Ktulu and Joe Y.E.C. discussion.

Ktulu
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Ktulu and Joe Y.E.C. discussion.

 Hello Joe. 

Let's start by listing some ground rules here.  No insults, and no dismissing things out of hand.  Let's describe our initial position and our terms relative to religion.

 

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


Ktulu
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Hey Joe,A few things about

Hey Joe,

A few things about myself.  I am what we around here like to call an "agnostic atheist".  By that I mean that I do not believe in any deity, hence I'm not a theist, hence atheist.  I'm also open to the possibility, remote though it may be, that a deity like entity may potentially exists.  

Let's see, what else... epistemologically I consider myself to be a hardcore empiricist.  I like to think of myself as a critical thinker, and I try to be as rational and open minded as I can be.  To what degree I succeed is debatable but also largely subjective and thus irrelevant. 

I largely hold to the popular scientific view of the universe in that it is ~13.7 billion years old.  

I'll stop here, if you need any other clarification on my initial position, please ask.

 

 

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


joe_2007
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Joe's background

Ktulu,

 I anticipate a very good discussion. I would like to add one more ground rule. No making fun of each other for spelling. You'll see why in a moment. I also have very little time for posting through out the day, so please be patient for responses. I guess that's a request more than a ground rule. Smiling 

A little background on me would include a bachelors in mechanical engineering, (hence the spelling rule Smiling ), with specialty in probabilistic design.  As a kid, I grew up know 'about' Jesus, but never really talking about Him or the Bible.  I kind of knew Bible stories like 'Jonah and the Whale' and 'David and Goliath', but of course these were just the little kid versions, like Noah's ark with the elephants and giraffes sticking out.  As a kid, I assumed they were true.  So as I grew, and took science classes in school, learning the earth was millions of years old, I started trying to coheres the two ideologies together. I am sure you’ve heard some people say, “Well, what’s a day to God?  It could be millions of years.”  But as I started really looking at what I was taught in science classes, and all the underlying assumptions that I was not taught, I found the need to reconcile these beliefs diminished, and the Biblical account became the more logical choice.

 

That’s all the time I have for now. I really look forward to having an open dialog with you on this topic.  I hope that everyone else can respect the request to stay out, at least for a while. If not, we can get a one-on-one topic set up.

I would suggest some topics be radiometric dating techniques, geology, genetic mutations and probabilities of naturalistic evolution.  At some point we can talk about the Bible Stories if you want to get into that stuff.

 

Thank you,

 

Joe

 

 


Ktulu
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 No problem on ignoring the

 Smiling

No problem on ignoring the spelling, English is my second language and my mastery of it is far from perfect.  I'm a firm believer that it's the message that's important, not the medium.   I also have a full time demanding job in telecom, I'm working on my masters, and I have a young family, so you need not make any time excuses.  We can take this one post at the time, whenever you have time, I check this forum religiously ( Smiling ) at work so it seems as though I'm in here quite a bit. 

Ok, well... let's start with the fundamentals.  It seems as thought you were not satisfied with the way science was taught to you in school, and I would have to agree to a certain degree.  I believe it is up to us to fill in the gaps, to follow the whys.  Question everything and that sort of jazz.  Smiling

So, let's start with how you view reality, how do you believe we gain knowledge?  I mean that in a philosophical fundamental way.  I believe it is important to establish this basic position.  As I've stated earlier I believe that knowledge is gained empirically, and rational concepts are completely dependent on empirically derived symbols and concepts, therefore fundamentally must be expressed empirically.  

I'll stop here because I want to keep the exchange coherent, if we overload on ideas it's easy to lose focus. 

I also look forward to our discussion. 

 

 

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


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Sorry for the delay. :)

Hey Ktulu,

  I now we said no need to apologize, but when I said there would be delays, I meant a couple of days, not weeks. Smiling  I will try to get back to you soon.

 

Thanks, for the patience. Have a great weekend.

 

Joe


Ktulu
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joe_2007 wrote:Hey Ktulu, 

joe_2007 wrote:

Hey Ktulu,

  I now we said no need to apologize, but when I said there would be delays, I meant a couple of days, not weeks. Smiling  I will try to get back to you soon.

