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Lorraine Ford: on 8/9/13 at 4:33am UTC, wrote Hi John, I have just commented on the "Essay Contest 2013: It From Bit, or...

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FQXi FORUM
October 23, 2019

CATEGORY: It From Bit or Bit From It? Essay Contest (2013) [back]
TOPIC: What is Information by John Brodix Merryman [refresh]
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Author John Brodix Merryman wrote on May. 10, 2013 @ 17:18 GMT
Essay Abstract

What do we mean by It? Or Bit?

Author Bio

John Merryman is a sequence of symbols, identifying a particular participant in this contest.

Download Essay PDF File

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Paul Reed wrote on May. 11, 2013 @ 06:33 GMT
John

We only have knowledge. The issue is ensuring its correspondence with what is knowable to us. The subsequent processing of physical input received having no effect on the physical circumstance (ie what is knowable to us), because this has already occurred.

“So we have the classic reality that somehow seems separate from the quantum

foundations on which it rests. Obviously the connection must exist, yet there seems to

be a missing link.”

There is no connection. The ‘classical’ (intuitive) depiction has been misunderstood. If followed through properly then one gets to the type of physical circumstance that QM is attempting to depict, but without the incorrect concept that physical existence involves some form of indefiniteness.

Paul

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John Merryman replied on May. 11, 2013 @ 09:46 GMT
Paul,

"We only have knowledge. The issue is ensuring its correspondence with what is knowable to us."

So what is knowable to us is a finite set? That is basically one of my points, that knowledge is inherently limited by its very function of definition.

"If followed through properly then one gets to the type of physical circumstance that QM is attempting to depict, but without the incorrect concept that physical existence involves some form of indefiniteness."

Then what about quantum probabilities?

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Paul Reed replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 04:42 GMT
John

“So what is knowable to us is a finite set?”

Yes, but not in the way you mean, ie it is ‘inherently subjective’, which implies there is something against which we can effect that judgement. Which there is not. Physical existence is the equivalent of all we can potentially know. There is no ‘direct access’ to existence. We can only know what we can know, and that is determined by a physical process, not philosophical or metaphysical ramblings. And if we get it correct, which becomes proven by default, ie nothing new arises to countermand it, then we can assert that as being the equivalent of physical existence as knowable to us. Logically, there may be an alternative, but we cannot know it, so that is irrelevant, unless you want to do religion rather than science.

“Then what about quantum probabilities?”

Whether some of the content concepts in QM are valid or not, ie correspond with physical existence, I do not know. The point is that there is no form indefiniteness in existence, as knowable to us. Neither does observation (measurement) affect the physical circumstance. But given the sheer complexity of physical existence at the existential level, and the vanishingly small degree of alteration and duration involved in differentiating one physical state from another, really we are only going to be able to conceptualise what is actually happening (not that there is anything wrong with that, if done properly it is valid knowledge), and in experimentation, invoke probabilities based on understanding to depict the whole event.

Paul

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 10:06 GMT
Paul,

We have been around these arguments before. What you describe as only knowing what we can know, I would describe as the finite and subjective nature of knowledge.

Also your strobe-like description of reality flashing from one state to another lacks any conceptual underpinnings, other than your insistence it can be the only way. As I see it, knowledge of motion is necessarily fuzzy, as with the uncertainty principle. As an analogy, its like deciding on the shutter speed of a camera, whether we use a faster speed and precisely locate an object in action, but lose the information of its motion, or leave it open longer to catch more action, but blur the details.

Now physicists are trying all sorts of measurements to get around this issue, but their efforts only emphasize the inherent dichotomy. Information is borne by energy and we have to abide by the rules of energy in order to extract the information.

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 11, 2013 @ 15:23 GMT
John,

What on earth possessed you that caused you to actually write something sensible about the suggested theme of this contest? As I have thoughtfully pointed out in my essay BITTERS, one real Universe can only be eternally occurring once, because one real Universe can only deal in absolutes. If that is true, life must be immortal. While I may think of myself as a free thinking individual capable of accepting or rejecting scientific knowledge, the fact is in order for me to persist; I have to continually consume material that was once alive. Eventually, I in my turn will be consumed by some other insects or maggots or even by the earth. I will then be transformed into some other form of life. I am merely a continuing part of an immortal life form.

It is an absolute, so it can be Universal in scope. Bit is not an absolute. The Universe is not made of bits, especially not of man-made particles.

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 00:48 GMT
Joe,

I agree it's a futile effort, but since I'm outside the approved circle, my only recourse is to use the perspective on that circle to comment on its contents. Had I thought there was a shot in hell of affecting the thinking of those inside that circle, I may have devoted more than two pages to the topic. As it is, I thought I would do a favor to those willing and able to think outside...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 11, 2013 @ 23:32 GMT
John,

"It is received wisdom to say that the physical world is not intuitively accessible to a mind evolved for basic survival."

It's more than "received wisdom". I've had this repeated to me so often it sounds like a catechism. It certainly has the force of sincere belief behind it, but no factual backup. It is probably a comment on the intuition of the person making the statement, extending the limits of his own intuition to everyone else.

E. T. Jaynes notes, "no argument is stronger than the premises that go into it, and [...] those who lay the greatest stress on mathematical rigor are just the ones who, lacking a sure sense of the real world, tie their arguments to unrealistic premises and thus destroy their relevance."

What is "a sure sense of the real world" if not intuition?

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 01:01 GMT
Edwin,

It is a catechism. I think the underlaying cause has to do with that the rational linear cause and effect logic of the left brain simply isn't designed to effectively process the the cumulative scalar workings of the right brain and so the subset of people most concentrated on such linear thinking have a natural bias against not having that clear line of evidentiary process. There is nothing wrong with this, because the two sides are designed to balance out the other's shortcomings and it's becoming quite clear the linear projections of the current model have gone off into lalaland. The blowback will result a greater reset than if such nonsense hadn't got out of hand. Hard on the individuals involved, but better for science in the long run.

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Paul Reed replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 04:57 GMT
John

This incorrect assertion has nothing to do with how the brain works. It is a failure to understand that we can only know, and that knowing is determined by a physical process. And therefore, physical existence can only be the equivalent of what we can know.

In practical terms, ie within the confines of that existentially closed system, there is some validity in the assertion. But that is not what is meant. That is, certainly in experimentation, differentiating physically existent states is impossible. Our awareness system evolved for the purposes of survival. However, if we gain enough valid knowledge from direct sensing, then we can hypothesise the ‘gaps’, ie effectively, virtual sensing.

Paul

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 09:38 GMT
Paul,

I'm not quite sure how your point ties into what I said, but a cumulative scalar process would be more like a thermostat, or a pressure gauge, as opposed to the vector of a clear chain of cause and effect. In other words, the ideas that just "bubble up" from our minds are due to an internal weighing process, much as how our consciousness naturally tends to switch gears and refocus on what gains its attention, as opposed to being locked in one train of thought, as so often seems to be the case with some people. It is good, at times, to have a "one track mind," but it should be balanced by that broader awareness.

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Lev Goldfarb wrote on May. 12, 2013 @ 00:29 GMT
The funny thing with the "intuition" is that it works *after* we have gotten to the point in our understanding, which also includes the appropriate formal developments, when it (the intuition) can kick in, but not before that point.

