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Offline mobius

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2018, 02:50:24 am »
PHILOSOPHY 407 WITH PROFESSOR(HOBO) MOBIUS

I will get back to the biblical reviews but first I had some other ideas I wanted to lay out;

chance = ignorance

This begins a series (which I probably won't finish) I've been wanting to do for a while explaining my personal philosophies on life. It's kind of necessary to discuss things in a certain order however, starting with the simpler concepts so the more complicated ones can be understood. I may do research but not much (which means I’ll probably do a lot). These are intended to be thought experiments without getting too technical. Some of these things at least at the beginning may seem very simple but it will get more complicated as we go along.

I begin this by making entries each of which will focus on a concept. I explain my stance on these concepts and how I think they relate to us as humans or human society and separately to the physical universe. A few terms I will be using (possibly abusing but I don’t care);
immaterial: means lacking relevance or importance; not made of matter, not physically real.
abstract: for the purpose of this blog, an “abstract” is a creation of the human mind. It’s a word or set of phrases with meaning, but it’s more than that; it describes and relates to many layers and structures in the mind. Abstracts however have no meaning what-so-ever without a human in the picture. A quick example is the word “tree”. Trees exist without people there to see them, but the word itself means nothing to the tree without humans. Trees don’t talk like us; trees have been around for thousands of years before we started speaking “tree” and likely could exist for thousands more if we disappeared.

Today I will attempt to define a deceptively simple concept: Chance and randomness.  What is it?

If you roll an ordinary 6 sided die; what is the outcome? Is it random?

You'd probably say definitively: "yes"

But let's look at it more closely;
You may say "I don't know the outcome" or its "one of 6 possible outcomes." We can calculate with probability a more detailed answer. But we cannot say with certainty what the outcome will be. So, the statement “I don’t know” still holds true. It is still uncertain, even if uncertain within a limited boundary. We call this outcome "random".
But what if we could know?
What if we could calculate exactly how the die will roll and where it will land? If we knew or could somehow predict the exact motions of your arm, the die, the table it rolls on etc... it's conceivable that we could know what the outcome would be with every roll. Whether or not this is realistic is immaterial. The point is that: in this exercise; I can know with exact certainty the outcome 
Would you call this random?
Since you know what the answer is going to be, we say no. Because there is a pattern, or there is "order".

Take now the example of computer games and programs; when programming a game where you want a random element (like dice rolling). Since the computer programmer is dictating in a very direct and precise manner how this game works (inherently this is how programming works for the most part); they necessarily calculate everything with 100% (or as close as they can to that) accuracy. It's (as far as I know atm) impossible to create a 'true' random program, hence the name 'pseudo-random'. What is usually created is an algorithm with a huge number of 'seeds' which generate many different patterns so complex an ordinary person cannot predict them on their own.
Another simpler way of getting this randomness is to simply remove yourself from the deciding process. Example: pick up a menu and pick a food item at random. What do you usually do? Close your eyes and put your finger down on a random spot. You've eliminated your vision so your hand was less guided. If you couldn’t limit your senses you’d have a very difficult time *not* making a conscious decision and feeling honest with yourself as calling it random.
So, going back to the original question: what is randomness?
It appears that if we have answers, have knowledge and can predict or understand outcomes, we don't call it random. If we lack knowledge or understanding or simply remove ourselves from understanding the whole picture; the result is we don't know how the outcome was arrived at, thus we call this outcome random or chance.
Thus in my opinion, chance and ignorance are essentially one and the same. Randomness is an abstract; a mental construct we use to 'explain away' our ignorance of the matter at hand. Randomness is immaterial to the universe.
"There is fear in separateness" - Ram Dass



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Offline Simon

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2018, 03:20:57 am »
For game programming, pseudorandomness with seeded algorithm is unpredictable enough.

If security matters, you can buy stronger randomness. Random.org takes it from atmospheric noise (weather measurements) and even better would be atomic decay, that's as random as you can get.

