Re: virus: Re:virtuality
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 12:25:50 -0600 (CST)

On Mon, 30 Dec 1996 wrote:


> Here lies the root of all problems with this thread. Can we ever
> distinguish (I know we've had this idea before, so I won't go into it)?
> Probably not.
> >
> > > Just suppose that we do live in a virtual world, wouldn't that explain why
> > > there are mathematical formulas that dictate what happens around us?
> >
> > Mathematical formulas do not dictate what happens around us. They
> > are symbolic descriptions *derived* from what happens around us. And
> > that is why they aren't completely accurate descriptions of reality.
> OK, point taken. *But*, if we build these formulas of the world around
> us, we can describe what's going on, and how things will react. Then,
> if we are to tell a computer that X is the formula for action Y, and A is
> the formula for action B (I'm thinking on quite a large scale at the moment,
> more cosmic, but it also applies to a molecular level), then when those
> actions are due to happen, because of an interaction with event C or
> whatever you like to call it, then the computer executes the command
> and produces an outcome which then causes events D, E, F, G, etc to
> occur. This outcome, is interpreted in the "virtual" world as something
> like (For example) the earth orbiting the sun. All it is, though, is a
> mathematical computer model. It does not matter, WRT the outcome whether
> the symbolism is the same or not.

You could say that a mathematical model is a blatant virtual reality of
what is modeled....

> > > > They are all just questions about reality and not descriptions of reality.
> >
> > We can ask as many questions as we want but the questions don't mean
> > anything if the questions are not relevant to the subject on hand. Let's not
> > ask questions at all even, let's just describe reality first as it is and then
> > draw conclusions (instead of the other way around).
> Surely the describing of reality will throw up a lot of sub-questions which
> will need to be answered before a final definition can be reached.
> Nonetheless, I'll throw in a poor definition of reality (without using
> a dictionary for the simple fact that I don't have one to hand), for
> us to disect:
> Reality:
> 1) The actual presence of an observer's surroundings
> 2) The percieved world in which an observer exists
> 3) That which exists (!)
> Bad, I know, but I did just make them up. Already I see problems, but I
> want to see what other people have got to say.

These are close to a conventional definition. Unfortunately, we're
walking into the philosophy branch of phenomology: how to get from #2 to
#'s 1,3. If anyone has a more rational approach than "faith", I would
like to see a coherent attempt to explain it.

> > That was the entire point I was trying to make to John. We can ask questions
> > that have no answer or we are not sure about, and then turn around and
> > act like we really proved something by asking a question we can't answer.
> Isn't that what philosophy is all about? :)

There is a more useful reason: by changing the model [reality vs. virtual
reality], we change the questions that are humanly plausible to toss into
the scientific method. This is useful for bypassing mental blocks [when
the humanity of the scientist gets in the way of Science].

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd