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The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #255
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarcasmon:

Tony...

The lecture is over. The podium has been removed. The keynote speaker already flew home. The next performance is Cats.

Why are you still ... doing this?

I have been without an internet connection for a few weeks now and I am responding because a few people offered responses directed toward ME. You are free to ignore these since they hold no interest for YOU.

I just have this thing called courtesy. If someone asks me something I try to answer them.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #253
To all:

Re: "Beginning of time".

Simple inescapable fact here. for time to "begin" requires a moment in which such an event could occur. Hence time could NOT have a beginning since it had to already exist in order for the "beginning" event to transpire.

Thu8s far no one has even attempted to explain how this could be incorrect.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

[b]
quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

"Beyond time"(not "above time") is a typical 'transcendence-rationalization' of many theists and such for trying to explain away the apparent paradox be of 'omniscience' and 'free will' and such. When I point out that an omniscient being himself could not have free will(and hence neither can anyone else which does away with the rationalization that HUMANS are to blame for "evil" which is the typical rationalization offered in answer to The Riddle of Epicurus/problem of evil), they posit that he is "beyond time" and that this somehow means he COULD simultaneously know the future and make decisions.
And this is why I’m saying you’re projecting opinions you’ve heard elsewhere here. God doesn’t know every single detail of the future.
According to the Bible and most Christian conceptions, he DOES know all, including the future. But if you worship some other god who lacks omniscience then so be it. He is exempt from this one disproof(the omniscience/free will paradox).

quote:

quote:
I do not deny the existence of things by virtue of me not understanding them. I logically rule out things which are NOT UNDERSTANDABLE(period). BIG difference.[/b]
Is “logically rule out” = “deny the existence of”? This is what I mean by having a problem with not understanding things. If you say something is unreasonable so you can’t accept it, I can understand. If you say because you don’t understand a thing it doesn’t exist, you are unreasonable.
Okay let me try again since you somehow missed this above. I do NOT deny the existence of things because I do not understand them. I rule out the existence of things which are rationalized as being "beyond" any capacity for understanding. This goes back to Sagan's Garage Dragon again. You can say that a 'garage dragon' exists in your garage, but since it is intangible, invisible and otherwise leaves NO effects to warrant the inference of such, it does not exist either way, regardless of the bald assertion that we simply do not understand it's existence.

I deny that 2 + 2 = 57 until such time as you can explain to me how adding two and two together can result in a sum of 57. Simply asserting that "God-math" is beyond my kin does not make your math work.

quote:
I think that is the major qualm that I and the others are having with you. It may be just be lack of clear communication or we’re missing your point.
It seems to be the latter for the most part.

quote:
If humans were a blind species, would color exist?
It would exist as "The visible aspect of things caused by the differing quantities of light reflected or emitted by them.", even if no creatures could see this and we could conceivably still perceive these "colors" even without eyesight.
But if you are going to ask what would exist for a species that hypothetically lacked ANY senses/ability to perceive data then you are asking nonsense questions since we would also lack the abstract thought to even care.

quote:
quote:
If you are going to assert something that is nonsensical to the human, rational mind then you are going to have to back this up.
Yes, but what have I asserted nonsensically?! Unless you qualify questioning your assertion as irrational assertion, I’ve done no such thing.
I was speaking in general and in regards to the positive assertions that things exist "transcendentally"(God etc.).

quote:
quote:
p1. In defining "existence", we must be able to differentiate "existent" things from "imaginary" things. To not do so leads to inability to communicate or establish any existential truth or understanding of reality.

p2.The means by which we differentiate existential things from imaginary things is by sense contents primarily and logic(including linear sequential constraint…

p3. "Transcendent" and "supernatural" are defined as being "beyond observation-capability" and/or "beyond logic/rationality/linear constraint/etc".

C1 - Ergo, "transcendent things/supernatural things do not "exist" except as imaginary entities and concepts.

p1. OK.

p2. OK, but ones logic and sense can be limited by lack of knowledge, experience, or ability. At the risk of beating a dead horse, it may seem nonsensical to some that 299,999m/s added to 299,999m/s gives us 300,000m/s, but based on current understanding it can.

p3. And this is why I said you define things supernatural out of existence.

Find the flaw: I hereby call all fruit “apples.” Therefore any fruit that is not an apple does not exist.
You still misunderstand. I am not offering tautologies here. I am not defining "supernatural" as "non-existent" to make my case. I am explaining why "supernatural" is a nonsense term with no comprehensible meaning and obviously contradictory. The ONLY answer you can have to this is to cough up ONE example of something known to exist which does so in contradiction to naturalism.

quote:
Is it illogical to say there could be entities with a nature very different from our own?
Depends on how you define these "entities" and their "different nature".

quote:
If not why? If so, is it possible we cannot fully grasp this nature? If not, do you believe that baboons know the nature of bacteria? Do bacteria not exist for baboons?
A false analogy. Baboons are known to exist as natural things. Bacteria is known to exist as natural phenomena. Neither are known to exist as "transcendent" or "supernatural".

quote:
C1. Does not follow logically.
Sure it does(until you can show otherwise).

quote:
Yes, there IS a fallacy(or three) you committed above and you add another one here. You are citing a SUBJECTIVE text(the Bible) as if it were some OBJECTIVE source. The Bible, as all holy scriptures, is interpreted and everyone has their own interpretations. NO where does it explicitly say "Use reason" or anything like that. That does not stop you from interpreting it to say such but this is due to psychological quirks such as pattern recognition behavior in humanity.
Cite the fallacy. You say reason is not a foundation of religion.[/quote]

IIRC I contended YOUR assertion that CHRISTIANITY is founded on reason. What you should have said was that YOU have a specific interpretation of Christianity that YOU believe is founded in reason. Then we could examine your reasoning.

quote:
I say that is too broad of a statement. To support my position I cite a religions textbook viewed as the foundation for Christianity.
You cited an ambiguous, subjective text which can be interpreted to say ANYTHING by individuals. You did NOT cite any passage wherein God or Jesus said "Use reason for it is the foundation of the faith".

quote:
Proverbs 14:15 Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps.
Case in point. ;)

quote:
Acts 17:2 So according to Paul’s custom he went inside to them, and for three Sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references
Chalk this up to translation and also note the context. You are also committing the circular reasoning fallacy again. If the Bibkle had a passage wherein God says "Know this; that those who believe in Christ are masters of reason!" would not in any way even begin to suggest that Christianity was founded in reason.

quote:
Romans 12:1 Consequently I entreat YOU by the compassions of God, brothers, to present YOUR bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with YOUR power of reason.
Again, what relevance does this have?! When God describes the earth as being flat(a disc resting on pillars and such) they do not seem eager to assert that Christianity is founded on flat earthism. But the mere mention of the word "reason"(a wholly different usage than how we are suing the term here) in specific translations = "Christianity is founded on reason"?!

quote:
One cannot have Biblical faith without reason.
False. The opposite is true. one cannot have REASON in Biblical faith. It is impossible.

quote:

quote:
Reading the Bible is a leading cause of atheism amongst critical atheists for example. The Bible simply cannot be justified as reasonable.
Reading the Bible does not guarantee understanding it. Disbelief is not evidence that something doesn't exist. Some people read the Bible and are convinced it has all the answers and is what it claims to be. It is perfectly reasonable to them. What conclusion would you draw from that? [/qb]
That they are not apt at reasoning/critical thinking. Creationism sounds scientific to someone who knows nothing of science.

quote:
quote:
It is blatantly silly and bears all the earmarks of man-made doctrine. it makes perfect sense when we assume that it was written by nomadic sheep-herders of 2,000+ years ago(what with it's morality fables of children being slain for teasing bald men, tower of babel etc.) but makes no sense at all if we assume an omni-max deity inspired/wrote the thing.
But it was not just written by shepherds, that’s a major fallacy and it that betrays the claim that one has read the Bible critically.
You are missing or intentionally dodging the point above. The point being that the Bible makes perfect sense when you recognize what it is. The storytelling/myth-making of primitive peoples. It makes NO SENSE if you assume it was inspireed/written by God.

quote:
If you had you would know that the penmen of the Bible included military generals,
Such as...?

quote:
kings, high ranking imperial officials, lawyers, physicians, priests, judges, and tax collectors.
An irrelevant conclusion fallacy and bald assertion.

