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Material--philosophical Implications


Vex

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First let me begin by explaining myself: I haven't posted in a long while because many of the topics that get discussed on this board are repetitious to say the least, (no offense to the posters or mods). So as a breath of freash air I've decided to post this and see what some have to think or add to this.

Background: while discussing determinism and freewill for morality and philosophy class i began to think about conciousness and the connections and the Prophet Bro Joseph has said concerning matter.

for those unfamiliar with determinism it basically says that all action is derived from a previous action and that with enough information and all factors considered the next action is easily derived and so agency never enters into the equation. for the most part or on a macro scale that holds true. freewill i will keep as self explanitory. (if further clarification is needed i shall gladly give it) The only problem with determinism that has been some what acknoledged is the origination action, ie: what started the first reaction? the only applicable reply with the ending reaction is the cause of the originating action (think loop).... but that's the back ground, on to the meat.

As I was walking away from class I came up with this thought: If we are nothing more than collections of atoms, the same principle material of the earth and stars we should act according to the molecular behavior of those as well. The only difference between us and them is our level of conciousness. If conciousness is our only difference (think atomically), then we are different in the interaction of electrons which trigger a synaptic response. ie: an electrical charge affects another atom and so on until the desired reaction is reached. which would indicate our conciousness/intellegence is nothing but energy interacting with matter.

Both atoms, or the particles which make up the atoms, and electricity are eternal, they cannot be created or destroyed only moved into different forms. for insatnce when we die, our flesh is for lack of a better word turned to dust. we lose no atoms, they're all there in one form or another. our electrical conciousness only moves to entropy, which would mean it's not destroyed, just in a form not usable to man as of now.

If our conciousness is electrically based and all atoms have an atomic charge (whether positive, negative, or nuetral), would that mean that all matter has a conciousness? if that is true, then wouldn't it stand to reason that we could theoretically appease an indiscriminate amount of atoms into conforming to a set of rules or laws to which to be governed?

another question this raises in my mind would be that if our conciousness is nothing more than electricity is the electricity causing us to behave this way, or are we causing the electricity to behave as it does? determinisit or freewill?.... anyone have anything to add, or any insights that come to mind? i'm sorry if it's :P ... i'm trying to do my best to get it straight... i have what i want to say in my head but is it coming out okay?

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First let me begin by explaining myself: I haven't posted in a long while because many of the topics that get discussed on this board are repetitious to say the least, (no offense to the posters or mods). So as a breath of freash air I've decided to post this and see what some have to think or add to this.

Background: while discussing determinism and freewill for morality and philosophy class i began to think about conciousness and the connections and the Prophet Bro Joseph has said concerning matter.

for those unfamiliar with determinism it basically says that all action is derived from a previous action and that with enough information and all factors considered the next action is easily derived and so agency never enters into the equation. for the most part or on a macro scale that holds true. freewill i will keep as self explanitory. (if further clarification is needed i shall gladly give it) The only problem with determinism that has been some what acknoledged is the origination action, ie: what started the first reaction? the only applicable reply with the ending reaction is the cause of the originating action (think loop).... but that's the back ground, on to the meat.

As I was walking away from class I came up with this thought: If we are nothing more than collections of atoms, the same principle material of the earth and stars we should act according to the molecular behavior of those as well. The only difference between us and them is our level of conciousness. If conciousness is our only difference (think atomically), then we are different in the interaction of electrons which trigger a synaptic response. ie: an electrical charge affects another atom and so on until the desired reaction is reached. which would indicate our conciousness/intellegence is nothing but energy interacting with matter.

Both atoms, or the particles which make up the atoms, and electricity are eternal, they cannot be created or destroyed only moved into different forms. for insatnce when we die, our flesh is for lack of a better word turned to dust. we lose no atoms, they're all there in one form or another. our electrical conciousness only moves to entropy, which would mean it's not destroyed, just in a form not usable to man as of now.

If our conciousness is electrically based and all atoms have an atomic charge (whether positive, negative, or nuetral), would that mean that all matter has a conciousness? if that is true, then wouldn't it stand to reason that we could theoretically appease an indiscriminate amount of atoms into conforming to a set of rules or laws to which to be governed?

another question this raises in my mind would be that if our conciousness is nothing more than electricity is the electricity causing us to behave this way, or are we causing the electricity to behave as it does? determinisit or freewill?.... anyone have anything to add, or any insights that come to mind? i'm sorry if it's :P ... i'm trying to do my best to get it straight... i have what i want to say in my head but is it coming out okay?

