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Well, That's A Pretty Emotional Response!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on November 2, 2002 23:48:23 UTC

Hi Harv,

Most of that post appears to be out and out barf!

Harv: it is my job to find out how the magician performs his tricks.

I am trying to explain it to you but you insist on misunderstanding; I suspect because you are afraid of what it portends.

Harv: What he does is change the meaning and direction of his original position, and then blames you for misunderstanding his 'original position'.

The direction of my explanation has never shifted. As I have said many times, I use the English language as a vague rudder to direct your thoughts; the problem is that your thoughts proceed down the same old rut no matter what I say. Even this response is an example: you have not made any specific response to my comments but instead, once again, retreat into vague generalities.

Harv: The fundamental problem is that you use the connotations of words (e.g., possibility, can be, etc), to develop your thesis while gradually changing the connotation to extend your thesis.

I haven't extended any thesis at all at this point! I have merely asserted 7 points as reasonable. You seem to find the direction implicated by these 7 points emotionally dangerous. (I believe you are basing your fear on where you think I am going, not on what I am saying.)

Harv: You also use simple schemes (e.g., labeling with numbers) while gradually depending on the properties of numbers.

Just exactly where have I (within the 7 points I have so far presented) said anything which depends on the properties of numbers. Again, my position is that you are scared to death of where this dialog might go and you will use any cavil you can think of to cut it off.

Harv: If I try to define a word (e.g., possible), you avoid providing a definition. If I provide a definition you object to it!

Harv, why don't you just say that you want to hold to the mathematical substitution idea in English because it benefits your cavils. If that is not the case then defend your substitution for "possible" in the two expressions "It is possible to ..." and "It is possible that ...". I hold that the English language has far too much contextual content to use such arguments and, if you have any intellectual powers at all, you should be aware of that difficulty.

Harv: Sounds all good and well. It seems like you have no problem applying one label (eg, '24', 'Ultimate Reality', 'everything that exists') to this concept, and leaving it at that. Unfortunately this is not the case as you show at the end of your text:

I have no problem applying one label because that is certainly a possibility; however, however, you seem to believe that there is no other possibility. If one is to take the position that what they believe to be true is the only possibility then there is no point to thinking at all.

Harv quotes me: "What I am doing is proposing a totally unconstrained method of quantifying descriptions of 'Ultimate Reality'. Now, if 'Ultimate Reality' is, by some stroke of luck, ever eventually fully and correctly described, then my analysis is completely and totally applicable. Meanwhile it is completely applicable to any intermediate description (whether that description is right or wrong)."

And I will stand behind that statement 100%. That statement concerns where I am going and not the reasonableness of the 7 points I presented. It in no way contradicts anything I have said in those 7 points.

Harv: Here is our chief disagreement. In order for a description of '24' (or, if you prefer, 'Ultimate Reality', 'everything that exists', etc) to be valid, we must understand the properties of '24', but this is what I'm saying that we cannot know.

The error in your statement falls to the phrase "we must understand the properties of '24'". Why must we understand anything before we can refer to it? My point is that we cannot understand anything unless we can first refer to it! Think about it once! Can't you comprehend that the constraint you are placing on your thoughts is that you cannot think about anything you do not understand? That constraint is ridiculous on the face of it. It implies you cannot think!

The issue of my presentation is that I wish to think about things I do not understand. And that is a pretty broad subject as, in opposition to your attitude, I am not at all sure I understand much of anything and I would like to be careful that I do not omit any possibilities. The absolute first step is to make sure I have a way of handling references which I do not understand. Since I must include the possibility that any given reference might be a misunderstanding, my first step should be to transform every reference to a number symbol such that I can separate the reference from a possibly mistaken understanding (understanding should be put off until I have at least a rational way of organizing the information). Having done that (in the abstract), I can proceed to think about the problem which confronts me. The difficulty with our communication is that it is a problem you have no desire to think about. In fact, I get the distinct impression that you have no desire to think about anything; all you want to do is defend the idea that the orthodox approach (i.e., don't think about it) is the only rational approach.

Harv: What are the primitives of your method? What are your axioms? Whatever they are, they may (A) or may not be (B) true of the properties of '24'. If they are true (A), well, then all is good and well. If not true (B) of '24' (or not applicable to '24'), then your method doesn't work at all.

Harv, I assure you that my method is as valid for '24' as it is for any other description of 'Ultimate Reality'. With regard to that issue, suppose I wished to talk about that part of 'Ultimate Reality' which is green? Are you trying to tell me there is no part of 'Ultimate Reality' which has the characteristic "green"? Or are you contending that the color "green" plays no part in 'Ultimate Reality'? Maybe you should go talk to Aurino about that!

Accept my 7 points as reasonable and we can talk about the next step!

Have fun-- Dick

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