Agnosticism -- The Incomprehensible Halo...

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Agnosticism -- The Incomprehensible Halo...

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God and for all those atheists who have bought the lie that attaching agnostic to your atheist label is valid.  All you are doing is contradicting yourselves big time.  Watch this video and learn something about the fallacy of agnosticism.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isk6Tf5JyM4&feature=player_embedded

I am an atheist because I do not believe in any Gods or anything related to the imaginary subjective supernatural realm that does not exist outside the mind. -- NotSaved


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Ah, so you started a thread

Ah, so you started a thread on your strawman.

Welcome to the forum.

notsaved wrote:

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God

Strawman. Most people that consider themselves agnostics, but not atheists, are simply defining the terms differently, where agnosticism is a middle ground. It becomes a trichotomy instead of a dichotomy, so clearly, they are not avoiding a dichotomy as there is no longer a dichotomy to be avoided. All of this was already explained and thoroughly debunked in the very thread where you initially posted.

notsaved wrote:
and for all those atheists who have bought the lie that attaching agnostic to your atheist label is valid. All you are doing is contradicting yourselves big time. Watch this video and learn something about the fallacy of agnosticism.

Oh, hiding behind a video. Okay.

He derides the view that both "square circles" and "2+2=green" might exist outside of the natural world. This is already a strawman. Squares are defined such that they are not circles; this is impossible unless he's simply labeled some arbitrary supernatural entities "squares" and "circles." The same goes for the 2+2=green example. 

Not all supernatural entities are synonymous with "error." That is utterly incoherent semantic bullshit. They are synonymous if their definitions are the same. "God" does not have the same definition as "error." Furthermore, supernatural entities are not necessarily self-contradictory; that is a completely unjustified claim. Anything he says after this point in the video is going to be a strawman.

"Or, they're not a part of reality. There is no mass, no energy, no effects of energy, no way of detecting them, which is exactly the same as non-existence."

NO. Wrong. Just because you can't detect them doesn't mean that they don't exist. The existence of something is not dependent on your ability to perceive it. That is the entire point of agnosticism, extremely basic philosophy.

I will not watch any more of this crap until you respond to what I've written.

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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notsaved wrote:This is for

notsaved wrote:

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God and for all those atheists who have bought the lie that attaching agnostic to your atheist label is valid.  All you are doing is contradicting yourselves big time.  Watch this video and learn something about the fallacy of agnosticism.

Grow a brain.

And stop being butthurt because you're simply ignorant, and were explained very politely how you were mistaken in your interpretations.

I'm not so polite and kind, to ignorant fools.

 

So, I've copied and pasted my response to you in the other thread that was the impetus for your trolling by creating this thread.

 

****************************************

 

notsaved wrote:

 

butterbattle wrote:

An agnostic is a position about knowledge. I am an agnostic atheist. 

 An atheist who claims to be an agnostic as well !   

You are simply using your (mis)interpretation of 'agnostic' to create a logical fallacy (strawman), and use that as a basis for (non)argument.

Dictionary definition of gnostic:

 

Gnostic

–adjective Also, gnos·ti·cal.
 
1. pertaining to knowledge.
2. possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.
3. ( initial capital letter ) pertaining to or characteristic of the Gnostics.

–noun
4. ( initial capital letter ) a member of any of certain sects among the early Christians who
claimed to have superior knowledge of spiritual matters, and explained the world as created by powers or agencies arising as emanations from the Godhead.

 

One is who NOT a gnostic, (a non gnostic) is AGNOSTIC.

notsaved wrote:
  Wow, what a joke you are living ! 

The joke is that you are asserting a fallacy, and are convinced it's a reality, and mocking people who have the correct understanding of the term.

In very clinical terms, you are living a joke, and you are an actual joke.

notsaved wrote:
That's really funny. You really bought into the agnostic con game big time pal.

The irony is, that you've managed to fool yourself into believing you're correct, by simply putting too much faith in yourself.

AKA: Hubris

 

Look it up.

 

 

No thanks necessary...

 

Regards,

 redneF  agnostic/atheist

 

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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notsaved wrote:This is for

notsaved wrote:

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God and for all those atheists who have bought the lie that attaching agnostic to your atheist label is valid.  All you are doing is contradicting yourselves big time.  Watch this video and learn something about the fallacy of agnosticism.

d

You've got agnosticism all wrong, largely because I think you are confusing agnosticism with gnosticism. Gnostics are those who would adhere to the fact that truth is not certain and that there may exist some ethereal otherness beyond what we can sense, truth that does not make sense, and wacked out stuff like that. (Where's Luminon when you need him?)


But agnosticism, etymologically speaking, means "without knowledge" in the same way that atheism is "without god". (With this said, atheism is a boarder category that atheists of the agnostic variety) Epistemically speaking, in order to believe something as true I need a good reason to believe it. If I without hold belief on something, it is because I have no reason to believe it is true, but at the same time I have no reason to believe it is false either.


When concerning the existence of something, I'd prefer empirical evidence for its existence. If someone claims that something exists, then there burden is to show us how they know. As of right now, we know that there exist planets around other stars. But to my knowledge, I don't believe that astronomers have discovered planets around Alpha Centari. There very well may be planets there, but I have no evidence to believe there are planets there, so I am agnostic on the matter. I cannot make an affirmative or negative statement for their existence.


