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  Topic: Was the Oracle right?, Let's get philosophical.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,14:14   

Around 400 BC the Oracle of Delphi proclaimed that no one was wiser than Socrates who basically claimed knowing he didn't know the Truth.

Was the Oracle right?
Does the Oracle continue to be right?
Has anyone ever been wiser than Socrates?
Will anyone ever be wiser than Socrates?

To preempt Doc Bill, this is bullshit and the entire thread will be bullshit because I suggest philosophy, religion, metaphysics, etc are inherently illogical.

But before we get started, we need some definitions to have any hope of communicating.

Truth, True (capital T) = a statement that is accurate for all conscious entities for the given universe.
Assumption, assume =   a statement held to be True by one or more conscious entities.
Presumption, presume = a statement held provisionally True until something better comes along.
FAPP = For All Practical Purposes – can be used when needed to talk in generalities.
NOMA = Non-overlapping magisteria
Consciousness, conscious = to be determined
Reality, Real (capital R) = to be determined as the point of the exercise.

There are so many choices as to where to start....
What to choose?...
I know...

Let’s start with Monopoly!

I used to love to play Monopoly (I still like it).  It had well defined rules.  It was logical.  It was easy to determine the right from the wrong way to play.  If I played the right way, I won (which I did most of the time).

The game is its own universe that has a beginning and an end.  It is only “Real” within the confines of the game.  Imagine the tokens becoming conscious.  They could notice how the game is evolving over time.  They could even figure out how long ago their universe started and estimate when it will end.  Some of the conscious entities could worship the deity called “Community Chest”.  They would of course be at odds with those who worship “Chance”.  One token might say something like “I think it would be kind of neat if there are supernatural beings running the universe”.   Of course, he will be quickly dismissed as a simpleton even though he is considering a larger and more interesting Reality.

If it isn’t obvious by now, this is how I view our universe and science.  I like science for a lot of the same reasons I liked Monopoly.  It doesn’t matter whether it is Reality or not, it has rules and is consistent.  It is fun to learn.  

Granted, the FAPP universe is a lot more complicated than the Monopoly universe, but on the up side FAPP money can buy more interesting things compared to Monopoly money.  For example I can use FAPP money to buy FAPP food to feed my FAPP stomach.

But what is Reality?

Since the only conscious entity I truly know exists is me, it isn’t difficult to get a unanimous consensus of all known conscious entities.  Therefore, I presume the Truth is what I think which defines my Reality.

I suggest even if the universe and scientific “facts” are the same for all conscious entities, the FAPP reality is unique to each individual.  As a practical matter, NOMA makes sense.  It allows individuals to explore their individual Truths while science explores common knowledge (i.e. “facts”).

However, let’s continue and stick with my individual universe for a moment (I will let the rest of you in shortly).  As an individual, all my assumptions are Truths since the given universe has only one conscious entity.  But is it “accurate”?  If I assume every day will be bright and sunny, a conflict occurs on those days when it is raining.  Did I forget to mention Truth is not necessarily constant?  Since I am the sole judge of what is accurate or not, all my assumptions are both accurate and True even if they change.

However, since it is a bother to constantly change my worldview every time it rains, I quickly decide to presume Truths are accurate only when they are constant.  I am making it only a presumption because under extraordinary situations I’m willing to modify this.

So what assumption should I make about whether or not days are going to be sunny?  This is when I remember that female voice told me it was going to rain on that day it rained (she even suggested I take an umbrella).  Ah yes, I have a wife.  And for my own good, let’s just skip to the part where I assume she is also a conscious entity.  I don’t know if it is True or not, but since we are the only judges of accuracy, for all practical purposes it is True.

By the same type of logic, we can expand to number of recognized conscious entities in the given universe to at least encompass the world population.  However, getting consensuses from more than 6,811,988,144 individuals is difficult to the point of impossibility.  Therefore, I suggest we limit the given universe to the participants in this forum.

