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January 11 2007

Jewel Staite joins the fun at MySpace. No doubt inspired by Nathan Fillion (and by Whedonesque of course), Ms. Staite has created a public MySpace page to battle the scourge of imposters.

Ok, ok, so I'll have FIVE minions... uh, I mean friends.
Oh, sweet! Fillion must be persuasive.
Actually, Jewel has had a myspace page for almost a year. It just wasn't as well known as when Nathan joined.
She has 36 friends at the moment, and her "Who I'd like to meet" says "any and all."

*shudder*

Oh, my gawd, the amount of requests she'll have the next time she signs on.

*shudder*

Including me.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-01-11 07:16 ]
Ah QuoterGal, you and me both!
Well, it's going to up up to a million and 36 friends before long. I wonder if Nathan's and Jewel's My Space sites have linked.
I wonder if MySpace will collapse from the activity...
Under Jewel's friends is included Joss Whedon, but once you click Joss is actually a fan girl. Not surprised that Joss does not have time to get with my space. I would rather he spend his time writing us more Buffy and doing secrety things in London. Who wants to place bets on which BDH will be next? I found out of Jewel's site looking at Nathan's friends list, so yes she is one of Nathan's friends and he is hers too.ahhh
Did she uh, delete her other profile? There was another profile of her's on MySpace that I was sure was hers. Beyond sure but when I went to go check my friends list it was non-existent. Am I going crazy?

It had her blogs on it and photos from when she was a kid and everything.
Actually Jewel did have a myspace for awhile and had a bunch a fans on it..then she made it private and it went away. I guess she is back.

escapist..she made that one private awhile back..I am guessing maybe now she has 2.

[ edited by SillyD on 2007-01-11 04:40 ]
She has a private one as well - it used to be public, but she closed it down to friends only - and I think actual "I know you" type friends.
*Pauses, sighs, and begins to seriously contemplate joining The Dark Side*
i loved her occupation, flame thrower/mathew fox stalker LOL!
OK, she's added :)
http://www.myspace.com/nathanfillion

Nathan Fillion has 9654 friends. 01/10/2007
Nathan Fillion has 0009 friends. 11/09/2006

Jewel's myspace

Jewel has 151 friends. 01/10/2007

Nathan has just posted on Jewel's myspace. Jan 10 2007 7:55P

That is so Nathan.

If you want to vote for Nathan's movie SLiTHER there is a poll up on imdb home page

http://imdb.com/


Today's IMDb Poll Question Is:
What was your favorite major horror film of 2006? (vote)
hehe, thanx for the heads up Anonymous1! It so is. "the finger" And I am 99% sure which one, considering their history :P Hi Hi Hi.
ETA: Nathan has a new blog entry and the title has Jewel Staite in it! I am sooo excited *goes read it now*

[ edited by kurya on 2007-01-11 06:40 ]
CrackSpace will be the end of us. That said, upon reading this, I ran to add Jewel immediately, squeeing all the way.
well honestly besides having a few friends(Jonathan woodward one of them), and checking out nathan;s blog, I don't do anything else really.
Just wanted to add - folks talk about MySpace "imposters" like they're a bad thing, but I'm not convinced that's so. Interacting with "Fakesters" on Friendster and MySpace can be entertaining and informative, and few with such profiles actually attempt to pretend to be the person they are playing, nor do they expect people to believe it. It's more like role-playing, or virtual cos-play. I was "friends" with a fake Nathan before the real one, and I always assumed it was fan-homage.

*draws toe along dirt in front of her and whistles innocently.*

In fact, I happen to know myself someone who created and ran a number of such profiles, and they say their Fakesters were merely for entertainment purposes. Honest.

Of course, I she they played folks like Bill Hicks, Spalding Gray, Carl Jung, Sister Mary Jerome,O.B., The Witch Archetype, archy (of "archy and mehitabel"), Vina the Green Orion Slave Girl, and Rhoda Penmark, so the real folks were deceased, and the rest fictional. But still... Only one person ever f-mailed me as if I were the real deal.