But consider this: I can say that in the room I'm sitting in, there is no other person other than me. I am looking around, and I see no one else. No one is hiding behind the door or under the bed, or anything like that. I have reason to believe that after looking for people in this room, there are no people in here other than me. Inductively, it this can be falsified if there was someone in the room and from induction, I have induced that there isn't anyone the room. Am I absolutely, 100% beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt certain of this? No. But I can be very certain of such things. Many may say that it is "probably unknowable" because of the many failed attempts to produce evidence for a particular deity. I might extend this and say such a being does probably does not exist because of the many failed attempts to find it for the same sort of reason I can say there is no one else in the room I'm in right now.
       


 

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 So you reject agnosticism

 So you reject agnosticism based on that video, on the premise that the statement "Nothing is certain" is self contradictory right?  I mean every other fallacy stated in the video aside, that was the main point.  It's around minute 7 in the video.  But why is it that he finds "Nothing is certain" = logical contradiction = invalid statement.  He claims that, if you assume nothing is certain then your statement is not certain ergo what you affirm is not true.  So, if I were to make a positive claim " Apples are red" you can easily produce a green apple and prove me wrong.  If I were to make a NEGATIVE claim such as "Apples are not fuchsia" then you can't disprove that.  You can only falsify that by falsifying the evidence and painting an apple fuchsia.  By claiming that "Nothing is certain" I move the burden of proof on people claiming that everything/something is certain.  Much like you claiming there is no God moves the burden of proof on people that claim God exists.  And yes, that includes my statement, "nothing is certain" is also uncertain... not false, but uncertain, you can't prove it either way. 

See solipsist argument for logical proof of uncertainty.  

Now I agree with you in principle, but in my opinion, being a strict atheist is taking a leap of faith bigger then a theist, because at least the theist has BS claims from other people, and some emotional justification for their belief, a strict atheist has nothing to base their deduction that Nothing is beyond the natural world.  

I'll restate my stand now, I'm an atheist, because I reject all NON LOGICAL claims, all claims for a god are not logical ergo I'm an atheist.  If someone provided me with a logical claim for god that can be empirically verified, I will no longer be an atheist.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Agnostics Again?

butterbattle wrote:

notsaved wrote:

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God

Most people that consider themselves agnostics, but not atheists, are simply defining the terms differently, where agnosticism is a middle ground.

How is it that when pressed by "do you believe in concept X" that I can comb through the information I have available and somehow keep my mind from picking a side? Is that even possible for the human mind?

We should not encourage this willy-nilly redefining of terms. Agnosticism already has a definition, we don't need to give it a new one.

[I need to go to this other thread and find the original conversation. This might be why I am confused by the point butter seems to be making]


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marcusfish wrote:How is it

marcusfish wrote:
How is it that when pressed by "do you believe in concept X" that I can comb through the information I have available and somehow keep my mind from picking a side? Is that even possible for the human mind?

Well, for most of the agnostics I've met, not believing doesn't define atheism. Remember that atheism is disbelief or denial of the existence of any God or Gods. These agnostics just define atheism as the denial of any Gods i.e. what we call "strong" atheism. Ergo, for them, agnosticism is "weak" atheism. So, this becomes an entirely internally consistent way of defining the terms, and it's very common.

There are, of course, many self professed agnostics that don't fit my description here who've completely butchered semantics, but they can go screw themselves.

marcusfish wrote:
We should not encourage this willy-nilly redefining of terms. Agnosticism already has a definition, we don't need to give it a new one.

Many, if not most, people don't know or understand the philosophical original definition of agnostic. So, in many cases, it's not so much redefining as much as it is they thought that was the definition.

marcusfish wrote:
[I need to go to this other thread and find the original conversation. This might be why I am confused by the point butter seems to be making]

No, I think you understood me correctly.

 

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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butterbattle wrote:So, in

butterbattle wrote:

So, in many cases, it's not so much redefining as much as it is they thought that was the definition. 

I hear what you're saying, I just wanted to make sure that someone threw in the "Yes, but using the words incorrectly does not a point make" argument.

The misunderstanding of simple terms like atheism and agnosticism are a real frustration for me and I didn't want us to accidentally spread the confusion.


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marcusfish wrote:The

marcusfish wrote:

The misunderstanding of simple terms like atheism and agnosticism are a real frustration for me and I didn't want us to accidentally spread the confusion.

There's no misunderstanding.

It's misappropriation of the english language.

If one wants the truth, and true meaning of a word, and it's intended applications in either colloquial or formal dialogue, one would simply open a dictionary.

It's difficult to choose which of the characteristics of all religious people best exemplifies their dysfunctional, irrational, and intellectual dishonesty to themselves, that they make efforts to 'project' onto others.

 

It's entirely characteristic of theists to avoid the truth, or the reality, and conjure up an enormously speculative, and questionable substitution (placebo), when they don't understand the reality of the nature of the world around them, or are afraid that the actual reality might be unpleasant, or too upsetting for them, to deal with.

 

This can be said of all religious people, not just dogmatics.

