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IV ● XxX

Atheism

Recommended Posts

dustcrazy

 

I call atheism a state of living in which a person actually is in reality in life!

That was simple and really means what you say. I've been Atheist for the last 4, almost 5, years. I enjoy being Atheist and have no regrets. Its a religion and is away of thinking and living.

 

Religion - A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

Edited by dustcrazy

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The-King

Your right in that Atheism is more or less a belief system, but it doesn't take faith (f*ck I hate that word) to be an atheist.

 

One of the definitions of faith is (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof

 

So I say it is more of a rational group of people who deny non fact based beliefs.

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K^2

There is no proof that there is no God. There can be no such proof, so believing that there is no God is still faith, whether you want to admit it or not.

 

And if you do not hold a belief that there is no God, then you are not exactly an atheist. If you acknowledge that you don't know if there is a God, even if you tend towards one or another, it makes you an agnostic.

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dronezero

Atheism is defined as a lack of belief in a god. If you are asked whether you hold a belief in a god and you answer "no", then you are an atheist. It is possible to be an agnostic atheist (and in fact nearly all atheists are agnostic atheists). This means that you do not believe in a god, but you are not sure about it. An agnostic is someone who says that it is impossible to know whether or not god exists. An agnostic may either be a theist or an atheist.

 

Also atheism does not require faith. Faith being a belief which is held without regard to evidence. Atheism may be held because one does not see any evidence for a god. Myself, for instance. I see no evidence for a god and therefore cannot believe in a god. There is no disregard of evidence on my part. In fact is specifically because of evidence (or a lack thereof) that I am an atheist.

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Mortukai

It's much easier to see why atheism does not require faith when we consider similar things which we don't believe in due to lack of evidence, such as unicorns, leprechauns, fairies, pixies, gryphons, dragons, vampires, gigantic turtles flying through space, spaghetti monsters, Zeus, Ra, Shiva, and girls on the internet.

 

We don't say that disbelieving in dragons requires faith, we say that disbelieving in dragons is rational. In fact, to entertain the possibility of specific things existing for which there is absolutely no evidence is itself irrational. If you found someone who proclaimed loudly that there COULD be invisible ethereal transformer robots following him, and when you challenged him on it, he proclaimed that your absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, then you'd quite rightly think he was a delusional twit.

 

Also, there CAN be proof that there is no God, so long as God is definied as having some observable properties. Like, if I claimed that there was a dragon on my desk, and you couldn't see it, that would be evidence that there was no dragon on my desk. But if I defined it in such a way as to make observing it impossible, like claiming that it is an invisible ghost dragon that breathes invisible heatless fire, and didn't interact with energy or matter in any way, then you couldn't disprove it. Also I'd logically have no reason whatsoever to make such a claim, and you'd be right to severely question my sanity.

 

So if people define God in a way which implies something we can observe, then we can observe nothing where there should be something, and take that as proof that God, as defined, does not exist. Of course, if you define God in such a way that he cannot possibly be observed, then you are a moron, because then there is no difference between God existing and God not existing, so you believe in and worship a being who is precisely equivelant to nothing. Why waste the time worshipping nothing, when you can spend that time doing better things, like worshipping television and the interweb?

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K^2

Mortukai, you wouldn't be able to prove that things you see exist. You take it on faith and nothing more. And you are trying to prove to me that something doesn't exist just because there is no evidence of it? That is the most ignorant bunch of statements that you have ever made.

 

In order to construct a proof, you need axioms. To have axioms, you have to make assumptions. You can't prove your assumptions, and if they are wrong, you can prove anything you want and it would mean squat.

 

All we have are models of the real world that are mostly consistent with our observations. Dragons, fairies, girls on internet, and Gods are inconsistent with the "best" of these models, but that cannot be taken as a proof of non-existence.

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Mortukai

Your position, K^2, is precisely as non-constructive a position as one could hold. You are arguing that we cannot prove anything, at all, ever. Basically you're saying that nothing is anything, there can be no truths, there is no spoon, there isn't even a matrix.

 

Essentially, everything is nothing.

 

So how does that position help anything? What can we say if we take what you claim as true? What can we learn from this?

 

Oh yeah, nothing.

 

So we have certain axioms which we accept and take on what you call "faith". I wouldn't call it faith, I'd call it "all evidence that we have available to us", even if you claim that all that evidence is delusion, it's still a sh*tload more than evidence to the contrary. So we construct our realities on assumptions. So what? At least when we do so we can actually DO something, and learn something, and figure sh*t out, and come up with a result.

 

I think you are taking the word "prove" way, way, way too extremely, or you're just being contrary and difficult for the sake of dismissing anything anyone says.

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K^2

You can't claim your axioms as a result of evidence, because your evidence gathering methodology already presumes a lot of things. Your axioms, fundamentally, are just baseless assumptions, and if you believe them or any conclusions based on them, it can be called nothing but faith.

 

I'm not saying that it is bad to make assumptions. I'm saying they should be made to construct models that help you along in life. You can use them to avoid burning yourself on hot things, predict future, invent new medical treatments, and build better technology. You cannot use them to explain how the world works and call it "truth" without falling into pitfalls of every single religion.

 

You have to accept that everything you understand about the world is false. Every law of physics, chemistry, and biology that you use to claim non-existence of anything will become outdated some time in the future, just like it happened to every other law of physics, chemistry, and biology in the past. In the late 19th to early 20th century astronomers believed that there is another planet between Sun and Mercury, called Vulcan, because Mercury's orbit was precessing at an otherwise unexplainable rate. The movement of Mercury made no sense with the laws of Newtonian Physics. There had to be another object to cause the deviation. Everyone knew for a "fact" that Vulcan must exist, and not just like the assumption of the "Earth is flat". It was based on every shred of evidence that has been gathered over centuries. Then General Relativity came along and explained the precession of the orbit through new physics. It became immediately evident that there is no Vulcan.

 

If you say that, "To the best of our ability to predict the behavior of the known universe, magical fairies do not exist," you are making a very lose statement, but that statement is true. If you just say, "We know for a fact that fairies do not exist," you might as well start a church.

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Mortukai

And yet, with such certainty and conviction, you can sit there are tell me that everything is false and nothing we know is true. Including of course, everything you just said. You didn't use any conditional qualifiers, you didn't say "maybe" or "probably" or "it's likely" or anything, you said that everything we know is false. Then you hilariously used historical evidence to support this. The irony is delicious.

 

You can't make a claim like yours without destroying your own claim. It is entirely self contradictory. You claim it is true because you have gained sufficient evidence to believe it to be true. But you have to discard that evidence, because the evidence must be false, if the conclusion is true. Thus rendering the conclusion a completely baseless assumption, subject to its own condemning assertion.

