative conclusion they come to as "explaiing why we are not Boltzmann brains."

I never said that the authors make that claim.

Someone said that no-one considers the probabilities of Boltzmann brains and I offered this paper as evidence that they do, in fact that some hard hitting physicists consider these probabilities in some detail.

And they don't come to any definite conclusion one way or the other.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Wasn't the discussion about Occam, parsimony, not multiplying entities and so on?

The most parsimonious position I could think of was 'this moment of thinking occurs and that is all'

I have no objection multiplying entities and adding big bangs, light elements, early stars exploding and creating heavy elements, more stars and planets, long chain molecules, primitive replicators, probiotic evolution, evolution brains, all to get back to the same place.

Indeed that is what I go with.

But if you want parsimony then 'this moment of thinking happens and thats all' is the go.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Infinitely many tries will clobber any kind of improbability you care to mention.

But the point is that you don't need to duplicate the computer, you only need to repeat the computation.

But, yes, I agree theoretical physics is unsupported woo. Mind you it is a better class of unsupported woo than most.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I am pretty sure that in a few moments of conscious experience we don't process more information than would fit in the universe.

And all that would be required is for something to process just enough information for a couple of seconds of conscious experience. And there is an infinite space for it to happen and an infinite amount of time.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Atcually, in the paper referred to, the reference to "observing cosmic microwave background radiation" is in relation to Boltzmann brains observing a spurious illusion of this. Boltzmann brains are defined:

and normal observers are defined:

They are claiming to show that, under certain assumptions, the ratio of Boltzmann brains to normal observers can be low.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
When I try to remember a holiday I had in America a long time ago, I recall driving a car (that I rented from the airport) with the steering wheel on the right, and driving on the left hand side of the road. Many other people have also reported this.

Clearly that is a reconstruction of something that couldn't possibly have really happened that way. So I don't see the problem of some computer 'remembering' any number of years in the past, even though the program only started running a few seconds ago.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I don't see the difficulty.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
As I understand it, the problem with a single universe is that observers like you and I suppose ourselves to be are only possible right at the beginning of the universe in the first, say, 1050 years before increasing entropy makes us impossible. After that there is an infinity of time and very occasional cases of reducing entropy.

In this case something, even fantastically improbable, will eventually become more numerous than observers seeing the actual universe.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Incidentally it seems unlikely that a Boltzmann brain would have experiences of the surrounding vacuum, that would imply that it also had some sort of sensing mechanism. More likely it would experience a spurious universe.

Multiverses, eternal inflation, many-worlds and so on and so forth only multiply this.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
I would be interested in the calculation by which you came about "precisely zero" (even if it is only a rough calculation).

It would seem to depend upon how computationally complex this exchange was. If there was a computer that could compute the information contained in this exchange, would that computer be so complex as to be impossible? Seems unlikely that there is that much information that we are processing right at this moment.

And in any case the problem is for any person reading this who is experiencing consciousness, why would you assume that your interlocutors are also conscious, any more than you would assume that you existed for more than a couple of seconds of experienced time?

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Also, a Boltzmann Brain doesn't have to exist in a time frame of between the Big Bang and now, a Boltzmann Brain could be anywhere and any time.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
It is not the case that people ignore the probability of a Boltzmann brain, it has been the subject of quite a bit of discussion.

I have read Sean Carroll suggest that the assembly of a brain is much more probable than a nascent universe.

In some theories of cosmology Boltzmann brains are pretty much inevitable (infinity squelches any kind of improbability), but the question is really one of the ratio of Boltzmann brains to in-universe observers.

In this paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/0808.3778 some pretty serious physicists go into quite a bit of detail about the relative probability of a Boltzmann brain and a nascent universe and they make no firm conclusion about whether a "real" observer would be more common than a Boltzmann brain observer.

People forget that you do not even need a complete brain to fluctuate into existence, you only need something that can compute some moment of experience. How computationally complex is that which you are currently experiencing? Probably not very.

And it is unlikely that evolution produced the most efficient computer.

Or is it the second during which you posted this?

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Indeed. That is why I never make "simple living" my ambition. That, and I only have one second in any case.

Once you specify which second, the claim will become coherent enough to evaluate. Until then, you're presenting an ever-moving target which does not constitute any meaningful claim.
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Old 15th October 2019, 09:51 AM   #190
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I can't imagine a bigger distinction without difference then "Reality is real" and "Reality isn't real it just acts like it is."

I mean I know what the distinction actually is *cough* Woo backdoor *cough* but since people get pissy when acknowledge the elephant in the room I don't the ostensible reason we're supposed to be pretending it's about is supposed to be.
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Old 15th October 2019, 11:43 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I can't imagine a bigger distinction without difference then "Reality is real" and "Reality isn't real it just acts like it is."

