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Rick G. Rosner: Giga Society, Member; Mega Society, Member & ex-Editor (1991-97); and Writer (Part Eleven)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2014/12/22


Part eleven of eleven comprehensive interview with Rick G. Rosner.  Giga Society member, ex-editor for Mega Society (1991-97), and writer.  He discusses the following subject-matter: Genius of the Year Award – North America in 2013 from PSIQ and clarification of statements; definition of the term “gods” in operational terms from the award statement; discussion on our future rather than gods; thoughts on aesthetics within an informational cosmology lens; some brief discussion on informational eschatology; human history’s numerous examples of individuals and schools of thought aimed at absolute definitions of consciousness, universe, and their mutual union; thoughts on Big Bang Cosmology and the possibility of its replacement; three greatest mathematicians/physicists/cosmologists; three greatest mathematics/physics/cosmology concepts; The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Wave-Particle Duality; Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen(EPR) Nonlocality; possibility of universe operating in something more essential than information; everything in essence equate to a Turing Machine in informational cosmology; operation of different time depending on armature/universe in reference; mysteries; ex nihilo cosmogony; theology becoming informational cosmology and vice versa; informational ethics in relation to numerous ethics; The Problem of Evil; souls; Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (1955), Omega Point, and The Future of Man(1964); work needing doing for Informational Cosmology; reflection on theorizing and outlier background; common sense and intelligence; regrets; ethics of forming, joining, and sustaining elite groups based on high and ultra-high IQs; harsh internet crowd, frequent comments, and responses; principles of existence as the language of existence with explicit listing of some of them; and thoughts on prevention of intellectual theft.

Keywords: aesthetics, armature, armature/universe, Big Bang Cosmology, common sense, consciousness, Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Nonlocality, ex nihilo cosmogony, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, Giga Society, gods, history, informational cosmogony, informational cosmology, informational eschatology, IQ, isomorphism, Mega Society, Omega Point, principles of existence, Rick G. Rosner, The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, The Problem of Evil, theology, Turing Machine, universe, Wave-Particle Duality, writer.

99. You earned the Genius of the Year Award – North America in 2013 from PSIQ. In your one-page statement on winning the award, you say, “My one wish is that trying to extend human understanding is doing God’s work.” In some sense, there seems no higher calling than something akin to an internal – to the cosmos – teleological duty to assist the self-actualization of the universe as sub-systems, various individual POVs, within the universe in service of God. Does this fairly characterize the statement? If not, what did you attempt to address with such a statement?

I was addressing a strain of religiosity which is hostile to science (or which misrepresents science to advance an agenda). I would like fewer people to be anti-science and would like people to be less subject to anti-scientific manipulation on religious grounds.

Isaac Newton thought that by making mathematical and scientific discoveries, he was doing God’s work. I like the idea that figuring out how the world works and how to make it better is helping God, not defying God.

Humans are part of a world we can choose to believe was created by God. Doing science isn’t alien to the world or opposed to God.

Teleology isn’t a word that I embrace, because it can be used to sneak creationism into evolution. Evolution, of course, isn’t a purposeful progression towards complexity. Rather, it’s the proliferation of varied organisms via the occupation of exploitable niches, some of which are occupied by organisms having complex abilities. (But simple organisms continue to occupy their niches. And new, simple organisms continue to arise.)

The universe is a very complicated entity, and as such, demonstrates that highly complex entities are permitted by the principles of existence (whatever those turn out to be). Can we help our species, our planet, or even the universe itself self-actualize, and if so, is this some kind of built-in bias towards complexity? Maybe, but I don’t see it as the hand of the Creator nudging us towards glory. Rather, I see it as the possibility of mathematical teleology, with complex entities perhaps statistically tending to have histories of increasing complexity. There is room for God or gods in this, but gods who are subject to the same principles of existence that we are. Which isn’t the worst thing – we are all striving, humans and gods alike.

100. You stated “gods.”  How do you operationally define the attributes, in concrete terms, of these proposed gods? Moreover, how might we rank these civilizations in terms of advancement some relative scale of civilization development?

Start with the Arthur C. Clarke quote that’s now so overused it’s a cliché – “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” There are around a quarter or a third of a trillion stars in the galaxy. A bunch of them have planets – there are tens of billions of planets in the Milky Way – maybe 100 billion, maybe 200 billion or more. Even if only one in 10,000 contains life, that’s still 10 million planets with life. (And there are a hundred billion galaxies in the universe.) Some must have intelligent life, and on some of these planets, tech-wielding life most likely has a huge head start on us (because the odds of us being the first to tech in the galaxy are one in however many tech civilizations there will eventually be). Even if it’s only a thousand-year head start, that’s huge with regard to tech. And it’s possible that tech-wielding life on some planets might have a billion-year head start. So it’s reasonable to assume that there are some civilizations which are so advanced, their powers are almost magical in comparison to ours. But to call them gods is something of a cheat – super-advanced civilizations that have arisen in the past 14 billion years might best be called godlike.

Super-advanced civilizations would be able to do awesome stuff – for instance, possibly defy time to some extent by simulating a plethora of possible futures (on a rolling basis) and choosing the best future from among them. At the very least, advanced civilizations will have vast computational capacities. And the business of the universe is computation.

Next step in the hierarchy of godlike beings – let’s say I’m correct that the universe is vastly older than 14 billion years. It’s not unreasonable to think that some civilizations have learned how to survive galactic cycles, perhaps by hiding out in the enormous black hole-like objects at the centers of galaxies or by hopping from exhausted galaxies to newer galaxies (if it’s even possible to travel fast enough to escape a collapsing, exhausted region of the universe – hey, maybe they could beam themselves via neutrinos). Civilizations (or entities) which can survive for many multiples of 14 billion years would have fantastic capabilities – they might actively participate in the running of the universe – beaming neutrinos at the burned-out galaxies they want to reactivate, for example. Is it so unreasonable to think that something as large and old and intricate as the universe might have intelligent entities helping to manage it? Such entities might almost deserve the title of gods.

And the next step in the hierarchy – what if the universe itself is an entity, with perceptions, thoughts, and objectives, playing out across octillions or decillions of years? That is –

What if a sufficiently complicated self-contained and self-consistent system of information such as the universe itself can’t not be conscious?

That entity deserves to be called a god, but a god that did not make us, that may not know we exist, and that doesn’t intercede in our affairs. We are made of its information – its thought-stuff – but it didn’t intentionally create us. Its information space provides the arena in which we came into existence through natural processes.

And beyond the universe we live in is the universe in which the entity whose information space we live in itself lives. Maybe it’s not turtles all the way down; maybe it is information spaces all the way up.

These different levels of goddish beings share with us the basic constraints of existence. They’ve almost certainly developed work-arounds for many of these limitations, but they share the same general characteristics, even if such characteristics have been obscured and weirdified by their godlike mastery of physical processes. It’s kind of nice that in wrestling with existence, we and these gods are all in it together.

The various gods certainly have consciousnesses which are more powerful, more detailed, and encompassing more senses and types of analysis than ours. But who knows if the differences in consciousness are more than differences in magnitude, perceiving space and time in ways that are fundamentally different?

101. What about our future rather than these “gods”?

People aren’t freaked out enough about the future. Have I already said that? Humanity will be forced to change – to embrace new, weird forms of thought. Here’s why – advanced artificial intelligence is coming. It will be hard and perhaps impossible to design AI so that it doesn’t want stuff for itself. It won’t just be our faithful servant. So we’re gonna have to keep up with it – we’ll need to be joined to AI, so that we remain, for as long as possible, among the smartest beings on the planet. When occupying niches, species tend not to limit themselves. External factors limit how far species expand. Similarly, if it’s us versus AI in a struggle to occupy the same niches, the smarter entities will overpower the weaker ones. We can’t program AI to limit itself – it’s too likely that any barriers will spring leaks.

