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Thread: Philosophical musings of science, reality, blind men and elephants

  1. #1861
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Len, MDR is just a registration of sensorial input interpreted by the mind in our brain to come up with a model. The mind itself is not a subject for science. Science does not investigate how our brains create thoughts (which are clustered into that we call "mind"). Why should we attach to much importance to a model created by something which science itself does not explain?
    Yes, in a way I agree with you. But I would frame it differently, I would say that we shouldn't expect to be able to use the construct of MDR to be able to access anything but that construct - that doesn't give any kind of absoluteness to MDR - far from it (that's another personal reason why I believe in a MI "something"). So MDR is what we have and that's it - that's the sum total of the potential we have to explore nature objectively, it can only be an exploration of MDR. Science cannot explain MDR with reference to a concept of MIR because we cannot step outside of MDR and "look" at it. But it seems, in the light of Ken's arguments that the objective method accounts for the process of MDR through the use of language and mind that build up MDR. So MDR is looking at itself in order to establish an objective model for itself - it would be preferable to be "God" and then look at a conceived of MIR by the side of MDR, but we are never going to be able to do that. So do we say that MDR is a belief referenced from objective knowledge or do we say that objective knowledge is MDR and model the process of obtaining that objective knowledge as best we can? The model put forward by Ken accounts for MDR via shared words, shared meaning and individual minds. I think it is incomplete and so do you, to "mitigate" for this incompleteness I invoke "pointers" to a MI "something" outside of MDR. You invoke "pointers" to a description of a MIR - a MIR consisting of MIR entities like MIR eyes, MIR stones, MIR space etc. My "something" remains true to the imposed logic of a default MDR, your MIR violates the logic when you use it to describe MIR, even as a descriptive belief. To remain true to the logic of a default MDR you have to say that your description of a MIR can only be a description of MDR and believe that your "pointers" suggest a destination of MIR that has a correspondence with your MDR description of a MIR. But the correspondence can never be known objectively and can never be described from the MIR end. So your belief in a descriptive MIR world of MIR eyes and MIR stones is meaningless even as a belief - it has no more value to a description of a believed concept of MIR than me giving a descriptive belief of MIR as !"$%". To be clear here though, I am not saying that your descriptive belief of MIR is nonsense, because its not. It only becomes meaningless if we take MDR as being a default position and that is the all important issue here.

    That MIR is going to always be a belief is not really in dispute by many here (I think even by yourself to a large degree). What may be in dispute is whether MDR is a default position from which everything is referenced to. If MDR is shown to be a belief in the same manner as MIR is a belief then from the vantage point of objective knowledge we are free to escape the constraints of MDR and invoke descriptive beliefs of MIR and MDR. If MDR is shown to be a default position then we are not logically free at all to invoke any descriptive beliefs of MIR.

    So - the question for all, is MDR a default position or not? I think it is a default position, but I lack the grounding in linguistics and philosophy to do anything other than to say that at this present time I can offer no reasoned argument against this default status.
    Last edited by Len Moran; 2014-Jun-10 at 04:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Logic cannot be used as a tool of inference to “prove” anything about reality.
    I agree, but that's not what we use logic to do. What was done here was that logic was used to try and argue that MIR is required to have an MDR. I pointed out the logical flaw in that argument. So pointing out the flaw does not allow us to conclude "thus there is no MIR", indeed we do not conclude that, but it does allow us to show that it is wrong to argue that "the existence of an MDR requires an MIR" is a claim that is based on logic. It has also been shown that it is not a claim that is based on evidence either. So what do we call a claim that is based on neither logic nor evidence?