I have pretty similar feelings as the ones you've expressed here. I would add that at this point I lean to a very libertarian free will model. At this point I do reject a strict determinism. I would argue (without much proof-I guess speculate is a better word) that the fundamental conciousness is some quanta of energy. Electrons and other such quanta are, I believe, concious to some degree or another.

I believe that what is observed today as "uncertainty" is just choice within bounds. For example an electron in some orbital can be going in some direction during some moments and then change direction. There seems to be no formal cause that can be detected. I believe the "cause" is simply choice. The electron decided to change direction in the same manner that you or I can choose to change direction when walking down the street. However, the electron does have laws it must obey even if the laws that govern the "electron world" seem contradictory or foreign to our much more macroscopic world.

There was some very good discussion regarding this topic a few months ago under "free will" or some such title. There was a good representation of the various feelings on the matter. If I get around to it I'll link those discussion here.

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Thank you so much for replying. I like what you said about the electronisitic conciousnes. I'm not sure the quantum physists will accept that answer, but psh, I don't care about them (yet). I think this level of complexity has/was hinted to previously from another thread from a while ago.. it was about artificial intelligence, but i didn't dare state that back then.

if the electrons quanta are concious would a collection of them (say our brains) result in higher level of conciousness? if so would that seem to indicate a hive mentallity of the electron? bringing into play the gaea philosophical view? if that is the case would that mean that the inteligence that is inherent with God as he is all knowing, would mean either 1) he contains a conglomerat connection with all electrons or 2) there is a sub-electron quanta that connects all other electron based quanta that is either a derivitive or integral of the original electron... *oh no, i've gone cross eyed!* :P<_<

...If that is the case then if/when we obtain that amount of knowledge we would have the laws of everything understood.... I'll have to think a little more on this...

anymore comments?

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Thank you so much for replying. I like what you said about the electronisitic conciousnes. I'm not sure the quantum physists will accept that answer, but psh, I don't care about them (yet). I think this level of complexity has/was hinted to previously from another thread from a while ago.. it was about artificial intelligence, but i didn't dare state that back then.

if the electrons quanta are concious would a collection of them (say our brains) result in higher level of conciousness? if so would that seem to indicate a hive mentallity of the electron? bringing into play the gaea philosophical view? if that is the case would that mean that the inteligence that is inherent with God as he is all knowing, would mean either 1) he contains a conglomerat connection with all electrons or 2) there is a sub-electron quanta that connects all other electron based quanta that is either a derivitive or integral of the original electron... *oh no, i've gone cross eyed!* :P<_<

...If that is the case then if/when we obtain that amount of knowledge we would have the laws of everything understood.... I'll have to think a little more on this...

anymore comments?

Right now I don't believe that human conciousness is an emergent property. In other words I don't think that it emerges from some critical mass of energy or "pile of electrons." I believe that there is some unique singe quanta which is me. I don't think that energy is an electron. I believe it must be some other as yet undiscovered particle.

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I don't think energy is an electron either, but they have some of it.

What about when Jesus said if the people didn't cry out in praise that God would cause the very stones to cry out? And how did Jesus quiet the sea? or curse the tree? or forgive sins? or bring the dead back to life?

He didn't say we have to know all mysteries. He did say that if we believe in God we should also believe in Him.

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Brade is aware that my views on this are different. I accept determinism, but posit that it is compatible with free will (I am LDS). It seems to me that the scriptures do not require us to embrace a libertarian view, and a deterministic position is just too strong to argue against without appealing to vague dualistic notions.

The idea being discussed is interesting, but I am a bit skeptical myself of consciousness being assigned to sub-atomic particles. Clearly there is some way in which we have consciousness in which inert objects (say a rock) do not. How could this difference be explained if all objects (including ourselves) are composites of a multitude of microscopic conscious entities? Still, I like the approach of trying to 'find' consciousness through some kind of physical process. Personally I tend to think that there are physical laws governing all things, including our consciousness.

