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"Integrative Science”: The Death-Knell of Scientific Materialism?
various ^ | various | vanity with much help

Posted on 07/05/2003 4:20:08 PM PDT by betty boop

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To: Right Wing Professor; betty boop; unspun
Er, if I may interrupt:

The body of data for 'macroevolution', as you call it, is such that only those blinded by dogma could fail to recognize it.

If that were so, how would you explain Francis Crick and other panspermia supporters?

I also don't see how you could put Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, Hubert P. Yockey or Stephen Wolfram in a bucket of dogma.

151 posted on 07/07/2003 8:17:47 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop
I said: Existence, not consciousness is primary.

You siad: Hank, you assert. Please demonstrate.

I did in the post you are responding to:

If there were no existence, there would be nothing (no one) to be conscious, and nothing to be conscious of.

It is axiomatic, that is, an assertion discovered to be true, which cannot be denied without leading to a contradiction.

Consciousness requires two things: 1. someone to be conscious, and 2. something to be conscious of. If there is someone who is conscious they exist, if they are conscious they are conscious of something and that exists. If nothing exists, there is no consciousness. Existence is primary, logically, metaphysically, ontologically, and conceptually.

The denial of this simple truth has produced untold harm in all of philosophy and most other intellectual pursuits based on such philosophies.

(Someone once argue with me, asking, "couldn't a being just be conscious of themselves?" Of course you know the answer is, not if they do not exist? First they must exist, then they can be conscious.

Ayn Rand argued that a contentless consciousness is a contradiction in terms, which is true. It is also true that a conscious non-existent is a contradiction in terms.)

Hank

152 posted on 07/07/2003 9:33:41 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Alamo-Girl
Crick's panspermia theory involved the beginning of life, not its subsequent evolution. Here;s the abstract of the original Orgel and Crick paper:

It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet, is considered. It is concluded that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. Attention is drawn to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic

Not exactly a strong endorsement.

As for the others, Wolfram is a crank egomaniac (a brilliant one, but still a crank), Schuetzenberger appears to be drunk on his own words, a classic French vice, and Yockey is most definitely a religious zealot.

153 posted on 07/07/2003 9:45:59 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
Crick's panspermia theory involved the beginning of life

Panspermia completely sidesteps the question of the origin of life.

154 posted on 07/07/2003 9:48:20 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: unspun
Yes there are mounds of data that people can use to support one hypothesis or another that attempts to describe macroevolution. Also, the work of ancient astronauts, the intervention of the Hindu pantheon, the frame by frame reconstruction of the entire Universe by "the Q," etc.

Sure. And don't forget last Thursdayism. Noen of these qualify as naturalistic theories.

The evidence for macroevolution is of course not just fossil evidence, substantial though that body of evidence is. It also includes genetic evidence which grows weekly.

One has to have a thoroughgoing set of tests being done, to have a scientific theory on such a grand scale as this

I'm afraid trying to impose a set of rules on science from the outside has never worked.

If you want to call macroevolution a philosophic theory set, that's being much more honest.

Evoution is a scientific theory; it has really nothing to do with philosophy. The philosophy of science has had essentaialy zero impact on science, and at its best is simply a description of scientific practice.

155 posted on 07/07/2003 9:57:33 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: RightWhale
Panspermia completely sidesteps the question of the origin of life.

Agreed. However, the point I was making was that contary to AG's implication, Crick did not propose a panspermic theory as an alternative to macroevolution.

156 posted on 07/07/2003 9:59:22 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: unspun
But, HK, if you would actually give us a consise rationale of your world view and stick with it (especially of your foundations regarding God and the human, relating with exactness and elegance your concept of reality) perhaps, we could all be pleased to spot it and say for all time: there it is, in that post! ;-`

How about 400 words max. what do you say?

Samuel Johnson said, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money," which is only partly true. Sometimes we write for our own enjoyment.

I would not enjoy writing what you have proposed, and I am certain you would not be willing to pay my going price, so it looks like the project will not get off the ground.

That way, it would save much air time and thread space.

For whom? You talk like an environmentalist. Everything should be done to conserve, they never say conserve for what or for whom.

