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MHS
2002-Apr-08, 08:23 PM
When I read about Phil mistaking a flock of ducks for a UFO it reminded me of something. After a few moments of thought I figured out what it was: the guy of whom I bought my telescope told me the exact same story! He too said he was to rational to REALLY think for a moment that it was a UFO, but he had no other clue at all.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MHS on 2002-04-08 16:24 ]</font>

Donnie B.
2002-Apr-09, 06:43 PM
Hmmm... now let's see, if my logic is correct...

You bought a used telescope from Phil Plait?

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

MHS
2002-Apr-09, 08:19 PM
If that was the case, it would be for sale at E-Bay /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Silas
2002-Apr-09, 10:52 PM
On 2002-04-09 14:43, Donnie B. wrote:
Hmmm... now let's see, if my logic is correct...

You bought a used telescope from Phil Plait?

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

It took me quite some time to figure this out...but, dude, that's profound! You're dealing with the notion of "the exact same thing." Can two distinct things be "exactly the same?" In formal logic, no, and thus your contraction of the syllogism was valid. In the "digital age," when copies of information files cannot be distinguished from the originals, the notion that "I have the exact same thing" in two different places is actually valid.

Philosophy from a mere quip... I love this place!

Silas

Chip
2002-Apr-09, 11:05 PM
On 2002-04-09 18:52, Silas wrote:
"...Can two distinct things be "exactly the same?" In formal logic, no, and thus your contraction of the syllogism was valid

Sounds like one of those problems you have to solve to get into Mensa. :-|

ToSeek
2002-Apr-10, 12:15 PM
On 2002-04-09 18:52, Silas wrote:

It took me quite some time to figure this out...but, dude, that's profound! You're dealing with the notion of "the exact same thing." Can two distinct things be "exactly the same?" In formal logic, no, and thus your contraction of the syllogism was valid. In the "digital age," when copies of information files cannot be distinguished from the originals, the notion that "I have the exact same thing" in two different places is actually valid.

Aren't all electrons (and various other subatomic particles) identical? (I think someone suggested that all electrons were identical because it was all the same electron.)

Donnie B.
2002-Apr-10, 03:20 PM
I suppose that, to a neurosurgeon, every brain is pretty much like every other brain. But I would disagree, if the particular brain in question were my brain.

Actually, my original quip is indeed a logical fallacy... I'm not up on the terminology; maybe "assertion of the consequent"? No, that's not quite right... At any rate, it goes something like:

If A, then B
B
therefore, A

Or, more specifically,
MHS bought a telescope from a man who experienced Y.
Phil experienced Y.
Therefore, MHS bought a telescope from Phil.

(beeeep) Wron-guh!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Donnie B. on 2002-04-10 11:23 ]</font>

Silas
2002-Apr-10, 03:51 PM
On 2002-04-10 11:20, Donnie B. wrote:
Actually, my original quip is indeed a logical fallacy... I'm not up on the terminology; maybe "assertion of the consequent"? No, that's not quite right... At any rate, it goes something like:

If A, then B
B
therefore, A

Or, more specifically,
MHS bought a telescope from a man who experienced Y.
Phil experienced Y.

That's why the phrase "the exact same thing" is so important. It changes things around:

If A then B
B is identical to C
therefore: if A then C

Or: MHS bought a telescope from someone who experienced Y (unique)
Phil experienced Y (unique)
ergo: MHS bought a scope from Phil.

I know this is all rather silly, but I'm a BIG fan of math, logic, set theory, and Philosophy (which means "Phil's Wisdom," doesn't it?)

Silas

MHS
2002-Apr-10, 04:06 PM
I wrote that the guy told me the exact same story. That does NOT mean that he experienced the exact same thing! Gotcha /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

By the way: check out the difference between the first and the last message in this topic /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MHS on 2002-04-10 12:07 ]</font>

Chip
2002-Apr-10, 04:07 PM
On 2002-04-10 11:51, Silas wrote:
"...If A then B
B is identical to C
therefore: if A then C...MHS bought a telescope from someone who experienced Y (unique)
Phil experienced Y (unique)
ergo: MHS bought a scope from Phil..."

