Paisley, One More Time, With Feeling ?

I remember a couple of months ago being impressed by the pictures of Ian Paisley joking with Martin McGinnis after the agreement to re-open the Irish Assembly, and a few days later joking with Bertie Ahern as he handed over a gift of a musket captured from the “losing side” at the Battle of the Boyne. The sceptic in me thought “he’ll never keep it up”, though I think I missed blogging any comment at the time.

How times have really changed. At Blair’s farewell prime minister’s question time, as Blair’s appointment as Mid-East Peace Envoy was confirmed, the old bugger said “I hope that what happened in Northern Ireland will be repeated and at the end of the day he will be able to look back and say it was well worthwhile.”

Rayner’s Natural Inclusion

Alan Rayner’s “Inclusionality” restated as “Natural Inclusion”.

This piece illustrating an integrative and redistributive selection notion of evolution of extended self, as opposed to an eliminative selection of discrete selves, using a mycelium fungus example migrating its center of operations to food … and beyond.

This piece elliciting a succinct communication of Alan’s inclusional objectives.

And this piece illustrating the integrative rather than divisive dualist take on boundaries of identity – “We are bewitched by bipolar craziness, and if we really want to restore the dance we need some sellotape” – some integrating glue.

All pieces captured by Jack Whitehead and linked by William Pryor on his very new “Unhooked Thinking” blog following this year’s “Unhooked thinking” conference. William Pryor has his own only slightly less recent personal blog too.

Dawkins vs God – Round XXIV

The debate trundles on.

Struan Hellier’s father Graham Hellier is a Presbyterian minister and has written this “Christian Response” to Dawkins. I responded with these comments. My position is already pretty clear – Dawkins is as extreme as any religious extremist and unfortunately he cannot separate his (correct) arguments about the memetic success of religious (faith and authority-based) beliefs and reasoning, from his incorrect assertion that “scientific” reasoning can be totally objective and faith-free, or that if it is, it cannot be practically applicable to the whole of life.

Related is this news story about growing concern about the distinction between spiritual “contemplative” activities and religious “faithful” activities, and the worry about the inroads of the latter into US political life. Dawkins unfortunately seems devoid of contemplative spiritual values, so would not see the distinction and be locked in ancient faith vs reason battles – tilting at windmills.

Quantum Consciousness, Whitehead and Pirsig

Mark Germine posted a link on MoQ-Discuss to his paper “The Holographic Principle Theory of Mind” on the Dynamical Psychology philosophy journal site edited by Ben Goertzel. (I have Ben linked in my side-bar blogroll). Mark’s summary is

The Holographic Principle holds the information in any region of space and time exists on the surface of that region.  Layers of the holographic, universal “now” go from the inception of the universe to the present.  Universal Consciousness is the timeless source of actuality and mentality. Information is experience, and the expansion of the “now” leads to higher and higher orders of experience in the Universe, with various levels of consciousness emerging from experience.  The brain consists of a nested hierarchy of surfaces which range from the most elementary field through the neuron, neural group, and the whole brain.  Evidence from the evolution and structure of the brain shows that optimal surface areas in a variety of structures are conserved with respect to underlying surfaces.  Microgenesis, the becoming of the mental state through a process of recapitulation of development and evolution, is in full accord with the Holographic Principle. Evidence from a wide variety of contexts indicates the capacity of the mind for total recall of past life events and for access to universal information, indicating connection with the holographic surfaces of prior “nows” and with the Universal holographic boundary.  In summation, the Holographic Principle can help us explain the unity and mechanisms of perception, experience, memory, and consciousness.

KEYWORDS: Holographic Principle, consciousness, evolution, time, mind, brain, memory, microgenesis, quantum physics, conceptual synthesis.)

This is just a holding post to collect all the linkage.

The paper itself, and Mark’s post on MoQ-Discuss, link this quantum view to Whitehead’s “Process” metaphysics, and suggests the parallel with Pirsig, discussed by Sneddon (on Ant’s site).

David Morey previously pointed out the parallels between the Whitehead process metaphysics and quantum theory, as discussed by Shimon Malin’s “Nature Loves to Hide”. (Which I read and enjoyed, posted thoughts on MoQ-Discuss – but it seems I didn’t blog about Malin, or Whitehead for that matter, who I’ve also read since reading Malin ?)

The holographic principle (holochory) is a fundamental aspect of quantum information theory, being posited by the BCS Cybernetics group as a the most fundamental view of the whole of reality, including consciousness.

Mark cites Stapp, and it was Stapp and Josephson that first gave me that link between fundamental physics and eastern (Zen) philosophy, after I had passed over Talbot’s “Mysticism and the New Physics” as merely metaphorical.

Ben Goertzel also runs the “Artificial General Intelligence” research institute wiki, and is a member of the organising committee for the AGI-08 conference, where Cliff Joslyn and Doug Lenat are also on the programme committee. Ben is the editor of “Dynamical Psychology”, Mark Germine is an associate editor, and Fred (Bluberry Brain) Abraham is on the editorial board.