[ExI] Weighing the Soul

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Thu Sep 20 20:48:13 UTC 2018

Adrian Tymes wrote:

>> You see the energy
>> that it takes to erase that bit is a real physical quantity so the bit
>> that got erased must be a real physical object too.  Otherwise one has
>> the paradox that something that does not exist takes energy to destroy.
> Not so much.  It takes energy to disrupt a pattern, even though the
> pattern itself has no mass - it's just an arrangement of the matter and
> energy within.

But the matter and energy that is arranged within the pattern *is* the
pattern in any physically meaningful sense. So the pattern has mass even
before it is disrupted. A pattern must be within or embodied by some kind
of fabric, substrate, or medium and that medium has mass.

Graphite, ink, paint, and chalk dust all have mass. Even if it is a
pattern made out of pure light, then it still has mass according to SR; it
just can't be at rest. Hell even the vacuum has mass these days thanks to
dark energy.

So where would massless patterns live? Your imagination? Even your
synapses firing is about moving tiny masses like electrons and
neurotransmitters around. Ditto anything that is on your computer screen.

>> This could be rendered mathematically as P(φ)*P(ψ) <= P(φ), which is
>> saying that the product of the  probability of a you being  a physical
>> being (phi) and the probability of you being a psychic being (psi) is
>> less than your probability of being a purely physical being (phi) no
>> matter what those respective probabilities are. Therefore all
>> information, including perception, thought, and other mental phenomena
>> must be physical as well.
> This conclusion does not flow from the equation.
> P(φ) and P(ψ) are each between 0 and 1, inclusive.  Therefore
> P(φ)*P(ψ) <= P(φ) but also P(φ)*P(ψ) <= P(ψ).
> And that says nothing about what P(φ) and P(ψ) are, let alone that
> either of them is 1.

It doesn't matter what the probabilities are because dualism which is the
joint probability is going to be less than or equal to either probability
on its own.

What your version of the inequality shows is that you are more likely to
be made out of pure information than be some kind of fence-sitting hybrid
between matter and information as dualism would entail. In other words
idealism in a simulated reality completely composed of information is more
likely than dualism.

So both forms are monism, either physicalism or idealism, are more likely
than dualism. I guess my argument mostly eliminates the middle ground.
Either bits of information are a property of physical particles that are
fundamental or particles are property of bits of information which are
themselves fundamental.

All I am really saying is energy and information are not fundamentally
separate things.

> It may be correct that the information that makes up a soul or mind
> has mass.  But this fails to prove that.

You are right, I can't prove something mathematically using probabilistic
arguments. I did show however that physicalism was more likely than
dualism. While you yourself showed that idealism was more likely than
dualism. Either scenario would result in the soul being something that
could be measured and manipulated by sufficiently advanced technology. So
to me it seems like a win either way.

Stuart LaForge

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list