This is a universal fact among all religious people:

 

They will not let the truth, or reality, get in the way, of a good story

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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butterbattle wrote:Ah, so

butterbattle wrote:

Ah, so you started a thread on your strawman.

Welcome to the forum.

notsaved wrote:

This is for all those who consider themselves committed agnostics who refuse to submit to the ultimate question on belief vs nonbelief in God

Strawman. Most people that consider themselves agnostics, but not atheists, are simply defining the terms differently, where agnosticism is a middle ground. It becomes a trichotomy instead of a dichotomy, so clearly, they are not avoiding a dichotomy as there is no longer a dichotomy to be avoided. All of this was already explained and thoroughly debunked in the very thread where you initially posted.

notsaved wrote:
and for all those atheists who have bought the lie that attaching agnostic to your atheist label is valid. All you are doing is contradicting yourselves big time. Watch this video and learn something about the fallacy of agnosticism.

Oh, hiding behind a video. Okay.

He derides the view that both "square circles" and "2+2=green" might exist outside of the natural world. This is already a strawman. Squares are defined such that they are not circles; this is impossible unless he's simply labeled some arbitrary supernatural entities "squares" and "circles." The same goes for the 2+2=green example. 

Not all supernatural entities are synonymous with "error." That is utterly incoherent semantic bullshit. They are synonymous if their definitions are the same. "God" does not have the same definition as "error." Furthermore, supernatural entities are not necessarily self-contradictory; that is a completely unjustified claim. Anything he says after this point in the video is going to be a strawman.

"Or, they're not a part of reality. There is no mass, no energy, no effects of energy, no way of detecting them, which is exactly the same as non-existence."

NO. Wrong. Just because you can't detect them doesn't mean that they don't exist. The existence of something is not dependent on your ability to perceive it. That is the entire point of agnosticism, extremely basic philosophy.

I will not watch any more of this crap until you respond to what I've written.

Well can you define what a supernatural entity really is and with out contradiction?

As for a strawman?  You're wrong.  He is presenting an analogy to impossible entities that are obvious contradictions. 

I am an atheist because I do not believe in any Gods or anything related to the imaginary subjective supernatural realm that does not exist outside the mind. -- NotSaved


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notsaved wrote:As for a

notsaved wrote:

As for a strawman?  You're wrong.  He is presenting an analogy to impossible entities that are obvious contradictions. 

Yeah...but at the expense of bad definitions. The guy is making up his own definitions then refuting them...obviously confused and/or ignorant about what agnosticism is. He doesn't deal with it as an epistemic position concerning truth claims.

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notsaved wrote:Well can you

notsaved wrote:

Well can you define what a supernatural entity really is and with out contradiction?

There is no evidence of the supernatural.

It's an imaginary concept.

A naked assertion.

There's nothing to define.

 

notsaved wrote:
As for a strawman?  You're wrong.  He is presenting an analogy to impossible entities that are obvious contradictions. 

Any claims of empirical knowledge of the supernatural, or the metaphysical, would be a strawman, right from the start, to the end.

It's a self contradictory idea.

The idea of experiencing and understanding the 'imperceptible'.

It a vacuous idea.

A mindfcuk.

 

A substitution for just saying, "I don't know, and I can't imagine it", and trying to sound like you really know something, and are not at a complete loss.

Hubris...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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notsaved wrote:Well can you

notsaved wrote:
Well can you define what a supernatural entity really is and with out contradiction?

Sure, I'll do it right now.

A "natural" entity is an entity that we can perceive and therefore, study with science. Ergo, a supernatural entity is an entity which exists outside of what we can "know," by definition; it is something that we can't perceive.

notsaved wrote:
As for a strawman?  You're wrong.

Do you have anything more to say than "You're wrong?"

notsaved wrote:
He is presenting an analogy to impossible entities that are obvious contradictions. 

Supernatural entities are not necessarily impossible and they're not necessarily internally inconsistent. Ditto, that is one of his strawmen.

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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redneF wrote:There is no

redneF wrote:
There is no evidence of the supernatural.

It's an imaginary concept.

A naked assertion.

There's nothing to define.

Lol, well, you sort of just defined it.

 

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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butterbattle wrote:redneF

butterbattle wrote:

redneF wrote:
There is no evidence of the supernatural.

It's an imaginary concept.

A naked assertion.

There's nothing to define.

Lol, well, you sort of just defined it.

 

Absolutely.

We can define ideas.

 

And we can make 'errors'.

Which are 'delusions'.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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butterbattle wrote:notsaved

butterbattle wrote:

notsaved wrote:
Well can you define what a supernatural entity really is and with out contradiction?

Sure, I'll do it right now.

A "natural" entity is an entity that we can perceive and therefore, study with science. Ergo, a supernatural entity is an entity which exists outside of what we can "know," by definition; it is something that we can't perceive.

 

Butterbattle, I have to wander what exactly you mean by "exists."  It sounds like you're treating existence as some arbitrary property that some things have and others do not  How do you tell what does and does not exist?  On what basis do we say that horses exist, but unicorns do not?  Is it because horses have "existence property" and unicorns do not?

