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Greatest_Curse
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Greetings. Interesting Forum

Hi. Greatest_Curse here. I was stumbling through the net and found this place.

 

To get to the point, I'm not really an atheist. Or maybe if you think of it another way, I am. Just another one of those somewhat agnostic types going through the stage in rational inquiry where one wonders whether atheism/rational inquiry/etc is just the same old game as theism but wrapped up in a different mask. Of course, I'm not referring to the shallow, of little thought, "ride the fence" kind of philosophy. More like the "is human perception a valid forum from which to judge 'truth' from, or whether or not the term even makes any sense" kind of perspective.

As a physics and math student, that kind of thorn-in-the-eye, postmodernist type of philosopher has always annoyed the living daylights out of me. And yet, here I am, slowly succumbing to the thought process after watching so many wildlife television programs and contemplating how other animals view (or rather, don't view) such metaphysical questions.

 

Which brings me to my chosen screen name. As we all know (well, the atheists here, anyway), we are nothing but ashes and dust. Here today, gone tomorrow, just like every other creature. And yet, we are completely aware of this fact, at least on some rudimentary conscious levels. This awareness brought us animism, "sympathetic magic," religion, the enlightenment, science, and the always annoying philosophers. And so I've chosen the name Greatest_Curse, from the lyrics of a song by Funeral which thoughtfully attacks both of the most abundant paradigms in modern metaphysical thought.

 

It seems to me we've taken one "truth" and replaced it with another. We've taken old heroes (Jesus, Michael Behe, Josh McDaniels, Dr. Dino), and replaced them with knew ones (Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Ken Miller (for some of us, anyway), etc).

So the point I'm making is (and again, this is coming from a science student in college), were we better off when our days consisted of watching the horizon all day, relaxing in the breeze while lazily looking for predators, and occasional hunts/migrations?

 

Anyway, I guess that's a bit too philosophy-heavy for an introduction post. Just trying to explain the screen name. But good to be here. Hopefully I'll be able to stick around a while and learn some things from fellow inquiring minds.


 

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Blake
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Welcome to RRS. Atheism is

Welcome to RRS.

 

Atheism is like the hobby of non-stamp-collecting.  In the broadest sense, it includes everything that isn't theism, so if you don't have a pet god, then you're an atheist.

Whether you'll fall into the implicit (usually 'agnostic' atheist) or explicit (positive atheist) camps is yet to be seen.

You may come to realize, though, that there are inherent differences between empiricism (a probabilistic understanding of things), and rationality (one founded on logic); where one is subject to perception (and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix&quotEye-wink, the other is a subject only of reason, and from that even certain negative conclusions can be drawn (such as the non-existence of things that are self-contradictory, as in the proposed deities which present problems of logical impossibility).

Hopefully you won't go down the road of some of those who come here to deny logic and yet still attempt to use it, but there are those few, too, who deny any and all knowledge and sit around like mental potatoes being baffled by everything.

 

In case you didn't guess, I'm an explicit (positive) atheist.


Atheistextremist
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Greatest

 

atheism is a lack of belief in gods on the basis of too little evidence. You can't swap the dogma and doctrine of religion for disbelief in gods with no additional supernatural component and no teachings and consider the 2 to be the same types of thing. No one here thinks this way - not the atheists anyway. The theists simply claim science is a religion which is flat out mental. Science and religion are not the same kinds of things at all. 

I don't think it's possible to argue a coherent case that the subjectiveness of human perception undermines the validity of all empirical evidence. 

We often hear this business of taking one truth - being religion - and replacing it with another - atheism. But what is the doctrine of atheism? Scientific knowledge? Again, I just can't imagine anyone would argue science and religion were ever comparable in the smallest way.  I think comparing human mythology in the form of religion to scientific knowledge is a false dichotomy.

In any case science is a search for what can be proven to be known until a new model is proved by new evidence - it's not the truth. Most people here would agree while there may be a truth, we never get our minds completely around that truth - our knowledge is never complete. That does not mean god can sneak into the knowledge gaps, however.

Then there's the idea that well known atheists like Dawkins or Dennett take the place of Jesus in the lives of atheists. I am a former christian as are many people here, and I came to atheism the hard way, through a long process of attempting to rationalise things that to my type of brain just made no sense at all.

The relationship between such authors and a figure like jesus is zero. Jesus is god. Dawkins is a grumpy bloke from England who wrote a couple of good books and a couple of bad ones - I include delusion among the bad.

From what I can gather the figures people here take delight in are less like Dawkins and more like Carl Sagan who didn't preach a message but lauded the opening of human eyes. Mmmmm. Maybe Sagan had a message. But it was not a religious message.

Personally I don't think it's better to sit in our mythology watching the herds go by. I want to know more.

Welcome to the site, by the way, Greatest. Good to meet you, Merry Saturnalia.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Greatest_Curse
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Blake wrote:Welcome to

Blake wrote:

Welcome to RRS.

 

Atheism is like the hobby of non-stamp-collecting.

I like to think of it as the equivalent of the empty set in discussions of the subset of metaphysics dealing with religious beliefs. That is, while every religion has a multitude of metaphysical beliefs, atheism is the subset that has no elements.

 

Blake wrote:

  In the broadest sense, it includes everything that isn't theism,

That depends on what subset of metaphysics you're talking about though. The complement of the set of all religious beliefs CONTAINS atheism, but atheism does not necessarily contain all the elements in the complement of the set of religious beliefs (if you're unfamiliar with set theory lingo, the complement of a set means "everything that isn't in the set" )

 

Blake wrote:

so if you don't have a pet god, then you're an atheist.

I tend to like that definition better, for even if you aren't really sure, you'd be in a state in which you didn't actually believe in a particular God.

Blake wrote:

Whether you'll fall into the implicit (usually 'agnostic' atheist) or explicit (positive atheist) camps is yet to be seen.

I'd have to go with the former because I feel like I don't have grounds to stake a positive belief (of course, you could always confound me by asking if I feel like I have the grounds to rule out the existence of leprechauns...)

 

Blake wrote:

You may come to realize, though, that there are inherent differences between empiricism (a probabilistic understanding of things), and rationality (one founded on logic); where one is subject to perception (and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix&quotEye-wink, the other is a subject only of reason, and from that even certain negative conclusions can be drawn (such as the non-existence of things that are self-contradictory, as in the proposed deities which present problems of logical impossibility).

Hopefully you won't go down the road of some of those who come here to deny logic and yet still attempt to use it, but there are those few, too, who deny any and all knowledge and sit around like mental potatoes being baffled by everything.

Ah, that would seem to be a contradictory path, wouldn't it? My suspicion on the issue, however, is that both logic and perception are only approximately correct (whatever that means for logic). So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic, I am not above postulating that human logic is useful, but not necessarily above being at times a flawed perspective with which to view the universe, existence, etc. Or rather, perhaps the universe may not always conform to human logic. Or maybe even a comparison to math might be good: you may be able to create vast mathematical constructs from basic axioms, but the axioms aren't proven.

Blake wrote:

In case you didn't guess, I'm an explicit (positive) atheist.

What is your position on empiricism versus rationality?

 

 

 

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

atheism is a lack of belief in gods on the basis of too little evidence. You can't swap the dogma and doctrine of religion for disbelief in gods with no additional supernatural component and no teachings and consider the 2 to be the same types of thing. No one here thinks this way - not the atheists anyway. The theists simply claim science is a religion which is flat out mental. Science and religion are not the same kinds of things at all.

I wasn't really trying to get to that at all, and my apologies for not being clear in my opening post. The only place where atheism is involved in any intersection with religion is in the sense that the union of the set atheism with all the sets of the various religions lies inside the set of "metaphysical ideas/beliefs." Atheism lacks all the fundamental cores of religion such as: being a set of more than zero beliefs (atheism consists of only the absence of belief in a god-it's empty), a hierarchy of those beliefs, ethical recommendations of some sort, etc.

