Reason is a religion

spumoni
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Reason is a religion

Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?


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There's a difference

There's a difference between reason and religion:  reason relies on evidence, religion relies on dogma

 

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spumoni
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Ok, give me evidence that

Ok, give me evidence that reason exists empirically.  If you can't, then reason is your dogma and thus its a religion.

 

(curtsy)


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So you can either trust the

So you can either trust the human condition (reason), or you can trust god. Which "dogma" works better in this world? Which is the one that you will go with? (There is a landslide victory, guess which side wins?)

 

Another interesting question:  does consciousness (the mind) exist? 

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Quote: Can you prove reason

Quote:
Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

I may not be able to see my reason, but I can see evidence of my reason's existance.  The fact that I didn't burn down my house today or spend my entire paycheck on video games and beer is evidence of my reason's existance.

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I believe we can do both. 

I believe we can do both.  If God is logical, then it only makes sense that He created a world that operates accordingly.  I think therefore I am tends to be the basis for enlightenment belief in the mind.  Heres a question:  How do you know you can trust your own mind?  What if it is constantly deceiving you but you don't know it?


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Many use the very same

Many use the very same intuitive reasoning to point to the existence of God.  Why should reason be the only appropriate answer to the evidence?


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Just curious...how do we

Just curious...how do we "intuitively reason" which god is the true one?

 

 


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Quote: Many use the very

Quote:
Many use the very same intuitive reasoning to point to the existence of God. Why should reason be the only appropriate answer to the evidence?

Crediting god with the calculated thoughts of the individual or the happenings of chance isn't intuitive reasoning. It's pure poetry. It may sound pretty, but it doesn't make the world go round.

There are things that are verified and things that are unverified with a large swath of grey in between. We may not be able to hold up thought as something substantial to show one and other, or have all of the answers to every question. That doesn't using "god did it" as the default answer to every question is correct or even somewhat justifyable. The longer we do that, the longer our questions will remain unanswered.

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spumoni wrote: Can you

spumoni wrote:
Can you prove reason empirically?

What do you even think you mean by this?

Quote:
 

Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

You're commiting a category error.

You're also revealing that you've never read Descartes, or if you have, you didn't understand him: The fact that you think is axiomatic. 

Mental processes like 'reason' or 'logic' are not descriptive statements we make about the world so much as they are methodologies. They don't need to be "proven", they are the standard by which proofs are possible.

 

 

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spumoni wrote:Ok, give me

spumoni wrote:

Ok, give me evidence that reason exists empirically.

Why seek inductive evidence of something that is axiomatic - i.e deductively (necessarily) true?! It is axiomatic that you are reasoning, because in order for you to ask your question, you must first reason. So you already have far more than mere inductive evidence, you have deductive proof! 

But let's play...

Quote:

If you can't, then reason is your dogma and thus its a religion.

Well then, are you reasoning?

If not, then we can ignore your words, right?

If you are reasoning, then you've just refuted yourself. You've given us proof of the existence of reasoning.

Pick your poison.

 

Quote:

(curtsy)

(while the court laughs)

We know that reason exists empirically, because we can infer reasoning from behaviors.

We know that reason exists, axiomatically, when we ourselves employ reason.

So we have both empirical evidence and deductive proof. Deductive proof allows us to have certain knowledge that we reason.

I've never met anyone more thorougly refuted than you.... but you'll continue on, anyway, right?

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spumoni wrote:I believe we

spumoni wrote:
I believe we can do both. If God is logical, then it only makes sense that He created a world that operates accordingly.

Logic applies to arguments, to signs, not the thing that they signify. This means that logic deals with proper forms of argument.

So what do you mean by 'work logically'? You obviously cannot possibly be referring to 'logic'. You must instead be referring to metaphysics, or even physics.

If you mean 'obey physical laws" then how can a supernatural creator follow laws?!!? If 'god' is an entity that follows natural laws, then this would make this 'god' natural and part of the natural order.

And who would make these laws anyway, if not this 'god'? If this 'god' makes the laws, what sense would it make to say he 'follows' them if 1) again, see the problem above and 2) he sets them by fiat, in the first place?! In other words, he can't have a 'reason' as to why he follows any laws, because he would be responsible for the existence of the reason! 

Quote:

'I think therefore I am' tends to be the basis for enlightenment belief in the mind.

Too bad you don't grasp it yourself, if you did, you'd have seen how it refutes your arguments here.

Quote:

Heres a question: How do you know you can trust your own mind? What if it is constantly deceiving you but you don't know it?

 

I find it odd that you quote Descartes above, yet seem unable to recognize that his cognito ergo sum was created to refute this very problem!

Please go actually read Descartes.

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Thanks todangst, you are a

Thanks todangst, you are a BEAST!  I've learned something today!


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You learned that todangst

You learned that todangst is a beast?

Hmm, I learned something too, methinks.

 Yes, kudos todangst.  I was reading the post and was about to let loose my own beast...I could have worded that better...when I noticed you had already lossed your beast.  And two guys with their beasts loose is, well, more gay than I like.  

Not taht their's anything wrong with that.

My question;

how do you know that the Devil didn't send his son to deceive you away from God, and the the Bible and all of christianity is a perversion of the Jewish message that is the truth?  Or perhaps Zoroastrianism was the truth, and both Judaism and Christianity were deceptions from Satan?

Man, with that kind of nihilism, how could you possibly believe in anything non-axiomatic?

You've convinced me, now where's my Jesus cracker, I'm hungry!

Shaun 

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


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This is insane, giving you

This is insane, giving you evidence for something IS 'reason'!

You are asking us to give you reasons why using reasons (evidence) is better than just making shit up, or accepting that the next thing you read, or that someone tells you, is true?? Or do you have some basis, ie a reason, for deciding what to believe?

How do you know you can trust your own mind? What if it is constantly deceiving you but you don't know it?

And how do you know you can trust yours about the existence and nature of God?

REASON leads us to seek which method of deciding what is most likely to be true seems to work best for us. Some people look at ALL the evidence, ie we test our ideas against what we perceive as the real world, compare our tests with other peoples', and do our best to avoid accepting stuff just because we want to, because it makes us feel good (otherwise we are no better than a drug addict, taking his 'fix' to get 'high' ) .

Other people find 'reasons' to reject ideas which don't fit their existing ideas, even when those ideas can be shown by lots of examples to better explain what we see. What is your 'reason' for rejecting reason??

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

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BobSpence1 wrote: This is

BobSpence1 wrote:

This is insane, giving you evidence for something IS 'reason'!

Right. He's already employed (reason) what he asks to be demonstrated, thus meeting his own challenge and refuting himself.

Quote:
 

You are asking us to give you reasons why using reasons (evidence) is better than just making shit up, or accepting that the next thing you read, or that someone tells you, is true?? Or do you have some basis, ie a reason, for deciding what to believe?

If he asks for a reason for why we should value reason, then he's already, again, presupposing that there is in fact a value to reason.

I'm glad that this thread has led so many of my favorite posters to post....  

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spumoni wrote: If you

spumoni wrote:

If you can't, then reason is your dogma and thus its a religion. 

 

Theist scientists think your strange 

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If God is logical, and we

If God is logical, and we are created in His image, then the one that most corresponds to reality.


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Inference to the best

Inference to the best explanation and abductive logic are not poetry.  My critique is that you rely on something that is not visible, measurable, etc. This is the same criteria leveled against belief in God.  Shouldn't you seek to be consistent?


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Isn't it convenient that

Isn't it convenient that your methodology is above question while you require exhaustive arguments of other "axiomatic" claims?


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spumoni wrote:If God is

spumoni wrote:

If God is logical, and we are created in His image, then the one that most corresponds to reality.

Again, I already dealt with this claim - - what on earth do you mean by 'god is logical'?

Again, logic deals with assessing argument forms. It deals with signs, not the things that the signs signify. So your statement 'god is logical' makes no sense, unless you are saying "god makes logical arguments" OR you saying that 'god' follows natural law.

If you are saying the former, what does that even mean?

If you are saying the latter, then you're turning 'god' into a natural entity... he's no longer supernatural, and you've left theism altogether and have entered pantheism.

In addition, you need to explain how logic can refer to something outside of nature. That's yet another ontological blunder in your claims that you don't seem to have any awareness of...

spumoni wrote:
Inference to the best explanation and abductive logic are not poetry.

You don't even seem to know what logic is, or what axioms are yet... so I'd advise you to stop making comments on subjects you're ill prepared to discuss. And before you lodge a complaint, your posts already demonstrate this ignorance, so just concede the issue and move on.

Quote:

My critique is that you rely on something that is not visible, measurable, etc.

And your critique is ridiculous, because you've been forced to employ reason to question the existence of reason! So the fact that you think you can't 'see empirical evidence for reason' (even if it were true) is moot, because you already have rational grounds, deductive grounds, axiomatic grounds, for the existence of the fact that you reason!

I've already told you that you are making a category error, but it's now clear that you don't know what a category error is.... It's an error to ask to 'see empirical evidence for reason, if by this you mean 'see reason in it's pure form' ' because reason is an electro-chemical-neural process that takes place within a person's cranium, that can only be experienced directly by first person ontology.... so you would only be privy to a third person's view of my ontological experience of my reasoning.... So to ask to see my reason directly is a category error. See the error now? You infer my reasoning through behavior.

And again (notice how often I have to repeat the refutations to you) it's UNNECESSARY to ask to see something if you already MUST employ reason to ask about the existence or reason!

However, if you do want to 'see reason' you CAN see it, you can see it indirectly through inferences from behavior .

Which is PRECISELY WHAT YOU ARE FUCKING DOING NOW AS YOU READ THIS!

Think about it! If you want to argue my point with me, you are CONCEDING THAT I AM REASONING WITH YOU. When you respond, you respond because I am giving you reasons that you choose to deal with.

You REFUTE yourself with EVERY WORD in EVERY POST.

Do you get it yet, or does the bartender need to send you home?

Quote:

This is the same criteria leveled against belief in God. Shouldn't you seek to be consistent?

This is not the same 'criteria' leveled against belief in god. No one is saying "I can't see god' and 'god' is not an axiom. You're error is a gradeschool error.... it equates non existence with invisibility!

What atheists actually tend to say is this: there are no good reasons to hold to god belief.

Look, let me be even more blunt: You don't have much of any idea of what you are talking about when you attempt to refer to the grounds for atheism typically expressed on this site... you don't even seem to know what an axiom is, or what logic is, so why not sit back and learn what you're talking about first?

spumoni wrote:
Isn't it convenient that your methodology is above question while you require exhaustive arguments of other "axiomatic" claims?

Isn't it convient that you don't have any idea what you're talking about? This way, you're free from realizing just how ignorant your claims are, or that you've already been refuted!

