Explorations in ontology

  • #51
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You can attempt to describe living things as dynamical systems, but with such systems, you have to make many assumptions (in order to reduce complexity, and even then you're dealing with a non-linear system) in order to get tiny pictures of macro behavior, which may reveal some aspect or a portion of the full picture. With things like this, the system is inherently chaotic, and large changes in emergent behavior come with even the most miniscule numerical approximation (have you heard of the butterfly effect?). So, due to the uncertainty principle (you can measure position or energy but not both at once), there is no way of getting around approximations, so therefore it is impossible to model a real living thing. The only closed solution for an atom is the hydrogen solution, and so every other atom is just an approximation. It took a year to figure out hydrogen after Schrodinger introduced the equation for slow speeds, and it only consists of a proton and an electron. It took ten years to get reasonably approximate solutions to helium, which is just two electrons, two protons, and two neutrons. You can only imagine how much computing power you need to approximate a molecule. The most powerful supercomputer in the world was made in order to model how protiens fold, and it can only yield approximations, as long as enough assumptions are made in order to reduce complexity. The point is, since these efforts end up with mere approximations, and not exact solutions, when you model a living thing, the error in "knowable initial state" increases more than factorialy, and when you simulate this over time, the behavior of the system will be drastically different from reality, and every time you run the model, you'll get different answers. Even if you had a universal computer (a computer that can calculate anything exactly--which isn't physically realizable), you'd still have to contend with the uncertainty principle, and every time you simulate your model, you'll end up with the wrong behavior of the system due to chaos.

This is, as far as my knowledge and understanding of objective truth serves me, objectively true, so you must accept it. As for now, you'll have to trust me, but go ahead and learn all the things needed in order to know why. You made a remark about what I just explained in detail, so I guess you would accept it. I gotta go right now, I'll come back later and finnish replying to your post.
This is correct in my understanding, although computational uncertainty is different from Heizenberg uncertainty relationship, as argued by the previous poster.
Any way, this dispermits us to make a realistic computational model of matter that can describe exactly how some more complex systems evolve in time.

For that particular reason we have physics, biology, etc., since else, we could all reduce the materialistic science to some fundamental physics theory, and even develop economic models including that of human behaviour at the basis of that.
As we know we can't reduce everything in any meaningfull way to physics, which makes it obvious we need other sciences too.
 
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  • #52
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It seems like we're getting off the thread a bit here. Its pretty clear from this discussion that we cannot be certain about our description of the world. But we do recognize some ideas as true and others as false, don't we? To me, the question is: How do we make that determination?
 
  • #53
Space and time have no seperate existence from matter, it is just because matter is in motion, that there is space and time.

General relativity is correct in this sense, because space and time are replaced with gravity which is a material cause -- this is also the problem with uniting quantum mechanics with general relativity, because QM and QFT work with a "fixed" background of space and time (which then somehow would exist independend from matter) and for this reason we can't unite QM or QFT with general relativity. Which in fact means we have two fundamental different descriptions of reality, which we can't unite, and which therefore means, we don't have a unique physical theory to describe the very early universe, we can only approximate it and with some serious limitations on our knowledge about possible states before the Big bang.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying about matter in eternal motion, do you think matter could exist without motion, or that it is not something fundamental?
The big bang had a beginning, and the universe will most likely end in a cold freeze. Therefore, there is no eternal motion, everything will stop, just like everything had a beginning. Regardless of the problems with unification, there still is no reason why space and time exist let alone matter-energy.
 
  • #54
Like you stated there is no way of objectively proving God.
It means that God is just a subjective manifestation in one's mind.

The question is however, where does God come from? Or better stated, since we deal with just a manifestation of mind, the idea of God, how did it get here in the first place?

From what do we conclude or imagine there to be a God?

In practice this is answered with that the idea of God is that it is that what provides sufficient reason for why we are here, for why there is a world, etc.

God is thought of as the final cause of all this happening, and the idea of God was shaped in different fashions according to local traditions and mythologies.

Wether there is a God, or better stated, wether there is a subjective proof for the existence of God, this depends on one's ontology.

The idea that such a being can actually exist, and not mere in the imagination, however can not be well grounded on a philosophical basis.
It would for instance raise the idea that mind came before matter, that mind can exist in the absence of matter, that consciouss could be well-defined in the absence of anything to be consciouss of, and that matter can be created from nothing. Since this is far from obvious and defies experience and our knowledge, this can only be taken on the basis of faith.

A ground for the existence of the world can be formed on the basis of matter, which itself has no ground outside of itself. Matter itself is uncreatable and indestructable and in eternal motion, thus removing any need for some outside cause, or begin and delivers sufficient ground for understanding the material world of motion.

We know from experience and scientific explorations that also the brain is just material and can in principle be understood at the basis of motion of matter, like also the existence of living organisms can be explained by matter in motion.
Do you agree that everything you've experianced is undeniable, and therefore true to you? Every dream you've had is an experiance, and so it is real to your perception, everything you've felt, either with your five senses or by other means, was something that you experianced, and so you can't say that any of it didn't actaully happen to you, so it is true to you. This is what we've been referring to as "subjective truth". You have made it clear that what is true to you is that God doesn't really exist beyond conception, and that reality is completely explainable as only material. The way I understand this is that you've had many experiances in your life that support this belief, and it is true to you (i.e. subjectively true). The objective truth of our situation is that neither you're right, nor am I, objectively we can't conclude or even believe anything, because objective truth doesn't require belief (one doesn't need to believe facts in order for them to be true).

You speak of your beliefs as if they are objective truth, but some just aren't, although I don't doubt your personal perspective serves you well. To you, you are right, and I don't want to tell you that you're wrong just because you disagree with me, because I could be wrong too. The fact is we are speaking from different perspectives, which have their own interpretations of reality. Suppose there is an absolute truth--of which objective truth is a subset. Then right now is the case that you are speaking your interpretation of what the absolute truth is, from your perspective, which is quite alright as far as I'm concerned. The point of this thread was originally to see how my philosophy holds to everybody's scrutany, well I admit I might be a little bit "clingy" with my perspective, but I believe that the objective truth of the current situation should require that we recognize that we all have different interpretations, and that they all may or may not be wrong, or be partly right, or whatever, but we can't prove to each other the full absolute truth. When it comes to the perennial questions (the ones which science can never answer), the best we can do is develop our own interpretations (based on subjective truth). The fact that we are all different people means that we won't be able to fully explain our reasons to each other, since we all see things in our own ways. The sentance I just wrote means something different to you than what it means to me. It most likely makes you think of other things than what I think when I read it, since you have experienced different things than I have.

Your reasoning that God existing makes a weak philosophical basis because it would mean that mind came before matter presupposes that a mind is the emergant property of a material thing. Inherently in your argument lies your own personal truth (that the mind is a manifestation of the brain's inner workings), and it is fine and right for you to believe it. You have experienced the things that support your conclusion and you believe it to be true, otherwise you wouldn't spend the time and effort to type it into this handy dandy internet we ingenious humans have made. I can make an unfalsifiable claim too, that brains are tranceivers of the mind. The mind doesn't exist in space-time. I won't expand on it unless you would like me to, but let it be known that neither of us are being scientific in the sense that we're both reaching beyond objective truth. Science can't conclude either way, and it isn't allowed to guess, but we aren't held down by this restriction because we have first hand experience with being conscious, and we've experienced things in our own vantage points, and so we can reflect upon our thoughts and feelings and develop a hunch about the true nature of our minds while science can't. So let me reiterate, both of us aren't being scientific when we make such statements as "the mind couldn't have existed before matter" and "the mind existed before matter".



This is not to argue that science can understand matter in all totality, as obviously, there are limitations to how far we can understand matter, and as far as this is concerned, we will always have a limited knowledge about matter at every stage of discovery, however a limit that keeps being pushed further away, which is scientific progress.
Absolute and complete knowledge about the material world however can not be delivered. We always have an incomplete picture of the material world, and move forward with relative and only approximately correct knowledge.

The idea of God in this respect is just the ultimate and unreachable limit of all knowledge, etc., which just exists as an ideal in the mind, never to be realized in reality.
I agree, well put. We've been referring to the absolute truth that we know as objective truth, but it is just a subset of absolute truth, of which we can never fully know. Therefore, we can't objectively know if God exists or not, we can only guess, or even subjectively know (based on one's ontology, as you put it). Although your calim that God only exists as an ideal in the mind may not be absolutely true (in the meaning that I think you're conveying).
 
