Re: Real world stuff
- On May 21, 2010, gluadys wrote re: Real world stuff:
>Where have you done so? You are always claiming to have done this sort of thing, but you never repeat it or provide a reference to the earlier explanation.<http://aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?srch&fabl/TheShepherdsBoy
>Of course you do----as long as you ALSO answer the question.<Why can't you grasp the self-evident fact that I can't "evade" a question that is utterly irrational? There is no earthly reason to mistrust what I know by the light of natural reason, and absent _any_ reason to mistrust what I know by the light of natural reason, there's no "question" to evade. I don't doubt that every human person I meet is alive until I've "verified" that he has a pulse, a heartbeat, and respires, and I don't doubt that every human person I meet is honest unless or until he gives me reason to doubt his honesty.
>Are you incapable of speaking of YOUR answer?<
>This is still an evasion. Why can't you just tell me why YOU think we should trust what you call "the light of natural reason" to be a satisfactory ground of knowing the truth of anything, irrespective of what I or anyone else does or does not provide.<
Even you confess that
[quote] It is a rational position to hold that our common human intuition of a real external world is valid, even without demonstration. In fact, as has been commonly observed by promoters of radical skepticism themselves, they cannot actually and concretely live except by crediting that intuition as valid. [end quote]
[quote] We assume our intuition of the existence of an external world is correct without proof that it is so. And everything we know or believe about objective truth is built on that unproven assumption. Nevertheless, it is not only irrational, but psychologically impossible to assume otherwise. [end quote]
Why can't _you_ just tell me _why_ natural reason is _not_ trustworthy, _why_ the fruits of natural reason do not correspond to reality? And while you're at it, you can just tell me _why_ you quite plainly do trust _your_ own natural reason and its deliverances, but I must _verify_ that "we should trust what [I] call "the light of natural reason" to be a satisfactory ground of knowing the truth of anything."
Your "doubt" is merely a meaningless rhetorical sleight, a pernicious, hypocritical "post-modern" "word game" that only insulates you and your "personal preferences" [i.e., man cannot _know_, he can merely assume; "true" means _useful_ or determined by "intersubjective" -_scientific_- consensus, and on so and so forth] and banishes the "others," the "them," the _realists_ with whom you so primally disagree -who oppose such "postmodern" nonsense- and their realist metaphysics, to the wilderness.
It seems self-evident to _mankind_ that there is no "rational foundation" to DOUBT that natural reason, man's "means of knowing the world," is quite impressively reliable, not least in light of the astonishing "genuine discoveries about the world" man has made - to which human history and our everyday experience incontrovertibly attest. If in fact the fruits of natural reason and reality _don't_ correspond, then man could never have made the profound discoveries he has and today there'd be, for instance, no nuclear medicine or nuclear weapons, no international space station, or internet, or cellular communication.
If it is, as gluadys claims, that there just are no indubitable, metaphysically certain truths, then there just are no _warranted_ truths, facts or inferences, merely "personal preferences." For instance, gluadys' conviction that Darwinian evolution is "objective reality" is just what she wants to believe, a meaningless "personal preference." The truth is, contrary to gluadys' claims, there are indubitable metaphysical truths _and_ gluadys' conviction that Darwinian evolution is "objective reality" is just what she wants to believe, a meaningless "personal preference."
On May 23, 2010, gluadys wrote:
>Continuing on the topic of "empirical". We have been defining the term "empirical" somewhat differently. It would seem I have been including in "empirical" all that you include in the meaning of that term and more. Some of what I (and most scientists) call "empirical evidence" you term "unreal" and "not empirical". Rather than focus on why we use different definitions of "empirical", I would like to focus on whether the evidence you call "not empirical" is correctly identified as "unreal".<
Of course you'd "like to focus on whether the evidence [I] call 'not empirical' is correctly identified as 'unreal'." But I have not so much as hinted that _any_ evidence -"empirical" or not- is unreal, so what you "would like to focus on" is a figment of your own imagination.
In light of your atheist metaphysics, there is so such discoverable, knowable thing as "evidence."
You claim that "objective reality is transpersonal, interpersonal---not personally invented, but given and given alike to all---such that it cannot be different from person to person. Such a reality is "personal" only in the sense that as a person embedded in this reality, it is the reality I personally perceive. But it is also the reality which everyone else perceives, so it is not merely personal but universal."
At the same time, you claim that man cannot KNOW even that he is an embodied creature, let alone the first thing about a reality extrinsic to his own mind.
So much for "evidence."
