The Futility of Reason

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Fooloso4
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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Fooloso4 » September 20th, 2016, 9:53 am

Nick_A:
If that is the case, why bother with philosophy?
If you “bothered” with philosophy then you would know that that is not the case.
You are asking me to explain the descent of levels of reality.
No. I am asking you to identify the two terms of opposition within the Trinity, the A and not A that are reconciled at a higher level. If you do not have TWO mutually exclusive terms at one level, then the law of included middle does not apply.

The irony is: the law of included middle is derived from REASON, the very thing you proclaim to be futile! So, if you are right that the Trinity can be explained by the law of included middle then you are wrong that reason is futile. And, if you are right that reason is futile then you are wrong that the law of included middle can explain the Trinity. But these are not mutually exclusive terms, while you cannot be right about both, you can be and certainly are wrong about both.
Intuition is genuine … With certain people like Einstein, if it works why argue with success?
The issue is not whether intuition is genuine, the issue is whether it is infallible. Since Einstein had intuitions that did not work out it should be clear that his success was not due to intuition alone. An intuition is a first step. His failed intuitions were not the result of some spurious “experts [who] begin to interpret it and lead it in the wrong direction by secularizing it”. An intuition fails because it simply does not work out. Do you really think that all of Einstein’s work came as a flash of inspiration? Is the mathematics just window dressing? Does reason only enter as an afterthought?

From Einstein’s book “Relativity” Appendix lll:
But this point of view by no means embraces the whole of the actual process ; for it slurs over the important part played by intuition and deductive thought in the development of an exact science. As soon as a science has emerged from its initial stages, theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data, the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general, is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms. We call such a system of thought a theory. The theory finds the justification for its existence in the fact that it correlates a large number of single observations, and it is just here that the " truth " of the theory lies.

Daviddunn
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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Daviddunn » September 20th, 2016, 12:16 pm

@lapetus

This is a reply to post #10
lapetus wrote:Your post sparked my interest in relation to philosophy, science and their practitioners.
I am pleased to read that.
lapetus wrote:You criticise Neil deGrasse Tyson on the basis that “concerning philosophy, he has it completely wrong. That is understandable because he is not a philosopher”. On that basis, why are you posting on this site?
Scott said on the HOME page of onlinephilosophyclub:
Scott wrote:Please use our website to continue your philosophy studies. Study all the great ideas, theorists and philosophiers.
Therefore, I was politely invited by Scott to further my philosophical studies at his site. And I accepted the invitation in 2013 as you can verify in the field below my user name on the right of this post------>
On that basis I am here.

Actually, one can join for fun as well, as Scott also says on the HOME page:
Scott wrote:Currently, you can join our Philosophy Forums for fun! Join the deep, interesting discussions today! It's really great and fun. For instance, check out these current topics:
For myself, it is more for the studies that I came here, but I also have my share of fun sometimes!
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lapetus wrote:What do you consider to be necessary for somebody to be a philosopher?
This is an excellent question.

A philosopher is someone who has the ability to produce philosophical discourse. The main criteria for a discourse to be considered philosophical by me are:

1. Accurate presentation of the facts.

2. Consistent/coherent/logical discourse, i.e. a discourse which does not contradict itself, and which does not contradict the facts. Both internal and external coherence is needed.

3. Positive impact on the audience.

(i) The discourse must be adapted to the audience. The audience must be able of relating to the discourse, which means that a philosopher must be someone who is able to tap into the concepts which he thinks his audience already understand and use these to make himself understood. Here, use of analogies and examples are of fundamental importance. This also means that a philosopher must be someone whose knowledge is both extensive and intensive.

(ii) The discourse must enlighten and at the same time further the thinking of the audience and encourage the audience to further research on the subject of the discourse.

To answer your question now, for me to determine whether someone is a philosopher or not, is only possible on case by case basis. If the above requirements are fulfilled, then I will call him/her a philosopher.

This is only fair, because if somebody who cannot write functioning computer programs at all, I cannot call him/her a computer programmer. Or someone who cannot make decent and wearable garments, I cannot call him/her a tailor.
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lapetus wrote:What do you consider to be necessary for somebody to be a philosopher? A degree? Articles accepted in philosophical publications?
In the case of someone who has a degree and someone who has written an article published by a philosophy journal, implies that both these persons have attempted to produce a philosophical discourse. One now has to determine whether these discourses follow the criteria for a discourse to be labelled as philosophical. As you asked me the question personally, then I will reply: l have to read the discourses first.

The question that you could have asked me purposefully, and to which I can provide an answer is this: Do I (Daviddunn) consider you (lapetus) to have produced a philosophical discourse by post #10?

Well, at the end of this post I will provide the assessment, and my conclusion to answer the question.
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lapetus wrote:Do you have particular qualifications in order to make judgements of others in relation to this observation?
Yes. It is called the right to freedom of conscience and expression guaranteed by article 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



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lapetus wrote:You have not defined philosophy but you have asserted that Tyson is not a philosopher. I have looked up a few definitions of philosophy and most refer to;
- the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence;
- the study of ideas about how to do something or how to live;
- the study of principles for guidance in practical affairs.


Given that, in his professional capacity, Tyson investigates the nature of the universe, its origins, underlying physical laws and structure, what makes you assert that he is not a philosopher? I can understand a position which regards science as a branch of philosophy and also one which regards science as a tool of philosophy. I cannot see why you regard them as separate entities.
This is a good observation but leads to a burlesque absurdity in the present case. Notice that if you take philosophy to include the natural sciences as the ancient Greeks did, then Tyson, who is a scientist, will be saying that "Science is useless", because he said "Philosophy is useless". It does not make sense to me that he would make such a statement about science, but it is possible also. He may be having a prolonged "lucid" moment! It is up to you to further this interpretation if you wish, I have chosen not to because of its burlesque absurdity.