As Brade and I have discussed before, this idea also simply moves the conundrum of causality from the macro to the micro level without really providing a solution. Let's say that it is true that electrons behave as they do through (conscious) choice. What then causes those choices?

In some of my recent thoughts about consciousness and dualism, I have wondered about the pre-Adamite theory. If this theory is true, wouldn't that require us to have a different form of consciousness than the pre-Adamites?

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"Deterministic" I would say quantum physics would argue against any action on the most fundamential particle (quantum particles or vibrating "strings" of energy) could be predicted. Tne likelyhood that any one event will occur could only be reduced to a probablity and not to an absolute garanteed that a particular event will occur. Those I would say the quantum physics would argue for human free will. Whereas classical physics based on the behavior of large particles atoms, molecules, organisims, etc. could argue cause and effect. However, I believe conscienceness behaves more to the laws of quantum physics and more specifically to "String" or "M" theory.

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I think your spirit or soul is equivalent to Conscienceness. In other words if there is no conscienceness there can be no spirit/soul. So what is the spirit or soul.... I suggest that the spirit is a special coalescence of number of "energy strings" (think of them as intelligences) Once intelligence coalesce to form a spirit that spirit becomes eternal it can then progress to obtaining an mortal body as per the plan and eventually can obtain an immortal body. Your conscienceness or soul records all of it's thoughts via the vibration harmonics of the intelligence from which it was constructed.

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I believe the spirit will evenually be give the oppotrtunity to bond perminately with a "physical body" a body composed of a what we call physical matter. Once a spirit is perminently bonded to its body, it becomes immortal.

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One thing we attempt to understand in quantum physics is what happens in a very short period of time in a very small part of â??emptyâ? space. For a very short time it can appear from various reference frames that various laws are in violation. However in the aigrette we can get a very different picture. The problem is that we see and experience everything from a larger empirical universe and a temporary mortal life reference frame - which, like the quantum physics view of very short periods of time and very small parts of empty space can skew the overall truth.

The point we learn in religious logic is that although it appears that the inevitable result of life is death there is an â??interferingâ? force from the free will of G-d that not only dis-couples the determined results but also enables us to insert our free will in the outcome as well. It is this principle of allowing man freewill concerning salvation that un-corks the logic of salvation by grace only as far as I understand and believe.

The Traveler

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Consciousness needs, at the very least, information processing and "generalized" computation toward behavior in a setting where the idea of a goal makes sense. Nothing that is utterly simple can have consciousness (it is not, as some peoples intuition would have it, a kind of ghostly material).

Think about consciousness--don't just be dazzled by it!

An electron would have to be vastly less conscious than a fly and vastly less conscious than a even toy car.

An electron cannot have goals or care about anything. If it can't care it can't feel pain or pleasure for such is not some simple substance but requires a world of care where something matters. It can't understand or desire. Those things require incredible complexity and something like a social world.

An electron is not Dasein.

What if people were puzzled about what constituted the "value" of money and then postulated that this "value stuff" was inherent in even the tiniest atomic part of a dollar bill. Silly no?

As for freedom, all I know is that we do things for reasons and if those reasons don't somehow partially determine action then it isn't a freedom worth wanting. But what comes without being determined by reasons or desire or something about my constitution? I didn't choose my constitution whatever that is. This supposed remainder after reasons and causes of any kind are omitted would seem to be mere chance. A desire to be good or righteous is still a reason and it must be based in what I am. Willy nilly reasonless chance is no freedom at all.

"Deterministic" I would say quantum physics would argue against any action on the most fundamential particle (quantum particles or vibrating "strings" of energy) could be predicted. .

But this indeterminism is not freedom. Human freedom requires that we do something for reasons not because of some absolute probabilistic indeterminacy. Nuclei aren't free to choose when it decay because they can't choose at all. They have no reasons, no temptations, no desires or goals. Pure chance isn't freedom.

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Brade is aware that my views on this are different. I accept determinism, but posit that it is compatible with free will (I am LDS). It seems to me that the scriptures do not require us to embrace a libertarian view, and a deterministic position is just too strong to argue against without appealing to vague dualistic notions.

The idea being discussed is interesting, but I am a bit skeptical myself of consciousness being assigned to sub-atomic particles. Clearly there is some way in which we have consciousness in which inert objects (say a rock) do not. How could this difference be explained if all objects (including ourselves) are composites of a multitude of microscopic conscious entities? Still, I like the approach of trying to 'find' consciousness through some kind of physical process. Personally I tend to think that there are physical laws governing all things, including our consciousness.

