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edward long

Association of Old Crows


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Is it valid to forefend anything that will not submit to examination by the scientific method?

Persistent and recurring elements of conscious human experience which cannot be studied by being observed; measured and experimented upon in order to formulate, test, and modify hypotheses are relegated to classifications like myth, faith and fantasy. Is it intellectually justifiable to go so far as to state, as fact, that such elements do not, in fact cannot, exist?


Closing Statement from edward long

@ Gerald O'Brian re: "real observable phenomena". We are fresh out of reply buttons so I guess they will shut us down soon. But I must try to make one on-topic observation. Based on replies to my debate question, it is not possible to penetrate the tough, semantic scale which encapsulates the scientific method. This debate is replete with the question, "What do you mean by __________ ?" It is probably my fault for being unable to phrase the question with sufficiently precise language, but there is not one straight answer to the question. Everything seems to call for further clarification. Heisenberg seems to have the upper hand today. So, Tolkein had an explanation for the middle world, that makes it "observable"?

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  • Apr 4 2012: It depends on how you define existence and what science is able to address through experimentation. You can't experiment using ideas such as God, for example. Perhaps human conscious experience will yield some new leads, but that isn't allowed under the sphere of materialism, and invokes subjectivity.

    “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
    --Nikola Tesla
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      Apr 4 2012: Using any definition of the word existence does not effect my question. Plato said science is nothing but perception. If something cannot be smelled, touched, tasted, heard or seen and is excluded from the scientific method does that prove it is unreal? For the record, I say no, it does not. How say you, Mr. Wang?
      Thanks for the quote and your insight.
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        Apr 4 2012: If something affects reality, then it's real. And if it's real, then it exists in reality. Science has the potential to "see" what exists in reality.

        If something does not affect reality, ... well... Who cares?
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          Apr 5 2012: Your definition of reality looks circular to me Gerald. What if something science cannot see affects reality? Also, to be something requires existence. How can something exist in reality and have no effect on reality since everything is interconnected? Who cares you ask? I think every atheist, agnostic and believer (that's about 5 billion people) cares. They all want proof, either of God's existence, or non-existence. For the atheist it is Higgs Boson. For the believers it is for their god(s) to put on a demo which can be fed into the machine called The Scientific Method and everyone will be converted to their religion and live happily ever after.
      • Apr 5 2012: Well, science is the study of human representations of nature through theories, paradigms, axioms, generalizations, quantum processes, energy conversions and models, refined by experiments and theoretical analyses, not necessarily the direct study of nature itself. We cannot even explain things-in-themselves: we can for example describe how an atom is composed, how its particles interact with one another and its physical properties, but can never say what an atom, or subatomic particle, actually IS. That's called the noumenon problem.

        Again, it depends on how you define reality, and where reality's boundaries lie--but if reality can have boundaries, does that mean reality is itself only limitedly real? It really stretches the mind, which by the way is perhaps our brain's representation for itself, unless material definitions are somehow incomplete. There are many things or entities that are hard to define--for example, how would you explain the material reality of ideas, time and space, or the mere absence of matter and energy--is this absence real, can it be quantified, or does reality stop when reality's constituents are missing? The realm of absolute concepts can also be confusing to the materialist. In fact God is one of these concepts, an absolute entity accessed or established by the human mind, which in turn is a self-referential manifestation of itself.

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          Apr 5 2012: Interesting indeed Yale. Some seem to argue our only connection to reality is our five senses with which we experience phenomena. That just can't be true! There are too many persistent and recurring elements of conscious human experience which transcend the scope of the scientific method and the effectiveness of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.
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        Apr 5 2012: If something affects reality, then science can see it, Edward.
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          Apr 5 2012: OK Gerald. Can science see the wind, the four forces of nature, energy, consciousness, time, etc.? Or are they all excluded from science?
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        Apr 5 2012: science sees all this. Has an explanation for them, at least. "seeing" is meant in this sense.
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          Apr 5 2012: Sorry Gerald. There I go being literal again. To have an explanation for something is to "see" that something? I thought science was based on real, observable phenomena. I have an explanation for Time. Does that mean Time is something more "visible" than a collection of thoughts in my mind? Does a conjured-up explanation lend credence to something invisible and undetectable? Thanks.
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        Apr 6 2012: "real observable phenomena"
        What do you mean by observable? Observable through an instrument and then through the eyeball?

        Take a star. How do you know it's real? Because you actually see it, you might think. well do you actually see it?
        Or do you only "see" a bunch of photons and have a conjured-up explanation about what it might be?
        I could fool you by painting a tiny white dot on a black board, and you'd be "seeing" a star, if it's only a matter of how many photons and what colour.
        But do you actually see the photon? Or is the photon transformed into electric signals in the retina that run down the optic fiber towards the brain.
        Do you see the electric signal, then?
        What does seeing mean, by now?

        You guess. That's it. There is a bunch of signals, and you've got a software to guess what they mean. The software is constantly upgrading, too.
        You never see anything. Look at your wife. You can't see her. You get elctrical signals in your brain, the same kind you get when you smell cofee. but your wife's signals are familiar to the software, and you guess whether it might be probable that your wife could be standing on front of you.
        Most of what you see is just made up. Guesswork. All the time.

        Science, now, is about trying to guess well.
        Time, gravity, etc... are "seen" by science. Of course they are misconceptions. Bad guesses, though the best ones available in one particuliar time.
        It's all about having an explanation for something. This is what makes anything real. For all you know, the outside world is just a bunch of electrical activity in your brain. But you take it for granted that some of the signals reffer to what's actually out there. You do that through "conjured up explanations". THere is no other way, and "direct observation" doesn't mean anything.

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