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lapetus wrote:Hypotheses are never completely verified.
That is a matter of interpretation that needs to be considered on a case by case basis. For example, once people were undecided about whether the Earth was spherically shaped or flat in shape. So then, there were at least two hypotheses, one in which the Earth was thought as spherical and the other in which the Earth was flat. Nowadays, the hypothesis that the Earth is of a spherical shape has been completely and indubitably verified. As your statement was intended as a general statement, therefore it is false.
lapetus wrote:I cannot imagine a situation where any scientist can say that they are ‘done and happy’. If you can think of one, then I would like to hear it.
Of course.

Johann Wolgang Von Goethe(1749-1832) was a scientist, philosopher and poet among the many labels which can be attributed to him. Goethe is said to be the greatest man of letters of Germany who ever existed. Also Goethe embraced Islam. His main contribution to science is the Theory of Colors.

You can view this video to learn more about this fascinating discovery of Goethe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pitz56_8CJg

About his Theory of Colors, Goethe said:
Goethe wrote:As to what I have done as a poet... I take no pride in it... but that in my century I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colors – of that, I say, I am not a little proud, and here I have a consciousness of a superiority to many(Goethe 1930, 302)
Site:http://www.iep.utm.edu/goethe/#H5

There are a multitude of other examples; check the list of Nobel Prizers and their discoveries as a start. You can also check some YouTube videos of the interviews of some recent Nobel Prizers to investigate that they were happy with their findings as well.
lapetus wrote:There is always more to find out.
Yes, but you will have to do your homework to find out.
lapetus wrote:Beyond the logical absolutes, I cannot envisage a situation where a scientist can claim absolute truth.
By logical absolutes, I think you mean tautologies, e.g. If I am intelligent then I am intelligent. Scientists do not deal with such statements but logicians and philosophers do.
If you cannot envisage a situation where a scientist claim absolute truth, then I will inform you. Scientists do claim that the Earth is of a geo-spherical shape with indubitable certainty. There are many other scientific hypothesis which have been verified, which then became known as a scientific fact.
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Daviddunn wrote:Philosophy starts where science ends. In a way, philosophy is harder than science.
Lapetus wrote:You have given no evidence to justify such statements.
This is common sense. One must first establish the facts before one can start thinking about them. Hence, philosophy starts when science ends. A good example for this is exemplified by the argument from design. The order and regularity of the world must first be established by persistent observation, in order to rightly infer that there must be a Designer behind this magnificent and intricate ordering. The Fine-tuning argument is the more elaborate version of the Design argument, in which modern technical science is a prerequisite to its understanding and formulation. Philosophy is harder than science then, because the philosopher needs to understand the scientific process and results as well having other kinds of knowledge (history, psychology, logic etc...). In a nutshell, the philosopher's knowledge base is (at least it should be) broader.
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lapetus wrote:Your analogy with the piano works for any set of skills, including those of a scientist. It is not something specific to philosophy
In-order to account for the other fields of study, the 'piano case' must be extended, because the analogy of the 'piano case' by itself would not be enough to account for the other fields of study. This is a simple exercising of common-sense.

Let us extend the analogy of the 'piano case' by the example of someone learning to play violin. It would go like this:

Initially, someone who has never played violin, trying to play violin for the first time would find it difficult to play a particular note. With practice, as the fingers and hands get more ease in coordinating themselves, and the fingers become more articulate on the fingerboard, the first notes start to be distinguished. As one becomes more and more proficient, the music can be heard.

The violin playing can represent philosophy and the piano playing can be considered to stand for science. Note: I likened violin to philosophy here because, in my opinion, philosophy is harder than science, and violin is harder to learn than piano, although musical score reading is the same for both.

One who is developing skills in piano will not automatically be developing skills in violin, if he/she is only practicing piano playing. So a violin only practioner, will not be able to transfer/transport his skills to the piano keyboard automatically. And, the converse is true as well, even though as already mentioned, musical score reading is the same for both.

Similarly, a scientist cannot automatically transfer his skills to the field of philosophy. And a philosopher cannot directly transfer his skills to the scientific field. And again, similarly as the 'violin-piano scenarios', the musical score reading was the same, there is some overlap between the two fields in that both fields (philosophy and science) seeks answers to questions, but the difference is in their methods of seeking answers. One is introspection and the other is investigation of the world around us.
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lapetus wrote:Philosophy in action.
Yes, what I do is philosophy in action, i.e. practical philosophy.

Now, let us assess your work to provide an answer to your question of how do I assess a philosophical discourse. Based on the criteria listed above, I will mark you on each criteria on a scale of 0-10 for each criteria.

1. Accuracy of factual information.
You got all your facts wrong. So, no point is awarded here.

2. Consistency of discourse.
You made logical mistakes all through the post. So, again no point is awarded.

3. Positive impact on audience.
The post was addressed to me, so I am the audience. There was nothing to understand as the facts were wrong and the logic inconsistent. However, this caused me to think about what you wrote but since there was no substance to the post, it did not further thinking in a positive sense. Anyway, I will be lenient and concede you half the points on this criteria. So, for this criteria, I give you 5 points.

Total= 5/30.

Conclusion: Do not discourage, we must learn from our mistakes. I made mistakes myself but the true philosopher is someone who is humble and learn lessons from his mistakes. He constantly strives to improve himself and is trying to instill that in others and he loves to learn.

Recommendation: The book that has had and has a profound impact on me is the Holy Quran, which I read every day a little bit at a time. If you will kindly allow me, I would like to advise you to read and ponder on the Holy Quran. For, God, the Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
  • O mankind! Verily there has come to you an instruction from your Lord and a healing for what is in your breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. [Holy Quran 10:57]
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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Iapetus » September 20th, 2016, 5:33 pm

Reply to Daviddunn:

I have no objections whatsoever to your contributing to discussion on this site; nor did I say that I did. It is of no concern to me whether or not contributors consider themselves to be a philosophers or what, precisely, are their motives. What does interest me are the arguments they present.