We’ll need to develop and evolve a worldwide (and eventually a solar system-wide) ecosystem which incorporates AI. That is, we’ll need to develop durable forms of advanced intelligence which don’t just ravage all available matter for computing purposes. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that AI and humans-plus-AI will eventually find niches that don’t threaten the existence of all other life on earth. But that probably won’t happen unless we keep up with AI by augmenting ourselves with it.

The world will be flooded with AI cops – software, hardware, etc. that will spy on everything to make sure that hyper-destructive AI and nanotech don’t get loose and destroy everything. There will have to be cyber cops on top of cyber cops – like an immune system – trying to keep outbreaks of bad AI local. Privacy will be left in tatters. (This could be an unrealistic science fiction TV show set 20 years in the future. A squad of sexy cops fight bad AI and nanotech. Perhaps make it a comedy, so the glaring errors can be seen as funny instead of stupid.)

AI will get smarter and smarter, faster and faster. Won’t it smart itself right out of the universe and into some other plane of existence? Nah. I think it runs into some hard limits – the speed of light, the computational limits of matter, the decreasing marginal utility of additional knowledge. There might be work-arounds for some hard limits – cramming enough matter into a small enough space should create more space, for instance – but such limits should put a damper on the double-exponential growth predicted by some Singularitarians.

We’ve been talking about ethics. Throughout history, humanity has had generally agreed-upon ethics for the protection of life and property and sometimes freedom, based on what humans want – comfort and safety. Such protections don’t extend far beyond humans, and we’ve found little evidence of the world itself having any ethical expectations. Our ethical framework is about to be completely revamped. Consciousness will be quantified. Consciousness will be created in non-living beings. Unaugmented human intelligence will no longer dominate the planet. Ethical arguments will have to be more powerful, to persuade our far brighter descendants.

Ethical protections have extended from the self-appointed most special beings on earth, humans, to, often grudgingly, other humans and sometimes to animals, the environment, and objects of historic value. Within 40 years and probably much sooner than that, unaugmented humans won’t be the smartest, most talented known beings. Unaugmented consciousness will be shown to be unimpressive in many ways. Winds of change will buffet the ethical umbrella, and we don’t know who or what will be under it in 2060.

Narrative is important. We like stories. And stories are an essential part of the structure of history. Just about every development in evolution and history involves someone or something embracing change – often being the first to make a change. We offer people, animals, and things ethical protection when we recognize and understand their stories. We have to sell the future on the importance of unaugmented humans’ stories, even when the augmented are in charge.

102. What would a timeline of the future look like?

There are already some good timelines of the future. Ray Kurzweil’s timelines might be the most well-known. He’s been making them since 1990, so you can judge how he’s done in his first 25 years of predicting. And this is a through, non-lunatic timeline – (You have to watch out for timelines with crazy agendas.)

Let me try to do one –

2070: World’s annual birthrate drops under 1%.

Don’t know if I can do this. What I know is a bunch of stuff is gonna get weird and perhaps go away. Pro and Olympic sports will get weird in the next century as human bodies become increasingly augmented. There might be augmented and unaugmented leagues. Current pro sports may come to seem too arbitrary or antiquated for popular attention.

2080: People commonly have relationships with artificial people, who by the early 22nd century, have acquired limited rights.

Money is gonna get weird. Some human necessities will continue to get cheaper. Employment will decrease. The life cycle of commercial enterprises will accelerate, making investment weird.

By the mid-22nd century, everything associated with human life as we’ve known it for thousands of years gets weird as we have increasing choice of what should contain our minds and of the form of consciousness itself. You could call the 2100s the Century of Choice. Dibs on that.

It’s also the century of fragmentation, as new choices of how to live lead to different societies and sects and enclaves. After this, it’s hard to say what happens, because you can’t predict what the prevalent forms of consciousness will be.

The mental isolation that humans have always felt – that we are separate, autonomous individuals – will be eroded. We already have close working relationships with our devices, and we’ll increasingly be nodes in a network of streaming information as everything in our world gets packed with computing (and eventually thinking) circuitry.

Just remembered – made this list in 2013 as part of a pitch to Grantland – it’s everything I thought would be going away.

Children (Currently, about 85% of humans have children. By 2090, less than 30% of humans will have reproduced traditionally by the age of 60.)
Risk and wrecks (People who might live for many centuries won’t tolerate current levels of risk.)
Meat from animals with brains
Humans’ exalted view of ourselves (We’re gonna learn exactly how we work, and we’ll find it not so awesome.)
The soul (We’ll have a mathematical model of how we feel that we have feelings. This will be a good thing, but it won’t feel so good. Understanding consciousness could add an underlying sadness to the world until people get used to it.)
Basic human concerns and drives (We’re gonna be able to rejigger the agenda that evolution has wired into our heads.)
TV and movie storylines as we know them (All our entertainment is built around basic human drives. Once we start messing with these drives, we have to mess w/ our stories. Romance, action, comedy, drama, etc. all get reworked.)
Natural-born bodies
Sex as the greatest thing
Not knowing how our brains work
Not knowing why the universe is
Thinking we know what’s going on a moment-to-moment basis (Our awareness is really patchy and cobbled together, but evolution doesn’t give a crap. Evolution wants us to have enough awareness to survive and reproduce. Anything beyond that is a bonus.)
Thinking our brains are perfect and fantastic
Marriage ’til death do us part
Island consciousness (that is, not being able to link your brain to someone else’s)
Abject poverty and ignorance (except among angry, fucked-up, repressed populations)
Unhealthy food (Food that tastes great won’t actually be bad for you.)

And a few things that won’t happen:

No time travel, except through simulation (which will grow more and more powerful, but still won’t let you change the past).

Probably no warp drive.

Probably no war between galactic empires. Empires don’t get you much – there’s no rare stuff that can only be had on a certain planet. I guess civilizations might fight for control of large bodies such as a neutron star that has neutrino jets or a black hole at a galactic center (which might be good for vast amounts of computing). They won’t be fighting over worm poop that helps you steer spaceships. According to many futurists, advanced civilizations just want to stay home and compute – kinda like us with our smart phones.

We’ll eventually encounter other civilizations. I’m guessing finding alien life will be like dating and marriage – initial excitement followed by vaguely interested familiarity.

And finally, a rule of thumb. In the 21st century, the percent weirdness of daily life roughly equals the last two digits of the year. The year 2015 is 15% weird. (We spend all day staring at screens. We have access to all information, and we constantly share information via social media. We can watch anything we want at any time. We’re in a constant state of war against nebulous enemies. Cameras and surveillance are everywhere. All this adds up to at least 15% weirdness.) The year 2030 will be roughly 30% weird. 2050, 50% weird. (The rule, following a straight line instead of an exponential curve, probably underestimates weirdness for the last part of the century.) Dibs on the rule – call it the Rosner Rule.

103. Any thoughts on aesthetics within your framework for understanding the world?

Conscious beings are driven by pleasure (and pain). Pleasure is associated with things that are important to survival and reproduction. Perhaps more than any other species, humans get pleasure from learning, because our niche is discovering exploitable regularities in the world. We get aesthetic pleasure from representations of things associated with pleasure, especially when those representations offer a satisfying hint of discovery or problem-solving.