What is the Reality in the universe called After the Bar Closes?
Can we agree on anything that is True?
Can we even hold True the self-contradicting statement “We don’t know the Truth”?
Does the Oracle of Delphi continue to be right?

Is the Truth that “We don’t know the Truth”?

This is a basic illogical conclusion of holding Gould’s NOMA to be True.

I doubt anyone will be surprised by me invoking Gödel's incompleteness theorems, so I might as well get it over with. I suggest Gödel's first incompleteness theorem shouldn’t be that difficult to accept. If I had defined a Truth as “a provable statement with no underlying assumptions”, how could that even be possible?

Logic and consistency are assumptions.

Therefore, the Truth is we can’t know the Truth but we can’t even know that because that would also be a Truth so….

“ Nomad... Tan Ru... Error... flaw... imperfection... must sterilize...”

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,14:18   

One of the main arguments Roger Penrose uses against Strong AI is our ability to think about paradoxes.

This gets into Gödel's second incompleteness theorem.  It basically states a theory of the universe which includes it being consistent is possible if, and only if, the universe is inconsistent.

If I understand correctly, this is based on the assumption that logic holds (i.e. the theorem includes formal provability).
This leaves two choices either agree Reality might be inconsistent or agree that it is inconsistent.
NOMA allows for the latter choice.

The FAPP world of science is like the game of Monopoly, it is logical, consistent and follows rules.  It is its own magisterium with its own set of tools which are totally unsuited for dealing with the illogical, inconsistent  magisterium of philosophy (i.e. religion).

Reality contains the merging of the two because neither can stand alone.

According to Gödel's incompleteness theorems, science can’t be complete.  There must be a detectable interface or interfaces where science breaks down.

At this point, I doubt very few won't know what my next two words will be…
Quantum Mechanics
Which also includes the likelihood Consciousness is involved.

I tried to find a good, simple explanation of Greenberger, Horne and Zeilinger (GHZ) states but what I found was either drowning in techno-babble or simply presumed the quantum GHZ states exist along with their implications.  Here is my short semi-technical description of a GHZ experiment.  We have three entangled photons (usually two pairs with one photon “erased”) where we can measure either circular polarization (Left and Right) or linear polarization (Horizontal and Vertical).  Quantum theory (e,g, Schrödingers equations) makes a different prediction than classical physics.

If we measure the circular polarizations of the first two photons we know the linear polarization of the third photon.  If the circular polarizations are the same, the third photon will be vertically polarized. If they are different the third photon will be horizontally polarized.  A consistent classical algorithm can be developed which accurately describes the relationships between circular and linear polarizations as long as there is a mixed choice of measurements.  By using straight-forward logic, classical physics predicts that if the first two photons are horizontally polarized that last one MUST be vertically polarized.  Experimental results clearly demonstrate this classical logic does not hold, it is also horizontally polarized.

This is an example of QM’s measurement problem.  The results depend on the choice of the observer.  The responses tend to fall into three categories.   The first is the scientific IOU that we will come up with an acceptable answer someday, the second is the Sgt. Shultz attitude of carrying on as if there is no problem and, finally, there is Quantum Quackery.  This last category includes metaphysical answers like Many Worlds and GodDidIt.  I freely admit that it is appropriate to label my ideas as Quantum Quackery.

Here are some more people engaging in Quantum Quackery…
   
Quote
Do we really have free will, or, as a few determined folk maintain, is it all an illusion? We don’t know, but will prove in this paper that if indeed there exist any experimenters with a modicum of free will, then elementary particles must have their own share of this valuable commodity.
JOHN CONWAY AND SIMON KOCHEN, THE FREE WILL THEOREM

Note: there is a big “IF” involved here.  If we have no free will then Reality is one giant clockwork mechanism.  GHZ states aren’t a problem because the observer had no choice.  The universe forces his/her hand and everything is interconnected.

