I agree. I feel like my huge posts directed at you are fully considered with an open mind, which makes it much nicer to put in the time.
a) "Can science deal with something non-causal? (i.e. explain it, and not just observe it) How can you predict based on that?"
If math could explain it, then science could. And I'm not 100% sure of the answer, but I think that this is within math's capabilities. Of course we'd be getting into probabilities and such, but quantum mechanics already does this. So I'm fairly certain science could describe non-causal things, but of course not to the degree it can causal things.
"And I'm interested (not for debating purposes lol) of the difference between "understanding" and "knowing" in your view. Scientific observations can help us "observe", but knowledge-wise, isn't everything sprinkled with doubt?"
I would say knowledge is getting as close as we can to 100% certainty (as 100% certainty). Understanding is looser. For example, I can understand (some) religious views, but that doesn't mean I think they're correct. In other words, I think understanding is something that make internal logical sense, whereas knowledge makes sense both externally and internally? Does that make sense? Anything to add?
I don't think morality or rights are true in the sense that they are an inherent part of reality. I agree you can never say something is truly wrong. However, through a combination of personal consciousness and society we shape our own moral system - some aspects of which are unviersal amongst humans.
So I don't think there are ought's - just is's. But I may be wrong. :)
1. "It's always shown objects to be causal, but never human agents."
On the contrary, the limited amount of knowledge we have regarding human agents is causal. Of course this is mainly on a cellular level, but up to this point nothing (beyond our own flawed perceptions of ourselves) points to humans being non-causal.
"Unless you are saying humans are objects (which is begging the question), it is not scientifically sound to assume that we are. Population dynamics can explain tendencies of groups, never indiviudal predictions (based on intention, of course)."
But humans are very, very complicated. I would say this is more a knowledge deficit than some key to the nature of humanity.
"I think you'd agree that this is not hardcore evidence, right? As in, if someone does have the assumption/belief/whatever of free will, it is not unreasonable?"
Agreed. At this point, either position on free will is not unreasonable. I lean one way, you lean the other, but there is no solid proof at the moment for either end of the spectrum.
2. For example, our belief that Earth (and us) are the center of the universe. Then the belief that we're center of the galaxy. Then, when that was proved wrong, that we're the center of the universe. The idea that we're the only animals with emotions- almost certainly wrong. The idea we're the only animals that use tools. The idea that we're the only animals with language. Etc. Etc.
3. Fair point. Let me consider this a bit more, and then I'll get back to you.
"I personally think it's far more reasonable to be an agnostic theist than an agnostic atheist."
And I think the other, so... :)
d. "It's funny, the guy I used to have a crush on (lol you must be like TMI haha) said the same thing :) "Everything is physics"
You have good taste in guys, Destinee :)
"Possibly. But I don't think you can judge the emergent by only its constituents. "
So far its worked out pretty well - we can go from gluons to atoms to molecules to chemical reactions to cellular processes to organ systems pretty well.
e. Topic closed.
f. It is, isn't it? I predict that science will find it to be a complicated computer, because it can never find anything else.
I disagree - see part a.
g. Makes sense. Really the only difference in our thoughts on this is our assumptions. Mine our minimal because that seems to be the most reasonable path to me - but you might be right that reductionism isn't the way to go...I'll think about this some more.
h. Real certainty (by my definition) is the probability being 1
As for belief having a different kind of certainty, I disagree. Belief is quantitative to a degree just like everything else. We can easily assign a probability to the likelyhood of religious being true - and no matter what someone thinks - it is not 1 (or even 0.99)
i. "History can have a certainty of 1."
History can never have a certainty of 1.
"A very large # of people have reported some battle in 1849, you can't really falsify it in reality"
Its unlikely, but certainly possible to falsify with a lot of yet undiscovered evidence to the contrary. This is more of a certainty of say, 0.999, but it is not 1.
k. Fair point. (Isn't Pascal's Wager great :) ) It comes down to this.
First, I highly doubt H.ell exists, so eternal torture doesn't scare me (it probably should, but it doesn't). So I see ne reason to force myself to believe in things I really can't believe in for that. Also, if God does send people to H.ell I don't think he deserves to be worshiped, in which case I wouldn't want to go to Heaven and hang with him for eternity anyway (but that's another conversation).
