• Relativist
    2.1k
    Entropy. Entropy isn't contingent on living things.Benj96
    Aren't you referring to the change in entropy over time? If you just mean the fixed value of entropy for a state of affairs, it explains nothing.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    It's possible time doesnt exist outside the realm of what living things perceive.
    In this case, positive causation and entropy are mutually synergistic.
    Without positive causation, entropy cannot be observed (ie the arrow of time cannot be experienced). Without entropy, positive causation or the tendency towards order, sumilarly cannot exist
    Benj96
    I agree that, for insentient matter, there is no concept of Time, just meaningless Change. For a world without thinking & feeling persons, the universe may be as described in Einstein's thought experiment of Block Time. Without memory, there is no Past or Future, just Now, or perhaps nothingness.

    We only know that Energy exists by observing both positive and negative changes in matter . . . . some good for us, some bad. Likewise, we only know "Productive" Energy by contrast with "Destructive" Entropy. That's why scientists first described the invisible Agent of Change in terms of Entropy (decline, dissipation, destruction), and only as an afterthought, added a label for positive Change : Negentropy (literally : negation of negativity).

    I also agree that Positive Energy (order) and Negative Entropy (disorder) are complementary, perhaps even synergistic {see image below}. Almost every aspect of reality has a "positive" and "negative" aspect, but those labels are meaningful only to sentient beings. So, like Time, they may not exist "outside the realm of . . . living things". Perhaps without the limiting "laws" of physics, and the annihilating brakes of Entropy, the burgeoning evolution of the universe (toward order & organization) could not exist.

    In the near-infinite universe, Randomness and Order coexist; uneasily, but fruitfully. Yet, on earth, order reigns supreme. That's why Plato imagined his rational world as a temporal Cosmos separated out of eternal Chaos*1. According to the second law of thermodynamics, order is an exception to the rule of general disorder*2. And yet, here we are : organized matter, thinking rational thoughts about a world born from a creative blast of energy, but ever-since descending back toward the original state of unformed Plasma . . . . except in our little corner of the cosmos, in the realm of "living things". :confused:


    *1. Plato's conception of the Cosmos :
    Pythagoras was the first, says Plutarch, "who named the compass of the whole a Cosmos, because
    of the order which is in it"

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/27900668

    *2. Entropy vs Enformy :
    *** Entropy is a property of the universe, modeled as a thermodynamic system. Energy always flows from Hot (high energy density) to Cold (low density) -- except when it doesn't. On rare occasions, energy lingers in a moderate state that we know as Matter, and sometimes even reveals new qualities and states of material stuff .
    *** The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that, in a closed system, Entropy always increases until it reaches equilibrium at a temperature of absolute zero. But some glitch in that system allows stable forms to emerge that can recycle energy in the form of qualities we call Life & Mind. That glitch is what I call Enformy.

    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    COMPLEMENTARITY OF POSITIVE & NEGATIVE
    yin-yang-duality.jpg
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    Of course, there's the possibility that we discover life all over the place.Patterner

    Yes. I think that will be the case with non-intelligent life. My discussion with Relatavist was predicated on what would happen if we don't find any life anywhere and abiogenesis continues to be a mystery.

    But sure, let's just say. I guess I would wonder why something created the simulation of such an outrageous size, and only simulated life where we are.

    Simulating all the faraway galaxies wouldn't require much. They wouldn't have to be too "granular" to be convincing to us.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    no concept of Time, just meaningless ChangeGnomon

    I take Time to be nothing but the acknowledgement of before-after wrt states of affairs. Obviously, something insentient can't acknowledge this, but the changes still occur.
    Is that you feel for an insentient being this is just not relevant, or that for them, metaphysically, time wouldn't pass?
  • Patterner
    556
    Note --- Planet Earth is the primary example of Negative Entropy in the universe, where Life & Mind have emerged against all odds (second law of thermodynamics).Gnomon
    I would suggest the system is the solar system, not just the Earth. The energy from the sun could have powered the increase in order.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I take Time to be nothing but the acknowledgement of before-after wrt states of affairs. Obviously, something insentient can't acknowledge this, but the changes still occur.
    Is that you feel for an insentient being this is just not relevant, or that for them, metaphysically, time wouldn't pass?
    AmadeusD
    Yes. Time is a concept formulated by sentient observers of Change, for whom Difference is the essence of Sentience*1. But presumably, Change continues in the remote backwaters of the universe, where to our knowledge there are no observers. For example, the latest Mars missions have found evidence of physical changes over time, but no little green men to take note of it. For those red rocks lying in an ancient dry river bed, Time is "not relevant". So, as you say, "metaphysically" (relation to Mind) Time stands still*2. :smile:

    *1. Perception is knowledge of Change :
    Sameness, similarity and difference are basic relationships in human perception and cognition.
    https://www.mdpi.com/2079-3200/11/9/172

    *2. À la recherche du temps perdu :
    The relationship between time and change remains elusive. Giving time priority over change, and imagining time continuing in the absence of events, have unsatisfactory consequences. It is no less unsatisfactory to see time as generated from, or subsisting in, the relations between events, if only because this leaves us with the seeming impossibility of characterising the nature of that relationship without mentioning the word ‘time’. ___Raymond Tallis
    https://philosophynow.org/issues/115/Time_and_Change
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Note --- Planet Earth is the primary example of Negative Entropy in the universe, where Life & Mind have emerged against all odds (second law of thermodynamics). — Gnomon
    I would suggest the system is the solar system, not just the Earth. The energy from the sun could have powered the increase in order.
    Patterner
    Yes, but, "could" is counterfactual. Are you aware of instances of Life & Mind anywhere except on the third rock from the sun? :wink:
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    For those red rocks lying in an ancient dry river bed, Time is "not relevant". So, as you say, "metaphysically" (relation to Mind) Time stands stillGnomon

    Do you think that no radioactive isotopes that were in the rock at the time of the rock's fomation have decayed?
  • Patterner
    556
    Yes, but, "could" is counterfactual. Are you aware of instances of Life & Mind anywhere except on the third rock from the sun? :wink:Gnomon
    I'm only saying there is a source of energy that can account for the energy that would be needed to decrease the entropy, if that's what happened.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Do you think that no radioactive isotopes that were in the rock at the time of the rock's fomation have decayed?wonderer1
    Unobserved Change is not Time. I think you missed the point of the "red rock" example. The dry river bed is evidence of physical Change in the environment over eons of Time. But, even internal sub-atomic changes would be irrelevant to an insentient rock, presumably lacking both the cognitive power of Interoception, and the ability to measure differences. Time is a measurement. :joke:


    Interoceptionyour brain's representation of sensations from your own body
    https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/interoception-how-we-understand-our-bodys-inner-sensations
  • wonderer1
    1.7k


    Gnever mind. I should have gnown better than to engage with gnarcissistic gnonsense.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Yes, but, "could" is counterfactual. Are you aware of instances of Life & Mind anywhere except on the third rock from the sun? :wink: — Gnomon
    I'm only saying there is a source of energy that can account for the energy that would be needed to decrease the entropy, if that's what happened.
    Patterner
    Yes, but what is the source of organic Biogenesis (Negentropy ; Enformy) on all the other "rocks" in the system?

    Pure Energy alone is neither positive (+) nor negative (-), neither constructive nor destructive --- just the Potential for directionless desultory Change. Entropy is how science defines dissipative change. So, we need a new positive term (Enformy?) to designate beneficial, organic, accumulative, directional, or determined changes : the power to transform Old to New, Past to Future, Dead to Life : opposite to the entropic Arrow of Time. :wink:


    Negentropy is used to explain the presence of “order” within living beings and their tendency to oppose the chaos and disorganization that governs physical systems.
    https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation?paperid=99336

    Desultory : lacking a plan, purpose

    Entropic :a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.

    Organic : having systematic coordination of parts : organized. an organic whole
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Gnever mind. I should have gnown better than to engage with gnarcissistic gnonsense.wonderer1
    Speaking of literal non-sense. How do you define Time, apart from metaphysical Measurement by a Mind?

    Time has no physical properties to measure.
    https://www.nist.gov/how-do-you-measure-it/how-do-you-measure-second
  • Patterner
    556
    Gnever mind. I should have gnown better than to engage with gnarcissistic gnonsense.wonderer1
    Gnow gnow.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    :ok: Thank you mate, appreciate that.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Gnever mind. I should have gnown better than to engage with gnarcissistic gnonsense. — wonderer1
    Gnow gnow.
    Patterner
    I'm not sure what ticked off, but I suspect he doesn't appreciate my references to fundamental Information, and other sub-physical notions that might have something to do with the emergence of Life from abiotic Matter. Apparently he can't make sense of my immaterial "gnon-sense". But, if Abiogenesis was a sensible thing, you'd think it would already be accepted as a physical fact, instead of a philosophical theory.

    I do use some concepts from Quantum Physics that are literally non-sense. For example, the hypothetical Quantum Field is not something you could perceive with your 5 physical senses. Although undetectable by senses or instruments, physicists assume that their imaginary mathematical grid must be real, because they have no better idea for the source of physical Energy (e.g. vacuum energy). I do postulate that Life is a form of Energy, which is a local form of universal Enformation (power to transform).

