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Author Topic:   Omphalism
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 106 of 151 (548287)
02-26-2010 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 105 by Straggler
02-26-2010 4:16 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
So you don't think that the empirical conclusion is more likely to be correct than the Last Thursday conclusion?

How would I know? How can I tell?

Then in what sense do you "doubt it"?

There's no indication of it. Its just a post-hoc rationalization.

So you don't think the IPU is more likely to not exist than to exist? Then in what sense do you "doubt it"?

The same. How can I tell if the IPU exists or not? I doubt it because there's no indication of it. Its just a post-hoc rationalization.

But more specifically to the IPU, I've seen the websites that introduced it as a parody so I know it was just made-up and does not exist.

I don't think so. With Biblical Omphalism, we have the addition of 6000 years (minus a few days) of evidence to consider that suggests that the Earth is, in fact, older.

Only if you assume that Last Thursdayism isn't true. On what basis do you make that assumption?

There's no indication of it. Its just a post-hoc rationalization.

Your claims of doubt, confidence and agnosticism seem contradictory.

Expound.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 4:16 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 4:36 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 107 of 151 (548288)
02-26-2010 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by New Cat's Eye
02-26-2010 4:26 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
Straggler writes:

So you don't think that the empirical conclusion is more likely to be correct than the Last Thursday conclusion?

How would I know? How can I tell?

Remember I am a biblical omphalist in this discussion. I have faith in the bible. I advocate that my omphalism is as valid as your empiricism. It strikes me that if you "cannot tell" then your confidence in the empirical conclusion ragarding the age of the Earth and doubt of Last Thursdayism, or biblical omphalism, is simply subjective world view and nothing more. Like you said "How can I tell?"

That is precisely my point. How can you tell?

Straggler writes:

So you don't think the IPU is more likely to not exist than to exist? Then in what sense do you "doubt it"?

The same. How can I tell if the IPU exists or not? I doubt it because there's no indication of it. Its just a post-hoc rationalization.

Hmmm. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

But more specifically to the IPU, I've seen the websites that introduced it as a parody so I know it was just made-up and does not exist.

And Last Thursdayism doesn't have an identical contextual history?

Wiki writes:

The belief, much like the belief in the Invisible Pink Unicorn, is a parody of one of the many creationist arguments that the universe is only 6000 years old despite having the appearance being of 15 billion years old, with the effect of age being brought about by the creation of starlight in transit, or by creating fossils of creatures which never existed to scatter through rock strata bearing witness to geological ages that never took place. (See the article The Earth created with age ("Omphalos") for further details.)
Last Thursdayism serves to parallel many creationist assertions to illustrate by analogy just how ridiculous these creationist assertions really are. For example, a common apology for the existence of ancient animal fossils is that they were placed by Satan to test the faith of the believer. The last Thursdayist may with equal logic say the same thing about last Wednesday's newspaper. Last Thursdayism

Why are you agnostic to Last Thursdayism but not agnostic to equally irrefutable notions of the unable to intervene in our universe IPU?

Please explain.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-26-2010 4:26 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-26-2010 4:50 PM Straggler has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 108 of 151 (548293)
02-26-2010 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 107 by Straggler
02-26-2010 4:36 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
Remember I am a biblical omphalist in this discussion. I have faith in the bible. I advocate that my omphalism is as valid as your empiricism. It strikes me that if you cannot tell then your confidence in the empirical conclusion and doubt of Last Thursdayism or biblical omphalism is simply subjective world view and nothing more.

You haven't brought forth one piece of evidence suggesting the veracity of Biblical Omphalism that I could refute to show you why the empirical conclusion is better.

That is precisely my point. How can you tell?

Bring forth the evidence so I can show you.

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

That the only way it can be presented is in an 'it could have been' post-hoc rationalization suggests to me that it is wrong.

Show me the data!

And Last Thursdayism doesn't have an identical contextual history?