Quote
It appears that if we have answers, have knowledge and can predict or understand outcomes, we don't call it random. If we lack knowledge or understanding or simply remove ourselves from understanding the whole picture; the result is we don't know how the outcome was arrived at, thus we call this outcome random or chance.

Who is "we"? Many say that atomic decay is random. Some say that Downward Reduction is random, but I claim that learning some principles gives a huge edge on Downward Reduction.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 03:32:37 am by Simon »

Offline mobius

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2018, 01:39:50 am »
Sorry I forget to respond to this way back;
For game programming, pseudo randomness with seeded algorithm is unpredictable enough.

If security matters, you can buy stronger randomness. Random.org takes it from atmospheric noise (weather measurements) and even better would be atomic decay, that's as random as you can get.

Quote
It appears that if we have answers, have knowledge and can predict or understand outcomes, we don't call it random. If we lack knowledge or understanding or simply remove ourselves from understanding the whole picture; the result is we don't know how the outcome was arrived at, thus we call this outcome random or chance.

Who is "we"? Many say that atomic decay is random. Some say that Downward Reduction is random, but I claim that learning some principles gives a huge edge on Downward Reduction.

-- Simon

"we" is everyone https://www.dictionary.com/browse/chance?s=t
for our purposes (our very limited lives) pseudo-randomness is of course good enough. I argue in light of the truth (the truth I'm arrogantly asserting) there is only pseudo-randomness or 'fate'. Fate in this sense; by my definition is just an act that is normal and we understand why it happened, and how and everything about it (at least that matters for the game we're playing).

Downward Reduction is not random. First there is skill then different strategies which cause unexpected behavior; but then highly unexpected things may happen due to lag, which is another form of "chance"; that is we cannot predict it accurately at present, but in theory we could.
So in a summary; it can be thought of as pseudo-random. :P

I don't really like discussing this issue at length as it really seems like some people either 'get it' or they don't. There's no in between or arguing that seems very useful. There's a truth that I became aware of at some point in my life; and since then I cannot unlearn it. It's not an opinion or a belief. It's a deeply embedded truth. But what is truth? I don't know :D

Anyway just for the record;
I believe that chance, purpose, free will, choice, control, progress, and more are all concepts that exist only in our minds. They serve a purpose and are 'real' in the sense that they exist in our society. But our society itself is only a thing of the mind. The deeper question that really gets to the point and to interesting territory is;

What is the mind?

The road to answer that question is, I assure you, far stranger than you can imagine. I'll make a blog post on this eventually. ;)

--------

On time, part 3.
https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=2910.msg63579#msg63579

Since reading a lot about various things have enlightened me a bit on this topic; I'd like to return to it. If you're really interested I highly recommend the book "Time Machines" by Paul Nahin.

I haven't changed my opinion on my # 1 or 3 explanations. But in my #2 explanation; I now believe this explanation is not so silly or impossible.

The main problem/confusion is the difference between affecting the past and altering it. You can conceivably travel backward in time and affect things (maybe you build one of the great pyramids), but you didn't change anything. You build the pyramid; you always did, there always was a pyramid. There are no 'multiple timelines' here.* There is just one timeline, with you going back to the past and affecting it. So nothing is 'changing'. Everything is as everyone would've remembered.
For our purposes in real life; this means that either nobody's ever time traveled in history; or we aren't able to tell that it's happened.
(possible explination for building of the pyramids and other impressive ancient structures?) If you want to read more on that; I recomend looking into things like the Roman Temple of Jupiter or the 'stone of the pregnant woman'.

 An excellent example is the movie 12 Monkeys.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

*I feel like the invocation of multiple time lines brings in the multiple universe theory again. Which as I stated in my ealier post; I find nothing wrong with; just that it doesn't really explain the difficulties with time travel itself.]

This all also suggests (perhaps demands) a different view of time. Somewhere I think I said that it feels like we don't have the brain capacity to really understand this; or require a new way of thinking in order to. I may have recently gained a very different view point, just the type which can explain this. But it is not easy to articulate into words.


