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Hi Harv!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on July 25, 2003 17:27:50 UTC


If one examines the advances of science throughout history, one will find many introductions of new meanings attached to old words. This kind of phenomena always occurs when original ideas are introduced. You seem to be an intelligent fellow and your abrupt desire to flee seemed to me to be inconsistent. The best explanation seemed to be that there were discussions going on of which I was unaware so I logged out to take a look.


I really am sorry I hid you. It was a spur of the moment decision (a "squirrel decision" if you will allow me the use of that term) not thought out at all. And belive me, the motivating force was your comment that you weren't interested and apparently facetious comment that I should hide you. I don't think I ever said I had no interest in your thoughts. I consider you a very intelligent person; however, you have a very strong tendency to avoid thinking about the issue I am trying to explain to you. I have always enjoyed responding to you. In fact, your cavils have been a very educational experience. They have led me to different ways of saying the same thing which may eventually be of benefit.

Speaking of your cavils, let me respond to your note "Ontic/Epistemic conflict". You completely misunderstand the reason I placed together the three very different conceptual divisions presented. You should notice that they were not corrections but rather alternatives (separated by "or"). The reason I gave the three very different examples of what I was talking about was because none of them specifically denote the circumstance I want you to think about. Instead, it is the characteristic which the three have in common which establishes the meaning of the division between "knowable" and "unknowable" I am trying to convey. If you cannot see any similarity between the circumstances, then I have failed to communicate the concept (not at all an unexpected phenomena).

As I have tried to explain to you many times, from an abstract perspective, any solution of any problem consists of three parts: the basic information which is to be explained, the explanation which will be found acceptable after the problem is solved, and the other things implied by the explanation. What is important here is that very often many of the things implied by the explanation cannot be directly proved to be required in the absence of the explanation. If you examine the history of scientific breakthroughs, you will find that quite often, the resolution of the problem lay in the realization that something thought to be true (because it was implied by that incorrect explanation) was in fact not true. All I am trying to do is to come up with an abstract reference which will refer to that information which (in the final analysis) will turn out to be valid.

Since I am talking about the abstract problem, "in the final analysis" is an open issue of no interest. The concept must apply to any and all solutions, whether the "final analysis" refers to a solution handed to us by god, one obtained by a scientist a million years from now or the resolution of a single conundrum solved by a scientist tomorrow. I have discovered a rather astonishing solution to the general problem of solving problems. Comprehending that solution requires comprehending the difference between "the basic information which is to be explained" and "the implied information which is a consequence of believing the explanation".

You keep wanting to concentrate on the division between the two and how you are to accomplish that separation. That issue is a direct consequence of the particular problem being solved and what is known when the attempt is made. It is completely immaterial to the logic I am trying to present. My logic relies only on the recognition of the difference and the existence of both categories. If you say the first category does not exist than there is nothing to be explained; if you say the second category does not exist then the explanation implies nothing exists which can not be known without any explanation at all. This implies the explanation serves no purpose.

With regard to "Thanks Mike, now can I try?" the entire post is nothing more than a complete misrepresentation of my thoughts. You should not try to explain what you cannot understand. I do not understand Alan and I refrain from claiming I do.

Have fun -- Dick

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