(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing (fwd)

maru marudubshinki at gmail.com
Tue Feb 8 13:17:50 PST 2005

Iorwerth Thomas wrote:

>> It's like trying to experience a 9 spatial dimension universe.  We 
>> might work out the math of it, but our internal states will never 
>> reflect it, since they didn't evolve to do so.  We might reflect the 
>> changes in our enviroment (our calculations about the enviroment of a 
>> 9-d universe) but we will never get internal states directly 
>> corresponding.
> I think there's a guy who's working on a program that helps people 
> visualise 4-d surfaces.  But not 9-d...  It can get quite tricky in 
> 2-d as well.  I just finished reading the chapter in Penrose's 'The 
> Road to Reality' on gauge fibre bundles and I'm not sure my mind has 
> quite survived the experience.
>> And of course selection pressures differ.  That's why we can witness 
>> evolution, instead of always looking for indirect evidence.
>> I'd like to hear a 'non-enviromental' influence. But of course, you 
>> must remember, the 'NE' influence must not fall under any of the 
>> general rules/heuristics evolution or culture (which derives from 
>> evolution-given abilities and evolutionary enviromental influences, 
>> remember.) have worked out.  I suspect you will have trouble :)
> Arrgh.  Sounds like a 'limits of thought' type problem (in order to 
> think about it we'd have to think what can't be thought, paraphrasing 
> Wittgenstein).  This doesn't mean that such a thing can't exist - the 
> main difference between biology and physics (so I've heard) is that 
> exceptions to general rules are commomplace - but it does mean that I 
> can't give an example.  I can wave my hands furiously and try and 
> convince you that one _could_ exist, but you'd be rational in ignoring 
> me.  Oh well.  :)
> Iorwerth
Well, if 4-d things really interest you (and you run a *nix), the guy 
who maintains www.urticator.net wrote a 4,3,2,1 -d maze, which you can 
explore from a First Person perspective.  It's really pretty cool, and 
gave me a wee bit of insight into multiple dimensions. Of course, all I 
have are heuristics :)
And I'd only be rational in ignoring if I was a good logical postivist 
(darnit, confirmation *can* too be support for a theory!  We don't have 
to rely on just disproof.)
But I'd tend to agree with you about the 'limits of thought'- all our 
ideas come from things-in-enviroment, through things-in-enviroment, and 
processed by things-in-enviroment and designed by that great, 
occaisionally short-sighted, blind watchmaker called evolution.  It's 
not surprising that we'd be blinkered.
I don't like ending things with 'silence' to ref wittengenstein, so I'll 
add a little poser:
Consider that every situation can be broken down to a binary choice (you 
never are forced to take three-at-a-time; this is possible, there are 
several election procedures which would work under such circumstances.) 
Further consider that there is always a better choice, a choice that 
however infintesmially better it might fulfill your desires, is none the 
less at least a little better than the other, so you always can choose 
if you think about it.  Another way of putting it is you are never in a 
states of complete ignorance where you might as well flip a coin.  Now, 
choices are always made according to desires, and expectations about 
those, whether those desires be apparently irrational or masochistic, 
they are desires nonetheless.  So in all these situations you break down 
your choices to whatever of the two satisfies your desires best. Which 
means that your choice, to someone who knows you well enough (where 
'well enough' ranges from a good friend, to requiring a vast scientific 
enterprise's knowledge), are predictable. Which means you are 
deterministic. But wait! What if you disagree? What if you think that we 
don't always follow what we see as in the best interests of our desires? 
Well then, that means some of the time you will be choosing against 
one's interests and desires, and by definition that's bad! So you are 
confronted with a di-lemna: Either you are a slave to your desires, and 
free will is an incoherent, but comforting illusion; or you are doomed 
to unhappiness, when you 'freely' choose against what really matters to 
youy, what makes you happy.
Nice bilemna eh?


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