What would you expect from a book written by God that is not in the Bible?[/quote]

I would expect, for starters, NO Rube Goldberg mechanisms such as what is described in Adam & Eve & Jesus' myths. I would expect things to make some sense and NOT be so obviously the product of primitive HUMAN biases. I can understand how a HUMAN suffering from baldness might come up with a cautionary tale about children being killed by God for teasing people about baldness but cannot see how a real God would bother himself with such pettiness.

quote:
What do you see in the Bible that conveys it is man-made?
The whole thing SCREAMS that it was man-made far more clearly than the worst book on all the past NY Times bestseller lists! What sort of real omni-deity creates humans who cannot outwit talking snakes, waits for them to be conned by a talking snake, then reacts in outrage at the humans for being so duped and decides that a fitting punishment would be to curse, torment and make suffer all their lineage. But then decides to change his mind and forgive them but cannot do so unless he can rape a human virgin and have his son tortured and put to death to appease his own anger at a man and woman 4,000 years dead?!

And yet humans still suffer shortened life spans, disease, torment etc. to this day?

The answer is that God is an imaginary thing and imaginary things have no power over disease, longevity and tsunamis.

quote:
In all fairness we should probably take this to another thread. I have a suspicion it may get closed by the powers that be, but we could give it a go.

http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=004455#0000 00[/QB]
Will do.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #250
quote:
Originally written by Maimonides:

quote:
Originally posted by SkeleTony:
Time and such exist as useful concepts which we employ to measure the passage of events. Sequence is simply the way things have to be for a s4ensible existence(i.e. an existence where things are not both 'A' and 'Not A' simultaneously).
Time and such do not "exist" in the way that you or I or a planet "exists".

Your opinion on this matter is not widely held by working theoretical physicists.

Appeal to anonymous authority much?

quote:

quote:
The idea that "time has a beginning" still does not make sense though because the very act of the "beginning"(the "bang" or what have you) would itself require sequential linear time to accomplish.
It would not.
It would and simply baldly asserting "It would not" does not even begin to constitute a refutation. You have to explain to us HOW your speculation can even work.

quote:
quote:
This is another appeal to ignorance fallacy. You ARE presenting a logical contradiction and justifying it by an appeal to some imagined lack of understanding we have about time.
It is not. He is not. You are not "we"; SoT is not the one with a lack of understanding of time.
I suspect that you do not understand the posts you are responding to. Thus far you have committed a series of logical fallacies and nothing more.

quote:
quote:
quote:
Why does a beginning entail a moment before the beginning?
Because that is what "beginning" means. Can you have a "beginning" to a race if the cars have all been driving eternally in circles in infinite regress?! Infinite regress, by definition negates a "beginning".
An infinite regress is not the only alternative to a beginning with a moment before it.
Go on...Explain this other alternative to us please.

quote:
quote:
If time has "a beginning" then how can this be in the absence of sequence that comes with the existence of time(or more accurately the existence of non-static material objects for which events can transpire). In other words how was the "balloon" initially 'inflated' with no moment in which such could occur?
It does not appear to have occurred to you that since the "balloon" was spacetime, the "balloon" was the moment in which its own inflation occurred.
You are speaking in word salad gibberish now. The above entails a span of linear time in which the "balloon" does not yet exist(at least in an "inflated" state), followed by it's inflation. Hence your speculation is refuted.

quote:
The fact that you do not understand how time can expand is not anything more than a demonstration of your lack of understanding of quantum mechanics.
Whatever. As soon as you are able to explain your4self and make some sense, I will gladly concede the point to you. Thus far you are just saying "This is so because I say it is so and I think a bunch of other guys(unnamed of course) who know a thing or two about theoretical physics say so.".

quote:

quote:
"Beginning" DOES imply a preceding moment where the event(of said "beginning") had not yet occurred or the phenomenon did not yet exist. I explained why this was in a preceding post.
It does not. You did not.[/QB]
Yes it does and yes I did(several times now).

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #231
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

There is nothing in the term "beginning" that implies that anything preceded it.
"Beginning" DOES imply a preceding moment where the event(of said "beginning") had not yet occurred or the phenomenon did not yet exist. I explained why this was in a preceding post.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #230
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

There is nothing in the term "beginning" that implies that anything preceded it.
"Beginning" DOES imply a preceding moment where the event(of said "beginning") had not yet occurred or the phenomenon did not yet exist. I explained why this was in a preceding post.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #229
*Sigh* Double post due to forum screwing up again...

[ Tuesday, August 28, 2007 20:42: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #228
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

[quote=Synergy]
[qb]Who is SkeleTony, anyway and what planet is it from?

SkeleTony has been around before, but not recently.[/quote]I am around quite a bit actually but I mostly lurk. On occasion I pop up and post for a few days or a week then go back into lurking.

[quote]
quote:
Energies may be invisible, but they follow principles to do what they do. If there are energies harnessed by a "spiritually-focused" person to create an effect upon the material, is it supernatural, or merely a natural law of energies in operation which we don't understand yet?
Uh... I guess if such a thing were to exist, you'd be right.

quote:
quote:
The fact that some energies seem to be able to travel at the speed of light/speed of thought around the world, as in the curious, sometimes psychic link of twins, for instance, does not make it unscientifice or magical. I don't see any ultimate division between the "spiritual" and the scientifiic. There are energetically-based principles of connectedness in the universe which I don't think we grasp yet, and I believe they can appear to supersede time and space in the conventional sense.
Uh, "energetically-based principles of connectedness in the universe"? I'm reminded of the EPR paradox, but that has nothing to do with energy (more with transfer of information).
The "twins" thing is greatly exaggerated also. People have this wonky idea that twins have these psychic links" to one another and such and it is rubbish.

quote:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

If the universe had a "birth"(and i agree that this one DID) then this entails a preceding moment in which the universe did not exist, followed by the "bang" and so on...
Hence linear temporal sequence has ALWAYS existed.

Eh, one of the ways of making sense of this is to think that time actually looks more like a radius than like an axis in Cartesian coordinates. If you're on the surface of a balloon and someone is blowing air in, as time passes, the radius of the balloon increases and the surface expands. The radius can be measured in units of time, and in the universe, the radius is time.

If the balloon is sufficiently big, the surface looks 2-D, even though the balloon itself is a 3-D object. The universe is doing something similar, except the universe is big enough that it looks at a given point in time 3-D, even though it is actually 4-D. And just as with the balloon, time is a radius, and the Big Bang happens at r=0.
Granted and I understand all that but this still does not answer my question though. If time has "a beginning" then how can this be in the absence of sequence that comes with the existence of time(or more accurately the existence of non-static material objects for which events can transpire). In other words how was the "balloon" initially 'inflated' with no moment in which such could occur?

quote:
What was before the Big Bang? Well, the universe before the Big Bang would be a sphere with negative radius. No such thing exists. Stephen Hawking's line is that asking what was before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole, and my rendition of that is that it's like asking what a negative-radius sphere looks like.
EXACTLY! Which pretty well proves that there can be no "before time".

quote:
quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

Absence of evidence is some of the strongest evidence of absence we can possibly have! The above makes for a cute slogan but it is not logically sound. You also have to keep in mind the difference between ordinary claims and extraordinary claims. Not having positive evidence that my aunt works for NASA is NOT evidence that she does not. That would be true. But not having evidence that my aunt is a vampiric telepath from dimension 'x934' IS evidence that she is not.
Uh, no. You have to make some sort of appeal to a form of Occam's Razor, here, or you're stabbing blindly in the dark.
?! I do not follow you. And as a skeptic I LIVE by Occam's razor BTW.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #226
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

[quote=SkeleTony]
[qb]
[M]y own view ... is that time does not even exist and therefore CANNOT be affected, tangibly.

In view of your subsequent statements about time being and temporal sequence existing, I am not sure what you mean by time not existing. [/quote]Different usages of "exists" here. Time and such exist as useful concepts which we employ to measure the passage of events. Sequence is simply the way things have to be for a s4ensible existence(i.e. an existence where things are not both 'A' and 'Not A' simultaneously).
Time and such do not "exist" in the way that you or I or a planet "exists".

quote:
Time does not exist, but yet somehow it does, and possesses certain necessary properties? It may well be that you have a coherent theory of time that is hard to explain, but I'm afraid this is word salad to me right now.
Does the above clear this up for you? I probably should have taken the time to explain every facet at every turn but I kind of thought this stuff was obvious and I did not want you to think I was talking down to you.

quote:
quote:

If the universe had a "birth" ... then this entails a preceding moment in which the universe did not exist, followed by the "bang" and so on...

Why does a beginning entail a moment before the beginning?
Because that is what "beginning" means. Can you have a "beginning" to a race if the cars have all been driving eternally in circles in infinite regress?! Infinite regress, by definition negates a "beginning".

quote:
I agree that most moments are preceded by other moments, but the Big Bang is a unique case. I simply don't see why every moment must necessarily have a predecessor.
See above. How do you arrive at this logically though?! How can one possibly infer what you speculate above?!

quote:
The sphere model I described is a perfectly clear explanation of how time can have a beginning; it is not meaningless word salad.
I did not say it was "meaningless word salad" did I? In fact did I not THANK YOU for presenting it?
The idea that "time has a beginning" still does not make sense though because the very act of the "beginning"(the "bang" or what have you) would itself require sequential linear time to accomplish. You cannot escape this.

quote:
No logical contradictions are involved; only conflicts with your intuitions about time.
This is another appeal to ignorance fallacy. You ARE presenting a logical contradiction and justifying it by an appeal to some imagined lack of understanding we have about time.

quote:
But many people's intuition is that a roadrunner who runs off a cliff will travel horizontally for a while, then fall straight down.
Objection! Relevance...? Not to mention this is an unqualified assertion fallacy.

quote:
If you're not prepared to let a concord between extensive data and clear theoretical explanations overrule your intuition, then your rationality differs from that of natural science.
But I am most certainly prepared to do so. Just as soon as you present such I will be happy to allow it to overrule whatever you think my "intuitions" are.(Hint: I do not rely much on "intuition" as it strikes me as largely unreliable and irrational).

Let's please avoid the attacks on person that you are starting to hint at here. I am no dogmatist or person enthralled with presuppositions about reality or some such.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #224
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

[quote=SkeleTony]
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:
[b]
What does it mean, for example, for a God to "create the universe" if there was not a preceding moment where the universe did NOT exist
It’s not the preceding moment, but the preceding eternity that gets us.
Very "Sphynx-like"(See Mystery men) but does not answer the question.

The thing is I really don’t think I disagree so as to contend. It makes perfect sense to me that there was a moment before the universe. If you say there can be no being above time, I don’t know that I quite disagree with that. I guess you’d have to define “above time.”[/b][/quote]"Beyond time"(not "above time") is a typical 'transcendence-rationalization' of many theists and such for trying to explain away the apparent paradox be of 'omniscience' and 'free will' and such. When I point out that an omniscient being himself could not have free will(and hence neither can anyone else which does away with the rationalization that HUMANS are to blame for "evil" which is the typical rationalization offered in answer to The Riddle of Epicurus/problem of evil), they posit that he is "beyond time" and that this somehow means he COULD simultaneously know the future and make decisions.

quote:
If a being has no beginning and no end and can accurately foresee and control events as he sees fit does that mean he is “above time?”
No. It means he is a robot with no free will who cannot take credit for any action or be blamed for any event.

quote:
It seems to me that you have a problem understanding not understanding. You want to define everything as things you can understand or are aware of and anything you can’t understand as nonexistent.
?!? I am not sure I can parse those sentences.
It is true that I want things defined in a way that I can understand what the Hell people are talking about. I would like to think we ALL do.
I do not deny the existence of things by virtue of me not understanding them. I logically rule out things which are NOT UNDERSTANDABLE(period). BIG difference. If you assert something nonsensical and attempt to justify it by stating "Maybe it is just beyond human reason?!" or some such, then you are just saying that it CANNOT be understood(and is therefore, by definition...nonsense).

I do not grant assent or credence to nonsense/gibberish.

quote:
As has been pointed out, that is not sound logic.
*Boggle* What is wrong with my logic?!

quote:
You want to place the ball in my court as if I was the one that made the matter of fact statement about what is and is not possible.
If you are going to assert something that is nonsensical to the human, rational mind then you are going to have to back this up. Saying that things can both exist and simultaneously be BEYOND the constraints by which we define existence is a nonsensical assertion. Saying that "Not everything that exists is necessarily bound by existential constraints" is the same assertion, re-phrased.

BOTH entail a burden of proof for the one asserting such.

quote:
Again, I did not. I questioned you about your statement as I thought you had some novel logic that would preclude a spiritual realm and was curious. So here’s an exercise that the gang here forced me to do when my logic was unclear. It will expose soundness or lack thereof. It helped me to be surer of my position and so I am forever grateful. DELINEATE YOUR LOGIC.

1. Only things I can comprehend exist.
2. I cannot comprehend supernatural entities.
3. Supernatural entities do not exist.

That is what you seem to be saying. Fix it if it is not representative of your position.
It is most certainly NOT my position at all.

p1. In defining "existence", we must be able to differentiate "existent" things from "imaginary" things. To not do so leads to inability to communicate or establish any existential truth or understanding of reality.

p2.The means by which we differentiate existential things from imaginary things is by sense contents primarily and logic(including linear sequential constraint). If you know of some other logically sound qualifiers or means of such differentiation then by all means, let me know. In many, many years of presenting this argument, I have never been presented with any.

p3. "Transcendent" and "supernatural" are defined as being "beyond observation-capability" and/or "beyond logic/rationality/linear constriant/etc".

C1 - Ergo, "transcendent things/supernatural things do not "exist" except as imaginary entities and concepts.

Your rebuttal...?

quote:
A bald assertion and hinting at a No true Scotsman fallacy here. Reason MAY be a part of SOME Christian faiths(depending on how one is defining these terms)....
There’s no fallacy as the Bible instructs Christians to use their thinking ability, reason, examine evidence, and to be sure of what they believe.[/qb][/quote]

Yes, there IS a fallacy(or three) you committed above and you add another one here. You are citing a SUBJECTIVE text(the Bible) as if it were some OBJECTIVE source. Te Bible, as all holy scriptures, is interpreted and everyone has their own interpretations. NO where does it explicitly say "Use reason" or anything like that. That does not stop you from interpreting it to say such but this is due to psychological quirks such as pattern recognition behavior in humanity.

quote:
I can somewhat agree with your latter statement though. Some religions discourage logical examination of doctrine. Some is different from all though, which is what you seemed to be implying.

-------------

Yes Drew, this thread has been hijacked.[/QB]
I am not implying "all" really but would love to hear of one that encourages critical thinking applied to it's doctrines. Thus far, in the hundreds of religions I have been presented with in my life, I have not encountered any(some Buddhist sects come close though).

Applying critical thought/reason to religious doctrine is a surefire way to destroy that religion(at least for the one applying such). Reading the Bible is a leading cause of atheism amongst critical atheists for example. The Bible simply cannot be justified as reasonable. It is blatantly silly and bears all the earmarks of man-made doctrine. it makes perfect sense when we assume that it was written by nomadic sheep-herders of 2,000+ years ago(what with it's morality fables of children being slain for t4easing bald men, tower of babel etc.) but makes no sense at all if we assume an omni-max deity inspired/wrote the thing.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #216
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

What does it mean, for example, for a God to "create the universe" if there was not a preceding moment where the universe did NOT exist[/qb]
It’s not the preceding moment, but the preceding eternity that gets us.
Very "Sphynx-like"(See Mystery men) but does not answer the question.

quote:
We’re accustomed to things having a start. It’s difficult to imagine something that doesn’t.
That may be but my contention is that existence itself has NO "start" and CANNOT have a "start".

quote:
I’m glad we can agree that there is though. That means that we can agree that something exists that we can’t quite wrap our brains around.
I think you misunderstood me because I agree to no such thing.

quote:
quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

quote:
It also seems a pretty bold claim to assume we know everything must be natural and physical – that was your claim.
Not at all bold. By definition all things must be natural and physical for we live in a natural and physical reality. This fact remains until one of you can cough up reason to infer otherwise.

What you are doing here is citing the lack of proof for your own speculation as the case for your speculation being true. If we DO live in a material reality(as all evidence points to) then we CANNOT have evidence for or against a 'non-physical' reality, which is why we have that "burden of proof" thing that falls on YOU making such a claim.
I think you are projecting some other discussion you’ve had on me.
No...I simply answered your rebuttal. This is what I was responding to:

quote:
It also seems a pretty bold claim to assume we know everything must be natural and physical
Clear or...?

quote:


quote:
False. If someone is employing methodology to arrive at understanding then they are using reason . I am not saying that no religious people use reason(quite the contrary). I am just saying that this is not part of a religious foundation itself.

Reason is inherent to Christian faith.
A bald assertion and hinting at a No true Scotsman fallacy here. Reason MAY be a part of SOME Christian faiths(depending on how one is defining these terms)....

--------------------
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

What does it mean, for example, for a God to "create the universe" if there was not a preceding moment where the universe did NOT exist[/qb]
It’s not the preceding moment, but the preceding eternity that gets us.
Very "Sphynx-like"(See Mystery men) but does not answer the question.

quote:
We’re accustomed to things having a start. It’s difficult to imagine something that doesn’t.
That may be but my contention is that existence itself has NO "start" and CANNOT have a "start".

quote:
I’m glad we can agree that there is though. That means that we can agree that something exists that we can’t quite wrap our brains around.
I think you misunderstood me because I agree to no such thing.

quote:
quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

quote:
It also seems a pretty bold claim to assume we know everything must be natural and physical – that was your claim.
Not at all bold. By definition all things must be natural and physical for we live in a natural and physical reality. This fact remains until one of you can cough up reason to infer otherwise.

What you are doing here is citing the lack of proof for your own speculation as the case for your speculation being true. If we DO live in a material reality(as all evidence points to) then we CANNOT have evidence for or against a 'non-physical' reality, which is why we have that "burden of proof" thing that falls on YOU making such a claim.
I think you are projecting some other discussion you’ve had on me.
No...I simply answered your rebuttal. This is what I was responding to:

quote:
It also seems a pretty bold claim to assume we know everything must be natural and physical
Clear or...?

quote:


quote:
False. If someone is employing methodology to arrive at understanding then they are using reason . I am not saying that no religious people use reason(quite the contrary). I am just saying that this is not part of a religious foundation itself.
[/qb]
Reason is inherent to Christian faith.
A bald assertion and hinting at a No true Scotsman fallacy here. Reason MAY be a part of SOME Christian faiths(depending on how one is defining these terms)....

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
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quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

[quote=SkeleTony]
[W]e have EVERY reason to assume that time is time. What does it mean, for example, for a God to "create the universe" if there was not a preceding moment where the universe did NOT exist, followed by the act of "creation" and then the post-creation span? The "beyond time" or "Non-linear experience of time" is just word salad nonsense. Like claiming that square shaped circles might exist in Bizarro World without explaining HOW such a thing could be.

I applaud the demand for explanations of how, instead of mere claims that. Likewise the rejection of word salad nonsense as acceptable explanation of how.

Speaking as a professional theoretical physicist, however: insisting that people clearly explain how the universe was created is setting the bar rather high.[/quote]That is not what I am requesting though. I am just saying that if someone will assert the nonsensical idea that something can exist "beyond time" or "non-linearly" I request that they explain to me how this can even BE. To me it is no different than claiming that objects can get further away from you as they move towards you.

quote:
Scientific cosmology is an awfully long way from being able to do that. We think we have a rough understanding of how things went after the first few microseconds or so, but our inability to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics prevents us from making sense of the Big Bang itself. People are working on it.
I accept that there ARE gaps and always WILL be gaps in our knowledge. What I do NOT accept is appeals to these "gaps" as justification for nonsense-claims.

quote:
What we believe we already do know, though, is that time can in fact behave very differently from the way it seems to behave in day to day life on earth.
This is a matter I am anxious to delve into here because my own view(seems rather unpopular) is that time does not even exist and therefore CANNOT be affected, tangibly.


quote:
In particular we have a clear mathematical model for the Big Bang, which we know is incomplete at best because it ignores quantum mechanics, but which we think ought to be accurate enough after the earliest moments of the universe. It accords very well with all available data, and by now there is quite a decent amount of data available, which not just any model could fit.

And in this model, time itself begins at the Big Bang.
But what does that MEAN? "Time itself"? DO you mean the EVENTS which befall the physically existent things of the universe did not transpire until the Big Bang occurred? if so then I heartily agree but I do not equate the existence of physical things and events with the existence of time itself as an independent thing.

quote:
It is not easy to picture the model in its full four dimensions, but if for visualization we can replace the three dimensions of space with a simple one dimensional circle, then we can picture spacetime in only two dimensions. But this two dimensional spacetime is not flat, like a plane. It is curved, like (at least a part of) a sphere. At any one instant in time, space is like a parallel of latitude on the sphere; and time flows south along meridians of longitude. The instant of the Big Bang is like the north pole. At the north pole, space has zero size, everywhere is together at one point, and time begins. As time moves forward, space expands.
I understand that(thanks for the explanation) but does it not make infinitely more sense that TIME always was, before the birth of our universe? How could the big bang have even occurred without time's precedence?!

quote:
That is an explanation of how time can have a beginning. It is the currently orthodox scientific theory of the early history of the universe, not some hypothetical example I just cooked up. Current scientific consensus is that time itself is only about 15 billion years old. The earth is not eternal, but it is roughly a third as old as time.
Regardless of how many cosmologists actually hold this view, I disagree with it for the reasons above. If the universe had a "birth"(and i agree that this one DID) then this entails a preceding moment in which the universe did not exist, followed by the "bang" and so on...
Hence linear temporal sequence has ALWAYS existed.

quote:
What was there before time began? In what sense could anyone or anything cause the beginning of time, when causality as we know it is about succession in time? These may be philosophical or theological questions, but they are also physical questions. We don't know how to answer them, but there is nothing wrong with them as questions except that they are hard. Theoretical physicists have been happy to make models and speculate. Theologians are entitled to do the same.
It is not the speculation that bothers me... ;)

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quote:
Originally written by The Almighty Do-er of Stuff:



SkeleTony, it appears you are commiting an Appeal to Ignorance fallacy. (See *NOTE at end of post before talking about the page the preceding link directs you. Feel free to disagree after you have read it, but I ask that you back up your argument with logic.)
Will do, and yes...you are wrong here(*See below).

quote:
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
False. Absence of evidence is some of the strongest evidence of absence we can possibly have! The above makes for a cute slogan but it is not logically sound. You also have to keep in mind the difference between ordinary claims and extraordinary claims. Not having positive evidence that my aunt works for NASA is NOT evidence that she does not. That would be true. But not having evidence that my aunt is a vampiric telepath from dimension 'x934' IS evidence that she is not.

quote:
I shall give you two examples:

In medieval times, humans had no observable evidence that what we now call black holes existed. Therefore, by the logic you appear to have used in your posts in this thread, because there was no evidence for them, it was reasonable to conclude that it was 100% certain that they did not exist.
You are commiting a false analogy fallacy here. And if someone claimed, back in the dark ages or some such, that black holes existed, with NO regards for inference, then their claim would be, at the very least, unreasonable(even if it turned out to be true).
But the grounds on which I deny the possibility of things, like "God" for example, are LOGICAL grounds, not evidentiary grounds. God, nor ANY other "transcendent" thing, cannot exist for the same reason as square shaped circles cannot exist. Law of non-contradiction and all that. The very definition of "existence" prohibits things from both existing AND having none of the traits that constitute existence.

Again, you have to define "existence" in a way that differentiates it from "imaginary" or the word has no meaning. Do that and you will see the strength of my argument, I assure you.

quote:
You might say this is absurd, because we now have tools and methods for seeing them that medieval people did not and through their use we now do have evidence for their existence. However, could the same situation that applies to medieval people with regard to the existence of black holes not also apply to ourselves at the present with regard to the existence of currently undetectable souls and deities?
Define these "souls" and "entities" for me and I will tell you. If they are vacuously defined or ambiguous then I simply lack assent to any claim that they exist and point out the error in reasoning that goes with claiming otherwise.
If they are defined in such a way that entails contradiction then I say they positively do NOT exist.

My beef is NOT with "undetected" things. it is with undetectable things. To claim that something both exists but is transcendent/beyond human observation, etc. is a nonsense claim and nonsense claims are false. Word salad gibberish.

It was not "brilling in the slithey toaves." there was NOT even a 0.02% chance of "brilling". "Brilling", "slithey" and "toaves" are nonsense words and the above statement is gibberish.

quote:
Perhaps it's not even undetectable simply due to being beyond the limitations of our current scientifically determined methods like telescopy and infrared photography, etc. (for instance, if it is only unobservable until we die, as some religions claim), but simply because they're beyond the limitations of our current technology (i.e. far enough away that our most powerful telescopes can't see it and that its gravitational effects are miniscule to the point where we can't currently detect them).
Fine. As soon as technology advances to the point of you having grounds for the inference of whatever it is you are sort-of claiming/speculating, I will be happy to discuss it. Until then, it odes not exist and I welcome you to prove me wrong. ;)

quote:
Perhaps somewhere very far away dragons and unicorns do exist. You can say that there's no evidence and that it's therefore 100% certain that they don't exist, but then the same could be said of black holes in medieval times.
We are not in medieval times and black holes are not = magical, supernatural claims. Ironically YOU are committing an appeal to ignorance fallacy here! A wordy "God of the gaps" argument.

quote:
Here is my second example:

You claim that nothing non-physical/material/observable exists. Can you offer proof that such things do not exist?
I cannot offer "proof" of such for the same reason I cannot offer proof that 2 + 2 does NOT = 'not 4'. This is an absurd request. Burden of proof is not on ME. These things do NOT exist by default until we have reason to infer otherwise. If you disagree then YOU have the burden to demonstrate that such things DO exist or at least CAN exist and the latter entails a mechanistic explanation of HOW they might.

quote:
I posit that you cannot. However, can anyone offer proof that they do exist? I don't believe that anyone can, and if I understand your argument properly I would say you agree with that statement.
I go even farther than that. I state the explicit reason they cannot do so is because imaginary things cannot be proven to be non-imaginary.
But again, this hinges on specific definitions of the claims.

quote:

Therefore, there is no evidence for the lack of non-physical/material/observable things, and therefore it is 100% certain that there is no lack of non-physical/material/observable things.
I am 100% certain, for reasons of logic that no non-physical/transcendent/supernatural things can exist. Your ONLY contention here is to demonstrate the converse. Simply claiming that "maybe square shaped circles exist for God-minds?" or some such is just speculative gibberish and, without a mechanistic explanation, fails.

quote:
Therefore, they both exist and don't exist simultaneously. I find that this does not make much sense. Perhaps you disagree with me?
I DO disagree with the above. Things DO exist in our reality. These things ARE material by necessity. Everything we have EVER found to exist or can even meaningfully speculate MIGHT exist, has this quality of being materialistic/natural/physical.

Stay with me here because it is easy to get lost in this stuff: What exactly would it mean for something to "exist" in some "other way"(aside from the imaginary)? What would it mean for something to independently exist and NOT be physical/observable/measurable(do not confuse these with "observed/measured" which are completely different things)?

quote:

------

As it turns out, logically, in order to argue that the existence of non-physical/material/observable things isn't logical in the face of evidence against their natural/physical/material/observable occurrence, you have to put faith into the reliability of evidence.
False. I do not ever, for any reason rely on "faith". I think it is a literally meaningless concept akin to "Wishing oneself to assent/belief".

quote:
If observable evidence turns out to be false (for instance, if a Flying Spaghetti Monster is always there altering the data as we collect it, as The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a.k.a. Pastafarianism) asserts, or if you are a Boltzmann brain), then your argument is moot. Appearances can be deceiving, of course, and logic appears to tell us that.
The "Matrix" argument re-revisited. It is a poor argument because IF I am a brain in a jar or some such and CANNOT see this or understand this to be the "true nature" of things then whatever I am experiencing IS reality until the alleged delusion is shattered. The Cartesian crowd seems enamored of such speculative fictions but I see no value in them. It leads to being unable to feed your children because you cannot know whether you are feeding them or raping them(so why do anything?!).

quote:
The implication of all this seems to be that we know nothing at all with absolute certainty (as RandomSam from the thread at Venganza observed) by this definition of "certainty" (which, incidentally, is actually the one used by most dictionaries from what I can tell).
I know many things with "certainty" but I am open to you/anyone showing me to be wrong. I am quite certain this will not happen and we both know why.

Fairies and gods do not exist. Magical "souls" do not exist. These are imaginary things we made up for explicit purposes.

quote:
However, it seems that we may as well behave as though we do because it appears to make things significantly easier. Just because nothing being truly certain is an uncomfortable thought doesn't mean it can be disregarded out of hand.
I don't do this. I am not even a big advocate of the "certainty" some of you guys are on about here but this assertion that "Nothing is certain" is itself a statement of certainty and therefore, by your own reasoning, cannot be true(and so it may be that some things are certain). ;)

[quote]


quote:
So to sum up, yes, you can say it is impossible for things that are non-phsyical/natural/material/observable to exist, in the understanding of all in the discussion that "exist" is redefined to mean what you describe. I don't disagree and I don't think Thuryl does either (him being a scientist himself and all). We (or me at least, and Thuryl as far as I can tell) were merely playing devil's advocate.
That is all well and good but Thuryl seems have a thing for coming out of left field can calling me out on things as if I peed in his soup or some such and then offers logically unsound gobbledegook and ad hominems in support of his assertions. Hence my decision to just ignore him in these fora..
YOU at least presented your case without goose-stepping about and proclaiming superior intellect and such so I have no problem debating these matters with you, regardless of how much I disagree with you.

quote:
I still say it's perfectly valid to say that logic and reason are fallible, although thankfully ("thankfully" in my opinion at least) the majority of our society tends to agree that reason is good, and thus, due to social contracts, in most developed countries we run scientific medical hospitals instead of sacrificing pigs and praying to the gods of health to heal us (although many combine prayer with science, and those that rely solely on mystics tend to die and/or kill/maim someone and/or get arrested.)
I will have to see SOME evidence that "logic and reason are fallible" before I can assent to this claim though myself.

quote:


------

*NOTE: I linked to that Appeal to Ignorance Fallacy page because I find the basic form and explanation of what the fallacy is that the page gives to be essentially satisfactory. However, it does say this

quote:
When extensive investigation has been undertaken, it is often reasonable to infer that something is false based upon a lack of positive evidence for it. For instance, if a drug has been subjected to lengthy testing for harmful effects and none has been discovered, it is then reasonable to conclude that it is safe. Another example is:

If there really were a large and unusual type of animal in Loch Ness, then we would have undeniable evidence of it by now.
We don't have undeniable evidence of a large, unfamiliar animal in Loch Ness.
Therefore, there is no such animal.

As with reasoning using the closed world assumption, auto-epistemic reasoning does not commit the fallacy of Argument from Ignorance.
and one therefore might be tempted to argue that, if one's argument falls under that exception, then the argument is not an Appeal To Ignorance Fallacy. However, the author of the website does not appear to be infallible. I posit that the part of the Appeal To Ignorance Fallacy page I quoted is, or at least appears to be, itself committing an Appeal To Ignorance Fallacy. Of course, it depends on how you define "reasonable". "Reasonable" does not necessarily mean "true" or "perfect". It could simply mean "good enough and useful given that observable evidence is true" (practical instead of logical, as Thuryl said). A lot of scientific philosophy and logic goes on the assumption that appearances are true.[/qb]
Granted and I very much contend that my argument is one of those "exceptions"(if the Appeal to ignorance is even relevant to what I said) for reasons already stated.

[ Tuesday, August 28, 2007 05:40: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

--------------------
"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
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quote:
By what rule must a real being be subject to time? Do you believe there was always something? Or always nothing, then something from nothing?
I accept that there had to always have been something because logically an "existence of nothing" makes no sense. Existence is a chain of causation in infinite regress.

quote:
If I’m not mistaken the general consensus is something. If that something is someone, it does not seem farfetched, even if difficult to understand, that time is not the same for them as for us.
Even granting the premise that it was "someone"(for which there is NO reason to grant), we have EVERY reason to assume that time is time. What does it mean, for example, for a God to "create the universe" if there was not a preceding moment where the universe did NOT exist, followed by the act of "creation" and then the post-creation span? The "beyond time" or "Non-linear experience of time" is just word salad nonsense. Like claiming that square shaped circles might exist in Bizarro World without explaining HOW such a thing could be.

quote:
It also seems a pretty bold claim to assume we know everything must be natural and physical – that was your claim.
Not at all bold. By definition all things must be natural and physical for we live in a natural and physical reality. This fact remains until one of you can cough up reason to infer otherwise.

What you are doing here is citing the lack of proof for your own speculation as the case for your speculation being true. If we DO live in a material reality(as all evidence points to) then we CANNOT have evidence for or against a 'non-physical' reality, which is why we have that "burden of proof" thing that falls on YOU making such a claim.

quote:
quote:Religion has no methodological approach.

Maybe some religions, but not all.
False. If someone is employing methodology to arrive at understanding then they are using reason. I am not saying that no religious people use reason(quite the contrary). I am just saying that this is not part of a religious foundation itself.

--------------------
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quote:
Originally written by Lt. Sullust:

How about the South Korean scientist who claimed to have cloned?
Is that relevant to the claim that "some scientists like to pretend to have x-ray vision..." though? I was reading your comment to mean that you felt some significant number of scientists were of some superiority complex. Who knows what the South Koreans are actually claiming or why!? The Raelian 'scientists' claimed the same thing a few years back and were simply lying as part of a religious propaganda campaign.

Doesn't say much about science though as they were above and beyond all else, religionists.

Edit: Corrected the comment above about scientists and x-ray vision

[ Monday, August 27, 2007 07:25: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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quote:
Originally written by Lt. Sullust:

I wouldn't quite say that. I'd say most mathematicians love pi and pie...

As far as scientists breaking down walls with hammers. Some like to pretend that they have x-ray vision...

I wouldn't know, not having met or even heard of many such scientists.

--------------------
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:


quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

Everything which exists(outside of the imagination) IS natural/material/physical and must be so by definition.
I'm almost afraid to ask, but how do you know this? It seems you would have to know everything unless you define everything that exists with these terms, in which case your statement is meaningless.

When we discuss these matters we MUST necessarily define our terms/usages to remove ambiguity. If I say "Snozzwogglers do not exist" and no one knows what a snozzwoggler is or what the Hell I mean by "exist" then it is a pointless statement.
Our first order of business is to define "existence" in a way that distinguishes it from usages of the same word which lead to ambiguity. If a 'snozzwoggler' is "a magical gremlin who is larger than a giraffe but lives in my shoe" then it only "exists" in my imagination but does NOT exist as an independent entity.
To define "existence" so that we may distinguish "existent" things from imaginary things, we are left with sense contents and linear sequence as the defining characteristics. Anything which DOES exist in a way that is distinct from an imaginary thing MUST, by necessity have sense contents(otherwise it IS imaginary by definition).
And it must also conform to linear sequence(cannot be "beyond time" and similar nonsense for obvious reasons) because the simple act of BEING(let alone ACTING) requires such a span entailing the preceding moment to said action and/or the sequence that comprises "being".

quote:
I would not say the sciences are religion anymore than a hammer is. It's a tool. But if a guy collects hammers, dedicates his time and mental energies studying them, decorates them, and thinks they hold the answers to any questions worth answering then hammers have ceased to be just a tool - he's made them his religion. Not the superhuman, supernatural definition of religion, but the kind that involves devotion and belief. There are without question people for whom science holds this place.
There is a difference between the "hammer" of science and the spandrels of religion though. The "hammer" can methodologically arrive at results. it can be used to achieve ends. Religion has no methodological approach. The faith of radical Muslims is only opposed by the faith of radical Christians by virtue of subjective and geographical biases. Neither of them are objectively "wrong" and both are equally (un)justified by faith/appeals to non-reason.

The difference between science and religion is = the difference between math and "I like pie."

--------------------
"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

You are posing irrelevant questions here.
Irrelevant to what? I'm just posting questions I find interesting. They may not be relevant to what you want to tell me, but they're relevant to what I want to know about you.

Irrelevant to the discussion we are having. You may want to know what my favorite lunch was in 5th grade but asking me that in the course of a discussion about materialism/idealism would be pointless.

quote:
quote:
It will still exist as a can of soda + water/frosting/piss regardless of what words you use to describe/label it. (emphasis added)
This is exactly the kind of naive thinking habit I'm trying to break you out of.
You know what Thuryl, as someone who does an awful lot of debating and such across the web, I am accustomed to a lot of egotistical bull****. Most of it as bad or worse than what you are offering here. But there ARE only so many hours in a day and if you could just post your questions/rebuttals/etc. WITHOUT the grand proclamations/bald assertions about how everyone who dissents from your views is guilty of "naive thinking habits" and such, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Now, do you have some specific contention with anything I said? If so, present it here and we can examine it.

Hint: "I think you are a dumb ass/habitually naive thinker/etc." does not = "specific contention".

quote:
Have you really gone through your whole life without encountering, say, the Ship of Theseus paradox?
Hard to say...people make so many vague references to so many metaphorical ships that I lose track of which boat is made of what and has trouble getting to which destination for whatever reason.

perhaps you could just COME OUT AND SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY and save us some time here?

quote:
quote:
quote:
To put it yet another way, what do two cans of soda have in common with, say, two horses?
They both exist regardless of what we think/believe about them(or DON'T). An unaware person can trip over the can of soda and another person can come along an hour later without being cognizant of the can's presence and trip over the same can. A horse might trample both of them.
I'll try again, since you're intent on deliberately misinterpreting me (and you accuse me of playing semantic games!): what do two cans of soda have in common with two horses that one can of soda doesn't have in common with one horse?
I did not intentionally misrepresent ANYTHING. Lose the paranoia.

They both independently exist in similar quantities(if we take each "horse" and each "can" to be singular entities).

quote:
I'm not convinced you've ever thought about what the word "two" means.
Again, is this going to be one of those "But what is life?" meandering and pointless solipsist forays into curling up in a fetal position and chanting "WE cannot KNOW that we cannot KNOW that we cannot KNOW..." type deal? If so then I am not interested. I am NOT attacking your love of such exercises or anything like that so please do not threaten to slash your wrist or or launch into a Shakespearean monologue about how unjust men are.

I am simply NOT interested. We both KNOW how quantification works and why we rely on it. You are typing your replies using a product of materialistic reasoning right now and attempting to make your points via REASON(as opposed to "dreaming some knowledge" at me or "Intuiting some understanding at me"). If you want to contend reason itself then use ANY means aside from reason to do so and I will be happy to change my mind about engaging in pointless philosophical masturbation.

quote:
quote:
That is absurd. What is illogical about understanding how things work and expecting them to work as inference would dictate by the mechanisms involved?
How many times do you have to see a ball rolling down a hill in order to prove, without any possible room for doubt, that gravity works the way you think it does? Is one time enough? Is two enough? Is three enough? You need to give me an exact number when the principle is proven with 100% certainty.
AH...I recognize your straw man now! You are beating on the "certainty" dummy which you have affixed my name tag to! Brilliant!

But I will play your game for now. ;)

I am 100% certain that gravity works as I have always observed it to work precisely because of an unspecified number of times I have observed this to be correct. The better question for you to ask is "How many times would I have to observe the ball rolling in a completely random direction, not in accordance with gravitation before I doubted gravity?".

The answer is: One such observation would cause me to question and repeated experiments/confirmation would cause me to openly doubt gravitation.
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
If I grab what we now call "one"(a singular item) can of soda and set it next to my monitor next to ANOTHER can of soda, then I have TWO cans of soda, regardless of whether we call this quantity "two" or "Sleestack".
The problem isn't in what we call "one", it's in what we call "cans of soda". There's no objective, unambiguous definition of a complex object such as a can of soda -- it's a social construct. Is a can of soda still a can of soda if you pour out 1% of the soda and replace it with water? What about 90%? 99%? Does the number two still exist if there are no objects for there to be two of?

You are posing irrelevant questions here. Again, this sort of wheel-spinning rhetoric probably appeals to solipsists and such but I see no point in it. The object still independently exists regardless of whether there is 1% water, half a tube of frosting or my entire bladder of piss in it. It will still exist as a can of soda + water/frosting/piss regardless of what words you use to describe/label it.

I know what you are angling for but I am not an idealist and do not care for the fluff that turns their cranks.

quote:
To put it another way, do you believe the number two is a real object or an imaginary object?
It is a thing with a dependent existence. it is like "walking". Ambulatory things exist and these things walk. That is what they do. Abstract thinking organisms exist and these things quantify(or program machines to do so for them). That is what they do.

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According to you, if it's a real object it must be material: what substance is it made of? And if it's imaginary, it doesn't exist.
The number "two" is no such object. It is a conceptual entity.

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To put it yet another way, what do two cans of soda have in common with, say, two horses?
They both exist regardless of what we think/believe about them(or DON'T). An unaware person can trip over the can of soda and another person can come along an hour later without being cognizant of the can's presence and trip over the same can. A horse might trample both of them.

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"There's two of them" is not an answer.
Correct and the straw man fallacy is not an argument.

quote:
quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

So you are saying that no matter how repeatably we can demonstrate a ball rolls downhill(as opposed to straight up into the sky or changing into a big marshmallow or whatever) when released from the top of said hill, we should not infer that gravity works as it apparently does?! That just because we do not observe splitting atoms to result, by direct inference, in gold coins spewing from volcanoes half a world away is not reason to conclude that there is no reason to infer such a thing?!
I'm not saying there's no reason to; I'm saying there's no logical reason to, although there are perfectly good practical reasons to.[/qb]
That is absurd. What is illogical about understanding how things work and expecting them to work as inference would dictate by the mechanisms involved?

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Have you heard of David Hume?
Yeah he used to front the Talking Heads before going solo in the 80's right? No waitaminute...he is that guy with the stick up his arse on Fox News right?

*Sigh*

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Induction is certainly a useful way of gaining information in practice, but it's not logically valid, no matter how much you might like it to be. And because it's not logically valid, there's no way to reach a conclusion with 100% certainty through induction alone, no matter what axioms you start with.[/QB]
Deduction, induction and bald assertions notwithstanding, I am not buying what you are selling.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
'Rational Mind' = Can't use a lamp?! in Nethergate
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #6
quote:
Originally written by Post-Transital Disease:

Potions make sense. They're no more empirically sound or unsound than wands. I think Rational Mind is a refusal to use these reality-bending items more than anything else.

Lamps are a programming decision. The easy way to set up the trait was to prevent the use of items. Most usable items are magical. Light sources are collateral damage.

—Alorael, who perhaps should think of Rational Mind as Irrationally Fixated on Mundanity. It makes more sense that way.

That makes sense. Just seemed kind of funny though.

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #173
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by Locmaar:

But you don't have to a Platonist to find the very idea of things existing outside the human mind appealing. Either way, math as a language is a human invention, the principles behind it are at best human discoveries... I think... eh...
That events happen we may accept for now as uncontroversial. That those events seem to happen in certain patterns is a useful observation. The idea that those humanly-constructed patterns (which are, after all, based on a large but finite data set) represent objectively existing universal laws is somewhat more problematic.

So you are saying that no matter how repeatably we can demonstrate a ball rolls downhill(as opposed to straight up into the sky or changing into a big marshmallow or whatever) when released from the top of said hill, we should not infer that gravity works as it apparently does?! That just because we do not observe splitting atoms to result, by direct inference, in gold coins spewing from volcanoes half a world away is not reason to conclude that there is no reason to infer such a thing?!

quote:
I view a logic (I say "a logic", for there are multiple different kinds of logic used by different logicians, or by the same logicians at different times) as a kind of gentleman's agreement to refrain from considering the possibility that certain patterns which we consider most essential for analysing the world may not always apply.[/qb]
Sounds like an irrelevant conclusion to me.

[ Sunday, August 26, 2007 05:28: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #172
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

Neither is math and yet math is still a pretty solid method for determining that 2 + 2 does in fact = '4'.
Ah, now this brings up a question for which I never got a straight answer out of you last time we talked. Are you a Platonist or not? Because your sentence as it stands is contradictory: either mathematical objects are purely human constructs and the only reason that 2 + 2 = 4 is that we define "2", "4", "+" and "=" so that it must do so (in which case saying "2 + 2 does in fact = 4" is vacuous, because you could just as easily define it to equal 5), or mathematical objects do exist independently of human agency.

False and this is why I no longer get involved in these sorts of philosophical debates where nonsense like solipsism and the like are sure to pop up. What you are doing here is trying to posit a linguistic argument, not a logical one. Regardless of whether we call the quantity that is four, "four" or "fifty", the quantity remains the same. It is completely irrelevant the specific names we give to quantities. If I grab what we now call "one"(a singular item) can of soda and set it next to my monitor next to ANOTHER can of soda, then I have TWO cans of soda, regardless of whether we call this quantity "two" or "Sleestack".

quote:
quote:
Everything which exists(outside of the imagination) IS natural/material/physical and must be so by definition.
Question 2: are you a positivist? That is, do you believe that "to exist" means nothing more or less than "to have observable effects"?
Depends on what you are specifically meaning by "exist" above eh? ;) Two can play the semantics game guy. If you are defining "live"(for example) as "Having a zest and great joy for all that surrounds you" then asking a doctor in the OR how he determines if a patient is alive or dead is nonsensical. The doctor will say something along the lines of "If the patient is brain dead for 'X' amount of time and has no heartbeat, he is dead..." and you will be shouting "How does THAT determine of the poor guy had a zest and joy for all that surrounded him?!".

I do not bother with such subjective blather. If your interest here is to get bogged down in absurd questions like "How do we KNOW that we KNOW that we know that we know...(ad infinitum)" then count me out. Idealism is such nonsense to me. Cart-before-horse pontification.

"Existence" is distinguished from non-existent/imaginary things by sense contents and linearity.

That answer your question or should I just build a literal wooden box that you can easily swing your hammer at?

I am a materialist/naturalist/empiricist.

quote:
Because that's what this sentence seems to imply, but positivism is inconsistent with some of the claims you've made in previous debates.
let's just avoid this trying to label me as whatever and just point out these alleged contradictions, shall we? That is much easier. Find two contradictory statements I have made and quote them here. Pure and simple.

quote:
If you're not a positivist -- that is, if by "natural/material/physical" you mean something other than "having observable effects" -- then you're going to have to define what you mean by "natural/material/physical".
"Natural" meaning something that exists and operates by potentially understandable, physical laws and processes, having sense contents and being constrained by linear temporal sequence.

"Material" meaning is composed of matter/energy.

"Physical"...meaning it exists independently, as opposed to being an imaginary/conceptual entity.

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quote:
I do not grant your re-definition of "science" here. Science is basically empiricism + logic, from a materialist axiom, relying on several methodological principles to distinguish "belief" from actuality.
quote:
Science is not some singular, sentient entity
Which of these do you believe? Is science something, or is it nothing?[/qb]
What are you talking about?! I cannot even parse your question?! You seem to be under the impression that I made contradictory assertions above but I will be damned if I can see where you drew this inference!?!

Science exists as a concept or action, like math or walking.

[ Sunday, August 26, 2007 05:27: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
'Rational Mind' = Can't use a lamp?! in Nethergate
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #0
Playing the demo and decided to try the Romans out. My main tank, SkeleTonius, took the 'Rational Mind' trait of course but I am dismayed at just how ****ed up this trait is. I can understand(and fully expected) not being able to cast spells or such but not being able to drink a potion which is demonstrably, empirically capable of healing/curing?! And even worse not being able to use torches and lamps?! How is THAT 'rational'?

It will be ironic if I discover plumbing I cannot use because I do not believe in aqueducts. LOL!

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Sky Is Falling...? in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #163
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:


I'm curious what it is you think my religion is? I recognize the traits and inclination in myself which I think are humanly common and result in religions. I can think of little I hold to at this point which I would call a certainty in the realm of spirituality/reality. I sense and observe that there is always much more to everything than we know. This applies to science, which I love, lest anyone imagine otherwise.

And yet earlier you tried to equate science with "a religion", even going so far as to speculate that having a world full of scientists would be "an Orewellian nightmare". Your usages were insulting, not complimentary. No one who has the faintest understanding of what science is and what religion is would make the error of equating science with being 'a religion'.