    Another logical error we have seen on this thread is that some who claim that an MDR does indeed require an MIR have also claimed that MDR is "also just a belief," so they see no difference in connecting science to MDR or MIR. But of course, if MDR is a belief, then MIR must be too (as MDR has much more evidence going for it than does MIR), so those people have placed themself in the unenviable position of both claiming that MIR is not just a belief, and that it is, in essentially the same breath. These are the kinds of logical inconsistencies I feel compelled to point out.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2014-Jun-10 at 04:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    As I understood him, he stated that when mankind is gone, so is the universe.
    Not quite. What I said is that when mankind is gone, what mankind means when they talk about "the universe" is gone. And what we mean when we talk about "the universe" is, well, what we mean when we talk about the universe. The problem with how you are thinking about what I'm saying is that you are already believing in an MIR, so you think that I'm saying when mankind is gone, the MIR will be too. But I have not said that, because I do not believe in an MIR in the first place (I do not believe the words are used in a coherent way from which any actionable knowledge arises).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Not quite. What I said is that when mankind is gone, what mankind means when they talk about "the universe" is gone. And what we mean when we talk about "the universe" is, well, what we mean when we talk about the universe. The problem with how you are thinking about what I'm saying is that you are already believing in an MIR, so you think that I'm saying when mankind is gone, the MIR will be too. But I have not said that, because I do not believe in an MIR in the first place (I do not believe the words are used in a coherent way from which any actionable knowledge arises).
    I do not interpret it that you are saying that when mankind is gone, MIR is gone, because evidently since you do not believe in a MIR, then it can not be that. As I understand it, you say that when mankind is gone, nothing remains. Correct me if I have misunderstood your position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I agree, but that's not what we use logic to do. What was done here was that logic was used to try and argue that MIR is required to have an MDR. I pointed out the logical flaw in that argument. So pointing out the flaw does not allow us to conclude "thus there is no MIR", indeed we do not conclude that, but it does allow us to show that it is wrong to argue that "the existence of an MDR requires an MIR" is a claim that is based on logic. It has also been shown that it is not a claim that is based on evidence either. So what do we call a claim that is based on neither logic nor evidence?
    But how about the argument that there is only MDR?

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    So say we have an AI program running on a computer, equipped with sensors similar to us, and capable of building models in an intelligent fashion. Is it justified stating that only its MDR exists and nothing is out there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    As I understand it, you say that when mankind is gone, nothing remains. Correct me if I have misunderstood your position.
    No, that is not what I said nor what I meant. Again: when mankind is gone, what mankind means when it refers to "the universe" will not be meant by anyone any more. However, mankind still conceptualizes, right now, a universe that will remain when mankind is gone, just as mankind conceptualizes a universe that existed prior to mankind's appearance. Mankind will find the former conceptualization more difficult to test than the latter! What will "actually remain after mankind is gone" is a series of words with zero additional meaning than the words I already cited: what mankind today conceptualizes as the universe that will remain when we are gone.

    Notice that all these words refer to MDR, that's "the universe" we can actually talk about. Indeed, what mankind means today by "the universe" will likely change just as drastically in the next thousand years as it did in the last thousand years (that's what the evidence says, anyway, like it or not). So you will not have to wait for mankind to be gone for what it means today by "the universe" to be gone.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2014-Jun-10 at 07:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    No, that is not what I said nor what I meant. Again: when mankind is gone, what mankind means when it refers to "the universe" will not be meant by anyone any more. However, mankind still conceptualizes, right now, a universe that will remain when mankind is gone, just as mankind conceptualizes a universe that existed prior to mankind's appearance. Mankind will find the former conceptualization more difficult to test than the latter! What will "actually remain after mankind is gone" is a series of words with zero additional meaning than the words I already cited: what mankind today conceptualizes as the universe that will remain when we are gone.

