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  #261  
Old 25th November 2015, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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surreptitious57 said View Post
One must always be careful not to confuse interpretations of reality with reality itself for the two
are not necessarily the same and even less so where confirmation bias is operating. As believing
in x does not make x true no matter how much one may want it to be. Now a good rule is not to
believe in anything at all less there is evidence or proof to justify it. Otherwise one may become
emotionally attached to their particular world view. And the problem there is that it can be hard
to discard it if it is ever disproven. This applies to science as much as it does to philosophy or to
religion since no single discipline has all of the answers. And so the natural default position is to
accept what is objectively true and reject what is not and retain an open mind for anything else
I don't believe in anything, least of all reality. Reality, to me is a metaphysical concept, useful but not necessarily true. However [argument from ignorance coming up], I think reality is there, whether we believe in it or not.
Science somehow gains traction. We observe natural phenomena, and make reliable predictions. Science discerns patterns in natural phenomena. testable, falsifiable patterns. This leads me to conclude [tentatively], that the tree is always there, even if there is no one to see or hear it fall.

Religion has almost no hope of getting anything right, because belief is driven faith, and not by evidence or argument. But science is one. Yes, a great variety of procedures, techniques, language, but basically it is the same process. That is why we see convergence in science so often. Nature seems to use the same tricks, over and over again. The evidence for biological evolution spans so many disciplines in science. Fossils [paleontology], age of the Earth [geology-radiometric dating], sedimentary rocks], genetics, bio-geography, chemistry, etc, etc....even, as I argued elsewhere, quantum mechanics.
There are so many ways evolution would 'trip up" if it was false. But it hasn't-so far. You would have to believe in a global conspiracy of scientists of many disciplines all over the world to comply with the lie that evolution was true. But no whistle-blowers, apart from false ones baying in the ruins of creationism.
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  #262  
Old 25th November 2015, 08:36 PM
surreptitious57 surreptitious57 is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

Absolute reality might be a metaphysical concept but the physical reality I experience is not
Unless one thinks that what we experience is not real. And then we find ourselves down the
rabbit hole with james for all of eternity trying to define exactly what is real and what is not
Now for all I know I could just be a brain in a vat or everything I experience could just be a
mental construct of my brain. But it would be reality for me even if it was not reality per se
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  #263  
Old 25th November 2015, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Absolute reality might be a metaphysical concept but the physical reality I experience is not
Unless one thinks that what we experience is not real. And then we find ourselves down the
rabbit hole with james for all of eternity trying to define exactly what is real and what is not
Now for all I know I could just be a brain in a vat or everything I experience could just be a
mental construct of my brain. But it would be reality for me even if it was not reality per se
I don't think it matters, much. I remember in an Issac Asimov novel there was a discussion between the characters about Humaniform robots. If a human-like robot was so well made to imitate a human that you could not tell the difference at a molecular level, then essentially there is no difference between human and robot.
In other words, the only reality we know we have is the operational one. In other words, if the illusion of living in a vat is so perfect that you can't really tell the difference, the whole question is moot.

In other words, we would do science the same in a vat as we do in the "real world". We can't rely on the script-writer to give us a lucky break like what Neo had in the Matrix movie. Either we have not had our lucky break yet to realize that like Neo, we are living in a vat, OR natural phenomena is the lens we see through to reality, albeit, not always clearly. If the sim is perfect, who the fuck cares? It makes no difference.
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  #264  
Old 25th November 2015, 09:38 PM
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hackenslash hackenslash is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Darwinsbulldog said View Post
But you seem to have a horror of metaphysics that is unjustified.
Not remotely, I just understand its utility, i.e., it has bugger all.


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Metaphysics [religious version], I can understand. God made beautiful flowers, what crap.
Metaphysics [agnostic/atheist version] simply says that nature [as we understand it through the lens of natural phenomena] is economical and non-conspiratorial.
This isn't even metaphysics. Nature is phenomenal, metaphysics is noumenal. We can't say with certainty that what we observe is, in any ontological sense, real. That said, all discussions on the subject of metaphysics ultimately lead to carousel discussions, because there's literally nothing in the topic that can be resolved, which is why it has exactly no epiostemological utility. It isn't horror, it's recognition that every metaphysical statement is total arse-water.

