Intelligence - A Form of self-organization ?

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Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sat 2 May, 2009 05:10 am
@Ultracrepidarian,
Okay. If I were to offer one and only one criticism, it would probably have to be that to me, it makes more sense to say that self-organization is a form of intelligence, than the other way round. Intelligent things organize themselves after all, as well as inboxes and outboxes.
Maybe I'm quibbling, because I think I understand that the point is to say that the first principal of life is to organize and that this is a process which it itself originates. First principal sounds like terminology and I hate it when words sound like terms, but here I can't help myself.

What I think we're talking about is what defines life, the essential thing(s) that it does and which other things don't and which explains the most about it. If that is what we are in fact talking about, then I'd have to ask what does it mean to organize? I have to, because I can't supply the answer myself. To my mind, organization means something roughly like differentiation according to function. More terminology. But what is that? Wouldn't all differentiation be according to function. It can't be random and, after all, form follows function. I'm tempted to say "ah, organization is intelligent systemization!" just to be funny. I think I'm funny.

What I agree with is that life is a form of self-organization. I agree with pretty much everything that has been said, I'm just not sure what any of it means.

On a sidenote, I have a competing hypothesis to offer up. This idea is that life is a form of change. Life is organic, right? And organisms are different from everything else. Life changes to better fit its environment. Life also changes to fit its environment not so good, but hey, history is written by the winners and all that. So, yay change. I don't know why I like this idea, if we can call it an idea. By the way, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
 
bioharmony
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 06:39 am
@Ultracrepidarian,
I am not a scientist or physicists therefore bear with my language terminology. I have an interest in the subject.

In "How the world is organized' by Per Bak (I do not have access as I am travelling and it is in storage) I read of experiments with sand piles with respect to self-organization. It appears that sand piles have this 'ability' depending on one's definition of self-organization. I am open to correction because the book is far too technical for me.
One definition of self-organization (more or less" is: a process whereby an organism adapts to its environment in order to survive. This process may take 1000's of years. As this above process is 'automatic' it appears to be built into the organism similar to our autonomic nervous systems.

Also information and information processing has been mentioned many time but (please correct me if I am wrong) no mention has been made of biophoton communication and processing.

The coherence of biophotons correlates to the health of an organism. Therefore we could say that biophoton communication is the ultimate (if not 'perfect' communication system because it is what keeps us alive.

---------- Post added at 01:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 PM ----------

Also, information and information processing has been mentioned many time but (please correct me if I am wrong) no mention has been made of biophoton communication and processing.

The coherence of biophotons correlates to the health of an organism. Therefore we could say that biophoton communication is the ultimate (if not 'perfect' communication system because it is what keeps us alive.

We can consider Biophoton communication as a negative- feedback system because it attempts to maintain homeostasis.

However, transmission/communication of information that carries an 'infection' is also possible.

---------- Post added at 02:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 PM ----------

Correction: The book may have been " How nature works"
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 03:43 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
First of all i want to say thank you very much to all the participants who are so open minded and interested in this thread.
The answers i got are really precious because they add to this difficult topic.
I hope i can keep this post to a level that will not dissappoint you.
Ultracrepidarian wrote:

What I think we're talking about is what defines life, the essential thing(s) that it does and which other things don't and which explains the most about it.

This is almost precisely what we are talking about, but not a hundred percent.
The slight but important difference is that we talk about what defines life, the essential thing(s) that it does and which other things ALSO do.
My point is that life and intelligence share the same origin.
You can leave out the following paragraph and jump to the next one if you find it too physical:

