Archive for the category “theories”

Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?

Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?

Something that’s been going through my mind lately, for around 4 or 5 months, with all the talk by determinists, is that it is premature to start saying we know everything about physics. It just strikes me that this is similar to about 120 years ago when some held the view that physics was complete, and all that was left to do were ever finer measuring of everything discovered.

This article at Scientific American explains recent attempts to theorize matters of space and time in ways that are outside the bounds of our minds to truly understand, such as time being an emergent property of a deeper reality, and even more bizarre things.

An example is made of dark matter, which does not seem t abide by the known properties of matter, and mention is made of MOND and other incomplete, but situationaly explanatory,  hypothesis and theories like Superstring.

It starts out by revisiting a 2 year old paper that was initially viewed with great scepticism, but has seen a resurgence of discussion lately:

Two years ago several of my Sci Am colleagues and I had an intense email exchange over a period of weeks, trying to figure out what to make of a new paper by string theorist Erik Verlinde. I don’t think I’ve ever been so flummoxed by physicists’ reactions to a paper. Mathematically it could hardly have been simpler—the level of middle-school algebra for the most part. Logically and physically, it was a head-hurter. I couldn’t decide whether it was profound or trite. The theorists we consulted said they couldn’t follow it, which we took as a polite way of saying that their colleague had gone off the deep end. Some physics bloggers came out and called Verlinde a crackpot.

There is the matter(lol) of dark matter and energy, and now speculation about what black holes really are:

In that case, black holes represent a new phase of matter. Outside the hole, the universe’s “degrees of freedom”—all that its most fundamental building blocks are capable of—are in a low-energy state, forming what you might think of as a crystal, with a fixed, regular arrangement we perceive as the spacetime continuum. But inside the hole, conditions become so extreme that the continuum breaks apart. “You can make spacetime melt,” Verlinde told me. “This is really where spacetime ends. To understand what goes on, you need to use these underlying degrees of freedom.” Those degrees of freedom cannot be thought of as existing in one place or another. They transcend space. Their true venue is a ginormous abstract realm of possibilities—in the jargon, a “phase space” commensurate with their almost unimaginably rich repertoire of behaviors.

As I have recently read, the question of Quantum effects being relevant in our brains with the knowledge, now, of a deep structure of nanotubes that may have functional components in the overall operation of neurons that we haven’t considered before, there is very much unknown regarding how the brain functions. There is Gödel’s proof that no purely deterministic system, such as a computer, can have consciousness. There is the inability to explain what ideas and our sensory perceptions really are by any stretch of ‘known’ physics, that determinist’s insist is irrelevant (even Gödel concludes this, though), with which I have serious reservations about right from the get go.

Much to boggle the mind these days, in any event!

A Taxonomy of Free Will Positions

Just found one of the most wicked reference sites for philosophy. I am looking at this page right now:

A Taxonomy of Free Will Positions.

Image chart displaying the taxonomy presented The Information Philosopher

Flow chart of free will topics covered and their interrelation

The description of the site is Information Philosopher is dedicated to the new Information Philosophy, with explanations for Freedom, Values, and Knowledge.

It is an incredibly comprehensive reference with the full section on Freedom published in book form, but available to read online, and download, by chapter, the whole  book :

Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy

Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy was published June 19, 2011.

See the press release.

Order a copy from

Amazon, Amazon in the UK
Barnes & Noble
Harvard Book Store’s Espresso Book Machine

480 pages, 40 figures, 15 sidebars, glossary, bibliography, index.

Philosophers who want to review the work online can download a PDF.

To request a review/examination copy, send an email with your philosophy department mailing address to

The references are complete and numerous – no explanation is not linked to the sources and philosophers the work is based upon.

See you next year!

The Incivility Gender Gap | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think

The Incivility Gender Gap | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think.

Most interesting. There is lots of discussion around these matters lately regarding incivility on the internet and society in general:

Sixty-three percent “believe we have a major civility problem in America,” and 81% believe “incivility in our government is harming America’s future.”