The thing that troubles me about this mostly is that religionists and anti-scientists of all stripes have a tendency to think that the term "religion" can arbitrarily be applied, as derogatory, to ANYTHING they have reservations of or disagree with.

This is wrong. "Religion" has some definitive traits that separate it from methodologies such as science(as well as from barely relevant terms like "atheism" which many often mistakenly try to characterize as "a religion").

quote:
Spirit is a word that can often be equated to attitude. All institutions generate attitudes/spirit which color and shape them. Science is not a thing apart from human agency and coloring.
Neither is math and yet math is still a pretty solid method for determining that 2 + 2 does in fact = '4'. Same goes for science and existential claims. Not to say, of course, that science HAS all the answers or ever could have all the answers to everything, but that the methodology itself CAN be applied to eventually reveal/demonstrate/verify and/or falsify ANY existential claim IF that claim even has any merit/potential to begin with.

For example: IF vampires were discovered to exist, it would be by scientists. These vampires would be classified as "Non-reflecting, hemoglobin-dependent humanoids with an aversion to garlic", labeled Homo Nocturnus and then studied to figure out the hows and whys(re: mechanisms) of these things.

Everything which exists(outside of the imagination) IS natural/material/physical and must be so by definition.

quote:
Therefore it cannot be the godlike formula for truth its dogma declares.
A straw man. The ONLY people who EVER even bring up this alleged "scientific dogma" are the people rallying against it. What is curiously missing are dogmatic scientists advocating such a position as they rally against.

quote:
It is a very good method. What the spirit of science at this time lacks as a whole is humility and pause.
Bald assertion and probably an irrelevant conclusion fallacy to boot. This usually stems from someone characterizing some scientist(like Richard Dawkins) as an "arrogant, closed minded, militant bulldog" or some such by virtue of him/them not treating absurdities with kids gloves and pretending the absurdities have some merit. If skeptics say that Nazism or Holocaust denial is stupid, no one calls them or us who apply the same priciples "arrogant". The minute they/we(skeptics) say that 2,000 year old superstitions of nomadic sheep herders being held to as literally true TODAY is absurd, we become "arrogant" and such. Even though in BOTH cases we can demonstrate WHY the beliefs/claims are without merit.

quote:
It's too quick to be sure of itself, to think it's got a thing figured out, despite how perpetually it is revised over and over.
More bald assertions and I would also refer you to Mr. Asimov's wonderful rebuttal to this.

To sum up, science does not say, nor are scientists quick to proclaim that "This is how it is... STUPID!" and then get alarmed when other scientists make new discoveries which require revision of the earlier theories. Scientists say "Here is our current understanding of how this phenomenon works..." and when new data comes in say "Ah...we just discovered *THIS* which changes things slightly...". And these revisions DO have a point of diminishing returns. WE WILL forever be revising the minute details of how we understand, say evolution or the formation of planets. WE will NOT however suddenly discover years from now that evolution does not happen or that the earth is flat! SO we can say with 100% certainty that evolution is a FACT and the Earth is an ellipsoid, regardless of how our understandings of the mechanisms involved are revised/improved upon.

quote:
I resist pride and arrogance before anything else in this world.
Yeah, you and every other guy on the planet(including the prideful and arrogant for the most part). Take a number. It is a common tactic to beat on the straw man of "pride and arrogance" when debating these matters. Everyone is a freedom fighting hero of the people(even Bill O'Reilly!) in their own mind.

quote:
I take up the fight in those places where I believe I see the arrogant spirit/dogma of science has taken root foolishly and may well be leading masses of people to live, think, and fear a certain way based upon likely unrealities.
Yeah, I spend around 30 hours a week debating Creationists and the like and they all tell me the same thing. One thing you guys all have in common is that I NEVER hear one of you say "Oops! Okay, I was wrong about Global warming/evolution/Reki Healing/Psychics/Life coaches/etc....".

But I remain hopeful. ;)

quote:
Everything is psychological. Everything is spiritual and attitudinal. These cannot be separated out from the human being or from "science" which is composed of collective human belief, practice, and behavior.
I do not grant your re-definition of "science" here. Science is basically empiricism + logic, from a materialist axiom, relying on several methodological principles to distinguish "belief" from actuality.

quote:
Thuryl, regarding being wrong = being belittled. I would say that depends entirely if one believes it need be a blow to ego or self to be wrong, to admit one is wrong. Being wrong is nearly always part of the process of becoming right or more right in anything. What's wrong with being wrong? I'm more interested in how people are right and how they are wrong (attitudes/behaviors) than in the mere fact that they are or aren't. I'm happy to be wrong. Often. I may stick my ground doggedly on certain matters, but even in this issue here of global warming, I am saying, I don't know. My favorite mantra of my current life is, "I don't know."
"I don't know" is a mantra of science ironically enough. ;)

quote:
I wish science would admit this more often too.
I find it puzzling that you seem to think that science(scientists actually. Science is not some singular, sentient entity) does NOT(admit this often enough)!? I think the error here from non-'science fans' is that everyone believes that their own pet beliefs/ideas, whether it be a theistic religious concept, a new age psychic phenomenon, a cryptozoological claim or what have you deserves some unearned "respect" or degree of credibility and when these things are not given the unearned "That could be..." or "That makes sense." then they get vicious and start hurling the baseless charges of "arrogance" and such.

I am not obligated to say that impossible things "could be" or that things which do not follow from rules of inference "make sense". I am well within my rights to say these sorts of claims are idiocy and to explain WHY they are so.

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Scientists are the rock stars of the geek set.
Hyperbole much?

quote:
They know they have a perceived sense of power, wisdom, knowledge, authority.
Which is mostly negated by the character attacks they continually suffer from people claiming they are "arrogant", "ivory tower haters of humanity" or some such. I mean really...how often do you see scientists revered or praised for what they do as opposed to how often they are attacked anymore? Maybe my own view is distorted by how many lunatic anti-scientists I see every day on the net, in my local newspapers, on T.V., in the movies etc.

quote:
People listen to their conclusions.
Sometimes. They would do well to listen a bit more though. It is a tragedy every time someone goes to a faith healer, a therapeutic touch advocate, a Reiki healer, a psychic, an exorcist or a Chiropractor instead of just going to a doctor.

quote:
People alter their lives based upon what the scientists offer them. I tell you that on a psychological/spiritual level, this has a tremendous, yet subtle effect on what goes on in the realm of the scientist. Power corrupts. It is marvelously subtle and insidious.
I think you are being paranoid and highly speculative. If it were power they were after they would go the route of Andrew Weil or Depak Chopra and write anti-skeptical fluff for the masses, and be invited to several talk-show appearances per year to regurgitate stuff that they would not be obligated to back up!
But for whatever reason, they chose the path of truth. Until recently scientists could not land a non-sci-fi book on the bestseller lists and now we see a shift back towards an 'Enlightenment' era where people like Harris and Dawkins can manage to sell books instead of Sylvia Browne and Co. and all of a sudden the apocalypse is coming or 'Scientists are abusing some grand power they have'?!

quote:
It is not that scientists are bad or that pastors are bad. It is what happens to people who find others believing in them. Ah, the intoxication of being somebody. People so intoxicated frequently soon come to buy their own press, and science is no exception.

-S-

You will have to substantiate this character attack on scientists if you expect anyone who does not blindly believe such things already to give it credence.

[ Saturday, August 25, 2007 20:31: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
The Future of Blades of Avernum in Blades of Avernum Editor
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #50
I suspect another problem was the fact that hackers had a crack out for BoA shortly after it was released. I discovered this by typing "Blades" or something like that into the Bearshare search engine. But then again, if they cracked BoA then they must have crakced the other games as well right(I never checked for such)?

I am surprised that BoA did not sell well considering the comparituive value of that product with the value of buying , what is in essence a single scenario in A4 or GF 3 or whatever.

I seriously doubt that VotDT was a weak selling point. I realize that a lot of scenario designers, for whatever reason tend to bash it but really it is comparable to or better than 99% of the RPGs released in terms of being a decent RPG adventure. Sure A Small Rebellion was better but VotDT was good. You guys make it sound like it was the "Pool of Radiance: RoMD" of Avernum scenarios!?

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"I am in a very peculiar business. I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know." - James Randi
Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00

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