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dunrewpp
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March 17th, 2010, 5:06 am

I see a number of problems with treating science (or anything for that matter) with broad strokes. Have you ever looked at an army of Chinese soldiers from afar? They all look spitting carbon copies of each other. But when you get close enough to them, you begin to notice individual differences, at which point you can tell one from another. Well, at some level - if you force it - everything we say is belief. Isn't it? If that's where you want to stay at, then fine. That's your choice. But, as we take a closer look at, say, Judaism, on the one hand, and science, on the other hand, we begin to see so many significant differences between them that calling them by the same denotative entirely misses the point of having and using words and language in the first place.Why am I saying this? You knew all this already. The question is: why do you pretend you are posing a serious challenge, when in apparent fact, you are not? Correct me if I am wrong.Can we agree that science deals with publicly testable, verifiable, falsifiable assertions (which then attain the status of knowledge), where beliefs have not yet reached that status, and, in fact, many, like religions, 'will' never reach that status.By the way, do you think mathematics is a belief system? Why do you think so?QuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaQuoteOriginally posted by: HamiltonQuoteBy teaching them science -- as has been explained many times in the OT forum, but apparently you don't read anything which conflicts with your belief system. No, I don't read anything that takes up my precious time writing a screenplay. I must have missed it amongst all your posts. So, if I understand you correctly,science and belief systems are different?Good one, Hamilton!Given that science is a system for constructing (and testing) beliefs, it seems to be the mother of all belief systems. And given the crucial role of science in creating all manner of military technologies (and toxic industrial processes), it might be safe to say that science has indirectly killed it's fair share of folk.I may be one of the last people to become a apostate scientist, but I'd have to be blind (and amoral) not to consider the bad (and good) effects of science as a belief system on humanity.
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March 17th, 2010, 11:58 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppQuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaGiven that science is a system for constructing (and testing) beliefs, it seems to be the mother of all belief systems. And given the crucial role of science in creating all manner of military technologies (and toxic industrial processes), it might be safe to say that science has indirectly killed it's fair share of folk.I see a number of problems with treating science (or anything for that matter) with broad strokes. Have you ever looked at an army of Chinese soldiers from afar? They all look spitting carbon copies of each other. But when you get close enough to them, you begin to notice individual differences, at which point you can tell one from another. Well, at some level - if you force it - everything we say is belief. Isn't it? If that's where you want to stay at, then fine. That's your choice. But, as we take a closer look at, say, Judaism, on the one hand, and science, on the other hand, we begin to see so many significant differences between them that calling them by the same denotative entirely misses the point of having and using words and language in the first place.Why am I saying this? You knew all this already. The question is: why do you pretend you are posing a serious challenge, when in apparent fact, you are not? Correct me if I am wrong.Very interesting!No doubt there are significant differences between Judaism and science just as there are significant differences between Judaism and shamanism. Clearly, belief systems have diversity. But, the fact that two things have differences doesn't imply that don't share similarities or that they don't belong to the same set.To me, the crucial question is: can science be a substitute for religion? (Note: I'm not asking if they are necessarily mutually exclusive because people might blend science and a religion just as they blend two religions). In any case, I'd say that science can substitute for religion (and I suspect Fermion would agree). To the extent that this substitution is possible, then science and religion belong to the same set. I'd call that set the set of "belief systems" but perhaps there's a nomenclature issue here. Perhaps others might call it the set of worldviews or the set of epistemologies.QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppCan we agree that science deals with publicly testable, verifiable, falsifiable assertions (which then attain the status of knowledge), where beliefs have not yet reached that status, and, in fact, many, like religions, 'will' never reach that status.A belief is defined as "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction." By that definition, both science and religion include a set of beliefs. I do agree that science and religion take very different methods for creating and maintaining knowledge.Perhaps I've studied too much cognitive science and regular science to think that science can ever create absolute truths, only beliefs of varying degrees of confidence. The limitations of our senses, brains, and experimental resources conspires with the complexity and capriciousness of the universe to limit our acquisition of truths (perhaps even prevent it altogether). The problem is that all falsifications may, themselves, suffer from later falsification due to a later discovery of some source of systemic or stochastic experimental error.Some might argue that it is science that creates weaker beliefs because science's tentivative hypotheses and theories can never reach the level of certainty provided by religion. (The merits and demerits of religion's supposed certainties is another much longer discussion.)QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppBy the way, do you think mathematics is a belief system? Why do you think so?That's a very interesting question. Can math be a substitute for religion? I'd say no. Can math be a substitute for science? I'd say no.
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March 17th, 2010, 2:08 pm