The problem with the definition of supernatural that you use is that any argument that these supernatural things might exist is useable as an argument that unicorns and pixies and Russel's Teapot and the Flying Spaghetti Monster might exist.  It's a useless way to use the word "exists" because there would be no way to tell where that word can and cannot be applied.  ANYTHING might exist, and so the very idea of existence becomes useless.

 

In short, you need to determine the sufficient conditions some concept X must meet before we can declare that X exists.  You also need to determine the necessary conditions some concept X must fail to meet before we can declare that X doesn't exist.  Until these conditions are solidified, it's useless to argue whether or not you can define X in such a way as to make its existence possible, because you don't even have a firm idea of what existence means.

 

 

butterbattle wrote:

NO. Wrong. Just because you can't detect them doesn't mean that they don't exist

So apparently "produces observable effects" is not a necessary condition for existence in your book?  Again, how do we know that unicorns don't exist? (Or do you think they might?)

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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Zaq wrote:butterbattle

Zaq wrote:

butterbattle wrote:

notsaved wrote:
Well can you define what a supernatural entity really is and with out contradiction?

Sure, I'll do it right now.

A "natural" entity is an entity that we can perceive and therefore, study with science. Ergo, a supernatural entity is an entity which exists outside of what we can "know," by definition; it is something that we can't perceive.

 

Butterbattle, I have to wander what exactly you mean by "exists."  It sounds like you're treating existence as some arbitrary property that some things have and others do not  How do you tell what does and does not exist?  On what basis do we say that horses exist, but unicorns do not?  Is it because horses have "existence property" and unicorns do not?

The problem with the definition of supernatural that you use is that any argument that these supernatural things might exist is useable as an argument that unicorns and pixies and Russel's Teapot and the Flying Spaghetti Monster might exist.  It's a useless way to use the word "exists" because there would be no way to tell where that word can and cannot be applied.  ANYTHING might exist, and so the very idea of existence becomes useless.

 

In short, you need to determine the sufficient conditions some concept X must meet before we can declare that X exists.  You also need to determine the necessary conditions some concept X must fail to meet before we can declare that X doesn't exist.  Until these conditions are solidified, it's useless to argue whether or not you can define X in such a way as to make its existence possible, because you don't even have a firm idea of what existence means.

What I have little doubt that Butterbattle is describing as 'exists', is, in simplest terms, something that is a physical entity that appears to be completely unfalsifiable by experimentation, and is completely reliable and predictable by all examination, and cross examination, and meta-analysis of procedure, to remove all variables that could contaminate the qualification, quantification, verification, of it's absolute existence, and give false positives.

Pretty basic, actually.

It's what's also commonly referred to as 'knowledge and understanding'.

 

Zaq wrote:
 

butterbattle wrote:

NO. Wrong. Just because you can't detect them doesn't mean that they don't exist

So apparently "produces observable effects" is not a necessary condition for existence in your book?  Again, how do we know that unicorns don't exist? (Or do you think they might?)

We know that placebo effect can produce 'false positives' in humans.

Which led to scientific development of meta-analysis, like double blind testing, in order to isolate and objectively study the rate at which human perception gives false positives, on observations and human conclusions of data, and experiments.

Scientists understand that humans are unreliable as scientific 'instruments', and do not take 'human experience' as a reliable means of determination of viability or validity.

Unless something meets the minimum criteria of scientific methods of viability, validity, or workability, nothing is considered more than a 'hypothesis'.

When it gets past much higher levels of scientific scrutiny, then it graduates to 'working hypothesis'.

In science, things must past 'muster', because 'haste makes waste', and science is expensive.

 

Which is was separates 'junk science' and 'pseudoscience', from true 'science'.

Religion barely qualifies as 'junk science'.

It's entirely built on conjecture, after conjecture, after conjecture, and wild assumptions, leading circularly to even wilder assumptions, and finally coming to the wildest conclusions, without providing any means to distinguish false positives from positive results, at any step along the way.

 

Religion is the antithesis of scientific 'knowledge and understanding'.

It is completely correct and accurate to categorize religions as 'Blind Faith'.

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Zaq wrote:Butterbattle, I

Zaq wrote:
Butterbattle, I have to wander what exactly you mean by "exists."  It sounds like you're treating existence as some arbitrary property that some things have and others do not  How do you tell what does and does not exist?  On what basis do we say that horses exist, but unicorns do not?  Is it because horses have "existence property" and unicorns do not?

What do I mean by "exist?" That's a good question, and I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but I feel like I have conceptualized it pretty well in my head. If I have to define it with other terms, I suppose something that exists is something that is real, something that "is," something that possesses "being."

I know that horses exist because I have observed them with my senses. Conversely, I don't believe in unicorns because I have not observed any evidence for unicorns. Of course, I can't be 100% certain that unicorns don't exist; perhaps there are entities which fit our definition of unicorn in another dimension or something.  

Zaq wrote:
The problem with the definition of supernatural that you use is that any argument that these supernatural things might exist is useable as an argument that unicorns and pixies and Russel's Teapot and the Flying Spaghetti Monster might exist.

Any entity that is logically consistent might exist. There is no way to disprove their existence; hence, they are always possible. Hence, agnosticism. How do you define supernatural?

Zaq wrote:
It's a useless way to use the word "exists" because there would be no way to tell where that word can and cannot be applied. ANYTHING might exist, and so the very idea of existence becomes useless.

I can't discuss the existence of supernatural entities, except that they are possible, but I see that as due more to my definition of 'supernatural' than my definition of 'existence.'

I can still apply it to anything that I have evidence for. 

Zaq wrote:
So apparently "produces observable effects" is not a necessary condition for existence in your book?

Um...of course.

Our observations do not prescribe reality; that is ridiculous. I know you are more knowledgeable than I am on many topics, so I suspect that I am misunderstanding you, but I honestly cannot see any other way to interpret your post.

Surely, you are familiar with the experiments involving infants, in which the researchers take a toy and hide it behind another object, so that the infant can no longer see the toy. Under a certain age, the infant will behave as if the toy no longer exists, simply because they cannot see it. But, we know that the toy is still there; just because we can't see it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Similarly, just because something doesn't produce observable effects doesn't mean that it doesn't exist; obviously, you shouldn't believe it because there is no evidence for it, but you can't reject it outright. 

Zaq wrote:
Again, how do we know that unicorns don't exist? (Or do you think they might?)

If "knowing" is 100% certainly, then we cannot "know" that they don't exist. That would require us to have observed all of reality, and we have clearly not observed all of reality. It is possible for them to exist; hence, agnosticism.

 

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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redneF wrote:What I have

redneF wrote:
What I have little doubt that Butterbattle is describing as 'exists', is, in simplest terms, something that is a physical entity that appears to be completely unfalsifiable by experimentation, and is completely reliable and predictable by all examination, and cross examination, and meta-analysis of procedure, to remove all variables that could contaminate the qualification, quantification, verification, of it's absolute existence, and give false positives.

Pretty basic, actually.

It's what's also commonly referred to as 'knowledge and understanding'.

Actually, not quite. In fact, I'm guessing this is pretty close to the definition that Zaq is using. The definition that I'm using for "exist" in this thread is a lot more, how should I say it, broad, abstract, philosophical. Natural and physical things are not necessarily the only things that exist, so they don't define existence; rather, they are the only things that we can discuss the existence of i.e. any logically consistent supernatural thing may or may not exist, and we can't be sure either way. So, natural things are like the toys the infant can see. Supernatural things are like toys that the infant can't see and never has seen.    

 

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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butterbattle wrote:Actually,

butterbattle wrote:

Actually, not quite. In fact, I'm guessing this is pretty close to the definition that Zaq is using.

You're probably right.

My bad.

As soon as I clicked respond, I got called away, and my train of thought got distracted. I described a typical scientific description of 'existence'.

What I mean to say was that it if you were to have added the qualifier of 'would' in front of 'exist' to state 'would exist', instead of asserting 'exists' (which is a presupposition).

I don't see you typically make (firm) presuppositions, in your posts. Yours seem more like 'workable hypothesis' rather than 'naked assertions'.

I always factor in the 'intent' behind the 'insertion' of an 'assertion' (lol...I'm a poet, and didn't even know it!).

butterbattle wrote:
The definition that I'm using for "exist" in this thread is a lot more, how should I say it, broad, abstract, philosophical.

I can totally dig that, as long as the intent is to 'hypothesize'. It can be helpful to try and create a working model before you go to the effort of trying to develop a method to test a hypothesis.

It's when the intent is to equivocate and make a naked assertion, that I become pedantic all over peoples' a$$es.

butterbattle wrote:
Natural and physical things are not necessarily the only things that exist,

Scientific theory suggests this, very strongly.

Dark matter could be looked at, as a metaphysical.

Gravity could be looked at, as a metaphysical or supernatural.

But, to science, labelling them as such is superfluous, just as rhetorical and hyperbolic and saying they were 'magical'.

Religion on the other hand, uses the mere idea of supernatural and metaphysical dimensions, as an actual apogee, and basis to proclaim there is a god.

IOW, getting waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of themselves.

Sheer lunacy...

butterbattle wrote:
 ... so they don't define existence

I'd personally prefer to say 'they might not fully define existence', because they are pretty elaborate definitions within the confines of the laws of physics.

For example, 'time' is both a unit of measure, and an abstract.

Most people think of the passing of 'time' in only a linear way. They see it 'starting' and travelling in a 'vector' (straight line) in the opposite way from an origin.

 

Hardcore theorists don't like to 'assume' anything that isn't proven, and I'd even go as far as saying that they always leave some room that a variable might change.

I've seen theories that spacetime (continuum) is actually 'curved' and not linear. Which allows the possibility that it might actually be a loop, (with no 'beginning and 'end' points) which could essentially be 'seen' as time being infinite.

The universe 'always having existed', is possible under those conditions.

As far as the 'matter' in the universe, and 'something coming from nothing', the Large Hadron Collider might actually prove how matter originates from 'seemingly' nothing.

 

The LHC might turn out to be the final nail in the coffin, for 'god' as the 'creator' of man.

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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redneF wrote:As soon as I

redneF wrote:
As soon as I clicked respond, I got called away, and my train of thought got distracted. I described a typical scientific description of 'existence'.

What I mean to say was that it if you were to have added the qualifier of 'would' in front of 'exist' to state 'would exist', instead of asserting 'exists' (which is a presupposition).