I made no comment on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views; they were not relevant to my point. What I did pick up on was that, rather than responding to the points he made, you asserted “concerning philosophy, he has it completely wrong. That is understandable because he is not a philosopher”. The ‘because’ is significant. If, according to you, ‘philosophical discussion’ can only take place among philosophers defined by your unknown criteria, then my question - “On that basis, why are you posting on this site?” – is entirely relevant and I explained precisely why; “I am not aware that the correspondents are professional philosophers; nor that their competence has even been measured. I have been working on the basis that what was important was the views they presented and the reasons they gave for holding their views”.

You have subsequently - and far too late to have affected the points I made - gone to great lengths to tell me how qualified you are and how, precisely, you judge philosophical competence. I am not interested because it is entirely irrelevant to the points I made. Your judgements are your judgements and they will certainly differ from those of others. I am not interested in judging or scoring the correspondents in this forum on how ‘philosophical’ they are. I judge them on the quality of their arguments and on their relevance to the theme under discussion.

Unlike you, I presented my ‘philosophical’ criteria at the time I made the comments. They did not represent my own personal view but were taken as a summary of definitions which I looked up, with the closest actual definition coming from Merriam-Webster. I asked you what, given these definitions, makes you assert that Tyson is not a philosopher. Your response made no reference to the definitions, even though that was the point of my question. Instead, you dismissed him for his dismissal of philosophy (which, by the way, I thought was silly). Tit for tat. Not, exactly, a philosophical criticism.

I then tried to broaden the argument; “I can understand a position which regards science as a branch of philosophy and also one which regards science as a tool of philosophy. I cannot see why you regard them as separate entities”. Other than a reference to the “burlesque absurdity” of Tyson’s case, you have not responded to my points.

I made a statement that, in science, “Hypotheses are never completely verified”. You replied as follows:

That is a matter of interpretation that needs to be considered on a case by case basis. For example, once people were undecided about whether the Earth was spherically shaped or flat in shape. So then, there were at least two hypotheses, one in which the Earth was thought as spherical and the other in which the Earth was flat. Nowadays, the hypothesis that the Earth is of a spherical shape has been completely and indubitably verified. As your statement was intended as a general statement, therefore it is false.



This, again, seems to demonstrate a staggering misunderstanding of the scientific process. If the first hypothesis is rejected and an alternative accepted, this means that the alternative hypothesis represents a closer approximation to observations. It does not make it a truth. In your case, a spherical earth is a closer approximation than a flat earth. But the earth is not a sphere, though it appears that you do not understand this. You assert, “Scientists do claim that the Earth is of a geo-spherical shape with indubitable certainty”. Check your ‘facts’. It is an oblate spheroid, and even that description is an approximation. We have known this for hundreds of years and surveyors in high mountain ranges have had to take this into account. Even today, however, the earth’s precise shape has not been completely verified; every new observation adds detail. Every new hypothesis needs to be tested. You seem to have gone out of your way to confirm my statements.

You conveniently ignored my further explanation; “Scientific protocols – such as statistical testing – demand the setting of prior limits of confidence to any experiment or test. There are always possible sources of error which must be recognised and minimised. If the original hypothesis does not achieve its established limits of confidence, then there are always alternative hypotheses to explore”. I am not at all clear that you have grasped the idea of ‘limits of confidence’.

I then said, “I cannot imagine a situation where any scientist can say that they are ‘done and happy’. If you can think of one, then I would like to hear it”. You seem to think that, because Goethe once said, “in my century I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colors”, that he was ‘done and happy’. He may well have been happy that he had discovered what what he regarded as the ‘truth’ about colours, though it was not ‘the truth’ and many of his ideas have been subsequently rejected by physicists. But he was certainly not ‘done’ in the sense that he continued with his studies and understood that there were new things to find out. Similarly, Nobel scientists may certainly be happy that they have contributed to the sum of human understanding but none are ‘done’ in the sense that they have exhausted the possibilities of their field. That would be a nonsense.

Without responding to my questions regarding the relationship between philosophy and science, you have continued with your unjustified assertion that “philosophy starts where science ends”:

This is common sense. One must first establish the facts before one can start thinking about them. Hence, philosophy starts when science ends. A good example for this is exemplified by the argument from design. The order and regularity of the world must first be established by persistent observation, in order to rightly infer that there must be a Designer behind this magnificent and intricate ordering. The Fine-tuning argument is the more elaborate version of the Design argument, in which modern technical science is a prerequisite to its understanding and formulation. Philosophy is harder than science then, because the philosopher needs to understand the scientific process and results as well having other kinds of knowledge (history, psychology, logic etc...). In a nutshell, the philosopher's knowledge base is (at least it should be) broader.



Your use of the argument from design is a model of bad science and bad philosophy. You already know your conclusion; ”in order to rightly infer that there must be a Designer behind this magnificent and intricate ordering”. The ‘rightly’ demonstrates your prejudice. Regardless of what you find out – through investigation or reason – you have already decided on the ‘answer’. Though millions of philosophers and/or scientists reject the argument from design, your ‘faith’ tops that. There is, quite clearly, no point in discussing this with you. It also explains your bizarre lack of appreciation of the scientific process.

I then wrote, “Your analogy with the piano works for any set of skills, including those of a scientist. It is not something specific to philosophy”.

You have not, in fact contested this. Instead, you have tried to extend the analogy on the basis, which you have not even attempted to explain, that ”philosophy is harder than science”. This is simply ridiculous. You then make an assertion that skills cannot be transferred, which may be the case in some instances but not in others. But you have demonstrated neither case and, still, you have not explained how this analogy is particular to science and philosophy, rather than to any other area of study.