Furthermore, you insist that there are no universal, objective truths, that "truth" means merely "useful," but, of course, "useful" is utterly subjective; many notions one person may find "useful" millions of others may find utterly useless, or absurd, or gravely _evil_.
Further-furthermore, you insist that any truth-claim that cannot be "verified" is just a "personal preference." "Objectivity" is, according to you, intersubjective agreement, the authority of "us." According to you, the old ideas of objectivity and universal truth are primitive superstitions; all that matters is that "we" agree. But who _are_ "we?" "We" are the self-referential "consensus" among "us," and "us" is the "consensus" "we" "prefer." And because there is no objective truth but only the self-referential consensus of "us," the "consensus" judgment, however irrational, poisonous, etc., is unassailable, utterly immune to refutation by "them," meaning anyone who repudiates the "consensus" of "us." "We" decide what to think, what is "true" and what is false, _and_ "'our' consensus" is protected from "them," meaning realists who think otherwise. According to you, "reality" and "truth" are "decided by intersubjective "consensus." Therefore, the "consensus" of irrationalist, subjective, and relativist opinion to which you belong is intersubjectively "true" and the consensus of realists, traditionalists, etc., who believe reality and truth is objective is just false.
Your OriginsTalk posts reflect the "postmodernist" [or "pragmatist" / "relativist" / "subjectivist" / "global skepticist"] duplicitous purpose: to pretend to undermine any and all claims to absolute truth and to preserve the "postmodernist" ["pragmatist" / "relativist" / "subjectivist" / "global skepticist"] _absolutist_ post-metaphysical orthodoxies that sustain the little congregation to which you belong.
>>The bits and pieces of ["empirical"] reality called vision: wavelengths, absorption spectra of retinal cells, and electrical depolarizations and discharges in the objectified brain. The _reality_ called vision hardly corresponds to the bits and pieces of reality called vision, does it? The bits of pieces of reality called atoms [or molecules, or proteins, or organs] hardly correspond to the reality that is a violet, or an oak tree, or a chair. The "empirical" world "apparent" to the scientist is detached from the _real_ world that man knows.<<
>As noted in the previous post, clearly the experience of reading an instrument which measures the wavelengths of light is a different experience than seeing light which we denote by the colour blue. But how is it "detached"? Is it light waves and their wavelengths that are "unreal"?<
I have not so much as hinted that an electromagnetic lightwave measuring x nanometers and sensing the color that wavelength is a reflection of are detached or unreal.
"Empirical reality" is UNreal. Can you not comprehend that the bits and pieces _of_ reality, while real, are not _reality_? For instance:
Erwin Schrödinger: [quote] [While] all scientific knowledge is based on sense perceptions, the scientific views of natural processes formed in this way lack all sensual qualities and therefore cannot account for the latter. [end quote]
>>"Empirical reality" [and I mean "empirical" in the sense you use the word, meaning "verifiable"] ignores the trivial fact that for a thing to change in whatever respect, it itself must continuously remain that one and the same -enduring- thing. If it did not remain the same thing, how could we possibly speak of "it" as changing?<<
>Good question. On a spring morning back during WWII my mother held me in her arms for the first time. In the nearly 70 years since, I have changed a great deal. Not a single molecule which constituted my body then is likely part of my body today. Indeed, not a single cell is the same. In what sense then can I say that I am the same person?<
In what sense can you say that the you your mother held in her arms for the first time on a spring morning back during WWII and the now nearly 70 year-old you your mother held in her arms for the first time on a spring morning back during WWII aren't the same person?
The embodied you that was conceived nearly seventy years ago is in fact the very same you, the same being, as the present you. The matter of which the body that is yours is made has been being recycled for nearly seventy years, but _you_ are nearly seventy years old, and so are your experiences and memories, and so is your body. Obviously you are not merely your physical body, or the you that was conceived nearly seventy years ago and has endured continuously during those nearly seventy years wouldn't _be_. Plainly, _you_ are neither identical nor reducible to the matter that embodies _you_.
>But I don't understand why you imply that this is something that is ignored in the scientific understanding of empirical evidence. A great deal of science is devoted to understanding such processes of change, not least evolutionary biology. So how is it ignored?<
I honestly just cannot understand how a person could manage to so fundamentally misconstrue the trivially true claim that for a thing to change, it itself must continuously remain that one and the same -enduring- thing. If it did not remain the same thing, how could we possibly speak of "it" as changing? It is the enduring, continuous _integrity_ of living things that "evolutionary biology" utterly ignores, not "change."