Right. Exactly.

redneF wrote:
I don't see you typically make (firm) presuppositions, in your posts. Yours seem more like 'workable hypothesis' rather than 'naked assertions'.

I always factor in the 'intent' behind the 'insertion' of an 'assertion' (lol...I'm a poet, and didn't even know it!).

--

I can totally dig that, as long as the intent is to 'hypothesize'. It can be helpful to try and create a working model before you go to the effort of trying to develop a method to test a hypothesis.

It's when the intent is to equivocate and make a naked assertion, that I become pedantic all over peoples' a$$es.

Hmmm, I'm not sure I follow.

I think the issue is mostly semantics, so I'm not sure if either 'workable hypothesis' or 'naked assertion' applies. I simply don't agree with defining existence as 'producing observable effects,' because that's inconsistent with how we use the word "exists." That is a sufficient condition for existence, but not a necessary condition. It is merely necessary for us to possibly know that it exists. But just because we can't possibly know that it exists doesn't mean that it doesn't; it only means that we can't observe it. 

redneF wrote:
Scientific theory suggests this, very strongly.

I think I disagree.

For some of the same reasons that I am an agnostic atheist, I am also a scientific naturalist rather than a philosophical naturalist. Science does not say that supernatural and nonphysical things don't exist. Science simply does not deal with them, as they are defined to be completely unobservable. For practical purposes, there is no difference. For, if science can't evaluate it, then you can never have any evidence for it, so it might as well not exist.

redneF wrote:
I'd personally prefer to say 'they might not fully define existence', because they are pretty elaborate definitions within the confines of the laws of physics.

I guess you could say that.

redneF wrote:
For example, 'time' is both a unit of measure, and an abstract.

Most people think of the passing of 'time' in only a linear way. They see it 'starting' and travelling in a 'vector' (straight line) in the opposite way from an origin.

Right, but just based on time dilation in special relativity, we know that's not a complete picture of time at all.

Btw, I honestly find special relativity to be almost as counterintuitive as quantum mechanics. When you are in a reference frame which is traveling at a relativistic speed relative to another reference frame, you'll observe time in that reference frame to be slowing down. However, since they are also then traveling at a relativistic speed relative to your frame, they'll also observe your time as slowing down! Crazy.

redneF wrote:
Hardcore theorists don't like to 'assume' anything that isn't proven, and I'd even go as far as saying that they always leave some room that a variable might change.

Sounds like me.

redneF wrote:
The universe 'always having existed', is possible under those conditions.

As far as the 'matter' in the universe, and 'something coming from nothing', the Large Hadron Collider might actually prove how matter originates from 'seemingly' nothing. 

Heh, I still don't like the usage of the term "nothing," because it's really misleading to the uninformed, isn't it? They assume some colloquial philosophical concept of nothing that's completely irrelevant, never pausing to study what the scientists actually mean. The quantum foam is not "nothing." A couple of random pre-Big Bang elementary particles bouncing around is not "nothing."

 

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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butterbattle wrote:Right.

butterbattle wrote:

Right. Exactly.

Ya, I was pretty sure you'd feel that way.

butterbattle wrote:
Hmmm, I'm not sure I follow.

Simply put, you don't seem to try and assume anything supernatural or metaphysical, is anything more than a theory.

butterbattle wrote:
I think the issue is mostly semantics

It does get in the way, even with people collaborating in the same direction.

I agree.

butterbattle wrote:
so I'm not sure if either 'workable hypothesis' or 'naked assertion' applies. I simply don't agree with defining existence as 'producing observable effects,' because that's inconsistent with how we use the word "exists."

I can't disagree with that.

 

butterbattle wrote:
That is a sufficient condition for existence, but not a necessary condition.

Can't disagree with that either.

But, my point is, that assuming the supernatural, and metaphysical, is simply best left out of the equation, as we have enough areas of physics that we do not comprehend enough, at the moment.

IOW, getting ahead of ourselves, is often self indulgence, and not the best use of time and resources.

Kinda like masturbating...

 

butterbattle wrote:
  It is merely necessary for us to possibly know that it exists.

Not for me.

And many I deal with. We talk about stuff like that, over lunch.

But, then again, we talk about pornstars over lunch, too.

It's a personal thing.

butterbattle wrote:
 But just because we can't possibly know that it exists doesn't mean that it doesn't; it only means that we can't observe it. 

Yup.

 

butterbattle wrote:
 
redneF wrote:
Scientific theory suggests this, very strongly.

I think I disagree.

Meh.....ok, it's subjective then.

butterbattle wrote:
 For some of the same reasons that I am an agnostic atheist, I am also a scientific naturalist rather than a philosophical naturalist. Science does not say that supernatural and nonphysical things don't exist. Science simply does not deal with them, as they are defined to be completely unobservable. For practical purposes, there is no difference. For, if science can't evaluate it, then you can never have any evidence for it, so it might as well not exist.

I like hearing perspectives like yours, and contemplating them.

It's interesting to me.

butterbattle wrote:
 
redneF wrote:
For example, 'time' is both a unit of measure, and an abstract.

Most people think of the passing of 'time' in only a linear way. They see it 'starting' and travelling in a 'vector' (straight line) in the opposite way from an origin.