Second, I just can't believe in things without proof. I've tried. Sometimes I want to believe in God, but it just makes me feel like I'm lying to myself - that's a negative opportunistic cost right there.
Third, I can act morally and responsibly without believing they are fundamental universal necesities. It makes me feel good - it makes other people like me - I don't need any reason other than that. Make sense?
I could probably keep going, but hopefully you see my point.
"Also, I'm now officially open to you criticizing my assumptions"
I'll be on it soon. :)
Another 1000 words post. Yayy 24000 now :P
Destinee: I'm actually fine with your assumptions. I can see logically how you get to your beliefs (at least the ones I know about). If you were still a theist or deist or whatnot I'd have some questions, but as is they seem pretty reasonable.
They're obviously not the same assumptions I would make, and in particular, I'd quibble with #2, but since they are assumptions I see no reason to attack them unless you're making conclusions that can't be derived from them.
Wow I beg your pardon guys, my statement 2 should be "Reason is necessary but not sufficient to determine truth". :/ I was mixing them up ahhh sorry >.<
Also you might be mistaken, as I am a theist. An agnostic theist. Some days I'm a deist. Either way, I do believe in God.
Wait...what does agnostic theist mean then?
And what specific beliefs do you hold? Stuff I can ask you to derive from your assumptions...
As for #2, I still disagree, but that makes a lot more sense.
If agnostic atheism is like, "We can't know, but God probably does not exist", then agnostic theism is like "We can't know [at the moment], but God probably does exist". To be fair, though, I also read the Qur'an, and I find many parts, considering its well-documented history, to be unlikely to be written by the man who recited it (Muhammad (pbuh)), so there is that.
LOL ya true you don't know my beliefs XD Fair's fair, I don't hold these most days, but the most "extreme" (in the sense of non-atheist) of my beliefs is basically belief in God (obviously, Abrahamic conception), His books, His messengers, the Last Day (i.e. Day of Judgment), angels, and that everything is from God, i.e. divine decree, which is to say that God joins effects with their causes.
I'll finish replying to your and stuntddude's stuff later, God willing.
This is a response to your post on Jun 11, 5.31 AM (wow up bright and early huh?).
c) I agree with you that free will is the easiest thing to disprove in theory (and I think you'd agree with me that it's the hardest to stop believing in IRL).
(i) Actually I would disagree, some (very preliminary and basic) evidence shows that thoughts and actions may not be causal. To be honest, I wasn't very surprised, but I know some people are. Now would be a good time to distinguish between conscious will and free will.
Conscious will, as per my understanding, is the feeling of consciously causing actions, i.e. voluntary actions. So it requires, obviously, intentional thoughts to cause voluntary actions.
Free will is much harder to grasp, but IMO it has much more to do with the concept of intentions themselves, are they "free' or are they caused by a non-agent (obviously all actions are caused by something, be it an agent or environment et al). So it would fall under (ii). Now, we can have free will without having conscious will (i.e. we freely intend something, or have agency, without actually being able to cause actions), but I think that conscious will requires free will. I would use the words "necessary and sufficient" conditions but I'll mess them up again LOL.
Do you agree? I'd love to hear your guys' (Quantum included) thoughts.
(ii) I don't agree with your disprove-theory. "Try to think what thought you're going to think next"? Sounds like a logical fallacy of some sort (unless you could maybe explain yourself better).
I do agree however that the appearance of (non-intentional) thoughts is conditioned, however, intention is kinda like [the human agent] sifting through thoughts and choosing one [introspectively speaking]. Wouldn't you agree?
d) Can a person skip a day? LOL. But ya I agree, I was just checking XD
e) No I don't think so, because of course there is a difference between something being beyond a reasonable doubt and something being certain. Every piece of evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt, of course (i.e it is beyond a reasonable doubt that your video camera capturing a dude stealing is wrong -- though it can be). You can have varying cases in law, I don't quite remember, but I believe for hardcore crimes you need a unanimous jury decision, whereas other ones only need half + 1, or whatever. I don't know if I'm quite making sense (I don't think I am, which is a plus point for these discussions, helps criticise myself), but consider how theories become 'facts' or 'laws' or whatever, there is a difference right? Once the Earth being round/geoid was a falsifiable theory, now it is a "fact". I see your point though about it being the definition of a fact, but I guess I mean more like the "acceptance of a claim is based on its being beyond a reasonable doubt".