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

I don't think it's possible to argue a coherent case that the subjectiveness of human perception undermines the validity of all empirical evidence.

I don't agree with that, but the case would not be one that appears to match what is observed. You can make a logically self-consistent argument, but it'd be a pretty useless one.

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

We often hear this business of taking one truth - being religion - and replacing it with another - atheism. But what is the doctrine of atheism? Scientific knowledge? Again, I just can't imagine anyone would argue science and religion were ever comparable in the smallest way.  I think comparing human mythology in the form of religion to scientific knowledge is a false dichotomy.

I apologize again. I should have used quotation marks when I said truth. I wasn't actually referring to any actual objective truth, but merely the human need to explain things. Like in the religious case, "truth" would be the fullness of God's existence and your eternal purpose, while in the enlightened person "truth" would be the drive to continually search out and quantify the patterns of reality and the universe.

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

In any case science is a search for what can be proven to be known until a new model is proved by new evidence - it's not the truth. Most people here would agree while there may be a truth, we never get our minds completely around that truth - our knowledge is never complete. That does not mean god can sneak into the knowledge gaps, however.

Well, he could, but there'd be no real logical justification for it. Eye-wink

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

Then there's the idea that well known atheists like Dawkins or Dennett take the place of Jesus in the lives of atheists. I am a former christian as are many people here, and I came to atheism the hard way, through a long process of attempting to rationalise things that to my type of brain just made no sense at all.

The relationship between such authors and a figure like jesus is zero. Jesus is god. Dawkins is a grumpy bloke from England who wrote a couple of good books and a couple of bad ones - I include delusion among the bad.

From what I can gather the figures people here take delight in are less like Dawkins and more like Carl Sagan who didn't preach a message but lauded the opening of human eyes. Mmmmm. Maybe Sagan had a message. But it was not a religious message.

Well, I just listed the ones I liked, on both counts (before and after abandonment of religious doctrine). Or even an admired professor or historical figure (like Einstein, another one of my replacement heroes, and the figure whom I was originally inspired by as I selected my major of study). Although I agree with you: The God Delusion was disappointing. But The Ancestor's Tale was magnificent!

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

Personally I don't think it's better to sit in our mythology watching the herds go by. I want to know more.

Welcome to the site, by the way, Greatest. Good to meet you, Merry Saturnalia.

I appreciate the welcome my friend!

 

And again, I'm sorry for writing a post that was so ambiguous.

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Blake
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Greatest_Curse wrote:Blake

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Blake wrote:

  In the broadest sense, it includes everything that isn't theism,

That depends on what subset of metaphysics you're talking about though. The complement of the set of all religious beliefs CONTAINS atheism, but atheism does not necessarily contain all the elements in the complement of the set of religious beliefs (if you're unfamiliar with set theory lingo, the complement of a set means "everything that isn't in the set" )

 

 

Theism != religion.  Many religions are not theistic.  I don't believe I said anything about religion- you brought that up- I'm speaking strictly of theism, not of religion.  Some religions contain explicitly atheistic beliefs, and almost all contain some implicitly atheistic beliefs, though not all atheistic beliefs are religious ones (e.g. 1 + 2 = 3 is an atheistic belief, because it has nothing to do with gods, unless one is specific regarding the existence of a deity to create that axiom).

 

 

Blake wrote:

(and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix" ),

Should be: (and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix" ) ,

An an aside, I really hate that smiley face, it's always screwing up my writing, and many other people's.  Can't somebody disable the automatic conversion on that one?  Or change it to some other symbol rather than the quotation mark?  It's long overdue.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Ah, that would seem to be a contradictory path, wouldn't it?

Not accepting logic, itself, is a contradictory path.  Logic, in essence, is largely the law of non-contradiction.  If you throw logic out, you can't very well be bothered with any contradictions.  In fact, one can prove whatever one likes following from any contradiction- it yields a reality that is entirely incoherent.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
My suspicion on the issue, however, is that both logic and perception are only approximately correct (whatever that means for logic).

Perception is only approximately correct, but logic is precisely correct- if you were familiar with its axioms, you would understand that more fully.  In any reality in which logic doesn't hold, neither does any form of intelligible sense or coherence; that we are having this conversation assumes the foundational principles of logic.  Calling it only "approximate", with regards to logic, is calling it wrong.  In doing so, you are saying contradictions can and do exist, and in so doing, you've implicitly accepted all statements as inherently true, false, and all together meaninglessly incoherent.  Down that road lies madness with no possible sense or purpose.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
I am not above postulating that human logic is useful, but not necessarily above being at times a flawed perspective with which to view the universe, existence, etc.

It's a shame you're not above that, because it's a pretty intellectually low thing to do.  It is closed minded to reject the validity of logic, because it is a blanket rejection of falsification and consequentially ALL coherent knowledge.

In order to be maximally open minded, we must firmly reject only one notion:  that logic is false.  Failure to do so is a failure to think- it is the failure of a mind to do what it is minds do.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or rather, perhaps the universe may not always conform to human logic.

 

It's not "human logic"- we didn't invent it.  The universe isn't conforming to some arbitrary axioms some people thought up one day.

This kind of statement only seems to indicate full ignorance of logic itself.  You are rejecting the validity of logic if you say it's only useful, but not true- logic hinges on its own validity and is useless without it.  Logic dictates, quite clearly, itself via the principle of explosion.  Contradictions are logically impossible, and if you assert one, logic ceases to have any meaning whatsoever in any context.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_contradiction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

You just did:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or maybe even a comparison to math might be good: you may be able to create vast mathematical constructs from basic axioms, but the axioms aren't proven.

 

Again, it would be advisable that you not attempt to use logic to argue against the validity of logic.  It would be advisable that you exercise your capacity for thought to understand the inherence of logic in any coherent line of reasoning, and any coherent reality (which is the reality from which our perceptions self-evidently arise).

*Even* if you postulate a world in which logic is false, within that incoherent madness exists a world in which logic is true; as that can be the only coherent platform for thought and perception, that is necessarily the position we find ourselves in.  The self evidence of logic is even more foundational than the self-evidence of one's own being and consciousness.  Doubt that, and you doubt everything and have no right to coherent thought or expression.

Study logic.  Learn it.  Use it.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

What is your position on empiricism versus rationality?

 

I am a rationalist who considers empiricism useful, which is the only rational stance to take.  Empiricists who consider rationalism useful contradict the very purposes of both.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

I don't think it's possible to argue a coherent case that the subjectiveness of human perception undermines the validity of all empirical evidence.

I don't agree with that, but the case would not be one that appears to match what is observed. You can make a logically self-consistent argument, but it'd be a pretty useless one.

 

It undermines the certainty of empirical evidence (not of sound logical deduction), but probabilistic knowledge of what is more likely than another thing to be true is still valid and essential, both to life and to ethical philosophy.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

That does not mean god can sneak into the knowledge gaps, however.

Well, he could, but there'd be no real logical justification for it. Eye-wink

 

No, he can't.  You forget that this deity is actually quite large, and by definition responsible for a great many things, and possessed of a great many spectacular qualities.  A smaller being could easily hide in these spaces, but not a conventional deity- once diminished so, in order that it may fit, it is no longer a god by standard definitions.

This discussion, of course, quickly devolves into semantics- what qualifies a god?


Brian37
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Let me speed you along a bit

Let me speed you along a bit in your journey.