I think I figured it out! Phil is MHS's father's brother in law. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

MHS
2002-Apr-10, 04:09 PM
On 2002-04-10 12:07, Chip wrote:

I think I figured it out! Phil is MHS's father's brother in law. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Yeah like that doesn't rise problems, I'm 18! This is fun, but has nothing to do with astronomy :-S.

Donnie B.
2002-Apr-10, 04:24 PM
I think it boils down to that little word "unique". Just because Phil's experience is unusual doesn't mean it's unique.

Phil mistook ducks for a UFO.
X mistook ducks for a UFO.
Therefore X is Phil.

This is true only if the experience of mistaking ducks for a UFO is strictly unique. However, the evidence of Phil's book demonstrates that this is a false assumption, since he was with other people at the time (who presumably shared his misperception). So X could be one of Phil's companions that day, just as easily as Phil.

And let's not get too fussy here... I realize that (for a while at least) Phil's ducks were a UFO, not just mistaken for one... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

R.A.F.
2002-Nov-15, 01:00 AM
The BA's "duck story" reminded me of my own U.F.O. sighting from a few months back.

It was twilight and I was watching a light aircraft flying north to south, it's red and white lights flashing. As I continued to watch I realised that I couldn't hear any engine noise. Then the red and white lights begin to separate and move away from each other. Well I was a little freaked out until I realised what it was I was seeing. Two jet aircraft, very far away, One overlapping the other from my point of view until my point of view was changed by their movement.
I felt kind of dopey that I'd been so fooled (if only for a moment) by this until I read the BA's "duck story". Now I don't feel so bad. Under the right condtions just about anyone can be temporarily fooled.

Rich
2002-Nov-15, 06:53 PM
The story reminded me of a similar experience from college.

I was travelling in a car with two friends, trying to explain all the rational explanations for various UFO sightings. We were having good laughs and a rather good discussion about the ability to jump to conclusion based on incomplete or faulty data.

We finished the conversation as we reached out destination at dusk, when we all spotted a large, tear-dropped, incandescent object rising through the trees at the end of the street. We were all quite excited... I even said, "O-ma-God... O-ma-God!" Then everyone had a good laugh when the object fully cleared the trees and was clearly a hot air balloon. It was taking off from a field a short distance away and was all lit-up by the setting sun. But, for a brief moment half-hidden by trees and all aglow in the light of dusk... it was quite an eerie sight.

(I also felt quite foolish for allowing myself to get so quickly excited, especially after just talking about skepticism and faulty perception.)

FYI - I was struck by quite another interesting sight last night. Leaving Rosslyn here in N. VA, after dark last night I saw a low flying plane coming in on final approach to National Airport. Its attitude and position in relation to me put it at a strange angle. Anyway, with its landing lights and the angle it was at it very much matched the description and drawings I've seen of so-called "flying triangle" UFOs. I mean, in the dark it appeared to be a nearly perfect triangle lit up on the corners and in the middle!

Too bad I didn't have a camera. I could be making a mint selling the photo to Fox and SciFi.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rich on 2002-11-18 14:36 ]</font>

2002-Nov-17, 09:19 PM
You guys need to study Boolean Algebra some more. There's the old joke:
Boole studied Boolean Algebra
I study Boolean Algebra
I am Boole

rationalxn
2007-Apr-27, 09:12 PM
Anyone here remember what UFO stands for? It stands for
Unidentified Flying Object. That means that anything that is in flight can be a UFO if you don't know what it is. This can include a flock of geese, until you find out they are indeed geese.

Roy Batty
2007-Apr-28, 03:13 PM
Welcome to the board rationalxn. Though I'm a bit bemused why you decided to necromise a 4+ year old thread as an introductory post:think: