Author Topic: Introductory Questions  (Read 11985 times)

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Offline dloubet

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2013, 05:55:52 AM »
I always took the WWGHA question to be "Why does this supposed god single out amputees as a class of people who shall NEVER get their prayers answered, as opposed to other ailments that Christians claim are healed all the time?"
Denis Loubet

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2013, 11:32:43 AM »
Extremely comfortable with that.  The 'current' was intentional.

Would you mind elaborating on why you chose to include the word 'current'?
Because we might find a better one someday. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2013, 03:48:26 PM »
          What about deductive reasoning - is that not how we have acquired knowledge in fields such as geometry and trigonometry? What about the branch of particle physics known as string theory; there is lots of theorizing being done apart from any actual empirical observations yet I don't think a string theorist would say that she knows nothing beyond what actual experiments have taught her.  How about morality - can you construct an experiment to show that stealing is wrong or do you already know it is wrong before you start?

deductive reasoning would be based upon observation though.
Is stealing wrong if one has no other way to feed his/her family?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2013, 10:54:48 PM »
deductive reasoning would be based upon observation though.
Is stealing wrong if one has no other way to feed his/her family?

     Consider the following definition of a circle: "a closed curve in a plane all of whose points are equally distant from a fixed point in the plane called the center".  Is that definition based on observation or on introspection?  If it is based on observation could you tell me where I can observe a circle that perfectly conforms to that definition?
     I don't think that your follow up question about stealing gains you any ground.  How should I go about answering it: thought experiments and introspection or a scientific experiment?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2013, 10:57:56 PM »
Because we might find a better one someday.

     We might find a means superior to the scientific method for acquiring knowledge, but how will we ever know if the only knowledge you will accept as legitimate is knowledge gleaned through the scientific method?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2013, 11:03:46 PM »
     How about morality - can you construct an experiment to show that stealing is wrong or do you already know it is wrong before you start?
You can't prove an opinion.

     I guess that would be the easy way to answer my question (assert that moral judgements constitute opinions rather than knowledge), but I am just wondering if you actually believe that in real life?  For instance, if someone stole your wallet and you caught them and demanded it back, would you accept the following response: "I am not giving your wallet back because in my opinion stealing is ok - why should your opinion be valued any more than mine"?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2013, 11:23:55 PM »
     We might find a means superior to the scientific method for acquiring knowledge, but how will we ever know if the only knowledge you will accept as legitimate is knowledge gleaned through the scientific method?

"Scientific method" is just a fancy way of saying "checking to see if I'm wrong".

We can avoid that, to be sure, but I don't know why we'd want to.  How about you?
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2013, 09:35:16 PM »
Because we might find a better one someday.

     We might find a means superior to the scientific method for acquiring knowledge, but how will we ever know if the only knowledge you will accept as legitimate is knowledge gleaned through the scientific method?
We know the scientific method works because of the results. The information we've gathered and put to use for ourselves has exploded since the scientific method has arrived on the scene. I guess a better method would yield better results than that. That would be the deciding factor I would think.

What did people rely on before the scientific method, and how did they go about learning it was superior to their method of knowledge acquisition? I assume it would be similar to their experience.

Perhaps if you've come across a method you think is better, you could share it with the rest of us. I'm certainly open to hearing it.
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2013, 10:30:59 PM »
deductive reasoning would be based upon observation though.
Is stealing wrong if one has no other way to feed his/her family?

