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The Dangers of Certainty

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we have autonomy and choice after all.

Certain about that?

 

How often do you do something truly random and how often do you do something is part of your nature?

 

Is the very existence of this post triggering the part of your personality that feels compelled to reply or the one that feels it isn't worth the hassle? Was the outcome inevitable (i.e. you replied or not)?


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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it is a very interesting topic on which there have been a number of recent interesting articles. You can't remove emotion from intelligence, nor can you remove the body for self-awareness. Meaning we're not as free willed as we would like to think.

 

Which doesn't mean we're complete mindslaves. just that it requires a lot of self-awareness, self reflection and education to beat hardcoded and softcoded psychological and cultural behaviour.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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You put my thoughts into better words than I could.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Thanks, I try.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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Having a hard time overcoming influences and your nature is not the same as it being impossible.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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One thing I've always felt was that we're only capable of understanding that which our senses allow us to understand. Those things that lie outside of our ability to physically sense exist as a construct, that over time gets revised. So in that sense I buy Dr. Bronowski's idea that truth in science is really always "truth as we currently understand it".

 

[...]

 

However if the universe is not random in its entirety, a God's eye view should be theoretically possible (if only practically possible for a sufficiently omniscient God)

But we are capable of understanding things that are outside the realm of human senses through mathematics and technology. Microscopes and telescopes allow us to see that which is invisible to our senses, more esoteric devices such as Neutrino detectors (pictured) provide virtually concrete (thanks to repeat observations by different devices in different parts of the world, peer-reviewed,) evidence for physical realities which were first hypothesized through the application of mathematics to the study of the physical universe. You cannot detect a neutrino directly, it cannot be observed by any means, but its interactions with other particles produce observable reactions for which there is no other explanation.

 

PH20_water_withboat_apr23_wm.jpg

 

If human understanding of the universe were limited by our senses, none of this would exist because the internet would not exist. You cannot directly perceive the actual workings of a computer. You can't expose your CPU and watch the electrical currents flow along different circuits or see every frame to be displayed until it is transformed from intangible information into the light emitted by your display. Information exists as intangible, imperceptible phenomena regardless of human observation. You can record information on a storage device, but once you remove all the inputs and outputs, how do you know that information exists? You cannot sense it in any way. You can sense the color, shape, weight, texture and so on of the device, but the information stored on it is unseeable, and if we can only understand the perceivable, that information cannot possibly be understood. Yet you can understand it because the device can be connected to other devices which turn that information into something you can perceive.

 

Which is tangential to the fact that, yes, science is an ongoing process in which new ideas frequently supplant discredited hypotheses as a result of new advances in all aspects of the pursuit.

 

 

All that said, minor gripe: Omniscient is, by definition "all-knowing," there are no degrees of omniscience. It's a binary state. There is omnis "all" scientia "knowledge," and there is everything less than "all."

 

we have autonomy and choice after all.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/161754-repeat/

 

Skip to the story of Christine Campbell, and note the fact that her experience is something her doctor had seen before. You may begin to question your belief in the idea of free will.

 

For those who can't be bothered to listen: A woman suffered a form of temporary amnesia in which the brain cannot form and retain short-term memories; the result is that the victim/patient repeats the same thoughts and actions once that memory is "reset," the only time variation arises is when inputs are varied. There is no variation unless the inputs vary, every time her memory resets, her "choices" are the same.

Edited by AGX-17
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Good read, but I think the notion is that choice requires awareness which she doesn't have for obvious reasons. Although you could probably get her to learn typing, piano, or any other physical activity.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Good read, but I think the notion is that choice requires awareness which she doesn't have for obvious reasons. Although you could probably get her to learn typing, piano, or any other physical activity.

She was entirely aware. How are you defining awareness? If you define awareness as "being able to form short-term memories," then she wasn't aware, but that's not the definition of awareness by any standard I'm.... aware of.

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Awareness of choice, you need to know what the choice is before you make it. 


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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the result is that the victim/patient repeats the same thoughts and actions once that memory is "reset," the only time variation arises is when inputs are varied. There is no variation unless the inputs vary, every time her memory resets, her "choices" are the same.

 

 

I wonder about preference. Wouldn't her "same thoughts and actions" repeat because the malfunctioning short-term is essentially making cache requests into long-term storage, into some other brain space imprinted with our individual amalgam of preference and taste ... words, phrases, colors, disposition. With variable input, maybe those cache requests are attempting and failing to read to short-term, until it just "resets" (whatever that means). For that matter, why is it so scary all this really is the Matrix and I have actually no choice in anything ...     


All Stop. On Screen.

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But we are capable of understanding things that are outside the realm of human senses through mathematics and technology. Microscopes and telescopes allow us to see that which is invisible to our senses, more esoteric devices such as Neutrino detectors (pictured) provide virtually concrete (thanks to repeat observations by different devices in different parts of the world, peer-reviewed,) evidence for physical realities which were first hypothesized through the application of mathematics to the study of the physical universe. You cannot detect a neutrino directly, it cannot be observed by any means, but its interactions with other particles produce observable reactions for which there is no other explanation.

 

A neutrino can be observed in a similar fashion to everything else there is in the world, it's just that it is much more complicated in practice.