Looks like it does... Last Thurdayism is the same made-up BS that the IPU is, then.

Although, I'll acknowledge PAP agnosticism to the both of them, on the principle that we are unable to know because we can't tell.

Why are you agnostic to Last Thursdayism but not agnostic to equally irrefutable notions of the unable to intervene in our universe IPU?

Please explain.

I'm not even gonna requote this time... My criteria for determination is here:

Message 99

Message 78


This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 4:36 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 5:09 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 109 of 151 (548296)
02-26-2010 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 108 by New Cat's Eye
02-26-2010 4:50 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
You haven't brought forth one piece of evidence suggesting the veracity of Biblical Omphalism that I could refute to show you why the empirical conclusion is better.

Yes it's frustrating when people advocate agnosticism to something purely on the basis that it is irrefutable regardless of any other considerations. Welcome to my world (removing my biblical omphalist hat for one moment).

That is precisely my point. How can you tell?

Bring forth the evidence so I can show you.

Unless you accept biblical evidence this is an impossible request. The fact that you don't accept biblical evidence is not my problem. The fact that you claim the validity of empirical evidence whilst claiming not to know whether the entire universe was created last Thursday IS your problem. It is logically unjustifiable.

Biblical Omphalist Straggler writes:

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

That the only way it can be presented is in an 'it could have been' post-hoc rationalization suggests to me that it is wrong.

Show me the data!

You misunderstand. I believe in biblical omphalism on faith. My argument is that your empirical claim is no more valid than mine. You show me the data and then tell me why you think it is even valid.

And Last Thursdayism doesn't have an identical contextual history?

Looks like it does... Last Thurdayism is the same made-up BS that the IPU is, then.

Of course. Why did you ever think otherwise?

Although, I'll acknowledge PAP agnosticism to the both of them, on the principle that we are unable to know because we can't tell.

You seem as agnostic to Last Thusrdaysim and the IPU as that nutjob atheistic Straggler who denies the valid belief in any of these concepts beyond the logically possible. How come?

Although, I'll acknowledge PAP agnosticism to the both of them, on the principle that we are unable to know because we can't tell.

The lack of absolute certainty is something that none of the atheists you have been arguing with for years would disagree with.

The question here is why are you atheistic towards some of the concepts under discusssion whilst opposing those atheists who denounce all such equally unfalsifiable claims as "unlikley"?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 108 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-26-2010 4:50 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-26-2010 5:36 PM Straggler has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 110 of 151 (548302)
02-26-2010 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 109 by Straggler
02-26-2010 5:09 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
You haven't brought forth one piece of evidence suggesting the veracity of Biblical Omphalism that I could refute to show you why the empirical conclusion is better.

Yes it's frustrating when people advocate agnosticism to something purely on the basis that it is irrefutable regardless of any other considerations.

But you're not advocating agnosticism...

Unless you accept biblical evidence this is an impossible request. The fact that you don't accept biblical evidence is not my problem.

I'd consider biblical evidence...

The fact that you claim the validity of empirical evidence whilst claiming not to know whether the entire universe was created last Thursday IS your problem. It is logically unjustifiable.

No it isn't.

Acknowledging that we would be unable to distinguish from Last Thursdayism says nothing about the validity of empirical evidence.

You misunderstand. I believe in biblical omphalism on faith. My argument is that your empirical claim is no more valid than mine. You show me the data and then tell me why you think it is even valid.

Last time I did, in Message 84, you fled from Biblical Omphalism and jumped right to Last Thursdayism. I'll let you start this time.

You seem as agnostic to Last Thusrdaysim and the IPU as that nutjob atheistic Straggler who denies the valid belief in any of these concepts beyond the logically possible. How come?

Its different because we know the LT and IPU were made-up. We don't know that about all of "those concepts"

The question here is why are you atheistic towards some of the concepts under discusssion whilst opposing those atheists who denounce all such equally unfalsifiable claims as "unlikley"?