Humans have always stuck bad claims into gaps. We as a species have always made up fiction and falsely believed it to be fact. Woo is woo, be it the old myth of the Abraham holy books of the big three, or modern crap like crop circles, big foot, Ouija boards ect ect ect.

Thoughts require a material process to manifest into expression. There is absolutely no scientific evidence of an invisible brain with magical super powers, past or present, polytheist or monotheist.

Whatever the label, it postulates a non-material brain, with no brain, no cerebellum, no neurons, no location, that has magical super powers.

It is merely the product of human imagination born out of the ignorance that we are finite and we will not be saved from reality.

There are people today that postulate that the universe itself is a giant thinking being. That too, is woo. It is all anthropomorphism (projecting human qualities on the world around you).

The early gods were earthy, like volcanos, severe weather, animal migration. Then early polytheism had the gods more human like and reflected the cultures of the people who invented these gods. Akanaton the Egyptian king was one if the earliest to attempt to change his polytheism into monotheism making the Sun the one true god. Zoroastrianism was another attempt at monotheism.

Modern monotheism stems from the Hebrews streamlining the Ugartic divine family of polytheism lead by the head god El and Yahweh being one of his underling gods, which the Hebrews spun off and elevated to the one true god.

Christianity was merely a splinter Jewish cult that managed to successfully market their super hero, and then later Muslims.

The point is, that all of this human imagination in our species history DOES NOT demonstrate the devine, but an unfortunate part of our evolution in that credulity and emotionalism in filling in gaps wins out more often than rational questioning and testing.

The good and bad in life is not the result of a comic book super hero vs a super villain, BY ANY NAME. The size of the universe and it's majority of space is hostile to life and can only reflect the random nature we simply dwell in.

I hope this short history lesson helps.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Let me add, I really get

Let me add, I really get ticked when laypersons treat words differently than when scientists use those same words.

"Law" in layperson's meaning refers to government laws or religious laws.

Which has absolutely no connection to or remotely the same meaning as when a scientist uses the word "law"

"Law" as science uses it, is merely a description of consistent observation.

Just like "running" is not a thing itself, but an observation in the form of a description of an action.

I really hate the fact that people still today, confuse emotional meaning with clinical usage of the same word.

 

A scientist might say, "The lava from the volcano (CREATES) new land" 

Does that by proxy of the usage of "creates" make the volcano cognitive?

What humans fail to consider is that a cognitive "who" is not required for the natural processes of life and the universe, but all of it is the result of an ongoing "WHAT" void of a magical puppeteer or fictional cognition.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Gretest_Curse

I may be able to answer you with an explanation of 'my' screen name.

 

In every form of evolution, either man or animal, Chemical , Biological, Physical or whatever, it has taken a linear, traceable, identifiable course that can be observed and recorded. Tribes, nations, species of birds, fishes, reptiles, insects and other animals have gone extinct, without any observable, supernatural intervention from any outside "intelligence" at  any point in recorded history, to aid or assist these species in surviving a changing world. 

Where man is concerned, we have had warfare that has regularly cost the lives of millions, and often tens of millions of dead on the battle field, a slaughter that no sane, rational person would condone at any price for any reason.

Again, there has been not one single, observable trace of supernatural aid, guidance, communication, or disruption to the mass killing (in his name), at any time, on any single day in the last two thousand years to guide us into a better way of doing things. Not one.

Why are there no warnings for Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions etc, no angels have ever turned up to save  little children, the most vulnerable members of the human race from the hands of murderous, perverted, evil, shitty scumbag paedophiles, not once, not fucking once. And to make a point, if there was only one thing ever that stopped me from believing in a god, it would be that. All this bollocks about Angels, burning bushes, doves, voices from the sky, clouds parting. He is credited with creating everything that ever was in every universe, but he can't protect the kiddies. Even the concept is abject evil.

Hence my title  "N I N E", No Intervention No Evidence. Because until there is, then the theists have a lot of answering to do.

9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

No Intervention No Evidence (NINE) 999999999999999


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Welcome

Welcome to the forum Greatest _Curse.

Hmm, try out the video on the link Am I Agnostic or Atheist. Very simplistic overview of the terms and usually helps alot of people decide where they stand on the issue.

I do agree with one point in your original post. So far as we know, when man became aware of his mortality, the creation of gods/spirit/magic was born. Now there is a growing body of work that points to the theory, that the God belief is a developed part of the brain and something no more unique to human experience than say, laughing or crying. Spirituality is merely a biological property of certain parts of the brain under stimulation. But I agree, it was the fear of death and the idea of losing one's individual self that was part of the contributing factor to man's formulation of gods.

Anyway, welcome aboard and hope you enjoy the discussions that we have on here.

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Blake, and everyone, to

Blake, and everyone, to avoid those unintended smileys, put a space before a closing brace  ' ) '. Many smileys are coded by various non-alphabetic characters immediately followed by a ).

And Greatest_Curse, "we are nothing but ashes and dust" is crap.

The fact that some state or process is temporary does not make it equivalent to never having existed.

While we are alive, we are certainly not the same as "dust and ashes", even if we ultimately are destined to end up in that condition.

If you are concerned that we leave no eternal trace on existence, then in that case you are denying significance to at least 99% of everything.

Our world-line would certainly be identifiably different to that of 'dust and ashes' that was never part of a living creature.

Whatever may be the 'ultimate truth', the God hypothesis is one of the most primitive, problematic, least logical of all the more serious possibilities.

And applying set theory and other similar arguments to reality is of limited use - that requires real-world data to be 'reduced' to often grossly simplistic propositions, which render any conclusions of limited applicability, and risk running afoul of the one or more of the paradoxes of  set-theory. So such thoughts can be no more than suggestive of possible insights.

Trying to get so pedantic about the definitions of words which are intended to be descriptive of human world-views, or specific aspects of such world-views, is pretty much a waste of time. They are not meaningfully definable with sufficient rigour and precision to usefully work in strict quasi-mathematical expressions. Far better to stick to plain language.

Of course, I personally consider metaphysics a 'discipline' long past its 'use-by' date.

Anywho - Welcome.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Blake, and

BobSpence1 wrote:

Blake, and everyone, to avoid those unintended smileys, put a space before a closing brace  ' ) '. Many smileys are coded by various non-alphabetic characters immediately followed by a ).

Right, if I catch it fast enough I can go back in and add a space, but sometimes I can't edit it quickly enough, and it's stuck that way.  I see this happening with many posters.  That might be an argument for previewing posts, but another fix would be to change the composition of the smiley face from

" and )   to  SPACE  "  then )  (I'm not sure if that's possible in this forum software, but if it is)

Most people place them at the ends of lines, and so they naturally have spaces before them.  However, nobody ever places a space within a quotation at the end of its contents.

Having the occasional mishap with an intended smiley face would affect readability far less than having the occasional smiley face where none are intended.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
And Greatest_Curse, "we are nothing but ashes and dust" is crap.

The fact that some state or process is temporary does not make it equivalent to never having existed.

 

Here I resoundingly agree with Bob.  Greatest_Curse; that's one thing you don't need to fret over.

We are organized information systems- what we are composed of is irrelevant.  Our actions, however, and every moment of our lives are essentially indelible, through and *within* time.  Not only do the ripples of our causalities ceaselessly propagate until the end of the universe (if it indeed does end), but every iota of our being is an inherent part of space-time itself. 

In a manner of speaking, the past doesn't go anywhere or disappear; we can just be said to be moving through it all.  While a precise number on a number-line would be a more accurate representation, you could imagine your life like a book in a library being read, and you wouldn't be too far off, short of there being no reader.

And if that isn't enough to put the notion to rest, as wave phenomena, however one will define a "self", statistically speaking we stretch into the vast and even unforeseeable future as more than just the results of our causality, but as elements of biased perception (more thinly propagated against the bulk of probable reality, but none the less very real)- and we continue existing in those diminishing corridors of space time indefinitely, or until we reach some limit representing the absolute quantization of reality itself (if it is quantized as such).