Finally, you have asked me to study the Quran, on the assumption that I never have. I do not see how this is relevant to the discussion of reason. I do not accept the notion that ‘holy books’ have automatic preference over any other. Yes, I could read many books based on faith, together with the Communist Manifesto, the sayings of Mao Zedong and endless others. As a result I would be better informed. I do what I can.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Greta » September 20th, 2016, 7:56 pm

Nick_A wrote:Greta wrote:
The futility of reason as compared with what?
A human perspective requires factual knowledge (intellectual intelligence) the objective emotional experience of value, (emotional intelligence) and sensitive sensory perception. Without the feeling of relative objective value and developed sensory perception, what good are facts for acquiring any sort of realistic human perspective?

Did you see the movie Star Trek the Motion Picture? From Wiki:
At the center of the massive ship, V'Ger is revealed to be Voyager 6, a 20th-century Earth space probe believed lost. The damaged probe was found by an alien race of living machines that interpreted its programming as instructions to learn all that can be learned, and return that information to its creator. The machines upgraded the probe to fulfill its mission, and on its journey the probe gathered so much knowledge that it achieved consciousness. Spock realizes that V'Ger lacks the ability to give itself a focus other than its original mission; having learned what it could on its journey home, it finds its existence empty and without purpose. Before transmitting all its information, V'Ger insists that the Creator come in person to finish the sequence. Realizing that the machine wants to merge with its creator, Decker offers himself to V'Ger; he merges with the Ilia probe and V'Ger, creating a new form of life that disappears into another dimension. With Earth saved, Kirk directs Enterprise out to space for future missions.
Gene Roddenberry was well versed in deeper esoteric ideas and mixed them well in the movie. Unfortunately most didn’t understand them so the movie was panned. Vger knew everything but was still empty. It couldn’t answer its basic question even knowing though everything. It needed the emotional element that could feel value which is a human attribute. The futility of reason is that it cannot substitute itself for emotional intelligence.
Good one, Nick. V'ger is probably my favourite Star Trek idea :) Still, it's no surprise that AI's lack of humanity would be portrayed as a limitation by human writers appealing to a human audience. It's reassuring. By contrast, I posit that emotions need to be significantly curtailed for life to significantly progress and become more civilised, and I think this process is currently underway.

Lack of emotion need not be inhuman. Consider spending most of the time in either a deep meditation state or immersive Zen state. Neither state of consciousness - each considered by almost all esoteric traditions as our optimal mental ways of being - features much in the way of emotional content. Rather, emotion appears in those states as small, momentary drivers - not very significant and never dwelt upon. These would seem, to our perspective, to be ideal states of being.

Data and Spock are hugely popular Star Trek characters, and part of their appeal is emotional control and resultant reliability. You can trust them not to go off unreasonably. They remain cool while others lose the plot, always reasonable and logical. We like those with whom we can reason. Hence, for instance, we don't tend to love crocodiles and snakes. All emotion - desire, fear and anger - so there is no reasoning with them.

To some extent we humans remain slaves to their glands and the brutish signals they inflict on what are only recently (in evolutionary time scales) subtle and sensitive beings. Yet our bodies still treat us like dumb animals that don't "get the hint" without being beaten over the head by pain. So often our emotions lead us into actions that we later regret, or at least could be thought of as learning experiences.

We intelligent humans don't need searing pain for weeks to act appropriately after significant harm. We know there is a problem and understand most of the practical concerns - stopping blood loss, stabilising fractures, shock, breathing etc. Nor should humans really need to dissipate agony with writhing - an evolved response that is helpful for those needing to wriggle out of someone else's jaws. Not a common human scenario these days, thankfully.

Ideally when faced with trouble, we should not be flooding with emotions and falling into fight-or-flight states (barring the kinds of extreme situations fortunately rarely encountered in modern society). Instead we could put more effort into appraising situations and responding appropriately rather than relying on the genetic and environmental lottery of our emotional responses to get by. However, this can only be achieved through years of dedicated effort, luck in genetics and experience - or technological help.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Nick_A » September 20th, 2016, 8:14 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
No. I am asking you to identify the two terms of opposition within the Trinity, the A and not A that are reconciled at a higher level. If you do not have TWO mutually exclusive terms at one level, then the law of included middle does not apply.

The irony is: the law of included middle is derived from REASON, the very thing you proclaim to be futile! So, if you are right that the Trinity can be explained by the law of included middle then you are wrong that reason is futile. And, if you are right that reason is futile then you are wrong that the law of included middle can explain the Trinity. But these are not mutually exclusive terms, while you cannot be right about both, you can be and certainly are wrong about both.
The futility of reason means that it is insufficient to understand the wholeness reason is a part of. Understanding requires more than reason. Would you agree that no-thing and every-thing are mutually exclusive terms? They are but according to the Law of the included middle, they can be reconciled within ONE.

I’m not asking you to understand this just to contemplate it.
The issue is not whether intuition is genuine, the issue is whether it is infallible. Since Einstein had intuitions that did not work out it should be clear that his success was not due to intuition alone. An intuition is a first step. His failed intuitions were not the result of some spurious “experts [who] begin to interpret it and lead it in the wrong direction by secularizing it”. An intuition fails because it simply does not work out. Do you really think that all of Einstein’s work came as a flash of inspiration? Is the mathematics just window dressing? Does reason only enter as an afterthought?

From Einstein’s book “Relativity” Appendix lll:


But this point of view by no means embraces the whole of the actual process ; for it slurs over the important part played by intuition and deductive thought in the development of an exact science. As soon as a science has emerged from its initial stages, theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data, the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general, is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms. We call such a system of thought a theory. The theory finds the justification for its existence in the fact that it correlates a large number of single observations, and it is just here that the " truth " of the theory lies.
This is really similar to an idea I posted on another thread and sadly I don’t know the source since it was sent to me by a friend years ago. You only seem to accept the value of inductive reason and seem to deny deductive reason beginning with a higher quality of truth from which the facts inductive reason are concerned with are developed. Someone like Einstein is intuitively aware of the quality of truth that can devolve into facts science deals with. A truly intelligent human being connects levels of reality through a combination of deductive and inductive reason enabled through conscious contemplation. This is impossible for those who glorify inductive reason and the process of fragmentation it furthers. True intuition indicates the potential for conscious deductive reason beginning from a higher level of reality the human organism normally functions on
In our attempt to reconcile the inner and outer world, however, we do come up against a very real difficulty, which must be faced. This difficulty is connected with the problem of reconciling different 'methods of knowing'.

