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Posted by Harvey on September 1, 2002 16:33:17 UTC


***See; the problem is your insistence that some part of the bias need be retained in order to discuss the issue I have seen. I say the bias is only required for the basic communication: that is, if you have faith in the internal consistency of mathematics you possess and have sufficient faith in the necessary concepts to follow my reasoning. Your decision as what to believe after you have listened to the logic, I leave to you. The problem I have is that you simply refuse to "look through my telescope".***

I'm trying to explain to you (unsuccessfully) that you cannot eliminate your ontological bias. The use of mathematics does not eliminate your ontological bias, it only appears to make it easier to accept. However, this is entirely misleading. Even 'listening to logic' is an ontological bias. Where did logic come from? It comes from human experience in our interaction with the world. Whatever ontology we construct is therefore biased and limited to human experience.

***Certainly if mathematical constructs are worthless then my arguments are equally worthless; however, I think such a conclusion is quite destructive to any "scientific" approach to any problem. If that is your position then your position amounts to "all scientists should forget about what they do as none of it can be proved". I don't really believe you would stand behind such a position! Fundamentally, your response is off the subject and has almost nothing to do with what I am trying to show you.***

Exactly! If a scientist is looking for proof of their ontology, then they certainly should forget about what they do as none of it can be proved. I couldn't have said it better than myself. Science is an epistemological enterprise meant to give us what appears to be a reasonable view of the world. Are you prepared to give up your ontological conclusions as a proof? If so, then we are looking through the same telescope. However, I find your epistemological method (i.e., to gain a reasonable ontological view of the world) to be very unreliable, and this is what I'm trying to communicate to you.

***If you would hear my arguments, you would see the ontological commitments! I make them very slowly and very deliberately.***

I have no problem doing this. The issue is how effective is your epistemological method without prediction and verification of those predictions. That's the problem I've had from day one. Another problem is the high confidence you place in the conclusions of your ontology in your unverifiable model.

***Your term "sense impressions" is a plural construct which implies you are speaking of multiple things. If you are willing to change the term to "the sense impression you are consciously aware of" (essentially blocking off the conceptual baggage carried along with "sense impressions"), then you are talking about exactly the same thing I am referring to by "my subconscious" (whatever creates that mental model of the universe I am aware of). I call it my subconscious because I didn't do it on a conscious level and that is all I intend to imply.***

Yes, I am talking about the sense impressions that we are aware of (if we are not aware of them, then we cannot base our 'knowledge' of the world from the unaware sense impressions). They are multiple since we have 5 senses by which we gain information of the world, and at each moment all 5 collect a streaming amount of data.

Your subconscious is creating a 'model' of the world, but you don't know that until you figure that out later. Your basic knowledge of the world comes from sense impressions on a moment by moment basis. We begin to put together a coherent picture by grouping moments together and call those collection of moments seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades, etc. In addition, we begin asking ourselves how we can effectively collect so many images, sounds, smells, etc without being aware of it moment by moment. This line of reasoning leads us to suggest a subconscious and many other mental functions that are associated with living. However, all our human knowledge is based on things that we are aware of (i.e., conscious). If we aren't aware of them, then we certainly can't justify our human knowledge on those things. Somehow we must become aware of what the subconscious is doing behind the surface. Yet, P1' is the most basic interaction we have of the world. P1'' comes later after we start the epistemological study of our experiences.

***H: The most basic interaction I can contemplate is the flood of images, sounds, smells, etc that come to 'me'. D: The problem I have with that statement is that it explicitly contains aspects of that mental model which must be held in [ontological] doubt: explicit direct references to things you call images, sounds, smells etc. Even by your own personal model, all images are illusions created by the nerve connections to your brain and not direct physical perception of what is out there. I would rather relegate the whole business to "that mental image of reality" which you work with. Just stick the whole thing in one bag and don't try to convince me you "know" any of it to be "ultimate reality".***

Exactly! We don't know if P1' represents ultimate reality or is simply an illusion. How they are created we have no firm idea. We can make reasonable accessments by starting from P1'. One of those accessments might be that P1' is a mental model that might be ontologically doubtful (notice I inserted 'ontological' in your reply). I fully agree, we don't know if P1' misleads us into an incorrect ontology. However, we have no means to circumvent P1' since all that we know of the world eventually reduces to P1'. Even logic and mathematics find their eventual origin in our reaction to P1'. Hence, if P1' is in ontological doubt, then everything that comes from P1' is in ontological doubt. Whatever ontological bias we build from P1' is effectively built on a house of cards. We can cry about it, get mad about it, etc, but that's the way things are.

***Again, you go completely off subject. The logic behind mathematics I leave to others much more qualified than myself; I simply take the subject of mathematics as the single most reliable set of logical structures I have to work with.***

I can't let you off the hook on this one. The reason why you have to be concerned is because you are using mathematics to form an ontology. Mathematicians aren't using mathematics to form an ontology, they are just engaged in a game called mathematics that just abides by certain rules. Actually, mathematicians aren't required to tell us what mathematics is about (e.g., self-consistent structures, etc). All they have to say is that they've elected certain axioms as their basis, and play their game. However, whenever someone wants to use mathematics as an ontological model, they put themselves in the position to answer the ontological commitments that those axioms are based on. In the case of math, axioms are based on human experience of the world. In effect, you are asking me to accept your ontology based solely on human experience. Why should an ontology be correct solely as a matter of human experience? At least give me predictions whereby I can obviously see that your model is on the right track, but this is what is lacking.

***Harv: However, in the process of making these additional assumptions [I presume you are referring to mathematics here???], the question is whether you are describing ultimate reality or merely settling for an epistemologically more adequate approach.***

No, I'm talking about the 'hooks' that your model uses to develop its ontology. Remember, mathematics is a game (like Monopoly) and doesn't say anything about the world. For example, we should question whether by starting from P1'' that we can actually say anything about ultimate reality.

***No, I am not starting from P1. I am starting from some mathematical relations. What you are complaining about is nothing more then my vague amateurish persuasion to get you to look! That persuasion is obviously a failure as you seem to have a strong anti-mathematics bias.***

I don't have a strong anti-mathematics bias. I have bias as to why human experience should tell us anything about ultimate reality. I can accept such a process if I'm told that this is an epistemological approach (giving us a reasonable view), however in that case such an approach must meet effective standards within epistemology. This is where I see your model coming short. It doesn't meet the higher standards of epistemology (i.e., prediction and explanation).

***In essence, everything I do is equivalent to exactly the kind of things every scientist does; however, where the scientist does those things in the particular case, I express exactly the same type of moves in an abstract manner.***

Fine, but the scientist is concerned with meeting certain epistemological standards. Just doing the math is not enough - not even in science.

***If you are to insist that "we have no portion of 'ultimate reality' to work with", then there is, from your perspective, no component of 'ultimate reality' in anything we might think we know. That appears to me to be a succinct statement of the anti-realist's position and I don't think you consider yourself in that camp! I suspect that what you are really trying to say is that we have no "known" portion of 'ultimate reality' to work with and with that I have no argument at all.***

Good!! We are making progress! Let me clarify this delicate issue. I am anti-realist in some aspects of my view. That is, I do not think that portions of ultimate reality is knowable (in the full sense of the word). Where I differ from the general anti-realist position is that I think approximate structures exist. They are not just human creations. For example, mathematical strutures actually exist, but they exist as approximations - therefore they are reducible to something more ultimate and something fully unknowable (i.e., God). We can, however, construct reasonable conclusions of ultimate reality that might be more likely correct. I think revelation is also another path to 'knowing' ultimate reality.

***One of the most important aspects of mathematics is the idea of working with unknowns. I think a lot of people who have difficulty following mathematical logic fail to grasp that concept. Do you understand the concept of working with unknowns?***

Of course, but these are epistemological unknowns. When we are talking about aspects of ultimate reality we are talking about ontological unknowns. Math has no means to deal with these type of unknowns.

***I agree 100%; however, I think we can say that some of it might be "ultimate" information and some of it is probably "personally created" (I don't know that I would use the word "trivial") information. I have named these two components: (epistemologically-based) "knowable data" and (epistemologically-based) "unknowable data" (or EB knowable data and EB unknowable data, for short). The EB "knowable data" is valid information about "ultimate reality" whereas the EB "unknowable data" is data created in order to explain the valid information (created by what I do not know, but created none the less). At no place in my presentation do I make any claim at all that there exists any way of separating the two. Both are "unknowns" however there are some subtle differences.***

What do you mean by "EB knowable data is valid information about ultimate reality"? Do you mean that it is valid as an epistemologically-based means to grasp aspects of ultimate reality? Or, do you mean that an epistemologically-based method is a valid means to fully describe ultimate reality? The former I agree, the latter I disagree. For example, science as an epistemologically-based method is (I believe) a valid means to grasp certain aspects of ultimate reality (e.g., quarks exist), but it is not a valid means to fully describe ultiimate reality. If you say the former, then how can you say that your method is a valid epistemological approach? You need to meet certain criteria to be a epistemological valid approach.

***The only claim I make is that the two must be logically handled in a slightly different way with very profound consequences. The EB "knowable data" is given and unalterable, whereas the EB "unknowable data" is a free creation of my mind. The issue is, given any representation of the 'ultimate' information conceivable, is there any rational way of creating what you call "trivial" information (my unknowable data) such as to express the constraint (that of assuring internal consistency) in a convenient manner?***

Why does it matter? If EB "unknowable data" is based on a false or misleading theory, then there is an infinite amount of such 'data'. For example, Zeus belongs in this category since the religious understanding of the ancient Greeks held Zeus as an object that existed to explain thunder (at least I suppose they thought this). Should this kind of misrepresentation really be brought into a mathematical model?

*** There exists a straight forward procedure for creating such "unknowable data" which guarantees the requirement of self consistency. That guarantee is expressed in the final equation of Chapter 1.***

So, you can create the concept of quarks without a quark model? This doesn't make any sense to me.

***My point is that there exists no set of "ultimate data" which cannot be modeled via my model (my model is completely general) and that my model is guaranteed to be internally consistent. It thus forms a foundation from which the problem of determining the true nature of ultimate reality. See my title: "The Foundations of Physical Reality.***

Even if you model 'quarks' (which may be trivial structures or ultimate structures), the point is that you do not predict the existence of quarks. So, I'm still not understanding why it matters. The model for quarks must wait until epistemological based methods are used to construct the reasons for saying they exist. Just having a model that can model a structure after the fact seems to me as meaningless. In addition, your model has no way of telling us if the quark model is trivial or ultimate, so it appears to do nothing.

***But some of it might be based on ultimate reality couldn't it? The real problem is that the created data usually turns out to be pretty internally inconsistent! If it were 100% internally consistent, do you think you could find a way of proving he was wrong?***

All scientific structures are inconsistent! For example, how can you have a molecule if matter is composed of atoms? Do clouds exist, or is it really water vapor molecules that exist? Scientific structures are inconsistent in this sense. A mathematician must be much more explicit when saying something exists. It means something really exists (in terms of the mathematical theory). Hence, by these standards science should be considered epistemologically invalid. However, we are perfectly willing to consider scientific structures as epistemological approximations.

The fact is, we don't know what structures are ultimate reality. We don't know if clouds actually exist or not. We don't know if chairs exist (per se) or not. If they have a wave function, and wave function theory is ontologically correct, then they exist. If they don't have wave functions, or wave function theory is not ontologically correct, then clouds and chairs may not exist (i.e., they are concepts of the human mind which are reducible to the workings of our mind).