As Brade and I have discussed before, this idea also simply moves the conundrum of causality from the macro to the micro level without really providing a solution. Let's say that it is true that electrons behave as they do through (conscious) choice. What then causes those choices?

In some of my recent thoughts about consciousness and dualism, I have wondered about the pre-Adamite theory. If this theory is true, wouldn't that require us to have a different form of consciousness than the pre-Adamites?

I don't have much to say other then I'm glad you came to this discussion. Even though you and I disagree, this kind of discussion helps me out. One question. In your view, why can't we just stop at "the individuals will was the cause." Sometimes I feel compelled to just end it at that. Everything going on around the individual provides context and an environment, but the ultimate cause of some event initiated by a "causer" could just be...just because...Don't know how else to put it.

Pure chance isn't freedom.

I agree with that. I simply feel that if every quanta of energy is concious and making choices then what we observe as "chancy" is really just an observation of choice. I know I'm not explaining myself very well. I'm in the middle of trying to fix another of our computers and so I'm kindof in and out and I don't really want to commit to a long explanation just yet.

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First let me begin by explaining myself: I haven't posted in a long while because many of the topics that get discussed on this board are repetitious to say the least, (no offense to the posters or mods). So as a breath of freash air I've decided to post this and see what some have to think or add to this.

Hmm. Well, I thought it was a good topic but I guess it is more exciting to discuss whether Mormon's are Christians or not -in my opinion a very boring semantic argument with an obvious best answer (yes).

Oh well.

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But this indeterminism is not freedom. Human freedom requires that we do something for reasons not because of some absolute probabilistic indeterminacy. Nucei aren't free to choose when it decay because they can't choose at all. They have no reasons, no temptations, no desires or goals. Pure chance isn't freedom.

You are speaking of physical matter, and I speak of spiritual "matter". While I believe both physical matter and spiritual "matter" are both built from the same most fundimental particle. Which is called by some physicists "string" or "vibrating strings of energy". This "string" is incredibly small (from our perspective) 2 to the -32 power. I like to think of these "strings of vibrating energy" as intelligences. The reason I like to think of them as Intelligences is because I believe they can independently (without any out side influence) change their vibration rate or harmonics. Why might an intelligences change it's harmonics? I believe it is because of synergy. By changing it's harmonics, the intelligences can come to be "in tune" with God's plan. It is only through synergy that an intelligence can progress through God's plan to become a spirit, then a mortal and eventually an immortal. I beleive God selects some intellegences to become conscience beings (spirits) and selects other intelligences to become physical matter. Eventually spirits and physical matter will be coalesced in such a way as to be permently bonded together and thus immortal.

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An electron cannot have goals or care about anything. If it can't care it can't feel pain or pleasure for such is not some simple substance but requires a world of care where something matters. It can't understand or desire. Those things require incredible complexity and something like a social world.

I hear that electrons get off on photons hitting them. It makes them excited.

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If our conciousness is electrically based and all atoms have an atomic charge (whether positive, negative, or nuetral), would that mean that all matter has a conciousness? if that is true, then wouldn't it stand to reason that we could theoretically appease an indiscriminate amount of atoms into conforming to a set of rules or laws to which to be governed?

The problem in your reasoning is that you are thinking of consciousness as a "thing;" as an object of some sort, or a trait that can be possessed. But consciousness is not a thing; it is an event. It is a process. You don't "have" consciousness; you "do" consciousness.

So with that in mind, let's look at another "do" process, and see if that answers your question. One such process is bouncing a ball. As long as I perfom this function--pushing the ball toward the ground repeatedly--I'm bouncing a ball. So does that mean that all matter has this trait called "bouncing a ball"? Of course not. Only a certain configuration of matter has the ability to perform that function.

Which brings us to this sentence: "wouldn't it stand to reason that we could theoretically appease an indiscriminate amount of atoms into conforming to a set of rules or laws to which to be governed?"

Yes, we can build a machine that bounces a ball. And yes, we could theoretically build a machine that is conscious. But it's not because matter already possesses some mysterious power called consciousness, any more than matter contains some innate ability to bounce a ball. We can do these things because all possible traits, processes, events, etc. are the result of the configuration of matter.