Kitsch and porn pander to pure pleasure without the learning, while art offers at least the suggestion of learning how to decode the world. At its best, the beautiful also offers insight.

Endorphins shape learning. Jokes are funny because they simulate an abridged learning process. We enjoy music because it sets up expectations of patterns and then fulfills those patterns. (And the rhythm sets up a framework that can keep us in the moment.) Familiarity in our surroundings and predictability in our sensory input helps structure our awareness – we’re all a little like the guy in Memento.

104. Any comments on informational eschatology?

The universe will likely largely stay the way it is for trillions upon quadrillions upon quintillions of years. However, our galaxy will burn out and fall away from the active center after I dunno, another ten billion years or so. (Astronomers say the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy will collide and merge in another five or so billion years, but that’s not the issue. It’s when the merged galaxy’s stars burn out that it falls out of the active center.) Perhaps advanced civilizations have ways of surviving the burning-out of a galaxy to persist for more than just tens of billions of years. For us, with our puny conception of things, tens or hundreds of billions of years might as well be forever. When and if the universe does end, probably does so through heat. Heat is noise and loss of information. The temperature of the cosmic background radiation increases and sizzles everything away. The currently active center runs out of juice and falls back into the hot background like Schwarzenegger being lowered into the molten steel in Terminator 2.

Of course, for us, the idea of a civilization or entity lasting for billions of years is inconceivable. How could an entity develop and accumulate knowledge for the equivalent of a million lifespans of our current civilization? Well, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it hits a ceiling of knowledge. Maybe it’s like a security cam setup that keeps only a rolling record of the past 24 hours. At this point, with knowledge of only one civilization that’s only 10,000 years old, we have no way of knowing.

105. Deep and shallow recorded human history present numerous examples of prior attempts at absolute definitions of consciousness, universe, and their mutual union. Of course, dust needed brushing along with spooling of the cobwebs, and at least one coat of varnish, of ideas, evidence, and argument to a sufficient level for clarity on these issues. 

Rather than pontificate on broad historical patterns, for brief and mundane historical examples, earliest known individuals with works focused on the gods such as Hesiod with Theogony, which went through the traditional Greek mythological timeline including the triumphs of Cronos over Ouranos and Zeus over Cronos.

Other sets of individuals comprising schools focused on the schools of philosophy with less focus on gods and more focus on forces of nature.  The Milesians took different fundamental compositions of the world while removing the place of the gods with Thales (Water), Anaximander (Apeiron or the indefinite, infinite, unlimited), and Anaximenes (Mist, air, or vapour).  Each with views different from before, but monistic (non-plural) and material as opposed to plurality of gods and their caprices.  In particular, the worldview of Thales because of the transition between the world of the mythological, allegorical, and metaphorical of Hesiod into the world of reason. 

Some of these cosmological speculative philosophies gave rise to political and moral philosophy.  These speculations continued to lack comprehensive integration, even with the question-based philosophies of Socrates and the Sophists. Plato and Aristotle provided the most thorough accounts of a comprehensive philosophy covering numerous subjects over many, many writings.  This continued onward to the present day with individuals attempting unification such as David Deutsch, David Chalmers, Edward Witten, Stephen Hawking, and so on.  Many bright lights in history.  How do you assess or grade the attempts at absolute definitions of phenomena such as consciousness?

For most of human history, people made all sorts of wrong guesses about the nature of consciousness. It feels so ineffable and deeply, transcendently real – it has to be a bridge to some kind of ethereal beyondness, right? After millennia of this, consciousness has a bad reputation for being associated with la-de-dah mysticism. Mention consciousness, and people get nervous that you’re gonna argue that rocks and trees and entire planetary surfaces are conscious.

But, as I’ve said, consciousness is a technical, not a mystical phenomenon. Human consciousness is all jazzed up – made super-exciting to keep us interested in ourselves – but at base, it’s about shared information forming a mind – a mental arena – because we have a better chance of accurately modeling reality when all our specialized subsystems have a global understanding.

Today, people have a better intuitive understanding of consciousness than ever before. We’re used to working with our devices, which are near-extensions of consciousness – feeding us information at our bidding. We’re fluid in juggling apps – right now, I have 25 windows open on my computer – and can see not a stream of consciousness, but pop-up consciousness – information and specialist systems popping into awareness as needed. We can see that our devices, while not conscious, could become more integrated into our consciousness – heads-up displays as in Terminator or fighter jets, for instance – and that smart devices will become increasingly emulative of our thinking. Regardless of whether our devices will eventually become conscious in the manner of hundreds of mostly bad science fiction movies, we see that our devices are capable of complex information processing, which takes away some of the exaltedness of the information processing going on in our heads.

106. What makes the Big Bang so convincing? Is it at risk of being replaced?

The Big Bang is convincing for lots of reasons. It’s by far the most widely accepted theory of cosmogony among scientists. However, it’s only held this position for the past 50 years. Before the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation in 1964-65, it was neck-and-neck between Big Bang and Steady State Theory, which postulated that matter popped into existence in empty space. And before Big Bang and Steady State Theory originated as a consequence of general relativity and Hubble’s Law in the 1920s, we didn’t know enough about the large-scale dynamics of the universe for any effective theorizing that I’m aware of.

The discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation was dramatically convincing. In 1964, some guys at Bell Labs built a radio telescope which picked up low-temperature noise they couldn’t explain. They thought it might be bird poop on the antenna. Turned out to be light from the early universe as predicted by the Big Bang. Game, set, match for Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang explains a lot – the apparent velocities of billions of galaxies, the formation of heavy elements, the size and apparent age of the universe, the proportions of elements found in the universe, the relative youthfulness of more distant galaxies.

It’s conceptually easy – one big explosion, everything flies apart. Has a catchy name. Is the title of the biggest sitcom on TV.

But it doesn’t explain enough. It minimizes cosmic questions, with the main question being, why is nothingness so volatile that it explodes into an entire enormous universe? With enough tweaks, Big Bang theory can explain the mechanics of how the universe exploded out of nothingness, which is kind of satisfying from the point of view of physics, but not of philosophy.

Some problems of Big Bang theory include:

It leaves too many physical constants unexplained – the proton-electron mass ratio and dozens more. The Big Bang in general is not overly explanatory – it only tells you why some stuff is the way it is – how elements form in stars, for instance. (But you can have element formation in stars without the Big Bang.)

Big Bang Theory incorporates assumptions of uniform conditions and constants across the entire universe. This is usually seen as a theoretical strength, but, like the unexplained physical constants, Big Bang theory doesn’t completely justify why the universe should be uniform. The philosophical reason, called the cosmological principle, is that we on earth are located nowhere special in the universe, and furthermore, the entire universe is nowhere special. This is a dangerous assumption. You can’t just demand that the universe be roughly the same everywhere. What if that’s not how the universe works? The Big Bang has that assumption built in. And while the Big Bang assumes uniformity in space, it does no such thing in time. There is no uniformity across time in Big Bang theory – every observer is located at a unique moment in the universe’s unfolding.

Some of universe’s spatial uniformity is explained by cosmic inflation in the very early universe. According to cosmic inflation, the universe expanded so fast (blowing up by a factor of at least 10^26 in less than 1/10^32nd of a second – that is, doubling in size every 1/10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000th of a second or so) that a tiny volume without much room for variation became the entire visible universe, and the rapid expansion also spread out any irregularities. The reason for such rapid inflation isn’t known, so cosmic inflation is a little ad hoc.

