18
   

A limit to understanding ?

 
 
Jpsy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Nov, 2013 11:06 pm
@rosborne979,
"... However, it might be pertinent that some pretty sharp folk consider the humanoid the most complex object in the Universe..."

No, I have heard that over and over again that the human brain is the most complex thing in the "known" universe. I don't know who specifically said it, but I know I've heard scientists say it. Of course it could be neuroscientists who say it and they have every reason to be biased. "known" is important.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 12:10 am
@dalehileman,
The Creationist Museum is considered to be an outrageous joke amongst mainstream scientists. That is why I asked whether belief in "a creator" is always a "good thing".
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 12:27 am
@Jpsy,
Thank you for your lengthy contribution.

Contrary to how it may appear from this particular thread, I and several other contributors have a significant grounding in science, mathematics and "logic and scientific method" (aka "philosophy of science"). Some of us have even published scientific papers. Also you need to bear in mind that this thread is set in the context of several other threads recent to A2K which have focused on key words such as the meaning of "causality", "reality" and "truth".* The resulting discussion suggested to me a new thread about whether there is a limit to what we call "understanding" given that (to paraphrase Heidinger) "we never observe nature directly but only the results of questions we ask about it". And since questioning is ostensibly a "linguistic activity" it seems likely that language plays a significant role in segmentation of what we call "the world".

* e.g. my comment on the "causality thread"
Quote:
IMO Science is about refinement of our pre-occupation with prediction and control. The problem is that our definitions of necessary and sufficient conditions for "an event" to occur are 1. based on at least one assumed axiom (Godel) and 2 may have unforseen consequences as yet unquantified (global warming for example) which devalue the presumed "success" of our control program. In short "cause" and "effect" are both logically open sets (i.e. "event windows") even if we seek to close them for economy of understanding.

This personal opinion is backed by Hume's celebrated philosophical deconstruction of causality (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding) and the time symmetries of modern physics which are antithetical to directional sequences in time.

Now it may be the case that what we call "understanding" and "explanation" are so heavily steeped in "causality" that no transcendent alternative can be offered. It boils down to an argument about whether we think causality is merely an anthropocentrically useful concept, or whether we think "causal mechanisms" are independent of the human observers which evoke them,


BTW to use the quote box you need to
1. activate the BBCode Editor at the top of the reply space
2. select text by highlighting
3. click the Quote button
Jpsy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 12:44 am
@fresco,
Thank you. Sorry, if I sounded condescending. I am new to this forum and will check out your other threads.

Quote:
since questioning is ostensibly a "linguistic activity" it seems likely that language plays a significant role in segmentation of what we call "the world".



One thing to note is that I have heard physicists say that you cannot fully understand Relativity or Cosmology (at least to the extent that they do) unless you can understand it mathematically. I'll have to dig up that quote. To give you credit I think you included mathematics with language earlier. I would be interested to hear a mathematicians or a physicists opinion on that. Language vary's from culture to culture but mathematics is universal.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 01:00 am
@Jpsy,
The coherence of mathematical models may be universal. The issue is about the applicability and ontological status of such models in describing "the universe" and generating " new data".
Jpsy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 01:39 am
@fresco,
again, I apologize. I have a tendency to barge onto threads, read the posts quickly, and then start posting. This is deeper than I initially thought. I have spent endless hours reading about science, but I know very little about the philosophy of science. I will have to read up on this since I do not even understand some of the jargon you are using . Thank you, for giving me food for thought.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 02:00 am
@Jpsy,
No need to apologize I assure you. The ideal as I see it is for us to share references and experiences. As regards the status of mathematics for example, you may be interested in the work of Lakoff and Nunez who have attempted to ground all mathematical coherence in bodily experiences underlying what we call "cognition". This work is obviously not without its critics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_Mathematics_Comes_From
Jpsy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 03:36 am
@fresco,
I just read through the thread again, & again I apologize, it is hard starting in on the 3rd page of a thread as cerebral as this one, especially since the conversation tends to meander to different topics (plus I still haven't learned all of the jargon, but I will try to).
After reading this thread, I am ambivalent about whether our scientific theories could be flawed in someway due to the limitations of the human brain. Part of me wants to say no to most theories. If we can control the causality in a laboratory setting, & get the same results repeatedly, like the theory of electromagnetism, and then see those theories and laws used to build computers, automobiles, and satellites, it seems like we could say yes, these theories and laws are correct. (our understanding of why they are correct could certainly be flawed)
However, we are an evolved ape. To a being more evolved and more intelligent than us, there may be other ways of understanding and comprehending the universe (other than the only ways we can by the
Quote:
metalanguage of mathematics together with its idiosyncratic forms of "coherence" which can transcend normal understanding.
They may find that causality is not the only way the universe works (forgive me if I am misusing the word). I think Neil Degrasse Tyson describes the limitations of human intelligence well in this short YT video.

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Who Are We To Say We Are Intelligent?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sDtbTsmJcE

If the link disappears search that title on YouTube.
Miss L Toad
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 03:53 am
@fresco,
Quote:
A limit to understanding ?


A limit to understanding may be a paradoxical non sequitur in a temporally unconstrained universe.

Quote:
Put crudely, the Big Bang model implies that all of what we conceive of as material, energy, and even space-time suddenly appeared in what we measure as about 13 billion years ago.