Also, how many screen names do you use?

I use only one. My wife uses one, my father uses one, .... On one or two occasions, when my wife was logged on FR (a rare occurrence) I made one or two comments to some thread or another she showed me, but mostly those comments were hers.

My wife is a reader. She works full-time but manages to read at least three books a week, usually more. But then, we do not watch TV, and spend our evenings together, usually listening to opera, or other classical music while we read, talk, or write.

By the way, I showed my wife your latest post. She said, i i i i. You should be honored, it's usually only three is, meaning, insipid, innocuous, and inane. In you honor she added impertinent.

Hank

157 posted on 07/07/2003 10:02:24 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thank you for your reply!

Panspermia is a form of the Intelligent Design argument, from their website:

Cosmic Ancestry is a new theory of evolution and the origin of life on Earth. It holds that life on Earth was seeded from space, and that life's evolution to higher forms depends on genetic programs that come from space. It is a wholly scientific, testable theory for which evidence is accumulating...

The case for Cosmic Ancestry is not yet proven, of course. At this point the best reason to notice it is that sustained evolutionary progress and the origin of life on Earth are not satisfactorily accounted for by neo-Darwinism...

If genetic programs come from more than physical processes (Rocha, Pattee) - then life did not evolve through random mutation/natural selection at the macro level. The difference between panspermia enthusiasts and other Intelligent Design enthusiasts is the "who did it?"

You have a prejudice against Wolfram, Yockey and Schützenberger - much like some on the other side of the debate have a prejudice against Darwin, Sagan, Gould.

Personally, I dismiss all such prejudices as irrelevant and look instead to the merits of the arguments.

158 posted on 07/07/2003 10:12:31 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Right Wing Professor
Last Thursdayism is ever up-to-date. It was revised Independence Day last.
159 posted on 07/07/2003 10:13:15 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Alamo-Girl
The case for Cosmic Ancestry is not yet proven, of course.

My nomination for understatement of the week.

If your definiton of panspermia is 'Cosmic Ancestry is a new theory of evolution and the origin of life on Earth. It holds that life on Earth was seeded from space, and that life's evolution to higher forms depends on genetic programs that come from space. ', then you are doing Francis Crick a disservice by associating him with it. Crick, like anyone else with a smattering of biological knowledge, would call a gene a program only in a very restricted sense. The idea that a primitive organism could direct its own further evolution is at best unproven and at worst completely unrealistic. It was, however, a fine Star Trek episode.

You have a prejudice against Wolfram, Yockey and Schützenberger - much like some on the other side of the debate have a prejudice against Darwin, Sagan, Gould.

I've been familiar with Wolfram's work for 10 years; I've used his scientific software for 15. I have an opinion on Wolfram, not a prejudice.

I've read a couple of articles you've posted that were either written by Schützenberger or wrew interviews with him. My opinion was formed from those articles. It is therefore also not a prejudice.

I did a web search on Yockey. I found various links associating him with a journal called Truth

The objectives of the journal Truth, An International, Inter-disciplinary Journal of Christian Thought, have been well described in the Foreword and the Preface. The journal will focus, writes Dr. Bright, "on the positive task of presenting classical Christian theism and "baptizing" all that is best in modern thought while remaining loyal to the definitive divine self-revelation in Jesus Christ."

and Information Theorist Hubert Yockey notes that many scientists are really talking religion and many theologians are talking science.

I made a judgement based on those web pages.

Personally, I dismiss all such prejudices as irrelevant and look instead to the merits of the arguments.

No doubt you believe you do. However, I don't consider the 'guilt by asociation' stunt you pulled re Darwinism and Marxism to be an argument based on the merits.

160 posted on 07/07/2003 10:33:15 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Last Thursdayism is ever up-to-date. It was revised Independence Day last

The original Independence Day, or the rerun on Fox last night?

161 posted on 07/07/2003 10:35:15 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Hank Kerchief; unspun; Alamo-Girl; Consort
It is axiomatic, that is, an assertion discovered to be true, which cannot be denied without leading to a contradiction.

