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Are all things caused?  Or can there be acausal things?
Posted: 29 March 2007 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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And where does this confirmation of “infinite totality” come from?

Observation?

You are equivocating “verification/falsification” with “observation”. Science is a methodology not a position. I suppose “mathematics” by your definition is “observation” as well.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”]And where does this confirmation of “infinite totality” come from? Observation?

The concept of an infinite totality is the consequence of excercising logic fully. 

You are equivocating “verification/falsification” with “observation”.

No.  Clearly there can be observation without an attempt at verification/falsification.  But you can’t verify or falsify a theory without testifying to observation.  A scientists verifies his theory by applying it to the empirical world - he anticipates his prediction by observing and noting the outcome of experiment.  Verification and falsification rest upon observed outcomes.

Science is a methodology not a position.

Yes, a methodology that depends on empirical observation.  If you remove that one vital ingredient then it ceases to be the methodology that it is.

I suppose “mathematics” by your definition is “observation” as well.

No.  On it’s own, math is a definitional reality, one that is divorced from the world of empirical observation.  How can the concept of the number 1, 2 or 3 be verified or falsified?  They are true by definition.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”][quote author=“skepticdave”]And where does this confirmation of “infinite totality” come from? Observation?

The concept of an infinite totality is the consequence of excercising logic fully.

 
Sounds like a strawman if not a euphemistic way of treading around ‘observation’.

You are equivocating “verification/falsification” with “observation”.

No.  Clearly there can be observation without an attempt at verification/falsification.  But you can’t verify or falsify a theory without testifying to observation.  A scientists verifies his theory by applying it to the empirical world - he anticipates his prediction by observing and noting the outcome of experiment.  Verification and falsification rest upon observed outcomes.

As opposed to what? Don’t observe it and it is true/not true???? What?

Science is a methodology not a position.

Yes, a methodology that depends on empirical observation.  If you remove that one vital ingredient then it ceases to be the methodology that it is.

I suppose “mathematics” by your definition is “observation” as well.

No.  On it’s own, math is a definitional reality, one that is divorced from the world of empirical observation.  How can the concept of the number 1, 2 or 3 be verified or falsified?  They are true by definition.

True by definition?
Do you have a better definition for putting men on the moon and bringing them back? Is your definition of time relative or absolute?

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Posted: 31 March 2007 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Dave: And where does this confirmation of “infinite totality” come from? Observation?

Cory: The concept of an infinite totality is the consequence of excercising logic fully.
Dave: Sounds like a strawman if not a euphemistic way of treading around ‘observation’.

Do you honestly think that infinity can be empirically observed?

Dave: You are equivocating “verification/falsification” with “observation”.

Cory: No.  Clearly there can be observation without an attempt at verification/falsification.  But you can’t verify or falsify a theory without testifying to observation.  A scientists verifies his theory by applying it to the empirical world - he anticipates his prediction by observing and noting the outcome of experiment.  Verification and falsification rest upon observed outcomes.

Dave: As opposed to what? Don’t observe it and it is true/not true????

a) Logical (absolute/definitional) truth

VS

b) observational (scientific/relative) truths.

The later, observational truths, are thoughts whose truth depends on conditions that might later be proven as misunderstood or incomplete. 

For instance, even to this day, there is the strong sensation that the sun moves around the stationary earth.  But we can gain a new perspective of the conditions and this new perspective gives us the sensation that the earth is in motion, going around the sun.  And this is true relative to how things appear from our new vantage point.  But this isnt the whole truth, it’s just a fragment.  It’s only relative, because the solar system as a whole is in movement, going around what?  And, so on and so forth.  Observational truth is invariably incomplete extending invariably beyond our senses.  The senses are a door, yet a barrier.  And it is the excercising of logical, philosophical, definitional truth that tells us this. 

The fact that observation is finite, is true simply as a consequence to having faith in our definitions.  Our senses tell us that a mountain is huge and solid.  But with logic we can extrapolate and see that the opposite is also true.  With 1 million years from birds eye view, the moutain is small and fluid.   

Dave: Science is a methodology not a position.

Cory: Yes, a methodology that depends on empirical observation.  If you remove that one vital ingredient then it ceases to be the methodology that it is.

Dave: I suppose “mathematics” by your definition is “observation” as well.

No.  On it’s own, math is a definitional reality.  The concept of the number 1, 2 or 3 are true by logical definition.  1=1, 2=2, 3=3, etc. 

All numbers, as well as the concept of infinity are just logical consequences to having faith in the most fundamental laws of mathematics.  There is no scientific test you can devise to either prove or disprove mathematics.  It’s a definitional reality that you either have faith in or you don’t.   