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 01:09 GMT
Lev,

True, but there is that chicken/egg cycle. For example, one needs years of professional experience before really having that deep sense of what is going on within the profession, but babies come loaded with an enormous amount of software. I think human civilization is only repeating what biology did hundreds of millions of years ago. Ecosystems and organisms pretty much explain all of society.

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John Merryman replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 01:30 GMT
When I see those rockets headed off to other worlds, I'm reminded of the fungi that come together to form a tube and then shoot out a few as floating seeds.

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Joe Fisher replied on May. 12, 2013 @ 14:33 GMT
Respectfully John, when I see those rockets shooting off to other worlds, I become convinced of our scientific suicidal inevitability. See, there used to be an atmospheric membrane that encircled the earth that fully protected it from the sun’s radiation. Those rockets punctured holes in the membrane and it is now collapsing allowing some of our gases to escape and more toxic emanations from the sun to invade our planet.

Why is it that kids with spray cans are accused of being graffiti vandals, but scientists who go around daubing toxic radioactive materials on everything they can are revered?

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on May. 20, 2013 @ 01:43 GMT
John,

I loved your essay both for its form and content. Your text, separated into short haiku-like paragraphs, carried your ideas seamlessly and without repetition from one concept to the next. Its blessed brevity is deceptive, because the ideas conveyed are concentrated, important and well-thought out - just as in the process you describe when the focus narrows and the detail becomes clearer. I liked your use of perspective which I also used in my later essay.

I would disagree about your concept of time which I think is derivative, but like your idea of ever-active energy as the medium and message of the World. Like you I used McLuhan's 'medium is the message' quip in a previous essay, and I wish I used it this time again because it really answers this year's fqxi contest question nicely. The Uncertainty Principle may not be an indication of the fundamental fuzziness of the world but as I concluded in my Beautiful Universe theory, emerges from a deep order.

Your physiological simile of bit and it towards the end was thought-provoking, like everything else in this succinct and brilliant essay. If ever poetry and physics meet it is here and the reader is the richer for it.

Vladimir

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John Merryman replied on May. 20, 2013 @ 09:58 GMT
Vlad,

Thank you, though I'm a little cofused by your comments on my point about time. I have no problem with it being derivative, As I set out to find what is true, not what is original, so if you disagree with it, do I assume you disagree with what you consider it to be derivative of, as well?

In the 24 years since it first occurred to me, I've found innumerable references to particular events "receding into the past," "fading from memory," etc. As someone put it, "We live life forward and see it backward." I've also been told that traditionally, in the East, the past is considered to be in front of the observer, as it is known and therefore can be seen, while the future is behind, as it cannot be seen or known. This contrasts with the Western assumption of moving into the future, equating time with personal movement. So the Eastern view is much more objectively contextual, as what we see is of past events, while the Western view is much more subjectively motion based.

Given you do live in Japan, is this observation correct? If so, is this what you consider it to be a derivative of?

I should note that physics does essentially treat time as a measure of duration, as per its focus on calculation and this does reduce it to the most basic consideration of sequence, distilling away any deeper considerations. For example Julian Barbour's winning essay in the Nature of Time contest

Not to be argumentative, but I do try to understand why this point doesn't seem as obvious to others, as it does to me. Especially since it goes to my views on the relationship of energy to information. Finish that point later.....

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Paul Reed wrote on May. 22, 2013 @ 06:07 GMT
John

Re Cristi blog exchange. I never said anything about blocktime. The point was about discreteness.

“You seem to see it as a series of distinct presents, while I see it as what is present is energetic and thus constantly changing”

This is contradictory. So what is present? Answer: something discrete. What is continuous? Answer: something discrete which does not...

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John Merryman replied on May. 22, 2013 @ 09:45 GMT
Paul,

Having to run, but it's not that I don't see the need for discreteness, but that there is the need for both discreteness and continuity. Both action and statis, to provide balance and change.

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Paul Reed replied on May. 22, 2013 @ 17:20 GMT
John

" but that there is the need for both discreteness and continuity"

Exactly, though I would not call it continuity, it is difference. And the only way this can happen is sequence, a definitive discrete physically existent state at a time, the successor replacing the predecessor.

Paul

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John Merryman replied on May. 22, 2013 @ 17:32 GMT
Paul,

I understand the need for discreteness and sequence. How would a movie function if the shutter was just left open and the film run through it. Yet that sequencing of still images is a mechanism for extracting information from the larger reality, where the light is constantly flowing, even if it is as photons. They don't travel instantaneously, but at a constant rate. You seem to accept the need for this mechanism to create the form of information, yet insist there is no underlaying process from which this information is extracted.

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Anthony DiCarlo wrote on May. 30, 2013 @ 16:06 GMT
John,

I greatly enjoyed your essay. I do have reservations regarding your last statement "So we exist as manifestations of this dichotomy of energy and information, as medium and message."

If you imagine physical objects being physically constructed from the same type of information represented by the spreading energy (local and global) you can have your cake and eat it too. Afterall, ALL the information you will ever obtain in your concious life span comes from the spreading energy, and, this same information is encoded into those solid objects we collect information from.

That above implies that what we, as a living race of people, may have lost over time is the physical location of our place and direction in the scope of ALL that we physically measure (what we hear, see, etc.,). We are each at the centers of our own measured universe of information, and this universe intersects (subsets) with the measured universe of ALL other living things. Just as we are built from the physical information in our gene coding, all life is coded within an ecosystem ... and so on.

Someday we may finally settle in on the idea that our physical measures place each of us at the very center of everything measurable in the universe. We are physically central to top/down and bottom/up measures. We can then begin to calcualte, measure and predict life physiology to astounding accuracy, etc., by knowing that information from the singularity characterizations sought (black hole information)is a duel to that information gained by a concious, living, observer. The singularity provides information that is a mere reflection of ourself and our physical measures exist on the surface of entropy (the ADS/CFT 4 surface of the 5D sphere - We are here! ... well ... this is where we measure from!). ALL we measure woould naturally have a "life connection!!"

Regards,

Tony

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on May. 31, 2013 @ 17:49 GMT
Tony,

I basically agree with the general direction of your view. Keep in mind, though you may have meant this, that it's the very spreading of that energy which both creates the information that is us and causes us to lose it. We are both the cake and the eating of it.

another way to think of us as the center of our own view of the universe would be to say that in whole, the universe is absolute, but if you separate out just one tiny point of reference(us), than the universe is no longer absolute, but is relative to that point.

Possibly each of us is a singularity, or possibly we are all lenses and filters of the same singularity. The problem is that when we try to distill away all that is seemingly inconsequential, we eventually loose everything. Remember gravity is a cumulative effect and if we were to burrow down into the center of the earth, all the gravity would cancel out, as it would be pulling in all directions, not just toward the center. I think the same principle would apply to the galaxy as a whole. If we were to go to the center of it, it would prove to be the eye of a storm, not a pit of infinite gravitational pull. The spinning around would be the overwhelming effect and we would eventually find ourselves jetted out the poles.

Similarly, we are what we are conscious of.

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Anthony DiCarlo wrote on Jun. 2, 2013 @ 14:20 GMT
John,

Information being the one and the same 'information used to gain knowledge" appears to weigh heavily on the "context" that embodies the information. Bits of data are nothing in themselves until something living gives the data - or data rate - a context to correlate with. We as a living. breathing, thinking life entity supply information with context, therefore, it may be context that is missing in science today - and NOT that we do not have the information ... we do not have the proper context to apply (correlate) this information to.