An axiom is not a demonstration. You are trying to take a pass on something that is the very thing in dispute here as "self-evidently true."

We aren't dealing with the issue of concept formation here. We are dealing with the structure of the universe.

What these three scientists have suggested is that consciousness is fundamental, in the sense of having reality that is not dependent on the human mind. Human mind is only one particular type of consciousness. They hypothesize consciousness as a general principle and, as such, something distributed throughout nature, from the micro world of QM through the macro world of classical physics.

If you think this conjecture is fallacious, then please show me why I should agree with you and not these other gentlemen.

162 posted on 07/07/2003 10:38:47 AM PDT by betty boop (We can have either human dignity or unfettered liberty, but not both. -- Dean Clancy)
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To: Alamo-Girl
It is a wholly scientific, testable theory for which evidence is accumulating...

Possibly there is evidence for panspermia, but none has accumulated so far. The other problem with conditions set upon proving evolution by the mature-phylum crowd is that evidence is not accumulating, but is in fact disappearing. For an example everyone can relate to, if they remember the Plymouth, the Plymouth is extinct. Few examples are found in the substrata. Find an identifiable '55 Plymouth and you will prove that there once was a primitive automobile, a linear ancestor [okay, parallel evolution] to the modern antomobile. The automobile appears to have sprung fully developed from the earth, to have been created in its modern form. Like all images, this point should not be accepted as the full answer to the mature-phylum crowd, but merely to show that the origins of phyla and the cell itself may be gone completely, never to be recovered. Don't ask for the impossible and expect that failure to do the impossible in any way proves the alternative.

163 posted on 07/07/2003 10:45:50 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: betty boop
Butting in: you can by all means believe in a Universal Consciousness. Some religions do.

There is, however, nothing in the conventional description of quantum mechanics that resembles consciousness. In fact, 'consciousness' doesn't really have any measurable properties or consequences (see the Turing test) and is therefore not a well defined scientific term at present.

So just don't call this science. It ain't.

164 posted on 07/07/2003 10:52:19 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor; unspun; Alamo-Girl; Phaedrus; tortoise
There is, however, nothing in the conventional description of quantum mechanics that resembles consciousness. In fact, 'consciousness' doesn't really have any measurable properties or consequences (see the Turing test) and is therefore not a well defined scientific term at present.

I'm aware that Copenhagen School QM has remained inattentive to the problem of consciousness. Its adherents appear to be quite happy with their "agnosticism" respecting this issue. And yet the "measurement problem," the problem of the observer, would seem to involve an action of mind exercising choice. This seems clear on the macro level; are we to expect that the micro (i.e., quantum) level operates by entirely different laws?

It's my understanding that the Turing test deals with properties of computation. Do you think that consciousness ultimately is reducible to computation?

It is because consciousness is not a well-defined scientific term at the present time that these three scientists are investigating it, hopefully to be able properly to define it. Do you think this is an illegitimate endeavor for science?

165 posted on 07/07/2003 11:31:31 AM PDT by betty boop (We can have either human dignity or unfettered liberty, but not both. -- Dean Clancy)
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To: Hank Kerchief
So, as much as you are apparently willing to talk about your personal life - and willing to carp about others' posts - and willing to attempt to invalidate reality - you're unwilling to forthrightly state your foundational views?

And you've asked why one would label your tactics Fabianistic?

Based upon your tactics and the conflicting positions and expressions you've made, one wonders if and when you are sincere.
166 posted on 07/07/2003 11:31:59 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: betty boop
It's my understanding that the Turing test deals with properties of computation. Do you think that consciousness ultimately is reducible to computation?

the Turing test (are we talking about the imitation game?) is an attempt to make an operational definition of consciousness. I personally think it is a lousy concept, except that it is better than anything else we have. Interestingly, there are lots of people who would fail the imitation game, or at least get voted off the island in competition with some current AI programs. Actually it's already happened. Some years back there was an expo in which computer programs were set up in a chat room with an equal number of real people. One woman was voted to be a 'bot, because she knew too much.