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  • #55
Jonny_trigonometry: From your explanation, you may not be confusing them. But this is the statement that got me: "...due to the uncertainty principle (you can measure position or energy but not both at once), there is no way of getting around approximations..." The uncertainty principle is not about approximations, but about the inability to perform arbitrarily accurate measurements on two complimentary quantities (i.e., momentun and position). But I see from your follow-up that you mean that the uncertainty principle adds an extra layer of difficulty in describing the state of the world beyond the limitations of modeling innaccuracies. Thanks for the clarification.
I apologize for not being clear. When I first write down a thought, I haven't fully thought it through. Making it more clear not only helped for you, but to me too.
 
  • #56
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The big bang had a beginning, and the universe will most likely end in a cold freeze. Therefore, there is no eternal motion, everything will stop, just like everything had a beginning.
I think this is an important point, that explains our philosophical different positions on this.
Now where did you arrive the conclusion that the big bang had a beginning in the first place?
I can think of it as being true only in the sense that it is true that the sun and the earth and you and me had a begin, but not as an absolute begin (with no prior state before the big bang).

That is I hold on to the idea that matter itself, did not begin, so that in this way, the big bang is in no way a "special" event in the entire history of the universe, but just an event like every other event in which matter transforms from some state to another state. Like it always does and lik everything constantly changes, moves and transforms.

How could "everything" have a begin, to begin with? If "everything" began then necessarily it began in or from nothing. But nothing is not a begin, nothing is just nothing.

If you cling on to the idea that "everything" (I mean here: everything in totality, not just every particular thing) could have had a begin, then you in fact are confusing yourself.

Let us rephrase it a bit, and call the existence of everything as being, which is taken as something very abstract and without anything determined.
Now the idea or assumption that being and non-being (which is the direct opposite of being) are only and absolutely seperate, is what causes the trouble, because then the begin (of anything) is already effectively made impossible. Instead we need to take the approach that being and non-being must be regarded as seperate moments of becoming, and that becoming is the truth of being and non-being.

Like the being of water turns into the being of gas by the process of heating, in which the being of water turns into non-being and the non-being of gas turns into the being of gas. This is just a transition of the state of the water molecules, which we experience daily.
It is necessary that being and non-being belong together and in fact form this unity of opposites. Being and non-being can not be taken seperate (that is: regarded outside of this unity of opposites), since seperatedly, they mean nothing. Their only reality and truth is their unity, which is becoming.

So for this obvious reason we have to conclude that the universe and everything is in an eternal state of being and non-being the whole time, since everything constantly evolves, moves, changes, etc. eternally.

Regardless of the problems with unification, there still is no reason why space and time exist let alone matter-energy.
Matter/enery and motion, and therefore also space and time, have no "reason of existence" or cause outside of it self.

Neither there is a "cause" for being, and in fact here too, one has to approach from a dialectical point of view. The "being" of matter and the "non-being" of matter, have to be seen also in this dialectical unity of opposites, which truth is the motion and transformation and change of matter, which leads to the various manifestations of matter.
 
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  • #57
I think this is an important point, that explains our philosophical different positions on this.
Now where did you arrive the conclusion that the big bang had a beginning in the first place?
I can think of it as being true only in the sense that it is true that the sun and the earth and you and me had a begin, but not as an absolute begin (with no prior state before the big bang).

That is I hold on to the idea that matter itself, did not begin, so that in this way, the big bang is in no way a "special" event in the entire history of the universe, but just an event like every other event in which matter transforms from some state to another state. Like it always does and lik everything constantly changes, moves and transforms.

How could "everything" have a begin, to begin with? If "everything" began then necessarily it began in or from nothing. But nothing is not a begin, nothing is just nothing.

If you cling on to the idea that "everything" (I mean here: everything in totality, not just every particular thing) could have had a begin, then you in fact are confusing yourself.

Let us rephrase it a bit, and call the existence of everything as being, which is taken as something very abstract and without anything determined.
Now the idea or assumption that being and non-being (which is the direct opposite of being) are only and absolutely seperate, is what causes the trouble, because then the begin (of anything) is already effectively made impossible. Instead we need to take the approach that being and non-being must be regarded as seperate moments of becoming, and that becoming is the truth of being and non-being.

Like the being of water turns into the being of gas by the process of heating, in which the being of water turns into non-being and the non-being of gas turns into the being of gas. This is just a transition of the state of the water molecules, which we experience daily.
It is necessary that being and non-being belong together and in fact form this unity of opposites. Being and non-being can not be taken seperate (that is: regarded outside of this unity of opposites), since seperatedly, they mean nothing. Their only reality and truth is their unity, which is becoming.

So for this obvious reason we have to conclude that the universe and everything is in an eternal state of being and non-being the whole time, since everything constantly evolves, moves, changes, etc. eternally.



Matter/enery and motion, and therefore also space and time, have no "reason of existence" or cause outside of it self.

Neither there is a "cause" for being, and in fact here too, one has to approach from a dialectical point of view. The "being" of matter and the "non-being" of matter, have to be seen also in this dialectical unity of opposites, which truth is the motion and transformation and change of matter, which leads to the various manifestations of matter.
well I'm sure it all makes sense to you. Could you make distinctions between what you think is true and what is objectively true? This post is riddled with subjective truth, and I'm not sure what is objectively true and what isn't, since I'm not familiar with these concepts. Could you point me in the direction of a proof for some of your objectively true statements?

From what I know to be objectively true, science can't say anything about what happened before the big bang. There are some different unification schemes in the works that try to predict this, but so far none have been experimentally verifiable. As it stands now, there is no objective answer to what happened before the big bang, and so the objective truth is that matter-energy, and space-time had a beginning. When you say it didn't you're reaching beyond objective truth and you're taking a guess, which is supported by your subjective truth. Keep in mind, not all subjective truths are shared with everybody, and in fact, some people have unreconcilable subjective truths. Perhaps one day mankind could know if there is a better theory to use, which explains everything better and makes new experimentally verifiable predictions, but as of now there isn't. I'm not going to discount the possibility that the universe could've never had a beginning though, but I'll go with science for now. The only reason I do is because of the principle we've developed earlier, "when objective truth is in opposition to subjective truth, objective truth wins".

Here's an unfalsifiable claim that you may enjoy (and is not objectively true). Suppose you're right, and the universe has always existed. Further suppose that minds are the emergent property of a physical dynamical system. Now imagine the vantage point you would see if you could sit on top of an electron (as if it were earth) in a rock on the road. It is true that atoms are 99.9% empty space, so when you look around, you'd see a bunch of empty space, and some other protons, electrons and such, just wizzing around in a black backdrop. Now suppose that a human walks by, and even steps on you. Would you even be able to recognize it as a human? Wouldn't it look like just a huge, chaotic "storm" of other particles wizzing around? With that in mind, we humans can't know when we look out into space if all those galaxies and clusters are merely part of a giant living thing, with it's own organs, including a brain. So, what if the mind is the emergent property of dynamical systems, and the universe has existed forever? Then what if the entire universe is the dynamical system that is the brain of God? Then God has always existed because the universe has.
 
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  • #58
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well I'm sure it all makes sense to you. Could you make distinctions between what you think is true and what is objectively true? This post is riddled with subjective truth, and I'm not sure what is objectively true and what isn't, since I'm not familiar with these concepts. Could you point me in the direction of a proof for some of your objectively true statements?

From what I know to be objectively true, science can't say anything about what happened before the big bang. There are some different unification schemes in the works that try to predict this, but so far none have been experimentally verifiable. As it stands now, there is no objective answer to what happened before the big bang, and so the objective truth is that matter-energy, and space-time had a beginning.
It will be perhaps very difficult to tell anything about what was before the big bang because there is little (or no) direct observations that take place.
But I'm sure you heard of the inflation scenario? It describes a possible mechanism that produces just the right universe (flatness, quantum fluctuations, solution to horizon problem) which we can test. So far it stands the test.

I don't think that one can say that matter/energy, time and space had a beginning. How can you conclude that? The singularity (deduced from GR) merely means that GR can not make predictions about that time interval, it breaks down. GR is therefore incomplete.
Scientific truths are not absolute truths. We have to judge our scientific tools on this basis, and know to what extend those theories say something meaningfull. We never had and never will have absolute truths.
For instance, Newton mechanics is still valid within limits. Only in the cases where we reach the limits of Newtonian mechanics, we use either GR/SR or QM/QFT. We know that GR and QM are fundamentally different and can't be united. Therefore in the cases where both GR and QM apply, we do not yet have a theory that can predict what happens.

Btw. people like Penrose, who claimed that the Big Bang started with an absolute begin, have changed their opinion on this.