    In a related topic, I just read about the novel notion of Information Realism in Bernardo Kastrup's Science Ideated. He attributes that worldview to mathematical physicist Max Tegmark, who claimed "matter is done away with and only information itself is taken to be ultimately real". The term "Information Realism" is also connected to Yale philosopher of Information Luciano Floridi. Who admitted that "information remains an elusive concept", hence it can easily be dismissed by materialists as "non-sense".

    Since philosophers manipulate Concepts instead of Matter, most of their speculations are literally non-sense, and can only make "sense" via rational inference instead of physical perception. Do you think the explanation for Abiogenesis will necessarily conform to the current dominant scientific worldview of Materialism? :nerd:


    Information Realism? :
    Physicists love to play the philosopher, and when they do the result is often nonsense. A recent example is the so-called information realism of physicist Max Tegmark. Here is the gist of it:

    . . . according to information realists, matter arises from information processing, not the other way around. Even mind—psyche, soul—is supposedly a derivative phenomenon of purely abstract information manipulation.

    When I read this, I said to myself, "I will have no trouble blowing this nonsense out of the water." Reading on, however, I noted that the author of the Scientific American piece, Bernardo Kastrup, did exactly that.

    https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2020/02/information-realism.html
    Note --- Ironically, Kastrup's alternative to Information Realism is Analytical Idealism. Which the Maverick Philosopher might also characterize as "nonsense". But the Information Philosopher might beg to differ :

    The Information Philosopher has established that quantum mechanics and thermodynamics play a central role in the creation of all things. This finding has enormous implications for philosophy and metaphysics.
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/introduction/

    Terrence Deacon on Abiogenesis :
    The major transition from the nonliving to the living - the problem of abiogenesis, and the introduction of telos in the universe - happens in Deacon's third level.
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/
    Note --- Are you familiar with Deacon's Incomplete Nature?


  • Patterner
    556
    Odd that I didn't get a notification about you quoting me. Oh well, maybe just a one time glitch.

    Note --- Are you familiar with Deacon's Incomplete Nature?Gnomon
    Me? I love the book. At least the half I've gotten through.

    Do you think the explanation for Abiogenesis will necessarily conform to the current dominant scientific worldview of Materialism? :nerd:Gnomon
    From the little I know of Complexity and Self-organization, I think it's plausible. I don't know enough specifics to defend the theory, though. And I don't think there's one specific abiogenesis theory that's considered more likely than others? Other than various creation stories, I don't know of other types of theories.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    fundamental InformationGnomon

    I’ve said this before, but I’ll try again - there’s no such thing as ‘generic information’. Information is always specific. References to information are always to information about something. Sure, ‘information’ is in some way fundamental to living processes, insofar as DNA is said to ‘encode information’, but isn’t that a metaphorical use of the term?

    That link you provide to Maverick Philosopher refers to Bernardo Kastrup’s essay on Information Realism. Kastrup writes, in relation to Tegmark’s Pythagorean philosophy:

    You see, it is one thing to state in language that information is primary and can, therefore, exist independently of mind and matter. But it is another thing entirely to explicitly and coherently conceive of what—if anything—this may mean. By way of analogy, it is possible to write—as Lewis Carroll did—that the Cheshire Cat’s grin remains after the cat disappears, but it is another thing entirely to conceive explicitly and coherently of what this means.

    Our intuitive understanding of the concept of information—as cogently captured by Claude Shannon in 1948—is that it is merely a measure of the number of possible states of an independently existing system. As such, information is a property ofan underlying substrate associated with the substrate’s possible configurations—not an entity unto itself.

    To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat. It is a grammatically valid statement devoid of sense; a word game less meaningful than fantasy, for internally consistent fantasy can at least be explicitly and coherently conceived of as such.

    I read Kastrup’s essay as directly challenging the kind of ‘information realism’ that you seem to be advocating. Instead he says that the ‘reduction base’ is experience itself - not your experience or mine alone, but in the inter-subjective sense he spells out as analytic idealism.

    we must stick to what is most immediately present to us: solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience. The world measured, modeled and ultimately predicted by physics is the world of perceptions, a category of mentation. The phantasms and abstractions reside merely in our descriptions of the behavior of that world, not in the world itself.

