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I feel like I need to post this somewhere. This is the most ridiculously broad journal article I've ever seen. The paper is Categorical Ontology of Complex Spacetime Structures: The Emergence of Life and Human Consciousness, and here's the abstract:

A categorical ontology of space and time is presented for emergent biosystems, super-complex dynamics, evolution and human consciousness. Relational structures of organisms and the human mind are naturally represented in non-abelian categories and higher dimensional algebra. The ascent of man and other organis

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Looks like category theory. There seems to be a bunch of weird theory of everything type stuff there, especially systems theory like this, but also people who appear seriously competent. No idea about these guys though.

Maybe if we look into a mirror and say John Baez's name three times, he'll appear here and say this is crackpottery.

2NihilCredo9yI've been skimming it for ~20 minutes. Every single paragraph or page that I've read made sense to me, although for the non-math parts I have to trust that their citations and references are correct and in context. I can't yet say what the overarching purpose of the paper is exactly, beyond the general idea of "Hey guys, let's formalise this shit!", but I would put the chances of there actually being meaningful work in the PDF at between 0.6 and 0.7. I will certainly agree that there's a ton of filler in there, but it's quite useful if - as they claim - the target readership for this paper is an ensemble of philosophers, psychologists and scientists with the most diverse backgrounds. It reminds me a bit of a paper by two of my professors, which took the Kantian philosophy of knowledge and rephrased it in the form of topology, in the process (allegedly) managing to clear away the ambiguity from a few philosophical terms. Though in their case they treated it quite lightly, as little more than LaTeX-ing up some of their coffee chats.
1[anonymous]9yBefore looking at the paper: my guess is a Sokal-style hoax, or spoof of some sort. At least one of the authors [] appears to be a legitimate mathematician. After looking: sadly, it seems no "solution of science" is forthcoming: (from p.225, or p.3 of the PDF). One possible reading of this is: "we're full of you-know-what, and we know it, but in the event that the reader is too clueless to notice, we don't mind getting a publication out of it." But of course the authors may be legitimately confused or deceiving themselves. Or it could be a hoax (a multi-article one, as the authors have apparently published more than one of these things). The paper presents what appear to be accurate surveys of various topics in mathematics and physics, linked together with buzz-talk. It's basically a work of postmodernism: Sokal, but possibly with sincerity and without the politics. To put it in terms the authors should be able to appreciate: it's locally correct but globally nonsense.

Open Thread

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read13th Oct 201039 comments


This is an experiment to see whether people would like an open thread for small topics and conversation.