Quotegardener3 - there is a reason for saying you are quite a piece of work.Why do you let the discussion wander far and wide when you can stick to one thing at a time, finish it, then move on? I am sure your logic and you logical analysis of my posts are very impressive, indeed, no doubt, absolutely, yessirrie, positively ... to you. But you never answered a simple question I asked, which is related to my calling you a liar. So, will you please answer the question? What community or country of atheists did you live day and night for 10 or more years? This seemed like a rhetorical question since you already gave the answer. You said that an atheist community/country does not exist, and anyone who claims otherwise is a liar, right? I thought it would be sufficient to show that such community/country does in fact exist to answer your ‘question’. Doesn't that seem reasonable as an answer? My guess is that you see now that it was a silly statement, and are now claiming that it is possible for atheist communities to exist, but I (who you've never met and know absolutely nothing about) do not belong to one. Is that right? Is that why I am a liar? If this is not a statement of fact or a rhetorical question, and you are curious about me, then I can tell you When you think about a community you probably imagine a small town in the middle of nowhere, houses with big yards, friendly neighbors having bbq, kids going to the same school, people going to church on Sunday, etc. I live in a pretty big city and within a 5 mile radiaus there are probably enough people to fill 50 such little towns. I lived in my new apartment for 8 months now I have no friggin idea who the neighbors living next door are. I couldn’t describe their faces let alone tell you their religious preferences. I'd say my community is my family, co-workers, and friends, not places or neighborhoods. So say I define my community as people with whom I spend more than 80% of time interacting each day. My spouse and everyone in my immediate family except for one sibling are atheists. I probably know the religous beliefs of about 80% of my friends and co-workers. I'd say at least 50% of them are atheists, probably more like 70%. In graduate school (another community) I’d say the percentage of atheists were even higher, but that was only for 5 years QuoteYou have struggled valiantly to show that my experiences do not qualify me to make a universal judgment about all muslims, and that even my questions are not valid or relevant. You made a valid point when you noted that anecdotal claims are not good evidence. You could have stopped me right there and said that you do not believe my claim. But you went further and gave your experience with atheists. And so on ... It is extremely difficult to provide any scientifically valid evidence for my claim (like the kind gathered from a wide swath of the muslim population). You have every right to counter my claim with your hard hitting scientific evidence. But what you are saying is that my actual experiences of a lifetime have little universality, if at all. So, if I had documented my encounters with the muslims, just like anthropologists do, would that have been acceptable to you? I hate use that word again, but how does it “logically” follow that writing down your experience necessarily makes it universal? If an anthropologist studying some African tribe starts inferring things about blacks in Chicago because of they share the same skin color, would it matter that they are called anthropologists and that they write down their observations? And is that what you think anthropologists do?
 
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March 17th, 2010, 4:55 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: Traden4AlphaA belief is defined as "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction." By that definition, both science and religion include a set of beliefs. No. Although some scientists might have beliefs about what their theories (and often do) it contradicts the fundamental difference between science and belief, which you again seek to obscure.QuotePerhaps I've studied too much cognitive science and regular science to think that science can ever create absolute truths,Finally, you're getting the point...Quoteonly beliefs of varying degrees of confidence.Which, by your own definition, are not beliefs (because they are not firmly held) but hypotheses.QuoteThe limitations of our senses, brains, and experimental resources conspires with the complexity and capriciousness of the universe to limit our acquisition of truths (perhaps even prevent it altogether). The problem is that all falsifications may, themselves, suffer from later falsification due to a later discovery of some source of systemic or stochastic experimental error.Irrelevant to the distinction between science and belief systems.QuoteSome might argue that it is science that creates weaker beliefs because science's tentivative hypotheses and theories can never reach the level of certainty provided by religion.That is why they are not beliefs hut hypotheses.
 