It's almost a little scary how permanently and irrevocably intertwined with the most essential elements of reality we are.

 

Unfortunately, no matter how indelible and inherent to the universe itself you are in accordance with logic and the extent of our modern grasp on time, the universe still isn't going to tell you what not to do in the privacy of your own bedroom.  Science can give you anything you need, existentially speaking, short of haughty "thou shalt not" prescriptivism- that's the domain of theology.


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Blake wrote:Greatest_Curse

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Blake wrote:

  In the broadest sense, it includes everything that isn't theism,

That depends on what subset of metaphysics you're talking about though. The complement of the set of all religious beliefs CONTAINS atheism, but atheism does not necessarily contain all the elements in the complement of the set of religious beliefs (if you're unfamiliar with set theory lingo, the complement of a set means "everything that isn't in the set" )

 

 

Theism != religion.  Many religions are not theistic.  I don't believe I said anything about religion- you brought that up- I'm speaking strictly of theism, not of religion.  Some religions contain explicitly atheistic beliefs, and almost all contain some implicitly atheistic beliefs, though not all atheistic beliefs are religious ones (e.g. 1 + 2 = 3 is an atheistic belief, because it has nothing to do with gods, unless one is specific regarding the existence of a deity to create that axiom).

 

Sure, but religion is a subset of metaphysical beliefs, and so is atheism, so is everything related to metaphysical beliefs, and naturally, naturalism is also a subset of metaphysical beliefs, since metaphysical beliefs would include (by definition) questions about reality.

 

Just responding to the statement that many people claim atheism is a religion.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Blake wrote:

(and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix" ),

Should be: (and the scientific method does the most to eliminate bias there, but of course couldn't necessarily detect if we're in "the matrix" ) ,

An an aside, I really hate that smiley face, it's always screwing up my writing, and many other people's.  Can't somebody disable the automatic conversion on that one?  Or change it to some other symbol rather than the quotation mark?  It's long overdue.

 

Yeah, I almost missed that myself.

 

Blake wrote:

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Ah, that would seem to be a contradictory path, wouldn't it?

Not accepting logic, itself, is a contradictory path.  Logic, in essence, is largely the law of non-contradiction.  If you throw logic out, you can't very well be bothered with any contradictions.  In fact, one can prove whatever one likes following from any contradiction- it yields a reality that is entirely incoherent.

 

Ah, that reminds me of my Introduction to Higher Math class I took last spring. A lot of Truth Tables in the beginning. Many of my classmates couldn't get passed the idea of the difference between a logically sound proof and a proof that was consistent with reality. For example, "if all cattle can do calculus, then oranges are purple" is a true statement, even if the premise is nonsense.

 


From wikipedia

 

Blake wrote:

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
My suspicion on the issue, however, is that both logic and perception are only approximately correct (whatever that means for logic).

Perception is only approximately correct, but logic is precisely correct- if you were familiar with its axioms, you would understand that more fully.  In any reality in which logic doesn't hold, neither does any form of intelligible sense or coherence; that we are having this conversation assumes the foundational principles of logic.  Calling it only "approximate", with regards to logic, is calling it wrong.  In doing so, you are saying contradictions can and do exist, and in so doing, you've implicitly accepted all statements as inherently true, false, and all together meaninglessly incoherent.  Down that road lies madness with no possible sense or purpose.

 

Sure, but how do we know that the universe isn't inherently mad? And how do we know, as Descartes argued, that what we perceive to be true logic really is? Of course, you're right: if we don't make that assumption then why even have the discussion?

 

 

Blake wrote:

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
I am not above postulating that human logic is useful, but not necessarily above being at times a flawed perspective with which to view the universe, existence, etc.

It's a shame you're not above that, because it's a pretty intellectually low thing to do.  It is closed minded to reject the validity of logic, because it is a blanket rejection of falsification and consequentially ALL coherent knowledge.

In order to be maximally open minded, we must firmly reject only one notion:  that logic is false.  Failure to do so is a failure to think- it is the failure of a mind to do what it is minds do.

 

Well, let me give you an example that might clarify what I'm getting at:

 

As it stands right now, most mathematicians are satisfied with proof by contradictions, but there is a faction of mathematicians that seek to reprove everything that was proven by contradiction directly. They are not satisfied with proofs by contradiction, but many people accept it as a general rule of logic.

Who is right?

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or rather, perhaps the universe may not always conform to human logic.

 

It's not "human logic"- we didn't invent it.  The universe isn't conforming to some arbitrary axioms some people thought up one day.

I have never seen a proof that human beings did not invent logic, or that it isn't something that only exists within the minds of humans (or sentient creatures, rather).

 

Blake wrote:

This kind of statement only seems to indicate full ignorance of logic itself.  You are rejecting the validity of logic if you say it's only useful, but not true- logic hinges on its own validity and is useless without it.  Logic dictates, quite clearly, itself via the principle of explosion.  Contradictions are logically impossible, and if you assert one, logic ceases to have any meaning whatsoever in any context.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_contradiction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion

 

Yeah, that was what I was talking about earlier. That was one of the questions on an exam. We were to determine if a proof was valid or not. If it was not valid, we were to demonstrate why. However, it rested on a contradictory premise, which of course meant that it was a valid proof.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

You just did:

 

No I didn't. I merely allowed for the possibility that logic may be a human construct that is insufficient to address all possible questions in the universe.

 

It is completely illogical that a negative square root should exist based on our knowledge of real numbers, yet if we merely postulate their existence, we discover an entire new realm of numbers- the complex numbers.

 

Likewise, it is illogical to divide by zero- unless you're careful about the definition of your operation.

 

Of course, these examples are not logical contradictions; they're just examples of where people mistakenly assumed that their understanding of logic was conclusive.

 

 

So, logically, it is possible that our understanding of where the logical conclusion of some inquiry goes is lacking. It is also possible that we may never be able to get to the end of a logical inquiry.

I am merely adding to that the possibility that the human mind is insufficient to understand "true logic" (assuming it is some inherent quality of the universe), or that "true logic" is a human construct and otherwise a myth.

 

The notion that the human mind is insufficiently equipped to understand reality is certainly not a stretch. The most intuitive understanding of the universe meshes very well with Newtonian physics, and yet that is insufficient to describe nature. So why are we like that? The easy explanation is that we creatures evolved that way because that level of intuition was enough to sustain our survival through the years.

 

 

So, to clarify what I meant greatly- I'm not really saying that it's possible that logic is not self-consistent. That's obviously contradictory. What I'm getting at is that it may be that the human mind is insufficient to understand all of it.

 

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or maybe even a comparison to math might be good: you may be able to create vast mathematical constructs from basic axioms, but the axioms aren't proven.

 

Again, it would be advisable that you not attempt to use logic to argue against the validity of logic.  It would be advisable that you exercise your capacity for thought to understand the inherence of logic in any coherent line of reasoning, and any coherent reality (which is the reality from which our perceptions self-evidently arise).

*Even* if you postulate a world in which logic is false, within that incoherent madness exists a world in which logic is true; as that can be the only coherent platform for thought and perception, that is necessarily the position we find ourselves in.  The self evidence of logic is even more foundational than the self-evidence of one's own being and consciousness.  Doubt that, and you doubt everything and have no right to coherent thought or expression.

Study logic.  Learn it.  Use it.

 

Self evidence. The problem with that is that it cannot be proven. It must be accepted. But merely accepting logic is not the problem. You're right, if you don't accept it, why even use it?