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[Y]es, we could theoretically build a machine that is conscious. But it's not because matter already possesses some mysterious power called consciousness, any more than matter contains some innate ability to bounce a ball. We can do these things because all possible traits, processes, events, etc. are the result of the configuration of matter.

That claim is not even false.

See No Free Lunch for details.

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I hear that electrons get off on photons hitting them. It makes them excited.

:P

Back to topic: From a philosophical stand point it seems that the only conclusion agreable to both those siding with determinism and freewill would be compatabilism: basically, there are laws and predetermined out comes for general actions, however if/when a choice is made it is enevitably up to the person making the decision to choose one or the other, and it is that persons agency which dicatates the choice made, and not some predetermined event. (i believe that would be an accurate synopsis of that philosophy. BTW this is the middle section of a spectral philosophy where on one end you have fatalism and on the other you have total freedom... the original and proper name eludes my mind at the moment)

This might be just a slight of hand/ deversion trick i'm laying out but electrons on the same orbital spin in the opposite direction. if that is true, why? do they emit some magnetic force which forces the other one to rotate the opposite direction? if that were true, how can two electrons (which by all information should be exactly equal) exhibit a force to act upon the other in such a way? in other words, which one initiated the spin. and if neither one intiated the spin it would stand to reason that they wouldn't spin unless an outside force acted upon them (do newtons laws still apply even for little electrons?).

String theory explains it as previously stated via harmonics, etc. however given the formula of uncertinty we could no more describe the posisition of the electron if we knew it's velocity, and vice versa. why is there such uncertinty? if position is just the integral of the velocity function, shouldn't we there by know both relativly accuratly... unless it is arbituarally choosing which direction to travel in and how fast to travel. for instance i do not imagine that an electron would have to slow down to move in the opposite direction but would be instanious. come to think of it, isn't an electron constantly traveling at C? it's motion can be described as a wave, but if that were true... why would the position be uncertain if the velocity is constant?

Is a "mere wanting to believe" a viable statement for agency? I desire to believe this and so I shall believe it. an electron wants to travel across a medium, there for exhibits all traits to do so? perchance compatbilism is the only diffinate agreeable philosophy at the moment. but perhaps synchience is yet to be understood with regard to the interaction of atomic particles. irregardless of religious beliefs there are things which have to be agreed upon before engaging any further. are the elements eternal? is energy eternal? is time liniear? if we are in agreement with those we can continue to the philosophical thoughts of agency within different enviroments and perchance both the deterministic and freewill'istic views to which we could apply.

I propose that all three of those are yes.

EDIT: Just saw Mighties post,

Mighty Curelom: If matter can not be created, nor destroyed but only re-arranged (and similiarly for energy as well). where would the intellegence come from. if we arranged carbon atoms and the appropriate other elements in such a way to form a human brain, we would no sooner have an intellegence unless there was some way of having it inertly available within the building blocks itself. you cannot get something for nothing. even if strong conciousness renders itself as synchient if it merly is because of the arangement of the elements in a set form, how did the original form produce itself. there's something missing in your explination.

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Intelligent design doesn't refute my assertion. ID merely claims that our current configuration which allows consciousness was initiated by a designer. Where Darwinists say "this machine was built through natural processes," IDists say "this machine was built by God." But neither says "this machine works because it possess an immaterial spirit which animates matter." That may be something that an ID theorist actually believes, but it's not part of ID theory.

(Actually, I shouldn't say that because ID theory has a habit of being whatever it needs to be for whatever audience it's being presented to.)

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Intelligent design doesn't refute my assertion.

You have not read No Free Lunch; if so, you have not understood it. Neither do you understand the implications of design theory.

[edit] On further pondering of your post, it seems you don't even understand what design theory in fact does claim. NO design theorist qua design theorist says "this machine was built by God." Don't even attempt to bluff me.

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You are speaking of physical matter, and I speak of spiritual "matter". While I believe both physical matter and spiritual "matter" are both built from the same most fundimental particle. Which is called by some physicists "string" or "vibrating strings of energy". This "string" is incredibly small (from our perspective) 2 to the -32 power. I like to think of these "strings of vibrating energy" as intelligences. harmonics.