 

Thanks, for the patience. Have a great weekend.

 

Joe

No problem Joe.  Just post away whenever you have time.

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


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Basis of knowledge

Hello Ktulu,

I am finally back, at least for a few minutes. Smiling

 

Ktulu wrote:

So, let's start with how you view reality, how do you believe we gain knowledge?  I mean that in a philosophical fundamental way.  I believe it is important to establish this basic position.  As I've stated earlier I believe that knowledge is gained empirically, and rational concepts are completely dependent on empirically derived symbols and concepts, therefore fundamentally must be expressed empirically.  

 

 

I agree that empirical data is need, but I also contend that it constitutes a small portion of what we "know" to be "true" of reality.  The rest is based on assumptions, extrapolation, definitions and hearsay.  Take your car keys as a simple example. If there are in sight, then that is an empirical data point. If you leave the room, you may "know" where your keys are, but that knowledge is now based on an extrapolation of the last data point, based on an assumption. That assumption is that no one came in and moved them.  See?  You get another data point when you see them again, and the extrapolation starts over when you don't.  Like any other extrapolation, the reliability of it decreases as you get farther from the last data point. 

So now let’s examine other things that we "know".   The color of the sky on a clear day, for instance. Of course it will vary, but if you just looked up, you’d probably say it was ‘blue’.  The empirical data is your observation for that day, but what is ‘blue’?  It’s a definition, established by someone else, and in most cases passed on without verification. That’s where hearsay comes in.  When you were young, you were told, "This is blue".  At some point, you probably learned that "blue" is defined by some frequency of light waves. But even the experiment, looking at that frequency of light, and saying, "Yep, that’s blue", only correlates the definition with what you learned to be ‘blue’ as a kid

Let’s take another example, the speed of light.  I am sure that you can quote, or at least lookup the speed of light, but when have you personally ever taken an empirical data point on the subject?  Very few people have ever taken measurements of the speed of light.  We take it on hearsay that the people making the claims got it right.  I hear people say things like, "No, that is peer-reviewed scientific data."  Now you’re trusting two people instead of one, but you’re still trusting them.

Do you see what I mean? Think honestly about what you think you ‘know’, and then place it in the contexts of empirical, extrapolation, definition, assumption, or hearsay. You’ll be surprised how little you can actually put into the empirical category.

I have to get going for now. I hope to have longer to discuss things.  I read a lot of funny things on here, like people saying things are ‘fact’, when really they are just extrapolation based on some assumptions.  Hopefully we will get to them some time.

 

Talk to you soon,

Joe

 


Ktulu
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Hehe, I forgot all about

Hehe, I forgot all about this thread, good thing I check the recent posts often, I would have missed it. 

This is good stuff Joe, we're laying some stuff down. 

I'm actually having a similar thread going and we're more or less at the same point, I almost feel like cutting and pasting, I'll refrain Smiling

joe wrote:

I agree that empirical data is need, but I also contend that it constitutes a small portion of what we "know" to be "true" of reality.  The rest is based on assumptions, extrapolation, definitions and hearsay.  Take your car keys as a simple example. If there are in sight, then that is an empirical data point. If you leave the room, you may "know" where your keys are, but that knowledge is now based on an extrapolation of the last data point, based on an assumption. That assumption is that no one came in and moved them.  See?  You get another data point when you see them again, and the extrapolation starts over when you don't.  Like any other extrapolation, the reliability of it decreases as you get farther from the last data point.  

I was previously attempting to establish information or knowledge in it's fundamental property.  You have said that empirical data is needed as if there is a different sort of data.  Basically I was trying to show that empiricism is the only fundamental way of establishing any knowledge.  Let's take the car keys example you have pointed out, because it would be perfect to illustrate what I mean.

