Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 11:20 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Please explain why we "cannot know" this.


Because, as you agreed to further down the post, science and philosophy have never claimed more that that they appear to be correct.

Quote:
Most folks regard determinism and random as words that have meaning relative to the observed natural world.


Precicely. Observer relative to the observed natural world. The observer percieves it as determined or random. But those are factors added to the observation, a categorizing made by the observer.

Quote:
Perhaps you could provide us with an example of such an alternate explanation, or at least a proof that one exists..


You say this as if you doubt there is one. But if the possibility that we may discover new and better ways to describe the world wasn't present, we would still be walking around on a flat earth.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 01:13 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
What I am saying though, is that we cannot know if this term has any value beyond our science.

Who cares? Where else would you want it to have value?
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 02:14 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas, are you not also "in love" with the paradigm in which you travel? And do you not, like most people--including myself--refuse to look for contrary evidence? From my perspective evidence does not fly in one's face; it must be sought for and interpreted in particular--not necessarily mathematical--ways. I'm thinking now of the zen approach to facing reality as it is primorially given by means of an absolutely passive (i.e., prereflective awareness) posture (meditation). I'm also wondering how Thomas Kuhn might characterize the debate occuring here.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 04:28 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
I'm also wondering how Thomas Kuhn might characterize the debate occuring here.

As a waste of time, I'm sure.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 04:47 pm
@joefromchicago,
A conclusion I reached a few posts ago.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 05:27 pm
@joefromchicago,
I thought we were doing it just for fun. Obviously, nothing serious could be accomplished when people debate from the perspective of radically different paradigms. For sure, we need not be nasty about it.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 07:00 pm
@JLNobody,
I don't think this is a debate across paradigmatic boundaries, mainly because I don't think Cyracuz is advancing any sort of paradigm at all -- that is, unless confusion can be considered a kind of paradigm. At most, Cyracuz is simply putting forward a position that would have been considered radical about 250 years ago. It's rather like trying to start an argument by claiming that lightning is actually electricity.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:24 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
It's not that you're tied to a particular theory, it's that you have no theory to begin with.

You're right. I stand corrected.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:51 pm
@Thomas,
That's what I mean by nasty--criticism for its own sake. I find Cryacuz' comments to be enlightened and enlightening, probably because we share many assumptions and values.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 09:16 am
@JLNobody,
Who's being nasty? I think the people here have been remarkably patient with Cyracuz.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 09:57 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

That's what I mean by nasty--criticism for its own sake. I find Cryacuz' comments to be enlightened and enlightening, probably because we share many assumptions and values.

That is simply untrue. The real issue here is that he .. and you .. have not discussed anything at all. Here, for example was SCoates' opening post for this topc;
SCoates wrote:
RANDOMNESS -- Is there such thing? For example, flipping a coin does not generate a random result, because it is possible to calculate the outcome based on the force applied to it's shape and weight... taking account for wind resistence and so on. Everything that affects the outcome can be expressed mathematically. So is randomness merely the lack of that knowledge, or is there no such thing as something truly being random?

That question was answered fully and very clearly. Numerous concrete examples of mathematically deterministic, but unpredictable systems, whose outcomes are representable with random variables, were provided. Thomas brought up, in addition, the fundamental issue of quantum uncertainty, which bears very directly on the question in a distinct and physical way.

What followed was retreat, evasion and a succession of increasingly impenetrable restatements of the question, leading Joe to the astute observation that perhaps you have no question or proposition at all. Yours was a discourteous response to those who - for a while - took you seriously and attempted to discuss the question. That was the "nasty" part.

JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 12:55 pm
@georgeob1,
You say that we have not discussed anything at all, that we have done no more than retreat from the original question posed by SCoates.
I revisited his opening statement, made in 2004, and realized that your perspective is consistent with SCoate's issue while mine is not. But a kinder interpretation of my effort is that I sought to use the question of the nature of Randomness to address a more existential issue. I suspect this is also true of Cyracuz--even though he remained more relevant to the discussion. My approach to randomness has not been at all mathematical in nature. It is, implicitly at least, a more romantic concern with whether or not the Cosmos has any teleological character. I think it does not--that is more or less how randomness fitted in for me--and that humans are left with the existential responsibility of forging our own purpose and meaning.
But that was not, I realize, the issue raised by SCoates in 2004. For that I apologize. But I don't agree that we have "not discussed anything at all". If anything we have egregiously tried to expand the boundaries of the thread--admittedly for our purposes.

