QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppLike many other discussions, ours bifurcates at every turn just like the roots of a tree. As a result we produce too many ideas and leads in too short a time. So, I will now address a limited portion of your response.A kindred spirit! QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppI found your response about Mr. Flintstone quite revealing. QuoteIf Mr. Flintstone's rock gives him a cosmology, a set of conclusions on how to behave in the world beyond mere instinctual reaction, and some decision-making tools (not necessarily good tools), then yes. Otherwise, no.So, the same object viewed differently by different observers is different things? Yes? Are you also saying that it is impossible to understand what a piece of rock is -- as it is in and of itself -- independent of observer's point of view and 'philosophy' about life, morality, religion, etc.? Yes, different human observers would understand different attributes about a given stone for at least two reasons.First a physicist might know the properties of the unstable isotopes in the rock, a chemist might know the molecules of the rock, a geologist might know the formation of that type of rock, a civil engineer or mason might know the construction properties of the rock, a sculptor might know how the rock can be shaped. In theory, all that discipline-specific knowledge could be aggregated into one place. But in practice, no mere mortal could know everything and thus each observer has their own view.Second, the deeper reason why understanding is observer-dependent comes when the object has symbolic meaning. Is there an observer-independent view of the Rosetta stone, Stone of Scone, the Black Stone of Mecca, or the stones in the Wailing Wall? What might be sacred to some could be a profane symbol of oppression to others. In some cases the original meaning of the stone may be lost and new or embellished meanings have been created.QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppI understand that as humans we can perceive only so much, and whatever we perceive is as a result of a complex process of transformations of sense data, etc. To a bee ultraviolet light is real, but to us humans, with our limited eyesight abilities, the ultraviolet light would have always remained non-existent if it weren't for our sophisticated detector instruments. So, it is possible that there may be certain phenomena that will always remain hidden to us in every sense. Despite these limitations, we can still reliably understand our world in a 'meaningful' sense. No? I agree that we can construct some understanding but that we have limits on sensing, logic, and even psychology. A true scientist with virtually unlimited mental capacity would conditionalize each element of their understanding on a meshwork of deductive and empirical statements. If some physical constant were remeasured, if some previous chain of logic was proven false, or if some experiment was found to be flawed, then a true scientist would have to update all the statements that depend on those changed inputs. Yet can any scientist truly maintain the full meshwork of logical and empirical underpinnings to everything they know? I'd say that many scientist do know (i.e., have justifiable belief) in some subset of the ideas in their brain but that much of what they think they know is really at the level of belief because they've forgotten or never knew the full justification for the statement (i.e, they have faith in what they've been told by others although it may not be a willing-to-die-for-their-beliefs faith). Also, scientists are humans and humans often resist change if that change seems to be damaging to their personal affairs and long-held beliefs (see Kuhn)QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppI think we need to cut through the chase of all these convoluted millennial discussions we humans have. Let us devise tests for different brands of epistemology -- especially religions -- such that the adherents of 'false' epistemology will fall to their demise, thereby saving our precious time for more beneficent purposes.At rock-worshiping Mr. Flintsone, who believes -- let's say -- that a great impact with the rock will be his greatest religious attainment, let us hurl the rock with the greatest speed. There certainly will be no Mr. Flintstone in short order. That is the kind of test I have in mind. Another example: A Christian who believes in the power of prayer should be willing to stand in front of a moving train and pray hard that it stops before he is stopped from praying. Tests of this kind will clear the clutter of human debris.LOL! I agree! And yet a theologian with game theoretic tendencies would say that the train-baiting Christian is, in effect, testing their god which is a bit of a no-no. In fact, their god (at least if he is in an Old Testament mood) should smite the track-dwelling supplicant for supreme impertinence. At the very least, the religious always have the "mysterious ways" excuse that deities need not obey human logic.The deeper point is that scientists have a belief in, even a faith in testing. I'd fully agree that testing is valid for inanimate objects but argue that it may not be valid for animate ones (especially smart ones). Animate objects may well detect that they are being tested and skew the outcomes of the test for their own benefit. If you read the cog sci and psych literature you find stories in which the subject outwits the experimenter (see also the non-trivial problems with double-blind testing in medical research). This is one reason why science, as a method of creating knowledge, has deep flaws in the realm of economics and markets.
Last edited by Traden4Alpha
on March 18th, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.