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mnodonnell

David Paszkiewicz should be fired

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Guest Paul
Bryan, you’re not listening. Statements about how cheese is made are based on causation. Statements about hypothetical first causes cannot be, for obvious reasons.

You want to know why a study of whether moons are made of green cheese is not likely to lead to any useful information. If I have to explain it to you, then you don’t understand the difference between science and philosophy, which indeed you don’t.

Then you ask: “If you accept contradictions such as that offered by Schrodinger's cat, why not a moon that is made of green cheese and not made of green cheese? Why do you deny the application of quantum indeterminacy in one area while insisting on it in another area, other than via the fallacy of special pleading?” Because we have to think about sub-atomic particles differently than we think about moons. We have solid theories for how moons are formed. They are not made of cheese, green or otherwise. It has nothing to do with quantum indeterminacy, which is why it makes no sense to apply it to this field of study. By contrast, Schrodinger’s hypothetical cat is killed by radiation, so we should apply it. Really, Bryan, if you’re going to try to discuss things you know nothing about, you should at least read a little about them first. Besides, no one is “accepting” the apparent contradiction. I doubt that Schrodinger himself would have argued this was anything more than a useful conjecture.

Schrodinger was proposing a thought experiment. It’s a useful exercise because of what we already know about the behavior of sub-atomic particles, a field in which we have very little knowledge and a great number of unanswered questions. That's why it drew attention and serious scientists even wrote serious papers and books about it. The same cannot be said for whether moons are made of cheese.

Science asks a great many questions in fields that are unsettled, fewer in fields that are settled. It isn’t until science identifies problem areas that fields of science tend to advance. You can propose anything you like, but until you have some basis for it, you’re just playing games or, at best, shooting in the dark. There’s no purpose and no point.

There are excellent reasons why science works that way: until scientists identify a problem, they can hardly know what they’re trying to resolve. So in the field of quantum physics, there’s still a lot of guessing going on. We have no choice, except to abandon the field and leave the seemingly impossible behavior of sub-atomic particles as a series of unanswered questions. But then we wouldn’t be doing what scientists do. We’d be giving up in the face of apparent contradictions, even though we have evidence that something is going on that we don’t understand. You cannot intelligently make exactly the same statements about moons of cheese.

Now, if you want to hypothesize parallel universes, go ahead, but I’m at a loss why you should think there would be moons of cheese in any of them. I can understand dead cats and live cats, but not moons made of cheese. But if you don’t agree with that, go ahead and make your argument to the scientific community. They seem to think there’s some reason to think about Schrodinger’s cat, and that there’s no reason to think about moons made of cheese. Maybe there’s a reason for that, and maybe that reason has something to do with what science is and how it works. Ever think of that?

Finally, regarding Schrodinger’s cat: You seem to have forgotten that this thought experiment has to do with the behavior of sub-atomic particles. Unless you have some reason to think that such things can somehow cause moons to be made of cheese . . . You can't just take the form of an argument and graft it onto everything. You must consider the subject matter.

Come on, Bryan. Surely even you have better things to do.

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Most people have trouble disabusing themselves of the idea that the natural state of affairs is to know everything. It's an obvious point once you say it, but still, people come back over and over to theism because it claims to give definitive answers, even though there's no basis for them. Meanwhile, science draws yawns because its conclusions are provisional and it's hard work. And yet it is science, not theology, which makes accurate predictions, can be verified as true and reliably used by everyone in an objective way. We need our schools to do a better job getting this across.

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Guest Guest

QUOTE(Guest @ Dec 11 2007, 06:05 PM)

Bryan, you’re not listening. Statements about how cheese is made are based on causation.

That's exactly what I said.  So how am I not listening?

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QUOTE

Statements about hypothetical first causes cannot be, for obvious reasons.

Then why do we use the word "cause" in statements about hypothetical first causes?

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The main point of this discussion is that there is a difference between science before Einstein and science after Einstein. We can say Bryan’s not listening because he accused "Guest" of saying that ordinary science does not employ normal cause and effect analysis. "Guest" never said that, but I don't think the explanation for Bryan's "error" is that he's not listening. More likely, he is either clueless or dishonest, and most likely he is a substantial measure of both.

Bryan's second statement is nothing more than a semantic dodge, since the use of a term is arbitrary and has nothing to do with the merits of the discussion. Bryan would be the first to accuse someone else of such a dodge.

I hate to break it to you, buddy, but a cat is not a sub-atomic particle.

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But the radiation that hypothetically kills the cat is. Yet again Bryan mis-states the argument in order to declare himself the winner.

So finally you admit that the cat thing is really just a representation of what supposedly happens at the sub-atomic level. So, can you explain how it affects our notions of causation in general?

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Finally? That was the point all along. The cat’s state of being is indeterminate, which completely upsets our ideas about causation. See the explanation at http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,...i341236,00.html, as follows:

"Here's Schrödinger's (theoretical) experiment: We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is, in the chamber, a very small amount of a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. The observer cannot know whether or not an atom of the substance has decayed, and consequently, cannot know whether the vial has been broken, the hydrocyanic acid released, and the cat killed. Since we cannot know, the cat is both dead and alive according to quantum law, in a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive). This situation is sometimes called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox: the observation or measurement itself affects an outcome, so that the outcome as such does not exist unless the measurement is made. (That is, there is no single outcome unless it is observed.)"