When you say it didn't you're reaching beyond objective truth and you're taking a guess, which is supported by your subjective truth. Keep in mind, not all subjective truths are shared with everybody, and in fact, some people have unreconcilable subjective truths. Perhaps one day mankind could know if there is a better theory to use, which explains everything better and makes new experimentally verifiable predictions, but as of now there isn't. I'm not going to discount the possibility that the universe could've never had a beginning though, but I'll go with science for now. The only reason I do is because of the principle we've developed earlier, "when objective truth is in opposition to subjective truth, objective truth wins".
Here's an unfalsifiable claim that you may enjoy (and is not objectively true). Suppose you're right, and the universe has always existed. Further suppose that minds are the emergent property of a physical dynamical system. Now imagine the vantage point you would see if you could sit on top of an electron (as if it were earth) in a rock on the road. It is true that atoms are 99.9% empty space, so when you look around, you'd see a bunch of empty space, and some other protons, electrons and such, just wizzing around in a black backdrop. Now suppose that a human walks by, and even steps on you. Would you even be able to recognize it as a human? Wouldn't it look like just a huge, chaotic "storm" of other particles wizzing around? With that in mind, we humans can't know when we look out into space if all those galaxies and clusters are merely part of a giant living thing, with it's own organs, including a brain. So, what if the mind is the emergent property of dynamical systems, and the universe has existed forever? Then what if the entire universe is the dynamical system that is the brain of God? Then God has always existed because the universe has.
I can tell a reason why. Suppose that was the case, that the whole universe was in fact consciouss. The problem then is then in what way can this conscioussness exist. What is 'God' consciouss of?

We call ourselves consciouss, because we can distinghuish between the outer world, which we can know about through sensor perception, and our own inner world.

Since there is nothing outside of it, it can not be consciouss of something apart and outside of itself. I think it would be very problematic to define something as conscioussness in a case where there is no 'outside' world. Is God then only in a state of dreaming, or so? How could God even know that it exists??? There is nothing that even in principle could lead to that conclusion.
If you have no way to distinguish yourself from an outside world, you would not know about your existence.
It can be said then that God can not be a natural being, because a natural has it's nature outside itself.

Apart from that, please show me a way in which communication can exist to have a functional organ to think with. This would be some problematic, I guess.

I think the whole issue arises only because this is a human reflection or projection. We attribute the (infinite/eternal) material world with human properties (like all knowing, all powerfull, all good, etc.) because that is a human way of thinking of it.
Anyway, wether this is in fact true, it does not matter anyway, because we can never know the mind of God.

Below a quote from Marx in his Critique of Hegel's philosophy in General on this issue, which discusses that the being of God has no objective meaning.

Here we see how consistent naturalism or humanism is distinct from both idealism and materialism, and constitutes at the same time the unifying truth of both. We see also how only naturalism is capable of comprehending the action of world history.

<Man is directly a natural being. As a natural being and as a living natural being he is on the one hand endowed with natural powers, vital powers – he is an active natural being. These forces exist in him as tendencies and abilities – as instincts. On the other hand, as a natural, corporeal, sensuous objective being he is a suffering, conditioned and limited creature, like animals and plants. That is to say, the objects of his instincts exist outside him, as objects independent of him; yet these objects are objects that he needs – essential objects, indispensable to the manifestation and confirmation of his essential powers. To say that man is a corporeal, living, real, sensuous, objective being full of natural vigour is to say that he has real, sensuous objects as the object of his being or of his life, or that he can only express his life in real, sensuous objects. To be objective, natural and sensuous, and at the same time to have object, nature and sense outside oneself, or oneself to be object, nature and sense for a third party, is one and the same thing.>

Hunger is a natural need; it therefore needs a nature outside itself, an object outside itself, in order to satisfy itself, to be stilled. Hunger is an acknowledged need of my body for an object existing outside it, indispensable to its integration and to the expression of its essential being. The sun is the object of the plant – an indispensable object to it, confirming its life – just as the plant is an object of the sun, being an expression of the life-awakening power of the sun, of the sun’s objective essential power.

A being which does not have its nature outside itself is not a natural being, and plays no part in the system of nature. A being which has no object outside itself is not an objective being. A being which is not itself an object for some third being has no being for its object; i.e., it is not objectively related. Its being is not objective.

A non-objective being is a non-being.

Suppose a being which is neither an object itself, nor has an object. Such a being, in the first place, would be the unique being: there would exist no being outside it – it would exist solitary and alone. For as soon as there are objects outside me, as soon as I am not alone, I am another – another reality than the object outside me. For this third object I am thus a different reality than itself; that is, I am its object. Thus, to suppose a being which is not the object of another being is to presuppose that no objective being exists. As soon as I have an object, this object has me for an object. But a non-objective being is an unreal, non-sensuous thing – a product of mere thought (i.e., of mere imagination) – an abstraction. To be sensuous, that is, to be really existing, means to be an object of sense, to be a sensuous object, to have sensuous objects outside oneself – objects of one’s sensuousness. To be sensuous is to suffer.

Man as an objective, sensuous being is therefore a suffering being – and because he feels that he suffers, a passionate being. Passion is the essential power of man energetically bent on its object.

<But man is not merely a natural being: he is a human natural being. That is to say, he is a being for himself. Therefore he is a species-being, and has to confirm and manifest himself as such both in his being and in his knowing. Therefore, human objects are not natural objects as they immediately present themselves, and neither is human sense as it immediately is – as it is objectively – human sensibility, human objectivity is directly given in a form adequate to the human being.>
Excerpt from:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/hegel.htm
 
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  • #59
It will be perhaps very difficult to tell anything about what was before the big bang because there is little (or no) direct observations that take place.
But I'm sure you heard of the inflation scenario? It describes a possible mechanism that produces just the right universe (flatness, quantum fluctuations, solution to horizon problem) which we can test. So far it stands the test.

I don't think that one can say that matter/energy, time and space had a beginning. How can you conclude that? The singularity (deduced from GR) merely means that GR can not make predictions about that time interval, it breaks down. GR is therefore incomplete.
Scientific truths are not absolute truths. We have to judge our scientific tools on this basis, and know to what extend those theories say something meaningfull. We never had and never will have absolute truths.
For instance, Newton mechanics is still valid within limits. Only in the cases where we reach the limits of Newtonian mechanics, we use either GR/SR or QM/QFT. We know that GR and QM are fundamentally different and can't be united. Therefore in the cases where both GR and QM apply, we do not yet have a theory that can predict what happens.

Btw. people like Penrose, who claimed that the Big Bang started with an absolute begin, have changed their opinion on this.





I can tell a reason why. Suppose that was the case, that the whole universe was in fact consciouss. The problem then is then in what way can this conscioussness exist. What is 'God' consciouss of?

We call ourselves consciouss, because we can distinghuish between the outer world, which we can know about through sensor perception, and our own inner world.

Since there is nothing outside of it, it can not be consciouss of something apart and outside of itself. I think it would be very problematic to define something as conscioussness in a case where there is no 'outside' world. Is God then only in a state of dreaming, or so? How could God even know that it exists??? There is nothing that even in principle could lead to that conclusion.
If you have no way to distinguish yourself from an outside world, you would not know about your existence.
It can be said then that God can not be a natural being, because a natural has it's nature outside itself.

Apart from that, please show me a way in which communication can exist to have a functional organ to think with. This would be some problematic, I guess.

I think the whole issue arises only because this is a human reflection or projection. We attribute the (infinite/eternal) material world with human properties (like all knowing, all powerfull, all good, etc.) because that is a human way of thinking of it.
Anyway, wether this is in fact true, it does not matter anyway, because we can never know the mind of God.

Below a quote from Marx in his Critique of Hegel's philosophy in General on this issue, which discusses that the being of God has no objective meaning.



Excerpt from:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/hegel.htm


um. What am I supposed to say? To me, not much of this is coherent. You just keep trying to explain how you think that God doesn't make sense. I don't doubt that you have problems with this if you're a materialist. Do you not agree that you can't objectively prove it? Isn't it kind of useless to try to convince me that I should believe differently than I do? I can imagine that in your perspective I must look stubborn or something, just because I don't agree with you. I'm trying to explain that I think there is a reason for this, but you don't listen. I'd like to not focus on our beliefs about God, but rather on some of the other issues we've touched.

As far as the whole big bang thing... Einstein's theory states that time and space started at the big bang. Thats what I was trying to say. The early universe was much too energetic for elementary particles to form in the first moments, and so they came to be later along in the cosmic evolution. This is the source of my argument, that particles haven't existed forever.