Beyond cosmic inflation, the Big Bang requires more and more precise, fussy tweaks to agree with increasing amounts of observational data. One would hope that there would be a theory, either an add-on to Big Bang theory or an alternative, which would explain more of the conditions of the universe without having to be tweaked to fit the conditions of the universe.

Our galaxy contains globular clusters – tight groups of a million or so stars – which may be older than the Big Bang. Calculations are pretty equivocal on this – the clusters might not be that old. Meh to the clusters.

Yeah, the Big Bang is in danger of being supplanted. It’s pretty much our first try at a theory of the universe based on not hopelessly incomplete observational evidence. Even though the Big Bang is young, it’s already accumulated a bunch of patches.

A digression –

Was up late last night, thinking about how active galaxies get to the active center. They can’t just light up and slide into the center – what would cause the slide? And they can’t just slide out of the center when burned out. I’m thinking maybe it looks like soap bubbles – lit-up galaxies expand enough of the surrounding space that bubbles would be too big not to merge. There wouldn’t be walls between bubbles – that’s incorrectly extending the analogy – but there would be dark galaxies along the saddles between bubbles. Without being able to contribute to the photon flux that keeps the active center inflated, maybe dark galaxies would slide along the saddle between lit-up regions, back down to the dark outskirts. Could be messy enough to work. Over billions of years, there would be an ordering of regions by brightness – the greatest producers of photon flux would float to the top of the lumpy bubble, and less-bright regions would be pulled down to the outskirts by gravity.

I suppose this would mean you could temporarily be of two minds – thinking of two things somewhat independently – having a pair of incompletely merged active centers in your mind-space – until your thoughts merge. While driving, you’re trying to remember your second-grade teacher when another driver forces you slightly out of your lane. Your thoughts about your split-second evasive driving maneuver don’t necessarily disrupt your thoughts about second grade. Each pattern of thought informs itself more than it informs the other, unless you then ponder your bifurcated thinking during the incident.

107. Who do you consider the three greatest mathematicians/physicists/cosmologists? 

Darwin is one of my favorite cosmologists, even though he’s not a cosmologist. He took the idea of deep time, which was being debated by geologists of his era, and applied it to biology, which indirectly set the stage for the discovery, 60 years later, that we live in a universe that’s many billions of years old. Some physicists of Darwin’s time argued against deep time, saying stars couldn’t last that long. The longevity of stars wasn’t explained until the discovery of nuclear fusion.

Newton was the first to describe gravity as the force holding all large objects together, which is a necessary first step in a conceptual framework that encompasses the entire universe. And Einstein made that framework much more explicit.

Also important are the developers of theories of information, including Alan Turning and Claude Shannon.

108. What do you consider the three greatest mathematics/physics/cosmology concepts?

I like Mach’s Principle, which states that inertia arises from an object’s interaction with the stellar I like Mach’s Principle, which states that inertia arises from an object’s interaction with the stellar background (all the matter in the universe). Mach’s Principle has never been turned into a precise mathematical theory, but it’s still compelling. If true, Mach’s Principle can’t mean that an object is directly interacting with all matter as that matter is now, because of the speed of light. The object has to be interacting with its local inertial field which is created by all matter, but with matter’s contribution to the field delayed by distance, the same way we can see all the visible stars in the universe but only as they were in the past.

Quantum mechanics is powerful, especially when viewed as the universe observing and defining itself.

And relativity, both special and general and including Big Bang cosmology, is essential, particularly when considered as aspects of how information is structured and how it behaves.

109. How does informational cosmology incorporate high level concepts like The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? How about Wave-Particle Duality?

Uncertainty and wave-particle duality are aspects of a finite universe having a finite capacity to define itself. Particles will be fuzzy. Say you’re playing roulette, one chip at a time. The best you can do, on average, based on whether your chip pays off (and nothing else), is pin down the number that came up to somewhere among half the numbers on the wheel. The universe is like that – it doesn’t have an infinite number of chips to lay down to see exactly what comes up. Or have an infinity of photons for particles to exchange with each other. (Though one difference between the universe and blind betting and roulette is that an incompletely observed quantum roulette ball lands in all possible slots. The information isn’t there-but-hidden – it’s just not there. Black pays off – well, the ball’s probability wave occupies all the black slots (unless observed to occupy a specific slot). The universe moves on.)

The universe writes its own history moment by moment. But history is always incomplete. Under the uncertainty principle, you can pin down some aspects of things with as much precision as you want, but this will always be at the expense of other aspects. We’re used to feeling that the universe has great solidity and precision because at our macroscopic scales, it does. Our bodies contain nearly 10^28 atoms. We’re big, compared to atoms. We don’t generally perceive atomic-scale lack of precision. We’re the beneficiaries of living in a universe with something like 10^80 particles, which define each other pretty precisely but not infinitely so through their interactions.

Inexactly defined particles behave with a certain degree of mystery – of unknown information. This unknownness takes definite forms – probability waves, etc. Defining how unknownness and imprecision manifest themselves is the job of quantum mechanics. Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner at the National University of Singapore just proved that wave-particle duality is a manifestation of the uncertainty principle. Dr. Wehner said, “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information.” (Once co-wrote an adult movie about time travel which included a scientist named Dr. Wiener. This is not the same Dr. Wiener.)

110. How about Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) Nonlocality?

Existence depends on self-consistency. You can set up situations in the universe in which the discovery of the value of a variable at Point A implies the value of a linked variable at an arbitrarily distant Point B. Every particle interaction is a handshake between two points in time (as seen from points of view that aren’t moving at the speed of light – from the photon’s POV, no time passes). These handshakes are part of how the universe defines itself and maintains its self-consistency. The EPR setup links two such handshakes. The unfolding of time is the setting up and completing of vast numbers of these handshakes.

111. How about the possibility of universe operating in something more essential than information?

I don’t know what would be more essential (in a practical sense) than information. Information is the pure essence of choice with everything extraneous stripped away. In a binary system of information, it’s just 0s and 1s or whatever you want to call it – apples and oranges, Bens and Jerrys – but it’s all just the choice between two values – what you call these two values isn’t included. It’s no-frills.

However, this doesn’t get at the essence of distinct choices, why something can only be true or not true (Gödel aside), how non-contradiction arises and why it’s the key to existence. We have to work on the logical foundation of existence, including the existence of information, but in terms of how the universe does moment-to-moment business, information is a highly efficient framing device.

While we’re at it, we have to get at the foundation of numbers – how they exist (in an abstract sense that’s reflected by numbers in the material world) without contradiction and with infinite precision. The same logical structures of non-contradiction – the infinite choices of and handshakes between values that allow numbers to work – also allow material existence. (My article about meta-primes in Noesis begins to discuss the infinite series of choices among numerical values that make numbers work.

112. How does everything in essence equate to aTuring Machinein informational cosmology?

A Turing machine constructs a picture of reality one finite step at a time. Any finite process or system can be mathematically translated into a series of bit-wise steps – a series of 0s and 1s. Multiple Turing machines can be married into a single machine – the Church-Turing thesis states that any computable function on the natural numbers is computable on a Turing machine. I’m assuming that the universe (or any information-space) is finite and that possible transitions between states of the universe are computable (given the input of new information to reflect the outcome of events that had yet to be resolved). With these assumptions, subsequent events can be computed by a Turing machine.

113. Where one contained armature/universe equals Aand another container armature/universe equals A3, does Aoperate on a different kind of time than A3?

The armature world and the mind-space world are temporally linked – the mind-space is reacting in real time, but there’s no coordination of physical processes – between the speed of light in the armature world and in the mind-space, for instance.

