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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #11701
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I think you are moving off along a tangent. If you believe the tiger is real do you agree the scientist want to know what the tiger is made of at a fundamental level? If someone says it all just vibrations of "strings" do you ignore that or ponder?
    Well, string theory is an abstract mathematical model proposing elementary particles to be one dimensional strings vibrating in 10 physical dimensions. It us not falsifiable, it is, up to now, just speculation. I doubt we will ever have certainty about what is really present at the subatomic level. Quantum mechanics premising elementary particles to be zero dimensional points is also just an abstract mathematical model.
    I have to conrent myself with the macro level. At this level, the tiger definitely exists.

  2. #11702
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Well, string theory is an abstract mathematical model proposing elementary particles to be one dimensional strings vibrating in 10 physical dimensions. It us not falsifiable, it is, up to now, just speculation. I doubt we will ever have certainty about what is really present at the subatomic level. Quantum mechanics premising elementary particles to be zero dimensional points is also just an abstract mathematical model.
    I have to conrent myself with the macro level. At this level, the tiger definitely exists.
    yes that's one of the points: this thread is about reality, string theory is a set of theories actually, about reality, there are others of course, some testable to some degree and we can choose to believe in one or more but we know we are considering a mind model of how reality might work. It goes a lot deeper than seeing a tiger. If you insist on the tiger being real because you experience it you are not very far down the rabbit hole that science is exploring. And the MDR point is that the mind is all we have to make those predictive models. The mind is a prediction device and being is the experience of having a mind. I would have thought that continuing to post in this place is about more than saying "the tiger exists" but clearly I got that wrong.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #11703
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    Not wrong profloater. We are all different here and have different perspectives and expectations. When science leaves the realm of the observable and creates black box models is where it stops for me. But that is my point of view...

  4. #11704
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    No, 8 is not an attribute!
    8 is not an attribute of a group of 8 tigers? You sure about that?
    You can not compare the existence of physical stripes on a tiger with a number counting them.
    Why not?
    Stripes are part of a tiger, the number 8 is not.
    A stripe is not part of a tiger. Hair is part of a tiger, pigment is part of a tiger. A stripe is a mental abstraction, much like the 8 in 8 tigers. The tiger does not have any idea what you mean by "a stripe."
    A tiger is physical.
    Is the mass of a tiger physical?

  5. #11705
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    ... Hair is part of a tiger ...
    I just think of hair as fur these days. That's what the science says, and I can see why.

  6. #11706
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    whoa! haven't checked this post for 12 months and it's STILL going!
    What have i missed?

  7. #11707
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    More successful tests of the MDR hypothesis. The successful test we are currently on in is that fact that some minds build a sense of reality where if you have 8 tigers, the 8 tigers are real, but the fact that there are 8 of them isn't real. Needless to say, other minds feel that is a rather arbitrary way to build a concept of reality.

  8. #11708
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I see a science fiction story coming on-- one where autistic people invent a means of communication that more average people have no access to and cannot understand, and the new communication ends up being so superior it determines the direction taken in the evolution of human culture.
    David Brin's Existence has some elements of this.

  9. #11709
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    Fitting title.

  10. #11710
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    hasn't this been discussed already?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    More successful tests of the MDR hypothesis. The successful test we are currently on in is that fact that some minds build a sense of reality where if you have 8 tigers, the 8 tigers are real, but the fact that there are 8 of them isn't real. Needless to say, other minds feel that is a rather arbitrary way to build a concept of reality.
    i recall a part of this we we talked about whether math was 'science' in the sense that it is not obvious how 2+2 could not =4 and therefore cannot be falsifiable... if falsifiability is your critereon for a valid scientific theory.
    Probably i would say that the number 8 is 'more real' than the "tiger" or it's "stripes"... or at least i would identify it as in a different category. ... but i am sure all of this has been discussed already.................

