The Meaning of Life

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.

Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:12 am

Carmel:
You're wrong. It's local. It is a by-product of your neurological and physiological processes. To say it is non local requires a leap of faith. This is where philosophy ends and religion begins. That you don't understand this, demonstrates a serious lack of critical thought on your part.


What's the logic behind that.
It's just a mindless retort so far.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:22 am

The thinkers here understand it.

Think, Dennis...or perhaps you should just stick to your dreamy prose about emptiness...
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:41 am

Yeah, I get it.
You can't back it up.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:45 am

facepalm

Why do you think David advised me to think of his views as the middle road between philosophy and religion, Dennis?

It requires a leap of faith to believe in the consequences of logic, to apply an internal logical process to "out there"(and one's internal reality) and turn it into "Ultimate Reality." What is it about this that you don't understand?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:08 am

You can either back it up or you can't.

Peace.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:13 am

Actually, dear, the burden of proof isn't on me.

As I mentioned, I happen to agree with most of the philosophical viewpoints here, but I'm not foolish enough to think that there isn't an element of faith at play...and David has been honest in this regard. I'm sorry that you are having a difficult time understanding this.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:39 am

Derivative of Socrates...

There's stuff you know.
There's stuff you know you don't know.
There's stuff you don't know you don't know.

You are an 'integrity' of that.

Being in that space of integrity is what is meant by 'being coachable'.

It's always an inquiry.

That statement you made is stuff you know you don't know.
You know it. I know it.
Don't bullshit me.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:46 am

You're the only one here attempting to bullshit anyone. It isn't working.

Seriously, Dennis, Give it a rest.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Jesu » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:32 pm

Maybe somebody has already said this, but I never really understood the question "What's the meaning of life?"

Unless you believe in some form of determinism or deity that you are indentured to, it seems obvious to me that the only person who can give meaning to your life is you. That's the answer: everybody decides (or lets somebody decide for them) the meaning of their life. To ask somebody else is simply a cop-out of what is really your responsibility.

Does anybody else feel this way?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby jupiviv » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:50 pm

Carmel wrote:It(absolute knowledge) is local. It is a by-product of your neurological and physiological processes.


This is something that you know, I presume. So is this fact absolute or "local"? If it is local then it is possible that you are 100% wrong and that there are cases where absolute knowledge may in fact be absolute, i.e, non-local.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:16 pm

Jupiviv,

I already explained this, twice now, in my response to you and to Dennis. You have to take my response to you in its entire context, otherwise it looks like you are either playing word games or you have a problem with reading comprehension.

Here's my response to Dennis. Read it again and see if you can understand it.:

Why do you think David advised me to think of his views as the middle road between philosophy and religion, Dennis?

It requires a leap of faith to believe in the consequences of logic, to apply an internal logical process to "out there"(and one's internal reality) and turn it into "Ultimate Reality." What is it about this that you don't understand?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:22 pm

Jupiviv,

Here is the entire response to you. You missed the most important part. Read the entire quote again, instead of cherry picking, otherwise you'll never understand it.

Carmel to jupiviv:
You're wrong. It's local. It is a by-product of your neurological and physiological processes. To say it is non local requires a leap of faith. This is where philosophy ends and religion begins. That you don't understand this, demonstrates a serious lack of critical thought on your part.
--
iow, you can't say that absolute truth is non local without a leap of faith. "Ultimate Reality" is a theory, if you want to call it an absolute truth which is non local, then you're going to have to be honest about it and acknowledge the element of faith required to do so.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:04 pm

It is a by-product of your neurological and physiological processes


How did they get there?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:10 pm

causality, of course...

hahaha!

That one was for prince, cheers!
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby guest_of_logic » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:51 pm

Carmel wrote:The key word here is "if". If this, then that... or if this, then maybe that. The problem I'm having with this line of thought is that it's entirely too hypothetical, but unlike a scientific hypothesis, it can't be tested and verfied, so, in essence this whole thought experiment is fairly futile. It really amounts to wishful thinking or fiction. You can create whatever outcome you want simply by imagining the desired outcome, in this case, imagining the second version of reality to be different than the first, but I haven't seen any logical argument that supports this.


You are perhaps under the impression that I'm trying to prove a reality with this thought experiment, when I'm actually trying to prove merely a possibility. I'm not "creating whatever outcome I want" - in fact I'm not creating any outcome at all: I'm simply presenting two alternative possibilities and pointing out that we can't, based on pure logic, know which one is true.

The causal nature of reality is obvious - don't you think it's interesting to question the extent to which it holds true though? Yes, short of revelation or omniscience, we will never know the truth, but questioning like this can prevent us from making assumptions.

Carmel wrote:I wouldn't claim to "know", but I would say, without reservation, that all logic points in that direction.


I wouldn't go that far myself, but I take your position.

Carmel wrote:but still no argument is being made.


But I've already explained my argument to you: that, since that falsity would involve no logical contradiction, it is logically possible that causal determinism is false. That's it. I'm just talking in possibilities.

Carmel wrote:I'm still not clear what you mean by "true randomness". To me, that phrase simply means, "truly unpredictable".


Yes, that's what I mean by it: unpredictable even in principle, and unpredictable to the extent that upon replaying the universe the outcome might be (randomly/unpredictably) different than on the original "play" of the universe.

Carmel wrote:...and what do you mean by "some sort of structure above and beyond randomness"? Are you invoking God here?


My, we're quite the suspicious atheist, now aren't we? :-)

No, I simply mean that will seems to entail some structure of cause-and-effect: in other words, I will something to happen (the cause) and then that thing happens (the effect). If the effect is a result of something random, then it's hard to see how it could be classified as having been "willed".

Carmel wrote:I'm not opposed to exploring possiblities, but I need viable reasons to back them up, otherwise, it's just an exercise of the imagination and won't have any effect on my viewpoint.


The only effects that I want to have on your viewpoint is for you to acknowledge one or more (preferably all) of the following:
  • that causal determinism entails at least two absurdities
  • that it is possible that causal determinism is false, and
  • that it is possible that the absurdities of causal determinism might, in some as-yet unknown way, be overcome if the possibility that causal determinism is false indeed turns out to be true.

Carmel wrote:I've experienced both dejavu and precognition(yes, really:), or even both surrounding the same event. Determinism would help explain both of these phenomena, especially precognition. This is just a personal anecdote, take or leave it...


I take you at your word. As I've acknowledged, these type of phenomena do pose a challenge to indeterminism, although perhaps not a fatal one.

Carmel wrote:It's interesting that determinism actually does match my intuitive experience, but doesn't seem to match yours, but how we experience things is highly subjective and not really something to base an argument on, my own experiences included.


In some ways it matches my intuitive experience and in some ways it doesn't.

Carmel wrote:I think I understand it somewhat better now, but I can't help but wonder if your religious views could be a large influencing factor on your beliefs. i.e. The notion that God gave us free will, etc...Do you think that's the case?


Suspicious atheist, indeed. Carmel, I've not figured God into any of this at all - it's purely materialist speculative thinking.

cousinbasil wrote:Far be it from me to defend David, who seems to do just fine defending himself, but he expressly denied talking about what you are calling "causal determinism."


I was judging by his answer to the thought experiment.

cousinbasil wrote:Laird - I am not talking about this hypothetical scenario in the least.


Well, then we are talking at cross purposes.

cousinbasil wrote:I am talking about what is, and only what is. Surely, if I allow you this one hypothetical ability to rewind time for every aspect of the present universe, what's to stop you from arrogating to yourself the ability to then send that universe forward again to an outcome that is to your liking, that is, to an alternative present which differs from the one we started with so you can then proclaim the death of causal determinism?


Like Carmel, you seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not arguing for the truth of indeterminism, merely for the logical possibility of it.

cousinbasil wrote:I am saying that at each temporal point, the world is at it is and not some other way. I do not believe everything everywhere is linked by a causal web which exists in the present. In other words, you cannot tweak something in a distant galaxy and have a repercussion of it here in the next instant.

But I do believe that the state of the universe at any moment and at any location is a result of prior causes.

That is the sum total of what I have been saying.


You do also, though, seem to be saying that the universe is causally deterministic, judging by your answer to my thought experiment. Just for clarity, though, do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: "Causal determinism is definitively true."

cousinbasil wrote:You are claiming this bears out that causal determinism must be failing, since the trial runs are set up identically and never changed.


Hang on, you're putting words into my mouth.

guest_of_logic: If events are not predetermined, then they are in some sense "free" (in the causal sense), and this opens the door to the possibility of a truly libertarian free will.

cousinbasil: I am not convinced that human choice can be classified as an event the same way every physical event is classified. By this I mean, human will can be a cause, and it can be an effect, but it need not be either. Human mentation seems as if it can occur unrelated to previous events, either internal or external.


So then it appears that you believe that the mind is indeterministic.

cousinbasil wrote:
Even without that distinction, though, it depends on what we count as a cause. For causal determinism, we consider as causes only prior events, so how about a scenario in which the universe has a definite beginning in time and owes its existence to some sort of quantum principle? We could not count the quantum principle as a cause because it does not exist in any prior state of the universe (because there is no prior state), and so any event at time zero would be without a cause (in the temporal sense - obviously not in the non-temporal senses that David also includes).

You'll note that in a response to Locke, I proposed a hypothetical Event Alpha, which is the one event lying withing the light cone of every event in the universe besides itself at every subsequent instant of time.

This would be, say, a Big Bang, whether a quantum fluctuation or something else. If there is an Alpha Point, causality is meaningless there, just as equations of QM and relativity break down there and run to mathematical singularities.

If David is correct and there was no such uncaused beginning of things, your example reduces to another thought experiment that has the same value as your "rewinding the universe" Gedankenexperiment.

David, however, does not and cannot know - he is just surmising based on logical consistency, which is as valid a motivation as any other, I suppose.

But if he is not correct and there was an Alpha Event, it does not alter the fact that every subsequent event is caused, and causes another event in turn.


After all of that I'm not sure whether or not you consider that I have met your challenge of providing an example of an uncaused thing - as best I can tell it's a case of "Maybe, depending on whether the universe has a beginning".

David: There is no real difference between a "cause" and a "condition", at bottom.

guest_of_logic: That depends on what you mean by "real". Conditions are defined to be less relevant than causes, but yes, "Both fall into the category of being part contributors of a thing's existence".

David: A "condition" is just as relevent to a thing's existence as a "cause is". A tree can no more exist in the absence of space than it can in the absence of its DNA.


What I meant by "less relevant" might better be expressed as "less specific". For example, consider the cause-and-effect relationship between spearing a man through the heart and that man dying. One condition of this effect is that the universe exists, however the existence of the universe does not in and of itself imply the death of that man, whereas the spearing does: the cause of his spearing is more specific to his death than the condition of the existence of the universe.

guest_of_logic: Definitions by their nature include certain things and exclude certain other things, and you've already noted your agreement with this definition - now you're just trying to save face.

David: The only definition of causality that I agree to is "things cannot exist by themselves", or "things necessarily come from other things".


That's completely irrelevant since we're discussing the definition of "causal determinism", not that of "causality".

David: It is important to tease out all the logical implications of the matter. For example, it is logically the case that the present couldn't happen without the past. It is only by things disappearing into the past that room can be made for things to emerge in the present. So already the connection between past and present is logically demonstrated.

guest_of_logic: This is another strawman. I'm not disputing a relationship between past and present, I'm disputing that we can know for certain that the past wholly determines the present, such that a "replay" of the universe would definitely follow the same course. You haven't proved that we can know that, David.

David: The proof was demonstrated a number of posts ago. Given that a thing can only come from what is not itself, where else can the present come from but from what is not itself?


It's baffling to me that you seem to believe that a rhetorical question this vague can somehow be construed as a proof that a replay of the universe would follow the same course as the first time. Seriously, David, do you have anything concrete and rigorous?

David Quinn wrote:The problem with this conversation, apart from the fact that you don't want to understand anything, is that you are basing your "speculations" about the possibility of uncaused events on the false, academic idea that things and events exist as discrete entities. In other words, you're conceiving of things as separate, isolated lumps, as it were. So your starting basis in all of this is rooted in fiction.


Nonsense. My position doesn't depend on discreteness at all.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby jupiviv » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:57 pm

Carmel wrote:It requires a leap of faith to believe in the consequences of logic, to apply an internal logical process to "out there"(and one's internal reality) and turn it into "Ultimate Reality." What is it about this that you don't understand?


I don't know why you are welding Dennis' and my posts together. I'm asking you - is the fact that absolute knowledge is a product of our neurological processes absolute, or local? It's a very simple question.

you can't say that absolute truth is non local without a leap of faith.