But who's to say that the human mind can solve all logical problems? Or that even all logical problems can in principle be solved? Sure, that is a basic assumption we make, but with what justification? Nothing but the claim that you have made above- without that assumption, what's the point?

 

Try not to misunderstand what I'm saying. All I'm saying is that I allow for the possibility that there exists at least one logical problem that cannot in principle be solved logically.

 

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

What is your position on empiricism versus rationality?

 

I am a rationalist who considers empiricism useful, which is the only rational stance to take.  Empiricists who consider rationalism useful contradict the very purposes of both.

I can't say I agree with that second sentence. Clearly all empiricists consider rationalism useful.

 

But I can see why the discussion has gone this route, you claiming to be a rationalist.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

I don't think it's possible to argue a coherent case that the subjectiveness of human perception undermines the validity of all empirical evidence.

I don't agree with that, but the case would not be one that appears to match what is observed. You can make a logically self-consistent argument, but it'd be a pretty useless one.

 

It undermines the certainty of empirical evidence (not of sound logical deduction), but probabilistic knowledge of what is more likely than another thing to be true is still valid and essential, both to life and to ethical philosophy.

 

Well, you are the one who posted the link to the Principle of Explosion. All I was getting at is a logically consistent argument can be made.

 

But I think the idea of "certainty of empirical evidence" is itself not very solid on a scientific bases. Empirical evidence is limited by perception and measurement. That isn't to say that very reasonable estimates can be made, but "exact" observations are only valid within some defined margin of error.

 

 

 

Blake wrote:

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

That does not mean god can sneak into the knowledge gaps, however.

Well, he could, but there'd be no real logical justification for it. Eye-wink

 

No, he can't.  You forget that this deity is actually quite large, and by definition responsible for a great many things, and possessed of a great many spectacular qualities.  A smaller being could easily hide in these spaces, but not a conventional deity- once diminished so, in order that it may fit, it is no longer a god by standard definitions.

This discussion, of course, quickly devolves into semantics- what qualifies a god?

I don't see why the deity should be "quite large" in the first place- unless you're referring to a specif type of god.

The fundamental laws of our universe
As they are taught us by our greatest curse


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Also, let me say that...

After reading through all the responses, it does seem like I've stumbled upon a forum with many intelligent people. Maybe even more so then the JREF forum I like to occasionally grace (although they definitely have a large number of people with specialized knowledge- help I've received with homework testifies to that).

 

I appreciate the responses. By all means, keep 'em coming. Try not to lose patience if I miss something. After all, I'm still an undergrad and my exposure to logic consists of the minimum required to learn the language of math, and my exposure to philosophy consists of the 101 course and an entry level ethics course.

The fundamental laws of our universe
As they are taught us by our greatest curse


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Welcome to the forum.

Welcome to the forum.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Greatest_Curse wrote:For

Greatest_Curse wrote:

For example, "if all cattle can do calculus, then oranges are purple" is a true statement, even if the premise is nonsense.

That doesn't follow; it's a true statement only if logic is demolished (as by a contradiction).  Your premise hasn't demonstrated any contradictions.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Sure, but how do we know that the universe isn't inherently mad?

It's irrelevant; see my wager earlier on.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
As it stands right now, most mathematicians are satisfied with proof by contradictions, but there is a faction of mathematicians that seek to reprove everything that was proven by contradiction directly. They are not satisfied with proofs by contradiction, but many people accept it as a general rule of logic.

Who is right?

 

If I follow what you're saying, the people who accept logic.  This isn't that difficult.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I have never seen a proof that human beings did not invent logic, or that it isn't something that only exists within the minds of humans (or sentient creatures, rather).

 

That's bullshit- and you keep digging it up.

"There is no proof, therefore it is possible that logic is not valid.  Therefore, true contradictions are possible.  Yay, dialetheism!"

 

No.  It is not possible that logic is not valid.  Logic is that proof, by explosion.  Either it's true, or it's f*cking useless and nothing has any relevance or coherence, so go walk off a cliff.

 

More and more I agree with Avicenna's suggestion:

 

Avicenna wrote:

Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

If it was not valid, we were to demonstrate why. However, it rested on a contradictory premise, which of course meant that it was a valid proof.

 

If it was a legitimately contradictory premise, then the proof could be valid, but the premise would be logically invalid, and so necessarily false (meaning the conclusions from that proof are likely false, and it is not proved true).

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

You just did:

 

No I didn't. I merely allowed for the possibility that logic may be a human construct that is insufficient to address all possible questions in the universe.

 

Bloody hell, yes you did, and you're doing it again.

You're saying that it's possible that logic is not valid, and you're trying to use logic to argue why it's possible that logic is not valid.  Saying it's possible that logic is not valid (in any or all cases) is saying that true contradictions are possible.  The view that true contradictions are possible is dialetheism, which is a rejection of the validity of logic.

 

You are attempting to use logic to reject the validity of logic.  Do you need me to spell that out for you in more detail?

 

You: It's possible logic is only a human construct and can't be applied to everything.

Logic: Contradictions are impossible

You: It's possible that some things don't abide by logic.

Logic: Contradictions are impossible

You: It's possible some things have contradictions.

Logic:  Contradictions are impossible.

You: Contradictions are possible.

Logic: Contradictions are impossible.

You: Logic is wrong when it says contradictions are impossible, and I am right when I say they are.  Logic is invalid.  Here, I'll use logic to try to argue my point.  I win.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

 

Yes, you apparently would, because that's all you've been doing this whole time.

If you assert *anything* that negates the assertion that contradictions are impossible, you are claiming that logic is invalid.  You've asserted this more frequently than Graham Priest in traffic court.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
It is completely illogical that a negative square root should exist based on our knowledge of real numbers, yet if we merely postulate their existence, we discover an entire new realm of numbers- the complex numbers.

 

What are you smoking?  No it isn't illogical, because a negative square root isn't a 'real number'.  It's a mathematical abstraction which can cancel itself out (in a simple manner of speaking) and give us ways of solving certain problems.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Of course, these examples are not logical contradictions; they're just examples of where people mistakenly assumed that their understanding of logic was conclusive.

 

Those have nothing to do with the human understanding of logic, but at best with people making mistakes.  People can make logical fallacies; that doesn't indicate that logic is invalid, but that people can use it incorrectly.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So, logically, it is possible that our understanding of where the logical conclusion of some inquiry goes is lacking. It is also possible that we may never be able to get to the end of a logical inquiry.

 

No, not "our", but just individual people who make fallacies.  Some proofs, even, can be too complex to be practically achievable- that says nothing to their viability though.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
I am merely adding to that the possibility that the human mind is insufficient to understand "true logic" (assuming it is some inherent quality of the universe), or that "true logic" is a human construct and otherwise a myth.

 

And in doing so, you are advocating against the validity of logic be contradicting it.  No, it is *not* possible.  If you think it is, you are a dialetheist.  In attempting to argue that it is possible- as you are doing now- you are doing precisely what you said you would not.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
The notion that the human mind is insufficiently equipped to understand reality is certainly not a stretch. The most intuitive understanding of the universe meshes very well with Newtonian physics, and yet that is insufficient to describe nature.

No, that is quite a stretch.  Newtonian physics are also *not* the most intuitive regarding the fundamentals of the universe (it leaves gaping holes easily filled by far more intuitive systems).

 

If you think you can't understand anything, then stop trying- just give up on knowledge.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So, to clarify what I meant greatly- I'm not really saying that it's possible that logic is not self-consistent. That's obviously contradictory. What I'm getting at is that it may be that the human mind is insufficient to understand all of it.

Of course you aren't arguing that logic is not consistent- what you're arguing is that logic is not valid.  And you're making grand appeals to the vastness of the universe and the feebleness of humanity in the same way a theist does to "prove" his or her god.  "Well, it's just beyond your comprehension you sinful, dirty mortal"

It's insulting.

 

Isn't anybody else insulted by this?  Or is that just me?

 

I find it all the more insulting that you are educated and informed enough to know better, and seem to advance the idea that you have an open mind.

In the absence of logic there is no such thing as an open mind, not only because it must arbitrarily accept everything without the possibility of falsification and close tight to lock out logic alone, but also, I would argue, because it is no longer a mind.

I really do recommend logic.  It comes very highly recommended by others as well.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
But who's to say that the human mind can solve all logical problems?

 

Nobody, some people are stupid.  But if we decide we can't solve it and give up, then we certainly never will.  The limits of human intelligence do not invalidate logic.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or that even all logical problems can in principle be solved?

 

If they're legitimately posed problems they can be; but sometimes people ask the wrong questions, or ignore obvious proofs.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
All I'm saying is that I allow for the possibility that there exists at least one logical problem that cannot in principle be solved logically.

That is saying there is at least one problem that can only be possibly solved illogically; invoking a contradiction.  That is to assert that there is at least one possible contradiction.  That is to claim that logic is completely and entirely invalid.

Allowing for that possibility is the rejection of the validity of logic.

I know you aren't *trying* to reject logic, but you are.  Why is this difficult to understand? 

Yes, you can inadvertently reject all of logic by accepting something that has unintended consequences of invalidating logic.  I advise caution.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I can't say I agree with that second sentence. Clearly all empiricists consider rationalism useful.

Yes, almost all empiricists consider it useful, but only useful, and not true, otherwise they would be rationalists.

If you don't agree that claiming that logic is only useful and not true defeats both the purpose and use of logic, then you have a long way to come in understanding the purpose and use of logic.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I don't see why the deity should be "quite large" in the first place- unless you're referring to a specif type of god.

 

Yes, I'm referring to the type of god as defined in dictionaries, as has been defined by various cultures since the dawn of recorded history and interpreted by anthropologists, and which is most importantly in overwhelmingly common usage.

If you are referring to "The neighbor's dog" when you say "god", then you are distorting language beyond any coherent use.

Language is based on common definitions; if you're stretching the definition beyond that, then we aren't communicating at all.  You can't just let the word mean anything at all and use it all the same, and to the extent that is has meaning it is logically impossible and does not exist.


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Greatest_Curse wrote:Anyway,

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Anyway, I guess that's a bit too philosophy-heavy for an introduction post.

No, you're just 20-something. But welcome. I wish this place had been around when I was in your position.

R


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Blake wrote:Greatest_Curse

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

For example, "if all cattle can do calculus, then oranges are purple" is a true statement, even if the premise is nonsense.

That doesn't follow; it's a true statement only if logic is demolished (as by a contradiction).  Your premise hasn't demonstrated any contradictions.

 

Look at the truth table. The statement is a true statement. You sure you're as familiar with logic as you claim? You'd find this in the first chapter of any introduction book to mathematical language. In fact it's IN the first chapter of this book:

 

 

"If P then Q" is always true if P is false.

And it's always false if Q is false and P is true. It can be either true or false if P is true.

http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/55648.html

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Sure, but how do we know that the universe isn't inherently mad?

It's irrelevant; see my wager earlier on.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
As it stands right now, most mathematicians are satisfied with proof by contradictions, but there is a faction of mathematicians that seek to reprove everything that was proven by contradiction directly. They are not satisfied with proofs by contradiction, but many people accept it as a general rule of logic.

Who is right?

 

If I follow what you're saying, the people who accept logic.  This isn't that difficult.

 

What does "accept logic" even mean? Or what does "logic" mean in the context here? One definition is the study of arguments. What you are referring to is a set of rules that govern arguments. Deductive reasoning, and the like.

 

No, I'm talking about people who disagree on the rules of arguments, the rules of proofs. One group claims that a statement can be proved to be true by assuming that it is false and arriving at a contradiction. Another believes that that statement is false, that arriving at a contradiction after assuming the statement is false does not necessarily mean that the statement is true.

If they were both right, there would be a "true contradiction," would there not?

 

So who is right? That is, since I now see that you and I are using two different definitions of the word "logical," which of these two schools of thought are logically correct?

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I have never seen a proof that human beings did not invent logic, or that it isn't something that only exists within the minds of humans (or sentient creatures, rather).

 

That's bullshit- and you keep digging it up.

"There is no proof, therefore it is possible that logic is not valid.  Therefore, true contradictions are possible.  Yay, dialetheism!"

You're making a subtle logical error here. There is a difference between the phrase, "I'm not sure if true contradictions can exist" and "True contradictions are possible." Of course, I am NOT saying either one of these, but it is possible to be ignorant of whether or not true contradictions can exist in some strange universe and for true contradictions to be impossible nonetheless.

 

Blake wrote:

No.  It is not possible that logic is not valid.  Logic is that proof, by explosion.  Either it's true, or it's f*cking useless and nothing has any relevance or coherence, so go walk off a cliff.

 

More and more I agree with Avicenna's suggestion:

But what about the technique of proving something by finding a contradiction? Again, most mathematicians agree that it is valid, while some do not believe that it proves that the negation of the original claim is true.

If you don't follow me, I'm referring to the following proof technique:

 

1- we will show β to be false.

 

2- assume β is true

 

3- arrive at a contradiction

 

4- therefore β is false.

 

This is not universally agreed upon by mathematicians as a valid way to prove that β is false.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

If it was not valid, we were to demonstrate why. However, it rested on a contradictory premise, which of course meant that it was a valid proof.

 

If it was a legitimately contradictory premise, then the proof could be valid, but the premise would be logically invalid, and so necessarily false (meaning the conclusions from that proof are likely false, and it is not proved true).

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

You just did:

 

No I didn't. I merely allowed for the possibility that logic may be a human construct that is insufficient to address all possible questions in the universe.

 

Bloody hell, yes you did, and you're doing it again.

You're saying that it's possible that logic is not valid, and you're trying to use logic to argue why it's possible that logic is not valid.  Saying it's possible that logic is not valid (in any or all cases) is saying that true contradictions are possible.  The view that true contradictions are possible is dialetheism, which is a rejection of the validity of logic.

No, I'm not saying that it's possible that logic is not valid within the scope of logic. I'm saying it's possible that the universe itself is not logical.

 

 

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So while I would never go down the path of trying to use logic to reject the validity of logic,

 

Yes, you apparently would, because that's all you've been doing this whole time.

If you assert *anything* that negates the assertion that contradictions are impossible, you are claiming that logic is invalid.  You've asserted this more frequently than Graham Priest in traffic court.

You are assuming that logic is the foundation of the universe. There is no reason to make this assumption.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
It is completely illogical that a negative square root should exist based on our knowledge of real numbers, yet if we merely postulate their existence, we discover an entire new realm of numbers- the complex numbers.

 

What are you smoking?  No it isn't illogical, because a negative square root isn't a 'real number'.  It's a mathematical abstraction which can cancel itself out (in a simple manner of speaking) and give us ways of solving certain problems.

 

I don't think you understood what I said. If real numbers were all that existed, a negative square root is logically nonsense.

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Of course, these examples are not logical contradictions; they're just examples of where people mistakenly assumed that their understanding of logic was conclusive.

 

Those have nothing to do with the human understanding of logic, but at best with people making mistakes.  People can make logical fallacies; that doesn't indicate that logic is invalid, but that people can use it incorrectly.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So, logically, it is possible that our understanding of where the logical conclusion of some inquiry goes is lacking. It is also possible that we may never be able to get to the end of a logical inquiry.