Part 4; with thoughts and questions on the nature of time and consciousness itself coming soon.
"There is fear in separateness" - Ram Dass



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Offline nin10doadict

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2018, 06:45:26 pm »
There's basically two big views of time travel: Either you can go to the past and mess with things and it changes the present/future, or you can't because the present is already a result of the stuff you messed with in the past.
Either way can make for some good stories.

As for whether time travel will ever become a reality, I doubt it. I don't think we were designed to be dealing with such things. Or maybe it already is possible and nobody knows because the present is a result of all the time travelers messing with the past? :devil:

Offline ccexplore

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2018, 07:42:32 pm »
If you believe there can be multiple parallel timelines, it could also be that whenever you try to travel into the past, you inevitably always end up in a different parallel timeline than the one you originated from.  In which case from your POV you could change the past to change your present/future in that destination timeline, but from POV of everyone else in your original timeline, you simply disappeared when you time traveled.

Looking at it from a more practical standpoint:
  - A lot of theoretical time travel device based on current knowledge of physics, tends to be that you can't actually any further into the past than the moment the device first became operational.  This at least limits the kinds of paradoxes you could run into.  (It would also neatly answer the question "if time traveling into the past is possible, why haven't we observed any such time travelers yet?")
  - It may be very difficult to control the location in space you end up in.  Consider that the earth and solar system is in constant motion around the galactic center, which in turn also moves relative to other galaxies in the local supercluster, plus the fact that the universe itself is also expanding (and apparently accelerating in the rate of expansion), the fact is that if you want to time travel into the past but still stay somewhere on earth, you might also have to actually travel quite some distance in space, since where you were in the past is actually quite some distance away from where you were in the present due to all that motion.
  - And of course, we don't really know what the energy requirements are for doing time travel, and more generally the finance requirements.  It's rather hard to justify a trip to the past if it costs the entire world's total GDP to do so, or if it requires consuming so much fuel for energy that there's none left for the world to survive!  On the flip side, it could mean that time traveling may possibly only be feasible on a small scale like sending tiny bits of subatomic particles, rather than entire humans for example.

Offline mobius

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2018, 01:39:00 am »
As I'm still reading this book "Time Machines" I'm learning new interesting things constantly and feel inadequate to make a blog about this quite yet. In the meantime;
here's another interesting topic.

The Omnipotence Problem

I first heard this on TV, probably a Science show like "Through the Wormhole" or the like. I've read the argument in different ways and this is a simplified version of it.

Consider the thought experiment:

Let's say we want (and are somehow able) to build a super computer and we want to make it omnipotent. As in; it knows everything, from the beginning of the universe to the end. Every detail of every atom, event in time etc, everything.

Assume it's 'brain' will work at least in some fashion similar to our computers today; that is; data is written to some sort of disc or object that must take up physical space in the universe. Never mind that this space is incredibly small, by even decades old computer standards data on a disc is tiny. That point is that it is finite. If this is the case; then building this omnipotent super computer is impossible.

Here's why:
First there is the fact that the universe may be infinite. And if it is; then this computer must also be infinite in size in order that it's brain containing the data be large enough to hold all the data, meaning it would fill up the universe. This could lead to some interesting arguments but we can ignore this really, because there is another reason this is impossible, even if the universe is infinite;
-In order for the computer to be able to contain data on everything; in must also contain data on itself.
-Every piece of data that is information on itself; is added material to itself; which it in turn must have information on; if it will be truly omnipotent. Therefore you must add more material to store that data, which is must know about so you must add more, and so on. An infinite recursion. Meaning you could never achieve true omnipotence.