Another blow to the boys club:

Incivility thrives when social life is niched and anonymous. Online comments sections are the most depressing and extreme example of America’s collective hair-trigger temper (it’s as if the nation is suffering from a wicked, mood-destroying hangover that drives them to lash out). In the most basic sense, incivility is a social practice exercised against people whom we do not know, understand, care about, regard, or respect. These people simply aren’t accorded the same rich humanity—they don’t seem as “real” to us—as those who live in our particular niche, or share our ever more sequestered, cabalistic worldview.

The smaller the community, the harder it is to be uncivil. Perhaps for these reasons, the study finds that rural Americans are judged the least uncivil, and urbanites the most.

The most striking finding to me is an apparent incivility gender gap. This year, the researchers wanted to get a more fine-grained perspective on perceptions of incivility by various demographic factors. They asked respondents who they considered to be uncivil, by sex, party affiliation, and so on.

The results, KRC research says, are “fairly stark.” In the case of sex differences, the results are tremendously so: 67% of people judged men to be more uncivil than women. Only 33% thought women were more uncivil.

Men and women in the survey were also “in agreement” about these positions, so it’s not that men find women uncivil and vice versa.

Are women the repository for civility today, or its ambassadors?

Your stunted opinion, slimebag?

Rationally Speaking podcast: The ‘isms’ Episode

More of my blathering, today, where else, but in a reply to a blog post!!

The fundamental behaviors are what science can deal with, but the fundamental nature – the why and how – may easily be unkowable. I completely agree with you, Hector M., and that knowing is subject to our ability to mentally configure the objective observations, and our subjective knowledge is severely constrained by our experience of living in a purely cause and effect, macroscopic, environment.

I now see myself as a subjective awareness, and my sensory input and movements as interfaces to objective reality. My reality exists solely in my head, and my understanding of what is going on is what is ‘real’. How well my thoughts and understandings, and abstract creating and planning, can only be tested against ‘objective’, or ‘outside of self’, reality subject to my subjective values being satisfied. I strongly believe that our understanding is fundamentally limited to the nature, or level of nature, of our local macroscopic physical ‘laws’ of nature that shaped us, and we can affect in reverse. We are a product of a fundamentally limited slice of the over-all nature of our universe.

I can’t remember, maybe it was von Neuman, who replied, when asked by one of his students Felix T. Smith, “I’m afraid I don’t understand the method of characteristics.” Yes, it was, and he replied, “Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.” Now that I read John von Neumann’s quotations, math seems to be a beautiful analogy to our attempts and knowing reality.

We seem to be limited to Bayesion modelling and selection (Bayesian Classification and Regression with High Dimensional Features ) in order to approximated the behavior of reality, one that is almost entirely probabilistic in nature, and thus, our knowledge of objective reality can never be any greater than probabilistic. 


I have to start recording my thoughts I post elsewhere

I seem to be coming up with all sorts of thinking and ways of expressing my disagreement with the philosophical idea that free will is highly unlikely, if not impossible, and is only a self perceived illusion.
At the Mind Hacks blog, one such discussion is taking place. I responded to a particularly dogmatic ‘free will denialist’ thus:

Posted January Posted January 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

Mason Kelsey said:

Once again, any first year philosophy undergraduate knows you cannot prove a negative, that is you cannot prove something doesn’t exist, if it doesn’t exist.

Wrong. Fail. You’re saying that I cannot prove that, for instance, that our eyes don’t emit light if they don’t emit light? Or because you can’t prove our thoughts don’t exist, therefore they don’t exist?

You are nothing but a fallacy. You equate generalities with specifics. You are saying that if something doesn’t exist, it can’t be proved so.

Some negatives are unprovable, and from that you get all negatives are unprovable.

Mason Kelsey also said:

Requiring a complete understanding of consciousness in order to debunk free will is like requiring a chemist to have a complete understanding of molecular orbital theory in order to debunk phlogiston.

But you do need and understanding of the chemistry – These are often divided into bonding orbitals, anti-bonding orbitals, and non-bonding orbitals. A molecular orbital is merely a Schrödinger orbital that includes several, but often only two nuclei. If this orbital is of type in which the electron(s) in the orbital have a higher probability of being between nuclei than elsewhere, the orbital will be a bonding orbita – to show how burning occurs, and you do indeed need quantum mechanics to calculate why these reactions are exothermic.

