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Thread: the 'no miracles' argument for scientific realism- any thoughts?

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    What other alternatives with a similar probability?
    you cannot allocate probability to the unknown. What is the probability that a god exists for example or any agency we cannot see? What probability would you allocate to a karmic principle built into the quantum nature? What probability do you allocate to any aspect of our understanding that suddenly does not agree with prediction.? The belief that reality is probable based on our consciousness says no more than the solipsism of "I know I exist" It does not answer how it works. this was all said in the reality thread but the idea of allocating probability is part of the no miracles argument. It's just playing with words like miracle and probable in a vague way that just ignores the problem of human understanding and interpretation being based on observations that titillate our neurons. It's just another belief to sit along with all the other plausible beliefs.
    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

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck
    I thought I had my own mental model of the writings of others, not their actual writings.
    Then you have an unusual meaning of "actual". For the rest of us, having a memory of something we read is precisely what we mean by an "actual" source, and yes, it involves mental models. You see, it's all about defining words such that we can really use them. Unfortunately for you, you can never use the word "actual writing," because even if it is right in front of you, you still need to use your mind to establish what it is. Apparently for you, that means it's not "actual." But the rest of us simply don't use that word in that way, because it would be so useless to do so. However, most people don't even realize they are taking a meaning for "actual" that does involve their mind. I do realize that, because I observe it happening. So we have three options here:
    1) most people: "actual" means the absolute truth independent of our minds but it's also what our minds conclude is the case, which requires a kind of miracle
    2) your meaning: "actual" means there can be no mind involved at all, so is completely impossible
    3) my meaning: "actual" means what my mind concludes is actual, and does involve my mind, and is supposed to involve my mind because that's how I need the word to work.

    So you see, my way is the only way that is both useful, internally consistent, and involves no miracles.
    And why think that the uncertainties are small?
    Because I find that what I mean by uncertainties prove small in these types of situations.
    We can't compare our mental models with anything else to check them.
    Certainly we can, and do all the time. We compare them with other mental models, that's how models work.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2017-Oct-27 at 02:20 PM.

  3. #93
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    I can't compare two mental models instantly, so I'd have to remeber past mental models. But then all I have is a mental model of a past mental model, not the past mental model itself. How do I test that the past mental model is anything like my model of it now? Anything I do just creates more memories that I also can't test.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    I can't compare two mental models instantly, so I'd have to remeber past mental models.
    Obviously.
    But then all I have is a mental model of a past mental model, not the past mental model itself.
    Memories of mental models are mental models. One only needs to use a correct "algebra of models." I've had to make this point constantly, apparently some people don't understand how models work. For example, I have a mental model of "Neil Armstrong," and I have a mental model of "the Moon," and when I say "Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon," that is yet a third mental model that combines the first two, but the combination is not that a mental model walked on another mental model. That's just not how mental models combine and you only have a problem if you don't know that. Similarly, a memory of a mental model is a mental model that presents no problems, we use them all the time, just like we use the mental model of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon.
    How do I test that the past mental model is anything like my model of it now?
    Yet you do just that, probably a thousand times in every day of your life. To see this, all you have to do is look. Watch yourself having breakfast, and see how many times you tested a past mental model by comparing to a current mental model. And yes, you will use your memeor as you do this. A thousand times a day.
    Anything I do just creates more memories that I also can't test.
    You are not looking very closely at how you function in this world.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    you cannot allocate probability to the unknown. What is the probability that a god exists for example or any agency we cannot see? What probability would you allocate to a karmic principle built into the quantum nature? What probability do you allocate to any aspect of our understanding that suddenly does not agree with prediction.? The belief that reality is probable based on our consciousness says no more than the solipsism of "I know I exist" It does not answer how it works. this was all said in the reality thread but the idea of allocating probability is part of the no miracles argument. It's just playing with words like miracle and probable in a vague way that just ignores the problem of human understanding and interpretation being based on observations that titillate our neurons. It's just another belief to sit along with all the other plausible beliefs.
    That is fine and dandy. But ypu need a boundary between imagination (anything goes) and our actual existence. Sure, you can not “prove” anything verbally. Once you promote the mind to the status of a god, anything goes. Our mere existence is a miracle. So, in this case, with our limited intellectual capabilities, it is inexplicable, that we exist to ponder the attributes of the universe.
    IMHO, there is no doubt: we are along for the ride in a marvelous universe, of which we are part. So the “no miracles” argument holds for everything except ourselves.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Obviously.Memories of mental models are mental models. One only needs to use a correct "algebra of models." I've had to make this point constantly, apparently some people don't understand how models work. For example, I have a mental model of "Neil Armstrong," and I have a mental model of "the Moon," and when I say "Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon," that is yet a third mental model that combines the first two, but the combination is not that a mental model walked on another mental model. That's just not how mental models combine and you only have a problem if you don't know that. Similarly, a memory of a mental model is a mental model that presents no problems, we use them all the time, just like we use the mental model of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon.
    Yet you do just that, probably a thousand times in every day of your life. To see this, all you have to do is look. Watch yourself having breakfast, and see how many times you tested a past mental model by comparing to a current mental model. And yes, you will use your memeor as you do this. A thousand times a day.
    You are not looking very closely at how you function in this world.
    If I want a can of corn, my current mental model shows me buying cans of corn in the past so taking the steps that lead to buying a can of corn seems likely to succeed. But have I ever bought a can of corn? Maybe I've prayed for cans of corn in the past and received them along with memories of having bought them. How do I test which is more accurate? Even if I pray and don't get a can of corn, all I'll have is an untestable model in which I prayed and got nothing. Using mental models doesn't seem to be very scientific since they can't be demonstrated to be useful.

