Is Science Non-sense?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by -1- » August 25th, 2017, 11:54 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Synthesis:
Math is the way people think, especially in science. In terms of spacial existence, time is critical. So, math and time are intimately inter-related in science. Unfortunately [or fortunately], neither exist.
Despite apparently believing that they don't exist, have you ever found them useful? Do you believe that it is possible for something to be useful whilst also not existing? What, in your view, does it mean for something to "exist"?

(-1-: drip, drip, drop little April showers. Sorry).
Erm... I did not get the connection between Bambi and me. My ineptitude.

Something that does not exist, yet useful... let's see.

SQRT(-1). Imaginary numbers. Very useful in calculating electrical current in designs.

GOD. Very useful in keeping large masses of people at bay, in amassing huge wealth, in hope for a better afterlife than what this valley of tears we call life is.

FULFILLMENT OF ELECTION PROMISES. Gets one elected, big time.

MONEY. There are billyoons and billyoons of dollars that are in use, yet they don't exist in physical form. They exist as accounting entries only.

MY LOVERS. Very useful. All fifty-thousand strong of them. I shan't go into details.
"You can always live without a lover, but you can't love without a liver."

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 26th, 2017, 12:00 am

Synthesis:
Fooloso4, you need a little perspective. Knowable things change every moment. Because of our limited intellects, we can only perceive the greatest of changes. Perhaps you might wish to compare contemporary knowledge with that of cultures a millennium or two ago. And, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt at 99.999...%. It's really 100% [every moment].
Well if they knew nothing and we know nothing then the comparison makes no sense. If, however, you acknowledge, as you should, that there are thing that we know then the comparison begins to make sense. You seem to have this misguided idea that if we do not have complete knowledge of the whole at every non-existent moment we know nothing.
Perhaps, in the not too distance future, we will not have to die.
And how will that be possible without knowledge of how to accomplish it? Does it happen just by making stuff up in our deluded minds?
If you want teaching, read one of the masters or seek out a qualified teacher.


If I wanted teaching this is what I would do, but I don’t want teaching, I want you to address the issues of this discussion.
All things non-intellectual are experiential. Can you tell me what its like to be in love?
First, I do not think we can make this neat distinction between the intellectual and experiential. Second, I am not asking you to tell me what it like but rather whether the confused way in which you speak is simply due to not being able to put what you have experienced into words or because you have not experienced it.
Again, everything changes, every moment. How can we possibly understand even the most simple things?
Because they do not change completely from one thing to something quite different at every non-existent moment. I can fix a car engine if I understand how it works, but if I did not understand it I could not fix it. If it did not run before I worked on it and now it does that means I am not deluded into thinking I understand how it works. I understand what each part is and how it functions. The piston does not inexplicably become something else.

Now you may say that I do not understand it at the subatomic level or I do not understand the myriad things that may be interacting with the engine, and that is true, but none of this changes the fact that in the ordinary, everyday sense I understand the engine. And this means that when you call it a delusion you are using the term in an extraordinary sense. You are, to borrow a term from Wittgenstein, playing a different language game.

This is the difficulty of attempting to intellectual the non-intellectual. Think about it.
No, it is rather not using a consistent terminology and conflating the ordinary use of terms with terms that are being used differently.

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You are in 7th grade and the girl you've had a crush on for the last six months gives you a killer smile. Realization.
You turn around and see that there is someone standing behind you and she was smiling at him. Delusion.
Are you a parent? If so, and if you were present at the birth of your child[ren], you know realization.
Yes, I am a parent and I was present at the birth of all of my children. At no time did I know realization. I experienced a great many different emotions and thoughts. But, alas, I could not know the babies, for they were constantly changing. When I asked the doctor whether this was still my baby or a hat or sturgeon or perhaps a surgeon (which seems quite reasonable since it was a hospital after all) I just got looks from her as if I were delusional. Fortunately enough, she was not delusional and she understood enough about delivering babies to have done it successfully. One of the babies turned into a chicken for a while but I did not complain, I could use the eggs.
Enlightenment is not what you think it is and is certainly not a subject any serious Zen student speaks of.
I have no idea what enlightenment is or even if there is such a think. According to Dogen, however, there is a document of succession that certifies that one has attained enlightenment from someone who does know what it is.
Keep in mind that the historical Buddha proclaimed that he achieved absolutely nothing from his enlightenment experience. As Dogen said, the meditative state is enlightenment. There is nothing else.
If that is the case then why is it that not everyone who practices zazen receives the document of succession. And, you probably know, there are other schools of Zen and Ch'an that deny this.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by -1- » August 26th, 2017, 12:48 am

I get you now, Steve3007. Rain washing away pictures drawn on a sidewalk with chalk. Very apt.
"You can always live without a lover, but you can't love without a liver."

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2017, 7:55 am

Synthesis:
We must all "exist" in the human sphere, i.e., the intellectual world. The key is in understanding it's limitation [like everything else].
I would be surprised if anybody disagreed with you about this statement. Do you have any evidence that anybody does? Obviously everything has limitations. If your topic is about the scientific method then clearly this method is limited to the times when we are "doing science" - i.e. looking for patterns in nature in order to make predictions about it. If we're not currently doing that then we're obviously outside of its limits.
In driving, we may see a gorgeous woman walking down the street and find ourselves wrapped around a telephone pole two seconds later. Every other distraction [e.g., thought] works the same way. The key is to remain present at all times.
Your driving metaphor seems to simply be an exhortation that we should focus on what we're doing. Fair enough. Again, I can't see anyone disagreeing. I don't see how that relates to your OP about the limitations of science and the shortcomings of the US healthcare system.
Existence is anything you want it to be, but if we can not access the present [because of the perceptual time-lag], then what could existence mean? If everything is changing moment to moment, what could existence mean?
If existence is anything I want it to be then it's not a very useful concept to me. I like my concepts to distinguish one thing from another. If I say that I recently existenced on an existence to existence the existence and it was very existent, nobody's going to understand what I mean. Including me.

If I had to define "existence" I'd say that one useful definition is closely related to my hypothesis that there is an objective world which I deem to be the cause of all the sensations that I appear to share with others. I find it very useful to believe that this keyboard on which I'm tapping is not just a set of sensations exclusive to me. I hypothesise that the sensation of the keyboard under my fingers is caused by a keyboard that is "real"; that "exists" independantly of my own personal sensations. This hypothesis leads me to believe that other people would have related sensations in my place. So far, it has worked. It's very useful to me, this concept of existence. I can, for example, turn to a person sitting next to me and say "what do you think of this keyboard?" and be confident that they will not say "Keyboard? What keyboard?".

Macbeth found the concept of existence useful when speculating about the nature of the sensations of a dagger that he thought appeared before him.
Existence is something people made-up [like time].
In your view, is there anything that people did not make up? Is everything just made up by people? Or is there something distinct about the concepts "existence" and "time" which leads you to state that they alone are just made up by people? What about, for example, "space", or "matter" or "energy". Are they made up in the same way?
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Synthesis » August 26th, 2017, 11:30 am

Fooloso4 wrote:Synthesis:
Fooloso4, you need a little perspective. Knowable things change every moment. Because of our limited intellects, we can only perceive the greatest of changes. Perhaps you might wish to compare contemporary knowledge with that of cultures a millennium or two ago. And, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt at 99.999...%. It's really 100% [every moment].
Well if they knew nothing and we know nothing then the comparison makes no sense. If, however, you acknowledge, as you should, that there are thing that we know then the comparison begins to make sense. You seem to have this misguided idea that if we do not have complete knowledge of the whole at every non-existent moment we know nothing.

A bird knows what to do, an ant knows what to do, a cat knows what to do, a human being knows what to do...
Perhaps, in the not too distance future, we will not have to die.
And how will that be possible without knowledge of how to accomplish it? Does it happen just by making stuff up in our deluded minds?

I am not saying that the intellect does not provide, just that it has serious limitations.
If you want teaching, read one of the masters or seek out a qualified teacher.


If I wanted teaching this is what I would do, but I don’t want teaching, I want you to address the issues of this discussion.

I am. You are not understanding.
All things non-intellectual are experiential. Can you tell me what its like to be in love?
First, I do not think we can make this neat distinction between the intellectual and experiential. Second, I am not asking you to tell me what it like but rather whether the confused way in which you speak is simply due to not being able to put what you have experienced into words or because you have not experienced it.

All Zen talk is very confusing. How could it be any other way? You desire to know something that is unknowable. How's that going to happen?
Again, everything changes, every moment. How can we possibly understand even the most simple things?
Because they do not change completely from one thing to something quite different at every non-existent moment. I can fix a car engine if I understand how it works, but if I did not understand it I could not fix it. If it did not run before I worked on it and now it does that means I am not deluded into thinking I understand how it works. I understand what each part is and how it functions. The piston does not inexplicably become something else.

