Root of all evil

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AuthorTopic: Root of all evil
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #225
I've heard the "Hitler" argument many times, where people try to bring him into it to prove my argument is incorrect because someone did something horrendously horrible by OUR standards. First off, Hitler himself was a tool, and he was insane, and by law and by common sense, any person too insane to understand thier own actions is not responsible, they should be put in the loony bin. If you dont believe he was insane, go read his works, he wrote a few things. The guy was a nutcase, but a good public speaker, who was actually originally an artist. His art dealer was a Jew, actually, and he would have died without his help. A few unfortunate events lead to where hitler was and what he did, but if it hadn't been him, it honestly would have been some other crackpot. Back on topic, I understand you need to bear the consequences of the others actions, that doesn't mean said person is evil, and it doesn't make you evil for defending yourself if they aren't. To put it bluntly, "Thats just the way things are" sometimes. As for the bombings, Skeletony, they believe us to be the unholy plague/scourge of the planet. Honestly I don't blame the people who committed the acts. It was the ones behind it, the ones who brainwashed them from childhood, I'd like to get MY hands on, because it takes a good deal of intelligence and perception to run such a thing, hence they are the most likely to know what they're doing is evil.
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #226
On a side note, while animals and humans understand fear of injury, humans are the only animal with the poor fortune to have the reasoning capability to understand death. This has been studied. One person had a brain defect that made her act completely savage, and when she was recovered, and educated/introduced into society, she began making humane slaughtering houses for cattle. In her words "It isn't the death they are afraid of, because they do not truly understand that concept. It's the new environment that scares cows is all, they're scared as they would be whenever they're shipped to an unfamiliar location."
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #227
quote:
Originally written by Solodric:

I've heard the "Hitler" argument many times, where people try to bring him into it to prove my argument is incorrect because someone did something horrendously horrible by OUR standards. First off, Hitler himself was a tool, and he was insane, and by law and by common sense, any person too insane to understand thier own actions is not responsible, they should be put in the loony bin. If you dont believe he was insane, go read his works, he wrote a few things. The guy was a nutcase, but a good public speaker, who was actually originally an artist. His art dealer was a Jew, actually, and he would have died without his help. A few unfortunate events lead to where hitler was and what he did, but if it hadn't been him, it honestly would have been some other crackpot. Back on topic, I understand you need to bear the consequences of the others actions, that doesn't mean said person is evil, and it doesn't make you evil for defending yourself if they aren't. To put it bluntly, "Thats just the way things are" sometimes. As for the bombings, Skeletony, they believe us to be the unholy plague/scourge of the planet. Honestly I don't blame the people who committed the acts. It was the ones behind it, the ones who brainwashed them from childhood, I'd like to get MY hands on, because it takes a good deal of intelligence and perception to run such a thing, hence they are the most likely to know what they're doing is evil.
You are misunderstanding me completely guy. I was not invoking Hitler to make a case against any particular worldview. I was merely showing that Evil is in the eye of the beholder. WHen people become convicned, rightly or wrongly, that THEIR people are being oppressed(by the Jews/Americans/Christians/Atheists/whatever) they become hostile. When this hostility reaches a boiling point we get terrorists and nazis.

Trust me, I catch all Hell from my fellow liberals because I favor bombing the crap out of those M*th*rf*ck*rs! Where you are completely wrong is in assuming that the terrorists' leaders are somehow less conditioned than the people they lead. It is all a matter of (mis)perception and the Osam Bin Ladens are every bit as convinced as anyone else that the "infidels" are working for Satan against their people.

[ Monday, January 31, 2005 14:07: 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
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #228
quote:
Originally written by Solodric:

On a side note, while animals and humans understand fear of injury, humans are the only animal with the poor fortune to have the reasoning capability to understand death. This has been studied.
Yeah and this is also COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT! It is not "fear of death" that drives a creature to behave fearfully. It is fear of impending danger/harm. Our understanding of death only fuels our philosophy and rhetoric. ANimals(aside from humans) do not think abstractly and so do not have such grand concepts as "good" and "evil" but they DO have an idea of "right" and "wrong"!

quote:
One person had a brain defect that made her act completely savage, and when she was recovered, and educated/introduced into society, she began making humane slaughtering houses for cattle. In her words "It isn't the death they are afraid of, because they do not truly understand that concept. It's the new environment that scares cows is all, they're scared as they would be whenever they're shipped to an unfamiliar location."
What is your point with this anecdote?

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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
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #229
Man what is with you guys changing your handles every few days?!?

Anyways, I missed this post of Thuryl's(or whatever he is calling himself now):

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
But I never defined "brain" as "thought". I defined mind as thought and emergent from the physical brain.
I said defining a brain INTO thought (that is, defining thought as requiring a brain), not defining a brain AS thought. Obviously, if you define thought as the activity of a brain then thought requires a brain, but I argue that's not an adequate definition because it doesn't capture the commonsense notion of what thought is.

What "commonsense notion" is that? I think the essentiual definition of "thought" is concious OR unconcious brain activity.

quote:
What I'm saying, to put it in the simplest possible terms, is that thoughts are qualia. Surely you've had direct experience of your own thoughts?
That's a tricky one. I suppose you would have to define "direct experience" a bit more clearly. I don't have direct expereince of my thoughts in the way I have direct expereince of my hands for example.

quote:
That still doesn't tell you what that noise sounds like unless you have felt what it is like to hear that noise. Knowing why you hear something is not even close to the same thing as knowing what it feels like to hear it.
Who cares? I am not interested(as far as this debate goes) in what my subjectiove appreciation of the sound may be. Only that I can verify that something is causing the physical vibrations I am detecting via my ear lobes.

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quote:
There are no humans with non-human eyes/brains. If there were then I would think they might possibly be seeing what I see as "green" on a stop sign, instead of "red".
There do, of course, exist people who see nothing at all instead of red on that stop sign (blind people, or people with achromatopsia).

Yes, because their eyes are defective, not "otherworldly" or extraterrestrial in orgin.

quote:
[b](Incidentally, you picked an interesting choice of argument; there's actually some evidence, based on study of the optic nerves of cadavers, that about 1 in 1000 people may see red and green as inverted in exactly the way you describe. The evidence isn't conclusive, as far as I know, but the possibility of colour-inverted people hasn't been ruled out.)
[/b]

You realize this only supports my argument right? Human eyes that are not defective or a mutation operate the same as all other normal human eyes. If soemone is seeing "green" in place of "red" then it is, as you concede above, because their eyes are mechanically/physically different.

quote:

I'd argue that "objective experience" is a contradiction in terms. Everything we experience is subjective because everything we experience is processed by our own mind and nobody else's.

I disagree. We disagree on the extraneous assessments of what we experience(i.e. whether something is "beautiful", "ugly" or "meh") but not the events themselves. A terrorist sees the falling of teh twi towers as beautiful. I see it as horrendous. We both see the towers falling though.

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See I don't think that "caused" is right the way you are using it above. There is not really a single "cause" of my perception but rather a few different components: The actual object I am percieving and my sensory organs and brain matter.
Fine. "Contingent on the presence of that actual object"?

That should work.

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quote:
Furthermore, you are once again implying things with a dependent existence are equivalent of things which independently exist.
I'm implying we have no surefire way of telling the difference between the two.

If that were so then we would all be sitting around on our hands in a nightmare bout of solipsism chattering "I cannopt say anything is true!". I cannot even say THAT is true." "I cannot say that I cannot say that I cannot say THAT is true!!"

We DO have surefire ways of distinguihsing reality from fantasy. It is a combination of concurrent observation, repeatability, testing/experiement etc.

Imaginary things cannot be measured, tested or scrutinized. If someone tells me a God MAY exist adn goes on to describe a God that cannot be detected, measured or otehrwise understood then they are claiming an imaginary thing might exist.

Makes no sense to me.

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quote:
In essence saying that since the thought in my head is "caused" by my brain, thoughts are existent in the same way that trees, caused by climatological conditions, "exist".
I think thoughts exist in an even more real and certain sense. A material object is an abstraction which we assume from our perceptions; the boundaries we set to any given "object" as distinct from other objects are arbitrary and defined by our mind (the fact that people don't take this fact into account is why they think the Ship of Theseus is a paradox.) A thought is something we can't get away from; we'd be thinking all the time even in the absence of external input.

I am sorry but from my POV that sounds like complete nonsense. It is material objects we cannot get away from and thoughts which are fleeting. A rock will exist regardless of whether you are thinking about it. That is why you are surprised when you accidentally trip over the rug or stub your toe on a rock. The object gets you even though you were unaware of it being there.

Thoughts can NEVER have such effects themselves, under any circumstances. I have never been clotheslined or set on fire by a thought.


quote:
quote:
What is unscientific is assuming that what he reported anecdotally(re: that he had a dream in which the structure of benzene came to him) happened just as he reported but that is another issue. YES it is unscientific to rely on dreams in such a way but so what? If I am inspired to invent a better sugar-free beverage than Diet Soda because of a daydream or hallucination I had then how I go about inventing said beverage will be where the scientific process occurs. The "inspiration" part is rather inconsequential(or maybe "incidental" would be a better word) to the whole matter of how science works.
So you'd support dropping the "observation" criterion from your previous method altogether?

No. The "dreaming"/imagining is NOT "observation". Observation would be sitting in front of my chemistry set watching how various cemicals react and discovering what flavors are produced.


quote:
quote:
THat's not what I was arguing. Let's say that I came here boldly proclaiming, in all of my closed-minded furor, that girls who wanted to be working 'models' had to be of a certain height and weight range in addition to having appealing facial features/bone structure by the general consensus of the modeling community and society in general.
Now along comes someone who says "Hey! My friend does hand modeling for those Palmoloive dish soap commercials and she is overweight and short!"

See what I mean? Hand models and runway models are both models but clearly the guy in the above analogy is fishing for a non-applicable example to rationalize a dissenting view.
So now you're only claiming that the "natural" sciences require an assumption of materialism, and that the "social" sciences don't?

I am claiming that the "social sciences" are irrelvant to this discussion, just as bringing up the "hand models" would be in the above analogy.

quote:
I wasn't under the impression that that was the argument you were making, since you just used the blanket term "science".
We we are discussing existential claims and such. If a God or a dragon literally existed in our universe/reality then it would not be up to economic "scientists" to verify this. IT would be biologists and zoologists.

quote:
Even then, I'd argue that the natural sciences only require a weak form of materialism (assuming that matter exists), rather than a strong form (assuming that only matter exists.)
I would say they require that matter exist AND be the primary stuff of the universe(Classic materialism).

quote:
quote:
See "model" example above. Calling economics "science" in this discussion is like invoking someone with an honorary doctorate(re:Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.) in a discussion about medical malpractice or something.
I don't think it's beside the point at all. I don't think either of us disagree that in a non-material world, the social sciences would be the only sciences worth studying.

Actually, I cannot agree with that since, to me, it is a nonsense statement. I have no idea what a "non-material world" might be.

quote:
What I'm saying is that that still counts as science, so science doesn't require materialism.
And hand models still count as models so models can be any height or appearance imaginable. Problem is that that assertion is only TRUE IF you include the appropriate qualifier("social scientist or hand model).

quote:
Unless you're going to argue that the sciences that do require materialism are somehow more intellectually sound in principle than the ones that don't, I think it's unfair to draw a distinction between sciences which require materialism and sciences which don't.
I don't know that I would say "more intellectually sound..." but as far as figuring out what exists and how it exists, yes, physicists are better suited than economists.

[quote]I'm saying not only that people can do this, but that everyone in the world (including respected scientists) does it all the time (albeit not to such an extreme degree), and that they couldn't possibly form anything resembling a coherent belief system if they didn't.[quote]

I know I am going to catch all Hell for saying this but anyway...

THAT is where skepticism/critical thought come in. Any scientist worth his salt will be a skeptic/criticial thinker. Skepticism is a means of keeping an eye out for what Shermer calls "errors in thinking". Fallacies that spring forth from personal bias adn such. We cannot be completely objective/unbiased this is true but we CAN avoid the problems of being so. We do NOT necessrily have to fall into the traps of presupposition and the like.


quote:
To say that you've proved something via reasoning requires, at the very least, a conviction that your own reasoning is correct. Brains, as we've already agreed, aren't purely logical things. It's always possible you've made some error in logic even if nobody notices it, so how can you be completely certain of any conclusion arrived at through a line of reasoning?
Here's the thing though. BRains are capable of both rational adn irrational thought, we both agree. However it is the very fact that we DO have teh ability to think logically and rationally and therefore to spot those "errors" of thinking. The scientific method is largely built upon this truth. I am convinved that this universe has limitations or boundries. I am further convicned that humans are capable of recognizing some/many of these limitations. I am also convinced that I have correctly identified a few myself(I am not the first mind you but that is unimportant) such as the fact that something cannot be 'A' and 'not A' by ANY rational system of thought. Therefore, round squares, transcendent gods and things that grow while shrinking do not exist.

We may disagree on much but I think this should be the very LEAST of which we should agree on.



quote:
Prove it. And prove it without using empirical evidence, because there's always the possibility that any empirical evidence you use is a hallucination.
Not true. What I think you mean to say is that it is always possible for someone to deny what they know to be true and against such a person, nothing can be proven.

We do not need to prove this because by definition it is true. Like it or not "walking" is defined as an ambulatory activity/movement of legged creatures. "Thinking" is the act of mentally concieving of ideas using the brain. We do not think using our elbows adn if WE are thinking(and I think you will agree that we are) then we must be doing so with SOMETHING that WE have. It makes no sense to speculate that I am thinking with a piece of magic in some other world that somehow becomes non-functional when my brain is thoroughly damaged. Followed to it's logical conclusion, your line of reasoning suggests that we live in an "anything is possible" universe where we cannot say we know anything.

quote:
Okay, here's a simple question that will tell me what I originally wanted to know one way or the other; if I made a completely accurate molecule-by-molecule duplicate of a self-aware human being, would the duplicate be self-aware? The duplicate hasn't "experienced" anything, because it was only just created, but from a materialist perspective there isn't any difference between the two now.
Possibly but it would be self-aware in the same way a bewborn baby is self aware. Experiences define who we are.

[ Monday, January 31, 2005 14:00: 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
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #230
Wow. This whole discussion got pretty offtopic. It's become more religion and the existance of god, rather than right and wrong. As far as right/wrong goes, Skeletony, you said Good and Evil are in the eye of the beholder? I disagree, Good and Evil are in the mind of the person doing it, which is what determines if it's an evil act or not, in my opinion (As always)and while it is true that the beholder is someone who will be passing judgement on whatever the act is, and hence it is THIER opinion that matters with regards to said persons fate, whether or not a person committed an evil act or a wrong act is entirely up to the person acting. You seem to agree with me, but you and I are getting into an argument over semantics, which I really don't want to do. I'm sorry if I misunderstood you, I'm sleep deprived at the moment. Oh, as far as the anecdote and the animals, it was a response to a response I got earlier, btw.
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #231
By the way, I note that you say "Experience determines who we are", that is perhaps the purest form of what I am trying to say. If you take two people from two nations at war and train them to hate each other, and thats all you tell them to do, they will be consumed by hate. They will be hatefull people. But if you take the same two people and train them to be compassionate above all else, they will be compassionate instead. Who we are is defined by our experience, our actions are defined by who we are, and whether we are good or evil is defined by the culmination of said experiences, forming a moral opinion on a subject resulting in the subsequent action or inaction by the person, depending on whether they believe said action or inaction to be good or evil, and whether they decide to act with or against thier morals.
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
BANNED
Member # 4
Profile Homepage #232
[quote=SkeleTony]
Man what is with you guys changing your handles every few days?!?

Anyways, I missed this post of Thuryl's(or whatever he is calling himself now):

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
But I never defined "brain" as "thought". I defined mind as thought and emergent from the physical brain.
I said defining a brain INTO thought (that is, defining thought as requiring a brain), not defining a brain AS thought. Obviously, if you define thought as the activity of a brain then thought requires a brain, but I argue that's not an adequate definition because it doesn't capture the commonsense notion of what thought is.

What "commonsense notion" is that? I think the essentiual definition of "thought" is concious OR unconcious brain activity.

quote:
What I'm saying, to put it in the simplest possible terms, is that thoughts are qualia. Surely you've had direct experience of your own thoughts?
That's a tricky one. I suppose you would have to define "direct experience" a bit more clearly. I don't have direct expereince of my thoughts in the way I have direct expereince of my hands for example.

quote:
That still doesn't tell you what that noise sounds like unless you have felt what it is like to hear that noise. Knowing why you hear something is not even close to the same thing as knowing what it feels like to hear it.
Who cares? I am not interested(as far as this debate goes) in what my subjectiove appreciation of the sound may be. Only that I can verify that something is causing the physical vibrations I am detecting via my ear lobes.

quote:
quote:
There are no humans with non-human eyes/brains. If there were then I would think they might possibly be seeing what I see as "green" on a stop sign, instead of "red".
There do, of course, exist people who see nothing at all instead of red on that stop sign (blind people, or people with achromatopsia).

Yes, because their eyes are defective, not "otherworldly" or extraterrestrial in orgin.

quote:
[b](Incidentally, you picked an interesting choice of argument; there's actually some evidence, based on study of the optic nerves of cadavers, that about 1 in 1000 people may see red and green as inverted in exactly the way you describe. The evidence isn't conclusive, as far as I know, but the possibility of colour-inverted people hasn't been ruled out.)


You realize this only supports my argument right? Human eyes that are not defective or a mutation operate the same as all other normal human eyes. If soemone is seeing "green" in place of "red" then it is, as you concede above, because their eyes are mechanically/physically different.

quote:

I'd argue that "objective experience" is a contradiction in terms. Everything we experience is subjective because everything we experience is processed by our own mind and nobody else's.

I disagree. We disagree on the extraneous assessments of what we experience(i.e. whether something is "beautiful", "ugly" or "meh") but not the events themselves. A terrorist sees the falling of teh twi towers as beautiful. I see it as horrendous. We both see the towers falling though.

quote:
quote:
See I don't think that "caused" is right the way you are using it above. There is not really a single "cause" of my perception but rather a few different components: The actual object I am percieving and my sensory organs and brain matter.
Fine. "Contingent on the presence of that actual object"?

That should work.

quote:
quote:
Furthermore, you are once again implying things with a dependent existence are equivalent of things which independently exist.
I'm implying we have no surefire way of telling the difference between the two.

If that were so then we would all be sitting around on our hands in a nightmare bout of solipsism chattering "I cannopt say anything is true!". I cannot even say THAT is true." "I cannot say that I cannot say that I cannot say THAT is true!!"

We DO have surefire ways of distinguihsing reality from fantasy. It is a combination of concurrent observation, repeatability, testing/experiement etc.

Imaginary things cannot be measured, tested or scrutinized. If someone tells me a God MAY exist adn goes on to describe a God that cannot be detected, measured or otehrwise understood then they are claiming an imaginary thing might exist.

Makes no sense to me.

quote:
[b]
quote:
In essence saying that since the thought in my head is "caused" by my brain, thoughts are existent in the same way that trees, caused by climatological conditions, "exist".
I think thoughts exist in an even more real and certain sense. A material object is an abstraction which we assume from our perceptions; the boundaries we set to any given "object" as distinct from other objects are arbitrary and defined by our mind (the fact that people don't take this fact into account is why they think the Ship of Theseus is a paradox.) A thought is something we can't get away from; we'd be thinking all the time even in the absence of external input.
[qb]

I am sorry but from my POV that sounds like complete nonsense. It is material objects we cannot get away from and thoughts which are fleeting. A rock will exist regardless of whether you are thinking about it. That is why you are surprised when you accidentally trip over the rug or stub your toe on a rock. The object gets you even though you were unaware of it being there.

Thoughts can NEVER have such effects themselves, under any circumstances. I have never been clotheslined or set on fire by a thought.


quote:
[qb]
quote:
What is unscientific is assuming that what he reported anecdotally(re: that he had a dream in which the structure of benzene came to him) happened just as he reported but that is another issue. YES it is unscientific to rely on dreams in such a way but so what? If I am inspired to invent a better sugar-free beverage than Diet Soda because of a daydream or hallucination I had then how I go about inventing said beverage will be where the scientific process occurs. The "inspiration" part is rather inconsequential(or maybe "incidental" would be a better word) to the whole matter of how science works.
So you'd support dropping the "observation" criterion from your previous method altogether?[/b]
No. The "dreaming"/imagining is NOT "observation". Observation would be sitting in front of my chemistry set watching how various cemicals react and discovering what flavors are produced.


quote:
quote:
THat's not what I was arguing. Let's say that I came here boldly proclaiming, in all of my closed-minded furor, that girls who wanted to be working 'models' had to be of a certain height and weight range in addition to having appealing facial features/bone structure by the general consensus of the modeling community and society in general.
Now along comes someone who says "Hey! My friend does hand modeling for those Palmoloive dish soap commercials and she is overweight and short!"

See what I mean? Hand models and runway models are both models but clearly the guy in the above analogy is fishing for a non-applicable example to rationalize a dissenting view.
So now you're only claiming that the "natural" sciences require an assumption of materialism, and that the "social" sciences don't?