First of all, how do you gain the information regarding the object? The "data point" that you mentioned has to be fully empirical in nature in order for me to create a symbol for my inner narrative.  Due to the limited ability of our brains, we can only register a symbol relative to our consciousness.  The symbol will resemble the actual object (car keys) to a certain degree, but we will never truly comprehend the full complexity of the object in order to save time and energy.  For example I can note that I have a long silver key, and it differs from others in that it is thinner or darker, but I'm not actually going to perfectly record the number and height of the ridges, or if I'm anal enough to do that, I won't know the exact chemical composition... so on.

The point is not to know everything at all times perfectly, that's actually impossible.  The point is to know as little as necessary about the object in order to identify it.  The rest is conceptualized in my inner narrative.  Those self concepts are strung together using a series of symbols that I have empirically derived.  So when you say that I don't "know" where my keys are when I leave the room, that is entirely correct, because I am not observing them, I don't KNOW.  I don't claim to know for a fact for that to be the case.  I will assign a high probability to them being where I have left them.  The probability of them being in the same place depends on a number of factors, such as other individuals passing through the area, my memory, etc. 

You are correct in saying that the reliability of the extrapolation is indirectly proportional to the amount of time from the last empirical observation (data point).  But I am aware of the probability decreasing.  I'm not sure how this contradicts what I'm trying to prove, namely that fundamental knowledge is empirical in nature.  I will not claim to KNOW absolutely, that would be intellectually dishonest.  It would be the equivalent of saying god created the world, or god did such and such. 

I'm going to break the response down for coherency. Smiling

 

 

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


Ktulu
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joe_2007 wrote:So now

joe_2007 wrote:

So now let’s examine other things that we "know".   The color of the sky on a clear day, for instance. Of course it will vary, but if you just looked up, you’d probably say it was ‘blue’.  The empirical data is your observation for that day, but what is ‘blue’?  It’s a definition, established by someone else, and in most cases passed on without verification. That’s where hearsay comes in.  When you were young, you were told, "This is blue".  At some point, you probably learned that "blue" is defined by some frequency of light waves. But even the experiment, looking at that frequency of light, and saying, "Yep, that’s blue", only correlates the definition with what you learned to be ‘blue’ as a kid
 

This is exactly correct, but again I fail to see how this goes against knowledge being empirical.  You claim that what I think of as blue is hearsay, when in fact it is one of the most basic of symbols I have registered on my consciousness.  It is also one of the easiest to test for.  If there is any discrepancy in what I mean by blue, or what you mean by blue, we can run a simple prism test to show what blue is in reality.  This is FUNDAMENTAL, I may call it "albastru" (means blue in Romanian) but if you don't know what I mean, I can just point to the short wave on the spectrum and say the word, you will automatically know I mean BLUE.  Definitions are not hearsay, they're just the major consensus for a term.  When I register an empirical symbol on my consciousness I do it in such a way as to be able to communicate that symbol, or series of symbols creating concepts, to others.  I don't accept the colour blue on faith, I observe it and test it.  Again, religion and faith the opposite of this, they rely on hearsay fully to communicate concepts.

To be continued.

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


Ktulu
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joe_2007 wrote: Let’s

joe_2007 wrote:

 

Let’s take another example, the speed of light.  I am sure that you can quote, or at least lookup the speed of light, but when have you personally ever taken an empirical data point on the subject?  Very few people have ever taken measurements of the speed of light.  We take it on hearsay that the people making the claims got it right.  I hear people say things like, "No, that is peer-reviewed scientific data."  Now you’re trusting two people instead of one, but you’re still trusting them.

Do you see what I mean? Think honestly about what you think you ‘know’, and then place it in the contexts of empirical, extrapolation, definition, assumption, or hearsay. You’ll be surprised how little you can actually put into the empirical category.
 

 

This is a good example to show how I conceptualize scientific knowledge.  The whole scientific community is set up in such a way, that if a new idea is introduced, it is peer reviewed and scrutinized, to the point of hostility.  Furthermore, if some idea sounds off the wall, I can actually pick up some lab equipment, and within reason run some experiments.  The data and process of arriving at a result are fully transparent, falsifiable and testable otherwise it is not science, I can follow that process and the only limitation is again, time and energy (assuming ability here for the sake of the argument).  For those reasons I find the scientific community to be a source knowledge with a very high probability of being correct.  