Let's count the errors here:

1) My methodology is not above question! Axioms are defended through retortion. How on earth can you enter into this discussion if you don't already know that? And if you had any idea at all of what you were talking about, you'd already realize that you've demonstrated defense through retortion, by asking for REASONS to believe that reason exists. You've been forced to employ the very process you sought to doubt... this is defense through retortion!

2) No one ever asks for an argument for an axiom, unless they are ignorant of what an axiom is... Axioms are not defended by argument in the first place. Would you like to know why?

Because axioms are the grounds for which argument is possible in the first place. In order to have an 'argument' to defend an axiom, you'd have to find an axiom to make the argument! Sort of a problem, isn't it?

Axioms are defended however - they are defended through retortion. This means any attempt to refute them requires that you rely upon them as the basis of your refutation. This means that any attempt to deny an axiom leads to an internal contradiction.

If you want an example of axioms defended through retortion, just look at how your arguments all suffer from self refutation. The fact that I have to explain this to you demonstrates that you don't know what you're arguing about. You've refuted yourself here, and you've done so in the very way that provides the grounds for the defense of axioms.

3) "God" claims are not axiomatic, if they were, stating "god does not exist' would lead to an internal contradiction... therefore, if you want to claim that 'god exists' you need to give an argument. So the idea that we are asking for exhaustive evidence, when we don't expect it of ourselves is just moronic... you're just expressing an ignorance of what an axiom is, combined with ignorance of what atheism is, combined with ignorance of how to actually argue a point...

So that's one statement, with three basic errors in logic... quite a feat, even for a theist.

 

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spumoni wrote: then the one

spumoni wrote:
then the one that most corresponds to reality.

That's a whole lot, of course you just thrown in the "We look like him" for good measure, but that's almost begging the question.

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Spumoni wants us to prove

Spumoni wants us to prove why we should apply the same criteria of reason and argument that we, and he himself attempts to do in his own discussion here, use for every other area of reality, to arguments about the existence and nature of God.

He wants to justify giving God a 'free pass' from logic and reason, obviously because logic and reason have consistently failed to provide any evidence or argument remotely powerful enough to 'prove' his pre-supposition about such a fundamental aspect of reality.

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

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

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Obviously, Spumoni is

Obviously, Spumoni is applying, or attempting to apply, fundamental logic and reason in his arguments. The distinction he is trying to make is between different methodologies, it seems.

On the one hand, we argue that physical evidence and verification is required before one can even conditionally accept a proposition about some aspect of reality. OTOH, he demands that it is not necessary or appropriate to apply this to God, and insists that purely intuitive and internal experiences are all that is required.

He confuses this by calling our approach 'reason', then asking us to use 'reason' to justify our position.

He is effectively alluding to the 'problem of induction', ie how do we inductively justify inductive reasoning, which has been thoroughly addressed centuries ago, I believe...

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

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

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

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To begin with,

To begin with,

I do NOT agree with Spumoni's presentation - I am more interested in his claim than his proof.

I think that our best reminder that reason can be elevated into a religion unto itself (i.e., that one can make reason into a sort of cult) is found in the sig. of one of the above posters "The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land..." . The Enlightenment's enshrinement of reason led to an overblown humanism which postmodernists have deflated -- and which critical realists have also come to reject. During the French Revolution reason would even be personified in the iconic image of an idealized female form.

To argue that one cannot question rationality without pain of contradiction is not exactly true. If reason demonstrates that rational systems are always incomplete (i.e., Gödel), one does not shoot the messenger for being irrational. If one finds that positivist empiricism cannot jettison its own hidden metaphysical baggage, one does not then claim that the sky is falling or that something must have gone wrong in the reasoning.

Reason becomes a religion when, for example, the positivist refuses to accept her own metaphysical baggage because she is sure that her answer is right. "Positivism as we know it cannot be wrong -- the error must lie in your demonstration." Reason is a tool -- it is not nirvana. When the map disagree with the territory, you redraw the map or acknowledge its inherent limits.

I have nothing against reason. I think that we should strive to be rational creatures. My caution is directed toward those who think that reason (specifically, Western Empiricism) is the end-all be-all.

Reasons to be cautious about reason:

1. We are not naturally rational in the sense of some logic-chopping UTM. Studies indicate that humans use heuristics that approximate purely logical computations without the pain of expending limited cognitive resources. People, in fact, are suckers are non-logical conclusions (from the peanut gallery I hear a yell - Yeah! and one of them is theism!). The so-called missing dollar problem and the Wason Selection task are examples of how non-logical we really are. Moreover, our brains did not evolve so as to make us "logical" - our brains evolved to help us survive long enough to spread our genes. Our brain, as one scientist puts it, is a collection of kludges which has been Jerry-rigged several times.

But isn't this all the more reason that we should be careful reasoners? Sure it is. My point , however, is that we should be cautious about any reasoned demonstration (even those that confidently claim to disprove God), because humans can always goof things up. But more importantly....

2. Reason is a human creation -- it is not a Platonic form, at least it should not be if you are a card carrying materialist, but rather a human creation. As a human creation "rationality" is implicated as having limits - of sometimes being wrong or unable to give a coherent answer (i.e., self-referring sets). Also, rationality evolves. This is most obviously the case in scientific rationality (today's scientific truth is often tomorrow's falsity), but even geometry and logic have evolved over time.

Faith always comes into the picture at some point no matter what you hold to be true. This does not bother me, because I believe one can have a rational faith. If you can endure the insult ( you have faith too), you can also enjoy the compliment (you are not irrational for having faith). We all have faith in something. The atheist cannot disprove the existence of the flying spaghetti monster anymore than the theist can prove it, but the choice to not merely remain agnostic points to willingness to believe without complete evidence.

And yes, one can make a reason a religion unto itself. When reason points it its own limitations, the logical thing to do is to recognize the limitations of the tool. There are times when reason (from a narrow definition of reason) loses all traction. These are the times when we go on instinct, or rely on tradition and hope for the best.

Note: This does not meant that the theist is right.

Note: This does not mean that you are wacky for believing in reason.

I am only here to argue for a weak version of Spumoni's claim.

Cheers,

YARN


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BobSpence1 wrote: He is

BobSpence1 wrote:

He is effectively alluding to the 'problem of induction', ie how do we inductively justify inductive reasoning, which has been thoroughly addressed centuries ago, I believe...

You are absolutely right in that we should all be very clear in identifying what we call reason and I think that you have pretty much diagnosed Spumoni's argument. I play pretty fast and loose with the term in my own post, so I hope you read it charitably.

I only take issue with your off-hand comment that the problem of induction was addressed centuries ago, because this seems to imply that the problem was "solved." I have no more hope for a rational solution for the problem of induction than I do for a rational proof for the existence of God. If you've got either, I'd love to see it. The only real solution I know of is Hume's -- and that is to reallize that you cannot take his disproof too seriously since induction is too valuable (in fact, it is impossible to give up), and to, therefore, nod at the problem and continue inducting away.


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BobSpence1 wrote: He wants

BobSpence1 wrote:

He wants to justify giving God a 'free pass' from logic and reason, obviously because logic and reason have consistently failed to provide any evidence or argument remotely powerful enough to 'prove' his pre-supposition about such a fundamental aspect of reality.

You're giving him too much credit, even in saying that... he wants to give his god a free pass, because he doesn't understand what an axiom is - he thinks it's merely an unsubstantiated assumption, and he takes from that ignorance the belief that he's free to assume whatever he wants...

I've seen the same error 1000 times... it's called presuppositionalism.... the philosophy of the ignoramous....

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YARN wrote: I think that

YARN wrote:
I think that our best reminder that reason can be elevated into a religion unto itself

Please demonstrate how reason has been elevated into a religion. Please define religion, and then show how people treat reason as a religion. Please don't waste my time with quotes in admiration of reason, as admiring something is not making it into a religion.

Quote:

The Enlightenment's enshrinement of reason led to an overblown humanism which postmodernists have deflated

Overblown humanism? What do you mean by that? And how on earth did postmodernism deal with overblown humanism?

If postmodernism 'deflated' anything, it was Laplacian certainty, not a valuation for reason:

"Give me the past and present co-ordinates of any system and I will tell you its future"

- Pierre Laplace

But in doing so, postmodernism merely took from modernists themselves, modernists who already saw these problems on their own.

1) The key tenets of postmodernism are wholly unoriginal. The basis for every major tenet of postmodernism can be found in modernistic writers, such as Hans Vaihinger (the philosophy of "as if" and William James. Unless you want to retroatively enlist the 19th century writers Vaihinger and James as a postmodernists, you're out of luck here!

2) Postmodernism, at most, is a correction of the Laplacian certainty that crept into scientific thinking. And even here, the postmodernist steals from modernists - quantum scientists.

So basically, postmodernism is nothing more than a rehashing of the corrections of modernism that originate in modernists themselves. About all you can claim that might be new is the feminist/minority slant of postmodernism critiicism against middle class european white males, but feminism itself is quite capable of raising that issue!

Quote:

-- and which critical realists have also come to reject. During the French Revolution reason would even be personified in the iconic image of an idealized female form.

I see no reason why reason shouldn't be marveled at or praised... to praise something is not to elevate it to a religion.

You've not made your case, unless you equate admiration with religious fervor.

Quote:

To argue that one cannot question rationality without pain of contradiction is not exactly true.

You misunderstand the conversation. He's not just questioning the limits of rationality, he's questioning whether it can be empirically validated... and then equating an inability to do so with the need to take it on faith that it exists!

That's the actual argument here. You seem to want to make an entirely different one.

So, it is true that there is a contradiction if one is questioning the existence of reason itself. To question the existence of reason requires reason.

Ergo it is a self refutation.

Quote:

If reason demonstrates that rational systems are always incomplete (i.e., Gödel), one does not shoot the messenger for being irrational.

First of all, you're misuing Godel, like pretty much everyone else who brings him up, probably including me. Godel has no application here...

Second, whether or not 'rational systems are incomplete' (whatever you mean by that) has nothing to do with the topic being discussed here; it has to do with affirming the existence of reason through empirical methods.

Quote:

If one finds that positivist empiricism cannot jettison its own hidden metaphysical baggage,

You're off on a tangent here... postmodern debate is three doors down on the left.

Quote:

Reason becomes a religion when, for example, the positivist refuses to accept her own metaphysical baggage because she is sure that her answer is right.

Name me a positivist who holds to inductive processes as a dogma.

Please also recognize that the limits of positivism were first pointed out by positivists, centuries before the first postmodernist came along to repeat the obvious.

Quote:

Reasons to be cautious about reason:

1. We are not naturally rational in the sense of some logic-chopping UTM.

This is not a reason to be cautious about reason. It is a reason to be cautious about a person's ability to be reasonable.

Quote:

Studies indicate that humans use heuristics that approximate purely logical computations without the pain of expending limited cognitive resources.

In other words, people use cognitive shorcuts like assumptions and scripts, in order to avoid having to reason things out.

