Sunday, February 27, 2011

When Nothing Makes Logical Sense

When nothing makes logical sense in itself, then to what, if not some superior kind of consciousness, does it fall to construct sense?

It would be nonsense to try to explain an idea of conscious free will as anything that could emerge solely from material that is bound through and through to nothing but rules of physics. It would also be nonsense to try to explain the physics or our universe as emerging solely from its own physics, as in a chicken birthing itself. That sort of bivalent reasoning devours its own tail when it tries to derive free will from physics.  Even so, there appear to be gaps in our notions of physics, which can never be closed by a unifying or standard model that is based on nothing but bivalent reasoning. I suspect bivalent reasoning becomes circular in either case, whether one wishes to believe in an emergent quality of free will or whether one wishes to believe that a quantifying model of physics can be superior enough to avail the derivation of every other aspect, both material and moral. I say we have no choice but to make choices. So, what's a materialist to say: That matter has no choice but to make choices? lol.

When it comes to the necessity of making choices, such as about how best to inspire and sustain a decent civilization, what's an intelligent materialist or moralist to do? What's a conscious being to reason (trivalently?), when reason (Godel?) shows unable coherently to exhaust a universal set of all the possibilities that are mutually exclusive?  I say, what quality of crap is this? Is it horsecrap, bull crap, unmitigated crap, or precious crap?


From Dave:  The idea of free will as something beyond mentally tangible (conceivable) is nothing more than a human creation. A dog has as much or as little as we have - but doesn't ask why. The question therfore must be contained only within our minds and therefore depends upon circular reasoning.

From Dlanor:  Perhaps a notion of a singularity in intelligence may relate to an even more interesting (or ridiculous?) question:  What ought we consider the purpose, if anything, of conscious free will? Is it the mere accumulation of power through the application of reason? Is that which is the best which we ought to be about nothing more than a matter of the unfolding discernment of reason?

I received the following, which I attribute to an interesting source:
The Singularity is an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.

Accelerating change:
In futures studies and the history of technology, accelerating change is a perceived increase in the rate of technological (and sometimes social and cultural) progress throughout history, which may suggest faster and more profound change in the future. While many have suggested accelerating change, the popularity of this theory in modern times is closely associated with the ideas and writings of Raymond Kurzweil, especially in relation to his theories about technological singularity.

In 1938, Buckminster Fuller introduced the word ephemeralization to describe the trends of "doing more with less" in chemistry, health and other areas of industrial development. In 1946, Fuller published a chart of the discoveries of the chemical elements over time to highlight the development of accelerating acceleration in human knowledge acquisition.

In 1958, Stanisław Ulam wrote in reference to a conversation with John von Neumann:
One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.


Anonymous said...

From Dave: One of the qualities of mathematics that I like is the idea of proof. When one proves something in math, one does not have to test the proof against a case - or any case for that matter. The proof stands without support - and the reasoning is not circular. Although a mathematical proof is based on founding assumptions, the assumptions are accepted without question (I know you will attack this point) - eg, a straight line is the shortest distance between two points (in Euclidean space). But, the very fact that free will is a questionable concept means that it is not a founding principle or acceptable assumption. It may or may not exist, and if it does, it does so only as a concept within thought - there is no proof outside of that. Therefore, any derivatives of this concept are equally suspicious.


Dave, you are correct (so there is nothing to attack) in that bivalent math is amenable of consistent proof --- within its axioms. You also know that what bivalent math does not account for is why there are bivalent math, mathematicians, and things to apply math to.

For some, this stirs a concern, (a trivalent intuition?), that perhaps bivalent logic is not the end all, be all. Regardless, I agree that such concern cannot be reduced to a bivalent demonstration. One says there are no such things as morality or purpose, yet we "should" choose to act as if there were. The other says there may be such things as morality or purpose, but they are under the appreciative synchronization of a rather whimsical source. Both often do their best to seek fulfillment and get along.

My concern is more global --- both in territiory and history. I have a suspicion, although I am by no means entirely confident of it. I think religious zealotry is often dangerous to good people and slow critters. But I also think a loss of assimilated belief in a source of shared, higher values is corrosive of decent civilization. Some think the America of religious belief is arcane and abusive. I suspect that a world whose leaders have lost all faith in a higher source of decency and purpose may, at our juncture, be more the cause than the byproduct of a sudden fall. Those who do not like a religious America are not going to love a faithless world.

I'm reading Sam Harris' The End of Faith and The Moral Landscape. I began with the idea that he was missing much. The more I read, the more I sense that he has seen much more than I at first suspected. The one thing I don't get is why he does not see that his own ideas are much more about a higher assimilator of values than he admits. That is, except for his denials of certain words, he quite often seems, to my lights, to be highly religious indeed. Solzhenitsyn thought many of our present problems are traceable to loss of faith in a decent source of values. That's a thought that cuts both ways, and I will need to consider much more before assimilating a firm and supportable opinion out of what are presently only "my" personal suspicions and intuitions.

Anonymous said...

Hey K ---, lol. My brother would call it b*******, under the sign of Taurus, as there is no zodiac sign for an overstuffed horse. His take, based on pure materialism, is: "The idea of free will as something beyond mentally tangible (conceivable) is nothing more than a human creation. A dog has as much or as little as we have - but doesn't ask why. The question therfore must be contained only within our minds and therefore depends upon circular reasoning."

Your take seems to be based on a notion of free will and underlying good and evil, which my brother obviously denies. My thought is that both materialism and morality are accomodated, and that the notion of free will does relate to an essential idea --- one which is beyond reduction to pure science or materialism. Still, I agree with both of you, in part, that the idea of a moral or material singularity is, at its core, fundamentally self contradictory b.s.

Materially, if all is derivative of a big bang, that begs a question: just how many big bangs have gone before? Somehow, the notion of "an infinitude of singularities" just doesn't make much sense to me. The only way I make sense of it is to suppose there is a source of good and evil, but even that source may "change its mind," as contexts continue to unfold. If I believe that, then the below is, in relation to my belief, bullshit.

Regardless, I suspect any "quickening" to some all powerful presence would tumble before it could ever reach completion. After all, what would be the point of being all powerful (or all beneficial), if there were no one left to be powerful (or beneficial) over?

Anonymous said...

How one processes one's search for fulfillment depends on that for or with which one bonds or identifies, which depends upon that which one comes to believe is worth one's while. Fulfillment is not sought purely by reason, but often out of whimsy, borne out of feedback and unexpected feelings of association. How ought one to pursue worthwhile fulfillment? What should Occam's solution be to the "problem of ought's?" What could be simpler, for deriving ought from is, than to suppose (model, believe, or function as if) qualitative oughts are part of is, i.e., that "is" encompasses not only the quantitatively empirical (physical), but also the qualitatively spiritual and moral (non-physical). I suspect Occam would suggest that ought does not "emerge from" IS, but abides coextensively and contemporaneously with IS --- everywhere and always. As in: Perspectives of consciousness ought to pursue that which they identify as being, to them, meaningfully fulfilling. How the Synchronizer means to assimilate the various perspectives may be better apprehended by them to the extent they, in good faith and good will, remain receptive, i.e., as trying to be one God's side, i.e., the side of a caring, civilizing, assimilating Source.