To restate your analogy correctly, you actually do have to understand the intermediary process between air + fuel, and combustion. You have to have precise measurements of the originating constituents, then the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species, and then a minutely detailed analysis of the products.

All you have, Brian, as a starting principle, is a general macroscopic approximation of the brain, and you have zero measurement or even an wild guess as to the resulting product, cognition.

Our mind is completely beyond explanation given your general parameters, yet you are 100% confident that an apparent property(free will) of the product(mind) is inconsistent.

I got news for you: the product itself(mind) is inconsistent with your starting conditions, so unless you have the slightest idea, or even then wildest and most capricious guess, as to what our mind is, then you can hardly claim to know that part of the product(mind) is an invalid illusion(e.g. that free will is false).

Tell me where this illusion is, what is its functionality and purpose?

Why is it necessary? I mean, your whole process of step by step transformation, from physically describable system(brain) -> unknown phenomenal manifestation(mind), breaks down/fails. You don’t know what our mind is, let alone if it is an artifact or not.

You are assuming an entirely presumptuous position by positing a direct cause-effect relationship when you don’t know what the effect is, certainly not in the same manner as your causative agent.

Your theory is inconsistent because you cannot equivalently describe both sides of the equation.

You see, this is a proper analogy: 1 + 1(brain) = մեկ գումարած մեկ(mind). The product is gibberish in terms of the initial statement – a mathematical relationship.

If your complete understanding of reality can be described with just english and math (and that’s not far from the truth), then you don’t know if ‘մեկ գումարած մեկ’ makes sense, let alone if it is true or not.

I leave it you to find out if it is true, but keep in mind you know that both sides of the equations are similar in ways that our physical brains and our awareness of cognition are not. Basically, if instead of using ‘մեկ գումարած մեկ’ for the answer, and instead tried to explain what I am seeing inside my head for an answer(the color reddish ultraviolet, combined with a strange smell), that would be more completely analogous with your physics leading to phenomena description of the cause and effect relationship between our brains and our cognitive process.

Here’s a thought: What if there is no Higgs particle? That would mean that the Standard Model(key word: model) of reality/nature is at least badly incorrect, if not completely wrong.
And then we’ll revisit the ‘brain/illusion of will’ duality you expound.

I don’t have the patience to go through every incongruency you express, so let’s just stick with one simple question: what are qualia composed of?

Everything else is a red herring, a false equivalence, bullshit

Causal Determinism as a start to defining free will

I got started in a fucking discussion at the blog Pharyngula about the simple topic of free will. Now I have to read thick fucking philosophy just to understand what the contributers are even talking about because they throw around terms like compatiblist and Mary’s room. It basically comes down to, in my view, what our mind is made of, where it comes from and how.

I found this tidbit below during my research on causal determinism:

Prediction and determinism are also easy to disentangle, barring certain strong theological commitments. As the following famous expression of determinism by Laplace shows, however, the two are also easy to commingle:

We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes. The perfection that the human mind has been able to give to astronomy affords but a feeble outline of such an intelligence. (Laplace 1820)

In this century, Karl Popper defined determinism in terms of predictability also.

Laplace probably had God in mind as the powerful intelligence to whose gaze the whole future is open. If not, he should have: 19th and 20th century mathematical studies have shown convincingly that neither a finite, nor an infinite but embedded-in-the-world intelligence can have the computing power necessary to predict the actual future, in any world remotely like ours. “Predictability” is therefore a façon de parler that at best makes vivid what is at stake in determinism; in rigorous discussions it should be eschewed. The world could be highly predictable, in some senses, and yet not deterministic; and it could be deterministic yet highly unpredictable, as many studies of chaos (sensitive dependence on initial conditions) show.

This puts religion in a whole new perspective!

Physicists: Universe Almost Certainly Not a Hologram | Wired Science |

Physicists: Universe Almost Certainly Not a Hologram

via Physicists: Universe Almost Certainly Not a Hologram | Wired Science |


I knew it!  The Planck units always bothered me as they indicated quantized units of spaces and time. So this article was looking for limits:

Craig Hogan’s experiments with two of the world’s most precise clocks, which he was using to try and confirm the existence of Planck unit

Read the rest at

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