God of Movement that isn't a God of Meaning?

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Interesting post from computationalist Joshua Bach:

Four Gods



Quote:...I find that in contrast to the god of meaning, the unmoved god of movement may be an ontological necessity. The universe manifests itself as a set of discernible differences at our systemic boundary, which is to say, a vector of bits that our mind interprets as its current state. This current state contains the past as memories, and the future as possibilities, and possibly even ourselves as the structure of an interpretational system, and yet it does not suffice to account for any conscious experience. Consciousness is intrinsically a process, spanning more than one state. To notice that we are conscious, we must be able to access patterns of information that we may interpret as past world states, along with other patterns that we may interpret as different past world states, and in comparing them to experience that a progression of states takes place. A progression of states requires a principle that allows for transition from one state to the next. This is reflected in our definitions of computation, which are based on states that are ordered by a transition function.

In other words, the universe does not manifest itself as a giant pattern of bits, but as a succession of patterns, which means that something must progress from one pattern to the next. Some function, outside of the context of the state of the universe, must push the tensor network we tentatively call reality from one moment to the next.

The computations of the universe can in principle not be self-contained. If the universe contains mechanisms that allow it to compute, then something must act as its computational substrate that moves the computations of the universe along. There is of course nothing we can say about this computational substrate, except that it realizes a transition function capable of moving the universe from one state to the next. This outermost mechanism does not exist in space or time; rather, its state successions give rise to space and time, and all objects that appear to populate our animated universe. Compare to Aristotle...



...Without this Prime Mover, nothing in the universe could progress, computation would be impossible, we would not have minds, and hence could not have a conscious experience of a dynamic or even static universe. It may be tempting to conflate Aristotle's god: the Turing machine that runs the universe, with Aquinas' god: transcendental meaning and purpose, or even with a spiritualized god. But such an attempt seems to be epistemologically dishonest to me.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Quote:To notice that we are conscious, we must be able to access patterns of information that we may interpret as past world states, along with other patterns that we may interpret as different past world states, and in comparing them to experience that a progression of states takes place.
I don't think this is valid at all. It perhaps describes how a self-driving car, or even a central-heating thermostat, monitors changes. Consiousness? Sorry - not even close.
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(2020-11-08, 08:48 PM)Typoz Wrote: I don't think this is valid at all. It perhaps describes how a self-driving car, or even a central-heating thermostat, monitors changes. Consiousness? Sorry - not even close.

Oh I think computationalism is inherently/fatally flawed, but I did think it was interesting that someone of that stripe would advocate for the kind of theistic arguments Aristotle and Aquinas presented centuries/millennia ago.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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From Four Gods:

Quote:" Consciousness is intrinsically a process, spanning more than one state. To notice that we are conscious, we must be able to access patterns of information that we may interpret as past world states, along with other patterns that we may interpret as different past world states, and in comparing them to experience that a progression of states takes place. A progression of states requires a principle that allows for transition from one state to the next. This is reflected in our definitions of computation, which are based on states that are ordered by a transition function."

There seem to be some basic problems with this abstruse reasoning, the author's initial argument and assumptions.

He starts with what seems to me to be a self-contradictory statement about something he calls "we" accessing patterns of information, which presupposes a conscious being, the very thing he is trying to claim is merely computation. And this ignores the Hard Problem of consciousness, which shows that consciousness, subjectivity and qualia are of a fundamentally different nature than things like computations and the workings of matter/energy.

Then he goes by Palmstrom's monograph/blog entry "A Tale of Two Machines" to claim that he absolutely knows that consciousness is intrinsically a computational process and is being computed by the Universe computer. This is a preconceived metaphysical assumption on his part presumably due to a materialistic naturalistic bias. Due to this materialistic bias in philosophy of mind he naturally would instantly reject any notion of some form of interactional dualism, or the notion that the human consciousness/mind is a user or participator in the Universe computer processing. He even rejects "Cogito ergo sum".


Quote:"How is it possible that we can be conscious of a universe that at the same time computes us? How can we observe the progression of a universe that we are part of? Assuming that our mind is fully embedded into our universe: If the universe would suddenly stop its computations, we could not notice. At every moment, we only exist in a single state. Single states cannot give rise to experience, as any mental process requires a sequence of states (for instance, to retrieve a memory and become aware of its contents).

"Cogito ergo sum" does not work for me: access to and interpretation of the idea that I seem to exist and cogitate in this moment requires a long computational process, which means that I have to introduce additional assumptions beyond the single state the universe offers in the present."
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(2020-11-08, 08:48 PM)Typoz Wrote: I don't think this is valid at all. It perhaps describes how a self-driving car, or even a central-heating thermostat, monitors changes. Consiousness? Sorry - not even close.
Modern efforts that support the reality of Psi trend to scientific methodology.  They acknowledge that the states observed - as having Psi - regard anomalous information transfer, outside of straight physics.  The prime activity in support of Psi then becomes measuring such states, as objective outcomes.