And it isn't just Schrodinger's cat. It's the behavior of sub-atomic particles. It's the inherent problem of the very concept of "infinity". Of course, because Bryan knows everything, he need not be detained with the petty concerns of such intellectual midgets as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. So he never troubles himself with any of the perplexing questions scientists must wrestle with if they are to understand things more fully, such as "What is just outside the universe?"; "Does time exist in a black hole?"; and other questions like that. Addressing those questions would, of course, complicate the matter entirely too much. In other words, Bryan wishes not to be confused with the facts, since he already has it all figured out. Let's send out an e-mail to the world's nuclear physicists and astrophysicists and let them know they can all go home now. Bryan has it covered.

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The main point of this discussion is that there is a difference between science before Einstein and science after Einstein.

Only after some "Guest" wanted to escape from a dilemma by appealing to an unknown third option.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...c=16892&st=460#

We can say Bryan’s not listening because he accused "Guest" of saying that ordinary science does not employ normal cause and effect analysis.

And you can provide the quotation and the location of the post in which I made the accusation, right?

Just kidding. You make stuff up. You probably won't even try to find the quotation because you know it doesn't exist.

"Guest" never said that,

He tried to escape a logical dilemma by suggesting an unknown third option. See above.

but I don't think the explanation for Bryan's "error" is that he's not listening. More likely, he is either clueless or dishonest, and most likely he is a substantial measure of both.

Bryan's second statement is nothing more than a semantic dodge, since the use of a term is arbitrary and has nothing to do with the merits of the discussion. Bryan would be the first to accuse someone else of such a dodge.

So "Guest" is apparently saying a first cause has nothing to do with causation, but he declines to explain how that can be since half the term is explicitly about causation.

Cute, especially combined with the disingenuous ad hom.

But the radiation that hypothetically kills the cat is. Yet again Bryan mis-states the argument in order to declare himself the winner.

... and "Guest" declines to show how the argument is misstated and indulges again in prevarication by saying I declared myself the winner.

What an imagination he has.

Finally? That was the point all along. The cat’s state of being is indeterminate, which completely upsets our ideas about causation. See the explanation at http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,...i341236,00.html, as follows:

"Here's Schrödinger's (theoretical) experiment: We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is, in the chamber, a very small amount of a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. The observer cannot know whether or not an atom of the substance has decayed, and consequently, cannot know whether the vial has been broken, the hydrocyanic acid released, and the cat killed. Since we cannot know, the cat is both dead and alive according to quantum law, in a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive). This situation is sometimes called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox: the observation or measurement itself affects an outcome, so that the outcome as such does not exist unless the measurement is made. (That is, there is no single outcome unless it is observed.)"

And it isn't just Schrodinger's cat. It's the behavior of sub-atomic particles.

The explanation says nothing about causation in a way that would alter the dilemma. But I'm sure that "Guest" will offer an explanation ... either that or provide another link in a wild goose chase.

It's the inherent problem of the very concept of "infinity".

The explanation offers nothing on the topic of "infinity" either.

Of course, because Bryan knows everything, he need not be detained with the petty concerns of such intellectual midgets as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. So he never troubles himself with any of the perplexing questions scientists must wrestle with if they are to understand things more fully, such as "What is just outside the universe?"; "Does time exist in a black hole?"; and other questions like that.

I was considering such issues when Schrodinger's cat was just a kitten. :P

Addressing those questions would, of course, complicate the matter entirely too much.

Those questions offer nothing but a distraction from the causation dilemma, just like the whole issue of Schrodinger's cat (the explanation "Guest" links does zero to support his assertion of implication for causation).

In other words, Bryan wishes not to be confused with the facts, since he already has it all figured out. Let's send out an e-mail to the world's nuclear physicists and astrophysicists and let them know they can all go home now. Bryan has it covered.

77231[/snapback]

The fact is the explanation "Guest" offered provides no path out of the dilemma.

Deal with it.

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Guest Guest
Only after some "Guest" wanted to escape from a dilemma by appealing to an unknown third option.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...c=16892&st=460#

And you can provide the quotation and the location of the post in which I made the accusation, right?

Just kidding.  You make stuff up.  You probably won't even try to find the quotation because you know it doesn't exist.

He tried to escape a logical dilemma by suggesting an unknown third option.  See above.

So "Guest" is apparently saying a first cause has nothing to do with causation, but he declines to explain how that can be since half the term is explicitly about causation.

Cute, especially combined with the disingenuous ad hom.

... and "Guest" declines to show how the argument is misstated and indulges again in prevarication by saying I declared myself the winner.

What an imagination he has.

The explanation says nothing about causation in a way that would alter the dilemma.  But I'm sure that "Guest" will offer an explanation ... either that or provide another link in a wild goose chase.

The explanation offers nothing on the topic of "infinity" either.

I was considering such issues when Schrodinger's cat was just a kitten.  :P

Those questions offer nothing but a distraction from the causation dilemma, just like the whole issue of Schrodinger's cat (the explanation "Guest" links does zero to support his assertion of implication for causation).

