From: David (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Aug 12 2004 - 16:29:20 MDT
David Clark on Marc Geddes (Philosophical Platform):
I sent you some thoughts about why your main themes were incorrect or at least not supported by any argument. It is one thing to hold some opinion but those opinions can only have weight if they have persuasive arguments to back them up. I see very few arguments to back up some very huge "jumps in logic". If I believe that "gravity forces all things to rise above the earth unless those things are tied down." any simple experiment will prove that this is incorrect. My belief that this proposition is correct has no merit whatsoever without valid reasons to back it up.
I also believe in libertarianism as a whole but not necessarily all the ideas of some others and not all of the ones you do.
I believe in transhumanism as a whole but not in some of the "altruism" of Eliezer S. Yudkowsky.
It is this similarity (of my beliefs to yours) at the gross level that has made me respond at all to your ideas.
My main problems with your "Philosophical Platform" is your professing people should be free to think, act etc on the one hand, and advocate that there is absolute truth on the other. Absolute truth in ethics and morality and "rational people will come to the same(your) conclusions eventually" would allow you to decide who is a rational thinker and who is not. Who appointed you, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky or anyone else to be the judge of what is right, wrong, the truth or not. There is no truth but only sets of arguments that have varying degrees of weight depending on a person's basic philosophies. State your arguments and then lets see what conclusions stand or fall. Conclusions without arguments remind me of religion which forces people to turn off their brains and "believe".
Without arguments, there is no basis for conversation on any topic and I won't waste any more of your or my time.
You make the contention that " If physical things are equivalent to mathematics/computations then brains are too.". In mathematics one of the first concepts taught in about grade 5 is the difference between a number and a numeral. A number is a count of something (real or otherwise) and a numeral is a label that is assigned to that number. The assignment of the numeral is arbitrary but normally agreed to for the purposes of conversation with other humans. A number in mathematics exists for all humans regardless of their own language but the numeral for the number 1 can be 1, I, one, or any other numeral. Mathematics is a numeral. No mathematics affects or changes anything that exists in the real world. Mathematics was invented by many human beings over a great many years and even though experiments and information in it's creation came from a study of the real world, it is still just a numeral. A label. A simulation in some cases. The physical universe might inspire parts of mathematics but I have first hand knowledge of parts of Mathematics (Lattice Theory) that have absolutely no connection with the real world. How can you say that the physical world and mathematics are equivalent, faced with the previous undeniable fact? (Equivalence meant a one to one correspondence the last I checked.) How can the mind which is obviously not physical (the brain is but it only manifests the mind. It is not the mind itself.) be the same as all physical reality? Even to talk about reality and mix the idea of abstract reality (something that is only real in our mind) and physical reality in the same sentence seems to require a huge amount of justification and rational argument. To consider all the physical universe (stars, galaxies, earth and plain old dirt) to be equivalent to human minds seems to place an impossible importance on the human race, that I see absolutely no evidence of.
I just got the message from Simon Gordon which said [ "Mathematics" in this case should be read as "the platonic reality" or "the domain of all abstract entities.].
Is it ok at SL4 to make up your own language? I took math at university and I heard nothing about "domain of abstract entities". Maybe I missed those classes?
Show me where my arguments are incorrect!
It is easy to state conclusions backed by no arguments and it is not ok just to quote someone else, famous or otherwise.
Conclusions backed by no arguments are the same as no conclusions at all. (So much for rational thought.)
I wish you all the best in your quest. (to Marc Geddes)
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