 

Thus you are, by your own argument, precisely as false in claiming that we can't know anything, as I am in claiming that we can know some things. But if you are wrong that we can't know anything, then logically we can know some things. Therefore I am right. I'm right even when you're "right", because your "right" condemns itself as wrong.

 

Tell me K^2, why do you believe that we cannot know anything? If you can't give me a coherent argument - and here's the catch: even if you can - then your assertion is, as you claim, "faith", and so you might as well start a religion.

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K^2

I know that you like to trap people into paradoxes, but there is not one here. Everything we know is false. It is statistically impossible for us to guess right when the options are infinite. This statement in itself is also part of our knowledge, and is therefore also false. Your conclusion, we might be able to know something! But what? Yeah. Maybe the number of possibilities is finite. Maybe there is some guiding principle that allows us to guess right on a few things. Maybe there is a divine light that makes us understand nature when we search our souls. It could be anything. But we have exhausted all our ways of finding that one right thing, because anything we rely on to make a distinction can just as easily be false. Either way, any claim you make cannot be proven, and yes, it includes this one, but then we just start all over again on the same cycle.

 

Any way you look at it, you are up the sh*t creak without a paddle. The only reasonable conclusion I can arrive at is to doubt everything. And I might actually be doubting everything, though I doubt that too.

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Otter

How the hell am I going to figure out the cosine of angle B if I can't trust my givens? You paint a frightening picture, K^2. As an optimist, I'm more inclined to believe that what we do know, versus what we think we know, is continually expanding.

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Mortukai

 

It is statistically improbable for us to guess right when the options are infinite.

Fixed.

 

Statistics never say anything possibility, only probability. If the options are infinite, then anything is possible, including the possibility of guessing right. Another paradox you missed.

 

 

Your conclusion, we might be able to know something! But what?

Well for starters, to take a leaf out of the book of Descartes, we can know that thinking is going on. Descartes was wrong when he claimed "I think, therefore I am", because "I" is highly questionable, and "I am" does not follow anyway. But the fact indisputable is that thinking is going on. Maybe "I" am not thinking, maybe the thoughts which I percieve as my own are really the musings of a divine consciousness. Maybe they are the result of a unicorn farting into the mouth of a pixie. Or maybe they are the result of billions of wavefunctions collapsing each other in a sea of quantumness. According to you, all these possibilities are equally wrong. According to me, some are way more wrong than others.

 

And I say that "thinking is happening" is indisputable because if it were false, what I am saying would not exist, and you would not be able to percieve it. If it is wrong, you don't know that I'm saying anything at all. But you do, so it isn't.

 

We can know some things. By all the definitions of "we", "can", "know", "some", and "things", we most definitely can. The fact that you know what I'm saying and vice versa is proof of this. Maybe you might claim that this is all a "model", but for the model to exist, there must be a reality for it to exist in. You can't have recursive untruths because they have to have some truth to exist in and be defined by. So we know that there is a reality. There, now we know two things. There is a reality, and thinking is happening inside it.

 

So I just broke your argument twice. You say all things we know are false, and i have proven that if this were true, then you wouldn't be able to claim it, and there would be no reality in which it could be claimed. Fortunately for me, this is not the case, and we can know some things.

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K^2

Otter, you can compute a cosine of an angle, because cosine is defined within certain set axioms. They are fairly arbitrary axioms, but they are self consistent and set. Whether or not cosines have any connection with reality may be questioned, but you can compute them without any problems.

 

Mortukai, you keep boxing yourself into the norms that you acquire from the knowledge of "real world". The fact that you are thinking does not imply existence of anything. First of all, realization of own thought does not require dynamics. You can take a single "frozen" cognitive state which will have a constant realization of self consciousness, without actually exhibiting consciousness, since the later requires dynamics, and this is a purely static situation. Furthermore, this situation does not even require any physical carrier, since relation between information and representation is the property of our space, existence of which we have not yet been able to prove from the "cogito ergo ..." proposition. Does this imply that anything exist? Not by any means I can discover. In order for the implication of existence of something, there must be a contradiction between the following statements: "I think" and "Nothing exists". Outside of any other assumptions, such contradiction does not exist. Ergo, self consciousness does not imply existence.

 

And probability of us guessing right is exactly zero. Number of ways that the universe can be organized: infinite. Number of guesses we can make: finite. Any time we make a guess, we will be wrong.

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Mortukai

 

You can take a single "frozen" cognitive state which will have a constant realization of self consciousness, without actually exhibiting consciousness, since the later requires dynamics, and this is a purely static situation.

Wrong.

 

 

Furthermore, this situation does not even require any physical carrier, since relation between information and representation is the property of our space, existence of which we have not yet been able to prove from the "cogito ergo ..." proposition.

Wrong.

 

 

In order for the implication of existence of something, there must be a contradiction between the following statements: "I think" and "Nothing exists".

Wrong.

 

 

Ergo, self consciousness does not imply existence.

Wrong.

 

 

And probability of us guessing right is exactly zero.

Wrong.

 

 

Number of ways that the universe can be organized: infinite. Number of guesses we can make: finite. Any time we make a guess, we will be wrong.

Wrong.

 

 

 

Wow, you sure are wrong alot.

 

How do you do that? How do you be so wrong about everything all the time? Must be because the model you are working from is just plain wrong. I imagine that would suck alot, to be wrong all the time about everything.

 

I don't think you're fully appreciating your own argument here K^2. For all your posturing you keep trying to support your argument with things you know. Evidence. But your arguments central tenant is that all evidence is wrong. It IS a paradox and I'm really doubting your ability to appreciate what this paradox means in this circumstance.

 

I mean, seriously. You say "the universe can be organised an infinite number of ways". Well right there you've made a claim which is an assumption based on false information. Furthermore, your continued argument, that IF the universe could be organised in an infinite number of ways, then given finite guesses, we will ALWAYS be wrong, is itself, wrong, and not because of your main claim, but because if it were true that the universe could be organised an infinite number of ways, then any affirmation of this fact would itself be true, and thus we are not always wrong: we can be right about some things.