Yes, we use our intelligence in a rudimentary way, but there is very little [actually zero] real understanding. Does the squirrel understand storing up food for the winter?

Now you may say that I do not understand it at the subatomic level or I do not understand the myriad things that may be interacting with the engine, and that is true, but none of this changes the fact that in the ordinary, everyday sense I understand the engine. And this means that when you call it a delusion you are using the term in an extraordinary sense. You are, to borrow a term from Wittgenstein, playing a different language game.

Your understanding is base. You think you understand because you follow cause and effect, but when you break it down, there is no real understanding.
This is the difficulty of attempting to intellectual the non-intellectual. Think about it.
No, it is rather not using a consistent terminology and conflating the ordinary use of terms with terms that are being used differently.

Code: Select all

You are in 7th grade and the girl you've had a crush on for the last six months gives you a killer smile. Realization.
You turn around and see that there is someone standing behind you and she was smiling at him. Delusion.

Yep.
Are you a parent? If so, and if you were present at the birth of your child[ren], you know realization.
Yes, I am a parent and I was present at the birth of all of my children. At no time did I know realization. I experienced a great many different emotions and thoughts. But, alas, I could not know the babies, for they were constantly changing. When I asked the doctor whether this was still my baby or a hat or sturgeon or perhaps a surgeon (which seems quite reasonable since it was a hospital after all) I just got looks from her as if I were delusional. Fortunately enough, she was not delusional and she understood enough about delivering babies to have done it successfully. One of the babies turned into a chicken for a while but I did not complain, I could use the eggs.

At the moment you saw your first child born, were you not completely present? Could you describe for another how you felt at the very moment?
Enlightenment is not what you think it is and is certainly not a subject any serious Zen student speaks of.
I have no idea what enlightenment is or even if there is such a think. According to Dogen, however, there is a document of succession that certifies that one has attained enlightenment from someone who does know what it is.

This is like saying that you have to have an advanced degree to read and understand [fill in the blank]. Remember, the brightest people in the world have always been self-taught. People reaching "higher states" had been going on long before the Buddha discovered his path.
Keep in mind that the historical Buddha proclaimed that he achieved absolutely nothing from his enlightenment experience. As Dogen said, the meditative state is enlightenment. There is nothing else.
If that is the case then why is it that not everyone who practices zazen receives the document of succession. And, you probably know, there are other schools of Zen and Ch'an that deny this.

You seem to be very concerned about certification. Are you in education? There are many people who are simple lay students who live their lives moment to moment, without the need for anything else.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 26th, 2017, 1:31 pm

Synthesis:
A bird knows what to do, an ant knows what to do, a cat knows what to do, a human being knows what to do…
Is the knowledge of the bird and ant and cat intellectual or non-intellectual? Is their knowledge delusion? If the answer to the latter is yes and the answer to the former is non-intellectual then the intellect cannot be the source of delusion.
I am not saying that the intellect does not provide, just that it has serious limitations.
And no one is disputing that. The problem is that you call knowledge delusion. The question then is how delusion does not simply provide but can provide correctly and accurately.
I am. You are not understanding.
Or perhaps in your delusion you mistakenly think you are providing something understandable.
All Zen talk is very confusing. How could it be any other way? You desire to know something that is unknowable. How's that going to happen?
Well, you have certainly demonstrated not only that it is very confusing but that you are confused by it. I do not desire to know something that is unknowable, I simply asked a question you have avoided answering.
Yes, we use our intelligence in a rudimentary way, but there is very little [actually zero] real understanding.


The problem here is that you ignore the ordinary meaning of the term understanding and impose an impossible standard. Understanding how an engine works is "real" understanding. The proof is in the ability to fix it. There is no point at which our understanding of engines reaches a limit where the engine cannot be fixed or made to run.

