Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blind or delusional

This really continues the theme from last time as we consider the issues.


Listening recently to a discussion (if one might call it that) between CH and a peer (closer than you might think), the peer had the task of arguing the It is (henceforth Is) side. CH could just sit back and take pot shots. Why? It's not that CH was a scientist. It's that the It is not (henceforth Is-not) side has less proving to do.

What? Yes, the matter is not open to proof in the sense of demonstration. No, those types of actions (as in demonstrating something) is on the onus list of the Is folks. You see, science deals with what is. From an operational sense, the issues of Is and Is-not never come up. They don't add any butter to the table.


I might add, not yet. Do they ever? Yes, as ostensible choice of either side can have economic ramifications. Go to a country like Iran (and, perhaps, a number of others) and try to be a Christian (mind you, name any religion; perhaps, even Muslim sect that is not in favor of those who hold the power) who has the power of the state behind you and who can be successful in any field. In many cases, education is cut off. Actually, the Jewish diaspora could easily be used as an example due to the breadth involved, in terms of time, space and human suffering.


Now back to the CH lambast (some might see it as a basting). His peer kept saying "why can't you see?" in terms of the CH's position of not accepting something supported by writings that get a lot of attention. Or, we could re-phrase: why are you blind to this? That being said, 'blind' implies not being able to recognize something that is there. In reality, we are blind to a lot of things (in short, all of our senses have a lot of limits). Science is to the point where a whole lot is determined after a whole lot of processing (lens, filters, and more -- remember, quasi-empiricism?).

If one does (as in, can) not see what is not there, does that not turn the question around? Yes. Many 'secularist' make this point; some do so very vehemently: I'm sorry, but you are delusional. Ah. Secularists, like scientists, can take the relaxed view (except, there are career, and fame, issues related to the human being that can be troublesome). You see, science's reliance on the lense and filter cannot be said to be delusional. Why?

Two things, mainly. It's public, in that readings (assuming that we can discount any interpretation issues related to vision, etc.) can be shared. If I'm going 100 mph, any passenger can see the speedo. That's the first thing. Public. To boot, many calibration issues are resolvable in the public forum. We'll go on about that, at length. Why? Delusions can be a crowd issue (somewhat due to warpings of the ether -- joke, in part, okay?).

The second thing is that you can do things multiple times; that is, if something is repeatable (or observed time and again), then it may very well be real. But, even here, we have to be careful. For instance, one could take mind alterers and know what to expect. Does that make all of the characteristics of the perturbed sense (nervous system) processing less of a delusion? Wait? If one knows that one is delusional, is one still delusional?


So, the whole thing gets to be unsettling. Why? Exchange 'real' with truth, and it seems like we're screwed. Oh, I know. The modern way is that money is the truth; that is, buy what is necessary to make something true. Are we not seeing that in abundance with this election year's experimentation with a whole lot of new ideas (some of which are suspect)?


In short, we got pulled into looking at T-issues in an unexpected way. It looks to be an interesting bit of affairs.


06/25/2015 -- ACM Communications had an article (Created Computed Universe) that suggest that our computional prowess ought to lead to agnosticism rather than to anything else. Of course, my initial remark: So many modern minds conjure and contort in order to introduce what is not much different than what some knew many millennia ago in the desert.

01/22/2013 -- T-issues will migrate to issues of science and religion.

05/04/2012 -- Alan's 100th. We need to look at Computability in the World

03/29/2012 -- Interesting video on self-transcendence. Pay attention to the last three minutes.

02/24/2012 -- A qualification is necessary, in order to offset what might appear to be an oversight, namely falsifiability (see Karl Popper). Above, it was mentioned that science deals with 'what is' without worrying the Is/Is not issue. That is partly true, in the sense that science is a public means to know reality. It is untrue, unfortunately, in a few senses. One of these is that scientists, being human, are not above the controversies (yes, you, Richard) raised by the big questions. Too, scientists, being biological forms, cannot perceive a bunch. After all, life is essentially successful filtering. We may adjust our filters; we cannot remove them. You know what? No amount of mathematics, artificial means, or what have you will overcome our limitations (yes, cosmologists have extrapolated way beyond their rational basis).

02/01/2012 -- Actually, both of these are highly ad hominen. Which is worse? Let's see, who is the more at fault? Well, the secularist does claim to be a clear thinker. Perhaps, that approach only has so much power; that is, eventually, it gets to a pissing contest. On the other hand, those on the Is side have a whole lot of counsel about behavior to process. Is slapping someone with a diatribe considered okay? 

Modified: 06/25/2015

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It is or it is not

I would have used 'tis and tain't but for the taint that might come forth. So, what is this about? Well, we're going to look at issues raised by a growing set of people, such as the late Christopher Hitchens. You see, this type of discussion is central to truth engineering, especially as it relates to T-issues.