Right, but just based on time dilation in special relativity, we know that's not a complete picture of time at all.

Btw, I honestly find special relativity to be almost as counterintuitive as quantum mechanics. When you are in a reference frame which is traveling at a relativistic speed relative to another reference frame, you'll observe time in that reference frame to be slowing down. However, since they are also then traveling at a relativistic speed relative to your frame, they'll also observe your time as slowing down! Crazy.

You're very right.

It is very counterintuitive, and can be very difficult to grasp.

It screws with me, heavily. It's beyond my current ability (and will probably always elude me, as I age) to ever get a good grasp on it.

A friend of mine, who is a nuclear scientist, and has been published more than once, and is one of the most Vulcan like analytical minds I've ever witnessed, is not incredibly satisfied with quantum mechanics, and either string theory, or the specific branch of string theory that's called M theory.

He's tried to explain aspects of special relativity, and quantum theory, and understands that I rely mostly on basic physics and spatial reasoning to 'model' in Euclidian space, and that it's not sufficient because I simply don't have a good enough grasp of mathematics, and gravity, to be able to understand important aspects of the those theories.

I'll never bridge that gap, because I'm simply not interested in doing so.

The return on investment for me, is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond my point of diminishing returns.

IOW, as it stands now, I can talk the panties off of virtually any woman who shares an evening of her undivided attention, with me.

That's pretty fricken' boss, if you ask me...lol

 

butterbattle wrote:
Heh, I still don't like the usage of the term "nothing," because it's really misleading to the uninformed, isn't it?

Ya, it's difficult to not agree with you there.

butterbattle wrote:
They assume some colloquial philosophical concept of nothing that's completely irrelevant, never pausing to study what the scientists actually mean. The quantum foam is not "nothing." A couple of random pre-Big Bang elementary particles bouncing around is not "nothing."

Ya, listen, we still don't fully comprehend gravity, so why place any hope for people of average intelligence, and average level of inquiry to be able to overcome the misinterpretation of what is 'meant' when scientists use the word 'nothing'?

It's futile.

 

Nice post, man...

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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butterbattle wrote:Right,

butterbattle wrote:

Right, but just based on time dilation in special relativity, we know that's not a complete picture of time at all.

Btw, I honestly find special relativity to be almost as counterintuitive as quantum mechanics. When you are in a reference frame which is traveling at a relativistic speed relative to another reference frame, you'll observe time in that reference frame to be slowing down. However, since they are also then traveling at a relativistic speed relative to your frame, they'll also observe your time as slowing down! Crazy.

I'm honestly confused, the way I understood it, if you travel at close to the speed of light, relative to the earth lets say.  You will observe people on earth to be moving much faster, conversely they would find you to be moving slower.  I'm just a layman but I thought I had that part down lol.  I'm not even trying to be a smartass, I may honestly be confusing what you meant.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:I'm honestly

Ktulu wrote:

I'm honestly confused, the way I understood it, if you travel at close to the speed of light, relative to the earth lets say.  You will observe people on earth to be moving much faster, conversely they would find you to be moving slower.

Actually, that's incorrect.

First, it's not quite correct to say that you're moving slower. Rather, your time is slowing down from the Earth's reference frame. It is your relative velocity which produces the effect. 

Also, they observe your time to be slower AND you observe their time to be slower. That is the funniest part. After all, it is equally valid to say that you're actually standing still and the people on Earth are the ones who are moving at near the speed of light in the opposite direction. If, after a while, the Earth changes to your reference frame, you can observe that the time on their clocks have not elapsed as much as your clocks. However, if you change to the Earth's reference frame, it will actually be your clocks that haven't elapsed as much time.

 

 

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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butterbattle wrote:Ktulu

butterbattle wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

I'm honestly confused, the way I understood it, if you travel at close to the speed of light, relative to the earth lets say.  You will observe people on earth to be moving much faster, conversely they would find you to be moving slower.

Actually, that's incorrect.

First, it's not quite correct to say that you're moving slower. Rather, your time is slowing down from the Earth's reference frame. It is your relative velocity which produces the effect. 

Also, they observe your time to be slower AND you observe their time to be slower. That is the funniest part. After all, it is equally valid to say that you're actually standing still and the people on Earth are the ones who are moving at near the speed of light in the opposite direction. If, after a while, the Earth changes to your reference frame, you can observe that the time on their clocks have not elapsed as much as your clocks. However, if you change to the Earth's reference frame, it will actually be your clocks that haven't elapsed as much time.

I think I missed the part where you were talking about the 'special' relativity.  I was referring to time dilation in reference to general relativity and gravity.  I had some reading done on the subject, what can I say today is definitely my day to be stupid.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:I think I missed

Ktulu wrote:
I think I missed the part where you were talking about the 'special' relativity.  I was referring to time dilation in reference to general relativity and gravity.  I had some reading done on the subject, what can I say today is definitely my day to be stupid.  

Ah, well let me make you feel even stupider then. 

If you are talking about time dilation, then you are talking about special relativity. Time dilation, like length contraction etc., describes a phenomenon that directly follows from the theory of special relativity and that has been experimentally verified. General relativity is Einstein's theory of gravitation which incorporates his theory of special relativity.

