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Cavil, Cavil, Cavil ...ad Infinitum!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 3, 2002 18:26:24 UTC

Hi Harv,

You just seem to miss all the subtleties of the things I say. In your comment to Aurino, "You Raise a Valid Point", you say "Dick is saying that there is no other choice but for his model to be correct." That statement is not accurate! From my perspective, "correct" is not a valid classification for any model. The fact that a model yields useful results makes that model valuable. For all I know there may be millions of possible models which yield extremely useful results. What I say, is that my model is valuable in the sense that any model may be transformed into my model. Thus, any relationships predicted by my model must exist in any model (if you set the mapping correctly). At no point do I ever say that there exist no valid relationships which are not predicted by my model. That would be the converse and the first issue does not imply the second in any way. All I am saying is that my definition of reality provides a foundation of relationships which can be relied on to exist in any valid representation of any closed collection of information. Is it the only view? Hell no, but it is dammed powerful place to start thinking.

Now, as to your responses to my "Public Note #2", I think you lack the vocabulary to understand a lot of what I say. Some of the concepts necessary to understand my thoughts are apparently very foreign to your mind.


***** Harv:
In my view in order for something to qualify as information it must be able to be conceptualized. I can't agree that everything that is conceptualized can be represented by numbers, but I'll agree that anything that is communicable must be represented by numbers.
*****

Then I take this to indicate that you agree that any communicable information can be represented by numbers! However, you want to maintain the cavil that your explanation of reality requires more! Well Harv, if it does, I am afraid you will have to keep it to yourself.

***** Harv:
Earlier in another post I mentioned that this definition might be a false definition. That is, reality would be a subset of itself in such a scenario.
*****

I think you need to read my response to that particular cavil.

***** Harv:
By conceptualizing using a formal approach I think you limit reality. Reality does not have to conform to our concepts, or our models, or even our laws, mathematics, logic, and conceived possibilities.
*****

I did not say it did! In fact, I am at this point convinced that it does not. But putting that in terms you can comprehend is very difficult.

***** Harv:
Reality is what is it is.
*****

Essentially exactly what I defined it to be "Something A": information without interpretation. You put forth the cavil that "information" is not "information" unless it is possible to conceptualize it. Ok I will allow you that one as it is entirely immaterial. Certainly if you cannot conceptualize it you are not going to explain it and you have lost my interest. This is no more than the other side of a similar cavil you bring up later!

***** Harv:
How can we discern possibility since we should find constraints that reality is under in order to determine those issues.
*****

I have no idea what you are trying to say there! The sentence has no meaning which I can resolve. You seem to have some idea in your head as to how something is to be done which is beyond my comprehension. Who said that "reality" is under any constraints at all?

***** Harv:
However, what if reality doesn't care about what we think is possible or not? It simply goes on its merry way doing what it does best - being itself (and whatever that entails).
*****

That certainly doesn't conflict with anything I have said and is entirely consistent with my model. What you can't seem to comprehend is the idea that the apparent constraints exist only in the model. The reality of these constraints is an illusion produced by our interpretation of the facts we know. And you cannot understand that without understanding the development of the model.

***** Harv:
A sense impression is what is being impressed upon us (i.e., our senses). There doesn't have to be a source of our sense impressions.
*****

Well then that position sort of leaves "explanation" out in the cold doesn't it. If there is no possible explanation than why try to dream one up. But I think you are wrong there, I think I can dream up an explanation for anything! In fact, I'll give you one that fits any reality "God did it!" I don't count it as a useful explanation, but it's an explanation!

***** Harv:
If you consider all possibilities, then one of your possibilities should include the possibility that you cannot include all possibilities.
*****

Now that is a cavil if I ever heard one! Harv, I have certainly included that possibility by the very act of dismissing it. If that is the case, then all approaches will fail so let's not worry about it and do the best we can. And even in that case (once you understand my model) it turns out that my model is valid. But don't worry about that now.

***** Harv:
See, your conceptualization is leading to assumptions as well as more constraints (e.g., it is possible to obtain additional information and know more than we know at this time).
*****

Oh my god, I have dropped the possibility that what I know today is all that I will ever know. God Harv, how can you be so dense. By the way, if you look closely at my development, that case has not been omitted at all; though I think it is rather frivolous to think of that particular explanation as very valuable.

***** Harv:
Other possibilities (as extreme as they are) are that your assumption is wrong and that our senses do not bring information (maybe that is already encoded in our minds which only give us the illusion of having senses).
*****

Cavil, cavil, cavil!!! That possibility is clearly present in my model! I wish I could just take what is in my head and stick it in your head. If I could, you would see the ridiculousness of your complaints.

***** Harv:
Perhaps the constraint that it is possible to obtain additional information and know more than we know at this time is all wrong. Maybe we don't have real knowledge of the world and that 'knowledge' is only a belief? If you include all possibilities, then you must consider the real possibilities along with the most crazy ideas we can entertain.
*****

That is absolutely correct Harv! And yet, [most of] physics will still be valid! And perhaps all; I do not know.

