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Scott, Cliff, And The Big Bang

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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 24, 2002 13:46:48 UTC

Hi Harv,

This thing is growing, as usual, and unfortunately I don't have time to give a full reply to your post. (or perhaps I should say 'fortunately I don't have time', since it means I have a life and a job :)

There is something about me I wish you could understand. I don't know exactly how to communicate it, and I'll probably fail one more time, but I'll try anyway, you never know when you might get lucky.

Like most people I've met, I have the ability to think. That means I can follow a logical argument for as long as I want, and in my entire life I have never failed to learn anything I wanted to learn. I'm very proud of that, but I don't feel superior to anyone as I see most people are capable of doing the same thing if they want it. Logic is child's game. I got to a point in my life where there's very little for me to learn, I know almost everything I can possibly know that interests me. That doesn't mean my head is not full of answered questions, quite the contrary, it's just that those answers are nowhere to be found. They are not in the science books, not in the philosophy books, not in scriptures, and to make it worse I can't conceive of an explanation myself. So I decided the question has no answer, period.

Now you are telling me all is not lost. You are trying to convince me that if I accept, say, Maxwell's equations as a valid model for electromagnectic phenomena, then I should necessarily accept the Big Bang theory as an answer to my question. According to you, electromagnetism and cosmology are equally valid, equally solid, equally logical. They are both children of the same mother, right? All I can say about that is "I wish things were that simple". I'm not sure why you think things are that simple, and I'll refrain from stating my opinion for the moment. But I think I can provide you with a good example of how I see those things, with something that is very close to us and very well understood (or so I hope)

I know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Scott and Cliff are the same person. I used my reasoning skills to determine that, and I used my personal judgement to establish I have enough confidence in that knowledge to call it a fact. I think I was very successful, because not only you (and I assume everyone else) acknowledged the force of my argument and the power of the evidence I presented, but even Scott himself felt forced to accept the brute force of fact, probably against his own will. Such is the power and beauty of logic and reason.

But what about Mario? Is Scott also Mario? Well, here things are not simple anymore. There is a subtle problem here which I think most people overlook, and when I say most people I mean almost everyone in this forum except Dick (and perhaps Paul, but I'm not sure). The subtle problem is this: once I convince myself that Scott is Mario, there's nothing in this world that Scott, or Mario, can say to prove that they are not the same person. For everything they say, and I mean absolutely everything, I will always be able to come up with an "explanation" as to why they are saying that. Scott was smart enough to realize that, yet most people don't seem smart enough to realize how often the same scenario shows up in science. Again, Dick is the only person I know of who is aware of this problem to the extent that I am.

So, in a nutshell, my answer to your post is: I accept the portion of science which is based on the same line of reasoning that led me to know that Scott is Cliff, but I reject the portion of science which is based on speculation and unfalsifiable hypothesis, the same kind of thinking I used to "establish" that Scott is Mario. I see the former as a serious enterprise, the latter as a game played by bored academics who have nothing better to do. I'd be a stupid fool if I thought Scott is not Cliff (that's, in essence, creationism), but I'd also be a stupid fool if I thought I can be as sure Scott is Mario as I'm sure Scott is Cliff. Children of the same mother? Not in a million years!

I don't accept human logic as the supreme order of the world.

Neither do I. But I don't accept any argument that is not based in logic, so any rational explanation of "the world" must necessarily be expressed in a logical way. If it's not then I can only accept it by faith or declare it meaningless.

However, I have a hunch that logic or something very similar to it (that we would easily recognize) is a very fundamental set of rules to the universe.

I'm glad you have a hunch, you must have access to classified information. I for one have no clue, no clue at all.

I'm somewhat following the communication between you and Dick. I agree that both of you approach the issues of knowledge along very similar lines, but there's dramatic differences (and do I dare say inherent inconsistencies) in not only your views, but even within your own views. That is, I see both of you guys as being terribly inconsistent.

I used to think Dick was terribly inconsistent, but then something miraculous happened. I understood what he was saying!

I must add I've been praying for the same miracle to happen with your arguments, but so far God has made a deaf ear.

But, I'm sure you feel that way about me.


I guess I am the eternal pragmatist and everyone who departs from that framework I tend to see as espousing inconsistencies

Believe me Harv, I'm as pragmatic as they come. I love physics but I went to engineering school. I chose electronics because it's as close as you can get to physics without having to lock yourself in an ivory tower. I just don't understand what's so pragmatical about some of those scientific theories you're so fond of. Really, who cares how the universe started, what difference could that possibly make in our lives, and who on earth would be so foolish to believe we can actually know such things?

Yet here we are, talking about it...



(Dick: in case you're reading this, please forgive my slowness to reply to your recent posts. I can only handle one tough guy at a time. See you soon)

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