Let’s not forget the title claim that science is “non-sense”. Now if you said that our scientific understanding is limited no one would disagree, but some of us might wonder why you are bothering stating the obvious. The fact of the matter is that science is able to make sense of a great many things even if it does not meet the impossible non-human standard you impose.
Does the squirrel understand storing up food for the winter?
Good question. Wittgenstein uses this same example to show that thinking is an extension or mode of acting. There is an ambiguity to the term understand. If you mean the squirrel stores nuts as the result of a process of ratiocination, then no, the squirrel does not understand. But the squirrel’s actions, not some process of reason, is what is primary. Our being in the world is not completely removed from this. As Goethe said, and Wittgenstein quotes:
In the beginning was the deed.
Does the squirrel store up food because it is delusional?
Your understanding is base. You think you understand because you follow cause and effect, but when you break it down, there is no real understanding.
I would say it is basic. Simple machines are the rudiments. The ability to make and fix engines rests on this base. The base stands under it. It is the basis of our understanding of the engine. Once again, you may impose an impossible standard you call “real understanding”, but that itself is delusion. It is an imaginary standard, completely removed from what we human beings are capable of, completely removed from your own experience. Or, are you claiming that "real understanding" is possible and you know this because you have achieved it?
You turn around and see that there is someone standing behind you and she was smiling at him. Delusion.
Yep.
So, your example of realization is an example of delusion. Realization too is delusion? If all is delusion, the distinction between delusion and something else is non-existent. The distinction is meaningless.
At the moment you saw your first child born, were you not completely present?
The term completely present is too nebulous. As I said I experienced many different emotions and thoughts. There was no “moment” I saw my first child born. It was a process. It did not occur instantaneously. Surely as a physician you know this. Was worrying that my wife and child would be okay, that there would be no complications, that the child would be healthy, being completely present? These concerns after all, included things that were not present "in the moment" but what will be.

This is like saying that you have to have an advanced degree to read and understand [fill in the blank]. Remember, the brightest people in the world have always been self-taught. People reaching "higher states" had been going on long before the Buddha discovered his path.

Well, I did not need an advanced degree to understand that I have no idea of what enlightenment is. If, however, you are, as you claim to be, of the Soto lineage then as part of that lineage there is certification. If you are one of the brightest people in the world and self-taught then you are not part of the Soto lineage. I have asked whether you have reached or experienced “higher states” but you deflect and claim that I am asking for a description of higher states.
You seem to be very concerned about certification.
It is simply a way of getting at the distinction between the conception and experience of enlightenment. If I am correct, then according to your school the experience of enlightenment is confirmed by one who is enlightened. Time and again I have come across people who talk a great deal about such things as “Real understanding” but who have not attained it. People who either imagine that they are enlightened or imagine what it is like, when all they have really done is hear or read something and created their own conceptual constructs.
There are many people who are simple lay students who live their lives moment to moment, without the need for anything else.
That’s fine, but this is quite different than making claims about what is “real” beyond the moment to moment which you said is unreal.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Ranvier » August 26th, 2017, 4:01 pm

... To jump in really quickly again, if not for simply intruding. Perhaps it would help to describe "understanding" as why the "car engine works" rather than "knowing" how it works.

-- Updated August 26th, 2017, 4:06 pm to add the following --

... or why I enjoy the Punjabi music I can hear from a distant neighbor :)

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2017, 4:23 pm

Ranvier:

Like Synthesis, I think you're assuming that there is something called "understanding" which is somehow deeper than "describing". Or a "why" that is deeper than a "how". We touched on that in a previous conversation ourselves. My last comment in this post:

onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... 48#p292748

I think you will find that if you attempt to delve deeper into that "why" of car engines you will just be faced with a whole stack of "how"s. And the same for everything else.


Pistons push on a crankshaft which turns the wheels.

Why do the pistons move?

Fuel exploding inside cylinders pushes on the pistons which cause a crankshaft to rotate, which is connected, via various gears, to the wheels.

But why does the fuel explode?

Because the presence of heat, oxygen and fuel causes an exothermal chemical reaction.

But why does that move the piston?

Because heat causes expansion which puts pressure on the pistons.

Why does heat cause expansion?

Because heat means that the molecules of gas are moving faster so they hit the walls of the container harder, causing greater pressure.

Why do the molecules move faster?

Because the combination of the oxygen and the carbon in the fuel releases chemical energy by moving the outer electrons of those atoms into lower energy states.

Why do the electrons do that?

...and so on.

It's "how"s all the way down. Or "why"s. No difference really.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Ranvier » August 26th, 2017, 5:37 pm

In my perception such question as to "why" I love someone is important. We all perceive the reality differently, where to some such questions are irrelevant or simply can't perceive the distinction. I recommend watching the entire video as it's pertinent to this point of inability to grasp such difference and it's valid in content even to an Agnostic.
As to our debate that you refer to, I felt no further "purpose" in continuing, where my opponent can't perceive the saddle difference between the "volume" and "space". The volume of the "beach ball" is in its mass that can be measured by placing the deflated "material" of the beach ball in a container with water to measure the volume of water expelled out of the container. Or given the mass of 40g one can "look up" the density of the material to calculate the volume. I was just assessing if my opponent can perceive such difference in choice of calculating the "space" of the beach ball.