 

You see, there are (to our current knowledge) four fundamental interactions - strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational. It can be said that the definition of something "existing" is that it can have an interaction with something else. Our senses are just a detection device which lacks a lot of precision. Neutrinos, along with everything else there is, can interact with your own body as well, it's just that for the amounts of neutrinos which fly through and into our bodies that interaction is negligible. It's really unnecessary to make a distinction between what our senses can in practice make out "directly" and what they can't. A scientist noting a detection of a neutrino on a computer screen is not fundamentally different from a captain observing a ship through his binoculars, or you reading a book with glasses on.

 

People often unnecessarily obfuscate and complicate modern physics.

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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But we are capable of understanding things that are outside the realm of human senses through mathematics and technology. Microscopes and telescopes allow us to see that which is invisible to our senses, more esoteric devices such as Neutrino detectors (pictured) provide virtually concrete (thanks to repeat observations by different devices in different parts of the world, peer-reviewed,) evidence for physical realities which were first hypothesized through the application of mathematics to the study of the physical universe. You cannot detect a neutrino directly, it cannot be observed by any means, but its interactions with other particles produce observable reactions for which there is no other explanation.

 

A neutrino can be observed in a similar fashion to everything else there is in the world, it's just that it is much more complicated in practice.

 

You see, there are (to our current knowledge) four fundamental interactions - strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational. It can be said that the definition of something "existing" is that it can have an interaction with something else. Our senses are just a detection device which lacks a lot of precision. Neutrinos, along with everything else there is, can interact with your own body as well, it's just that for the amounts of neutrinos which fly through and into our bodies that interaction is negligible. It's really unnecessary to make a distinction between what our senses can in practice make out "directly" and what they can't. A scientist noting a detection of a neutrino on a computer screen is not fundamentally different from a captain observing a ship through his binoculars, or you reading a book with glasses on.

 

People often unnecessarily obfuscate and complicate modern physics.

 

My entire point was that, contrary to the beliefs of the one I was responding to, it's possible for us to understand things we cannot directly perceive by way of technological instruments and mathematical models.

 

You're just going on some strawman tangent listing examples of humans using technological instruments to observe things even making such a rookie 0/10 trolling mistake as mentioning optics like binoculars in what appears to be an attempt to disprove a point I never made, in which I noted that humans can use telescopes and microscopes to view things that are beyond the resolution of the human eye (i.e. outside the realm of natural human perception.)

 

I never said anything about neutrino interaction with the human body (a vital crux of your strawman, which is to put words in my metaphorical mouth and imply that I claimed they don't interact with matter in the human body even though I explained that a neutrino detector's function is to observe the results of neutrinos interacting with other matter.) I said that a Neutrino cannot be perceived by direct means, but the products of their (rare) interactions with other forms of matter can be observed only indirectly (only with highly sensitive neutrino detectors.) Neutrinos pass by the trillion through your body every second, and the mathematical chances of one actually interacting with any of the mass in your body are astronomically tiny because they're only affected by the weak atomic force, and when they do actually interact with matter in your body you cannot detect it under any circumstance, it's simply through mathematical logic that we know such interactions occur.

 

Making some vague claim about someone "unnecessarily obfuscating and complicating" "modern physics" is just pointless. Observing a neutrino was a highly complicated feat. Modern physics includes classical mechanics, which I assume is your trump card in claiming I'm pompously making physics sound more complex than it really is. Or are you going to go out and show me you can explain Quantum Mechanics to a group of high school dropouts in such a way that they can accurately calculate the probabilities of electron behavior?

 

Physics has many levels of complexity. Newtonian physics can be simple, i.e. f=mv, but reaches into far more complex operations and formulae.

Edited by AGX-17

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I'm not sure it's a strawman.

 

As I see it, Rosti is making the implicit statement that scientific hypotheses with more complex systems are based on those of less complex sub-systems. One of these subsystems is neutrino activity. If neutrino activity cannot be accurately known then we cannot know the higher order hypotheses as being certain.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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@AGX-17

 

It seems to me that the issue is how you used "observe" in your post in a colloquial sense as opposed to what it means in a scientific context (especially when dealing with particle physics), which is misleading given the otherwise scientific tone of the post. I know I felt that something wasn't quite right with that sentence ("neutrinos cannot be observed"), so I guess the reaction from an actual physicist would be much stronger.

 

Also, I think you are conflating physics with math. And while at a fundamental level, physics is math, the way we make sense out of the math is not by glancing at formulae and going "a-HA!". So you can probably explain the QM atomic model to just about anyone given enough interest and time, but only people that in addition have a strong math background will be able to accurately calculate the probability density for 4f orbitals, or whatever. Does that mean you can only explain physics to mathematicians?

 

Also, f=mv? I don't remember that one from my classical mechanics classes.

Edited by 213374U

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Why does everyone in this forum seems to have a physics degree?

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Why does everyone in this forum seems to have a physics degree?

 

Well, can't speak for anyone else, but in my case it's my theoretical degree in physics at work. Though my line of work is more physiques, actually. *cough*

 

Yeah, OK. I'll go sit in the corner now.

 

(IIRC Zoraptor and Rostere are actual scientists, maybe someone else. Scientists are people too)


- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Only specific 1st year physics though for me, my main credentials in anything physics related is that I've actually read A Brief History of Time.

 

(else, physics related to biology/ chemistry)

Edited by Zoraptor

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