Because you don't have any way of determining the likelihood for some of them.

Although, I thought I did agree with your rationalization of atheism to some of the concepts because you figured that they were human invention, just not all of them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 109 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 5:09 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 113 by Straggler, posted 03-02-2010 7:29 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 896 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 111 of 151 (548325)
02-26-2010 10:08 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Straggler
02-26-2010 3:07 PM


Re: Faith
Hi, Straggler.

Straggler writes:

If you are advocating agnosticism towards omphalism then why so reticent to declare how confident you are in the rival empirical conclusion and the basis of that conclusion?

An epistemology is a means of deriving confidence.
I cannot derive confidence in anything without appealing to an epistemology.
Thus, confidence in an epistemology is a circular proposition: it cannot be done.

-----

Straggler writes:

Anyway let's have a quick recap of your position such as it is:

Bluejay writes:

As near as I can tell from the physical evidence around me, the earth is billions of years old.

I remain unclear as to why you don't want to answer that question. I remain unclear as to how you can state belief in the empirical conclusion whilst simultaneously denying that one epistemology can be considered superior to another. This all seems very evasive and contradictory. But have it your way.

I didn’t “state belief in an empirical conclusion.” I simply stated the empirical conclusion.

Any confidence that I could possibly have in that conclusion derives entirely from my empirical experience. What good is that in a situation where the reality of the empirical experience is the very thing that is being questioned?

-----

Straggler writes:

Bluejay writes:

By asking for demonstrations of the effectiveness of other epistemologies, you are requiring all epistemologies be empirical!

I am asking that they are demonstrably reliable.

And, what would you accept as a proper demonstration of their reliability?

You and RAZD have filled numerous threads with the pursuit of such demonstrations. It is clear from reading those threads that what you mean is tangible, physical, detectable, observational demonstration.

I repeat: this is empiricism. You are setting up empiricism as the means of evaluating the reliability of other epistemologies. As long as you are doing this, you are going to conclude that all other epistemologies are fantasy or fairy tales, because you cannot discern empirically how these epistemologies differ from imagination or delusion.

But, a religious person can easily distinguish non-empirically between their faith-based, theistic epistemology and imagination or delusion. But, you will not accept this distinction, because it fails to meet your empirical criteria for “knowing.” Thus, how can a non-empiricist win?

If you really want to hear a non-empirical demonstration, you have to first accept that it will not be empirical; that it will not meet your criteria for “knowing”; and that you will not be able to use an empirical methodology to discern it from some other non-empirical epistemology. Until you acknowledge this, I have absolutely no way to communicate any information about this topic with you.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Straggler, posted 02-26-2010 3:07 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 112 by Straggler, posted 03-02-2010 6:50 PM Blue Jay has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 112 of 151 (548955)
03-02-2010 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by Blue Jay
02-26-2010 10:08 PM


Belief As Evidence Upon Which to Justify Belief
Has it even occurred to you that the requirement that a method of knowing produce results that are empirically verifiable before it can be rendered reliable is a practical consideration based on the limitation of only being able to perceive the world by means of our empirical senses? If a method of knowing never produces any conclusions that can be verified as correct in practise then on what basis can you have any confidence at all in the reliability of any conclusions derived from that method of knowing more generally?

You say I have attempted to “polarise debate”. But this is because I am attempting to show you that your superficially oh so moderate and reasonable claims of agnosticism are in fact a product of very contradictory thinking. On one hand you claim confidence in empirical conclusions but on the other you claim absolute agnosticism to completely contradictory conclusions. Purely on the basis that they are unfalsifiable and unknowable. For example how can you be confident that the Earth has existed for billions of years whilst simultaneously stating that you have absolutely no belief either way as to whether or not the Earth was omphamistically zapped into existence less than 10,000 years ago? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. You, like others here, seem to have entrenched yourself into believing as an absolute and incontrovertible logical truth that if a specific claim is un-evidenced and un-falsifiable then the only option is complete and utter “how can we ever have any idea at all” agnosticism. You also seem to have fallen into the trap of assuming that anyone who challenges this inconvertible and self evident truth must be doing so on the basis of a woefully imbecilic tautological argument. But the bottom line here is that under scrutiny it is your assumptions and your thinking that just do not add up.