In a way we are talking about a physical topic, which is thermodynamics.
More specifically we are not talking about the classical thermodynamics which are basically about closed systems only. The second sentence of thermodynamics which is said to be one of the most important laws of physics ever, claims that entropy in a closed system can not decrease.
So much for the closed systems. Open systems however have never been interesting for scientists, because as oppose to closed systems they behave so unpredictable that you can hardly make any clear statement about it, which is naturally what a scientist wants: Make one hundred percent certain predictions about something. Anything else was considered nonserious.
This is pretty much why we still know very little about the physics of life. Thermodynamically open systems behave unpredictable, uncalculatable, chaotic if you want to use this word. Erwin Schroedinger actually did not only create the equation that is still in use for quantum mechanical predictions, but also wrote a book called "what is life", which is about thermodynamics of open systems.
The reason why i talk about thermodynamics is that you will never get around the term "entropy" if you talk about self-organization.
There is a set of definitions about what this word means and none of them is wrong.
One definition of entropy sais that entropy is a measure for the availability of energy in a system (meaning that the higher the entropy gets, the less you can use the energy in the system (meaning the energy in a closed system does not disappear but by using it will be transformed from usable energy, like kinetic energy, to heat energy until finally you have a soup in which everything has the same temperature. There is no use for this soup anymore, it can not be used for physical work)).
This is the origin of the concept of entropy.
Other definitions connect entropy to (dis-)order. The amount of entropy in a system is equivalent to the amount of (dis-)order in a system. Even though it does not explain what order means it drags the idea of order into physics.
So even if physicists did not really understand what order could mean they indirectly started using it in their calculations. The first thing you have to know when you talk about selforganization is that there are strict physical laws that selforganization is subject to.
The first one is that an increase of order (organization) can only take place if a system is thermodynamically open (like planet earth is open to the sun's energy. All life on earth is based on the permanent flow of energy coming from the sun.)
Although we lack a general definition of the word "order" a measure for order seems to be how "random" or how determined the constituents of a system are.
Hot water for example, as a gas has lots of molecules moving around very unpredictable. When the water cools down, the molecules build bridges, which turn the water into a totally connected liquid, the molecules are much more determined in this stage. (The entropy is lower than before.)
If you cool down the system to like 273 degrees Celsius below zero the molecules are solid crystals, with almost no movement at all.
The entropy is close to zero at this point, the molecules are totally not random anymore, but extremely determined, highly "organised".
This might be an idea of the word organised that doesn't correlate with what we mean by self-organization, but this is the physical basis of what is meant by order.
Order means the way something is organised.
This is obviously something that exists before the more specific kind of order which is called Self-organisation .
Self-organisation means first of all an order that appears spontaneously from inside a system, which means not induced by something coming from outside.
Further there is a more specific kind of selforganisation which is the self-maintaining selforganisation.
The selfregulating feedback loop is an example for it.
And to become even more specific, there is a kind of self-maintaining selforganisation that is even self-reproducing.
I know only one kind of selfreproducing selforganisation which is called autopoiesis.
In other words we are becoming more and more specific going down from order to selforganisation to selfmaintaining selforganisation to autopoiesis.
Autopoieses is the pattern that life is based upon.
It is selfreconstructing/selfreproducing selforganisation.