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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butterbattle wrote:Ktulu

butterbattle wrote:

Ktulu wrote:
I think I missed the part where you were talking about the 'special' relativity.  I was referring to time dilation in reference to general relativity and gravity.  I had some reading done on the subject, what can I say today is definitely my day to be stupid.  

Ah, well let me make you feel even stupider then. 

If you are talking about time dilation, then you are talking about special relativity. Time dilation, like length contraction etc., describes a phenomenon that directly follows from the theory of special relativity and that has been experimentally verified. General relativity is Einstein's theory of gravitation which incorporates his theory of special relativity.

Smiling thank you for that, I was definitely unclear on this concept.  The reading that I skimmed on it suggested that:

Quote:

This is supported by the general theory of relativity due to the equivalence principle that states that all accelerated reference frames are physically equivalent to a gravitational field of the same strength. For example, a person standing on the surface of the earth experiences exactly the same effect as a person standing in a space ship accelerating at 9.8 N/kg (the gravitational field strength of Earth). According to general relativity, inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same. Not all gravitational fields are "curved" or "spherical"; some are flat as in the case of an accelerating dragster or spacecraft. Any kind of g-load contributes to gravitational time dilation.

It also covered the scenario that you have initially suggested.  I don't want to dig myself in any deeper as I'm obviously no expert in the subject.  Suffice it to say that I'll be doing a bit more reading and I appreciate your input and somewhat clarification.  

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Gah, I leave for a week and

Gah, I leave for a week and everything develops too much.

 

Anyway, BB I have to make a fine point.  I am not claiming that something can exist only if it is observed.  This is of course quite ridiculous.  Rather, I am claiming that using obervable as a necessary condition for existence is the only way to make "exists" a useful term.

 

With the definition of exists that you are using (basically a predicate.  X exists because it has some property (like 'being' or whatever)), it seems possible to have some supernatural thing X exist, and yet be fundamentally incapable of producing observable effects.  This isn't just a "we haven't seen it yet," nor an "our instruments aren't sensitive enough yet."  This is more than that.  In such a case, a universe in which X exists would be indistinguishable from a universe in which X doesn't exist.  And in this case, there is really no point to caliming "X exists" or "X doesn't exist."  At this point it just doesn't matter.

 

So the problem is that treating existence as some sort of predicate independant of observability makes existence a useless term (when applied to the supernatural), because the universe will look the same way regardless of what unobservable things do or do not exist.

 

butterbattle wrote:

Our observations do not prescribe reality; that is ridiculous. I know you are more knowledgeable than I am on many topics, so I suspect that I am misunderstanding you, but I honestly cannot see any other way to interpret your post.

Alas, I am often misinterpreted in this way.  My basic claim is that something must be observable (in priniciple, directly or indirectly) in order to have any meaningful existence, because this is the only way for that thing to make a real difference in the universe.  Unfortunately, it is hard to clearly differentiate this from the very misguided idea that something must be observed in order to exist.

 

And yes, we aren't 100% sure that unicorns don't exist.  However, in my mind the idea "unicorns probably don't exist" comes directly form "we haven't observed any effects that stem from unicorns" (and I expect this is likely the case for most people).  The less we see of something, the more likely that something is nonexistent.  This seems like a very obvious statement, but the only way I've found to really justify it is to link existence with observability.  If you treat existence as a predicate, then a lack of observable evidence doesn't really tell you anything one way or another.

 

Questions for Theists:
http://silverskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/03/consistent-standards.html

I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.


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Zaq wrote:Anyway, BB I have

Zaq wrote:
Anyway, BB I have to make a fine point.  I am not claiming that something can exist only if it is observed.  This is of course quite ridiculous.  Rather, I am claiming that using obervable as a necessary condition for existence is the only way to make "exists" a useful term.

With the definition of exists that you are using (basically a predicate.  X exists because it has some property (like 'being' or whatever)), it seems possible to have some supernatural thing X exist, and yet be fundamentally incapable of producing observable effects.  This isn't just a "we haven't seen it yet," nor an "our instruments aren't sensitive enough yet."  This is more than that.  In such a case, a universe in which X exists would be indistinguishable from a universe in which X doesn't exist.  And in this case, there is really no point to caliming "X exists" or "X doesn't exist."  At this point it just doesn't matter. 

So the problem is that treating existence as some sort of predicate independant of observability makes existence a useless term (when applied to the supernatural), because the universe will look the same way regardless of what unobservable things do or do not exist.

Well, we don't disagree at all them. You're just using more of a working definition whereas I'm using more of a "naval gazing" definition, I suppose. Except, I still wouldn't say that the term is useless, only that discussing supernatural entities is pointless. For practical purposes, my term is no different than yours. When I observe something, I conclude that it exists.

Based on how I understand the concept of "existence," I have to treat existence as independent of observability. Sure, I could define existence such that only observable things could "exist," but I don't see much reason to.

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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Conversation Bomb

That's the cost of dropping a metaphysics bomb into a fully functional conversation.

"What do you mean by existence?"

There are types of discussions where this kind of thing is necessary but all this did was distract from the conversation. These guys were having a constructive conversation and now they are talking about the nature of the term "existence" instead of just hashing out ideas.

What a waste.