***What I have produced is a far better explanation of what you experience than the explanations provided by modern science. If you would look at it, I think you would agree; however, I find no mechanism by which I can get you to even consider looking at it.***

So far, I don't see how this is possible. You need modern science in order to verify your approach (i.e., by matching equations seen in physics), but you offer no other verified means to establish your epistemological merit other than those equations. Just using mathematics is not acceptable since you are making non-mathematical decisions to construct your model (e.g., unknowable and knowable data, modelling time, modelling interpretations, etc). Your assumptions could all be in error, and in which case your deductions are incorrect. Heck, anyone can construct a mathematical model to come up with any conclusion they would like. If the verification of the model is fully based on existing equations, then it is impossible to know that you aren't dealing with a highly elaborate Bible Code. They are very deceptive means to convince others of metaphysical beliefs.

***What I have put forth is a simple way of avoiding an error in logic which pervades almost all of science. A way of bringing into account the entire universe in one fell swoop. I have done to the macroscopic picture what calculus did for the microscopic issues of continuity.***

Math by itself is not enough to avoid Bible Codes.

***Internal consistency is my byword. I know of no scientist who would intentionally balk at assuring their work should be internally consistent. However, they all seem to leave the issue to others.***

Consistent structures is not something that science can offer. This naturally leads to philosophy, and this is why philosophers of science are employed. Science brings up many metaphysical issues, and only a reasonable degree of consistency is required by science.

On the other hand, focusing on pure consistency is not a legitimate concern. The classical picture of the world was perhaps the most consistent picture in science for almost 2 centuries, but eventually that classical formulation crumbled with SR and QM. Inconsistency is the creative 'stuff' for future scientific studies. I see mild inconsistencies as very helpful in that aim.

***What I laid out was not built to predict anything! It was built to assure internal self consistency and otherwise constrain nothing. Now that is Chapter 1. The statement is either true or false. Only two questions may be asked: 1. is what I present internally self consistent or not? and 2. does the method of modeling the information constrain any representation of "ultimate reality" (the knowable data) in any way at all? If I have made an error, someone should point it out. If they cannot point out an error, then my model is useable and any possible representation of anything can be so modeled (so long as there exists no information outside the data represented in the model).***

Dick, the model doesn't tell us anything about physics, and what it does try to tell us has been constructed by epistemological unconvincing means. I just can't understand how you can be so confident that you haven't Bible Coded your way through the creation of this model. You haven't given even one effective argument showing that your model is 'unBible Codable'.

***If that is the case then someone ought to at least look at what I have to say. They might be surprised.***

There's no way to eliminate Bible Codes from being offered with such approaches.

***Dick: my presentation is the only completely holistic representation I am aware of, some of you philosophers ought to look at it.***

I'm not a professional philosopher. I attend conferences, seminars, subscribe to journals, etc, but I do not work for an academic institution. I have a preference for money, though. :-)

***My complaint with what you say is that by explicitly referring to 'stream of moments' you are already positing "stream of moments" as an aspect of "ultimate reality". I hold that you (at least at this moment) have no way of knowing what is "ultimate reality" and what is not. Just put all this trash in one bag and give it a name (how about just calling it "information"). You are just confusing yourself with the attack you attempt. You are sitting there trying to untie the Gordian knot! Step back and look at the whole problem at once.***

By 'stream of moments' I'm not talking about ultimate reality. I am talking about our human experience. Just like I don't know the ultimate status of the flood of images, sounds, smells, etc, I also don't know the ultimate status of the changing images, sounds, smells, etc that we experience. All that I know is that changes are happening and I call slices of these changes as a 'stream of moments'. I can call it information, but the information (or experiencial data) is in constant flux giving rise to a passage of time experience.

***Harv: What happens after that is based on an attempt to rationalize this experience into something meaningful (e.g., time, space, conscious, logic, etc). D: Yeah, shouldn't we make that attempt as organized as possible or are you more in favor of just running pell mell into the fray?***

We do organize it by constructing theories from those experiences. We validate those theories by testing and seeing if other experiences await us that the theory predicts. This is how we have epistemological confidence that our theory is correct.

***Maybe we shouldn't get this started again as you seem hell bent on misinterpreting what I say.***

That's fine if you don't. Although, we are making some progress.

Warm regads, Harv

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