Take a look at a paper by social media researcher Danah Boyd "Friendster and Publicly Articulated Social Networks." for the Conference on Human Factors and Computing Systems (CHI 2004). Vienna: ACM, April 24-29, 2004 and danah boyd and Jeffry Heer, 2006. “Profiles as Conversation: Networked Identity Performance on Friendster,” Proceedings of the Hawai’i International Conference on Social Systems – HICSS-39, Kauai, Hawai’i. New York: IEEE Computer Society and be sure to notice any references in the second paper to someone known as "Quotester."
: >

(Do come over to the Dark Side, April, the first one's free...)

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-01-11 12:44 ]
Hrm. "Jewel has 828 friends." But I'm not amongst them, looking at my profile. I see she likes QuoterGal tho. And someone named The One True Matt!

I must be a loser.

ETA: D'oh! Learn to reload/refresh your profile page, b!X.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-01-11 07:46 ]
"PHEW!"

Jewel has a blog up and EVERYBODY can read it.
Stupid work! *kicks myspace-blocking page*
Quotergal, I think the big difference there, is that you pretty much openly admitted you weren't the real deal. It's when people try their hardest to dupe fans into beleiving it's the real celeb that has made an account that gets people upset.
Ya know, jfhlbuffy, I think I had my fake profiles in an earlier, simpler time (2003.) There was a whole different ethos, I guess you'd say, and the intent of fake celebrity profilers was apparently different than it is (for some) now.

'Cause I did a little online research just now, and it appears that "Imposter Profiles" are a whole big thingy, with a mixture of deceiving aims and effects, and very different than most of the Fakesters of yore (2003)- though the innocent ones still exist, too.

Apparently, on the innertubes, cultures can change in a very short time. So I'll just back my naive self right out of here, and thank you for making me do the research to understand this...
Don't feel bad, or badder than you need to, QG. Worlds that you thought you understood disappear all the time.
Thanks, dl, I'll try not to, and man, that's a honkin' fact - I swear I just looked away for a second!
Worlds that you thought you understood disappear all the time.

Wow. I wish I had said that. :)
I agree, wouldestous, and dl, believe it:

"Worlds that you thought you understood disappear all the time."

is a beautiful (and poignant) sentence - possibly a subtitle or tagline for something heartbreaking.

Truly, dl.
"Worlds that you thought you understood disappear all the time."

That is probably quite Zen. The notion of impermanance is an important idea in buddhism.
Actually, I'm a Taoist. But that sentence is just based on my funky life experience, with lots of stuff like QG finding that a fun little culture had changed beyond recognition. Happens all the time.

edited to add: wouldestous, you can say it if you want to. I think sentences are hard to copyright.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2007-01-12 04:11 ]
Of all the religions (or philosophies ?) i've read about Taoism appeals to me the most, I just can't quite get past the seeming loss of individual identity it entails (and there's also maybe a vein of fatalism running through it that i'm not too keen on, nice as it'd be to 'surrender').

Still a beautiful phrase though dreamlogic, very evocative.
Saje, I don't know if you ever follow threads into the archives. I seldom do. But I didn't feel ready to answer your comments when I saw them when the topic was just about to go off the front page.

In the first place, it's sort of un-Taoist to preach. It's sort of assumed that the concepts are self-evident and come to you in your own time. And I don't have any particular counterpoint to the part about loss of individuality, because I don't think I understand what you mean. I don't have individuality? Admittedly, I'm an ill-taught, poorly-practicing, lame excuse for a Taoist. Maybe I just haven't got to that part yet.

