The Conception of "real" in science and general discourse

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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Eodnhoj7 on May 23rd, 2018, 10:28 am 

This may simplify the above argument:

1) If science is going to define what it real it must develop a science behind the nature of definition.

2) This science of definition will require observing inherent laws within the act of definition itself.

3) These laws will have to reflect themselves considering they are acts of definition.

4) Point three observes that definition itself is dependent of the repetition of form through image as definition.

5) Definition takes on a form of determinism where a definition in itself is a cause for another definition with the other definition an effect for the original and a cause for another.

6) Definition takes on a dual role of cause/effect in the respect that it observes structure. Cause and effect is structure with acausality an absense of structure.

****I will cut it here assuming a counter-argument.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Sivad on May 25th, 2018, 5:30 am 

DragonFly » May 17th, 2018, 3:49 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » May 17th, 2018, 4:38 pm wrote:Yes I am going to believe that there are really such things as electrons and Higgs bosons out there in an objective reality apart from the human mind and understanding (even if my conception of them as quantum fields may be hard for many people to understand), but that it would be going a little too far to define these as the totality of reality itself.


Covariant quantum fields are what's being headed to as the final unveiling of reality's totality.

What has fallen by the wayside, in order:

1. Newton's separate, absolute space and time as backgrounds/containers, with particles in space moving through time—gone. (To be replaced by Einstein's spacetime.)

2. Faraday's and Maxwell's fields and particles as coming from particles—gone. (To be replaced by particles manifesting from fields, along with spacetime and other fields becoming covariant.)

3. Classical fields/particles—gone (no continuum). (To be replaced by spacetime and quantum fields in quantum mechanics.)

4. Spacetime—gone (emergent). (To be replaced by covariant quantum fields in quantum gravity.)


Fields in general are granular, indeterminate, and relational. The particles manifesting exist as themselves only during interactions; they are not persistent things. Their spectrum is discrete, such as that electrons can only have certain orbitals (from this the periodic tables can be constructed). Gravitational field quanta are different; they are not in spacetime but are spacetime.

No infinities (Einstein's curved spacetime is finite but boundless; Planck size / granularity /digital limit makes size scale absolute, plus eliminates classical, analog continuums of endless divisibility. No more Zeno paradoxes.)

No things as permanent; no fundamental lego type of building blocks that can build anything. (Called constitutionalism?)

No original space and time. In Quantum Gravity theory, 'time' would amount to a counting of beats but no universal clock; 'space' quanta serve as 'space' themselves.


I miss those things. The centerless ephemeral flux of reality is nowhere near as gratifying.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on May 25th, 2018, 5:57 pm 

Sivad » May 25th, 2018, 4:30 am wrote:I miss those things. The centerless ephemeral flux of reality is nowhere near as gratifying.

Why? You really buy into that nonsense.

The problem with this is twofold. First, it is being arbitrarily selective, choosing some theories over others which are equally valid. Second, it is pushing the nonsense of scientific revolution which has no validity for the hard science. Newtonian mechanic was never replaced by Einstein. On the contrary, agreement with Newtonian mechanics is the first test of whether relativity is correct. Newtonian mechanics is perfectly valid for a certain range environments and phenomena. The same goes Faraday and Maxwell's equations, which along with Newtonian mechanics are still taught in school because they still work. It is just as absurd to say that fields, particles and space-time are gone as it is to say that people are gone. Hey! We are still here numbnuts! Just because a few silly buggers can't see the forest for the trees doesn't mean the forests are gone.

There will always be those so dead inside that they look at the Mona Lisa and all they see is paint and canvas. What we should be learning from science is that we EXPAND our awareness with tools such as a magnifying glass in order to see MORE of reality -- NOT narrowing down our vision so that we look through the magnifying glass ONLY. These other ways of looking at reality (via scientific tools including theories) have great value but to think these replace reality is just stupid!
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Sivad on May 27th, 2018, 7:57 am 

mitchellmckain » May 25th, 2018, 2:57 pm wrote:Why? You really buy into that nonsense.


Not really. I'm don't really have an opinion. All I can say is that even the most bizarre physical theories seem perfectly plausible given the astonishing fact that anything exists at all. Whatever the fundamental nature of the universe turns out to be it's not going to be nearly as shocking as there being a universe in the first place.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Braininvat on May 27th, 2018, 10:34 am 

If there weren't a universe there would be no one to be shocked.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Sivad on May 27th, 2018, 7:45 pm 

Braininvat » May 27th, 2018, 7:34 am wrote:If there weren't a universe there would be no one to be shocked.


