Re: virus: MEME UPDATE: To Censor Or Not?

Dave Pape (
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 13:19:10 GMT

At 01:08 16/12/96 -0600, you wrote:
>On Mon, 16 Dec 1996, Dave Pape wrote:
>> >Obvious sources of nondetermination:
>> > Quantum mechanics. [Granted, magnifying it to macroscopic level is
>> >difficult. But not impossible--cf. Schrodinger's Cat.]
>> Excellent point sir! I'm a real beginner in QM... almost totally hammered by
>> even the simplest parts of the maths. I'd very much like to know what you
>> think about the "universe cannot have perfect knowledge about how it works"
>> proposal in my last posting. Because... well, QM is very very accurate, but
>> not totally so... are there any physicists around who think that the reason
>> you get such bizarre effects as measurement collapsing the Schroedinger
>> equation is because... erm... we're at a level of detail where... erm...
>> maths can't take us any further? Where, due to the limited ability of teh
>> universe to compute its own nature, we're starting to get odd results? I
>> know this sounds like a shitty cop-out, but I'm interested in the idea of
>> humanity's search for truth reaching an asymptotic gap from the Truth...
>It isn't. I'm currently studying both Quantum Mechanics and General
>Relativity on the side, and computational difficulties abound.

So what d'you think? Are we getting close to the powers of information
processing which exist as a PART of the universe, to describe the MECHANICS
of the universe?

>On General Relativity's end, the equations are highly nonlinear--and
>nonlinear spells COMPUTATIONAL DISASTER in the Math Department.
>Quantum Mechanics is also relatively difficult computationally, even as a
>free theory--one without interactions. [Sort of like dry water in fluid
>dynamics.] Including interactions: Does anyone feel up to computing
>probablistic trees whose branches are based on numerically unstable
>matrix eigenvalues??? [I know that's technojargon. Key words are 'tree'
>and 'numerically unstable'. The latter can be used to create
>computer-based chaotic systems--see comment below.]
>While Feynman diagrams give a linearized version of the above that is
>reasonable, and gives correct results as far as can be measured, it is
>known that the answers from the above diagrams are always inaccurate.
>[This is called Haag's Theorem.]
>And mixing the two? LAUGH! Instant PhD for anyone who solves *that*!

I'd propose the rather more radical Nomination as Godhead.

>> > Badly posed Differential Equations. [Nonunique solutions to
>> >problems can just ruin the determinists' day, even in a classical
>> >universe.] "You need to learn Diff Eq so this doesn't happen: you
>> >design the space probe for Venus, send it up only to see it crash into
>> >the ocean, and *then* have some smart-mouth mathematician walk up and
>> >say, 'Oh, those equations had five different solutions from those
>> >initial conditions.'"
>> But that IS the fault of your first go at the maths, isn't it?

Yelp. Thought I might get a slap for that.

>It can be the fault of the physical system you are modeling, that's
>the problem. This is completely different from a chaotic system, which
>is [in the abstract] completely deterministic, but still unpredictable at
>long time scales.

There. Deterministic systems we can't model... the folk understanding of
them is "random", or non-deterministic...


>> I get a buzz from the idea of explaining meta-spiritual
>> information-processing as being as deterministic and physics-bound as
>> chemistry... the definitions are so lax here, though.
>In this case, I don't view information-processing as spiritual. I view
>programming the information processing as spiritual. [No, a genetic
>algorithm hunting for an efficient program is still raw information
>processing; it isn't getting to spiritual *yet*.]

Hmm... I'm not saying that ALL information processing is spiritual. I'm just
interested in entertaining the idea that what people tend to get spiritual
about (consciousness, souls etc) might arise from information processing.
And, well, they must, surely, as they're an emergent of neural processes?
Your "programming the information" is kind of like layers of information
processing itself at lower, more concrete, levels, isn't it? So, memetic
structures in the programmer's brain manipulate information in the
computer... but then, they also manipulate perceptual/motor neural
information in the programmer's brain. Above a certain number of iterations
in this self-referential process, maybe that's what we consider to be

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose (The more things change, the more
it's a meme thing)

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