  11. #11711
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    another recollection from school: how a branching plant achieves the Fibonacci series. In biology that time, plant tropisms work by chemistry so that a lower bud is inhibited by a growing tip for example. It turns out a simple rule of tropism grows into that mathematical series. Now pondering that is the plant using maths or is it using an effective mechanism for growth? I would say we use our maths language to make predictions that test the tropism idea. Maybe a believer in deities would believe the tropism was devised to follow a maths archetype. It is difficult, nay impossible to test between those beliefs. Maths is a tool of science, science is making predictions from hypotheses, reality is what we think it is!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  12. #11712
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    8 is not an attribute of a group of 8 tigers? You sure about that?Why not?A stripe is not part of a tiger. Hair is part of a tiger, pigment is part of a tiger. A stripe is a mental abstraction, much like the 8 in 8 tigers. The tiger does not have any idea what you mean by "a stripe."Is the mass of a tiger physical?
    No, 8 is just a method of counting. It is not physical for Pete's sake! 8 tigers are physical, the number 8 is not.
    The tiger has no idea by what 8 tigers means either, for that matter...yes, the mass of a tiger is physical (I sense a trap being set...)

  13. #11713
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    are numbers 'more real' than tigers?

    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    No, 8 is just a method of counting. It is not physical for Pete's sake! 8 tigers are physical, the number 8 is not.
    The tiger has no idea by what 8 tigers means either, for that matter...yes, the mass of a tiger is physical (I sense a trap being set...)
    Maybe i am conflating: real = science= falsifiability?
    I like these 2 opposing discussions from: http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/...to-mathematics
    Apologies for the big cut and paste and thanks to the authors.(my headings).


    MATH IS NOT SCIENCE
    although often called "The Language of Science", Mathematics is not the same as Science (or, more specifically, Natural Science).

    Mathematics is a specific application of philosophy and logic to the concept of quantity. whereas in Science that quantity of "stuff", whatever that stuff is, is salient, the techniques of mathematics is necessary to understand more fully what the quantities are, how they may be related, and to speculate in how some quantities may be related to others. in that, there are predictions of how specific physical or natural quantities will behave, experiments devised, observations made, and these predictions are supported or falsified. scientific theories can be developed and supported from that.

    but there is no such counterpart in pure mathematics. sometimes conjectures are made (such as Bertrand's postulate or Fermat's Last Theorem), but they are just conjectures until they are proved by derivation, not by observation as is done in science.

    now these two conjectures, now proven mathematical facts will never be disproved in the future. that is also different than falsifiability in science. General Relativity at this time seems like the unrefuted truth, but in another time, so was Newtonian mechanics and gravitation, but now we understand that to be a very close approximation to the truth for slow relative speeds and not in extremely intense gravitational fields. so nothing in Science has the status of never, ever, being falsified.

    but in mathematics, a properly proven theorem will never be disproven given the same axioms to the theorem.

    it's different. mathematics and natural science are not the same things. mathematics, although a salient tool in science, is not science. Popperian falsifiability applies to science. it is a demarcation of ultimately what is science and what is not. not all scientists agree with that demarcation, but i do.
    shareimprove this answer

    answered Jan 2 '16 at 19:29
    robert bristow-johnson
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    MATH IS SCIENCE:

    absolutely the concept of falsifiability applies to mathematics (at least in a roughly metaphorical way, and maybe much more)! am not a big expert on Popper but ever since hearing it, think it is possibly more relevant/applicable in math than almost any other science/field, in the following sense.

    math works through the advance of hypothesize, test, verify; in this way it is no different than any other scientific field, and in many ways embodies all the others in a more pure form. the hypothesis is typically called a "conjecture". there are many open conjectures, some quite famous, and very old. (eg there are greek number theory problems over 2 millenia old). but a single counterexample is a falsification of a conjecture. notice that one does not need to do complex experiments to refute or replicate a falsifiable claim. its all abstract, cerebral/mental.

    however there is also nowadays even an experimental/empirical falsifiability going on in math, in increasingly widespread/significant use: computers are used to explore conjectures and find "not too big" counterexamples.

    note, however, there are some senses where falsifiability fails in math. undecidable problems do not have algorithmic answers (eg Hilberts 10th problem, undecidability of finding solutions to diophantine polynomials). (in fact its striking how many parallels there are in the theory of falsifiability to undecidability.)