Where is your proof? Or did you reach this conclusion by a leap of faith?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby guest_of_logic » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:11 pm

Coach, I've waited patiently for three months for you to answer my direct question... surely you can't be that busy.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby m4tt_666 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:15 pm

all knowledge, no matter how logically sound it appears at the time, is false. strive to understand nothing. when you set a goal you ascribe expectations of a predetermined outcome as you see it with that specific goal in mind ultimately diverting you from reaching the desired conclusion.

any idea that may pop into your head is not yours to own, because it was not created by you in the first place, but i will admit, the illusion is rather convincing sometimes. by taking an idea you seem to create to heart you are compromising a part of your identity to sustain that belief which is upheld by a falsifiable process.

i see a lot that when one simply tries to input his opinion on another ones personal idea, the opinion, no matter the intention, is usually seen by the other as an automatic personal attack on the credibility of not only his idea, but so far as a blatant attack on how he views his personal self. the more belief you hold in any opinion, be it your own creation or that of another person serves only to shut out every other possibility within any given subject.

the concept of truth is illusory by way of the fact individuals rely on their own specifically adapted morals to seek "truth" out. no doubt, this is our natural way of creating a seemingly unique personality separate from others, but it's also due to this false attainment of identity that aids in blinding us from our collective relation to each other.

point I'm trying to make is, keep an open mind whenever possible and don't take anybody's opinions too seriously, especially your own.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Carmel » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:24 pm

jupiviv:
I don't know why you are welding Dennis' and my posts together. I'm asking you - is the fact that absolute knowledge is a product of our neurological processes absolute, or local? It's a very simple question.

Carmel:
...because you need to learn to read for comprehension, this is an ongoing problem for you with everyone you interact with. I already answered your question quite clearly, if you lack the logical capacity to understand it, I can't help you.

Carmel:
you can't say that absolute truth is non local without a leap of faith.[/quote]
jupiviv:
Where is your proof? Or did you reach this conclusion by a leap of faith?

Carmel:
Are you kidding me? This is like a intellectually defunct Christian saying "God" can't be disproved, therefore he exists. If you want to claim "Ultimate Reality", "The Totality", infinity etc, as absolutes, the burden of proof is on you. These concepts are philosophical theories until faith is implemented, then and only then, can they be called "absolute truth". You aren't being honest with yourself if you continually fail to recognize the role that faith plays here.
Last edited by Carmel on Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Blair » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:40 pm

m4tt_666 wrote:any idea that may pop into your head is not yours to own, because it was not created by you in the first place,


What about the first human being who ever had an idea (and there was one), philosophical cat-piss?
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby m4tt_666 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:55 pm

the ideas previous existence before conception is debatable, but simply putting a face to an idea is by no means creation, but closer to adoption, even for the first man that may claim it as his own. in my opinion human thought is just another tool devised by evolution to sustain life, completely unaware of any other capable use in which it may be utilized.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:26 pm

Coach, I've waited patiently for three months for you to answer my direct question... surely you can't be that busy.


No, but you will be.

Wax on, Wax off....40 years at least.
Get to it.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby jupiviv » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:36 pm

Carmel wrote:
jupiviv wrote:I don't know why you are welding Dennis' and my posts together. I'm asking you - is the fact that absolute knowledge is a product of our neurological processes absolute, or local? It's a very simple question.

...because you need to learn to read for comprehension, this is an ongoing problem for you with everyone you interact with. I already answered your question quite clearly, if you lack the logical capacity to understand it, I can't help you.


No you haven't answered it. Dennis didn't ask you that question, I did. So why not answer the question in a straightforward manner instead of diminishing my reading comprehension and logical capacity?

If you want to claim "Ultimate Reality", "The Totality", infinity etc, as absolutes, the burden of proof is on you.


Only I'm not claiming those things are absolutes; I'm not even talking about them. I'm talking about absolute truths, which are truths that hold true for all of time and space. Eg.- the truth that if something is conscious, it must be having experiences. This must be true for any conscious being at any point in space or time. Even so called "local" truths are absolute, provided we define them in the correct way.

You're the one with the reading comprehension problem, because you can't distinguish between the ideas of different people.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Blair » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:34 pm

guest_of_logic wrote:
Carmel wrote:The key word here is "if". If this, then that... or if this, then maybe that. The problem I'm having with this line of thought is that it's entirely too hypothetical, but unlike a scientific hypothesis, it can't be tested and verfied, so, in essence this whole thought experiment is fairly futile. It really amounts to wishful thinking or fiction. You can create whatever outcome you want simply by imagining the desired outcome, in this case, imagining the second version of reality to be different than the first, but I haven't seen any logical argument that supports this.