Here is a version recently updated...
The Strong FreeWill Theorem


Plato’s Cave Revisited: Science at the Interface

Quote
VI. SUMMARY
One of us (G. E.) has given a detailed analysis of the characteristics of science [27] in terms of cause and effect in the context of hierarchical structures (bottom-up and top-down causation). There it has been argued that physics cannot be the only form of causation, the origin of causal slack being associated with quantum fluctuations and human mind (free will). Here we further develop these ideas by focusing on the process of scientific exploration. Incompleteness has been taken to underly any theoretical scheme about the world: There is no unconditioned “truth“, neither in science nor elsewhere. Here we have based our analysis on three interrelated lines of argument, starting and ending with Plato’s cave: First we have detailed the structural model for the O?W-partition: Implicitly, the interface I has been taken to be both the precondition for and the carrier of mental processes – with judgements as the main building blocks for scientific exploration. We have then introduced the quantum analogy (by which a structurally similar but entirely physical case can be studied in full detail). Finally, accepting in principle limitations (as derived from the quantum analog), this analysis supports a formal picture for the development of science as a process, which is, at least, consistent with experience. To sum up:
(1) Our point of departure has been the fundamental incompleteness of any theoretical scheme for the description of the world W. We need a frame of reference.
(2) This severe limitation has been counterbalanced by the conviction that empirical science, as “practically“ confirmed by technology, does exist.
(3) The “workings“ of empirical science has then been taken as a motivation to introduce an interface model I for its underpinning.
(4) While not unique, such a model – here formulated in terms of modes Mi – is not reducible to physics. I is meant to organize the partition between the observing O and the observed W, defining, inter alia, frames of reference.
(5) The correlations between O and W imply a “local“ dressing (reminescent of those between parts within W). Quantum jumps are considered as an example for such a dressing of W.
(6) Quantum physics appears to be complete for systems W in isolation. This could still be challenged, but doubts will diminish, we believe, as quantum technology further improves.
(7) The O/W-partition does not allow for causal closure within W, in particular not within physics. As a consequence there is a peaceful coexistence between system- and interface-dynamics (without over-determination). There is no conflict between W being deterministic, W interfaced with O being non-deterministic.
(8) The world W is not merely fine-tuned such that we can exist (anthropic principle[63]); rather, the world as it appears to us, is a result of the interface and thus of us being observing.
(9) The implications of our model seem to be consistent with empirical findings. The interplay of system- and interface-dynamics has been discussed in some detail.



To summarize,
I argue it is a “logical” conclusion that Reality just might be illogical.
I suggest that if it can be illogical, it is illogical.
Therefore, the logical and consistent magisterium studied by the tools of science can’t be complete.
Therefore, there is a magisterium which can’t be studied by the tools of science.
Ergo, NOMA is an appropriate belief.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10179
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,14:20   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 02 2010,14:14)
[snip]
..Truth, True (capital T) = a statement that is accurate for all conscious entities for the given universe. [snip]

We cannot know if these exist.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 1005
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,14:24   

I'm at a loss for words!

I think I'll go down to the Bakerloo and breathe fumes for the rest of the afternoon.

Ciao.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,14:40   

Hi Richard,
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 02 2010,14:20)
 
Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 02 2010,14:14)
[snip]
..Truth, True (capital T) = a statement that is accurate for all conscious entities for the given universe. [snip]

We cannot know if these exist.

Agreed.

I would readily agree the Truth could very well be that we don't know the Truth because no Truisms exist, including this one.

The general focus of this thread is to provide an affirmative argument for why Gould's NOMA is an appropriate belief.

Lewis make the mistake of saying he was interested in a "decent argument".

I don't know if my argument is "decent", but I am giving it a try.

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,15:40   

Poor, confused TP.

--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4363
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,18:47   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 02 2010,14:40)
Lewis make the mistake of saying he was interested in a "decent argument".