Actually, for that matter, it should be on my list of assumptions too. (Belief is beyond a reasonable doubt.) I may be able to infer that from My Assumption #2 though.
"Last time I checked the thesaurus, this was not the case :P And, how would anyone "observe" that?"
Haha, it's saying falsehood is ugly. As someone who enjoys physics, I am sure oyu would agree that it is quite elegant, when all is said and done.
And you wouldn't observe it. It's not an observational, empirical thing. :)
This is in response to your post on Jun 10, at 10.55 PM.
b) No I agree they wouldn't disprove science as a system (it would disprove scientism which is what I care about), but I think in a period of such "agnosticism" regarding psychology (psychoanalysis for instance was quite deterministic and its kinda failed, though its remnants remain -- to be fair though Freud only used case studies and never actually used science), it becomes more about "other ways to live our life". As in, if you can't be sure, then why choose one over the other, you know? Kinda like what I was saying about Pascal's Wager.
c) If you don't have freedom of thoughts (and I meant to ask you this too stuntddude), then how can you justify your own thoughts on the matter? If I accept that we are very complex computers, that we take inputs and only analyse them based on conditioning, then any output we have is arbitrary -- it has absolutely no truth value. So your very opinion on the matter is an arbitrary decision based not on objective analysis but on your conditioning -- your thoughts on it are all conditioned. And as such are self-refuting.
d) I think I understand you.
e) Hopefully you can read my repsonse to Stuntddude. I'd like to hear your guys' thoughts on it as it is as yet unbaked in my mind.
Phew finally getting thru old posts :)
In regard to free will without conscious will: I believe that you can have conscious will without free will. As we clearly have conscious will, but I doubt the existence of free will for reasons I've already explained.
And in response to your response to my earlier post :) :
c) Can't a computer solve problems? Can't a computer reason? And if you have a really complicated biological computer, like us, I imagine it could do so remarkable ways. So no I don't think my ideas lack truth.
However, I will point out, particularly since my views are on free will are at best an educated guess and thus don't bear much weight, that day to day I operate as if I have free will.
This is in response to your post on Jun 27 at 9.09 AM.
Aw we just had a bonding moment! <3 :P
1. Causality: Well, I meant explain it. You can probably describe anything. I don't think science can explain something non-causal. I would say causality (or determinism) is a fundamental base of the explanatory power of science. May be reaching its limit with quantum mechanics and stuff.
2. Understanding vs knowledge: Makes sense :) Well said.
b) Okay, I got you. So, just to be clear, me murdering my 5 yr old sister (not that I have one) is not 'wrong'? You would never say I ought not murder my 5 yo sis, and if I did, you could only ever criticize it as being against the universal illuson of morality? Right?
1. I disagree. Any knowledge we have of human bodies, which is objective, is causal. Any knowledge we have of human agents is either (a) subjective (so one might say it is an illusion) and indicates non-determinism or (b) incomplete (thru simply scientific means). Of course, I would argue that scientific means will never be enough or complete, as reductionism ignores fundamental essential points, but you'd probably disagree XD
"I would say this is more of a knowledge deficit.." Fair enough. But I still think it is simply based off of our assumptions, and not clear that we are deterministic or that we are non-deterministic.
2. Thanks for listing it :) I would disagree that these are at all correct. Islamic scholars, to the best of my knowledge, have never stated any of this. (Perhaps the tools thing, but let's be fair, that's a pretty reasonable assumption if you don't go out and observe gorillas all day. Nor is it really central to religious texts.) Don't get me wrong; Humans are central in Islam (naturally). But I think that you are perhaps viewing religion thru a very Christian lens, which I have noticed Western atheists tend to do. (Sorry that this sounds like criticism.) You know what I mean? Perhaps that is why I find it more reasonable to believe in freedom; because very few things are truly anthrocentric in Islam and none (to the best of my knowledge) have been disproved.
d) LOL thanks XD I'm over him now though. #SoMovingOn :P LOL.
f) Replied in part a. Topic closed.
g) We're basically the same person basically... maybe you're my tulpa :O (sorry, bad joke, I know, but I couldn't help it) I'll wait for you to convince me of reductionism when you criticise my beliefs, if you choose to do so.. Otherwise, topic closed.