I find the article very penetrating and well-written in expressing information science concepts.  I personally use a straightforward definition of consciousness as a process.  Consciousness is the elements of nature that change real-world probabilities leading to purposeful organizational outcomes.  Organizational outcomes being measurable as to their patterns changing from one state to another in a lawful way.  (Think Bayes)

The likelihood of knowing is part of consciousness, but the killer app of consciousness is how any living thing understands any related state to its inner state.  The "nuts and bolts" of this is open to exploration and to working simulation models for mental events. Not in terms of chemistry, but in terms of logical analysis, realized meaning and actualized representation. 

I thank Sci, again, for pointing to a revealing article. Science needs to chase Bach's "god of meaning" and I predict we all will understand Psi better.
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(2020-11-08, 07:37 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Interesting post from computationalist Joshua Bach:

Four Gods
Check this out:

Quote:  A progression of states requires a principle that allows for transition from one state to the next. This is reflected in our definitions of computation, which are based on states that are ordered by a transition function. 

In other words, the universe does not manifest itself as a giant pattern of bits, but as a succession of patterns, which means that something must progress from one pattern to the next. Some function, outside of the context of the state of the universe, must push the tensor network we tentatively call reality from one moment to the next. - ibid 


I had to look-up what is buzzing about tensor networks.

Quote: Tensor networks are a powerful modeling framework developed for computational many-body physics, which have only recently been applied within machine learning.

This "something must progress from one pattern to the next" is meaning, imho.  Meaning pouring into the cosmos as physical patterns and as mental patterns, with mind being able to expand its reach with the sum total of universal experiencing.
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(2020-11-08, 07:37 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Interesting post from computationalist Joshua Bach:

Four Gods

I really enjoyed Joscha Bach on Lex Fridman's podcast recently.

Quote:In other words, the universe does not manifest itself as a giant pattern of bits, but as a succession of patterns...

Ding, ding, ding! Score one for patternism. The universe is fundamentally neither material or ideal (which are extrapolations of sensory experiences of hard and soft into metaphysical metaphors). The universe is fundamentally pattern which inherently requires both an observer and the observed to exist.

Quote:...I find that in contrast to the god of meaning, the unmoved god of movement may be an ontological necessity.

This touches on the major question in my mind to which I don't have a satisfactory answer: what is ontologically static and what is ontologically dynamic? To what degree is anything fixed and for how long and measured on what substrate or time frame?

To put it another way: does God forget anything?

Or another question: is your story being compressed with irrelevant data discarded? During your life review is every blade of grass in the exact same place because your entire story is preserved without compression? Or does God's GAN upscale the blank space labeled "grass" and generate fresh grass for you to see?
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(2020-11-08, 09:24 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: ...a conscious being, the very thing he is trying to claim is merely computation.

I wouldn't dismiss his ideas on account of this.

All technology bears witness to the ontological reality.

Truth = observer defined pattern that is useful.

Every new technology becomes a new metaphor for reality because technology is useful. Truth in action. The fractal holographic principle in action.
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(2020-11-08, 07:37 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Interesting post from computationalist Joshua Bach:

Four Gods

A merciless, complete takedown of Joshua Bach's views on consciousness by Bernardo Kastrup (followed by John Vervaeke's takedown).

Starts at 01:12:58

Kastrup: All such theories are nonsense because they try to explain something by redefining it. Equally valid would be to say that consciousness is actually the wiggling of my big toe.

Vervaeke: Formal systems render qualitative experience causally inert and they cannot explain development.

Joshua Bach is a glaring example of how wisdom is not found among most intellectuals today. Instead we have idolatry of the nerds, which is a symptom of our culture's disease. (Their words, not mind, but I fully agree.)

Quote:01:12:58 Joscha Bach knows nothing about consciousness 01:24:12 There's no "simulation" of consciousness. Who's the illusion occurring to? 01:29:56 Growth doesn't stop when you're 20. We need more than the propositional. 01:36:03 "Idolatry of the nerds" and how "thinking" is just one function of the psyche.
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-11, 03:30 PM by Ninshub. Edited 9 times in total.)
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(2022-09-11, 02:53 PM)Ninshub Wrote: A merciless, complete takedown of Joshua Bach's views on consciousness by Bernardo Kastrup (followed by John Vervaeke's takedown).

I don't agree with Bach's views but it is interesting that you had someone who was largely on the materialist, computationalist side advocating for even a minimal theism at the time.

In general we seem to be seeing variations of something that is "God" but not exactly like God as most understand it, and perhaps more importantly the idea of a conscious agent that isn't quite a soul yet contravenes the idea of a universe that is either a deterministic clock or sea of quantum randomness.

I think bit by bit we are going to have a course correction where science is no longer in a choke hold by the atheist-materialist fundamentalists.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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