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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 23, 2002 19:55:17 UTC

Harv,

I know I only have your attention for brief moments, but here it goes anyway...

I'm sorry if I made you feel that way. You are one of the two people here of whom I read every single post so you cannot complain I don't give you attention. It's just that sometimes I don't have time to reply, and sometimes I realize the discussion is going nowhere. I've been fairly busy these days anyway.

If you start accepting readings of instruments, then why not accept the readings of the COBE satellite that detects the EM of the Big Bang?

You are mixing things. The EM radiation is a fact, the Big Bang is a theory designed to explain that fact. If it were a solid theory I wouldn't be playing the fool arguing its value, but the fact is that you can fill the grand canyon with the assumptions built into the theory. Some of those assumptions are reasonable, many amount to little more than wishful thinking.

I'm of the opinion that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as it often leads people into believing they know what they in fact don't. I'm not cynical, anti-science, mystic, or whatever it is you think I am, I just think scientific issues deserve to be treated with as much seriousness as we can possibly achieve, and then some. I really don't see it happening, I see part of science being turned into this silly business of filling the vaccum in our knowledge with sheer speculation. I always thought that was the role of religion.

In fact, we can even see early galactic formation with Hubble's Deep Field project. Soon, we might even see pre-galactic structures. I'm sure that won't convince you, will it?

Nay. Ya know, here in good ol' Arkansas we rely on God' word, and God's word only. If it ain't in the Good Book then it ain't true.

***H: Facts are beliefs A: No, they are not.***
Yes, they are. And, I'll even give you a reason. The human mind can be fooled by illusions.


Is that so?

There is no means to know if something is an illusion or if something is a fact.

I'm confused. I always thought that if a = 0 and b = a then it's absolutely true that b = 0. Are you saying that could be an illusion? Wait, let me answer for you:

Harv: no, that is not an illusion, we do know some things for sure.
Aurino: thank you! Can we talk about those things now?

or

Harv: yes, that could be an illusion too.
Aurino: well, this conversation could be an illusion too, in which case I might as well forget about it. See you in Nirvana!

We can only guage information about the world through our perceptions, and those perceptions are fallible.

How exactly do you know that your perceptions are fallible? Do you know that for sure, or is that just a belief?

Our fallibist science can only produce what appears to be truths that correspond with our perceptions, but we cannot get beyond this point.

That is not the problem, the problem is when science comes up with "truths" that do not correspond with our perceptions at all. If we cannot entirely trust our perceptions, and that is a fact, how much worse off are we if we rely on our imagination.

Hence, 'facts' are beliefs. Belief meaning any opinion that we hold to be true but cannot absolutely prove. Science is fallibistic, so the 'facts' of science are also beliefs. Some facts are apparently more fallibistic than others, but that doesn't change the inherent nature of a 'fact'.

I don't know about the "lesser" sciences, but what you wrote above doesn't apply to physics. All of physics (the serious portion of it, anyway) works on a very simple and extremely efficient mechanism called logic. Good physicists think this way: if "this" is true, then "that" must necessarily be also true. Whether "this" is true or not does not concern them, it's an issue for philosophers. But philosophers don't understand physics, and they tend to think that once a valid logical relationship has been established between "this" and "that", then chances are "this" is really true. They got it backwards, but nobody is worrying about it as long as they're making money selling books.

Facts are a certain kind of belief. All facts are a subset of all beliefs. However, not all beliefs are a subset of all facts. So, it can be rewritten as: "beliefs(1) are often beliefs(2)".

You're still missing the most important point. Even if a fact is just a different kind of belief, which to me is just a linguistic issue philosophes love to get lost in, it's still different and should be treated differently.

I think you are a smart guy that if the discussion continues long enough (a big, big if) then eventually your intelligence will naturally lead to a new and better understanding.

I used to think the same of you, but I'm not so sure anymore. I still think you are smart, but your refusal to accept the validity of logic as the supreme intellectual tool makes my position impossible to defend. I'm not saying you're right or wrong, it's just that without a common language dialogue is impossible. Look at how, despite not having a lot in common with Dick, communication between us is extremely productive. With you, I often find myself banging my head against the wall, in complete despair.

The trouble is that most misinformed people don't want to travel down that path, and therefore they rely on logical fallacies or changing the topic (or cutting off communication entirely) to protect themselves from the natural conclusions that their intellectual abilities will lead them.

Indeed!

Cheers,

Aurino

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