I think Lewis Black has the proper response for you:

Lewis Black on People Like TP

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2010,19:30   

Lewis Black on people like J-Dog

J-Dog, if you are wondering what this You-tube clip has to do with you or this thread, I may have made my point.

If you are going to just throw insults at me, at least try to make them relevant.

Thank You

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4502
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,04:09   

TP:

 
Quote

According to Gödel's incompleteness theorems, science can’t be complete.  


I refute it thus:

Science != a system of formal mathematical logic that is recursively enumerable

That doesn't mean that science is complete (in the Gödel sense of having a recursively enumerable set of results that can be generated via an effective method), just that throwing Gödel at it is ineffective at proving incompleteness.

TP:

 
Quote

There must be a detectable interface or interfaces where science breaks down.


Nor do Gödel's theorems have anything to do with "breaking down". The first incompleteness theorem says that you can't generate all the provable theorems via an effective method in a consistent formal mathematical system. The second says that you can't prove consistency of a formal mathematical system whose statements are recursively enumerable within that system itself unless the system is inconsistent. (An inconsistent system can prove any statement, including one about its own consistency.)

Neither of those implies "breaking down". Our commonly used mathematical systems with recursive enumerability are incomplete, but consistent. We can't effectively generate every result in the systems, but then again, we don't need to do so, either. Other systems without recursive enumerability fall outside the scope of the Gödel results on undecidability.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,08:47   

Hi Wesley,

Thank you for your response.  It is a fair criticism.
Whether or not we formally call it a "Gödel's incompleteness theorem" I argue the idea still holds.
A system that insists on being consistent and logical cannot be complete.
An assumption that Reality must be consistent and logical will always be metaphysical assumption.

Quantum Mechanics challenges this assumption.  Greenberger, Horne and Zeilinger experiments clearly violate classical logic.  The quantum measurement problem is a very significant problem.

Sure, we can write equations describing how if we get up on the left side of our beds our stock portfolios will do well, but if we get up on the right, they do poorly. Having scientific experiments confirm this doesn't suddenly make it logical.  It still doesn't make sense.

What would it take to accept the modest suggestion that "Reality just might be illogical"?
If that is acceptable, isn't it reasonable for some people to hold the position that if Reality can be illogical, it is?

If the answer to this last question is "yes", then I argue Gould's NOMA is, at least, a reasonable philosophical position.

EDIT - minor fixes

  
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1007
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,09:34   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,08:47)
What would it take to accept the modest suggestion that "Reality just might be illogical"?
If that is acceptable, isn't it reasonable for some people to hold the position that if Reality can be illogical, it is?

If the answer to this last question is "yes", then I argue Gould's NOMA is, at least, a reasonable philosophical position.

Two things: you seem to be laboring under the delusion that Gould created the idea that the streams of science and religion need not cross and create irresolvable logical dissonance, when in fact all Gould did was to give the concept a catchy name.

Second, if I were to apply logic in the present, I would say that if we all just tell you that we agree with you completely, you'd stop the seemingly endless stream of intellectual play-acting that seems to obsess you. Unfortunately, I fear that logic would fail and you would prattle on anyway. This may be evidence that there is danger in assuming that human behavior may be defined in logical terms, which is itself a logical construct.

See what you've done? I'm trapped in a vortex of wildly-spinning logic and can't even ask jebus to get me out of it.
Perhaps you would be better off just visiting the Argument Clinic.  :angry:

--------------
Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,09:44   

Quote (Jim_Wynne @ April 03 2010,07:34)
Second, if I were to apply logic in the present, I would say that if we all just tell you that we agree with you completely, you'd stop the seemingly endless stream of intellectual play-acting that seems to obsess you.

It's worth a shot.

TP, I agree with you completely.

--------------
And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,10:17   

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your response.  I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to link to Monty Python, so here.

I would agree most "new" philosophical concepts are just a rehash of an old idea with a "catchy name".

Philosophical concepts inherently revolve around the obvious fact that we don't know the Truth. This includes Gould's NOMA.