 

Almost anything you care to name can be boiled down from seemingly infinite possibilities to very few options. Like with your universe example, to make a claim that all photons are tiny fairies would be stupid, because "tiny fairies" could just as easily be replaced by pretty much anything your imagination can concoct. But we can boil down information about the universe to near binary options, such as "the universe is dimensionally finite" or "the universe is dimensionally infinite". One of these must be true, and one of these must be wrong. There are no other options, and so we can be absolutely certain that one of them must be true. So with only two claims, we have violated your argument, that we cannot know anything about anything. We can. This is precisely how models are constructed, and the very reason they hold true. Because at a very fundamental level, we can break things down to very few options. Then we can eliminate certain options based on their consequences. For example, I know that something exists. Why? Because if nothng existed, then I would not be here. I don't even have to have any definition of what "I" or "here" are, the mere fact that I can even consider this is proof irrefutable that something exists, because nothing cannot contemplate such things. Nothing is not capable of anything, that's part of the definition of nothing.

 

Do you get this yet? If what you say is true, then you are wrong. If you can base your argument on facts which support it, then your conclusion is wrong, because your conclusion denies its premises. It seems very much to me that you are treating knowledge acquisition in much the same way as a creationist treats evolution. A creationist might argue "evolution is like a tornado blowing through a junkyard and leaving a Boeing 747 in its wake", where you argue that "we can't know anything about anything because the possibilities are infinite". No, they're not. evolution is a long and slow process building up from the most basic of building blocks into the complexity we see around us today. Knowledge acquisition is much the same. You don't have to pick the right answer from a barrel full of infinite possibilities, you just have to pick the right answer from 2 possibilities, then pick another answer from 2 possibilities, then another, and another, and so on and so on. If you find out that you took a wrong turn, you trace back your steps to the last known point of congruence with your perceptions, and take the other option, and follow it down the rabbit hole. Hell, that process is how you got to where you are now. But whilst you think you are right, I think you are wrong. One of us took a wrong turn, and despite what you might argue, it wasn't both of us, because there aren't that many options.

 

I'll finish with this quote I just found on my google homepage:

 

 

If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.
Edited by Mortukai

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K^2

You can't talk about knowledge acquisition until you can demonstrate your ability to rely on your method of gathering information, which you cannot without gathering information. I do not need to prove anything further. You still cannot get past that point. So your ability to decide even between any two possibilities comes down to random guessing. And seeing how there are infinitely many possible parameters, your ability to guess right on all of them is zero, so you will never be able to guess right on the way the universe works. Therefore, you will never have your solid method of gathering information. Done.

 

And yes, my argument defeats itself. That's because it is applied to the knowledge system that we are dealing with, which is what I'm trying to destroy. That's the whole point of that argument. It can be similarly applied towards any knowledge system, and equally show a contradiction, demonstrating that the knowledge system is faulty. All of the problems with that argument arise from the problems with the selected knowledge system. If you can show me that this argument is self contradicting outside of any knowledge system, I will agree with you.

 

 

If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.

That is precisely correct, and precisely what I am talking about. Any scientific reasoning has to rely on assumptions that are not logically sound. As such, you are bound to be incorrect. Any attempt to construct a system based on logic and mathematics alone will be futile, because you have no ability to construct an axiom base from nothing.

Edited by K^2

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Mortukai

I really am having trouble understanding how you can not see what is blindingly obvious.

 

Your argument claims that it is false. Basically, your conclusion states that it is wrong, and everything else is too.

 

And yet you continually act as if it is true. If your conclusion is true, then you know something about the universe, thus your conclusion is false.

 

Knowledge about our ability/inability to obtain knowledge... is still knowledge.

 

Holy sh*t man, how can you not see this???? Do you even know what a paradox is??? Stop looking to apply your conclusion and it's premises to other knowledge, and start applying it to itself. Just admitting that "yes, it applies to itself..." doesn't mean sh*t. You yourself don't even doubt your argument. Not once have you implied that you might not have 100% trust that your conclusion is true. This is WORSE than belief in god, because at least god doesn't tell you that he doesn't exist.

 

The fact that you hold so strongly to your position and try to back it up so fervently with "facts" and "arguments" applying to other information, demonstrates that you yourself do not even fully appreciate your own argument. If you did, all you could say is "everyone is wrong, including me", and then you couldn't say anything else without the qualifier that you are wrong. But then, what is the point of saying anything if it is wrong? Indeed, you only argue your position with me because you believe it is right. Which is hilarious.

 

But honestly I'm loving this paradox of yours. If you admit that your argument is wrong, then mine is right, and I win. If you don't, then you are demonstrating that I am right. Logically, if "we can know nothing" is false, then the converse "we can know some things" is true. The only way this doesn't work is if we accept your argument. But if we do that, we must reject your argument. Your argument can never, ever, possibly defeat another argument, because it undoes everything it strives for in it's coup de grace. It kills its own father before it is born.

 

Paradoxes rock.

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K^2

This has gotten too messy. Let me start over. This time, sans contradictions.

 

First of all, "I know nothing" is not knowledge. Do you know what is the simplest distinction of knowledge, as opposed to just information noise? It consists of "useful" information. There is a very simple check for "useful" information that comes from a compression theory. The maximum compression ratio depends on the entropy of information. That in itself depends on your selected basis, but "I know nothing" has infinite entropy in any of them. It is, therefore, infinitely compressible. The total information contained in "I know nothing" is exactly 0 bits, compressed in any basis. It is, therefore, not knowledge. If you use more than 0 bits to record this information, you are wasting space and recording junk data.

 

In layman's terms, for the knowledge base to say, "I know nothing" it needs to simply contain nothing. Combining such base with an existing knowledge base does not modify the later. This means that you cannot learn from the information, so it is, once again, not knowledge.

 

This is, of course, not exactly the same thing as I want to arrive at. What I really would like to prove is that you know nothing, but, of course, I cannot do that. I do the following instead.

 

1) All my knowledge comes from observation.

2) I use my knowledge of the world to interpret observations.

3) This is self-inconsistent, (insert proof of inconsistency by mathematical induction) and therefore, I cannot have any reliable way to learn something.

4) I conclude that I know nothing. (Same thing happens to AI knowledge bases in contradiction. The propositions cancel out to 0, and AI ends up knowing nothing.)

5) This is not knowledge, so no contradiction.

6) I propose that you analyze your own knowledge in similar fashion and (inductively and not logically) expect you to arrive at the same conclusion.

 

Hopefully, this clears it all up.

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Mortukai

Again, you're wrong, but thankfully this time it's not just your own argument that says so.

 

"I know nothing" is not useless information. Here's a really simple example to illustrate: Imagine you're a cop, and you are investigating a murder, and you question a subject, and they tell you "I know nothing". Well right there that tells you quite a bit, doesn't it? If they are telling the truth, then you can know that they are innocent, in which case "I know nothing" is a very valuable piece of information for both you and them. If they are lying, then you know they are hiding something, and so are probably guilty, or connected in some way. This is also valuable information for you, because it could lead to the solving of the case.