0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 01:30 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
....are you not also "in love" with the paradigm in which you travel? And do you not, like most people--including myself--refuse to look for contrary evidence? From my perspective evidence does not fly in one's face; it must be sought for and interpreted ....
You just demonstrated EXACTLY why the kindest interpretation of your approach is that it's dishonest: to see this, you need look no further than your own " ...do you not...refuse to look for contrary evidence?"That's what nobody HONEST does - ever. Not in mathematics, not in the sciences, not in philosophy, nor in any other field of rational inquiry: in fact it sounds to me like your observation is the very definition of insanity:
Quote:
It's a kind of scientific integrity,
a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of
utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if
you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you
think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about
it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and
things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other
experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can
tell they have been eliminated.

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 05:17 pm
@High Seas,
Of course, you are talking about intellectuals and scientists in the their roles as professional truth-seekers.. I'm talking about our everyday processes of interpreting phenomena. Nevertheless, on the basis of your obviously competent and altruistically intended diagnosis I'm admitting myself to a local asylum.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 02:08 am
@JLNobody,
Now you've gone and ruined that prospect by demonstrating a sharp sarcastic wit. Wink
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 03:09 am
Quote:
I think the people here have been remarkably patient with Cyracuz.


Agreed. And thanks for that.
I joined this discussion with the clear view that "random" was just aspects that our deterministic view is inadequate to predict. I know now that this is not the case, and for this reason alone this thread was well worth it for me.

But then I stated that random, as the conceptual counterpart of the dualism random/predictable, doesn't really have relation to "objective existence" save through us as observers, and that we therefore cannot really say that our science applies to "objective existence".
Some seem to think this is a useless point, but I disagree on that, because this point has implications to the function self/non-self. But that is another discussion perhaps...

Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 03:21 am
@georgeob1,
george wrote:
Quote:
That is simply untrue. The real issue here is that he .. and you .. have not discussed anything at all.


In all fairness, doesn't this statement reveal more about your capacity to collect information from a text than the writers intent in writing it? I do not mean to offend by saying this. It's a fair question in my opinion.

The way I see it, after establishing the value of the concept random, we (JL and myself) are now considering how concepts relate to eachother and how we as observers are more entangled in the interplay of "natural forces" than scientific method tends to assume. If you are still thinking within the boundaries of science I can see how it appears we are discussing nothing.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 04:32 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz" wrote:
In all fairness, doesn't this statement reveal more about your capacity to collect information from a text than the writers intent in writing it?

In all fairness -- no.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 05:13 am
@Thomas,
Well, apparently something was lost if the impression is that we weren't discussing anything... But I don't think it was intended as an intelligent opinion, as much as a taunt perhaps. It doesn't really matter.

Anyway, in the context of what we havent really been discussing, an answer to this question
Quote:
So is randomness merely the lack of that knowledge, or is there no such thing as something truly being random?
might be:

Something can only be truly random to an observer who uses the concept to explain his observation.
Before observation the distinctions made by the observer, like predictable/random, mass/energy, sky/land, me/you and so on, cannot be said to apply.
Random isn't a lack of knowledge, but isn't it a configuration of knowledge?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Feb, 2010 09:36 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
But then I stated that random, as the conceptual counterpart of the dualism random/predictable, doesn't really have relation to "objective existence" save through us as observers, and that we therefore cannot really say that our science applies to "objective existence".

That's pretty much of a strawman argument. Nobody here was defending the notion of "objective existence," which isn't surprising because it isn't a terribly useful concept.

It appears to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you want to limit the concept of randomness to "observed randomness," setting it apart from "objective randomness." For you, "observed randomness" is all that we can perceive, and thus "randomness" is a function of observation.

As I pointed out above, that would be a pretty radical concept -- if this were 1740. The idea that induction (or empirical observation) cannot "prove" anything was revolutionary when David Hume came up with the idea in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, but it's universally accepted today.

As for your notion that "randomness" is simply a function of observation, the same could be said for practically anything. For instance, if we define a "tree" as "a woody perennial plant having a single usually elongate main stem generally with few or no branches on its lower part," we need not add "as it would appear to an observer," since that is assumed (after all, we can't know what an unobservable tree would look like). Adding "as it appears to the observer" to the definition doesn't really add anything to our understanding of the concept -- indeed, it was always there to begin with, implicit in the definition. Your discovery, therefore, that randomness is a condition of observation is a bit like discovering that the earth revolves around the sun. Been there, done that.
0 Replies
 
 

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