[quote author=“Dave”]

True by definition?

Do you have a better definition for putting men on the moon and bringing them back?

Sorry, I’m not sure what are you trying to get at there.  Care to elaborate?

Is your definition of time relative or absolute?

Time, by definition, is relative to conditions, it’s not absolute.  Some birds percieve in 64 frames per second.  24 frames per second gives humans the sensation of unbroken motion.  If a bird were to watch a film going at 24 frames per-second they would percieve a sequence of frozen, choppy images, one after the other.  What we percieve as an unbroken sound, birds would percieve as a sequence of distinct peeps.

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Posted: 01 April 2007 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]

For instance, even to this day, there is the strong sensation that the sun moves around the stationary earth.  But we can gain a new perspective of the conditions and this new perspective gives us the sensation that the earth is in motion, going around the sun.  And this is true relative to how things appear from our new vantage point.  But this isnt the whole truth, it’s just a fragment.  It’s only relative, because the solar system as a whole is in movement, going around what?

Therein lies the problem: Yes, intuitiveness leads one to think the earth is stationary but empirical observation and prediction contradicts this. The proposition above whether the earth is stationary or not does not include any propositions about the galaxy or greater universe just whether the earth orbits the sun or vice versa. Until you bolt on and imply the other circumstances, it’s a pretty simple question if left just to the original question and if it is left in context: heliocentrism or geocentrism? True our solar system is in an outer arm of a much bigger spiral galaxy that travels around a super massive black hole.

Although some galaxies collide the majority are all travelling away from each other. Orbiting around ‘our’ supermassive black hole is a star that is orbiting the black hole faster than some electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom! But it’s not the other way around unless you confabulate the original question with the relativity of position in the universe and that there is no absolute position or even a center to the universe so yes, at the end of the day it is relative but the original claim of what is orbiting around what remains and it has a true/false answer.

 

And, so on and so forth.  Observational truth is invariably incomplete extending invariably beyond our senses.  The senses are a door, yet a barrier.  And it is the excercising of logical, philosophical, definitional truth that tells us this.

 

That sounds like a reference to the “relativity of wrong”. It is more wrong to say the earth is flat than to say it is spherical. It is neither but the flat earth hypothesis is more wrong and the spherical one just incomplete.

The fact that observation is finite, is true simply as a consequence to having faith in our definitions.  Our senses tell us that a mountain is huge and solid.  But with logic we can extrapolate and see that the opposite is also true.  With 1 million years from birds eye view, the moutain is small and fluid.

   
Hmmm, I don’t get it.


Do you have a better definition for putting men on the moon and bringing them back?

Sorry, I’m not sure what are you trying to get at there.  Care to elaborate?

What I meant was you can use Newton’s equations to put and bring back safely people on the moon. Make up your own “equations” and see what happens. Mathematicians invent the symbols that represent how the universe works but they didn’t invent the laws, they discovered them.

Time, by definition, is relative to conditions, it’s not absolute.  Some birds percieve in 64 frames per second.  24 frames per second gives humans the sensation of unbroken motion.  If a bird were to watch a film going at 24 frames per-second they would percieve a sequence of frozen, choppy images, one after the other.  What we percieve as an unbroken sound, birds would percieve as a sequence of distinct peeps.

That’s interesting about the perceptions of birds but how can you assert that when the conclusions are based on the empirical scientific method? Yes time is very relative. That’s what Einstenian GR predicts, among other things, and the predicitions and explanations of GR have be confirmed again and again. Although it too is an incomplete theory, for it has no answer just yet of a quantum theory of gravity, that doesn’t make it flat wrong.

“In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”
Stephen J. Gould

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Posted: 03 April 2007 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I’m going to be very busy right up until the 20th of April, so I probably won’t get to reply to this until the end of the month - - I hope to continue the discussions though.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]I’m going to be very busy right up until the 20th of April, so I probably won’t get to reply to this until the end of the month - - I hope to continue the discussions though.

Right on.
That’s fine.

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Posted: 25 April 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”]

The proposition above whether the earth is stationary or not does not include any propositions about the galaxy or greater universe just whether the earth orbits the sun or vice versa. Until you bolt on and imply the other circumstances, it’s a pretty simple question if left just to the original question and if it is left in context: heliocentrism or geocentrism? True our solar system is in an outer arm of a much bigger spiral galaxy that travels around a super massive black hole. Although some galaxies collide the majority are all travelling away from each other. Orbiting around ‘our’ supermassive black hole is a star that is orbiting the black hole faster than some electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom! But it’s not the other way around unless you confabulate the original question with the relativity of position in the universe and that there is no absolute position or even a center to the universe so yes, at the end of the day it is relative but the original claim of what is orbiting around what remains and it has a true/false answer.