    some theorems are unprovable. some problems are extremely difficult and may never be resolved. (eg Riemann problem open 1.5 century even after intense focus). etc. also the issue of replicability of falsifiability rears its head with computer assisted proofs eg famous 4 color thm. can they be trusted? etc.

    it is tempting to propose that all well-formed math conjectures are falsifiable and Hilbert had such a belief early on & wrote about it and the idea motivated some of his own conjectures, but of course Godel strikingly proved otherwise.

    another issue that arises is "proofs that were later found to be incorrect" (Mathoverflow). so human fallibility and falsifiability are interrelated. anyway one might say that mathematicians are more rigorous about and dedicated to falsifiability than any other "scientists".

  14. #11714
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    Well the internet is an amazing place!
    Fantastic video of arguments for and against Berkeley's Idealism... which besides the God bit..... seems to resemble KenG's MDR.
    But imagine these deep philosophical discussions being had by 2 British thugs in an animated Tarantino/ Guy Ritchie film..... BRILLIANT.

    http://youtu.be/v-lDlxVQy4c

    i have to say that absent god or cartesian solipsism 'i doubt therefore i am' .... idealism doesn't seem particularly believable.
    Last edited by plant; 2017-Mar-31 at 12:27 PM.

  15. #11715
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    i recall a part of this we we talked about whether math was 'science' in the sense that it is not obvious how 2+2 could not =4 and therefore cannot be falsifiable... if falsifiability is your critereon for a valid scientific theory.
    Probably i would say that the number 8 is 'more real' than the "tiger" or it's "stripes"... or at least i would identify it as in a different category. ... but i am sure all of this has been discussed already.................
    Indeed it has, but repetition is not necessarily a bad thing (a key principle of science is reproducibility!). For the purposes of testing the MDR hypothesis, it suffices that your mind regards 8 as a "more real" aspect of 8 tigers than their stripes, whereas gzhpcu regards it as a "less real" attribute of that group of tigers because it is not by itself a physical entity. This is precisely what the MDR hypothesis predicts: that different minds will mean different things when they invoke their concept of "reality." So the MIR proponents are left at sea, pondering "which is the actual MIR", whereas MDR users have no difficulty here at all, they always expected this outcome from the start.

  16. #11716
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    8 tigers are physical, the number 8 is not.
    The question was, if a stripe is a real aspect of a real tiger, then why isn't 8 a real aspect of 8 tigers?
    The tiger has no idea by what 8 tigers means either, for that matter...yes, the mass of a tiger is physical (I sense a trap being set...)
    If the mass of the tiger is physical, then is the amount of mass of the tiger physical too? Yes, it's a trap.

  17. #11717
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    i have to say that absent god or cartesian solipsism 'i doubt therefore i am' .... idealism doesn't seem particularly believable.
    That's an interesting version of DesCartes. But remember, the MDR hypothesis not about either solipsism or idealsm, or indeed any kind of "ism" at all. It isn't philosophy, it isn't a dedication to a package of chosen beliefs, it is a simple scientific hypothesis which is very testable and tests out spectacularly well in this very thread. The MDR hypothesis is:

    When minds are seen to invoke and effectively utilize a concept of reality, they do so in ways that can be observed to depend on those minds, such that different minds mean different things by the reality concept, and use that concept in different ways.

    What's more, a corollary to the hypothesis is that since science is about objective tests of mental models, the possible existence or non-existence of some "mind independent reality" has no projection into science, and nothing at all to do with science, for the simple reason that by the MDR hypothesis, the notion of reality that is used in science and tested by science is a mind-dependent notion, used differently by different minds in the same way that the notion of a tiger, an atom, or a gauge field, is used differently in different contexts and by different minds. In other words, since science only tests models, and since models depend on minds, the purvey of science is MDR, and belief in MIR is always an arbitrary belief system that is never involved in scientific outcomes any more than a religion is, though of course individual scientists can use any beliefs and any religions as motivation for the decisions they make in the course of doing science, or doing anything else in their lives.

