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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on October 21, 2002 17:38:46 UTC

Hi Harv,

Sorry about that post to Bad Astronomy. I really did not expect the kind of response which occurred. At this point, it seems quite clear that it was not a good idea. With regard to your response, it seems to me that you have no comprehension of what I am doing as, if you did, the answers to your questions would be quite obvious. What I am setting up is a procedure to organize my thoughts so that, when I attack the problem, I can be confident that my attack itself does not produce any constraints on the outcome.

Harv: It is possible for whom and under what circumstances? We aren't certain we know anything about Ultimate Reality. So, from whose reference are you saying it is possible? Define your term.

Seriously, so long as you cannot prove something is impossible, you must include it as a possibility. To do otherwise, is to limit your investigation. Again, as we are currently dealing only with the vague rudder provided by the English language, I will proceed with any definition of "possible" you wish to provide; so long as that definition is at least reasonably consistent with common usage.

Harv: Is it possible (i.e., it might be the case) that some entity can know Ultimate Reality beyond the concept itself? I don't know. I would consider that as something that might be the case, but I don't consider it a valid assumption that it is possible (i.e., some entity can do it) that Ultimate Reality can be known beyond the concept itself. Notice how the latter interferes with (7):

The issue is that I do not wish to impose any constraints which I cannot prove must be valid. Certainly it is possible that no entity can ever know Ultimate Reality beyond the concept itself; but without a proof that such is indeed a fact, that case may certainly not be dropped. If one is to set up an analysis which is not to be constrained, that case must not produce a contradiction in the analysis; if it does then the analysis is constrained in an unwarranted way. And no, I have no idea how any of that interferes with point #7!

Harv: You shouldn't twist the meaning of the term 'possibility' from 'might be the case' to 'some entity can do this'.

I agree with you 100%! I have no intention of doing any such thing. If I do such a thing, I would like it pointed out to me immediately! Regarding the case you bring up, I am recognizing the fact that I must include the possibility that some entity might be able to do so; I am not (absolutely not) assuming it is necessary that such an entity be possible! The two issues are quite different from one another.

Harv: If you mean that logic allows it so that it can be such and such, then show me why logic allows it.

Now here I vehemently disagree with you. If we are going to design an approach to a problem, the issue is quite the reverse. It is very important that our attack imposes no constraints on the possible outcome. We must maintain the outcome of the attack as completely unconstrained or the attack is biased. Nothing can be eliminated unless logic shows it is impossible. In fact, we have (at this point) no logic to work with anyway because any logical argument must begin with some axioms and we have not yet presented any.

Harv: You want to turn this around like I'm putting an unnecessary constraint to what you are trying to do, but what you are trying to do is making invalid assumptions. Unlike mathematics, you cannot define the concept and then see if such and such is possible based on the definition. Rather, you cannot define Ultimate Reality and you cannot assume a possibility without knowing that something is or isn't possible.

Now wait a minute Harv, you agreed that my first 5 points were reasonable. Now you are taking the position that point number six, "***6. It is possible to label all of these "things" with the same symbols commonly used to label numbers.***" , is unreasonable. Apparently you hold this position is unreasonable because I am "making invalid assumptions". But when I look at your complaints, they all seem to arise from your assumptions, not mine! I have not denied any of the possibilities you have presented; pointing out that each of them are expressible in a form consistent with the perspective of point #6. I do not see any place where you have given any indication that point number six is invalid.

Harv: Since Dick's (7) is based on this assumption, we cannot accept (7).

Ok, so you now reference point #7. Let us look at exactly what point #7 is: "***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.***" The only way I could make that point more general would be to say an "unknown set of unknown numbers"; which I will if you want. Please explain to me what assumptions are imbedded in that statement. Certainly nothing you have said seems to even apply to that point. From my perspective, you seem to just be blowing smoke to make it look like you have valid objections.

I am completely lost as to what is going on in your head.

Have fun -- Dick

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