    Notice that all these words refer to MDR, that's "the universe" we can actually talk about. Indeed, what mankind means today by "the universe" will likely change just as drastically in the next thousand years as it did in the last thousand years (that's what the evidence says, anyway, like it or not). So you will not have to wait for mankind to be gone for what it means today by "the universe" to be gone.
    Talking about or conceptualizing something is one thing. Perceiving it is something else. Our concepts are gone if our brains are not around (they are nothing other than words anyway...), but that which we perceive remains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Talking about or conceptualizing something is one thing. Perceiving it is something else. Our concepts are gone if our brains are not around (they are nothing other than words anyway...), but that which we perceive remains.
    Let's look more critically at those words. Let's imagine Ptolemy said your words, imagine he says "our concepts are gone, but that which we perceive remains." Well, what is he talking about, what does Ptolemy perceive? He perceives a universe that is not much larger than our solar system, which has the Earth right at the center. That's exactly "what he perceives", if you were to ask him, because he'd say that he perceives the Earth is still just by standing on it, that the stars do not show any extra movement due to the orbit of the Earth so the Earth is not moving. He "perceives" stars in all directions, so the Earth is at the center, and he "perceives" that gravity takes solid objects toward the center of the Earth (yes he perceived a spherical Earth based on careful measurements), so the center of the Earth is the center of the universe and gravity tries to move solid objects toward that center. That is "the universe I perceive" according to Ptolemy, it's not a set of religious beliefs or guesses, it is a well-reasoned, well-measured, and well-described universe, just like ours is today only less powerful and less sophisticated, and based on less information. In short, it was a different MDR. And here's the key point: what Ptolemy "perceived" as the universe is not here today, it is gone, in the sense that no educated person perceives that universe any more (and it is still here to the extent that uneducated people may still perceive something similar!). This is what the evidence shows, and it shows that everything we are talking about, when we talk about "the universe that we perceive that will still be here when we are gone", is MDR. It is just the way our minds have used our perceptions to build conceptualizations about what will still be here when we are gone, but just like Ptolemy was, we are of course wrong.

    This brings us full circle back to the lament you started this thread with-- that we are in some sense doomed to fail because we are wrong. But that is not failure, because it should never have been our goal to "know MIR", it should always have been our goal to build an MDR, and we have done that admirably, just as Ptolemy did. It's not a tale of repeated failures culminating in the illusion of a success that is actually also a failure, it is a tale of a sequence of successes to be relished and celebrated. It is the process of building a better MDR, and that is all we can know, all we are supposed to know, and all that knowing is.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2014-Jun-10 at 08:53 PM.

  10. #1870
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    In the history of science we have discovered a sequence of better and better theories or models, from Plato to the classical theory of Newton to modern quantum theories. It is natural to ask: Will this sequence eventually reach an end point, an ultimate theory of the universe, that will include all forces and predict every observation we can make, or will we continue forever finding better theories, but never one that cannot be improved upon? We do not yet have a definitive answer to this question...[4]
    —Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, p.8
    This I agree with. This seems to effectively close the circle. It is what I said in the OP.
    Last edited by gzhpcu; 2014-Jun-11 at 07:12 AM.

  11. #1871
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Let's look more critically at those words. Let's imagine Ptolemy said your words, imagine he says "our concepts are gone, but that which we perceive remains." Well, what is he talking about, what does Ptolemy perceive? He perceives a universe that is not much larger than our solar system, which has the Earth right at the center. That's exactly "what he perceives", if you were to ask him, because he'd say that he perceives the Earth is still just by standing on it, that the stars do not show any extra movement due to the orbit of the Earth so the Earth is not moving. He "perceives" stars in all directions, so the Earth is at the center, and he "perceives" that gravity takes solid objects toward the center of the Earth (yes he perceived a spherical Earth based on careful measurements), so the center of the Earth is the center of the universe and gravity tries to move solid objects toward that center. That is "the universe I perceive" according to Ptolemy, it's not a set of religious beliefs or guesses, it is a well-reasoned, well-measured, and well-described universe, just like ours is today only less powerful and less sophisticated, and based on less information. In short, it was a different MDR. And here's the key point: what Ptolemy "perceived" as the universe is not here today, it is gone, in the sense that no educated person perceives that universe any more (and it is still here to the extent that uneducated people may still perceive something similar!). This is what the evidence shows, and it shows that everything we are talking about, when we talk about "the universe that we perceive that will still be here when we are gone", is MDR. It is just the way our minds have used our perceptions to build conceptualizations about what will still be here when we are gone, but just like Ptolemy was, we are of course wrong.
    That is not what I am talking about when I say "perceive". Ptolemy perceives what I perceive today when I look up at the sky. The problems only begin when I begin to analyze and build models.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    This brings us full circle back to the lament you started this thread with-- that we are in some sense doomed to fail because we are wrong. But that is not failure, because it should never have been our goal to "know MIR", it should always have been our goal to build an MDR, and we have done that admirably, just as Ptolemy did. It's not a tale of repeated failures culminating in the illusion of a success that is actually also a failure, it is a tale of a sequence of successes to be relished and celebrated. It is the process of building a better MDR, and that is all we can know, all we are supposed to know, and all that knowing is.
    We perceive MIR. Where we have problems is when we build MDR models.