167 posted on 07/07/2003 11:40:55 AM PDT by js1138
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To: betty boop; Right Wing Professor; Alamo-Girl; Phaedrus; tortoise
It is because consciousness is not a well-defined scientific term at the present time that these three scientists are investigating it, hopefully to be able properly to define it. Do you think this is an illegitimate endeavor for science?

My inter:

Even if this is unattainable scientifically, scientific and propositionally attained kinds of knowledge and constructs may be (are) gained along the way.

Here is yet another site (one I haven't seen linked to in FR) that would focus upon attempts to do this:

"the Ontology of Psychology

168 posted on 07/07/2003 11:57:44 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: js1138
One woman was voted to be a 'bot, because she knew too much.

But were any 'bots voted to be humans?

169 posted on 07/07/2003 11:59:40 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: unspun
But were any 'bots voted to be humans?

Yes, but a description of the "contest" is in order. Terminals were set up in a public place -- I believe a university hub -- and all kinds of people wandered by for a chat. Participants voted on their impression of their chat partners. I believe the votes were spread out so that no chatter got 100 percent. But one woman, an expert on Shakespeare, and possibly having a "photographic" memory, was considered by the majority to be a program. Interestingly, there is no program that can match her abilities, at least in a chat situation.

One other thing. The chats were limited to a single topic at each terminal, so it wasn't a full-fleged imitation game.

170 posted on 07/07/2003 12:05:44 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thank you for your reply!

Crick, like anyone else with a smattering of biological knowledge, would call a gene a program only in a very restricted sense. The idea that a primitive organism could direct its own further evolution is at best unproven and at worst completely unrealistic. It was, however, a fine Star Trek episode.

You are in opposition to just about everyone working on biological autonomous self-organizing complexity and those working on the origin of master control genes such as the Pax-6 to explain the enormous similarities of the genetic mechanism across phyla!

No doubt you believe you do. However, I don't consider the 'guilt by asociation' stunt you pulled re Darwinism and Marxism to be an argument based on the merits.

In the first place, you just pulled a ”guilt by association” argument by judging Yockey because he is a board advisor on a Christian non-profit journal called “Truth.” This is Yockey's message :

Professor Hubert P. Yockey: Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and a renowned pioneer of information theory. He is editor of Symposium on Information Theory and Biology. He is author of several celebrated critiques of the "primordial soup " account of the origin of life in The Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Science, religion and literature are all legitimate paths to truth. Literature and religion have belief systems which are different, and in a sense opposite from those of science. The truth in literature lies outside the methods of science. The poet says: "the bird of time has but a little way to flutter and the bird is on the wing." The scientist says: "Time is not a bird and the wing is an appendage on the bird, not the other way around."

Scientific beliefs are never absolute. Doubt is a virtue in science and many theories, thought to have been well established, were replaced because tiny discrepancies led to the unraveling of the whole structure of the theory. Faith, on the other hand, plays a central role in religion. The conflict between literature and religion, on one hand, and science on the other, would be resolved if proponents of both realized this difference in belief systems. The new journal, Truth, can play a useful role in establishing a dialogue. We may be surprised how many scientists are really talking religion and how many theologians are talking science.

That you accuse me of guilt by association with regard to Darwinism and Marxism shows that you did not catch my argument. But I’ll let the Lurkers decide. Here it the argument I posted on the other thread. The contributors had been discussing Marxism v Darwinism and I had earlier given them this link from Marxists.Org: Marxism and Darwinism. Here's what I posted at 501:

I think you guys need to emphasize the current ideological consequence of evolution theory. Looking at history is interesting, but, IMHO, Lurkers are more apt to be interested in what it means to them, today.

For instance, a Lurker might be wondering if he needs to be concerned that the scientists are not representing the facts objectively, but are manipulating the data or theory to support an ideology.