Now back to my statement:
Life and intelligence have more in common than we used to think.
Order can be subclassified the following way:
Order -> selforganisation -> selfmaintaining selforganisation -> autopoiesis.
Life begins one step after autopoiesis. Autopoiesis is the threshold to life.
Where does intelligence begin?
If it is correct that intelligence originates from functional information processing we have to look at all the steps. What is a function in nature?
Actually anything that is not random.
When two atoms meet they exchange information about their electrons and their behaviour can be predicted with mathematical precision.
Their behaviour follows a function just like f(x) = x+1 .
Anything that is determined can be considered to be subject to a function, and of course there are natural and artificial functions.
For example if a door opens automatically for you, this means it has registered your presence and processed the information according to a function.
This is functional information processing and in this case (since it's artificial) the function has what we call a purpose.
A climatic system like the monsoon in some areas of the world:
A selfmaintaining feedback loop (Actually a set of feedback loops). The function(s) in this case lead(s) to selfmaintanance, however this appears naturally out of the nothing, without a purpose.
Selforganization in general already means processing information according to certain functions.
When the way a system is organised leads to selfmaintanance, again we have a specific type of selforganisation. Selfmaintaining systems can grow in size and complexity and thus increase their capacity for information processing.
The major part of information processing systems in nature is not logically connected to each other, so that the systems processing the information have relativy short life cycles.
The function (not purpose!) that leads to selfmaintanance however causes the possibility of continous accumulation of processing capacity.
This is precisely what happened with life.
Since the accumulation of processing capacity depends on selfmaintanance, it is not surprising that the next steps of evolution in information processing will at the same time always lead to higher selfmaintanance potential (Darwin's selection is already active on this low level).
This is probably the most common process that natural intelligence will go through.
Life as it can be seen in an organism is one example for it. It's not the only example however.
The "market" is a system containing a whole web of information processing systems. The so called "invisible hand" was originally an idea of Adam Smith, referring to the selfregulating mechanism of amount of production on one side and price on the other. This invisible hand however plays a role of much higher importance and complexity in later economical theories and philosophies. It is this mechanism that leads people to refer to the market as something that has its own intelligence.
Another example is, of course, the global evolution. When people say something like "There is nothing that nature does with no reason" there is a subtle mystical aspect and even scientists tend to implie some kind of intelligence, even if there is no believe in god in their concept.
This intelligence is the result of accumulated information processing.
I have to make a cut here and distinguish between natural and artificial intelligence.
Natural intelligence the way we know it, will emerge at the level of selfmaintaining selforganisation.
Artificial intelligence is also defined as: the ability of processing information functionally.
You could say: The intelligence of a system equals its ability of processing information functionally.
The capacity of a chess computer seems very limited to us nowadays, but actually it already has an incredible amount of information processing units.
The door that opens automatically when you arrive has: One.
In fact with artificial intelligence there can be emergent intelligence without selfmaintaining functions.
This might be a different chapter however.

So - in a way you can call my point of view mystical, because the essence of intelligence is already in everything that is related to order, may it be the way atoms connect.
Or you can call me a reductionist because intelligence is nothing but an accumulation of information processing.
You are free to choose.
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Sat 9 May, 2009 02:12 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian wrote:

On a sidenote, I have a competing hypothesis to offer up. This idea is that life is a form of change. Life is organic, right? And organisms are different from everything else. Life changes to better fit its environment. Life also changes to fit its environment not so good, but hey, history is written by the winners and all that. So, yay change.

I do not believe that my perspective from which i observe life in this case is determined to provide any kind of ultimate truth.
In other words i am sure that there are other definitions for the word life, that are of no less relevance.
For example i think that definitions based on purely philosophical concepts are necessary when laws are set up.
Your idea of life being change shows an understanding of the way things work that is close to Heraklit's "panta rei", meaning nothing else but "everything flows".
He realised in those early days that the way our world works is based on dynamics.
It's not a coincidence that the theory of selforganisation also has the names "chaos theory" and "theory of complex dynamic systems".
So you see how close you are in fact to the original topic.
Also the way you easily picked the points randomness and function and put them into the right context shows that you obviously have a very easy going and good understanding for this actually abstract topic.
Looking forward to more of your comments.


bioharmony wrote:

Also, information and information processing has been mentioned many time but (please correct me if I am wrong) no mention has been made of biophoton communication and processing.

I didn't really catch what this concept of biophotons is.
Also i didn't find it in any dictionary. Do you maybe have a link that explains it? Maybe i'm just missing the logical link for understanding it.
 
bioharmony
 
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 10:09 am
@Exebeche,
GOTO:
(F.A.Popp, International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss, Germany)





Exebeche wrote:
I do not believe that my perspective from which i observe life in this case is determined to provide any kind of ultimate truth.
In other words i am sure that there are other definitions for the word life, that are of no less relevance.
For example i think that definitions based on purely philosophical concepts are necessary when laws are set up.
Your idea of life being change shows an understanding of the way things work that is close to Heraklit's "panta rei", meaning nothing else but "everything flows".
He realised in those early days that the way our world works is based on dynamics.
It's not a coincidence that the theory of selforganisation also has the names "chaos theory" and "theory of complex dynamic systems".
So you see how close you are in fact to the original topic.
Also the way you easily picked the points randomness and function and put them into the right context shows that you obviously have a very easy going and good understanding for this actually abstract topic.
Looking forward to more of your comments.