114. What can we never know?  In other words, what count as, by their nature, mysteries?

The universe observes and defines itself. It takes information to get information. There’s not an infinite amount of specification to be spread around. There will always be gaps in knowing. Even in a deterministic universe, which ours isn’t, you’d need something vastly hugely huge to model the universe.

So our knowledge of specifics will always be at risk of being threadbare. But we can hope to learn more about the general principles of existence. Richard Feynman laid out the possible paths of future scientific knowledge, something like – we figure out the universe, learning just about everything there is to know. Or we fail to figure out the universe – it’s just too tough. Or we keep learning more and more but never learn just about everything because what there is to know just keeps going and going.

I think we’ll mostly figure out the universe – we’ll develop a pretty good picture of the Whys. Our knowledge, however, will always be surrounded by a deep metaphysical chasm of not yet understanding the Whys behind the Whys. There’s no absolute knowledge – there’s just hope.

It’s not an unreasonable assumption that there’s an unlimited amount of stuff to know. There are reasons behind reasons behind reasons, and we may never get to the rock-bottom essential nature of things, because there may not be a rock-bottom essential nature. Everything might be bootstrapped and self-referential and the way it is because it can’t not be the way it is without being contradictory. You can never precisely draw a fractal or a Mandelbrot set – there’s always an infinity of little curlicues you’re leaving out. And as you go bigger and bigger and more complex, there are emergent properties and essential stories too big to be contained in smaller information sets.

Having a beginner’s understanding of the Whys of the universe is just a first step to learning how to operate within the universe. There will always be infinitely far to go to figuring everything out.

115. How does informational cosmology explain ex nihilo cosmogony for the modern form of nothing defined by science and the modern philosophical/theological kind of “nonbeing” nothing?

In informational cosmology, there’s a reason in the armature world for a mind-space to come into existence. Reasons can be anything that creates a wide-angle information processing system – can be natural, as when our brains form as a fetus grows, could be semi-mechanical, as with us building future sophisticated robots, could be a spontaneous negentropic process (which the billion-year evolution of life on earth can be seen as).

Also, the principles of self-defined information-spaces should generate a roughly defined set of all possible such spaces. If these principles more-or-less completely specify what can exist, consistent with non-contradiction, then anything that can exist, can’t not exist – that is, must exist (though we can only experience one moment at a time, and each moment has to be consistent with its history – we can’t jump world-lines).

So, between every information-space having a reason to exist in an armature world that’s created it and the principles of existence pretty much mandating that information-spaces exist, you have pretty solid justifications for there not being just nothingness.

116. With universe as mind and theology as study of the nature of God – in large part, theology becomes informational cosmology, and vice versa.  How does this reframe the enormous discipline of theology?

If widely embraced, informational cosmology would eventually prompt a whole new mess of unfounded and semi-unfounded belief and misunderstanding. It has a whole set of new and semi-new hooks on which to hang irrational beliefs.

Even if it becomes an accepted theory, not everyone’s going to believe it. I assume our semi-artificial selves of a century hence will be pretty scientific in their beliefs, but there will be many groups that continue to hold traditional beliefs. Figure 14 to 25 billion entities with at least human-level cognition 100 years from now (could be many, many more if independent, individual AIs are all over the place). The majority will hold scientific worldviews, but billions of others will be various degrees of Christian or Muslim or Buddhist.

Informational cosmology contains more Whys than Big Bang theory. Big Bang theory asks you to believe that nothingness is unstable and wants to explode without much philosophical justification. I’d think that people would embrace a theory that, if largely verified, offers more Whys within a scientific framework.

Informational cosmology also offers huge questions to try to answer – is the universe truly conscious? If so, what’s it up to, and what world contains it? How old is the universe? Can civilizations survive the recycling of galaxies? Is there a ladder of worlds? What are some of the other conscious beings scattered throughout the universe up to? Do they participate in the mechanics of the universe? Are three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time structures that all civilizations are stuck with? And a zillion more questions. Some people will try to answer them theologically.

117. If you had the opportunity to look at deep human time in an instant, you would see antiquity’s graveyard with a small section, where we can find remnants of the great theologians, and these grand figures of theology lie in the grave with some onlookers – no doubt to join – around the graveyard; look close, some found in this grave, some at the eulogies, and others to partake of this cemetery: Abraham Joshua Heschel, Albert Schweizer, Baháu’lláh, Charles Wesley, Clement of Alexandria, Clive Staples Lewis, Eliabeth Stuart, Gordon Clark, John Calvin, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Joseph Smith, Jr., Karl Barth, Ketut Wiana, Leila Ahmed, Marilyn McCord Adams, Martin Luther, Pelagius, Polycarp, Prophet Muhammad, Saint Anselm, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Jerome, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Soren Kirkegaard, Teilhard de Chardin, and so on.

With such a deep background into the realm of ethics in the world of theology, informational ethics provides the basis for theoretical analysis of issues in ethics such as asserted proclamations on ethics in prior times.  Application of Cto each set or subset of proposed ethics; Cprovides the basis for logical analysis of ethics.

How might other pervasive ethics have rational calculation in such a moral calculus from informational cosmology?  How might the longstanding tradition of theology work in such a framework?  How do some vogue – within the timeline of recorded human civilization’s history – assertions of ethics operate in informational ethics such as Christianity, Confucianism, humanism, Islam, Judaism, secularism, and so on?

Most ethical implications of informational cosmology probably come from the idea that everything exists within a framework of (technical-not-mystical) consciousness. Consciousness is a big deal – it’s the context for everything. At the same time, it is weak – it’s technical, not transcendent, and it doesn’t transcend death unless abetted by technology. Consciousness is threadbare, it lies to us, and it’s not everlasting. At the same time, it’s all we have.

We have to assume that respect for conscious beings is important. At the same time, we have evidence that it’s not. We know pigs are fairly intelligent and have feelings. At this point, only schmucks would argue that pigs aren’t conscious. (Unless they’re arguing that no living beings are truly conscious, in which case they’re using a completely different (and schmucky) definition of consciousness.) We slaughter pigs by the billions, but there’s no proof that this mass killing of conscious beings leaves a metaphysical stain on the universe.

We can go back to existentialism, that the world is meaningless, so we have to build our own moral systems. But we’re potentially in a better position than the existentialists confronting a random, spontaneously arising Creator-less universe that contains no inherent moral values. If informational cosmology is correct about conscious information-spaces being the framework for existence that, at least, is a unifying theme for existence. We still have to build our own moral systems, but there’s a little more to grab onto than the completely random, coldly purposeless, Big Bang universe.

Consciousness is a mathematically describable, verifiable thing, not just a suspicion of or an ineffable feeling that there might be a thing. And consciousness might be a thing on all scales, up to the most humongous. We don’t know much yet, but there’s a chance that our self-built moral systems might eventually get some support, not from some Creator handing down pronouncements, but from the structure of things. If consciousness is embedded in existence, and existence is the default state of things, then there might be reasonable ways to philosophize the problem of how to exist, without just blindly, bravely doing it for the sake of keeping on.

We still have to face that existence is governed by the math-like principles of non-contradiction, rather than being granted by a deity. We may always face the problem that there’s not some Ultimate Mover who wants us to exist, but rather that it’s up to us to design ourselves to want to exist (after having inherited the drive to exist from purposeless evolutionary processes). But we can be hopeful about consciousness being inherent to existence. The principles of existence won’t be able to squeeze the ghosts out of the machine.