The fact is the explanation "Guest" offered provides no path out of the dilemma. 

Deal with it.

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Bryan, I’d love to stay and continue this discussion with you, but as you can see, I’m no match for your superior intelligence and erudition, not to mention your incisive wit. ;) So I’d like you to answer a few questions for me. I will study your answers continuously, and after a suitable period of study --- say a couple of years at least --- I shall return so we may continue our discussion. No doubt it will be more to your liking at that time.

Question 1: Look at the moon. Draw an imaginary line from the center of your right pupil to the nearest point on the moon’s surface. Continue that line to the farthest point in the universe. Now, continuing to move forward at the precise speed of the universe's expansion, move forward an extra two feet.

Where are you?

When are you?

Most important: Are you?

Question 2: Scientists say that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter. What is that stuff? I tried looking it up (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/dark_matter.html), but nothing really seemed to answer the question. I was sure you’d know. By the way, how do scientists know that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter, but they can’t tell us whether it’s 90%, 99% or somewhere in between? What’s missing?

Question 3: What time is it in the nearest black hole? How do you know?

Question 4: What is time?

Question 5: What role does time play in cause and effect? Please be specific.

Question 6: What is quantum indeterminancy, and what are its implications on cause and effect? Please explain your answer with specific reference to the formulae referenced at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy. I know Wikipedia isn't an entirely reliable source, but gosh I have to start somewhere, so I thought I'd start with something simple. I'm sure you'll have no trouble explaining the matter.

Question 7: Can an event in the future cause an event in the past? Why or why not?

Question 8: Please explain Godel’s incompleteness theorem in detail, as well as its implications for our discussion.

Gee, I could just go on and on, but your answers to these questions surely will occupy my complete devotion and study for quite some time. No doubt you’ll provide them in short order.

:D

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Guest Guest
So "Guest" is apparently saying a first cause has nothing to do with causation, but he declines to explain how that can be since half the term is explicitly about causation.

. . . .

The fact is the explanation "Guest" offered provides no path out of the dilemma. 

77321[/snapback]

No, the point was not that a hypothetical "first cause" has nothing to do with causation, but that just because Bryan calls it a "first cause" doesn't mean it (i.e., his concept) adheres to the laws of causation, or exists. Claiming victory because one of the words in "first cause" is "cause" is just playing with words, a stupid philosopher trick.

By definition, a first cause cannot adhere to the laws of causation because it would have to be itself uncaused, else it could not be "first," unless one opens the door to something in the future causing something in the past, in which case the "law of causation" a la Newton is still upset. On the other hand, if one assumes that the law of causation is immutable, then there can be no first cause. Bryan can no more escape that dilemma than anyone else. All Bryan is saying is "I'm going to make an exception to the law of causation for me, but not for you." By contrast, science is saying that things may not be as they appear to be, which would explain why we've never been able to make sense out of a concept like infinity. There's still a lot of stuff we don't know. When scientists figure it out, then we'll know more.

By definition, if it's a true dilemma, there is no way out of it. The question is whether it is a true dilemma or not. That's where post-Newtonian science comes in, with its non-linear models and observations of things that were believed during the Newtonian age of physics to be impossible. But since Bryan does not wish to consider post-Newtonian physics (and why should he, since he not only doesn't understand it, but fundamentally does not believe in science), that door is closed to him. However, and contrary to Bryan's claim, the difference between Einstein's physics and Newton's physics began when Einstein published his theories and findings approximately 100 years ago.

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Guest Guest
Bryan, I’d love to stay and continue this discussion with you, but as you can see, I’m no match for your superior intelligence and erudition, not to mention your incisive wit.  :P  So I’d like you to answer a few questions for me. I will study your answers continuously, and after a suitable period of study --- say a couple of years at least --- I shall return so we may continue our discussion. No doubt it will be more to your liking at that time.

Question 1: Look at the moon. Draw an imaginary line from the center of your right pupil to the nearest point on the moon’s surface. Continue that line to the farthest point in the universe. Now, continuing to move forward at the precise speed of the universe's expansion, move forward an extra two feet.

Where are you?

When are you?

Most important: Are you?

Question 2: Scientists say that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter. What is that stuff? I tried looking it up (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/dark_matter.html), but nothing really seemed to answer the question. I was sure you’d know. By the way, how do scientists know that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter, but they can’t tell us whether it’s 90%, 99% or somewhere in between? What’s missing?

Question 3: What time is it in the nearest black hole? How do you know?

Question 4: What is time?

Question 5: What role does time play in cause and effect? Please be specific.

Question 6: What is quantum indeterminancy, and what are its implications on cause and effect? Please explain your answer with specific reference to the formulae referenced at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy. I know Wikipedia isn't an entirely reliable source, but gosh I have to start somewhere, so I thought I'd start with something simple. I'm sure you'll have no trouble explaining the matter. 

Question 7: Can an event in the future cause an event in the past? Why or why not?

Question 8: Please explain Godel’s incompleteness theorem in detail, as well as its implications for our discussion.