But I will argue about the "fatalism", because I think that's a real misunderstanding on your part. To me, fatalism is the psychological result of a belief that all events are pre-ordained , usually by some variant of the Sky Bully. There's no Sky Bully in Taoism. There are mentions of traditional Chinese gods, but they seem mostly metaphorical, and are anyway irrelevant. It's about the direct relationship between each being and its origin, the tao, and how each being interacts with its fellow manifestations, creating the universe. "Surrender" suggests to me Islam, which is the religion that within its current mainstream is perhaps most at odds with my beliefs. But it has its own wisdom traditions that stray far from the fundamentalism that is being enforced in unfortunate countries now.



[ edited by dreamlogic on 2007-01-13 09:18 ]

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2007-01-13 09:38 ]
I've been known to dreamlogic, letting things lie has never been my strong suit (which probably makes me an unlikely Taoist from the get go ;).

I'm really not having a go at your beliefs, as I say i've a lot of respect for them and, as you mention Taoism has no sky bully, no real concept of submission through fear, "preaches" (suggests is maybe closer) peaceful tolerance above pretty much everything else and basically says (paraphrasing) "Be excellent to each other. And, y'know, chill." which sounds good to me ;).

Here, however, are some examples of what I mean from the only contact i've had with Taoism, the 'Tao Te Ching' (trans. by Stephen Mitchell - note i've no idea if his translation is respected or considered rubbish, I just thought the language flowed better than other versions I looked at):

Chap. 10

"...
Can you deal with the most vital matters by letting events take their course ?
..."

or Chap. 13

"...
Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self what do we have to fear ?
..."

or Chap. 29

"Do you want to improve the world ?
I don't think it can be done.
..."

(there're other examples scattered throughout but I can see my old enemy Expando-Post-Man appearing so i'll stop)

Now, there's also amazing wisdom in the Tao (chapter 31 is pretty timely right now for instance) but it seems like accepting that individuality is an illusion and we are all part of the Tao and that since everything is a part of the Tao, the best course of action is in-action (or rather not acting as an individual but letting the force Tao flow through you), that things will 'sort themselves out' according to how fate - or the Tao in this case - decrees, is an inherent part of it. For me that makes it so bloody close to a working way (ha ! Err, ahem ;) of life but just not quite that it's a little bit frustrating (I have the same 'incompleteness' issue with my current best fit i.e. rational scepticism/the scientific method cos, when taken to its ultimate conclusion, it would seem to deny free-will something I a) really feel like I have and b) am pretty keen to have even if I don't).

(rapidly coming to the conclusion that since no system i've found yet is perfect i'm gonna have to make my own up from all the best bits of others. Scien-tao-ology maybe ? Belief in ancient alien intelligences living under volcanoes optional ;)
Yeah Saje, I pretty well went with my own belief system ages ago. Welcome to the "What religion am I? Have you got an hour?" club. ;-)
From what I've read Stephen Mitchell is a Christian and his translation is very free, though I like it, and it's not like I read Chinese and can do my own. The best I can do is read various translations.

I do think his rather lyrical, ecstatic take might give somewhat the wrong idea about wu wei ("non-action" or "not doing"). To me, that's not about never doing anything as an individual, but about waiting, being still, and trying to sense things that you can do that are in the flow of things and will work, rather than doing for the sake of doing and fucking things up, which is such a common practice (of mine).

I think your problem with science is maybe positivism rather than science itself. Though that's still the dominant philosophy of science, it's being questioned by some pretty substantial scientists.

And yes, you're clearly ripe for Scientology. Come to their hotbed in my neighborhood, let them recruit you off the street, put you in a fake Navy uniform, and pay you slave wages. You'll love it. The volcanoes are just gravy.
Thanks for this description of Tao, dreamlogic. My impression was much the same as Saje's.
As for Science, I have heard that many scientists are coming around to the "There is a god" belief. The SF writer, Robert Sawyer likes to look at this subject a lot.

I'm not a believer of much of anything but it is all interesting.
Ooh, ooh, can I also give them half my income to 'improve' myself ? If so i'm totally in.

