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Nice to see you missed the inb4. It's cute that you think someone with different beliefs than you is a troll. "Tolerance" at its finest...

 

It isn't a matter of different beliefs as it was you having agitating comments in your post. AKA, Flaimbait. But you are right, I missed the inb4, then again it still wasn't a matter of there being different beliefs rather than the post containing flaimbait comments in it. It still is a trollish comment, though.


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The part you just said, in bold, was my very point. It isn't a truth or a lie until we call it that. Until then it is nothing but sound. Determining something as a truth or a lie is a completely man made system. If we somehow managed to never think of these classifications, a statement could never be anything but a statement (basically). On the other hand, something like a baseball flying through the air has its outcome dictated by the natural world.

 

And to which my response was and still is, "A 'god'/'mug' does not exist until we call it that." Do we really have to go in another circle? I mean, I already have my response to what I'm pretty sure your rebuttal will be. ("But the physical object in front of my desk is there no matter what we call it." "But the act of someone intentionally telling another a falsity is there no matter what we call it.")

 

Something being true vs. false is decided by us. Something sitting still vs. moving is "decided" by nature.

 

Something sitting still is either a truth or a falsehood. We ascribe what it takes to constitute as "sitting still" or "moving", just as we ascribe what it takes to constitute as a "truth".

 

Again, you don't know that the spaghetti for sure cannot come to life. Maybe there IS a god and he is going to decide to randomly make it come to life, despite the fact that it is made up of all the wrong stuff. It isn't an impossibility.

 

And again, the triangle thing is an impossibility by definition. Triangles play by our rules because we invented them, and we get to decide what is and is not a triangle. It is an abstract creation of mankind. We don't get to decide how physical objects behave, because they are not a product of our minds. We didn't create the rules, so we can never know them for absolute certainty.

 

Again, you are speaking of nomological possibility, since you claimed the laws would need to be altered in order for these things to actually occur. This is as obvious as saying a "square" would be a "triangle" if we decided to call it such. It's saying nothing but, "If things were different, things would be different!"

 

I'm talking about actual possibilities in reality - not possibilities in different dimensions of time and space.

 

Fine. It is possible because we have no way of coming to any sort of absolute knowledge about the physical world around us. We can develop good enough predictions to serve for all practical purposes, but we can NEVER call something impossible. We just don't have a system that does that. Science is not a source of absolute knowledge. It is a source of knowledge that gets us as close as possible.

 

We actually do have a system that dictates this is impossible - it's called logic. Do you think it is logically possible for these cogs to spin?

 

3gears-c.jpg

 

If you can provide a logical explanation as to how these three cogs can turn, you win the debate. I'll be waiting.

 

I'll even link you to a few hints: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/impossible.htm

 

I think you misunderstand the way that science works. Its not like we can see something and then instantly know the truth. It is a system of predictions and likely conclusions. If you want to talk about "the laws of physics" how about this? You are walking down the road, when all of a sudden you split into a human and an anti-human (basically just two humans). Sound impossible? Sound like it defys some "law" of physics? Well, it doesn't. In fact, you can use physics to predict the chances of this happening to you. Luckily the odds are less than 10^-100, but it is still technically a possibility.

 

Stuff like that happens all of the time to subatomic particles (spontaneously splitting into a particle and anti-particle). It happens way more frequently for these particles since their mass is so tiny. As things get more massive, it is less likely for these types of things to happen. Yet still possible.

 

You seem to have some understanding of the fact that properties of our universe dictate the outcomes of events around us. Well, its not like these properties are absolute. Like, its not like there is a universal "on" or "off" position for "Can things pass through each other?". The liklihood of certain events occuring is set by constants that have a value (for example, Planck's constant, one of the most important constants for understanding the behavior of objects in our universe). The objects in our universe behave according to probability equations, not absolute equations. Some of these effects are totally, completely, absolutely negligible for daily life. However, to say that there is a ZERO percent chance of you being able to jump through your wall is a slight misnomer.

 

I wouldn't claim something like that is impossible, as I really do have no idea. However, there are certain things that I do believe to be impossible because of logical contradiction. We can start with a cliched coin flip argument. A coin can land on heads, tails, or maybe if you are very lucky, the side. There are three possible outcomes. It is impossible for the coin to have any outcome that isn't one of those three.

 

Same goes for my other examples. It is a logical contradiction for a traditional fishing rod line (a couple meters long) to reach the sun which is millions of miles away. It is a logical contradiction for a 1 gram of food to instantly make you gain 100 lbs. It is a logical contradiction for something dead (a fossil) to also be alive (breathing). By saying these are possible, you are merely asserting a baseless claim. When I say say they are impossible, I am asserting a logically supported claim.

 

Again, this is why I love debating with atheists. They prove to act just as religiously and imaginative as the people they make a passionate hobby out of ridiculing. The irony of the situation knows no bounds.

 

What do you want to compare then? The fact that Santa does many "magical" things or that God does many "magical" things? What is there about God that is more congruent with the reality we see around us than Santa claus is? Have we ever seen an infinitely intelligent force? Have we ever seen a being create a universe? Have we seen a being that doesn't need a beginning? What is it about God that makes him MORE likely to exist than a magical guy who can fly around the world in a night? Tell me instead of just repeatedly saying that the comparison sucks. All you have done is spit out stuff about reciepts, which doesn't do anything to make it seem more unlikely that a man in a magical sled can fly around with raindeer.

 

Are you kidding? I've answered these questions before, but you just swept them under the carpet.

 

I do have a new one though: Either the universe has a first cause, or it has an infinitely recurring amount of causes. Neither seem to make logical sense to us, so whatever the answer is, it probably transcends our traditional logic. Now don't take this as evidence for god - take it as evidence that god is allowed to break more rules than Santa Claus. Like I said, the origin of the universe is a much bigger mystery than who gives us presents. Of course there are flaws in this reasoning - just not as much as there are for Santa Claus.

 

These changes happen randomly.

 

Lolwat.

 

Crusty, do you not understand the base definition of abstract?

 

Clearly not as here is an example.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Triangle". <---- notice what I do here to the next one.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Square". <---- If you can't find the difference don't reply.

 

But the thing is, we didn't. For all intents and purposes, in our world, a triangle has three-sides. A "triangle" cannot have anything more or less than three sides. The whole point I'm trying to get at is this: It is physically impossible for something to have three sides and four sides at the same time. Now why can't this apply to other fields of knowledge?

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@sephiroth_king

Huh? The only sarcastic part was the second paragraph. Instead of addressing what I had to say, you call me a troll or my post flamebait. What is that called... an ad hominem attack?


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I'll start off with saying that I don't agree with what wep says the majority of the time, and his posts are probably fallacious. He's a poor example of an atheist, and I'd immediately question anyone who's goal is to persuade anyone to believe any ideology. For example, the variation in the changes associated with DNA replicated is known, not unknown. It's simply due to error in a large number of cases. Evolution states that a creature with a trait which inhibits development will be less likely to produce offspring, and that the family line will be less likely to survive. On the flip side, creatures which have traits which are advantageous are more likely to produce more healthy offspring, and such pass on the acquired characteristic. Wep seems to be arguing some form of quasi-lamarckism. There is no need to debate evolution, it isn't up for debate. Evolution is a scientific theory, meaning that the amount of evidence in it's favor is incredibly strong. Scientific theories are explanations that are based on lines of evidence, enable valid predictions, and have been tested in many ways. In contrast, there is also a popular definition of theory—a “guess” or “hunch.” These conflicting definitions often cause unnecessary confusion about evolution.

 

 

I never said atheism causes people to become genocidal. What I do believe is that atheism allows people to become genocidal.

This is contemptible. Atheism is a lack of religion, it's inherent. It isn't a subscription to any certain ideology which would license anything. You think that in an atheistic society people have an inclination toward genocide? I contend that the vast majority of us are atheists in regards to most deities. It's ignorant to assume that a lack of a belief in your god would illicit any measurable sort of change in people. Are immoral people at a higher risk to commit genocide? Perhaps, but atheism isn't a moral code. Nor is it a lack of a moral code, atheism is typically related to Secular Humanism. An ideology which would spurn any genocidal statements.

 

I'm curious to see what qualifications a belief must have. As far as I'm aware, if you think something is true without being able to provide reasonable proof it is a belief rather than fact. As the existence or nonexistence of God cannot be proven, anything but agnosticism must be considered some sort of belief. I've never heard that a belief had to be inherently structured.

Right, as far you're aware. Meaning, you never bothered to maybe look it up, but just assumed you were right. As far as I'm aware the qualifications to be an idiot is ignorance. But y'know, I'm not gonna look it up or nothin', cause I gots me knowledge. Of course there's a structure associated with a belief, and of course it's been studied in philosophy... Perhaps you were ignorant of epistemology, unfortunately I've left my '69 volumes of philosophy at my parents house, as such I will have to use the SEP. It's good, but not as good. As such, this may be a tad wayward, but it defines belief well enough.

 

It is common to assume that belief is a relation between an epistemic agent at a particular time to an object of belief. Degree of belief is then a relation between a number, an epistemic agent at a particular time, and an object of belief. It is more difficult to state just what these objects of belief are. Are they sentences or propositions expressed by sentences or possible worlds (whatever these are: see Stalnaker 2003) or something altogether different?

 

The received view is that the objects of belief are propositions, i.e., sets of possible worlds or truth conditions. A more refined view is that the possible worlds comprised by those propositions are centered at an individual at a given time (Lewis 1979). Whereas a(n) (uncentered) possible world completely specifies a way the world might be, a centered possible world additionally specifies who one is when in a given (uncentered) possible world. In the latter case propositions are often called properties. Most epistemologists stay very general and assume only that there is a non-empty set W of possibilities such that exactly one element of W corresponds to the actual world. If the possibilities in W are centered, the assumption is that there is exactly one element of W that corresponds to your current time slice in the actual world (Lewis 1986 holds that this element not merely corresponds to, but is identical with, your current time slice in the actual world).

 

Centered propositions are needed to adequately represent self-locating beliefs such as Sophia's belief that she lives in Vienna, which may well be different from her belief that Sophia lives in Vienna (these two beliefs differ if Sophia does not believe that she is Sophia). Self-locating beliefs have important epistemological consequences (Elga 2000, Lewis 2001, Titelbaum to appear) and centered propositions are ably argued by Egan (2006) to correspond to what philosophers have traditionally called secondary qualities (Locke 1690/1975). Lewis' (1979, 133ff) claim that the difference between centered and uncentered propositions plays little role in how belief and other attitudes are formally represented and postulated to behave in a rational way can only be upheld for synchronic constraints on the statics of belief. For diachronic constraints on the dynamics of belief this claim is false, because the actual centered world (your current time slice in the actual uncentered world) is continually changing as time goes by. We will bracket these complications, though, and assume that, unless noted otherwise, the difference between centered and uncentered possibilities and propositions has no effect on the topic at issue.

1.3 The Structure of the Objects of Belief

 

Propositions have a certain set-theoretic structure. The set of all possibilities, W, is a proposition. Furthermore, if A and B are propositions, then so are the complement of A with respect to W, W \ A, as well as the intersection of A and B, A∩B. In other words, the set of propositions is a (finitary) field or algebra A over a non-empty set W of possibilities: a set that contains W and is closed under complementation and finite intersection. Sometimes the field A of propositions is assumed to be closed not only under finite, but also under countable intersection. This means that A1∩…An∩… is a proposition (an element of A), if each of A1,…,An,… is. Such a field A is called a σ-field. Finally, a field A is complete just in case the intersection ∩B = ∩A∈BA is in A, for each subset B of A.

 

If Sophia believes today (to degree .55) that tomorrow it will be sunny in Vienna, but she does not believe today (to degree .55) that tomorrow it will not be not sunny in Vienna, propositions cannot be the objects of Sophia’s (degrees of) belief(s) today. That tomorrow it will be sunny in Vienna and that tomorrow it will not be not sunny in Vienna is one and the same proposition (if stated by the same person at the same time). It is merely expressed by two different, but logically equivalent sentences. (Some philosophers think that propositions are too coarse-grained as objects of belief, while sentences are too fine-grained. They take the objects of belief to be structured propositions, which are usually taken to be more fine-grained than ordinary propositions but less fine-grained than sentences. For an overview see the entry on structured propositions. Other philosophers think that ordinary propositions are just fine, but that they should be viewed as sets of epistemic rather than metaphysical or logical possibilities, although some philosophers think these do not differ.)

 

Sometimes sentences of a formal language L are taken to be the objects of belief. In that case the above mentioned set-theoretic structure translates into the following requirements: the tautological sentence ⊤ is a sentence of the language L; and whenever α and β are sentences of L, then so are the negation of α, ¬α, as well as the conjunction of α and β, α∧β. However, as long as logically equivalent sentences are required to be assigned the same degree of belief — and all accounts considered here require this — the difference between taking the objects of beliefs to be sentences of a formal language L and taking them to be propositions from a finitary field A is mainly cosmetic. The reason is that each language L induces a finitary field A over the set of all models or classical truth value assignments for L, ModL: A is the set of propositions over ModL that are expressed by the sentences in L. A in turn induces a unique σ-field, viz. the smallest σ-field σ(A) that contains A (σ(A) is the intersection of all σ-fields that contain A as a subset). A also induces a unique complete field, viz. the smallest complete field, call it γ(A), that contains A (γ(A) is the intersection of all complete fields that contain A as a subset). In the present case where A is generated by ModL, γ(A) is the powerset of ModL, ℘(ModL).

 

σ(A), and hence γ(A), will often contain propositions that are not expressed by a sentence of L. For instance, let αi be the sentence “You should donate at least i dollars to the Society for Exact Philosophy (SEP)”, for each natural number i. Assume our language L contains each αi and whatever else it needs to contain to be a language (e.g. the negation of each αi, ¬αi, as well as the conjunction of any two αi and αj, αi∧αj). L generates the following finitary field A of propositions: A = {Mod(α) ⊆ ModL: α ∈ L}, where Mod(α) is the set of models in which α is true. A in turn induces σ(A). σ(A) contains the proposition that there is no upper bound on the number of dollars you should donate to the SEP, Mod(α1)∩…∩Mod(αn)∩…, while there is no sentence in L that expresses this proposition.

 

Hence, if we start with a language L, we automatically get a field A induced by L. As we do not always get a language L from a field A, the semantic framework of propositions is more general than the syntactic framework of sentences.

 

Using this definition, we may choose to classify atheism, perhaps, as a dispositional belief. A belief which isn't considered. That would be the only classification of atheism as "belief" which would have merit, and I think that a competent individual would be able to make a fair argument that atheism could be considered a dispositional belief. However, it's slightly inane to hold that atheism is, by definition, an antagonistic stance towards religion. Denial and disbelief are completely different. Denial may be associated with antitheism,and disbelief associated with atheism. Disbelief would simply be the lack of an inclination in a certain direction towards a specific object. As such, disbelief is not a belief, and this is the argument which an epistemologist would make for atheism not being a belief. In my opinion(as a jew, mind you) is that the latter is a sounder argument. Either way, atheism is not a belief system by any means, it is at the most a dispositional belief.

 

Any argument I make that atheism is responsible for criminal actions is no more fallacious(indeed, markedly less so) then the common atheist arguments that religion itself is evil and immoral.

Unfortunately, many acts have been committed in the name of religion. The pursuit of justice for an associated god is fairly well documented throughout history. Atheism isn't a belief system, and as such nobody kills for atheism. It's rather silly to contend that atheism can be responsible for criminal acts, as there isn't a set of guidelines or structure to atheism.

 

There can be many purposes of discussion...in general I think most people, when entering into a debate, hope to persuade the opposing side that their argument is correct or at least valid. I haven't seen any attempt from anyone to clear up misconceptions on this thread.

This isn't a debate, is it? You went from discussion(your 7th word) to debate(your 18th word). You really don't think that anyone has a clearer knowledge of an opposing viewpoint following this discussion? That's what I meant by misconceptions being cleared up.

 

The very definition of atheism dictates that an atheist has come to a negative conclusion regarding the existence of "a supreme being or beings". If you truly "are not sure", then agnosticism would be a much more appropriate label.

What people choose to label themselves as is a matter of sociology, as would be the discussion of appropriateness. I don't know enough about the sociological ramifications of calling oneself an atheist as opposed to an agnostic. So, I can't really respond which would be the more appropriate label.


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@sephiroth_king

Huh? The only sarcastic part was the second paragraph. Instead of addressing what I had to say, you call me a troll or my post flamebait. What is that called... an ad hominem attack?

 

I never said anything about your paragraphs being...sarcastic?

 

No, the Ad Hominem attack fallacy is a direct attack on your character that has nothing to do with the current debate at hand. AKA, attacking you instead of the argument. You had what would be considered flaimbait in your comments; i.e., telling people they are ridiculous for believing dinosaurs. I conceded to you that I missed the inb4. But I'm not going to address someone who has a bunch of fallacious statements wrapped up into a post which, without the inb4, would sound like someone who is not interested in intelligent debate. It had nothing necessarily to do with belief than it did me looking at a post after what was largely a (for the most part) intelligent discussion about beliefs/non beliefs etc.

 

Despite all of this, posting inb4 at the end of the post just to see how many people will miss that one part and then call them out on it is a form of trolling as well.

 

EDIT:

I'll start off with saying that I don't agree with what wep says the majority of the time, and his posts are probably fallacious. He's a poor example of an atheist

 

This is truly the one thing I find bothering about this thread. Being an Atheist =/= being enlightened. One can be a stupid Atheist as there can also be an incredibly intelligent Christian. Its a label on non belief, not a label on enlightenment. However, most of the questioning and logical arguments formulated are by Skeptical Agnostic Atheists, or simply just Skeptics, which is by far a more accurate name in my opinion.


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Crusty, do you not understand the base definition of abstract?

 

Clearly not as here is an example.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Triangle". <---- notice what I do here to the next one.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Square". <---- If you can't find the difference don't reply.

 

 

But the thing is, we didn't. For all intents and purposes, in our world, a triangle has three-sides. A "triangle" cannot have anything more or less than three sides. The whole point I'm trying to get at is this: It is physically impossible for something to have three sides and four sides at the same time. Now why can't this apply to other fields of knowledge?

 

I was working under the assumption that you could deal with implied redefining.

 

Here is what I did:

1. tossed out the old meaning for "tri"

2. This in turn tossed out the old definition for triangle.

3. Which then replaced the old definition of "4-sided" with "3-sided"

4. Thus I now have "square" for the new definition of "triangle".


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So you're saying that since you can't refute anything that I said with reliable evidence, you claim my statements are:

-Flamebait

-Trollish

-Fallacious

-Not intelligent

 

I should try that sometime. With an elitist attitude, I can make myself believe that I am better than anyone who disagrees with me without having to refute anything. That would make this a lot easier, actually. Give me a chance to try it on you and watch as you say the same thing as I.


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So you're saying that since you can't refute anything that I said with reliable evidence so you claim my statements are:

-Flamebait

-Trollish

-Fallacious

-Not intelligent

 

I should try that sometime. With an elitist attitude, I can make myself believe that I am better than anyone who disagrees with me without having to refute anything. That would make this a lot easier, actually. Give me a chance to try it on you and watch as you say the same thing as I.

 

Whatever, Studio. My point was that someone who comes in during a broad discussion and starts putting a tone of what I felt was rather elitist and asks to get attacked, yes, that is trolling to me. One doesn't post in that tone if they want an honest and civil discussion. THAT'S why I thought it was a troll comment. Again, I DID NOT see your inb4. I was in the wrong. But that doesn't excuse, either way, that your comment was trolling, with or without the inb4.


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I can't tell if I'm being trolled now or not so I'll refrain from continuing so I don't look stupid for taking the bait. If you want to participate in an intelligent discussion, feel free to discuss what I had to say in my first post. If not, I'll assume you're a troll and ignore you.


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But as I've said before, the only thing that I find kind of wrong in some wording in this thread is using the term atheist as it is supposed to be something of an enlightened state of mind. There can be stupid atheists and smart Christians, and I think the more correct term would be more of a skeptic than anything else; one who uses logic in every day life and takes everything with a grain of salt until proven with concrete evidence. Atheist simply means lack of a deity, and while an Atheist can be/is probably already a Skeptic, they aren't synonymous with one another.


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Oh, I never saw it that way. I guess that's true. It seems like we intentionally separate ourselves from each other instead of working together to form solidarity as one human race. Maybe wars caused by differences in religion and other prejudice could be avoided if we didn't label each other as Republicans/Democrats/Christians/Atheists/Muslims/Jews then we could just be human to each other to attain some sort of mutual respect for one another. I think that's really what all religions (including atheism) really boil down to in their core beliefs. When we label each other as different, be it by race, creed, gender, or political affiliation, we lose that true meaning when it has to become a competition of who's right and who's wrong. This is effort that could be used to solve the world's problems like child labor in Asia, starvation in Africa, lack of strong education for the poor (thus, keeping them poor), and war in general.


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Crusty, do you not understand the base definition of abstract?

 

Clearly not as here is an example.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Triangle". <---- notice what I do here to the next one.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Square". <---- If you can't find the difference don't reply.

 

 

But the thing is, we didn't. For all intents and purposes, in our world, a triangle has three-sides. A "triangle" cannot have anything more or less than three sides. The whole point I'm trying to get at is this: It is physically impossible for something to have three sides and four sides at the same time. Now why can't this apply to other fields of knowledge?

 

I was working under the assumption that you could deal with implied redefining.

 

Here is what I did:

1. tossed out the old meaning for "tri"

2. This in turn tossed out the old definition for triangle.

3. Which then replaced the old definition of "4-sided" with "3-sided"

4. Thus I now have "square" for the new definition of "triangle".

 

I thought further clarification would be needed.

 

For any 2-dimensional object there is no possible way for there to be any single object having simultaneously 3-sides and 4-sides. However, once you hit the 3-dimensional plane this is tossed out the window.

 

So in 3-dimensional space we would just attach 2 triangles and 3 squares to each other. one side has just 3 points, while another side simultaneously has 4 points.

Did I mention it gets even worse above 3-dimensions?


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And to which my response was and still is, "A 'god'/'mug' does not exist until we call it that." Do we really have to go in another circle? I mean, I already have my response to what I'm pretty sure your rebuttal will be. ("But the physical object in front of my desk is there no matter what we call it." "But the act of someone intentionally telling another a falsity is there no matter what we call it.")

But that act of speech is neither true nor false inherently! Without the human classification system of falsehood and language, we wouldn't be able to distinguish truth from lie. It is difficult to imagine a world where we had different terminology to refer to these things, but it is still something that we invented. Nature does not tell us how to know that things are true, we have invented the criteria for it.

 

If we had never invented the concept of truth vs a lie, then all statements would just be statements. Someone would say "Hey, its raining fire outside!" and we wouldn't stop to think "Is he telling the truth?" Our rules define the logic that we interpret this statement with. There is nothing inherently true or false about this assemblance of vocal sounds. The concept of someone lying is only possible due to abstract knowledge of language.

 

Something sitting still is either a truth or a falsehood. We ascribe what it takes to constitute as "sitting still" or "moving", just as we ascribe what it takes to constitute as a "truth".

 

Again, I know it must be very hard to imagine a world where we did not invent a true/false classification system, but we could exist without it. When we hear a lie, we classify it as such because of abstract knowledge we have in our head. Depending on what classification systems a society has invented, it could be determined to be true, false, or something else entirely. Nothing is inherently true or false about the sounds that come out of your vocal cords.

 

Imagine that aliens came to Earth and heard us speak. Now, if they didn't know any of our languages at all, all they would hear is just human vocal chords making noises. If I say to them "I come in peace" will they hear my words and classify them into true and false? No, it is impossible unless you know our rules, our classification system for abstract meaning. But if they come to Earth and watch a baseball game, they will see a baseball being hit by a bat, no matter what words they use to represent "baseball" "hit" and "bat".

 

Again, you are speaking of nomological possibility, since you claimed the laws would need to be altered in order for these things to actually occur. This is as obvious as saying a "square" would be a "triangle" if we decided to call it such. It's saying nothing but, "If things were different, things would be different!"

 

I'm talking about actual possibilities in reality - not possibilities in different dimensions of time and space.

 

How else can I possible explain this to you? We invented what the concept of a triangle is. It is not anything real. It is a mathematical, abstract idea. We have absolute knowledge of the system of mathematics, exactly like we have absolute knowledge of the system of language. We invented these systems and we know absolutely that what we know is true. Because we invented it.

 

I can respond to other parts later, gtg.

 

 

Are you kidding? I've answered these questions before, but you just swept them under the carpet.

 

I do have a new one though: Either the universe has a first cause, or it has an infinitely recurring amount of causes. Neither seem to make logical sense to us, so whatever the answer is, it probably transcends our traditional logic. Now don't take this as evidence for god - take it as evidence that god is allowed to break more rules than Santa Claus. Like I said, the origin of the universe is a much bigger mystery than who gives us presents. Of course there are flaws in this reasoning - just not as much as there are for Santa Claus.

 

This is a very good point. I guess whatever a God might be, he would exist in a place that doesn't follow the same set of expectations that our universe follows. This would make God more probable than a magical man because it doesn't have any contradictions that add to his improbability.

 

 

We actually do have a system that dictates this is impossible - it's called logic. Do you think it is logically possible for these cogs to spin?

 

3gears-c.jpg

 

If you can provide a logical explanation as to how these three cogs can turn, you win the debate. I'll be waiting.

 

The mass that comprises part of the green cog "spokes" can spontaneously pass through the mass that comprises part of the red cog wheel "spokes". It isn't very likely at all. In fact, if every person on Earth had been trying to spin these cogs since the beginning of time, it would still be very unlikely to have ever observed this event. The chances of many things happening are mind-bogglingly small, but they still exist. To say the chance is completely nonexistent is a disservice to the true nature of our universe.

 

I wouldn't claim something like that is impossible, as I really do have no idea. However, there are certain things that I do believe to be impossible because of logical contradiction. We can start with a cliched coin flip argument. A coin can land on heads, tails, or maybe if you are very lucky, the side. There are three possible outcomes. It is impossible for the coin to have any outcome that isn't one of those three.

The coin could flip into the air and all of its mass could spontaneously be converted to energy.

The coin could fall through the table, fall through the Earth, and come out the other side and shoot into space.

The coin could disintegrate spontaneously.

Again none of these things are realistically likely, but to call them a total impossibility is not correct.

Same goes for my other examples. It is a logical contradiction for a traditional fishing rod line (a couple meters long) to reach the sun which is millions of miles away.

You didn't say that the Sun had to stay at its location and I had to reach it with a fishing line that has a definite length.

It is a logical contradiction for a 1 gram of food to instantly make you gain 100 lbs.

There is nothing about this scenario that can be analyzed using "logic". Unless you are using a different meaning for logic, logic is useless for figuring stuff out about the physical world. Is there anything "logical" about a photon being a particle, but having no mass, and being a wave at the same time? No. But it is reality.

 

It is a logical contradiction for something dead (a fossil) to also be alive (breathing). By saying these are possible, you are merely asserting a baseless claim. When I say say they are impossible, I am asserting a logically supported claim.

 

If you are asking "Is it possible to have a dead living thing?" I would say no, it is impossible. Again, this dives into the realm of human classifications of things. It is beyond just simply decribing a physical event.

 

But the thing is, we didn't. For all intents and purposes, in our world, a triangle has three-sides. A "triangle" cannot have anything more or less than three sides. The whole point I'm trying to get at is this: It is physically impossible for something to have three sides and four sides at the same time. Now why can't this apply to other fields of knowledge?

 

Because, as I have said many times, the only method of "knowing" about the physical world is via science. Science is not capable of delivering absolute knowledge.

 

Think of it this way. You have a die sitting on the table. Only one side is touching the table. You are not allowed to touch the die or move it in any way. You see the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 exposed. A reasonable deduction would be that the number 4 is on the 6th side. However, you are still never allowed to look and see what is actually there.

 

This is how science works. We can never know for certain ANYTHING about physical phenomena. Why? Because we never get to "look at the last side of the die." We can only see certain things and the only type of knowledge we obtain is constructed from conclusions. Don't get me wrong, there are many scientific facts that are damn near perfect, with a reliability of more than 99.999999999%. But it still wouldn't be correct to call it an absolute knowledge.

 

Knowledge about abstract man-invented things CAN be absolute. I know for sure that the definition of "baseball" is not the same as the definition of "monkey". How do I know this? Because we made the definitions. We decide what the definitions are, and hell, we could change them if we want to.


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Crusty, do you not understand the base definition of abstract?

 

Clearly not as here is an example.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Triangle". <---- notice what I do here to the next one.

I have an object with 3 sides, therefore I shall call it a "Square". <---- If you can't find the difference don't reply.

 

 

But the thing is, we didn't. For all intents and purposes, in our world, a triangle has three-sides. A "triangle" cannot have anything more or less than three sides. The whole point I'm trying to get at is this: It is physically impossible for something to have three sides and four sides at the same time. Now why can't this apply to other fields of knowledge?

 

I was working under the assumption that you could deal with implied redefining.

 

Here is what I did:

1. tossed out the old meaning for "tri"

2. This in turn tossed out the old definition for triangle.

3. Which then replaced the old definition of "4-sided" with "3-sided"

4. Thus I now have "square" for the new definition of "triangle".

 

I was working under the assumption that you would understand my point. Unless we make it a game of semantics and change definitions around, there are things that can be physically impossible. But that's the thing, you guys are going through mental gymnastics in order to change the rules of "up" and "down". In that case, yes, nothing is impossible because we can simply just tweak ideas around until they finally do work. For example, a creature can't both be physically alive and dead at the same time, until we just change the definition of "dead" to "alive". But in actuality, a fossil (what we did define as a "fossil") cannot breathe (what we did define as "breathe"), which was my point.

 

The concept of someone lying is only possible due to abstract knowledge of language.

 

What is the difference between the concept of something "existing physically" and the concept of "someone lying" in this respect though?

 

But if they come to Earth and watch a baseball game, they will see a baseball being hit by a bat, no matter what words they use to represent "baseball" "hit" and "bat".

 

How do you know this? Don't forget that even "seeing something" is a subjective concept. For example, some animals only see in black and white, insects see transparent objects as opaque, females are blind to the crustiness of men, etc.

 

This is a very good point. I guess whatever a God might be, he would exist in a place that doesn't follow the same set of expectations that our universe follows. This would make God more probable than a magical man because it doesn't have any contradictions that add to his improbability.

 

Yeah, I like to think of god as a cheater.

 

The mass that comprises part of the green cog "spokes" can spontaneously pass through the mass that comprises part of the red cog wheel "spokes". It isn't very likely at all. In fact, if every person on Earth had been trying to spin these cogs since the beginning of time, it would still be very unlikely to have ever observed this event. The chances of many things happening are mind-bogglingly small, but they still exist. To say the chance is completely nonexistent is a disservice to the true nature of our universe.

 

I won't pretend to know about the in depth nature of physical matter, but I still want to question whether you have evidence that this could possibly work? Obviously the cogs going through each other is a requirement for spinning to be possible, but what I want to know is how that could even work.

 

The coin could flip into the air and all of its mass could spontaneously be converted to energy.

The coin could fall through the table, fall through the Earth, and come out the other side and shoot into space.

The coin could disintegrate spontaneously.

Again none of these things are realistically likely, but to call them a total impossibility is not correct.

 

Touche. Now allow me to reword the question: Is it possible for the coin to land on anything besides tails, heads, or sides?

 

You didn't say that the Sun had to stay at its location and I had to reach it with a fishing line that has a definite length.

 

But if I did?

 

Unless you are using a different meaning for logic, logic is useless for figuring stuff out about the physical world.

 

? Please elaborate on this.

 

If you are asking "Is it possible to have a dead living thing?" I would say no, it is impossible. Again, this dives into the realm of human classifications of things. It is beyond just simply decribing a physical event.

 

It all dives into the realm of human classification of things. It seems to me like you're picking and choosing at a whim. We dictate what it takes to "exist" just as we dictates what it takes to "be alive".

 

Because, as I have said many times, the only method of "knowing" about the physical world is via science. Science is not capable of delivering absolute knowledge.

 

Think of it this way. You have a die sitting on the table. Only one side is touching the table. You are not allowed to touch the die or move it in any way. You see the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 exposed. A reasonable deduction would be that the number 4 is on the 6th side. However, you are still never allowed to look and see what is actually there.

 

This is how science works. We can never know for certain ANYTHING about physical phenomena. Why? Because we never get to "look at the last side of the die." We can only see certain things and the only type of knowledge we obtain is constructed from conclusions. Don't get me wrong, there are many scientific facts that are damn near perfect, with a reliability of more than 99.999999999%. But it still wouldn't be correct to call it an absolute knowledge.

 

Knowledge about abstract man-invented things CAN be absolute. I know for sure that the definition of "baseball" is not the same as the definition of "monkey". How do I know this? Because we made the definitions. We decide what the definitions are, and hell, we could change them if we want to.

 

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but are you saying that physical impossibility is possibly possible, but just that we can't "know"? :-s

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What is the difference between the concept of something "existing physically" and the concept of "someone lying" in this respect though?

 

Because the only thing that is a physical thing when someone "lies" is that their vocal chords vibrate and make a sound. It is up to us to decide what those sounds mean, and whether or not they align with our definition of true. We can know for sure that a person is lying because we get to decide what is a lie.

 

How do you know this? Don't forget that even "seeing something" is a subjective concept. For example, some animals only see in black and white, insects see transparent objects as opaque, females are blind to the crustiness of men, etc.

 

My statement would assume that aliens have eyes that work like ours.

 

I won't pretend to know about the in depth nature of physical matter, but I still want to question whether you have evidence that this could possibly work? Obviously the cogs going through each other is a requirement for spinning to be possible, but what I want to know is how that could even work.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

 

Quantum physics is the answer. Objects in this universe don't have a truly "fixed" location. Anything could be somewhere else at any instant. Something could pass through another thing. Now, again, it is completely improbable for this to happen to a cog wheel but it is not an impossibility.

 

 

Touche. Now allow me to reword the question: Is it possible for the coin to land on anything besides tails, heads, or sides?

 

If we say that the coin must land and must stay intact then you are restricting the outcomes. If the coin is landing in a way that is congruent with our everyday experiences, then yes it would be impossible for any other outcome to occur. But, this is like saying "If the only thing I can do is walk through door #1, is it possible for me to walk through door #2 or #3?" If you want to restrict the outcomes, you can create impossibility.

 

 

? Please elaborate on this.

 

Logic just is not what we use to figure out the world. Science is what we use. Logic is a part of science, but using logic alone can never tell you anything reliably about the physical world. For example, many people's "logic" would tell them that no matter how dark of a room they go into, their eyes will eventually "adjust". This of course would be wrong if you were in a room with absolutely no light. However, it would seem logical to most people, since it is congruent with most of their everyday experiences. Logic alone cannot tell us anything about the world around us.

 

It all dives into the realm of human classification of things. It seems to me like you're picking and choosing at a whim. We dictate what it takes to "exist" just as we dictates what it takes to "be alive".

 

I'm not picking and choosing, you're giving me things that are quite different from each other. Once you've called something "alive" you are claiming specific knowledge of what that thing is. This is a deeper level of abstract classification than simply saying "Can an object spontaneously melt?" We do dictacte what we would classify to be an "object" and "melting" but these words just represent physical processes. Calling something "alive" is very different. We have basically invented what "life" even means.

 

Does nature know life from non-life? No. Its just a big assemblance of organic material. The classification of "alive" is very much determined by man. Would we call a star "alive"? Probably not. But stars go through cycles and have many processes that occur spontaneously when given certain stimulous. Theres no real difference when it comes to something like a rat or a dog. These things aren't really anything special in nature. We just call it "alive"

 

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but are you saying that physical impossibility is possibly possible, but just that we can't "know"? :-s

 

I'm saying that there is absolutely no way to obtain any sort of COMPLETELY ABSOLUTE knowledge of why things happen in the physical world. The only way you could know something for certain about the universe is if there WAS a god, you met him, and asked him "Hey, so how does that gravity thing work?" We have no system that can tell give us absolute knowledge about the universe. We have a system that can give us reliable predictions (science) but it can't let us see behind the curtain.


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Because the only thing that is a physical thing when someone "lies" is that their vocal chords vibrate and make a sound. It is up to us to decide what those sounds mean, and whether or not they align with our definition of true. We can know for sure that a person is lying because we get to decide what is a lie.

 

We also get to decide what the word "exists" means. No matter what, it's always going to come back to the language behind the claims/ideas.

 

http://en.wikipedia....antum_mechanics

 

Quantum physics is the answer. Objects in this universe don't have a truly "fixed" location. Anything could be somewhere else at any instant. Something could pass through another thing. Now, again, it is completely improbable for this to happen to a cog wheel but it is not an impossibility.

 

Quantum mechanics is a good point to bring up. Matter and energy aren't as predictable as we once though, so the cog thing wasn't such a great example. However, there are still many other physical impossibilities that even the quantum world cannot account for: It is impossible to rip someone's mouth off their face. Why? Because a mouth is a hole and there is no physical way to "rip" a "hole" off of something. Of course now you will probably say, "But that's only due to language!" And to that my response would be, "So? It's still a physical impossibility."

 

If we say that the coin must land and must stay intact then you are restricting the outcomes. If the coin is landing in a way that is congruent with our everyday experiences, then yes it would be impossible for any other outcome to occur. But, this is like saying "If the only thing I can do is walk through door #1, is it possible for me to walk through door #2 or #3?" If you want to restrict the outcomes, you can create impossibility.

 

Of course the outcomes are restricted - that's the whole point behind an impossibility. Let's put it this way: If aliens came down to earth and we can assume they have eyes like ours, which sides could they see the coin land on? 1. Side with man face. 2. Side with human construct. 3. Thin round side. The shape of the coin dictates which sides are possible to land on. If you want to blame it all on language, then I can do the same thing for the word "existent".

 

Logic just is not what we use to figure out the world. Science is what we use. Logic is a part of science, but using logic alone can never tell you anything reliably about the physical world. For example, many people's "logic" would tell them that no matter how dark of a room they go into, their eyes will eventually "adjust". This of course would be wrong if you were in a room with absolutely no light. However, it would seem logical to most people, since it is congruent with most of their everyday experiences. Logic alone cannot tell us anything about the world around us.

 

Yeah, by logic I wasn't referring to faulty logic. My point is that there are some things logic can tell us with absolute certainty: "Having sex can lead to pregnancy."

 

I'm not picking and choosing, you're giving me things that are quite different from each other. Once you've called something "alive" you are claiming specific knowledge of what that thing is. This is a deeper level of abstract classification than simply saying "Can an object spontaneously melt?" We do dictacte what we would classify to be an "object" and "melting" but these words just represent physical processes. Calling something "alive" is very different. We have basically invented what "life" even means.

 

Does nature know life from non-life? No. Its just a big assemblance of organic material. The classification of "alive" is very much determined by man. Would we call a star "alive"? Probably not. But stars go through cycles and have many processes that occur spontaneously when given certain stimulous. Theres no real difference when it comes to something like a rat or a dog. These things aren't really anything special in nature. We just call it "alive"

 

Does nature know existent from non-existent?

 

Sorry for such a late reply. Family came down to visit and I've been busy.

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We also get to decide what the word "exists" means. No matter what, it's always going to come back to the language behind the claims/ideas.

 

Yes we decide what the word means but our definition of this word doesn't impact the physical thing that the word represents. You're still missing the boat on this. When I ask someone "How many sides does a square have?" There is nowhere in nature that they can look for the answer. They have to look up what we defined as a "square". It doesn't exist in the natural world. It is abstract. If aliens somehow never invented the concept of a square or two-dimensional shapes, they would need to read about our knowledge in order to answer the question.

 

Then I could ask a question like "What happens when I drop this bowling ball?" If you ask someone this question who speaks a different language, obviously the words won't be the same. But the answer to the question exists regardless of what we call it. If aliens never invented a bowling ball, it wouldn't matter. They could still look at the ball and see the same image. Their answer of what happens wouldn't depend on any sort of language. Sure, maybe their word for "fall" would be "banana" but they would just say "The ball bananas to the ground".

 

Quantum mechanics is a good point to bring up. Matter and energy aren't as predictable as we once though, so the cog thing wasn't such a great example. However, there are still many other physical impossibilities that even the quantum world cannot account for: It is impossible to rip someone's mouth off their face. Why? Because a mouth is a hole and there is no physical way to "rip" a "hole" off of something. Of course now you will probably say, "But that's only due to language!" And to that my response would be, "So? It's still a physical impossibility."

 

You've still missed the boat on an abstract idea vs. a real object. The mouth thing is impossible, because as you said, it isn't really even an object; it is the lack of an object. But it doesn't REALLY exist, it is an abstract concept. If you could even grab a mouth then it wouldn't be called a mouth. It wouldn't be a "hole". Whether or not you can grab a "hole" is again not a question of the physical world. Holes aren't objects, theyre what we define as a lack of an object.

 

For example, we think of a hole as containing "nothing". However, this isn't even really accurate. My mouth is a hole, but it is actually filled with air molecules. If I stick my hand in there and try to grab something, I could come out with a hand full of air.

 

Of course the outcomes are restricted - that's the whole point behind an impossibility. Let's put it this way: If aliens came down to earth and we can assume they have eyes like ours, which sides could they see the coin land on? 1. Side with man face. 2. Side with human construct. 3. Thin round side. The shape of the coin dictates which sides are possible to land on. If you want to blame it all on language, then I can do the same thing for the word "existent".

 

You're saying that the shape of the coin restricts the outcomes -- it doesn't. The coin in itself could do any number of things. The three outcomes you mentioned are by far the most probable outcomes, but they are not the only possible outcomes.

 

Yeah, by logic I wasn't referring to faulty logic. My point is that there are some things logic can tell us with absolute certainty: "Having sex can lead to pregnancy."

 

You must be using a far different definition of logic than I am. Logic, by the way I understand the word, is merely used for reasoning through abstract ideas. I wouldn't say that we know having sex can lead to pregnancy through logic. I would say we know it through science.

 

Does nature know existent from non-existent?

 

No, we actually don't know this. You don't know for sure that the world you see even exists, and I don't know for sure that we exist in reality. However, one of the working assumptions of scientific reasoning is that the things we see exist and that we exist in reality.

 

Take for instance, the possibility that we are all asleep in a virtual-reality software program or something. Science would not be able to investigate this hypothesis because it would go against the assumption that what we see is a reality that other humans will also see.


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Yes we decide what the word means but our definition of this word doesn't impact the physical thing that the word represents. You're still missing the boat on this. When I ask someone "How many sides does a square have?" There is nowhere in nature that they can look for the answer. They have to look up what we defined as a "square". It doesn't exist in the natural world. It is abstract. If aliens somehow never invented the concept of a square or two-dimensional shapes, they would need to read about our knowledge in order to answer the question.

 

Then I could ask a question like "What happens when I drop this bowling ball?" If you ask someone this question who speaks a different language, obviously the words won't be the same. But the answer to the question exists regardless of what we call it. If aliens never invented a bowling ball, it wouldn't matter. They could still look at the ball and see the same image. Their answer of what happens wouldn't depend on any sort of language. Sure, maybe their word for "fall" would be "banana" but they would just say "The ball bananas to the ground".

 

But "it" doesn't "exist" until we define what "it" is and what the word "exists" means. No matter what type of claim you make (abstract, physical, philosophical) it will always roll back into semantics and language. We even define what the word "is" is. How can we strip all subjectivity out of our claims and our ideas? It is yet another impossibility.

 

And the concept of a square has been conceived before the word "square". That's the purpose of having the word in the first place - to articulate and distinguish this type of geometric shape from that one. Would it be right to say "squares can't exist without humans"? On a ridiculous technical level, yes, but we know there are observable things in nature that directly inspired us to come up with the word "square". A "square" has been observed in nature (not a perfect square obviously), and thus someone felt the need to create a label for it.

 

You've still missed the boat on an abstract idea vs. a real object. The mouth thing is impossible, because as you said, it isn't really even an object; it is the lack of an object. But it doesn't REALLY exist, it is an abstract concept. If you could even grab a mouth then it wouldn't be called a mouth. It wouldn't be a "hole". Whether or not you can grab a "hole" is again not a question of the physical world. Holes aren't objects, theyre what we define as a lack of an object.

 

Wait a second, so a hole is not relevant to the physical world? Sure it's a lack of an object. I don't see how this changes the fact that ripping one off is physically impossible to do and that we have means of knowing this knowledge. So far your point keeps trickling down to "We do not know everything about physical matter", while acknowledging that there are loads of other things that are impossible in our world, when this debate was about being able to decipher impossibilities at all (such as Santa's story being full of logical/semantic/abstract inconsistencies).

 

You're saying that the shape of the coin restricts the outcomes -- it doesn't. The coin in itself could do any number of things. The three outcomes you mentioned are by far the most probable outcomes, but they are not the only possible outcomes.

 

Inform me of the other possible sides it could land on. It isn't about what magical trick the coin can do in the air - it's about which of the sides it can possibly land on. There are only three possible outcomes here. It is physically impossible for the coin to land on anything aside from those three.

 

You must be using a far different definition of logic than I am. Logic, by the way I understand the word, is merely used for reasoning through abstract ideas. I wouldn't say that we know having sex can lead to pregnancy through logic. I would say we know it through science.

 

Well, I would say we know it through both. How can you have science without logic?

 

No, we actually don't know this. You don't know for sure that the world you see even exists, and I don't know for sure that we exist in reality. However, one of the working assumptions of scientific reasoning is that the things we see exist and that we exist in reality.

 

Precisely - the classification of "existent" is very much determined by man. This is what I was getting at: "Existence" is just as abstract of a concept as a "lie". You cannot prove objectively that one is any more "real" than the other.

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But "it" doesn't "exist" until we define what "it" is and what the word "exists" means. No matter what type of claim you make (abstract, physical, philosophical) it will always roll back into semantics and language. We even define what the word "is" is. How can we strip all subjectivity out of our claims and our ideas? It is yet another impossibility.

 

Because it isn't about us using the WORD "exist"! It is about what the CONCEPT represents! "Existence" basically means "something in reality". No matter what we called this, the concept would still be the same. I am not talking about the WORDS I am talking about what the IDEAS behind the words are.

And the concept of a square has been conceived before the word "square". That's the purpose of having the word in the first place - to articulate and distinguish this type of geometric shape from that one. Would it be right to say "squares can't exist without humans"? On a ridiculous technical level, yes, but we know there are observable things in nature that directly inspired us to come up with the word "square". A "square" has been observed in nature (not a perfect square obviously), and thus someone felt the need to create a label for it.

 

It isn't about the label, it is about the square being a mathematical construct. We invented math, and we invented what a square is.

 

Wait a second, so a hole is not relevant to the physical world? Sure it's a lack of an object. I don't see how this changes the fact that ripping one off is physically impossible to do and that we have means of knowing this knowledge. So far your point keeps trickling down to "We do not know everything about physical matter", while acknowledging that there are loads of other things that are impossible in our world, when this debate was about being able to decipher impossibilities at all (such as Santa's story being full of logical/semantic/abstract inconsistencies).

 

No, a hole is NOT relevant. We use the word "hole" to represent something that is lacking. A hole isn't an actual thing. It is our abstract idea for the LACK of a thing. And yes, there is a distinction between what we can call impossible and what we cannot. For example, "Can Santa fly around the world in one night?" This is not impossible. However "Can Santa fly around the world in a night if he cannot fly?" THIS is impossible. You are limiting the idea to a more abstract sense. If he could fly, we would never be able to say that he cannot fly.

 

Its like asking "Can there ever be an object that is scalding hot to the touch and freezing cold to the touch at the same time?" No, there cannot. Because if it was hot, we wouldnt call it cold. This isn't purely a physical question, you're now asking things after you have already classified them.

 

Inform me of the other possible sides it could land on. It isn't about what magical trick the coin can do in the air - it's about which of the sides it can possibly land on. There are only three possible outcomes here. It is physically impossible for the coin to land on anything aside from those three.

 

It could break in half and land on the edge that is now exposed.

 

Well, I would say we know it through both. How can you have science without logic?

 

The point is that you can't have science without logic, but logic alone does absolutely NOTHING to tell you about the universe. The rest of the scientific process must be included. For example, I think it is logical that if a person eats more fat, their body might store more fat. However, this actually isn't true. Only caloric intake dictactes whether or not you can store body fat, it doesn't matter where those calories come from.

 

Precisely - the classification of "existent" is very much determined by man. This is what I was getting at: "Existence" is just as abstract of a concept as a "lie". You cannot prove objectively that one is any more "real" than the other.

 

But if we can't even work from the assumption that what we observe is what exists, then theres no way we can even debate anything...

 

I mean every debate can just be boiled down to "Well, you can't even prove we exist right now so what does it matter?"

 

Also, no, a lie is a more abstract concept. Here's a simple way that you finally might be able to understand the difference between abstract and real ideas.

 

Where would a "lie" be if humans never existed?

Where would "existence" be if humans never existed?

 

Lies would not happen if we did not exist in the world to talk about the truthood/falsehood of ideas. Things that exist would exist whether or not we were around to talk about them. You think that I am saying "Well we made up the word triangle so we know what it defines, therefore it is abstract." No. I am saying we created the CONCEPT of a triangle, we created what it is that the word triangle represents. We did not create existence...We created the word, but we didn't create what we are talking about when we say the word.


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Because it isn't about us using the WORD "exist"! It is about what the CONCEPT represents! "Existence" basically means "something in reality". No matter what we called this, the concept would still be the same. I am not talking about the WORDS I am talking about what the IDEAS behind the words are.

 

And the IDEA behind "existence" is still entirely artificial. As you yourself admitted, nature does not know "existent" from "nonexistent". "Existence" is nothing but a word, until we ascribe meaning to it. Are you really going to contradict yourself by now arguing that IDEAS can exist in nature? It can't even be an "idea" until man says so. Like I said time and time again, when you're arguing, debating, making claims, forming ideas, etc. you're ALWAYS going to be using language as your medium for doing so. There's no way to get around that.

 

It isn't about the label, it is about the square being a mathematical construct. We invented math, and we invented what a square is.

 

Yes, we invented math and we invented what a square is. Because something in nature caused us to.

 

No, a hole is NOT relevant. We use the word "hole" to represent something that is lacking. A hole isn't an actual thing. It is our abstract idea for the LACK of a thing.

 

It still represents something.

 

And as far as it being abstract, can a hole exist without humans? Here's a hint: Yes and no. The word for it obviously wouldn't exist, but would there still be chunks missing out of all the pieces of Swiss cheese in the world? Yes. We decide what the word means but our definition of this word doesn't impact the physical thing that the word represents.

 

And yes, there is a distinction between what we can call impossible and what we cannot. For example, "Can Santa fly around the world in one night?" This is not impossible. However "Can Santa fly around the world in a night if he cannot fly?" THIS is impossible. You are limiting the idea to a more abstract sense. If he could fly, we would never be able to say that he cannot fly.

 

"Can Santa fly around the world in one night?"

 

I agree that he can't fly around the world in one night if he can't fly. We don't even need to say that though, because going at those speeds and accomplishing that amount of work in such a small amount of time really is a physical contradiction. According to Carl Sagan, going faster than the speed of light would just add more time to the clock. Yet again, your Santa Claus theory has been scientifically debunked.

 

It could break in half and land on the edge that is now exposed.

 

But then that geometric shape would still be the dictator of which sides it could possibly land on.

 

The point is that you can't have science without logic, but logic alone does absolutely NOTHING to tell you about the universe. The rest of the scientific process must be included. For example, I think it is logical that if a person eats more fat, their body might store more fat. However, this actually isn't true. Only caloric intake dictactes whether or not you can store body fat, it doesn't matter where those calories come from.

 

So basically your definition of "logic" is educated guesses with plenty of room for error...?

 

But if we can't even work from the assumption that what we observe is what exists, then theres no way we can even debate anything...

 

We can and should work from that assumption in order to get the most accurate understanding of the world we can possibly get our hands on, but it doesn't change the cold hard truth that it is still an assumption nonetheless.

 

I mean every debate can just be boiled down to "Well, you can't even prove we exist right now so what does it matter?"

 

Not a very good debating tactic though. If I were debating whether water causes things to get wet or dry, and my opponent blurted out, "Well it doesn't matter because you don't even know if you're real," it would do nothing to the fact that water makes things wet - at least in the world we think we live in. And with that trivial asterisk about the entire world we live in, I for one am not bothered. I'm going to live my life as if I'm real, and debate as if I'm real, even though I acknowledge it's technically an assumption. I don't see it as that much of a life-altering thing.

 

Also, no, a lie is a more abstract concept. Here's a simple way that you finally might be able to understand the difference between abstract and real ideas.

 

Where would a "lie" be if humans never existed?

Where would "existence" be if humans never existed?

 

If humans never existed, nobody would be around to tell a lie. Or I could be sneaky and say... aliens? On another note, some animals have pretty in-depth forms of communication, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were occasions where one animal would use a cry/call/signal/sonar/etc. to send purposefully misleading messages for their benefit ("come here for food" = "come here, I want to eat you" [AKA: a "lie"]). It's a stretch, but possible.

 

"Existence", we couldn't truly know, could we? As a matter of fact, since quantum mechanics has already been brought up, what's your take on the observer effect?

 

So yeah... humans are basically required to even talk about this stuff. It's an assumption to believe the concept behind "lies" and "existence" are actually real because we simply do not know of a world without us.

 

We created the word, but we didn't create what we are talking about when we say the word.

 

We didn't create the thing we are talking about when we say the word, but we still decided to conceptualize it.... Just the fact that you are going to represent something means "abstract". And my point is that all knowledge is essentially abstract because you can never cut the middleman (us) out of the equation. Knowledge of "concrete physical existence" will always be based on an [abstract] assumption.

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Also, no, a lie is a more abstract concept. Here's a simple way that you finally might be able to understand the difference between abstract and real ideas.

 

Where would a "lie" be if humans never existed?

Where would "existence" be if humans never existed?

 

If humans never existed, nobody would be around to tell a lie. Or I could be sneaky and say... aliens? On another note, some animals have pretty in-depth forms of communication, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were occasions where one animal would use a cry/call/signal/sonar/etc. to send purposefully misleading messages for their benefit ("come here for food" = "come here, I want to eat you" [AKA: a "lie"]). It's a stretch, but possible.

 

Isn't a lie merely a communicable form of deceit? Aren't chimpanzees capable of deceit? :unsure:


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And the IDEA behind "existence" is still entirely artificial. As you yourself admitted, nature does not know "existent" from "nonexistent". "Existence" is nothing but a word, until we ascribe meaning to it. Are you really going to contradict yourself by now arguing that IDEAS can exist in nature? It can't even be an "idea" until man says so. Like I said time and time again, when you're arguing, debating, making claims, forming ideas, etc. you're ALWAYS going to be using language as your medium for doing so. There's no way to get around that.

 

Of course nature does not "know" existent from nonexistent, I would hardly say nature knows anything. Your argument is based on the presumption "If nature doesn't know X from Y, then it is abstract" I would disagree with this premise.

 

The point is that existence is a word we created, but the thing that word represents is not an artificial construct. It is not abstract. Does the Sun exist? Yes. Would it have existed regardless of whether any intelligent life ever developed in this universe? Yes.

 

The same cannot be said for a triangle, square, etc. It would have never existed if it were not for intelligent life.

 

Yes, we invented math and we invented what a square is. Because something in nature caused us to.

So?

 

It still represents something.

 

And as far as it being abstract, can a hole exist without humans? Here's a hint: Yes and no. The word for it obviously wouldn't exist, but would there still be chunks missing out of all the pieces of Swiss cheese in the world? Yes. We decide what the word means but our definition of this word doesn't impact the physical thing that the word represents.

 

I would say that NO, a hole would NOT exist if it were not for intelligent life. As I said, there is NOTHING THERE. What would exist would just be cheese in certain shapes. Calling it a "hole" requires intelligent interpretation of, and classification of, intelligent observation.

 

"Can Santa fly around the world in one night?"

 

I agree that he can't fly around the world in one night if he can't fly. We don't even need to say that though, because going at those speeds and accomplishing that amount of work in such a small amount of time really is a physical contradiction. According to Carl Sagan, going faster than the speed of light would just add more time to the clock. Yet again, your Santa Claus theory has been scientifically debunked.

 

Is Carl Sagan the designer of the universe? No. He is a scientist. Our current scientific understanding of the speed of light would SUGGEST that, but we DO NOT have the absolute knowledge.

 

But then that geometric shape would still be the dictator of which sides it could possibly land on.

 

And? It is still a different outcome than the three you proposed. You said there were only three possible outcomes.

 

So basically your definition of "logic" is educated guesses with plenty of room for error...?

 

Logic is an abstract process of reasoning. Logic is seperate from making observations, confirming predictions, and other elements of the scientific process. Logic is basically what turns scientific observations into something argumentitive. Logic is an important part of figuring out things about the world, but it cannot act alone to make accurate judgments.

 

We can and should work from that assumption in order to get the most accurate understanding of the world we can possibly get our hands on, but it doesn't change the cold hard truth that it is still an assumption nonetheless.

 

"The cold hard truth"? How is it the cold hard truth? You act like "Oh god maybe we are wrong..." but that doesn't even make sense. The very moment you suggest that the things we see are not reality, you lose all possible ways of trying to figure things out.

 

If humans never existed, nobody would be around to tell a lie. Or I could be sneaky and say... aliens? On another note, some animals have pretty in-depth forms of communication, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were occasions where one animal would use a cry/call/signal/sonar/etc. to send purposefully misleading messages for their benefit ("come here for food" = "come here, I want to eat you" [AKA: a "lie"]). It's a stretch, but possible.

 

"Existence", we couldn't truly know, could we? As a matter of fact, since quantum mechanics has already been brought up, what's your take on the observer effect?

 

So yeah... humans are basically required to even talk about this stuff. It's an assumption to believe the concept behind "lies" and "existence" are actually real because we simply do not know of a world without us.

 

You keep going back to "talking about" things! I'm not talking about the fact that we are using language! I'm talking about the fact that we have some systems that are entirely invented by us, and nature which is not invented by us. We can know things about language and math because they are completely and totally man made. We created every single bit of it. We know the rules for certain because we made the rules and we could change them if we restructured the systems.

 

But we did not create the stars, gravity, electromagnetism, etc. We cannot know these things because we didn't make them! Simple as that. Stop bringing in this crap about words and talking about it. My point has NOTHING to do with a lot of what you said in this quote!

 

We didn't create the thing we are talking about when we say the word, but we still decided to conceptualize it.... Just the fact that you are going to represent something means "abstract". And my point is that all knowledge is essentially abstract because you can never cut the middleman (us) out of the equation. Knowledge of "concrete physical existence" will always be based on an [abstract] assumption.

 

Sure, so we create words like "chair" and "stool" both of these things are objects with legs that you can sit on. But I AM NOT TALKING about language classification. I'm talking about the fact that an object in the physical world is a thing that we did not create. We might have created lots of crap to help us classify this object, but we did not create the thing itself, the atoms that make up the wood.

 

Compare this to the concept of a triangle. We created every...single...piece of what a "triangle" means. Or maybe a better example: I know that the word "ball" is a noun. I know this for absolute certainty because I know what the definition of ball is, and I know what a noun is. We completely created this system of language and decided the rules that govern it.

 

I can never know for absolute certainty that my chair can NEVER spontaneously phase through the floor. Sure we created all of the words to describe this system, but there is a part of describing this system that relies on nature doing something.

 

Again, think of a 6 sided cube sitting on a table. You look at the cube and see the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 6. You might be able to make a good guess that the number 3 is on the other side. However, if nobody ever lets you see that last side, would you ever say "I know for absolute certainty that the remaining side has a 3 on it."?

 

This is an exact analogy to us figuring things out with scientific reasoning. We can only make observations, deductions, and conclusions from looking at things in the world. We never get to "look behind the curtain" and see if we are right. We can "look behind the curtain" with things that are abstract knowledge. How is "stop" spelled? I can just go look this up in the dictionary because we decided how "Stop" is spelled. We didn't decide how the physical world works, and we can't obtain an absolute truth about a physical event.

 

 

CLIFF NOTES:

 

Basically this post is extremely long and I wanted to just summarize the main point. You are basically stopping too short anaylizing these ideas. For example, lets say the definition of "existence" is "A thing that can be observed or detected." Okay, sure this is a definition we created. And yeah, maybe we defined observation, detection, etc. But eventually, you get down to nature. You have to use your eyes to look at something and see if there are any particles there. Eventually you get to something that we did not create. We might have created the word "existence" but if you dig down to the bare meaning of the word, it symbolizes something that we did not decide. The problem is that you stop at the fact that "Existence" is a word that has a definition that we decided. I'm talking about the things that we MEAN when we say "existence".

 

If the definition of a "triangle" is "A shape with three sides" then we never ever have to rely on nature to know anything about a triangle. We completely invented the geometric idea of a "side" and a "shape." We also sort of "invented" the number three, and we have completely defined what "three" means. We made it up. Nature didn't give us "three", we came up with it to invent a system of mathematics.

 

It's friggin difficult to talk about language while using language...


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damn there needs to be a debate forum, these posts are heavy.

 

on topic, allahu ahkbar.

 

religions fine by me, was hving a deep chat the other day and this woman said that religion is just a premise used as an excuse for bad acts. when usually the driving force is hunger. actually thats cleary not true because the failed yemeni bomber was from a rich family..

 

actually i dunno, i dont like organised religion. and unorganised religious people are just annoying hippies..

 

i just cant comprehend that way of thinking.

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The same cannot be said for a triangle, square, etc. It would have never existed if it were not for intelligent life.

 

So by this logic, the three-sided patterns (the concept behind a triangle) on a snake's skin does not exist in reality, but the snake itself does?

 

So?

 

My point here is that abstract ideas stem from physical observations. They essentially go hand and hand, which is why I have a hard time understanding why you are drawing some strange imaginary line between the two. The debate was initially about deciphering things that are impossible in our realm, and you asserted that this was impossible. Then you changed your point to, "Only abstract ideas can be impossible."

 

I would say that NO, a hole would NOT exist if it were not for intelligent life. As I said, there is NOTHING THERE. What would exist would just be cheese in certain shapes. Calling it a "hole" requires intelligent interpretation of, and classification of, intelligent observation.

 

But the thing the word "hole" represents (a lack of matter) is very much so objectively existent if you want to assert that something like the thing the word "mug" represents is objectively existent.

 

Is Carl Sagan the designer of the universe? No. He is a scientist. Our current scientific understanding of the speed of light would SUGGEST that, but we DO NOT have the absolute knowledge.

 

So basically what you're saying is the "laws of physics" are really only the "theories of physics"? :unsure:

 

And? It is still a different outcome than the three you proposed. You said there were only three possible outcomes.

 

For every physical object, there are a fixed amount of sides it can "land on". If you wish to change the coin into a non-coin, then sure there are different outcomes. I've went over this point before: Saying "things would be different if things were different" is a pretty pointless point to make. The whole reason I used the word "coin" instead of "random geometrical shape" was to limit the outcomes. And this is my point all along: it is possible to decipher some limited outcomes in the world around us.

 

Logic is an abstract process of reasoning. Logic is seperate from making observations, confirming predictions, and other elements of the scientific process. Logic is basically what turns scientific observations into something argumentitive. Logic is an important part of figuring out things about the world, but it cannot act alone to make accurate judgments.

 

Judging by your last examples, you seem to be forgetting that part of logic is taking into account a wide amount of factors. For example, if you saw someone go into Door A and come out of B, and you made the "logical deduction" that if someone goes into Door B then they can come out of Door A, but you are not taking into account the possibility that A --> B is a one-way path and there is no way to travel from B --> A (let's say a one-way revolving door is on the other side), then you have skipped a logical step, therefore your "logic" was actually "illogical".

 

By definition, logic is correct inference, not incorrect. If somehow you reached an incorrect premise, then apparently your "logic" wasn't completely logical.

 

"The cold hard truth"? How is it the cold hard truth? You act like "Oh god maybe we are wrong..." but that doesn't even make sense. The very moment you suggest that the things we see are not reality, you lose all possible ways of trying to figure things out.

 

Uhhh, you just said the same exact thing I said. You're contradicting yourself again:

 

"No, we actually don't know this. You don't know for sure that the world you see even exists, and I don't know for sure that we exist in reality. However, one of the working assumptions of scientific reasoning is that the things we see exist and that we exist in reality."

 

You keep going back to "talking about" things! I'm not talking about the fact that we are using language! I'm talking about the fact that we have some systems that are entirely invented by us, and nature which is not invented by us. We can know things about language and math because they are completely and totally man made. We created every single bit of it. We know the rules for certain because we made the rules and we could change them if we restructured the systems.

 

But we did not create the stars, gravity, electromagnetism, etc. We cannot know these things because we didn't make them! Simple as that. Stop bringing in this crap about words and talking about it. My point has NOTHING to do with a lot of what you said in this quote!

 

You keep going back to ignoring the blunt truth of the situation: that everything is subjective. You seem to be under the impression that human perception is infallible or something. It's fine and actually natural to think that, but that doesn't change the fact that we simply do not know a world without us and have no means of possessing the absolute knowledge that that rock is actually there. Also, you didn't respond to the "observer effect" in quantum physics which was a very important element of my point.

 

But I AM NOT TALKING about language classification.

 

Oops, paradox.

 

Compare this to the concept of a triangle. We created every...single...piece of what a "triangle" means. Or maybe a better example: I know that the word "ball" is a noun. I know this for absolute certainty because I know what the definition of ball is, and I know what a noun is. We completely created this system of language and decided the rules that govern it.

 

Refer to my point about the pattern on a snake's skin. Is it abstract or physical? If it is abstract, then the snake itself is too.

 

We never get to "look behind the curtain" and see if we are right.

 

Again, you're contradicting yourself and I don't know which side I should be arguing.

 

"You act like "Oh god maybe we are wrong..." but that doesn't even make sense."

 

???

 

Not to mention those five paragraphs were you reiterating what I just gave a rebuttal to.

 

But eventually, you get down to nature.

 

Ahh, thank you. And the same can be said for mathematics, philosophy, and everything else, no? The reason we formed them into abstract ideas, is because we were inspired by nature. If we saw "one" rock, and then took a couple of steps and saw "two" rocks, we'd get a pretty good idea that there are differing numerical values in the world around us, hence "the concept behind numbers exist".

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So by this logic, the three-sided patterns (the concept behind a triangle) on a snake's skin does not exist in reality, but the snake itself does?

 

Those aren't triangles by definition. They appear triangular, or reminiscent of a triangle, but it is not a triangle.

 

My point here is that abstract ideas stem from physical observations. They essentially go hand and hand, which is why I have a hard time understanding why you are drawing some strange imaginary line between the two. The debate was initially about deciphering things that are impossible in our realm, and you asserted that this was impossible. Then you changed your point to, "Only abstract ideas can be impossible."

 

Maybe "abstract" is a confusing term to use, then. Maybe "man made" is a better term. By "abstract" I mean "entirely created and governed by man".

 

But the thing the word "hole" represents (a lack of matter) is very much so objectively existent if you want to assert that something like the thing the word "mug" represents is objectively existent.

 

No, it doesn't exist, because it is not a thing. How can an object be a lack of an object? Also, I agree that "lack of matter" would exist whether or not we talk about it, but is simply "lack of matter" the same thing as "a hole"? No, if so, we would call most of our universe "a hole". A "hole" by our definition specifically requires there to be an object that has a void inside of it. But this is nothing special, this object doesn't have some special property that makes it have a hole. It just looks that way, and it is how we interpret it. It is not a natural property.

 

So basically what you're saying is the "laws of physics" are really only the "theories of physics"? :unsure:

 

Yes. Laws are not absolute knowledge and you would be a fool to think that they are...Hell, if you asked somebody 150 years ago "Can an object ever get shorter if you just increase its velocity?" they would probably think the question was very odd and improbable. However, now we know length contraction to exist due to special relativity. In another span of 100s of years, the knowledge we have today will likely be outdated by more advanced theories.

 

Just because we currently think that nothing can go faster than the speed of light doesn't mean we know this for absolute certainty. Newton's second "law" used to be F=ma. Now it is F=dp/dt. Laws are perfectly capable of error.

 

For every physical object, there are a fixed amount of sides it can "land on". If you wish to change the coin into a non-coin, then sure there are different outcomes. I've went over this point before: Saying "things would be different if things were different" is a pretty pointless point to make. The whole reason I used the word "coin" instead of "random geometrical shape" was to limit the outcomes. And this is my point all along: it is possible to decipher some limited outcomes in the world around us.

 

And again, if you want to say "If only there are only three possible outcomes, then it is impossible for there to be any other outcome" then fine. But you are restricting what you are looking at and separating it into categories. It's like asking "Is it impossible for a red ball to look blue?" Yes it is. By calling it "red" you assert knowledge of the object, and if that knowledge were to change, then it wouldn't be "red".

 

The same goes for your coin thing. If you want to define a coin as a flat cylinder whoose shape cannot be altered, and if you want to say that it HAS to "land" on something in order for it to be considered a "flip", then maybe anything other than those three scenarios cannot be possible. But you've just totally restricted the question to some outcomes that you have designated as possible. Its like saying "If I cannot possibly explode, can I possibly explode?" Youre restricting the premise of the natural event...

 

Judging by your last examples, you seem to be forgetting that part of logic is taking into account a wide amount of factors. For example, if you saw someone go into Door A and come out of B, and you made the "logical deduction" that if someone goes into Door B then they can come out of Door A, but you are not taking into account the possibility that A --> B is a one-way path and there is no way to travel from B --> A (let's say a one-way revolving door is on the other side), then you have skipped a logical step, therefore your "logic" was actually "illogical".

 

By definition, logic is correct inference, not incorrect. If somehow you reached an incorrect premise, then apparently your "logic" wasn't completely logical.

 

Again, it is clear that you are talking about something that I am not talking about. When I use the word "logic" I use it to refer to a specific thought process. It sounds like by "logic" you mean "inductive reasoning, paired with observation." You are using the word "logic" to mean "all forms of rational actions".

 

This is not what I mean when I talk about "logic". Logic is a part of scientific research, but it doesn't do the job by itself.

 

Uhhh, you just said the same exact thing I said. You're contradicting yourself again:

 

"No, we actually don't know this. You don't know for sure that the world you see even exists, and I don't know for sure that we exist in reality. However, one of the working assumptions of scientific reasoning is that the things we see exist and that we exist in reality."

 

I have not contradicted myself. I acknowledge that we might not even be seeing reality, but I don't let this impact my reasoning about the physical world. What it sounded like you were saying is "Crap, maybe we are wrong about reality, which means everything else might not actually be physical!"

 

You keep going back to ignoring the blunt truth of the situation: that everything is subjective. You seem to be under the impression that human perception is infallible or something. It's fine and actually natural to think that, but that doesn't change the fact that we simply do not know a world without us and have no means of possessing the absolute knowledge that that rock is actually there. Also, you didn't respond to the "observer effect" in quantum physics which was a very important element of my point.

 

And again, it sounds like you are entirely confused about my whole point. You've just said we have no means of acquiring absolute knowledge that a rock even exists to begin with. This is my point, we don't know stuff about the world for absolute truths. The only things we can know for sure are things that only exist in our thoughts. A triangle only exists in our thoughts. Definitions of words only exist in our thoughts.

 

And I didn't talk about your "observer effect" because you don't understand what it means. It doesn't mean that by the act of human eyes looking at something, it alters the thing's existence. The observer effect simply is that to observe an elementary particle, we need to do something to it that will impact its existence. The observer effect literally has nothing to do with anything you're trying to say.

 

 

Refer to my point about the pattern on a snake's skin. Is it abstract or physical? If it is abstract, then the snake itself is too.

 

The pattern exists but it is not a triangle.

 

Again, you're contradicting yourself and I don't know which side I should be arguing.

 

"You act like "Oh god maybe we are wrong..." but that doesn't even make sense."

 

???

 

Not to mention those five paragraphs were you reiterating what I just gave a rebuttal to.

 

I'm not contradicting myself, you've just managed to completely miss the idea of abstract versus non-abstract things for 5 pages and are starting to understand what the hell I am talking about.

 

Ahh, thank you. And the same can be said for mathematics, philosophy, and everything else, no? The reason we formed them into abstract ideas, is because we were inspired by nature. If we saw "one" rock, and then took a couple of steps and saw "two" rocks, we'd get a pretty good idea that there are differing numerical values in the world around us, hence "the concept behind numbers exist".

 

Just because we were inspired by nature doesn't make these systems governed by nature. What does 1+1 equal? Two, right? Well, when I asked that question, did you have to stop and thing "Now wait, if I have one rock and one rock, how many rocks will I have?" No. Our system of math is completely abstracted. Our understanding of "one" isn't based off of knowledge of nature. If it was, that means that there could be something we could see in nature that would change our minds about "1" and make it mean something different. Is there anything nature could show us that would make us need to change any of math? No. The system is completely man made.

 

Now if I asked you "What happens when I drop this object?" you have to draw on knowledge of past physical observations to answer the question. Could nature show you something that contradicts your knowledge of objects falling? Yes, you could let go of the object and it could go up. This isn't likely based on our understanding of gravity, but it is still something you could see that could change your knowledge. There is literally nothing we could possibly see to convince us that 2+2=5, that a square has 6 sides, or that the dervative of 5x is not 5.


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