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Everything posted by TheDivineFool

  1. I feel that poverty and crime are not the disease as the OP suggests. Rather they are symptoms of the real illness - bad economics.
  2. I thought Einstein formulated the equation Ego = 1/knowledge Didn't Socrates say ''I know that I know nothing''? Humility, not superiority, is the companiom of knowledge. That being said I have no quarrel with superiority of attitude based on superior knowledge.
  3. Not much of a choice there. Any philosopher will find this a Hobson's choice. However, I sense there's an element of truth in such a viewpoint. A lot of philosophy is far from established fact. Most of it seems controversial, sometimes even contradictory. But I suspect this has to do more with the difficulty of the subject matter rather than any failing on our part. As for the accusation that we're trying to simplify (perhaps oversimplify) things to fit our limited intellectual capacity I think that's unfair since we can do little about our limitations and it's not that philosphers are unaware of this problem. As a field that explores the very boundaries of our intellectual capacity philosophy is quite a good subject.
  4. Some notion of quantity permeates all human experience e.g. we love our parents 'more' than our neighbors, etc. Only thing that's a problem is deciding on a universal non-controversial standard.
  5. Generally, our future (the tomorrow) plays the main role in determining what we do with the present (the today). Without a tomorrow, today loses all meaning unless of course you think immediate experience is in and of itself meaningful. How's that done?
  6. OP: Since you criticize scientists and their attitude what do you suggest as a remedy?
  7. You've made a very pertinent comment on the issue. However, I must say that as others have posted, conscious people assist you with their own power when lifting them while dead/unconscious people don't. In that sense, since part of a conscious person's weight is lifted by its own power, the body DOES become LIGHTER. So, I don't think the OP was wrong in asking ''why is a dead body so much heavier than a live one?''
  8. In essence there is no science vs religion. Early scientists believed science was about understanding god's work - the universe and its laws. Unfortunately this friendship didn't last very long as evolution and geology contradicted Biblical creation stories. So, now religion and science don't agree.
  9. Since you use the term 'devolve', I guess that in your opinion the overall trend in human civilization has been negative/backward/harmful/bad/evil. So, 'evolve' in your world means progress in a good/positive/beneficial way. As far as technology is concerned, I think human moral development is out of sync with technology with the latter lagging behind. Almost everyone is aware of climate change and pollution and would like to do something about it but technology is still dependent on carbon fuel. Also, if you look at history, I'm sure you'll agree we've come a long way since human sacrifice, slavery, ignorance of the importance of the environment and divine interpretation of natural events. Surely, this must be progress in your eyes. What may be said however, in your defense, is that evil has become more sophisticated. So much so that it is difficult to recognize it. Military dominance has been replaced by economic dominance. Slavery has been replaced by human trafficking and racism. These are inevitable as evil minds adapt to the laws enacted to check them. Loopholes are found and readily exploited to produce a class of evil so 'refined' that it may be undetectable.
  10. Well, logically speaking ''consensus'' is a strange creature. Any book on critical thinking will say three things: 1. When evaluating the assertions of an expert, one must check for ''consensus'' among the experts. The usual advice being matters on which there's a consensus are more likely to be true. Where consensus lacks, one should doubt veracity. 2. Fallacy of appeal to majority. Just because many people believe in x, it doesn't imply that x is true. 3. When evaluating a scientific hypothesis, coherence is a key criteria i.e. a hypothesis must agree with established scientific ''facts'' and theories. One could say Einstein failed in 1 and 3 but definitely established the truth of 2. As to what constitutes best science, I think a science that is ever critical of itself is the best science. Good science must be willing to adapt to new evidence; rather than claim to know the truth, it must convey a spirit of rational inquiry.
  11. I think the middle of the magnet doesn't have attractive power. So given A and B, we can do the following procedure... You take one end of A and apply it to the middle of B. If there's attraction then A must be magnet. If there's no attraction, B must be the magnet. Or you could break both A and B into two pieces each. If the pieces attract each other, the original rod is magnetic. If the pieces don't attract each other, the original piece is not magnetic.
  12. Ditto michel123456. I didn't understand a thing.
  13. @Phi for All: Frankly, I think the religious god is highly improbable. It just won't fit in the current knowledge framework. However,I'm worried about being to self-assured about what I know and for that matter, our current body of knowledge. I simply can't shake off the anxiety I fee when I contemplate the fact that we can sit on this tiny speck of space dust in one of billions of galaxies spread across unimaginable distances AND pronounce that we KNOW such and such about the universe. If it is anything at all, it is pure unadulterated hubris and more relevantly, foolishness. Thus the miniscule probability of a god, given our current understanding, piques my interest. It looks improbable only when put in context of CURRENT wisdom which probably forms 0.00000000000.....01% of what can be known about the universe. So, it looks to me that we're jumping to conclusions here. That's why, despite the improbabilities imposed by extant stare of affairs, I remain open to the possibility of a god.
  14. I'd like to inform you that theology has made progress, if you can call it that, and the religionists no longer say 'God did it' in the narrow sense you imply. They now say that the laws of the universe were decreed by God and we can discover and use them accordingly. So you see, the God vision has ascended to a grander scale than before. Our learning is not inhibited by it. Rather, we're spurred on to discover the wonders of the universe as created by God. Also, there's no evidence that god is the universe. The argument rests on the irrefutable nature of such a possibility. Personally I don't think god is a plausible hypothesis. However, implausibility doesn't eliminate possibility. The OP is probably arguing from possibility which I think is wrong for possibility doesn't imply actuality. Thus, we're at an impasse for despite improbability of god, we can't negate the possibility of god. The reasonable thing in this case would be to refrain from making categorical statements.
  15. While it is not a 'necessity' to call it God, it is also not a 'necessity' not to call it god. Let's just say, people like to have options, especially when there are options, as is the case here. If you disagree, kindly point out why 'unnecessary' is bad or irrational.
  16. I wonder what sort of evidence makes 'mass extinction' true? How does the reasoning go? Do they find fossils of a wide variety of life forms at one period of time and the a complete lack of fossil evidence in the time that follows? Surely the evidence must come from fossil records. How come we don't hear of alternative explanations a la dinosaur extinction. There are competing explanations for the Cretaceous mass extinction. Also, if these are truly mass extinctions, what caused them? Isn't that relevant to our own survival as a species?
  17. Well, there's nothing logically IMPOSSIBLE in your theory. If I could use a term to describe it, it would be 'outlandish'. Your theory gets the benefit of the doubt because we know so little about the things your theory deals with e.g. multiverses, cyclical universe, etc. Also, technically speaking, your *theory* is speculation only. A scientific theory must explain facts and make observable predictions. I think you fail in that department. I don't want to put a wet blanket over your imagination though. Imagination is one of the higher cognitive functions. Good luck.
  18. The term 'reason' only makes sense if you're trying to justify a claim i.e. making a logical argument. So a 'good reason' is one that supports/justifies a claim. A 'bad reason' is one that fails to justify a claim. I must inform you that this terminology (good/bad reason) is highly unusual. More often we speak of good/bad 'arguments'. Using the above definitions I think having 'good reasons' for a claim corresponds to 'good arguments' and having 'bad reasons' for a claim corresponds to 'bad arguments'. In this sense, there's an equivalence between the OP's perspective and prevailing wisdom in logic as a subject of study. I like the list of 'bad reasons' which the OP kindly posted. They are sources of well-known fallacious reasoning. Gee's post was fantastic - it had beautiful examples supporting the possibility that authority, crowd opinion, etc. could be 'good reasons' too. However, the OP only claims that reasons in the list 'maybe' bad reasons. He merely points out that authority, crowd opinion, tradition, etc. are not INFALLIBLE. He's not claiming that they're always wrong. Only that they're not always'right.
  19. I'm aware, in a very elementary sense, that the infinite series converges. Is that the correct explanation? Also, you mention that this 'model' is not an accurate representation of real world motion. I wasn't quite satisfied with the infinite series sum solution. So, I was looking for an explanation our model of motion. As you suggest, could there be a problem in this? Where do you think the problem lies?
  20. For those who don't know what this paradox is about... Achilles and a tortoise are in a race. Achilles gives the tortoise a head start. Then Achilles begins to run toward the finish. Before Achilles can overtake the tortoise, he must first reach where the tortoise was. When he reaches the tortoise's last position, the tortoise has moved a little further. Now Achilles must reach the tortoise's new position. In the time taken to reach this new position, the tortoise has moved a little further...and so on. Achilles can never catch up with the tortoise. BUT in reality he does. Thus, the paradox. My knowledge of math is limited so I hope what I'm going to say isn't wrong. Anyway here goes... Assume the following for the mathematical analysis of the problem. I've used concrete numbers to make the math easier. 1. The tortoise starts at 10 meters ahead of Achilles 2. Achilles' speed is 5 m/s and the tortoise's speed is 1 m/s. Math analysis 1 D1 = distance traveled by Achilles in time t seconds = 5t D2 = distance traveled by the tortoise in time t seconds = 10 + 1t = 10 + t Achilles will catch up and then overtake the tortoise when D1 >= D2 5t >= 10 + t 4t >= 10 t >= 2.5 seconds That means that Achilles will catch up with the tortoise after exactly 2.5 seconds and then overtake the tortoise to win the race. No paradox here. It agrees with reality. Math analysis 2 Achilles must cover the 10 m distance between him and the tortoise. It will take him 10/5 = 2 seconds to reach where the tortoise was. In this 2 seconds, the tortoise moves 2 m. Now, Achilles takes 2/5 = 0.4 seconds to reach where the tortoise was In this 0.4 seconds, the tortoise moves 0.4 m. Now Achilles takes 0.4/5 = 0.08 seconds to reach where the tortoise was In this 0.08 seconds, the tortoise moves 0.08m ahead And so on and so forth.... We notice 2 things: 1. The gap between Achilles and the tortoise is decreasing 2. The time taken to reach the previous position of the tortoise is also decreasing However, the gap will never reduce to ZERO, the required condition for Achilles to catch up with the tortoise. Therefore, Achilles never catches up with the tortoise. This math analysis results in a paradox. As far as I can see, I don't see any problem in both mathematical analyses (1 and 2). 1 is in harmony with the real world while 2 is not. But both are correct. How do we resolve the paradox?
  21. A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning. The inferential connection between the premises and the conclusion is weak. There are two kinds of fallacies... 1. Formal fallacies which are errors due to explicit use of a known invalid form e.g. denying the antecedent, illicit major, etc 2. Informal fallacies which are errors in reasoning due to reasons other than using a known invalid form e.g. ad hominem, petitio principii, etc.
  22. 1) x = x + 1 2) x - x = x + 1 - x 3) 0 = 1 There are two things going on here. 1. We have mathematical statements 2. We're applying the rules of math to these statements The answer is a contradiction because 0 = 1 AND 0 =/= 1 So, something is wrong. The mistake can be either in 1 or 2. It is not in 2 because this consists of simple algebraic steps and as far as I can see, we've not made any mistakes. Therefore, the error lies in 1. The statement x = x + 1 is FALSE. There is no real number that can satisfy the equation. In other words x is NOT a real number. Now, we have things called imaginary numbers. The sqrt(-1) is also NOT a number. Is sqrt(-1) is undefined? I think sqrt(-1) is undefined on the set of real numbers. Just like the x in x = x + 1. So, the 'undefined in terms of real numbers' nature of some mathematical entities doesn't mean we can't make sense of it in a different, perhaps useful, way.
  23. One comment that I've seen a lot on the www is that ''infinity is not a number''. With my limited understanding, this is why I think people say this... A number is the result of a counting process. {Apple, love, $} is of size 3 i.e. there are 3 elements in the set. Similarly {u, 4, red, dog, relativity} is of size 5 i.e. there are 5 elements. As you can see, to get a number that measures the quantity of something requires a beginning of the counting process and then the process must END. With an infinite set e.g. {1, 3, 5,...} we can see that the counting process has a beginning BUT it has no end. Since counting cannot end, there is no NUMBER we can assign to the infinite set of odd numbers. Therefore, infinity is not a number. Am I right? If I am, I find this strange. I mean here's a 'thing' which sits somewhere between a quantity (countable) and a quality (uncountable). That's why I presented the riddle. I feel infinity sits between 'red' and '145'. It is neither a number nor a non-number. In this sense, it has similarities to zero. Zero is an 'absence' of a quantity. Likewise infinity is the other end of the spectrum, a quantity that is unquantifiable. Both are 'singularities' where math breaks down. I agree, a definition in negative is usually undesirable. But, these are not my definitions. These are some I picked up from a math book. Also, I think definition 1 (see my OP) is actually a mathematical translation of infinity as used in ordinary conversation which is, roughly speaking, ''the state of being endLESS''. So, you can see, 'infinity' is defined in the negative (WITHOUT end). This is exactly what definition 1 states, in math context.
  24. Thanks all. 1. Some say x = x + 1 is not a "valid" equation. What do you mean by this? Is it something like "x + = % > 3" : a grammatical error of sorts. Or do you mean it is meaningless, undefined? If I remember correctly, there was a time when 3 - 23 had no meaning - negative numbers didn't exist. I was hoping that the equation x = x + 1 is something like this...Is there another type of number which could satisfy this equation? 2. Some have suggested infinity as an answer and I can't deny that INFINITY + 1 = INFINITY. But someone remarked that ''infinity" is not really an answer because it too is undefined. I have my doubts about this objection. Infinity is defined. So the objection can't be based on the premise "infinity is undefined". At least that's what I think. 3. I also liked the answer from a set perspective. The solution set for x + 4 = 4 is {0}. The solution set for x = x + 1 is { }, the empty set. This implies that there is a difference between 0 and the "nothingness", if you can call it that, in { }. It is that interests me, in a silly way perhaps. Consider that before zero was invented/discovered, the solution set for 9 - 9 was { }. That's "nothing" right? Of course, this "nothingness" is "easier". It is simply an absence of numbers {1, 2, 3,...} later named as "zero". But the "nothingness" of x = x + 1 is the absence of {..., -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3,...}. One could say that this "nothingness" is at a different level - the solution is not even nothing. It's quite obvious that the issue is trivial. It doesn't seem to bother mathematicians. But I just was wondering if you all might know how to answer this question as a mathematician. I mean what would a mathematician say? "Don't ask silly questions"...I wonder.
  25. Thanks both of you. Now I'd like to present an experiment that will, I hope, reveal the nature of infinity... Pick the odd one out from the following list: zero, 187, red, triangle, infinity Thanks.
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