You are perhaps under the impression that I'm trying to prove a reality with this thought experiment, when I'm actually trying to prove merely a possibility. I'm not "creating whatever outcome I want" - in fact I'm not creating any outcome at all: I'm simply presenting two alternative possibilities and pointing out that we can't, based on pure logic, know which one is true.

The causal nature of reality is obvious - don't you think it's interesting to question the extent to which it holds true though? Yes, short of revelation or omniscience, we will never know the truth, but questioning like this can prevent us from making assumptions.

Carmel wrote:I wouldn't claim to "know", but I would say, without reservation, that all logic points in that direction.


I wouldn't go that far myself, but I take your position.

Carmel wrote:but still no argument is being made.


But I've already explained my argument to you: that, since that falsity would involve no logical contradiction, it is logically possible that causal determinism is false. That's it. I'm just talking in possibilities.

Carmel wrote:I'm still not clear what you mean by "true randomness". To me, that phrase simply means, "truly unpredictable".


Yes, that's what I mean by it: unpredictable even in principle, and unpredictable to the extent that upon replaying the universe the outcome might be (randomly/unpredictably) different than on the original "play" of the universe.

Carmel wrote:...and what do you mean by "some sort of structure above and beyond randomness"? Are you invoking God here?


My, we're quite the suspicious atheist, now aren't we? :-)

No, I simply mean that will seems to entail some structure of cause-and-effect: in other words, I will something to happen (the cause) and then that thing happens (the effect). If the effect is a result of something random, then it's hard to see how it could be classified as having been "willed".

Carmel wrote:I'm not opposed to exploring possiblities, but I need viable reasons to back them up, otherwise, it's just an exercise of the imagination and won't have any effect on my viewpoint.


The only effects that I want to have on your viewpoint is for you to acknowledge one or more (preferably all) of the following:
  • that causal determinism entails at least two absurdities
  • that it is possible that causal determinism is false, and
  • that it is possible that the absurdities of causal determinism might, in some as-yet unknown way, be overcome if the possibility that causal determinism is false indeed turns out to be true.

Carmel wrote:I've experienced both dejavu and precognition(yes, really:), or even both surrounding the same event. Determinism would help explain both of these phenomena, especially precognition. This is just a personal anecdote, take or leave it...


I take you at your word. As I've acknowledged, these type of phenomena do pose a challenge to indeterminism, although perhaps not a fatal one.

Carmel wrote:It's interesting that determinism actually does match my intuitive experience, but doesn't seem to match yours, but how we experience things is highly subjective and not really something to base an argument on, my own experiences included.


In some ways it matches my intuitive experience and in some ways it doesn't.

Carmel wrote:I think I understand it somewhat better now, but I can't help but wonder if your religious views could be a large influencing factor on your beliefs. i.e. The notion that God gave us free will, etc...Do you think that's the case?


Suspicious atheist, indeed. Carmel, I've not figured God into any of this at all - it's purely materialist speculative thinking.

cousinbasil wrote:Far be it from me to defend David, who seems to do just fine defending himself, but he expressly denied talking about what you are calling "causal determinism."


I was judging by his answer to the thought experiment.

cousinbasil wrote:Laird - I am not talking about this hypothetical scenario in the least.


Well, then we are talking at cross purposes.

cousinbasil wrote:I am talking about what is, and only what is. Surely, if I allow you this one hypothetical ability to rewind time for every aspect of the present universe, what's to stop you from arrogating to yourself the ability to then send that universe forward again to an outcome that is to your liking, that is, to an alternative present which differs from the one we started with so you can then proclaim the death of causal determinism?


Like Carmel, you seem to be misunderstanding me. I'm not arguing for the truth of indeterminism, merely for the logical possibility of it.

cousinbasil wrote:I am saying that at each temporal point, the world is at it is and not some other way. I do not believe everything everywhere is linked by a causal web which exists in the present. In other words, you cannot tweak something in a distant galaxy and have a repercussion of it here in the next instant.

But I do believe that the state of the universe at any moment and at any location is a result of prior causes.

That is the sum total of what I have been saying.


You do also, though, seem to be saying that the universe is causally deterministic, judging by your answer to my thought experiment. Just for clarity, though, do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: "Causal determinism is definitively true."

cousinbasil wrote:You are claiming this bears out that causal determinism must be failing, since the trial runs are set up identically and never changed.