     Consider the following definition of a circle: "a closed curve in a plane all of whose points are equally distant from a fixed point in the plane called the center".  Is that definition based on observation or on introspection?  If it is based on observation could you tell me where I can observe a circle that perfectly conforms to that definition?
     I don't think that your follow up question about stealing gains you any ground.  How should I go about answering it: thought experiments and introspection or a scientific experiment?
Yes, that definition IS based on observation. In that if you observe an elliptical shape that does not meet that criteria you are not looking at a circle. Without observing a circle all you have done is expressed a concept, not gained any knowledge. My example is to demonstrate there is no objective right and wrong. Contrary to what religions espouse.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2013, 11:17:37 PM »
Definitions are statements about your own language.  Seeing you state a definition is evidence that you define a certain word with a certain concept.  This evidence is usually adequate, but can be contradicted if you don't use the word to mean what you said it meant to you.  It is reinforced, in this case, when you use the word "circle" to mean "a closed curve in a plane all of whose points are equally distant from a fixed point in the plane called the center".  In other words, the statement about your language is one that is confirmed or refuted by evidence.  The concept to which the label is attached is not, in itself, a statement about anything.  It is not, as The Gawd says, a piece of knowledge.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2013, 12:37:05 AM »
     Definitions are statements about your own language.  Seeing you state a definition is evidence that you define a certain word with a certain concept.  This evidence is usually adequate, but can be contradicted if you don't use the word to mean what you said it meant to you.  It is reinforced, in this case, when you use the word "circle" to mean "a closed curve in a plane all of whose points are equally distant from a fixed point in the plane called the center".  In other words, the statement about your language is one that is confirmed or refuted by evidence.  The concept to which the label is attached is not, in itself, a statement about anything.  It is not, as The Gawd says, a piece of knowledge.


     Just a quick clarification, I don't think that The Gawd said that the concept of circularity constitutes a 'piece of knowledge'; that would be a statement that would more closely approximate my own position.  Personally though, I don't think that abstract objects (e.g. shapes, numbers, sets, etc...) are themselves 'pieces of knowledge'; I think that knowledge is a mental state (the state of justified true belief) that is about something in the tangible/intangible world or conceptual realm. 
     I am not sure I totally understand what you are saying above.  You use the word evidence three times; the first two times it seems to me that you are referring to my attachment of the semantic descriptor 'circle' to the concept of 'circleness'.  The third instance, however, has me puzzled - are you referring to evidence in a physical sense like say, an orange, that approximates the conception of circularity?  Also, when you say that 'the concept to which the label is attached is not, in itself, a statement about anything', are you simply stating that you don't believe that abstract objects actually exist or are you implying that concepts like 'circularity' are nothing more than convention (e.g. like which side of the road we choose to drive on)?

     

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2013, 12:48:20 AM »
I mean that whether or not you truly define "circle" with the concept of "circleness"[1] is something that is subject to evidence.
 1. I like your brevity here.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2013, 01:16:30 AM »
     Consider the following definition of a circle: "a closed curve in a plane all of whose points are equally distant from a fixed point in the plane called the center".  Is that definition based on observation or on introspection?  If it is based on observation could you tell me where I can observe a circle that perfectly conforms to that definition?
     I don't think that your follow up question about stealing gains you any ground.  How should I go about answering it: thought experiments and introspection or a scientific experiment?

     Yes, that definition IS based on observation. In that if you observe an elliptical shape that does not meet that criteria you are not looking at a circle. Without observing a circle all you have done is expressed a concept, not gained any knowledge. My example is to demonstrate there is no objective right and wrong. Contrary to what religions espouse.

     I was thinking about the definition that I gave for a circle and wondering if the words 'necessitated by' would be better suited for the point I am trying to get across than the words 'based upon'.  To a certain extent I agree with you when you say that my definition of a circle is based upon observation since as humans we observe objects approximating circularity all the time.  What I am trying to say, however, is that we intuitively assume the concept of circularity when we see an imperfect circular object (e.g. an orange or a car tire).  It doesn't seem to me that the objects that we observe in the physical world necessitate that we recognize abstract definitions like that of the circle; on the contrary, if I were to carefully examine every orange I saw (and since no orange forms a perfect circle) would those observations not make it less likely that I would perceive the abstract definition of the circle? Perhaps the circle isn't the best example that I could use - how is it that I can understand the geometrical concepts involved in shapes that I have never seen in the real world? For instance, I doubt that you have ever seen anything that forms the shape of a penadecagon, but that doesn't mean that you cannot conceptually understand what it would look like.
     
     Regarding moral judgements about stealing, I think that at best your follow up question (is stealing wrong if there is no other way to feed your family?) only demonstrate that not all moral judgements we make are absolute - not that there are no moral absolutes.  All I have to do is find one moral imperative that is absolute to demonstrate that moral absolutes exist (e.g. is it always wrong to discriminate against homosexuals; and, speaking of discrimination, where the Nazi's wrong in their discriminatory practices or are examples like these merely situational?).  At any rate, I wonder if a successful defense of the reality of moral absolutes is even necessary to the case that I am advancing at present - that over the course of our lives we acquire moral knowledge that is not learned by the scientific method.  So lets assume that there are no moral absolutes and then think about your question 'is stealing wrong if it is the only way to feed your family'.  I am assuming that if you are pondering an answer to this question you are going to do more than flip a coin - heads the answer is yes and tails the answer is no.  Also, if you spend an adequate amount of time pondering the question, come to a conclusion, and then meet someone who would do the opposite I am assuming you would disagree with them?  And if you do disagree with them does your disagreement not have more substance than a mere difference of opinion (like disagreeing over what ice cream tastes best).  Thinking about situations like these seems to me to result in moral knowledge even if you don't accept the existence of moral absolutes.


Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2013, 01:17:31 AM »
I mean that whether or not you truly define "circle" with the concept of "circleness"[1] is something that is subject to evidence.
 1. I like your brevity here.

     Can you give me an example of the 'evidence' to which you are referring?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2013, 01:19:56 AM »
I did in my original post:  Do you, in practice, use "circle" to refer to that concept?  If so, then that's evidence for.  If not, then that's evidence against.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2013, 01:43:31 AM »
     We know the scientific method works because of the results. The information we've gathered and put to use for ourselves has exploded since the scientific method has arrived on the scene. I guess a better method would yield better results than that. That would be the deciding factor I would think. What did people rely on before the scientific method, and how did they go about learning it was superior to their method of knowledge acquisition? I assume it would be similar to their experience. Perhaps if you've come across a method you think is better, you could share it with the rest of us. I'm certainly open to hearing it.

     I agree that the scientific method has gained us great success in learning about the physical world - methodological naturalism is a convenient assumption when doing science, but it in no way implies ontological naturalism.  Incidentally, the assumption that the scientific method is the only method of gaining knowledge is a difficult assumption to prove using the scientific method isn't it?  As for what method of acquiring knowledge I would suggest in place of the scientific method; well, I wouldn't suggest any method in place of the scientific method.  I have no problem with the scientific method; what I do have a problem with is assuming that the scientific method is the only way to gain knowledge.  I think that other methods (e.g. deductive reasoning and rational introspection) are complementary to the scientific method and in many ways actually provide a foundation for the scientific method.  For starters, science cannot even get us past first base when it comes to the possibility of thought - how do you scientifically prove that you are not a 'brain in a vat'?  Additionally, our ability to actually process the information that we are gathering about the world through our senses depends on deductive methods that are not grounded in observation (e.g. logical and mathematical concepts).  Finally, in a lot of cases the knowledge that we gain about the world is grounded upon assumptions that seem impossible in principle to verify empirically (e.g. the Copernican Principle, hyperinflationary expansion, multiverses, the acceptance of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics over the Bohmian interpretation, etc...).  So it seems to me that when one takes into account the way that science utilizes metaphysical assumptions and principles of deductive reasoning, it is not unreasonable to use the same principles when studying natural theology. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2013, 01:47:18 AM »
I did in my original post:  Do you, in practice, use "circle" to refer to that concept?  If so, then that's evidence for.  If not, then that's evidence against.

     Isn't that the same thing as stating that you have evidence that leads you to believe that in the future if I come across an object that approximates 'circularity' I will likely use the word 'circle' to describe it?  That doesn't observation doesn't indicate that my perception of abstract concepts isn't knowledge, does it?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2013, 10:04:13 AM »
That's precisely right.  But in that sentence, the one in question, that was all I was saying.

But when you say "A circle is xyz", that's you making a statement about your own language.  The piece of information you are relating is about your own language definitions, not about circles.  That was my point.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2013, 12:19:01 AM »
That's precisely right.  But in that sentence, the one in question, that was all I was saying.

But when you say "A circle is xyz", that's you making a statement about your own language.  The piece of information you are relating is about your own language definitions, not about circles.  That was my point.

     Would you say then, that my apprehension of the abstract concept of circularity constitutes knowledge regardless of the nature of the language I might use to describe it?  It seems to me that when people observe objects approximating circularity they necessarily grasp the concept that I described with my definition - the concept would remain the same even if a different language was used.  If the concept of circularity was solely based upon our observations wouldn't people posit lots of different definitions of circularity?  Then again, maybe the apprehension of abstract objects does not constitute knowledge in which case my example was poorly chosen.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2013, 12:25:02 AM »
I would say that circularity is a model that we humans have constructed to help us readily describe what we observe, and to categorize and process our knowledge.

The distinction between abstract models and acquired knowledge within our minds is a blurry one, and probably not relevant to what you were talking about.  Like you said, another analogy or example might be better suited to your purposes for now.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2013, 12:26:56 AM »
Such a pleasant and intelligent discussion. I've been enjoying it.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #50 on: May 27, 2013, 10:53:18 PM »
I agree that the scientific method has gained us great success in learning about the physical world - methodological naturalism is a convenient assumption when doing science, but it in no way implies ontological naturalism
Since we both agree that the SM has given us this great success, I think it's important that we agree on the how... I mean... how do we know that it is successful.  I think it is due to the results.  The functionality, the usefulness of the results is what makes it a successful method.  Within the physical world, there isn't a better one.   

Incidentally, the assumption that the scientific method is the only method of gaining knowledge is a difficult assumption to prove using the scientific method isn't it? 
I don't know why you keep saying this.  I get it.  I never said it was the only method of gaining knowledge.  I even asked you to provide another one in hopes that it was superior.  Doesn't that mean I'm keeping an open mind about it? 

For starters, science cannot even get us past first base when it comes to the possibility of thought - how do you scientifically prove that you are not a 'brain in a vat'? 

Can you tell me a method of study that helps prove we are, or are not, BIV's?  Can you prove, using deductive reasoning or rational introspection, or any other means, that you're not a BIV?  Where would you turn if not science? 

Also, if I am a BIV, can I not still do science?  I can start with any metaphysical assumption I want and still do science.  Am I just an idea in the mind of God?  Am I a program running in a simulation of a super intelligent alien species?  Doesn't matter.  I can still do science.  It works without any of those metaphysical assumptions.
So it seems to me that when one takes into account the way that science utilizes metaphysical assumptions and principles of deductive reasoning, it is not unreasonable to use the same principles when studying natural theology.
Sure, as long as you apply the same principles to every religion ever invented by man.

I imagine you could start with any metaphysical assumptions you want and work from there, but I don't see where that will get you since every religion starts with metaphysical assumptions, and winds up being logically coherent to the followers.  In other words, for the adherents of any religion, reason and ordinary experiences support every religion ever invented.  Nobody would believe a religion that made claims that were completely inconsistent with the natural world and totally unexplainable in any way.  Could you ever see someone following a religion that said nothing bad ever happens to the followers, and had no way of explaining it when something bad happened?  The first hangnail and it's over.  That's why the gods are all invisible and all powerful.  Nothing is impossible to explain away with a god like that.  It's a great way to hide non-existence.   

In that sense, what methodology would you use to separate what are the true metaphysical assumptions and the false ones?  Because deductive reasoning doesn't help us there.  And rational introspection isn't any better.   And we're back to where we started in terms of 'what's a good method for obtaining knowledge that can help us in this area?' One that gets us results, like the SM does for the physical world.  I don't know of any. 

So if we don't know of any reliable methods here; the most we can say is that we don't know whether or not anything supernatural exists. But in the grand scheme of things, the number of metaphysical assumptions we can make is nearly infinite.  And the number of correct assumptions is much less than that.  And given the fact that we don't really require any metaphysical assumptions in order to understand the world (at least not where I'm sitting), then I don't see any reason to hold the belief that any specific god that has ever been presented to me, actually exists.  I don't know, but I don't believe.  Agnostic atheist. 
 
What metaphysical assumptions do you make, and why?  Do you find the ones used by science to be unreasonable? 

Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #51 on: May 28, 2013, 12:41:20 AM »
     Can you tell me a method of study that helps prove we are, or are not, BIV's?  Can you prove, using deductive reasoning or rational introspection, or any other means, that you're not a BIV?  Where would you turn if not science?

    Where did Descartes turn to answer the question?