"Real certainty is the probability of being 1"
I agree that this is intellectual certainty, but I mean that practically speaking, when people are certain of things, it is not because of sheer intellectualism; it tends to be a combination of things that are non-quantitative. You know what I mean, right? Experience-wise, if you are certain of something, you know you could be wrong, but you tend to be certain because of, perhaps, converging evidence and emotional evidence. (I do think emotions hold some validity.)
So I agree with you that certainty is the probability of being 1, but I think that we know that not everything that contributes to our opinion of something is only quantitative, so we can't always deal in probabilities.
Incidentally, it is interesting to note that modern economics had the assumption of the Rational Human Agent, who would make decisions based on rationality alone. That has now been shown to be false (which seems fairly obvious LOL), although it is a useful model. Feel like it's relevant here?
"History can never have a certainty of 1"
I agree that theoretically you can disprove anything in history, but of course theoretically I can reject my mother's existence even though she is standing right in front of me. It is not very reasonable (that is not the correct word) to reject that, for instance, the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. (Incidentally, the study of history as an objective discipline was greatly advanced by Muslims because of religion. Some day I have to tell you about the hadith sciences and Ibn Khaldun. You have to contrast it to the Bible, it's great fun :) LOL. I'm so nasty.)
k) LOL I actually think Pascal's Wager is meh :P Glad you like it though.
But I think the point is that even if you can't believe in H.ell, you should act as if it exists. that's his entire wager, right? XD
I understand your second point completely.
I understand your third point, but I think that if I did the same (behave morally/responsibly without accepting morality and responsibilty as true), I would feel as if I'm lying to myself XD But that's me I guess. :)
Thanks for your replies to this :) But I think, and I beg your pardon because I don't know how to not make this sound like a criticism, but I think your reasoning for k) is not particularly rational, but more or less emotion-based. I am not criticising you, God knows how important emotions are to my decisions, but I think it's good to point that out. :)
I'll reply to your posts on the last page when I get the time God willing. I'm afraid that my heart isn't really in that conversation (as in, I don't care that much), which is why I''m delaying it. Not because of you, but because the topic itself isn't as interesting to me.
This is in response to your post yesterady at 8.23 AM.
Re: free will vs conscious will, looking back, I agree with you that conscious will does not need free will. I don't know what was going thru my mind when I said it requires free will :S
Oddly enough, free will has only ever been theoretically questioned (and questioned using pigeons, like Skinner did), whereas there is some reason to doubt conscious will. at least on a small, short-term scale. So in fact conscious will isn't as clear as it seems :) LOL.
c) Computers solve problems the way they have been programmed to. As you have said, we are programmed to survive, not for the truth. Consider this: A computer does not "innately" know that blue + yellow = green. We program that knowledge into it. If I programmed it to think blue + yellow = red (not a reflection of reality), then it would always be correct WITHIN ITSELF, as in, it will never mess up that equation, but the equation itself is wrong.
If that's a bad analogy, there is a pretty, like, basic fact about computers which is GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. (Don't know if they teach that in the schools in North America.) Anyway, the basic idea is, if you input rubbish into a computer, it will output rubbish. They have no control, no actual powers of discerning, beyond what they have been programmed to do.
So if you take a fairly simple computer like a calculator, and program it wrong, then it will never be able to give you the truth.
Since there is no reason to believe that we have been programmed based on "right" adn "wrong" (truth and falsehood), but based on survival (which, you will agree, need not depend on truth/falsehood when it comes to higher psychological concepts), then there is no reason to believe that anything you output (i.e. your beliefs, thoughts, conclusions) are at all valid. In fact, given that, as you said, we so often are wrong based on our gut feelings or instincts, which are designed for survival, and if you take the premise that religions/morals/etc are all useful for survival ("for life", as you said), but are also all false, then there is much reason to suppose that we have just been programmed badly when it comes to discerning reality.
Does that make sense? In a frapillion years, we may evolve in a way that is closer to the truth (or we may not) and discover that everything we thought was reasonable was in fact wrong. Our programming in 2013 will become obsolete, it will all prove to be wrong, and so will all of our conclusions that once seemed so reasonable.
