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Chacham's Journal: Comment posted here because blocked by lameness filter 9

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Very true. IMHO, the way that the universe does seem to be predictable is absolutely amazing.

You agreed with me!?! /me faints, laughs, and replies.

Anyway, I also agree with the second sentiment.

I think I've got a subtlely different idea of what a truth is to you. Somehow slightly less personal or something. I suppose I think of truths as things that transcend an individual's beliefs.

So do I. In fact, I once decided that the only fact anyone could know, was this one. Other than that, we are relying on our senses. Thus the term "it makes sense". But *nothing* can actually be proven to be fact.

So, I was driving along and I saw my brother. I rolled down the car window (hit the pavement and got back in the car) and asked him, "what is fact?" Bewildered that I would ask such a simple question, he answered succinctly, "That which is, is". Bingo! Facts do exist, and we may even know them, but we will never *know* conclusively that that (ooh, good example of two "thats" in a row) which we know is actually a fact. Thus, we can only *assume* that something is fact, and that assumption is "proven" by tools of personal choice.

As such, Facts, or Truths, transcend all. However, the things that we choose to believe as "fact", are inherently personal.

In other words, there are lots of religious truths, which conflict to an extent,

Not within any one religion, sect, or doctrine. The same applies for Science too. Theories conflict. But, to each their own. Just no one scientist can use two conflicting things at th same time.

so according to my definition, they aren't all truths because they all can't be completely true. For example, one person says "there is only one God, not ten", and someone else says, "there are exactly ten Gods, not one". I don't understand how both can be true simultaneously,

That is a valid point. But, it is not a problem unless one person or group accepts both. Because each will deny that the other's "truths" are actually "truths".

but that's kinda a logical thing, and... yuck.

You caught on. Impressive. :-)

(BTW, if you agree with the different disciplines and proving truths, or just want to work on the theory, I could use some help. I've been toying with it, but I'm not sure that it is well thought out enough. If interested, I'll start a journal entry when I break my laziness enough to write a decent entry. Sheesh! This comment has already taken up somewhere around fourty-five minutes in thinking, writing, and editing.)

And regarding logic: The only reason that we see logic around is because people understand it in a sense.

Actually, according to Meyers-Briggs, about 70% of men and 30% of women make logic-judgments (T). The rest make more complex value-judgements (F). Considering there are more women than men, I can argue that point by saying that the majority of humans use value-judgments over logic-judgments.

However, Fs do understand T logic-judgments (because they are easy, as opposed to to Ts who have a harder time with the more complex value-judgments). They just *prefer* to make value-judgments. So, you could say that everyone *understands* logic-judgments (except, maybe, Democrats). In which case, I'd have to agree with you.

It fits in with a certain mode of thought that many people are comfortable with after some practice,

And I'll disagree with that (so ha!). Since the majority of people make F value-judgments, and are repulsed by T logic-judgments.

and it can be applied in science, which as we've already established, isn't proof, but is useful. These things also apply to religion.

Yeah, I think all the tools can be used to at least help. Science doesn't use Logic as a major first-tier tool. It uses Observation and the like. Similarly, Religion uses Faith and the like, even though Logic can creep in after the first-tier.

Deduction is logical, but induction isn't.

>dict induction |grep --sanity-filter

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44 [gcide]:

3. (Philos.) The act or process of reasoning from a part to a
                whole, from particulars to generals, or from the
                individual to the universal; also, the result or inference
                so reached.

                [1913 Webster]

                            Induction is the process by which we conclude that
                            what is true of certain individuals of a class, is
                            true of the whole class, or that what is true at
                            certain times will be true in similar circumstances
                            at all times. --J. S. Mill.

Interesting. That is not logical. It is (as dict pointed out) philosophical. (FWIW, Judaism has thirteen methods with which to study the Bible. This (induction) is known as, "Binyan Av", and is used by the Talmud all over the place.)

Anyway, does Science really use induction? Or does it just use induction to provide theories to be tested?

Even if you're just applying a theory, you still have to match up a physical situation to a more mathematical/logical description, which isn't covered by logic.

But until it is tested, it isn't accepted as a form of Truth. As such, they are not first-tier tools.

There are lots of ideas around, but that's beyond science's self-imposed boundaries at the moment. It might be beyond science's reach forever.

