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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I would prefer to say the difference is fundamental between those sets. Indeed that is the whole point. I mean the point of discussing this. It is trivial to say there are things we don't know yet but we can hope to know by better instruments etc. It is fundamental to realise there are questions to which we cannot know the answer.
    But determining which is which is sometimes non-trivial.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But determining which is which is sometimes non-trivial.
    Would you like to cite an example of a difficult or non-trivial allocation?
    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
    Would you like to cite an example of a difficult or non-trivial allocation?
    If I could do that, I'd know which category it belongs in.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  4. #64
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    Let me clarify: If we say we cannot ever know the answer, we are declaring something impossible. Science cannot prove that something is impossible. Therefore, such a declaration is outside the realm of science.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Let me clarify: If we say we cannot ever know the answer, we are declaring something impossible. Science cannot prove that something is impossible. Therefore, such a declaration is outside the realm of science.
    No, to say we cannot know about x is the opposite of saying x is impossible.

    Science works by testing hypotheses, so anything that cannot be tested is outside science and unknowable. Unfortunately people like to know untestable things. The FSM is a strawman case because as far as I know nobody believes in a FSM but what about ghosts? Can you test if ghosts exist?

    You can test phenomena that some people claim to be ghostly and debunk those and you can expose charletons but how would you really test? I strongly disbelieve in ghosts but I feel sure I cannot know and for some people that is an important issue.

    What about the pilot wave interpretation? I read that at present it cannot be tested against Copenhagen so that is a hard case. Is it "real" ? Or could it be real? Maybe a test can be devised? Even a very hard to do test is a test, so within science.

    Would you say the pilot wave interpretation (of reality) leads to a different understanding of reality from the standard model with its probability calculations?
    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

  6. #66
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    Fsm is astrawman case but as an analogy it does make a point. I usually prefer to use a more world applicable case myself which is the sock monster. Now I can't state categorically that anyone seriously believes in such,but it is a commonly expressed concept.


    Coming back to what you are saying about quantum in your last reply to me, I think the key reason to accept quantum as real lies in the fact that whilst it is broadly mathematical, observations are made to confirm it albeit with inferrence . This puts it in a whole different class to philosophical musings... Also my use of the word perverse here doesn't't imply deliberation to such , merely that they are a rationally invalid with respect to the established standards for gaining knowledge. Such questions unless there is a way of answering them hinder rather than help the cause. It's better to have missed something that to have something wrong accepted as fact or even a broadly equal possibility. The established procedure has evolved to root out that which is wrong.
    Last edited by malaidas; 2014-Sep-14 at 10:21 PM.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    No, to say we cannot know about x is the opposite of saying x is impossible.

    No, it's the knowing which category X belongs in that's impossible, not X itself.
    Science works by testing hypotheses, so anything that cannot be tested is outside science and unknowable. Unfortunately people like to know untestable things.
    We have not thought of a viable testing method yet. That does not mean that we never will. To say that we won't is fortune-telling.

    Can you test if ghosts exist?
    Can you come up with a working definition of "ghost" that would be accepted by all those who think ghosts may exist as testable? It's a slippery term.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2014-Sep-14 at 10:17 PM.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    We do need to be able to test in some fashion, otherwise how you even suggest that it is any more than an idea.

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    The nub of the discussion between profloater and myself though is ultimately what classes as a reasonable idea at the moment and what is unuseful speculation. To me a reasonable idea is one that solves a problem we know to exist and In theory can test, if not now then in the future. It must be falsifiable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    We do need to be able to test in some fashion, otherwise how you even suggest that it is any more than an idea.
    If the only way we know, say, "ghosts" is through personal, subjective sensations, test the sensations; Scan the brain of someone while they see a ghost. Hard, but not impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    The nub of the discussion between profloater and myself though is ultimately what classes as a reasonable idea at the moment and what is unuseful speculation. To me a reasonable idea is one that solves a problem we know to exist and In theory can test, if not now then in the future. It must be falsifiable.
    Bold mine. We can't predict the future, so IMO we can't definitively say what might be testable or untestable in the future.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    i don't argue with that, Let me rephrase this to what I really meant, that which we have reasonable cause to believe that we will be able to test in the future

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    i don't argue with that, Let me rephrase this to what I really meant, that which we have reasonable cause to believe that we will be able to test in the future
    OK, I can agree with that. I only wanted to avoid absolutes like "never".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    're subjective experience. I think this is an area that will yield to neurological study, we are making great leaps in understanding the brain. If we however subscribing to some reality to our dualism, I suspect that by it's very nature this will be unreadable, however I also believe that any reason to ask the question will disappear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    're subjective experience. I think this is an area that will yield to neurological study, we are making great leaps in understanding the brain. If we however subscribing to some reality to our dualism, I suspect that by it's very nature this will be unreadable, however I also believe that any reason to ask the question will disappear.
    Can you expand on this?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    a specific part, or in general?