Unless you think that our conclusions are not conditioned, and that our faculties are not either, and that no divine being has given us the ability to discern between truth and falsehood, then you really cannot ascribe any soundness to them whatsoever. All of your conclusions, my conclusions, and Bill Clinton's conclusions are just indoctrinated views. They might be based on good programming, or they might be based on bad programming, but determinism of all thoughts in particular is self-refuting.
"Perhaps that is why I find it more reasonable to believe in freedom; because very few things are truly anthrocentric in Islam and none (to the best of my knowledge) have been disproved"
I've been meaning to fix this. This is incorrect. As far as I know, it has been a prevalent, though not unanimous, belief that we are not "evolved" per se, but created directly from the ground of the Earth through a special act of creation. Ibn al Jawzi and some other scholars argued to the contrary and said that we evolved (basically) from animals, and were given a human spirit eventually.
What is going on in this thread?
*Get's headache and then leaves*
"A computer does not "innately" know that blue + yellow = green."
You're right, a computer knows that blue + green = yellow :P
"Since there is no reason to believe that we have been programmed based on "right" adn "wrong" (truth and falsehood),"
Ahnununununu. Tell me, does it or does it not benefit general survival to be able to figure out the truth in the world? Would you bet on, say, Stuntdude the anti-inductivist living longer or shorter than an average human? Humans have evolved with a powerful ability to discern truth because it's an ability that's essential to our survival. You're muddling instinct with critical thinking. They are two separate survival tools for separate situations. The inability of one to do the job of the other, does not show either to be incapable of doing its own job.
I'm willing to accept that humans are not perfect truth-discerners. It would be arrogant of my to think otherwise. The knowledge that we may end up getting things wrong does not mean we shouldn't try. That's a silly and extremely pessimistic outlook that I don't share.
stuntddude: she's actually quoting me on that. I agree that being somewhat reasonable is advantageous - but our truth discerning abilities are far from accurate unless we are very, very careful.
Destinee: In response to your post on the 29th at 1:06pm. We've close several topics so I'm going to re-letter (yes that is a verb now) stuff. I'll quote you, so you see what each topic is.
a) " I don't think science can explain something non-causal. I would say causality (or determinism) is a fundamental base of the explanatory power of science."
Hmmm. I don't know for sure, but I think science could explain this. It depends on whether math can explain it - which I think it can. For example, I recently took a math class on complex systems - you can use math for some pretty complicated things. Also, you mentioned quantum mechanics which is a good example of how physics can describe something that (might) be non-causal. Basically, whether or not quantum physics is deterministic or not depends on you interpretation of the wave function, but that's another story.
b) "You would never say I ought not murder my 5 yo sis, and if I did, you could only ever criticize it as being against the universal illuson of morality? Right? "
I'll leave most of this for the other thread, but yes - at least universally. I'd still probably say you ought not to - but that's a human distinction - the universe doesn't of oughts.
i) "Any knowledge we have of human bodies, which is objective, is causal. Any knowledge we have of human agents is either (a) subjective (so one might say it is an illusion) and indicates non-determinism or (b) incomplete (thru simply scientific means)."
I suppose I agree, but I'd go with incomplete. After all, human agents come from human bodies, so I would predict that they are also causal. Once again, I can't prove this yet though.
ii) "I would argue that scientific means will never be enough or complete, as reductionism ignores fundamental essential points, but you'd probably disagree XD"
Hmmm. Yes, I disagree, but I'm considering other possibilities. However, as of right now, I am favor in reductionism of assumptions, as we can't prove them, and I feel that the less there are the more likely that I am right to make them.
d) "But I think that you are perhaps viewing religion thru a very Christian lens, which I have noticed Western atheists tend to do."