The reason many people choose Religion (or Philosophy) over Science is because while Science can provide answers *after* the first step it can't do anything about the first step itself! To many (including me) that shows its idiocy relative to other disciplines. What good is a theory that works everywhere but at the beginning? Would you accept a study based on all even numbers not being prime?

In a sense, I think Science should keep away from that which it cannot answer. Science has its uses, but its followers should realize where it does not apply and admit to the other disciplines.

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    • However, Fs do understand T logic-judgements (because they are easy, as opposed to to Ts who have a harder time with the more complex value-judgements).


    I call bull. I have known tons of artsy fartsy people who couldn't figure out a logic based system for the life of them. TRUE logic is highly complex and value based judgements are a mere instinctivly built in subset of advanced logical thinking.
  • Indeed -- philosophers as far back as the ancients have understood that there is a very real difference between the question of whether we can know the truth and the question of whether there is truth.

    This was the idea behind Plato's analogy of the cave (in The Republic, though he touches on some of the same ideas in several of the dialogues), for example, the idea that if we could somehow be freed from experiencing the Universe through our perceptions, and see Truth, it would be as if, having seen nothing but the shadows of things our whole life, we could suddenly see the things themselves.

    In the same sense, it is pretty easy to logically conclude that there is such a thing as truth (contra the claims of PoMo `philosophers'), and indeed, too many things which are obviously true would be impossible in the absence thereof.

    As an example, we can easily point out that our understanding of the value of Pi has changed over the centuries -- 1 Kings 7:23 suggests 3 as the value, the Greeks got to 3 and a fraction, and in the last century or three, we have added more and more (now billions) of digits to a value now understood to be non-terminating.

    Now, it's clear from this that our understanding of the value of Pi has changed, but this clearly does not mean that there is no true value of Pi. If there were not, what could it possibly mean to say, as we correctly do, that 3.1415 is better estimation of Pi than 3.14, which is itself a better estimation than 3? And if we were incorrect to say this, what would it mean that the more precise values are more useful in actual, measurable calculations than the less precise ones?

    So, what we think we know may indeed vary with time, as the model we build of the objectively real external truth improves, but that external reality must exist, and the fact that as mortals we may never quite get it right does not change this.

    • The question is why pi is important. Its importance tells you how many numbers are required.

      So, what we think we know may indeed vary with time, as the model we build of the objectively real external truth improves, but that external reality must exist, and the fact that as mortals we may never quite get it right does not change this.

      Bad proof, good point. :-)
      • Not just that -- while you may indeed not have more digits and not need them, or you may need them and not have them, the statement that a circle of radius 1 in. has a circumference of 6.28 inches is more true (indeed demonstrably so) than the statement that it has a circumference of 6.2 inches, even if the diference in precision does not affect the usage at hand. :-)

  • OK, firstly, induction is heavily used in everyday life, in any discipline you can think of. From your definition/quote: "or that what is true at certain times will be true in similar circumstances at all times." Not many people practically get very far if they don't have a certain amount of faith that the floor won't suddenly turn into quicksand just because it hasn't in the past, or that buildings don't just vanish into thin air just because it hasn't in the past, etc. Science uses this too: it assumes (though sometimes with qualifications) that gravity will still obey the same laws in the future, and has in the past, and that gravity still exists in distant galaxies, even though nobody has actually verified all this stuff (assuming this seems to work OK, but it's still an assumption). And it also uses induction to distill patterns out of similar observations, to make theories. So induction is used to apply science, and in the process of its formation.

    Science being stuck in places where it's not needed: Most of the time, you're seeing a mix of science and philosophy there. I'm sure you're aware that philosophy of science is popular in quite a few circles (lots of books about it anyhow). And a lot of "theories" are more metaphysical, philosophical theories that fit in with recent advances in science. Scientists need philosophy (and religion, though not always a formal one) to understand what they're doing too, and sometimes these philosophies can help them think about problems at hand. This caused problems for Einstein when he thought about entanglement ("God does not play dice"), and although this isn't actually science, it's important to a lot of people that their philosophies and religion fit in with science.

    Regarding the Meyer-Briggs idea of judgements: making judgements in "real life" doesn't mean that they're not capable or amenable to the idea of thinking logically when it's necessary or useful.

