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You Are Still Missing The Point!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on October 14, 2002 15:48:16 UTC

Hi Harv,

Again, I am of the opinion that you are missing the point. You are reading more into what I am saying than I am saying and essentially deflecting your attention from the point to an issue which is not even being confronted.

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Harv: I'm torn from wanting to move forward, and wanting to be intellectually honest. If I were to be fully intellectually honest, then I don't think we can know if labels can identify 'things' actually part of Ultimate Reality or not.
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I want you to be 100% intellectually honest; but it is extremely important that you understand exactly what is being said. I stated specifically that the labels did not identify anything. My position was merely that labels could be attached. You have not complained when I used the vague labels "things" to refer to what exists but balk when I wish to use the label 25 for the same thing. I am using these labels for nothing more than an abstract representation of language itself. As I think I have said on a number of occasions, you should think in terms of an attempt to understand a coded message: the first step in any attempt to decipher a coded message is to label the things you think may carry the essence of the message. When you begin this process, you have no way of knowing what is in the message so these labels can initially carry no meaning at all. In many respects, an attempt to understand "Ultimate Reality" is very analogous to the decoding problem and techniques applicable to that problem should be applicable to the problem of understanding anything.

I think the glass scratching is an attempt by your subconscious to prevent you from thinking about what I am saying. You refer to my point #7, "***It is possible to refer to that portion of true "Ultimate Reality" on which any individuals beliefs are based via a set of unknown numbers.***" with a question as to the meaning of the word "possible". As I have said many times, we are attempting to communicate and to accomplish that result we have nothing to use but a very vague mechanism called the English language. Until we reach a point where at least one concept can be defined exactly, we have nothing but a vague rudder to guide each others thoughts. I have as much trouble comprehending your difficulty as you have comprehending what I am trying to say.

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Harv: What does that mean? Does it mean that of all the possibilities in Ultimate Reality that none of those possibilities entail individuals whose beliefs are not based via a set of unknown numbers?
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I did not say a thing about anyone's beliefs being "based via a set of unknown numbers". In fact, I have no idea what the phrase means as "via" (in my experience) is not a word used to modify or describe how things are "based". All I have said is that the same symbols used to represent numbers may be used to label the things a person believes exist. Then, given that set of symbols, that same set of symbols can be seen as a set of numbers; thus, if I have been given the set of numbers I can see the set as a set of labels.

Take for example the collection of words used to express Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". This can be seen as nothing but a collection of words (as it may very well be seen by someone who does not understand English). In the same vein, it can also be seen as a collection of numbers (just convert every word in the document to its ASCII representation). To someone who does not understand English, the two collections are equivalent in that neither carries any meaning which he can understand.

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Harv: * In other words, if we have a human concept of false conception of Ultimate Reality, then we can label this human concept by a label (symbol, number, color, etc).
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Harv, the label is nothing but a reference mechanism! "Label" is a name I have given to the abstract concept of "a reference to". You keep wanting to put meaning into these labels. All I want is an abstract label sans meaning of any kind. When I go to decode a message, I want to be sure that the mechanisms I use to analyze that message do not impose any presumptions on the content of the message. I need a completely abstract representation of language itself.

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Harv: If we are referring to something that is a 'thing' of Ultimate Reality, then it is either a differentiated manifold or non-differentiated manifold.
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What does the "it" refer to? The thing or "Ultimate Reality". Don't you see that, in this case, the symbol "it" is a reference to something and that what it refers to is unclear. Yet that fact does not prevent you from using the reference "it" at all. I clearly do not understand the sentence. But that issue is beside the point, I can still see the sentence as a collection of labels referring to something. Perhaps the meaning will be clear someday, what I need is a way of remembering or cataloging the collections of references which will not predispose me to omit a possible meaning.

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Harv: (6a) Since beliefs either point to falsely conceived things or Ultimate Reality 'things', those beliefs can only point to one or the other, but not both and not neither.
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Now Harv, can you not comprehend that I have not made that step as I have not defined what a "falsely conceived thing is". You did not balk when I said, "it is possible that some specific thing (or perhaps several specific things) may exist". If you will remember, I told you to define "exist" any way you wish; all I am providing is a vague rudder to your thoughts.

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Harv: Very problematical. What about the possibility of beliefs that are both true and false in Ultimate Reality, or conversely, both not-true and not-false?
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If they are part of "Ultimate Reality" then I wish to include them in my reference. If they are not then I don't want to include them. Once again, you are trying to put meaning into what I am saying which is not there. All I am saying is that "it is possible to label the things which make up 'Ultimate Reality'": i.e., it is possible to refer to the "things which make up 'Ultimate Reality'". We can use a language to think about these things. All I want to do is view the language as an abstract construct: i.e., as a collection of symbols for some unknown references.

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Harv: (6b) There exists an algorithm that distinguishes beliefs that point to either falsely conceived things or Ultimate Reality 'things'.
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Once more, you are attempting to read meaning into my labels which is not there.

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Harv: That doesn't mean that we know what that number identifies, nor that there exists an algorithm to know what that is.
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That is absolutely correct!

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Harv: For all we know ...
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We "know" nothing!

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Harv: Based on these 2 problematic assumptions, I see (7) as an invalid assumption.
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Then don't make those assumptions! I don't! All I have said is that the same symbols used to represent numbers may be used to label (or refer to) the things a person believes exist. Then, given that set of symbols, that same set of symbols can be seen as a set of numbers. It should be clear that if I were given that set of numbers I could in turn see the set as a set of labels. This is nothing but a different interpretation of the symbols and carries no meaning in and of itself.

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Harv: I could be intellectually dishonest and just accept what you are saying, but let's be clear here. You have surpassed your knowledge of what we know or can know, and I find that this exercise is tenuous at best.
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I have surpassed my knowledge of what we know or can know by saying that a set of numbers can be seen as a set of labels or a set of numbers? Harv, get real here! Anyone who cannot comprehend a set of symbols being used interchangeably as either as a set of labels or as a set of numbers certainly has no concept of the functioning of a modern computer nor do they have a good understanding of the problems in translation from one language into another. I can only conclude that you are balking here because you are scared to death that I am going convince you that mathematics is an important component of logic and you don't want to get involved in mathematics.

Have fun -- Dick

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