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Tiiba2 comments on Excluding the Supernatural - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 September 2008 12:12AM

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Comment author: Tiiba2 12 September 2008 04:25:45AM 15 points [-]

Okay, so here's a dryad. You cut her open, and see white stuff. You take a sample, put it under a microscope, and still see white stuff. You use a scanning tunneling microscope, and still see white stuff. You build an AI and tell it to analyze the sample. The AI converts galaxies into computronium and microscopium, conducts every experiment it can think of, and after a trillion years reports: "The dryad is made of white stuff, and that's all I know. Screw this runaround, what's for dinner?"

But using an outside view of sorts (observed behavior), you can still predict what the dryad will do next. Just like with quarks and with Occam's razor and with prime numbers. And things you haven't reduced yet, but think you can, like people or the LHC.

So, what would you call this dryad?

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 26 August 2012 03:41:48AM 8 points [-]

If you look at it in an STM, you aren't going to be able to see white stuff, because that isn't sensitive to color. But since you were able to image it at all instead of crashing your tip, you can also tell that dryad insides are electrically conductive. We should be able to determine the resistivity of dryad, as a function of gate voltage, impurity density, magnetic field, etc.

No matter what the result is, we now know more about dryad stuff.

So I'd suggest that they be insulating instead, as that closes off all those transport experiments.

Comment author: Benito 17 December 2012 08:27:22PM 2 points [-]

If it's causally connected to the physical world, we can test exactly what force(s) it gives out upon other things. We can test how it reflects photons, and all sorts of other things. It would, in the end, have all the physical qualities we attribute to things in this universe, and then it would no longer be mysterious. If it affects us, we can measure that effect.

As to your question, what would I call it?

I'd probably call it a 'dryad'.

Comment author: MugaSofer 17 December 2012 08:39:27PM -1 points [-]

Well, it's effects might not be mysterious, but it's nature would be.