I'm not sure the WAP is applicable to the contingency of physical reality itself. There's not even a metaphysical explanation for why anything exists let alone a scientific one. Existence itself is just a brute fact and brute facts are infinitely weirder than any nondeterministic quantum flux.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby dandelion on May 28th, 2018, 8:38 am 

I still think this would be better in a philosophy area, but regarding the notions discussed earlier, I was looking for relevant research and found a paper I hadn’t read and as it seems quite apt, but also because my confusion about it is a bit ironic, I’ll share. It gives a couple of dates, one over a decade ago and one from early this year, and the recent date seen while skimming was assumed, but regardless it seems related to my last post to me. https://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0610140.pdf

Like in mind when the philosophical question occurred, the paper follows a feature of RQM that systems may be considered observers in interactions, (if MWI considers entanglement observation, that seems quite alike). And AFAICT rather than division precisely restricted by aspects like size described earlier, it suggests an approach described, “This is achieved by exploiting the freedom of moving the quantum/classical boundary, emphasized by von Neumann, and assuming that (in the non-relativistic case) the evolution of the system+apparatus is always unitary”. From this perhaps, for example, size or relatedly I think, extents, of interaction may not be a such a limiting factor, and more phenomena may be considered as associated with behaviour that tends to be considered quantum than may usually be the case. It involves two detectors. Such scenarios may allow alternatives to entangled considerations that arose. More, here this might allow for events with differing frames of reference as an alternative to events occurring in a privileged time.

Maybe, a bit allegorically, an alternative to the considering the duration of the paper from 2006, maybe more significant the ordered experiences of different readers here which may vary e.g. in disposition. Savid’s views may differ to mine, but such sorts of ideas as views like ones shared here with balances raising philosophical questions, like the one that occurred in this thread, and also some balancing echoes of GR, seem quite agelessly stunning like the artistic works of renaissance maestri. Regarding DragonFly’s quoted words, they seem to value wider explanations well, but valuing also some uncertainty, like possibly some levels Savid may be suggesting, and as with Mitchell’s responses too, daily experiences may not alter much considering these, but this altogether has been a really enjoyable discussion to think about.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Braininvat on May 28th, 2018, 9:14 am 

Sivad » May 27th, 2018, 4:45 pm wrote:
Braininvat » May 27th, 2018, 7:34 am wrote:If there weren't a universe there would be no one to be shocked.


I'm not sure the WAP is applicable to the contingency of physical reality itself. There's not even a metaphysical explanation for why anything exists let alone a scientific one. Existence itself is just a brute fact and brute facts are infinitely weirder than any nondeterministic quantum flux.


Was attempting an existential joke. Agree on weirdness of brute facts.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby BadgerJelly on May 29th, 2018, 3:47 am 

Even though I said I’d quit this thread I thought it may help explain my question given the direction/s this thread has taken.

I think both Biv and Sivan hit on what I would hope people would try to bring to the front of their minds more often (myself included, because I am no derided of the scientific endeavor!) That is ... the weirdness of “brute facts” are beyond quantifability, yet their obviousness generally places us in the position of claiming an understanding - as if it were utterly undeniable - and grounding what is termed “real” based upon the “brute facts” of life. Science, and metaphysics, being in no place to question “brute facts” (as they are beyond our reach) leaves us with a certain resignation toward experience as a meaning and fact based supposition from which we can build; and successfully so in many ways.

So the “brute facts” are undeniable yet perpetually intangible. THAT is something I feel is good to reflect upon when conversing with those who appear to believe things that fly in the face of physical reality rather than the “brute facts”, which are, I would argue, the underpinnings of any definition of “reality” or “real” simply because they are wholly beyond human reach and comprehension yet eluded by way of experience and seemingly adumbrated (sketched out, mapped out, smelt, heard in the distance, seen by shadow only or through some other indirect means; the killer point here being that it is the means of adumbration game some supposed underlying “reality” that is the “real” and is forever inexplicable.)

Note: as far as I can tell that is the overall point that Husserl was making.

Dand -

I posted this in science for a specific reason. That was not to get caught up in some dispute over the validity of the scientific endeavor, nor the value of scientific knowledge as opposed to metaphysical ideas and artistic appreciation.

I believe it was Feynman who said something about the stupidity of trying to answer a philosophical question with scientific evidence, or an ethical question with theological doctrine, etc.,. I was merely looking for more focus on where these wires get crossed and by doing so looking for ways to mend the partition.

The commonest argument I’ve seen is where the theological person refers to the scientific person as “dogmatic” or “religious”, because from their perspective and, more importantly, by their lexicon that is precisely what they see. Equally so the scientific person protests about being labeled such instead of offering a acceptance of such terms and introducing other terms that set aside the physical view as the only view to be called “true”. And there is of course a need to talk the same language, but the delicacy of the operation involves coming to an agreement on what the terms of speech mean without an insufferable repetition of “read a dictionary” or “you’re not using that term correctly.” This is because every time we say something we usually have at least an inkling of what it is we’re trying to express. Most of us fall short, and fewer of us are willing to accept this so instead choose to double down - an easier and understandable position to take.

In my experience a little success in navigating through this “brute fact” of life causes a huge amount of unfounded certainty; on the flip side a constant thirst for further exploration when presented with overwhelming experiential evidence draws away from certainty and keeps doubt as a reliable friend rather than as an enemy to shut out at every possible turn in order to construct the facade of understanding “brute facts”.