Man has two ways of studying the universe. The first is by induction: he examines phenomena, classifies them, and attempts to infer laws and principles from them. This is the method generally used by science. The second is by deduction: having perceived or had revealed or discovered certain general laws and principles, he attempts to deduce the application of these laws in various studies and in life. This is the method generally used by religions.. The first method begins with 'facts' and attempts to reach 'laws'. The second method begins with 'laws' and attempts to reach 'facts'.

These two methods belong to the working of different human functions. The first is the method of the ordinary logical mind, which is permanently available to us. the second derives from a potential function in man, which is ordinarily inactive for lack of nervous energy of sufficient intensity, and which we may call higher mental function This function on rare occasions of its operation, reveals to man laws in action, he sees the whole phenomenal world as the product of laws.

All true formulations of universal laws derive recently or remotely from the working of this higher function, somewhere and in some man. At the same time, for the application and understanding of the laws revealed in the long stretches of time and culture when such revelation is not available, man has to rely on the ordinary logical mind."

-- Updated Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:32 pm to add the following --

Iapetus wrote:
In my last post I asked what I thought were two significant and relevant questions; If, according to Plato and all that is patently obvious, humans are making the observations and the interpretations of those observations and, furthermore, are discussing them and conveying the information to others then why, pray, is this not a ‘human perspective’? And how, by any logic, is that linked to the futility of reason?

You have not answered.

I have tried very hard to find justifications rather than assertions in what you have written but it seems to be a futile task. You assert a purpose which you cannot define or justify and Vijay has spelled this out very precisely. You try to escape through evasion, irrelevant quotes and ridiculously contorted language. This is not reason in action.
Would you agree that there are as many perspectives as there are people in the world? We all have our own perspective that governs our lives. However if we all have our own perspective, can there be a human perspective from which they all devolved. If there is, that commonality would be the human rather than personal perspective. Those like you and Vijay want to argue partial truths. They are attracted to matters of the world. Others are attracted to the source of partial truths of which they are a part and open to the commonalities from which they devolved. They are attracted to knowledge which creates the human perspective.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Fooloso4 » September 20th, 2016, 11:50 pm

Nick_A:
The futility of reason means that it is insufficient to understand the wholeness reason is a part of.
As I have said repeatedly, reason is well aware of its limits. It arrives at this through reason. The problem that you are evading is your claim that included middle explains the Trinity. It doesn’t but you won’t admit that. It is still not clear to me whether you are fooling yourself or just trying to fool others. Whenever I ask for the explanation which must begin by identifying the oppositional terms you reverse direction and point to the limits of reason.
Understanding requires more than reason.
Understanding requires intellectual honesty. Trying to deceive others is not really the problem, deceiving yourself is. I’m not asking you to understand this just to contemplate it.
Would you agree that no-thing and every-thing are mutually exclusive terms? They are but according to the Law of the included middle, they can be reconciled within ONE.
One does not need to posit another level of reality to explain this. Show how this works with the Trinity and I will explain it for you.
What are the oppositional terms that are reconciled? If you cannot identify the terms you cannot use the law of included middle. It is not a magic incantation but this is how you treat it, claiming it can do things but not demonstrating it actually doing anything.
Someone like Einstein is intuitively aware of the quality of truth that can devolve into facts science deals with.
Note the copula in what he says: “intuition and deductive thought”. They go hand in hand in the search for truth. It is not an intuitive awareness of “the quality of truth”, whatever that is supposed to mean. You may not agree with him, but at least acknowledge what he is saying and don’t pervert it. Note the steps necessary to arrive at the truth. The facts are not a devolution of the truth, they are, according to Einstein an essential part of the system of thought that arrives at the truth. Again, you may not agree, but don’t claim that he is saying something that he is not. Again, I must ask are you only trying to deceive others, or are you deceiving yourself? Now that is something to be contemplated.
… seem to deny deductive reason beginning with a higher quality of truth …
It is the very claim of a higher truth that is in question. You run round and round in circles denying and affirming knowledge of a higher quality of truth. If you do not possess this knowledge then nothing follows from it deductively that can be claimed to be true. At best you take someone else's word for it. That is religious dogma, which is clearly far more limited that reasonable inquiry, but perhaps far more comforting and easy. All the work has been done for you. Amen.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Iapetus » September 21st, 2016, 4:19 am

Reply to Nick_A:

You seem to have given up on any attempt to answer my numerous questions. I can understand why.

It is most refreshing, however, to note that you now suggest an idea which I have proposed many times on this site; that there are as many perspectives as there are people in the world. I do so agree.

What you seem to derive from this observation is, on the other hand, rather strange. If all humans have differing perspectives then, by definition, the perspectives must be, in some sense, human. That observation does not require a genius to recognise but neither does it say anything about the nature of those perspectives. It certainly does not follow that, at some time in the distant past, all humans were in agreement. That would be silly in the extreme. What else is characteristic of those perspectives is that they are all different. If you are trying to seek a unifying factor in those differences, then you really are tilting at windmills. Even if you tried to find unifying themes you would struggle. There is no common agreement of where we came from or where we are headed or whether or not there is someone in charge or whether or not we have purpose or whether some people should have higher status than others or whether or not we should pray and to whom or the degree to which we should turn the other cheek or a million other things.

Those like you and Vijay want to argue partial truths.