Gee, I could just go on and on, but your answers to these questions surely will occupy my complete devotion and study for quite some time. No doubt you’ll provide them in short order.

;)

77336[/snapback]

Can't wait to see Aristotle's (NOT!) answer to this.

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Guest Guest
No, the point was not that a hypothetical "first cause" has nothing to do with causation, but that just because Bryan calls it a "first cause" doesn't mean it (i.e., his concept) adheres to the laws of causation, or exists. Claiming victory because one of the words in "first cause" is "cause" is just playing with words, a stupid philosopher trick.

By definition, a first cause cannot adhere to the laws of causation because it would have to be itself uncaused, else it could not be "first," unless one opens the door to something in the future causing something in the past, in which case the "law of causation" a la Newton is still upset. On the other hand, if one assumes that the law of causation is immutable, then there can be no first cause. Bryan can no more escape that dilemma than anyone else. All Bryan is saying is "I'm going to make an exception to the law of causation for me, but not for you." By contrast, science is saying that things may not be as they appear to be, which would explain why we've never been able to make sense out of a concept like infinity. There's still a lot of stuff we don't know. When scientists figure it out, then we'll know more.

By definition, if it's a true dilemma, there is no way out of it. The question is whether it is a true dilemma or not. That's where post-Newtonian science comes in, with its non-linear models and observations of things that were believed during the Newtonian age of physics to be impossible. But since Bryan does not wish to consider post-Newtonian physics (and why should he, since he not only doesn't understand it, but fundamentally does not believe in science), that door is closed to him. However, and contrary to Bryan's claim, the difference between Einstein's physics and Newton's physics began when Einstein published his theories and findings approximately 100 years ago.

77372[/snapback]

Stick a fork in him, Jack, he's done. . .

He just won't shut up.

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Bryan, I’d love to stay and continue this discussion with you, but as you can see, I’m no match for your superior intelligence and erudition, not to mention your incisive wit.  ;)  So I’d like you to answer a few questions for me. I will study your answers continuously, and after a suitable period of study --- say a couple of years at least --- I shall return so we may continue our discussion. No doubt it will be more to your liking at that time.

Question 1: Look at the moon. Draw an imaginary line from the center of your right pupil to the nearest point on the moon’s surface. Continue that line to the farthest point in the universe. Now, continuing to move forward at the precise speed of the universe's expansion, move forward an extra two feet.

Where are you?

When are you?

Most important: Are you?

Question 2: Scientists say that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter. What is that stuff? I tried looking it up (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/dark_matter.html), but nothing really seemed to answer the question. I was sure you’d know. By the way, how do scientists know that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter, but they can’t tell us whether it’s 90%, 99% or somewhere in between? What’s missing?

Question 3: What time is it in the nearest black hole? How do you know?

Question 4: What is time?

Question 5: What role does time play in cause and effect? Please be specific.

Question 6: What is quantum indeterminancy, and what are its implications on cause and effect? Please explain your answer with specific reference to the formulae referenced at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy. I know Wikipedia isn't an entirely reliable source, but gosh I have to start somewhere, so I thought I'd start with something simple. I'm sure you'll have no trouble explaining the matter. 

Question 7: Can an event in the future cause an event in the past? Why or why not?

Question 8: Please explain Godel’s incompleteness theorem in detail, as well as its implications for our discussion.

Gee, I could just go on and on, but your answers to these questions surely will occupy my complete devotion and study for quite some time. No doubt you’ll provide them in short order.

:D

77336[/snapback]

:ph34r:

That's not a diversion or anything.

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No, the point was not that a hypothetical "first cause" has nothing to do with causation, but that just because Bryan calls it a "first cause" doesn't mean it (i.e., his concept) adheres to the laws of causation, or exists.

Who said anything about laws of causation? Are you anonymous guests in competition for a moron of the year award or something?

The supposed "laws of causation" have nothing to do with the dilemma. There is no law of causation at all that can get you away from the dilemma that there is either a first cause or an endless succession of causes (representing an eternal regress).

Yet for some reason some of you see to regard quantum indeterminacy as some sort of "Get out of Jail, Free!" card.

Claiming victory because one of the words in "first cause" is "cause" is just playing with words, a stupid philosopher trick.

The notion of a first cause has everything to do with causation. Hence the name. You can shut your eyes, bang your fists, and kick your feet, but the problem isn't going away.

By definition, a first cause cannot adhere to the laws of causation because it would have to be itself uncaused, else it could not be "first," unless one opens the door to something in the future causing something in the past, in which case the "law of causation" a la Newton is still upset.

That model still ends up in an infinite regress, so the dilemma remains intact. That's assuming that backward causation is logically consistent, which is by no means an uncontested point.

On the other hand, if one assumes that the law of causation is immutable, then there can be no first cause.

But of course that also results in the problem of an infinite regress. The dilemma remains intact.

Bryan can no more escape that dilemma than anyone else.

I'm not trying to escape the dilemma. I simply recommend one of the two options on the basis of reason. You can do the same. You can prefer the infinite regress if you like. But you might have a tougher time justifying your position using reason (which might be why "Guest" was recommending the unknown third option).

All Bryan is saying is "I'm going to make an exception to the law of causation for me, but not for you."

