# TheDivineFool

Senior Members

54

1. ## Zero = Nothing?

This is from a'book on math I read. 1. Solve x + 4 = 4 x + (4 - 4) = 4 - 4 x = 0 2. Solve x = x + 1 x - x = x + 1 - x 0 = 1 What's the value of x? I understand that there's no solution to this equation. But if someone were to ask you ''What is the value of x?'' and you must reply in the following format...''The value of x is_____'' what would you write in the blank space? You can't write ''nothing'' because ''nothing'' is zero and zero is definitely NOT a solution to the problem. Or is 'zero' different from 'nothing'? Your valued comments please.
2. ## What is INFINITY????

I'm just a novice in maths. So, I read this elementary book on math and my knowledge on the topic is summarized below... 1. Infinity is not a number. Infinity is to us is like googol to a calculator...overflow. It's an unquantifiable. In that sense, I always saw infinity to be closer to a quality such as color than say the number 4 or 5 etc. 2. Definition of infinity (using sets) Definition 1: A finite set is a set equivalent to the set {1, 2, 3,..., n}. An infinite set is NOT an finite set. Definition 2: An infinite set is a set that is equivalent to a proper subset of itself. A finite set is a set that is not infinite. Question: Which of these definitions is better? I find 1 better because it captures the essence of ''endlessness'' that defines infinity. Definition 2 is roundabout and more difficult for me. Can someone deepen my understanding of infinity. Thanks.
3. ## What if life exists on other planets which are not like earth?

Don't be a spoilsport! You need to loosen up! Thanks for the information. Loosen up. You too! Science is not infallible! Free your minds!
4. ## What if life exists on other planets which are not like earth?

The possibilities are endless from my point of view. I just learned that the heavier elements are made from Hydrogen and Helium. The elements we know of are those that our star formed. Who knows what other elements formed on other stars? Since we can't be sure of that, we shouldn't limit the universe to 'our' science. @OP : I also wonder the same thing. What if there are life forms inside the sun or in the cold and dark deep space? What if there are life forms living inside our brains that we don't know of? What if life forms exist that live on atoms? Endless possibilities...or maybe I drank too much coffee.

6. ## Black box personality theory...the key to enlightenment ?

@dimreepr: The OP will understand what I mean. Children are 'receptive' to knowledge and they learn indiscriminately, swallowing everything adults tell them. This gets indoctrination becomes difficult to overcome as adults, despite better critical thinking skills.
7. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

@Phi for All: I'm not demanding 100% surety from science. All I'm saying is that it's not 100%. I'm sure you'll agree with that. Indeed, as you say, 'faith' is probably too strong a word for science. 'Assumption' is more suited. One assumption of science is the 'principle of uniformity of nature'. Am I wrong? It says what has happened in the past will continue to happen in the future. What evidence do we have for this? What has happened in the past has continued to happen in the future. Isn't this like saying X because X? Circular logic, or simply no reason exists to support the assumption. What would you call such 'assumptions'? How does it differ from faith? A miracle that would defy science is Jesus' resurrection. Surely, you cannot disagree that this is inexplicable in current scientific terms. A miracle, if observed, would falsify scientific theories. For example, if a man were to levitate into the air, would it not bring into question current understanding of gravity, etc? @Strange: I'm not saying that we should base our plans on the possibility that things will change tomorrow. All I'm saying is science doesn't claim absolute certainty about tomorrow. Not because it won't but because it can't. @Strange: I'm not saying we should base our plans on things changing drastically tomorrow as you suggest. But I'm saying science cannot be 100% sure of tomorrow for the simple reason, it can't. As you say ''it hasn't happened yet'' but that doesn't mean it won't. Science cannot make any guarantees for the future. It just can't.
8. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

Good question. No but the prayers went on for a month or so. So, weather forecast wasn't really being used by them unless they were able to make calculations as to when and where weather formations were going to arise and then move. This seems highly unlikely. Must've been one lucky coincidence. This is not really a miracle is it? Nothing the likes of Jesus rising from the dead. Anyway, the more suggestible the mind, the less the effort required to convince them. For the record, I don't believe in miracles. I think the set of true miracles is an empty set. It's all hearsay and goes viral due to shock value. Nevertheless, they do play an important part in religion-miracles bolster credibility of holy men and religion as a whole. Scientifically, I think miracles would simply be considered as 'falsifying' evidence against a theory/hypothesis.
9. ## Black box personality theory...the key to enlightenment ?