You have this so wrong. I am not interested in arguing any truths. If you have not recognised that point by now, then you haven’t been reading properly what I wrote.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Nick_A » September 21st, 2016, 9:44 am

Greta wrote:
By contrast, I posit that emotions need to be significantly curtailed for life to significantly progress and become more civilised, and I think this process is currently underway………………………………

Ideally when faced with trouble, we should not be flooding with emotions and falling into fight-or-flight states (barring the kinds of extreme situations fortunately rarely encountered in modern society). Instead we could put more effort into appraising situations and responding appropriately rather than relying on the genetic and environmental lottery of our emotional responses to get by. However, this can only be achieved through years of dedicated effort, luck in genetics and experience - or technological help.
Should emotions really be curtailed or should they become educated? We would agree that a person can learn to reason. There are courses in critical thought taught in universities. A person can learn to reason in chess; to improve in both strategy (the big picture) and tactics (the mechanics of chess) but how do we learn to use and to value our emotional intelligence? I can judge my intelligence in chess by wins. Emotional intelligence cannot be measured that way.

"The poison of skepticism becomes, like alcoholism, tuberculosis, and some other diseases, much more virulent in a hitherto virgin soil." - Simone Weil

She isn’t referring to intellectual doubt here but rather to emotional denial which distorts reason. It is an emotional attitude rendering impartiality in questions of “meaning” impossible.

In the original Star Trek, Spock represented the man of reason, Dr. McCoy represented the emotional man and Capt. Kirk represented the mechanical man, the person of action.

This also had a hidden deeper significance since it represented the “inner man;” what we are. They represent our inner nature. The Enterprise refers to the human organism we are a part of in which our lives are lived. Spock, McCoy and Kirk were all necessary. Would the Enterprise have been better off without McCoy or was his dominant emotional nature necessary for the success of the Enterprise in its mission of discovery?

The whole concept of emotional education is dangerous since it opens the door for every type of indoctrination. Maybe emotional nuttiness is better left as it is rather than inviting all sorts indoctrination. But yet the balanced person as represented in Star Trek would be the ideal social animal open to quality thought, objective values, and the ability for action. I don’t think it would be possible in public education the aim of which is indoctrination. However it could be the norm in certain private schools.Their students would indeed be fortunate.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Vijaydevani » September 21st, 2016, 9:56 am

Nick_A wrote: Would you agree that there are as many perspectives as there are people in the world? We all have our own perspective that governs our lives. However if we all have our own perspective, can there be a human perspective from which they all devolved. If there is, that commonality would be the human rather than personal perspective. Those like you and Vijay want to argue partial truths. They are attracted to matters of the world. Others are attracted to the source of partial truths of which they are a part and open to the commonalities from which they devolved. They are attracted to knowledge which creates the human perspective.
And that is where you are wrong. We are both looking for the commonality. We choose reason as our tool. You choose whatever is not reason. The problem is that you try to reason why your choice of not reason is reasonable. And that is unreasonable.

You seem to be ignoring the basic flaw in your OP. You are trying to use reason to justify the futility of reason. That is just wrong at so many different levels.
A little knowledge is a religious thing.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Burning ghost » September 21st, 2016, 10:08 am

Vij -

I think it makes more sense if you divide the meaning of "reason" between common everyday colloquial use and the meaning of "reason" as the use of logic.

I am not trying to defend what is being said only pointing to a possible error in what is trying to be communicated because I can appreciate saying blithely that logic is nonsense in regard to certain human faculties. We as humans may actively avoid logical reasoning and benefit. If I make such I statement I am opening up the idea of non-logical reasoning, accidently, and showing the distinction of how the term "reason", "reasonable" and "reasoning" may be used partially divorced (another strange term) from logic.
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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Vijaydevani » September 21st, 2016, 10:30 am

Burning ghost wrote:Vij -

I think it makes more sense if you divide the meaning of "reason" between common everyday colloquial use and the meaning of "reason" as the use of logic.

I am not trying to defend what is being said only pointing to a possible error in what is trying to be communicated because I can appreciate saying blithely that logic is nonsense in regard to certain human faculties. We as humans may actively avoid logical reasoning and benefit. If I make such I statement I am opening up the idea of non-logical reasoning, accidently, and showing the distinction of how the term "reason", "reasonable" and "reasoning" may be used partially divorced (another strange term) from logic.
Unfortunately, just making a statement does not make it true. You would have to back it up with something that would convince me that it is true. The problem here is that Nick is trying to justify statements made through out the ages like "God transcends time and space" or "Life has a meaning and purpose" or "God created the universe" or "The futility of reason means that it is insufficient to understand the wholeness reason is a part of. Understanding requires more than reason. Would you agree that no-thing and every-thing are mutually exclusive terms? They are but according to the Law of the included middle, they can be reconciled within ONE."

These are statements which logically have inherent contradictions in them. What Nick suggests therefore is to abandon reason and try to understand them without reason. My problem is that humans are limited by reason. We cannot really understand without reason. We can parrot. But we cannot understand.

Take for example the statement "God transcends time and space". There is no way humans can ever confirm this statement because we do not and cannot transcend time and space. What this seems to suggest is that if this statement is to be taken as true, it has been confirmed by humans who have actually transcended time and space using their minds. But that would make humans God, wouldn't it? Or at least the human mind would be capable of being God.