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You and I believe biological evolution is "true" not just because of the evidence from many subjects inside biology, but outside it as well. Geology, palaeontology, biogeography, chemistry, even parts of physics would ALL have to be wrong for evolution to be false.
Conspiracy theories are also models of how the world works, so why don't we believe in the vast majority of them? Why don't we believe in the intentional stance? Because we know that it is primitive software, it simply does not reflect what we observe anymore. The culture of science has changed our world, giving us better, testable models to understand what we sense.
Why on Earth would natural selection build eyes that are consistent with quantum mechanics? Natural selection is an algorithm for exploring design space. You can't just wish away the Tiger. if you do, you will get eaten, and some other of your species will populate the globe.
Religion works not because god exists or does not exist, but because it drives in-group cooperation to defeat the Tiger. It is essentially the same mechanism as the belief that you feel your finger touches your nose at the same time. The software in your brain creates this delusion, because in actual signal terms, the data from your finger arrives in your brain late, compared to the data in your nose. This fiction is necessary for you to work as a single organism, and not simply a loose configuration of cells that has no "concept" of "one".
Again, all very interersting and containing little to argue against (although I'd argue that relligion actually doesn't work in any way, shape or form), but not actually relevant to the point, because none of this is metaphysics. Of course, Dick's little deepity can also be applied to phenomena as well, as long as we're clear that, in dealing with phenomena, we're not making any metaphysical statements. once you do that, you'rte not dealing with science, because such statements are beyond the remit thereof.

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To be frank, I have no idea if Dick meant it in the general sense or in the specific way I used it. I only quoted him to support "my" reality! :-)
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  #265  
Old 25th November 2015, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Absolute reality might be a metaphysical concept but the physical reality I experience is not
As soon as you use the word 'reality' without qualification you're dealing with metaphysics. Even calling the physical world 'reality' is making an ontological statement.

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Unless one thinks that what we experience is not real.
Or, for example, one thinks that no reasonable statement can be made about whether what we experience is or is not real. Best bet is simply to avoid making unsupportable statements.

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And then we find ourselves down the rabbit hole with james for all of eternity trying to define exactly what is real and what is not
Except, of course, that I just defined an alternative position that doesn't have any such issues.

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Now for all I know I could just be a brain in a vat or everything I experience could just be a mental construct of my brain. But it would be reality for me even if it was not reality per se
Reality isn't a subjective term, which in itself defeats that position. This sort of statement is the remit of the theist when trying to shut down discussion with a skeptic: Well, it's real to me.
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  #266  
Old 25th November 2015, 10:44 PM
surreptitious57 surreptitious57 is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

Something can be both real and subjective from the perspective of the one experiencing
it. It would not be objectively real because someone else experiencing it may interpret it
differently. And in actual fact they would interpret it differently as no two can experience
something exactly the same. As they would need to have the same frame of reference in
order to do that. But it can not be done since it is both logically and physically impossible
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  #267  
Old 25th November 2015, 10:47 PM
Spearthrower Spearthrower is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Well, it gets into that grey area between science and technology. It is certainly possible to be able to recognize species differences empirically without have a definition of species or an awareness of how species came to be. Mayr & Diamonds' comparison of scientific and "indigenous" species species lists, for example.
As for observing gods and magic, you have to invoke Phillip K. Dick's definition of reality.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away"

So we do use a method to discount delusions about gods. Observation is always, to some extent, theory-dependent.
Dick's idea makes gods and other supernatural "phenomena" [like disembodied souls] falsifiable. Science is technically agnostic about gods and supernatural phenomena, in other words, methodological naturalism.
So is Dick's idea methodological or philosophical naturalism? If it is the former, then we can scientifically discount gods and other supernatural phenomena. If it is the later, then Dick's postulate is merely philosophical naturalism-the metaphysics of the atheist/agnostic, and therefore unscientific.


Let me explicate further what I meant:

Long before scientific method, before any notion of science, when we still spent the majority of our time hunting and gathering, people could distinctualize between a horse and a fish - in fact, most animals seem capable of making this form of distinction, running from predators, ignoring non-predators and identifying prey and other members of their own species.

Thus, we don't need scientific method to know that a particular species exists. Likewise, I was saying that you wouldn't need scientific method to know that god exists - it'd be apparent if it was existent in the same way that the majority of other things are existent - we'd be able to see, smell, touch, taste, or otherwise detect it.

Again, we may be able to use scientific method to arrive at knowledge regarding the existence or non-existence of a divine being, but considering the certainty with which believers profess the existence of this being, it's rather telling that it's not directly observable or detectable.

Last edited by Spearthrower; 25th November 2015 at 10:51 PM.
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  #268  
Old 25th November 2015, 11:44 PM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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I don't think it matters, much. I remember in an Issac Asimov novel there was a discussion between the characters about Humaniform robots. If a human-like robot was so well made to imitate a human that you could not tell the difference at a molecular level, then essentially there is no difference between human and robot.
I think t was Frank Herbert in one of his Dune books who did similar, one group of protagonists keen to take over control produced a creature that could adapt itself to copy the target perfectly in every way shape or thought just by touching the target. Unfortunately one of the things they didn't take into account was that, being an exact copy it behaved exactly as the original would in every way. Instead of replacing the original with one of their own creations they just replaced the original with an exact copy, it didn't end well for them!
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  #269  
Old 26th November 2015, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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I think t was Frank Herbert in one of his Dune books who did similar, one group of protagonists keen to take over control produced a creature that could adapt itself to copy the target perfectly in every way shape or thought just by touching the target. Unfortunately one of the things they didn't take into account was that, being an exact copy it behaved exactly as the original would in every way. Instead of replacing the original with one of their own creations they just replaced the original with an exact copy, it didn't end well for them!
Indeed!

Back to "The Matrix Sim" thing. It might be theoretically possible-barely in a Newtonian world [speed of light is a limitation even in classical physics], but with QM at the bottom of our reality, exact sims are impossible. Whether the sims would be good enough to fool is another question.
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  #270  
Old 26th November 2015, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

hackenslash wrote:-
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Again, all very interersting and containing little to argue against (although I'd argue that relligion actually doesn't work in any way, shape or form), but not actually relevant to the point, because none of this is metaphysics. Of course, Dick's little deepity can also be applied to phenomena as well, as long as we're clear that, in dealing with phenomena, we're not making any metaphysical statements. once you do that, you'rte not dealing with science, because such statements are beyond the remit thereof.
Metaphysics:
Quote:
the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space.
  1. "they would regard the question of the initial conditions for the universe as belonging to the realm of metaphysics or religion"

    • abstract theory with no basis in reality.
      "his concept of society as an organic entity is, for market liberals, simply metaphysics"




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics
My main problem with metaphysics is that it has been traditionally heavily contaminated with theological presumptions.
"My" metaphysics is stripped of such presumptions. Because gods seem to be of only two possible values :-
1. Zero, they don't exist
2. Infinite: As in omnipotent, omniscient and so on. So bollocks.

So any sensible discussion about basic meanings, trends etc is demonstrably bollocks unless you remove the woo: gods, fairies, disembodied souls.

My metaphysics, as I tried to describe above, is an agnostic atheist one. It has nothing to do with science or the scientific method, but draws on scientific information as a starting point. I don't claim it has any practicality or use, it is merely an intellectual curiosity or game.

And when I talk about "meaning" I mean it in the sense of "making sense", or "how does the universe work" and NOT "why the universe" or "why are we here" type twaddle.

And hopefully, I want to address any biases I may have. I obviously know about confirmation bias and intentional stance and all that. Can we "reverse engineer" the universe, using known scientific data, but by using reason, make any sense of things which science has not addressed yet, for technical reasons?
If that is not metaphysics, then we can use another word-symbol. Metaphysics means to me, beyond science. But not in a woo-ish sense. I don't want to do that, obviously. But science fiction or science speculation does not fit either, not perfectly anyway. Although I would like to talk about trends and the future of science, but not in a "Galactic shoot 'em up" sort of way. Do you understand?
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