Again, this is not a reason to mistrust reason, it is a reason to mistrust human decision making, which is not always reasonable.

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People, in fact, are suckers are non-logical conclusions

Again, this has nothing to do with reason, it has to do with the fact that people don't always reason!

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But isn't this all the more reason that we should be careful reasoners? Sure it is.

Right. We should be careful to reason rather than to just assume where reasoning is appropriate...

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2. Reason is a human creation -- it is not a Platonic form, at least it should not be if you are a card carrying materialist, but rather a human creation.

I don't recall creating reason, nor can I point to any person who created reason, nor do I recall ever being able to make parts of resaon 'optional' as per human need - I don't recall being able to rewrite deduction or induction in a way of my own choosing in total disregard to reality.

Thererfore, the claim that reason is a human creation appears to be too strong. Reason is made up of deductive and inductive processes (leaving 'abduction' aside). While humans create logic, they are not free to create any logic they desire AND have this logic work. And while humans can create systems of induction, again, they are not free to simply create rules as they wish... their rules must conform to 'something' other than the self.

So a key function of reason is to create a relationship between a sentient being and the universe. The universe is not a creation of any person.. .ergo reason, as an interactive process cannot be a 'man made creation' in the sense you claim. You go too far my friend, too far!

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As a human creation "rationality" is implicated as having limits - of sometimes being wrong or unable to give a coherent answer (i.e., self-referring sets).

The fact that anything has a limit is what gives it identity in the first place... so I find it bizzare to hold a thing's limits, i.e. it's identity, as a reason to question it!

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Also, rationality evolves. This is most obviously the case in scientific rationality (today's scientific truth is often tomorrow's falsity),

How is this evidence of rationality itself evolving? In what way has rationality itself changed? And how on earth does it lead to questioning the value of reason itself?

I think what evolves is humanity's grasp of the workings of rationality... not rationality itself, per se. I think our brains are not all that different from those of our ancestors.

As for the idea that scientific advancement illustrates advancement of rationality, I disagree. If Newton deposes Kepler, and Einstein deposes Newton, there is no implication that Newton or Kepler were 'wrong'. Each theory builds upon the earlier work, and improves upon it.

But Newton's view of gravity still works where Newton focused: on the macro world.

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but even geometry and logic have evolved over time.

Evolved? Or has our understanding of geometry logic broadened and deepened. There's a difference. The first implies that logic itself has changed somehow... I don't see how...

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Faith always comes into the picture at some point no matter what you hold to be true. This does not bother me, because I believe one can have a rational faith.

Rational faith is an oxymoron by definition. Theistic faith (and please, lets not conflate this faith with colloquial usages of the word) is unjustified belief. If you have reasons to believe, you can't have faith,because you then have grounds for your belief. It's really that simple... if you have reasons, you don't have belief without a reason!

So faith exists in contradistinction to reason.... Read St. Paul himself:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:1.

Furthermore:

Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV)

Why does one still hope for what one sees?

That says it all. Paul nails it.

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If you can endure the insult ( you have faith too),

Nope. You're conflating theistic faith with colloquial usages of the term that equate faith with trust or even probability, so you're not able to make the judgement in the first place.

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you can also enjoy the compliment (you are not irrational for having faith).

Theistic faith is irrational by definition. To have reason is to have a grounds for a belief, ergo no faith.

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We all have faith in something.

You're confusing colloquial usages of faith for theistic faith.

We may all trust, or take things on probability, but it is not necessary to hold to beliefs without any grounds at all.

Can you demonstrate a belief I hold that is held without any grounds?

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The atheist cannot disprove the existence of the flying spaghetti monster anymore than the theist can prove it, but the choice to not merely remain agnostic points to willingness to believe without complete evidence.

Certainty is not required for disbelief. At the same time, we can be certain that claims that suffer an internal contradiction are false!

Atheism is disbelief in the claims of theists. That's it. No faith is required to not believe something, unless the claim is backed up by overwhelming evidence.

Even in cases where an atheist turns to strong atheism, a postive rejection of 'gods', the belief can be grounded in reasons. So the position never has to be a faith position.

Finally, I must ask: you do realize that we can make categorical universal negative statements, right? We can rule out claims if they are self contradictory, or incoherent. We make universal negatives all the time. You're confusing the limits of induction for a limit on all reason (i.e. deductive thinking).

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YARN wrote:BobSpence1

YARN wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:

He is effectively alluding to the 'problem of induction', ie how do we inductively justify inductive reasoning, which has been thoroughly addressed centuries ago, I believe...

You are absolutely right in that we should all be very clear in identifying what we call reason and I think that you have pretty much diagnosed Spumoni's argument.

Actually, he's clearly not making that argument at all. If you look at his posts, he asked for empirical evidence for reason. It's abundantly clear that he did so in the hopes of hearing that we could not provide any... (otherwise, he wouldn't have bothered with the rhetorical ploy at all, notice how he's bowing in belief that he's stymied the board). His hope was that he could then say "aha, but you believe in reason without evidence, ergo I can believe in god without evidence!

He was giving the same old bad theistic reasoning: I can't build an argument for my own case, so let me tear down your worldview, and then argue that my case is just as BAD as your own!

In other words, his argument was a 'can you see the wind' style of argument..... he even employed references to 'seeing'....

Quote:

I only take issue with your off-hand comment that the problem of induction was addressed centuries ago, because this seems to imply that the problem was "solved."

It was, by Hume himself, who noted that assuming the value of induction was not irrational.

However, you're probably looking for more than that.

So try here:

http://www.candleinthedark.com/inductive.html

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I have no more hope for a rational solution for the problem of induction than I do for a rational proof for the existence of God. If you've got either, I'd love to see it.

Ok.

http://www.candleinthedark.com/inductive.html

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The only real solution I know of is Hume's --

Then you've not read enough to make a good decision on the matter. Heck, you could even get a solution from the imbecilic Thomas Reid

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and that is to reallize that you cannot take his disproof too seriously since induction is too valuable (in fact, it is impossible to give up), and to, therefore, nod at the problem and continue inducting away.

Actually, that's pragmatism, and not his solution per se, although it is part of his solution. His solution was to accept that induction was a habit. Yes, it did have survival benefits (pragmatism), but most of all the point here was that it was not irrational per se, merely non rational (i.e as a habit) as opposed to irrational. In other words, we learn habits unconsciously, not 'rationally'.

To me, the 'problem' was always overblown, and really stems from the error of trying to hold to inductive logic as if it were deductive. Do away with this error, and the 'problem' disapears...... Also, for such a well bandied about 'problem' it doesn't seem to bother any scientist I've ever heard of....

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1) I love you todangst, I

1) I love you todangst, I would like to have your babies.

2) You mentioned induction and deduction and then something called "abduction". What is that? Is that an actual reasoning method or just a joke about the fallacy of the stolen concept? I have not heard of it.

3) If some sort of basic reasoning skills are built into the brain, it might mean that we have no choice but to use reasoning. Even if you're insane, you're still using reason, it's just that you're arguing from premises like "Satan lives in my sock drawer".

4) I am going to found the First Church Of Modus Ponens. I am looking for people to be clergy and also I need some people to work on a holy text.

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JeremiahSmith wrote: 1) I

JeremiahSmith wrote:
1) I love you todangst, I would like to have your babies.

Well, I'd certainly call that a ringing endorsement of my posts here today. Thank you.

Quote:

2) You mentioned induction and deduction and then something called "abduction". What is that? Is that an actual reasoning method or just a joke about the fallacy of the stolen concept? I have not heard of it.

Our theist friend who doesn't seem to know what axioms are, or what logic itself actually is, raised the term, so I thought I'd mention it. Charles Pierce came up with the idea, and he claims that abduction is the sole method of learning something "new" - i.e. abductive processes have to do with generating hypotheses from observing phenomena.

http://www.Pierce.org may have some of his writings.

So to be brief, deduction has to do with deriving consequences from the known... (i.e. bachelor is unmarried)

whereas abduction supposedly works in reverse - in that it provides an explanation for a known or observed phenomena....

Some write it this way:

Deduction: B can be derived as a consequence of A

I.e., we know that is a man is a bachelor that he is unmarried.

Abduction: A entails B

I.e. this set of observations leads to this explanation.

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3) If some sort of basic reasoning skills are built into the brain, it might mean that we have no choice but to use reasoning.

I agree. Reason is a relationship between a sentient brain and the universe. And the universe itself is a 'given', something unalterable by thoughts alone, so there's no way that 'reason' could be wholly 'man made' - it has to be a relational phenomena... the universe shapes our brains to some degree.

Some like to argue that a brain could consider rational concepts (deductions) without a universe, but I don't see how a brain could even develop sans a stimulation.

Quote:

Even if you're insane, you're still using reason, it's just that you're arguing from premises like "Satan lives in my sock drawer".


Excellent observation! This is precisely what experts in schizophrenia, such as Louis Sass, have observed: the schizophrenic's sense of logical form remains intact, it is his presmise that are 'bizarre'

For example, if you believe that the only way to protect yourself from alien mind control is to wear a tin foil hat, then it does make sense to wear a tin foil hat. It is the premise, and not the logic, that is at fault.

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4) I am going to found the First Church Of Modus Ponens. I am looking for people to be clergy and also I need some people to work on a holy text.

Ah, but then you'd be turning logic to a religion, and I have no desire to debase something so valuable. An idea only needs religious protection if it cannot stand on its own.

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well, todangst, I guess you

well, todangst, I guess you can see I am bending over backwards trying to give spumoni the benefit of the doubt, that he has some slight understanding of logic, and is merely not expressing himself clearly. His 'argument' does vaguely relate to the 'problem of induction', but you are almost certainly right, that would be giving him too much credit (again).

I was waiting for you to come in and address the Problem of Induction as commented on by YARN, altho I think I could have covered it adequately in my own way. As expected, you covered it pretty well.

My current take on it is that induction is based on probabilities, and the associated maths, and does not seek to 'prove' anything in the deductive sense, merely establish probabilities for various propositions based on historical data and the observations of how frequently various events occur in relation to others and in what sequence.

So it could be said to start from a definition of 'probability', then deduce logically the maths of probability following from that definition, and apply that maths to other observations. It is a tool for making estimates of what most probably will be the consequences of some set of starting conditions with some procedure applied, and similar sorts of things. It is at the heart of Science of course.

The laws of probability are all mathematically, ie, deductively, proved. All inductive reasoning does is use these laws to produce estimates of probability for various outcomes, based on observational data and a set of assumptions. When these predictions match closely the subsequent observations, at least much more closely than predictions based on different assumptions, we don't say we have proved the assumptions ('theory') used to make that prediction, but we assign that theory a higher degree of respect, and downgrade the alternatives.

