Born to do Math 98 - Jive Metaphysicians (1)
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
December 1, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How does metaphysics jive with naturalism in some fundamental way, e.g. Laws of Logic and such?
Rick Rosner: If you want metaphysics to be a useful term: we were talking off-tape that if metaphysics is something applying to principles beyond the natural world, and if everything you discover about the principles of existence can be part of the natural world, then there is nothing for metaphysics.
It becomes a useless term. The way to make metaphysics a useful term is to say that metaphysics applies to the principles of existence that are reflected in the laws of the natural world. You have to divide someplace between physics and metaphysics.
Depending on how each is defined, you can have the set of things confined within metaphysics as zero things. Or you can say metaphysics applies to general principles that help determine the laws of physics. The natural principles like the principles of non-contradiction and self-consistency.
Except when you look at quantum stuff, for macro stuff to exist such as an apple, that apple has to have a non-contradictory set of attributes. It has to exist at a certain place, a certain time. It has to exist in a certain number. A non-contradictory apple can’t be both one apple and two apples at the same time.
Unless you set up some kind of experimental apparatus that really makes the indeterminacy explicit. When you’re talking about that, you might as well talk about Schrodinger’s Cat, which is the canonical indeterminate, macro experimental setup.
Jacobsen: Does this change with one observer outside or several billion observers outside in terms of the level of indeterminacy of the cat as dead or alive?
Rosner: The Schrodinger cat is set up to make the indeterminate state as explicit and macro as possible. To explain for people who may not be familiar, Schrodinger’s Cat is a cat in a box with a vial of poison that is attached to a detector of a radioactive particle; that has a 50% chance of decaying within a given time period, triggering the poison.
In the experiment, you run it for a half-life of this radioactive particle. You turn off the apparatus. After five minutes, there is a 50% chance that the cat is alive in the box and a 50% chance that the cat has been poisoned and is dead.
You cannot see into the box. The only way to check the status of the cat is to open the box. For right now, the box is yet to be opened. So, the cat exists as either alive with 50% probability or dead with 50% probability. That state can be characterized by a quantum mechanical waveform.
You can apply all the math of quantum physics that deals with indeterminate states to the state of the cat, which is unusual because the math of indeterminacy is typically applied to micro phenomenon like a radioactive particle or to the position of an electron or something small. This has been set up explicitly to be large.
Whether one or a billion observers through the internet of a live feed of the box, it does not change what is inside of the box; so, it has been set up that way. The box is closed off informationally from the rest of the world in order to preserve the indeterminate state of the cat.
Of course, PETA would hate this experiment. Over the last couple of days, they have argued if a responsible person then you will use certain terms, or if you are a good person then you will stop using stop terms: “Kill two birds with one stone” to “feed two birds with one scone.”
There are a lot of idiots in PETA. But, maybe, they aren’t that dumb with the good publicity for the idiocy of their stance here.
Jacobsen: Let's take two examples, I will start with the first one. One, does the probability change if the cat has some level of self-awareness and all the internal walls of the box are mirrors?
Rosner: Nope, nope, it doesn't change it. Everything is set up so that everything inside the box is different than what is outside of the box. The deal is, you set a part of the universe closed from the rest of the universe.
Things only have significance in the universe if that information can be communicated and you've set a special apparatus to keep the contents of the box closed off. Just because the box is a part of the universe does not mean the rest of the universe knows what's going on inside of the box.
The universe defines itself via its interactions that include us setting up experiments. We, as part of the universe, have set up an experiment where part of the universe, in the box, has been shielded informationally from the rest of the universe.
So, in practical terms, if that box is never opened, if you take the box and throw it into a crematorium without checking the status of the cat, you can make a situation in which the universe and the people in it never know what the state of the cat was before you threw the box containing the cat into the crematorium.
If you obliterate the information before it has the chance to escape via observation, that will remain forever indeterminate.
Jacobsen: What does this mean for black-ish holes?
Rosner: People have been debating the information state of black holes since they have been a thing. The principle is the same. If the information does not get out, and if the information is shielded from the rest of the universe, the effect it has on the rest of the universe is nil.