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March 17th, 2010, 5:11 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppBy the way, do you think mathematics is a belief system? Why do you think so?Mathematics: The combination of definition with logic to make quantitative deductions about abstract concepts.Science: The application of falsifiable working hypotheses of how to use mathematics (or non-quantitative logic) to describe nature.Although a philosopher could no doubt make extensive critiques of these simplistic summaries, they are sufficient to show that neither incorporates belief.
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March 17th, 2010, 10:04 pm

T4A wrote:QuoteTo me, the crucial question is: can science be a substitute for religion?To the extent that this substitution is possible, then science and religion belong to the same set.Do you mean whether a person can behold science the same way that a person beholds Christianity? Is a system of interrelated assertions a belief system relative to the beholding person or is it so in and of itself regardless of any beholder? If Mr. Flintstone beholds a piece of rock as his religion, isn't the piece of rock just a piece rock, regardless of Mr. Flintstone's beliefs?T4A wrote: QuoteA belief is defined as "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction." By that definition, both science and religion include a set of beliefs. I do agree that science and religion take very different methods for creating and maintaining knowledge.This statement is so broad, so diffuse, (recalling the Chinese army example) that it makes any serious discussion over the difference between religion and science unhelpful. Science is ... - well, you know - what it is (saved a thousand words right here), and religion is way way different from it. And what's this thing "knowledge" you attribute to religion? We can't, shouldn't, just throw around venerable words like "knowledge". What is knowledge, anyway, if it is not publicly and objectively verifiable, falsifiable? What is a most recent piece of knowledge created by any proper religion?Let's see if you agree with the following:Language, like many other things, is a tool - a very special one - that helps us navigate our way through the world (both the external and the private internal). Whenever two things become noticeably different, we humans tend to communicate that difference by denoting them by different words. In English there are many words referring to types (not meaning breeds) of horse (mare, stud, etc.). Many languages do not have such differentiating words, and contend with only a few. Eskimos are said to have many names for different types of snow. In many languages, there is maybe just one word for snow. The point is that to Eskimos the differences are noticeable, hence the corresponding words for each type. The 'beliefs' produced by science are so noticeably hugely different from those produced by religion, that jamming both science and religion into the same square box does disservice to both, as well as to us.
 