Basically everything I use to form my worldview is one hundred percent empirical, there really is nothing else unless you can show me a different way of gaining knowledge, such as telepathy or divine intervention or what have you.  If those are processes are transparent, falsifiable and testable I will change my worldview to accept them.  

You have to clearly define an alternative to how i view the world in order for me to consider anything else.  

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


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Data is empirical, assumptions are not.

Ktulu wrote:

I was previously attempting to establish information or knowledge in it's fundamental property.  You have said that empirical data is needed as if there is a different sort of data. 

 

Ktulu.

I did not mean that data is anything but empirical. I meant that data is the only thing that is empirical, and that data constitutes little of what we call knowledge. If everything you know is from empirical data, then clearly you can know nothing of the past, because there is no way to go back and take data. See what I mean.  You know of Napoleon, but how? You were not there to meet him. Everything you know of him is passed down.

 

Now, clearly we are talking about two different things here.  I am talking about personal knowledge, while you are, at least it seems, talking about human-collective knowledge. That may be where the problem is arising in this conversation. The problem that I have with human-collective knowledge, is that things are taught as fact, when they are actually the conclusions of others' interpretation of data through their assumptions.  The data is fact, but the conclusions are taught as fact, many times without any mention of the assumptions that go into them.  An example that I like to use is this. What does counting the candles on a birthday cake tell us?

 

Have a good weekend.

Joe

 


Ktulu
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Hehe, I think we are doing

Hehe, I think we are doing what I was originally attempting to avoid, talking past ourselves.  

Here's what I'm trying to get across worded differently:

1) DATA, in the form of symbols that you register, is strictly empirical.  

2) CONCEPTS, such as words, ideas, stuff that you string together to form KNOWLEDGE are created strictly from those symbols.

3) There is no other form of fundamental data.  Hence, since the building blocks are EXCLUSIVELY empirical, your knowledge is also derived EMPIRICALLY.

If you want to refute this, you need to provide an alternate fundamental way of gaining knowledge.  In other words, you need to explain how you would communicate a CONCEPT to someone that is unable to feel, taste, hear, smell, or see.  

Notice I'm not mentioning god, or any other idea at this time, I just want to establish some common ground.

I hope that's clear so far.

 

 

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


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Ktulu wrote:Hehe, I think we

Ktulu wrote:

Hehe, I think we are doing what I was originally attempting to avoid, talking past ourselves.  

Here's what I'm trying to get across worded differently:

1) DATA, in the form of symbols that you register, is strictly empirical.  

2) CONCEPTS, such as words, ideas, stuff that you string together to form KNOWLEDGE are created strictly from those symbols.

3) There is no other form of fundamental data.  Hence, since the building blocks are EXCLUSIVELY empirical, your knowledge is also derived EMPIRICALLY.

If you want to refute this, you need to provide an alternate fundamental way of gaining knowledge.  In other words, you need to explain how you would communicate a CONCEPT to someone that is unable to feel, taste, hear, smell, or see.  

Notice I'm not mentioning god, or any other idea at this time, I just want to establish some common ground.

I hope that's clear so far.

Ktulu,

 Are you trying to say that the concepts in your mind are empirical because the words you read were made up of empirical letters?

Joe


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joe_2007 wrote:Ktulu

joe_2007 wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

Hehe, I think we are doing what I was originally attempting to avoid, talking past ourselves.  

Here's what I'm trying to get across worded differently:

1) DATA, in the form of symbols that you register, is strictly empirical.  

2) CONCEPTS, such as words, ideas, stuff that you string together to form KNOWLEDGE are created strictly from those symbols.

3) There is no other form of fundamental data.  Hence, since the building blocks are EXCLUSIVELY empirical, your knowledge is also derived EMPIRICALLY.

If you want to refute this, you need to provide an alternate fundamental way of gaining knowledge.  In other words, you need to explain how you would communicate a CONCEPT to someone that is unable to feel, taste, hear, smell, or see.  

