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Old 09-15-2011, 02:32 PM   #3316
SigTerm
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Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Because "unknown", while technically true, doesn't convey the massive improbability of some unfalsifiable, unprovable statements.
To convey probabilities, use probabilities, instead of "true"/"false". It's been already discussed in posts 3144 and 3145.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 02:57 PM   #3317
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
To convey probabilities, use probabilities, instead of "true"/"false". It's been already discussed in posts 3144 and 3145.
A probability of .000000000000000000001% is close enough to 0 for me.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 03:03 PM   #3318
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
To convey probabilities, use probabilities, instead of "true"/"false". It's been already discussed in posts 3144 and 3145.
And as I have said, everything is probability. When Michelle Bachmann says HPV vaccines can cause mental retardation, I'm not going to do a friggin' Bayesian analysis and say it's 99.9999% certain that HPV vaccines do not cause retardation. I'm going to say there's no evidence to support her position and lots of evidence that's vaccines are safe and that she is utterly wrong.

In the same vein, it is reasonable to say that people have been searching for the soul for a very long time without success, ie, there is no evidence for an immaterial eternal essence of us, and that there is good evidence that the mind, personality, everything that makes us us, is a material phenomenon. So the soul hypothesis is wrong. Yes, there is some minute probability it could be right, but I'm not going qualify every propositional statement with a disclaimer about probability.

You strike me as the sort who, if someone told you the earth was round, would reply, "Actually, you should say it's almost but not quite an oblate spheroid."
 
Old 09-15-2011, 03:33 PM   #3319
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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
A probability of .000000000000000000001% is close enough to 0 for me.
Neutrino comes to mind. It is said that a neutrino can pass through entire planet without interacting with it. So, "close enough" is still not zero.

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Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
In the same vein, it is reasonable to say that people have been searching for the soul for a very long time without success,
Which might also mean that the tech required to verify existence of soul hasn't been discovered yet. First car has been created only ~120 years ago, for example. You could say it took 6000 years for it to appear. Same applies to many other things that are being used daily. When you look at it from this perspective (for me) it is quite hard to understand why the hell people are in such hurry to dismiss something simply because there were no evidence.

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Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
You strike me as the sort who, if someone told you the earth was round, would reply, "Actually, you should say it's almost but not quite an oblate spheroid."
We aren't dealing with daily life, but with religion. If you present true/false claim, support it. If it is a probabilistic round-off, then it is not a true/false claim, but assumption.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 03:36 PM   #3320
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You're taking it too far. All I've ever argued is that when you're learning about the world around you, emotion is a terrible teacher. Looking inward teaches you about yourself, but it does nothing to inform you of the nature of the outside world. And since we interact with each other in the outside world, a common frame of reference is necessary.

As I've said before, once you've learned something about the world, you're free to react emotionally to that knowledge however you like.

It's not a surprise that the period in which Western culture was dominated by inward-seeking behavior for answers was called The Dark Ages. The period in which they rediscovered old, outward-seeking knowledge was called The Renaissance, and the period in which they had successfully incorporated those outward-seeking processes and began applying them towards acquiring new knowledge was called The Enlightenment. The results of those eras speak for themselves.

In other words, appropriate emotional responses to valid information about the real world is a solid strategy for not just surviving, but thriving. And science and reason together make up the best processes for acquiring valid information. History is littered with the disastrous consequences of using emotion as a primary source of information.

So if you tell me, "There is a soul," you have to be ready to prove it through reason and science. If you manage to do it, I think I'd be pretty excited by the news.
I bet you are not a historian. Here is a little homework for you: look up the number of wars and casualties during the "Dark Ages", then in the periods after that. The line goes up, steeply.

As for your highly naive thinking about reason versus emotion - that is an outdated, eighteenth century notion that no philosopher since Friedrich Nietzsche has taken seriously and that is rejected today even by scientists. Neurologist Antonio Damasio has argued that repression of emotion is the highroad to irrationality, while Jung has argued that excessive rationalism leads to the sort of psycho-social disintegration that manifests itself as widespread depression, suicide, resentment, nationalism and war.

More fundamentally, it is an illusion to think that people ever derive motivation or moral principles from science or rationality; it would be more proper to say that they are driven by a passion for science or rationality. And passion is just a particular kind of emotion. Not to mention that you do not seem to make any distinction between reason and rationality, two completely different things. Let me recommend the books of the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin, in particular his "Cosmopolis".