 

Thing is, "I know nothing" is a statement. A proclamation about how much the person knows. This is information. It tells me more about how much they know, than them not saying anything would. Also, in your terms, "I know nothing" contains more than 0 bits, no matter how you compress it. If I write "I know nothing" a thousand times in notepad and save it to a rar archive, it's going to be bigger than 0 bits. I know this is just me being pedantic and ignoring the metaphor of your argument, but I think if you're going to get technical with an obscure metaphor, your metaphor should be internally consistent. But continuing with your data metaphor, let's say that for a given instance of possible information, a computer knows nothing, and so this is recorded as no data (0bits). This is, as you say, not information. However, as soon as the computer queries this information, it will see no data, and at this point, no data becomes useful information. It becomes "I know nothing". This lack of data can now be used to inform further action, like requesting data to be entered, initialising a search, etc etc. Taken alone and isolated by itself, no data is, as you say, not information, but within the context of anything else for which no data can be relevant, it is information.

 

The point is that "I know nothing" is completely different to actually knowing nothing. If you actually know nothing, then you don't know that you know nothing, so you can't comment. If you know that you know nothing, then you at least know that. So you're wrong.

 

Now:

 

1) All my knowledge comes from observation.

2) I use my knowledge of the world to interpret observations.

3) This is self-inconsistent, (insert proof of inconsistency by mathematical induction) and therefore, I cannot have any reliable way to learn something.

4) I conclude that I know nothing. (Same thing happens to AI knowledge bases in contradiction. The propositions cancel out to 0, and AI ends up knowing nothing.)

5) This is not knowledge, so no contradiction.

6) I propose that you analyze your own knowledge in similar fashion and (inductively and not logically) expect you to arrive at the same conclusion.

Just saying "knowing that I know nothing isn't actually knowledge and so isn't affected by the same rules" doesn't make it so. If you believe that you know nothing you cannot claim that this belief does not change anything or alter how you learn. It alters the way you percieve everything, and the way you behave, such as you debating with me here in this forum: this would not be happening if you were not affected by knowing nothing, because if you weren't affected, you would continue to act as if you believed that you did know some things. If your behaviour, past beliefs, perspectives, and the way you interpret new information have all been changed, then how you can possibly claim that you didn't learn anything from "I know nothing" and so it doesn't constitute knowledge? If there is change, there is a transfer of information. If there is a transfer of information, there is knowledge of that transfer. If there is knowledge of that transfer, the system does not "cancel out to 0".

 

Furthermore, your intitial proposition "All my knowledge comes from observation" isn't true. There is a great deal of knowledge which we inherit genetically - and so is evolved, not observed. Babies are born already "knowing" a great many things about the world before they've ever seen it or interacted with it, such as how to breathe, and that they should suck on things put into their mouth. If you claim that instincts are not knowledge, then you are a fool, as they are way, way, way more important to your existence than anything you could ever discover about quantum physics or the history of the universe or anything else really. And before you claim that instincts are a "model", let me point out that a model is something constructed to help us understand something else. Instincts are not a model, they are part of the system itself.

 

This is really what that quote was all about. The great thing about good quotes is that everyone finds something in them. But that quote seemed particularly relevant because you keep falling back on arithmetic to prove that we don't know anything, and you are ignoring like, a f*ckload of other factors. Of course mathematics is going to give you a paradox when you try to apply it to the basis of reality, it most definitely IS a model. But you and I here, are not. We USE models, all the time, sure. But we are not models ourselves. We are part of the system. Maths might map a good portion of the system very well, but we ARE the system. This doesn't mean we don't use bad models. People do it ALL THE TIME. Each one of us most definitely has a bunch of sh*t that is completely batsh*t loco floating around in our heads, but there are some things which we know which are not. Like, how gravity works, sure, that's a model. But THAT gravity works, is not a model.

 

We are all parts of the system we call the universe. When we "observe" things, that's just some part of the universe interacting with another part of the universe. The more complex that interaction is, the more possible outcomes it has. Like, some interaction between lightning and some observers might lead someone to believe in a deity named Zeus, and the same interaction might lead another to believe in static discharge between the earth and the sky. That's because the whole chain reaction from event to thought outcome is very complex. Simpler interactions have far fewer possible outcomes. Like a strong wind might blow a vase off a pedestal, so it breaks. Now the interaction might get a whole lot more complex if a person was to find the broken vase after the wind had died down, and they might assume someone broke it intentionally, but that's because we've just ramped up the complexity of the interaction by many orders of magnitude.

 

So yeah, we're pretty complex, so there are going to be a sh*tload of possible outcomes for thoughts. But we're still just part of the system, regardless of if the system is a big empty vacuum of shrapnel or if it's a computer simulation. Being parts of the system, we can interact with other parts of the system, and learn about it, and how it works. Maybe we'll never know what it all "really is" because we'll never not be a part of it, but we CAN discover "how it works" and the role we play in it.

 

Think of it like this: imagine we have a bag of marbles. But these aren't just ordinary marbles, they are special hi-tech marbles that have been given tactile sensors and programmed to count how many other marbles are in the bag with them. Now maybe there are 50 marbles in the bag, but each marble only counts on average 5 other marbles, because each marble is only in contact with 5 other marbles (on average). But then we give them the ability to communicate with each other, and suddenly they collectively figure out that there are 50 marbles in the bag.

 

The point is that every interaction is information. The more we interact with, the more information we can gather, and the more accurate we can be. We can't know things which are outside our ability to percieve - like the marbles couldn't know what colour they are - but if we CAN percieve it, we can potentially know it accurately. Maybe we only know it accurately to 3 decimal places, but it's as accurate as we can get given the limits placed on us by the system we are working within. And only being able to see 3ft ahead of you is still infinitely better than not being able to see at all.

 

We can't know everything, we CAN know some things. By virtue of our very existence and the way the system works, we can NOT not know anything.

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K^2
"I know nothing" is not useless information. Here's a really simple example to illustrate: Imagine you're a cop, and you are investigating a murder, and you question a subject, and they tell you "I know nothing". Well right there that tells you quite a bit, doesn't it? If they are telling the truth, then you can know that they are innocent, in which case "I know nothing" is a very valuable piece of information for both you and them. If they are lying, then you know they are hiding something, and so are probably guilty, or connected in some way. This is also valuable information for you, because it could lead to the solving of the case.

This is just linguistics here. When a witness tells you, "I know nothing" That witness is saying that he knows nothing about the case. If a witness was really to know absolutely nothing, that would be pretty useless to a cop.