Personally, I feel compelled to "understand" the Gravity in "what" it is and not simply describe "how" it might work. I was further convinced in absence of logic in continuing the debate, when my opponent failed to extrude the mind to perceive the nature of the second question and the paradox of two points moving towards one another faster than the speed of light.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Fooloso4 » August 26th, 2017, 6:34 pm

Ranvier:
Perhaps it would help to describe "understanding" as why the "car engine works" rather than "knowing" how it works.
In this case I think why is answered in terms of how - combustion, compression, displacement, etc.

After writing this I saw that Steve said pretty much the same in much greater depth and detail.

I think the how and why of engines is very different than the question of why you like Punjabi music. I don’t know what might count as a satisfactory answer. It might be because it reminds you of some other music you like or you are moved by the beat or melody, but then you might ask why you like the other music or why you are moved by the bear or melody. Or why you like music at all. Or why people make music. Or why there is sound.

I question the use of the distinction between knowledge and understanding. I don’t know why one might think that understanding is “deeper” than knowledge. In one sense we might say: “As I understand it …” and mean “I don’t really know but from what I gather or from what I have been told or based on what I can see”.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Ranvier » August 26th, 2017, 6:47 pm

I must choose my words carefully because I have respect and I "believe" I love all fellow beings equally... I beg to differ.

-- Updated August 26th, 2017, 7:11 pm to add the following --

I was described by various thinkers various less than complementing adjectives, not withstanding... pretentious. Please believe me that is never my intention.

-- Updated August 26th, 2017, 7:47 pm to add the following --

I recommend another post of mine...
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 40#p293940

It explains the human desire to "feel" one is "better" than others.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2017, 7:50 pm

Ranvier:
In my perception such question as to "why" I love someone is important.
Fair enough. But the question "why do I love someone?" is a completely different type of question to "why do engines work?", as Fooloso4 also pointed out with respect to your liking for Punjabi music.
As to our debate that you refer to, I felt no further "purpose" in continuing, where my opponent can't perceive the saddle difference between the "volume" and "space". The volume of the "beach ball" is in its mass that can be measured by placing the deflated "material" of the beach ball in a container with water to measure the volume of water expelled out of the container. Or given the mass of 40g one can "look up" the density of the material to calculate the volume. I was just assessing if my opponent can perceive such difference in choice of calculating the "space" of the beach ball.
OK. I hadn't realised that our previous conversation was about working out the volume of the plastic from which the skin and inflation nipple of beach balls is made by immersing them in water. My bad.
Personally, I feel compelled to "understand" the Gravity in "what" it is and not simply describe "how" it might work. I was further convinced in absence of logic in continuing the debate, when my opponent failed to extrude the mind to perceive the nature of the second question and the paradox of two points moving towards one another faster than the speed of light.
Not sure what you mean here, but I like the expression "failed to extrude the mind". So I'm happy.

Fooloso4:
I question the use of the distinction between knowledge and understanding. I don’t know why one might think that understanding is “deeper” than knowledge.
Yes, this is a point I was also trying to make, but using the words "explanation" and "description" instead of "understanding" and "knowledge" respectively. As you've already pointed out, it seems very common for people to complain that science doesn't give us any genuine explanation/understanding of the world, while not really appearing to know what exactly they want from those words.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Ranvier » August 26th, 2017, 8:28 pm

I genuinely appreciate your reply... I greatly respect your perspective in every post of yours that I privilege to encounter and therefore I hope that the previous topic is settled. I do agree that "explanation" vs "description" is much better choice of words :)

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Steve3007 » August 26th, 2017, 8:33 pm

If you mean the topic about the beach ball (or rather, the topic whose last few posts were partly about a beach ball) then I don't recall the topic being settled, as such, but I'm happy to leave it wherever it stopped.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

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Re: Is Science Non-sense?

Post by Ranvier » August 26th, 2017, 9:22 pm

... yes the "beach ball" topic. I would also rather return the floor to Synthesis in this thread as well but reserve the right to intrude from "time to time"... no pun intended.

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