 

No, not "our", but just individual people who make fallacies.  Some proofs, even, can be too complex to be practically achievable- that says nothing to their viability though.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
I am merely adding to that the possibility that the human mind is insufficient to understand "true logic" (assuming it is some inherent quality of the universe), or that "true logic" is a human construct and otherwise a myth.

 

And in doing so, you are advocating against the validity of logic be contradicting it.  No, it is *not* possible.  If you think it is, you are a dialetheist.  In attempting to argue that it is possible- as you are doing now- you are doing precisely what you said you would not.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
The notion that the human mind is insufficiently equipped to understand reality is certainly not a stretch. The most intuitive understanding of the universe meshes very well with Newtonian physics, and yet that is insufficient to describe nature.

No, that is quite a stretch.  Newtonian physics are also *not* the most intuitive regarding the fundamentals of the universe (it leaves gaping holes easily filled by far more intuitive systems).

 

It is the most intuitive that also appears to be accurate and useful.

Blake wrote:

If you think you can't understand anything, then stop trying- just give up on knowledge.

 

Why? We already know for a fact that it's impossible to know everything. We cannot know the location and momentum of a particle simultaneously. This is a physical limitation. We also know, thanks to Gödel, that it is impossible to prove that all arithmetic is consistent using arithmetic.

 

That doesn't mean that it ISN'T, it just means we can't PROVE that it isn't- within that scope.

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
So, to clarify what I meant greatly- I'm not really saying that it's possible that logic is not self-consistent. That's obviously contradictory. What I'm getting at is that it may be that the human mind is insufficient to understand all of it.

Of course you aren't arguing that logic is not consistent- what you're arguing is that logic is not valid.  And you're making grand appeals to the vastness of the universe and the feebleness of humanity in the same way a theist does to "prove" his or her god.  "Well, it's just beyond your comprehension you sinful, dirty mortal"

It's insulting.

 

No, I think you're projecting something on to what I'm saying. Perhaps due to countless debates you've been involved in.

 

Blake wrote:

Isn't anybody else insulted by this?  Or is that just me?

 

I'm personally insulted by your arrogance whilst also showing that you are pretending to know more than you actually do, as shown in the very beginning of your post. "If P then Q" is always true if P is false. Therefore "if all cattle can do calculus, then oranges are purple" is a true statement.

Blake wrote:

I find it all the more insulting that you are educated and informed enough to know better, and seem to advance the idea that you have an open mind.

In the absence of logic there is no such thing as an open mind, not only because it must arbitrarily accept everything without the possibility of falsification and close tight to lock out logic alone, but also, I would argue, because it is no longer a mind.

I really do recommend logic.  It comes very highly recommended by others as well.

 

And I recommend understanding such basic tools of logic like truth tables and conditional statements.

 

Blake wrote:

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
But who's to say that the human mind can solve all logical problems?

 

Nobody, some people are stupid.  But if we decide we can't solve it and give up, then we certainly never will.  The limits of human intelligence do not invalidate logic.

No, they do not. But what humans think they know about some logical structure may be lacking.

 

There is a subtle difference between the admission that somewhere along the line of the learning of the rules of logic that a vast logical fallacy has been made and the assertion that "not A" and "A" can be true at the same time.

 

 

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
Or that even all logical problems can in principle be solved?

 

If they're legitimately posed problems they can be; but sometimes people ask the wrong questions, or ignore obvious proofs.

Define "legitimately posed problem."

For example, it's impossible to find a general algebraic solution to any polynomial equation with a degree of 5 or higher.

 

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:
All I'm saying is that I allow for the possibility that there exists at least one logical problem that cannot in principle be solved logically.

That is saying there is at least one problem that can only be possibly solved illogically; invoking a contradiction.  That is to assert that there is at least one possible contradiction.  That is to claim that logic is completely and entirely invalid.

Allowing for that possibility is the rejection of the validity of logic.

I know you aren't *trying* to reject logic, but you are.  Why is this difficult to understand? 

Yes, you can inadvertently reject all of logic by accepting something that has unintended consequences of invalidating logic.  I advise caution.

I think I'm finally seeing why you are misunderstanding what I'm trying to say.

This is my fault. My above sentence should have read: "All I'm saying is that I allow for the possibility that there exists at least one logical problem that cannot in principle be solved logically by a human being. "

Of even, a sentient creature.

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I can't say I agree with that second sentence. Clearly all empiricists consider rationalism useful.

Yes, almost all empiricists consider it useful, but only useful, and not true, otherwise they would be rationalists.

If you don't agree that claiming that logic is only useful and not true defeats both the purpose and use of logic, then you have a long way to come in understanding the purpose and use of logic.

 

All logic is true within the scope of logic. It is self consistent. Of course, that depends on what we believe the rules of logic to be.

You say "We don't define the rules of logic. They are self-evident and self-contained," but then from where does the debate among philosophers and mathematicians about the validity of proofs by contradiction, or the relationship between the Principle of bivalence and the law of the excluded middle, arise from?

 

 

 

Here is my take on the problem here: both of us are using the word "logic" to describe two different things. You are referring to some quasi-divine thing that exists independently of any sentient being. I am referring to what we understand of this entity.

 

Blake wrote:

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I don't see why the deity should be "quite large" in the first place- unless you're referring to a specif type of god.

 

Yes, I'm referring to the type of god as defined in dictionaries, as has been defined by various cultures since the dawn of recorded history and interpreted by anthropologists, and which is most importantly in overwhelmingly common usage.

If you are referring to "The neighbor's dog" when you say "god", then you are distorting language beyond any coherent use.

Language is based on common definitions; if you're stretching the definition beyond that, then we aren't communicating at all.  You can't just let the word mean anything at all and use it all the same, and to the extent that is has meaning it is logically impossible and does not exist.

The word "god" has many accepted meanings. But that wasn't my point earlier. I was being humorous there. A religious person could use the God of the Gaps argument, but doing so would be pathetic.

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As they are taught us by our greatest curse


Blake
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Greatest_Curse wrote:Look at

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Look at the truth table. The statement is a true statement. You sure you're as familiar with logic as you claim? [...]


 

Real cute bucko, but you still haven't demonstrated that "all cattle can do calculus" is false, because you haven't proven that any cattle are incapable of calculus.  The fact is that you just don't f*cking know, do you?  It wasn't anywhere in the premise, and lacking that it would be a statement of unsubstantiated faith.  Maybe cattle do calculus all the time- maybe it's an essential part of what it means to be a cow, and a cow without calculus is no cow at all.

 

Next time try to pay attention to what I'm saying- Your premise hasn't demonstrated any contradictions.  Stating that a false thing is true would be a contradiction, but this is undemonstrated, and doesn't follow without additional premises asserting (at least) that there exists a cow who cannot do calculus.

 

The statement may seem improbable, but has not been demonstrated false- if you think you can run around making absolute declarations of falsehood like that without any argument, you don't know the first thing about philosophy-- a domain of thought where nothing potentially logical is rejected without consideration and proof, no matter how silly.

 

When I say something is false, I'm ready to back it up, or I start with that as a premise- you've done neither.  You can't even start with the assumption that the Earth is round, or that we're living beings rather than programs in a computer unless you're ready to state them as premises or prove them logically.


 

The set you're trying to demonstrate is basically a restatement of logical explosion- and you have not postulated the truth of a falsehood with that additional premise (that there is at least one cow who can not do calculus), and so have not demonstrated any contradiction.


 

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
If they were both right, there would be a "true contradiction," would there not?

 

So who is right? That is, since I now see that you and I are using two different definitions of the word "logical," which of these two schools of thought are logically correct?


 

That's why they aren't both correct, the latter is not using logic- indeed, if only the latter were correct that would be a contradiction in itself.  These are not "two schools of thought"; the latter just isn't thinking at all.