It is effectively 'proving' itself all the time - if it was not a valid approach to acquiring useful and productive information about reality, which is all it is meant to be, the predictions and measurements would never converge. Since they frequently do, otherwise Science would not have worked as well as it has, from your computer to comm satellites to the miracles of modern medicine, we are justified in saying it is valid, ie, it meets its claims.

Not pretending that is an exhaustive or best possible defence of inductive reasoning, just my best current effort.

EDIT: How about this logical argument:
Inductiive reasoning claims to be a methodology for providing new, useful, productive working assumptions about reality.
In the form of Science, in particular, it has massively expanded our ability to manipulate, predict, and control the world around us.
Therefore it's claim is valid.

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

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BobSpence1 wrote: well,

BobSpence1 wrote:
well, todangst, I guess you can see I am bending over backwards trying to give spumoni the benefit of the doubt, that he has some slight understanding of logic, and is merely not expressing himself clearly. His 'argument' does vaguely relate to the 'problem of induction', but you are almost certainly right, that would be giving him too much credit (again).

Well, that question is a bit more interesting, I suppose, but our friend made it clear: either provide empirical evidence of reason, or concede that belief in reason is equitable with 'god belief'. There's nothing more than a 'can you see the wind' argument here.

Quote:

I was waiting for you to come in and address the Problem of Induction as commented on by YARN, altho I think I could have covered it adequately in my own way. As expected, you covered it pretty well.

Well, I've really given my review of philosophos' comments from his infidelguy presentation, but I concur with his reasoning of course.

Quote:

My current take on it is that induction is based on probabilities, and the associated maths, and does not seek to 'prove' anything in the deductive sense, merely establish probabilities for various propositions based on historical data and the observations of how frequently various events occur in relation to others and in what sequence.

Yes, agreed, and the problem of 'assuming the future will be as it has always been' is not really an issue to begin with... we don't need to make such an assumption.

Quote:

So it could be said to start from a definition of 'probability', then deduce logically the maths of probability following from that definition, and apply that maths to other observations. It is a tool for making estimates of what most probably will be the consequences of some set of starting conditions with some procedure applied, and similar sorts of things. It is at the heart of Science of course.

Yes, and science is prepared to accept that 'gravity will cease to work tomorrow' - there's no need to assume that there will certasily be a continuous uniformity of nature accross time into the future.... that's a false dilemma. Yet that is the supposed 'problem of induction'!

There's another side to the problem that theists miss: even according to the Humian notion of the problem (how can we assume the future will be like the past?), there was never a reason to hold that the future will be different from the past! Inductive uncertainty is not a reason to hold that the universe will suddenly change in nature! It is merely a grounds to question the certainty of any inductive claim!

Yet you'll note that theists tend to present the problem as a problem that necessarily leads us into universal skepticism!

Quote:

The laws of probability are all mathematically, ie, deductively, proved.

Yep.

Quote:

All inductive reasoning does is use these laws to produce estimates of probability for various outcomes, based on observational data and a set of assumptions. When these predictions match closely the subsequent observations, at least much more closely than predictions based on different assumptions, we don't say we have proved the assumptions ('theory') used to make that prediction, but we assign that theory a higher degree of respect, and downgrade the alternatives.

It is effectively 'proving' itself all the time - if it was not a valid approach to acquiring useful and productive information about reality, which is all it is meant to be, the predictions and measurements would never converge. Since they frequently do, otherwise Science would not have worked as well as it has, from your computer to comm satellites to the miracles of modern medicine, we are justified in saying it is valid, ie, it meets its claims.

Not pretending that is an exhaustive or best possible defence of inductive reasoning, just my best current effort.

Same here.

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todangst wrote: Excellent

todangst wrote:
Excellent observation! This is precisely what experts in schizophrenia, such as Louis Sass, have observed: the schizophrenic's sense of logical form remains intact, it is his presmise that are 'bizarre'

I've been thinking about this, and I'm having a hard time coming up with any human behavior that doesn't involve reason. What we call irrational behavior means one of two things:
1) You have an unsupported, unrealistic, or otherwise "bizarre" premise. For instance, our schizophrenic has the premise "Satan lives in my sock drawer", a premise which is strongly unsupported.
2) You have failed to take into account well-supported premises. For instance, someone who attacks his friend after seeing him make out with his (the attacker's) girlfriend is using some basic premises like "I like having a girlfriend", "If this continues I will not have a girlfriend", and "Therefore I must stop this from continuing". He has, however, forgotten premises like "Talking things out often works better than violence" and "There are significiant social sanctions against punching people in the face".

Even things like habits, emotions, and instincts are, basically, automated syllogisms, evolved to make reasoning quicker in situations where your decision speed meant the difference between being naturally selected for or naturally selected against. They work fast, but as a tradeoff they make several "Type 2" errors -- indeed, because many emotions and instincts evolved a long time ago, before various revolutions in technology, society, and government, most of them fail to take into account many modern premises, like "my society contains an impartial third-party who has the permission of said society to impose sanctions on people like me". There were no police in the African serengeti. And some, like the startle instinct, make moderate (i.e. not schizophrenia-level) "Type 1" errors -- back when they evolved, it was far more likely that "loud noises" meant "something that will kill me horribly". Now, of course, even today things that can kill you sometimes make loud noises, but there are a lot of loud noises that are mostly harmless.

I've never taken a philosophy course or anything, but I'm having trouble finding a counterexample, a volitional behavior in which reason -- automated or otherwise -- has no part. You'd need significant brain damage, I'd think, and even the brain processes that were still active would have some sort of internal patterns and consistency by simple virtue of being physical processes following laws.

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I am glad I finally got

I am glad I finally got tagged with the "theist spotting" badge. I guess I'll have to wear my Star of David on my sleeve here. You will forgive me if I check out before you start piping in the Zyklon B.

"If postmodernism 'deflated' anything, it was Laplacian certainty, not a valuation for reason"

First, I said that postmodernism deflated the overblown humanism that contributed to the elevation of reason.

Second, there are plenty of postmodernists who have scandalized reason as well.

Third, I am not a postmodernist, so you can blast it all you want. -- I will, however, get queasy when your website turns to having a "pomo denial challenge" in which you encourage people to break in on late night coffee shop discussions of grad students and record taunting and denying the validity of the postmodern perspective.

"First of all, you're misuing Godel, like pretty much everyone else who brings him up. Godel has no application here..."

First, that last statement is a claim and not an argument. I could claim that there is a flying spaghetti monster.

Second, Gödel does have application if you read it in the context of my argument (i.e., down shift out "HULK SMASH!!!" mode for a moment or two, you might agree -- you might not -- but, it would be nice to be given a hearing before you get blasted). His proof demonstrates that no sufficiently developed formal theory can be both complete and consistent. In other words, it shows that the sidewalk ends -- there is always going to be something important that is not covered. The result was certainly a bummer for Hilbert. The result reiterates that our formal theories are tools -- not the end all be all -- because that cannot be.

"Second, whether or not 'rational systems are incomplete' (whatever you mean by that) has nothing to do with the topic being discussed here; it has to do with affirming the existence of reason through empirical methods."

If you note the beginning of my post (i.e., if you don't begin with a headlong refutation, but actually read the thing), you will note that I stake no claim for his reasoning, but only seek out to consider his claim.

"Again, this is not a reason to mistrust reason, it is a reason to mistrust human decision making, which is not always reasonable."

I am glad that you believe in the Platonic realm of reason - you are a true believer after all. Let's say, for the moment, that your world of the objective contents of thought supervenes with the material world. We are still left with a lack of a God's Eye view of this realm. That is, we only have the epistemic vantage point of human observers. The only thing we have is "human decision making" -- which is fallible. You, however, have faith in 1. a rational universe which is 2. adequately captured and represented by human reason. Rationality is a human concept, so I am not sure if the term even applies to the material world in so comfortable a fashion.

"I don't recall creating reason, nor can I point to any person who created reason, nor do I recall ever being able to make parts of resaon 'optional' as per human need - I don't recall being able to rewrite deduction or induction in a way of my own choosing in total disregard to reality."

Reason is part of your cultural inheritance and your biological endowment. Both of which are fallible, both of which have been demonstrated to have troubling flaws. If "reason" is floating in the ether out there, our brains are still not perfect tuning forks for it. What you have are bunch of short cuts, mental representations, and rational traditions. You were not built as a logic machine. It is very hard work to be rational in the way you suggest. Moreover, who is to say that a deeply rational universe has to be entirely comprehensible to humans? Before we had the concept of a limit Xeno's Arrow paradox was a deep mystery. Heck, before we had the concept of the "Zero" there was a lot of math we could not do. Calculus was not received quietly -- many mathematicians rejected it on the grounds that included "infinitesimals" in computations. It was not brute mathematical reason that compelled mathematicians to adopt it -- it was the fact that this heretical branch of mathematics worked so well that it could not be ignored. Sure, you can take the line that "Calculus" was always there -- after all, how else would have Newton and Leibniz developed them at the same time? (one uninspiring answer is that given how prior mathematics had been constructed, the time was right). There have also been bad theories in mathematics which at one time seemed perfectly rational. And before we developed this powerful new branch of mathematics, we had no answer to Xeno. The epistemic position is not a trivial inconvenience.

"While humans create logic, they are not free to create any logic they desire AND have this logic work. And while humans can create systems of induction, again, they are not free to simply create rules as they wish... their rules must conform to 'something' other than the self."

I don't think that it is an accident that human reason works (this is part of the reason that I am not a postmodern). I think that there are good evolutionary arguments to be made about the quasi-logical capacities of the brain -- brains that adequately approximate the world are more likely to survive -- this, however, is no guarantor that what passes for reason (for us) is not flawed (there are always paradoxes, mysteries, and anamolies that challenge our pristine theorizing -- this is the reason why the later Wittgenstein gave up the method of the Tractatus). There is a pretty strong argument for heuristics, but even our best "logical" methods (with which we frown at mere heuristics) are likely to prove faulty, incomplete (actually, Gödel mathematically proved that they have to be incomplete -- see he gets traction here after all) -- awaiting the day that we discover the zero (or do not).

"The fact that anything has a limit is what gives it identity in the first place... so I find it bizzare to hold a thing's limits, i.e. it's identity, as a reason to question it!"

I don't question the existence of reason -- I question the idea that reason is a universal solvent for all problems. I question the idea that everything we know or justifiably believe can be conveniently be boiled down to a first figure syllogism. I simply don't have as much faith as you do. Maybe you have religion after all.

I really get a kick out of how you define faith as irrational and then cite a bunch of Bible verses to me, like a theist necessarily has to assent to your cherry picking of one theist text. If your definition of faith is "unjustified belief" -- you have pretty much rigged the game in your favor. I would argue that there are other modes of justification than the scientific method. Our argument turns crucially on what we consider to be rational.

"Certainty is not required for disbelief, nor is certainty required to reject an internal contradiction!"

