Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
logic has a universal quality

LOL! Not after it has been processed by the human mind, it doesn't.

The only logical statement that can be made about light (or anything else) is that it is what it is and it does what it does. If it does something that a person does not expect, then logically-speaking that person does not understand it. The thing itself does not care either way.

by det on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 04:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Not after it has been processed by the human mind, it doesn't"

That has nothing to do with it, no matter how you take it, as a philosophical category or as as a basis for science. Logic is at the basis of rational argumentation by definition, of scientifical argumentation, the best example being mathematics. This is the first place ever where I hear it taken for "intuitiveness" :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 06:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually there's no such thing as a completely logically consistent mathematical system.

The consistency is patchy. You can start from axioms and build systems, but you have to accept the axioms as given. They're not provable - nor are some of the processes used to build system.

According to George Lakoff, logic is founded in cognitive psychology. Certain processes 'make sense' because they use internally consistent metaphors. The process of selecting and refining those metaphors is trial and error, and not a metaphysical revelation of philosophical truth.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 02:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I can smell some nice philosophical implications of this, concerning our methodological approach in science. Funny how little by little every thing seems to reduce to the man, in the end :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 04:09:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If it does something that a person does not expect, then logically-speaking that person does not understand it."

Understanding issues like the dual nature of light, or the idea of curved space-time continuum remain "counterintuitive" even when you successfully went through the whole process of explaining the mathematics behind. If you look at how volatile things still are in the world of quantum physics, how theories appear, shine and disappear faster than a meteorite, you'll probably understand what I meant by saying that science is far from being the safe land we like to think it is, and that keeping in the realm of Reason and Hard Fact is far from excluding unexplained, weird phenomenons as mere delusions.

(obviously all this doesn't concern winged dragons spitting fire, or burning chariots taking this or that saint to the sky; those may be the criteria some choose to dismiss mystical phenomenons, for me it's just a mark of unseriousness and a intention to do propaganda rather than debate).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 06:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And again you're not understanding that science is a process - it's not a set of beliefs about the world which are supposed to be fixed and definitive.

The edges of science are always in a state of change and tentative guesswork, by definition.

That's what the process is for - to extend those edges. And as a process it's the most successful philosophical construct in history.

Skeptical collaborative cross-checking and model building have turned out to be immensely powerful. No one - well, hardly anyone - believes they're limitless. But they're incredibly useful for exploration and open-ended enquiry.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 06:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know all this, I agree with you. I am just pointing out that even fullblown scientists using the skeptical collaborative cross-checking model sometimes happen to have it wrong and consider something as absolutely impossible.

When we speak about religions, we must distinguish what we're talking about.
For me, there are the mystical aspects that I may doubt about (ie, I don't venture defending them in a debate, but I keep an open mind, from reasons explained in my posts above);
there are philosophical aspects with which I came to agree with, after careful consideration;
there is stuff like the creation part, of which frankly, in a debate with a skepticist, I wouldn't know what to say: is it a metaphor, is it something deeply spiritual and without immediate logical value, or something else - this is indeed the realm of subjective, although I wouldn't go as far as to call it irrational;
and finally there are the religion bureaucracies, with the history we all know, and which I don't defend or particularly support.

All this shows why I shy away from giving outright verdicts about this or that, even as I understand your issues with the church bureaucracy or Jerome's with the mystic side of it.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 07:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me, there are the mystical aspects that I may doubt about (ie, I don't venture defending them in a debate, but I keep an open mind,

A skeptic's mind isn't closed. It just has a door policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 04:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
scientists ... sometimes happen to have it wrong

No offence, but this is just a statement of the bloody obvious. They are only human after all. They do not claim to be infallible.

scientists ... sometimes happen to have it wrong and consider something as absolutely impossible.

Devious wording (again no offence). Science is dealing with describing the nature of things as they are; it is dealing with studying reality (what is possible) not unreality (what is not possible). But in so far as it goes, since science never considers anything to be absolutely proven (hence the concept of falsifiability), a scientist who claims something is "absolutely impossible" might be sticking his neck out a bit. However, he is perfectly entitled to make the claim since it only requires one instance of that "something" occurring to prove him wrong.

But to the broader point, so what if a scientist or group of scientists get it wrong? I hope no one has the idea that there is something wrong about being wrong in science (which is to say drawing the incorrect interpretation from the observations/results). Scientists get things wrong all the time. The point is that science strives to correct its own errors.

Of course, if you believe that there are some errors that science will never be able to correct or some aspects of "reality" that science will never be able to probe, then that is a different story. Such claims are ultimately unknowable, since the identification of an error/omission in current scientific understanding is the start of the process to rectify it.

by det on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 07:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No offense taken. I can assure you the intention wasn't devious.

This sub-thread started from an affirmation of religious phenomenons as totally subjective and downright irrational. Many fellow bloggers here seem to be in agreement with that (I feel like saying: DUH! this is why I think the rating system is bad; I doubt certain posts above bear any "excellent" quality to them).
While I too can agree to the subjectivism of certain aspects (eg the creation in christianism), I think we should be much more careful in declaring it all "irrational", especially regarding religions like, say, buddhism.

TBG and JakeS mentioned the necessity of hard facts, and rational processes.
My point is that there were many scientifically sound theories considered wrong for decades before being accepted by the community, despite "rational" theoretical proof and hard-fact experimental proof.
No doubt bearing a grudge against religion, some here treat the religious phenomenons exactly the same way the Vatican treated Giordano Bruno and Galilei. I can't touch it, hence it doesn't exist. Well a lot of stuff was considered impossible even in modern time science, and is now accepted. So if we pretend ourselves evolved and rational, we should at least learn from the past,
namely to be more careful in our sentences (or else, why not, to tag them "Ideological"), more precise in our argumentation (rather than reducing christianism or buddhism to the winged dragons), open minded enough to accept that "impossible" today may be "scientifical fact" 200 years from now.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 01:23:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that there were many scientifically sound theories considered wrong for decades before being accepted by the community, despite "rational" theoretical proof and hard-fact experimental proof.

"They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." - Carl Sagan

No doubt bearing a grudge against religion, some here treat the religious phenomenons exactly the same way the Vatican treated Giordano Bruno and Galilei.

I call Galileo Gambit.

"I can't touch it, hence it doesn't exist." Well a lot of stuff was considered impossible even in modern time science, and is now accepted.

Doggerel.

So if we pretend ourselves evolved and rational, we should at least learn from the past,
namely to be more careful in our sentences (or else, why not, to tag them "Ideological"), more precise in our argumentation (rather than reducing christianism or buddhism to the winged dragons), open minded enough to accept that "impossible" today may be "scientifical fact" 200 years from now.

Markups added for clarity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 06:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Understanding issues like the dual nature of light, or the idea of curved space-time continuum remain "counterintuitive" even when you successfully went through the whole process of explaining the mathematics behind.

That is a statement about your intuition, not about the laws of physics...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 04:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm still trying to figure out why wheels go backwards in movies!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 07:23:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A function of shutter speed/frequency + Persistence of Vision phenomenon.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 07:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Science meets the brain ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 07:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series