118. How might this calculate the most difficult issue in the history of theology,The Problem of Evil?

The deal is, the processes that created us don’t have purpose, and they don’t judge. We’ve been created by a history of things happening via natural processes. I think we arose instead of being created by a purposeful being with plans for us. And since there’s no planner to keep things in line, to make things nice, lots of things can happen, and some of the things that can happen are horrible. It’s up to us to create moral systems which help us decide good and bad and up to us to do what we can to minimize the bad. There’s no One in charge; we have to be in charge of ourselves. But we get some help, in that existence seems to be unpreventable. We’re in a fight against personal and civilizational and even universal oblivion (our universe, not all possible universes), but existence itself is undodgeable. Existence isn’t a fluke, and nothingness is not the default state. There is a fabric of existence (well, not exactly, because where would it exist? It exists the way numbers exist.), a set (a quite likely messy, not-well-defined set) of possible moments of existence, because there can’t not be.

Evil, as opposed to bad things happening by accident, involves choice. Something capable of choice chooses to do something bad or to allow something bad to happen. There’s no deity in charge who’s allowing bad things to happen. But what about the conscious entities who are so much bigger than us that they might as well be gods? In the case of the universe itself, it probably has an idea that the information which comprises its information-space can take forms which are so complicated that they can include worlds with conscious beings and civilizations. However, it’s unlikely that the universe would care about beings which are low-level relative to itself and which do not exist in a form of which it is explicitly conscious, unless such forms threaten to impede the universe’s information-processing. As for advanced civilizations within the universe, they seem unlikely to go out of their way to prevent bad things from happening on our planet.

So, to boil everything down –

No one is in charge, neither a Creator nor an agent or ethical system put in place by a Creator.

The universe isn’t concerned about relatively low-level worlds which form in its information-space. The universe wants its information-space to process information. It’s okay with, and is largely unaware of, whatever happens to specific negentropic forms taken by the information in its information-space – that is, us.

Other civilizations in the universe haven’t invited us to join some galactic empire of goodness in which we get help in not having bad things happen.

For the time being, we’re on our own in building ethical systems and in trying to minimize evil.

119. Do souls exists? How do you define them?

Souls exist if you call our conscious selves our souls. If by “soul” you mean a magic ingredient, not information-based, that transforms an unconscious automaton into a feeling, experiencing being, then no, I don’t think souls exist. Our consciousness, our feeling that we exist in the world, is a property of how we process information. It’s not the result of a transcendent soul that rides unfeeling matter like a little sparkly cowboy or a golden thinking cap on a flesh-and-bone Roomba.

Our soul is what we’re feeling and experiencing and the incompletely expressed background to what we’re thinking at any given moment. At any given moment, there’s a lot we don’t consciously know but are comfortable that we could know if we needed to. Our moment-to-moment awareness is somewhat rooted in all our stored knowledge (including feelings associated with that knowledge) that’s only unpacked a little at a time. Our being accustomed to knowledge-in-waiting, our at-homeness in the world, our not freaking out that we don’t know everything at every moment, is part of what feels like a soul – a generalized feeling of self.

We don’t see a painting all at once – we fill it in mentally as our eyes wander over the painting. Similarly, we don’t know ourselves all at once. We constantly fill in ourselves about ourselves as our awareness wanders through our stored knowledge. Being comfortable with our normal brain function is part of feeling we have a soul.

We could even speculate that a feeling of comfort with and complacency about our brain function – this feeling of self and soul – might be encouraged by evolution, because it wouldn’t do for every organism to be freaking out over every mental glitch. Consciousness is glitchy, and we might have a certain optimum level of glitch-blindness that’s consistent with calm, normal functioning. In people suffering from Alzheimer’s, failure to recognize mental deficits seems to be fairly common. This could be a manifestation of a normally helpful defense mechanism (or it could be another symptom – a failure in self-perception caused by the Alzheimer’s itself).

The speed and precision of perception and thought are also a big part of feeling as if we have a soul. There’s a not-uncommon feeling among people who’ve been on heart-lung machines for many hours during an operation, called “pumphead” or post-perfusion syndrome. Apparently, while you’re on the machine, your circulatory system can get gunked-up, and during the month or so after the operation, your brain becomes clogged and strokey. It becomes harder to think and concentrate and control your mood. Some people with pumphead describe it as losing their soul.

And most of us have had the “wrapped in cotton” feeling of reduced reality when exhausted or a little bit buzzed. It’s apparent that degrading brain function reduces the feeling of the authenticity of reality and of self.

120. Father Teilhard de Chardin remains a controversial figure to some.  In particular, his ideas in The Phenomenon of Man(1955) evoked praise, infamy, and even calumny.  He had some ideas of note.  Ideas in relation to theology and the world.  With rich theological undertones, he spoke of an Omega Point in the book The Future of Man(1964).  Does this idea hold merit in informational cosmology?

I believe that, as in Omega Point theory, the universe evolves more complicated and effective ways to process and store information, which can include biological and technical evolution. However, I don’t believe in the Omega Point’s teleology, that some god-like entity is the engine of progress, drawing us towards its enlightenment. And evolution doesn’t just progress towards increased complexity; evolution spreads out across all levels of complexity. Bacteria didn’t disappear when humans emerged.

Also, if the universe recycles itself across octillions of years, then life within it emerges zillions of times as a natural consequence of negentropy. (Every solar system is an open, negentropic system, though life won’t evolve in every such system.) So you don’t have a universe relentlessly climbing towards higher levels of complexity; you have a universe in which complexity arises over and over, trillions and quintillions of times. Even if intelligent life arises only once per galaxy, that’s still 10^11 instances of intelligent life, not even considering the recycling of galaxies. The universe should gradually grow more complex as it accumulates more information, but it could operate just fine with an unchanging amount of information, just as we could.

121. What do you see as still needing to be done with Informational Cosmology?

Informational Cosmology:

Needs mathematical structure – words translated into equations.

Needs testable aspects and testing – it’s not a theory unless it can be tested. Many of its elements are hard to test observationally – dark matter being collapsed normal matter, there being a bunch of burned-out galaxies in the neighborhood of T = 0, the universe being many, many times older than 14 billion years. But these same difficulties pertain to other theories of dark matter and the large-scale structure of the universe. These theories are often tested via mathematical modeling, which could be applied to Informational Cosmology. Fortunately (perhaps), Informational Cosmology is also a model of our minds, which, while not sharing our physical space, aren’t 14 billion light years away and are amenable to observation.

Needs attention. I’m trying to sell a memoir, Dumbass Genius, about the dumb things I’ve done, with some of the dumb things being done in pursuit of a theory of the universe. The proposal for Dumbass Genius is currently being looked at by publishers. The memoir will be 95% narrative and 5% physics. The narrative is a Trojan horse to get the physics in front of people. I’ve hired some PR people, and I’m trying to expand my social media presence, and I will continue to do and say semi-stupid stuff with the hope that this might cause people to accidentally pay attention to my non-stupid stuff.

Needs professionals to look at it. Professional scientists hate this kind of stuff. I’m working on an article titled “On Being a Crackpot.” I can tell you that professors don’t greet wild, all-encompassing amateur theories with unbridled joy. The standard reaction is, “I’m not even gonna look at your theory. I’ve dealt with lunatics like you before. Your theory is almost certainly crap, and reading the theory and explaining why it’s wrong would be a waste of time because nothing I could say would change your crazed mind. Why did the receptionist even let you into my office?” My best bet is to have my brain transplanted into the body of an attractive young woman and marry Brian Green or Neil deGrasse Tyson or Michio Kaku. We’ll get married and have lots of sex and then he’ll have to at least pretend to pay attention to my theory. Anyone know an attractive young woman who wants to swap bodies with a 54-year-old man with hair plugs?

