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Alive vs. Dead and the meaning of meaning

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posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 06:03 PM
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there is a reason that you have never understood physics (vis a vis mechanics).

your confusion is due to the fact that the description of the universe as a mechanism cannot accomodate the phenomenon of your personal intelligence. yet, you are only able to understand a concept via your personal intelligence.

this conflict between the method and the means can be easily illustrated by taking a quick look at the phenomenon of colorblindness using two descriptive models. first, the description most familiar to you; and second, the description afforded to us by physical science.


at first glance, the words that i have used here might seem a bit unclear. for example, on the top right, i doubt that anyone would use the word "random" to describe three indistinguishable yellow lights. but if we imagine the resulting madness that would ensue at this traffic intersection, "random" seems like a valid description.

on the other side, the bottom left, "random" seems like a terrible word there as well. but, i must remind you that mechanical physics is blind. [red, yellow, green] might as well be [purple, black, brown].

so, for the sake of disambiguation, let's adopt a new term,"meaning", and take another look:


i hope you can see what an obvious tragedy it is that modern physical science has unwittingly relegated itself to the study of nonliving things by limiting it's scope to mechanism and reductionism.


i have a few questions:

- what is the difference between meaning and information?
- is science's description of reality regarding *strictly* information valid? how?
- can you think of an example in which science embraces "meaning", as defined here?
- does the example given offer any insights about what a "physics of life" might entail?
- is a "physics of life" necessary?

i look forward to hearing your responses....

 

a technical description in my own words:

living systems and consciousness are the result of a series of nested parenthetical entropy reversals resulting in a stable complex chaotic network. "Life" is the chaotic attractor at the center of that network.

Definition of "parenthetical entropy reversal": a systemic contextual transposition on the typical flow of entropy wherein a high entropy form is endowed with structure through meaning; and a low entropy form, because it is a disruption on meaning, becomes noise.

or more simply
information is structural
meaning is not information
meaning is context
context is also structural




posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 06:21 PM
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Yeah, well I'll continue to earn money, enjoy my family and help others as best I can.

What is this info useful for?




posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 06:30 PM
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reply to post by MadMax7
 



What is this info useful for?


there is a deep abyss that we, as scientists, are going to have to cross in order to arrive at a true description of reality. being that physics is often regarded as the foundation of all other sciences, any attempt to cross this abyss will most likely have to start there.

this thread will help (i hope) everyone, academic and layman alike, to get a better view of what lies on the other side of that chasm.

but if it is not useful to you. i am okay with that.



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


I don't think you're going to get the answers you're looking for. I think the best answer you'll get is why you can't get those answers. I wish I could give you something better, but I don't think I can.
edit on 15-8-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 07:33 PM
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Originally posted by tgidkp
i have a few questions:

- what is the difference between meaning and information?
- is science's description of reality regarding *strictly* information valid? how?
I don't really follow your examples. In the lower left view where you say science:no information, there's lots of information.

From my perspective, it would be simpler to say that there are aspects of nature that we simply haven't been smart enough to figure out yet. I think that's a consensus view.

Science and especially physics does have language problems when expressing things verbally. For example, scientists say that:

Empty space isn't really empty.
Electron orbitals do not involve any orbits.

And so on. But I think this proves to be more of a problem for non-scientists than for scientists, because these are oversimplified descriptions. The scientists often communicate in the language of mathematics. And once you look at the mathematics of those two examples, the ambiguity vanishes and the math describes those concepts to other scientists better than words.

Now can everything be expressed by math? No, but science doesn't encompass everything, and I don't think it claims to.
edit on 15-8-2013 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur
No, but science doesn't encompass everything, and I don't think it claims to.
edit on 15-8-2013 by Arbitrageur because: clarification


Sciences goal has to be to encompass everything. Because science only exists because everything exists exists as it does. Why would the sole means of discovering and knowing everything, ignore existent aspects of everything? There should not be one rock left unturned. If you mean right now in this moment science does not encompass everything, yes certainly, but science is the slow activity of encompassing everything, and if it is not, it is not science, and not the seeking and knowing of truth.

Also math can describe everything, and language is math. Besides language and math, what means do we have of describing? You can say power-point presentations, but everything about the presentation was created with math and language (the programming). Math is an abstract symbolic mechanism, to describe everything that exists. What exists can be compared to everything else that exists in terms of quantity and quality. Math is quantity (and potentially quality). I guess the problem is how to comprehend the physicality of reality, how to conform it into a symbolic model. How to know if it truly is composed of separate quanta of differing quality, like the ideas of discreteness offer. What if reality is so messy, and smeary, that our perfect math of 1=1 and 2 = 1 and 1 and 3 = 1 and 1 and 1, doesnt compare to the blurriness of reality. On the smallest levels of course, hopefully we can agree on the number of cups you have in your cabinet (unless someone wants to be a wise guy and claim they can use bowls as cups).



