Re: Upload motivations (was SPACE: Lunar Billboard?)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 12:23:25 -0800 (PST)

> Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
> > I want the Final Answers. The burning search for that takes precedence
> > over everything else.
> I think Kurt Godel made it clear that Final Answers don't exist for
> systems more complex than tautologies....
> | Hara Ra <> |

It is a common intellectual fallacy to take limited, specific, results
in some field and extrapolate from them as if they were some fundamental
law of nature. Much the way new-age mystics leaped on Quantum mechanics
to justify their ideas about consciousness creating reality.

What Godel proved--yes, proved as in final answer--is that in a system
of symbolic mathematics sufficiently powerful to express assertions of
basic number theory, there must exist assertions which are true, but for
which no proof exists in the system. That is, the set "provable" is a
proper subset of the set "true".

This result applies only to symbolic mathematics, not to reality. To
claim from it that "truth" is therefore unattainable is like saying
"my car won't start, therefore travel is impossible".