>>"Empirical reality" [and I mean "empirical" in the sense you use the word, meaning "verifiable"] ignores the trivial and immediately observable fact that _all_ natural things act like arrows shot to marks by an archer.<<
>I have no idea what this analogy is supposed to mean. What is the target? What does it mean to be a "natural" arrow? Can you give some explicit examples?<
C.A. Dubray, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV:
[quote] [F]rom the many individual activities of the various beings of the world order and harmony result in the universe. And when different forces converge toward a harmonious result, their convergence cannot be explained except by admitting that they tend to realize a plan. Life is essentially teleological. There is a co-ordination of all the organs, the functions of every one depending on those of the others, and tending to the welfare of the whole organism. Little by little the primitive cell develops according to the general type of the species and evolves into the complete organism.
[W]hat is not explained by mechanism is the convergence of many different causes toward a given result. If organs are so many mechanisms, it remains to be indicated how these mechanisms were organized. If appeal is made to evolution, it must be remembered that evolution is not a cause, but a mode of development, and that organic evolution rather accentuates the need of final causes. In the inorganic world, the constancy of the laws of nature and the resulting order of the world manifest the existence in every being of a principle of direction and orientation.
The fundamental defect of mechanism consists in giving exclusive attention to the analyzing of every event into its causes, and in forgetting to look for the reason of their synthesis. The unconscious finality in the world leads to the conclusion that there must be an intelligent cause of the world. The whole preceding doctrine is well summed up in the following passage from St. Thomas: "The natural necessity inherent in things that are determined to one effect is impressed on them by the Divine power which directs them to their end, just as the necessity which directs the arrow to the target is impressed on it by the archer, and does not come from the arrow itself. There is this difference, however, that what creatures receive from God is their nature, whereas the direction imparted by man to natural things beyond what is natural to them is a kind of violence. Hence, as the forced necessity of the arrow shows the direction intended by the archer, so the natural determinism of creatures is a sign of the government of Divine Providence". [end quote]
>The question, however, is not whether science fully describes reality, but whether what it does describe is a description of reality as far as it goes. Is not a description of a part or a dimension of reality still a description of what is real? Would not a full description of all of reality in every way we experience it, have to include the portion that science describes? Would not anything we call REALITY be actually LESS than reality if the dimension described by science were excluded? Why, then, call this dimension of measured reality unreal? "Incomplete" makes sense. "Partial" makes sense. "Unreal" doesn't.<
"Empirical reality" is UNreal. The substratum, or threads, or bits and pieces, _of_ reality, while real, are not reality.
"Everything biological" [meaning life, living creatures] is NOT, as you instructed me just weeks ago, "also physical," nor is _reality_ reducible to what is measurable and verifiable.
- --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Turandot1125 <turandot1125@...> wrote:
>That is what I have understood you to be saying. So, then, what HAVE you been saying is unreal? Because I still don't get it.
> >Do you understand my puzzlement when you say that the scientific observations are not real? If you said they were partial, I would readily accept that. But why "unreal"?<
> Your "puzzlement" is a figment of your imagination. I have not so much as hinted that "scientific observations are not real,"
>Where? None were cited in your previous post. (# 21131)
> I have seen, and answered, your prior post. You made a couple of claims, and a superficial search of the OriginsTalk archive returned pages and pages of results that plainly refute those claims.
>If you are making the positive claim that such demonstration or proof exists, the burden of proof is on you to provide it. If you are not making that claim (i.e. if you are baldly asserting that there is simply no reason not to trust your intuition), you are trusting in your intuition without such demonstration the same as the rest of us. I agree, "So what?"
> Note that YOU deny "there is [a] demonstration or proof of why this intuition is valid" and you baldly assert that "it is a trust in an unproven assumption." To which I reply, so what?
> Blue is blue. The sky is the sky. The sun is the sun. A table is a table. A violet is a violet. A dog is a dog. A human being is a human being. Sensual qualities are sensual qualities. "Empirical reality" is the stuff of which REALITY is made.OK. Now when you say "Blue is blue. The sky is the sky. The sun is the sun. A table is a table. A violet is a violet. A dog is a dog. A human being is a human being. Sensual qualities are sensual qualities," is that what you are calling REALITY or is that what you are calling "Empirical reality"?
I would call all of the above both "reality:" and "empirical reality". You, apparently, think one is not the other, hence the reason your usage has been confusing me. (By contrast, I would call God, the soul, angels, etc. "reality" but not "empirical reality".)
> >>For instance:Another point of confusion. I would not have called these scientific views of natural processes "empirical reality" at all. It is the processes themselves I would call "empirical reality". i.e. we can see many of these processes happening; they are as observable as that the sky is blue and that water runs downhill.
