From: Krekoski Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Feb 07 2009 - 19:16:24 MST
Yes, but its not an equivalent problem.
two one bits are not two hydrogen atoms.
Two one bits can be thought of as equivalent because they're simply
abstractions. (unless we want to try to say that the 1 bits that I just read
in your string of binary digits are both represented by a specific physical
configuration in my brain somehow-- in which case no, the two one bits are
not the same). If we want to say that the two hydrogen atoms are also
abstractions, that would be true, but then we run into circularity problems
when we say that they're all the same.
Two hydrogen atoms are similar but not the same at a quantum level.
I might even take it further and say that its not altogether clear if a
hydrogen atom exists as a singular discrete entity independently, or if we
just clasiffy it as a discrete entity due to the way we conceptualize the
universe. Case in point, I drank a cup of coffee yesterday morning. I also
drank a cup of coffee the morning before. I dont think however that both
mornings are equivalent-- one was a friday and I was at work, one was a
saturday and I wasn't. They are of course both technically mornings I
suppose. The point is though that someone who speaks a language other than
english and lives in a culture that conceptualizes days differently may not
separate days into mornings, afternoons, and evenings. --- It may make
sense to treat all hydrogen atoms as roughly analogous-- but we only do so
because we care about things like chemistry (though there are isotopes...).
If we cared more about quantum states for example, lumping all hydrogen
atoms into a single category may not be the maximally descriptive.
If we are saying a hydrogen atoms is a hydrogen atom therefore they're the
same-- it is a valid but circular argument. I'm just pointing out that this
is never the case in the actual universe. If we are talking about a
simulated symmetrical room, then yes, its possible that two entities are
qualitatively identical in the physics of the simulation itself (but their
representation in the simulating material will NOT be identical for the same
reason that the two 1 bits I mentioned above are not the same in my brain).
On Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 7:09 AM, Matt Mahoney <email@example.com> wrote:
> --- On Sat, 2/7/09, Krekoski Ross <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > On Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 2:38 AM, John K Clark <email@example.com>
> > > Once upon a time there was an atom of hydrogen named Bob. Bob and a few
> > > billion of his hydrogen friends were cooled down colder and colder
> > > they formed a Bose-Einstein condensate. After they warmed up again all
> > > the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't pick out which one
> > > Bob again. And neither could God, and neither could you.
> > >
> > > John K Clark
> > >
> > Are you arguing that their information is somehow lost? It
> > would still exist in the form of radiated energy in the room.
> No, we are arguing about whether swapping the two 1 bits in the binary
> string 00010010 makes any important difference.
> It is a silly argument until you start copying brains and then deciding
> which copy to destroy. It would remain a silly argument if your brain could
> think about the problem rationally without letting all your genetically
> programmed fears of things that can kill you get in the way.
> -- Matt Mahoney, firstname.lastname@example.org
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