Thursday, September 21, 2006

Biocentric Structuring


"The Millennium Simulation, used the largest supercomputer in Europe, at the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory, for over a month to model the history of the Universe in a cube over 2 billion light years on a side, holding 20 million galaxies."


Neurons




Neuron



The Millennium Simulation


Neurons


I'd hate to think what a thought might cause... ;)

10 comments:

A. Quinn said...

Since the universe is modeled as a cube here (rather than an expanding sphere), wouldn't that greatly distort the output of the simulation? It's certainly interesting that this output resembles networks of neurons, but I think a spherical simulation would give a very different result... most likely one that wouldn't look anything like a neural network.

island said...

c'mon, I'm trying to grow a massive brain here... ;)

Where's Neil Bates when we need him the most?

http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/spr/2005-06/msg0069667.html

http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/spr/2005-06/msg0069767.html

Neil' said...

Well, I was at the other thread about "Masters of the [U?]niverse" (my eye!) Here's that post for the interest of those looking here right now:

~
Most of the thinkers of the sort noted here do not believe in God, an afterlife, etc. However, consider this: We don't consider a computer program "gone" just because the computer it originally ran on is destroyed. The program can run on other machines. There may not be "another machine" for your mind, however like or unlike a program it may be, to run on in our own universe. But if modal logic (all possible things exist because existence only of selected items like our universe violates an ultimate, existential principle of sufficient reason to distinguish the possibilities) is right, then there are virtual platonic computers to run anyone's mind, in some sense, forever. (Frank Tipler has gotten into this a lot. It should have more note, at least.)

Furthermore, it seems to me that just as there is "infinity" as an upper unreachable limit to numbers, there would be an ultimate plenum or greatest reality. We could perhaps call this "God" but it could be more like Hegel's absolute, the higher-level Hindu conceptions of Brahman, etc. In any case, such thoughts can't be dismissed by hand-waving. We have very little handle to make a-priori restrictions on what can or does exist, whatever "exist" really means. ("Existing" in the sense we know and love, as per material objects, our experiences, etc., does *not* have a clear logical meaning the way that "existing" of solutions to equations in the Platonic sense does! Yes, really, like it or not. Tipler is good at making this point. I myself think that consciousness is tied into what "really exists" in the sense going beyond Platonic mathematical forms etc.)
~

Plenty of food for thought there - perhaps the food that grows thought itself?

island said...

I was referring to your input into the Millennium project thread last year in context with a. quinn's point.

If I'd wanted a preacher, I could have just looked one up... ;)

Quit "inferring" intelligent intent without distinguishing it from any other form of natural bias.

You're crazy, you know that, Neil?

Neil' said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
island said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Neil' said...

No, I'm not. (Well, I have a motto: "I may be crazy but I'm not stupid", so you may have a point, but...) You throw around loose put-downs and rarely address the specific issues, which are actually quite thought-provoking. Maybe they are not "science", but philosophy - what of it? What's wrong with philosophy, honestly identified? Making even the sort of characterizations you do about the universe is of course considered "unscientific" philosophizing by the Motls of the World. They could say that isn't really testable, it's interpretative, whatever, etc.

The point about survival of the mind is not about anthropic features of the universe anyway. It is about the transportability/recreatability of minds, etc. Please: try to catch the direction of the point. As for "modal logic", I probably should have said "modal realism." In any case, you can't brush off the distinguished Tipler's, Davies' et al's arguments with a wave of the hand.

BTW, note the irony that talking about what science is, the need for falsifiable predictions, etc., is itself philosophy and not a physical science. That irony tends to go over people's heads for some reason.

PS - I forgot where that Millennium thread could be found - mind giving me a link?
thnx

island said...

Ha... I beat you to the delete button.

island said...

Repeating my reply for the benefit of Niel:

GEEZ!... get with the program and scroll-up, Niel, because I already did that! Yours is the second address that I posted, five comments back in this very thread.

http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/spr/2005-06/msg0069667.html

http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/spr/2005-06/msg0069767.html

FYI: I was only teasing you when I called you crazy, but generally, you don't respond when you're backed into a corner, and then you bring the same points back up later as if they'd never been discussed, so I've learned to try to take you with a friendly grain of salt.

Making even the sort of characterizations you do about the universe is of course considered "unscientific" philosophizing by the Woits of the World.They could say that isn't really testable, it's interpretative, whatever, etc.

I can assure you that I have no idea what you're talking about here, because I am talking about very concise testable predictions that I intend to explain to John Baez if I ever get the format right.

Now, to your point:

But if modal logic (all possible things exist because existence only of selected items like our universe violates an ultimate, existential principle of sufficient reason to distinguish the possibilities) is right

You really believe that?... I don't, and it sounds a lot like rationale for string theory or maybe Tegmark.

First principles, please! What is the stability mechanism that constrains the universe to the observed and completely unexpected structured configuration? Uncertainty and infinity are not causal mechanisms!

Furthermore, it seems to me that just as there is "infinity" as an upper unreachable limit to numbers, there would be an ultimate plenum or greatest reality.

An unreachable limit isn't an upper limit, and have you read anything by Tipler lately... speaking of people that have gone off their rockers?

Neil' said...

Yeah, I missed that thread reference as being relevant, since I was making a point about how to see the picture detail better (no analysis.) Sure, you aren't literal about me being crazy I hope, but as for metaphors: remember the old "Your theory is crazy, but it's not [var: is it] crazy enough to be true." by Niels Bohr, assuming accuracy. The universe has some "craziness" in it, and I think the absurdity of things like the quantum collapse problem show that "something" cares more about having a viable universe for, say, life, than in being logically neat.

Sure, I make my own points "over and over again" and so do you, and so do most people. I don't see any more engagement to my points than you do with mine. Here's some food for thought about your own views of anthropic ordering (to the extent I correctly understand them), and it's not just my own opinion: The orthodox view is that the number of universes that could "logically exist" or even be "physically plausible" is a lot bigger set than the number (range, actually,) of life-friendly ones. Maybe it's wrong, but it's most of us against your minority viewpoint. You have a certain burden of the argument in that regard.

I talk a lot about "existence" and other rarified notions because it *is* relevant to what can be, as opposed to having selected properties. BTW I don't believe in modal realism, I use it as a Socratic "foil" for other points. Look at my takedown of that idea in a previous thread: Monday, May 15, 2006, Lisa Randall interview...found by googling Bayesian + universes + road runner. My basic point was that the set of all possible universes in a Bayesian self-selection set included too much random junk that would make the change of being in one that *continues* in an orderly way to be negligible, even if we lucked into starting in an orderly one. In any case, trying to find "physical reasons" for our universe to be like it indeed is gets entangled in self-reinforcing use of the physics that does happen to be here. It is not to easy to prove that something quite different couldn't "exist", and to get into that "scientifically" or philosophically, or both, per one's preferences, requires digging into the sticky metaphysics of "existing" and not letting our version of it go in circles. If you're going to ask the question, you gotta play the game.

PS - You might consider using shorter sentences, since that one in your latest post went for 107 words.