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



lower left...no information..


yeah you are right there is information there. but as in all examples concerning entropy, it is a comparison between two states. and so it would have been better to say "less information" and "more information".

but entropy, in all of its simplicity, can be a bit of a sticky wicket.... particularly for the non-scientist. and that is who i really am talking to here, despite the fact they will take one look at the word "entropy" and glaze over.

it is good to be a scientist and to have expansive technical descriptions, but in defense of speaking to the non-scientist, we have the words of dirac:


"The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way."



we are in disagreement on one issue, tho, and it is that nature and life in particular are PURPOSE driven. this is not simply a matter of "things we havent figured out yet", but rather, "things which the dominant scientific paradigm cannot (will not) accomodate."

can you explain how to fit purpose into reductionist science? or do you dismiss it altogether?



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 11:32 PM
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On "May 6, 1915. George Herman “Babe” Ruth of the Boston Red Sox hit his first major league home run in a game against the New York Yankees in New York." The resultant effect amongst other things is that the effect altered the trajectory of electrons in relation to location, that generated an effect upon space-time. The matter of what happened that day in relation to Babe Ruth is recorded in the context of the effect upon space-time.

Given such a conclusion the past is an aspect of the present, especially given matter and energy are the result of space-time.

Being alive vs. being dead is an issue related to, the efficacy of subjective experiences having the potential of being objective.

Say for example the technology exist to interpret the effect upon electron spin to space-time. So a person commits a murder and "electron spin translators," determine within a 99.9999% relative conclusion.

That based upon an analysis of wake as a result of electron spin the person is guilty of murder?

If the past can be an aspect of the present what does that suggest about the future?

Based upon Hawkins argument with respect to Susskind a human can survive entry into a black hole because of the multiverse (in other words there are "universe's" where the black hole in some arbitrary location does not exist). Susskind's response does indicate a manifold to some extent in so far as being related to a multiverse outside of the electron cloud.

Suggested in argument are that the two are separate in some distinct way, when in contemplation there is no real reason to separate such experiences.

Any thoughts?




edit on 15-8-2013 by Kashai because: Modifed content



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 11:50 PM
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In respect to the multiverse there is no reason to conclude that we are always alive.

Based upon Relativity theory any energy distorts space-time and that would include photons.

Any thoughts?
edit on 16-8-2013 by Kashai because: added content



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by tgidkp
it would have been better to say "less information" and "more information".
I don't even understand how it's less information.


Originally posted by tgidkp
can you explain how to fit purpose into reductionist science? or do you dismiss it altogether?
Doesn't this cartoon do it?



Man's strategies to eat survive and reproduce have relied heavily on brainpower. That brainpower has allowed us to succeed and perhaps reproduce so prolifically we may reach unsustainable population levels, especially if we can't find good energy replacements for fossil fuels.

We ended up with more brainpower than we needed to just eat, survive, and reproduce which we can then divert to things like pure scientific research. However, even if one of our higher purposes is to start a colony on another planet, so our species isn't made extinct like the dinosaurs when a giant rock impacts the Earth, the purpose of that is really survival.

Of course we can all choose other purposes if we like, but some of those, like the religious purpose to serve God, are beyond the scope of science.
edit on 16-8-2013 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 04:47 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


The principle of entropy is interesting, but can it be applied to the difference between raw information and meaning? Mathematics in and of its self, physics equations themselves have no meaning, unless that is, one applies those tools to the universe, to problems. And here we come, to the crux of the issue. It is only humanity which places meaning upon raw data in the way that we do. Here on this planet, there is no other species that can conceptualise, record, assimilate, and sculpt data the way that we do, to fit our needs, to further our aims, to make us more successful.

While it is true that if a wolf scents a prey animal, it knows that the smell means that there is food nearby, and even how far away it is to a matter of feet, it cannot record this data in any place except for its mind. Given that wolves are predatory, they are hardwired to react to prey in a certain fashion. But they cannot sit at a whiteboard and work out over a given period of time, where thier hunts have been most successful. They roam, they smell, they eat, or they do not smell, and do not eat, and move elsewhere.

We on the other hand, record data, study it, and can apply meaning using higher reasoning skills. We can apply mathematical constructs to problems, the end results of which are meaningless numeric gibberish in any scenario save for the specific one for which they were devised. For example, Einstiens great theory which comes out at E=mc2 means absolutley nothing when applied to fish farming. Newtons ideas on gravity and motion cannot be applied all that easily to figuring out what makes a smashing cup of tea. Pythagoras cannot assist you with working out your marriage problems, or score you a hot date (unless you go to one of those tedious universities where mathematics is seen as just as good as foreplay by the students. Grow balls, drink beer. Seriously).

