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What Are You Afraid Of?

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on November 1, 2002 02:34:46 UTC

Hi Harv,

You apparently have some distorted idea of what I am trying to explain to you and invariable miss the whole issue. You are very confident that what you think I am trying to do cannot be done. I will agree with you; what you think I am doing cannot be done. The problem is that I am not doing what you think I am doing and I don't know how to get your attention to that fact. I really wish you would spend more time thinking things out rather than blowing smoke around the subject. You might just comprehend what I am doing if you looked at it for a while.

With regard to your simple minded cavils:

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Harv: In that situation, the best you could do is label 'Ultimate Reality' with just a number and that's it.
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That's fine! It doesn't bother me a bit and is fully consistent with what I have said.

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Harv: Anything more, would be an invalid assumption about something that you have no idea if you are even remotely correct.
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Once more I agree 100% and it doesn't bother me a bit as it is fully consistent with what I have said!

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Harv: ...you can label 'Ultimate Reality' by the number 24, but this is all that you can do. You cannot go further than that.
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Where did I say that I could? You are reading things into what I am saying which are not there and completely overlooking the central issue!

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Harv: What difference would a billion years make? I don't see how a billion years would allow you to say more about 'Ultimate Reality' than that it is unknown and that you labeled it with the number 24.
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I could label it with "1", I could label it with "2", I could label it with "3", I could label it with 3.45 ... etc, etc. Plus that, it might be that "Ultimate Reality" can be broken into multiple parts, in which case those multiple parts could be labeled as separate "things" which would complicate the issue greatly. Unless you can prove that is not the case, you must include such a possibility in your thoughts or you are constraining the possibilities to what you think is true, not to what is true! If you understood what I am doing you would see that I am not even constraining my analysis to "what is true"; my analysis is completely and totally unconstrained. Essentially, the fundamental issues is, "what is true" must be analyzable from my perspective; thus (since I do not know what "is true") I must be very careful not to omit any possibilities.

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Harv: Since you don't know more about 'Ultimate Reality' other than it is all that exists and this is represented by the number 24, you cannot separate false beliefs from true beliefs based on any number labeling scheme. As far as we know, all human beliefs are both 24 and non-24 beliefs.
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Harv, you are missing the point! I do not "know" that the only aspect of 'Ultimate Reality' which can be known is that it exists and nothing more! That may be the state of my current knowledge but it is no evidence for an ultimate fact at all. That is a proposition you have put forth as fact and, as I have said before, if you are going to claim it as a fundamental truth, I would like to see your proof.

As far as separating false beliefs from true beliefs, I do not claim any ability to do so. All I am claiming is that the separate categories exist and, when I talk about the two different categories, there are completely different constraints on the possibilities. In particular, that part which is true (part of 'Ultimate Reality') is not open to my opinion whereas the other certainly is. With the second I have complete freedom to do whatever I wish whereas with the first I have no freedom at all.

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Harv: You are assuming that 'Ultimate Reality' is quantifiable. This is an invalid assumption.
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No, Harv, I am assuming nothing. You think I am assuming something because you simply do not understand what I am doing. As I have said earlier (many times), what I am doing is setting up a procedure for analyzing the problem which faces us. In that analysis I must make sure that I omit nothing which is possible; otherwise my analysis will be biased towards what I believe to be true and thus would not be truly general.

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Harv: You can't use numbers for an unquantifiable situation. If you use numbers for such a situation (even if you consider such numbers as 'unknown' references), you are making the mistake of quantifying something that is unquantifiable.
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But Harv, I am not quantifying anything! I am merely proposing a method of quantifying things if in fact they turn out to be quantifiable. That is a far different thing and you certainly should have sufficient intellect to comprehend the difference.

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Harv: You don't care if the world is really quantifiable, you are going to quantify it anyway and treat it as though it were quantifiable.
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No Harv, this is not an accurate statement of my treatment. If you could follow the treatment, you would see that my analysis is valid in either case! In fact, the case you propose is far to simple to even provide much interest. The other possibilities (that 'Ultimate Reality' indeed consists of many different things which can be referred to) is far more complex and requires much more subtlety of analysis. Fundamentally your position, that 'Ultimate Reality' is totally and completely described by "[you can not] know more about 'Ultimate Reality' other than it is all that exists and this is represented by the number 24" is completely equivalent to, you can not know more about 'Ultimate Reality' other than it is all that exists and this is represented by the label "God". You of all people should realize the short sightedness of such a representation of the problem.

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Harv: Anytime someone seeks to quantify something they don't know anything about makes me squeamish.
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I am not seeking to quantify 'Ultimate Reality' at all. That is a complete figment in your imagination. 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).

Think about this a little and stop just reacting! You seem to be scared to death to think about what I am saying.

Have fun -- Dick

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