The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism

If eminent experts say that evolution according to Gould is too confused to be worth bothering about, and others equally eminent say that evolution according to Dawkins rests on unsubstantiated assertions and counterfactual claims, the public can hardly be blamed for suspecting that grand-scale evolution may rest on something less impressive than rock-solid, unimpeachable fact. Lewontin confirms this suspicion by explaining why "we" (i.e., the kind of people who read the New York Review) reject out of hand the view of those who think they see the hand of the Creator in the material world:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

That paragraph is the most insightful statement of what is at issue in the creation/evolution controversy that I have ever read from a senior figure in the scientific establishment. It explains neatly how the theory of evolution can seem so certain to scientific insiders, and so shaky to the outsiders. For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter.

As another example, Lurkers might be concerned what "meaning" is derived from materialism that could influence "every day life."

Fundamental Principles of the Universe and Origin of Physical Laws

Moreover, that materialism is absolute. In How the Mind Works, MIT professor Harold Pinker argues that the fundamental premise of ethics has been disproved by science. "Ethical theory," he writes, "requires idealisations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behaviour is uncaused." Yet, "the world, as seen by science, does not really have uncaused events." In other words, moral reasoning assumes the existence of things that science tells us are unreal. (Pearcey, 2000). These formulations demonstrate that in practice scientific materialism is a monist view ignoring completely the autonomy of any other ontological levels.

As another example, Lurkers on this particular conservative forum might be wondering whether the argument (intelligent design v evolution) has a political context.

Infidels – about

Our adopted mission is to defend and promote Metaphysical Naturalism, a nontheistic worldview view which holds that our natural world is all that there is, a closed system in no need of a supernatural explanation and sufficient unto itself. To that end we publish the very best secular books, essays, papers, articles and reviews. We also stand as a bulwark against the forces of superstition, especially the radical religious right, whose proponents would have us fear knowledge rather than embrace it.

The scope of that particular “bulwark” is evident in their newswire index (emphasis mine):

Abortion
Activism
Bizarre Beliefs
Church/State Separation
Ten Commandments (or other religious symbols) on Public Grounds
Religion in the Public Schools
Politicians Endorsing Religion
Religious Groups Engaging in Politics
Public Funding of Religious Schools
Special Privileges for Religious Groups
Misc Church/State Separation Issues
Creation vs Evolution
Religious-based Discrimination
Freethought, Attacks on
Freethought, Promotion of
Sexuality
World
Misc News Articles
Islamism
Hindu nationalism
Religious violence

As a final example, some Lurkers might be wondering whether scientific materialism could have any legal consequence.

The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights

The differences between homo sapiens and other animals are legion, but evolution teaches us that we are, at a fundamental level, bound by profound similarities. Genetically almost indistinguishable from our closest primate relatives, human beings are not the pinnacle of evolution, but one tiny branch on its great tree.

The lesson of evolution is that we should expect commonalities between human and non-human in almost every respect.

Science, as much as experience, teaches us that it is no longer possible to assume that animals are mere machines, or bundles of instinct and reflex: they may flourish in freedom or languish under oppression just as we do. We may no longer seek refuge in ignorance.

IOW, the history is very interesting to some but I suspect there are a lot of Lurkers who not much interested in what they cannot change.

171 posted on 07/07/2003 12:08:24 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: js1138
Thanks for the explanation -- my oops that I hadn't caught the elegance of your humor. ;-` Of course the derned thing is that as sophisticated as a simulation might get, it is a sim. When someone learns to program the Divine Breath (or "spark") -- someone please be sure to let me know.

A suppose people with a mechanistic and constructivist view may wish to challenge. I'm also waiting to see if in Matrix-3, that all the "freed humans" are actually just computer generated characters, too.
172 posted on 07/07/2003 12:14:02 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: RightWhale
I'm so sorry, I should have pinged you on the above post #171 to Right Wing Professor. The two links in the paragraph concerning biological self-organizing complexity and the theory for the rise of the master control gene "go to" the issue you raise.

IOW, finding that genetic similarities are so great in eyeness among the phyla (e.g. between vertebrates and invertebrates) created quite a stir. The ability to produce eyes between mice and flies has been established in the laboratories.

The previous idea of each branch evolving separately but in the same way through random mutation/natural selection was in trouble. Notably, Darwin was evidently concerned about RM/NS explaining parallel envolution with regard to eyes.