I didn't really catch what this concept of biophotons is.
Also i didn't find it in any dictionary. Do you maybe have a link that explains it? Maybe i'm just missing the logical link for understanding it.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 05:41 pm
@Exebeche,
Exebeche wrote:
The idea of intelligence is going through changes.
In these days we frequently hear the word swarm intelligence.
Once in a while I read the term organizational intelligence but it's not as popular as the first one. In discussions it always gets confused with collective Intelligence which means something completely different.
Collective Intelligence is about an accumulation of IQ. For example a company as an entitity is expected to behave more intelligently (than e.g. another one) when its employees have more intelligence to contribute . The participiants of the collective already carry the high IQ.
Even though IQ cannot simply be summed up (unfortunately), something like a partial accumulation might actually take place.
Organizational intelligence though is something completely different.
It takes place at an extremely low level.
Organizational intelligence is not an output of the participants' minds but much more a result of the way something is organized. Ants probably provide the most common example. They have a habit of following very simple rules without questioning it, accidently creating an effect which is an optimization method for finding the shortest way from A to B, a method that has been transferred into a formal system as so called ant algorithms.
These algorithms can easily be applied to robots having no further AI and no other functions than following just these simple algorithms.
Since these algorithms contain no such thing as a concept of what a shortest distance could mean, it is interesting to see that they still work as method to find the shortest distance.
This also shows that the ants do not need a concept of distance and shortest way but that the effect results from the way the system is organized.
A quite similar effect can be observed with evolutionary algorithms.
They are being used for solving problems which do not allow to find the optimum (e.g. for time reasons). Evolutionary algorithms find solutions that get close to the optimum.
Regardless if somebody wants to believe in a god being the designer of evolution, fact is that the effect of evolutionary algorithms results from the way the system is organized, making a central controlling unit obsolete.
But why call optimization methods intelligence?
Let's come back to the swarm intelligence. Here we have the same effect.
Keeping a big amount of living creatures together instead of having them spread in all directions and further having them all do more or less the same is an effort which would demand a high perfomance from a central controlling unit guiding the swarm with its single intelligence.
This is probably why this output is considered the result of some kind of intelligence.
Again we have the same effect:
It was possible to proof that keeping up the functionality of a swarm can be achieved with only a hand full of rules. Again you can apply these algorithms to robots or reconstruct the swarm behaviour in computer simulations to see how the effect shows up when mindless virtual units simply follow a couple of instructions.
The important thing to take note of here is that these mindless units or living creatures do not need to have the intention of creating that effect.
They do not need a concept of distances, optimizations, swarms or whatever.
In all these cases the individuals' behaviour results in an "intelligent" system behaviour.
In other words what we observe here is an emerging system intelligence.
The system "swarm" as an entity can show an intelligence which the individual may have no idea of.
I wouldn't say this should lead to too much optimism, because certainly there might also be cases in which the system swarm shows signs of stupidity which the individual has no idea of, but the point that I want to make is not whether or not human mankind can be saved...
So the fact that a "swarm" as an entity CAN show intelligent behaviour should not lead to believe that it MUST show intelligent behaviour.
First of all it's more than obvious that this kind of intelligence is actually far more primitive than anything that we connect to the word "mind".
Having realized that this intelligence is not a result of the participants' IQ but does also emerge when simulated by mindless virtual units, the next question I am asking is:
Why should it only be observed among intelligent/living creatures.
The fact that we can easily simulate these effects in a computer, shows that they are simply based on logical principles that could also appear in non-living systems.
In this case, would we call it intelligence?
People tend to say no.
They tend to demand something like a consciousness or an intention that motivates a behaviour to call it the result of intelligence, considering it the result of mind and/or reasoning.
The whole discussion about Searle's Chinese Room and the Turing-Test is an example of how this idea of intelligence dominates at least one branch of philosophy and actually is pretty dominating in peoples' minds in general.
For a complete understanding of the term intelligence all of these concepts definitely have to be taken into account, however my purpose is to talk about a different aspect of intelligence.
So whenever I use the word intelligence I do not refer to it as the output of mind or reasoning.
The developments in the field of Information technology have caused a slightly more liberal usage of the word intelligence, talking about strong and weak artificial intelligence.
The so called weak AI is interested in even the lowest units of intelligence.
Anything that could possibly be measured as a positive intelligent output is of interest for the weak AI, e.g. a simple algorithm that causes a group of machines to find the shortest distance to a target (antalgorithms) which can be considered a cognitive process.
In case of AI we have humans put this intelligence into the system and in case of ants we have living creatures being involved, so one could argue that this intelligent output can only appear where a more or less intelligent creature causes it from the background.
My hypothesis is that self-organization itself comes with the whole potential of intelligence, containing both: the molecules of intelligence and the glue that accumulates them to what we call mind.
And if somebody is curious about it, it would be my pleasure to explain how and why.