Your take on non-action makes sense to me dreamlogic. I picture it as kind of like 'the zone' in sports. Actions flow smoothly because you're not standing outside the process of committing an act but accepting that you're a part of that process, you're not imposing yourself on the world, you're just 'letting it happen'. Food for thought, thanks.

(i'm maybe a 'weak positivist' if there is such a thing. I don't think the only true knowledge is that gained through science but I do think the universe operates according to natural laws alone and free-will seems to be denied by a combination of cause/effect and lack of supernatural interference. If all events follow as a natural consequence of previous events then where's the room for free-will as most people think of it ? Conversely, if events don't follow naturally i.e. if there's room for us to make choices separately from all that's happened before then we're admitting the supernatural in which case science as a whole is pretty much unworkable)

newcj, you must staple an extra sheet to your census form ;-). I think i'm always gonna be in the 'None' camp cos to me sooner or later all religions ask you to stop applying reason and just go with it. Which, for me ? Not so much. Taoism appeals though because it's non-proscriptive, non-theistic and because - as with Christianity in fairness - most of its tenets make sense anyway i.e. whether there 'really' is a Tao or not.

Lioness, it depends who you believe but the figure ranges from about 40% to about 60% disbelief among (I think) American scientists (i'd be amazed if there weren't more unbelievers outside the US). Unsurprisingly, belief in a personal god is more popular among mathematicians and physicists (who tend to abstract away the sort of awkward imperfections you'd expect a personal god not to have created in the first place) and least popular among biologists (who have those very imperfections in front of them pretty much every day).
Oh, Saje. You really just need to look into more science. Especially physics, and the math that supports it. Notice how time adds things that can't be subtracted, or otherwise equalized? Why aren't the equations reversible?
Oh sure, always more to learn about everything but you haven't really given me enough to go on there dreamlogic (a pretty handy indication that i'm still learning ;).

Are you talking about "time's arrow" where e.g. the second law of thermodynamics is not symmetric in time ? Or the way the uncertainty principle seems to render the universe non-deterministic at least at the quantum level (italics because maybe that's something a broader quantum theory might encompass and render deterministic once again, maybe one where we just abandon particle positions and velocities altogether ?).

If it's the 2nd law then it'd be great if you could explain where free-will is involved in what amounts to shifts from statistically less to statistically more likely states of existence and if it's the uncertainty principle, well I don't see how a (seemingly ;) random process allows for free-will either (and as far as i'm aware no-one claims that the uncertainty principle means un-caused, just unpredictable). Having 'choices' made for us randomly at the quantum level is surely no more under our control than having 'choices' made for us deterministically at any other level ?

(and if you're talking about something else entirely then I beseech thee, do me a kindness and please tell me specifically what to look at - book suggestions/paper citations would be perfect. The idea there might be a resolution to the problem I just haven't read about is frikkin killing me ;)
No, I was talking about "time's arrow" and I made the comment so badly that I should have just edited it to erasure, but I felt frustrated and wanted to provoke a response. And got a brilliant one. We're looking at things from very different perspectives. I can't refute you. All I can do is offer more of my perspective.

So here goes. Let's try to take away our perspectives and replace them with that of a putative tao/Universe Central/God. It doesn't really matter what form it takes. It does matter that we can't really assume that perspective, because it's beyond us, but let's imagine standing a way off to the side of it, and seeing what we can see of what its doing.

From its nature, it's making the universe ever more complex. You can't present any evidence to the contrary (though you can argue it's just the nature of time, in which case I might argue that time has become your inexplicable god), because there is none. There could be arguments about whether it's making the universe (itself) as a design or as a process. But I think those are our human/monkey distinctions.

Now the reason time is not reversible is to me best expressed not by physicists but in the strange but often later proved right metaphysical writings of Buckminster Fuller. He said "universe is not predicted by its components."
I think I quite like that idea (if I get where you're coming from). I guess the way i'd put it is that the tao is a sort of emergent property of the entire universe, that it's not just the sum of the parts but the way they act together in totality. And the thing about emergent properties is that they're pretty hard to separate from their constituent pieces, you sort of have to force a distinction in order to do so.