A black-ish hole is a hole that is more favorable for the transmission of information than a purely black hole. A black-ish hole can transfer information.
Jacobsen: Can you measure this rate of information exchange from a cat in the box to the black-ish holes?
Rosner: In theory, it would be part of an overall framework or some theory of black-ish holes.
Jacobsen: What would this imply? For example, the black-ish hole would presumably, be very close to the shape of a sphere.
Rosner: You would use some measure like bits per second or bits per square centimeter of event horizon per second. You would have the overall information transmission rate. You would have a transmission rate per unit area of the surface of either the black-ish hole itself or of space around the black-ish hole.
You can talk about stuff like black-ish holes but with event horizons; these come with black holes. Unless, I am confusing myself, and that is likely. That the math of the event horizon is such that nothing gets out. Although, that is not entirely true because event horizons radiate via the production of particles outside of the event horizon and the strain on space.
The strain on space is so charged with gravitational potential around the event horizon that there is enough strain there that the particles can be spontaneously created. Particles can always be spontaneously created via the rules of quantum mechanics.
Even more so in space that is under such tension from gravitation, that you're going to see more matter pop into existence around an event horizon than you would see in less stressed space. In that case, you have particle creation; two oppositely created particles to serve everything that is created.
In an event horizon, one particle goes into the black hole and one escapes. You have one particle escape the black hole in this scenario. Where, before, it is just the black hole. Now, it is the black hole plus the particle escaping the black hole.
Even a black hole with an event horizon, it emits information. A black-ish hole that is more permissive of the flow of particles and radiation in and out of it; it is going to have a higher rate of information exchange with the rest of the universe.
We have talked about the universe being an as-if thing. Everything is transactional in the universe. Things didn't happen if the wider universe does not have a way of knowing about it. Or if the part of the universe that you're concerned with - because the rest of the universe does not care if you have an alive or a dead cat in a box, it is only the people on Earth who care about a dead cat in the box.
There is a rate of information exchange with the cat in the box and the universe beyond our solar system. Even if you open the box, the odds that the state of the cat is going to have a significant impact on the universe beyond our local solar system - the odds are pretty low.
Because people like to say that other civilizations on other planets might be monitoring the transmissions of our TV broadcasts and radio broadcasts. They might come and see us because they intercepted signals from radio and TV, which might pique their interest.
But the odds are certainly larger than if you did an experiment with the cat; that that information would be intercepted. Is it really likely that other civilizations have been able to capture our broadcasts? Because they would be super attenuated and noisy. You would have to decode them to make them understandable.
Even that is a fairly unlikely thing, the odds that if you actually did the Schrodinger's Cat thing. That some alien civilization would be surveilling Earth to see the state of the cat. That is even more minuscule.
At some point, we get into larger issues of an information-based universe. Do the micro events in each corner of the universe do anything or pertain at all to the larger business of the universe? The answer is mostly, "No"; unless, the events in the corner of the universe lead to a civilization that explicitly spreads itself across greater and greater distances.
That is just a wild guess. The events on Earth do not have much to do with the overall story of the universe and the overall information transactions of the universe unless we become the civilization that develops a network that shares our trivia explicitly with the rest of the galaxy.
But, at this point, I have pretty much confused myself.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
According to semi-reputable sources, Rick Rosner has the world’s second-highest IQ. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writer’s Guild Award and Emmy nominations, and was named 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Registry.
He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmy Awards, The Grammy Awards, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He has also worked as a stripper, a bouncer, a roller-skating waiter, and a nude model. In a TV commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the World’s Smartest Man. He was also named Best Bouncer in the Denver Area by Westwood Magazine.
He spent the disco era as an undercover high school student. 25 years as a bar bouncer, American fake ID-catcher, 25+ years as a stripper, and nude art model, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. He lost on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over a bad question, and lost the lawsuit. He spent 35+ years on a modified version of Big Bang Theory. Now, he mostly sits around tweeting in a towel. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and daughter.
You can send an email or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
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(Updated September 28, 2016)
Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com, email@example.com, Scott@Karmik.Ca, or SJacobsen@AlmasJiwaniFoundation.Org.
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