New theories are that the genetic mechanism to cause the development of eyeness were present in ancesters long before the need for eyes arose. Natural selection requires that a thing exist to be selected for/against.

The bottom line is that there is strong evidence for genetic programming in the presumptive ancestral genes. Whether that programming arose by God’s design, by alien seeding (panspermia) or through self-organizing complexity of physical processes --- is the big question.

173 posted on 07/07/2003 12:22:08 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Right Wing Professor
I did a web search on Yockey.

Yockey is a crank. He claims to be an "information theorist", but he is grossly ignorant of the field of mathematics that nominally uses the same label. His ignorance of information theory basically has him waxing eloquent about nonsense from any rigorous perspective.

Like Dembski, Yockey is one of those irritating idiots who wraps gibberish in the shiny wrapper of "information theory", with most of his readers none the wiser.

174 posted on 07/07/2003 12:25:18 PM PDT by tortoise (Better to attempt a bold dream and fail than to survive as a timid spirit.)
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To: betty boop
I'm aware that Copenhagen School QM has remained inattentive to the problem of consciousness. Its adherents appear to be quite happy with their "agnosticism" respecting this issue. And yet the "measurement problem," the problem of the observer, would seem to involve an action of mind exercising choice. This seems clear on the macro level; are we to expect that the micro (i.e., quantum) level operates by entirely different laws?

You don't need a 'conscious' observer to force the system into an eigenstate. An inanimate device recorder, or piece of photographic film, will do the same.

Quantum systems obey an entirely determinate set of laws. All sorts of funky things happen when you try to enforce 'classical reality' onto quantum systems; in the particular system I'm working on right now, a hydrogen atom occupies two sites on a particular symmetric molecule. The ground state wavefunction (which the molecule occupies at low temperature) has equal amplitudes on both sites. The atom, if you like, is in both places at once. If you try to force it into one place, you can do that, but once you 'let go', the atom will oscillate periodically back and forth between the two sites, with considerable higher energy than that which you get if you let it alone. You can measure that frequency (we just measured the largest such yet recorded; it's off to Science this week). In fact everything about the behavior of the system is predictable; much of it just has no analog if you consider atoms to be billiard balls and potentials to be hard surfaces.

Most of the 'measurement paradoxes' seem to me things that are counterintuitive mostly to people who aren't used to thinking in quantum terms. The EPR paradox/Bell's inequality stuff can indeed get very counterintuitive, but it doesn't contradict any physical laws.

The Turing test (different from the Turing machine) says that you can define a machine as conscious if a conscious oberver cannot determine by interacting with it that is simply a machine. The famous Eliza program, for example, might be an attempt to construct a conscious being by a Turing test. I find the test distinctly unsatisfying, but can do no better.

It is because consciousness is not a well-defined scientific term at the present time that these three scientists are investigating it, hopefully to be able properly to define it. Do you think this is an illegitimate endeavor for science?

I think it's an unscientific endeavor. We don't spend much of our time defining things. One of the few matters on which I still agree with Popper is on the definitional problem. Popper said we shouldn't waste our time on definitions, as definitions are shorthand for lists. So, when you say human, you mean the list {yourself, your mom, your dad, ...Mao Zedong...}. When you say 'conscious', what is that shorthand for?

175 posted on 07/07/2003 12:26:27 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: betty boop
Thank you so much for the heads up to your posts!

For Lurkers who question whether there exists serious scientific effort concerning consciousness, I offer this link:

PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness

176 posted on 07/07/2003 12:27:39 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: unspun
Thank you so much for the heads up and the link!
177 posted on 07/07/2003 12:30:16 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop
It's my understanding that the Turing test deals with properties of computation. Do you think that consciousness ultimately is reducible to computation?

"consciousness" is generally understood to be a derivable attribute of computational systems. I think you are using a much narrower definition of "computation" than mathematics actually does. The usual mathematical relationship between computational systems and consciousness is actually quite elegant and clean.

178 posted on 07/07/2003 12:34:45 PM PDT by tortoise (Better to attempt a bold dream and fail than to survive as a timid spirit.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Er, if I may interrupt, I have a question for you.