 

But yes, there are more complex cases when this can be interpreted as information. So yeah, you are right, but it doesn't affect what I said. You can derive information from observing someone who knows nothing. That's different than knowing nothing yourself. That is most certainly not knowledge.

 

Just saying "knowing that I know nothing isn't actually knowledge and so isn't affected by the same rules" doesn't make it so. If you believe that you know nothing you cannot claim that this belief does not change anything or alter how you learn. It alters the way you percieve everything, and the way you behave, such as you debating with me here in this forum: this would not be happening if you were not affected by knowing nothing, because if you weren't affected, you would continue to act as if you believed that you did know some things. If your behaviour, past beliefs, perspectives, and the way you interpret new information have all been changed, then how you can possibly claim that you didn't learn anything from "I know nothing" and so it doesn't constitute knowledge? If there is change, there is a transfer of information. If there is a transfer of information, there is knowledge of that transfer. If there is knowledge of that transfer, the system does not "cancel out to 0".

Here demonstrated is the difference between simple learning and complex learning. When a simple AI encounters a contradiction, the database cancels out, and it is completely reset. "Real world" is full of contradiction. Good AI can ignore them. It checks the base for inconsistencies, and assigns weights to propositions, allowing it to use a knowledge base that is not entirely self-consistent.

 

That is the same thing that all of us are doing. We have to assume things that we cannot assume, as such, our knowledge base is self-contradicting. But we learn anyways. If I was to completely accept the argument, I should disregard all my knowledge. Unfortunately, if I put my hand on a hot stove, it hurts like a bitch, regardless of whether or not I accept that the stove is real. To avoid unpleasant stimuli, I have to assume that they are caused by consistent factors, and construct models allowing me to predict them. Thus, I construct a knowledge base that is not entirely self-consistent, but it is "useful". Within that base lies my knowledge of the language, formal logic, and the understanding of the above argument. So yes, within that self-inconsistent knowledge base that I use to guide myself through the world of stimuli, understanding that the knowledge base cannot be consistent is knowledge. But that still doesn't hurt my argument. If I want to be formal about it, I still know absolutely nothing, which includes not knowing a way to learn new things.

 

Now it's my turn.

 

Furthermore, your intitial proposition "All my knowledge comes from observation" isn't true. There is a great deal of knowledge which we inherit genetically - and so is evolved, not observed. Babies are born already "knowing" a great many things about the world before they've ever seen it or interacted with it, such as how to breathe, and that they should suck on things put into their mouth. If you claim that instincts are not knowledge, then you are a fool, as they are way, way, way more important to your existence than anything you could ever discover about quantum physics or the history of the universe or anything else really. And before you claim that instincts are a "model", let me point out that a model is something constructed to help us understand something else. Instincts are not a model, they are part of the system itself.

Bollocks. All of it. Genetic knowledge has been struck down by experiments so many times, it is not even funny. Yes, we have instincts. What they really are, are sets of reflexes. If my blood oxygen drops low, it kicks in my breathing reflex. I can suppress it through training for a few minutes, but if I am really persistent, and fall unconscious, the reflex kicks in, and I take a breath. The fact that I would be unconscious at the moment should right away tell you that it is not knowledge.

 

When you poke a Hydra with a needle, it contracts. Does it know to contract? No. It's neurons are hard-wired to its muscles so that the stimuli causes contraction on the same side. It is used to seek food and avoid predators. Most of the "instincts" are just as simple. Burning your hand on the aforementioned stove will make you retract your arm before you even learn that it is hot. Later, you will avoid it. Some instincts are much more complex. Reproduction instinct, for example, relies on your ability to learn. It is simply too complex to hard wire, but various hormone releases triggered initially most likely by various pheromones will condition you to behave a certain way around members of opposite sex. It is further amplified by social behavior.

 

Of course mathematics is going to give you a paradox when you try to apply it to the basis of reality, it most definitely IS a model. But you and I here, are not. We USE models, all the time, sure. But we are not models ourselves. We are part of the system.

And you are so sure of that, because... Face it, you don't know if you are part of the system. You don't even know that there is a system. It seems reasonable to assume, most of the time, but it's still just an assumption.

 

We are all parts of the system we call the universe. When we "observe" things, that's just some part of the universe interacting with another part of the universe. The more complex that interaction is, the more possible outcomes it has. Like, some interaction between lightning and some observers might lead someone to believe in a deity named Zeus, and the same interaction might lead another to believe in static discharge between the earth and the sky.

Again, you assume a whole bunch of things before you even get there. You assume that what you see is what is actually happening. You assume that when others tell you about lightning, they are talking about the same thing. You assume that they can see lightnings. You assume there are other people. You assume there is you. There are just a whole lot of things that we need to establish before we can get anywhere near that far. Learn to walk before you learn to fly, eh?

 

We can't know everything, we CAN know some things. By virtue of our very existence and the way the system works, we can NOT not know anything.

Who said we exist? You still haven't explained that.

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Mortukai

 

But yes, there are more complex cases when this can be interpreted as information. So yeah, you are right, but it doesn't affect what I said. You can derive information from observing someone who knows nothing. That's different than knowing nothing yourself. That is most certainly not knowledge.

You're making a false distinction here, by seperating "yourself" from others. Like I said, it's all part of the same system. While we might experience ourselves as being seperate from other things, we're really not, it's just useful to us to think of things that way. We're like a vortex of stuff, like the red spot on jupiter. Lots of really interesting interactions are happening at a particular location we call "ourselves", but you can't have a vortex without the stuff around it. As far as the system is concerned, it's all just jupiter.

 

So if someone knows nothing, that is knowledge because someone knowing nothing cannot exist in isolation. If "you" know nothing then you are the useful information for the context around you. In which case you are knowledge. There is always a context, nothing exists in isolation.

 

 

That is the same thing that all of us are doing. We have to assume things that we cannot assume, as such, our knowledge base is self-contradicting. But we learn anyways. If I was to completely accept the argument, I should disregard all my knowledge. Unfortunately, if I put my hand on a hot stove, it hurts like a bitch, regardless of whether or not I accept that the stove is real. To avoid unpleasant stimuli, I have to assume that they are caused by consistent factors, and construct models allowing me to predict them. Thus, I construct a knowledge base that is not entirely self-consistent, but it is "useful". Within that base lies my knowledge of the language, formal logic, and the understanding of the above argument. So yes, within that self-inconsistent knowledge base that I use to guide myself through the world of stimuli, understanding that the knowledge base cannot be consistent is knowledge. But that still doesn't hurt my argument. If I want to be formal about it, I still know absolutely nothing, which includes not knowing a way to learn new things.

You're forgetting the part where you first learn something. In your steps you are working from, you have a chicken and egg conundrum.