    The relevance to science of the MDR hypothesis is that it points out a glaring omission in modern physics, which is that the physicist isn't in there anywhere. There is good reason for this, we always make progress in science by leaving out the things we don't know how to deal with, and choosing contexts where the things we left out don't seem to matter much. But nowadays people have started talking about "fundamental laws" and "theories of everything", so of course the MDR hypothesis shows that we will never be able to claim we have a "theory of everything" as long as it does not include the roles of our minds. This is different take on the "mind/body problem," in the sense that the usual approach is to ask how does mind emerge from the fundamental laws that have nothing to do with mind, the "TOE" that doesn't involve the physicist, but decribes the "MIR." I'm saying that the mind/body problem is not about MIR at all, it is about understanding the role of the mind in everything we call reality in the first place. That's the "tiger chasing its tail" metaphor that has come up so often in this thread.

    If one wishes to consider the overlap with philosophy, there certainly are important philosophical implications of the MDR hypothesis. My own conclusion is that what philosophers mean by "realism" and "antirealism" has the situation exactly backward, in the sense that "realism" is far less realistic than what they call antirealism. Realism is essentially belief in MIR, which requires ignoring how well-tested the MDR hypothesis is. But what philosophers call "antirealism" is actually the acceptance of a hypothesis that tests out extremely well, motivating us to discard the idea that "reality" is something completely external to us that is handed to us as a kind of purely external boundary condition that our minds attempt to understand. What tests out much better is that "reality" is our word, our concept, and it never means anything other than what our minds are capable of meaning by it. It is how we make sense, not the "thing" we are making sense of. What all this means is, there is no such things as "scientific realism", that's a complete pretense, for the simple reason that belief in MIR, and science, have zero demonstrable intersection, meaning that they have the same intersection as invisible unicorns and science. It doesn't mean MIR is falsified by science, it means MIR is untestable by science, which also means that "realism" as the philosophers define it has nothing to do with science. I regard that as a problem with the definitions.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2017-Mar-31 at 03:03 PM.

  18. #11718
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    The question was, if a stripe is a real aspect of a real tiger, then why isn't 8 a real aspect of 8 tigers?If the mass of the tiger is physical, then is the amount of mass of the tiger physical too? Yes, it's a trap.
    Quite simply because the stripe is physically present on the tiger's body. 8, of itself is not physically present. 8 is just the result of counting.

  19. #11719
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    I often quote New Scientist. My copy arrived today with articles on reality. I have a sneaking suspicion they are reading this thread. Noticed the incompleteness theorem quoted and the limitations of being mind based. But next week they promise "Reality is real after all" I have no connection to NS other than a subscriber for something like 55 years.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  20. #11720
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I often quote New Scientist. My copy arrived today with articles on reality. I have a sneaking suspicion they are reading this thread. Noticed the incompleteness theorem quoted and the limitations of being mind based. But next week they promise "Reality is real after all" I have no connection to NS other than a subscriber for something like 55 years.
    Looks like I will have to read that issue!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Quite simply because the stripe is physically present on the tiger's body. 8, of itself is not physically present. 8 is just the result of counting.
    Again: is the amount of a tiger's mass a physically real attribute of a tiger?

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    But next week they promise "Reality is real after all" I have no connection to NS other than a subscriber for something like 55 years.
    My answer to that is, of course reality is real, we'd be pretty fooling to choose meanings for those two words where that would not be the case!

  23. #11723
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    My answer to that is, of course reality is real, we'd be pretty fooling to choose meanings for those two words where that would not be the case!
    Yes well privately I am hoping Verlinde passes a few more tests. There is a quite unscientific appeal to the idea that entanglement evolves and creates gravity as it does so. Of course the gravity lensing experiments support both GR and Verlinde equally so the mainstream will not budge yet. But my point here is that we have now another competing scientific hypothesis about the fundamental nature of reality and that shows how important it is to avoid dogma in science.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  24. #11724
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Again: is the amount of a tiger's mass a physically real attribute of a tiger?
    no, no two tigers have the same mass. Mass is, the amount is not.
    Last edited by gzhpcu; 2017-Apr-01 at 11:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    no, no two tigers have the same mass. Mass is, the amount is not.
    So no two tigers really have the same amount of real mass, but the amount of mass is not real. How do you know two tigers don't really have the same mass if their amount of mass is not real?