So far so good.

Quote:
Irrespective of the status of Big Bang as an accepted model


Very well then.

Quote:
does my emphasis of the words about what appears to us suggest anything more than


Yes a little bit.

Quote:
we should be cautious in accepting any scientific paradigm such as Big Bang as being more than temporally useful


Agreed, although temporal usefulness does comprise all space and time and perhaps, as a corollary, every event within it.

Quote:
in what we call “our understanding”?


Of course, and we can debate what our understanding is.

Why would science have any problem with continuing to build upon understanding and the refinement of theoretical comprehension?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 06:32 am
@Jpsy,
My comment on that clip is what does having a concept of "intelligence" say about human intelligence ? Wink
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 11:50 am
@Olivier5,
Quote:
if for instance the gravitational constant differed by half of one percent, life as we know it would be impossible

Quote:
Quote:
I doubt that very much
.
Only know what I read somewhere

Quote:
Do you remember where you read it?


http://www.discovery.org/a/91
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 12:00 pm
@rosborne979,
dalehileman wrote:
... However, it might be pertinent that some pretty sharp folk consider the humanoid the most complex object in the Universe...

Quote:
I don't know where you get this stuff Dale. Do you even know? Which sharp people said that?


https://www.google.ca/#q=human+most+complex+object+in+universe&spell=1
timur
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 12:17 pm
Here you go with those crappy links!

Dale ill man wrote:
Only know what I read somewhere


You don't even bother to read the content of one of the sites that come up.

Despite the headlines, the majority of the posters of this site don't think the human brain is the most complex object of the universe.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 01:47 pm
@dalehileman,
You cite an ID site, which cites Paul Davies' book Superforce, which apparently cite Brandon Carter:

Quote:
3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Davies, 1984, p. 242.)


Along the way, someone must have lost their sense of proportion, because according to the wikipedia article on the gravitational constant, its value is debated and the last estimate published implies an interval of confidence of +or- 0.7% *. HIGHER than the variation you say would make life impossible, and MUCH MUCH MUCH higher than the variation your ID website indicates as making life impossible.

In short, don't believe ideological sites like Discovery.org



*
Quote:
we reports "a value of G = 6.693 × 10−11 cubic meters per kilogram second squared, with a standard error of the mean of ±0.027 × 10−11 and a systematic error of ±0.021 × 10−11 cubic meters per kilogram second squared."

Source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 02:18 pm
@Olivier5,
Oops my most abject apologies, I was off two-tenths of one percent
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 02:33 pm
@Jpsy,
Quote:
All of the evidence points to the fact that universe is expanding and therefore had a beginning.
Well Jpsy yes and no. Much contradiction and paradox is dissolved by assuming She, It, was always here in one way or another. We think of Its start as a huge collection of some black, uniform substance that undergoes a Big Bang and evolves into what we have now. Presumably it just keeps expanding as Its, Her, particles and chunks cool off toward absolute zero forever whilst flying apart at increasing speed

However we might have miscalculated: Eventually gravitation reasserts itself, It all slows down to zero and begins to coalesce, the Big Crunch it's called, culminating in still another black blob; whereupon the next Big Bang, ad infinitum
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 02:38 pm
@timur,
Quote:
Quote:
You don't even bother to read the content of one of the sites that come up.


Despite the headlines, the majority of the posters of this site don't think the human brain is the most complex object of the universe.


Okay Tim, one of the most complex
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 03:48 pm
@dalehileman,
Quote:
Oops my most abject apologies, I was off two-tenths of one percent

Much worse in fact: you were proven completely wrong, since there's no scientific basis for your assertion. Many scientists have modeled universes with very different constants, which would still support life. There's no such thing as fine tuning of universal constants.

So you were taken for a ride by creationists and believed a lie because it fitted your prior world view. Don't believe everything you read. It's actually possible to check sources and assertions...
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 04:30 pm
@dalehileman,
dalehileman wrote:

dalehileman wrote:
... However, it might be pertinent that some pretty sharp folk consider the humanoid the most complex object in the Universe...

Quote:
I don't know where you get this stuff Dale. Do you even know? Which sharp people said that?


https://www.google.ca/#q=human+most+complex+object+in+universe&spell=1


Those conjectures you've googled happen to use the human brain as their example, but their general point is the brains in general are extremely complex. The original comment that you made that lead to all this was that you thought humans held a special place in the universe by virtue of their brains which were more complex than the Universe, but there is no appreciable difference in complexity between human brains and dolphin brains, and even dog brains would probably still be considered more complex than the Universe by the standards that those articles propose. So there is no support for your assertion that humans hold a special place in the universe based on brain complexity.

(and I won't even go into why those articles are probably absurd in a scientific sense)
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2013 05:19 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
So there is no support for your assertion that humans hold a special place in the universe based on brain complexity.
Ok then Ros, animals occupy that special place, in which the human is most special based on his intelligence

Surely all the "creationists" can't be wrong

Of which incidentally I don't consider myself one

But again I'm not trying to prove anything, just releasing ruminations of the ol' intuition

Still I'd guess human brains more complex than dolphins' else they'd be writing books about us, differences not readily accessible
 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 06/25/2022 at 11:30:59