The problem with children is they lack the cognitive skills to separate the wheat from the chaff. The problem with adults is that they were children.
10. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

Now that you ask, I've only 'heard' of miracles. Never seen them. I have, on one occasion, been called to witness rainfall 'caused' by prayer. I didn't know what to say but I feigned wonder so as not to offend. In my mind I thought ''post hoc ergo propter hoc''. I also thought ''There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than can be dreamt of in your philosophy.'' While I agree that there's no scientific explanation for such miracles, I disagree that such things are IMPOSSIBLE just because science can't explain it.
11. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

@ Phi for All Can you categorically state that science has not an iota of faith in it? Do they not take on faith that what has happened till now will continue to happen in the future - I forgot the name of this principle. It can be roughly stated as the "principle of regularity of nature". Science relies on induction, the specific form of induction being statistical generalization e.g. every day the sun has risen in the past. Therefore, the sun will continue to rise in the future. @John Cuthber The definition of delusion in your link is "A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary." As defined, delusion is a "belief" but a miracle is an "event". If you believe in a miracle, then you may be deluded.
12. ## Is it the matter of the universe self-created or not? Which answer is more irrational?

What's really strange is that the OP asks "Which is more irrational?" That suggests that he considers all options as a spectrum of possibilities within the domain of irrationality. If so, why pick any option at all, since all are irrational. I think the more natural question would be "Which is more rational? The OP tackles the problem in a unique way by phrasing the question as he did. I wonder if there is a significant difference between the two questions. Does he mean to say that science is about reducing the level of irrationality in our answers? Isn't that a condemnation of the scientific spirit which proclaims itself the most rational human endeavor till date? This is a side issue but I'd like to know your views on this.
13. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your inclinations, I've never come across a ''true miracle''. I don't believe in religious miracles because religion appears to use them as proofs that their prophet is speaking the holy truth. Isn't that odd? They look for a reason to lend support to their claims. Score 1. Then they find the stupidest reason imaginable and are so happy about it. I wish I had the facepalm emoticon. Don't you think God would've presented well crafted reasons to convince us of the truth? I think I've flown off on a tangent. Sorry.
14. ## What is the scientific definition of "Miracle"

A 'miracle' is a little more than 'scientifically inexplicable'. Once upon a time the motion of the planets were 'scientifically inexplicable'. Nobody said it was a miracle. Jesus walked on water. Now that's a miracle. A miracle involves a violation of known scientific principles. That's not all. It has also to be unverified. The moment a 'miraculous event' is verified it falls into the 'unexplained' category and science will work on it. This has NEVER happened. What does that say about 'miraculous events'? In case this does happen, and all attempts to explain the event fails, the event is elevated to the status of a 'true' miracle. Miracles are mostly used by religions to shore up support for their veracity. And this is the fallacy of 'argumentum ad ignorantiam' and it goes like this ''We cannot explain event x with science. So, it must be God's work.'' Other more reasonable positions could be our observation is mistaken, we need to work on some of our theories, etc.
15. ## Is this a fallacy/How do you argue it?

Let's be realistic here. B sounds like the average Joe and A is the over-accomplishing genius. Personally, I do feel small in front of people who're experts in their own fields. Perhaps if you rephrase you might feel better. Why not say ''A is better than B'' instead of ''B is worthless''? Does that help? Another relevant point to note is that if A has accomplished more than B it doesn't mean A didn't deserve it. Usually high achievers make sacrifices which low achievers don't. So, in that sense B is guilty of time ill-spent. I think that does make him worth less than A.
16. ## Limits on saying thank you!!

Since I can't vote up, I have to say thank you to all in this post. I see that the votes affect the rep of a member. Does the rep of a member give him/her some perks on the forum? I vote up for a lot of reasons; from knowledge to penmanship. That's why I think I exhausted my quota for the day. It sucks to learn something and not be able to say thank you. I do discern a logic in the vote limit though. It makes you have to choose the best from the best.
17. ## Limits on saying thank you!!

This really pisses me off. I can't even say thank you. Why is there a limit to "positive votes"? I'd like to know. Why don't you include "negative votes" and do away with the limit?
18. ## Random thoughts on infinity

I feel like a broken record but if the galaxies are not moving what do you mean by 'speed' of separation? Have scientists failed to define their terms accurately? Are they using these words 'motion', 'speed' loosely to make science understandable to the layman or is this real scientific language? I though science was about crispy clear concepts. This confusing terminology is very unscientific to me. Please clarify, if worthwhile. Thank you.
19. ## Aliens