I mean I know what the distinction actually is *cough* Woo backdoor *cough* but since people get pissy when acknowledge the elephant in the room I don't the ostensible reason we're supposed to be pretending it's about is supposed to be.
I don't see any of the posters trying to sneak pseudoscience in. The reason that you're criticized is that your accusation is horse patooties.

(Not sure what the OP was after, but the conversation is long past his confusing post. )
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Old 15th October 2019, 11:50 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I don't see any of the posters trying to sneak pseudoscience in. The reason that you're criticized is that your accusation is horse patooties.

(Not sure what the OP was after, but the conversation is long past his confusing post. )
Solipsism is pseudoscience. It's not sneaking it, it's running in with all the subtle of a drunken frat boy.

You can't have science and "There is no reality" in the same thought process.
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Old 15th October 2019, 12:07 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
This is just a logical error.

"A given set of scientific laws may be falsified" means that for each possible set of scientific laws, that set is falsifiable. In logical terms:

(*) For all theories T, T is falsifiable.

Uniformity says that there is a theory T which is consistent with and predicts (previous caveat applies) every event. Thus, what I am saying is this:

(**) "There is a theory T that predicts every event that happens" is not falsifiable.

(*) does not entail (**).
If every subset T* of T** is falsifiable, then T** is falsifiable.

Quote:
Uniformity is not a theory (in the sense of "scientific theory"). It is a presupposition of science. It is essentially the same as the inductive principle, a principle which cannot be confirmed or refuted by appeal to experience (to paraphrase Russell).
Unless "uniformity" refers to some special terminology, it is a theory. Anyway, this thread is about reality. The scientific theory of reality is that it follows falsifiable rules. I'm not sure what you are talking about, but this is what I am talking about.

Quote:
The question of whether uniformity is true or not (or falsifiable or not) is independent of how science works.
Reality is independent of how science works, or indeed if science exists at all, but the aim of science is to map and understand reality. Any part of reality we have mapped so far follows falsifiable rules.

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Please, tell me what possible event could cause you to doubt that the universe works according to some set of laws.
Any event that defies laws.

Quote:
Would a million coffee cups sprouting daffodils cause it? Suppose that some of those coffee cups were coincidentally being observed closely in a scientific lab, with reams of data showing an event totally inconsistent with any previous experiences.
Science regularly deals with events that are inconsistent with previous experiences. We have not so far given up on finding the governing laws on any of them, but the idea that such laws exist is a theory.

Quote:
Would that mean that there are no universal laws? Or would we conclude that there is some explanation (using universal laws) of which we are currently ignorant and should immediately investigate?
The latter.

Quote:
Just tell me how the principle that the universe acts according to some set of laws could be falsified?

(Note that when we go from requiring the universe to be deterministic to allowing probabilistic laws, the problem of falsifiability becomes greater. A given probabilistic theory T is not falsifiable in the usual sense. The probability of its truth may tend to 0, but one cannot ever conclude with certainty that a non-trivial probabilistic law is false.)
It could be falsified by discovering a set of observations that are repeatable but cannot be fit within some set of rules.

Hans
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Old 15th October 2019, 12:09 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Solipsism is pseudoscience. It's not sneaking it, it's running in with all the subtle of a drunken frat boy.

You can't have science and "There is no reality" in the same thought process.
I wouldn't say solipsism is pseudoscience. It's philosophy. You can talk about silly ideas as long as you know what they do imply and what the don't imply.
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Old 15th October 2019, 12:16 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Problem is that "matter simply is" also doesn't explain anything. It's as good explanations as "mind simply is" or "god did it". Science can't prove if the whole world is my dream or not, not to me.
I think the question is fair. There is no stupid question. It just has to be answered the right way. Proposing testable theory, and then test it. If we can't do that, it doesn't mean it's nonsense. Often it means it's irrelevant, because relevant things tend to be testable. But you will never really "know".
Well, just as well that up the page I said, "And that's why I call the whole thing irrelevant."
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Old 15th October 2019, 12:33 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Solipsism is pseudoscience. It's not sneaking it, it's running in with all the subtle of a drunken frat boy.

You can't have science and "There is no reality" in the same thought process.
Solipsism does not deny reality, but rather presents a theory about what is real (or at least what can be confirmed as real, depending on the flavor).

In philosophy, it is not regarded as a worthwhile theory, but a warning sign. If one's theory leads to solipsism, so much the worse for the theory, not because solipsism is obviously false but because it is a dead end of sorts.

Idealism has a more respected pedigree because of its importance in the development of philosophy. I'm sure there are idealists around today, but this sort of program is not all that active, far as I can tell. I don't have a broad view of philosophy, so it may be a subject of more contemporary debate than I realize.

