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No Switching Here. Unnecessary Ontology Is Absurd.

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on January 28, 2002 01:11:12 UTC

Hello Harv,

>>>"Who said anything about punishment?"

I thought you meant punishment when you alluded to the emotional influences ("it would make extremely uneasy with the world if I knew that I should someday meet that Fairy...). I assumed you were inferring I might dread meeting "God" someday, due to my fear of punishment. If my assumption is wrong, then please rephrase what you were trying to get across to me; I can't imagine what else you might have been trying to say there.

>>>"What I'm saying is that a belief in God is almost necessary in being able to better understand the nature of the universe."

I don't see the connection. Like I said, please simplify this argument for me. Sometimes I am very obtuse. (Then again, I'm still p.o.'ed about both of today's NFL games. Maybe it's just my state of mind right now...)

>>>"Physicists don't make up particles to make the day go by faster. If you can't accept the level of proof of the photon's existence which is backed up with tons and tons of evidence then how in the heck are you going to extract the subtle nuances apparent in the universe to realize that there is a God?"

You still do not seem to understand my position on the photon. Yes, the photon exists. I am as sure about this as I am about anything. But, what is it? It acts like whatever we want it to act like; particle detector 'sees' it as particulate. Wave detector 'sees' it as wavelike. These facts, and the fact that we end up attributing to it so many strange (and otherwise contradictory) qualities tells me we shouldn't be so sure about its properties, especially without ever having directly observed it.

I've posed the same question to others claiming to be scientists, and all have said, "we really don't know what the photon is, but we have to make these ugly assumptions in order to more effectively work with it." After months of me hounding him, Alex finally admitted this, but in (as he'd say) "softer" terms.

The bigger point was that Alex was being just as dogmatic as those religious people he regularly belittles. True scientists do not make so many thoughtlessly affirmative assertions as Alex does (this, based on other correspondences on-line & rather plentiful readings of Western scientists; hard to fathom that Russian society would have approached science so differently).

Alex's acceptance of the photon's properties based on inference alone requires just as much faith and assumption as those who infer God exists because there is order to the universe. I'd think people like you would appreciate the point I was attempting to make.

(it continues) >>>"There's literally tons and tons of evidence for a photon's existence..."

You really should take your time and read all my posts on the matter (punny). Obviously you have completely misunderstodd my position on the photon.

>>>"What about biological evolution and cosmology. Are those fields ontologically true, or merely true as a valid model to describe our observations (fossils, etc)."

Of course they are not 'ontologically true'! Perhaps you are confusing extrapolation with ontology. Not quite the same animal.

Ontology is simply defining something, and then seeking it. It's like putting the cart in front of the horse. Extrapolation, on the other hand, is based in experience and observation. And if extrapolation is based in assumptions (constancy, e.g.), then it is merely an assumption based in experience.

We do not know a thing before we've experienced/observed it. And, as far as probing into our perceptions, we cannot know them from any perspective outside our experiences. Seeking to understand phenomena outside of our subjective restrictions is much like a ruler trying to measure itself.

It's a circle, really, and you choose to stop at ontology. I do not. Labeling 'what ought to be' is missing the point of anthropic bias, IMO.


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