If we adopt a context "to aid life" we open the door to a new way of thinking that places life in the center of the universal arena surrounded by information ... and giving the surrounding information context is how we live - we build context in knowledge, ie., to gain knowledge requires us to apply the proper context to information. I believe this is where our ego steps in and disallows us to perceive ourselves at the center of all creation - and if we do not see this - we loose the most important context to gain a quite measurable physical knowledge. We can invent bogus contexts (false idols) and correlate small, distinct measures of information, however, these will always fail to unite in a grandiose connection without a proper context to apply this information to.

You say we loose information, but, I believe what we loose (are missing) is the proper context to apply this information to!

Best regards,

Tony

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jun. 3, 2013 @ 01:25 GMT
Tony,

Experts don't look at the big picture and generalists tend not to have the focus necessary to gain sufficient control in the larger society. Catch 22.



This is an essay I wrote about how to modify our current economic system. Whether you agree with any of the various premises, or not, it is an example of how to establish some form of natural equilibrium, rather than having to constantly rush to survive, even if everyone rushing destroys the habitat.

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Anthony DiCarlo wrote on Jun. 3, 2013 @ 17:13 GMT
John,

I have read your essay and I must say that is was very refreshing. Thank you. I do have reservations regarding your ~ final sentence:

"Civilization is ultimately bottom up."

If you speak about the physical, measurable actions of civilization, it may be 50% top-down and 50% bottom-up..... these two avenues are believed required to superimpose to create our measurable...

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 01:08 GMT
Tony,

I agree it is a fundamental dichotomy of top down/bottom up. They are like two views of the same situation, like left/right. It is just in the context of that essay, I need to make the point that structure necessarily grows bottom up, even if it might be organized top down and the top down view cannot sustain a structure with a corrupted foundation.

I think in many ways we are still at a very primitive/embryonic stage and that life on this planet is forming into a conceptually singular organism, with human civilization as the medium of the central nervous system. Intellectually though, we are more into the cell division, rather than the network connections. I think alot of this has to do with the fact that rationality is based on making distinctions and then making the connections between them. So in the meta-process, we are now very focused on units, particles, nodes, individuals, quantization, etc. While we certainly recognize the connectivity, contextuality, etc, there is the impression it is emergent from this underlaying discretion, rather then they are two sides of the same coin, like top down/bottom up.

Alot of this goes to the fact that it is more politically and tactically effective to take a singular, action philosophy, rather than trying to see the more dualistic, contextual big picture, as that tends to cause indecision. Now we are at the point this forward drive has gone parabolic and the whole world is in a frenzy of environmentally destructive activity, which will result in the very natural feedback of the resulting blowback.

In this situation, there is very little one can do to affect the course of events, so it is a matter of seeding ideas that might take root after the storm passes.

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Author John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 01:30 GMT
Tony,

To draw a connection, bottom up is the energy radiating out, while top down is the information/structure pressing in and down, gravitationally contracting.

Einstein posited a cosmological constant to balance gravity and we include it as a factor in expansion. I think the light radiating out is the ultimate balance to gravity contracting in and that light does not travel as a point, but is only received at the point of atomic structure. Light has no internal attractive element to hold it to a point when released. I think redshift is an effect of this expansion of light. It is only due to the assumption it travels as a point that recession is needed to explain redshift.

I happened to be in a discussion over at Jennifer Ouellette's blog at SCiAm, pointing out there is an inherent contradiction to an expanding universe theory, in that it still assumes a constant speed of light against which to measure this expansion.

I think there are quite reasonable explanations for other cosmic observations, such as that the CMBR would be a logical solution to Olber's Paradox, as the light of ever more distant sources falls off the visible spectrum.

Alot of this ties into a point I made in the prior essay contest.

All the blocktime, inflation, multiverses, dark energy, etc. are patches to theory, not observed.

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 15:43 GMT
John,

When you say:

"I agree it is a fundamental dichotomy of top down/bottom up. They are like two views of the same situation, like left/right. It is just in the context of that essay"

You are almost there in making the "life" connection. Imagine thinking about a future event that you “will” to materialize in your life .... now imagine the event occurs and you again...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 20:01 GMT
Tony,

I guess the model for thinking about directions of time is of lightcones. The broad spectrum of potential input into any event, vs. the broad spectrum of effects any event might have.

While I get alot of grief for making this argument, I think time and temperature are two sides of the same coin, similar to frequency and amplitude. So if you were considering ways to judge...

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Anthony DiCarlo replied on Jun. 5, 2013 @ 15:49 GMT
John,

To be more precise ... you state "The causal process can be modeled in terms of scalars; temperature, pressure, weight, speed." In the scope of geometric algebra, these are the scalar, vector, bivector, trivector and pseudoscalar information structures - information structure - the Clifford algebra elements. Everything measurable can be reduced to elements and combination thereof of...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jun. 5, 2013 @ 16:47 GMT
Tony,

I do think current cosmology is on the wrong track. Expansion is matched by gravitational contraction. What seems to be overlooked is that galaxies are not inert points of measurement, but "space sinks," such that they balance the "expansion" between them. It just so happens the light from those distant sources can only travel through the "expanded" areas to reach us. So I think its...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 15:46 GMT
John,

Good to be back and reading your refreshingly direct and sensible words again. But I think you've come up with some real jewels this year! I particularly liked;

"There is no fundamental essence of up, or on, or yes, or good, or white. Any value, meaning or reality is in the contrast with down, off, no, bad and black."

and;

"Intuition is...every individual's accumulated knowledge," but that "If conceptual errors become incorporated into the framework, they become part of the lens through which further information is viewed and the resulting distortions become natural, ie. intuitive to that mindset."

I really wish I'd written that! Then you suggest.

"So we have the classic reality that somehow seems separate from the quantum

foundations on which it rests. Obviously the connection must exist, yet there seems to be a missing link."

You betcha pants on it! What I've done this year is actually try to identify that missing link, and remove it, which can for instance resolve the EPR paradox! I hope' you'll read it as it is a bit testing and I'd like to know how well it can be followed by someone not indoctrinated but with good intuition like you. (I seem to also need some good scores as I was trolled on entry!)

I await your views or questions with interest.

Best of luck.

Peter

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jun. 4, 2013 @ 20:17 GMT
Peter,

Thank you very much. Admittedly I have somewhat lost track of the contest, since they quit putting recent posts to it on the sidebar of the blog section. I think it is a little weak this year, especially after last years. The question is much less broad and the explicit bias toward FQXI members are likely a few of the reasons. That I got seriously trolled as well has reduced my interest too. Too many other things happening anyway. My daughter and I are taking a trip toward your direction. A week traveling around Scotland, 11th to 18th, as a graduation/birthday present.

I will get to reading yours, but it takes a lot to really understand what others are saying and their built in models and my brain hasn't been sufficiently clear lately. For example, spent the day at the doctors, with aforementioned daughter, getting splint on her wrist and then sending her off to another horse show, where she will be till Saturday, then her 18th birthday is Sunday, then we ship out Monday.

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 17, 2013 @ 09:34 GMT
Dear John

As you write, can be defined for information is : The absorption and transmission the impact of material or not ?