  12. #1872
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post

    We perceive MIR. Where we have problems is when we build MDR models.
    It seems the armour of your dogma is inpenetrable. Sad face.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It seems the armour of your dogma is inpenetrable. Sad face.
    Don't be sad... I can say the same about the counterposition... (Just glad to have Einstein, Feynman, et al on my side... )

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Don't be sad... I can say the same about the counterposition... (Just glad to have Einstein, Feynman, et al on my side... )
    The iconoclasm of a new interpretation of reality as Mind Dependent Reality is just as important as the iconoclasm of Galileo. It took hundreds of years after Galileo to be accepted, mainly because of the dogma of the establishment.

    My reading of Feynman does not support your view, I recall for example his example of why some photons bounce back off a surface while others penetrate. He found it weird and said we cannot understand. He also said anyone who understands QM has not read their text book. So you could read that either way I suppose..

    This argument is not trivial, just as Galileo found, folks cling to their belief systems as Dogma as if their lives depended on it. It takes more than evidence. If only evidence could win an argument the world would be a better place.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Actually, profloater, at times I am not sure if we are really semantically understanding each other. I apologize if I ask you in a nutshell do summarize your standpoint. Thanks.

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    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
    (Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) p. 186-187.)


    You can not know everything. While we are at it: what is "knowing". We have beliefs everywhere. I believe the history books writing about things I can not verify. Did the events really take place? I "believe" what archaelogists come up with, I am delegating the responsiblity to them - placing "faith" in them. What constitutes "proof" anyway? At the most only that which I myself can verify (though even then I believe my senses to be reliable...). That really limits knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
    (Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) p. 186-187.)


    You can not know everything. While we are at it: what is "knowing". We have beliefs everywhere. I believe the history books writing about things I can not verify. Did the events really take place? I "believe" what archaelogists come up with, I am delegating the responsiblity to them - placing "faith" in them. What constitutes "proof" anyway? At the most only that which I myself can verify (though even then I believe my senses to be reliable...). That really limits knowledge.
    Yes. We believe all sorts. And we build using experiment. I think I was clear by page three. I cannot know about MIR. I can believe and actually I can believe in many things. To say we have an incomplete model of an MIR that just is needs for me the word believe in there somewhere. Because we cannot know. Surely that is clear.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Yes. We believe all sorts. And we build using experiment. I think I was clear by page three. I cannot know about MIR. I can believe and actually I can believe in many things. To say we have an incomplete model of an MIR that just is needs for me the word believe in there somewhere. Because we cannot know. Surely that is clear.
    Might be clear for you but it is not clear for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    More and more, I become aware of how the parable of the blind men touching the elephant applies to science.

    I naively once used to think that science also searched for reality in addition to expaining/predicting how things work. Now I realize that we are like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant. We have managed to extend our probing of the physical world with telescopes, electron microscopes, particle colliders, etc. Somewhat as if, blind men had access to increasingly longer sticks to better poke and probe the elephant. Yet probe as they might, nothing can change the fact that they are blind.

    Using abstract mathematical models, we have refined our knowledge to better understand and predict how things work. We have based models on 0-dimensional points (quantum mechanics), 1-dimensional, vibrating strings (string theory), and in an iterative process improved our understanding of the universe (even if string theory has yet to be physical verified). Cosmology has evolved from the simple Big Bang theory, to complexer theories of multiverses, multidimensional universes, etc. But what is really true?

    Our current theories breakdown at the fringes. Einstein's theory of gravity breaks down on approaching a singularity, delivering infinity as a result. Quantum mechanics stops at the Planck length. String theory tries to solve this problem by modeling strings whose length is the Planck length. Yet this is yet another mathematical approximation.

