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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on May 9, 2003 16:00:00 UTC

Harv,

I can only conclude that your only interest is in discrediting me. You show no signs at all of making any attempt to understand what I say. I tried to explain to you what my concept of "knowable" and "unknowable" was and apparently failed. With regard to the other terms, I clearly stated that I would be willing to use any definition you wished so long as it was "at least halfway consistent with common usage".

In the first half of that post, I laid out a proof. Now, if you have any interest at all in what I am saying, read that and tell me exactly what line you find to fail in your definition of a proof.

When I speak of "knowable data", I concern myself not at all with how that data comes to be known to be true. It is the recognition of the fact that the issue is of utterly no significance which underlies my entire presentation. All I am saying is that their might be something which is knowable: i.e., known to be true by some means unimaginable to my meager mind. What I am saying in my analysis of the situation is that, if that data is true then it is "real" and is whatever it is. The important point being that it must be a part of the correct solution and cannot fail to be data which must be explained. I have no choice as to what that data is.

On the other hand, "unknowable data" is what I decide must exist: things I make up in order to explain the "knowable data". How the tiger got its spots so to speak. Certainly, if I made them up, they are not necessarily true and a "correct" explanation need not include them so, in the final analysis, they do not constitute data which must be explained (someone else may come up with a better explanation which does not include them at all). These things are things which one has a complete choice about believing.

Now, the question I ask you is, do you believe these two categories do or do not exist? If you do not believe they exist, then it seems to me that you either believe nothing can possibly be "knowable" as true or that everything you believe is true.

Or is it rather that you believe the two categories have identical qualities. If that is the case, then you certainly cannot hold that the truth (the "knowable data") is free to be invented. It follows that, if you believe no such categories exist the "unknowable data" cannot be invented either. If we are not allowed to hypothesize things, how is science to proceed?

Finally, I get no pleasure at all from "basking" in anyone's confusion. I do my very best to make what I have discovered clear. The central issue is actually quite simple. There are three very different concepts which go into any explanation of anything. First there are the things which are true; second there are the things which are imagined to be true; and third there are the rules which both of these things are to obey.

What I have discovered is that leaving both the second and third concepts open allows more freedom than is necessary. In fact, I have "proved" that the form of the third may be fixed without limiting the ability of the second to explain anything. All the step does is simplify and clarify the problem facing the scientists.

Either my proof is in error or it is not. I think your attempts to be insulting are childish.

Have fun -- Dick

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