Notice I'm not mentioning god, or any other idea at this time, I just want to establish some common ground.

I hope that's clear so far.

Ktulu,

 Are you trying to say that the concepts in your mind are empirical because the words you read were made up of empirical letters?

Joe

No, Concepts themselves are not empirical, the building blocks of concepts are empirical.  The symbols that you string together to create those concepts (you called it data) are strictly  empirical.  The conclusion then being that without said symbols there would be no Concepts.  Perhaps you can show me how you can arrive at a concept without using any of your senses.

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


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umm...

Ktulu wrote:

No, Concepts themselves are not empirical, the building blocks of concepts are empirical.  The symbols that you string together to create those concepts (you called it data) are strictly  empirical.  The conclusion then being that without said symbols there would be no Concepts.  Perhaps you can show me how you can arrive at a concept without using any of your senses.

The definition of empirical is being derived from experience or experimentation.  Yes I have experience with words, but that does not mean that if I read something about Napoleon or Jesus, that my knowledge of the subject is empirical. I never said words were data.  That was your statement.  I claimed that experiences make up very little of what we "know".  I can do all kinds of research on Napoleon, but that does not mean that any of my knowledge about him is empirical, from experience.  The data that I spoke of was in the more scientific sense of what we measure from the world around us. Not what we read about what someone else concluded from what they may, or may not, have actually measured. 

joe_2007 wrote:

I agree that empirical data is needed, but I also contend that it constitutes a small portion of what we "know" to be "true" of reality.  The rest is based on assumptions, extrapolation, definitions and hearsay.

 

 

Your premise that you can arrive at concepts only on the basis of what you see, or other senses,  leaves no room for imagination and original thought.  Alexander Bell could never have gotten the idea for the telephone, because there was not already one for him to see. You can say that other experiments led him close, but without imagination of something he had no prior experience with, there would be no connection from point A to point B, no matter how close it was.

 

 

 


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joe_2007 wrote:The

joe_2007 wrote:

The definition of empirical is being derived from experience or experimentation.  Yes I have experience with words, but that does not mean that if I read something about Napoleon or Jesus, that my knowledge of the subject is empirical. I never said words were data.  That was your statement.  I claimed that experiences make up very little of what we "know".  I can do all kinds of research on Napoleon, but that does not mean that any of my knowledge about him is empirical, from experience.  The data that I spoke of was in the more scientific sense of what we measure from the world around us. Not what we read about what someone else concluded from what they may, or may not, have actually measured. 

Not to nitpick, but the key word here is SENSES, that's what I'm trying to get across.  Let's try this in a different light...  You, myself, and everyone else interacts with the world around us using our SENSES.  This information that we gain is EMPIRICAL in nature because of that.  So you READING about Napoleon creates empirical symbols on your brain using the sense of SIGHT.  I would love to hear an alternative to how you primarily gain knowledge.  You said that "does not mean that any of my knowledge about him is empirical, from experience", without providing an alternative to gaining such knowledge.  I fact you are doing exactly that, gaining knowledge empirically.  Here's Wiki's take on what I'm trying to get across. 

 

joe_2007 wrote:

Your premise that you can arrive at concepts only on the basis of what you see, or other senses,  leaves no room for imagination and original thought.  Alexander Bell could never have gotten the idea for the telephone, because there was not already one for him to see. You can say that other experiments led him close, but without imagination of something he had no prior experience with, there would be no connection from point A to point B, no matter how close it was.

Think of empirical symbols on your brain as a bunch of Lego pieces.  Your mind is constantly arranging those pieces to form different shapes I like to call concepts.  Concepts themselves are a conglomeration of empirical symbols, and hence empirical.  You may very well arrange symbols in a new way, but that doesn't change the fact that fundamentally you have used empirical symbols.  Basically, without your senses you would have no Lego pieces to arrange.  The process of arranging symbols is nothing more than your mind's inner narrative, arranging those Lego pieces and fit them together.  Much like a Tetris game.  The game itself is imagination, without the Lego pieces however, there is no game, there's nothing but BLANK!