And again, I don't have to prove anything; or to put it differently, I don't know why I would accept your authority to set the terms of the debate. I take a thoroughly pragmatic view of science and rationality: they exist only as methods to solve practical problems while their intellectual and moral value is non-existent.

Or maybe you ought to study some psychology. Personality theory shows that hard core rationalists and religious fundamentalists showcase the same kind of personality, one that is obsessed with dictating "THE truth" - theirs of course - and condemning everything else as irreligious or irrational.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #3321
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
We aren't dealing with daily life, but with religion. If you present true/false claim, support it. If it is a probabilistic round-off, then it is not a true/false claim, but assumption.
Well that's an arbitrary and artificial split if ever there was one.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 04:21 PM   #3322
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I bet you are not a historian. Here is a little homework for you: look up the number of wars and casualties during the "Dark Ages", then in the periods after that. The line goes up, steeply.
So? This argument is entirely irrelevant, because:

- Documentation for war casualties in the Dark Ages is abysmal. In fact, documentation of any kind for the Dark Ages is abysmal. That's why we call them the Dark Ages.

- Wartime casualties are going to be higher in eras where there is higher population, thanks to increases in food supply and medicine, thanks to improvements in science. Also, the methods for killing each other improve.

- Science is not a reason for going to war.

Meanwhile... tell me about the standards of living in each of these eras again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
As for your highly naive thinking about reason versus emotion - that is an outdated, eighteenth century notion that no philosopher since Friedrich Nietzsche has taken seriously and that is rejected today even by scientists. Neurologist Antonio Damasio has argued that repression of emotion is the highroad to irrationality, while Jung has argued that excessive rationalism leads to the sort of psycho-social disintegration that manifests itself as widespread depression, suicide, resentment, nationalism and war.

More fundamentally, it is an illusion to think that people ever derive motivation or moral principles from science or rationality; it would be more proper to say that they are driven by a passion for science or rationality. And passion is just a particular kind of emotion. Not to mention that you do not seem to make any distinction between reason and rationality, two completely different things. Let me recommend the books of the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin, in particular his "Cosmopolis".

And again, I don't have to prove anything; or to put it differently, I don't know why I would accept your authority to set the terms of the debate. I take a thoroughly pragmatic view of science and rationality: they exist only as methods to solve practical problems while their intellectual and moral value is non-existent.

Or maybe you ought to study some psychology. Personality theory shows that hard core rationalists and religious fundamentalists showcase the same kind of personality, one that is obsessed with dictating "THE truth" - theirs of course - and condemning everything else as irreligious or irrational.
Thanks for slaying that straw man for us. You've obviously missed the point of my argument entirely. I'm sorry you wasted your time arguing about emotion versus rationality, but the only conflict I described is as a source of learning about the outside world, so Carl Jung does not apply. And considering the raft of nonsense Jung believed in (ESP, clairvoyance, astrology, etc.), I don't know why you'd bother citing him anyway.

You nearly restated my point in your own third paragraph, though you fumbled it badly. Science and rationality do not exist solely to solve problems, and the claim that they have no intellectual value is absurd. Furthermore, the claim that they have no moral value is also indefensible, because without the ability to predict outcomes based on solid scientific research and rational application thereof, it is impossible to make valid moral judgements.

All of our moral decisions are influenced by information. If that information says blowing yourself up to slaughter innocents results in an eternity of being served by 100 nubile virgins, then based on that information, suicide bombing becomes a rational choice. So naturally, having good information helps make good moral decisions.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 04:45 PM   #3323
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without the ability to predict outcomes based on solid scientific research and rational application thereof, it is impossible to make valid moral judgements.
Yes, let's have people's brains mapped in their entirety (which I do think is possible, at least theoretically), run simulations based on certain patterns of stimuli to predict output, and imprison/punish/drug/<insert dehumanizing action here> "potential" criminals based on their neurophysiology.

Or on a less "judicial" note, let's tell people what they absolutely, inevitably will and must become in their lives based on similar methods, despite their personal aspirations. If your neurophysiology doesn't allow you to become a good musician, then tough luck; no matter how much you want to make it happen, your brain is quite literally incapable of developing the skills necessary, so don't even bother trying.

Apply this to bascally anything you have ever wanted to do/become that you never could, and you start seeing where the "purely scientific worldview" becomes depressing.