    Here's something for you: I'm reading a book called "A Mathematical Mystery Tour" by A. K. Dewdney. The principle tenet of the book is that mathematics actually does have an existence in a sense: i.e. it's "out there" waiting to be discovered. This is postulated because the same idea is often discovered by two people who've never met, working in completely different conditions and proving the problem in different ways, and may not even have had any cultural connections at all (true in ancient times). Further, there's an idea that mathematics may actually be the underpinnings of the world as we see it: as if our universe is just bits of this mathematical universe "poking through". I've probably got something wrong here, but anyway, it's something to think about.

    • OK, firstly, induction is heavily used in everyday life, in any discipline you can think of.

      Actually, those aren't examples of induction. (Well, they are, but the reliance is not on induction.) When a person walks into a room and assumes the floor will not fall, it is because the floor is here now, and a reason would be required to change the status quo. Induction would be in conflict with this idea had the opposite been true. That, if everytime a person walked into a bottomless pit a floor flew upwards, induction would say that this would happen everywhere. How many people would rely on that? People rely on inertia, in a sense, not induction.

      Science uses this too: it assumes (though sometimes with qualifications) that gravity will still obey the same laws in the future,

      Again, that isn't induction. That is reliance on that things don't change.

      Science has studied that things do not change without reason. It is that study on which Science relies. Not induction.

      making judgements in "real life" doesn't mean that they're not capable or amenable to the idea of thinking logically when it's necessary or useful.

      Fs can, they just tend to be abhored by it's non-friendly approach, and thus prefer not to do it. Also, without the constant practice, they never really get good at it, and can only use it in simple cases.

      Here's something for you: I'm reading a book called "A Mathematical Mystery Tour"

      Sounds interesting, thanx for the suggestion.
      • I think this kind of stuff is reliance on induction, although I chose a rather silly example. We want a reason for things to change because we think that there have been reasons for change in the past. We look for inertia because that's how our experience has conditioned us. Reliance on things that don't change is induction, because it's applying past observations (that things don't chnage without a reason) to future circumstances, i.e. we're making a generalisation form some specific observations.
        • I'm going to have to seriously disagree with you here. Induction is application based on a guess. It is not a recognized pattern, or a reliance in the status quo.

          Hmm... I'd even say that the application of induction is illogical (not "not logical", rather, the opposite of the use of logic). To induce makes no sense, unless, that is, you have a reason that it *should* make sense.

          To understand induction let's come up with a few cases.

          Case 1, a teacher gives a test every Friday on material studied that week. The teacher never announces that there will be a test, but for eight weeks in a row that is what happened. A student uses induction to realize that there will _probably_ be a test this Friday.

          Case 2, same as one, except, that whenever a holiday happened on Monday, the test was not given. The next time a holiday happened on a Monday, the student decided not to study, basing it on induction.

          You may be tempted to say that there was a pattern in these cases. There certainly wasn't from the student's view. However, the student recognized an intelligence behind the test giving and induced that there probably is a pattern. Then the student relied on the pattern. However, the basis for the pattern was in fact induction.

          Case 3, a person comes from France to Britian and begins to learn English for the first time. The person is beginning to learn about adverbs. The person notices that the adjective "quick" becomes and adverb by postpending an "ly" and decides, therefore, that all adverbs can be made by finding the appropriate adjective and postpending an "ly". That is not pattern recognition at all. That is pure induction.

          Case 4, a person calls their credit card company on the telephone, in order to pay the bill online. The person then presses various numbers in order to get to the correct menu, and finally pays the bill. The next month, when the person decides to do the same thing, the person, not wishing to spend time listening to the informational messages, presses the exact same numbers without waiting for those messages. That was not induction. The person relied on this notion that things do not change unless there is a reason for change. (I am calling that "inertia".)

          Reliance on things that don't change is induction, because it's applying past observations (that things don't chnage without a reason) to future circumstances,

          In a sense yes, in a sense no. Yes, because that is *exactly* what Science is. Science is the study of empirical evidence. If things were to change regularly (no cylces or patterns), there wouldn't be much purpose to study, since nothing learnt would be able to be reliably applied. Thus, you could get away with sayng that Science is *based on* induction. However, it is also a "no", since Science does not use induction. A door may be used to enter a room, but the room does not use the door. Science has one law, "things don't change without reason". After that, induction is never used. It may promote theories to be tested, but it is never used. I challenge you to find me one something that Science relies upon when induction was its only support.

          A final note. Induction has two rules. One, it must be applied to something else. That is, something other then where it was first realized. Second, that there is reason to believe that there is something (or someone) making a pattern behind it all. That is, that induction will never be applied in a "random" area.

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