You're right about this one - I've been exposed to Christianity much, much more than Islam. Forgive me if I make incorrect assumptions about it based on my limited knowledge. I am planning on trying to read a bit of the Qur'an though, so maybe I'll get more informed.
e)""Real certainty is the probability of being 1"
I agree that this is intellectual certainty, but I mean that practically speaking, when people are certain of things, it is not because of sheer intellectualism; it tends to be a combination of things that are non-quantitative. You know what I mean, right? Experience-wise, if you are certain of something, you know you could be wrong, but you tend to be certain because of, perhaps, converging evidence and emotional evidence. (I do think emotions hold some validity.) "
Emotions can lead you one way or the other, but you can't be certain about non-quantitative stuff - its a definitional thing. And when thinking about the universe or my worldview I try to leave emotions out of it because I don't trust them at least as a final reason. They might (or might not) lead me in the right direction, but I'll never accept something about how the world works based on my feelings.
"Incidentally, it is interesting to note that modern economics had the assumption of the Rational Human Agent, who would make decisions based on rationality alone. That has now been shown to be false (which seems fairly obvious LOL), although it is a useful model. Feel like it's relevant here? "
I'm sure people don't do this in practice, but I try to be that Rational Human Agent in regards to understanding the universe. In day to day life, I certainly let my emotions help me decide stuff - that's what they're evolved for anyway :)
f) " I actually think Pascal's Wager is meh :P Glad you like it though. "
Oh...that was sarcasm - Pascal's Wager is interesting, but I agree it is meh.
"I think your reasoning for k) is not particularly rational, but more or less emotion-based"
Hmmm. I see your point. However, the main emotional component - believing in stuff through faith makes me feel like I'm lying to myself - is an aversion to non-rational thought. A bit paradoxal I suppose :)
Sorry for the late response! I've been lazy haha :) This is in reply to your post on Jul 2 at 10.42 AM.
a) I think you can describe it mathematically/scientifically/whatever, but I don't think you could explain it. Like I've said, I think reason cannot understand freedom.
b) Other thread. Close topic.
i) "Human agents come from human bodies" The emergent need not be judged solely by where it comes from. I mean, you can, of course -- but it's basically saying we're not agents in that case. (Remember my seabed/sea analogy?)
It's actually pretty interesting to note the sort of progression of Western thought on this. Humans --> (only) animals at first, a slow evolution in thought, and now animals --> objects. :)
ii) You ought to go with the assumption Crane's mentioned then -- it's all an illusion. One simple assumption. Of course, you'll learn nothing, but you can learn things within an illusion too I suppose. There would probably be a lot of philosophical navel-gazing as you tried to figure out if what you are learning you are actually learning or are deluded into thinking you know...
d) I've got nothing to add :) End topic.
e) I understand that - "I will never accept something about how the world works based solely on my feelings". But of course you would agree that there is a time and place for feelings. The world is not us, and we are not the world. I do not use feelings when it comes to analyzing, let's say, a dinosaur bone (although emotion always leaks thru -- impossible to make decisions without it). But in the realm of introspection, emotions play a part.
Well a rational human agent is actually, economically, the belief that we function using rationality alone. So there isn't really much about understanding the universe in there. It is very practical. Economics is a social science, after all. :)
f) Haha I gotcha.
I think we're winding up :) I think I've said all I wanted to say. Cheers :)
Yeah. I think we're about done - just a couple more things.
"Like I've said, I think reason cannot understand freedom."
I agree that reason can't understand how it "feels" to be free. But it can certainly understand it conceptually.
"It's actually pretty interesting to note the sort of progression of Western thought on this. Humans --> (only) animals at first, a slow evolution in thought, and now animals --> objects. :)"
Yeah - I think its the right progression. In order to save some of our pride I'll say "very complicated objects".
"You ought to go with the assumption Crane's mentioned then -- it's all an illusion. One simple assumption. Of course, you'll learn nothing, but you can learn things within an illusion too I suppose."
To learn things within the illusion I'd have to make the same assumptions I already make (minus the what we observe is real one), so the assumptions I have are still the bare minimum necessary to be able to learn anything about the universe. So I might as well assume the thing I'm learning about is reality.
Last few things :)
"Yeah - I think its the right progression. In order to save some of our pride I'll say "very complicated objects". "
lol. XD There is a difference between living and non-living things and it is jumping the gun to say we understand the gap. Even if we did, by definition life cannot be like death.
"To learn about things [...] So I might as well assume the thing I'm learning about is reality "
I gotcha. I just think that our personal experiences fall under reality, so I need a diff set of assumptions to learn about those. :)
Cheers and thanks for the discussion!