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March 18th, 2010, 10:59 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppT4A wrote:QuoteTo me, the crucial question is: can science be a substitute for religion?To the extent that this substitution is possible, then science and religion belong to the same set.Do you mean whether a person can behold science the same way that a person beholds Christianity? Is a system of interrelated assertions a belief system relative to the beholding person or is it so in and of itself regardless of any beholder? If Mr. Flintstone beholds a piece of rock as his religion, isn't the piece of rock just a piece rock, regardless of Mr. Flintstone's beliefs?I'm not sure whether "beholding" is the right term. I'd be more likely say that science may have the same role in one person's life as the role of religion in another person's life. Or I might say that people use science and use religion in similar ways to answer similar questions about cosmology (where did the universe come from?), the consequences of actions (is eating pork good or bad?), and outcomes (what happens when I die?). Clearly, science and religion use extremely different internal methods and get different answers, but they have similar roles and a person substitute one for the other if they choose.If 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.QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppT4A wrote: QuoteA belief is defined as "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction." By that definition, both science and religion include a set of beliefs. I do agree that science and religion take very different methods for creating and maintaining knowledge.This statement is so broad, so diffuse, (recalling the Chinese army example) that it makes any serious discussion over the difference between religion and science unhelpful. Science is ... - well, you know - what it is (saved a thousand words right here), and religion is way way different from it. And what's this thing "knowledge" you attribute to religion? We can't, shouldn't, just throw around venerable words like "knowledge". What is knowledge, anyway, if it is not publicly and objectively verifiable, falsifiable? Your veneration of the word "knowledge" sounds quite religious to me. The dictionary does not restrict the word knowledge to only include that which is generated by science. The most relevant dictionary says "knowledge = justified belief" but it provides no insight into whether one might use theological, mathematical, or scientific methods to create justification.A scientist would assert that their knowledge comes from a combination of logic and experiment -- scientists falsify/verify statements using experiments. A religious person would assert that their knowledge comes from a combination of logic and scripture -- theologians falsify/verify statements using scripture. A deeper study would reveal that most people (on both sides) only have an indirect connection to most of the knowledge they believe to be true. That is, they know most of what they know because some other scientist, theologian or educator told them it was true.QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppWhat is a most recent piece of knowledge created by any proper religion?I'm not a religious scholar, so my sampling of recent religious knowledge is pretty meager. The most recent one that I'm aware of would be the last fall's ruling that Orthodox Jews can't use elevators on the Sabbath, not even ones designed to get around previous rules that prohibited adherents from doing the work of pressing the button that made the elevator move. Now you may not consider that to be proper knowledge but the rabbis would argue that it is knowledge in the sense that it is a belief that they justified using their methods of logic in conjunction with their scripture. Fundamentalist Christians would similarly assert that what is written in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution doesn't count as proper knowledge.QuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppLet's see if you agree with the following:Language, like many other things, is a tool - a very special one - that helps us navigate our way through the world (both the external and the private internal). Whenever two things become noticeably different, we humans tend to communicate that difference by denoting them by different words. In English there are many words referring to types (not meaning breeds) of horse (mare, stud, etc.). Many languages do not have such differentiating words, and contend with only a few. Eskimos are said to have many names for different types of snow. In many languages, there is maybe just one word for snow. The point is that to Eskimos the differences are noticeable, hence the corresponding words for each type. The 'beliefs' produced by science are so noticeably hugely different from those produced by religion, that jamming both science and religion into the same square box does disservice to both, as well as to us.Yay! You and I do agree about language and humans' use of language to differentiate or group instances into categories (the Chinese soldiers are both unique individuals and belong to the same category. Chimpanzees are very different from dinosaurs and yet both are vertebrates. Science is very different from religion and yet both are belief systems (or epistemologies or some other word).Maybe we need to use set theory for this. Science and religion both belong to the universal set of all things. They also belong together in some but not all subsets of the universal set. What might be the name of the smallest set that contains both science and religion. Is it "belief systems", "epistemologies", "worldview" or what?
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March 18th, 2010, 7:03 pm

Like 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.I found your response about Mr. Flintstone quite revealing. QuoteT4A:If 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.? I 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 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.
 
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March 18th, 2010, 7:34 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: FermionMathematics: The combination of definition with logic to make quantitative deductions about abstract concepts.Science: The application of falsifiable working hypotheses of how to use mathematics (or non-quantitative logic) to describe nature.Although a philosopher could no doubt make extensive critiques of these simplistic summaries, they are sufficient to show that neither incorporates belief.Quote"Mathematics, as such," Benedict observed, "is a creation of our intelligence: [There exists] a correspondence between its structures and the real structures of the universe." Mathematics understood as such—as a systematic, conscious exposition of itself—exists only in the mind. But there is something curious about this existence in the mind, since it obviously has some relation to "real structures of the universe."Modern science and technology, Benedict continues, "presupposes" this correspondence. He refers approvingly to Galileo's famous formula: "The book of nature is written in mathematical language." What Benedict is concerned with here, however, is what he calls the "self-limitation" of science. This self-limitation is designed to restrict science from talking about anything that is not mathematical in structure. Yet no one can simply let this relationship between mathematics and the existing world sit there, unattended, in his mind. In fact, it leads to what the pope calls "a big question."Fr James Schall on Mathematics
 
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March 18th, 2010, 7:56 pm

QuoteMathematics: The combination of definition with logic to make quantitative deductions about abstract concepts.That sounds like something from before Euclid times. Since then people referred to axioms as a minimal set of information from which all other conclusions follow. Definitions aren't axioms, they are names, not the minimal information set. There are multiple other problems with this definition. Maybe Fermion should leave definitions of mathematics to the likes of Hilbert, Russell, and Whitehead. His job of liberating wilmott from capitalist exploiters of proletariat and expropriators of the means of production is hard enough.
 
