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Cutting Through The BS

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Posted by Harvey on May 8, 2003 21:36:30 UTC

Hi Dick,

***What I have proved is that there always exists a set of "unknowable" data (total figments of my imagination - created ideas or entities) which will make it possible to express the rule which constrains the data to what is seen to be written F=0. Notice, I have proved the set exists by construction, I have not proved that my attack is the only possible attack. There may very well (and probably are) an infinite set of ways to accomplish that same result. My only interest is that it can be done and I have proved that explicitly.***

In english please.

***It is too bad that scientists seem to always begin a discussion of symmetry arguments with that particular phrase when they could just as well said, "let us presume there is no way to determine this particular aspect of the problem". The only justification for his action is that "let us assume the following symmetry" is much simpler to say than to go through the details of describing the actual associated ignorance. (I am afraid it is a jargon thing). The real danger is that some students don't take the trouble to understand the real issue; that we are talking about the fundamental consequences of ignorance.***

Bas Van Fraassen in his book "Laws and Symmetry" has made a big point on this issue.

***So "the assumption of a specific symmetry" is identical to "the assumption of a specific ignorance". What I point out in my paper is that our senses stand between us and reality. Since all the information we have to work with arrives through our senses, we are inherently ignorant of what process exists within that barrier. We certainly cannot "go look behind the barn" here; this explanation is wholly and completely in the "unknowable" category. Our ignorance is absolutely guaranteed!***

You are completely correct on this issue.

***Once more we find ourselves in a position where the possibilities are open. We cannot "prove" anything about reality without assuming some relationship between our senses and reality. So, instead of assuming our senses are a direct correct readout of reality (that nothing is illusion other than the illusions we are aware of) should we not rather recognize the inherent difficulties of being on the wrong side of an illusion creating mechanism?***

In other words, scientific anti-realism is correct?

***This led me very early to divide my knowledge into two categories, "knowable" and "unknowable". "Knowable" was what I knew to be true, and "unknowable" was what I believed to be true but couldn't prove.***

Define what you mean by 'knowable', 'true', 'prove'. I've never gotten any kind of definition from you on those terms.


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