I believe intelligence is one's ability to understand cause and reaction symbolically and one's ability to, at the same time, compare various bits of information accurately to make accurate conclusions.

This is why becoming educated doesn't necessarily increase your intelligence. If you learn something and have no ability to relate it to other information, then you are really just a parrot.
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 03:35 pm
@Riordan,
Riordan wrote:

This is why becoming educated doesn't necessarily increase your intelligence. If you learn something and have no ability to relate it to other information, then you are really just a parrot.

Ok, it was obvious that this kind of argument had to come up.
There is certainly a number of definitions that can be applied to the word intelligence.
People use words in a different way, which is one reason why there will never be ONE valid definition of the word "love" for example.
Insisting on one definition of the word intelligence would probably be as stupid as assuming there was one universal thing called love that you wether find or not.
So we are obviously talking about two different things, using the same word.
This doesn't mean they are completely different, but just like one person can be talking about energy, and the other person about electricity, misunderstandings may occur.
The intelligence you refer to is something much more specific than what i am talking about.
You are certainly right, the ability of connecting information in a way that it can be used for problem resolution is definitely in the focus of intelligence research, and i think we still lack a method of measuring this in IQ-tests.
So i am totally finde with what you said.
The reason why i have been using so many words however was because i am trying to bring some light into the origin of intelligence.
This thread is about the most primitive elements of intelligence we can find.
The roots of intelligence, to make it sound a bit more dramatic.

---------- Post added at 12:48 AM ---------- Previous post was Yesterday at 11:35 PM ----------


Hello Bioharmony

i can't help it.
I am sorry to say that, but the concept of biophotons doesn't really fit my idea of scientific research.
What i see reminds me a lot of Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields.
And actually also of the orgon-idea of Wilhelm Reich.
There have been different attempts to read a distinct kind of physics into the phenomenon of life.
As they were simplifying the world they had their times of being popular, but they all turned out to be overly simplifying and finally completely wrong.
There is certainly a number of discussions still going on, about how life is still based on processes that we don't understand, or how medications work, although from a scientific perspective they should not work.
This kind of discussion is certainly interesting but i don't take that into account (maybe in other threads, but not here).
Honestly i want to keep anything that is based on could-be-real out of this concept.
Sorry to say that: It is hard enough to explain my point of view and prove that it's one hundred percent rational.
Taking in account any semi-scientific ideas would totally spoil the credibility of the concept .
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 04:32 am
@Exebeche,
There is an interesting concept which might be relevant to this thread, which is called 'consilience'. Edward Wilson, a biologist, wrote a book about it. As it happens he is also an expert at the self-organising capacities of ants.
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 02:32 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian;60941 wrote:

On a sidenote, I have a competing hypothesis to offer up. This idea is that life is a form of change. Life is organic, right? And organisms are different from everything else. Life changes to better fit its environment. Life also changes to fit its environment not so good, but hey, history is written by the winners and all that. So, yay change. I don't know why I like this idea, [...]