We apply meaning to things, because we can conceptualise and contextualise data all at once. We can see the data, AND see its use in a given scenario, work with that data, refine it, examine all of its various facets and how they may relate to real things. Without humanity, nothing would have meaning, because all the data would still be there, but there would be no one to give it meaning, to understand its implications. Mind provides meaning, without mind, nothing has any importance at all.

This is not a problem which physics must overcome, because it is not a physical issue. It is a philosophical one.

There does not need to be a physics for life, because we have biology for that. Also, it is true that human beings are high entropy constructs, but we do break down pretty rapidly, and some faster than others. Entropy is not suspended or reversed for us, any more than it is for any physical system in the known universe. Our telomeres break down, and our DNA becomes messy over time, informational decay sets in almost as soon as we are BORN! Even as we grow we die a little bit each day, so entropy is always hard at work in humans.
edit on 16-8-2013 by TrueBrit because: added information.



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 05:08 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


Only a creator of a thing can give it purpose or meaning; otherwise, it will remain subjective...

Why belongs to theology and philosophy; science cannot answer it.

If you do try to answer why with science, you will become psychotic. (this is not a challenge - it's a warning)

Fun movie quote:
"A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally, there's no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts." - Dr. Manhattan



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by tgidkp

your confusion is due to the fact that the description of the universe as a mechanism cannot accomodate the phenomenon of your personal intelligence. yet, you are only able to understand a concept via your personal intelligence.


Hence the cloud of unknowing.

"And so I urge you, go after experience rather than knowledge. On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you, but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you. Knowledge tends to breed conceit, but love builds. Knowledge is full of labor, but love, full of rest."



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 05:37 PM
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reply to post by Bleeeeep
 



Only a creator of a thing can give it purpose or meaning...


that is an interesting insight. i like it.

this is obviously the reason why science in general (and Arbitrageur in particular) do not want to face the inevitable truth: there can be no doubt that *I* can *create* something and endow it with *meaning*. being that science is ultimately interested in observables only, and it is quite plain to see that i (we) am (are) capable of creating something, then the interactions of the physical substrates that are involved in the act of creation are well within the scope of physical science.

but this places the cause of those interactions at nonlocal to the system of physical substrates. just like the information contained in the example sequence [red, yellow, green] is nonlocal to the system of lights. where is the location of this peculiar type of 'information', which clearly exists, if it is not part of the system?

some might argue that a mechanical description is possible. neurons firing and fingers manipulating clay all described as an incomprehensible and prohibitively complex bouncing of billiard balls one against the other against the other. but, as echoed by your quote, bouncing billiard balls (information) are not enough to account for the process (meaning).

mechanics is dead.

a new science IS needed, and IS possible... tho the danger of insanity is definitely there.


thanks for posting



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 06:49 PM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 



...our DNA becomes messy over time, informational decay sets in almost as soon as we are BORN! Even as we grow we die a little bit each day, so entropy is always hard at work in humans.


a really great post. thanks!

you say that Biology, in its current form, is sufficient? it is not. in fact, the reason that i am bringing the topic up and emphasizing its importance (not just in this thread, but my more recent ones as well) is because there is a great rumbling occurring presently at the foundations of Biology. this is evidenced by the increasing incidence of scientific papers published, especially within the last year, which basically take a sledgehammer to Molecular Biology as we currently know it.

your quote above is a great example of what many biologists are recognizing as a fundamental flaw in our understanding. a flawed assumption was made half a century ago which is drawn as a combination of evolutionary theory and the unveiling of the structure of DNA. the assumption, in brief, is thus: phenotype can be accounted for, in full, by genotype. in this sense, we have assigned to the DNA (and its direct transcriptional products) the role of "information" and then use the word "information" exactly as you have done above.

what is wrong with this idea?

information is terribly sensitive to noise. if a signal is traveling down a wire, we must do everything necessary to isolate that wire from any source of induced noise. if we kink the wire, or twist it up, or place it in a massive tangle of other wires, it is unlikely that our information will be effective at all.

but, this is precisely what biology does. we start with prokaryotes, in which a linear description of the genome has been quite effective, and progressively evolve into more and more complex organisms. and what ends up happening is that the kinks and twists and massive tangles do not decrease the fidelity of the information... they become a very important part of the information. these sources of "noise" transform the information completely, such that, in many people's opinion, the concept of information is meaningless at the organismal level.

in biology, there is no such thing as information. in DNA? yes. in living systems? no.

so while in your quote you have present the idea of "informational decay" as antithetical to a living system... we are quickly starting to come to terms with the idea that the "messy DNA" and the "hard at work entropy" is not the problem, it is the solution.