 

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


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Experience is first-hand knowledge

Ktulu,

  At that point, any knowledge that you have of Napoleon is second hand. You have no experience with Napoleon. Do you actually count all knowledge on the same level? So if someone writes down something about pink unicorns and you read it, do you honestly think you then have empirical knowledge, experience, with pink unicorns?

I agree that everything that we "take in" is though our senses, but you will also have to agree that assumptions cannot be empirical. Assumptions, make in the brain, are there to fill in where there is no empirical data. Do you agree with that?

Joe


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Hey Ktulu :)

Just bumping this back up so you'll see it, hopefully.  I just bookmarked it and check it each day. Smiling

Talk to you soon,

Joe


Ktulu
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joe_2007 wrote:Ktulu,  At

joe_2007 wrote:

Ktulu,

  At that point, any knowledge that you have of Napoleon is second hand. You have no experience with Napoleon. Do you actually count all knowledge on the same level? So if someone writes down something about pink unicorns and you read it, do you honestly think you then have empirical knowledge, experience, with pink unicorns?

I agree that everything that we "take in" is though our senses, but you will also have to agree that assumptions cannot be empirical. Assumptions, make in the brain, are there to fill in where there is no empirical data. Do you agree with that?

Joe

Hello Joe,

Our fiscal year is up so i'm up to my neck in projects that needed to be finished last month... I haven't forgotten about this thread. 

To answer your post, reading something about pink unicorns gives you empirical knowledge of something someone wrote down about pink unicorns. Smiling  Assumptions are just your brain interpreting empirical data and rearranging it, as part of a physical process that happens in your brain. 

Ok.. so knowledge at it's most fundamental is made of the same stuff, empirical symbols.  The way you gain knowledge and the way you classify it are two distinct processes.  In other words, you can only gain knowledge empirically, and thus subjectively.  When it comes to rating knowledge, the only ABSOLUTE, the only objective frame of reference is "cognito ergo sum".  That's the only thing that you may know with 100% certainty, everything else is expressed in degrees of certainty relative to the amount of energy and time invested in gaining the knowledge.

So let's take the pink unicorn example.  If I picked up a piece of paper that mentions pink unicorns derive their pink glow by drinking from lake Nakuru in Kenya.  And much like the flamingos, metabolize the algae into skin pigmentation.  I have indeed gained knowledge, I have gained it empirically.  If this is the only piece of information I dig up on unicorns i will place a low degree of certainty of them existing.  So now, the process of determining how accurate my assessment is, begins.  If I dig up some photos of pink unicorns chilling with flamingos, I will then elevate the degree of certainty, relative to the source.  National Geographic would rate higher than National Enquirer for example.  Well you get the idea, but take it a step further, assume that you dig up all the facts you can by sitting in front of a computer.  Do you know with 100% certainty that pink unicorns exist? Do you ever have ABSOLUTE knowledge of pink unicorns?

Suppose you travel to Africa, drive down to lake Nakuru and lasso yourself a pink unicorn.  Suppose you dissect the damn thing and have yourself some medium rare pink unicorn stake, do you have 100% ABSOLUTE knowledge that a pink unicorn exists?  What if your sense deceive you and it's in fact a burgundy unicorn? what if it's just a horse with a cancerous growth on it's back that looks like wings.  What if you're just crazy and you haven't even left your house yet, and imagined the whole bit?

Point is, past "cognito ergo sum" we can only assign degrees of certainty to ANYTHING!  But really, that's just quantifying and qualifying empirically gained data in your brain Smiling.  Reality doesn't care, nor is it influenced by our flawed and relative perception.  Reality is what it is, and it is all that it is.  If you cannot reproduce the result and empirically verify the claim through a transparent process, the odds of that claim being true falls well short of the 99.9999% of certainty we grace the vast majority of our subjective universe.  Apply all this to religion, the Bible and deities and you will see where my atheism derives from.

 

 

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


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Understandable

Ktulu,

 

 I understand completely about being busy. I just wanted to make sure that you wanted to continue our conversation. I am enjoying greatly. I will respond to your last post in a couple of days.