    What do you think?
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I’ve said this before, but I’ll try again - there’s no such thing as ‘generic information’. Information is always specific.Wayfarer
    It's true that Shannon's Information (data) is always specific, since it is used for communication engineering purposes. But Terrence Deacon is "redefining information"*1 by postulating a triad of Information types : Shannon, Boltzmann, & Darwin. You can think of them as Pragmatic Engineering, Thermodynamic, & Biological functions. However, I use the term "Generic Information" to mean something like the source (generator) of all Forms (everything physical & biological & mental) in the world.

    Hence, my Generic Information is fundamental, in the sense of John A. Wheeler's "It from Bit" hypothesis*2, based on Quantum Uncertainty (coin flip). When applied to biological Natural Selection, the semi-random Bit-flip is a gamble that decides the direction of Evolution. But it's a "choice" with a physical memory : material forms. And the material record indicates that the "coin" may be weighted with a tendency toward Complexity & Consciousness. :nerd:


    *1. Redefining Information :
    Beginning from the base established by Claude Shannon, which otherwise ignores
    issues of content, reference, and evaluation, this two part essay explores its
    relationship to two other higher-order theories that are also explicitly based on an
    analysis of absence: Boltzmann’s theory of thermodynamic entropy (in Part 1)
    and Darwin’s theory of natural selection (in Part 2).
    ___Terrence Deacon
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/Deacon_Redefining_II.pdf

    *2. It from Bit Koan :
    Wheeler has condensed these ideas into a phrase that resembles a Zen koan: “the it from bit.” In one of his free-form essays, Wheeler unpacks the phrase as follows: “...every it--every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself--derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely--even if in some contexts indirectly--from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits.” ___John Horgan
    https://johnhorgan.org/cross-check/physicist-john-wheeler-and-the-it-from-bit

    I read Kastrup’s essay as directly challenging the kind of ‘information realism’ that you seem to be advocating.Wayfarer
    I had never heard the term Information Realism before reading Science Ideated. Kastrup does indeed challenge Tegmark's Mathematical Universe hypothesis. But that's only a small part of what I'm "advocating". I can see that Mathematics is the Logic of reality. But EnFormAction is also postulated as the creative Causal Force of reality.

    Kastrup's alternative worldview is Analytical Idealism, which may also be a small part of my more inclusive worldview of Enformationism. As Floridi says, Information can be viewed both analytically and metaphysically. So, while I can accept each of those partial theories of Information, I am not personally advocating any but my own little amateur Theory of Everything. :grin:


    *3. Philosophy of Information :
    PI may be approached in two ways, one analytical and the other metaphysical. The chapter ends with the suggestion that PI might be considered a new kind of first philosophy. ___Luciano Floridi
    https://academic.oup.com/book/32518/chapter-abstract/270223494?redirectedFrom=fulltext
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Note --- Are you familiar with Deacon's Incomplete Nature? — Gnomon
    Me? I love the book. At least the half I've gotten through.
    Patterner
    Stick with it. Incompleteness in reading leaves an ignorance Absence. Taken as a philosophical worldview, Deacon's theory of Creative Absence is a paradigm changer. :wink:

    From the little I know of Complexity and Self-organization, I think it's plausible. I don't know enough specifics to defend the theory, though. And I don't think there's one specific abiogenesis theory that's considered more likely than others? Other than various creation stories, I don't know of other types of theories.Patterner
    Yes. There have been several scientific & philosophical attempts to explain the emergence of Life from non-life*1. But so far, none has hit a home-run, and all leave some unexplained gaps, such as the emergence of Mind from mindless Matter. I have my own personal Information-based Genesis hypothesis, which is more general & philosophical than just Biogenesis. But it lacks the mythical poetry of an anthro-morphic deity speaking the world into existence, and animating dead clay. So, it's not likely to serve as the basis for a popular religion. :smile:

    *1. Origin of Life, Theories of :
    There are many facets to the problem of understanding life’s origin and equally many ways to address it. The origin of life can be viewed from a variety of different standpoints: information theory (Yockey, 2005), RNA replication (Eigen and Schuster, 1977), meteorite impacts (Brack, 2009), physics (Smith and Morowitz, 2016), specific chemical synthesis (Powner et al., 2009), geo- chemistry (Martin and Russell, 2003), or entropy (Russell et al., 2013), to name a few.
    http://www.esalq.usp.br/lepse/imgs/conteudo_thumb/Origin-of-Life--Theories-of.pdf

    LET THERE BE BIOLOGY
    180544-9be73e42-ebda-11ed-a2ff-f278c9763eba.jpeg
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Thank you. I shall persist with Deacon, I petered out in his polemical section contra ID, although I'm more drawn to Kastrup's analytical idealism.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    Thank you. I shall persist with Deacon, I petered out in his polemical section contra ID, although I'm more drawn to Kastrup's analytical idealism.Wayfarer
    I doubt that Deacon is a fan of Idealism, whether Analytical or Metaphysical. He's a traditional academic scientist who, following the evidence, has strayed across the taboo line between Hard Science and Soft Philosophy. Unfortunately, he hasn't published much since his 2011 book, except a few videos.