Finally i see the significance of this post - If it's allowed to post a quote of myself:

My point of view is that reality is constituted by more than matter and energy. I am not talking about anything esoteric here, i refer to Norbert Wiener's sentence that information is the third quantitiy in our universe, next to matter and energy.
I am talking about non-energetic relations. Relations that are not energetic or material to be more precise.
It's actually not even difficult to understand
When we use a word like 'family', or even better 'herd', e.g. talking about a pack of baboons, the word herd describes a phenomenon that is neither material nor energetic.
It's the relations between the baboons that makes a number of animals a herd.
Matter and energy may be what the world is made of, but the way things relate to each other is what gives meaning to it all.
'Panta rei' - Heraklits words express that everything is subject to dynamics. Everything is in flow, the universe is a continuous process (as oppose to a static environment).
The flowing, the dynamics are what causes relations to appear.
Any description of the universe that takes in account only energy and matter will remain incomplete (oh, that reminds of a discussion about quantum physics...), it's the PROCESS that causes relations to appear.
If the universe was static (like a picture), there would be no way for relations to appear. But since the universe is in movement, things get in contact and thus relate.
This might even be the logical basis of what (physical) information is.


Surprising how i didn't see it, when i first read Ultracrepidarian's post.
I think that the change, the dynamic of a system is what causes information to appear at all.
Your quote contained an essential aspect of this whole theory, which i did not even realize when i first read it.
Information itself could be representing dynamic. This would mean information is not something like energy and matter which could be considered 'substance' in a way, but information is simply the result of the dynamic, meaning how things relate and change their relations based on dynamic. Information is thus not an 'is'.
What we perceive as information is a twodimensional picture of a threedimensional flow (you can add as many dimensions as you like).
Any change of the state a system is in, will cause a change of the information in it.

jeeprs;87281 wrote:
There is an interesting concept which might be relevant to this thread, which is called 'consilience'. Edward Wilson, a biologist, wrote a book about it. As it happens he is also an expert at the self-organising capacities of ants.


Jeeprs, do i understand you correctly that you perceive this thread as a a mix of different sciences in accordance, creating something like a synthesis?
I will have to find more information about consilience. Anyway, thank you.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 03:50 pm
@Exebeche,
The ability of complex systems to self organize and develop new properties is firmly established in the sciences under chaos, fractals and strange attractors.

The notion of process (becoming) instead of being (matter) as primary in ontology is well represented in modern thought by A.N. Whitehead's process philosophy. That both value and information consist in the relationships between objects not in the objects themselves is inherent to the overall process worldview.

The application of these principles (process and self organization) to intelligence as general notions I think is appealing.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:40 pm
@Exebeche,
that is why I referred to that book Consilienceby E.O. Wilson. I haven't read it but it looks relevant to this thread. Although I hasten to add he is a committed materialist who wishes to understand everything in terms of physical laws, which I don't believe is either possible or desirable, but it still seems a very interesting idea.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 11:40 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;87521 wrote:
that is why I referred to that book Consilienceby E.O. Wilson. I haven't read it but it looks relevant to this thread. Although I hasten to add he is a committed materialist who wishes to understand everything in terms of physical laws, which I don't believe is either possible or desirable, but it still seems a very interesting idea.


... yep, from what I understand, E.O. Wilson is committed to the idea that the real stops at matter and that everything else beyond is mere epiphenomenon ... what puzzles me about that stance in this century is that with our increasing knowledge of the quantum it appears incoherent ... that is, the idea is reductionist in nature, but not in execution - it currently chooses to stop at "matter" (a historical aberration that pre-dates the quantum) as the boundary of the real ... but in a quantum world, doesn't a fully executed reductionism imply that matter itself is mere epiphenomenon? - that the real stops at the quantum foam? - that determinism is as much a convenient fiction as consciousness? ...
 
salima
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 12:42 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;87862 wrote:
... yep, from what I understand, E.O. Wilson is committed to the idea that the real stops at matter and that everything else beyond is mere epiphenomenon ... what puzzles me about that stance in this century is that with our increasing knowledge of the quantum it appears incoherent ... that is, the idea is reductionist in nature, but not in execution - it currently chooses to stop at "matter" (a historical aberration that pre-dates the quantum) as the boundary of the real ... but in a quantum world, doesn't a fully executed reductionism imply that matter itself is mere epiphenomenon? - that the real stops at the quantum foam? - that determinism is as much a convenient fiction as consciousness? ...