You just stated that scientific truths aren't absolute truths. Prove that for me. If your statement is true, then it is absolutely true, right? Given that you agree on the definitions of math, do you mean that bessel's inequality is not absolutely true? Are you saying that it isn't absolutely true that for slow speeds, newton's physics is a good approximation? If you spin a top, is it not absolutely true that it will precess under the influence of gravity? These questions may give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Objective truth requires commonalities, and agreements between those who use it. If there is any misunderstanding, more words need to be used to describe the situation. If you went by your own definitions, you wouldn't be able to communicate your subjective truths with others, since others don't know what you're talking about. If there is a common understanding, then things can be said that are objectively true. Unlike point charges attract. That is objectively true, as long as you know what "unlike", "point charges" and "attract" mean. Objectively true things such as these are true for everybody, as long as they understand the language used to state them. If none of us communicated with each other, we will all still notice that we are pulled toward the earth, but we won't all call it gravity, and we won't all think of it in the same way, but we all observe it to be true, in this case in our own unique ways. You and I are educated, and we speak the same language, and we call this thing gravity, and we both know that it exists, and it doesn't act differently for different observers. In the knowledge of how we define it, we will always recognize its character as gravity, and so it is an absolute truth that we're aware of. When we see repulsive effects, we won't call it gravity, because by definition, thats not what gravity is, so there will be no case where our definition of gravity fails us, just as there is no situation where our definition of addition fails us. Therefore, these are absolute truths. I agree that we will never know all of absolute truth, but the things that are true among us all--the objective truths, which don't rely on personal experience--are a subset of the absolute truth. And you're saying that scientific truths (objective truths) aren't absolute truths? Isn't it absolutely true that 1+1=2?

You said so yourself that science helps us to uncover the truth, and it will continue onward, but it will never reveal everything for what it absolutely is. So I think we both actually agree here, and we're getting caught up in semantics.
 
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  • #60
Ok. I think I'm not being fair to Heusdens. I'll make a little outline of things.

key point A: God can't be objectively proven to exist or not exist

key point B: three types of truth
1. Subjective
2. Objective
3. Absolute

Maybe I should've made a better format, and ask first of all if posters agree or disagree to key point A. Perhaps we should focus more on point A for now. Hopefully, we could try to speak in terms of the different proposed truths, and see if they can help us communicate better or not.
 
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  • #61
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As far as the whole big bang thing... Einstein's theory states that time and space started at the big bang. Thats what I was trying to say. The early universe was much too energetic for elementary particles to form in the first moments, and so they came to be later along in the cosmic evolution. This is the source of my argument, that particles haven't existed forever.
The theory of general relativity - the math model for the universe - shows as Friendman explores first a singularity near the beginning. That is correct.
But what does that mean? I think that scientist will tell you that exactly there the general theory of relativity breaks down, and can not predict anything any longer.

The idea as if in some way there was a singularity has become quite popular and in fact has become the intepretation of the big bang.
Which, really, it is not. The Big bang theory says that in earlier time, the universe was denser, hotter and smaller. It is not a theory of the begin of the universe.

However, there have been models made about the universe, like for instance the Hawking-Hartle-Turok hypothesis about a singularity at the beginning as a possible model for the big bang. These are called pre-big bang scenario's, that try to explain how and why the big bang happened.

The most succesfull model (or: models, as there are several models) so far however is the theory of cosmological inflation. So far it has stand the test and predicts things about the universe (quantum fluctuations, flatness, etc.) that are in accordance with observation.

About matter: it is true that atomic and subatomic matter (particles) didn't exist near the very early universe (during inflation) and only after the universe was reheated were formed.
In that sense physical matter (ie. the particles) was formed from the energy that was available after inflation ended.

This is however not to say that (in the philosophical sense) it would be true that matter is creatable or destructable. In the philosophical sense everything that is "in motion" is material, which is to say that is anything that can be physically expressed in terms of motion, so including particles, waves, radiation, fields, etc. Physics describes how these material forms interact, etc.
In that sense matter (in the philosophical meaning of the word) can still be thought of as eternal.

You just stated that scientific truths aren't absolute truths. Prove that for me. If your statement is true, then it is absolutely true, right? Given that you agree on the definitions of math, do you mean that bessel's inequality is not absolutely true? Are you saying that it isn't absolutely true that for slow speeds, newton's physics is a good approximation? If you spin a top, is it not absolutely true that it will precess under the influence of gravity? These questions may give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
I see what you mean. Well mathematics can reveal truths which are "always" true, so in the sense that is absolute.
Same for your examples of slow speed newtonian physics outside strong gravity fields and outside the domain of quantum mechanics.

Objective truth requires commonalities, and agreements between those who use it. If there is any misunderstanding, more words need to be used to describe the situation. If you went by your own definitions, you wouldn't be able to communicate your subjective truths with others, since others don't know what you're talking about. If there is a common understanding, then things can be said that are objectively true. Unlike point charges attract. That is objectively true, as long as you know what "unlike", "point charges" and "attract" mean. Objectively true things such as these are true for everybody, as long as they understand the language used to state them. If none of us communicated with each other, we will all still notice that we are pulled toward the earth, but we won't all call it gravity, and we won't all think of it in the same way, but we all observe it to be true, in this case in our own unique ways. You and I are educated, and we speak the same language, and we call this thing gravity, and we both know that it exists, and it doesn't act differently for different observers. In the knowledge of how we define it, we will always recognize its character as gravity, and so it is an absolute truth that we're aware of. When we see repulsive effects, we won't call it gravity, because by definition, thats not what gravity is, so there will be no case where our definition of gravity fails us, just as there is no situation where our definition of addition fails us. Therefore, these are absolute truths. I agree that we will never know all of absolute truth, but the things that are true among us all--the objective truths, which don't rely on personal experience--are a subset of the absolute truth. And you're saying that scientific truths (objective truths) aren't absolute truths? Isn't it absolutely true that 1+1=2?

You said so yourself that science helps us to uncover the truth, and it will continue onward, but it will never reveal everything for what it absolutely is. So I think we both actually agree here, and we're getting caught up in semantics.
I think I might have expressed myself somewhat incorrect.

What I was trying to say is that scientific theory development is never complete, we never have complete knowledge.
 
  • #62
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Ok. I think I'm not being fair to Heusdens. I'll make a little outline of things.

key point A: God can't be objectively proven to exist or not exist

key point B: three types of truth
1. Subjective
2. Objective
3. Absolute

Maybe I should've made a better format, and ask first of all if posters agree or disagree to key point A. Perhaps we should focus more on point A for now. Hopefully, we could try to speak in terms of the different proposed truths, and see if they can help us communicate better or not.
The argument I was raising is that the objective existence for the case of this higher being (existing as the sole and unique being without a nature outside of itself) can not be stated, cause in fact there is no objective existence possible for this "higher being".

Inference: non-objective existence means: non-existence.

Note:

This argument is of course dependend on how one defines "God". I can think of a definition of God that would be valid. For instance, think of it as the material causes and processes (extending to past infinity) prior to the big bang, leading to this universe being formed.
 
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  • #63
The argument I was raising is that the objective existence for the case of this higher being (existing as the sole and unique being without a nature outside of itself) can not be stated, cause in fact there is no objective existence possible for this "higher being".
So you mean that since God isn't part of something higher, he/she/it stands beyond the reason required to describe him/her/it? So we agree then that God can't be objectively proven to exist or not exist, and that it is a futile venture. Thats good, we're on the same page here.

Inference: non-objective existence means: non-existence.

Note:

This argument is of course dependend on how one defines "God". I can think of a definition of God that would be valid. For instance, think of it as the material causes and processes (extending to past infinity) prior to the big bang, leading to this universe being formed.
Then you go further and say that due to the inability to describe God with rationale that can encompass him/her/it, God must not exist? Now how can you say the objective proof of the non-existence of God is due to the concept that objectively proving the existence of God can't be done? That is a logical fallicy. It's like saying that if we can't prove the cat is dead or alive, then it doens't exist at all. So your claim is not on objective grounds, as far as I understand it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't make perfect sense to you (subjectively true to you).

And the thing about the big bang, you can have your cake and eat it too. I haven't formally studied general relativity or cosmology so I only go with what other scientists say, and I am aware that some of them say the universe is a perpetual motion machine. I'm fine with that, perhaps the universe oscillates between big bangs and big freezes forever. Maybe it doesn't freeze over, and crunches to the point where it bangs again. Maybe it's infinate and never stops expanding, then it will never become so entropic that it can't function anymore, so I don't doubt that maybe what we see in the observable universe may all freeze, but our 13.7 billion lightyear radius of observation could be nothing to the infinitude of the universe. Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine. We're of course not speaking of objective truths here when we settle on one particular guess.

So, now for the other ideas. Do you understand what I mean when I speak of subjective truth? That the things you experience are true to you, because you can't deny your own experiances? So if you experience all the things that give you the hunch that God doesn't exist, then it is true to you that he doesn't (subjectively), but it can't objectively true--as you agree it isn't.
 
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  • #64
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1) I don't see the problem with stating that an individual's experiences can be labelled 'subjective truth'
2) I don't see the problem with stating that God's existence cannot be proved or disproved objectively (in some circles this falls in the category of "meaningless statement")
A big problem with this thread (and many others) seems to be the use of the words "is" and "are". When used in a statement they imply an absolute truth - the universe 'IS' 13.7 billion years old OR at this moment in time, 13.7 billion years appears to be the best scientific estimate of the age of the universe.
If you look closely you may see that one of these statements can be considered 'true' and the other 'false'. From this point of view it may be that any absolute truth can only be spoken of in uncertain terms, by which I mean, we can't say it 'is' this or it 'is' that.
PS. My personal ontology (at this moment in time (whatever time may be)) concerning the universe runs along the lines of the Big Bang - Big Crunch. This makes the universe a cycle and my own observation of reality incorporates everything as being cyclical.
Jonny - I'm still not 100% sure about the nature of your philosophy, we still seem to be at the stage of defining certain terms (subjective, objective truth). Can you expand from here?
 
  • #65
Yes, I can show that the existence or non-existence of God requires a belief, and it isn't scientific to conclude either way. So both atheists and theists require faith of things beyond what is objectively true. Also, the burden of proof requires the disctinction between types of truth. If one wishes to prove somthing to someone else, then it is automatically implied that the proof is in the domain of objective truth. Therefore the burden of proof can't apply to religious debates, since nothng can be proven objectively. The only person you can prove religious arguments to is yourself, so the burden of proof is on oneself in that case. So far, we're still on objective grounds as long as you accept the proposed definitions of truth. I call this part of my philosophy because the definitions of truth that I propose aren't widely known, and so they aren't officially in use. I believe that a little thought can show that these definitons should be distinguished objectively, because they can help with understanding many things if one starts applying them.

If you want me to go out on a limb, I think that if everyone accepted these definitions of truth, then many problems can be resolved via mutual understanding. They help to let us all know that we are all in the same situation, and our beliefs are all on the same ground. This will help people to know that their beliefs aren't superior to others. Hopefully, if everyone understands this, then we will respect each other more, and show more compassion, acceptence and understanding. Perhaps we'd stop ourselves from basking in the power trip that we get when we say that someone else is wrong, especially in the case of religious beliefs, because it leads to self-aggrandizement, narcisism, closed-mindedness, etc.
 
  • #66
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Why doubt the basic facts of reality?

Suppose you have just opened your eyes and are new to this world. Anybody reading this has been into this position, so you know what I'm talking about.
Now you wonder about the world and about life and things, and try to figure it out. Let's see where it gets you.

You know you are new to this world because you have a limited memory back, it doesn't even go back to the beginning, since already some time before that, your memory fades away. Also there are people around you who claim to know there was a time where you were not there. Ok. So what does that means: it means the world already was there before you were there. Not very shocking information, that is how the world is, people are born, people die.
How about the world? Was it always there? Could it have been there was not a world? Well think about it. Well if there has not been a world, then neither you would be there, isn't it? Even if you try to think about a non-existing world, and if you imagine there be no matter, time and space, you still have your thinking about it, so the non-existing world is unthinkable.
By the way, the only one to which this matters is you, the world itself it could not care about it the least and anyways it has not a choice either.
The world simply exists because it has not a choice of not-existing. Since the world exists now it means it always has and always will.

There is one thing for sure: the world will always exist. It simply can't fail to exist.
This is one good and big truth, and all the rest, we may doubt about, but about this one we can't, neither need to or have to. For the rest of our lives we probably will not ever be bothered about it, since it speaks for itself.
We may be in doubt about every other fact about reality, even about ourselves, but there is one things we never have to doubt and that is that the world is positively there and can't fail to be there.

What is there in the world? Well there is a lot of stuff out there. The world is made from that stuff. And another thing the world is realy big. Immensely big. In fact so big, it never ends. Now think about it, where could you think the world would end? Is there somewhere a signpost that marks the end of space? No, there isn't. There is more space past there. Stuff is everywhere. So there is an unlimited amount of stuff out there. Everything including you and me are made of stuff. That is how we are connected to the world. That is how we can do things, all the things we need and want for are made of this stuff. But no matter what you do with stuff, in whatever way you assemble it and disassemble it, or shape it or deform it, stuff doesn't go away, it always keeps being. That is probably the reason there is always a world, because the stuff simply won't go away. It is always there. Besides, there is a unlimited amount of stuff, space is filled with it, and even if you would want to remove it, you would have no place to leave it, so stuff won't go away.

What more is there? Well we do know about mind, because we have one (or perhaps: are one). We have a mind because we have a brain with which we can think. We can think with our mind. The mind is a little world of it's own.
Since it only exists in the form of thinking, it is a handy, but also limited tool. In thinking the mind is realy inexhaustable in thought, it has no problem coming up with whatever thought. But it has a severe limit, all what it thinks has no direct impact on the world. We can bring up things in thought that don't exist, and can remove things from thought quite easily.
But all that this does has no effect on the world itself. What could exist in mind and what could exist in reality, are two different things.
Reality is what is in the world. Imagination or thought is what is in the mind.
We need to clearly distinguish these two, because what is or can be in mind, does not need to be so in reality.

Ok. This is how reality realy is and how it works. So far no problem, and nobody who can deny it. We can check these facts for ourselves.
We need to understand that these are the bare naked facts of reality, which are the same for everyone. As a matter of fact, all people (wether consciouss ly or not) agree on these facts.

So far there isn't a problem.

But it is of course possible that people make up stories about the world, for whatever reason they may seem fit. Our mind is quite a flexible tool to do that with, so in that, there is no reason to see this as contradicting with reality. It is also possible for people to belief stories which are made up.
There can be stories about anything, and sometimes the facts themselves are difficult to check.
People may for example say or think that they belief the world has not always been around, and that some mind created the world. Just by thinking, supposedly. When this would be told to us directly, we would ask this person why they think so, since we are sure that is not true. The person who told us this, would never say that he made up this story, because we would directly call that person out of his mind. His mind could not have created the world, since for one thing, the world already existed before that person was born, and secondly, his mind is as limited as mine, and could not just by thinking create something out of nothing.
So, in such a case, clearly, we would have no reason to believe such a story.

This is however not how things are, since we are confronted with an inherited story, in which the story is that this mindly "creation" of the world, supposedly occured by some unknown mind. Here the problem is that people, telling the story, do not claim anything directly about this mindly creation, they do not claim that their mind was involved, and so far, it appears to be, people belief this story. Then people ask you, why you don't belief that story.

Well, we have no reason to belief the story, because that is not how things are, that is not how reality works. Minds depend on the world, the world does not depend on any mind. It works the same for any mind. The world itself can not be bothered about all this, it has no choice anyway.

However, this story keeps on being persistently told by people, and lots of people seem to have faith in that made up story. And people keep asking: do you believe?

We do not have reason to belief the story. Simply because we know the basic facts about reality, which is that the world is there and could not have been not here, and we were not always here, nor will always be here. That is a fact of life. We are born, we live, we die. There is nothing to worry about, once we are dead we can't be worried about it, and when we live, we have other things to keep busy with. So why worry, and besides it won't change things.

Things would be far more simple if we just would stick with reality how it is and don't invent stories.

What to trust and what not to trust?
Well the world does not lie to us. Neither it has a choice or reason to or need to. It is simply there. It can't do anything else as being.
It is a good and positive fact there is world, instead of not, because that's why we can be here. Let's us do something positive with that fact.

Why should we have one bit of doubt about these basic facts of reality?
Why doubt? Why invent stories? Why tell lies?

Believers, those who belief a made up story, are not positively admitting to these basic facts about reality. Instead, they cause fear and doubt. They make us even doubt our own mind. They cause our mind to negatively turn against itself, they alienate us.

Believing is not a positive fact, it is a negative fact. It is putting doubt on facts that can't be denied and need't be denied. What good is that? What do you win by placing doubt on the world and having a belief in return? You won't win, in fact you loose, because now your mind is in trouble: you have changed certainty for uncertainty!

There is no reason to doubt about the world. The world states us a positive fact, the fact that it exists, and can't fail to. That is one thing we can be sure about.

So, get your facts straight about reality and stop worrying.
Regain your certainty, and distrust the believers out there!
Tell them, they should settle their facts about reality straight.
Minds do not create things. They only make up stories.
The world does not lie to you, it is positively admitting it's truth that it is there and can't fail to do otherwise.
 
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  • #67
Since the world exists now it means it always has and always will.
Is this the objective truth? If so, then you should be able to objectively prove it.

There is one thing for sure: the world will always exist. It simply can't fail to exist.
Again, prove it absolutely. Subjectively it makes sense, but not objectively/absolutely. Objectively, we don't know if that is correct, it's merely a possiblity. You require a belief in order to conclude one way or another.

And another thing the world is realy big. Immensely big. In fact so big, it never ends. Now think about it, where could you think the world would end? Is there somewhere a signpost that marks the end of space? No, there isn't.
How do you conclude this unless you have absolute knowledge of the geometry of the universe? You're simply concluding on one of the possibilities, which requires a belief to do so.

What more is there? Well we do know about mind, because we have one (or perhaps: are one). We have a mind because we have a brain with which we can think.
This also requires a belief for such a conclusion. Objectively, we don't know the answer. What if brains are like radio receivers? If you didn't know better, you'd conclude that there is a guy inside the radio, but you know that the guy is in a radio station far away, broadcasting a signal which the circuitry of the radio can detect since it is tuned to the right channel. I'm not saying you're wrong, because I can't daftly assume I know better (it would mean that I think my belief is better than yours, which I don't).

But all that this does has no effect on the world itself. What could exist in mind and what could exist in reality, are two different things.
Reality is what is in the world. Imagination or thought is what is in the mind.
We need to clearly distinguish these two, because what is or can be in mind, does not need to be so in reality.
To make things more clear, you mean to say "objective reality", because the reality I perceive isn't limited to the physical world, because I can sense things beyond my five physical senses, such as happiness, sadness, love, hate, hope, fear, anxeity, etc. All these things exist in my subjective reality, and they are subjectively true for me. With that clarification made, I agree with you, since to me, you're only speaking about the physical world.

Ok. This is how reality realy is and how it works. So far no problem, and nobody who can deny it. We can check these facts for ourselves.
We need to understand that these are the bare naked facts of reality, which are the same for everyone. As a matter of fact, all people (wether consciouss ly or not) agree on these facts.
I don't agree on some of what you say are facts. They are possibilities, much of what you argue isn't objectively true and requires a belif in order to make such conclusions.

But it is of course possible that people make up stories about the world, for whatever reason they may seem fit. Our mind is quite a flexible tool to do that with, so in that, there is no reason to see this as contradicting with reality. It is also possible for people to belief stories which are made up.
There can be stories about anything, and sometimes the facts themselves are difficult to check.
Such as the claim that the universe is infinate, and will and has existed forever; and that a mind must exist in space-time in the form of a brain.

People may for example say or think that they belief the world has not always been around, and that some mind created the world. Just by thinking, supposedly. When this would be told to us directly, we would ask this person why they think so, since we are sure that is not true.

Well, we have no reason to belief the story, because that is not how things are, that is not how reality works.
When you say "we", you can't mean everybody in the world, because your claims aren't objectively true. Your claims are true to you, since you've personally experienced the things that give you this hunch.

Minds depend on the world, the world does not depend on any mind. It works the same for any mind. The world itself can not be bothered about all this, it has no choice anyway.
Yes, no matter how much you believe something to be objectively true doesn't make it objectively true. You say that minds don't depend on the world, that is enlightening. Wouldn't it imply that a mind doesn't depend on the brain, since the brain is part of the world? Or do you mean reality in general as perceived by an awareness, including the many facets of thought and emotion, which don't really exist within space-time?

However, this story keeps on being persistently told by people, and lots of people seem to have faith in that made up story. And people keep asking: do you believe?
You're very convincing, but thats all. Why do I get the idea that you're trying to make me believe what you believe? You may not be aware that you're not being completely objective in your arguments.

We do not have reason to belief the story. Simply because we know the basic facts about reality, which is that the world is there and could not have been not here, and we were not always here, nor will always be here.
The logic in this argument doesn't work. You say that since the world exists, and people don't live forever, that people's beliefs about the world can't be absolutely true. Sure, they aren't objectively true, but that doesn't imply that they aren't absolutely true, since objective truth is a subset of absolute truth.

Why should we have one bit of doubt about these basic facts of reality?
Why doubt? Why invent stories? Why tell lies?
Because what you argue aren't objective facts, they are what you believe to be objective facts. There is a difference. What you say may be absolutely true, but it may not be absolutely true, we just don't know right now.

You won't win, in fact you loose, because now your mind is in trouble: you have changed certainty for uncertainty!
In your case, you have changed uncertainty with certainty. In your mind, you are certian, but that isn't being very scientific.

There is no reason to doubt about the world. The world states us a positive fact, the fact that it exists, and can't fail to. That is one thing we can be sure about.
Again, you reiterate your belief that the world will always exist. Even if thats the absolutely true nature of the physical world, it doesn't support your claim that there is nothing else.

So, get your facts straight about reality and stop worrying.
Regain your certainty, and distrust the believers out there!
You're a believer. It takes a belief to be certain about things like this.


Look. I'm not saying that you're absolutely wrong. I'm saying that you're objectively wrong. As soon as humankind's knowledge and understanding confirms your arguments, you'll be speaking objective truth, but until then, you're speaking your own subjective truth. I don't have a problem with your beliefs, in fact, I agree with some of them, but I do have a problem when you claim them to be objectively true. They are your beliefs of what is absolutely true, and they may or may not be absolutley true; humankind just hasn't become sophiscitcated enough with our knowledge and understanding in order to confirm or deny your claims. Do you understand what I'm trying to say about the difference between subjective, objective, and absolute truth yet?
 
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You require a belief in order to conclude one way or another.
I cannot agree with this statement. If a person can see things with clarity, including their own limitations, then belief would appear not to be necessary and a conclusion can be drawn without it. In the last few posts 'belief' has come up a lot and I would like to say something about it. It seems to me that belief has been at the heart of all human conflict, it has caused mankind unimaginable suffering and misery, and continues to do so. Hopefully, some day in the future, mankind will not have to suffer from the ignorance inherent in belief. We can do without it and should make every effort to abolish it, even if that effort leaves us in an uncertain place. It seems that, for many, the unknown is a fearful thing and they try to mask this fear with 'concrete statements about the 'truth'. The replacement of Aristotle's either/or, true/false logic with quantum uncertainty seems to reflect a great step forward in our admission of our own limitations, but by recognising these limitations we instantly transcend them.
 
  • #69
I cannot agree with this statement. If a person can see things with clarity, including their own limitations, then belief would appear not to be necessary and a conclusion can be drawn without it. In the last few posts 'belief' has come up a lot and I would like to say something about it. It seems to me that belief has been at the heart of all human conflict, it has caused mankind unimaginable suffering and misery, and continues to do so. Hopefully, some day in the future, mankind will not have to suffer from the ignorance inherent in belief. We can do without it and should make every effort to abolish it, even if that effort leaves us in an uncertain place. It seems that, for many, the unknown is a fearful thing and they try to mask this fear with 'concrete statements about the 'truth'. The replacement of Aristotle's either/or, true/false logic with quantum uncertainty seems to reflect a great step forward in our admission of our own limitations, but by recognising these limitations we instantly transcend them.
What I mean is that if you conclude that the universe is infinite, then you are doing so in the basis of what you believe, not on the basis of objective truth. If you didn't believe anything, then you wouldn't make such conclusions, because objectively, the universe could be finite. And so it isn't true that that is not the case, so to rule it out is not being objective (i.e. devoid of belief). Uncertainty is objectively true at this point in human knowledge on the subject, and for one to be certain of one answer shows ignorence of the other possiblility. For one to reach beyond objective truth (uncertainty in this case), and pick an answer means that one has a 'hunch', or a 'gut feeling' or dare I say a belief, which isn't known to be true objectively.
 
  • #70
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Is this the objective truth? If so, then you should be able to objectively prove it.
Again, prove it absolutely. Subjectively it makes sense, but not objectively/absolutely. Objectively, we don't know if that is correct, it's merely a possiblity. You require a belief in order to conclude one way or another.

I think it is not even a logical possibility for the universe to not exist. However if it would have been the case that there was not a universe (a state of 'nothingness' - no time, space, matter) such a state would be a definitive state (ie there would not be any other state either).

In so far to say that the universe objectively exists is even meaningfull. One could also claim that wether or not the universe objectively exists is not meaningfull and/or can not be verified, given the lack of possibility of an outside observer.

I can say that an apple exist, because I have the apple as object, and I am an object for the apple. Therefore there is an objective relationship between me and the apple, and it's objective status can be verified.

However this is not the case with the universe, since no objects exist apart from the universe (by definition).

(universe is all of reality)


How do you conclude this unless you have absolute knowledge of the geometry of the universe? You're simply concluding on one of the possibilities, which requires a belief to do so.
The assumption is that it has no boundary or edge. This is not exactly the same as infinite, since one could think then the universes is the 3 dimensional equivalent of a surface on a sphere (which is then just one of many assumptions, like extra dimensions, etc.).

Since there is no absolute knowledge of the geometry of the universe, it is assumed the geometry with the least assumptions (no boundaries or edges, no extra dimensions or curvature), at least I guess it would take the least amount of belief.

It actually fits the data best (almost flat), although we can't exactly verify anything beyond the horizon.