No we cannot say with complete certainty that the world wasn’t omphamistically created Last Thursday. Or even 5 minutes ago. But so what? If we are agnostic towards everything where absolute certainty is impossible then there really isn’t much that we are not agnostic towards is there?

Straggler writes:

If you are advocating agnosticism towards omphalism then why so reticent to declare how confident you are in the rival empirical conclusion and the basis of that conclusion?

An epistemology is a means of deriving confidence. I cannot derive confidence in anything without appealing to an epistemology. Thus, confidence in an epistemology is a circular proposition: it cannot be done.

Semantics. You can have more confidence in the conclusions of one epistemology than another. In that sense you have more confidence in that particular epistemology. There is presumably a reason why you have more confidence in the empirical conclusion regarding the age of the Earth than you do biblical omphalist conclusions regarding this same matter. I have simply repeatedly asked you what that reasoning is. Don't play dum.

I didn’t “state belief in an empirical conclusion.” I simply stated the empirical conclusion.

Yes without mentioning any other conclusion as one that you have any confidence in. But yes - Your ongoing ambiguity has been noted.

Or are you seriously going to proclaim that you are equally agnostic to all conclusions regardless of the method of knowing deployed? That you know nothing at all with any confidence at all? Because that is the logical end-point of where you are heading here.

Any confidence that I could possibly have in that conclusion derives entirely from my empirical experience. What good is that in a situation where the reality of the empirical experience is the very thing that is being questioned?

What is being questioned is the basis of the omphalistic claim. On what basis is the omphaistic claim being made? Why would we have any confidence in that conclusion at all?

And since when did adding a self verifying component to a concept already designed to be unknowable and unfalsifiable warrant it with immunity from scepticism? Blessed are those who believe but do not see. And the Immaterial Pink Unicorn (in a malicious twist of irony) reveals herself only to disbelieving atheists when they are in the process of debunking the existence of deities thus meaning that every atheistic reference to the IPU is in fact evidence of the actual existence of the IPU. And so on and so forth. So what?

And, what would you accept as a proper demonstration of their reliability?

You and RAZD have filled numerous threads with the pursuit of such demonstrations. It is clear from reading those threads that what you mean is tangible, physical, detectable, observational demonstration.

But why might that be considered necessary? Crazed empiricist zealotry on my part? Or something more justifiable? Have you ever asked yourself that question? No? Then I would suggest that you are the one demonstrating blinkered thinking here. Not me.

How can one practically demonstrate reliability unless a method of knowing produces conclusions that are detectable and verifiable by others? The fact that we are only able to detect, and thus verify, empirical conclusions is entirely a practical consequence of our sensory limitations. Which part of this are you not understanding?

I repeat: this is empiricism. You are setting up empiricism as the means of evaluating the reliability of other epistemologies. As long as you are doing this, you are going to conclude that all other epistemologies are fantasy or fairy tales, because you cannot discern empirically how these epistemologies differ from imagination or delusion.

No. I am asking you on what practical basis you are differerentiating conclusions derived from whatever alternative epistemologies you are talking about from "fantasy or fairy tales...."imagination or delusion"?

But you won't say what epistemologies you are talking about or why you consider them a remotely reliable basis for making conclusions. More ambiguity. More evasiveness.

But, a religious person can easily distinguish non-empirically between their faith-based, theistic epistemology and imagination or delusion.

Can they? Or do they believe that they can? How do we, or indeed they, know with any even vague sense of reliability? Isn't this just a case of entirely subjective personal conviction? Faith by any other name. And why should I be agnostic to something just because somebody else has faith that it is true?