In this sense to ignore the weirdness, the bizarre and the outright contrary, is to ignore what I would call that which is the reason for,the existence of the elaborate nd confusing terms “real”/“reality”.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Braininvat on May 29th, 2018, 12:28 pm 

It's interesting how meanings shift as we move from primitive hunter-gatherer peoples to modern scientific worldview. In ancient times, a few people who apparently perceived parts of reality that no one else could were considered to be shamans endowed with a great gift. Reality was enlarged, for the average person, by their faith in the shamanic visions and the reality of the unseen. Now many of us have transferred that faith to the scientific visions and the reality of realms too tiny or too distant to be seen. The major shift, in defining reality, has been from a dualistic reality to a monistic one. Educated people now tend to believe more in dark matter than they do in ghosts or fairies. But our sense of "real" is constantly trying, due to what I believe is an inherent structure of the mind, to revert to dualism, because it offers comfort against the fear of personal annihilation by death. In science, the brute fact of biological life is that the individual creature dies - which makes people want to bend the "real" towards something that can still evade death. Either they restore the metaphysical standing of the old spirit realm or they hang their hopes on the Singularity or some other "upload" scenario where they can transcend to a nonbiological (hence, less frail and mortal) realm.

Really, all is speculation, and the Kantian things-in-themselves forever unattainable, unless there is some kind of unfiltered and infinite variety of perception completely unknown to us.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby BadgerJelly on May 29th, 2018, 1:11 pm 

Edit above for my “killer point”

It is the means of adumbration GIVING some supposed underlying “reality” that is the “real” and is forever inexplicable.

Must have auto-corrected sorry if the “game” threw anyone!

Biv -

Funnily enough Husserl critiqued Kant for avoiding his suppositions of what we’re talking about here - the “brute facts”, the unquestionable right here right-now-ness which we proudly declare as “reality” with naive and idiotic certainty ;)
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby DragonFly on May 29th, 2018, 6:21 pm 

The evidence of there being existence is the fact—a Truth, which is good enough without the inexplicable Why, and even All Enough (not knowing the Why makes it 'brute'). I call it the Existence Principle. There was and always is a capability for existence.

One cannot go further to make up any more about the Eternal Capability, such as declaring it to be and always have been a fundamental and fully formed Being amid nothing else (not likely though).

As for 'infinite' that is then layered onto or necessary for the Being, there are no infinities possible; all information has been found to have to be finite, and also in discrete chunks/bits (no infinite divisibility; no infinite scope/power).

Being a generous skeptic, one can grant a 'maybe' to the Being and then ask the believers why they dishonestly preach it as if it is fact/truth. Yes, we are unto simpleton actions here.

On the science side, the formulas work, and all is seen as non-continuous now but for the spacetime continuum, for some, which spacetime for quantum gravity theory needs to fall to pieces.

What is of the Real is real as well as what the transformations of the Real bring forth higher up.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby RJG on May 29th, 2018, 9:09 pm 

Does reality exist? -- This seems obvious. For at least our 'thoughts' must exist for us to even ponder this strange question. So I think it is safe to say/claim that there exists 'something' rather than 'nothing'. But of course the WHY of this, is a whole 'nother matter/disussion in of itself.

It is NOT the preponderance of "experiential evidence" that illuminates (allows us to see) reality, it is the ability to 'experience' this evidence that makes it so! ...the "evidence" (or content of one's experience) can NEVER EVER be trusted to yield that which is true or 'real'.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Sivad on May 30th, 2018, 1:10 am 

Braininvat » May 14th, 2018, 6:28 pm wrote: always keep in mind that TSM doesn't make ontological claims. It's an array of methods that vary from one field to another, with the object of finding practical ways to gather data, formulate testable hypotheses, etc. Charles Sanders Peirce is helpful.


"Pragmatism. The opinion that metaphysics is to be largely cleared up by the application of the following maxim for attaining clearness of apprehension: Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object."
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby hyksos on June 1st, 2018, 6:36 pm 

mitchellmckain » May 14th, 2018, 8:11 pm wrote:The most typical discussion between scientist and theologian are when the theologian crosses the line to talk about evolution versus creationism. Then if they simply don't talk past each other with the different methodologies of science (objective evidence) and theology (quoting scripture), then the theologian is probably indulging in pseudoscience or the scientist is stepping out of science to spout theological opinions.

So what this is probably about, I think, is atheists and other philosophers, possibly with a science background indulging in pseudoscience themselves. This means that the methodology they are using is pure rhetoric and yet they seek to maintain the deception that what they are doing is science.

This is a false dichotomy. Christians numbering in the millions can, and do, make bald statements about states-of-affairs in the world. Often these claims are coupled to a complete disregard for taking any responsibility for the logical consequences entailed by those claims.

When asked or challenged to take responsibility for their claims, they retract into a "Safe Zone" where they claim they cannot be questioned because they "doing theology". It's a game, in essence. It's a word game. Sophistry.

If human beings are the products of design and were explicitly designed by a creator - then this claim comes already attached to several corollaries. Namely, mankind's hatred, his sexuality, his penchant for violence, his racism, his tribalism, his ignorance of ethics, his greed -- every last one of these human attributes were programmed into mankind explicitly by the creator. This is neither "my logic" nor my "opinion". It is an entailed logical fact attached to creationism.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby hyksos on June 1st, 2018, 6:52 pm 

Eodnhoj7 » May 14th, 2018, 7:02 pm wrote:If we look at the nature of "real" it is generally dependent upon:

1) Empirical Objective evidence where the phenomenon is experienced through the 5 senses.

