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Do absolutes exist?

  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    63.2%
  2. No

    14 vote(s)
    36.8%
  1. May 5, 2007 #1
    My friends and I were having a debate last night and I thought I would share. I basically said that I believe absolutes exist. Some things are 100% for sure. Maybe not everything, but there are some things that you can say you know without a doubt.

    For my example, I used math. I said that math is something that is independent of all variables. It exists outside of time, length, probability, etc. Therefore, I can say with 100% confidence that 2*3=6, because the definition of 2*3 is 6, and that is what we defined it as. My friends were still doubtful that this would hold true in some weird universes were perhaps math was different. I believe that for any universe, math is the same. The reason is that math has no dependencies on any physical phenomena. It does not change for any reason, and that is what it is defined to do.

    They also said that math only exists if you have something to count... but I think this is flawed logic. Math doesn't have to be used to exist. A blind person cannot see light, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

    So the question is, is there anything that is certain? I believe that math can be used to say that some things are certain, because they are defined to be so.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2007 #2

    JasonRox

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    Gold Member

    Pointless debate.

    His arguments are insanely weak if he's talking about another universe. When someone brings in stupid ideas like that, I do the same thing back and they learn to stop being stupid.

    Tell him what if there exists a universe such that everything is absolute in it. It is so absolute that you can not leave it. That once you're inside you know of nothing else besides absoluteness. It's the absolute universe.

    His arguments are that same thing as... what if God...

    Boring arguments.
     
  4. May 5, 2007 #3

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    Do absolutes exist?

    Absolutely! :biggrin: but then everything is relative to something else :rofl:

    Now when you get in such an argument or debate, does it occur to one why one is arguing/debating about such a topic? What is the point?

    Better use of time would be to look at the stars, listen to good music, watch a sunset, go for a walk and enjoy nature, . . .
     
  5. May 5, 2007 #4
    Speaking from my own perspective, I think. So, I absolutely am. (Which is irregardless of whatever form that could be that I am or am not aware of.)

    And that's all I need to know to validate my experiences.

    But as JasonRox and Astronuc explained, it's not much useful for any end. Take what you have and make the most of it. Can't go wrong there.
     
  6. May 5, 2007 #5
    In science there are certain theories that we believe to be "absolutes" (more or less, anyway). For example, Newton's Laws, electromagnetic theory, gravity, (biological) evolution, theories of chemical reactivity, etc., are all considered to be absolutely true because they've been verified so many times. So from a practical standpoint, I suppose you could say that there are absolutes.
     
  7. May 5, 2007 #6
    Nothing is absolute. Nothing
     
  8. May 5, 2007 #7
    I think you mean to say absolutely nothing. :wink:
     
  9. May 5, 2007 #8
    An absolute proposition is one which cannot be doubted. The proposition is universal, it holds in all instances, and it is necessary (it does not hold true by coincidence, it must hold true). We say that such truths are known to us a priori , and their negation must produce a contradiction. A harmless example: "Every divorced person was married at one time".
     
  10. May 6, 2007 #9
    Absolute exists. But in physical nature it is almost impossible; things like physical constants (c - speedof light, h - plank's constant) cannot be absolute - see normal distribution. BUT MATHEMATICS IN ITS USE WITHOUT PHYSICAL PHENOMENA OR WITH APPROXIMATIONS IS ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTE!
     
  11. May 6, 2007 #10
    Tautologies are absolute.

    "Absolutes either exist or they don't." is an absolute.

    A v ~A
     
  12. May 6, 2007 #11
    heh, of course, that statement presupposes that logic is absolute.
     
  13. May 6, 2007 #12
    maybe you should define 'absolute'. otherwise, it's just linguistics.
     
  14. May 6, 2007 #13
    I find it funny that the poll allows two answers:

    'yes',

    and 'no'.

    If someone truly believes that absolutes don't exist, then they couldn't absolutely deny the proposition of your statement, could they?

    Really, you need a fuzzy 'maybe' button.
     
  15. May 6, 2007 #14
    what can I say but lol
     
  16. May 6, 2007 #15

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    Absolutely! :rofl:
     
  17. May 6, 2007 #16
    Actually after a long think. I would say everything is absolute. It is just that our measuring capabilites don't extend to the deterministic accuracy, thus we approximate with statistics. But otherwise the absolute in any Physical Phenomena exists.
     
  18. May 6, 2007 #17
    You know this from a long think? Can you tell us why? Or is it just 'your opinion' (boring)?
     
  19. May 7, 2007 #18
    Stop sledging about the "long think". Anyway I am probably wrong.

    BUT take irrational numbers in mathematics for example. They can be infinitely differing in decimal places. But they can still be defined in an absolute way.

    So the same (I think) should apply to physical constants. I say that of one goes infinitely accurate (impractical). there would be an absolute value.

    Also, in all fields of mathematics and physics, we define everything relative to each other. Thus if we relate the constants, can't we have an absolute value if we define it that way?
     
  20. May 7, 2007 #19
    Even Math has it's axioms.

    I'm not siding either way, because to say "No" would be saying that the answer "No, there are no absolute truths" is an absolute truths. And I'm not saying "Yes" because they're might not be!

    You could say, it has to be yes, because it can't be no. But again that might be wrong, sure it follows logic, but the logic system which we have created is again with it's axioms.
     
  21. May 7, 2007 #20
    I really like the poll at the top "Do absolutes exist, yes or no?"
    I am not completely sure whether things are absolute or not but... Are human beings absolute? -- You have to remember everything that is physical fades due to time. I don't believe there is anything in the universe that can go unchanged after any amount of time.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2007
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