Life is not the information. Life is the noise....
...a complete reversal of a very commonly held belief.

thus, my treatment of information vs. meaning in the OP not only applies to humans and their amazing abilities of intelligence, but it is also perfectly relevant to the poor dumb wolf and his hunt for food. and instead of the sad slog of evolution from the swamps to the city (re: Arbitrageur's image above), we can begin to place all of life into its proper context: not stability in spite of noise, but rather, stability because of noise.



....and it just so happens that this concept has profound meaning and is easily understandable to virtually everyone, as i hope to have communicated in the OP. we can make a legitimate application of "meaning", as we understand it according to our personal intelligence, to molecular systems.... and in so doing, give both Biology and Physics the overhaul which has been long overdue.



thanks for your post.

 

p.s. is it still well accepted in physics that, "if we knew the locations and trajectories of all particles in the universe, we would be able to account for all observable phenomena; past, present, and future"? as i understand, this statement is considered incompatible with quantum theory. so, why would that fallacious argument applicable to biology (genotype = phenotype) and not physics?



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 



I don't even understand how it's less information.


i know that you dont. that is why my opening statement was "there is a reason that you have never understood physics (vis a vis mechanics)." according to the example, it should be perfectly obvious to anyone that drives a car that there is information in the sequence [red, yellow, green].

nevertheless, it is "less information" because according to statistical mechanics, [red, yellow, green] carries no discernible structure and is thus at maximum entropy, or simply, noise. so whatever information is carried by that color sequence is not contained within the system, itself. even though the existence of this mysterious information is perfectly obvious, it remains unaccounted for by science.

i like that cartoon, but unfortunately, no, it does not give a valid description of "purpose" according to reductionist principles. lets take any one of those organisms and render them into a proper reduction of guts and globs and bones.... does the collection of those parts remain purposeful in the sense of "Eat. Survive. Reproduce."? the fact that ANY organism can propel itself into the future with intent, even the simplest of intents such as "Survive", is a trait unique to living systems.

when they have become rendered reductionistically, intent disappears.


do you think that science should be unaccountable for the phenomenon of intent? to my understanding, "cause" is an essential component in the description of any system. does "intent" not count as "cause"?



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by tgidkp
i have a few questions:

- what is the difference between meaning and information?
- is science's description of reality regarding *strictly* information valid? how?
I don't really follow your examples. In the lower left view where you say science:no information, there's lots of information.

From my perspective, it would be simpler to say that there are aspects of nature that we simply haven't been smart enough to figure out yet. I think that's a consensus view.

Science and especially physics does have language problems when expressing things verbally. For example, scientists say that:

Empty space isn't really empty.
Electron orbitals do not involve any orbits.

And so on. But I think this proves to be more of a problem for non-scientists than for scientists, because these are oversimplified descriptions. The scientists often communicate in the language of mathematics. And once you look at the mathematics of those two examples, the ambiguity vanishes and the math describes those concepts to other scientists better than words.

Now can everything be expressed by math? No, but science doesn't encompass everything, and I don't think it claims to.
edit on 15-8-2013 by Arbitrageur because: clarification


Electron orbitals are what provide our sense of solidity and is the reason a human being cannot put there fist through solid concrete (as an example). From our perspective density is very important and I mean try building a house out of Palm Trees as opposed to Redwood Trees. We know so much about density, that we can relate to infinite density and the word "Black Hole" is pretty much a "household name".

So great we have figured out density what is next?

Any thoughts?



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 08:53 PM
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reply to post by Kashai
 

Some people go their whole lives without studying density or science and live just fine.

Other people want to understand every aspect of the universe they can, and go far beyond studying density by getting a PhD in physics and doing research. There are whole lists of unsolved problems. Pick one and try to solve it if you are so inclined. And if you're inclined to do something else instead, as long as it's not hurting anybody else, do that.

This guy likes to solve math problems:

Mathematician Refuses Million Dollar Prize For Solving Hundred-Year-Old Question



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


"mathematics is not the study of objects, but instead, the relations (Isomphism theorem for instance) between them.[2]"

Click on "Homeomorphism" with respect to your link.

Any thoughts?






edit on 16-8-2013 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 02:45 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


Trace everything to its origin, thereby removing freewill/choice, and what you're left with is knowledge that is beyond God. Essentially, you're saying you can know the mind of God without having his permission, and you can trace beyond his own mind and understand what makes him tick.

Maybe your desired science is partially the reason why we are evolving the way we are - to learn faith. Maybe man left Eden to learn faith. Maybe the Bible, and sin, is mostly about faith. Maybe the most supernatural power mankind possesses is the power of faith(see placebo).

I feel like writing faith 10000 times - it's got to be the answer.



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