As you say we're looking from different perspectives (from mine the universe isn't getting more complex in the sense of more ordered as a complete system, just locally as we - by which I mean the living, of whatever species and in whichever part of the universe - toil away like little pockets of anti-entropy or delayed/offset entropy at least) but it's interesting to me how ancient peoples often came up with explanations or world views that we've later found to be remarkably close, even if only metaphorically, to what science posits today. Makes you wonder if there isn't maybe something within us that's more in tune with the fundamental workings of the universe than we usually believe, if we'd just stay quiet long enough to hear it.

Course, it doesn't help me with my free-will issue but it does perhaps make not having it a little bit easier to take ;).
But entropy is creating or supporting complexity. The very energetic conditions of the early universe weren't conducive to our relatively cold and brittle, but far more various and intricate state of being. And I don't see the "emergence" so much as "pockets" as expansion in terms of complexity anywhere it's possible.

I meant to get back to free will. I've been trying to think of a better phrase for days, but I'm currently stuck with "force multiplier" - the term American military doctrine uses for entities or conditions that favor and amplify our aims in an arena of conflict - as an analogy for why the tao/Universe Central/God wants to create/allow free will. It's a great force multiplier, if you assume that maximal or optimal complexity (no way to know which unless you can measure the slope and any changes in the slope of a curve we don't have the data to plot in the first place) is the nature or aim of the universe. It's almost like creating a bunch of little secondary universes, all busy creating their own little worlds.
Well, sort of. There's less energy available to do work and, early on, a lot of that 'work' was smashing apart the type of large molecules life needs so in that sense we have a lot to thank entropy for ;). But obviously in the long run, because organised states require more energy to maintain than disorganised ones, the entire universe is headed for a scattered, disordered, relatively 'simple', 'cold' state which is basically anathema to anything alive so if the universe's aim is maximal complexity, well, it missed. Suns will burn out, fuel will be used up and our own little anti-entropic pockets will cease to be possible. It's kind of a good news/bad news situation ;).

I see what you mean about free-will being a sort of complexity machine, especially where we're concerned but it's still only local complexity. Generating worlds requires energy which has to come from somewhere and is finite in supply. The net effect is less energy, therefore less capacity for complexity over time (otherwise we're talking perpetual motion which is a bit out there ;).

Seems to me like you could also see the tao as an energy sink, 'designed' to reduce complexity just over a longer haul than our monkey brains are used to considering. Yep, there you are with a non-theistic belief system based on peace and tolerance and I have to introduce the devil into proceedings ;-).
"newcj, you must staple an extra sheet to your census form ;-)."

Hee hee. Pu-leez! I don't even bother to go into it with people, much less the government. I usually just let everyone assume whatever stereotypical thing is part of their own experience, with the warning that they should think about whether they want an answer before they ask the question. The one thing that everyone is usually certain about is that I am not an "us" I am a "them". ;-)

Fun discussion that is way over my head. I wasn't going to say anything, but since I am a person who constantly asks questions about things that do not make sense to her in order to learn things, and is therefore regularly embarrassed, I thought I would anyway.

So Saje, are you looking for something that allows for overall freewill in the universe and to be other than "local" must include the freewill of non-sentient objects that were put into motion eons ago to enable them to slow-down or reverse entropy if they so desire? 'Cause it sort of sounds like that. I'm inclusive, but I think that is a little out there. ;-)

I know I almost certainly missed all the actual...you-know...points being made, but I found myself saying once again that science is not ready to mix with spirituality except in fun. Until science has a real handle on consciousness or creative/intelligent thought, how can freewill be discussed scientifically except in the way that dreamlogic suggests, that there are theories that leave room for its existence.

This all makes me want to read Asimov's "The Last Question" to my son for some reason...
Yeah, Saje, I'm going to gang up against you with newcj, because even though I feel she missed a lot of my points, too, I feel even more strongly about localness as a poor position, as I tried to tell you.. What does locality even mean in a universe where subatomic particles can mirror each other's behavior across apparently infinite (trivial) spaces?
Oh, it's on ! It's on like Donkey Kong ! ;-)

Until science has a real handle on consciousness or creative/intelligent thought, how can freewill be discussed scientifically...

Well newcj (and you're an 'us' to me, BTW ;), here's the thing. My perspective is that the universe runs on natural law, what we call physics (without meaning to cause offence, if we don't agree on that you may as well stop reading cos, as you imply, any scientific perspective is utterly useless in a 'verse with arbitrary supernatural interference. If there are no fixed rules then there can be no predictions, no over-arching explanations, no facts - what was 'fact' yesterday can be arbitrarily changed - and, therefore, no interesting discussions ;). Which means that the brain operates on physics, which means consciousness operates on physics.

Which means if we discover that physics is deterministic then everything in the layers 'above' - i.e. derived from - physics (chemistry, biology, psychology, Cadbury's Creme Eggs etc.) must also necessarily be deterministic (to think otherwise is to suppose some disconnect between layers i.e. that the physics and chemistry of molecules doesn't dictate brain function or that brain function doesn't dictate mind function - wherever you want to put the disconnect, there must be one for determinism not to 'percolate up'. Which is basically Cartesian dualism which, to me and most others I suspect, has too many problems to be useful). It's like if we know heavier than air flight is impossible then we also know aircraft won't work.

Now, i'm not saying physics is deterministic (though I think it might be or if randomly non-deterministic, as with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, then of little help to free-will) but I am saying that we don't need to fully understand consciousness (luckily, because I think that's a long way off if ever) in order to determine if it's possible in principle for free-will to exist.

dreamlogic, when I say local I mean "not on a universal scale" which is what you yourself were talking about. On a universal scale entropy dictates that eventually all energy available to do work will be used up, which means that the end state of the universe as a whole is NOT maximal complexity but the exact reverse i.e. an end to complexity completely (in other words on that scale - i.e. the scale you were using - entropy is not our friend and certainly not an aid to complexity and nor is the universe/tao/other term).

We, as generators of worlds (love that idea, BTW ;), will not be able to exist in a universe with no free energy left because we are only locally anti-entropic, we don't create complexity without using energy i.e. we need a sun's energy to sustain life, when the Sun, hell, when ALL suns have burned out and no more are being created then we're dead (and I mean 'we' as in life/complexity since the idea of 'us', the human species still being around then is obviously pretty unlikely. I'm not even convinced about the next hundred years ;).

(damn you Expando-Post-Man ! You won't get away with ... nevermind ;)
Let's do some definitions. Personally, I don't like the word "supernatural", though I'll use it as a convention, because I think it's a symbol without referents. There's no "above" or "outside" the natural - it's all natural.

I do like the word "metaphysical." Bucky Fuller defined it as the "real but weightless." He's sometimes crude but effective. Metaphysical things include numbers. (Are numbers going to die with us in the heat-death of the universe [which, last time I checked out cosmology, was still controversial], Saje? Call me crazy, but I think not). Metaphysics, to me, is a sadly neglected field of inquiry whose last great figure was Kant. Kant totally predicted the substance and effects of Godel's incompleteness thingy before that math was even available. Check it out.

Now "universe" is a really tough one. I will only attempt to define it negatively. There is no usable map of it. I'm actually good at terrestrial navigation. I can do the trig and everything. Using a map, a compass, and a protractor, I can locate myself anywhere on earth. In terms of the universe, these tools mean squat. The attempts at a map change constantly based on new observations and there's no center and thus no real way to orient a local map. Saje, you keep using this word "local." I don't think it means what you think it means. ;)
There's no "above" or "outside" the natural - it's all natural.