Last edited by MrCode; 09-15-2011 at 04:48 PM.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 04:47 PM   #3324
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Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
{...}In the same vein, it is reasonable to say that people have been searching for the soul for a very long time without success, ie, there is no evidence for an immaterial eternal essence of us{...}
Maybe because they are searching in wrong place(for example everyone(even atheists) searches for God in heaven not hell or inside ourselves or nature or study religions on serious note) or using wrong tools or methods? Also how science can explain Art created feeling&understanding connection for so many people at same time? Brain fluids? Yeah right..in that case why we are only beings who manipulate with it on Earth(notice that Earth and Heart writes almost same which supports theory of Gaia) so far? Think about that for second..world isn't black&white like binary for robotics(btw AI is still not been succesfully created even with nowaday knowledge!). If right brain is useless why Evolution still keeps it safe and why new life comes from combination of male and female and it is created in females(which people say are stupid emotion creatures and has no purpose other than housewife)? You know since for quite long time i was searching for answer why we are accident or trash and after doing research on religions and myths(just one site from plenty on google) i know answer - i can't find answer because the question is wrong in first place! We are not trash or accident - we are more than that and we are connected to each other for reason. I dunno what it is hidden yet but something is sure for one thing - scientists and religious leaders ARE hiding something very huge. That is probably reason why they try feed us with info like this and events around + signs just support that.
http://www.space.com/12925-alien-pla...scoveries.html
Of course some people will disagree but you know what? Noone cares about it! This topic is not about competition but just discussion and you can't deny one thing -> One of humans greatest mistakes is to think that they know world better than it knows itself or God(s).
 
Old 09-15-2011, 05:03 PM   #3325
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Originally Posted by Arcane
Maybe because they are searching in wrong place(for example everyone(even atheists) searches for God in heaven not hell or inside ourselves or nature or study religions on serious note) or using wrong tools or methods? Also how science can explain Art created feeling&understanding connection for so many people at same time? Brain fluids? Yeah right..in that case why we are only beings who manipulate with it on Earth(notice that Earth and Heart writes almost same which supports theory of Gaia) so far?
Classic "New Age"…

Quote:
I dunno what it is hidden yet but something is sure for one thing - scientists and religious leaders ARE hiding something very huge. That is probably reason why they try feed us with info like this and events around + signs just support that.
…and tin-foil-hat nonsense.

There's nothing "magical" or "spiritual" about art: it pretty much is "brain fluids" (which is chemistry, which is physics…). There's no good reason to believe that art has any intrinsic 'value', aside from whatever delusions of grandeur we experience when creating it.

…and yes, if it couldn't be inferred from my virtual "tone", I am, once again, thoroughly pissed off.

(…and personally, after going through all the sh*t I have in this thread, I'm beginning to wonder if the classic counter of "…but you can make your own 'value'" is even worth it anymore; apparently anything that isn't science is either petty/insignificant or utterly worthless in every sense of the word. )

Last edited by MrCode; 09-15-2011 at 05:04 PM.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 05:28 PM   #3326
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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
because without the ability to predict outcomes based on solid scientific research and rational application thereof, it is impossible to make valid moral judgements.
Now, that's just silly and naive. One of the few things you can be sure about is that you can't predict future - there are way too many variables. Plan whatever you want or try to predict all you want, but in reality it is always quite possible (quite possible means significant probability - from 25 to 75%) that real turn of events will have nothing in common with your prediction. As they say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Another problem is that science is a tool and as a result is strictly within "moral gray" area. It is said that nazi performed human experiments, and animal rights activist are vocal about animal experiments as well, even though either of those may have had practical applications. Also if I remember correctly, guys that developed first car safety systems were actually smashing corpses against the wall in order to determine human body limits. Scientific research is neutral.

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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
And considering the raft of nonsense Jung believed in (ESP, clairvoyance, astrology, etc.), I don't know why you'd bother citing him anyway.
Kinda reminds me of a certain dude that believed in science selectively - things that "makes sense" are true, and those that "do not make sense"(quantum physics) are not. Useful knowledge can have an unusual or "improper" origin, which means it can originate from superstitious person.