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1802

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 03:57 GMT
Send to all of you

THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

To change the atmosphere "abstract" of the competition and to demonstrate for the real preeminent possibility of the Absolute theory as well as to clarify the issues I mentioned in the essay and to avoid duplicate questions after receiving the opinion of you , I will add a reply to you :

1 . THE...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 19:25 GMT
John,

"So we have the classic reality that somehow seems separate from the quantum

foundations on which it rests. Obviously the connection must exist, yet there seems to be a missing link."

Wouldn't modern-day scientists, especially advocates of the Anthropic Principle, say consciousness is the link?

Jim

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jun. 27, 2013 @ 20:44 GMT
James,

No. I would say they are both models or prisms by which consciousness views reality. We all have to frame our view of what we need to know and use whatever tools and insights are most useful. What is useful for someone studying the microscopic may not be quite commonplace for some with another field and frame of knowledge. My argument in this essay is to this inherently subjective nature of knowledge.

While the anthropic principle is completely valid, in the sense observers have to exist in order for it to be observed, I think it is somewhat overused. Just as with any field, there is a tendency to fall into mental ruts and I think one particular rut is this idea that reality is fundamentally information, as opposed to information being how we process our knowledge of it. Belief systems naturally tend to be self referential and this is a good example of the tendency to assume one's subjectivity is objective. When we met people who "live in their own world," we sense their delusion. Why accept it as a scientific principle?

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 23:55 GMT
Hi John,

just to let you know it was a pleasure reading your essay. You've packed in a lot of beautifully communicated ideas, set out in an easily digestible form that carries the reader effortlessly through to the end. Your topical biography made me smile.Good to see the positive discussion here too.

All the best Georgina

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 14:46 GMT
Georgina,

Thank you. THis contest, by explicitly examining the nature of information, is creating some degree of mental disconnect.

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 19:53 GMT
John,

If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries, I have a month to try. My seemingly whimsical title, “It’s good to be the king,” is serious about our subject.

Jim

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 5, 2013 @ 17:34 GMT
Thanks, John,

A lot of concepts that are accessible but not sure where you are going and if there is no answer to the "It from bit" question.

"As living organisms, we are the result of billions of years of evolution. The

consequence of this process is two fairly distinct systems. One is the central nervous system, to absorb, organize and act on information. The other, the respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems, serve to consume and process energy. It is preserving the flow of this energy that the central nervous system is most concerned. So we exist as manifestations of this dichotomy of energy and information, as medium and message."

Not sure this is true for most of us who do not find everyday a struggle for survival unless you suggest that intuition is intrinsically built on its on ancestors' survival need.

Jim

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 5, 2013 @ 18:34 GMT
Jim,

I suspect that should your sustenance run low, your mind would become rather focused on acquiring more. While we happen to live in an age which has learned to exploit a billion years worth of stored fossil fuels, we shouldn't completely loose sight of the physics of our situation.

As for it and bit, they are particular concepts which pertain to a particular mindset. To the extent I answer the question, it is that energy and information are two sides of the same coin. If you have energy, it will manifest some form, ie, information. In order to have information, you need some medium/energy to convey it.

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john stephan selye wrote on Jul. 8, 2013 @ 17:43 GMT
Dear Mr. Merryman,

Your view that evolution defines the nature of information is one that I pick up in my essay as well.

You say: 'If conceptual errors become incorporated into the framework, they become part of the lens through which further information is viewed and the resulting distortions become natural, ie. intuitive to that mindset.'

Thus, we are defined by evolution,...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 10:56 GMT
john,

I did read your entry earlier and while it makes some interesting points, I didn't find the particular hook that would make me respond. One of the points I make here is how knowledge is inherently confined to a frame and I appreciate the extreme variety of perspectives possible, so given my own lack of time, I do need a compelling reason to get involved with starting a conversation. I will try to get back to it though.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 05:43 GMT
Hello John,

I enjoyed your essay, for the most part. I agreed with almost everything but the ending, ..abruptly. That is; it seemed to end too soon, without coming to a distinct climax or making your point. At about the point where the reader wants to hear what you have to say next, it stops. Otherwise; it was rather good.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 11:07 GMT
Jonathan,

Besides my own time and inclination reasons for writing a short essay, I considered the actual entry as more the price of admission to the conversation than a complete piece. I find in debates, it is best to make a basic argument and then let people respond. Those who don't like my views have fewer pieces to pull at, if they don't like the central theme but don't want to attack it directly and those who do see some value will hopefully feel compelled to ask more questions.

I could have potentially taken the concluding point, that our physical makeup reflects this dichotomy of information and energy, to break down how the two sides of the brain also reflect a scalar(right) and vector(left), that are reflective of the effects of time and temperature, ie. sequence and thermodynamics, but at the time I wrote it, I thought that would divert from the central point of how information must be manifested and doesn't exist in some platonic realm, devoid of medium.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 15:25 GMT
Ah so,

This time around; I wrote what came out, rather than making an outline and trying to fit my points in. But I wanted to be sure I said enough to actually make my point, and to have something that could be published when I was done. I didn't do the usual 'tell them what you are going to tell them, then deliver your message, then tell them what you just told them,' but I was careful enough to get my whole message out.

As luck would have it; that left me on the other side of the fence from you, if your main point is the non-existence of a platonic real for information. I really tried to sit myself squarely on the fence this time, but championing the platonic view is where I ended up when I had stopped writing. Too bad Plato can't be around to join the debate. I'm sure he would take both of us to task, for something obvious we have overlooked, if he was part of this forum.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 16:38 GMT
Jonathan,

Sometimes both sides of an argument do have their points.

Though to me, I see order as an absolute, which is what I would take platonism to be, to be something like the inside of a black hole; Endless theoretical possibilities, because all order and structure is sucked into it, but the actual result, in case anyone has noticed, is jets of all the constituent energy being shot out the poles.

How much of the current version of platonism is based on the assumption of blocktime, by those who think spacetime is a "physically real model," that can have wormholes, expanding universes, multiverses, etc?

My point is that by requiring a medium, information is distinctly structurally bound by what can be manifest by energy. That means no blocktime, because the energy is conserved, therefore in order to record new information, old information has to be erased.

That also means that measurements of action are not more fundamental than the action being measured, whether it is the rate of change, or the level of activity, ie. time or temperature.

So I suppose we will continue to agree to disagree on this one.

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Antony Ryan wrote on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 06:44 GMT
Hello John,

I like that you say energy and information are two sides of the same coin. Also that we need a medium such as energy to convey information. I too reach the conclusion that Bit and It are just as fundamental. Great essay - clear and concise. Pleasure to read.

If you find the time, please read mine. I'm still trying to get through them all, but enjoying the process.

Best wishes,

Antony

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 11:09 GMT
Anthony,

Thank you and I will definitely get around to yours.

Now it's off to a mornings work.

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Antony Ryan replied on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 21:04 GMT
No problem. There are so many. I'm struggling still. Hope work went well :)

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Antony Ryan replied on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 20:43 GMT
Hello again John,

I've had another look at your essay after reading your comments on my page, I see your point about how historically physics has honed in on a certain perception and I like your description of time.

I approached observation from a very simple position, which happens to then match up to what we have learned from physics. That's what is nice about the Fibonacci sequence, it isn't individual perception, we know that addition works and we see it all across nature. This is biological and chemical as well as physical.

Good points that you raised!