You are just plumb wrong in thinking that this is a matter of pseudoscience. It is not dressed up as science at all. Science remains unchanged whether one is a materialist, idealist, dualist or, indeed, a solipsist.
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Old 15th October 2019, 01:03 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Hume indeed denied that his skepticism could overcome custom (including faith in induction), if I'm not mistaken. It was an academic argument, not a discovery with deep practical consequences.
Well, that was kind of my point. It is a very good academic point - pretty much undisapprovable but it just doesn't make any practical difference. We still continue to live in this stubbornly material world with stubbornly regular patterns ever increasingly observable and testable by natural science.
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Old 15th October 2019, 01:14 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
If every subset T* of T** is falsifiable, then T** is falsifiable.
No.

Imagine you have a bag of infinitely many marbles, B. For any finite subset S of B, the proposition "S contains a red marble" is falsifiable. The proposition "There exists a finite subset S of B containing a red marble" is not falsifiable.

ETA: I an assuming here that st any given time, only finitely many marbles (and hence finitely many finite subsets of B) have been observed.

Similarly, for each theory T, "T predicts every event," is falsifiable, but "There is a T which predicts every event" is not.


Quote:
Unless "uniformity" refers to some special terminology, it is a theory.
Not in the scientific sense. For instance, Popper says that scientific theories are falsifiable (a discredited claim, but it will suffice for our discussion). Uniformity is not falsifiable.

Quote:
Anyway, this thread is about reality. The scientific theory of reality is that it follows falsifiable rules. I'm not sure what you are talking about, but this is what I am talking about.
A precondition for science is the assumption of uniformity. Such assumptions are not themselves theories, but prior to theories.

Quote:
Reality is independent of how science works, or indeed if science exists at all, but the aim of science is to map and understand reality. Any part of reality we have mapped so far follows falsifiable rules.



Any event that defies laws.


Science regularly deals with events that are inconsistent with previous experiences. We have not so far given up on finding the governing laws on any of them, but the idea that such laws exist is a theory.
The previous two paragraphs are in conflict, depending on what the highlighted means. Again, can you give me an example of an event (or set of events) which would be inconsistent with any possible set of scientific laws? Not our current laws, nor any given set of laws, but any possible set of laws? If not, then you have no reason to suppose that uniformity is falsifiable.

Quote:
The latter.



It could be falsified by discovering a set of observations that are repeatable but cannot be fit within some set of rules.

Hans
I am asking what set of observations could not be "fit within" someset of rules. What do you have in mind?

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Old 15th October 2019, 01:20 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by llwyd View Post
Well, that was kind of my point. It is a very good academic point - pretty much undisapprovable but it just doesn't make any practical difference. We still continue to live in this stubbornly material world with stubbornly regular patterns ever increasingly observable and testable by natural science.
Sure. This sort of question is of interest only to those who want to investigate a deep skepticism that goes far beyond practical concerns. To those interested only in living their lives and being confident that their beliefs do a good enough job of informing their actions (and this includes working scientists), Humean skepticism is quite beside the point.

If there appears to be a hidden value judgment in the previous paragraph, it is unintended. I am somewhat interested in Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, etc., only because I find the arguments intriguing. I don't see why others should also find them so. It's a matter of taste, nothing more. (And, honestly, I don't seriously dabble in this stuff more than to teach it. Never done anything approaching real research in metaphysics. That path definitely does not interest me.)
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Old 15th October 2019, 01:54 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
No.

Imagine you have a bag of infinitely many marbles, B. For any finite subset S of B, the proposition "S contains a red marble" is falsifiable. The proposition "There exists a finite subset S of B containing a red marble" is not falsifiable.
Explain how S is is falsifiable, but not B.

Quote:
Similarly, for each theory T, "T predicts every event," is falsifiable, but "There is a T which predicts every event" is not.
Same. Explain the actual difference between the two highlighted sentences.

Quote:
Not in the scientific sense. For instance, Popper says that scientific theories are falsifiable (a discredited claim, but it will suffice for our discussion). Uniformity is not falsifiable.
Scientific theories are, per definition, falsifiable. If they are not falsifiable, they are not scientific theories. If your definition of "uniformity" is not falsifiable, it is not part of the set of scientific theories.

Quote:
A precondition for science is the assumption of uniformity. Such assumptions are not themselves theories, but prior to theories.
Nonsense. Scientific theories are hierarchical, but they are all scientific theories.

Quote:
The previous two paragraphs are in conflict, depending on what the highlighted means. Again, can you give me an example of an event (or set of events) which would be inconsistent with any possible set of scientific laws? Not our current laws, nor any given set of laws, but any possible set of laws? If not, then you have no reason to suppose that uniformity is falsifiable.
The falsifiability of a theory does not depend on my ability to imagine some example that might falsify it. I have already told you the characteristics of a falsifiying observation.

I have already answered, but I'll try to make it more clear: A verified, repeatable observation that cannot be eventually ascribed to a current or future scientific law.

... Yes, that is a tall order, but the universe is that complex.

Hans
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