    I'm still reading Kastrup's Analytical Idealism, so I'll reserve any pro or con comments for a while. My first impression, regarding The Idea of the World was that it mostly aligned with my own worldview. But it also went beyond my grasp in some areas. His defense against hardline materialistic attacks are very persuasive in most cases. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    ↪Gnomon
    Thank you. I shall persist with Deacon, I petered out in his polemical section contra ID, although I'm more drawn to Kastrup's analytical idealism.
    Wayfarer
    FWIW, I just came across the excerpt below from a reply to you on the Absential Materialism thread.

    "In a marginal note of Incomplete Nature, I summarized the book as "a naturalized account for Life, Mind, Soul, Sentience, & Consciousness". But, as a practicing scientist, he seems to carefully avoid crossing the taboo line between Physics vs Metaphysics, Realism vs Idealism, and Science vs Philosophy. So, I also noted, "In order to establish the plausibility of absence-based (Metaphysical) causation, Deacon has to weed out unwarranted assumptions of Physicalism and Materialism". This straddling strategy and ontological balancing act led me to add : "The deistic inferences I'm drawing from Deacon's evidence & reasoning are precisely the one's he's trying to avoid".

    I give him some slack though, because Deacon is a scientist whose specialties --- Anthropology, Biosemiotics & Neuroscience --- straddle the dividing line between Science & Philosophy and Classical & Quantum worldviews. My own Enformationism worldview also tiptoes along the same borderline . . . .

    And the associated philosophical attitude of BothAnd --- neither Realism nor Idealism, but Both --- places me on the same moot margin as Deacon.
    "
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    It occurs to me that maybe you could say that Deacon is trying to establish the linkage between physical and logical causation. Ran it by ChatGPT, it says that it's feasible.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    It occurs to me that maybe you could say that Deacon is trying to establish the linkage between physical and logical causation. Ran it by ChatGPT, it says that it's feasible.Wayfarer
    I had to Google "logical causation". What I found was not very enlightening*1.

    Apparently, Logical Causation is what Hume said was "unprovable"*2, perhaps in the sense that a logical relationship (this ergo that) is not as objectively true as an empirical (this always follows that) demonstration. Logic can imply causation in an ideal (subjective) sense, but only physics can prove it in a real (objective) sense.

    Of course, even physical "proof" is derived from limited examples. So any generalization of the proven "fact" is a logical extrapolation (subjective) from Few to All, that may or may not be true in ultimate reality. I suppose It comes down to the definitional difference between Ideal (what ought to be) and Real (what is) causation. How is linking the two realms (subjective logic and objective science) "feasible"? Isn't that where skeptics confidently challenge presumably rational conclusions with "show me the evidence"?

    Do you think Deacon's "constitutive absence"*3 is the missing link between Logical truth and Empirical fact*4 regarding Abiogenesis? I'm afraid that proving a definite connection is above my pay grade, as an untrained amateur philosopher. What is ChatGPT's philosophical qualification? :grin:

    *1. What is the difference between logical implication and physical causality? :
    Logical implication refers to the relationship between two statements where the truth of one statement guarantees the truth of the other. Physical causality, on the other hand, refers to the relationship between events where one event is the direct cause of another event.
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/logical-implication-vs-physical-causality.1015629/

    *2. Hume Causation :
    Hume saw causation as a relationship between two impressions or ideas in the mind. He argued that because causation is defined by experience, any cause-and-effect relationship could be incorrect because thoughts are subjective and therefore causality cannot be proven.
    https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-metaphysics-of-causation-humes-theory.html

    *3. Causation by Constitutive Absence :
    According to Deacon, the defining property of every living or psychic system is that its causes are conspicuously absent from the system
    https://footnotes2plato.com/2012/05/23/reading-incomplete-nature-by-terrence-deacon/

    *4. Causal and Constitutive explanation :
    It is quite natural to explain differences or changes in causal capacities by referring to an absence of certain components or to their malfunction. . . . .
    most philosophers of explanation recognize that there is an important class of non-causal explanations, although it has received much less attention. These explanations are conventionally called constitutive explanations

    file:///C:/Users/johne/Downloads/Causal_and_constitutive_explanation_comp.pdf
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