I agree that science can give us certainty relative to conditions, but those conditions are not guaranteed to be absolutely true, the point of view could abruptly change.  We can never be sure we know everything.  Nothing teaches us this lesson as well as Quantum physics.

 

It is more wrong to say the earth is flat than to say it is spherical. It is neither but the flat earth hypothesis is more wrong and the spherical one just incomplete.


That’s right, science gives us approximations that we can be certain of due to what the data appears to suggest.  The certainty lasts until further evidence suggests otherwise.

 
[quote author=“Dave”][quote author=“Cory”] The fact that observation is finite, is true simply as a consequence to having faith in our definitions.  Our senses tell us that a mountain is huge and solid.  But with logic we can extrapolate and see that the opposite is also true.  With 1 million years from birds eye view, the mountain is small and fluid.

Hmmm, I don’t get it.


The point is that empirical observations can only give us an approximation that are relative to our limited vantage point.  In otherwords, unlike absolute truths, empirical/scientific truths are not guaranteed to apply in all possible worlds.

Dave: Do you have a better definition for putting men on the moon and bringing them back?

Cory: Sorry, I’m not sure what are you trying to get at there.  Care to elaborate?
Dave: What I meant was you can use Newton’s equations to put and bring back safely people on the moon. Make up your own “equations” and see what happens. Mathematicians invent the symbols that represent how the universe works but they didn’t invent the laws, they discovered them.


Well, just because mathematical formulas make predictions, doesn’t mean they explain reality.  Furthermore, the predictions aren’t guaranteed, as shuttle launches do go wrong.  There are always other variables unaccounted for which make prediction invariably less than 100% guaranteed.  A theory like Newton’s law is more a useful tool then an absolute truth.  The tool might be useless in another universe.

Cory: Time, by definition, is relative to conditions, it’s not absolute.  Some birds perceive in 64 frames per second.  24 frames per second gives humans the sensation of unbroken motion.  If a bird were to watch a film going at 24 frames per-second they would perceive a sequence of frozen, choppy images, one after the other.  What we perceive as an unbroken sound, birds would perceive as a sequence of distinct peeps.


Dave: That’s interesting about the perceptions of birds but how can you assert that when the conclusions are based on the empirical scientific method?

I’m demonstrating how the scientific method reveals its own limitations to itself.  Scientific truths are inherently limited by definition and will never be able to give us absolute certainty about reality.  The absolute truth about empirical reality is invariably subjective, reality is created by our consciousness and eludes the grasp of science.

“In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”

Stephen J. Gould


I try to keep up to date with science, its very helpful.  All I’m saying is that the truths that science give us do not and cannot, by their very nature, absolutely explain everything.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I try to keep up to date with science, its very helpful.  All I’m saying is that the truths that science give us do not and cannot, by their very nature, absolutely explain everything.

And what is that hypothesis/conclusion based on?

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Posted: 27 April 2007 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I try to keep up to date with science, its very helpful.  All I’m saying is that the truths that science give us do not and cannot, by their very nature, absolutely explain everything.

And what is that hypothesis/conclusion based on?

Pure logic. 

With pure logic we define science as a method resting upon empiricism.  Empirical observation is limited. 

Therefore, by definition, science is not in the position to confirm or deny the infinite. (no, by infinite I am not refering to some cosmic intelligence or anything like that, I’m an athiest) 

Science is in no position to speak of anything other than what is observable to the senses.  If we are to adhere to logic, we must conclude that the infinte is not observable.

That’s an ‘a priori’ absolute truth.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”][quote author=“skepticdave”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I try to keep up to date with science, its very helpful.  All I’m saying is that the truths that science give us do not and cannot, by their very nature, absolutely explain everything.

And what is that hypothesis/conclusion based on?

Pure logic. 

With pure logic we define science as a method resting upon empiricism.  Empirical observation is limited. 

Therefore, by definition, science is not in the position to confirm or deny the infinite. (no, by infinite I am not refering to some cosmic intelligence or anything like that, I’m an athiest) 

Science is in no position to speak of anything other than what is observable to the senses.  If we are to adhere to logic, we must conclude that the infinte is not observable.

That’s an ‘a priori’ absolute truth.

It seems to me you keep hiding behind “pure logic’ without saying what it really is. How do humans know “pure logic”? What sense organ do you use to arrive at that conclusion?

At the end of the day it’s all about the human brain…...and prediction. Evolution, Big Bang and GR/SR have come from prediction because the predictions have been conclusive.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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By the way, science has never attempted to explain everything. Science is about discovery. The scientific method is the best method for understanding causation, with new discoveries usually comes new questions.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”]
How do humans know “pure logic”?