2) Abstract definition where the phenomenon is defined through symbols which mediate the phenomenon's inherent relations into a "rule" or "form".

I totally agree this is happening. However, this is merely due to the fact that human beings communicate with language. Our language is linear, because it derives from a hunter-gatherer past where we had to stitch stories around the campfire, word-after-word, by puffing air out of our mouths.

(In the grand scheme of the astronomical processes of the universe, comma ) we are not so far away from that time. By "we" I also mean "you and I" right here in this thread.


3) A dual nature of empirical and abstract "boundaries" where one is just not necessitated by the other but inevitably results in the other.

No. I don't believe the empirical world around us "inevitably results" from human beings scribbling abstract symbols on a chalkboard.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby hyksos on June 1st, 2018, 7:26 pm 

doogles » May 15th, 2018, 2:28 am wrote:
A better explanation of reality and what is real is the following:

PLACE A BAR OF CHOCOLATE, A BOWL OF DISINFECTANT AND A HAND TOWEL ON A TABLE AND SIT FACING IT. You can see the bar of chocolate, feel it, smell it, hear it snap as you break off a piece and you can taste a piece if you place it in your mouth. There is no doubt that to you the chocolate bar is real. Five of your senses in contact with the outside world have registered positive. This is hard reality. No argument!

Now, rinse your fingers in the disinfectant and dry them to remove the smell of the chocolate on your fingers.

Turn your chair around so that you face the other way, and then hold your nose. You cannot see, touch, taste or smell the chocolate, but you know it’s there. There is no doubt that the bar of chocolate is real, whether you are actually looking at it or not. Your senses have left impressions of it in your brain.

Your entire post is basically an introduction to Epistemology. And yes, the grounding of epistemology is that certain types of evidence act in support of certain types of beliefs. Check and good.

Unfortunately this thread is about the use of "real" in science. So to risk cutting you off too quickly, it was that last sentence you posted there that is closer to the topic. Namely, science would say something like "brains are real" and "brains store memories/impressions" is a valid theory of their function.

Similarly, you also know that there is a bed in your bedroom, and a refrigerator in your own kitchen. This is reality; you do not have to have these things within the immediate range of your senses to know that they are real.

You know there are other houses in your street; you’ve seen them many times. But what about all the other things you know are real but have never seen?

You may have never travelled abroad, but you know there are many other countries apart from your own. You accept this. You know there was a First World War yet you most probably were not around at the time. All you really know is what other people have told you. You believe it occurred because you’ve seen a variety of evidence suggesting that it happened. There are references to the First World War; there are annual remembrance ceremonies, books and memorials.

Yes. What counts as knowledge? What counts as evidence to justify a piece of knowledge? Etc etc. Yep. THis is epistemology 101 material.

How do we know that Mozart existed? What about Cleopatra? What sorts of things would count as "evidence" for Cleopatra's existence? What set of rules will we agree on ahead of time?

(How do we "know" that black holes exist?)

The lesson from this is that we do not have to witness things directly with our senses to believe that they are real.
see above.

In essence, reality is what we believe to be real.

You have taken epistemology too far. I can only agree to you that certain beliefs are justified by certain pieces of evidence, and that there will be rules that bound this. But "reality" is not the realm of epistemology.

It is difficult to divorce the notion of reality from the notion of a belief system.

Oh no, it is not difficult at all. We will show you how to do it right here on this forum.

In the year 1450 AD, it was difficult to divorce these two things, but this 2018. We have all sorts of tools now they didn't have back then. (One of them is of course post-Galilean science which kinda goes without saying). But we also have statistical tools now too. So if we are wrong about something, we can quantify how wrong we are. It's beautiful and powerful stuff.


The notion of reality can only exist in the mind of a person. And these notions in our minds can change if they are not too strongly embedded.

We should be careful with the word "notion" here. I have driven across the state of New York without having any of my notions about traffic changing. However, the instant positions of cars and trucks changed wildly from minute to minute. The location and speed of my car rapidly changed, and my "belief states" were updated, sure. But my notions? Nah, can't really say there was much change.

During the long drive, someone in the passenger seat said to me
TV adverts for pharmaceutical drugs are illegal in every country in Europe.

then my notions would likely have to change a little to accommodate that fact.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 1st, 2018, 8:43 pm 

hyksos » June 1st, 2018, 5:36 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » May 14th, 2018, 8:11 pm wrote:The most typical discussion between scientist and theologian are when the theologian crosses the line to talk about evolution versus creationism. Then if they simply don't talk past each other with the different methodologies of science (objective evidence) and theology (quoting scripture), then the theologian is probably indulging in pseudoscience or the scientist is stepping out of science to spout theological opinions.

So what this is probably about, I think, is atheists and other philosophers, possibly with a science background indulging in pseudoscience themselves. This means that the methodology they are using is pure rhetoric and yet they seek to maintain the deception that what they are doing is science.

This is a false dichotomy. Christians numbering in the millions can, and do, make bald statements about states-of-affairs in the world.