 

Joe


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Assumptions continued

Ktulu wrote:

To answer your post, reading something about pink unicorns gives you empirical knowledge of something someone wrote down about pink unicorns. Smiling  Assumptions are just your brain interpreting empirical data and rearranging it, as part of a physical process that happens in your brain. 

Ktulu, I believe that I misspoke, mis-wrote.  I understand that assumptions in the brain are just your brain's arrangement of the data. But there are also times, when there is no data to from which to form the arrangement.  Your brain then fills in the needed missing components. These internal assumptions are often not externalized, or even realized until pointed out by contradictory empirical data.  I have assumed that you are a man, though I can not point to anything that I have read in your posts to give me data as to your gender. My brain filled in the data about you, most likely given data about me and the majority of the other people on this forum.

 

Sometimes, the assumptions are externalize and formalized. As with scientific assumptions. An example is that the speed of light has always been constant at the same speed that it is now. This is an assumption because we have no past empirical data about the speed of light.  Even if the speed is constant now, which it may or may not be, it is still an assumption to backward extrapolate any current data to the past.  My biggest problem is that science classes, most of the time, do not teach kids about the assumptions.  They teach this or that as fact, when in reality, it may or may not be so.

 

Ktulu wrote:

Ok.. so knowledge at it's most fundamental is made of the same stuff, empirical symbols.  The way you gain knowledge and the way you classify it are two distinct processes.  In other words, you can only gain knowledge empirically, and thus subjectively.  When it comes to rating knowledge, the only ABSOLUTE, the only objective frame of reference is "cognito ergo sum".  That's the only thing that you may know with 100% certainty, everything else is expressed in degrees of certainty relative to the amount of energy and time invested in gaining the knowledge.

 Again, this is the problem that I have with the way kids are taught about science.  The "empirical knowledge" that they gain in class is that this or that is factually reality.  But actually, it is a theory or formulation trying to describe reality and has a certain degree of certainty that goes with it. Kids are often taught that if the science book says, it's fact.  I had a high school friend of mine check his biology book for the Haeckel drawings, because I had read that they were still included in current text books, even though they had been shown as forgeries and inconsistent with actual reality back in the 1870's. (I was validating my empirical data.  )   There they were, and the caption just read, "These controversial drawings show that all embryos start out the same and then diverge as they grow."  Most kids are not going to put in the energy to investigate why the drawing are controversial. They will just walk away with, "Oh this is how things are", even though embryos look more alike at later stages than they do at the beginning and that Haekel just used the same picture for the starting point on all the different species.

 

The huge assumption that most kids go on, because they are never told that it is an assumption, is that the science teacher and science books are correct. It is not until they find out later, if they do, that "oh, that wasn't right. They don't use my science book anymore because it was wrong on so many counts. "   Then they are told that science changes as new data comes into view, as stated on this forum so often. So then they assume that the new science book is correct, at least for the current data.  "My kids are just learning what wasn't known yet when I was in school. They would surely take out incorrect things, like Haekel's drawings, once they found out they were faked.  Right?"  And yet, there they are, labeled "controversial", if any note of that kind is made at all.

 

Ktulu wrote:

So let's take the pink unicorn example.  If I picked up a piece of paper that mentions pink unicorns derive their pink glow by drinking from lake Nakuru in Kenya.  And much like the flamingos, metabolize the algae into skin pigmentation.  I have indeed gained knowledge, I have gained it empirically.  If this is the only piece of information I dig up on unicorns i will place a low degree of certainty of them existing.  So now, the process of determining how accurate my assessment is, begins.  If I dig up some photos of pink unicorns chilling with flamingos, I will then elevate the degree of certainty, relative to the source.  National Geographic would rate higher than National Enquirer for example.  Well you get the idea, but take it a step further, assume that you dig up all the facts you can by sitting in front of a computer.  Do you know with 100% certainty that pink unicorns exist? Do you ever have ABSOLUTE knowledge of pink unicorns?