But, you will not accept this distinction, because it fails to meet your empirical criteria for “knowing.” Thus, how can a non-empiricist win?

What alterative method of establishing reliability are you proposing? What epistemologies are you talking about? Beyond simply citing belief as evidence upon which to justify belief? Which is what you are indirectly doing here whether you fully realise it or not.

If you really want to hear a non-empirical demonstration, you have to first accept that it will not be empirical; that it will not meet your criteria for “knowing”; and that you will not be able to use an empirical methodology to discern it from some other non-empirical epistemology.

OK. Shoot. What non-empirical form of evidence are you advocating and why do you think it results in conclusions that are remotely reliable? Enlighten me.

Until you acknowledge this, I have absolutely no way to communicate any information about this topic with you.

I don't demand it be empirical. I am asking that an epistemology result in verifiable conclusions. If your methods of knowing are incapable of ever producing conclusions that anyone can verify for purely practical reasons then - Yes you do indeed have a problem demonstrating reliability.

But don't make me out to be the zealot because you are unable to face that problem with whatever alternative methods of knowing it is you are refusing to specify here.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by Blue Jay, posted 02-26-2010 10:08 PM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 114 by Blue Jay, posted 03-02-2010 11:36 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 113 of 151 (548961)
03-02-2010 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by New Cat's Eye
02-26-2010 5:36 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
But you're not advocating agnosticism...

In my biblical omphalist mode I am indeed advocating that you should be agnostic towards biblical omphalism. You cannot falsfy it and empiricism, whilst a useful practical tool, is not a path to truth.

When everything, including the evidence you cite as showing that Last Thursdayism and biblical omphalism are false, could have been omphamistically created less than 5 minutes ago (5 Minutes AgoIsm) without empirical evidence being able to show us any different then one has to admit that any confidence in empirical conclusions must be faith based. No?

So I have faith in my bible and you have faith in your empirical "evidence". But neither one is less faith based than the other. I am just not in denial whereas you are.

CS writes:

Last Thursdayism? IPU?

"I don't know, but I doubt it."

CS writes:

Because you don't have any way of determining the likelihood for some of them.

"I doubt it" seems like a statement of relative likelihood to me. Do you not consider the empirical conclusion regarding the age of the Earth as more likely to be true than the Last Thursdayist conclusion?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 110 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-26-2010 5:36 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-15-2010 5:02 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 117 by Peepul, posted 03-17-2010 1:58 PM Straggler has responded

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 896 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 114 of 151 (548977)
03-02-2010 11:36 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by Straggler
03-02-2010 6:50 PM


Re: Belief As Evidence Upon Which to Justify Belief
Hi, Straggler

This has gone on long enough: we’ve both made our points, we both know what the other is saying, and neither of us is budging. I don’t want to be involved in a debate that turns us into enemies or me into RAZD, Jr (no offense, RAZD, since you're probably lurking here), so I’ll make a few summary responses to some of your points, and let you have the last word.

Straggler writes:

Has it even occurred to you that the requirement that a method of knowing produce results that are empirically verifiable before it can be rendered reliable is a practical consideration based on the limitation of only being able to perceive the world by means of our empirical senses?

It has occurred to me, yes.
But, how many non-empiricists agree with our viewpoint that empirical senses are the only means of perceiving the world?
If they held that view, surely they would be empiricists, wouldn’t they?

-----

Straggler writes:

You say I have attempted to “polarise debate”. But this is because I am attempting to show you that your superficially oh so moderate and reasonable claims of agnosticism are in fact a product of very contradictory thinking.

I prefer not to get emotionally attached to my arguments, but I am finding this harder to do when I’m debating things with you of late. It didn’t used to be this way, back when we were debating free will and foreknowledge.

[sigh] Where did we go wrong?

-----

Straggler writes:

On one hand you claim confidence in empirical conclusions but on the other you claim absolute agnosticism to completely contradictory conclusions. Purely on the basis that they are unfalsifiable and unknowable.

I only consider my confidence in empirical conclusions to be valid within an empirical frame of reference. As long as an empirical conclusion is prefaced (explicitly or implicitly) with the assumption of empiricism, then I will gladly say I have confidence in it. But, it is inappropriate to transport that confidence into an entirely different context.

Because my experience is my only basis I know how to use to try to make sense of my world, that’s the method of choice for me. I don't feel like I've yet succeeded in making sense of the world, but it seems I'm making progress through empiricism. But, in the society I live in, my experience is highly alien, and I also have the diagnoses of four different psychiatrists that confirm that my brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s does, so I’m fully accustomed to reminding to myself that my experience may not be the best way to judge the world. So, I have to keep an open mind as my only real gate into the reality outside of my own person.

Perhaps it’s low self-esteem or acute awareness of a long personal history of poor decision-making or the memory of the painful, messy divorce with my spiritual worldview that makes me hesitant to accept my own conclusions wholeheartedly. Whatever it is, I don't feel that I can honestly say I have confidence in my methodology of deriving confidence in things; and I've never been very good at deluding myself (hence my recent religious woes).

-----

Straggler writes:

For example how can you be confident that the Earth has existed for billions of years whilst simultaneously stating that you have absolutely no belief either way as to whether or not the Earth was omphamistically zapped into existence less than 10,000 years ago? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up.

I think it does add up. My confidence can only exist within a certain frame of reference. The possibility of omphalism effectively removes that frame of reference; so, when faced with the possibility of omphalism, all I can do is shrug and say, “It doesn’t seem that way to me.” And, I really can’t do any better than that.

I try to avoid “beliefs” where I can. I think I’ve explained this to you before: my “belief system” is a complex network of “if, then” statements, which works inside my robotic brain remarkably well.

-----

Straggler writes:

You, like others here, seem to have entrenched yourself into believing as an absolute and incontrovertible logical truth that if a specific claim is un-evidenced and un-falsifiable then the only option is complete and utter “how can we ever have any idea at all” agnosticism. You also seem to have fallen into the trap of assuming that anyone who challenges this inconvertible and self evident truth must be doing so on the basis of a woefully imbecilic tautological argument. But the bottom line here is that under scrutiny it is your assumptions and your thinking that just do not add up.
No we cannot say with complete certainty that the world wasn’t omphamistically created Last Thursday. Or even 5 minutes ago. But so what? If we are agnostic towards everything where absolute certainty is impossible then there really isn’t much that we are not agnostic towards is there?

No, I suppose there isn’t.

That doesn’t really bother me, though: I don’t have such a negative view on agnosticism. I’ve found that I get along just fine without passionate belief in anything in particular, and I’ve done fairly well in the scientific world so far. We’ll see how good I feel about myself and my abilities after my big manuscript is reviewed in the coming months.

-----

Beyond this, I honestly don’t know what else I can say. There are a whole bunch of other pointed remarks you made that I very much want to respond to, but it came off as just venting frustrations, so I’ll just let you have it. It’s not important anyway.

Have a good day, Straggler.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 112 by Straggler, posted 03-02-2010 6:50 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 115 by Straggler, posted 03-03-2010 1:28 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 115 of 151 (549049)
03-03-2010 1:28 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by Blue Jay
03-02-2010 11:36 PM


Re: Belief As Evidence Upon Which to Justify Belief
I remain utterly bewildered as to why you think that omphalism specifically is any more worthy of agnosticism than any of the other near infinite entirely unknowable irrefutable unfalsifiable and self verifying scenarios, entities or beings that either of us could conjure up.

I also remain absolutely bewildered as to how you think it is possible to demonstrate the reliability of a method of knowing that is incapable of making conclusions that can be perceived.

But, how many non-empiricists agree with our viewpoint that empirical senses are the only means of perceiving the world?
If they held that view, surely they would be empiricists, wouldn’t they?