    Of course, if I want a can of corn I'm going to buy one. My brain seems to be programmed to act on memories. I don't have to think about models and tests. It works automatically.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    If I want a can of corn, my current mental model shows me buying cans of corn in the past so taking the steps that lead to buying a can of corn seems likely to succeed.
    Yes, you do see how you use mental models to get by.
    But have I ever bought a can of corn?
    Analyze what you mean by having ever bought a can of corn, and you can answer that. Again, the issue is allowing your own words to mean things that you can actually use, not impossible meanings that you cannot use. They are your words, you say what they mean. You do that all the time also-- you use words to mean things you can actually use. All you are doing now is pretending they mean something different from what you can use, but that is never how you actually use those words, outside this conversation. That's the only problem you are having, I use the meanings consistently. When I say I have bought a can of corn in my life, all I ever mean is that I am trying to successfully use a model I call a memory of buying a can of corn. I use that model effectively, and that's all I ever meant by my words "I have bought a can of corn before." Time will tell if the model succeeds or fails, that's how scientific thinking works. I choose to use it, in hopes the model will serve me well. You can decide to use a different model-- and good luck!
    Maybe I've prayed for cans of corn in the past and received them along with memories of having bought them. How do I test which is more accurate?
    Easy-- try both models, and see which one gets you the can of corn.
    Using mental models doesn't seem to be very scientific since they can't be demonstrated to be useful.
    You seem to have missed what science has been doing for the last few thousand years! At least, that's our model of what it has been doing, the one that gets taught in school, and tests out quite well (despite the usual inaccuracies and idealizations, the winners write the history but that comes with the territory of the models that propagate).
    Of course, if I want a can of corn I'm going to buy one. My brain seems to be programmed to act on memories. I don't have to think about models and tests. It works automatically.
    Exactly, But the automatic use of models doesn't mean you aren't using models, it just means it takes some effort to notice this.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2017-Oct-28 at 02:41 AM.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    If I want a can of corn, my current mental model shows me buying cans of corn in the past so taking the steps that lead to buying a can of corn seems likely to succeed. But have I ever bought a can of corn? Maybe I've prayed for cans of corn in the past and received them along with memories of having bought them.
    essentially making the Omphalos hypothesis argument ( "Last Thursdayism" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis )

    IMHO - this requires a deity to exist.
    it is also circular and nonsensical unless you first accept, on faith, that a deity, or creator of [your] reality, exists
    (it could also be AI, much like the Matrix movies, or aliens, or a Hooloovoo, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Using mental models doesn't seem to be very scientific since they can't be demonstrated to be useful.
    depends

    if the model that you mentally use is based upon reality (or using science) then it's very useful and can lead to further scientific facts.

    the best example of this is the thought experiment, AKA the Gedankenexperiment*, which lead to GR/SR and Quantum Theory
    *(also Gedanken-Experiment or Gedankenerfahrung https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_experiment )

    so if you base your mental model on, say, physics, and it's utilising prior validated experiments, then it can be useful - but your primary argument is how to know what is real and whether your prior experiences are even legitimate... and this is where philosophers will spin various arguments. (hence my point above about this being circular)

    the question really is determined by you and what you're willing to accept as reality, though. (BTW - this is a core problem of certain types of mental illness)

    as most of human reality is determined by the senses and feedback utilising said senses, determining reality leads to this:

    the first thing you should do is determine what reality is to you and what you will accept (measurements, observations, margins of error, etc)

    and the most effective means to do this, based upon history and what is natural, is utilising the scientific method

    this method is actually part of growing up as it is how you learn to interact with the real world as a child. oversimplified, it is: observe, experiment, determine a working procedure or hypothesis, revise as needed

    any person can create an argument about not accepting any other point, but then you get to argue about the objectivity of the evidence

    which leads right back to the scientific method, really

  9. #99
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    Last edited by plant; 2019-Sep-17 at 02:17 AM. Reason: error
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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