The false dichotomy is not mine. I have made the correct dichotomy quite clear numerous times.
1. The separation is 1-way. Theology is irrelevant to science, but science is not irrelevant to theology.
2. The objective evidence (science) supersedes the subjective (including theology). The absolute (that which is based on reason) supersedes the relative (that which is based on convention). The secular (protecting us from the excesses of religion) supersedes the religious (which can only be free if that freedom is restricted by liberty of others).
3. The findings of science have the superior epistemological status, to the point where consistency with the findings of science is requisite for a belief to be reasonable and part of the requirements for rational belief (most general meaning of "rational").
I have explained these things over and over and over again. So failing to get this implies ear which are deaf, eyes which are blind, and minds which refuse to understand.

BUT just because someone is a scientist does not mean all their opinions have the weight of science behind them. Science is defined by a methodology, which is certainly NOT authority.

hyksos » June 1st, 2018, 5:36 pm wrote:Often these claims are coupled to a complete disregard for taking any responsibility for the logical consequences entailed by those claims.

The dichotomy is then between the following:
1. Those who can produce objective evidence for their rhetoric which proclaims so called "logical consequences."
2. Those who push their own religious opinions on others with no objective evidence whatsoever.

examples of these 1&2 are as follows:
1. Those outraged by the remarks by the Pope regarding AIDS and condoms stand on the objective evidence.
2. The use economic blackmail by other countries to oppose birth control in Africa is one of the worst examples of religious imperialism.

But this applies to EVERYONE! You are required to produce objective evidence for your claims of "logical consequences" just like everyone else, otherwise you are just like all the others in category number 2.

hyksos » June 1st, 2018, 5:36 pm wrote:When asked or challenged to take responsibility for their claims, they retract into a "Safe Zone" where they claim they cannot be questioned because they "doing theology". It's a game, in essence. It's a word game. Sophistry.

Hiding behind "religious freedom" in this matter is indeed pure hypocrisy and deception. It ultimately equates to no better than Muslim violence which says "you dare not oppose us because we are so numerous." Real religious freedom protects the diversity of religious opinion (including atheism) against tyranny in areas where there is a majority religion. This is the role of secular authority in a free society.

hyksos » June 1st, 2018, 5:36 pm wrote:If human beings are the products of design and were explicitly designed by a creator - then this claim comes already attached to several corollaries. Namely, mankind's hatred, his sexuality, his penchant for violence, his racism, his tribalism, his ignorance of ethics, his greed -- every last one of these human attributes were programmed into mankind explicitly by the creator. This is neither "my logic" nor my "opinion". It is an entailed logical fact attached to creationism.

Creationism is inconsistent with the objective evidence. It is unreasonable and cannot be supported by the secular government of a free society. We cannot prevent them from teaching this nonsense in their churches but it should be prohibited in public schools and any schools getting any support from the public government whatsoever.

But your religious arguments are still just religious arguments, no different from their religious arguments. Just because I agree with you on this particular argument doesn't change this in the slightest. And shouting the words "fact" and "logic" at the top of your lungs does not change this either.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Eodnhoj7 on June 2nd, 2018, 4:15 pm 

hyksos » June 1st, 2018, 6:52 pm wrote:
Eodnhoj7 » May 14th, 2018, 7:02 pm wrote:If we look at the nature of "real" it is generally dependent upon:

1) Empirical Objective evidence where the phenomenon is experienced through the 5 senses.

2) Abstract definition where the phenomenon is defined through symbols which mediate the phenomenon's inherent relations into a "rule" or "form".

I totally agree this is happening. However, this is merely due to the fact that human beings communicate with language. Our language is linear, because it derives from a hunter-gatherer past where we had to stitch stories around the campfire, word-after-word, by puffing air out of our mouths.

(In the grand scheme of the astronomical processes of the universe, comma ) we are not so far away from that time. By "we" I also mean "you and I" right here in this thread.

But the question occurs, at least to me, what is language? In it we can observe that it not just acts as a form of mediation but manifests through symbols which in themselves are just structures. What is structure but the repetition of symmetry, with this symmetry bringing forth order as order. All things which existed, exist and will exist do so through structure and in these respects all phenomenon take on the form of a language in themselves as medial points to further structures.


3) A dual nature of empirical and abstract "boundaries" where one is just not necessitated by the other but inevitably results in the other.

No. I don't believe the empirical world around us "inevitably results" from human beings scribbling abstract symbols on a chalkboard.


And the dimensions of a schematic or those of an experiment do not encapsulate reality by providing a median to action?
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby hyksos on June 2nd, 2018, 7:01 pm 

Eodnhoj7 » June 3rd, 2018, 12:15 am wrote:But the question occurs, at least to me, what is language? In it we can observe that it not just acts as a form of mediation but manifests through symbols which in themselves are just structures. What is structure but the repetition of symmetry, with this symmetry bringing forth order as order. All things which existed, exist and will exist do so through structure and in these respects all phenomenon take on the form of a language in themselves as medial points to further structures.

I moved around font emphasis to make my reply more sensible.