I agree with the first clause, but am not sure what you mean by the second. Where is the internal contradiction involved in believing that there is (or might be) a flying spaghetti monster, or unicorn, or planet Girggleblix? -- the contradiction is in your rigged game of faith = irrational does not apply to the statement I was making.

"Finally, I must ask: you do realize that we can make categorical universal negative statements, right? We can rule out claims if they are self contradictory, or incoherent. We make universal negatives all the time."

I must ask: you realize that falsifiability has proven to be as difficult a thing to prove as verification? There are, for example, "disproved" scientific ideas which have been revived with better instruments and theories. Sometimes a contradiction is only apparent, as is incoherence.

As for the problem of induction - I would point out that it is not just the difficulty of knowing the future, but of generalizing to unobserved cases. Statistical methods work great, provided one is allowed to make certain (crucial) assumptions about the sample population (like a normal distribution). Last I checked, the philosophers are no closer to solving the problem (or dissolving the problem as a you appear to suggest) than they were 200 years ago. There have been many proposals, but somehow we have managed to get by without the definitive answer. I suspect from the erudition of your own response that you know this perfectly well, so I see no need to dismiss this problem from the armchair (as if this were point that you had to win). 

 

 


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The FSM is not accepted

The FSM is not accepted because

1. No direct evidence for it, whether verified set of sightings or other direct encounter;

2. Not probable because of no evidence for anything with similar properties.

So no, we may not have an internal contradiction, that is the only way we can have 100% certainty, but in this case, as with God claims, we can only reject outright the contradictory ones. The rest can only be assessed as very low probability.

Many such things, while not ultimately provable or disprovable, we are free to make individual assessments that they are low enough probability to ignore in going about our life. There is a very low but finite chance (higher than my personal assessment of a God's existence, no supernatural assumptions required) that a black hole is heading toward us at such a speed and direction that it will destroy the earth in the very near future, but if everyone on earth abandons there normal activities and participates in a global effort to develop and construct a device to detect and divert it, we might avoid annihilation...

So should we do that? 

So our life decisions hinge on probability assessment, not ultimate proof. 

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

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

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Bob,

Bob,

Your reasoning is impeccable.

In terms of reasoning which is socially compelling (i.e., not private evidence), I have no good reason for you to hold your breath for the FSM. In fact, I do not think that anyone really does. I could give you my reasons for belief, but they are anecdotal and private. I might as well tell you that I met Santa Claus.

I believe that on an individual basis we sometimes have good reasons which are not respectable in the socially verifiable way that is endorsed here. Suppose, for instance, that the Matrix was actually real. Now suppose you got unplugged, met Morpheus, and did some Kung Fu. If you went back into the Matrix and found me, I would have every inclination to think you were crazy. Your evidence, to me, would be laughable. And yet, within your frame of reference, I think that YOU would have a justified belief about the world different from my own. 

The only thing I was trying to do with Spumoni's claim, was to point out that most of what we believe in life, we actually have a weak warrant for. Most of what I know about history is based on testimony. When I read an article I don't understand, I trust in the authority of peer-review and skip to the discussion section. I don't know that my car is still there (I haven't checked). I believe in evolution, but I can't prove it in the same way one would wish for in a perfect world (i.e., with an alternate Earth to test counterfactual claims). Faith in the sense of relying on a social or statistical warrant is a fact of life. In that sense, we all have faith and if we are being honest -- we don't really "know" all that much.

My central claim is that there are some people who mistakenly hypervalorize reason from a tool into a God term. My claim was not that reason is wacky -- just that you can get carried away - even with reason - mistaking the map for the territory. I really don't think that this is really a threatening position to an atheist. I was simply reframing the OP's claim.

 

 

 

 

 

 


BobSpence
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YARN

YARN

you may or may not have gathered from the tone of my comments, that I really do not put much weight on the works of philosophers, since I see little or no REAL knowledge about the world coming from that source. It seems to me mostly speculation - the truly valuable components of Philosophy in the classical sense have pretty much been spun off into true Disciplines, such as Logic, Mathematics, and Science.

Science especially is inexorably encroaching on areas which many still regard as intrinsically beyond such rigorous study, especially in the area of consciousness and the mind.

So I really don't care that (some) philosphers are still agonising over what is to me, frankly, the NON-problem of Induction...

I see value in Phiosophy, as a form of somewhat disciplined speculation, in exploring ideas on the fringes of currently reasonably 'nailed-down' Science.

I consider that many famous Philosophers of recent centuries have not only made little positive contribution to human knowledge, but have led us off in entirely mistaken directions. Science can do this as well, but at the core of the Scientific enterprise is a self-checking regime, and an absolute requirement that theories be constantly tested against whatever imperfect perception we have of 'reality'.

Whatever the 'ultimate' nature of reality is, 'matrix' or otherwise, almost certainly stranger than anything postulated by science or religion, which are inextricably HUMAN enterprises, we can only work with what we have.

The fact that science has been very productive suggests that our imperfect perceptions and thought processes are adequately consistent with reality as it impinges on us, and that such reality is stable and coherent enough for us to work with.

The inductive/scientific methodology, with its built-in mechanisms, such as peer review and independent replication and testing, to detect and correct the more common errors our individual minds are prone to, are the best we can hope for, IMHO.

All else is private, or possibly shared, fantasy. But hey, we need myths and stories to give ourselves some context/ Our emotions are essential; 'pure' rationality with no pleasure or pain, love or joy, would be the world of the traditional 'robot'.

Science is recognizing the importance of emotions, and has ever better tools to study them both at the cognitive and neurological level, and actually takes emotion more seriously than many philosophers of old, whose ideal was 'Pure Reason'.

I find the best of modern Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels vastly more mind expanding and stimulating of ideas than any dusty old religions and philosophers. I've been to countries where the dominant cultures have been Buddhist, Muslim, and other non-Xian variants, and I don't find any of them, in the practical working out in the life of the people, having much more to offer that yet another set of comforting myths. They usually seem to introduce some degree of fear as well, along with the re-assurance, whether of demons or devils or temptations to 'sin', leading to loss of karma or bonus points toward some imagined future fate.

The revelations of science about the grandeur of the Universe, so much richer and vaster and ultimately still more mysterious than any of those ancient ideas, lead me to look upon the religions of the world as all rather quaint and short-sighted...

I've directly gazed upon the decorations on the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt, the walls and spires of Angkor Wat, ancient tombs and temples in China and Samarkand, as well as Russian and European cathedrals, and none of them touch me as profoundly as the deep-field images from Hubble...

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

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

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

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


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YARN wrote: I am glad I

YARN wrote:

I am glad I finally got tagged with the "theist spotting" badge. I guess I'll have to wear my Star of David on my sleeve here. You will forgive me if I check out before you start piping in the Zyklon B.

"If postmodernism 'deflated' anything, it was Laplacian certainty, not a valuation for reason"

First, I said that postmodernism deflated the overblown humanism that contributed to the elevation of reason.

I know. And I asked you to defend that claim.... You haven't. Go back and look at my post. 

So the comment you are responding to here was a counter claim - i.e. post modernism is more a correction of the hubris of positivism,( a correction that was first noted by modernists). 

I don't see how it's a 'deflator of overblown humanism" - unless by this you mean to say the hubris of positivism!

So again, I ask you to demonstrate your claim. Or agree that our views are equitable on the matter, making this moot.

 

Quote:
 

 Second, there are plenty of postmodernists who have scandalized reason as well.

Oh my! 

Quote:
 

 Third, I am not a postmodernist, so you can blast it all you want. --

I'm not blasting away as much as I am turning the tables on post modernism, by showing it's own hubris. Capice? 

 

Quote:

I will, however, get queasy when your website turns to having a "pomo denial challenge" in which you encourage people to break in on late night coffee shop discussions of grad students and record taunting and denying the validity of the postmodern perspective.

I didn't deny the validity of the perspective. I said that there was nothing original to post modernism, as far as its key concepts go. 

So you're not really responding to my points here, nor are you on topic.  So far, I can't even say that you're beating a strawman  - you're beating the strawman's next door neighbor. 

Quote:
 

"First of all, you're misuing Godel, like pretty much everyone else who brings him up. Godel has no application here..."

First, that last statement is a claim and not an argument.

Sure, it's a claim. Yes I didn't  go through the painful details of expressing what Godel is really about and about how it along with quantum theory and the theory of relativity are the three most overgeneralized concpets used on the net. Guilty as charged.

However, I didn't try to digress into a topic that I myself am not a master of, particulary when, again, Godel's theory has no relation to the conversation you're replying to... This conversation has to do with my posts about our friend's challenge to demonstrate reason empirically.

Quote:

Second, Gödel does have application if you read it in the context of my argument

My point is that it has no relation to the argument I am having, the one you are supposedly commenting on. That argument has to do with a challenge to demonstrate the existence of reason, empirically.

  

Quote:

If you note the beginning of my post (i.e., if you don't begin with a headlong refutation, but actually read the thing), you will note that I stake no claim for his reasoning, 

Again, the discussion centers on affirming the existence of reason through empirical methods. So your comments have no bearing here. 

 

todangst wrote:

"Again, this is not a reason to mistrust reason, it is a reason to mistrust human decision making, which is not always reasonable."

 

Quote:
 

I am glad that you believe in the Platonic realm of reason

I do not hold to such a belief! I have as much respect for platonism as Ayn Rand.

You know, I can't recall ever talking to someone who was so clealry NOT talking back to me, or responding to anything I've actually said. What I just told you was that human decision making is not always driven by reason, it may be driven by instinct, or force of habit. Nothing here relates to platonism, in any way imaginable.  

The funny thing is that both of us know this... you seem to know a bit about cognitive psychology and how people actually 'think'.... and so do I. 


 

todangst wrote:

"I don't recall creating reason, nor can I point to any person who created reason, nor do I recall ever being able to make parts of resaon 'optional' as per human need - I don't recall being able to rewrite deduction or induction in a way of my own choosing in total disregard to reality."

Quote:
 

Reason is part of your cultural inheritance and your biological endowment.

You are now conceding that reason is not man made. Agreed. It is born of biology, evolution, and secondary factors - societal, etc.

It is also a relational process - i.e. reality shapes biology.  Biolgoy seeks to manipulate aspects of reality.  

 

 

Quote:

Both of which are fallible, both of which have been demonstrated to have troubling flaws. If "reason" is floating in the ether out there, our brains are still not perfect tuning forks for it. 

I've not said that reason is floating out in the ether. I have said that reason respresents a relationship between sentient brains, which are physical, and the universe, which is physical.

 So the rest of your comments have no bearing on anything I've said... you're clearly eager to talk about such things, perhaps another thread?

 

 

todangst wrote:

"While humans create logic, they are not free to create any logic they desire AND have this logic work. And while humans can create systems of induction, again, they are not free to simply create rules as they wish... their rules must conform to 'something' other than the self."

