Demystifying Roger Penrose's Three Mysteries of Reality

October 11, 2019 at 10:49 am#310172 Blaire

The link below is from Unbelievable/Sherlock/Justin Brierely. It is a debate with Sir Roger Penrose and William Lane Craig from October 5th.

Please share your thoughts.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wLtCqm72-Y

 

I’ve moved this because it doesn’t belong under science - it belongs under philosophy, psychology, humanism and our struggles to make sense of our lives.

It provided me with another great vehicle to try and explain myself.


OCTOBER 15, 2019
Demystifying Roger Penrose’s Three Mysteries of Reality

In a recent discussion about Sir Roger Penrose’s ‘3 realms’ view of reality, Penrose wanted to set the stage by listing his Three Mysteries:

  1. “Mysteries (of) the physical world, physical stuff.”
  2. Mystery of the “mental world that’s our experiences, consciousness, feelings about things.”
  3. Mystery of “what you call, the world of mathematical abstraction”
    (link to transcribed full quotes.)

Those points stopped me right there. Before continuing I needed to be able to enunciate why I found the above so inadequate for such an exploration of reality.

Here I take a moment to suggest a more fruitful approach. When Penrose mentioned “the mystery of physical stuff,” there was no talk of Evolution. Why?

After all, all the physical stuff around us is the product of an evolutionary process that started billions of years before humanity and will continue billions of years after we are dust and forgotten - why ignore that this Earth created us and we will die back into it?

Seems to me acquiring such an awareness is a prerequisite for any subsequence discussion. While the omission relegates understanding Evolution to insignificance leaving our outlook on “reality” decidedly egocentric and myopic.

It is an indication of not having internalized the one sure thing about our existence above all else: we are the products of Earth’s long Evolution and will die back into her.

Penrose uses “the mystery” of physical stuff. Mysteries are things that unfold and are studied from within our “mindscape” - there are no mysteries within the natural order of physical stuff.

Nature unfolds without any fanfare, knowing exactly what to do next. It is our minds doing all the struggling to make sense of it.

Second mystery, Penrose’s “mental world”

That’s what I call our “mindscape” - all that our senses absorb and process into mental communications we learn from, ponder, and act upon.

His third mystery is “the world of mathematical abstraction.”

To me that’s a fancy way of saying the “language of science.”

Something I refer to as the “domain of science” - which resides only within the realm of our collective “mindscape” - though it is dedicated to soberly, truthfully studying and striving to understand the physical world as well as possible.

I believe framing these issues into such mysteries distances us from achieving a clearer appreciation for our place in the world and this time, because it overlooks the supremacy of the Earth and her ways and means.

I believe we must first appreciate that physical reality is what it is, fundamental and beyond our human existence. Then we’ll achieve a better vista for contemplating the mysteries of certain apes evolving into self-imagined masters of the Universe.

Stephen Gould inspired me with his Nonoverlapping Magisteria (NOMA) where he boils down our reality to the Magisteria of Science and the Magisteria of Religion while also leaving Earth out of his equation.

The real divide that Gould and others keep over looking is the divide between Earth/Physical Reality and the products of our human minds, which I refer to as our “mindscape” individually and collectively - as I write about here.

Now for my elevator pitch,

… The missing key is appreciating the fundamental “Magisteria of Physical Reality,” and recognizing both science and religion are products of the “Magisteria of Our Mindscape.”

The domain of Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we should still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape.

As for the domain of Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable.

What’s the point?
Science, religions, heaven, hell, political beliefs, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

Here we are, 2018,19 sober assessment of physical facts is out of fashion and fantasy thinking in the service of ruthless avarice is in.

Now it literally threatening to topple USA’s government Of The People, By The People, and For The People, in favor of a Me First, profits are more important than people, oligarch run machine.

Well, unless an awful lot of sideliners start getting engaged in our democratic process.
All the while the actual physical creation outside of our conceited little minds keeps on unfolding, following well understood geophysical rules regardless.
Ignore at our own peril.

Considering the Missing Key to Stephen Gould’s “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” (NOMA)
https://confrontingsciencecontrarians.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-missing-key-gould.html

Peter, Why are you an Earth Centrist?
http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2019/04/citizenschallenge-why-you-earth-centrist.html

:wink:

Why not a little constructive debate?

Needed a free hour. The boss is away today, although there is that mindless robot logging everything do. Anyway.

I heard something different from Penrose, following his first listing of the 3 things. He says the mysteries are in the connections. He doesn’t question the math being there and answers “yes” to Justin’s question about it being discovered, the mystery is that we can observe it. So although he doesn’t specifically mention evolution, I hear it implied as part of the mathematical structure of the universe. More critical to Penrose’s story is how insignificant the origin of species is, rather, why does the physical lead to consciousness or for that matter any life at all? The other connection mystery.