Also, if I am a BIV, can I not still do science?

     No, you cannot do science if you are a brain in a vat; all you can do is imagine that you are doing science.

Sure, as long as you apply the same principles to every religion ever invented by man.

     No problem there, the point of natural theology is to find basic assumptions that the religious and nonreligious alike agree on so that we can actually have a discussion - basic metaphysical principles provide that foundation because they have universal intuitive plausibility (e.g. everything that begins to exist must have a cause). 

     In that sense, what methodology would you use to separate what are the true metaphysical assumptions and the false ones?  Because deductive reasoning doesn't help us there.  And rational introspection isn't any better.

     You don't think that rational introspection gives you any sense of which is more plausible - the first premise of the cosmological argument or its negation?

Do you find the ones [metaphysical assumptions] used by science to be unreasonable?

     The Copernican Principle seems reasonable, but I didn't reach that conclusion by doing a science experiment.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2013, 08:16:53 PM »
     Can you tell me a method of study that helps prove we are, or are not, BIV's?  Can you prove, using deductive reasoning or rational introspection, or any other means, that you're not a BIV?  Where would you turn if not science?

    Where did Descartes turn to answer the question?
Can you tell me what Descartes proved (in the ontological world) to same level of satisfaction that the scientific method provides us in terms of the physical world?  Or to any level of satisfaction at all? 

Thought experiments are fun, but they inevitably take us nowhere in terms of discovering truth. 

No, you cannot do science if you are a brain in a vat; all you can do is imagine that you are doing science.

But the results of that imagined science will give me a new understanding of the universe I have imagined.  It will give me knowledge and information to utilize within that realm that is effective and useful.  So yes, you can do science, even if it is imagined. 

No problem there, the point of natural theology is to find basic assumptions that the religious and nonreligious alike agree on so that we can actually have a discussion - basic metaphysical principles provide that foundation because they have universal intuitive plausibility (e.g. everything that begins to exist must have a cause). 
Whether something is intuitive or incredibly difficult to understand has no bearing at all on whether or not it's true.  The Sun moving around the Earth is intuitive.  It's also wrong. 

And the idea that everything begins to exist must have a cause is not nearly as intuitive as it once was.  Our recent discoveries about the quantum world seem to counter the example you used.  Also, when you say everything 'that begins' to exist must have a cause, you insert a time variable into the scenario which may or may not carry on past the origin of our universe itself.  It asserts that there was always something before... when in reality, the entire idea of 'before' and 'after' is not as simple as it may seem, especially with the knowledge that time is relative to speed and space, and that time essentially began with the creation of the universe.  At best (if we ignore the quantum world), you could say that 'after the creation of the universe, everything that began to exist had a cause'.  The whole premise breaks down at that birth of the universe because there was no 'time' before that. 

You don't think that rational introspection gives you any sense of which is more plausible - the first premise of the cosmological argument or its negation?
Why do you think plausibility matters in terms of whats true or not true? How many times has science proven things are nowhere near as simple as they seem, and that things that were once considered highly plausible, turned out to be horribly wrong?  Plausibility isn't even remotely synonymous with true. 

The Copernican Principle seems reasonable, but I didn't reach that conclusion by doing a science experiment.
At one time, the entire world considered that principle to be utterly outrageous.  Deductive reasoning (in the absence of relevant facts), and rational introspection, along with a good bit of egotism is why it was considered ridiculous.  Science is what has made that principle far more reasonable.  Not philosophy, deductive reasoning, or rational introspection. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2013, 08:21:52 PM »
"X is intuitive" is another way of saying "X corresponds to my biases".

It's a statement about one's self, not about X.
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Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2013, 12:59:21 AM »
"X is intuitive" is another way of saying "X corresponds to my biases".

It's a statement about one's self, not about X.

     The following statement corresponds to my biases: If p then q: p therefore q.  I think, however, that it is a little bit more than simply a 'bias' on my part, otherwise I would think that there would be plenty of other people who would think differently. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2013, 01:19:30 AM »
     Can you tell me what Descartes proved (in the ontological world) to same level of satisfaction that the scientific method provides us in terms of the physical world?  Or to any level of satisfaction at all?  Thought experiments are fun, but they inevitably take us nowhere in terms of discovering truth.