Last edited by SigTerm; 09-15-2011 at 05:36 PM.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 05:41 PM   #3327
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Kinda reminds me of a certain dude that believed in science selectively - things that "makes sense" are true, and those that "do not make sense"(quantum physics) are not. Useful knowledge can have an unusual or "improper" origin, which means it can originate from superstitious person.
Jungian (and Freudian for that matter) psychology is pseudoscience because it doesn't meet scientific standards, not because he believed in weird things.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 07:30 PM   #3328
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
Yes, let's have people's brains mapped in their entirety (which I do think is possible, at least theoretically), run simulations based on certain patterns of stimuli to predict output, and imprison/punish/drug/<insert dehumanizing action here> "potential" criminals based on their neurophysiology.
Hmm, the Halting Problem is undecidable, so we can't even reliably predict the output of computer programs. Applying similar logic to the computer that predicts human behaviour:

Suppose the computer tries to predict whether the human goes left or right. Furthermore, suppose that the human runs the prediction program and then does the opposite of prediction. There is no possible program that can correctly predict the human's choice.
 
Old 09-15-2011, 09:06 PM   #3329
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Suppose the computer tries to predict whether the human goes left or right. Furthermore, suppose that the human runs the prediction program and then does the opposite of prediction. There is no possible program that can correctly predict the human's choice.
What if the prediction was made without the knowledge of the subject? Would he/she still act contrary to the prediction? It seems to me that it's a question of knowledge: if a subject is predicted to (say) make a left turn, as in your example, and the subject didn't know that they had been predicted to turn left, would they still be able to turn right instead (or do anything else)? I would contend that they wouldn't be able to, since they wouldn't be equipped to make an alternate decision. I'd say that behavioral prediction is possible (to a degree), so long as the subject isn't aware of the results of said prediction.

…this can be abused…

Last edited by MrCode; 09-15-2011 at 09:09 PM. Reason: removed needless philosophical 'jargon' word
 
Old 09-15-2011, 11:28 PM   #3330
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Documentation for war casualties in the Dark Ages is abysmal. In fact, documentation of any kind for the Dark Ages is abysmal. That's why we call them the Dark Ages.
No, we call them the "Dark Ages" because Petrarca did so. Any medievalist will show you that the man's views were ideological and in many respects inaccurate - there is plenty of documentation, ranging from parish records to archeology. Unfortunately, Petrarca's views become a secular myth, the kind that is the most pernicious and also the hardest to root out. Like the widespread myth that people in the Middle Ages believed the earth is flat: http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/...FlatEarth.html


Quote:
Wartime casualties are going to be higher in eras where there is higher population, thanks to increases in food supply and medicine, thanks to improvements in science. Also, the methods for killing each other improve.
Yep, thanks to, improved, ... '"methods for killing each other improve thanks to science". Do I need say more? What better way to illustrate the difference between rationality and reason?

Quote:
Science is not a reason for going to war.
Isn't it? How about the biological underpinnings of nazism or the economic roots of marxism? Sure, their scientific theories have not withstood the test of time but the real point is that it is absolutely irrelevant whether scientific theories are correct or not. The purism of a handful of laboratory denizens is not going to change that. The majority of the people were, are and will be moved by science only if it serves their personal agenda. I can't count the number of people around me whose strong opinions are justified by an "understanding" of evolution, which often turns out to be rudimentary at best; or who go about preaching the evolutionary creed as a way of making up in intellectual status what they lack in physical, emotional, creative or financial attractiveness.

Quote:
And considering the raft of nonsense Jung believed in (ESP, clairvoyance, astrology, etc.), I don't know why you'd bother citing him anyway.
Your view of Jung suggests a wikipedia level of familiarity with the man's ideas. If he explored astrology, mythology, etc. it was to discover what they reveal about universal human thought patterns. You may want to read his "Psychology East and West" or his "Answer to Job". For his views on ESP and the like, you should consult his early clinical studies.

Quote:
Furthermore, the claim that they have no moral value is also indefensible, because without the ability to predict outcomes based on solid scientific research and rational application thereof, it is impossible to make valid moral judgements.
Update, update. That moral judgements should be valid only if they are supported by calculation is a conviction that is restricted to the consequentalist/utilitarian school of ethics - there are many rival theories out there.

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All of our moral decisions are influenced by information.
Influenced, maybe. Taken? Never.

Quote:
If that information says blowing yourself up to slaughter innocents results in an eternity of being served by 100 nubile virgins, then based on that information, suicide bombing becomes a rational choice. So naturally, having good information helps make good moral decisions.
Naturally? As if "good" information" (why apply an ethical epithet to an epistemological noun?) must lead to good moral decisions; history would show the contrary.
 
  


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