hi paul-
i suspect everything is either real or epiphenomenal, it doesnt matter what it is called or how to define it-i think there is no separation.

can you elaborate a little on the underlined portion of the above quote please?
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 02:20 pm
@salima,
salima;87872 wrote:
hi paul-
i suspect everything is either real or epiphenomenal, it doesnt matter what it is called or how to define it-i think there is no separation.

can you elaborate a little on the underlined portion of the above quote please?


... if matter is all that matters, and processes are a mere epiphenomenon of matter, then the process that decoheres the quantum into deterministic states is a mere epiphenomenon, thus determinism itself is a mere epiphenomenon, yes? ... next question: if matter is all that matters, what mattered for the hundreds of thousands of years after the big bang before matter even existed? ...
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 04:07 pm
@salima,
salima;87872 wrote:
hi paul-
i suspect everything is either real or epiphenomenal, it doesnt matter what it is called or how to define it-i think there is no separation.

Interestingly i am having a discussion on a german forum that guides me to understand what you say. At least it might.
It may become more clear when you answer this question:
Do you see a difference between something being real or virtual ?
 
salima
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 04:58 pm
@Exebeche,
Exebeche;87901 wrote:
Interestingly i am having a discussion on a german forum that guides me to understand what you say. At least it might.
It may become more clear when you answer this question:
Do you see a difference between something being real or virtual ?


nope-but i dont see any difference in anything at all.

whether a thing is decohered or deterministic or real or virtual or epiphenomenal, only its form or state of being has changed-it hasnt changed, in essence nothing has changed.

and if there was a before when no matter existed, what difference would it make if whatever it was decohered from was still there? it would be equally real or important.

this is what makes me chuckle-dualism and monism...dualism is only a characteristic of monism yet everybody wants to argue about it. why?
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 06:19 pm
@salima,
salima;87905 wrote:
whether a thing is decohered or deterministic or real or virtual or epiphenomenal, only its form or state of being has changed-it hasnt changed, in essence nothing has changed.

and if there was a before when no matter existed, what difference would it make if whatever it was decohered from was still there? it would be equally real or important.


... in essence, I think it may be said that when the process of the expansion of the early universe reached a tipping point and a phase change occurred that allowed some of the universe's energy to precipitate into matter, the precipitation was conservative with respect to matter/energy ... but was it also conservative with respect to complexity/information? ... that is, did the process of the expansion of the universe create (I think the word you use is "express") complexity/information that did not previously exist, thus increasing the amount of complexity/information in the universe, and thus vastly increasing the number of processes that could emerge from that complexity/information to produce yet even more novel complexity/information? ... and to bring this back around to the title of the thread, is the universe itself self-organized? ...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 06:33 pm
@Exebeche,
That is obviously a very profound and difficult question, however, what would be involved in establishing an answer to it, one way or the other? Is it an answerable question? What would you look for to test the hypothesis "universe is self-organising"? How would it show up in reality? (Does it help to put it like that?)
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 06:44 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;87912 wrote:
How would it show up in reality? (Does it help to put it like that?)


 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 07:54 pm
@Exebeche,
Very interesting indeed. Although to play the role of devil's advocate (or is that...deity's advocate), there is no reason why self-organisation could not be a manifestation of an underlying order. In Just Six Numbers, Martin Rees demonstrates that certain fundamental constants are such that the kind of order we see all through the cosmos can arise. Now I don't argue that this 'proves' anything...in fact I think I am content with the idea that it just suggests a kind of Platonic order in the universe. But then, I am one of those who is disposed to thinking the anthropic principle is philosophically significant. I know there are many who aren't. And again, I don't think it will ever be proven, and I rather like that. 'Deep agnosticism', so to speak.
 
 

 
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