 

 

1) All my knowledge comes from observation.

2) I use my knowledge of the world to interpret observations.

One cannot be true if two is true, and two cannot be true if one is true. How did you get the first bit of knowledge if you didn't have any pre-existing knowledge to interpret your observation of it by? If you didn't have any pre-existing knowledge for the interpretation, then you must have taken the observation prima facie and two is not true. If you did have pre-existing knowledge, then one is not true. Either way, your claimed "self-inconsisency" just isn't there.

 

Even if your claims are true for all knowledge ever gained after the first knowledge gained, it is not true for the first thing you learn. It can't lift itself up by it's own bootstraps.

 

Where do you think you get your first foundations of knowledge from?

 

See there are many observations which we simply do not need any pre-existing knowledge to interpret them by. Like your touching a hot stove example. Your intital observation that it hurt like hell is not going to be influenced by any amount of pre-existing knowledge you have. Babies, retards, geniuses, dogs, and cockroaches will all obtain the same information from that event. Maybe they then use this information to build into a complex model, or maybe they use it to build a simple model, but the initial observation is quite un-tainted by pre-existing knowledge.

 

 

Bollocks. All of it. Genetic knowledge has been struck down by experiments so many times, it is not even funny. Yes, we have instincts. What they really are, are sets of reflexes. If my blood oxygen drops low, it kicks in my breathing reflex. I can suppress it through training for a few minutes, but if I am really persistent, and fall unconscious, the reflex kicks in, and I take a breath. The fact that I would be unconscious at the moment should right away tell you that it is not knowledge.

First, the fact that you are unconscious or not is irrelevant. Are you saying that computers contain no knowledge whatsoever because they have no consciousness? Are you saying that knowledge we are consciously aware of is the only type of knowledge? And how would you go about defining the difference between a neuronal network path which is a reflex, and a neuronal network path which is knowledge? At what point does an instinct become knowledge? Is a spinal reflex knowledge (orders come from the spinal cord)? What about an autonomic reflex (orders come from the medula oblongata)? A fight-flight reflex (amygdala)? A social facial expression reflex (ventrimedial prefrontal cortex and amygdala)? Catching something thrown at you (too many systems to list)? Responding in a verbal joust (same again, but note that no-one thinks before they talk here)?

 

All of these things happen reflexively. None of them are planned responses. There is a stimulus, and we respond without hesitation or consideration. There are billions more examples, but I'd seriously like to see how you define the difference between any of these examples. Or to see how you define them as "not knowledge".

 

Second, genetic knowledge has only been disproven for a certain, strict definition of knowledge, which is way more strict than the one we are working with here. Knowing that some small things with eight legs can kill you is a genetic instinct, but it is knowledge nonetheless, because it is useful, and can inform further knowledge, and also be refined and expanded upon. To use your previous analogy, we are not born with 0 data, we are born with many many bits of data, which can form the basis of future learning.

 

Knowledge does not only come in fhe form of statements about things like "the sky is blue". Knowledge comes in many many forms, even computers "know" this.

 

 

When you poke a Hydra with a needle, it contracts. Does it know to contract? No. It's neurons are hard-wired to its muscles so that the stimuli causes contraction on the same side. It is used to seek food and avoid predators. Most of the "instincts" are just as simple. Burning your hand on the aforementioned stove will make you retract your arm before you even learn that it is hot. Later, you will avoid it. Some instincts are much more complex. Reproduction instinct, for example, relies on your ability to learn. It is simply too complex to hard wire, but various hormone releases triggered initially most likely by various pheromones will condition you to behave a certain way around members of opposite sex. It is further amplified by social behavior.

ALL thoughts are neurotransmitter signals released between neuronal synapses. Hormones are neurotransmitters. You do know that we learn by culling connections about 10 times more than by growing new connections, don't you? That would mean that at least 90% of everything is "hard wired" at some stage, our brain just hasn't decided exaclty what form it should take until it culls extraneous connections. This is why it gets harder to learn as we grow older, not easier.

 

 

And you are so sure of that, because... Face it, you don't know if you are part of the system. You don't even know that there is a system. It seems reasonable to assume, most of the time, but it's still just an assumption.

If there was no system then I could not be here. Maybe I don't know what "I", and "here" really really are, but the fact remains, whatever I am and wherever here is, if here was nowhere and I was nothing, then I could not possibly be typing this here right now. It's not an assumption, it's an impossibility.

 

Go on, fault me on it. Don't just say "you can't know for certain because you can't trust your logic", but I dare you to try and destroy my argument while allowing your argument to exist as if there was no system at all. If your argument works, then obviously it works according to rules, and if there are rules, there's a system. If it doesn't work then the converse, that there is a system, is true. I'd love to see you try this, please.

 

 

Again, you assume a whole bunch of things before you even get there. You assume that what you see is what is actually happening. You assume that when others tell you about lightning, they are talking about the same thing. You assume that they can see lightnings. You assume there are other people. You assume there is you. There are just a whole lot of things that we need to establish before we can get anywhere near that far. Learn to walk before you learn to fly, eh?

What does "actually happening" mean? If I see it, then that perception is "actually happening". Does it even matter if that perception is "true" to some "external" stimulus? No, but that perception is the thing that is definitely happening, and that perception is the thing I will work with. If the perception was not actually happening, then I wouldn't notice its absence.

 

I have an experience of being me. Whether my interpretation of this has any relationship to what is "actually going on", my experience is undeniable. I can't not experience being me, as soon as that happens, I cease to be, or I never was. The fact that I have this experience is proof that this experience exists. An experience cannot not exist and simultaneously be experienced. This is true because of how we define experience. Whatever else I may know or not know, I know that my experience of me exists.

 

Now please prove that my experience of me doesn't exist, or that it requires further proof to support. What assumptions am I making here that are self inconsistent?

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K^2

 

You're making a false distinction here, by seperating "yourself" from others. Like I said, it's all part of the same system. While we might experience ourselves as being seperate from other things, we're really not, it's just useful to us to think of things that way. We're like a vortex of stuff, like the red spot on jupiter. Lots of really interesting interactions are happening at a particular location we call "ourselves", but you can't have a vortex without the stuff around it. As far as the system is concerned, it's all just jupiter.

Do you know what other people are thinking and feeling? No. There is a very big distinction between self and others. Own knowledge is treated differently than everyone else's knowledge. Information that might increase my knowledge might not change someone else's, or in some weird cases, even decrease someone's knowledge. Not making a distinction between self and others when talking about knowledge is a huge fallacy. Spots on Jupiter or not.

 

 

If "you" know nothing then you are the useful information for the context around you.

I allow for possibility that someone outside of me exists that might interpret my lack of knowledge as knowledge. That's not the issue. The issue is that I demonstrate that I know nothing following the steps that I have outlined. You should be able to do the same and arrive at the same conclusion, unless you, somehow, have a different method of obtaining knowledge.

 

 

1) All my knowledge comes from observation.

2) I use my knowledge of the world to interpret observations.

One cannot be true if two is true, and two cannot be true if one is true. How did you get the first bit of knowledge if you didn't have any pre-existing knowledge to interpret your observation of it by? If you didn't have any pre-existing knowledge for the interpretation, then you must have taken the observation prima facie and two is not true. If you did have pre-existing knowledge, then one is not true. Either way, your claimed "self-inconsisency" just isn't there.

No sh*t, Sherlock. The whole point is that based on 1) and 2) I have no knowledge. That's what I'm proving right there. I know nothing, and I know no way of learning anything. You are just now catching on on that?

 

 

Where do you think you get your first foundations of knowledge from?

That's what I've been asking you for a few days now.

 

 

See there are many observations which we simply do not need any pre-existing knowledge to interpret them by. Like your touching a hot stove example. Your intital observation that it hurt like hell is not going to be influenced by any amount of pre-existing knowledge you have.

Again with the assumptions. You don't know that stove even exists, and there you go claiming that you have knowledge about it. Bull.

 

 

All of these things happen reflexively. None of them are planned responses. There is a stimulus, and we respond without hesitation or consideration. There are billions more examples, but I'd seriously like to see how you define the difference between any of these examples. Or to see how you define them as "not knowledge".

You are making an error in not distinguishing between "hardware" and "software".

 

A->B is knowledge. It can also be written as ~A+B. Given A, with this knowledge we can get (~A+B)A = ~AA+AB = A and B. This is inference. The particular application of this can be built from CMOS logical gates. The fixed CMOS circuitry that evaluates the above would not be part of knowledge. It is the architecture used for knowledge storage. Same for the way your brain is wired. The hard wiring of it provides for reflective responses. They are not based on knowledge. As the stimuli start modifying the chemical balances in neuron synapses, the flow of electrochemical excitations is altered, resulting in different behavior. That is knowledge.

 

The assumption made above is that the neural net actually exists and the excitations arrive from a tangible world around the system. Given that, new knowledge can be obtained from the system as described. That is where you can learn that the stove is hot. You don't need to know that it is the stove, but you do know that something exists, it looks a certain way, and it burns you if you touch it. The chain is further extended to acquire linguistic knowledge, etc. However, it still rests on some very big assumptions that you cannot make if you want to consider everything in the "matter of fact", mathematically strict way. And if you do not consider it mathematically strict, then you cannot insist on any conclusions you derive from your knowledge. Hence, you cannot claim that something does or does not exist in reality. You can make a claim along the lines of, "Assuming that I exist, and that tangible reality exists and is the reality I observe, I can conclude from my observations that..." It is a fairly weak statement, and you will not be able to make it any stronger.

 

 

I have an experience of being me. Whether my interpretation of this has any relationship to what is "actually going on", my experience is undeniable. I can't not experience being me, as soon as that happens, I cease to be, or I never was. The fact that I have this experience is proof that this experience exists. An experience cannot not exist and simultaneously be experienced. This is true because of how we define experience. Whatever else I may know or not know, I know that my experience of me exists.

You still assume that you exist. Prove that you do. I'll even give you the "experience" for the sake of this argument. So all you have to do is prove that statements "I do not exist" and "I experience my existence" are contradictory. Keep in mind that you can have an experience of something without it actually happening. Ask any LSD user.

 

But if you want to be formal about it, the experience of being you isn't nearly as undeniable as you think. You are experiencing something. This only implies that you, that something, or even the experience itself exists only if you assume certain rules of existence. Other than the fact that we are completely stuck logically if we don't make these assumptions, there is no reason to believe them. So in terms of pragmatic philosophy, yes, assuming that the experience exists makes sense. From the perspective of absolutes, however, it is unwarranted.

 

Now please prove that my experience of me doesn't exist, or that it requires further proof to support. What assumptions am I making here that are self inconsistent?

I think I outlined the main point of it above. I just want you to keep in mind that you are the one trying to prove to me that you can learn something, so you are entirely on the defensive here. I don't need to prove anything.

Edited by K^2

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Mortukai

 

I think I outlined the main point of it above. I just want you to keep in mind that you are the one trying to prove to me that you can learn something, so you are entirely on the defensive here. I don't need to prove anything.

Actually, you do. You're the one making the exceptional claim. I'm claiming something that is fairly consistent with general knowledge and common sense. You're claiming something that is literally impossible to fully integrate into your understanding about reality. The burden of proof lies with you making the exceptional claim. My claim, that we can know some things, is not by any standard except yours, "exceptional".

 

 

But if you want to be formal about it, the experience of being you isn't nearly as undeniable as you think. You are experiencing something. This only implies that you, that something, or even the experience itself exists only if you assume certain rules of existence. Other than the fact that we are completely stuck logically if we don't make these assumptions, there is no reason to believe them. So in terms of pragmatic philosophy, yes, assuming that the experience exists makes sense. From the perspective of absolutes, however, it is unwarranted.

Thanks for being so ambiguous. Now try stating what those "certain rules of existence" might be. I already stated that I might not know exactly what "you" means or where "here" was, but that experience was occuring is undeniable. So go on, what assumptions am I making? If you can't name them, then you can't claim that there's no reason to believe them. If there are no assumptions beyond the mere definitions of the words, then you are wrong.

 

 

Keep in mind that you can have an experience of something without it actually happening. Ask any LSD user.

I know, that's why I stated that exact same thing already. It doesn't matter if what you think you are experiencing is "actually happening" (in the outside world) but what is undeniable is that your experience, whether veridical or not, is actually happening in your mind. Your perceptions can be altered by incoming stimuli (seeing sh*t) or internally generated stimuli (dreams and thoughts) or introduction of new chemicals (taking drugs). Your perceptions can thus have a huge variety of forms, but in all cases, your perceptions exist irrefutably.

 

I'm going to go ahead and keep saying words like "irrefutably" and "undeniably" because I figure if you could actually compose a sound direct argument to refute where I have used them, you would have already, so I'm going to assume you can't, so I'm using them correctly.

 

 

Again with the assumptions. You don't know that stove even exists, and there you go claiming that you have knowledge about it. Bull.