I am claiming that the "social sciences" are irrelvant to this discussion, just as bringing up the "hand models" would be in the above analogy.

quote:
I wasn't under the impression that that was the argument you were making, since you just used the blanket term "science".
We we are discussing existential claims and such. If a God or a dragon literally existed in our universe/reality then it would not be up to economic "scientists" to verify this. IT would be biologists and zoologists.

quote:
Even then, I'd argue that the natural sciences only require a weak form of materialism (assuming that matter exists), rather than a strong form (assuming that only matter exists.)
I would say they require that matter exist AND be the primary stuff of the universe(Classic materialism).

quote:
quote:
See "model" example above. Calling economics "science" in this discussion is like invoking someone with an honorary doctorate(re:Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.) in a discussion about medical malpractice or something.
I don't think it's beside the point at all. I don't think either of us disagree that in a non-material world, the social sciences would be the only sciences worth studying.

Actually, I cannot agree with that since, to me, it is a nonsense statement. I have no idea what a "non-material world" might be.

quote:
What I'm saying is that that still counts as science, so science doesn't require materialism.
And hand models still count as models so models can be any height or appearance imaginable. Problem is that that assertion is only TRUE IF you include the appropriate qualifier("social scientist or hand model).

quote:
Unless you're going to argue that the sciences that do require materialism are somehow more intellectually sound in principle than the ones that don't, I think it's unfair to draw a distinction between sciences which require materialism and sciences which don't.
I don't know that I would say "more intellectually sound..." but as far as figuring out what exists and how it exists, yes, physicists are better suited than economists.

[quote]I'm saying not only that people can do this, but that everyone in the world (including respected scientists) does it all the time (albeit not to such an extreme degree), and that they couldn't possibly form anything resembling a coherent belief system if they didn't.
quote:


I know I am going to catch all Hell for saying this but anyway...

THAT is where skepticism/critical thought come in. Any scientist worth his salt will be a skeptic/criticial thinker. Skepticism is a means of keeping an eye out for what Shermer calls "errors in thinking". Fallacies that spring forth from personal bias adn such. We cannot be completely objective/unbiased this is true but we CAN avoid the problems of being so. We do NOT necessrily have to fall into the traps of presupposition and the like.


quote:
To say that you've proved something via reasoning requires, at the very least, a conviction that your own reasoning is correct. Brains, as we've already agreed, aren't purely logical things. It's always possible you've made some error in logic even if nobody notices it, so how can you be completely certain of any conclusion arrived at through a line of reasoning?
Here's the thing though. BRains are capable of both rational adn irrational thought, we both agree. However it is the very fact that we DO have teh ability to think logically and rationally and therefore to spot those "errors" of thinking. The scientific method is largely built upon this truth. I am convinved that this universe has limitations or boundries. I am further convicned that humans are capable of recognizing some/many of these limitations. I am also convinced that I have correctly identified a few myself(I am not the first mind you but that is unimportant) such as the fact that something cannot be 'A' and 'not A' by ANY rational system of thought. Therefore, round squares, transcendent gods and things that grow while shrinking do not exist.

We may disagree on much but I think this should be the very LEAST of which we should agree on.



quote:
Prove it. And prove it without using empirical evidence, because there's always the possibility that any empirical evidence you use is a hallucination.
Not true. What I think you mean to say is that it is always possible for someone to deny what they know to be true and against such a person, nothing can be proven.

We do not need to prove this because by definition it is true. Like it or not "walking" is defined as an ambulatory activity/movement of legged creatures. "Thinking" is the act of mentally concieving of ideas using the brain. We do not think using our elbows adn if WE are thinking(and I think you will agree that we are) then we must be doing so with SOMETHING that WE have. It makes no sense to speculate that I am thinking with a piece of magic in some other world that somehow becomes non-functional when my brain is thoroughly damaged. Followed to it's logical conclusion, your line of reasoning suggests that we live in an "anything is possible" universe where we cannot say we know anything.

quote:
Okay, here's a simple question that will tell me what I originally wanted to know one way or the other; if I made a completely accurate molecule-by-molecule duplicate of a self-aware human being, would the duplicate be self-aware? The duplicate hasn't "experienced" anything, because it was only just created, but from a materialist perspective there isn't any difference between the two now.
Possibly but it would be self-aware in the same way a bewborn baby is self aware. Experiences define who we are.[/b]
tl,dr

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人 た ち を 燃 え る た め に 俺 は か れ ら に 火 を 上 げ る か ら 死 ん だ
Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
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quote:
Man what is with you guys changing your handles every few days?!?

Anyways, I missed this post of Thuryl's(or whatever he is calling himself now):
I'm still Thuryl. If people changed what they called us every time we changed our names it would get confusing.

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That's a tricky one. I suppose you would have to define "direct experience" a bit more clearly. I don't have direct expereince of my thoughts in the way I have direct expereince of my hands for example.
See, this is the part that just doesn't make any sense to me. I would rather say that I don't have direct experience of my hands in the way that I have direct experience of my thoughts. When I'm thinking, I just know that I'm thinking -- one step. When I see my hands, I perceive them first and conclude from that that they exist -- two steps.

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You realize this only supports my argument right? Human eyes that are not defective or a mutation operate the same as all other normal human eyes. If soemone is seeing "green" in place of "red" then it is, as you concede above, because their eyes are mechanically/physically different.
I'm not even sure I remember what your argument was any more. If it was that there's a one-to-one correspondence between physical states and qualia, then I'd say that my argument didn't support it.

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I disagree. We disagree on the extraneous assessments of what we experience(i.e. whether something is "beautiful", "ugly" or "meh") but not the events themselves. A terrorist sees the falling of teh twi towers as beautiful. I see it as horrendous. We both see the towers falling though.
Assuming that both of you even exist, which is something you only know by interpreting your own perception. You're right that avoiding making assumptions altogether doesn't get us anywhere past solipsism, but the point is that solipsism isn't a viewpoint that can be conclusively ruled out, even if it's a viewpoint that has no practical value.

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If that were so then we would all be sitting around on our hands in a nightmare bout of solipsism chattering "I cannopt say anything is true!". I cannot even say THAT is true." "I cannot say that I cannot say that I cannot say THAT is true!!"

We DO have surefire ways of distinguihsing reality from fantasy. It is a combination of concurrent observation, repeatability, testing/experiement etc.
None of which are absolutely certain. If they were, we wouldn't make mistakes.

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I am sorry but from my POV that sounds like complete nonsense. It is material objects we cannot get away from and thoughts which are fleeting. A rock will exist regardless of whether you are thinking about it. That is why you are surprised when you accidentally trip over the rug or stub your toe on a rock. The object gets you even though you were unaware of it being there.
But what does it actually mean to say the rock existed before you were thinking about it? It came into your awareness at the precise moment that you stubbed your toe on it. Any assumptions about its prior existence are based on holding a certain model of the universe.

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So you'd support dropping the "observation" criterion from your previous method altogether?
No. The "dreaming"/imagining is NOT "observation". Observation would be sitting in front of my chemistry set watching how various cemicals react and discovering what flavors are produced.
Which was exactly my point - it's possible for a scientific discovery to occur without any initial observation taking place at all. Once you have a hypothesis, it doesn't matter how you got that hypothesis.

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Unless you're going to argue that the sciences that do require materialism are somehow more intellectually sound in principle than the ones that don't, I think it's unfair to draw a distinction between sciences which require materialism and sciences which don't.
I don't know that I would say "more intellectually sound..." but as far as figuring out what exists and how it exists, yes, physicists are better suited than economists.
That depends on what you mean by "exists".

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THAT is where skepticism/critical thought come in. Any scientist worth his salt will be a skeptic/criticial thinker. Skepticism is a means of keeping an eye out for what Shermer calls "errors in thinking". Fallacies that spring forth from personal bias adn such. We cannot be completely objective/unbiased this is true but we CAN avoid the problems of being so. We do NOT necessrily have to fall into the traps of presupposition and the like.
When is presupposition a trap and when is it the formation of assumptions or axioms necessary for a coherent and meaningful view of the world?

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To say that you've proved something via reasoning requires, at the very least, a conviction that your own reasoning is correct. Brains, as we've already agreed, aren't purely logical things. It's always possible you've made some error in logic even if nobody notices it, so how can you be completely certain of any conclusion arrived at through a line of reasoning?
Here's the thing though. BRains are capable of both rational adn irrational thought, we both agree. However it is the very fact that we DO have teh ability to think logically and rationally and therefore to spot those "errors" of thinking.
The trouble is, if we weren't capable of thinking rationally, we wouldn't necessarily know that we weren't.

Before we can think logically, the information we're thinking about has to filter through a lot of other mental layers that aren't inherently logical. Many supposedly ironclad mathematical or logical proofs throughout history have been found to have flaws on later inspection. Many of the most important ideas of the 20th century (e.g. Godel's theorem) have never been successfully formulated as propositions of formal logic at all.

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Prove it. And prove it without using empirical evidence, because there's always the possibility that any empirical evidence you use is a hallucination.
Not true. What I think you mean to say is that it is always possible for someone to deny what they know to be true and against such a person, nothing can be proven.
That's right. An interesting consequence of Godel's theorem is that in a formal system such as logic, although you can construct a proof of something, there's no way to construct a proof that your proof is sound.

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"Thinking" is the act of mentally concieving of ideas using the brain.
I maintain that this definition begs the question. The fact that thinking requires a brain is an observation about the world, not part of the definition of thinking.

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It makes no sense to speculate that I am thinking with a piece of magic in some other world that somehow becomes non-functional when my brain is thoroughly damaged.
Again, the fact that damage to our brains impairs our ability to think is an observation about the world, NOT a necessary fact of logic.

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Followed to it's logical conclusion, your line of reasoning suggests that we live in an "anything is possible" universe where we cannot say we know anything.
Yes. I'm saying that's a possibility we can never completely rule out. The only reason it should be treated as a belief of last resort is that it would be disastrous to take such a thing as being true -- but that's not the same as saying it can't be true.

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Okay, here's a simple question that will tell me what I originally wanted to know one way or the other; if I made a completely accurate molecule-by-molecule duplicate of a self-aware human being, would the duplicate be self-aware? The duplicate hasn't "experienced" anything, because it was only just created, but from a materialist perspective there isn't any difference between the two now.
Possibly but it would be self-aware in the same way a bewborn baby is self aware. Experiences define who we are.
Your answer is interesting to me. Surely memories are stored in some form or another in the brain (in fact, neurologists are already starting to find out certain things about how they're stored). Surely, then, if you produce a sufficiently accurate duplicate of a human at a certain point in time, the original and the duplicate will be identical in all ways, including self-awareness, regardless of the fact that one has actually experienced things and the other merely has the neurological remnants of its prototype's experiences. Or are you arguing that self-awareness isn't a state function?

[ Monday, January 31, 2005 14:42: Message edited by: Le Diable d'Ouangs ]

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I'll handle this one, Skeltony :P . Alrighty Thuryl, first off, the cloning examples a bad idea. I'll explain why: If you took a newborn baby and cloned it before it had any experiences, then the clone would be exactly like the newborn baby, and would hold all the same virtues/viewpoints as the newborn baby, until thier experiences differed as they grew up (Assuming they differed) Now the way cloning is done, is you take someones DNA and put it into a fetus. I think where your making the mistake is in assuming we can make adult clones, which we cannot. The brain has to go through the development stages. Now assuming technology advances, and we learn how to do a full brain-scan and copy over absolutely everything, yes of course we'd have an exact duplicate. Assuming your speaking solely from a normal cloning standpoint, rather than a "Copying" standpoint, which we cant do yet, if you took all of someones DNA while they were an adult and put it into the fetus, it would be the exact same as taking the DNA from a newborn baby with the notable exception that said DNA would have all the ravages of time, especially from Viruses (Not diseases in general, viruses in specific) changing the DNA or damaging it. Other than that, they would not retain anything of the DNA doners past experiences. Now, on to a related issue: If a person lost ALL of thier memories, entirely, they would still retain all of thier normal knowledge, opinions, skills, etc. Why? Because it's in a different part of the brain. I hope that clears up any/all confusion on the physiology of this issue, please continue your debate you two :P
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Solodric, it's a theoretical question, not one grounded in the capabilities of today's technology - Thuryl is using the "copying" standpoint you refer to.

And now I will go back to lurking.

[ Tuesday, February 01, 2005 08:42: Message edited by: Andrew Miller ]
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quote:
Originally written by Le Diable d'Ouangs:

See, this is the part that just doesn't make any sense to me. I would rather say that I don't have direct experience of my hands in the way that I have direct experience of my thoughts. When I'm thinking, I just know that I'm thinking -- one step. When I see my hands, I perceive them first and conclude from that that they exist -- two steps.
See this is where those axioms/first principles come in. YOURS is a solipsist one or at least a "Solipsism might be possible" one. Mine is a materialist one. BOTH are assumptions(what I and most philosophers would call "necessary assumptions" or "useful assumptions"). These initial foundations are not subject to proofs and such the way existential claims which follow from them are.
You arbitrarily determine that your "knowing" that you think is a single step while you (in MY view) struggle to make a case that MY "knowing" that things independently exist is somehow multiplicative.
I am aware of my hands in the same number of "steps" as you are aware of your thoughts but even that is beside the point because it is not the number of determining "steps" that matters but simply the quality of reasoning. I don't care if you can break down my understandings into one THOUSAND steps, so long as none of those steps is irrational.

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I disagree. We disagree on the extraneous assessments of what we experience(i.e. whether something is "beautiful", "ugly" or "meh") but not the events themselves. A terrorist sees the falling of the twin towers as beautiful. I see it as horrendous. We both see the towers falling though.
Assuming that both of you even exist, which is something you only know by interpreting your own perception.

You are still not getting the whole "first principles" thing. YOU are choosing the axiom that "We cannot be sure of anything". I am choosing the axiom "We CAN be sure of some things." Neither of our axioms can be proven incorrect. That is why they are called "necessary assumptions". Part of my materilist axiom is that we do exist and are not figments in something else's imagination or some such. The only thing you can really contest is what FOLLOWS from this axiom and to do THAT you have to grant, even if only for the sake of argument, the assumption/axiom that I adopt.
That is why I don't do a lot of "challenging" of solipsists and the like. They operate from a principle I cannot accept and cannot challenge except to point out how observation contradicts their position which means NOTHING to them since observation is unreliable/false anyway(in their worldview).
In the same vein, your "challenge" that I or WE may not exist is like trying to introduce "touchdowns" into the game of baseball.

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You're right that avoiding making assumptions altogether doesn't get us anywhere past solipsism, but the point is that solipsism isn't a viewpoint that can be conclusively ruled out, even if it's a viewpoint that has no practical value.
It IS ruled out by MY axioms! Logically, there is no way around this. First principles/necessary assumptions cannot be challenged by the methods and processes that emerge from those principles.
To argue otherwise is like trying to use math to prove that math works! If someone does not believe you can actually quantify things sequentially through addition, subtraction and multiplication then using addition, subtraction and multiplication to show them otherwise is nonsense!

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quote:
If that were so then we would all be sitting around on our hands in a nightmare bout of solipsism chattering "I cannot say anything is true!". I cannot even say THAT is true." "I cannot say that I cannot say that I cannot say THAT is true!!"

We DO have surefire ways of distinguihsing reality from fantasy. It is a combination of concurrent observation, repeatability, testing/experiement etc.
None of which are absolutely certain. If they were, we wouldn't make mistakes.

Sure we would. Just because things are objectively true does not mean that we cannot mispercieve or misunderstand those things! You are trying to argue that since we CAN make mistakes, we can NEVER be certain that we HAVEN'T made mistakes in every single facet of every issue in life. I disagree with this. We CAN be 100% certain that trees exist and that WE exist("I THINK, therefore I AM.") and still make mistakes regarding how much sunlight trees need or how tall humans can grow.

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I am sorry but from my POV that sounds like complete nonsense. It is material objects we cannot get away from and thoughts which are fleeting. A rock will exist regardless of whether you are thinking about it. That is why you are surprised when you accidentally trip over the rug or stub your toe on a rock. The object gets you even though you were unaware of it being there.
But what does it actually mean to say the rock existed before you were thinking about it?

It means that before I was thinking about the rock, someone else was observing me walking toward it with my head in a book and subsequently stubbing my toe on said rock. Even without this bit of concurrent observatrion, the rock is existent as evidenced by my toe-stubbing even though I was not thinking about the rock.

I honestly don't think we are going to get past this one as you seem to, for whatever reasons, place the thought of such things on a higher pedestal than the things themselves. Roaches have no abstract thoughts and cannot even concieve of "rocks" and yet they navigate around them as well. Automobiles have no thoughts at all and yet if one hits a rock, damage will occur(even with no humans around at the time).

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It came into your awareness at the precise moment that you stubbed your toe on it.
So? All the more evidence that physically existent objects are interacting in a physical universe.

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Any assumptions about its prior existence are based on holding a certain model of the universe.
EXACTLY! The "materialist" model! As opposed to YOUR presuppositional model(the "Anything is possible and we can never know anything!"' model).

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Which was exactly my point - it's possible for a scientific discovery to occur without any initial observation taking place at all.
?!?!?!?

How so?

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Once you have a hypothesis, it doesn't matter how you got that hypothesis.
Sure it does! The "Creationist hypothesis"(for example) is NOT science! We are talking about SCIENCE here! Scientific hypotheses require observation!

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That depends on what you mean by "exists".
Again, I am not much interested in useless semantics. Essential definitions here. If someone claims that hyperspace travel is possible via cold fusion, I don't want to sit around asking inane questions like "What does "cold" mean?", "What does "fusion" mean?", and "What does "space" mean?" etc.

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When is presupposition a trap and when is it the formation of assumptions or axioms necessary for a coherent and meaningful view of the world?
Presupposition is ALWAYS a trap. Necessary assumptions/first principles are unavoidable, so tieing your brain up in circular knots worrying about them is useless.

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The trouble is, if we weren't capable of thinking rationally, we wouldn't necessarily know that we weren't.
We would not be talking or thinking at ALL beyond the survival instincts of some quadrepedal mammal's ability so that point is moot. To ask if we would know we were irrational if in fact we were irrational is like asking if we would try to walk if we never had legs and never were aware of such things existing.

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That's right. An interesting consequence of Godel's theorem is that in a formal system such as logic, although you can construct a proof of something, there's no way to construct a proof that your proof is sound.
Again, I am no mathematician. perhaps if I were, I would have greater appreciation for Godel and his Incompleteness Theorem". As it stands, he is just someone who is invoked WAYYYY too often in existetntial debates by people(Usually the J.Z. Knight/Ramtha crowd but sometimes more reasonable people like yourself). Even so, I was able to deconstruct and demolish "Hilbert's Hotel" in a debate I had with a creationist sometime ago so maybe I need to sit down and make an effort with Godel some time.
It seems silly to me that humans put so much credence on the fact that we can construct nonsense statements and paradoxes!? As if this fact alone refuted logic!

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I maintain that this definition begs the question. The fact that thinking requires a brain is an observation about the world, not part of the definition of thinking.
And I disagree and we are not going to get any further with that one either. TO me, defining thinking in any way that does not include the brain is meaningless. You might as well define thinking as "The smell of purple".

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Again, the fact that damage to our brains impairs our ability to think is an observation about the world, NOT a necessary fact of logic.
From YOUR "assumptions"/axioms maybe. Not mine. From MY materialist POV, the fact that you cannot think without your brain proves that you need your brain to think. As soon as you show me a thought that exists sans a brain, we will have something new to discuss on this matter.

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[b]Yes. I'm saying that's a possibility we can never completely rule out. The only reason it should be treated as a belief of last resort is that it would be disastrous to take such a thing as being true -- but that's not the same as saying it can't be true.
[/b]

It cannot be true. If it were true then we would know nothing. SInce we know things and the universe operates in a consistent manner, we do not live in the "anything is possible" universe. If we DID live in the "AiP" universe then it would be possible that we know EVERYTHING(with 100% certainty)! Your argument refutes itself!

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Your answer is interesting to me. Surely memories are stored in some form or another in the brain (in fact, neurologists are already starting to find out certain things about how they're stored).
Sort of but not how one might think they are "stored"(in fact, I am not sure "stored" is correct terminology). We kind of note down, in sloppy short-hand notation, experiences we have. Later, when recalling those experiences, we create complex visuals and fleshed out prose to tell the story of what happened.
Could a machine do that? I don't know. I am not much concerned with the matter either. I suppose it may be one of those "hypothetically possible but practically infeasable" deals.

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Surely, then, if you produce a sufficiently accurate duplicate of a human at a certain point in time, the original and the duplicate will be identical in all ways, including self-awareness, regardless of the fact that one has actually experienced things and the other merely has the neurological remnants of its prototype's experiences. Or are you arguing that self-awareness isn't a state function?
I think Gould's contingency theory would apply here. There are simply too zoggin' many variables to account for and no matter how hard you try, you can never really duplicate them all to replicate the developement of humanity.

[ Tuesday, February 01, 2005 08:59: Message edited by: SkeleTony ]

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I'm aware of that, I just wanted to wipe away any term-confusion before another semantics argument broke out. You know.....pre-fight cold shower type thing? :P
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Written by Skeletony:
"We're talking about SCIENCE here!"

No, no, we're talking about the root of all evil, and while it may be necessary to explore religion and science to find the root of all evil, we're getting really offtopic.
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quote:
Originally written by Solodric:

Written by Skeletony:
"We're talking about SCIENCE here!"

No, no, we're talking about the root of all evil, and while it may be necessary to explore religion and science to find the root of all evil, we're getting really offtopic.

You misunderstand. The above comment was not in regards to the thread as a whole.What I was refering to was our side discussion of whether scientific hypotheses required observation. Thuryl made the point that non-scientific hypothese could be made sans observation.

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I understand, but you two ARE getting offtopic. may I suggest starting a thread of your own, since you two both seem to like using the extended posts with the qoutes in them?
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quote:
Originally written by Solodric:

I understand, but you two ARE getting offtopic. may I suggest starting a thread of your own, since you two both seem to like using the extended posts with the qoutes in them?
IF that is the case then this thread has been off-topic since page one. ALL threads evolve becuase that is how humans communicate. We NEVER sit down to have a three hour discussion on politics. We sit down and say "How's your daughter doing? I hear she went to medical school...?" and we end up, three hours later with "The problem with teh democratic party is that they are trying to appeal to conservative and moderates, thereby losing the liberal base and for what? The conservatives are staying were they are and the moderates don't matter!".

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It takes you three hours? Feh, you should see two ADHD people talk :P it takes me about three MINUTES to move from something like the Root of All Evil discussion to something as different as how the grass sways in the wind in Neverwinter Nights *Shrug* but hey, it was just a suggestion, ST. I figured since you and Thur were pretty much dominating the thread, it would be best if you started a new thread to involve other people who want to discuss relgion/science.
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quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:

quote:
Originally written by Le Diable d'Ouangs:

See, this is the part that just doesn't make any sense to me. I would rather say that I don't have direct experience of my hands in the way that I have direct experience of my thoughts. When I'm thinking, I just know that I'm thinking -- one step. When I see my hands, I perceive them first and conclude from that that they exist -- two steps.
See this is where those axioms/first principles come in. YOURS is a solipsist one or at least a "Solipsism might be possible" one. Mine is a materialist one. BOTH are assumptions(what I and most philosophers would call "necessary assumptions" or "useful assumptions"). These initial foundations are not subject to proofs and such the way existential claims which follow from them are.
You arbitrarily determine that your "knowing" that you think is a single step while you (in MY view) struggle to make a case that MY "knowing" that things independently exist is somehow multiplicative.
I am aware of my hands in the same number of "steps" as you are aware of your thoughts but even that is beside the point because it is not the number of determining "steps" that matters but simply the quality of reasoning. I don't care if you can break down my understandings into one THOUSAND steps, so long as none of those steps is irrational.

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I disagree. We disagree on the extraneous assessments of what we experience(i.e. whether something is "beautiful", "ugly" or "meh") but not the events themselves. A terrorist sees the falling of the twin towers as beautiful. I see it as horrendous. We both see the towers falling though.
Assuming that both of you even exist, which is something you only know by interpreting your own perception.

You are still not getting the whole "first principles" thing. YOU are choosing the axiom that "We cannot be sure of anything". I am choosing the axiom "We CAN be sure of some things." Neither of our axioms can be proven incorrect. That is why they are called "necessary assumptions". Part of my materilist axiom is that we do exist and are not figments in something else's imagination or some such. The only thing you can really contest is what FOLLOWS from this axiom and to do THAT you have to grant, even if only for the sake of argument, the assumption/axiom that I adopt.
That is why I don't do a lot of "challenging" of solipsists and the like. They operate from a principle I cannot accept and cannot challenge except to point out how observation contradicts their position which means NOTHING to them since observation is unreliable/false anyway(in their worldview).
In the same vein, your "challenge" that I or WE may not exist is like trying to introduce "touchdowns" into the game of baseball.

quote:
You're right that avoiding making assumptions altogether doesn't get us anywhere past solipsism, but the point is that solipsism isn't a viewpoint that can be conclusively ruled out, even if it's a viewpoint that has no practical value.
It IS ruled out by MY axioms! Logically, there is no way around this. First principles/necessary assumptions cannot be challenged by the methods and processes that emerge from those principles.
To argue otherwise is like trying to use math to prove that math works! If someone does not believe you can actually quantify things sequentially through addition, subtraction and multiplication then using addition, subtraction and multiplication to show them otherwise is nonsense!

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quote:
If that were so then we would all be sitting around on our hands in a nightmare bout of solipsism chattering "I cannot say anything is true!". I cannot even say THAT is true." "I cannot say that I cannot say that I cannot say THAT is true!!"

We DO have surefire ways of distinguihsing reality from fantasy. It is a combination of concurrent observation, repeatability, testing/experiement etc.
None of which are absolutely certain. If they were, we wouldn't make mistakes.

Sure we would. Just because things are objectively true does not mean that we cannot mispercieve or misunderstand those things! You are trying to argue that since we CAN make mistakes, we can NEVER be certain that we HAVEN'T made mistakes in every single facet of every issue in life. I disagree with this. We CAN be 100% certain that trees exist and that WE exist("I THINK, therefore I AM.") and still make mistakes regarding how much sunlight trees need or how tall humans can grow.

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I am sorry but from my POV that sounds like complete nonsense. It is material objects we cannot get away from and thoughts which are fleeting. A rock will exist regardless of whether you are thinking about it. That is why you are surprised when you accidentally trip over the rug or stub your toe on a rock. The object gets you even though you were unaware of it being there.
But what does it actually mean to say the rock existed before you were thinking about it?

It means that before I was thinking about the rock, someone else was observing me walking toward it with my head in a book and subsequently stubbing my toe on said rock. Even without this bit of concurrent observatrion, the rock is existent as evidenced by my toe-stubbing even though I was not thinking about the rock.

I honestly don't think we are going to get past this one as you seem to, for whatever reasons, place the thought of such things on a higher pedestal than the things themselves. Roaches have no abstract thoughts and cannot even concieve of "rocks" and yet they navigate around them as well. Automobiles have no thoughts at all and yet if one hits a rock, damage will occur(even with no humans around at the time).

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It came into your awareness at the precise moment that you stubbed your toe on it.
So? All the more evidence that physically existent objects are interacting in a physical universe.

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Any assumptions about its prior existence are based on holding a certain model of the universe.
EXACTLY! The "materialist" model! As opposed to YOUR presuppositional model(the "Anything is possible and we can never know anything!"' model).

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Which was exactly my point - it's possible for a scientific discovery to occur without any initial observation taking place at all.
?!?!?!?

How so?

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Once you have a hypothesis, it doesn't matter how you got that hypothesis.
Sure it does! The "Creationist hypothesis"(for example) is NOT science! We are talking about SCIENCE here! Scientific hypotheses require observation!

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That depends on what you mean by "exists".
Again, I am not much interested in useless semantics. Essential definitions here. If someone claims that hyperspace travel is possible via cold fusion, I don't want to sit around asking inane questions like "What does "cold" mean?", "What does "fusion" mean?", and "What does "space" mean?" etc.

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When is presupposition a trap and when is it the formation of assumptions or axioms necessary for a coherent and meaningful view of the world?
Presupposition is ALWAYS a trap. Necessary assumptions/first principles are unavoidable, so tieing your brain up in circular knots worrying about them is useless.

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The trouble is, if we weren't capable of thinking rationally, we wouldn't necessarily know that we weren't.
We would not be talking or thinking at ALL beyond the survival instincts of some quadrepedal mammal's ability so that point is moot. To ask if we would know we were irrational if in fact we were irrational is like asking if we would try to walk if we never had legs and never were aware of such things existing.

quote:
That's right. An interesting consequence of Godel's theorem is that in a formal system such as logic, although you can construct a proof of something, there's no way to construct a proof that your proof is sound.
Again, I am no mathematician. perhaps if I were, I would have greater appreciation for Godel and his Incompleteness Theorem". As it stands, he is just someone who is invoked WAYYYY too often in existetntial debates by people(Usually the J.Z. Knight/Ramtha crowd but sometimes more reasonable people like yourself). Even so, I was able to deconstruct and demolish "Hilbert's Hotel" in a debate I had with a creationist sometime ago so maybe I need to sit down and make an effort with Godel some time.
It seems silly to me that humans put so much credence on the fact that we can construct nonsense statements and paradoxes!? As if this fact alone refuted logic!

quote:
I maintain that this definition begs the question. The fact that thinking requires a brain is an observation about the world, not part of the definition of thinking.
And I disagree and we are not going to get any further with that one either. TO me, defining thinking in any way that does not include the brain is meaningless. You might as well define thinking as "The smell of purple".

quote:
Again, the fact that damage to our brains impairs our ability to think is an observation about the world, NOT a necessary fact of logic.
From YOUR "assumptions"/axioms maybe. Not mine. From MY materialist POV, the fact that you cannot think without your brain proves that you need your brain to think. As soon as you show me a thought that exists sans a brain, we will have something new to discuss on this matter.

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[b]Yes. I'm saying that's a possibility we can never completely rule out. The only reason it should be treated as a belief of last resort is that it would be disastrous to take such a thing as being true -- but that's not the same as saying it can't be true.


It cannot be true. If it were true then we would know nothing. SInce we know things and the universe operates in a consistent manner, we do not live in the "anything is possible" universe. If we DID live in the "AiP" universe then it would be possible that we know EVERYTHING(with 100% certainty)! Your argument refutes itself!

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Your answer is interesting to me. Surely memories are stored in some form or another in the brain (in fact, neurologists are already starting to find out certain things about how they're stored).
Sort of but not how one might think they are "stored"(in fact, I am not sure "stored" is correct terminology). We kind of note down, in sloppy short-hand notation, experiences we have. Later, when recalling those experiences, we create complex visuals and fleshed out prose to tell the story of what happened.
Could a machine do that? I don't know. I am not much concerned with the matter either. I suppose it may be one of those "hypothetically possible but practically infeasable" deals.

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Surely, then, if you produce a sufficiently accurate duplicate of a human at a certain point in time, the original and the duplicate will be identical in all ways, including self-awareness, regardless of the fact that one has actually experienced things and the other merely has the neurological remnants of its prototype's experiences. Or are you arguing that self-awareness isn't a state function?
I think Gould's contingency theory would apply here. There are simply too zoggin' many variables to account for and no matter how hard you try, you can never really duplicate them all to replicate the developement of humanity.[/b]
tl,dr

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quote:
See this is where those axioms/first principles come in. YOURS is a solipsist one or at least a "Solipsism might be possible" one. Mine is a materialist one. BOTH are assumptions(what I and most philosophers would call "necessary assumptions" or "useful assumptions").
My assumption is that consciousness exists; yours is that matter exists. It is simply mind-boggling to me that anyone cannot agree that it's more certain that consciousness exists than that matter exists - you were the one who brought up Descartes, after all.

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You are still not getting the whole "first principles" thing. YOU are choosing the axiom that "We cannot be sure of anything". I am choosing the axiom "We CAN be sure of some things."
I don't explicitly choose that as an axiom. It's just that my particular view of the world doesn't admit any sort of proof except by induction, which is always subject to the possibility of a counterexample. I have to wonder what your method of empirical proof is; obviously, not all of your perceptions can be completely relied upon as accurate all the time, so how do you tell which ones you can consider absolutely without a shadow of a doubt 100% reliable and which ones you can't? If you form certainty by the aggregation of many observations which are individually subject to doubt, then keep in mind that by taking two observations that are each 99% certain, you're still only 99.99% certain, and so on. Can't get to 100% that way.

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It IS ruled out by MY axioms! Logically, there is no way around this. First principles/necessary assumptions cannot be challenged by the methods and processes that emerge from those principles.
To argue otherwise is like trying to use math to prove that math works! If someone does not believe you can actually quantify things sequentially through addition, subtraction and multiplication then using addition, subtraction and multiplication to show them otherwise is nonsense!
I can't resist using the cute "1 cloud + 1 cloud = 1 cloud" argument here. Not that I'm suggesting we throw away arithmetic in general, of course, but it does make the point that the validity of systems like logic and arithmetic depends on the objects you apply it to. The axioms of logic and arithmetic are tools people have invented for making sense of their perceptions, not objects existing in some world of Platonic ideal forms.

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But what does it actually mean to say the rock existed before you were thinking about it?
It means that before I was thinking about the rock, someone else was observing me walking toward it with my head in a book and subsequently stubbing my toe on said rock. Even without this bit of concurrent observatrion, the rock is existent as evidenced by my toe-stubbing even though I was not thinking about the rock.

I honestly don't think we are going to get past this one as you seem to, for whatever reasons, place the thought of such things on a higher pedestal than the things themselves. Roaches have no abstract thoughts and cannot even concieve of "rocks" and yet they navigate around them as well. Automobiles have no thoughts at all and yet if one hits a rock, damage will occur(even with no humans around at the time).
Again, these statements are based on observations you have made about roaches and automobiles.

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Which was exactly my point - it's possible for a scientific discovery to occur without any initial observation taking place at all.
?!?!?!?

How so?
Okay, let's go back to my original example. You claimed that if the structure of benzene did in fact come to Kekule in a dream as he claimed, then the discovery of benzene's structure was unscientific. If the discovery was scientifically unsound, surely it follows that other scientists were therefore wrong to rely on his work on its structure for other purposes. Since they did in fact do so, either the entire establishment of science (at least insofar as it involves benzene) is now suspect, or the assumption that a scientific discovery requires a scientific observation is false.

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Once you have a hypothesis, it doesn't matter how you got that hypothesis.
Sure it does! The "Creationist hypothesis"(for example) is NOT science! We are talking about SCIENCE here! Scientific hypotheses require observation!
I'd argue that as long as creation scientists test their hypotheses adequately and without bias, what they're doing counts as science. (Of course, if they do that, they're not likely to stay creationists for very long.)

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When is presupposition a trap and when is it the formation of assumptions or axioms necessary for a coherent and meaningful view of the world?
Presupposition is ALWAYS a trap. Necessary assumptions/first principles are unavoidable, so tieing your brain up in circular knots worrying about them is useless.
How did you decide which first principles to hold?

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It seems silly to me that humans put so much credence on the fact that we can construct nonsense statements and paradoxes!? As if this fact alone refuted logic!
What it shows is that there are situations where logic isn't useful.

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And I disagree and we are not going to get any further with that one either. TO me, defining thinking in any way that does not include the brain is meaningless. You might as well define thinking as "The smell of purple".
I just don't see how you get from "Everything that thinks requires a brain" to "Everything that could think must require a brain".

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From YOUR "assumptions"/axioms maybe. Not mine. From MY materialist POV, the fact that you cannot think without your brain proves that you need your brain to think.
Does it prove that any possible thinking being needs its brain to think?

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As soon as you show me a thought that exists sans a brain, we will have something new to discuss on this matter.
The onus is on you to show that no such thing could exist. (Unless you use a very broad definition of "brain", such as "an object capable of conducting thought processes", in which case I'll concede the point at least for all practical purposes.)

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It cannot be true. If it were true then we would know nothing. SInce we know things and the universe operates in a consistent manner, we do not live in the "anything is possible" universe. If we DID live in the "AiP" universe then it would be possible that we know EVERYTHING(with 100% certainty)! Your argument refutes itself!
Unless we do know everything and don't know that we know everything because we also know nothing. Your argument assumes that logic can in fact be consistently applied to the world. If it can't, then we're in one hell of a mess. But this point isn't worth arguing because it doesn't fit very well with our observations and wouldn't lead to anything useful if it were the case.

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Surely, then, if you produce a sufficiently accurate duplicate of a human at a certain point in time, the original and the duplicate will be identical in all ways, including self-awareness, regardless of the fact that one has actually experienced things and the other merely has the neurological remnants of its prototype's experiences. Or are you arguing that self-awareness isn't a state function?
I think Gould's contingency theory would apply here. There are simply too zoggin' many variables to account for and no matter how hard you try, you can never really duplicate them all to replicate the developement of humanity.
Oh, I agree it isn't remotely practical. I was purely discussing it in terms of a thought experiment.

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If I may add my .02, First off forgive me if all has been said, I’m a newbie still wet behind the ears :)

It seems to me the root to all “evil” (assuming there is a thought process, behavior, sensation or interaction that is truly evil) is fear.

The two root human emotions are love and fear. All behaviors are to gain pleasure and avoid suffering. Hate is fear of being physically or emotionally harmed, Desire for great power is often the fear of being controlled, or the fear of being submissive,

There are fears of being poor, mistreated, not excepted, unloved, judged, and so on. If humans lived without fear or lack of love would there be evil? Tortured souls torture others. Happy, nurtured souls tend to be more companionate towards others.

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Nena
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Le Diable d'Ouangs:

[b] My assumption is that consciousness exists; yours is that matter exists. It is simply mind-boggling to me that anyone cannot agree that it's more certain that consciousness exists than that matter exists - you were the one who brought up Descartes, after all.
[/b]

I am no fan of DesCartes. In fact, most of what he said was idiocy IMO. I brought up his Cogito thing becuase it seemed to me he tried to disprove materialism and ended up doing the opposite(arguable, but that's my take).

Btw, I do not argue that conciousness is "more certain" or "NOT more certain" to exist. I argue that it deos NOT exist AT ALL in the way that matter exists. Two completely different useages of the word "exists".

"I am going to make a killing scalping Super Bowl tickets!"

"I am killing people for their Super Bowl Tickets."

Which is the above is the more prolific murderer? The answer is the second one because teh first one has not murdered anyone.
That is what it is like to try and argue that we are more certain of conciousness' existence than matter's.

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I don't explicitly choose that as an axiom. It's just that my particular view of the world doesn't admit any sort of proof except by induction, which is always subject to the possibility of a counterexample.
Well, eitehr we choose these foundational assumptions/worldviews or they choose us. Eisther way it doesn't change my argument. MAterialism, nor idealism are subject to the sort of proof you are demanding of them(or at least ONE of them ;) ).

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I have to wonder what your method of empirical proof is; obviously, not all of your perceptions can be completely relied upon as accurate all the time, so how do you tell which ones you can consider absolutely without a shadow of a doubt 100% reliable and which ones you can't?
First of all, as far as my "method of empirical proof" is concerned, I do not seek empirical proof for or against things which do not empirically exist.
AGAIN, these foundational principles/neccesary assumptions ARE NOT SUBJECT TO "PROOF". They are assumptions we MUST have. We cannot get away from this. You have yours and I have mine. I do not use materialism, idealism, logic orcritical thinking to prove or disprove materialism or idealism.

Therefore, matter exists and this is a certainty. End of debate on that one. For me to challenge YOUR idealism, I would have to grant your premises/axioms adn find a way, within that idealism paradigm, to show it to be somehow incorrect which is impossible to do.

Therefore I do not go around mixing it up with idealists and solipsists.

Same goes for YOU on the subject of materialism. Matter exists and is the primary stuff of the universe. Conciousness, walking, jumping, flying etc. are activities & functions emergent from matter and material processes. That is my, beyond question, necessary assumption. Yours is different. Neither of us are going to "prove" or "disprove" the other's first principles.

Now, having said all that(again), who do I know that some things are 100% certain with my not-totally-reliable perceptions?

Again, by MY "neceesary assumptions", logic, as in "reasoned thinking" is a certainty. Things do not get closer to you while they move away from you. Things cannot be "Not round" and "round" at the same time. This is 100% consistent with everything both YOU and I observe in the universe. Just that YOU question reason itself, but not by reasoned argument. It is just YOUR "necessary assumption"/axioms that anything be possible, no matter how inconsistent and ridiculous by my standards.
If I were able to, hypothetically, show you every instance of thought that ever happened everywhere in reality and conclusively show it emerging from a physical brain, this would mean nothing to you. IDealism adn non-materilaism in general is one big gap argument("Maybe there is a 'Bizarro Dimension' where 2 + 2 = 7!") To idealists and solopsist, The Matrix is the Tao, the Bible, and the Holy Grail. To ME it is just a laughably bad movie.

Now, given that I accept that everything I observe is real and exists just as I observe it to. Doesn't mean I don't mispercieve or misunderstand. Just that the only way I could ever even know that I was capable of mispercieving/misunderstanding is if I am capable of correctly percieving/understanding things as they actually are. It is the very capacity I have to understand with 100% certainty that 2 + 2 = 4 that enables me to recognise when I mistakenly assess that 2 + 2 = 5. Correct perceptions can be repeatedly tested and verified to be correct and incorrect perceptions/assessment, likewise. Incorrect observations/understandings will not repeatedly and consistently reveal themselves to be correct and correct observations/understandings will not repeatedly and consistently reveal themselves as incorrect.

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If you form certainty by the aggregation of many observations which are individually subject to doubt, then keep in mind that by taking two observations that are each 99% certain, you're still only 99.99% certain, and so on. Can't get to 100% that way.
But some observations are absolutely NOT in doubt to any degree. I know you disagree with this but as I said before, we will just have to disagree because this goes back to the whole "first principles" thing. You go ahead and doubt every observation you make but keep in mind the following: "Nothing is certain" is also a an assertion and following YOUR reasoning, you cannot say this is true. It is POSSIBLE(by your arguments) that many things ARE 100% certain.

I say one of those certain things is the fact that many things are certain.

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I can't resist using the cute "1 cloud + 1 cloud = 1 cloud" argument here.
Said argument would do you no good here since 1 SEPERATE cloud + 1 OTHER cloud = TWO clouds.

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Not that I'm suggesting we throw away arithmetic in general, of course, but it does make the point that the validity of systems like logic and arithmetic depends on the objects you apply it to. The axioms of logic and arithmetic are tools people have invented for making sense of their perceptions, not objects existing in some world of Platonic ideal forms.
Fasle dichotomy. The axioms of logic(not talking about math-specific stuff here, just reasoned thinking) are NEITHER human "inventions", nor material objects. They are more akin to discoveries about how the universe behaves.

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Again, these statements are based on observations you have made about roaches and automobiles.
...and rocks and everything else in the world. REPEATEDLY. Again these observations are certainties. You are welcome to try and prove otherwise. Simply show me how observations create the things observed or an abstract-thinking roach or rock. Until then... :)

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Which was exactly my point - it's possible for a scientific discovery to occur without any initial observation taking place at all.
?!?!?!?

How so?
Okay, let's go back to my original example. You claimed that if the structure of benzene did in fact come to Kekule in a dream as he claimed, then the discovery of benzene's structure was unscientific.[/quote]

No I did not. I said the dream he claims to ahve had was unscientific in that it was not part of the scientific process/methodology by which he constructed a theory.

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If the discovery was scientifically unsound, surely it follows that other scientists were therefore wrong to rely on his work on its structure for other purposes.
The discovery WAS scientifically sound. The dream that inspired him could NEVER be.

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I'd argue that as long as creation scientists test their hypotheses adequately and without bias, what they're doing counts as science. (Of course, if they do that, they're not likely to stay creationists for very long.)
EXATLY!! Ergo, if they ARE still creationsits, they cannot be doing science(in this regard)!

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How did you decide which first principles to hold?
Doesn't matter really but to put it simply I recognise that I have only certain tools at my disposal for observation and understanding(chiefly my senses and brain) and these things tell me that I exist and other material things exist and that nothing exists which does not have it's orgins in matter. Now I COULD do as a non-materilaist and assume these things are possibly illusory and that I am actually a gaseous ID-cloud that uses some "faith-sense" to get around and understand but sense no "faith-sense" is reporting this to me, this would be a fool's assumption(not useful OR necessary).
SO I always end up back at square one. My senses and brain are the ONLY things reporting anything to me and they consitently report 'X', 'Y' and 'Z'.

Sometimes emotions or damage or somesuch cause me to misunderstand and take the 'Z' for an 'N' but ALWAYS when I re-examine under optimal, rational conditions, 'Z' is 'Z'.

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What it shows is that there are situations where logic isn't useful.
Granted. I never rely on logic to tell me who will win the lottery or what a free willed individual will do in circumstance 'X'. But so what?

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I just don't see how you get from "Everything that thinks requires a brain" to "Everything that could think must require a brain".
Same way I get from "Driving is the act of piloting a vehicle of some sort" to "Anyone driving is using a vehicle". You don't include the brain in your definition of "thought". That is good for you but such a definition is useless im my view. It just makes everything muddy adn meaningless. IF I define "walking" in teh way that you define "thinking" then everything that moves becomes a "walker". Not useful.

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Does it prove that any possible thinking being needs its brain to think?
Yes adn the only way you will DISPROVE such a thing is to cough up a non-brained thinker.

Good luck.

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As soon as you show me a thought that exists sans a brain, we will have something new to discuss on this matter.
The onus is on you to show that no such thing could exist.

Oh no you don't. I can't prove that Santa Claus does not exist and I cannot prove that your unbrained thinker does not exist. THat these things do not exist and this is certain simply follows from my materialism.

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(Unless you use a very broad definition of "brain", such as "an object capable of conducting thought processes", in which case I'll concede the point at least for all practical purposes.)
Yeah, I never said it had to be a HUMAN brain... ;)

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Unless we do know everything and don't know that we know everything because we also know nothing.
Which is complete nonsense. You cannot know everything and know nothing at once.

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Your argument assumes that logic can in fact be consistently applied to the world.
Yes. It does.

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If it can't, then we're in one hell of a mess. But this point isn't worth arguing because it doesn't fit very well with our observations and wouldn't lead to anything useful if it were the case.
Now we are getting somewhere!

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Oh, I agree it isn't remotely practical. I was purely discussing it in terms of a thought experiment.
I see. Well...something else to think about adn keep me awake at night.*Sigh*

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Posts: 219 | Registered: Saturday, October 13 2001 07:00
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quote:
Btw, I do not argue that conciousness is "more certain" or "NOT more certain" to exist. I argue that it deos NOT exist AT ALL in the way that matter exists. Two completely different useages of the word "exists".

"I am going to make a killing scalping Super Bowl tickets!"

"I am killing people for their Super Bowl Tickets."

Which is the above is the more prolific murderer? The answer is the second one because teh first one has not murdered anyone.
That is what it is like to try and argue that we are more certain of conciousness' existence than matter's.
You're not really arguing that when we speak of consciousness existing, we're only speaking metaphorically, are you?

Or are you arguing that consciousness exists in the same way that, say, the Internet exists? Neither is an object you can point to; consciousness is a series of processes occurring in brains, the Internet is a series of processes occurring in computers and associated infrastructure. All the same, one can provide evidence for the existence of both of them.

(I'm assuming for the sake of argument that you hold some kind of functional definition of consciousness, even though it seems to me that such a definition can only be held if one deliberately misses the point of what we mean when we say we're conscious of something.)

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quote:
I have to wonder what your method of empirical proof is; obviously, not all of your perceptions can be completely relied upon as accurate all the time, so how do you tell which ones you can consider absolutely without a shadow of a doubt 100% reliable and which ones you can't?
First of all, as far as my "method of empirical proof" is concerned, I do not seek empirical proof for or against things which do not empirically exist.
So you're saying that the fact that you believe in matter has nothing to do with the fact that you believe you observe matter in the world around you?

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Therefore, matter exists and this is a certainty. End of debate on that one. For me to challenge YOUR idealism, I would have to grant your premises/axioms adn find a way, within that idealism paradigm, to show it to be somehow incorrect which is impossible to do.

Therefore I do not go around mixing it up with idealists and solipsists.

Same goes for YOU on the subject of materialism. Matter exists and is the primary stuff of the universe. Conciousness, walking, jumping, flying etc. are activities & functions emergent from matter and material processes. That is my, beyond question, necessary assumption. Yours is different. Neither of us are going to "prove" or "disprove" the other's first principles.
If this is your view, you shouldn't go around saying that it's certain that God doesn't exist. At best, you might be able to prove that it's certain to materialists that God doesn't exist. There are other consistent axiomatic systems which might not rule out the possibility.

(I'm closer to a phenomenalist than an idealist, by the way, since I regard thought, perception and consciousness as different subtypes of the same kind of thing. But that's probably of no interest to you.)

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Now, having said all that(again), who do I know that some things are 100% certain with my not-totally-reliable perceptions?

Again, by MY "neceesary assumptions", logic, as in "reasoned thinking" is a certainty. Things do not get closer to you while they move away from you. Things cannot be "Not round" and "round" at the same time. This is 100% consistent with everything both YOU and I observe in the universe. Just that YOU question reason itself, but not by reasoned argument. It is just YOUR "necessary assumption"/axioms that anything be possible, no matter how inconsistent and ridiculous by my standards.
I haven't assumed that everything is possible. I merely haven't assumed that anything is impossible; that anything is possible follows from that. (I draw a distinction here between what is possible and what I cannot doubt; there are things which I find myself unable to doubt which might still not be the case, as utterly inconceivable and absurd as I might find such a state of affairs. I don't place as much trust in my own ability to reason as you do.)

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Now, given that I accept that everything I observe is real and exists just as I observe it to. Doesn't mean I don't mispercieve or misunderstand.
I take it this argument hinges on the fact that your definition of "observe" relies on the thing being observed actually existing in some sense beyond your observation of it, since if what you "observe" were to mean absolutely everything that came into your consciousness, this would clearly be a contradiction.

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Correct perceptions can be repeatedly tested and verified to be correct and incorrect perceptions/assessment, likewise.
How repeatedly must something be verified to be absolutely certain without any possibility of doubt? More on this below.

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Incorrect observations/understandings will not repeatedly and consistently reveal themselves to be correct and correct observations/understandings will not repeatedly and consistently reveal themselves as incorrect.
There are, of course, delusional individuals who amass supposed evidence, some real, some hallucinatory, all pointing toward a conclusion which is false to any outside observer but which the individual regards as beyond doubt. You could argue, I suppose, that such individuals invariably have a defect in rationality as well as perception, but I'm not so sure.

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If you form certainty by the aggregation of many observations which are individually subject to doubt, then keep in mind that by taking two observations that are each 99% certain, you're still only 99.99% certain, and so on. Can't get to 100% that way.
But some observations are absolutely NOT in doubt to any degree.
Above you said that the reason you can be certain of the correspondence of your observations to reality is that those observations consistently reinforce each other. Now you're saying that some observations stand on their own as being beyond doubt. Which is it?

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I know you disagree with this but as I said before, we will just have to disagree because this goes back to the whole "first principles" thing. You go ahead and doubt every observation you make but keep in mind the following: "Nothing is certain" is also a an assertion and following YOUR reasoning, you cannot say this is true.
I never asserted it. I just haven't been shown anything that is certain yet (even if there are some things I personally am certain of. After all, if something were by its own nature certain (rather than others being certain of it), everyone would have to be certain of it. Is there anything that everyone agrees on?

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Not that I'm suggesting we throw away arithmetic in general, of course, but it does make the point that the validity of systems like logic and arithmetic depends on the objects you apply it to. The axioms of logic and arithmetic are tools people have invented for making sense of their perceptions, not objects existing in some world of Platonic ideal forms.
Fasle dichotomy. The axioms of logic(not talking about math-specific stuff here, just reasoned thinking) are NEITHER human "inventions", nor material objects. They are more akin to discoveries about how the universe behaves.
When you observe some phenomenon, that's a discovery. When you define the nature and properties of that discovery, that's an invention. (At least, the US Patent and Trademark Office seems to think so, or it wouldn't be allowing the patenting of genes found in nature.)

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No I did not. I said the dream he claims to ahve had was unscientific in that it was not part of the scientific process/methodology by which he constructed a theory.
You listed "Observation" as the very first item on your laundry list of requirements for the scientific method. If an initial scientific observation is an essential element of the scientific method, then the lack of an adequate scientific observation would mean the method as a whole was unscientific. If it's not an essential element of the scientific method, it didn't belong on the list.

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If the discovery was scientifically unsound, surely it follows that other scientists were therefore wrong to rely on his work on its structure for other purposes.
The discovery WAS scientifically sound. The dream that inspired him could NEVER be.
In other words, you're now arguing that a discovery can be scientifically sound without an initial scientific observation after all? So what was the purpose of the "Observation" item that came before "Hypothesis" on your initial list?

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I'd argue that as long as creation scientists test their hypotheses adequately and without bias, what they're doing counts as science. (Of course, if they do that, they're not likely to stay creationists for very long.)
EXATLY!! Ergo, if they ARE still creationsits, they cannot be doing science(in this regard)!
Not necessarily. They could be performing a number of small tests within a limited scope, each scientific on its own, but the whole forming an incomplete picture of the world that seems to support creationism -- following the letter of the scientific method while skirting around the spirit of it.