:ph34r:

One of the models has an exception to a supposed law of causation built right in. It has nothing to do with me. If you accept that law of causation then you're stuck with an infinite regress--no way out of it as far as I can see (the unknown third option just doesn't cut it without some clearing up of the "unknown" part). On the other hand, a slightly modified law of causation appears to take care of the situation in terms of logical consistency: Everything that begins to exist has a cause. This slightly modified version of the law of causation you apparently prefer seems to apply equally to both sides of the dilemma, FWIW.

By contrast, science is saying that things may not be as they appear to be, which would explain why we've never been able to make sense out of a concept like infinity. There's still a lot of stuff we don't know. When scientists figure it out, then we'll know more.

Infinite set theory seems to work out pretty well, actually, albeit crossing an actual infinite via successive addition remains a difficulty regardless.

By definition, if it's a true dilemma, there is no way out of it. The question is whether it is a true dilemma or not. That's where post-Newtonian science comes in, with its non-linear models and observations of things that were believed during the Newtonian age of physics to be impossible.

Like moons made out of cheese? :D

But since Bryan does not wish to consider post-Newtonian physics (and why should he, since he not only doesn't understand it, but fundamentally does not believe in science), that door is closed to him.

When the best you can do with post-Newtonian physics is to suggest that it somehow provides an unknown third option to help escape the dilemma, it's not worth considering.

One you start to describe the unknown so that it's no longer unknown, your argument might turn interesting (though it's a good bet whatever you came up with would be so stupid that it won't stand scrutiny by so much as an earthworm.

However, and contrary to Bryan's claim, the difference between Einstein's physics and Newton's physics began when Einstein published his theories and findings approximately 100 years ago.

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;)

We'll add that to the list of things "Guest" has claimed that I've said for which no evidence will ever be presented.

Is it easier to live with that guilty conscience if you go by "Guest"?

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Guest Guest
I'm not trying to escape the dilemma.  I simply recommend one of the two options on the basis of reason. 

77434[/snapback]

And I'm saying that the "reason" of a scientifically ignorant person is not reliable.

Nighty-night, nitwit.

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Guest Guest
;)

That's not a diversion or anything.

77429[/snapback]

No, it's not. But we won't be seeing any answers, will we.

Nighty-night. :ph34r:

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Guest Guest
:ph34r:

That's not a diversion or anything.

77429[/snapback]

In fact, Bryan, you're the one engaging in a diversion, and it's constant. You've been challenged repeatedly to explain why any rational person should value your philosophy over science when it comes to explaining the universe. You've been reminded of the successful history of science in unraveling truths about the universe a piece at a time, as contrasted with the utter failure of philosophy, especially theological philosophy, to make a dent in anything except human dignity and freedom when it has tried to dictate answers to these questions. You've been reminded of the many times science has had to struggle against a culture of ignorance to replace the guesswork of theology. And you've ignored it all, insisting that if an argument appeals to your reason, that not only trumps science, but negates it entirely.

You will not address these issues in your present state of mind. And of course, you won't address the questions that were asked of you, because you can't. In fairness to you, the greatest scientist living could not definitively answer any of those questions, but he could explain the current state of our knowledge on each of these matters, and why they are important in thinking about issues like the origins of things and hypothetical first causes.

The point is that your philosophies have been trying to answer those questions for thousands of years. Like you, many have claimed to have the answers, but in fact your philosophies have not made a millimeter's worth of progress in all that time. By contrast, science has at least gotten us to the point where we know some of the flaws in the old questions. So now at least scientists are asking new questions. That may not seem like much to you, but in fact it is a tremendous leap forward. We can't solve problems until we know what they are. If it takes us a thousand years to define them, then that is what we will have to do. Scientists are the ones who are doing it, not theologians, and it will be done in the past as it has been in the future by the methods of science, not by the methods of theology or philosophy. But since you aren't willing to accept science as our best means of answering these questions, you cannot be a part of that discussion.

For myself, however, I want to thank you for representing the hard-line viewpoint of the theistic apologist. You've done a beautiful demonstrating what is wrong with that viewpoint, and I thank you for that. That's not by way of giving you credit, because unless you're far more clever than you seem to be, you've done it unwittingly. Of course, you could refute that statement by displaying your vast knowledge of science; except for the fact that you've already made it abundantly clear that you don't have even a rudimentary knowledge of science. Please forgive me, then, if I don't respond to your next bit of foolishness. On the other hand, if you give me yet another opportunity to use your ignorance as an example of what is wrong with pre-scientific thinking, I just might. So please, keep posting if it suits you.

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
In fact, Bryan, you're the one engaging in a diversion, and it's constant. You've been challenged repeatedly to explain why any rational person should value your philosophy over science when it comes to explaining the universe. You've been reminded of the successful history of science in unraveling truths about the universe a piece at a time, as contrasted with the utter failure of philosophy, especially theological philosophy, to make a dent in anything except human dignity and freedom when it has tried to dictate answers to these questions. You've been reminded of the many times science has had to struggle against a culture of ignorance to replace the guesswork of theology. And you've ignored it all, insisting that if an argument appeals to your reason, that not only trumps science, but negates it entirely.