@Phi for All Thank you for your post. May I pose a hypothetical question to you. Suppose scientific observation confirmed beyond doubt an object travelling faster than light speed. How would scientists react to this? Would they doubt the observation or the theory that made light speed travel impossible? The question clearly shows the subordinate nature of scientific theory to observational data. The theory must fit facts and not vice versa. If theory and fact clash, the theory goes in the dustbin, not the fact. In the above described relationship between theory and fact, there's plenty of room for mind-boggling possibilities. Don't you think?
20. ## Aliens

I like to keep an open mind on the matter. Anything's possible. I respect science for its enlightened methodology and achievements. However, is it me or is there an uncomfortable silence since Quantum physics and Relativity, around half a century ago? When I was a teenager, I was so excited at the speed of scientific progress. Now, I sense that the science party is fizzling out. Is this a fact or are scientific breakthroughs being kept secret? Perhaps I'm not reading enough. I also thought the spirit of science was curiosity, and self-doubt; 'I wonder' and 'Am I sure?' Science minus these defining characters becomes non-science; a dogmatic oppressive mind yoke. I understand that current scientific knowledge sets limits but to insist self-assuredly that x is impossible because it would violate scientific principle y is narrow mindedness. What is possible and impossible is decided by the universe, not by science. Am I wrong?
21. ## A different view of the world

If there's a point to this quote, I didn't understand it. Does Allan Watts want to correct our self-perception as individuals, as a species, as living things by zooming out to galaxy level and comparing us to the fruiting of one tree among countless others? Well, it does make humanity, all its so-called greatness seem microscopic but what I'd like to remind you is that we live on a different space-time scale and in that slot, for better or for worse, is our dimension, so to speak. So, even if galaxies are billions of light-years across and trillions of years old, the 0.3 mm speck of dust in my eye matters to me. Perhaps I misunderstood.
22. ## Random thoughts on infinity

Hi all. I know that the 'expansion of the universe' is illustrated by an expanding balloon with dots painted on it representing galaxies. As the balloon expands, the distance between the dots increase. The point being 'distance between galaxies increase' BUT 'the galaxies are not moving'. My limited knowledge tells me that A and B are in motion with respect to each other if the distance between them changes. This is clearly the case but physicists always maintain that the galaxies don't move. Something's wrong with my definition of 'motion'. Could someone clarify how physicists define 'motion' so that I may understand how the galaxies are getting further and further apart but there is no motion. Thanks.
23. ## Is it the matter of the universe self-created or not? Which answer is more irrational?

@Strange: I only have a high school understanding of physics and I've forgotten most of it. Back then we were only taught about electrons, protons and neutrons. I also remember hearing 'positron'. Anyway, I had an intuitive understanding of what was meant by 'elementary' particles in the sense electrons, protons and neutrons had smaller masses than atoms. So 'elementary'. Is my viewpoint correct? What is the current criteria of 'elementary'? Are quarks and gluons smaller in size/mass than electrons, protons? I have some idea that the method used is 'particle smashing' like in CERN. But, how can we be sure that the particles that come out of the collision are more elementary than the original particles. How do we know that what is happening is not simply a 'chemical reaction' in the sense, what ensues is simply products of it and not sub-particles? Please keep it as simple as possible...a for dummies version if you like. Thanks
24. ## Can we be objective when it comes to the experiences we are each having?

Hi tld. I had similar thoughts but they lacked the clarity of yours. While such questioning is very interesting, I'll present you a perspective that is not so approving of such types of inquiry. Occam's razor, the scientific principle that discourages unnecessarily complicating hypotheses would condemn these questions as they definitely introduce complexities. Do you think that these complexities are necessary. Yes, a scientific take on the matter. Your valued opinion? Also, as others have said, we don't have a method to determine the answer to this question? Does that diminish the importance of the question? In a way it does, as we will never be able to confirm its truth and all that follows from it. Yet, philosophy is not actually bothered about this since if we pick up the thread of this inquiry and follow it reveals a lot about things like truth, human perspective, nature of reality, etc.
25. ## Law of No Contradiction, and exceptions to the rules?

As far as logic is concerned, I'm only familiar with baby logic. Contradiction is a Big NO! NO! in it. In fact like the OP said, it's a foundational thing. I've heard of paraconsistent logic and that it makes room for contradiction and also multi-valued logic that rejects LEM. However, these logics must be tailor-made for certain spheres of experience that involve such states. Everyday experience never presents contradictions and this fact is used to detect errors in it. For example if x were to say ''cola is good for health'' and y were to say ''cola is not good for health'', it is natural to doubt the truth of the statements. Having said that, the LNC presents some serious problems for us. For example Zeno's paradoxes are about the impossibility of mundane experiences such as the simple act of walking from your bedroom to the bathroom. So, we're left with the dilemma of choosing between LNC and denying reality.
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