X-Message-Number: 23873
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 10:14:39 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #23856 - #23868

Some more comments, this time on Cryonet for 12 April.

If you live a long time your perspective on other people will change. You
know that you will meet up with them not just a few times, but many 
times in the thousands of years of future you both will have. Crimes
and cruelty are both very short-term behaviors; even if some varieties
of "criminality" come from defective genes, we'll see such people
actively trying to fix their genes. It's only because we live such
short lives that the long term consequences of crime and cruelty 
seem escapable by us --- even though even within the short term of
present lives that's often not true.

One problem with putting such people in artificial realities or other
methods of curing them is that they would still need some forcing to
take the cure. I am saying that the attitudes even of criminals will
change if we make them immortal. They will come to feel that even if
they have such a bad habit, they must shake it off IN THEIR OWN INTEREST.

As for Goedel's theorem, there is more to be said. Among other points,
our inability to prove something can be fixed by changing the postulates
we use to make our proofs. So there is some playing with language
even here. We're never compelled by nature to accept a particular set
of postulates; we find some sets very useful and others quite useless.
(And with time our notions of usefulness can even change). Ultimately,
one way or another, we come down to the real world.

As for constructive mathematics: mathematics that does not accept the
idea that we can prove something by showing that its falsity is not
true (proof by contradiction), it provides an interesting commentary
to Goedel's theorem. Unprovable statements simply cease to be 
statements if we insist on constructivity. Not that it makes life
much easier: so many theorems are so easy to prove if we can use
proof by contradiction. So far it has only metric spaces, not any
topological spaces, just as an instance.

             Best wishes and long long life for all (even hated ones),

                Thomas Donaldson

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