You will not address these issues in your present state of mind. And of course, you won't address the questions that were asked of you, because you can't. In fairness to you, the greatest scientist living could not definitively answer any of those questions, but he could explain the current state of our knowledge on each of these matters, and why they are important in thinking about issues like the origins of things and hypothetical first causes.

The point is that your philosophies have been trying to answer those questions for thousands of years. Like you, many have claimed to have the answers, but in fact your philosophies have not made a millimeter's worth of progress in all that time. By contrast, science has at least gotten us to the point where we know some of the flaws in the old questions. So now at least scientists are asking new questions. That may not seem like much to you, but in fact it is a tremendous leap forward. We can't solve problems until we know what they are. If it takes us a thousand years to define them, then that is what we will have to do. Scientists are the ones who are doing it, not theologians, and it will be done in the past as it has been in the future by the methods of science, not by the methods of theology or philosophy. But since you aren't willing to accept science as our best means of answering these questions, you cannot be a part of that discussion.

For myself, however, I want to thank you for representing the hard-line viewpoint of the theistic apologist. You've done a beautiful demonstrating what is wrong with that viewpoint, and I thank you for that. That's not by way of giving you credit, because unless you're far more clever than you seem to be, you've done it unwittingly. Of course, you could refute that statement by displaying your vast knowledge of science; except for the fact that you've already made it abundantly clear that you don't have even a rudimentary knowledge of science. Please forgive me, then, if I don't respond to your next bit of foolishness. On the other hand, if you give me yet another opportunity to use your ignorance as an example of what is wrong with pre-scientific thinking, I just might. So please, keep posting if it suits you.

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Hey! That's what I was gonna say. Seriously, you make an excellent arguement.

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And I'm saying that the "reason" of a scientifically ignorant person is not reliable.

Nighty-night, nitwit.

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Heh. If only "Guest" could make the case without self-stultification.

Can't/won't, relies on ad hominem.

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In fact, Bryan, you're the one engaging in a diversion, and it's constant. You've been challenged repeatedly to explain why any rational person should value your philosophy over science when it comes to explaining the universe.

"Guest" writes four paragraphs but proves he's a clueless incompetent worthy of being ignored within his first two sentences.

This thread has featured a string of attempted

diversions by "Guest," with the latest amounting to an attempt by "Guest" to wrest science from its modern moorings in methodological naturalism while at the same time complaining about the superiority of science over philosophy.

Sounds like somebody doesn't even realize that science has its foundations in philosophy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of...ophy_of_physics

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Guest Guest
"Guest" writes four paragraphs but proves he's a clueless incompetent worthy of being ignored within his first two sentences.

This thread has featured a string of attempted

diversions by "Guest," with the latest amounting to an attempt by "Guest" to wrest science from its modern moorings in methodological naturalism while at the same time complaining about the superiority of science over philosophy.

Sounds like somebody doesn't even realize that science has its foundations in philosophy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of...ophy_of_physics

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Science probably is rooted in philosophy. So what?

In fact, it may also be rooted in religion. Again, so what?

Or maybe they all share the same root: the quest to know. Again, so what?

The point is, you're advancing philosophy as the best means to answer questions about the origins and nature of the universe, and physical reality itself, and I'm saying that's a very bad idea. Science makes far better predictions than either philosophy or theology, has a far better record of success, and in fact has had to oppose both theology and philosophy in order to advance. You have an agenda (the promotion of your particular, narrow religious and political beliefs), so you'd like to play out that conflict again, because it plays into your hands. I'm saying that after centuries of watching science demolish the unsubstantiated claims of theology and sometimes philosophy, we should have learned that theology and philosophy are notoriously poor at helping us understand science. Theirs is not just a weak or spotty track record, but an abysmal and often disastrous one.

You seem to think you have an airtight case for the existence of an inescapable dilemma regarding the necessity of a first cause. You don't, because your claims assume things about time and space and their role within reality. That would be a fantastic claim without the discoveries by Einstein and others, and in fact it was considered to be exactly that until those discoveries were made. Science might have agreed with you 100 years ago, but not now. In order to propose your so-called dilemma, you are required to make assumptions that science has called into question in the past 100 years.

Does that mean we should throw out philosophy? No, but it does mean that we should recognize that there's a difference between philosophy applied to human affairs, versus philosophy as a substitute for science in understanding the universe. Philosophy has not made a single major accomplishment in science on its own, and in fact has often been completely wrong. You're arguing that science must go through philosophy, by asking the question: why is our work valuable? That's fine, because that addresses the question: why is this important to human beings? But then you pull another one of your shell-game shifts of the argument, claiming that because philosophy is necessary to address what is meaningful and valuable to humans, it is also necessary to understand the physical universe. That claim does not follow, and in fact is disproved by the histories of both disciplines. Philosophy can tell us that it is important to understand science, but it can't substitute for science itself.

In short, philosophy can address questions regarding human values, but in its entire history, it hasn't made a single contribution to science on its own, for the simple reason that science is not just theoretical, but also empirical. The empirical observations of Einstein and others are what brought us to our current point of understanding, and will serve as the framework for the next leap forward.