 

Quote:
 

I don't think that it is an accident that human reason works 

I have not said that of your argument, nor mine. Again, you're comments have no relationship, at all, to anything I say. You might as well reply to a different post altogether. 

Sorry, don't mean to be harsh. 

 

 

Quote:

(this is part of the reason that I am not a postmodern). I think that there are good evolutionary arguments to be made about the quasi-logical capacities of the brain -- brains that adequately approximate the world are more likely to survive -- this, however, is no guarantor that what passes for reason (for us) is not flawed

 

 

(there are always paradoxes, mysteries, and anamolies that challenge our pristine theorizing -- this is the reason why the later Wittgenstein gave up the method of the Tractatus). There is a pretty strong argument for heuristics, but even our best "logical" methods (with which we frown at mere heuristics) are likely to prove faulty, incomplete (actually, Gödel mathematically proved that they have to be incomplete -- see he gets traction here after all) --

 No, he does not, as the discussion, again, for the 100th time, has to do with a challenge to demonstrate reason empirically.

Again, if you want to do some godel talk, by all means, open up another thread. You clearly have a lot to say, and your desire to discuss all of these intersting topics is bleeding over into our thread. 

 

todangst wrote:
 

"The fact that anything has a limit is what gives it identity in the first place... so I find it bizzare to hold a thing's limits, i.e. it's identity, as a reason to question it!"

 

 

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I don't question the existence of reason

Ok, but thats <I> what the discussion is about. </i>

 

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-- I question the idea that reason is a universal solvent for all problems. 

Who said it was. Can you please, please, please, comment on a position I actually hold to?

Your comments are good ones, but they have no bearing on this particular discusison here.  

 

Quote:
 

I really get a kick out of how you define faith as irrational

Hey! You are responding to something I actually said!

WOW!

Ok, now I get a chance to actually communicate something with you. Faith is irrational, as it is unjustified belief. It's belief based on desire. If this is news to you, my condolences. That's what 'faith' is.. and that's precisely why faith is not reason... if faith were merely belief on rational grounds, then why even use the term 'faith?
 

What do you even think it means? If you want to equate it with trust, or probability, then you have experience of 'god' and then yo have grounds for a reasoned belief, not FAITH.

It's really that simple. I can only see denials of this as  intransigience. Why are theists so pained by the idea that faith is not reasoned belief?

  

Quote:

and then cite a bunch of Bible verses to me, like a theist necessarily has to assent to your cherry picking of one theist text.

 You say 'cherry pick' without actualy demonstrating that that occured....  show me how I've taken Paul out of context. 

 I've given you what Paul himself says about faith and hope. I could also quote "jesus' himself, who blesses those who believe without seeing. Faith is belief without rational justification... it's belief based on desire. It's a hope.  

Quote:

 If your definition of faith is "unjustified belief"

It's not mine, it comes from theology. It predates me by a few eons.  If you really want to credit me with inventing the concept of theistic faith (and deny jesus and paul's precedence on the matter) can you at least get me an honorary theology degree?

Seriously, can you please stop misrepresenting the situation in a biased fashion - assuming I created the definition? Thank you.  

Quote:
 

 -- you have pretty much rigged the game in your favor.

No, I've defined the term accurately.  If you want to hold that faith is 'justified belief' then please, please, please, do more than  make up a lie and then attack me personally over it... instead, try to argue your point.

For example, you coudl explain the need for the word 'faith' in the first place.. why use the term at all if 'faith' is merely another word for reason? What's the point of delineatign faith from reason in the bible, if they are the same process? Explain how Paul can attack reason, and value faith, if they are fundamentally the same process - i.e. justified belief?

Can you do that? 

Quote:
 

I would argue that there are other modes of justification than the scientific method.

Of course, there is also deduction for example. Again, you argue a point that I don't hold to...  

 

Quote:

"Certainty is not required for disbelief, nor is certainty required to reject an internal contradiction!"

I agree with the first clause, but am not sure what you mean by the second.

 

Yes... go back and see how I edited the error. 

Quote:
 

Where is the internal contradiction involved in believing that there is (or might be) a flying spaghetti monster, or unicorn, or planet Girggleblix?

Where do I say there is one? My point is that we can create universal categorical negative statements if a statement is internally contradictory.

 

Quote:

-- the contradiction is in your rigged game of faith = irrational does not apply to the statement I was making.

 

Can you please stop giving me credit for one of the key elements of christianity? You're making me blush.... 

Anyway, I've not rigged any game of 'faith','the definition of faith as unjustified belief predates me by eons, as I've demonstrated here and in my last post - unless you want to give me credit for the works of St. Paul... and Jesus for that matter.

And anyway, the contradiction has nothing to do with faith or how it is properly defined, it has to do with theistic claims for 'god' and omni traits... so get on the ball, Jack. 

 

Quote:
 

"Finally, I must ask: you do realize that we can make categorical universal negative statements, right? We can rule out claims if they are self contradictory, or incoherent. We make universal negatives all the time."

I must ask: you realize that falsifiability has proven to be as difficult a thing to prove as verification?

Well, hold up first. You're missing the point before you.

We can make universal negative categorical statements.  We can rule out contradictions or incoherencies.

Now, to get to what you've said here:  What are you trying to say about falsifiability? Are you trying to argue that there needs to be a  "proof' for falsifiability?

But falsifiability relies on modus tollens. You do realize that modus tollens is a valid form of logic, right?  

 

Quote:

There are, for example, "disproved" scientific ideas which have been revived with better instruments and theories.

Sure, but hw does this unseat modus tollens?! All it shows is that error exists. No scientist disagrees.

 

In fact, take a look at my entry on modus tollens on my webpage for the scientific method:

http://candleinthedark.com/scientific.html 

 

 

 If science is never certain, can it ever prove anything?

On stricly logical grounds, it is impossible to prove a theory, while is is possible to disprove a theory. To do otherwise would violate the tenets of formal conditional logic, by committing the formal fallacy of "affirming the consequent."

The logical fallacy of Affirming the consequent
p > q
q
p
Example of the fallacious thought: If you administer this drug, then the subject will feel better. The subject feels better, therfore the drug worked.


Possible reason for the error: The person could feel better for other reasons.

The logically correct form of Modus Tollens
p > q
~q
~p
Example: If you administer this drug, then the subject will feel better. The subject doesn't feel better, therfore the drug didn't work.

The distinction between affirming the consequent and modus tollens can be applied directly to theory testing. Hypotheses take on a conditional form: If X is true, then Y should occur. From this, we can see that if Y does not occur, then the theory is false. This is pure Modus Tollens at work.

However, imagine that Y does appear. Can we then say that the hypothesis is absolutely true? Unfortunately, no, because the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent informs us that there may always be other factors at work, even random factors, that are behind the phenomena. We can disprove, but never prove.

Note: It is important to note that realistically, single experiments are not really seen to disprove a theory. Other factors may have prevented the drug from working. Since error can occur, this error is corrected by the use of several experiements performed independently. Only then would we discard what otherwise seemed a good theory. But once we encounter multiple outliers, we must revise or abandon our theory, or risk mutating science into religion.

Even then, we record our results... future scientists may uncover our methodological errors.

 

See? 

 

Quote:
 

Sometimes a contradiction is only apparent, as is incoherence.

Sure. Human error. When I note that contradictions are false, I am speaking deductively, in the abstract. But any particular claim for an contradiction could be in error. I have no problem conceding that a human can be in error concerning a contradiction.

I fail to see how this unseats the logic behind the reasoning however! I also fail to see how uncertainty itself can be a reason to doubt any particular claim of contradiction, it is only a reason to question the certainty of the judgement.

 

Quote:
 

As for the problem of induction - I would point out that it is not just the difficulty of knowing the future, but of generalizing to unobserved cases.

 Sure. I can agree.  Look, take a look at my discussion of induction first, and then get back to me.

 

Quote:
 

Statistical methods work great, provided one is allowed to make certain (crucial) assumptions about the sample population (like a normal distribution). Last I checked, the philosophers are no closer to solving the problem (or dissolving the problem as a you appear to suggest) than they were 200 years ago.

Then you have a few centuries of reading to catch up on!

Seriously, I think you overstate the importance of the 'problem' and I think you might be interested to find out about how philosophers and logicians since Hume have dealt with the problem. 

Quote:
 

There have been many proposals, but somehow we have managed to get by without the definitive answer. I suspect from the erudition of your own response that you know this perfectly well, so I see no need to dismiss this problem from the armchair (as if this were point that you had to win).

Look, my points are twofold:

1) The problem is mainly overblown rhetoric

2) A lot has happened since Hume. 

 So go read it for yourself. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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YARN wrote:The only thing

YARN wrote:

The only thing I was trying to do with Spumoni's claim, was to point out that most of what we believe in life, we actually have a weak warrant for.

His argument has to do with requesting empirical verification of reason, in the hopes of demonstrating that the existence of reason must be taken on faith. 

 That's the very reason he's calling reason a religion in the first place.   

 And again, the refutation is that he affirms reason deductively in making the request.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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If you insist on

If you insist on discussing the issue only on the terms that Spumoni proposes, that’s fine. It’s not particularly interesting, but whatever. If you insist on reading my post as supporting his reasoning (even though I lead off my initial post by explicitly washing my hands of it), then you are correct – I am missing the point and many of my arguments do not apply. I will say that you are misreading me and vice versa.

What concerns me is the anxious twitch that you and Bob exhibit when it comes to defending the faith. Bob, for example, writes off the entire discipline of philosophy as a valid enterprise! Last time I checked, philosophy journals also peer-reviewed and subjected to the scrutiny of the wider community. Sure, there is a lot of philosophical junk out there, but there is a lot of science junk too. At the point that your argument choice is to eject one of the strongest resources for atheism, (simply because you don’t like the dialectical position of not having knock down answer to some hoary old problem) you should suspect that your argument has taken a left turn somewhere.

You, on the other hand, argue that logical entailment somehow solves the problem ala falsification, but the fine print of your demonstration betrays the very point I have been advocating – of course you can formally disprove a theory – the sticky part, however, has to do with the material validity of any given premise of the proof. And even if we can logically disprove the existence of one spaghetti monster, there are an indefinite number of spaghetti monsters ready to take flight. Even more frightening is the realization that the proof may be flawed, not just because we may have erred ever so slightly in our computations, but because our reasoning itself is incomplete (i.e., there may be a theory of calculus that provides us with a limit which in turn resolves the paradox – and so goes another proof). Worse yet, our limited human brains may never stumble upon it or never have the capacity to recognize it if we do.

I don’t click on links in anonymous forums, so I am sorry that I did not peruse your suggested reading. I do think, however, that if the problem of induction had been solved, someone would have sent me the note or that, at least, I would have heard the celebratory guns firing off in the background.