     Our 'level of satisfaction' with the things we have learned through the scientific method is directly limited by how successful we think that Descartes or subsequent philosophers have been in answering the BIV question.  If you don't think that Descartes was successful then you have no way of knowing if your scientific knowledge is anything more than a guess generated by your imagination.   

     But the results of that imagined science will give me a new understanding of the universe I have imagined.  It will give me knowledge and information to utilize within that realm that is effective and useful.  So yes, you can do science, even if it is imagined.

     Really?? At this point I am really wondering why it would matter at all if Median is correct and all I have is an imagined, non-existent being - it would certainly be just as useful as your imagined 'science'; after all, if we are BIV's then we aren't going anywhere are we?  Furthermore, in addition to the real science that is actually being done, maybe you could augment it with some of your imaginary stuff - maybe it will turn out to be more useful.  At any rate I'd love to see you run that one by a scientist like Dawkins - science could also be constituted by me imagining to make 'empirical observations' of imaginary entities??


Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2013, 01:46:41 AM »
     Whether something is intuitive or incredibly difficult to understand has no bearing at all on whether or not it's true.  The Sun moving around the Earth is intuitive.  It's also wrong.


     People didn't believe that the Sun revolved around the earth because of intuition (in the philosophical sense); they believed it because that is what their observations appeared to be telling them (e.g. the Sun appears to rise in the morning and move across the sky - interesting, isn't it, how observation led us astray). 

     And the idea that everything begins to exist must have a cause is not nearly as intuitive as it once was.  Our recent discoveries about the quantum world seem to counter the example you used.


     Yeah, if you subscribe to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics; and your empirical evidence that privileges that interpretation over the Bohmian model is...?

     Also, when you say everything 'that begins' to exist must have a cause, you insert a time variable into the scenario which may or may not carry on past the origin of our universe itself.  It asserts that there was always something before...

     Then let me help you out with your statement that "[time] may or may not carry on past the origin of our universe itself" - it doesn't.  The standard model posits the origin of the space-time continuum at the Big Bang which incidentally is a bit of a problem for your atheistic position.  That's why the history of cosmology over the last 60 years can be described as a continuous series of failed attempts to usurp the standard Big Bang model - including Hawkings proposition that we simply re-graph time and space in imaginary numbers to make the initial singularity 'disappear'.  Also, the first premise of the cosmological argument does not require a cause temporally prior to the Big Bang itself, it requires a cause logically prior - there is a big difference. 

     Why do you think plausibility matters in terms of whats true or not true? How many times has science proven things are nowhere near as simple as they seem, and that things that were once considered highly plausible, turned out to be horribly wrong?  Plausibility isn't even remotely synonymous with true.


     Agreed, but plausibility is synonymous with what we believe to be true, and until you can figure out a way to get rid of the intermediate linkage (e.g. our sensory system) between the real world and the beliefs we actually hold, you will be stuck with 'plausibility'. 

     At one time, the entire world considered that principle [the Copernican principle] to be utterly outrageous.  Deductive reasoning (in the absence of relevant facts), and rational introspection, along with a good bit of egotism is why it was considered ridiculous.  Science is what has made that principle far more reasonable.  Not philosophy, deductive reasoning, or rational introspection.

     Science has not made the Copernican principle more 'reasonable'; epistemic necessity has.  If you don't assume it (through intuition or whatever) then you also cannot claim to learn anything from the observations you have made or are making of distant galaxies. 
     

Offline The Gawd

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Re: Introductory Questions
« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2013, 04:54:37 AM »
How did we get to the BIV state?

See how we must twist reality beyond recognition to try to come up with some possible way for this god fellow to possibly be real. All we have is what we can experience one way or another. If we are a BIV then there is no reason why other BIVs are coming up with the same conclusions scientifically as all the results would be subject to the whims of the particular brain.........kinda like religion. Fact is we all experience the same exact world. You dont see magical events EVER. You dont see amputees being healed. You dont see mountains flying into the sea. You dont see multitudes being fed with regenerated fish and bread. You dont see it, neither do we. That is our reality. The question is why do you then claim to see the items I just listed?