Re: virus: Brain Tennis

Fri, 25 Oct 1996 06:36:41 -0500

On Thu, Oct 24, at 16:50, Kenneth Boyd wrote:
> > > the meme theorists are themselves putting forward a mystical
> > > argument. Just like Christians, they're claiming that the Word
> > > can control the real.
> >
> > What is "mystical"? Either an argument works or it doesn't.
> > Quantum mechanics works, even though it seems "mystical".
> > Would Mr. Barbrook agree that 'people act according to various
> > beliefs they accept'? If so, then the identical statement
> > 'people act according the various memes which they host'
> > should also be accepted.
> Mathematics is Very Mystical. Tell me [without going circular, or
> stopping at the mathematics level] how Voyager__ could exploit math to
> fly by ALL 4 gas giant planets! Sure, there's a lot of technology in
> use--but no math, no 4 gas-giant flyby.

I never said math was NOT mystical. Who are you arguing with?

> Quantum mechanics looks mystical because it must be worked in highly
> abstract math.

Perhaps that is one reason, but there are lots of other situations
which can only be approached using highly abstract math, which are not
taken to be mystical. Example: fluid mechanics - everybody is familiar
with the 'meniscus', but it is staggeringly difficult to predict, since
it requires the solution of an extremely complicated nonlinear partial
differential equation: even more complicated than the Schrodinger
equation as it looks in, say, Bell's Theorem. But nobody says that
fluid mechanics looks mystical, while people will say that Bell's
Theorem requires a certain 'mystical' interpretation of quantum
mechanics... that is due to that "conscious observation" makes,
or seems to make, a difference in the outcome of events, which, I
assert, is why quantum mechanics appears mystical.