RE: MD "Is there anything out there?"

From: Paul Turner (
Date: Mon Jan 03 2005 - 23:00:13 GMT

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    Hi Platt

    Platt said:
    My question is, how do you explain that mathematics, a creation of human

    intellect, is able to so accurately model those preferences? Is it
    a mystery, or is there rationale for the relationship between inorganic
    preferences and mathematical formulas? To me it appears to be a
    relationship of cosmic and human intelligence that I know you reject. So

    I'm asking for your alternative explanation.

    The mathematical formulae that have been selected for explanation of
    inorganic phenomena are selected and developed for that very purpose
    aren't they? Don't physicists keep trying until they can predict the
    results of an experiment with more and more precision i.e., with higher
    quality? As I understand it, there are always many competing formulae
    and theories for any given set of data. The best ones are kept. Is it
    really a mystery?

    I'll be honest though, I haven't given this that much thought and I
    would really need to read up on the history of science again to give you
    a better answer. As things stand, I dislike any explanation that
    requires a cosmic version of human intelligence because it must follow
    that e.g. rocks and plants sit around thinking to some degree. I see no
    evidence of this. However, saying that particles are a set of
    preferences is also questionable although as Pirsig says in LILA:

    "In classical science it was supposed that the world always works in
    terms of absolute certainty and that "cause" is the more appropriate
    word to describe it. But in modern quantum physics all that is changed.
    Particles "prefer" to do what they do. An individual particle is not
    absolutely committed to one predictable behavior. What appears to be an
    absolute cause is just a very consistent pattern of preferences.
    Therefore when you strike "cause" from the language arid substitute
    "value" you are not only replacing an empirically meaningless term with
    a meaningful one; you are using a term that is more appropriate to
    actual observation." [LILA p.130]



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