> >>Erwin Schrödinger: [quote] [While] all scientific knowledge is based on sense perceptions, the scientific views of natural processes formed in this way lack all sensual qualities and therefore cannot account for the latter. [end quote]<<
> Sensual qualities are absent from "empirical reality," not _reality_.
I would agree with Schrodinger that the descriptions of process do not account for sensual qualities. A description of the pathway of neuronal synapses does not account for the sensation of seeing blue sky. Yet the blue sky and the neuronal synapses are both real. And without the neuronal synapses, I would not have the sensation.
So, to get back to the original question: what is it about "empirical reality" (using your definition) that makes it "unreal"? The lack of reference to sensual qualities?
That takes us back to Descartes, again. He would say that those sensory (and unmeasurable) qualities are precisely those we do not have a clear idea of. Those are the qualities he would say that we cannot know with any certainty by the light of reason. It is the measurable qualities, the quantitative, mathematical qualities of which we can have rational certainty and so "know".
Near the middle of the last meditation, after reaching the conclusion that "physical things exist" he says:
[quote] These objects may not exist exactly as I comprehend them by sense; in many ways, sensory comprehension is obscure and confused. But these objects must at least have in them everything I clearly and distinctly understand them to have--every general property within the scope of pure mathematics." [end quote]
Such purely mathematical descriptions of objects (and processes) became the stuff of science. Is it a complete picture of reality? Of course not. Is it unreal? No, not unreal either.
>There you go again. I pose a question, which you make no attempt to answer, but you do feel free to assume what my views are and to respond to what is "according to [me]" You might just try to ascertain first whether you have correctly deduced what you label as "according to [me]" instead of putting your words in my mouth.
> >Even though I am not reducible to my material body, I am not sure that is sufficient. After all, my experiences and memories change too. For all I know, so does my soul. How do we know that anything at any moment is continuous with the preceding moment?<
> So, according to you, . . .
And you might try to answer the question (or admit that it is not answerable).
>OK, since you have no relevant application, let me provide my comments.
> >>C.A. Dubray, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV:
> Deny, deny, deny and demand, demand, demand....
> >>[quote] [F]rom the many individual activities of the various beings of the world order and harmony result in the universe. And when different forces converge toward a harmonious result, their convergence cannot be explained except by admitting that they tend to realize a plan.He seems to be stating this as a matter of fact; but I submit it is an article of belief.
>Again, he states this as fact, when it is his belief. The alternate belief is that the constancy of the laws of nature and the resulting order of the world is a consequence of the properties of matter/energy. Sub-atomic particles act as they must because of their mass, spin, charge, and the forces that impinge on them such as gravity, electro-magnetism, strong & weak nuclear force. Hence under given initial circumstances, the world must exhibit the order we see.
>In the inorganic world, the constancy of the laws of nature and the resulting order of the world manifest the existence in every being of a principle of direction and orientation.
> >>The fundamental defect of mechanism consists in giving exclusive attention to the analyzing of every event into its causes, and in forgetting to look for the reason of their synthesis. The unconscious finality in the world leads to the conclusion that there must be an intelligent cause of the world. The whole preceding doctrine is well summed up in the following passage from St. Thomas: "The natural necessity inherent in things that are determined to one effect is impressed on them by the Divine power which directs them to their end, just as the necessity which directs the arrow to the target is impressed on it by the archer, and does not come from the arrow itself. There is this difference, however, that what creatures receive from God is their nature, whereas the direction imparted by man to natural things beyond what is natural to them is a kind of violence. Hence, as the forced necessity of the arrow shows the direction intended by the archer, so the natural determinism of creatures is a sign of the government of Divine Providence". [end quote]<<Well, I see the source of the analogy, but that provides no enlightenment on its application. Determinism is as much at home with materialism as with theism. Indeed, a thorough-going materialism may be even more deterministic than theism (e.g. Skinner's behaviorism and its denial of free will). So it remains a matter of belief that the natural determinism of creatures is a sign of the government of Divine Providence.
>Nice to know you are not actually interested in writing to me, or actually engaging in a conversation.
> I'm quite satisfied that anyone who has read the relevant OriginsTalk messages _and_ actually cares "what [I am] getting at" understands exactly what I'm "getting at," and those are the people to whom my messages are addressed.
>You give me too much credit. It really doesn't take any effort.
> It seems that you have, again, made every effort NOT to understand my comments. There's just no interrupting your conversation with yourself and your straw men. I'm done trying.