# [ExI] [Extropolis] My current take on emergence and causation. Is the universe pulled toward Life?

Giulio Prisco giulio at gmail.com
Tue Nov 16 15:54:29 UTC 2021

```On 2021. Nov 16., Tue at 13:08, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 2:15 AM Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> *> Perhaps we don't need an "explanation" of the probabilistic nature of
>> physical laws. Perhaps this is just how things work.*
>
>
> Maybe. We know from Gleason's theorem that if quantum probabilities are to
> make any sense, that is to say if all the probabilities are real numbers
> between 0 and 1 and all the probabilities of a predicted event add up to
> exactly 1, then all the probabilities must be expressible by the square of
> the absolute value of the wave function just as quantum mechanics says. So
> the real question is not why does the Born rule exist but rather why must
> we use probabilities at all, why can't we make exact predictions? Perhaps
> the answer is just as you say, that's just the way things work; after all
> there's no law of logic that says every event must have a cause.
>

Exactly.

R(n). Now think of the same sequence as the deterministic unfolding of a
random real number r given as initial condition. So the sequence becomes
D(n) = nth bit in the binary expansion of r. R is random, and D is
deterministic. But R and D are the same thing!!!

>
> John K Clark
> =============
>
> On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 2:15 AM Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 4:22 PM John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 3:36 AM Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >> > https://www.turingchurch.com/p/my-current-take-on-emergence-and
>> >
>> >
>> >> > Is life entailed by physics? Is the emergence and growth of life a
>> result of the kind of physics we are familiar with (known physics and
>> incremental improvements based on the reductionist framework of known
>> physics)? Or do we need a new framework?
>> >
>> >
>> > I don't think a new physics framework would be of any use in
>> understanding how life works.
>> >
>> >> >  or will they require an entirely new framework where other forms of
>> causation (e.g. backward, downward, top-down, teleological) play a role
>> alongside the efficient causation mechanisms of today’s physics?
>> >
>> >
>> > I rather doubt it but there's a possibility backward causality might be
>> important in very fundamental physics, but if it is I don't think it would
>> only be important only to physics that eventually involves life but rather
>> to everything and all of physics; there would be nothing special about life
>> in that regard.
>>
>> I agree. Life "works" like the rest of physics. If new principles are
>> needed to explain life, those new principles apply to the rest of the
>> world.
>>
>> > As for teleology,  if things happen because of the purpose they serve
>> rather than causes that produce them then that leaves open the question of
>> whose purpose? There doesn't seem to be a universal answer to that question
>> and if something claims to be the ultimate answer to everything then it
>> should be true in every frame of reference, and teleology is not.
>> >
>> >>
>> >> > Kauffman bets on a concept due to Maël Montévil and Matteo Mossio
>> (2015) called “Constraint Closure” as an organizational principle that
>> builds order “faster than that order can be dissipated by the second law of
>> thermodynamics.”
>> >
>> >
>> > I don't see how that could be true. If there's one law of physics that
>> would hold true in every universe in the multiverse I'm convinced it would
>> be the Second Law Of Thermodynamics, that's because it's based on logic and
>> not on other physical laws,  it's simply true that there are more ways
>> something can be chaotic than ways it can be well ordered.
>>
>> But you agree with "Producing physical systems that keep low entropy
>> locally (e.g. living systems) is the fastest way for the universe to
>> increase global entropy" below, which is essentially the same thing.
>> Pockets of local order are the fastest way to grow overall disorder
>> (by eating free energy from the environment and giving back high
>> entropy waste), and that's how thermodynamics favors life (or so these
>> people think).
>>
>> >
>> >> > the efficient causation laws of the physics we know are strictly
>> followed, but leave the actual evolution of physical systems
>> under-determined.
>> >
>> >
>> > Yes, but if Hugh Everett's many worlds idea is correct then that would
>> explain why at the smallest most fundamental level we can only make
>> probabilistic predictions not exact ones.
>> >
>>
>> Perhaps we don't need an "explanation" of the probabilistic nature of
>> physical laws. Perhaps this is just how things work.
>>
>> >> > it can be argued that classical mechanics is under-determined as
>> well, and that under-determination might follow from Gödel’s theorems.
>> >
>> >
>> > If quantum mechanics is under-determined at the sub microscopic level
>> (and it is) then things at our everyday macroscopic level must be
>> under-determined too. Godel told us that there are true statements in
>> arithmetic that have no proof (the Goldbach Conjecture maybe?); I hope not
>> but perhaps in a similar way there are true things about physics that have
>> no experimental verification.
>> >
>>
>> Yes.
>>
>> >> > I think definable natural laws only scratch the thin surface of a
>> thick reality that can’t be reduced to a finite description
>> >
>> >
>> > If so then it's a waste of time to even talk about an ultimate
>> description of reality.  As Wittgenstein said "What we cannot speak about
>> we must pass over in silence".
>> >
>>
>> There's scratching the surface, and there's scratching the surface a
>> bit deeper. We can't know everything at a given time, but we CAN know
>> (and do) more than we could before.
>>
>> >
>> >> > physical laws maximize overall entropy production rates. Producing
>> physical systems that keep low entropy locally (e.g. living systems) is the
>> fastest way for the universe to increase global entropy, and that’s it.
>> >
>> >
>> > I agree with that.
>> >
>> >> > [The] universe is rationally governed in more than one way - not
>> only through the universal quantitative laws of physics that underlie
>> efficient causation but also through principles which imply that things
>> happen because they are on a path that leads toward certain outcomes -
>> notably, the existence of living, and ultimately of conscious, organisms.”
>> >
>> >
>> > If Hugh Everett is correct and everything that is not logically
>> self-contradictory (such as a violation of the second law of
>> thermodynamics) does happen, then it's not surprising that intelligence
>> finds itself in a universe in which stable structures that can process data
>> (Turing Machines) are possible. As for consciousness, after saying
>> consciousness is the way data feels when it is being processed I don't
>> think there's much more that can be said about it.
>> >
>> > John K Clark
>> >>
>> >>
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