(I'm not sure that creation scientists are actually this wily, but it remains a possibility -- unless you want to add to your scientific method the stipulation that a scientist must be indifferent to what his experiments prove, in which case I don't think there's a scientist alive who's passed that test.)

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What it shows is that there are situations where logic isn't useful.
Granted. I never rely on logic to tell me who will win the lottery or what a free willed individual will do in circumstance 'X'. But so what?
Well, it'd be of no consequence if logical methods were the only methods available, but that's not the case. (There are situations where intuition -- attempting to solve a problem without consciously following a logical procedure to do so -- is demonstrably better than chance, especially among people who have prior experience with solving similar problems.)

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Oh no you don't. I can't prove that Santa Claus does not exist and I cannot prove that your unbrained thinker does not exist. THat these things do not exist and this is certain simply follows from my materialism.
That is, it's certain to materialists.

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(Unless you use a very broad definition of "brain", such as "an object capable of conducting thought processes", in which case I'll concede the point at least for all practical purposes.)
Yeah, I never said it had to be a HUMAN brain... ;)
So we just spent half of three replies not actually disagreeing over anything substantial. See why I usually make the effort to quibble over semantics *before* getting into a debate? :P

(I have to say, though, your definitions seem a little circular. A "brain" is an object capable of thinking, and "thinking" is what a brain does?)

[ Wednesday, February 02, 2005 04:30: Message edited by: Le Diable d'Ouangs ]

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quote:
Originally written by SkeleTony:
AGAIN, these foundational principles/neccesary assumptions ARE NOT SUBJECT TO "PROOF".
So you're saying that you take them on faith? If your assumptions are not subject to proof (or verification on the basis of evidence), what makes them any better than anyone else's?

quote:
The axioms of logic(not talking about math-specific stuff here, just reasoned thinking) are NEITHER human "inventions", nor material objects. They are more akin to discoveries about how the universe behaves.
You're pretty close to contradicting yourself here. Are your assumptions subject to verification through evidence in the universe or not?

quote:
I do not use materialism, idealism, logic orcritical thinking to prove or disprove materialism or idealism.
Proof by contradiction is a relatively accepted technique. You take a certain set of assumptions and use those assumptions to show their inherent inconsistency. Why dismiss it here?

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 156
Profile #249
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Originally written by Le Diable d'Ouangs:

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Btw, I do not argue that conciousness is "more certain" or "NOT more certain" to exist. I argue that it deos NOT exist AT ALL in the way that matter exists. Two completely different useages of the word "exists".

"I am going to make a killing scalping Super Bowl tickets!"

"I am killing people for their Super Bowl Tickets."

Which is the above is the more prolific murderer? The answer is the second one because the first one has not murdered anyone.
That is what it is like to try and argue that we are more certain of conciousness' existence than matter's.
You're not really arguing that when we speak of consciousness existing, we're only speaking metaphorically, are you?

Kind of...but not really. "exists"(as in "The earth exists." and "exists"(as in "Freedom exists." are two completely different words basically. You are using them interchangeably.

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Or are you arguing that consciousness exists in the same way that, say, the Internet exists? Neither is an object you can point to; consciousness is a series of processes occurring in brains, the Internet is a series of processes occurring in computers and associated infrastructure. All the same, one can provide evidence for the existence of both of them.
That sounds about right(though I do not know what you mean by that last comment).

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(I'm assuming for the sake of argument that you hold some kind of functional definition of consciousness, even though it seems to me that such a definition can only be held if one deliberately misses the point of what we mean when we say we're conscious of something.)
What do you mean? Saying that my definitions are wrong because I am "missing the point" is a bit...vacuous, isn't it?

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So you're saying that the fact that you believe in matter has nothing to do with the fact that you believe you observe matter in the world around you?
I am saying that matter exists adn is not dependent on my observing it. To argue otherwise seems to be highly illogical...an attempt to reverse cause and effect so that thet baseball flying into the catcher's mitt causes the pitcher to throw it, type nonsense.

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Therefore, matter exists and this is a certainty. End of debate on that one. For me to challenge YOUR idealism, I would have to grant your premises/axioms and find a way, within that idealism paradigm, to show it to be somehow incorrect which is impossible to do.

Therefore I do not go around mixing it up with idealists and solipsists.

Same goes for YOU on the subject of materialism. Matter exists and is the primary stuff of the universe. Conciousness, walking, jumping, flying etc. are activities & functions emergent from matter and material processes. That is my, beyond question, necessary assumption. Yours is different. Neither of us are going to "prove" or "disprove" the other's first principles.
If this is your view, you shouldn't go around saying that it's certain that God doesn't exist. At best, you might be able to prove that it's certain to materialists that God doesn't exist.

I was only saying it was certain to ME that God did not exist. YOU took it upon yourself to challenge MY certainty.

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There are other consistent axiomatic systems which might not rule out the possibility.
Maybe. Can't commetn since I have no idea what you are talking about and these "other systems" probably wouldn't go over well with me anyway.

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(I'm closer to a phenomenalist than an idealist, by the way, since I regard thought, perception and consciousness as different subtypes of the same kind of thing. But that's probably of no interest to you.)
On the contrary, it is very interesting trying to see where other people are coming from. I thought phenomenalists were a sort of sub-type of idealist(like functionalists are to materialism?)? Am I wrong?

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I haven't assumed that everything is possible. I merely haven't assumed that anything is impossible; that anything is possible follows from that.
So, in other words you assume anything is possible.

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(I draw a distinction here between what is possible and what I cannot doubt; there are things which I find myself unable to doubt which might still not be the case, as utterly inconceivable and absurd as I might find such a state of affairs. I don't place as much trust in my own ability to reason as you do.)
There are only certain things I am 100% confident in my reasoning for. That 2 + 2 = 4 adn that nonsense claims cannot be true(the simultaneously 'A' and 'not A' thing). Of these things I have no doubt. Otherwise, we are probably very similar in our confidenceof ability to reason.

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I take it this argument hinges on the fact that your definition of "observe" relies on the thing being observed actually existing in some sense beyond your observation of it, since if what you "observe" were to mean absolutely everything that came into your consciousness, this would clearly be a contradiction.
Correct.

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How repeatedly must something be verified to be absolutely certain without any possibility of doubt? More on this below.
That depends on the "something" we are talking about I suppose. I don't think there is some fixed number like "447" that applies to both arithmetic being certain and gravity. Once you understand a thing mechanistically...for example, once I understand WHY 2 + 2 = 4, the logic becomes clear and I see why 2 + 2 cannot be otherwise(unless you are using binary arithmetic or somesuch but that is beside the point).

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There are, of course, delusional individuals who amass supposed evidence, some real, some hallucinatory, all pointing toward a conclusion which is false to any outside observer but which the individual regards as beyond doubt. You could argue, I suppose, that such individuals invariably have a defect in rationality as well as perception, but I'm not so sure.
I will include the caveat that, if I am delusional(and of course I would not be aware of it for purposes of this discussion), then I may still be 100% certain of these things but I would also be wrong. Doesn't change my poistion one iota though.

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Above you said that the reason you can be certain of the correspondence of your observations to reality is that those observations consistently reinforce each other. Now you're saying that some observations stand on their own as being beyond doubt. Which is it?
No, no, no...remember those "necessary assumptions"? THose MUST be beyond doubt(even if YOURS is that "everything is doubtful"). We cannot, in any way ever get away from this. We simply have no choice in the matter. It matters not whether these necessary assumptions are rooted in observation themselves or not. They are STILL necessary.

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I never asserted it. I just haven't been shown anything that is certain yet (even if there are some things I personally am certain of. After all, if something were by its own nature certain (rather than others being certain of it), everyone would have to be certain of it. Is there anything that everyone agrees on?
I speak only for my self in saying that somethings are 100% certain and beyond doubt.

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When you observe some phenomenon, that's a discovery. When you define the nature and properties of that discovery, that's an invention. (At least, the US Patent and Trademark Office seems to think so, or it wouldn't be allowing the patenting of genes found in nature.)
I don't care HOW or WHY the U.S. patent office defines anything. Eisntein did not invent relativity, he discovered it. To argue otherwise is to say that we could have achievedd FTL travel if not for Einstein's damned "invention"!

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No I did not. I said the dream he claims to have had was unscientific in that it was not part of the scientific process/methodology by which he constructed a theory.
You listed "Observation" as the very first item on your laundry list of requirements for the scientific method. If an initial scientific observation is an essential element of the scientific method, then the lack of an adequate scientific observation would mean the method as a whole was unscientific. If it's not an essential element of the scientific method, it didn't belong on the list.

It IS essential! Again, can you point to ANY scientific discovery that was made in complete sensory deprivation?

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In other words, you're now arguing that a discovery can be scientifically sound without an initial scientific observation after all?
No.

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So what was the purpose of the "Observation" item that came before "Hypothesis" on your initial list?
See above.

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Not necessarily. They could be performing a number of small tests within a limited scope, each scientific on its own, but the whole forming an incomplete picture of the world that seems to support creationism -- following the letter of the scientific method while skirting around the spirit of it.
But as soon as they abandon the method...that is the very INSTANT they try to force their little individually correct tests into a wholly unscientific hypothesis, they are not doing science.

For example:

I hypothesize that the sun emits ultraviolet light-energy(correct).

I hypothesize that these ultraviolet rays can be harmful to my skin(correct).

I then propose the theory that Apollo hates humanity adn is trying to slowly cook us using the sun(incorrect and unscientific)!

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(I'm not sure that creation scientists are actually this wily, but it remains a possibility -- unless you want to add to your scientific method the stipulation that a scientist must be indifferent to what his experiments prove, in which case I don't think there's a scientist alive who's passed that test.)
I would not add such a thing. I WOULD stipulate that the scientist employ critical thinking and peer review to circumvent his personal biases though.

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Well, it'd be of no consequence if logical methods were the only methods available, but that's not the case. (There are situations where intuition -- attempting to solve a problem without consciously following a logical procedure to do so -- is demonstrably better than chance, especially among people who have prior experience with solving similar problems.)
Yeah but even relying on learned instincts rahter than deliberation is logical in those situations.

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That is, it's certain to materialists.
Yep!

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So we just spent half of three replies not actually disagreeing over anything substantial. See why I usually make the effort to quibble over semantics *before* getting into a debate? :P
I would only add that I am 100% certain that even a non-human brain would be a material thing. THAT is probably where we part ways.

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(I have to say, though, your definitions seem a little circular. A "brain" is an object capable of thinking, and "thinking" is what a brain does?)
YEah but what can you do...? "Legs" are appendages which enaable "walking" and "walking" is what legged things do. Same diff'.

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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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