Suppose you travel to Africa, drive down to lake Nakuru and lasso yourself a pink unicorn.  Suppose you dissect the damn thing and have yourself some medium rare pink unicorn stake, do you have 100% ABSOLUTE knowledge that a pink unicorn exists?  What if your sense deceive you and it's in fact a burgundy unicorn? what if it's just a horse with a cancerous growth on it's back that looks like wings.  What if you're just crazy and you haven't even left your house yet, and imagined the whole bit?

 

I agree with all of this.

 

Ktulu wrote:

Point is, past "cognito ergo sum" we can only assign degrees of certainty to ANYTHING!  But really, that's just quantifying and qualifying empirically gained data in your brain Smiling.

 

Funny thing is that even "cognito ergo sum" cannot be known 100% certainty. Is it really ME that is doing the thinking? Hmm.

 

Ktulu wrote:

 Reality doesn't care, nor is it influenced by our flawed and relative perception.  Reality is what it is, and it is all that it is.  

 

Yes, and if God exists, it doesn't matter what you can perceive of Him.  Most atheists that I have talked to just say, "There is no evidence, so I won't waste my time".  They don't seem to care that things can only be "expressed in degrees of certainty relative to the amount of energy and time invested in gaining the knowledge," to use your phrase. I tend to think that the amount of energy and time invested in gaining the knowledge should be proportional to then consequences of knowing the correct answer to a question.   In engineering a car, a lot more effort is put into analyzing the brakes than the cup holders, since there is a big difference in the consequences. Smiling (And know, this is not a Pascal's wager type statement.)

 

Ktulu wrote:

If you cannot reproduce the result and empirically verify the claim through a transparent process, the odds of that claim being true falls well short of the 99.9999% of certainty we grace the vast majority of our subjective universe.  Apply all this to religion, the Bible and deities and you will see where my atheism derives from.

 

I thought about this statement as I watched the news story about people lifting a car off of a trapped person this weekend.  They even had video from a near-by security camera.  Now what if the video just showed one small women, who cried out to God to help her before she picked the car up and moved it.  Would you believe it or would you just think that the whole thing was staged?  Would you be able to reproduce the results? Not likely. If it was God's help, then he probably wouldn't help again just to appease you.   Could you empirically verify the claim through a transparent process?  If you start with the assumption that there is no God, then you probably are not going to believe the witness testimonies or the video, because you cannot reproduce it.  If you did believe them and that it happened, you would probably start with the assumption that if it wasn't staged, that there was some other adrenaline-based chemical process going on, but if it really was God's help, then you would not be able to reproduce it either.  Then which completely unverifiable theory would yo give more certainty to? I am guessing the one that your assumptions have led you to.

 

Thank you,

 

Joe

 


Ktulu
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Very good post Joe, I will

Very good post Joe, I will have to take a bit of time for a proper reply.  

 


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Thanks

Ktulu wrote:

Very good post Joe, I will have to take a bit of time for a proper reply.  

 

 

Smiling


joe_2007
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Just bumping back to the top.

Hey Ktulu,

 I hope you're doing well.

 

Joe


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Are you there? :)

Hey Ktulu,

  I'm just trying to keep this on your radar. Smiling

 

Talk to yo soon.

 

Joe


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Here's the thread, Ktulu

Ktulu,

  I assume this is the thread that you mentioned in the "Evidence, Please" thread. This one did not die, you just never came back to continue the discussion.

 I would love to continue where we left off.

Joe


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joe_2007 wrote:Ktulu,  I

joe_2007 wrote:

Ktulu,

  I assume this is the thread that you mentioned in the "Evidence, Please" thread. This one did not die, you just never came back to continue the discussion.

 I would love to continue where we left off.

Joe

Hey Joe, this wasn't the thread, but it was about the same time.

I'm sorry I got busy I had a career change within the same company and I've been busier then a one legged man at an ass kicking contest ( @ copyright Stephen King).  I didn't feel I had the type of time/energy for this kind of discussion and then I kind of shelved it until it slipped out of mind.  

I have since revised some of my previous ideas, not changed so much as... simplified or tried to remove the dead weight of the ideas.  I will read the thread over and promise to reply soon, I also enjoyed this exchange.

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