Well, if it's not abundantly clear by now, you're preaching to the choir on that one dl ;). Everything i've said up to now is predicated on that being the case. Agreed though, 'supernatural' is just a word we use for outside natural law, all bets are off, "Y'know that physics stuff ? Well, forget about it" etc. it's not a specific thing or set of things or even way of looking at the world (except to negate the naturalistic perspective).

That said, i'm not sure how much better 'metaphysical' is either. What is it referring to (doesn't seem to be the same things that 'supernatural' refers to so I doubt it's a useful substitute) ?

Right, definitions. As an example of a 'local' area: Earth. The sun heats us, we live, the sun burns out, we die. We're only able to create complexity because we're getting energy from the outside. To an alien (albeit a pretty stupid one ;) unaware of the sun's input we'd seem to have negated entropy BUT we've only actually done so locally on Earth. The Earth-Sun system is winding down exactly as it should according to the 2nd law. The universe as a whole doesn't have an outside (we're assuming) to get energy from so any energy it uses is unavailable for good, it doesn't increase, it's finite in supply. Hence entropy.

The universe (as we've both been treating it up to now I think) is all of existence, everything. Assuming it isn't just means we've been calling the wrong thing 'universe' (or tao or whatever) IMO. If I was a theist i'd call it 'creation'.

Re: heat-death, yep agreed, we're not sure, but then we're not sure about a lot of stuff. If the 2nd law even applies predictively to an inflationary cosmology and if the universe is a closed system then heat-death seems pretty much inevitable but depending on who you ask, those are some pretty big 'ifs'.

Re: the numbers thing, hmm. Are numbers real ? Are they an actual property of groups of things or just a property of the observation of groups of things so that when sentience ends and there's no one left to count, numbers cease to be meaningful ? I dunno but I also dunno what that has to do with the end of complexity - seems like if you're trying to say numbers surviving the heat-death of the universe equals complexity surviving the HDotU then you got some s'plainin to do ;).
I wasn't suggesting "metaphysical" as a substitute for "supernatural." I was suggesting eliminating "supernatural" and introducing metaphysical as a term for things that are real, but y'know, weightless. I do believe in the existence of such things. And no, I don't believe numbers depend for their existence on our knowledge of them. Everywhere we look, they're inherent. They'd be inherent in nothingness, if that "existed", if only as 0.

As for complexity not surviving us if only numbers do, have you ever examined our efforts to predict the occurence of primes in counting? The current best approach last I looked is to use statistics based on lower cohorts of numbers to predict their aggregate occurence in higher cohorts. We're using statistics to "predict" the "behavior" of numbers, which are entirely static and have no possible behavior. That's pathetic. We're just slowly catching up, as intellects (which, keep in mind, is far from all we are) to the pre-existing complexity of the universe, physical and metaphysical.

Your definition of universe works for me.
Aha, I sit corrected re: supernatural (though I think when we're talking about opposing world views then we maybe still need a term to describe that which is not the naturalistic viewpoint - even if it's just to avoid it ;).

The metaphysics stuff has me teetering on the edge of my considerable ignorance but something just feels 'off' about numbers existing (and i'm not convinced that zero and nothingness are the same thing either - makes me think of the difference between zero and Null/Undefined in computing). But then if they don't exist, if they're completely abstract concepts only meaningful in our minds then why are they so damn good at describing the world around us (assuming that's not in our minds ;) ? Definitely something I need to find out more about.

Yeah, using statistics to predict the distribution of primes is a bit floundery BUT it bears fruit which seems to indicate there's something deep going on with prime distribution. Realising there's something we don't know is the first step to knowing it. I admit there's a lot we don't know but it's pretty hard to talk about that stuff ;) so I tend to assume that what we think now is true for the purposes of discussion with the caveat that it might all be wrong (and is guaranteed to be incomplete).