Intelligence is not a thing. It is a process and takes parts. If strings are fundamental then they have no such smaller parts.

The reason I like to think of them as Intelligences is because I believe they can independently (without any out side influence) change their vibration rate or

Then what is the "inside" influence? Again, you have to have a mechanism or you are just being spooky.

Do you think strings have brains? Without something like a brain (or other complex infomational device) consciousness is out of the question. You may as well be claiming that strings can enjoy beer or tap dance. Consciousness is what humans do--it it isn't spirit matter.

You have not read No Free Lunch; if so, you have not understood it. Neither do you understand the implications of design theory.

[edit] On further pondering of your post, it seems you don't even understand what design theory in fact does claim. Don't even attempt to bluff me.

As a mathematician, I can tell you that I don't see Dembski as having given a clear definition of what is or isn't "specified".

To the exptent that the term is even precise, I claim that biological organisms are NOT specified in the sense he claims.

Dembski's claims have been analysed by mathematcians, logicians and philosophers and he does not convince a significant number of these.

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Intelligence is not a thing. It is a process and takes parts. If strings are fundamental then they have no such smaller parts.

I'd love to see evidence for this claim.

As a mathematician, I can tell you that I don't see Dembski as having given a clear definition of what is or isn't "specified".

To the exptent that the term is even precise, I claim that biological organisms are NOT specified in the sense he claims.

As a mathematician, I am not impressed by your dismissal.

Dembski's claims have been analysed by mathematcians, logicians and philosophers and he does not convince a significant number of these.

I am unaware that one needs a consensus to be correct. But I do think it poor form to criticize positions one is not fully informed about, as you have done here.

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it seems you don't even understand what design theory in fact does claim.

As I said, ID is whatever it needs to be. When it needs to be strictly scientific, ID proponents point out that ID doesn't make any claims at who or what the "designer" is. But when those same proponents are addressing a religious crowd, the mysterious designer is revealed to be none other than (surprise!) God.

But if there's one core component to ID theory, it is that biological organisms are too complex to have developed from chance. Nowhere in this core theory does it state that biological organisms possess a trait (a spirit) that animates them.

The ID theorist looks at a car and says "this car bears the hallmarks of design, therefore it was designed." Yet just because a car was designed does not mean it has a soul. Just because a car was designed doesn't mean its function is not based on materialistic rules.

In other words, even if ID theorists are correct, and the human mind was designed and engineered by a cosmic designer, that doesn't mean the machine this designer created runs on pixie dust. There's no reason to assume consciousness is not the material result of a certain configuration of matter, any more that there is reason to assume the same of a computer, or a lawnmower.

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I'd love to see evidence for this claim.

As a mathematician, I am not impressed by your dismissal.

I am unaware that one needs a consensus to be correct. But I do think it poor form to criticize positions one is not fully informed about, as you have done here.

Thats quite an assumption. I have read Dembski and his critics and I think Dembski's logic is wanting.

Is there some reason you think yourself more informed than I. Is it becuase I don't hold to the conclusion you want me to? Do you just assume that you are "fully" informed but that I am not? What is "fully"?

Which major philosophers, biologists or mathematicians has Dembski convinced? This is a huge issue in philosphy after all and I hope you don't think he has a mathematical proof of anything.

By the way, I have no litmus test for qualifications but I am curious and so can I perhaps ask in what sense you are a mathematician? Are you a professor of mathematics? What field?

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Thats quite an assumption. I have read Dembski and his critics and I think Dembski's logic is wanting.

Is there some reason you think yourself more informed than I.

You haven't produced anything which would lead me to think you were well versed in Dembski's arguments. Convince me otherwise. I have a short attention span, so act quickly.

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I have a short attention span, so act quickly.

That could be your problem. It is certainly a problem if you really want to understand what is wrong with Dembski's arguments. He pulls a fast one using plenty of imprecision to fog up the place.

By the way, are you aware of Dembski's standing as a mathematician? Do you know anything of his academic publication record? Look him up on MathSciNet. This should make you suspicious.

Unless you want to defend the specifics of his (mis)application of Wolpert and Macready's "no free lunch" theorem then all I can say is, there is no proof of anything and no major mathematician or philosopher that I know of thinks there is-- including, if I am not mistaken, Dave Wolpert himself.

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