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March 18th, 2010, 8:15 pm

For some, proving existence is not enough, you must construct QuoteThe pope, of course, had something else in mind. He wanted to acknowledge the place of mathematics both in itself and in its relation to nature. Contrary perhaps to Descartes, the pope did not want to have to prove the existence of God before he could relate his mental idea of things to existing things themselves. "Mathematics, as such," Benedict observed, "is a creation of our intelligence: [There exists] a correspondence between its structures and the real structures of the universe." Mathematics understood as such—as a systematic, conscious exposition of itself—exists only in the mind. But there is something curious about this existence in the mind, since it obviously has some relation to "real structures of the universe."It would not be the first time that Descartes was misunderstood..Would Fibonacci numbers exist in nature if there was no mathematics and no Leonadro of Pisa?
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March 19th, 2010, 4:39 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: zerdnaQuoteMathematics: The combination of definition with logic to make quantitative deductions about abstract concepts.That sounds like something from before Euclid times. Since then people referred to axioms as a minimal set of information from which all other conclusions follow. Definitions aren't axioms, they are names, not the minimal information set. There are multiple other problems with this definition. Maybe Fermion should leave definitions of mathematics to the likes of Hilbert, Russell, and Whitehead. His job of liberating wilmott from capitalist exploiters of proletariat and expropriators of the means of production is hard enough.Like I said, but you deleted, this was a simplistic summary of important features, sufficient for the issue of whether mathematics involves beliefs -- and that was all. Now if our resident Stalinist-apparatchik-wannabe-oligarch can tell us what sort of axioms don't depend on definitions and how they become beliefs, I'm sure we'll all be impressed.
 
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March 19th, 2010, 6:17 am

I think (and correct me if I am wrong) Bertrand Russell defined mathematics as the set of all propositions of the form "p ---> q"; that is, "p implies q". Yes, it is commonly mentioned that a mathematical theory begins with a well-formulated set of axioms (or postulates). Nonetheless, all of math (which is much bigger than my mere world of imagination), it is fair to say, is pretty much what Russell has putatively said. So, quantification, as noted by Fermion, is not a necessary part of doing math. For example, geometry can be done without quantification (though does need logical quantifiers).
 
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March 19th, 2010, 11:49 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: FermionQuoteOriginally posted by: dunrewppBy the way, do you think mathematics is a belief system? Why do you think so?Mathematics: The combination of definition with logic to make quantitative deductions about abstract concepts.Science: The application of falsifiable working hypotheses of how to use mathematics (or non-quantitative logic) to describe nature.Although a philosopher could no doubt make extensive critiques of these simplistic summaries, they are sufficient to show that neither incorporates belief.1. Scientists believe math can describe nature (i.e., that certain mathematical axioms are true in the real world)2. Scientists believe their application of logic and use of mathematics is logically correct (e.g., long chains of logic can be flawed)3. Scientists believe that their experiments are proper tests of their working hypotheses (e.g., that their control group is valid) 4. Scientists believe that the data from their experiments (i.e, that no mischievous deity has intentionally skewed the outcomes)The first and last beliefs are probably the most interesting. First, in the real world, the circumference of a circle is not 2*pi*r in the strictest mathematical sense. A host of quantum, physical, and gravitational distortions disrupt the exactness of the radial and circumferential distances. Pi may be a damn good approximation (to the first dozen or so digits), but that's all. The last belief could be called the "fossils are real" belief. If one or more deities synthesized the fossil record (and other cosmological traces of the Big Bang), then many scientific theories concerning the past dissolve into falsehood. Now some might counter-argue that hypotheses of mischievous deities are not falsifiable hypotheses and thus not scientific. And yet it doesn't change the fact that scientists must have faith in their data, especially any data coming from uncontrolled, natural experiments. At a deeper level, no hypothesis about the past is falsifiable using a properly controlled experiments because we cannot truly rewind the clock (at least not yet).
 
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March 19th, 2010, 12:58 pm

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.
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