Hang on, you're putting words into my mouth.

guest_of_logic: If events are not predetermined, then they are in some sense "free" (in the causal sense), and this opens the door to the possibility of a truly libertarian free will.

cousinbasil: I am not convinced that human choice can be classified as an event the same way every physical event is classified. By this I mean, human will can be a cause, and it can be an effect, but it need not be either. Human mentation seems as if it can occur unrelated to previous events, either internal or external.


So then it appears that you believe that the mind is indeterministic.

cousinbasil wrote:
Even without that distinction, though, it depends on what we count as a cause. For causal determinism, we consider as causes only prior events, so how about a scenario in which the universe has a definite beginning in time and owes its existence to some sort of quantum principle? We could not count the quantum principle as a cause because it does not exist in any prior state of the universe (because there is no prior state), and so any event at time zero would be without a cause (in the temporal sense - obviously not in the non-temporal senses that David also includes).

You'll note that in a response to Locke, I proposed a hypothetical Event Alpha, which is the one event lying withing the light cone of every event in the universe besides itself at every subsequent instant of time.

This would be, say, a Big Bang, whether a quantum fluctuation or something else. If there is an Alpha Point, causality is meaningless there, just as equations of QM and relativity break down there and run to mathematical singularities.

If David is correct and there was no such uncaused beginning of things, your example reduces to another thought experiment that has the same value as your "rewinding the universe" Gedankenexperiment.

David, however, does not and cannot know - he is just surmising based on logical consistency, which is as valid a motivation as any other, I suppose.

But if he is not correct and there was an Alpha Event, it does not alter the fact that every subsequent event is caused, and causes another event in turn.


After all of that I'm not sure whether or not you consider that I have met your challenge of providing an example of an uncaused thing - as best I can tell it's a case of "Maybe, depending on whether the universe has a beginning".

David: There is no real difference between a "cause" and a "condition", at bottom.

guest_of_logic: That depends on what you mean by "real". Conditions are defined to be less relevant than causes, but yes, "Both fall into the category of being part contributors of a thing's existence".

David: A "condition" is just as relevent to a thing's existence as a "cause is". A tree can no more exist in the absence of space than it can in the absence of its DNA.


What I meant by "less relevant" might better be expressed as "less specific". For example, consider the cause-and-effect relationship between spearing a man through the heart and that man dying. One condition of this effect is that the universe exists, however the existence of the universe does not in and of itself imply the death of that man, whereas the spearing does: the cause of his spearing is more specific to his death than the condition of the existence of the universe.

guest_of_logic: Definitions by their nature include certain things and exclude certain other things, and you've already noted your agreement with this definition - now you're just trying to save face.

David: The only definition of causality that I agree to is "things cannot exist by themselves", or "things necessarily come from other things".


That's completely irrelevant since we're discussing the definition of "causal determinism", not that of "causality".

David: It is important to tease out all the logical implications of the matter. For example, it is logically the case that the present couldn't happen without the past. It is only by things disappearing into the past that room can be made for things to emerge in the present. So already the connection between past and present is logically demonstrated.

guest_of_logic: This is another strawman. I'm not disputing a relationship between past and present, I'm disputing that we can know for certain that the past wholly determines the present, such that a "replay" of the universe would definitely follow the same course. You haven't proved that we can know that, David.

David: The proof was demonstrated a number of posts ago. Given that a thing can only come from what is not itself, where else can the present come from but from what is not itself?


It's baffling to me that you seem to believe that a rhetorical question this vague can somehow be construed as a proof that a replay of the universe would follow the same course as the first time. Seriously, David, do you have anything concrete and rigorous?

David Quinn wrote:The problem with this conversation, apart from the fact that you don't want to understand anything, is that you are basing your "speculations" about the possibility of uncaused events on the false, academic idea that things and events exist as discrete entities. In other words, you're conceiving of things as separate, isolated lumps, as it were. So your starting basis in all of this is rooted in fiction.


Nonsense. My position doesn't depend on discreteness at all.


Hey Laird, did you hear what I said, get yourself to a kids cancer unit, put your argument to them.

If you don't do it, I am going to hunt you down and break every bone in your body.
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Re: The Meaning of Life

Postby Dennis Mahar » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:02 pm

Laird,
you are splitting genes/culture into separate factors.
they're not.
culture affects which genes are turned on. genes affect which culture shows up. I've heard only 10% of one's genes are turned on.
That could be where Kevin is going with his genetic postulate.

Carmel's problem is something like that in splitting local/non-local.
QM supports non-local. denies local.
unbroken wholeness.

If you can come at things from one expressing as many and look at it that way.
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