So, the prerequisite that you say is missing is the mathematical nature. It’s the basis of his argument with Craig that if you want a “necessary being” you already have one, but it’s not a being. Adding this idea of an infinite mind just fills a gap that will likely be filled by us understanding all the processes that the mathematical nature reveals. There is a mystery of where they came from, but the only place to look, according to Penrose is at the nature itself, running the clock backwards by observing the clock itself.

I stopped listening after an hour, when Craig started going of Kalam.

Adding this idea of an infinite mind just fills a gap ...
To be clear it's them adding this notion of an infinite mind - before Tim mentioned blankie - that is what the infinite mind is.

Of course, I appreciate how important that blankie is to the wellbeing of its owner and would never deprive a child of their blankie. But that doesn’t change anything about it simply being a security blanket. But then life gets complicated, for instance you don’t have to be brave to act brave and receive the positive outcomes that come from acting brave and standing up.

 

What I’m finding increasingly interesting (well okay frustrating too, if I’m honest) how easy it is for folks to read the following and it’s as nothing. Same old endless conversations about religions and meanings and this and that and the other, chasing that tail - but no pulling back to consider fundamental divisions and what we might be able to learn from them.

For example Lausten just as easily dismisses Evolution as Penrose did, as though it were just some side notion of no relevant significance in and of itself for us humans and our perspective on reality and religions. I believe that is huge. Everyone else seems to think hoohum, as the world keeps burning.

 

… The missing key is appreciating the fundamental “Magisteria of Physical Reality,” and recognizing both science and religion are products of the “Magisteria of Our Mindscape.”

The domain of Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we should still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape.

As for the domain of Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable.

What’s the point?
Science, religions, heaven, hell, political beliefs, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.

So, the prerequisite that you say is missing is the mathematical nature.
Oh, and I don't know where I said anything like that.

The entire discussion about the “three realms of reality” was completely pointless. This is nothing more than a concept created by people, not three physically distinct “realities”. There is just a single reality (that we know of and which concerns us). There are not three actual “realms”, each with its own version of “reality”, each interacting with the other “realities”. This is just philosophical nonsense and has nothing to do with science. Mr Craig goes way off the rails by stating that the “abstract realm” could not have caused the “physical realm” because of the nature of that which is “abstract”. Again, this is just a concept created by people, not an actual attribute of reality. It’s essentially an, “I don’t understand it, therefore God” argument with the addition of intentionally complicating the issue by assuming philosophical understanding somehow dictates how reality actually works. He’s talking about these philosophical concepts as if they are actual distinct realities, which they are not.

Strangely his argument actually suggests his creator is not the creator of everything and therefore cannot be omnipotent. Specifically, it could not have created the “intellect realm”. Being a pure intellect and residing within the intellect realm it would not be possible for him go have created the intellectual realm. He tries to hide this fact from us by replacing the intellectual realm with the “ethical realm” when he is describing what God must have created so that we don’t realize one is missing, therefore God, by his own argument, did not create “everything”. He even mentions a “tripartite division of realms that have very mysterious interconnections”, even while he goes on to list off not three, but four different realms, swapping one out for his newly minted ethical realm, again, so that we don’t notice one is missing.

He also assigns unnecessary properties as being “logically necessary”. Specifically he assigns it as “perfectly good”, which dovetails in nicely with his switch from the “intellect realm” to the “ethical realm”, but since this switch is never explained (again, he didn’t even want us to notice that he was actually talking about 4 realms while claiming there were 3) he never bothers to give a reason why this attribute is “necessary”.

His explanation of the 3 realms (ignoring his 4th) also creates a very serious problem. It is this being in the intellectual realm which created the abstract and physical realm by his explanation. That means that things in the intellectual realm can seriously influence both the physical realm, the physical world around us, and the abstract realm, the laws of physics. Well, we exist partially in the intellect realm. This suggests that our will, alone, is enough to allow us to alter both the physical world and the laws of physics as we know them. But, of course, this is not true. That would otherwise be known as “magic”.

Then we got into the Kalam argument, the first and third premises of which use observation from within our universe to explain things which happened outside of our universe and ends in “therefore God”. If modern science instead said the universe had always existed and would always exist then the argument would be that it would take God to create eternity and to make the universe without a beginning or end because otherwise how could the universe exist in an eternity with no beginning and no end or some other such nonsense.

And then there was “fine tuning”, one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard that basically breaks down to demanding, “What are the odds?” Say I flip a penny through the air. What are the odds that the penny would fly through the air in exactly that way, spinning and flipping on exactly that axis, exactly those molecules and atoms of the penny would push aside exactly those molecules and atoms of air, bounce off the floor in exactly that way, at exactly that angle, for exactly that distance, exactly that many times and come to rest with exactly those molecules and atoms of the penny touching exactly those molecules and atoms of the carpet? You can do that as many times as you want, it will never happen again. It is statistically impossible. Yet it just happened. It does not matter how likely something is after the fact. After it happens exactly as it happened the odds are exactly 100%. For it to happen again is the only odds you can discuss. And frankly we do not know enough about the formation and nature of the universe to give an answer formed by even the most vaguely intelligent answer to the odds. And I was typing this as it was still going in the background and, since I typed this, Mr Craig actually demanded, essentially, “What are the odds?”

I don’t see anything new here that I haven’t heard before a thousand times. It’s all demanding answers, rejecting those answers and then jumping to conclusions about what must be the answer, that which is necessary simply because he insists that it is necessary. Then, since that’s the only explanation he hasn’t rejected, concluding that it is the right answer and that there is no other explanation (that I will not reject on any basis possible, even if I have to make one up!)

Thank you Widdershins for that analysis. It sounds like the argument I would have made if I had had the interest and energy to do so. (3 realms of reality - hogwash)

CC: It seems to me that you are going out of your way to fit your concept of “Mindscape” into whatever this Penrose mess is. I don’t think you need his useless paradigm to make the valid points you make about “Mindscapes” such as, “Science, religions, heaven, hell, political beliefs, even God, they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.” Tho it is kind of you to try to salvage something from the Penrose trash by trying to take the bullshit “mystery” out of it.

He also assigns unnecessary properties as being “logically necessary”. Specifically he assigns it as “perfectly good”, which dovetails in nicely with his switch from the “intellect realm” to the “ethical realm”, but since this switch is never explained (again, he didn’t even want us to notice that he was actually talking about 4 realms while claiming there were 3) he never bothers to give a reason why this attribute is “necessary”.
Good catch, thanks Widdershins.

And a nice summary,

It’s all demanding answers, rejecting those answers and then jumping to conclusions about what must be the answer, that which is necessary simply because he insists that it is necessary. Then, since that’s the only explanation he hasn’t rejected, concluding that it is the right answer and that there is no other explanation (that I will not reject on any basis possible, even if I have to make one up!)
 
CC: It seems to me that you are going out of your way to fit your concept of “Mindscape” into whatever this Penrose mess is.
Tim actually I thought I was doing it the other way around, but okay, I appreciate the thought. Seems to me you get it, so keep me on my toes. ;-)

I’ve been tracking some follow up to this on their website and see this getting used as some awesome defense of the existence of God. I remember seeing similar summaries before I looked in to the details of Craig’s arguments and I was terribly disappointed when I finally sat down to review Craig in detail. There are better philosophers than him but he just makes the rounds of shows like this.

Penrose was way too nice. He said things like, “well I just don’t see how what you said makes any difference”, but that left the door open to Craig and everyone else claiming that Penrose was the problem, that he wasn’t grasping Craig’s logic. Of course, he doesn’t have logic, so…

Anyway, nice work Widders.

I have respect for anyone, intellectuals included, who say things that make sense. But “intellectuals” who say nonsense don’t get any bonus credit from me for being considered an intellectual.

I haven’t read Penrose in depth yet, but at first glance I connected his ORCH OR theory with Tononi’s “Integrated Information theory”

Integrated information theory (IIT) attempts to explain what consciousness is and why it might be associated with certain physical systems. Given any such system, the theory predicts whether that system is conscious, to what degree it is conscious, and what particular experience it is having (see Central identity). According to IIT, a system's consciousness is determined by its causal properties and is therefore an intrinsic, fundamental property of any physical system.[1]

IIT was proposed by neuroscientist Giulio Tononi in 2004. The latest version of the theory, labeled IIT 3.0, was published in 2014.[2][3]


Phi, the symbol for integrated information

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory

Widdershins said,

He also assigns unnecessary properties as being “logically necessary”. Specifically he assigns it as “perfectly good”, which dovetails in nicely with his switch from the “intellect realm” to the “ethical realm”, but since this switch is never explained (again, he didn’t even want us to notice that he was actually talking about 4 realms while claiming there were 3) he never bothers to give a reason why this attribute is “necessary”.


An excellent question.

It brought to mind the law of “necessity and sufficiency”

In logic and mathematics, necessity and sufficiency are terms used to describe a conditional or implicational relationship between two statements.

For example, in the conditional statement: “If P then Q”, Q is necessary for P, because the truth of P guarantees the truth of Q (equiv., it is impossible to have P without Q).[1][2] Similarly, P is sufficient for Q, because P being true always implies that Q is true, but P not being true does not always imply that Q is not true.[3]

In general, a necessary condition is one which must be present in order for another condition to occur, while a sufficient condition is one which produces the said condition.[4] The assertion that a statement is a “necessary and sufficient” condition of another means that the former statement is true if and only if the latter is true.[5] That is, the two statements must be either simultaneously true, or simultaneously false.[6][7][8]

In ordinary English, “necessary” and “sufficient” indicate relations between conditions or states of affairs, not statements. For example being a male sibling is a necessary and sufficient condition for being a brother.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessity_and_sufficiency

Where exactly that leads us in reference to the concept of “something from nothing” seems difficult to formulate.

Does “nothing necessitate the existence of something” ? Is the BB an expression of a sufficient condition necessitated by the a priori condition of nothing?