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Posted by Harvey on April 25, 2002 16:47:35 UTC


The problem I have when Dick does this 'switch of topic' is that the question he raised changes during our discussion. Of course, my answer is always referring to the original question.

***At the risk of sounding like Dick (sorry, I can't help it), as far as I'm concerned this discussion has nothing do with reality.***

When we began this discussion in this thread you questioned the reality of the big bang, correct? That means to me that we are talking about reality as it pertains to the theories of science. The answer to this concern requires an entire exposition about why we should treat experimental successes as establishing 'true' features of reality.

***Notice how my arguments make no more references to reality than your arguments make reference to logic.***

I thought my last post did reference logic? The purpose of my original post was to layout a general statement about knowledge and how it relates to the scientific method, so I couldn't possibly cover every issue in that original post.

***It's clear to me that neither of us is talking about reality, what we're discussing are the discrepancies between our models of it.***

I am talking about reality as it pertains to our knowledge of it (or lack thereof). At this point, I don't know what your model is. You have only stated that you don't believe science can get to the truth in certain instances but it can in others, but you gave no criteria what differentiates success and failure. I replied with the importance of 'success derived from methods' as giving us confidence on the truthfulness of theories. To be frank, the only model that I can grasp that you are saying is "it is true when Aurino says it is, false otherwise".

***There's a subtle problem here which I'm sure you don't understand: what's true in your model is not true in mine.***

Since your model is completely subjectivist (from what I can tell), I can see why that is the case. Unfortunately I don't have you around to answer each and every question of truth, so I depend on particular methods for obtaining truthful statements about the world (i.e., statements whose confidence of being 'true' is based on a particular method's good track record of making successful predictions and controls of nature).

***Now, I understand this problem, and I'm fully aware that things that are true in my model are not true in yours. And my proposition is to find a mechanism to solve that problem, while your position is that the problem does not exist.***

As long as you select a subjectivist theory of truth, there can be no means to agree. I reject complete subjectivity as a means to know truth since I believe that truth has attributes that are pragmatically based (the reasons of which I highlighted in my general post on the subject). The reason I think you have elected a subjectivist approach is because you have given no criteria of knowing whether something is true, but you have given your opinion as to what is and is not true (e.g., Maxwell's equations: true, big bang: false). It tried to understand a criteria, but the only criteria seemed to be your reaction to what the theory was saying versus how that theory was deemed correct based on evidence).

I'm sorry Aurino, I just believe that you and Dick muddle the questions you are addressing and therefore muddle the answers. Skipping back and forth between ontological and epistemological issues seems to be where both of you are confused (I see this same thing happening between both of you). It is better to know which issue you are addressing, and lock in to that issue.

I'm sorry if my answer is too frank. I just think it is necessary to say so that these issues are better understood.

Warm regards, Harv

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