It is not logical to demand more certainty than a subject matter allows. And yet you both have swooped in to defend the realm of induction as if the “rationality of rationality” demanded any such proof. If you believe in the panaceal power of rationality, despite its own rationally demonstrated limits, then yes, I would say that you have got religion.

 

 


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YARN wrote: If you

YARN wrote:

If you insist on discussing the issue only on the terms that Spumoni proposes, that’s fine.

You're again missing the point.

Spumoni made a claim.

I responded to it.

And you responded to my post.

My post is a response to Spumoni.

If you want to discuss other issues, by all means, start another thread.

Quote:

It’s not particularly interesting, but whatever. If you insist on reading my post as supporting his reasoning (even though I lead off my initial post by explicitly washing my hands of it), then you are correct – I am missing the point and many of my arguments do not apply.

Let's try again

THIS THREAD HAS TO DO WITH SPUMONI'S CLAIM AND MY RESPONSE TO IT. If you want to discuss other things, that don't relate to it, by all means, start another thread.

Quote:

I will say that you are misreading me and vice versa.

Sigh, but you say it without demonstrating it, whereas I demonstrate precisely where you go astray in your comments to me.

You are misreading me, because nearly every response to my posts that you have posted has had nothing to do with what I actually say.

Also, you tend to just blurt and assert - like you assert my biblical arguments are out of context, by just assuming it from the outset, rather than demonstrating it. Please back that claim up. Show me where I take Paul out of context. Don't just assume it.

Quote:

What concerns me is the anxious twitch that you and Bob exhibit when it comes to defending the faith.

What concerns me is how you have to write off people with personal attacks like this. No one here is 'defending the faith' other than Spumoni. We've given you arguments. Deal with the arguments actually before you, please understand them correctly , and respond if you like. But drop the personal attacks.

 

Quote:

Bob, for example, writes off the entire discipline of philosophy as a valid enterprise!

First of all, I doubt he does this at all, - again you tend to make wild claims based on your misunderstanding of what people actually say.

But let him respond. Let's see if you're right or wrong. Bob, do you write off the entire discipline of philosophy as a valid enterprise?

Quote:

You, on the other hand, argue that logical entailment somehow solves the problem ala falsification,

Actually what I said was that falsification works through modus tollens, and I challenged you to demonstrate a flaw in modus tollens itself. Please, again, do your best to actually represent what others like Bob and myself actually say, and please do your best to stop with the outrageous strawmen. OK?

It would help, again, if you actually quoted what you were responding to.... like I do.

Quote:

but the fine print of your demonstration betrays the very point I have been advocating

I will again tell you what I actually said. The 'fine print' (i.e. that science does not necessarily reject a hypothesis because of one falsification) does NOT demonstrate a problem with falsification. It demonstrates the acceptance of human error in attempting to use modus tollens.

What it actually says is this: human error exists. Ergo, one might fail to properly unpack modus Tollens. One may include a false premise with the presumption that it is true.

So this actually says NOTHING at all about a problem with falsification itself, it says that humans might create errors in experiments that do not allow them to properly unpack modus tollens. All modus tollens promises is IF you put in true premises, a true conclusion MUST follow. It doesn't say "whatever premise you plug in magically becomes necessarily true"

This is basic logic.

So again, you aren't able to read what is actually said, and again, you use your misreading to go off on a wild goose chase.

Please, again, if you wish to respond, quote what you are responding to, and stick to what is actually said in the quote.

Quote:

– of course you can formally disprove a theory

Thanks for refuting yourself. Formally.... i.e. deductively.

i.e. a sound form. i.e. Modus tollens is sound.

The end.

Quote:

– the sticky part, however, has to do with the material validity of any given premise of the proof.

AH, but this again, has nothing to do with a flaw in modus tollens itself. It again has to do with human error.

So you again, are NOT demonstrating a problem with falsification, but a problem with humans attemtping to unpack falsification properly. You are saying that humans might misuse falsification, not that falsification itself is flawed.

Quote:
I don’t click on links in anonymous forums, so I am sorry that I did not peruse your suggested reading.

Oh please... 

That's a link to my site.

Which is just a page that discusses induction.

Here's what I even said right before the link:

 

In fact, take a look at my entry on modus tollens on my webpage for the scientific method:

 

My webpage. So it's not anonymous.

So yet again, you demonstrate an inability to grasp what is written to you. You call it 'anonymous' yet here I am saying it's my site.   

If you even bothered to show the slightest interest in learning more about what you are debating, you'd have gone there and read. But instead, you don't even show enough curiosity to get what I said about the link right, let alone enough curiosity to read the link.

Your stunning lack of curiosity in looking into the subject you are attempting to debate speaks volumes here.

You don't need to go to my link, you could search elsewhere...

But you don't even bother..... in fact, you're first instinct is to find a way out of having to bother to learn anything about the matter. I suppose it's wise on your part... facts would just get in the way of your assertions. If you knew the truth of the matter, you're argument would crumble....

Quote:

I do think, however, that if the problem of induction had been solved, someone would have sent me the note

Oh, my, yes, of course... that's the first thing De Finniti and Kolmogov (the man who gave probability theory an axiomatic foundation) would do... send YOU a note. Without that note, their work doesn't exist.

And until the world sends you a note, it's simply not true!

If YOU don't get a personal invitation, then the proofs don't exist!

Talk about intellectual laziness! Forget that, talk about narcissitic solipsism! You ask for proof, yet refuse to look for it! You refuse to even click a link, let alone go to a library! You refuse to LOOK at the evidence, but then insist that there isn't any! And you take your own refusal to look as proof that there is no proof!

Holy fuck batman! And you're here to complain about how others reason?  

Quote:

It is not logical to demand more certainty than a subject matter allows. And yet you both have swooped in to defend the realm of induction as if the “rationality of rationality” demanded any such proof.

No, what I did was demonstrate that the 'problem' of induction is not quite the problem you believe it is - and I've asked you to consider that there has been a few centuries of work on the problem that you not only are ignorant of, but in fact, openly refuse to consider! But you simply refuse to look into it.

So you're here to discuss it from your position of ignorance.

Fascinating.

Quote:

If you believe in the panaceal power of rationality, despite its own rationally demonstrated limits, then yes, I would say that you have got religion.

First, I myself pointed out the limits to you, and have done so, years before you posted here. So you cant' even get that right.

Second, again, you overstate my position, in a juvenile, self serving, biased fashion.... you seem to be spitting out something you learned in freshman year, rather than responding to what I actually say. Hey, why bother with what I say when you can beat a strawman and crow over it? Hey, if todangst says "falsification rests on the sound form of modus tollens' why respond to that, particularly when it's true, when you can instead pretend he's acting as if he were a neo-Laplacian?

Finally, you've maded it embarrassingly clear that you are not only ignorant of what modern logic says about the matter, but you openly refuse to even look. And you use your self professed purposeful ignorance as 'proof' for your argument! 

I can't take you seriously.

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Quote:Can you prove reason

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Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

Reason is the source of proof, not sourced from it. What you ask is similar to (assuming you have nothing reflective at hand): Can you look at your own eyeballs? How do you know you have eyes then?

Empiricism is the intent to apply reason to the observed. One does not 'see' reason, one analyzes what one sees using it.

You have the whole thing horribly backwards.

Quote:
If God is logical, then it only makes sense that He created a world that operates accordingly. I think therefore I am tends to be the basis for enlightenment belief in the mind.  Heres a question:  How do you know you can trust your own mind?  What if it is constantly deceiving you but you don't know it?

You should be able to answer this yourself. You can't trust your own mind and neither can I. All we can do is interpret with consistency to the best of our ability. That's why you should maintain a certain amount of HEALTHY SCEPTICISM regarding your own opinions of what you believe. This would have to include god as well. So, for your own good and to avoid fooling yourself, you should entertain and maintain the possibility that there is no god.

It not only makes sense that a logical god would create a logical world, it's absolutely mandatory. A logical god would have no choice but to make a logical world. But most people say god can do anything, including the logical and unnatural, which is one of the things that makes him god. The problem with insisting that god is logical is that you place massive, insurmountable LIMITS on what he can do. The whole point of logic is place these limits. Logic tells us that not everything is allowed. One of these thingsnot allowed is god...if one wishes to allow that he can do things that logic does not allow.

On a sidenote: "I think therefore I am" has problems too. It appears to assume its own conclusions...unless you can come up with a way to Think but not Be at the same time. I can't.

Quote:
Many use the very same intuitive reasoning to point to the existence of God.  Why should reason be the only appropriate answer to the evidence?

Because reason is about making sense... Trying to apply anything else is trying to 'make sense' using something that must not make sense. If whatever was used did make sense, it would fall within the realm of reason and could be called nothing other than 'reason.' Why are you trying to sidestep reason? Do you WANT to make no sense??


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kmisho wrote: Quote: Can

kmisho wrote:

Quote:
Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

Reason is the source of proof, not sourced from it. What you ask is similar to (assuming you have nothing reflective at hand): Can you look at your own eyeballs? How do you know you have eyes then?

Empiricism is the intent to apply reason to the observed. One does not 'see' reason, one analyzes what one sees using it.

You have the whole thing horribly backwards.

Yep, and since he's employing reason itself to generate the query, he's already in posession of axiomatic knowledge of reason.

This says it all:

Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason. If with reason, then they establish the principle that they are laboring to dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

- Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War hero

Quote:

It not only makes sense that a logic god would create a logical world, it's absolutely mandatory. A logical god would have no choice to make a logical world. But most people say god can do anything, including the logical and unnatural, which is one of the things that makes him god.

Precisely.

Quote:

The problem with insisting that god is logical is that you place massive, insurmountable LIMITS on what he can do. The whole point of logic is place these limits. Logic tells us that not everything is allowed.

Precisely. To place limits on an entity is to say it has idenity. To give something an indentity is to hold that it has a nature....

But 'god' is beyond nature, ergo attempting to place 'limits' on a god leads to an internal contradiction.

Quote:

On a sidenote: "I think therefore I am" has problems too. It appears to assume its own conclusions...unless you can come up with a way to Think but not Be at the same time. I can't.

I don't see that as a problem.... of course it is tautologous, this is merely proof that existence itself is in fact axiomatic - every claim necessitates existence and leads to such a circle.

I do see a problem in the order of the claim: it should read: I am, therefore I think. Existence precedes identity and reason.

 

Quote:
Many use the very same intuitive reasoning to point to the existence of God. Why should reason be the only appropriate answer to the evidence?

Quote:
Because reason is about making sense... Trying to apply anything else is trying to 'make sense' using something that must not make sense. If whatever was used did make sense, it would fall within the realm of reason and could be called nothing other than 'reason.'

Yes, it really is that simple - it's definitional.

Quote:

Why are you trying to sidestep reason? Do you WANT to make no sense??

I think the theist wants his faith, becauase reason cannot get him to where he wants to go, and yet, he wants to call it reason after the fact.

