Re: necessity of mental memes

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 09:31:35 GMT

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    Subject: Re: necessity of mental memes
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    >Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 04:08:18 -0500
    > Keith Henson <> Re: necessity of mental memesReply-To:
    >At 08:01 PM 22/01/02 -0800, "Joe Dees" <>
    > wrote:
    >> >Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 22:04:40 -0500
    >> > Keith Henson <> Re: necessity of
    >> mental memesReply-To:
    >> >Susan is *technically* right on this point. It is the direct consequence
    >> >of the fact that everything is either directly caused by something else or
    >> >the result of a random event.
    >>I consider it patently absurd to assert that every flickering thought and
    >>every crystal pattern on every snowflake, every wind current and the
    >>topography of every grain of sand was written in the fabric of the
    >>universe one Planck instant after the Big Bang.
    >So do I. But note that random is included.
    >Joe, this is one of those cases where if you take another viewpoint, the
    >problem might make more sense. Consider driving down a road. From your
    >viewpoint, *anything* could happen, rabbits run across the road, an
    >airplane land on the road ahead, etc. Now consider it from the viewpoint
    >of a person far overhead making a film. Now consider it from the viewpoint
    >of someone watching that film later. They will see the chain of events
    >where too much head wind and not filling the tanks caused an aircraft to
    >land on the road in front of your car. The problem is that unless you
    >grant some "outside the universe" cause to human brains, then everything
    >they do is either the result of a causal sequence or random effects. (I
    >lump quantum effects in with random.)
    >Now, what is the practical consequence of this?
    >Let me give you another even stranger viewpoint to ponder, one I used to
    >pull Hans Moravec's leg at that long ago A-life conference. Hans had a
    >manuscript copy of *Mind Children" in his hand and was enthusiastically
    >talking about the continuing development of computers and where we could
    >eventually be able to have computers able to support a human scale
    >I stopped him and asked him if he had considered how unlikely it was that
    >this was the first time we had had this conversation? Hans looked utterly
    >blank (because it had been a few years since the previous time we talked)
    >until I explained that he should take the drop in cost of computer cycles
    >much further, to the point a future version of the Society for Creative
    >Anachronism would simulate the entire 20th century! Of course if they did
    >it once, they would likely run it *many* times, so the chances were next to
    >zero that this was the first time we had had this conversation. (Hans took
    >my off the cuff story spinning seriously enough that I think it wound up in
    >a subsequent book of his.)
    >Now, what is the practical consequence of this?
    >To answer both of these, nothing.
    >In the first case, you just have to be ready to dodge planes or deal with
    >rabbits or whatever come your way as you drive down the road. You just
    >don't know enough about the rest of the system, nor can you learn enough to
    >change your driving habits.
    >In the second, if we are in a simulation, there is nothing we can do about
    >it. We just have to do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.
    >Now to show you that--even if you think like I do--the universe is wired up
    >such that what we do is the result of either random or causal effects, you
    >can (like I do) still work toward distant goals, knowing they may not
    >happen or may be inevitable. Of course, one way to be sure they don't
    >happen is to sit on your fanny!
    >Far Edge Party: One of the main problems of exploring the stellar systems
    >of the galaxy even for very advanced civilizations is that a serial journey
    >even at the speed of light would take so long time that most of the stars
    >would have died during the journey. One solution is to parallelize the
    >problem: the explorer travels to a new system, creates a number of copies
    >(xoxes) of himself and sends them to other systems, while he remains behind
    >exploring the system (this is a variant of exploring the galaxy using von
    >Neumann machines). After around 10 million years, when all of the galaxy
    >has been explored, the explorers gather together at a prearranged place,
    >and exchange or merge their memories ("The Far Edge Party"). This was
    >proposed by Keith Henson as a possible method for a single individual to
    >visit all of the galaxy within a reasonable time. See also excerpt from the
    >Great Mambo Chicken by Ed Regis, which describes the party.
    >[There are two typos in the above. Dedicated explores would explore,
    >duplicate and leave. And assuming 0.5 c, it would only take about 1/4
    >million years. I expect in excess of 50 trillion people to show up for the
    >party. You are all invited. :-) Keith Henson]
    The assumption is that there would be an omniscient and omnipotent viewer and actor to mandate and register such thinge; this is an unfounded (and unfoundable) assumption. OF COURSE everthing appears fron hindsight to be necessary, just as things appear in foresight to be contingent, but in the present cusp where causally effective decisions are made, neither assumption can be made, for the appearance/reality distinction collapses on this plane.
    Consider another point: photonic pairs are constantly popping into and out of phase space. Are we willing to postulate that causality reaches out of existence intop ninexistence to cause them to appear exactly when and where they do, and to return to nonexistence under the same terms? This involves a contradiction in terms born of the overreaching of causality into nonexistence. We can predict within a certain margin or error how many pairs will appear and disapprae, but this statistical model has no force on the individual event, any more than the decay of radioactive elements is predictable IN PRINCIPLE on the basis of individual atoms, or the quantum jump of electrons is predictable IN PRINCIPLE for each atom exposed to energy excitation. Find a working alternative to quantum physics and quantum chromodynamics that possessses anything near their empirical predictive power, and I will perhaps acknoledge that you are speaking from the realm of knpwledge, rather than the!
     realm of belief.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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