If one would need to make a guess about the size of the universe, not knowing anything about actual data and special geometry or so, I think anybodys guess would be that it would be endless, because anything else assumes other circumstances (having a boundary or curvature).

But acc. to current models, the universe can be spatial infinite in different ways. It could mean a finite size expanding space with such a rate of expansion that one could never catch up (even when traveling the speed of light) with the farthest parts of the universe.
It could mean an infinite and expanding space.
Or it could mean a multiverse universe in infinite background spacetime.
Or it could be the model of M theory brane cosmology.



This also requires a belief for such a conclusion. Objectively, we don't know the answer. What if brains are like radio receivers? If you didn't know better, you'd conclude that there is a guy inside the radio, but you know that the guy is in a radio station far away, broadcasting a signal which the circuitry of the radio can detect since it is tuned to the right channel. I'm not saying you're wrong, because I can't daftly assume I know better (it would mean that I think my belief is better than yours, which I don't).
What would be different? In both cases you need a brain. You perhaps don't know that the thinking process originates in the brain but in any case there would not be much thinking without a functioning brain.
Besides the knowledge about the brain makes this a very likely conclusion.
Just a receiver would in any case not be sufficient, the brain would then also have to be a sender. We have input and output to the brain.
What is the possibility of that any way? We can have that level of certainty that such a weird possibility is not the case, we would be all robots.
Where would the receiving/transmitting station be?

I hope you don't think it a wild guess that I do not consider that a likely case..

And I don't understand exactly why you would even need to consider this, because it seems to me pretty obvious that such a case would entail far more unfounded belief then not assuming that. If one takes all such cases into consideration, one may pretty well say that anything you state about anything is a belief. But then nothing is a belief. A belief is just making a not well founded assumption about something. So to assume that one's brain is a transmitter of radiosignals seems to me entailing belief, not the other way around.

Also for the size of the universe. If not known (and assuming euclidean space), would a guess of a finite size not entail far more belief then assuming that it didn't and was infinite? The reason for that being that when assuming it would be finite, one assumes it ends somewhere, there is a boundary. But that is pretty much a belief assuming that there is then not.
Also for the geometry, when not known, assuming that is non-euclidean is less founded then assuming it is euclidean.
Any other choice is a belief, and if all possible choices would be a belief then none would be a belief.

To make things more clear, you mean to say "objective reality", because the reality I perceive isn't limited to the physical world, because I can sense things beyond my five physical senses, such as happiness, sadness, love, hate, hope, fear, anxeity, etc. All these things exist in my subjective reality, and they are subjectively true for me. With that clarification made, I agree with you, since to me, you're only speaking about the physical world.
OK.

I don't agree on some of what you say are facts. They are possibilities, much of what you argue isn't objectively true and requires a belif in order to make such conclusions.
As stated before, any other choice of something that is not known, would also be a belief.

Such as the claim that the universe is infinate, and will and has existed forever; and that a mind must exist in space-time in the form of a brain.
As argued, and given the fact that no objective knowledge was available, any other possibility would require more and less well founded belief.



When you say "we", you can't mean everybody in the world, because your claims aren't objectively true. Your claims are true to you, since you've personally experienced the things that give you this hunch.
More like an excercise in deducting from a position in which you have little or no knowledge about things some knowledge.

Yes, no matter how much you believe something to be objectively true doesn't make it objectively true. You say that minds don't depend on the world, that is enlightening. Wouldn't it imply that a mind doesn't depend on the brain, since the brain is part of the world? Or do you mean reality in general as perceived by an awareness, including the many facets of thought and emotion, which don't really exist within space-time?
Where did I say that minds don't depend on the world? Quite the contrary, the mind is dependent on the brain, etc. and not vice versa.
Without a physical working brain, there is no mind, and without a world you were born in, you would not exist in a mindfull state neither.

You're very convincing, but thats all. Why do I get the idea that you're trying to make me believe what you believe? You may not be aware that you're not being completely objective in your arguments.
It seem to me the only logical and consistent conclusion, requiring the least unfounded assumptions. Maybe not impossible to draw other conclusions, but far less likely.




The logic in this argument doesn't work. You say that since the world exists, and people don't live forever, that people's beliefs about the world can't be absolutely true. Sure, they aren't objectively true, but that doesn't imply that they aren't absolutely true, since objective truth is a subset of absolute truth.
Ok. But that is more things like arithmetics and so.
I was referring to knowledge about the fundamental nature of the world.


Because what you argue aren't objective facts, they are what you believe to be objective facts. There is a difference. What you say may be absolutely true, but it may not be absolutely true, we just don't know right now.
It appears to me that at least the flatness of the universe is more or less an objective fact.
The "size" of the universe is measured as the horizon size, but some well founded arguments exist is that the universe is at least several magnitudes larger as that.
And also in some well founded models, the universe would be conjectured to be infinitely large.
About the infinity in time, I think the position held that the singularity was a point in which the universe started is nowadays not considered a valid model.
The best guess science gives I think is that inflation is possible past time eternal.

There is no objective way of ever knowing that the universe is infinite in space or time, I guess (how at all could that be realy known?). Although the past and future infinity in time of the universe I think is almost impossible not to assume, since how could it begin or end?
A start from a singularity - although it's theoretical existence can be well founded in GR - is at the same time something not to expect physically because the physics laws are known to break down there, and can therefore not be assumed to be a real physical state the universe was in. Infinity of energy density, etc. as required, are not considered a possble physical state. There is however nothing in physics that dispermits infinity in time, and looks to me almost impossible not to be the case. Arguments as that an infinite amount of ellapsed time are impossible (as argued by a kalam cosmological argument) can be shown to be incorrect, since any measure of time on an infinite time line is still a finite value, no matter where you place the points, and since you can always place them further apart, in effect time is infinite.


In your case, you have changed uncertainty with certainty. In your mind, you are certian, but that isn't being very scientific.
Yes, but I would think that is not in every situation a requirement.
Best guess and well reasoned using the least necessary amount of speculation sufices sometimes.

Again, you reiterate your belief that the world will always exist. Even if thats the absolutely true nature of the physical world, it doesn't support your claim that there is nothing else.
An eternal infinite world already contains everything, I suppose.

What else did you have in mind that could be that is not already contained in everything?

You're a believer. It takes a belief to be certain about things like this.
But when I follow your reasoning, everyone is a believer. Because whatever choice ones makes on that issues, it always ends up being a belief.

But maybe it is an essential feature of how our brains are wired and because we are natural beings. Even animals have beliefs then, because they base their actions on insufficient knowledge.

Wasn't this confirmed sometime in brain studies that our "logic gates" also try to fill gaps or make certain assumptions when insufficient knowledge is available?


Look. I'm not saying that you're absolutely wrong. I'm saying that you're objectively wrong. As soon as humankind's knowledge and understanding confirms your arguments, you'll be speaking objective truth, but until then, you're speaking your own subjective truth. I don't have a problem with your beliefs, in fact, I agree with some of them, but I do have a problem when you claim them to be objectively true. They are your beliefs of what is absolutely true, and they may or may not be absolutley true; humankind just hasn't become sophiscitcated enough with our knowledge and understanding in order to confirm or deny your claims. Do you understand what I'm trying to say about the difference between subjective, objective, and absolute truth yet?
Yes.
 
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  • #71
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It seems from this thread that subjective and objective truth are achievable. But I'm not so sure about absolute truth. Given a candidate absolute truth, any proposed determination of such would be either subjective or objective.
 
  • #72
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What I mean is that if you conclude that the universe is infinite, then you are doing so in the basis of what you believe, not on the basis of objective truth. If you didn't believe anything, then you wouldn't make such conclusions, because objectively, the universe could be finite. And so it isn't true that that is not the case, so to rule it out is not being objective (i.e. devoid of belief). Uncertainty is objectively true at this point in human knowledge on the subject, and for one to be certain of one answer shows ignorence of the other possiblility. For one to reach beyond objective truth (uncertainty in this case), and pick an answer means that one has a 'hunch', or a 'gut feeling' or dare I say a belief, which isn't known to be true objectively.
Your position may be correct in the very abstract sense, but possibly not in the more human sense is that one has to - given a certain situation in which objective knowledge is impossible - assume something.

Like the situation I explained: you are born and not yet aware. Then you start exploring things, and learn about the world, and you need to make or learn some basic assumptions about the world. Whatever they are objectively true or not.

You could not claim the rest of your life not to know anything, because everything can be uncertain. It might even not be possible to figure out wether actually the world exists.

Since we come from nature, it can be assumed that we can not exist long in a position in which we can postpone such decissions. If we would not know wether a certain animal or situation was dangerous or not, we would still make assumptions. That is how we and other animals survive. In fact I assume (which maybe is proven by brain research) that our "logic" gates we use in practice are not exactly that what the abstract mathematician or logician would have required.