Needs further integration – to have its elements combined into a smoothly functioning model of the life cycles of thoughts, galaxies, and the entire mind and universe (preferably with cool diagrams).

Needs to be shown to address shortcomings of currently accepted theories and explain things currently accepted theories don’t. A theory which explains why the universe does what it does is preferable to a theory which says, “There was a big explosion, then some cosmic inflation, and now there’s some accelerated expansion.” Current thinking tends in the direction of, “Asking ‘Why?’ is naïve – a pinpoint that explodes with vast broken-symmetry energy just is,” but a nice metaphysical/mathematical explanation that might also explain why some physical constants are what they are could eventually be well-received.

Needs time and for Big Bang theory to continue to accumulate contravening evidence. Thomas Kuhn, in his classic book about how science works, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, explains that science progresses through a kind of punctuated equilibrium – theories prevail until they accumulate a bunch of anomalies, and then there’s a scientific revolution. Big Bang theory has been the boss-man theory of the universe for only 50 years. And before that, we didn’t really have a widely accepted theory of universal structure, because all the pieces weren’t in place. The Hubble redshift and expanding universe equations of general relativity weren’t discovered until the 1920s. We didn’t even know that the universe extended beyond the Milky Way until Hubble provided incontrovertible evidence in the 20s. So we’ve had this one theory for not too long – basically our first and only theory based on decent information about the universe. (There was Steady State theory, but it was never boss before getting swatted down by observational evidence.) Big Bang’s getting a little creaky – needs a lot of add-ons and geegaws to account for the results of observation.

The Big Bang will eventually be replaced, but it won’t go away, the same way Newton’s gravitation didn’t go away – it became part of the larger conceptual framework of general relativity. The universe will always appear to be Big Bangy due to the nature of information. Informational cosmology still has the universe blowing up, but just a little at a time. (And by little, I mean maybe at an average rate of around ten galaxies a year.)

122. Would you ever have theorized without your outlier background?

The background definitely helps. Can imagine many different destinies – resentful math teacher, divorced unsuccessful novelist…. But think those versions would do some theorizing, too. Maybe not as much as this version. And they certainly wouldn’t have had this forum.

123. Do you see a difference between common sense and intelligence?

It’s an old question which has an element of what might now be called nerd-shaming. It implies that regular people with common sense can get along in the world, while you, Nerd, with your so-called intelligence, have a hard time with things such as sports or getting a girlfriend or not dressing weird.

As a nerdy kid, I ran into this attitude fairly often, with people saying, “Well, you may be a brainiac, but I’ve got common sense.” This reflects a lost world of nerds being somewhat isolated from regular people. Today, tech forces us all to be nerds to some extent, all searching for the new best practices for living.

124. What do you most regret?

I regret squandering time on some stupid stuff – all the Gilligan’s Island and I Love Lucy reruns I watched as a kid, the crazy amount of time spent suing a quiz show. (My lawsuit was justified, but it ate up a lot of time.) I regret not being more skeptical of medical procedures which turned out to be unhelpful at best – varicose vein stripping, CT scan…. I regret not being born a couple decades further into the future. I regret not becoming wildly handsome in my 20s.

125. You live among an interesting cohort, no doubt.  A group of individuals among the elite of intellectual abilities.  What of the ethics of forming elite organizations – “elite” by admission standards?  What about joining them?  What about the possibility of some exploiting concomitant assumed authority of an individual or group?  Perhaps some of those in the ultra-high IQ community make a conscientious choice – moral choice even – to not join such societies. Insofar as the ethics of forming, joining, and sustaining elite groups, what of the possibility of ultra-high general ability individuals choosing to not enter? 

There are probably more hyper-intelligent people not in high-IQ societies than in them. Smart, highly successful people tend to be more involved with the things that made them successful than in exploring their mental skills.

But there’s not a super-high correlation between intelligence and success, especially at the highest levels. Many high-IQ people have pretty normal lives and jobs. Some of them find high-IQ societies, where they can get a little recognition and interact with people who have meshing interests. People turn to high-IQ societies on social media for the same reasons people do anything on social media – recognition and sharing. Social media makes it easier to join high-IQ societies – every two or three months, I’ll be emailed that I’ve been added to some high-IQ group. Because they’re easy to join, quite a few people belong to high-IQ groups on social media, which means that such groups consist largely of nice people who are delighted to have online friends.

126. You suffer from the attention and invective of internet trolls. Trolls come in many variety within the flora and fauna of internet life.  I hear they feed on a combination of foaming at the mouth and others’ time – at least in their natural habitat.  Unfortunately, they’re like starfish.  If one chops the poor little echinoderm to pieces – or like the story of the wizard from Fantasia with the shredded broom, they have a “population explosion” and emerge with greater force and invective than ever before. Do you have any responses for the harsh internet crowd? In other words, what comes across with the highest frequency?  How do you respond to them?

Arrogant – Well, I’m really good at IQ tests. Does that make me a snotty jerk? I hope not. Do I know what’s best for people or have a plan for remaking society? No. Do I want to be the boss of everybody? No. Do I think I’m really smart? Kinda, but my Twitter handle is @DumbassGenius, not @geniusgenius, which shows at least a little modesty.

Weirdo – Yes, I’m kind of weird – not weird just to be weird, but weird because I’m used to figuring out on my own how to do stuff, and often this figuring works out oddly. And even though I do weird things like go to the gym five times a day, I also do normal, responsible things like stay married for 23 years and be a dad and hold down jobs more successfully than most people in my profession.

Loser – If you’ve read that I’m a high-IQ bouncer and stripper and nude model, that’s kind of loserish. Very loserish. But I’ve also been a TV writer and sometimes-producer since the late 80s. I’ve written for more than 2,500 hours of broadcast television, including the Emmys, ESPYs, American Music Awards, Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, earning seven Writers Guild Award nominations (one win) and an Emmy nomination. I’ve gotten a lot of material on TV. As I’ve said before, I’m married and a dad, which is important. I’ve got a memoir that’s being shopped around, and I have a theory of the universe. So, not entirely a loser.

Obvious hair plugs – Yes, you can tell that I have hair plugs. They’re not the worst plugs in the world, but they could be better. I started getting them in 1989, before the technique had been refined, so they’re a little clumpy. But they’re better than no hair, and if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you might not notice them.

Why should you listen to me? – I’ve been trying to figure out how the universe works since I was ten, and I’ve had a decent foundation for a theory for more than 30 years. I might be onto something. Current big bang cosmology is getting a little threadbare. A very, very, very old universe explains a lot of stuff.

You were very concerned about losing your virginity -Sex is kind of a given. Unmarried couples live together without social censure, everyone’s saturated in porn and sexualized images, everyone suspects the worst about everyone else in terms of sexual behavior. But as a population, we’re just about fatter than ever, there are a zillion other things to besides sex, and people in general don’t seem overly concerned with having sex, at least not as much as in the 70s.

127. Provisions for principles of existence would equate to the language of existence, and therefore one can derive the more appropriate, direct, and proper phrase “principles of existence” rather than “laws.” We have more derivations from defined principles of existence:

Principle One: universe operates within limits of complexity.  Any further complexity will likely deteriorate into optimal simplicity.  Universe among logical possibilities of the set of universes bound by optimal simplicity. 

Principle Two: relevance/irrelevance, information of relevance will occupy or begin to occupy the active center; conversely, information of irrelevance will not occupy or begin to not occupy the active center.