    If searching for reality is a philosophical question, it is very frustrating to realize that, like the blind men, we are restricted in what we can really probe, and consequently are doomed never to know...
    I think science only fails when you try to apply it to models of the universe that it was never meant to explain.

    If you assume that there must be something more beyond the reach of science, then of course it's going to fail in providing the answers that you seek.

    There are however many organizations with billions of followers that seek daily to answer some of the issues you raise.

    But they don't build transistors that allow us to communicate in a manner that not long ago people would have considered magic or create machines that travel to other worlds. Or do any of the other myriad of things that have made the universe a much more interesting and liveable place than used to be the case just a short while ago.

  20. #1880
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Might be clear for you but it is not clear for me.
    I feel I have said this before: You and I share the experience of being aware.

    It is all we can be sure of, we cannot even see our own eyes and certainly not our brains, but from experiments we believe we have eyes and brains. From anatomy studies of others we believe we have nerves and lots of interconnections we cannot see or control.

    Everything we know, we know in our heads and we know from reading and diagrams, Everything. We are conscious of time passing and we have a model of history. We have a real time model of the world which we update with our eyes etc.

    At base it impossible for you or I to test whether we are in a dreamstate all the time. That is because we are isolated by our senses, which are actually assumed to be senses, because that understanding seems consistent and "real".

    Our reality is just that, yours and mine personally.

    Now you can believe in an external reality as you say you do, only you call it self evident. I am confident I cannot know although I guess my reality is as real to me as yours is to you.

    At many levels it makes no difference if you are certain of your position. But actually for science and especially for QM it matters a lot. Also for religion but we will not go there.

    The realisation (good word in this debate) that you cannot know about MIR, whatever you believe about it, is the whole thrust of these many pages.

    Am I being clear?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I feel I have said this before: You and I share the experience of being aware.

    It is all we can be sure of, we cannot even see our own eyes and certainly not our brains, but from experiments we believe we have eyes and brains. From anatomy studies of others we believe we have nerves and lots of interconnections we cannot see or control.

    Everything we know, we know in our heads and we know from reading and diagrams, Everything. We are conscious of time passing and we have a model of history. We have a real time model of the world which we update with our eyes etc.

    At base it impossible for you or I to test whether we are in a dreamstate all the time. That is because we are isolated by our senses, which are actually assumed to be senses, because that understanding seems consistent and "real".
    That is too philosophical for me. It might work for others, but I find this type of reasoning does not make sense. All of these theoretical/hypothetical situations which could be and one can't prove they aren't are really carrying thinking too far. Over-rationalizing and thinking just leads one astray into an Alice in Wonderland landscape. Here we can agree to disagree. If I can't convince you, neither can you convince me.



    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Now you can believe in an external reality as you say you do, only you call it self evident. I am confident I cannot know although I guess my reality is as real to me as yours is to you.

    At many levels it makes no difference if you are certain of your position. But actually for science and especially for QM it matters a lot. Also for religion but we will not go there.

    The realisation (good word in this debate) that you cannot know about MIR, whatever you believe about it, is the whole thrust of these many pages.

    Am I being clear?
    You are being clear in stating your position, but I see things differently, and, I would like to stress I am not the only one to do so. The pole taken in the babbling section confirms that the majority see it as I do, only they couldn't give a hoot about debating the question. MIR is so vast, nobody can "know" it, it certainly exceeds the capacity of the human brain. However, through our senses we can catch glimpses of MIR, the tip of an iceberg.