Yes I realise that believers believe that their empirically unknowable conclusions are non-empirically evidenced. The problem I have with this is how? I asked this in Immaterial "Evidence" and nobody has ever been able to give me an answer. It ultimately amounts to unconsciously citing belief as evidence upon which to justify belief. Which is of course circular. Why do people of faith even try to go down the route of claiming such poor forms of evidence?

Straggler writes:

On one hand you claim confidence in empirical conclusions but on the other you claim absolute agnosticism to completely contradictory conclusions. Purely on the basis that they are unfalsifiable and unknowable. For example how can you be confident that the Earth has existed for billions of years whilst simultaneously stating that you have absolutely no belief either way as to whether or not the Earth was omphamistically zapped into existence less than 10,000 years ago?

I only consider my confidence in empirical conclusions to be valid within an empirical frame of reference.

So the conclusion that the Earth has existed for billions of years is just an internally epistemologically consistent conclusion no more or less valid than the biblical omphalist conclusion that it is less than 10,000 years old? Or indeed any other age based on any other internally consistent epistemology (e.g. Last Thursdayism on the basis of reading sheeps entrails)? That is the logical consequence of what you are saying. That there is no correct answer as to the age of the Earth. It simply depends on ones wholly subjective epistemological preference. Do you really believe this? When confronted with biblical creationists do you really think "Yeah their conclusion regarding the age of the Earth is just as valid as the empirical one"? I find this hard to accept.

I take a more pragmatic view. I follow what we know to work in practise. And given that you are a scientist I find it hard to believe that you really accept all epistemologies as equally valid and all knowledge to be nothing more than the arbitrary result of choosing one equally valid epistemology over another.

I think it does add up. My confidence can only exist within a certain frame of reference. The possibility of omphalism effectively removes that frame of reference; so, when faced with the possibility of omphalism, all I can do is shrug and say, “It doesn’t seem that way to me.” And, I really can’t do any better than that.

But you can do so much better than that. You can ask on what basis the omphalist conclusion was made. You can ask why anyone would consider this conclusion to be even remotely reliable or valid. You can compare it to the known reliability of other competing methods of knowing and the rival conclusions derived from them. You can claim knowledge even in the necessary absence of certainty.

That doesn’t really bother me, though: I don’t have such a negative view on agnosticism. I’ve found that I get along just fine without passionate belief in anything in particular, and I’ve done fairly well in the scientific world so far. We’ll see how good I feel about myself and my abilities after my big manuscript is reviewed in the coming months.

Good luck with your manuscript. And a dispassionate approach is no bad thing for a working scientist (although I don't accept that agnosticism and being dispassionate necessarily go together - some who advocate agnosticism do so with much passion). I wish you well also with your other issues.

I prefer not to get emotionally attached to my arguments....

Personally I can't help it. And I don't think it is necessarily a problem as long as it doesn't completely take over from meaningful discussion. A debate board (I think) is all about putting your beliefs out there and seeing just how well they stand up to scrutiny by others. And that is bound to entail some emotion and passion when it comes to strongly held beliefs or even deeply held assumptions. It's just inevitable so I don't shy away from it. But I am genuinely sorry if I have pissed you off recently.

It’s not important anyway.

No it isn't. When we next talk never forget that I am primarily here for my own entertainment. No matter how fervently I might make my case none of it really matters at all.

Have a good day, Straggler.

You too.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 114 by Blue Jay, posted 03-02-2010 11:36 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 116 of 151 (550458)
03-15-2010 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by Straggler
03-02-2010 7:29 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
In my biblical omphalist mode I am indeed advocating that you should be agnostic towards biblical omphalism. You cannot falsfy it and empiricism, whilst a useful practical tool, is not a path to truth.

With omphalism, we have the last 6000 years to see that science works and can figure that its prolly right about the age of the earth too so we can be gnostic about the conclusion.