 

Thanks for posting!

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I like this bit you pointed

I like this bit you pointed out

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If attacking reason with reason, then they establish the principle that they are laboring to dethrone

because I can add: while dethroning the argument they are attempting to establish.

A clearcut contradiction.

Yes. The cogito is tautologous. I am not one to make the mistake to call the always-true meaningless, as I've often seen.

But when I look at it this way, all the apparent majesty of the argument drains away and I'm left wondering just what amazes people about it. God said "I am that I am" to which I reply: I remove my shoes from off my feet, for the ground upon which I stand is patently obvious.


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kmisho wrote: Yes. The

kmisho wrote:

Yes. The cogito is tautologous. I am not one to make the mistake to call the always-true meaningless, as I've often seen.

But when I look at it this way, all the apparent majesty of the argument drains away and I'm left wondering just what amazes people about it. God said "I am that I am" to which I reply: I remove my shoes from off my feet, for the ground upon which I stand is patently obvious.

Heheh. Well, I think that's a necessary fallout of a very good idea.... it influences all thought to the point that it becomes obvious... Was it Schopenhauer who said something to the effect that a good idea spends half of its life being rejected as crazy, and the other half tossed aside as obvious? Anyway, that's how I'd view the situtation. 

 

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spumoni wrote: Can you

spumoni wrote:
Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

Seeing as this post is still ongoing.. I will give my thoughts on this-- since, it's seems strange that it is still ongoing.

Reason is not a religion. Why? Because it is a mental tool.  And, much like other tools, it can be used for certain things and not used for others.

If there is no empirical evidence to support the existence of reason, then there is equally no evidence to support the existence of a reality.  In both these cases the evidence is experiential-- which is empirical evidence by definition. (experience or experiment)

(And while this may quickly turn into.. "I experience God.. therefore that is empirical evidence." This is true.. but since other people claim they have not, then the empirical evidence only supports your claim in so far as you can prove is experientially. (If all we are using is empirical evidence that is.) 

This is unlike, reason in which.. most everyone has used and/or experienced. In which case no further empirical is necessarily necessary.) 

 


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

spumoni wrote:
Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

Seeing as this post is still ongoing.. I will give my thoughts on this-- since, it's seems strange that it is still ongoing.

Agreed, but part of the reason is that it's splintered off into other areas... 

Quote:
 

Reason is not a religion. Why? Because it is a mental tool. And, much like other tools, it can be used for certain things and not used for others.

If there is no empirical evidence to support the existence of reason, then there is equally no evidence to support the existence of a reality. In both these cases the evidence is experiential-- which is empirical evidence by definition. (experience or experiment)

(And while this may quickly turn into.. "I experience God.. therefore that is empirical evidence." This is true.. but since other people claim they have not, then the empirical evidence only supports your claim in so far as you can prove is experientially. (If all we are using is empirical evidence that is.)

This is unlike, reason in which.. most everyone has used and/or experienced. In which case no further empirical is necessarily necessary.)

 

Nice post. 

The problem with using empirical evidence to make a causal argument for 'god' is that this violates the very definition of supernatural... as both Luther and Kierkegaard concede, it takes a leap of faith to move from experience to the supernatural. So even if a theist points to an experience, he or she still must take it on faith.

But hey, I recognize that a person who beleives he has an experience doesn't feel as if there's any leap at all... 

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YARN, you somewhat

YARN, you somewhat over-react to what I said about Philosophy. 

I wrote:

you may or may not have gathered from the tone of my comments, that I really do not put much weight on the works of philosophers, since I see little or no REAL knowledge about the world coming from that source. It seems to me mostly speculation - the truly valuable components of Philosophy in the classical sense have pretty much been spun off into true Disciplines, such as Logic, Mathematics, and Science.

The problem with Philosophy as I see it is the flip side of its main value, its very openness in addressing all conceivable aspects of thought and argument. It generates an awful lot of crap as well as genuine new concepts, and is very prone to generating 'schools' which may be little more than cliques mutually supporting each other, following a particular fashion.

It also has a tendency, as Richard Carrier has noted in a past RRS show, of paying a bit too much respect to historical but somewhat superseded ideas and practictioners, as compared to Science for example. I found myself very much in agreement with Richard in that show. This tendency is probably not so much an inherent problem with the subject as such, as with the traditions of its practitioners.

As I said, it has certainly been of immense value in the past, as it nurtured the more disciplined areas I mentioned, and may very well inspire further such spin-offs. We need it for that alone. 

I also said that it is valuable as a form of disciplined speculation at the fringes of Science.

I honestly don't see this as "writ[ing] off the entire discipline of philosophy as a valid enterprise!". 

I DID say that I don't see much REAL knowledge about the world coming out of it, and by that I mean as compared to what Science now generates. It lacks the methodology of science in winnowing out the truly useful ideas about the nature of reality by testing them directly wherever possible. Otherwise it would effectively BE Science.

The other sort of 'knowledge' that may be claimed for Philosophy is in defining what constitutes valid argument and ways to pursue Truth. There is real value in the Philosophy of Science here, but this is really just a generalised aspect of what I have already acknowledged, that it is valuable in association with Science, where we are on the boundaries of well-established Science. Other aspects of this area of Philosophy have been spun off as Formal Logic.

I was much more engaged with Philosophy in my early years, and still remember how much I enjoyed reading Bertrand Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy'. I still have a soft spot for him, altho I now recognise some of his quirks. He was still alive when I read many of his books, including HoWP. 

Not really sure when and exactly why I became somewhat disenchanted with Philosophy in general.

I have great admiration for particular people who happen to be philosophers, I think because their approach really resonates with my own, plus I find their work enormously stimulating of new ways of seeing things, new insights. Currently my 'hero' here would have to be Daniel Dennett.

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

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

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

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


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todangst

todangst wrote:
RhadTheGizmo wrote:

spumoni wrote:
Can you prove reason empirically? Isn't reason equally unproveable from the standpoint of irrefutable physical evidence?

Seeing as this post is still ongoing.. I will give my thoughts on this-- since, it's seems strange that it is still ongoing.

Agreed, but part of the reason is that it's splintered off into other areas...

Quote:

Reason is not a religion. Why? Because it is a mental tool. And, much like other tools, it can be used for certain things and not used for others.

If there is no empirical evidence to support the existence of reason, then there is equally no evidence to support the existence of a reality. In both these cases the evidence is experiential-- which is empirical evidence by definition. (experience or experiment)

(And while this may quickly turn into.. "I experience God.. therefore that is empirical evidence." This is true.. but since other people claim they have not, then the empirical evidence only supports your claim in so far as you can prove is experientially. (If all we are using is empirical evidence that is.)

This is unlike, reason in which.. most everyone has used and/or experienced. In which case no further empirical is necessarily necessary.)

 

Nice post.

The problem with using empirical evidence to make a causal argument for 'god' is that this violates the very definition of supernatural... as both Luther and Kierkegaard concede, it takes a leap of faith to move from experience to the supernatural. So even if a theist points to an experience, he or she still must take it on faith.

But hey, I recognize that a person who beleives he has an experience doesn't feel as if there's any leap at all...

Thanks.

While I might agree with parts of your statement... I would like to add something.  Empirical evidence (being experience or experimental) cannot prove the existence of a supernatural being.. but can disprove the contention that it is *impossible that one does.

Granted.. this empirical evidence, if experiential, may only be relevant to the person with the experience.. however, that does not make it any less potent at disproving the "impossibility that one can exist," empirically (experiantial in this case), for that person.    

Experimental is a different issue.. since experimentation is bound by the laws of nature-- and therefore cannot prove or disprove the existence of a supernatural being.  (Unless at somepoint it is discovered that the supernatural being is not supernatural at all.. but merely a natural being acting through natural processes that appears to us, as we are now, supernatural. Sort of like what canons must of seems like to the native americans back in the 15th century) .

Hm.. not sure if this one made sense. 

 


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I am here to advocate a

I am here to advocate a weak version of Spumoni's claim - I support the claim that people can make reason into a religion.

Talk about narcissism - you say  "THIS THREAD HAS TO DO WITH SPUMONI'S CLAIM AND MY RESPONSE TO IT." What about other atheist's response to it? What about my response to it? Note: This is not a personal attack, it's just a little friendly ribbing. 

I am baffled that you want me to somehow invalidate reasoning via modus tollens. No thanks, I like to help myself to contraposition every now and again too. Smiling One does not have to attack this operation, however, to problematize the Popperian solution to the problem of scientific induction. Harry Collins, for example, does no such thing in bringing up difficulties like experimenter regress in replicating negative findings. My argument that applied reason that tests actual evidence (not theoretical evidence in which we can grind out conclusions with no regard for material validity) 

I see that you agree with another poster who claims that one suffers the pain of contradiction if you use reason to attack reason. I make no such attack. Reason is a tool which can be used reflexively. When you reason about reason, yes you find that there are problems. You do not have to throw down the tool of reason to realize that as a tool it has limits. There are paradoxes, mysteries, and frontiers even in the land of reason. So long as you stay on fairly well established ground, however, you can make claims that are good enough for now (i.e., respectable) about how other parts of the territory are perilous or not fully understood. And yes, someday, we may very well find that we are currently missing the "Zero" or we may never discover it -- our reasoning may always be limited. This does not bother me, because I don't venerate reason, I just try to use it as best I can (with mixed results).    

Please don't be upset with me for not clicking on any link. The last time I did, my computer got a virus and I woke up a theist the next day. I won't tell you to go read a book -- I will try to make the argument as best I can. I will read your response as best I can. If you understand your argument, you should be able to paraphrase or replicate it here, right?  

 BTW - I am not trying to debunk using induction. I am just pointing out that we do not have airtight justifications. 

I am glad, however, that you don't take me too seriously. This is, after all, just a website.  

As for my alleged ad ignorantium - please allow me the latitude to use a little wit -- read it charitably -- if you give me the benefit of the doubt (i.e., assume that I am reasonably educated and have sought out the sensus communis on this matter in addition to considering various arguments), then it is not narcissistic for me to be incredulous when you announce that the problem has been now and forever completely and totally resolved, full stop. I am sorry, but extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence - and since our game is one of dialectic (i.e., I am not accepting reading assignments), you will need to offer your proof here. Honestly, what do think the most likely result is going to be if poll a pod of "experts" on the problem of induction? We are going to get as many answers as we do respondents. Sure, there will be some dominant lines of response and I think you and I will be able to agree that some proposals are wack, but in the end will we find the holy Grail?

The rational thing to do, in my humble opinion, would be to concede my point, and then to say SO WHAT? Don't make an inviolable faith out of a tool and you still have the upper hand in our argument. But there is apparently felt need on your part to deny that there are loose ends in the land of reason and it is precisely this that I point out to use as a sort of "twitch" -- this is not an attack, but an observation.