Best wishes,

Antony

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M. V. Vasilyeva wrote on Jul. 12, 2013 @ 03:35 GMT
Hello John,

what a nice, concise, sensible essay. However, I found it somewhat dry. And I wish it was longer. That is because I very much enjoy reading your posts in various threads and also in Brendan's blog. I noticed that most people express themselves better in the posts -- their thoughts are more engaging and flow easily. But I guess when faced with that empty sheet -- or blank...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 16:42 GMT
Marina,

Thank you. It is short and to the point, but I find in these discussions, it's best to start with one clear point and go from there. I'm not expecting to win anything, so it really was intended as just a conversation starter.

The right hemisphere just doesn't show its work. More of what the cumulative knowledge pushes to the surface and even trained physicists use it much more than they think.

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Chris Granger wrote on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 05:39 GMT
John,

I like the concise approach you've taken here and enjoyed reading your thoughtful essay; I also think you've touched on some of the aspects, at least at a high level, that will need to be addressed as physics moves forward. That said, it's generally risky to put forth a topical solution based on incomplete definitions, especially given something so abstract. But, I gather you are of...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 11:11 GMT
Chris,

Thank you for your consideration and it is a bit of a surprise how narrow the focus can be in this field. Personally I come at physics from a more cultural/historical basis, in which it becomes obvious, all the emotion and drama, it is physics which determines the course of events. Then getting into studying physics, how much politics and herd behavior guides the field.

While this may not be what you expect, it does build a broad argument for the information/energy dichotomy.

On a further note, here is my entry in last years Questioning the Foundations contest. For someone willing to look at the situation from a different perspective, it may be of interest.

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Chris Granger replied on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 18:44 GMT
John,

I briefly read the essays you've provided in the links, and found them very interesting. I will need to go back and analyze them in proper detail when I have a bit more bandwidth. But, I will say that in my own estimation, I find 'time' an abstract contrivance of information (that is, a measurement) that is simply based upon an observed state in accordance with an equally abstract...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 21:17 GMT
Chris,

Thank you for taking the time to read those papers.

Time does seems ontologically simple, but it is foundational to our epistemic knowledge of reality, so trying to view it from the perspective of logical perception, various factors have to be taken into account.

Sometimes information loss is part of the puzzle, otherwise known as editing. I tend to view it as variations on the cycle of expansion and consolidation. Spring and fall.

I realize the economic ideas I offered in that paper wouldn't immediately support our current globalized economy, but this global system seems based on blowing ever larger bubbles and the historic record on that is not positive. So the question will be when it breaks into those gravitationally bound national and regional entities, what lessons are there to learn that would provide a more stable model. It is a seed, not a tree. After a few generations, I think what I'm proposing would provide a system that will eventually prove durable and sound enough for a broad and complex economy that would be well integrated into the earth's ecosystems. The problem with maximizing parameters is there is no way to institute stops within the system, so it cycles between excess and breakdown. Making the monetary system explicitly contractual makes the limits of the system conceptually obvious. Treating notional wealth as explicit wealth is humanity's greatest delusion. Nothing wrong with bubbles. Life is a bubble, but they do pop and it is only by truly knowing the limits, can we ever really push them.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 01:41 GMT
Dear John. Hello Apologies if this does not apply to you. I have read and rated your essay and about 50 others. If you have not read, or did not rate my essay The Cloud of Unknowing please consider doing so. With best wishes.

Vladimir

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 02:58 GMT
Vladimir,

Thanks. I did rate yours positively. It has been an interesting contest and an informed cross section of entries.

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Daryl Janzen wrote on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 17:14 GMT
Dear John,

I'm really sorry, but I somehow missed your last post in our discussion on my page. I came across it this morning and responded, and thought I'd come here to let you know that. When I did, I opened your essay for the first time, which I've been meaning to get to; and like so many others here, I agree that it really is excellent. I couldn't say it better than Vladimir did in the first and third paragraph of his initial post above, so please just recall his words and, if I might be so bold, think of me saying them, because that's what I would have liked to have said if I were as good with words as he is. It's a really great work. Well done!

I look forward to more discussion when you have time.

Daryl

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 20:29 GMT
Daryl,

Thank you. As a topic, defining information is somewhat recursive and it that's how I constructed it, to fold back on the process of thought, because I find the question of it from bit to be more dense than deep.

I'd probably be less grumpy if I was scoring better.

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 19:04 GMT
Dear John,

World contests FQXi - it contests new fundamental ideas, new deep meanings and new concepts. In your essay deep original analysis in the basic strategy of Descartes's method of doubt, given new ideas and conclusions. I bet you a high rating.

Constructive ways to the truth may be different. One of them said Alexander Zenkin in the article "Science counterrevolution in mathematics":

«The truth should be drawn with the help of the cognitive computer visualization technology and should be presented to" an unlimited circle "of spectators in the form of color-musical cognitive images of its immanent essence.» Http://www.ccas. ru/alexzen/papers/ng-02/contr_rev.htm

I have only one question: why the picture of the world of physicists poorer meanings than the picture of the world lyricists? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3ho31QhjsY

I wish you success,

Vladimir

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 23:58 GMT
Vladimir,

Thank you very much!

Consider that physics explicitly rejects intuition. Ask yourself, what would music be, if it did that.

I'll have to check out your entry. I haven't been able to keep up with this contest.

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Vladimir Rogozhin replied on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 08:54 GMT
Hello John,

I agree. But obviously not enough «intuitio» and «ratio» to get to the deepest meanings. Constant cutting of the whole into parts direct ratio to the other side of the truth to construct an image of the world as a whole. This is necessary both physicists and lyricists. The ideas of John Wheeler pushes our ratio and intuitio to see the world as a whole in a single symbol, which includes all of the fundamental meanings of the Universe. I'm waiting for you on my forum.

Best regards,

Vladimir

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 29, 2013 @ 01:53 GMT
Vladimir,

Sorry about that. Will make it next.

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KoGuan Leo wrote on Jul. 22, 2013 @ 06:59 GMT
Dear John,

I saw your comment at Alan Kadin thread and made a comment below on your comment.

I have similar observation. KQID satisfies this simple factual logic that A, anti-entropic bits-waves function of time-future exchanges bits with S, entropic bits-waves of time-past that creates and distributes E, energetic bits-waves function of time-present that maximizing the flow of A,...

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 01:58 GMT
Leo,

You show a very good grasp of my argument, but reading through yours, I think there is one important issue you are missing. That is that nature does erase information. It is just that in this quantized physics, energy is treated as information; the quantum.

What this means to me is that in expressing an idea, being able to edit it as much as possible is necessary. You, on the other hand, have a very interesting and expressive essay, but in some parts, the energy goes more to heat than light, if you know what I mean. There was a time when I was much better at focusing on such works, but at my age, mid fifties, the mind tends to wander very quickly and that is what you have to take into account with your audience.

There were directions I could have taken my own essay, such as that I see the two sides of the brain, the scalar and the linear, as reflective of temperature and time, but that would distract from the basic central point of information as one side of a dichotomy with energy.

There is an old saying, that we miss more in a fraction of a second than we will ever see in our entire lives. Nature is a fierce editor. Always remember that. She will let us go on for a very long time, but when the time is up.....

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William C. McHarris wrote on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 19:13 GMT
Hi, John,

I enjoyed your essay, although I really enjoyed your last year's essay more. It shows an amazing amount of common-sensical insight. My only suggestion would be don't push the conclusions quite so much. The physical examples are fine, but it gets a little touchy when you extend them to the brain and respiratory system. Still, it's a fine essay. And I think your concluding sentence (last year) should go down in history: "Neither academic nor religious authority can turn an ideal into an absolute." If only many so-called forefront theorists would take this to heart!