Of course I will prattle on no matter what.  The whole idea is to explore and question.  Anytime I'm in a business meeting where everyone agrees, it is a sure sign something is wrong.

When Francis Collins dismissed the idea a belief in God is wish fulfillment, my reaction was to think about how much easier it is to have an answer, ANY answer as compared to the "vortex of wildly-spinning logic".

Yes, a metaphysical belief in things like God, Logic or even NOMA is convenient wish fulfillment to not go insane.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,10:20   

Hi Keiths,

Quote (keiths @ April 03 2010,09:44)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ April 03 2010,07:34)
Second, if I were to apply logic in the present, I would say that if we all just tell you that we agree with you completely, you'd stop the seemingly endless stream of intellectual play-acting that seems to obsess you.

It's worth a shot.

TP, I agree with you completely.


Now I really know I don't know the Truth!  
;)

  
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1007
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,10:27   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,10:17)

Philosophical concepts inherently revolve around the obvious fact that we don't know the Truth.

If it's an obvious fact, why do you persist in belaboring it while patting yourself on the back as though you've reached new levels of Deep Thought? If it's bloody obvious, I don't need for you to explain it to me.
Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,10:17)
Of course I will prattle on no matter what.


Which means you understand that you're engaged in a self-indulgent, non-enlightening waste of electrons, and don't see that as a problem.

--------------
Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,10:47   

Hi Jim,
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ April 03 2010,10:27)
Which means you understand that you're engaged in a self-indulgent, non-enlightening waste of electrons, and don't see that as a problem.

Arguing with Joe G (aka ID Guy) is "a self-indulgent, non-enlightening waste of electrons" but it appears to be something people around here like to do.

I have posted this thread mostly in response to Lewis' interest in a "decent argument" for NOMA.

Any belief worth having is worth questioning.

I have laid bare my philosophical worldview, for the purposes of testing it.

It's not like I am trying to recruit a religious army marching under the banner "We don't know the Truth".

The question you might want to ask yourself, why did my words irritate you enough to comment?

  
khan



Posts: 1483
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,12:00   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,11:47)
Hi Jim,
 
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ April 03 2010,10:27)
Which means you understand that you're engaged in a self-indulgent, non-enlightening waste of electrons, and don't see that as a problem.

Arguing with Joe G (aka ID Guy) is "a self-indulgent, non-enlightening waste of electrons" but it appears to be something people around here like to do.

I have posted this thread mostly in response to Lewis' interest in a "decent argument" for NOMA.

Any belief worth having is worth questioning.

I have laid bare my philosophical worldview, for the purposes of testing it.

It's not like I am trying to recruit a religious army marching under the banner "We don't know the Truth".

The question you might want to ask yourself, why did my words irritate you enough to comment?

You blitherings bring to mind bullshit sessions in college dorms, augmented with mind-altering substances.

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

  
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,12:06   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,10:17)
Hi Jim,

Thank you for your response.  I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to link to Monty Python, so here.

I would agree most "new" philosophical concepts are just a rehash of an old idea with a "catchy name".

Philosophical concepts inherently revolve around the obvious fact that we don't know the Truth. This includes Gould's NOMA.

Of course I will prattle on no matter what.  The whole idea is to explore and question.  Anytime I'm in a business meeting where everyone agrees, it is a sure sign something is wrong.

When Francis Collins dismissed the idea a belief in God is wish fulfillment, my reaction was to think about how much easier it is to have an answer, ANY answer as compared to the "vortex of wildly-spinning logic".

Yes, a metaphysical belief in things like God, Logic or even NOMA is convenient wish fulfillment to not go insane.

So if we all agree with you, then you are wrong?

I completely agree with your ideas.

Next person?

--------------
"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1007
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2010,12:29   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ April 03 2010,10:47)
The question you might want to ask yourself, why did my words irritate you enough to comment?



--------------
Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
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