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Yes well privately I am hoping Verlinde passes a few more tests.
    Yes, one can visualize a future where both of our two great theories of today, general relativity and quantum mechanics, are both replaced as emergent phenomena from the statistical behavior of much more complicated and hitherto unknown subsystems. Quantum mechanics already has a little of that, with Feynman's path integral approach, such that the amplitudes are already emergent of a vast array of unseen parts, but the amplitudes are not themselves regarded as statistical, the probabilities appear only when connecting amplitudes to predictions via the quasi-magical Born rule. The Bohmian interpretation introduces the probability at a deeper level, which might one day inspire a testably different formulation in the same way that thermodynamics was later testably reformulated using statistical mechanics of vast numbers of subsystems.

    The relevance of such speculation to this thread is that we can easily see from the historical record that each time a scientific revolution gave us a totally new way to think about "what reality actually is," we threw out the old way and imagined that the new way was somehow "closer to the actual truth of the MIR." But what possible scientific difference could it make if the new models are "closer to the actual MIR", versus simply being better models? The accuracy converges, the ideas about "what reality actually is" does not. MIR thinking must treat this fact as a crisis, but in MDR thinking, it's what you expect.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2017-Apr-01 at 01:02 PM.

  27. #11727
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes, one can visualize a future where both of our two great theories of today, general relativity and quantum mechanics, are both replaced as emergent phenomena from the statistical behavior of much more complicated and hitherto unknown subsystems. Quantum mechanics already has a little of that, with Feynman's path integral approach, such that the amplitudes are already emergent of a vast array of unseen parts, but the amplitudes are not themselves regarded as statistical, the probabilities appear only when connecting amplitudes to predictions via the quasi-magical Born rule. The Bohmian interpretation introduces the probability at a deeper level, which might one day inspire a testably different formulation in the same way that thermodynamics was later testably reformulated using statistical mechanics of vast numbers of subsystems.

    The relevance of such speculation to this thread is that we can easily see from the historical record that each time a scientific revolution gave us a totally new way to think about "what reality actually is," we threw out the old way and imagined that the new way was somehow "closer to the actual truth of the MIR." But what possible scientific difference could it make if the new models are "closer to the actual MIR", versus simply being better models? The accuracy converges, the ideas about "what reality actually is" does not. MIR thinking must treat this fact as a crisis, but in MDR thinking, it's what you expect.
    Exactly, Verlinde's and similar ideas linking quantum models with Einstein's explanations is not a crisis in understanding an MIR but a typical scientific progression worthy of imaginative testing. It is surely enormously exciting that, after a period of anxiety over two models being at the same time powerful yet contradictory, human ingenuity of mind begins to find a further model which might unite them. Amazing that we have the technology to test cosmological ideas, hopeful that these mind models can inspire further examples. Humble that we still work within the realm of mind and consensus between minds.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    So no two tigers really have the same amount of real mass, but the amount of mass is not real. How do you know two tigers don't really have the same mass if their amount of mass is not real?
    You asked if the amount of mass is a physical attribute of a tiger. There is no amount of mass which is typical of a tiger. The amount of mass can apply to many different things. The physical attributes of a tiger are its fur, claws, teeth, weight, coloration.

  29. #11729
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    You asked if the amount of mass is a physical attribute of a tiger.
    I asked if you take one tiger, is the amount of mass that tiger has a real attribute of that tiger. So is it, or isn't it?
    The physical attributes of a tiger are its fur, claws, teeth, weight, coloration.
    Ah, so the weight of a tiger is a real physical attribute of a tiger. How about the amount of its weight, is that a real physical aspect of the tiger, or isn't it?

  30. #11730
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    Yes, the mass of one particular tiger is an attribute of that tiger.

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