At least I think that almost all animals have a limited ability to verify for certain about the nature of their world, but do not seem to be bothered by the inability to absolutely or objectively verify it.
 
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  • #73
I think it is not even a logical possibility for the universe to not exist. However if it would have been the case that there was not a universe (a state of 'nothingness' - no time, space, matter) such a state would be a definitive state (ie there would not be any other state either).

In so far to say that the universe objectively exists is even meaningfull. One could also claim that wether or not the universe objectively exists is not meaningfull and/or can not be verified, given the lack of possibility of an outside observer.

I can say that an apple exist, because I have the apple as object, and I am an object for the apple. Therefore there is an objective relationship between me and the apple, and it's objective status can be verified.

However this is not the case with the universe, since no objects exist apart from the universe (by definition).

(universe is all of reality)

Straw Man fallicy. I said prove to me objectively that the universe has existed forever.



The assumption is that it has no boundary or edge. This is not exactly the same as infinite, since one could think then the universes is the 3 dimensional equivalent of a surface on a sphere (which is then just one of many assumptions, like extra dimensions, etc.).

Since there is no absolute knowledge of the geometry of the universe, it is assumed the geometry with the least assumptions (no boundaries or edges, no extra dimensions or curvature), at least I guess it would take the least amount of belief.
Yes. It doesn't take much belief at all. Neither does the other perspective, but who really cares if it is or it isn't? I understand that this discussion is something we should care about--the "where do we draw the line between facts and belief?" discussion.


It actually fits the data best (almost flat), although we can't exactly verify anything beyond the horizon.
Being flat isn't a property of being infinite, but oh well, you're headlong on this idea, you can think what you want.

If one would need to make a guess about the size of the universe, not knowing anything about actual data and special geometry or so, I think anybodys guess would be that it would be endless, because anything else assumes other circumstances (having a boundary or curvature).
Nope.

But acc. to current models, the universe can be spatial infinite in different ways. It could mean a finite size expanding space with such a rate of expansion that one could never catch up (even when traveling the speed of light) with the farthest parts of the universe.
It could mean an infinite and expanding space.
Or it could mean a multiverse universe in infinite background spacetime.
Or it could be the model of M theory brane cosmology.
Yup. There is no known objective answer.


What would be different? In both cases you need a brain. You perhaps don't know that the thinking process originates in the brain but in any case there would not be much thinking without a functioning brain.
Besides the knowledge about the brain makes this a very likely conclusion.
Just a receiver would in any case not be sufficient, the brain would then also have to be a sender. We have input and output to the brain.
What is the possibility of that any way? We can have that level of certainty that such a weird possibility is not the case, we would be all robots.
Where would the receiving/transmitting station be?
I put it leymanns terms for you. I originally typed "tranceiver" but I'm not sure you know what that means, or would bother to look it up. Whats the difference if our minds are in our brains or on 5th and hennipen? We are aware of the physical senses of the human bodies we're trapped in, does that make us robots?

I hope you don't think it a wild guess that I do not consider that a likely case..
not at all. But I do consider it a belief, since you can't objectively prove it.

And I don't understand exactly why you would even need to consider this, because it seems to me pretty obvious that such a case would entail far more unfounded belief then not assuming that. If one takes all such cases into consideration, one may pretty well say that anything you state about anything is a belief. But then nothing is a belief. A belief is just making a not well founded assumption about something. So to assume that one's brain is a transmitter of radiosignals seems to me entailing belief, not the other way around.
Thats called a subjective perception. I didn't say it is, I said it could be "like" that, but of course it's not exactly that.

Also for the size of the universe. If not known (and assuming euclidean space), would a guess of a finite size not entail far more belief then assuming that it didn't and was infinite? The reason for that being that when assuming it would be finite, one assumes it ends somewhere, there is a boundary. But that is pretty much a belief assuming that there is then not.
Also for the geometry, when not known, assuming that is non-euclidean is less founded then assuming it is euclidean.
Any other choice is a belief, and if all possible choices would be a belief then none would be a belief.
If you wanted to talk about these things, start a new thread please. You've pretty much ruined this one. Now it's all about your philosophy. Next time I invite people over, I should invite you too, so that you can come over and eat all my food!!:rofl:

As stated before, any other choice of something that is not known, would also be a belief.



As argued, and given the fact that no objective knowledge was available, any other possibility would require more and less well founded belief.





More like an excercise in deducting from a position in which you have little or no knowledge about things some knowledge.



Where did I say that minds don't depend on the world? Quite the contrary, the mind is dependent on the brain, etc. and not vice versa.
Without a physical working brain, there is no mind, and without a world you were born in, you would not exist in a mindfull state neither.



It seem to me the only logical and consistent conclusion, requiring the least unfounded assumptions. Maybe not impossible to draw other conclusions, but far less likely.
nevertheless, I'm trying to show you that you require a belief to conclude that, even if it is a reasonable conclusion.




Ok. But that is more things like arithmetics and so.
I was referring to knowledge about the fundamental nature of the world.




It appears to me that at least the flatness of the universe is more or less an objective fact.
The "size" of the universe is measured as the horizon size, but some well founded arguments exist is that the universe is at least several magnitudes larger as that.
And also in some well founded models, the universe would be conjectured to be infinitely large.
About the infinity in time, I think the position held that the singularity was a point in which the universe started is nowadays not considered a valid model.
The best guess science gives I think is that inflation is possible past time eternal.

There is no objective way of ever knowing that the universe is infinite in space or time, I guess (how at all could that be realy known?). Although the past and future infinity in time of the universe I think is almost impossible not to assume, since how could it begin or end?
A start from a singularity - although it's theoretical existence can be well founded in GR - is at the same time something not to expect physically because the physics laws are known to break down there, and can therefore not be assumed to be a real physical state the universe was in. Infinity of energy density, etc. as required, are not considered a possble physical state. There is however nothing in physics that dispermits infinity in time, and looks to me almost impossible not to be the case. Arguments as that an infinite amount of ellapsed time are impossible (as argued by a kalam cosmological argument) can be shown to be incorrect, since any measure of time on an infinite time line is still a finite value, no matter where you place the points, and since you can always place them further apart, in effect time is infinite.
You've passed the test! congratulations. Good work, you've proven it.


Yes, but I would think that is not in every situation a requirement.
Best guess and well reasoned using the least necessary amount of speculation sufices sometimes.
Nevertheless, it is a belief since it is a claim of something not objectively certain, a very pragmatic one too I might add.

An eternal infinite world already contains everything, I suppose.

What else did you have in mind that could be that is not already contained in everything?
Um, did I? You're totally right. Everything is contained within everything. I don't know what I was thinking.

But when I follow your reasoning, everyone is a believer. Because whatever choice ones makes on that issues, it always ends up being a belief.
No and yes. No in the sense that when you're working with objective truth--things experimentally verifiable and/or logically provable to anybody--no belief is required for those provable things to be true objectively. You're speaking of things unprovable, so thats why I say you're speaking of your beliefs.

Yes is the sense that I believe subjective truth comes first to any one person before anythng else. 1+1=2 means something to me only if I agree with the definitions, then in the use of math implies I believe it's methods will serve my interests. As long as I accept the definitions and rules, then if I adhere to them, my conclusions hold the same merit as I hold those definitions. Even if I didn't beleive that 1+1=2, it still stands by itself on top of its own definitions, and is objectively true in its own right. Science works the same way, it has some rules and definitions that it rests upon, and it stands by itself, and I have the choice to believe it or not. If I lack a belief in the Scientific method, it doesn't imply that science isn't objectively true in its own right, based on it's own structure. So if I accept the scientific method, I believe all of its conclusions, regardless of the fact that they would still be objectively true if I didn't believe them.

But maybe it is an essential feature of how our brains are wired and because we are natural beings. Even animals have beliefs then, because they base their actions on insufficient knowledge.
who knows... do they?

Wasn't this confirmed sometime in brain studies that our "logic gates" also try to fill gaps or make certain assumptions when insufficient knowledge is available?
Everything that a person perceives is filtered by a part of the brain that perturbs things in such a way that we partly see what we expect to see. At least, I heard that somewhere, I haven't read the study or anything.
 
  • #74
It seems from this thread that subjective and objective truth are achievable. But I'm not so sure about absolute truth. Given a candidate absolute truth, any proposed determination of such would be either subjective or objective.
Yeah I don't know. I'm having trouble with it. I'm having trouble with the whole thing right now. Heusdens keeps littering his posts with chaff that I have to weed through.
 
  • #75
I apologize for being a jerk tonight, I had a bad day and I'm projecting my frusteration in the form of being boorish.
 
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