When everything, including the evidence you cite as showing that Last Thursdayism and biblical omphalism are false, could have been omphamistically created less than 5 minutes ago (5 Minutes AgoIsm) without empirical evidence being able to show us any different then one has to admit that any confidence in empirical conclusions must be faith based. No?

And with Last Thursdayism we don't have anything to go on so we're stuck at agnosticism. Any evidence that would be against it is removed by it.

"I doubt it" seems like a statement of relative likelihood to me. Do you not consider the empirical conclusion regarding the age of the Earth as more likely to be true than the Last Thursdayist conclusion?

Not rationally, no, but still: yes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 113 by Straggler, posted 03-02-2010 7:29 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by Straggler, posted 04-02-2010 6:21 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Peepul
Member (Idle past 3216 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009


Message 117 of 151 (550712)
03-17-2010 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by Straggler
03-02-2010 7:29 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
quote:
In my biblical omphalist mode I am indeed advocating that you should be agnostic towards biblical omphalism. You cannot falsfy it and empiricism, whilst a useful practical tool, is not a path to truth.

This 'agnostic to x' debate is a bit of a red herring (I recognize you're playing devil's advocate here). I say that because of the billions of propositions we could consider. We don't need to waste our time deciding whether we should be agnostic to them all or rule them out - because all we need to do is limit our attention to the propositions that actually have positive evidence in their favour, and decide between those.

Likewise we should simply ignore all propositions that cannot in theory be decided by evidence, such as omphalism.

We may not get to the truth by this route - but we stop worrying about irrelevancies, and there's a chance we'll get an approximation of the truth.

Edited by Peepul, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 113 by Straggler, posted 03-02-2010 7:29 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 119 by Straggler, posted 04-02-2010 6:32 PM Peepul has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 118 of 151 (553319)
04-02-2010 6:21 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by New Cat's Eye
03-15-2010 5:02 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
"I doubt it" seems like a statement of relative likelihood to me. Do you not consider the empirical conclusion regarding the age of the Earth as more likely to be true than the Last Thursdayist conclusion?

Not rationally, no, but still: yes.

So the rational conclusion regarding the age of the Earth is..... What?

Edited by Straggler, : Fix quotes


This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by New Cat's Eye, posted 03-15-2010 5:02 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-05-2010 4:47 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 119 of 151 (553323)
04-02-2010 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 117 by Peepul
03-17-2010 1:58 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
Likewise we should simply ignore all propositions that cannot in theory be decided by evidence, such as omphalism.

Well I wish we could. But omphalism here is just the current and less inflammatory representative of all the inherently unknowable things people keep relentlessly insisting we should be rationally agnostic about.

We may not get to the truth by this route - but we stop worrying about irrelevancies.....

That is all very well. Except that on a site almost entirely dedicated to discussing "irrelevencies" like the existence of gods and other such unknowables there would be little left to argue about if we took this advice.

...and there's a chance we'll get an approximation of the truth.

Verisimilitude is probably my own position regarding the rationality of science too. But what if Last Thursdayism is true? Then all we are doing is being ever further duped away from the truth by empirical evidence regarding the age of the Earth.

What is the rational conclusion regarding the age of the Earth? How confident of this conclusion do you think we can rationally be? Does your answer to this question (with the implicit lack of certainty that we all seem to agree is necessary) really allow you to claim agnosticism towards the conclusion that the Earth was created less than a week ago?

Edited by Straggler, : Spelling and wording

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by Peepul, posted 03-17-2010 1:58 PM Peepul has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 121 by Peepul, posted 04-06-2010 5:45 AM Straggler has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 120 of 151 (553909)
04-05-2010 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by Straggler
04-02-2010 6:21 PM


Re: Let's Pretend.....
So the rational conclusion regarding the age of the Earth is..... What?

What the empirical evidence suggests, although it can't show that it wasn't created last thursday.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by Straggler, posted 04-02-2010 6:21 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 122 by Straggler, posted 04-06-2010 1:39 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
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