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Guest Guest
Who said anything about laws of causation?  Are you anonymous guests in competition for a moron of the year award or something?

The supposed "laws of causation" have nothing to do with the dilemma.  There is no law of causation at all that can get you away from the dilemma that there is either a first cause or an endless succession of causes (representing an eternal regress).

Yet for some reason some of you see to regard quantum indeterminacy as some sort of "Get out of Jail, Free!" card.

The notion of a first cause has everything to do with causation.  Hence the name.  You can shut your eyes, bang your fists, and kick your feet, but the problem isn't going away.

That model still ends up in an infinite regress, so the dilemma remains intact.  That's assuming that backward causation is logically consistent, which is by no means an uncontested point.

But of course that also results in the problem of an infinite regress.  The dilemma remains intact.

I'm not trying to escape the dilemma.  I simply recommend one of the two options on the basis of reason.  You can do the same.  You can prefer the infinite regress if you like.  But you might have a tougher time justifying your position using reason (which might be why "Guest" was recommending the unknown third option).

:lol:

One of the models has an exception to a supposed law of causation built right in.  It has nothing to do with me.  If you accept that law of causation then you're stuck with an infinite regress--no way out of it as far as I can see (the unknown third option just doesn't cut it without some clearing up of the "unknown" part).  On the other hand, a slightly modified law of causation appears to take care of the situation in terms of logical consistency:  Everything that begins to exist has a cause.  This slightly modified version of the law of causation you apparently prefer seems to apply equally to both sides of the dilemma, FWIW.

Infinite set theory seems to work out pretty well, actually, albeit crossing an actual infinite via successive addition remains a difficulty regardless.

Like moons made out of cheese?  :)

When the best you can do with post-Newtonian physics is to suggest that it somehow provides an unknown third option to help escape the dilemma, it's not worth considering.

One you start to describe the unknown so that it's no longer unknown, your argument might turn interesting (though it's a good bet whatever you came up with would be so stupid that it won't stand scrutiny by so much as an earthworm.

:lol:

We'll add that to the list of things "Guest" has claimed that I've said for which no evidence will ever be presented.

Is it easier to live with that guilty conscience if you go by "Guest"?

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Well, Bryan, you seem to think you have the final answer. I don't think you do, and people who are far smarter than both of us don't think you do either.

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Guest Paul
Hey! That's what I was gonna say. Seriously, you make an excellent arguement.

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Bryan is a rigid authoritarian with an agenda. He will use any means to promote that agenda, and he cares not one bit how illogical or dishonest his arguments are. Trying to have a discussion with him is like talking to a wall. The only value in any response is to educate others. Some of these posts do it very well.

What's amazing is how elementary Bryan's errors of logic and reason are. He is very adept at dresssing up nonsense in fine-sounding language, but it's still nonsense. It blows the mind that he really thinks (or at least insists) that the secrets of reality can be uncovered through philosophy. If that was true, we would have known everything there was to know a long time ago. And if you tell him anything --- like pointing out the differences between philosophy and science --- he just ignores it.

Very few people in our society really understand science. To me, that is the main value of these posts.

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Guest Loki
Bryan is a rigid authoritarian with an agenda. He will use any means to promote that agenda, and he cares not one bit how illogical or dishonest his arguments are. Trying to have a discussion with him is like talking to a wall. The only value in any response is to educate others. Some of these posts do it very well.

What's amazing is how elementary Bryan's errors of logic and reason are. He is very adept at dresssing up nonsense in fine-sounding language, but it's still nonsense. It blows the mind that he really thinks (or at least insists) that the secrets of reality can be uncovered through philosophy. If that was true, we would have known everything there was to know a long time ago. And if you tell him anything --- like pointing out the differences between philosophy and science --- he just ignores it.

Very few people in our society really understand science. To me, that is the main value of these posts.

77613[/snapback]

Mirror, mirror on the wall!!

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
Bryan is a rigid authoritarian with an agenda. He will use any means to promote that agenda, and he cares not one bit how illogical or dishonest his arguments are. Trying to have a discussion with him is like talking to a wall. The only value in any response is to educate others. Some of these posts do it very well.

What's amazing is how elementary Bryan's errors of logic and reason are. He is very adept at dresssing up nonsense in fine-sounding language, but it's still nonsense. It blows the mind that he really thinks (or at least insists) that the secrets of reality can be uncovered through philosophy. If that was true, we would have known everything there was to know a long time ago. And if you tell him anything --- like pointing out the differences between philosophy and science --- he just ignores it.

Very few people in our society really understand science. To me, that is the main value of these posts.

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Well, Like I've said before, I think Bryan takes great delight in defending the indefensible. He thrives on antagonism. I would go so far as to say that he doesn't even believe all of his BS, he just takes great joy in exasperating others.

I fell sorry for him. He probably doesn't have alot of friends.

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Guest Guest
Mirror, mirror on the wall!!

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That was deep. I thought people stopped doing acid trips in the 70s.

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Guest Guest
Bryan, I’d love to stay and continue this discussion with you, but as you can see, I’m no match for your superior intelligence and erudition, not to mention your incisive wit.  :)  So I’d like you to answer a few questions for me. I will study your answers continuously, and after a suitable period of study --- say a couple of years at least --- I shall return so we may continue our discussion. No doubt it will be more to your liking at that time.