Now this is where the futility of reason comes in. Since we cannot be God, we, without transcending space and time, can still confirm that God transcends space and time. To me this sounds like a cop out. What Nick seems to be suggesting is that at a certain point, stop asking questions and just take the leap of faith. Futility of reason is simply the glorification of a leap of faith.
A little knowledge is a religious thing.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Nick_A » September 21st, 2016, 4:17 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
As I have said repeatedly, reason is well aware of its limits. It arrives at this through reason. The problem that you are evading is your claim that included middle explains the Trinity. It doesn’t but you won’t admit that. It is still not clear to me whether you are fooling yourself or just trying to fool others. Whenever I ask for the explanation which must begin by identifying the oppositional terms you reverse direction and point to the limits of reason.
The Law of the Included Middle makes the simultaneous relationship between ONE and three possible. ONE outside of time and space is pure conscious potential not governed by laws so the Law of the included middle doesn’t apply to it. Creation as the body of GOD is within what IS so is not separate from it. Existence begins at the level of three and devolves into distinct levels of creation in accordance with the law of the included middle. I simply cannot explain the process here. I could mislead people and cause more harm than good. Basarab Nicolescu did a good job describing it so those interested can take it from there.
Note the copula in what he says: “intuition and deductive thought”. They go hand in hand in the search for truth. It is not an intuitive awareness of “the quality of truth”, whatever that is supposed to mean. You may not agree with him, but at least acknowledge what he is saying and don’t pervert it. Note the steps necessary to arrive at the truth. The facts are not a devolution of the truth, they are, according to Einstein an essential part of the system of thought that arrives at the truth. Again, you may not agree, but don’t claim that he is saying something that he is not. Again, I must ask are you only trying to deceive others, or are you deceiving yourself? Now that is something to be contemplated.
Why are you making the easy difficult? If a person through intuition senses the existence of a material relationship which can be verified scientifically and deductive reason indicates the direction to pursue, experiments based on inductive reason attempt to verify what was perceived intuitively. It’s not all that complicated.
It is the very claim of a higher truth that is in question. You run round and round in circles denying and affirming knowledge of a higher quality of truth. If you do not possess this knowledge then nothing follows from it deductively that can be claimed to be true. At best you take someone else's word for it. That is religious dogma, which is clearly far more limited that reasonable inquiry, but perhaps far more comforting and easy. All the work has been done for you. Amen.
No. My interest is in the potential complimentary unification of science and religion. I’ve learned of reason that allows for the explanation of Creation which a person is invited to verify. Becoming aware of the inner conscious direction leading to what Plato called knowledge is not the same as having knowledge. It is the awareness of what is necessary to learn rather than the accepted value of arguing opinions through the use of binary logic.
Einstein wrote: Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
He admits that he has come to the end of binary logic and has become convinced there is a quality of reason that far exceeds it making his attempts at reason futile. It may not make sense to you but it does to me.

-- Updated Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:33 pm to add the following --

Iapetus wrote:
What you seem to derive from this observation is, on the other hand, rather strange. If all humans have differing perspectives then, by definition, the perspectives must be, in some sense, human. That observation does not require a genius to recognise but neither does it say anything about the nature of those perspectives. It certainly does not follow that, at some time in the distant past, all humans were in agreement. That would be silly in the extreme. What else is characteristic of those perspectives is that they are all different. If you are trying to seek a unifying factor in those differences, then you really are tilting at windmills. Even if you tried to find unifying themes you would struggle. There is no common agreement of where we came from or where we are headed or whether or not there is someone in charge or whether or not we have purpose or whether some people should have higher status than others or whether or not we should pray and to whom or the degree to which we should turn the other cheek or a million other things.
Oak trees and acorns are not the same. The acorn is a seed of an oak. It is very rare for an acorn to become an oak. The great majority serve as food for the earth and the animals walking upon it. An acorn then is a potential oak

It is the same for man on earth. Man on earth has the potential to become a part of conscious humanity. This potential for man is very rare but is what defines man for me as truly human. Man on earth represents the myriad of possibilities for man’s devolution into mechanical animal life. Conscious humanity is far more united since by definition is not warped by imagination. The unifying factor is consciousness. As we are, chaotic imagination and acquired opinions with the imagined prestige that go along with them, rule the day.

-- Updated Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:50 pm to add the following --

Vijay wrote:
You seem to be ignoring the basic flaw in your OP. You are trying to use reason to justify the futility of reason. That is just wrong at so many different levels.
Yes, the truly intelligent person has experienced the futility of reason. Einstein wrote of it as did Simone Weil and many others. They did because they were intelligent people. For example Simone wrote:
“We know by means of our intelligence that what the intelligence does not comprehend is more real than what it does comprehend.” Simone Weil
Only real intelligence has the humility to admit its limitations.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Fooloso4 » September 21st, 2016, 5:56 pm

Nick_A:
The Law of the Included Middle makes the simultaneous relationship between ONE and three possible.
It is a logical law. Logical laws do not make anything possible, they are part of abstract formal systems that describe relationships not make them possible.
ONE outside of time and space is pure conscious potential not governed by laws so the Law of the included middle doesn’t apply to it.
You seem to be getting close to admitting that it cannot do what you claimed you could do with it, namely, explain the Trinity.
I could mislead people and cause more harm than good.
The only one you are misleading is yourself.
Basarab Nicolescu did a good job describing it so those interested can take it from there.
Only, as I have pointed out, he is not saying what you think he is.
Why are you making the easy difficult? If a person through intuition senses the existence of a material relationship which can be verified scientifically and deductive reason indicates the direction to pursue, experiments based on inductive reason attempt to verify what was perceived intuitively. It’s not all that complicated.
The question is whether intuition can mislead us. You have refused to answer the question directly.You bury the question when you say “experiments based on inductive reason attempt to verify what was perceived intuitively”. The attempt to verify does not mean that the intuition is correct and what follows is only an attempt to show what is already known by intuition to be correct. Some intuitions are verified but others are refuted. Intuition is not an infallible insight into the truth of things. Intuition cannot and does not stand on its own. You are right, it really is not all that complicated. It only becomes complicated when you twist things to make them conform to what you want them to mean.
I’ve learned of reason that allows for the explanation of Creation which a person is invited to verify.
You mean a futile explanation? If reason is futile then how could it be otherwise?
Becoming aware of the inner conscious direction leading to what Plato called knowledge is not the same as having knowledge.
Plato calls lots of things knowledge. We have discussed this. I have given textual support to show that you have misunderstood what he says about knowledge. You ignore it, wait a few days, and then start spouting about Plato again. His discussion of knowledge is never separate from the thing it is knowledge of. Knowledge of shoemaking is very different from knowledge of the Good, but both are knowledge. The most important difference is that, according to Plato, there are some who have knowledge of shoemaking but no one who has knowledge of the Good. There is no “inner conscious direction leading to” knowledge of the Good. He is quite clear on this point.
He admits that he has come to the end of binary logic and has become convinced there is a quality of reason that far exceeds it making his attempts at reason futile.
So which is it? Is reason futile or only reason that does not have a certain “quality of reason”? Where does Einstein talk about being convinced that there is a quality of reason that enables us to transcend what he calls our “modest powers”? That is a fabrication of your own making.

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Nick_A » September 21st, 2016, 7:28 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
The question is whether intuition can mislead us. You have refused to answer the question directly.You bury the question when you say “experiments based on inductive reason attempt to verify what was perceived intuitively”. The attempt to verify does not mean that the intuition is correct and what follows is only an attempt to show what is already known by intuition to be correct. Some intuitions are verified but others are refuted. Intuition is not an infallible insight into the truth of things. Intuition cannot and does not stand on its own. You are right, it really is not all that complicated. It only becomes complicated when you twist things to make them conform to what you want them to mean.
Again pure intuition has to be genuine. However it is easily confused with imagination which either substitutes itself for intuition or perverts it. Could we agree that understanding intuition is an aspect of psychology that we cannot prove? Do you agree with this paragraph?

http://philosophy.tamu.edu/~sdaniel/Notes/plato.html
Despite the fact that intuition is a common phenomenon, philosophers have often been hesitant to identify it as a form of knowledge--primarily because there seems to be little way to determine whether it does, in fact, provide knowledge as opposed simply to lucky guesses. So most philosophers focus, instead, on reason and sense experience as the bases of knowledge. These two latter ways of approaching the question of knowledge are identified as rationalism and empiricism
Plato calls lots of things knowledge. We have discussed this. I have given textual support to show that you have misunderstood what he says about knowledge. You ignore it, wait a few days, and then start spouting about Plato again. His discussion of knowledge is never separate from the thing it is knowledge of. Knowledge of shoemaking is very different from knowledge of the Good, but both are knowledge. The most important difference is that, according to Plato, there are some who have knowledge of shoemaking but no one who has knowledge of the Good. There is no “inner conscious direction leading to” knowledge of the Good. He is quite clear on this point.
Continuing on the linked article:
In short, in order to have knowledge (justified true belief), we have to transcend the ever-changing flux of the physical world and grasp a permanent rational order behind the flux, an order that will demonstrate the universal in the particular. This "grasping" is an intellectual act of the mind, which, in its purest manifestation, is exclusively formal (i.e., mathematical). Such an intellectual act can take place only if there are certain innate ideas upon which it can be based. Knowing, then, is an act of making the observable world intelligible by showing how it is related to an eternal order of intelligible truths.

In other words, the world of changing, material objects (the visible world) is merely a fleeting image of the intelligible world--what Plato calls the realm of the Forms. Physical objects are real only insofar as they are intelligible, but they can be intelligible only in terms of that which does not change. What makes a thing intelligible as a certain kind of thing cannot be constantly changing: otherwise, it could not be identified as that kind of thing, nor would it be that kind of thing. So a thing is what it is in virtue of something that is not changing. But since the visible world is constantly changing, it cannot be used as the basis for identifying what things are. There must be an intelligible (non-sensual) realm in terms of which physical things are said to exist intelligibly. That is the realm of the Forms.

Plato's simile of the sun, image of the divided line, and allegory of the cave are intended to clarify exactly how the things we experience in the sensible, ordinary world (e.g., chairs, drawn triangles) are less real than the ideal models (Forms) on which they rely for their existence and in terms of which they are intelligible. Just as drawings, reflections, or copies of sensible objects are not as real as the sensible things on which they depend, so sensible things are not as real as the concepts in terms of which they are identifiable. Concepts that rely on sensual imagination for their intelligibility--for example, mathematical concepts such as triangularity--are more real than, say, triangular blocks of wood or drawings of triangles. But even though concepts that are based on sense experience are not limited to any particular expression and are unchanging, they are not as real as the Forms, which do not rely for their existence or intelligibility on anything sensual and changing.

Look at the diagram at the end of that section. Is there anything you disagree with?

“In short, in order to have knowledge (justified true belief), we have to transcend the ever-changing flux of the physical world and grasp a permanent rational order behind the flux, an order that will demonstrate the universal in the particular.”

Most pseudo intellectuals I have encountered are caught up in the “ever-changing flux of the physical world” and participate in the futility of reason by arguing it to death. Some desire to open to a permanent rational order behind the flux, an order that will demonstrate the universal in the particular.” The world glorifying the ever-changing flux find those who seek the experience of the “universal in the particular” suspicious, weird or religious nuts. The world doesn’t like those who question its glorification and instead strive to open to a quality of reason including the balance of heart and mind which leads one on the inner path of "being" directed towards the “Good.”
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Re: The Futility of Reason

Post by Greta » September 21st, 2016, 9:01 pm

Nick_A wrote:The world glorifying the ever-changing flux find those who seek the experience of the “universal in the particular” suspicious, weird or religious nuts.
It's not so simple, Nick. Sam Harris has deeply explored meditation, studying with various masters and he remains a keen meditator. Yet no one thinks he's a religious nut, although SH would be the first to admit that many of his colleagues are not impressed with his esoteric activities.

So there is paradigmatic existential conservatism present in the scientific community but such conservatism is far from ubiquitous, just well publicised by media outlets knowing how the outrage of theists can breathe life into flagging sales and advertising revenue.

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