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    I suggest we close this thread, as others have suggested. I am as convinced of my position as others are of theirs. I do not see this situation changing. I found the thread interesting and know more than when I started. Thanks to all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    That is not what I am talking about when I say "perceive". Ptolemy perceives what I perceive today when I look up at the sky. The problems only begin when I begin to analyze and build models.
    But that's the crucial point: you cannot draw a line between some kind of "raw perception", and perceptions that involve mental processing. The fact is, Ptolemy did not see what you see, because of that different processing, those different ideas about what those points of light are. Look at what Vincent Van Gogh saw when he looked at the sky! All perceptions involve analysis by a mind, that is more or less what neuroscience is dedicated to understanding. Yes, some perceptions are more "raw" than others, but when you talk about "what reality is", you always include a significant level of mental processing. That's obvious, I know that if a child asked you, looking up at night, "what is really up there?", you would certainly never say "little points of light," you would say "stars," or "balls of hot gas very far away", or something to that effect. Yes or no? So much for "perception" and reality!
    We perceive MIR. Where we have problems is when we build MDR models.
    So MIR is little points of light, not stars?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    That is too philosophical for me.
    You are being clear in stating your position, but I see things differently, and, I would like to stress I am not the only one to do so. .
    I really don't care about the poll, but you started the thread so I tried to convince you. Never mind. I clarified my position.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    What the poll proved is that a lot of people hold beliefs that they think are science, but they cannot produce any argument or any evidence that it is science. Hence, those people have shown themselves to not be immune to systems of pure faith, they simply label it fact rather than faith. That's not uncommon outside of science either.

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    I found the following quote in 'On the Shoulders of Giants" with commentary by Stephen Hawking. If this thread is to close could we leave the last words to Hawking and Newton?

    For all the petty arguments and undeniable arrogance that marked his life, toward its end Isaac Newton was remarkably poignant in assessing his accomplishments. "I do not know how I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
    Last edited by LaurieAG; 2014-Jun-12 at 08:35 AM.

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    If you are quoting Hawking, how about this....

    Stephen Hawking, in his latest book, The Grand Design, claims that philosophy is dead:

    Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator? Most of us do not spend most of our time worrying about these questions, but almost all of us worry about them some of the time.
    Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.

  28. #1888
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    If you are quoting Hawking, how about this....
    I am afraid Hawking is exaggerating for effect. If physicists have to start thinking about thinking in order to move on, then sure there is a shift in philosophy as has always been the case as new evidence emerges. Mathematics calls on philosophy and has to take heed. The nature of the observer is a current philosophical knot.

    Great scientists are not omniscient, Newton spent half his life searching for the philosopher's stone. He got nowhere although transmutation of elements is now understood in a completely different way.

    In fact great physicists have always been natural philosophers.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  29. #1889
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    Thread: R.I.P.

  30. #1890
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    Framed as an issue for science, the experimentalist might argue, "You wish to inform me that I hold some things constant and work from a hypothesis... thanks. I kinda knew that. What's for lunch?" I would disagree that an MDR perspective is needed to do good work (though that has not really been in dispute), and can be safely ignored for 99.9% of science.

    Framed as an exercise in sense-making, that is, examination of the very foundations of a belief set, the MDR/MIR distinction is fairly profound and meaningful. It simply cannot be ignored for 99.9% of (what's left of) philosophy. And if you define philosophy any way you like, as I do, then it is the effort to take all of what science has to offer, adding a tad of plausible logic, and getting a glimpse at the biggest clear picture you can.

    I mean, what else is there to live for, really? Add cheese, wine, a baguette and some friends in a park overlooking the sea... can it get any better?

    But! MDR can also be easily perceived as a way to open a chink in the armor of science, especially in light of the pressure science is under in general from competing belief sets (not to backdoor equal footing, mind you). That is one very good reason the topic can generate heat, even for those not participating in-thread, and keep moderators in anxious stand-by to see if and when boundaries are crossed.

    Yet, certainly the MDR/MIR debate is not at all on the level of what one normally faces when encountering other belief sets out in the internet wilds. We ought to be able to handle this on CQ. For one subscribing to MIR, it is about that one single extra step that those subscribing to MDR are reluctant to make, with both otherwise agreeing from there on out, science works just fine, thank ye kindly.

    So where I do think we need to reach some agreement is that this is both serious business fun and entirely unimportant, depending on what one wishes to accomplish.

    Rubber swords for this fight, guys. And paper hats. We only get one ride on the merry-go-round, and gold rings are only for those who are curious... but who also manage not to fall off.

    ...

    (So, and this is now blatant spanner-throwing, lookout The intelligence of a single cell organism is based on direct sensing of real chemical phenomena, and we may be a super complicated version of that. Are you a chemical determinist, and does that assist the MIR case? Discuss.

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