(seems at least possible though that you're mixing complexity in the sense of 'not simple' with complexity in the sense of 'not fundamental'. If numbers are fundamental as you say then surely they can't be complex in the sense we've been using i.e. 'more ordered than the surroundings' since they are - part of - the surroundings ?)
I don't remember accepting "more ordered than the surroundings" as complexity. It is part of a definition for organisms. Explain.
Said I: ...from mine the universe isn't getting more complex in the sense of more ordered...

(added emphasis)

which you didn't disagree with and

Said you: The very energetic conditions of the early universe weren't conducive to our relatively cold and brittle, but far more various and intricate state of being.

(again added emphasis)

which, presumably, neither of us disagreed with (I know I didn't ;). Most of the discussion has been about or related to the 2nd law of thermodynamics which is about disorder increasing over time (due to less energy being available to do work) and implicit in that is surely that the sort of complexity you think is helped by entropy and I think is hindered is to do with being ordered relative to some base state ?
Weird. My last post as I remember it was much longer and contained http://yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au/~bunyip/primes/primeSpiral.htm or some similar link about Ulam's spiral. Just in case you're also interested in primes. I said something about how this suggests that there might be a geometric solution, though it's been more than 20 years, and still nothing there, so still with the statistics (dumbass monkey brains!). I must have accidentally erased most of it.

I think I understand your point about entropy, though it was a bit fuzzy to me until your last post. But the astrophysicists think the sun has at least 5 billion years left on it. That's a lot longer than life has existed on earth, and a whole lot longer than our species has existed (100,000, plus or minus a few tens of thousands of years). Admittedly, there's been some heavy weather on our planet, what with the "too hot to live" and the ice ages and the mass extinctions, another of which we might be bringing on now. But life here has not had to start over from scratch through all that. Couldn't it be that the universe also has seasons, of a sort? And entropy, like death, has its limits and uses?
Those diagonals from the integer spiral are very cool, not seen that before (and to think Ulam came up with it by basically doing the maths equivalent of doodling ;). Frustrating isn't it that we can see the order, even roughly predict the order but we're just too bloody stupid (so far) to explain the order.

Well, yeah, i'm not terribly worried about the Sun burning out ;) and given that the average mammallian species seems to last only about 5 million years before becoming extinct I doubt we'll be around to see it. Interestingly though, there's evidence for life on Earth going back about 3.9 billion years (i.e. as long as there've been sediments to preserve the traces) which makes me think that life formed more or less as soon as conditions allowed which in turn seems to suggest there may be something inevitable about certain kinds of complexity given a) free energy but not too much (as you say, once things cool a bit) and b) relatively few great big frikkin meteors screwing everything up ;). Seems like the formation of life may have its own deep order we're, as of yet, too stupid to figure out. Don't see why we couldn't call this deep order Tao, s'as good a name as any other I reckon.

And since entropy is limited locally (did ye ever type a word so many times it starts to look meaningless ? ;) - our seemingly anti-entropic pockets - in both space and time, one way to see it is as 'seasons' of energy availabilty balanced against the relative 'coldness' that allows complex molecules etc. to form. In universe time we're probably late Spring/early Summer.

(think this is some kind of record for continuous discussion after date of postage ? Maybe we should call Guinness ;).
Tao is also called chaos. If you want to read more about it, I suggest the Chuang Tzu (often spelled with a Zh instead of a Ch), the second (and last) volume of the more or less universally accepted canon of Taoist texts. There are more texts, of course, but they get iffier, though some of the others contain sex tips. Check it out!

And no, no Guinness, that would invite scrutiny, and then people would point and laugh.
Sex tips ? Cool, those are the sort of religious texts I could definitely get into ;).

I think i'm gonna have a look at that other book, you've inspired me to find out more.

(and agreed, no Guinness, the great thing about flying under the radar is, no-one notices when you crash into mountains ;)
Fire bad. Tree pretty.

(What the hell have I wandered into?) ;-)

Actually, guys, if you don't think you're ready for the Guinness records people, may I suggest the Guinness beer people? Beer foamy, as you yourself said, Saje.

That is all. Carry on. And -- smart people rock. ;-)

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