Stop it with the straw man arguments already, please. I never once stated knowledge about the stove. I stated knowledge about the event. Maybe "you" can't actually "touch" anything called a "hot stove", but you can sure experience pain when you percieve that you do. And this observation of experiencing this event is entirely independant of any previous knowledge. And again, you haven't addressed this. It's making your argument look a WHOLE lot weaker.

 

 

No sh*t, Sherlock. The whole point is that based on 1) and 2) I have no knowledge. That's what I'm proving right there. I know nothing, and I know no way of learning anything. You are just now catching on on that?

Err, no. See, 1, and 2 cannot both be true. Your argument rests on them both being true, but self-inconsistent. They CANNOT both be true. For you to have ANY knowledge at all, even if it is just a faulty "model" of things, 1 and 2 cannot both be true. It's got absolutely nothing to do with how you "assign weights" to information, it's got everything to do with the fact that they contradict each other logically. I can't assign weight to the first observation if I have absolutely no knowledge yet with which to use as a basis for assigning weight. And if I don't assign weight to it, and just accept my first observation prima facie, then your second claim is false.

 

This is why you don't get your self inconsistency. Because your argument is actually wrong. If you work with false premises, then no wonder you are coming to a false conclusion.

 

The reality is that 1 is not true, because there is knowledge which we possess which we did not obtain through observation (like fear of heights). Also, 2 is not true because there are demonstrable observations which can be made completely independantly of pre-existing knowledge (like experiencing pain when you do something).

 

 

You are making an error in not distinguishing between "hardware" and "software".

If you knew anything at all about the brain, you'd know that no such distinction exists. The brain is both. Sometimes it's more hardware, sometimes it's more software, depending on the circumstances and what is needed. Any part of the brain that seems "hardwired" for something can be hijacked by surrounding cortex and rewired for their purposes as soon as that something is no longer used. There is no "fixed circuitry" anywhere in the brain. It is not a storage device waiting to be filled. There is no hard wiring. Please learn more about the brain before commenting on this further.

 

 

A->B is knowledge. It can also be written as ~A+B. Given A, with this knowledge we can get (~A+B)A = ~AA+AB = A and B. This is inference. The particular application of this can be built from CMOS logical gates. The fixed CMOS circuitry that evaluates the above would not be part of knowledge. It is the architecture used for knowledge storage. Same for the way your brain is wired. The hard wiring of it provides for reflective responses. They are not based on knowledge. As the stimuli start modifying the chemical balances in neuron synapses, the flow of electrochemical excitations is altered, resulting in different behavior. That is knowledge.

There's two points I want to bring up here.

 

1: You're seeking out to define knowledge in such a way as to preclude the possibility for it to be hardwired. This is really silly, because basically anything that we call knowledge now can be hardwired. Theoretically one could build a robot that was hardwired to interpret everything it ever percieved through the framework of the christian creator god, and according to you, its knowledge of the christian creator god, though necessarily extensive and complex and for the robot, "useful", would not be knowledge because it is hardwired. In fact one could potentially hardwire absolutely everything you yourself know into a robot, and suddenly everything you know becomes "not knowledge".

 

ALL knowledge has the potential to be both usefull in and of itself, and to inform further knowledge. It can be both an "architecture for storage" or dynamically accessed.

 

Furthermore, hardwiring IS knowledge. Imagine the question, "how can I store data?". BAM, your CMOS has the answer! Suddenly your hardwired CMOS which is "not knowledge" suddenly becomes knowledge! If you can ask a question and something can give you an answer, that something is knowledge. The answer doesn't even have to be right or the best, there's no pre-requisite for knowledge that it be true. It just has to be useful in even the most mundane of ways.

 

Your "not knowledge" "architecture" is simply an answer to a problem that was solved before you arrived. Your eyes are an answer to a problem of how best to obtain information about the world around us. It most definitely IS knowledge. You might not think having eyes is a form of knowledge, but that's because you have them. If you didn't have eyes, and you heard about them, it'd be like when you first heard about evolution and quantum physics: A new way of percieving and understanding your environment that you can't really comprehend because you have no basis of comparison. The knowledge becomes a tool, and with practice, becomes a very useful tool.

 

And 2: This is why you are wrong. This is why your whole argument is wrong. Because you are doing what I've seen many many times before and it's heartbreaking. You are putting mathematics above reality. This is how things really are:

 

<reality <mathematical models>>

 

This is how you are treating things:

 

<mathematical models <reality>>

 

You must accept that there are some parts of reality that are not best informed by mathematics. Even if it were true that mathematics could effectively model every square inch of reality in every dimension, it would still not be sufficient to explain it, because maths exists within it.

 

This is why you can't prove that I don't exist. "Existence" is something that is beyond the scope of mathematics. This is because mathematics does not exist. It is a model. Without us, there is no mathematics. It is in the books, minds, and computers of ours that mathematics is developed, but without our minds, it's just a bunch of illegible ink scratches on paper or rust filings on a hard drive platter. We give it meaning and form, we use it to help us understand things. But we cannot use it to understand ourselves or anything more complex than ourselves, because we created it. Nothing can create something more complex than itself, and nothing can understand anything more complex than itself. Mathematics cannot say anything about us or the nature of reality. Look at string theory. What a load of crock that was. When mathematicians play with maths and create all sorts of wonderful ideas about how the universe might be... a part of me dies inside, because that's no different to someone playing with paint and seeing the soul of god in it. It's a tool, and when you use it you have to understand the limits of it. Paint cannot reveal the beauty of innocence... only we can do that. Maths cannot comment on the nature of reality... only we can do that. Know the limits of your tools.

 

Now I suspect that you are likely to come back and say "ahah! This is my point entirely! We CAN'T know anything because we can't trust the tools to tell us anything blah blah blah". No. You're wrong. You're relying on maths again. Stop it. I know this is particularly difficult for you, but please stop thinking mathematically for a bit.

 

We can know that we are experiencing something. Maybe we can't trust that our experience is veridical, but we can trust that we are experiencing something. Maybe we can't trust that our experience of "us" is even what we think it is, but we are certainly experiencing something. Our experience exists. It cannot not exist. Experience cannot be an "illusion" because an illusion is a subset of experience, and a part cannot be greater than the whole.

 

And just in case you simply cannot stop thinking mathematically because you're just so convinced that mathematics is the be all and end all of truth, then let me break it down mathematically for you. Let "experience" be 1.

 

1

 

There you go.

 

If you don't understand that, go out and eat an ice cream and lay in the park watching the clouds roll by for a few hours, and think about it.

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Hope

I'm Atheist, but I'm not completely closed to the idea of a God. It just clearly shows that humans made-up all this "there's a God" sh*t, so what are the chances it's even true? Why should I believe there is a God when we created this thought. That's why I'm an Atheist.

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