By defining it.

What sense organ do you use to arrive at that conclusion?

The definitions we make based on what we sense is one thing, and the a priori implications of those definitions are another.  When we deduce the implications of our definitions, we are excercising pure logic, doing what science cannot do.

When we take the data we have gathered via observation and conclude something like ‘the big bang’ occured, we are doing science.  We when realize that we don’t know what happened before the big bang, we are doing philosophy. 

At the end of the day it’s all about the human brain…...and prediction.

What you mean by ‘it’s all about the human brain’?  Sounds very anthropocentric.  Artificial intelligence and Alien intelligences residing in others galaxies and other universes are possibilities.

As for prediction - having a sense of probability is indeed important if we are to value something.  However, science cannot tell us precisely what we should value. 

Evolution, Big Bang and GR/SR have come from prediction because the predictions have been conclusive.

Science is a very useful tool.

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Posted: 27 April 2007 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
By defining it.

Subjectivism is self-defining, mind you.

The definitions we make based on what we sense is one thing, and the a priori implications of those definitions are another.  When we deduce the implications of our definitions, we are excercising pure logic, doing what science cannot do.

Give me an example.

When we take the data we have gathered via observation and conclude something like ‘the big bang’ occured, we are doing science.  We when realize that we don’t know what happened before the big bang, we are doing philosophy.

When we realize we don’t know what came before or caused the big bang we are agnostic about the issue and that is a part of the scientific method. Until all the data and evidence is in you simply state you can not claim a conclusion.
 

What you mean by ‘it’s all about the human brain’?  Sounds very anthropocentric.  Artificial intelligence and Alien intelligences residing in others galaxies and other universes are possibilities.

Exactly, I didn’t mean to say the ‘human brain’ is the end all of intelligence. I wonder what an alien intelligence would think of our a priori arguments??? To say a priori is the end all is indeed anthropocentric.

As for prediction - having a sense of probability is indeed important if we are to value something.  However, science cannot tell us precisely what we should value.

I never said it did and I would opine that we should, as a species, value knowledge based on empiricism. 

Science is a very useful tool.

Agreed.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
By defining it.

Subjectivism is self-defining, mind you.

 

I’m not sure what you mean here. 

[quote author=“SkepticDave”]

The definitions we make based on what we sense is one thing, and the a priori implications of those definitions are another.  When we deduce the implications of our definitions, we are excercising pure logic, doing what science cannot do.

Give me an example.

Ok,

If we define the word distinction as: ‘the recognizing or noting of differences’ then the a priori consequences of such a definition is the conclusion ‘a distinction cannot exist independently, but requires for its very existence a background and boundary of some sort distinguishing it from other.
 
Therefore we can say with absolute certainty that a thing cannot exist without causes.

If we define consciousness as the process of making distinctions (e.g. identifying things) then the a priori consequence of that definition is that it is absolutely impossible to be conscious unless one percieves distinctions. 

[quote author=“Dave”]

When we take the data we have gathered via observation and conclude something like ‘the big bang’ occured, we are doing science.  We when realize that we don’t know what happened before the big bang, we are doing philosophy.

When we realize we don’t know what came before or caused the big bang we are agnostic about the issue and that is a part of the scientific method.

I find agnosticism a bit of a wishy-washy ideology.  I know with absolute certainty that an all-powerful and infinite God doesn’t exist.

God is defined to be all-powerful and infinite, but existence is defined as finite and limited. So, to say that God exists is to say “the infinite is finite” - I reject this as absurd in the same way that I might reject the nonsensical or mad notion that “black is white”.

Until all the data and evidence is in you simply state you cannot claim a conclusion.

Yes, I can claim with absolute certainty that an infinitely powerful, all-loving God does not exist.
 
[quote author=“Dave”]

What you mean by ‘it’s all about the human brain’?  Sounds very anthropocentric.  Artificial intelligence and Alien intelligences residing in others galaxies and other universes are possibilities.

Exactly, I didn’t mean to say the ‘human brain’ is the end all of intelligence. I wonder what an alien intelligence would think of our a priori arguments???

Haha, they may have a bit of anthropocentricism themselves.

To say a priori is the end all is indeed anthropocentric.

What do you mean by ‘end all’?  All I’m saying is that people should be conscious of what can be known for sure and be likewise conscious of what can’t be known for sure.   

[quote author=“Dave”]

As for prediction - having a sense of probability is indeed important if we are to value something.  However, science cannot tell us precisely what we should value.

I never said it did and I would opine that we should, as a species, value knowledge based on empiricism. 

And I will go one step further and suggest that we should also value philosophical knowledge.

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