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    a specific part, or in general?
    Mostly on why you think it (neurobiological basis for perceiving reality?) will be unreadable, and why you think the question (of duality?) will disappear.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #77
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    I guess I wasn't clear, anything neurological should in theory be readable, we need only be able to increase our current resolution. A true duality in the platonic sense, vis our consciousness being spiritual rather than material as held by a large number of people, would not be detectable. However I see no reason why experiment cannot be done to replicate through artificially controlled firing of neurons any thought or feeling we have and therefore no reason we cannot show that such is unnecessary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    "I reject your reality and substitute one of my own."
    I love that line and that mentality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    I guess I wasn't clear, anything neurological should in theory be readable, we need only be able to increase our current resolution. A true duality in the platonic sense, vis our consciousness being spiritual rather than material as held by a large number of people, would not be detectable. However I see no reason why experiment cannot be done to replicate through artificially controlled firing of neurons any thought or feeling we have and therefore no reason we cannot show that such is unnecessary
    Playing devil's advocate, I suppose that the counter-argument would be "But those neurons only stimulate the spirit to produce those emotions!" IE, the brain-as-supernatural-radio concept.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  20. #80
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    your right this doesn't represent proof, however it would demonstrate that such is superfluous would you not agree. In which case there is no good reason to suggest such is there without evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    your right this doesn't represent proof, however it would demonstrate that such is superfluous would you not agree. In which case there is no good reason to suggest such is there without evidence.
    The problem is that it is a non-falsifiable claim. Others would be philosophical zombies (acts human, but somehow isn't real) or solipsism (reality is an illusion). I've seen people argue that even if they were exactly duplicated while unconscious with no record of the original and no test showing any difference, they would think one would be somehow a fake (philosophical zombie) and the other real.

    So, this isn't a science argument. As far as I'm concerned, there's already plenty of evidence that a functioning brain is required for a functioning mind. People don't get up and walk and talk after metabolism has ceased. There's all sorts of detail information on the function of the brain, with damage causing very specific cognitive problems. Or the evidence for memory degradation with progressive damage, many chemical effects on how people think with neuromedicine as a big business, and so on.

    What I think science will bring is a big change in how "mind" is commonly viewed. "Self awareness" as commonly talked about looks pretty silly when you consider how little we're aware of the internal processing in the brain, for instance.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2014-Sep-15 at 08:17 AM. Reason: repeat words

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    I personally agree with everything you just said. However until we do have a full understanding, gaps will always exist which can allow the spirit hypothesis to remain and their proponents to say that suggesting such is not unreasonable


    To clarify my previous post with respect to my plainly held stance, if something is necessary then it is reasonable to suggest that it should exist even without evidence, as an example here I call the Higgs Boson to the stand. Anything suggested thus is not proven, but if everything else holds, it's reasonable for someone to assume it will be found to be true. In the case of a platonic duality, I personally see there no real reason to suggest it , but given consciousness etc are still so little understood I have no grounds to say that this wouldn't provide such evidence at least in so far as our investigation fails to find a neurological explanation and thus by simple rational logic it would be necessary that something outside of our physical brain would be required, but I don't think this will prove to be the case. I agree when it's said that such is the last great unknown, but I disagree that it is reasonable to question the reality of the objective reality. Also note that I categorically refute any claim that the God hypothesis sits in the same boat as the question of a duality. God can be shown rationally to not be fundamentally necessary, as such only pushes the question of where everything came from by a step. With respect to this evidence is a requirement to suggest that such exists.
    Last edited by malaidas; 2014-Sep-15 at 08:46 AM.

  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by malaidas View Post
    Also note that I categorically refute any claim that the God hypothesis sits in the same boat as the question of a duality. God can be shown rationally to not be fundamentally necessary, as such only pushes the question of where everything came from by a step. With respect to this evidence is a requirement to suggest that such exists.
    If by God you mean a universal creator, then yes. There are also concepts of God that do not suppose that, such as some forms of Pantheism ("God is everything"), or the Gnostic Demiurge (a creator spirit serving God, which only pushes the creation back one additional step).
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  24. #84
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    On the issue ofDemiurge as you say this only makes sense with respect to the perfect being that it represents.