I wanted to respond to the the phrase that appears in bold blue there. In that context, you are using the word "language" to actually mean a symbolic encoding. Symbolic encodings are not about human language anymore, or how humans communicate theories. This is getting closer to semiotics, which has a different set of rules. We see, for example, insects using pheromones to signal an attack on their hive. Street signs of a certain color indicate action by a driver on a road. (Green means GO. Red means STOP). Even the cells of our bodies use "encodings" to communicate with each other. Some kind of protein molecule called Wnt.

What is structure but the repetition of symmetry, with this symmetry bringing forth order as order.

I think the claim is that existence is predicated upon geometry. Why you used the word "symmetry" instead is kind of peculiar. Geometrical truths can certainly be encoded into a language. This is not standard fair in "science" when talking about what is real. This is more like a topic for an ontology of quantum mechanics. (i.e. "Reality is made of information. It's all bits. 1s and 0s." yadda yadda )

Normally we would say that individual humans are limited in their memory and ability to perceive the universe. So theories are formed and communicated amongst us in some "language" due to those shortcomings. The alternative claim would be something like we form physical theories as equations because this says something deeper at the nature of cosmos. Well, maybe maybe not.


And the dimensions of a schematic or those of an experiment do not encapsulate reality by providing a median to action?

The dimensions of an experiment provide a medium {sic} to action?
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby BadgerJelly on June 3rd, 2018, 1:00 am 

Mitch -

It seems to me that people come away from a complex book like this with pretty much what they are looking for -- interpreting its contents in whatever way serves their own agenda. That is all I see happening in your comments as well. It has more to do with where your interests and contentions lie than anything else.


That is the problem we need to overcome. The context and interpretation make communication difficult.

What one person blindly reveres another blindly treads on. Announcing to either party that they are blinded by subjectivity only serves to cause further tension.

I believe I outlined this issue somewhere on this forum regarding Eliade’s take on “hierophany”?
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 3rd, 2018, 3:44 am 

BadgerJelly » June 3rd, 2018, 12:00 am wrote:Mitch -

It seems to me that people come away from a complex book like this with pretty much what they are looking for -- interpreting its contents in whatever way serves their own agenda. That is all I see happening in your comments as well. It has more to do with where your interests and contentions lie than anything else.


That is the problem we need to overcome. The context and interpretation make communication difficult.

What one person blindly reveres another blindly treads on. Announcing to either party that they are blinded by subjectivity only serves to cause further tension.

Correct. But I never say such a thing. I never use the word "blinded" in that way. What I say instead is that diversity of opinion is an unavoidable part of the subjective realm and thus this diversity of thought must be accepted as a part of it.

You know what it reminds me of is alternative medicine. It seems to me that one of things about "western" scientific medicine is that it focuses on the similarities between people rather than the differences (which are mostly treated as statistical anomalies). You could also say that is both its strength and its weakness. But by contrast, if alternative medicine has any validity whatsoever, it must be accepted that it not going to work for the majority of people. People have had marvelous success with such treatments, but it should never be what you go to first because it is the scientific solutions which have the greatest probability of success.

So.... where I WILL use the word "blind" is when the objective determinations are ignored and contradicted or the inherent diversity of the subjective is not understood and accepted.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 3rd, 2018, 12:59 pm 

Updated listing the features of the separation between science and things like theology and philosophy

1. The separation is 1-way. Theology is irrelevant to science, but science is not irrelevant to theology.
2. The objective evidence (science) supersedes the subjective (including theology). The absolute (that which is based on reason) supersedes the relative (that which is based on convention). The secular (protecting us from the excesses of religion) supersedes the religious (which can only be free if that freedom is restricted by liberty of others).
3. The findings of science have the superior epistemological status, to the point where consistency with the findings of science is requisite for a belief to be reasonable and part of the requirements for rational belief (most general meaning of "rational").
4. Since the subjective is only valid for the belief of the individual with no reasonable expectation that others agree, its moral dictates (whether dietary, sexual, or something else) can ONLY apply to your own personal commitments to live as you choose, but is not valid for either legislation or judgments regarding what is civil behavior in free society. The secular government must, of course, limit its dictates according to what can be objectively established as harmful to its citizens.

BUT just because someone is a scientist does not mean all their opinions have the weight of science behind them. Science is defined by a methodology, which is certainly NOT authority.

hyksos » June 2nd, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:Logic is logic.

Logic is the tool of rhetoric, whether for lawyers, politicians, preachers or used car salesmen. The point was that your religious arguments are just as subjective as theirs. Without objective evidence there is still no reasonable basis for an expectation that others will agree with you. Logic does nothing except take you from your premises to your conclusions. Anyone who disagrees with your conclusions need only trace the logic back to the premises which they do not agree with.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby Reg_Prescott on June 3rd, 2018, 8:19 pm 

Apologies first to the OP since you've been clear that a discussion of scientific practice or method is not what you had in mind. Allow me a few words though, please.

Reading mitchellmckain's posts continues to evoke in me images of attending the annual general meeting of the North Korean Ministry of Propaganda, or listening to the bloviations of a used-car salesman, I'm afraid.

On page 1, after doubt had been cast on some of his initial hyperbolism regarding The (so-called) Scientific Method, or TSM for short, mitchell himself posted a quote from Steven Weinberg who told us: "We do not have a fixed scientific method to rally around and defend...", to which mitchell immediately added his own endorsement: "I cannot disagree [...]".

Inexplicably, though, mitchell continues to implicitly defend the notion he has already explicitly renounced. In his latest post above, we see:

mitchellmckain » June 4th, 2018, 1:59 am wrote:"Science is defined by a methodology..."


Well, if there is no fixed method of science, then it cannot be that science is defined by a methodology. Quite the reverse. If there was such a thing as The Scientific Method -- a unique, immutable method of science -- then the method would define the enterprise: those who adhere to TSM are doing science; those who don't are not. But given that there is no such method, then the reverse holds: if you want to know what methods scientists use then find a scientist or two hundred first and observe what they do.

Next up on mitchell's propaganda jamboree is this:

mitchellmckain » June 4th, 2018, 1:59 am wrote:The findings of science have the superior epistemological status, to the point where consistency with the findings of science is requisite for a belief to be reasonable and part of the requirements for rational belief (most general meaning of "rational").


First off, use of the word "findings" already stacks the deck inasmuch as "finding" is a term of success. If a finding has indeed been made then there is no question of its epistemological status -- the truth has been found. All you'd be telling is that those scientific knowledge claims which are true are true.

Your claim would thus be tautologically true but of no interest whatsoever: a bit like the claim no truths are untrue, or for the Beatles fans, there's nothing you can find that can't be found.

Now, if you want to talk instead about putative findings, or claims to knowledge, then we have a substantive issue to debate, though, at the very least, you'd have a great deal of qualifying to do. I presume you would not want to defend the claim that all putative findings of science (i.e., all scientific knowledge claims) are epistemically justified? After all, a person claiming that every claim to knowledge ever made by every scientist in every time and place is worthy of belief (i.e., epistemically justified) might as well take a holiday in Pyongyang.

The cold air might do his head some good.

Whether or not the claims to knowledge made by science/scientists are worthy of belief has been examined at some length in the following thread:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=32607&hilit=Maxwell
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby DragonFly on June 3rd, 2018, 9:04 pm 

One can't argue with what works that we build/find through science.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 3rd, 2018, 10:09 pm 

DragonFly » June 3rd, 2018, 8:04 pm wrote:One can't argue with what works that we build/find through science.


Indeed.

But it is not just about what works. All the religious fanatics think what they have works better for them. Those who rule others with rhetoric don't want the objective evidence to interfere with what works for them either. So it is not surprising to hear nonsense like this about there being no such thing as a scientific method, because they want nothing to stand in judgement of their means to power.

But despite such aggressive anti-science rhetoric the truth remains unchallenged. Science holds to these two methodological ideals which will always separate the sciences from the rampaging fustian of the ideologues and salesmen -- no matter how many ad-hominems and other logical fallacies they use.
1. Honest inquiry: instead of just looking for evidence to prove what they want to believe, the scientist devises tests to see if their hypotheses are wrong or correct.
2. Objectivity: Scientific results are in the form of written procedures which anyone can follow to get the same result.

This is how the scientific community operates. I know this first hand. Yes, it works, and does so in a way that that the blustering of preachers and ideologues cannot compare with. It finds new things about the universe at a pace which no other human activity competes. No it is not like the 4,7, or 10 steps to salvation offered in the pamphlets of the evangelicals but it is methodological difference nonetheless.


As for me, I have a background in science, but I make no bones that what I do here in the philosophy forum is rhetoric also. Science is great but it is not everything. Life requires subjective participation as well as objective observation. Thus it is natural that rhetoric rather than science is the principle methodology of human civilization. What then could be more natural than using this to defend the 3 point rationality in which I believe.
1. That logical coherence is required for beliefs to be meaningful.
2. That consistency with the objective (scientific) evidence is required for beliefs to be reasonable.
3. That compatibility with the ideals of a free society (religious freedom and tolerance) are required for morality in the type of society in which I choose to live and fight for.
This is the foundation for rationality in the free society of the modern world.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby BadgerJelly on June 3rd, 2018, 11:42 pm 

If you wish to talk about a completely different subject go ahead. How about making your own thread to do so?

If you choose to protest that what you’re saying is relevant then you’ve seriously missed the point.

There are plenty of threads where people cry about the short comings and failing of religious and scientific people alike. This isn’t the place for that. This is the place for asking why it is YOU could be wrong rather than persistently pointing the finger at those “others” talking “nonsense”.

Is that clear enough or should I ask Biv to delete more 50% of the posts?

This is not a moral question, an epistemic question nor one that I was expecting a religion versus science debate to birth from.

So what is the best way to reach common understanding when the premises, often blindly held, from each position are never truly addressed as anything other than workable self-explications of “brute facts” (meaning what is intangible unquestionable to us in some given moment and/or from some given perspective - to become a butterfly we have to shed what was once useful and practical to our view of life.)

If you’re still struggling how about asking the differences in opinion between chemists and physicists? This is nothing to do with science versus religion, it is about opinion versus opinion and how we’re selective about what we deem a worthy or correct point of view. The artist and mathematician could well be another example.

To reiterate ... take your perspective and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine for a brief moment. If you don’t find that useful then you’re done here no matter what you may arrogantly choose to believe ;)
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 4th, 2018, 1:37 am 

The OP talks of a dialogue between scientists and theologians about what is real. If it is not about the perspective of scientists and theologians then I don't know why they are mentioned. And if writer is not interested in the perspective of others then why does he make a thread in the forum at all?

To be sure the thread has been taken in quite a variety of directions.
Reggie makes this thread a place for refuting the reality of the scientific method.
hyksos has made it about the views of the Bible on sexuality.
Eodnhoj7 has made it about Jungian archetypes.
To be sure I have addressed the question of the OP as best as I am able, but have been willing to discuss these other issues that Reggie and hyksos have wanted to talk about though perhaps they should indeed have made a different thread to do so. BJ replied to the discussion of Jung and archetypes, but I don't know if this is just because it is a topic that interest him or it has something to do with the original question -- I don't see the connection really.

But perhaps these digressions point to poorly defined topic. And maybe nobody understands what the OP seeks to discuss exactly. Seems he acknowledged the nebulous nature of the topic and now he is expecting people to address something much more narrow.
1. Since the OP talks about the dialogue between scientists and theologians on what is real I have talked on the issue, but this latest complaint seems to suggest this is not what he is interested in despite this being in the OP.
2. Since the OP talks about the concept of reality, I talked about this in my second post, recalling a previous discussion where I suggested that reality is found in what things do and thus there is as many kinds of reality as there are doing. This seems to be a very flexible approach to reality which BJ hasn't even discussed so apparently he is not interested in this.

Well perhaps it is time to take another look at the OP.
BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 5:31 am wrote:The point of this is what I have raised previously about the growing need for public speakers in the sciences. What seems to me to be the most important blind-spot for the rational and scientific minded person is the unwillingness to reconcile the differences people have in the concept of "reality" and the "real."

Now how in the world are people going to reconcile difference on the concept of "reality" any more than they can reconcile their differing religious ideas? How can the methods of science help when there is nothing to test? That is why it is not a topic for science.

BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 5:31 am wrote:I think more progress could be made if scientists came to theologians with an openness to amending and bridging the gap between differing concepts of "real".

If scientists are simply up front about reality not being a proper question for science then why shouldn't this resolve the problem?

BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 5:31 am wrote:As an example is someone believes this or that is "real" without empirical evidence we're not in a position to say they are misusing the term "real," because to them it has meaning. I have seen this happen numerous times and really think there is benefit if the more "rational" scientifically minded person assumed the other s persons view of "real" was being spoken with more emphasis of subjective experience and personal meaning - an emotional and purposeful representation of the world for everyday life.

Demanding empirical evidence for what is "real" is the response of a naturalist, which has nothing to do with science. So when it comes to speaking for science then the thing to do is make this clear.

BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 5:31 am wrote:Like those people who attend a football game and scream at the players on the pitch, or those who go to a movie, listen to music and become emotionally engaged. Here for the "religious" person I feel they mean precisely this kind of cosmological perspective that lies beyond any kind of precise empirical measurements.

Indeed, and that is their reason for disagreeing with the naturalist.

BadgerJelly » February 21st, 2018, 5:31 am wrote:So if we loosen up the concept of "real" as a means to actively create a more productive dialogue with those outside of scientific knowhow who view it as "robotic" or "immoral", could we not then bring them into the fold and help them grasp the ideas behind scientific data without the need to dictate what they should refer to as "real" or otherwise?

Is this a complaint against scientists who have been pushing naturalism on people? If so then perhaps you should identify them in specific examples.
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby BadgerJelly on June 4th, 2018, 3:04 am 

You already expressed this view on the first page directly after the OP. I don’t see the need for the repetition.

NOTE: I did make other posts after the OP to iron out my poor writing. I may seem perfect, but I’m not ;)
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Re: The Conception of "real" in science and general discours

Postby mitchellmckain on June 4th, 2018, 11:08 am 

BadgerJelly » June 4th, 2018, 2:04 am wrote:You already expressed this view on the first page directly after the OP. I don’t see the need for the repetition.

If you cannot be bothered to answer the questions about what you want to talk about in this thread then I see no justification for your complaints.

BadgerJelly » June 4th, 2018, 2:04 am wrote:
NOTE: I did make other posts after the OP to iron out my poor writing. I may seem perfect, but I’m not ;)


Well maybe a calm summary of these clarifications telling people what this thread is supposed to be about exactly would be in order. If you think you have done this already then you should know this is hard to find among responses to particular people.

Or is this it?
So what is the best way to reach common understanding when the premises, often blindly held, from each position are never truly addressed as anything other than workable self-explications of “brute facts” (meaning what is intangible unquestionable to us in some given moment and/or from some given perspective - to become a butterfly we have to shed what was once useful and practical to our view of life.)

I have never seen ANY method for reaching a common understanding in philosophy or religion -- I don't think this is possible and attempts to do so are indistinguishable from intolerance. Science only offers this by restricting itself to what tests of the objective evidence can show. Perhaps this explains the motivation of many naturalists, tired of the endless diversity and conflict, they prefer to restrict reality to where science can offer such a common understanding.
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