Question 1: Look at the moon. Draw an imaginary line from the center of your right pupil to the nearest point on the moon’s surface. Continue that line to the farthest point in the universe. Now, continuing to move forward at the precise speed of the universe's expansion, move forward an extra two feet.

Where are you?

When are you?

Most important: Are you?

Question 2: Scientists say that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter. What is that stuff? I tried looking it up (http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/dark_matter.html), but nothing really seemed to answer the question. I was sure you’d know. By the way, how do scientists know that 90-99% of the universe is comprised of dark matter, but they can’t tell us whether it’s 90%, 99% or somewhere in between? What’s missing?

Question 3: What time is it in the nearest black hole? How do you know?

Question 4: What is time?

Question 5: What role does time play in cause and effect? Please be specific.

Question 6: What is quantum indeterminancy, and what are its implications on cause and effect? Please explain your answer with specific reference to the formulae referenced at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_indeterminacy. I know Wikipedia isn't an entirely reliable source, but gosh I have to start somewhere, so I thought I'd start with something simple. I'm sure you'll have no trouble explaining the matter. 

Question 7: Can an event in the future cause an event in the past? Why or why not?

Question 8: Please explain Godel’s incompleteness theorem in detail, as well as its implications for our discussion.

Gee, I could just go on and on, but your answers to these questions surely will occupy my complete devotion and study for quite some time. No doubt you’ll provide them in short order.

:D

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Well surprise, surprise. No answers from Bryan. How about these.

Question 9: Every known example of consciousness has its foundations in matter: the organic brain or in the case of more primitive creatures, the mushroom bodies of insects (if in fact they are conscious). Why, then, should we think that there could be a conscious first cause of matter? It's the other way around. We can measure the manifestations of consciousness in terms of electrical activity, synapses, etc. Consciousness is a product of matter. On what basis do you claim that everything starts in just the opposite way?

Question 10: Bryan, does Einstein's theory of relativity have any meaning to you in the context of this discussion? If so, what meaning and why? If not, why not?

Question 11: Why is an uncaused first cause any less of a problem than an infinite regression?

Question 12: We perceive ourselves to be bound in time but not so much in space, meaning: we can travel through space, but not time. Given Einstein's relativity, what makes you so sure that our time-boundedness applies to everything? And if you're wrong, what implications does that have? (OK, so this is a riff on Question 10.)

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Guest Guest
Well, Like I've said before, I think Bryan takes great delight in defending the indefensible. He thrives on antagonism. I would go so far as to say that he doesn't even believe all of his BS, he just takes great joy in exasperating others.

I fell sorry for him. He probably doesn't have alot of friends.

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He does enjoy tweaking, though he doesn't like being tweaked. But he also has an agenda. When you're as radical as he is, antagonism can easily become a way of life.

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Bryan is a rigid authoritarian with an agenda.

Did I give you permission to write that?

He will use any means to promote that agenda, and he cares not one bit how illogical or dishonest his arguments are.

Loki's "Mirror, mirror" comment fits especially well here.

I don't believe that LaClair has ever successfully pointed out a fallacy or an untruth on my part.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...indpost&p=50855

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...indpost&p=51049

Trying to have a discussion with him is like talking to a wall.

Only if LaClair is the wall in the analogy.

The only value in any response is to educate others. Some of these posts do it very well.

(Mine) :)

What's amazing is how elementary Bryan's errors of logic and reason are.

Nah, the amazing thing is that people like Paul are willing to say things like that without any example.

When they try to come up with the example, it typically turns out that they were guilty of elementary errors of logic and reason.

He is very adept at dresssing up nonsense in fine-sounding language, but it's still nonsense.

For example?

It blows the mind that he really thinks (or at least insists) that the secrets of reality can be uncovered through philosophy.

Paul helps cinch the comparison to "Guest" with this one. I haven't claimed that the secrets of reality can be uncovered through philosophy. Rather, I affirmed that I was willing to try to understand reality in terms of reason (of which philosophy is a part) in contrast to a "Guest" who proposed as valuable a completely undefined third option as the solution to a logical dilemma.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...c=16892&st=460#

If that was true, we would have known everything there was to know a long time ago.

In the same way that science, if regarded as the optimal epistemic tool, should have maxed out humanity's knowledge a long time ago?

Talk about elementary errors ... way to go, Paul. We can add another one to your extensive list.

And if you tell him anything --- like pointing out the differences between philosophy and science --- he just ignores it.

Wow. Another obvious untruth from a LaClair. I haven't ignored the attempt to point out "differences between philosophy and science." I pointed out, correctly, that science has its own foundations in philosophy. The two are inseparable. "Philosophy of science" is a discipline and the term has a particular meaning. Apparently LaClair isn't up to speed on the relationship between the two, so he ends up writing things about me that are untrue based on his own ignorance.

What a sad little man.

Very few people in our society really understand science. To me, that is the main value of these posts.

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LaClair shows no evidence of understanding science, from his failure to update his understanding of the big bang to his failure to properly begin to comprehend the relationship between philosophy and science.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/einstein-philscience/

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