Cheers,

Bill

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 21:52 GMT
Bill,

Thank you very much.

From your work and experience, I can understand why you are cautious about pushing conclusions beyond applicability, but I would have to defend it as a risk that has to be taken. As the old saying goes, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." It is a trial and error process of discovering similar patterns in varied context and trying to figure out how much it is due to similar content, vs. similar context, vs. shear coincidence, vs. one's own extrapolations.

As for the example of biology as a billion year experiment reflective of the relationship between information and energy, it is a comparison I've tried developing more extensively in other contexts, such as that essay I linked in my response in your thread.

This also goes to how this contest relates to my argument in the previous. "Energy manifests information. Information defines energy. Since energy is conserved, in order to create new information, old information is erased. This is the "arrow of time," as events come into being and fade.

I have to say, the extent to which physics has dismissed the concept of energy in favor of the concept of information seems quite bizarre to me.

Regards,

John

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Than Tin wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 05:16 GMT
Dear John

Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech

(http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/19
65/feynman-lecture.html)

said: “It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but with a little mathematical fiddling you can show the...

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Sreenath B N wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 10:04 GMT
Dear John,

I have down loaded your essay and soon post my comments on it. Meanwhile, please, go through my essay and post your comments.

Regards and good luck in the contest,

Sreenath BN.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1827

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Sreenath B N wrote on Jul. 27, 2013 @ 10:34 GMT
Dear John Merryman,

You have written a very brief article but the points to be understood from it have deep depth and make one to ponder over them. The essence of your argument can be understood if you go through the biology section of my essay, where I have discussed how living organisms came in to existence and evolved and I have discussed the notions of information, knowledge, intuition, mind (brain), environment, consciousness and other related concepts. So, please, go through my essay (http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1827) and try to visualize how the theme of your essay follows from it. The distinction between the classical world and the quantum one is clearly stated when you say “there is no middle ground view that effectively encompasses both. Those Bits are what we know of It.” There by establishing the relationship between It and Bit. You have rightly pointed out the distinction existing between both worlds when you say “this separation goes more to the nature of knowledge, than of reality”; thus showing of our ignorance of a unified theory. The origin of the concept of Time and its relation to energy is notable. Regarding the origin of the concepts of knowledge, brain, reality etc. is to be understood, I feel, from my essay and then to be compared to what you have said on them in your essay. Feel free to post your comments on my essay in my thread. Since the theme of your essay is based on mine I have rated your essay with maximum honors. Thanks for producing a thought provoking brief article.

Best wishes,

Sreenath

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 27, 2013 @ 23:16 GMT
Sreenath,

I have finally found the time to read your essay. It is in many ways, a full course meal of an examination of the topic. Unfortunately I'm one of those people who do more intellectual snacking than really have the time and concentration required to develop and absorb such a multifacted treatise.

This was a problem I have with the topic to begin with; It really did require a broad analysis of the entire subject of information, knowledge and how they relate to reality, to fully respond to the issue.

You have done an admirable job, though a bit too broad for my tendencies.

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 05:10 GMT
Dear John,

As I am remembering we already have discussed the time problem.

On this I just want one more time emphasize my understanding of it.

- The concept of ,,time,, are used in physics arbitrary (I mean a priori, without connection of it with the physical objects of study) It means we have accepted the existence some of absolute klock, independ from anything, that giving us the equal/invariance intervals of events. In practice however we are forced to use some local material objects, which have property to give regularly - repeatedly events. The intervals between them we accept as INVARIANT (but we have no any proof for it!) Thus, we must not excluded that these can be not equal i.e. the ,,time,, may be VARIABLE. At last, the analyze of question shows that ,,time,, is directly depend from density of mass/energy. I want mark - this concept becomes justified as per as it WORKS!

I am really appreciate your efforts on this very important cognitive problem and with pleasure I have rated your work on ,,high,, core.

Best wishes,

George

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Jul. 29, 2013 @ 05:21 GMT
Hi John,

I have read your kindly post in my forum.

It is fully enough to say Thank you.

George

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 01:46 GMT
George,

Thank you as well. It does seem as though we are futilely knocking our heads on the wall, but eventually it is one more bubble that will pop and someone has to call these people to task. History will be more kind to our efforts, than theirs.

Regards,

John

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Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Jul. 29, 2013 @ 23:31 GMT
Dear Merriman:

I must say that I agree with most of your essay, is excellent with, the exception of the “time” subject.

“This process is what we call time. The presence of the energy is like the hand of time,

constantly moving onto the next configuration, as these forms, as their own units of

time, come into being and dissolve.”

“While we have this sense of forward motion through the events, it is the presence of

the energy that is constant, so it is the events forming and receding, going future to

past. As when the unit of time that is our lifespan is over, we too recede into the past”.

In my essay I explain that what people call “time” in fact is “motion” and “motion” precedes energy or is energy. “motion” existence needs of something that moves, “motion” is a quality or property of every physically existing thing, and not the quality itself, but the things that moves, change to different configurations and forms. If you mean changing to the next configuration and forms are the “time/motion units” of those configurations, I am not agree time/motion . “Time” probably born as a system to measure “motion” created by men “time units” which I say are “motion units” also were created by men. What I think probably are the same are “motion” and energy, and I am not sure, I don’t think is probable but it is maybe possible that energy can dissolve.

There is not forward motion through the events, events usually change and transform in the place were they are. If energy is constant, then would not dissolve. Events always change like everything else. Future and past don’t has physical existence they only exist in our minds, when we are considering them. When our period of transformation as living beings finish, this is our duration ,we recede into the past into the minds of living beings.

Héctor

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 02:00 GMT
Hector,

I think we are very much in agreement on the issue, just looking at it from our different perspectives. Motion creates change and time is a measure of change.

Keep in mind that essay is addressed to the vast majority of people for whom time is not only primary, but primal. The temporal sequence is the basis of narrative and linear logic, which are foundational to humanity. It is no wonder it should be including in theory of elemental nature. Time is as every bit as real as temperature and that is what regulates our bodies, as time forms our minds. People are much further up the scale of emergence than qualities such as time and temperature.

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 13:20 GMT
Hello John,

Probably because you were one of the earliest entrants I am just getting to read your worthwhile essay.

In your list of binary relationships would you consider including existence/non-existence. It appears more fundamental because something exist before you start asking whether it is black or white or what do you think?

But I agree that no essence of one of the pair without the other.

All the best,

Akinbo

*You may want to read and rate my essay, and the judgement that followed in the case of Atomistic Enterprises Inc. vs. Plato & Ors delivered on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 11:39 GMT.

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 15:16 GMT
Akinbo,

You raise quite a number of deep questions in your essay and that is the main reason I chose not to tackle it, time being a significant constraint for me. I will though go through some issues on your thread.

As for being/non-being, it is likely the most primal dichotomy and far more complex than all the others. A bottomless void of interrelating issues.

Notice that sentence doesn't even make sense, using void, not pit, but that is the degree of the problem.

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Manuel S Morales wrote on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 16:15 GMT
John,

I found your approach to the topic at hand succinct, logical, and intuitive and would like to rate your essay highly. However, before I do may I run some questions by you via email? Please let me know at: msm@physicsofdestiny.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Manuel

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Chidi Idika wrote on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 19:57 GMT
Dear John,

Your one approach to this whole debate is interesting because it is very easy to presume meanings. What is "it" and what is "bit"? If we can agree on a definition a major part of this debate would have been resolved.

