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Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hello, I'm Ben Kidwell. I'm a middle-aged classical pianist and lifelong student of science, philosophy, and rational thought. I've been reading posts here for years and I'm excited to join the discussion. I'm somewhat skeptical of some things that are part of the conventional wisdom around here, but even when I think the proposed answers are wrong - the questions are right. The topics that are discussed here are the topics that I find interesting and significant.

I am only formally and professionally trained in music, but I have tried to self-study physics, math, computer science, and philosophy in a focused way. I confess that I do have one serious weakness as a rationalist, which is that I can read and understand a lot of math symbology, but I can't actually DO math past the level of simple calculus with a few exceptions. (Some computer programming work with algorithms has helped with a few things.) It's frustrating because higher math is The Key that unlocks a lot of deep understanding of the universe.

I have a particular interest in entropy, information theory, cosmology, and their relation to the human experience of temporality. I think the discovery that information-theoretic entropy and thermodynamic entropy are equivalent and the quantum formalism encodes this duality is a crucial insight which should be a foundational cornerstone of philosophy and our understanding of the world. The sequence about quantum theory and decoherence is one of my favorites and I think there is a lot more to be done to adjust our philosophy and use of language when it comes to what kind of quantum reality we are living in.