Member 2163
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Contributor to project:
Alexander Kruel (M, 37)
Gütersloh, DE
Immortal since Mar 10, 2009
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

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Transhumanist, atheist, vegetarian who's interested in science fiction, science, philosophy, math, language, consciousness, reality...
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    Knowing beyond science and mathematics?
    At this stage, I believe, science and mathematics are the only ways of knowing.

    There are other ways. There is introspection to find and convey meaning. There are self-contained rules, as in gaming or computer programming, that can be made-up and learnt. Nevertheless, these ways of knowing are not concerned with empirical inquiry about the nature of reality, but are subjective truths of an aesthetic sense. These other ways of knowing are either based upon our subjective first-person knowledge or on logical constructions, i.e. language games, which only make sense in reference to themselves.

    Ethics might be one of a few fields that go beyond science, yet are not completely detached from it, for that ethical conduct is subject to what we want. Science however can help us figure out what we want, what desirable things exist and how to achieve them. That is also the case for ethics, as they are sets of laws to guide people, and people in turn are subject to science.

    I'll start incorporating crazy counter-intuitive notions about the nature of the universe when the cold implacable hand of the universe starts shoving them down my throat, not before!
    — PZ Myers

    When it comes to learning about the underlying nature of things, there simply is no reason to go beyond physical, factual inquiry right now. You can assess your data with practicability. If a drug makes you think that you can fly you can jump from the next bridge and be brought back down to earth by reality.

    No conclusion can be drawn if you fail to build a contradiction.
    Luk Arbuckle

    Reality is not subject to interpretation, only abstraction, or rather description. The fundamental nature of reality, its characteristics and qualities are absolute. Red is always red even when you call it green.

    For an event to be evidence about a target of inquiry, it has to happen differently in a way that's entangled with the different possible states of the target.
    Eliezer Yudkowsky

    I believe that the only reasonable definition of existence is for something to have a sensible influence. This also implies that something that exists can be subject to scientific inquiry. Something that exists can be assessed with practicability. It makes a difference. Thus you don't have to have a comprehensive grasp to determine the simplest of all conclusions: Something exists or it might exist. Either something is tangible or it might as well not exist.

    A belief is only really worthwhile if you could, in principle, be persuaded to believe otherwise.
    — Eliezer Yudkowsky

    If I cut my throat I may discover that I was dreaming or that I have been playing some advanced virtual reality game all along. Everything is possible. But right now there are safer and more promising options of gaining knowledge. How can I be sure? I can't, but there is evidence which proved to be reliable so far. I have to suspect that it will continue to be reliable based on experiment and observation. That doesn't make it the ultimate way of knowing or even a superior way but the best I know of at this time. And until I hit some hard barrier I do not have any good reason to try something else.

    Sat, Apr 3, 2010  Permanent link

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    PARADOX     Sat, Apr 3, 2010  Permanent link
    fasten your seatbelts…
    XiXiDu     Wed, Jul 7, 2010  Permanent link
    One of the big differences between religion and science as “ways of knowing” is that in science we can almost always specify what observations or experiments would prove our theories wrong. In contrast, the faithful do not (and cannot) specify what observations would disprove their beliefs—or the whole basis of their religion. There are two reasons for this distinction. First, through judicious theological manipulation the faithful carefully insulate those beliefs from disproof, often in a hypocritical way. When evidence is found against them, like the medieval age of the shroud of Turin or observations showing that prayer doesn’t work, the faithful simply say, “No, you can’t test God.” No matter that if the Shroud of Turin did date to around 30 A. D., or if prayer did cure people in double-blind tests, those same believers would trumpet to the skies the proof of their faith. Evidence for religious beliefs is counted; evidence against them is dismissed. Needless to say, science doesn’t—and couldn’t—work that way.

    Religion is not a way of knowing because it doesn’t have a way of knowing that it is wrong. And without that, you don’t know if you’re right. This is why science makes progress in understanding the world while religion is still mired in medieval theology.

    Infinitas     Wed, Jul 7, 2010  Permanent link
    When it comes to learning about the underlying nature of things, there simply is no reason to go beyond physical, factual inquiry right now.

    By setting a limit on how we think, behave, perceive, analyze, express feelings, etc, etc, we prevent ourselves from ever reaching knowledge beyond science and math. We need to openly explore new frontiers.