 

This is a non-issue.  That you're trying to make it into one only demonstrates ignorance of logic.

 

Mathematicians are not famous for their ability to see the forest through the trees; it's very likely that you're taking your cues from a very misguided source.


 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

You're making a subtle logical error here.


 

No, I'm not; at the most generous, you're just being sloppy with your syntax.

 

If you are only asserting that you are without knowledge of logic, then just do that.  Don't assert that it is possible that logic is not true- just say you don't know.

 

Of course, following that anybody would be right to call you out on profound ignorance for proclaiming lack of knowledge regarding logic.


 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

 

it is possible to be ignorant of whether or not true contradictions can exist in some strange universe and for true contradictions to be impossible nonetheless.

 

Yes, it's possible to be ignorant of it, but in that ignorance one should not make the mistake of claiming that true contradictions are possible for lack of knowledge one way or the other, because that's a biased claim in itself.

 

Maybe you're making this syntactical error, but you keep doing it even after I've pointed it out.



 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

 

But what about the technique of proving something by finding a contradiction? Again, most mathematicians agree that it is valid, while some do not believe that it proves that the negation of the original claim is true.

 

If you don't follow me, I'm referring to the following proof technique:

[...]

This is not universally agreed upon by mathematicians as a valid way to prove that β is false.


 

As I have mentioned above, mathematicians are not known to be even remotely reliable authorities on the subject.  They're largely obsessive and have tunnel vision.  In all of the fields of science, you will find the greatest concentration of theists and generally crazy people in mathematics.  Not a reliable source on logic.

 

This isn't any great controversy in philosophy; it's self-f*cking-evident.  Philosophers who don't accept it are ridiculed and condemned, and have been for thousands of years- and should be.

 

There are some profoundly idiotic mathematicians out there- a few with sense as well, but the field is highly polluted with people who are complete morons beyond the scope of their immediate craft.  Tunnel vision might work for them in what they're doing, but it's also very dangerous.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

 

No, I'm not saying that it's possible that logic is not valid within the scope of logic. I'm saying it's possible that the universe itself is not logical.

 

No, it is not.  And you're trying to argue your point.  You *can't* still be making that syntax error, can you?

 

If you really believe that, you'll make a great mathematician I'm sure, but stay the hell out of philosophy until you get some sense and accept logical discourse as the norm of learning about the universe rather than some special exception you have to make.

 

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

You are assuming that logic is the foundation of the universe. There is no reason to make this assumption.

 

Yes, there is; any coherent discussion whatsoever.  Every single reason supports this assumption.

 

Genuinely, you should be beaten and burned until you admit that to be beaten is not the same as to not be beaten, and that to be burned is not the same as to not be burned.  That, simply, is the only admission you need make to accept the foundation of logic.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I don't think you understood what I said. If real numbers were all that existed, a negative square root is logically nonsense.

 

No, I understand exactly what you're saying, and you're wrong.  Things that don't exist can be conceptually useful- do you not understand the use of negative square roots?  It's in translating them back to reality where you will have a problem if it generates a contradiction.


 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

It is the most intuitive that also appears to be accurate and useful.

 

Maybe to you- good job, you fail at intuition.  That really means nothing as an anecdotal assertion, though.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Why? We already know for a fact that it's impossible to know everything. We cannot know the location and momentum of a particle simultaneously. This is a physical limitation.

 

No, no it is not a physical limitation; we can't know those things because they don't exist being that we're dealing with wave phenomena.  Wow!

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

We also know, thanks to Gödel, that it is impossible to prove that all arithmetic is consistent using arithmetic.

 

And it's not necessary to do so.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:
No, I think you're projecting something on to what I'm saying. Perhaps due to countless debates you've been involved in.

 

I'm only going by what you said.  And you've said it several more times in this post.

 

You're either stupid, insane, ignorant, or being a troll for the sake of trolling.

Ignorance is no crime, but you'd be well put to rectify it.


 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

"If P then Q" is always true if P is false. Therefore "if all cattle can do calculus, then oranges are purple" is a true statement.

 

And you've not demonstrated that any cattle can't do calculus.

 

Seriously, we don't make unstated and unchallenged assumptions like that.


 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

And I recommend understanding such basic tools of logic like truth tables and conditional statements.

 

You imagine you understand those things, and yet you do not accept them as foundational to our universe, so it's pretty clear that you do not genuinely understand them, or you're just being an enormous troll.

 

If you do have two brain cells to rub together and you want to have any kind of discussion, ever, I recommend you subscribe to logic rather than whatever this nebulous nonsense it is you seem to be peddling.  This un-logic is not conducive to conversation.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

There is a subtle difference between the admission that somewhere along the line of the learning of the rules of logic that a vast logical fallacy has been made and the assertion that "not A" and "A" can be true at the same time.

 

Between that and what?  Denying logic?  No, there isn't.  Not great, and not subtle.  It's the same thing bucko.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Define "legitimately posed problem."

For example, it's impossible to find a general algebraic solution to any polynomial equation with a degree of 5 or higher.

 

You have no place saying anything is impossible; you reject logic as the foundations of the universe, so to the extent that you say anything about anything is done in abject hypocrisy.

 

You should note, though, that logic cannot do the impossible; it's not a magic genie, it can only reveal information that exists (such as in the case of position and velocity in a wave).  Asking for an impossible solution would be an illegitimate problem- one contingent on a fallacy itself.

 

Sometimes it's very difficult to pose a legitimate problem.  Most people fail at that step.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

I think I'm finally seeing why you are misunderstanding what I'm trying to say.

 

This is my fault. My above sentence should have read: "All I'm saying is that I allow for the possibility that there exists at least one logical problem that cannot in principle be solved logically by a human being. "

Of even, a sentient creature.

 

This is an acceptable statement; assuming the lifetime of the universe is finite, there are surely problems that could not be solved in the lifetime of the universe were all of the matter and energy within it devoted to pure computation for the duration.

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

You say "We don't define the rules of logic. They are self-evident and self-contained," but then from where does the debate among philosophers and mathematicians about the validity of proofs by contradiction, or the relationship between the Principle of bivalence and the law of the excluded middle, arise from?

 

Human idiocy.

 

 

Greatest_Curse wrote:

Here is my take on the problem here: both of us are using the word "logic" to describe two different things. You are referring to some quasi-divine thing that exists independently of any sentient being. I am referring to what we understand of this entity.

 

It's not really a "thing" in the sense of an entity so much as the defining principle of coherent reality; but your usage is certainly wrong in the context of philosophy.

 

Maybe that's why mathematicians are broken- they don't understand what logic means, and they're surrounded by idiots who disagree about its fundamental qualities.

 

Forget everything you think you know about logic, and relearn starting with Socrates.


Atheistextremist
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Hey Greatest

 

What is the Greatest Curse? Your handle has got me wondering...

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Beyond Saving
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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

What is the Greatest Curse? Your handle has got me wondering...

 

Trying to have an argument with Blake about logic your first day on the forum?

 

BTW, welcome to the forum Greatest Curse, have fun.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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 Welcome to the forum, good

 Welcome to the forum, good luck with Blake Smiling


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Welcome to the forum!  I

Welcome to the forum!  I see you've met Blake!

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


Blake
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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

What is the Greatest Curse? Your handle has got me wondering...

 

Trying to have an argument with Blake about logic your first day on the forum?

 

BTW, welcome to the forum Greatest Curse, have fun.

 

My guess is that he means something along the lines of self awareness, or mortality/awareness thereof, but that works too.

 

I have to retire for a while, so I probably won't be able to argue here anymore.  Like I mentioned in the other thread, I'll probably be back in a month or so.

 

Have fun!