A possible argument against this:
After one iteration of this (storing data on the data recursion) doesn't it become redundant? I guess the question comes down to: Is it safe to assume that from that point on it will always be identical therefore you can 'cheat' and forgo storing that data?
The question also comes down to the difference between power and omnipotence. Obviously a super computer of this nature will be extremely powerful; but everything is relative. The interesting take away point is that truly, honestly knowing everything, at least in this way, is impossible.
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Offline mobius

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2019, 07:13:40 pm »
I've managed keep up a steady routine of exercising and meditating everyday after work for several weeks now. IT feels good to have a routine; that builds discipline. But what good does it do if the habits themselves don't do anything else for you? Exercising and meditation both take months-years to make noticeable changes in you.

So many intense and draining things happened in 2018. When I looked in the mirror recently I thought I suddenly looked noticeably older. Maybe that was just my imagination though.

I spent near 400$ on upgrading my PC and after figuring everything out it may take several more weeks yet till I have a working PC up and running.

My new years resolution is that I'm not going to spend any money on games, books, movies or any media until I've read/used at least 50% of the stuff I already have which I haven't looked at yet.
"There is fear in separateness" - Ram Dass



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Offline mobius

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Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2019, 03:52:53 pm »
mobius On Time part 1

Think of two events in the past year in your life. Which came first? Now ask yourself how do you know which came first. The answer may seem obvious "I just know". But I'll bet the only reason you know is because you're comparing the two memories. If you have nothing to compare it to; it becomes difficult.

Think of some examples; for myself; I recently was looking at my phone and at a text message I sent to a friend. I was shocked when I saw that the date of the text was almost a year ago. It was fresh in my mind; before seeing the date I was thinking I had sent that... maybe a few months ago? Surely not that long ago. But now I know; now it's there, cemented in my mind. And any illusion that it was a few months ago is gone. But when I reflect on the event itself it still feels fresh in my mind. When I really think about it; I don't feel any kind of obvious  chronological identifier that goes with these or any memories. Every time I'm thinking about the past the only way I have of ordering events is to compare multiple events. And it is possible to mix them up and confuse ourselves very easily. Especially as people get older and our memories get "poorer".
Don't people often say things like "Feels like she was just born yesterday... now she's ten years old."
I've had arguments with my parents about this; they asserted that my sister got married after this other person moved into town. I swore it was the other way around. After looking at pictures the truth was rectified.

I think most will agree with this at least: the brightest memories are often not the most recent. The memories that are best recalled are the most important or emotional. Most of you reading this probably don't remember what you ate for lunch a week from today. (Unless you eat the same thing everyday, in which case you may not really remember; you're just coming to a logical conclusion ;) ) But you may remember what you ate for lunch on the first day of school or at your's or some relatives wedding.

My point is that is seems to me like our sense of past is not very stable at all, even though people like to say it is. We tend to think of time and life as being very linear and simple, past to present to future. But the closer you look at the universe it is not so linear, not so simple. What makes up your past is not just your memories either but emotional and logical patterns/habits and customs you garner as you live. A person can be injured and lose their entire memory of even who they themselves are (amnesia) yet still function like a normal person (more or less).

The other minor thing I want to discuss briefly here is memory of dreams. According to a neurologist I listened to they think during sleep the chemical that is responsible for making stable memories is not being produced; hence why we rarely are able to remember our dreams, or they are quickly forgotten. The dream state seems to be focused on pumping out imagery and feelings but not on logic and memory.

Yet have you ever been doing something during the day and suddenly the memory of a long distant dream comes up? This suggests to me that the actual data memory of that dream was always there (never lost) but the access to it or ability to recall it was lost until found again. This happens with real life memories as well; suggesting that we may always contain all memory of everything that has ever happened to us but not necessarily the ability to recall it on demand. Which makes sense when you think about it; memory of everything without exclusion in theory could take up a lot of brain power and leave no room for other activity. It would make doing simple everyday tasks difficult; having to parse through everything just to find the important things. Indeed this is in simple terms what autism is. People like the famous 'Kim Peak' who have incredible memory (supposedly of every book he's ever read) have trouble socially and taking care of themselves in society without help.

Next class we will discuss the various theories of the concept of time, time travel and the passage of time versus the opposing so called 'block universe' theory.
"There is fear in separateness" - Ram Dass



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