***** Harv:
Another possibility is that this kind of reasoning is not valid and the Universe gives no indication that this is so. How can you eliminate that possibility?
*****

I don't know Harv. Do you have any suggestions? If logic is invalid then we are kind of wasting our time aren't we? I think I will just pretend that rational logic is valid reasoning as it seems I have nothing to lose if it isn't! If you would rather stand out in the dark, be my guest.

***** Harv:
That is, I can imagine a possible world that simply contradicts the way Dick thinks.
*****

I don't think you can construct a logically consistent explanation of such a world. Do you? If you do, I am of the opinion you are mad! Of course it is possible you live in a mental world (or should I say ward) where logic is invalid!

***** Harv:
How do you know you don't live in that particular Dick-contradicting universe?
*****

Cavils Harv, meaningless cavils of no import whatsoever. Your comments contribute nothing at all to this conversation.

***** Harv:
Dick, you are making deductions that make sense, but they are not proofs of anything. They are simply assumptions.
*****

No, you are wrong as you have no comprehesion of what I am doing; what I have presented is nothing other than a way of looking at information. The central issue is "any information" may be viewed from this perspective. Show me some that cannot! I full well know that my perspective is far far broader than anything ever conceived of by you and it is quite clear to me that there is none! Your suggestions of possibilities are simply not well thought out.

***** Harv:
Maybe we are just butterflys dreaming that we are men.
*****

Another totally thoughtless cavil! That is fine Harv, it presents no problems to my model at all! Unless you are prepared to prove that there exists no possibility that a butterfly could conceive that reality consists of "something A" which comes from "something B" by "some unknown means"! And, that if it did ever come to understand it, "something A", "something B", and that "unknown means" will be understood via a set of numerable concepts. If you deny that possibility then your cavil might make sense except that if you deny that possibility the cavil is ridiculous. You need to think things out a little before you post!

***** Harv:
You are assuming logic and math, but all of these are just human games that come from abstracting our observations of the world. You cannot say that reality is how you observe it.
*****

So what? I have no idea why you consider that comment to bear on anything I say. I can only conclude that you have no idea what I am talking about. My impression is that, lacking anything thoughtful to say, you decided to just throw in a philosophic cliché.

***** Harv:
You can only say it is pragmatically useful to say reality is how you observe it. Any other statement is not based on fact, but is based on assumptions, human constraints, etc.
*****

Harv, anything anybody can say about anything is based on some mental model of something. What I am trying to do is open up the possibilities as far as I can. I am of the opinion that I have been successful. Your position seems to be that I cannot possibly have been successful and you are not going to look at it. All you throw at me are your reasons for believing that position. Hell Harv, why do you think no one has ever seen what I have seen? Because I'm so brilliant? Hell no, they haven't seen it because they haven't looked that's why.

A concise description of my model at this point in the construction is: "something A" which comes from "something B" by "some unknown means"! Now please, if you think you have anything rational to say, point out some concept you think is worthwhile which cannot be imbedded in that model.

***** Harv:
Pragmatism. You cannot remove explanations because they are the only useful tools by which to interact with our world.
*****

It sounds like I am talking to George Washington again! "They are the ONLY useful tools by which to interact with our world"? I guess you indeed do truly believe that there is nothing new to be learned.

To quote the very paragraph you are criticizing here, "Furthermore, when I am ready to put forward a possible solution to that unknown problem that started this whole discussion, the concepts required to define (give meaning to) "something A" (as I understand it when I answer the question) will be numerable.

Here are your "useful tools" coming right back into the situation. Can you not comprehend that logic itself is a useful tool?

"If you have learned to add two and five without asking "Two and five what?" you already have both feet off the ground--higher than you think. You are now air-born. The rest is just a matter of gaining altitude." (Hutchins and Adler on abstract thought.)

You apparently have not yet learned that it is not necessary to ask "Two and five what?" In order to consider the problem of addition.

***** Harv:
Conceptual tools, such as your model, are justified only if they are useful.
*****

So you have already decided that my model is not useful and thus understanding it is a waste of time! Then why are you talking to me?

***** Harv:
Explanation tools are the most useful since we survived millions of years of evolution with those tools. Figments or not, what matters is the predictive and explanatory sense that explanations provide. We cannot know reality, but we can at least think and feel we do. That's all that matters.
*****

So I guess you think and feel you know and that is all that matters. That's nice Harv, or should I call you George?

***** Harv:
Right, but it is not fully representable
*****

Again, I guess everything you say just boils down to your opinion that I could not possibly have done what I claim to have done! Boy it sure is nice to have authority around so we don't have to think!

***** Harv:
- just conceptualizable for particular human uses.
*****

And I should have no concepts before you! Seems like I've heard something like that line before!

Have fun -- Dick

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