In last week's post on entropy and information, I started off complaining about the most common definition of entropy as disorder or disorganization. One of the nice things about blogging is you often learn something in the subsequent discussion. My chief complaint about the disorder definition was that it's value-laden. I asked: disordered according to … Continue reading Reconciling the disorder definition of entropy
Entropy, information, and causality
I've long struggled with the concept of entropy. Part of the reason is the way it's often described in popular science accounts, which typically seem subjective and value laden. The most common way of describing it is the amount of disorder in a system. But disorder according to who? A room that appears messy and … Continue reading Entropy, information, and causality
The causal criteria for being real
Ethan Siegel addresses a question on whether spacetime is real. But there’s more to the Universe than the objects within it. There’s also the fabric of spacetime, which has its own set of rules that it plays by: General Relativity. The fabric of spacetime is curved by the presence of matter and energy, and curved … Continue reading The causal criteria for being real
Why Do You Remember The Past But Not The Future?
When discussing eternalism and the block universe, the concept of "now" always ends up getting relegated to an aspect of our consciousness, not something "out there". "Now" seems to be the boundary between what we can remember and what we can only anticipate. But if, aside from entropy, the laws of physics are reversible and … Continue reading Why Do You Remember The Past But Not The Future?
How do we establish causation?
Ross Pomeroy at Real Clear Science discusses five logical fallacies that often get misidentified and abused in arguments. Identified by Steven Novella in his book The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, one of these is the old Correlation and Causation fallacy: 2. Correlation and Causation. Correlation does not prove causation. To say that it does is a logical fallacy. … Continue reading How do we establish causation?
A dialogue on compatibilism
Click through for the full version. see the rest at: A Dialogue on Compatibilism - Existential Comics. This edition of Existential Comics manages to summarize most of the free will debate. I especially like the discussion on libertarian free will on the second page. As a compatibilist myself, I've often said that libertarian free will is … Continue reading A dialogue on compatibilism
Intelligent Crows Flunk Causality Test But Babies Pass
You drop a block onto a box, and a toy pops out. If a baby was watching you, she could deduce that your action caused the happy arrival of the toy, because she understands cause and effect. She’d also realise that she could trigger the same event by placing a block on the box herself, … Continue reading Intelligent Crows Flunk Causality Test But Babies Pass
Is consciousness in control? Does it matter?
A new scientific paper claims to describe an experiment that shows that consciousness controls our actions. From the paper: These results indicate that conscious intentions govern motor function… until today, it was unclear whether conscious motor intention exists prior to movement, or whether the brain constructs such an intention after movement initiation. The Neuroskeptic takes … Continue reading Is consciousness in control? Does it matter?