[ExI] Public draft of my book "Tales of the Turing Church"

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun Oct 14 03:02:18 UTC 2018

On Sat, Oct 13, Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote in his book "Tales
of the Turing Church":


> *> I was very impressed and influenced by Tipler's book [The Physics Of
> Immortality] when I first read it more than 20 years ago.*

I was very impressed with Tipler's book 20 years ago too but not so much
now because he made a number of predictions and said that if even one of
those predictions turned out to be wrong his entire theory could not work.
And most of Tipler's predictions did turn out to be wrong, some
spectacularly wrong.

Tipler predicted the expansion of the universe would slow down, stop, then
change direction and collapse in on itself . From the heat of that
imploding fireball he thought a hyper-advanced civilization could extract
an infinite amount of energy and use that energy to perform a infinite
number of calculations, not a very large number of them a infinite number
of them.  We now know due to Dark Energy (which he did not predict) the
expansion of the cosmos is accelerating not decelerating, so that fireball
will never happen.

And there were other errors. Tipler said the Higgs boson must be at 220GEV
+- 20  but we now know it is 125.3GEV +- .5 .   And Tipler said  the Hubble
constant must be less than or equal to 45 but it's 73.8 +- 2.4. We don't
live in the sort of universe that Tipler thought we did. More than one of
his predictions was wrong so if we take Tipler at his word his theory must
be wrong.

> Everett’s used to be my favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics. I
> am less sure now, because Everett assumes the universal validity of quantum
> mechanics, and perhaps it’s too soon to be sure that a theory developed in
> the early 20th century is the ultimate scientific model of reality.

Quantum Mechanics can't be the ultimate scientific model of reality because
it says nothing about gravity, and we know nothing about Dark Energy and
Dark Matter except that its 95% of reality. But Everett was assuming that
whatever the ultimate laws of physics are they work the same way for
conscious matter as non-conscious matter, and as we have have no reason to
think otherwise that seems like a reasonable assumption. I like Many Worlds
because it doesn't have to explain what an observer is or how consciousness
works because it has nothing to do with it.

*>An alternative reading of Everett is suggested by “Many Minds”
> interpretations (of Everett’s interpretation) where it’s an observer’s
> consciousness, rather than the universe, that splits in parallel streams
> unaware of each other*

If mind is what brains do then Many Minds and Many Worlds are the same
interpretation because brains are made of matter.

*> I find irrational mechanics liberating. I agree with Rucker that whether
> the world is fully deterministic or not ([causally closed or open]) is a
> fundamental open issue, perhaps THE fundamental open issue in science*.

As far as consciousness is concerned I don't think it matters much if
things are deterministic or not, we do what we do because of cause and
effect (for a reason) and we are rational,  or we do things for no reason
and we are irrational. To my mind there is a even deeper question than
determinism is the world realistic, that it to say do things exist in a
definite state before they are observed? We know from experimental results
that Bell's Inequality is violated, therefore we know for certain that if
the universe is deterministic then it can't be both local and realistic, at
least one of those 2 things must be false.

I don't see how locality could be wrong. If things were non-local a change
anywhere would instantly change everything everywhere and before you could
understand anything you'd have to understand everything. We certainly don't
know everything but we do know a few things and I don't see how we could if
things were non-local. And if things are not realistic then the moon
doesn't exist when nobody is looking at it, and that seems like too high a
price to pay for determinism.

Actually if Everett is right then you could have all 3 to the multiverse's
point of view because it evolves according to the wave equation and that is
completely deterministic, but that's a bit of a cheat because you can't
have a observer outside of the multiverse looking in at it.

*>According to Hoyle, consciousness itself is a byproduct of the process of
> choosing a route - or, using Sir Fred's analogy, lopping the unrealized
> branches of the Everett tree.*

Hoyle glosses over what he means by "choosing" but there are only 2 things
it could mean, you made the choice you did for a reason or you didn't, so
you're either a Cuckoo Clockor a  roulette wheel, but we're not going to
learn much from that. I agree that consciousness is a byproduct but not of
choice of intelligence, if Darwin was right it has to be. Evolution can't
select for something it can't see and it can see intelligence but it can't
see consciousness any better than we can directly see it in others, and yet
I know for a fact random mutation and natural selection produced at least
one conscious being (me) and probably many billions more. So consciousness
must be a byproduct and is just the way data feels like when it is being

*> I do NOT think that active consciousness and free will can arise in a
> Life universe.*

We know you can make a Turing Machine in the Life universe and if you can
do that then you can make make a intelligent machine and if you did that
you've got a conscious machine, or at least you do unless Darwin was wrong.
I don't think he was wrong.

> > *Randomness is hardly more appealing than determinism: In neither case
> we have free agency.*

And yet one of those 2 things must be true, everything either happens for a
reason of it doesn't, X is either true or its not true unless of course if
X is gibberish. I conclude the free will idea is so bad its not even wrong.

> >* If one doesn’t make a fundamental difference in-principle between
> matter and life (I don’t),*

I don't either.

> > *super-determinism should be called just determinism:*

I don't agree. Determinism just means if you know the laws of physics and
the initial conditions then you can figure out exactly what the future is
going to be, but it says nothing specific about what those specific
conditions are. But Super-determinism says that out of the astronomical and
possibly infinite number of states the universe could have stared out with
when it was born it just happened to be in the one and only state in which
after 13.8 billion years if would cause us to be fooled and make us thing
things were not deterministic when they really are. Although not logically
impossible that seem to me to be astronomically improbable, maybe infinity

> *> despite the butterfly effect, despite the fact that chaotic evolution
> is unpredictable in practice, and even despite the fact that strongly
> fractal chaotic evolution is undetermined in principle, many experts
> emphasize that chaos is deterministic chaos.*

Even if the laws of physics worked the way Newton thought they did and even
if you knew the initial conditions you'd have to perform a calculation
before you could determine what's going to happen next. Theoretically you
can perform a calculation without using energy but If you don't have a
infinite memory then at some point you're going to have to erase the
scratchpad stuff you used to make the calculation. And in 1961 Landauer
proved it takes a minimum amount of energy to erase one bit of information
and he told us exactly how much that is and it turns out to be .0172
electron volts. So as you're calculating its future state you're going to
be giving off heat and alternating the system you're thinking about in
small but unknown ways. After that the chaos and the Butterfly Effect take
over and even Newton's world is not deterministic.

John K Clark
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