Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ask castlerook

And welcome to "Ask castlerook," the part of the blog where we answer all of your questions!

Dear castlerook,

My friend has a problem. She's convinced that she's a fictional character, living in someone else's blog, and that she has no free will of her own. What should she do?


Well Margaret, I suggest telling your "friend" that she has two choices: she can spend the rest of her virtual life trying to figure out the truth of her existence (or, as I suspect is the case, non-existence) without success, or she can accept that she may very well be a fictional character living in someone else's blog, but she can still choose to be the best fictional character living in someone else's blog that she can be.


Yo, castle,

What's up with acting like you still have a blog? There should be some sort of statute of limitations to weed out wannabe bloggers like you. Like, blogger websites that don't get updated after 3 months get trashed. That'd show you.


Dear Bob,

It would. But there isn't. So go away.

To Monseiur Cast leRook,

This iz so lame. At least Strongbad's emails were real. And there were cool graphix and shit.


Dear Marguerite,

And you know what Strongbad would have done with your email, right? (DELETED!!!!!)

Come on readers, ask me about something profound and/or philosophical already.

Dear castlerook,

Given that Godel's Incompleteness Theorem conclusively proves that there are true statements of number theory which are inherently unprovable, does this have implications for our understanding of the universe?

R. Plant

Dear Plant,

Great question! The answer is, "absolutely." To be more specific, the theorem proved that within any formal axiomatic system of number theory, there will be one of two problems: incompleteness, or inconsistency. That is, there will either exist true statements that can never be proven true (as you suggest), or, there will be statements that can be "proven" to be both true AND false! (this happens quickly if you try to "fix" the first problem).

So yes, it is easy (and quite possibly correct) to generalize from this to the realm of philosophy, and claim that there will always be truths which cannot be proven formally (i.e. scientifically), and thus can only be accepted on faith.

Personally, though, I'm also intrigued by the second possibility: what if the universe itself is inconsistent? What if our concept of logic is simply misplaced in this quantum universe, and there exist statements that are true and false simultaneously? For example, what if the statements "God exists" and "God does not exist" are BOTH true?

By the way, you should really learn how to use umlauts while typing. Gödel would not approve of you butchering his name.

Okay readers, that's all for this edition of "Ask castlerook." Keep those questions coming. I'll respond to them all as soon as I can--possibly even before next fall!

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