In What a Wavefunction is I try to define too. I have download of your essay. See if you can read through mine and let have your reaction. I'll be back here to rate.

And just in case you find it dense at first. Then please read through my exchange with Marcoen. I think it is a good starter with regard to my definitions.

Regards,

Chidi

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George Kirakosyan wrote on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 05:24 GMT
John,

I can be fully agree with you but there are some ,,trifles,,. The ,,new bubbles,, really is not necessary. Moreover, I am calling clean the physics from a lot of bubbles, which are introduced from air.

And I am calling to return to a normal-natural way of thinking - without new creations and new things, and this approach give us the RESULTS. However, you do not care all of this and just have attributed to me things when I am saying just the opposite!

I am very disappointed from such level of discussion. I give you ,,high,, score!! It will be more better if you will not send to me such comment and your thanks.

George

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 10:37 GMT
George,

There will always be bubbles. People sketch their castles out in the air, before they try building them of stone. There will always be more dream castles than stone castles though. We are in the business of popping some of those dream castles. What would you be doing otherwise, if those silly fools were not out talking up multiverses? There wouldn't be as much to make fun of. I did rate you highly as well, but I'm just trying to understand the much larger context and that includes many other people, with many other views on the subject.

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Israel Perez wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 02:14 GMT
Dear John

I just read your short and nice essay. I wish you have discussed a little bit more about why you consider energy fundamental. There are some other contestants that also adhere to this view.

I support your view that change precedes time and not the opposite as some think. But whereas for you the energy is the main ingredient, I consider that the main ingredient is matter (matter as understood by Aristotle). The reason is that in physics energy is a derived quantity whilst matter is not. The other reason is because mathematically speaking, one of the properties of matter is mass and E=mc^2. If we agree on this, what really changes is matter. My essay from two years ago discusses that there must be a fundamental substance which I assume is matter but I'm also open to accept energy as the main essence of the universe. I think this is just a matter of convention.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to read my essay and leave some comments. There I discuss about Wheeler's dream and propose a potential way to get out of the present crisis, assuming that space is a material field. I'll be looking forward to hearing any comments you may have.

Regards

Israel

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 02:59 GMT
Israel,

There is a very basic reason I use the term energy. While lacking any other particularly exacting attributes, it is primarily described as being conserved. Even entropy only applies to useful energy in a closed set. Energy is not lost, unless it is actually radiated away from that container, rather any energy gradients within the container are lost, as it reaches a thermal medium. This also means temperature is not simply an average of molecular/atomic/etc. activity, but a local entropic end state, since these component entities are actually trading energy around to reach that median.

Now the concept of information is not something that can really be described as being conserved, even though it is inherently static and structured, except in some blocktime formulation. So if we are to use these concepts as the two halves of a dichotomy, they reflect each other quite well, with information as the defining form of energy and energy as the manifestation of information. So in order for new information to be created, as the energy, being dynamic, changes form, old information is erased. This is the solution to the "arrow of time." The sense of some eternal present, but a constantly changing and irreversible process, as the energy does not turn on itself.

I have to admit, I haven't been engaging m/any of the regulars. Given limited time resources and even more limited capacity to think through some very dense exposition, I've been mostly "exploring." Both new ideas and different interactions are not an opportunity to be passed on.

I'm sure I'll be by.

Regards,

John

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Israel Perez replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 19:14 GMT
HI John

Thanks for your reply. That's a good reason. In the current view mass is associated to material particles because it is assumed that space is not material. In such case, it is said that although mass is not conserved energy and momentum are. But if we assume that space is a continuous material substance we are then force to conclude that matter, and thus mass, is also conserved.

With respect to information, to the best of my knowledge, the conservation of information is still a debate, that's the so called black hole information paradox. One can assume that information is not conserved and, as you say, it may solve the problem of the arrow of time, but that would imply that the laws of QM are wrong. This is the dilemma. I think we need to give a careful thought to this problem.

Regards

Israel

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Chidi Idika wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 04:11 GMT
Dear John,

Your essay to me has plenty substance although the shortness may hide this.

I take as your conclusion the statement that:

"So we exist as manifestations of this dichotomy of energy and information, as medium and message."

It rings a bell because as a Mass Communication student I studied Mashall Mcluhan's thesis: "The Medium is the Message". Now you aptly bring it to physics.

I can only say this statement is so brutally simple BUT even more brutally true.

What more? It could become the science!

My essay What a Wavefunction is actually elaborates on your thesis. Please do read my essay and let me have your honest comment (and rating). I will be back here to rate yours according as I have found high value.

Bests,

Chidi

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Chidi Idika replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 04:19 GMT
Typo!! The name is Marshall Mcluhan please. Just for your ref.

Chidi

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 10:43 GMT
Chidi,

I did get into your essay and I will try it again. The problem I was having is that you use various ideas that are fraught with a lot of loaded meanings that might not be conveying what you mean them to say, to other people. I am probably like you, but a bit older and I found what I was looking for was just some very basic concepts to explain reality, without all the academic baggage.

I think that eventually we will discover there is no such thing as a big bang cosmology and it is basically a convection cycle of radiation expanding out and falling/precipitating back down/into gravitational vortices as mass, then radiating out, or shot out the poles as cosmic rays and the cycle starts over again, eternally. That gravity is simply the vacuum effect created by this contraction of energy, much as when energy is released from mass, it creates pressure. Think atomic explosion. Radiant heat, etc. So there are a lot of concepts out there that have been created to fill the many gaps and when you try using them as stepping stones to further enlightenment, you have to be very careful they are not leading you off into the wilderness instead.

Here is a blog post at FQXI, listing many of the recent observational problems for cosmology.

Here is my entry in last year's, Questioning the Foundations contest, which further develops my point about time being an effect of action, thus eliminating "spacetime" as a causal property and that is the basis for an expanding universe. Suffice to say, this is a very controversial position, but then my income isn't dependent on the study of physics.

Regards,

John

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Chidi Idika replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 11:54 GMT
Dear John,

Thank you for the two links you provided above. I will refer.

With regard to my definition of terms you might find my exchange with Marcoen useful. Provided it does not unduly preempt your judgement.

Regards,

Chidi

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Author John Brodix Merryman wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 18:20 GMT
It would appear the last several days of posts have vanished. This is a test.

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Israel Perez wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 22:02 GMT
Dear John

It seems that our conversation was erased. Do you have any idea what happened?

With respect to the conversation, I remember you mention that you chose energy because it is conserved. There are some other quantities that are conserved such as momentum, but momentum although a physicial quantity is not a substance. Are you having in mind that energy is some sort of substance? This is one of the reasons, I prefer to select matter (in the sense of Aristotle) and not energy.

Regards

Israel

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 22:53 GMT
Israel,

That was weird. It seems all posts of the last two days have vanished, but they managed to replace the missing scores. Just my luck, as I went from a 4.2 to a 3.9. Oh well.

I pick energy because it really has no features, other than dynamic and conserved. This makes it a perfect dichotomy for information, which is the very nature of definition, is necessarily inherently static and according to all experience, if not various physics theories, is mostly not conserved. In fact, the creation and transmission of information requires erasing prior information, as in, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." As in you can't have something, without using all necessary input. Since it is conserved, the energy cannot manifest both prior and succeeding forms, thus no "blocktime." This creates the asymmetric "arrow of time," as the energy is not going to turn on itself.