Principle Three: The Persistence Project divides into The Statistical Argument for Universe and The Statistical Argument for Consciousness.   Universe cannot not exist; consciousness cannot not exist.  Therefore, the non-absolute high probability for existence, and persistence, of universe and consciousness.

Principle Four: informational cosmology implies informational ethics in a progressive argument.  Where Ic equals informational cosmology, Su equals Statistical Argument for Universe, Sc equals Statistical Argument for Consciousness, P equals The Persistence Project,  CE equals “existence-valuing principles,” and Ie equals informational ethics, we can construct one conditional argument to derive informational ethics from informational cosmology: 1) I (Su Sc), 2) (Su ScP, 3) P CE, 4) CE  Ie, 5) Ic, 6) , Ie.  Therefore, one acquires values consistent with the facts of existence: “existence-valuing principles” or CE.  David Hume’s is/oughtfails.  A distinction exists between them, but facts imply values.

Principle Five: universe/mind symmetry, universe as mind based on net self-consistency and information processing.   Units of sufficient individuation in universe with self-consistency and information processing as minds too. 

Principle Six: universe (Mn) implies armature (An); if armature, universe.  Universe equates to information processing; armature equates to material framework/processor: (A⇒ Mn).

Principle Seven: armature and universe construct mind-space: (A+ Mn = Sn).

Principle Eight: net self-consistency and information processing equates to consciousness. This reflects Principle Five. Sigma, ∑, self-consistency, S, times, *, sigma information processing, ∑Ip, would equal mind-space, Sn, where mind-space equals information-space, Is:  (∑S * ∑Ip = S= Is).

Principle Nine: universe as conscious: (A⇒ Mn); , (A+ Mn); (A+ Mn⇒ Sn, (A+ Mn = Sn).  In addition to this, we have the inclusion ofPrinciple Eightto derive the same conclusion about mind-spaces, Sn: (∑S * ∑Ip = Sn).  Armature implies universe; therefore, armature and universe; armature and universe imply mind-space; therefore, mind-space; armature and universe construct mind-space, and net self-consistency and information processing equate to mind-space.  Consciousness equates to net self-consistency and information processing; universe equates to these too.  Therefore, universe equates to consciousness endowed system. 

Principle Ten: consciousness at every magnitude exists in finitude and with non-mystical/technical construction.  Informational cosmology lacks infinities and describes finites.  Information constructs consciousness based on information processor and net self-consistency with finite capabilities. Subsystems internal to universe partake of this consciousness too, but not to the same degree.  Units of sufficient individuation in universe with net self-consistency and information processing have consciousness proportional to sum of self-consistency times sum of information processing.  Therefore, universe and multiple subsystems in universe have consciousness or equate to minds.

Beyond the foundational elements of informational cosmology laid out in this interview, and the first- and second-order derivations with informational ethics and other areas of discourse, what further realms of investigation have a possible future of analysis within an informational cosmological and informational ethical perspective?

One big field that will open up in during the rest of the century is what our drives should be, as we develop the ability to modify our drives and desires.

By the end of the century, there will be much inquiry about how to merge minds and how connected minds should be. There will be a whole new field addressing issues of mental connectivity. In some communities, people will want to stay completely unmerged. In others, people will try to achieve complete merging.

A critical field will be modeling AI and predicting its behavior. You need a mathematics of consciousness to understand AI. Out-of-control AI could be the greatest threat in history. A related field will be the design of artificial awareness.

There will be the field of informational structure – trying to figure out what the universe and other such systems are doing with information by looking at the distribution and behavior of matter. Can we get any idea of what’s in the mind of the universe?

Technical resurrection will be an area of inquiry and development – preserving consciousness after the body is gone, attempting to reconstruct and simulate the minds of people from history. We’ll have better and better iterations of Austen, Lincoln, and Shakespeare – all the usual holodeck suspects.

Beyond the physics of information-spaces, there will be the mathematics of information-spaces, which will go farther into the abstract and general properties of self-defined spaces, along with set theory as it applies to the set of all such possible spaces, the connections and transformations among members of the set, the level of infinity that describes the set, whether it’s a well-defined set, and so on.

Then there’s the cultural analysis of how we’ll be affected by thoroughly understanding consciousness. Most people probably believe that consciousness is produced by the brain, but the culture shock may not fully set in until consciousness is fully dismantled and replicated. How people feel and behave when they’re no longer more divine than their devices will have to be studied.

128. In the current climate of excess sensitivity tied to a reactionary institutional culture and subsequent radical conformity – in irony, I do not wish to offend anyone; however, institutional analysis does have value for us: internally, to Academia, various filters through achievement measurements (BA/BAA/BBA/BSc, MA/MBA/MPA/MSc, JD, MD, PhD, Post-Doctorate, and so on) and organizational-structural apparatuses operate for academic peers to consider standards high and one another proficient in relevant material under research; externally, to independent researchers and scholars, these can prevent innovation, hinder creativity, foster intellectual docility and acquiescence, and exclude bright and qualified outsiders (even geniuses) – to claim otherwise would consider academics of an angelic form. Both perspectives valid and compatible.  It sounds good in an introductory course for particular ideals to have statement; however, we must face facts in the following reflection.  We must speak without prevarication.  You do not have academic awards, grants, honors, titles, or persuasive associations such as authoritative academics/institutional connections. If correct, and if someone in mainstream Academia stole these ideas, arguments, calculations, and original conceptualizations, you have little recourse for intellectual copyright and plagiarism. 

Your defence would hold little weight, especially with the possibility of defamation, character assassination, and other tenth-rate tricks to discredit an individual rather than consider the claim of plagiarism on truth or falsity of the claim.  No internal colleague, principal investigator status (or laboratory), faculty, external department, research institute, ethics board, administrative authority, or university at large to likely remedy such a possibility.  The Academy tends to work in a closed way for accreditation and peer recommendations.  You live and work outside the university system.  Any thoughts on such an outcome?  You developed this theory for over three decades.  Any words for someone with intention of surreptitious pilfering of even your crumbs?  Those with a wolf heart, modicum of talent, but starved for anything with a resemblance to this conceptual bread of life based on avarice and a gnawing hunger for academic, and eventual popular, glory.

I have one good defence – some of this stuff turning out to be true. If it’s true in a big way – if it’s picked up and verified by the world, someone will put me in the story.

My wife and I go to couples counselling every three or four weeks, and we discussed this in our last session – what happens if my book doesn’t get published, if I don’t get recognition, if 30 years from now I’m a frustrated old man whose ideas have become accepted but whose authorship isn’t generally recognized. My wife and our therapist and I agreed that would suck.

And yeah, my credentials are: not-great stripper, epic catcher of fake IDs, legendary goer-back to high school, nude art model, compulsive overachiever on IQ tests, and writer of jokes for late-night TV. But there’s a story there. William Blake said, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” My excess hasn’t been that excessive, but it hasn’t been what everyone else has done. Charles Darwin took a five-year trip on the Beagle. He saw eroded landscapes and thousands of species. He thought about it for 20, 30 years. His exceptional life experience plus extended thought lead to the greatest unifying theory in history – the earth’s geology plus the vastness of organic variety equals deep time. I like to think that exceptional personal experience plus extended thought can, even in the era of Big Science, lead to a great unifying theory.

I currently have sort of a PR person and next month will hire another PR person. My story will get out there. Eventually, established scientists will consider it. Will someone be able to steal it? At this point, my best chance for this not to happen if for me to keep talking and writing about it in my goofy way.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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