    With respect to the God is everything hypothesis, I say only that if we are in fact just part of God, then this is just an attempt to put some sort of deeper meaning to our lives,unknowable but ultimately harmless.

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    You see how this thread is slip sliding about. The OP is rather outrageous IMO because it blatantly tries to shut down or at least isolate the very thing that underlies all science. Science is not just testing it is interpreting experience. Interpretation requires thinking, and often that thinking is about what is really going on.

    To start by saying this is all we want to hear about reality is equivalent to the church attitude to Galileo. It is the thought police. And hopefully while free speech is still regarded as important it will not succeed.

    I still would like the OP to specify which thread he/she claims was derailed or nearly derailed by "reality" posts. In the absence of specific cases how can any response be made?
    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
    You see how this thread is slip sliding about. The OP is rather outrageous IMO because it blatantly tries to shut down or at least isolate the very thing that underlies all science. Science is not just testing it is interpreting experience. Interpretation requires thinking, and often that thinking is about what is really going on.

    To start by saying this is all we want to hear about reality is equivalent to the church attitude to Galileo. It is the thought police. And hopefully while free speech is still regarded as important it will not succeed.
    In what way exactly have I limited your free speech or shut down thinking?

    I still would like the OP to specify which thread he/she claims was derailed or nearly derailed by "reality" posts. In the absence of specific cases how can any response be made?
    If I get time later, I'll go through the threads and give examples. And to reiterate, it's not reality posts, it's MDR/MIR posts that rehash the same "is not/are too!" arguments.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  27. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    No, it's the knowing which category X belongs in that's impossible, not X itself.


    We have not thought of a viable testing method yet. That does not mean that we never will. To say that we won't is fortune-telling.

    Can you come up with a working definition of "ghost" that would be accepted by all those who think ghosts may exist as testable? It's a slippery term.
    All these points are wrong. It is not fortune telling to know that some things are untestable including even Descartes cogito ergo sum. Let's not repeat recent discussions about multi-universes and let's not discuss external agencies too much but both are untestable interpretations.

    As for ghosts it is not a test to check someone's brain, i.e. what they think, the point is to test if the ghost exists. The trouble there is the plethora of alternative explanations. Suppose you were able to ask a putative ghost about some fact and the ghost replied correctly. Alternative scenarios would include telepathy, and of course cheating. Then if you became convinced by evidence, what separates a ghost from other agencies that could be at work? The best you could achieve is "We cannot explain that evidence within mainstream science." ghost would then be an interpretation. Interpretations are very important but as a generalisation they are untestable.
    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

  28. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    In what way exactly have I limited your free speech or shut down thinking?



    If I get time later, I'll go through the threads and give examples. And to reiterate, it's not reality posts, it's MDR/MIR posts that rehash the same "is not/are too!" arguments.
    You are trying to limit "reality" or MDR to this thread.
    Ok Let's hear where MDR was an inappropriate argument in a particular thread.
    Last edited by profloater; 2014-Sep-15 at 09:30 AM. Reason: added a sentence
    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. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    All these points are wrong. It is not fortune telling to know that some things are untestable including even Descartes cogito ergo sum.
    You can't test whether you think, or you can't test whether thinking means you exist in order to think?


    Let's not repeat recent discussions about multi-universes and let's not discuss external agencies too much but both are untestable interpretations.
    At present.

    As for ghosts it is not a test to check someone's brain, i.e. what they think, the point is to test if the ghost exists. The trouble there is the plethora of alternative explanations. Suppose you were able to ask a putative ghost about some fact and the ghost replied correctly. Alternative scenarios would include telepathy, and of course cheating. Then if you became convinced by evidence, what separates a ghost from other agencies that could be at work? The best you could achieve is "We cannot explain that evidence within mainstream science." ghost would then be an interpretation. Interpretations are very important but as a generalisation they are untestable.
    Again I ask, what definition of "ghost" are you using? Definition of terms, clarity, is as important in science as it is in alternative methods.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    You are trying to limit "reality" or MDR to this thread.
    No, only to threads where MDR is the topic of discussion. To throw it into other discussions is a derail.

    Ok Let's hear where MDR was an inappropriate argument in a particular thread.
    I'll look when I can. Getting ready to leave now, back later/
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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