So in order to have information, you need energy to manifest it and if you have energy, it must have some form, ie. information. So it's not as though I see energy as something substantial, but as the yang to the yin of information. Can't have one, without the other.

Matter, on the other hand, is a conceptually a composite of energy and form.

Regards,

John

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Israel Perez replied on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 02:25 GMT
HI John

It seems that a server was changed. We all had the same problem but it seems that it was solved.

As for our discussion, according to quantum mechanics information must be conserved and according to thermodynamics is must be lost. The black hole paradox represents this case. That means that either themodynamics or quantum mechanics must be wrong. The issue has not been solved yet.

With respect to energy, I think that its definition as fundamental entity is arbitrary, we just have agree.

Anyway, nice talking to you.

Regards

Israel

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 15:14 GMT
Israel,

Quantum mechanics is platonic. Relativity is as well. Black holes are the result of modeling gravity as four dimensional geometry. The cosmological constant is likely just the light and other radiation escaping from actual gravity vortices. It just isn't included in the model, since light is always treated as a point particle, rather then as an expanding field, when released.

Reductionism inherently overlooks a lot of what actually happens, which is necessary, but when you make it some sort of platonic belief system, it is difficult to go back and fill in the missing gaps, so the high priests have to make something up, like dark energy, etc.

Oh well. The way culture works.

Regards,

John

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 09:25 GMT
Dear Merryman,

You are right, physic was misguided by the late 80's.

What you said about speed of light and time I calculate with same aproach.

I wrote somewhere in my viXra article that I have no anything to say becouse a

lot of people said it befor me. I only calculate.

I also keep in minde the sentence of my Prof. Marian Cadezs, PhD

In science, always talk affirmatively.

Never say: /It is not rainy, rather, it is sunny/.

So the theories that you mentioned in negative conotation, are the problem

of their suporters not us.

I also think that you are right about photon

Sorry for poor translation

Regards,

Branko

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 11:03 GMT
Brancho,

I am horrible at calculation, so I mostly analyze. The problem with just calculation is that it is only bottom up and not top down. Epicycles are a product of only calculation and they were consequently quite accurate, but created confusion for the analysis. I think the same problem exists with spacetime. It is very accurate, but by treating time as only a measure to be calculated, but not considering how it is created, has caused much confusion.

As thermodynamic processes create temperature and temperature is a measure of thermodynamic processes, change creates time and time is a measure of change.

You are right that it will be their problem and it seems to be starting to occur to them, but they are not going to climb down willingly, only put more weight on the top until it all falls down.

I'm fortunate to be born in an English speaking country, otherwise I'd never learn it as a second language, so don't worry about the translation on my part.

Regards, John

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Marcoen J.T.F. Cabbolet wrote on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 18:47 GMT
Hi John,

I've read your essay, and I've given your essay a rating to stimulate further thinking. Here are some comments.

1. On page 1, you wrote: "It is received wisdom to say the physical world is not intuitively accessible to a mind evolved for basic survival." Do you mean that intuition is not generally acknowledged as a source of knowledge? At least one philosopher, Spinoza, was a proponent of the idea that there is such a thing as intuitive knowledge. Maybe you should look into his work, he has written some interesting stuff!

2. On page 1, you wrote: "combining multitudes of such bits of information cancels out detail, like colors running together." You make this statement in the context of knowledge. So do you mean that knowledge can be canceled out (erased)? Or do you mean something in the line of the following quote of Von Neumann: "man generally percieves the sum of many billions of elementary processes simultaneously, so that the levelling law of large numbers completely obscures the real nature of the individual processes"?

Best regards,

Marcoen

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Author John Brodix Merryman replied on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 20:29 GMT
Marcoen,

I mean it in terms of the assumption within physics that physics is non-intuitive. I then go on to argue that intuition is not just some basic set of assumptions we are born with, but the cumulative knowledge from which we instinctively draw. This necessarily will be somewhat different for everyone, as we all have different knowledge bases, so in fact physicists draw from...

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eAmazigh M. HANNOU wrote on Aug. 5, 2013 @ 23:34 GMT
Dear John,

We are at the end of this essay contest.

In conclusion, at the question to know if Information is more fundamental than Matter, there is a good reason to answer that Matter is made of an amazing mixture of eInfo and eEnergy, at the same time.

Matter is thus eInfo made with eEnergy rather than answer it is made with eEnergy and eInfo ; because eInfo is eEnergy, and the one does not go without the other one.

eEnergy and eInfo are the two basic Principles of the eUniverse. Nothing can exist if it is not eEnergy, and any object is eInfo, and therefore eEnergy.

And consequently our eReality is eInfo made with eEnergy. And the final verdict is : eReality is virtual, and virtuality is our fundamental eReality.

Good luck to the winners,

And see you soon, with good news on this topic, and the Theory of Everything.

Amazigh H.

I rated your essay.

Please visit My essay.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Aug. 6, 2013 @ 21:13 GMT
John,

Final review and scoring now so yours going on to give you a bunk up. I hoped you'd got to reading mine but don't recall a post. I hope the desne abstract didn't pout you off. It did Georgina but she found the essay itself very readable.

Many seem to agree it contains the "missing link" you identify, so I hope I can tempt you to read it before the deadline (if you haven't scored it yet) by pasting some blog comments; "groundbreaking", "clearly significant", "astonishing", "fantastic", "wonderful", "remarkable!", "superb", "deeply impressed", etc. I'm sure you'll love it but want your honest views.

I hope you had a great time with your daughter in Scotland.

Very best wishes

Peter

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Paul Borrill wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 20:46 GMT
Dear John,

I have now finished reviewing all 180 essays for the contest and appreciate your contribution to this competition.

I have been thoroughly impressed at the breadth, depth and quality of the ideas represented in this contest. In true academic spirit, if you have not yet reviewed my essay, I invite you to do so and leave your comments.

You can find the latest version of my essay here:

http://fqxi.org/data/forum-attachments/Borrill-TimeOne-
V1.1a.pdf

(sorry if the fqxi web site splits this url up, I haven’t figured out a way to not make it do that).

May the best essays win!

Kind regards,

Paul Borrill

paul at borrill dot com

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Daryl Janzen wrote on Aug. 8, 2013 @ 04:30 GMT
Hi John,

Sorry I didn't get back to you in order to carry on our discussion over the past couple of days that I've been back in town. If you're interested to pick that up again, we could keep going on this blog, and pick up with a new thread over on my page, or you could send me an email if you'd like and we could correspond that way. My email address is daryl.janzen@usask.ca.

In any case, thanks a lot for engaging with me this past month, and keeping me to task on things that may get taken a bit too much for granted. As I recall, you had made some good points in your last post, so I'm glad to revisit the discussion from there if you're up for it.

Best regards,

Daryl

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 9, 2013 @ 04:33 GMT
Hi John,

I have just commented on the "Essay Contest 2013: It From Bit, or Bit From It?" blog that I think your idea of a "two sides" "debate between mathematical platonism and physical realism" is a really good idea for the future i.e. a future FQXi contest.

Also, thanks for your post to my essay blog re: free will. I disagree with what you say, but I will get back to later with more detail.

Cheers,

Lorraine

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