As well, we see both sides of the arguments claiming to know. On the one side, it's phrased in terms of having fact at hand (to wit, discussions at the Dawkins site), as we expect with science (except, evidence has become increasingly wrapped within computational/mathematical modeling that requires us to put into place the necessary filters/lens, etc. -- recursive issues) as it has evolved in the past few centuries. On the other side, there are statements about material obtained via various types of means, with revelation (whole slew of sacred literature) being one of these.

So, it's like a fence for the reasonable folks. There are two sides, yet one may (ought to be allowed to) waffle on both sides (actually, operational effectiveness may require us to do just that). Too, nuances come into play on both sides. All of this is relevant to the discourse, however we are using an 'engineering' ontology, so that means the following assignment.

  • It is not -- argues this: any claims that might have theistic leanings are basically bonkers, as in delusional (look it up on Google). We can wrap ourselves in the Mystery (see Krauss, et al) or Evolution (see Dawkins) or ... 
  • It is -- the converse, in a sense: there is a whole lot to look at here as this is an age-old issue. From our viewpoint, though, we'll just say that there exists a meme (or set of memes) that follow Anselm's argument of the ontological nature. Or, in other words, we have times when something outside of the human limits (mind you, only offering the use of a symmetric entity to which we can project) has a role to play in our decision processes. For now, the use of  'meme' means that we can draw benefits (potentially quite remarkable -- hence, the motivation) without taking the discussion to the nth degree (that cannot currently be resolved for many folks - okay?).  
Before we proceed, there needs to be a statement of a disclosure nature. That is, on which side is the blogger? Well, it may be that using 'It is not' as the basis for argument may imply something about that. But, then, again, that question will remain unanswered, for now, in an attempt to be balanced. 


Now, again, one might ask if an a-theist (some say, the 'It is not' side) can claim to be scientific (and that might imply a position on the part of the blogger). You know, science does not provide answers in an ultimate sense. There is always a provisional platform that grows in size. Too, that increase in size does not diminish what is not known (at least, from the viewpoint of the less strident mind). If science cannot at this time disprove the meme (or its metaphysical analog), how can one claim to make the decision via science? 


On the other hand, if one were to argue for the 'It is' claim, why does it have to take the ultimate leap to describing what exactly is being labelled? You see, the meme would be an operational flavor; nowhere within the context of its use would there be any requirement to subsume the essence (that which is labelled) within some limited sensibility. Look, if science has increasing boundaries, so too will this argument.  


Okay, we'll be going back and forth on this. Mind you, the meme mentioned above is a type of closure. As a joke, one could say it deals with compactification (use any sense that you want). Yet, the issue is that we have to assume closure, in many cases, since we have undecidable regions (in both time and space) lurking. You know, we do that anyway with our common sense. Lots of times, it works. 

With computational complexity being a core issue with 'truth' (only one of many other things, so don't leap too far in trying to extract implications here), we cannot use the 'omniscience' approach (though, one wonders how the 'It is not' side is going to look at this -- we'll look at this later) that seems to underlie some notions (those who ponder such things do not know how we can know the truth behind any modern situation with having our arms around the whole thing -- oh yes, some have taken mathematics as the basis meanwhile ignoring quasi-empirical issues). I say 'underlies' as it seems to be that we have a basis moving about down there. Truthfully? Many seem to just jump right over the matter; my hope is to show that they're straddling the fence when they do so.

That brings up the first requirement. Show that there is a fence. At the same time, discuss the symmetry related to this fence's dynamics.


How long will this take? Why would there be a rush? Mankind has fought over these matters for thousands of years. My interest is trying to set a framework that will allow increased insights (as well, will provide for some interesting discussions and experiments).


01/22/2013 -- The site referenced in a below Remark took down my comment about dreaming of Hitch (ah, can't believe that he's in heaven?). Yeah. So, here it is: Hitch (in one, he was scrunched in a public place (as if not wanting to recognize the new reality tht flowed around him), as I walked by him, he grabbed my notebook (as in EOJ material), and started to browse it; later, he and my college roommate visited me at my desk talking about a new school that they were involved in -- perhaps Hitch saw the peripatetic need, at the same time, Hitch sized me up, and I showed him the writing on the wall which is there for all to see, after they left, my whole work area went through some type of transformation, I had met several people there after they went to the wider expanse).

05/30/2012 -- See dreams of Hitch comments at the It is or it is not post. These were written at the Daily Hitchens site (and deleted). They'll be re-posted here at some point. Recent Krauss tribute.

05/04/2012 -- Alan's 100th. We need to look at Computability in the World.

03/29/2012 -- Interesting video on self-transcendence. Pay attention to the last three minutes.

01/31/2012 -- Blind or delusional.

01/15/2012 -- Jobs, labor, and disrespect.

01/15/2012 --  Hitch lives on. In more ways than one. ..., One might say that this is the middle way (variously characterized throughout our history on the planet). From the viewpoint of product development, middle out is the only way that finds success.

Modified: 01/22/2013