The EPR paradox/Bell's inequality stuff can indeed get very counterintuitive, but it doesn't contradict any physical laws.

How is it that the Bell's Inequalities results do not violate realism or locality?

For Lurkers, here's the last bit I have found on Bell's Inequalities:

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News Number 414 February 11, 1999

THE FIRST ENTANGLEMENT OF THREE PHOTONS has been experimentally demonstrated by researchers at the University of Innsbruck (contact Harald Weinfurter, harald.weinfurter@uibk.ac.at, 011-43-512-507-6316). Individually, an entangled particle has properties (such as momentum) that are indeterminate and undefined until the particle is measured or otherwise disturbed. Measuring one entangled particle, however, defines its properties and seems to influence the properties of its partner or partners instantaneously, even if they are light years apart. In the present experiment, sending individual photons through a special crystal sometimes converted a photon into two pairs of entangled photons. After detecting a "trigger" photon, and interfering two of the three others in a beamsplitter, it became impossible to determine which photon came from which entangled pair. As a result, the respective properties of the three remaining photons were indeterminate, which is one way of saying that they were entangled (the first such observation for three physically separated particles). The researchers deduced that this entangled state is the long-coveted GHZ state proposed by physicists Daniel Greenberger, Michael Horne, and Anton Zeilinger in the late 1980s. In addition to facilitating more advanced forms of quantum cryptography, the GHZ state will help provide a nonstatistical test of the foundations of quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein, troubled by some implications of quantum science, believed that any rational description of nature is incomplete unless it is both a local and realistic theory: "realism" refers to the idea that a particle has properties that exist even before they are measured, and "locality" means that measuring one particle cannot affect the properties of another, physically separated particle faster than the speed of light. But quantum mechanics states that realism, locality--or both--must be violated. Previous experiments have provided highly convincing evidence against local realism, but these "Bell's inequalities" tests require the measurement of many pairs of entangled photons to build up a body of statistical evidence against the idea. In contrast, studying a single set of properties in the GHZ particles (not yet reported) could verify the predictions of quantum mechanics while contradicting those of local realism. (Bouwmeester et al., Physical Review Letters, 15 Feb.)


179 posted on 07/07/2003 12:39:24 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: tortoise; betty boop
"consciousness" is generally understood to be a derivable attribute of computational systems.

My inter, again:

"Generally?" - Maybe generally, but what subset of people? Why? What is their world view and why do they have such a deterministic attitude about this? Could it be the novelty of information theories has attracted the enthusiastic "early adopters?" Looks like this is the side of the bell curve we're on, for the popularity of computational theory per consciousness.

180 posted on 07/07/2003 12:47:54 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: Alamo-Girl
Crick, like anyone else with a smattering of biological knowledge, would call a gene a program only in a very restricted sense. The idea that a primitive organism could direct its own further evolution is at best unproven and at worst completely unrealistic. It was, however, a fine Star Trek episode.

You are in opposition to just about everyone working on biological autonomous self-organizing complexity and those working on the origin of master control genes such as the Pax-6 to explain the enormous similarities of the genetic mechanism across phyla!

PAX 6 is a small protein that forms part of the mechanism of the differentiation of eyes. It does not control the evolution of PAX 6.

In the first place, you just pulled a ”guilt by association” argument by judging Yockey because he is a board advisor on a Christian non-profit journal called “Truth.

I posted a one-sentence abstract of Yockey's contribution to a journal. If it's like any journal I've ever seen, Yockey saw and likely wrote the abstract. Judging someone by his own words is not 'guilt by association'.

That you accuse me of guilt by association with regard to Darwinism and Marxism shows that you did not catch my argument. But I’ll let the Lurkers decide. Here it the argument I posted on the other thread. The contributors had been discussing Marxism v Darwinism and I had earlier given them this link from Marxists.Org: Marxism and Darwinism. Here's what I posted at 501:

I think you guys need to emphasize the current ideological consequence of evolution theory. Looking at history is interesting, but, IMHO, Lurkers are more apt to be interested in what it means to them, today.

Because some Marxist or other claims a Darwinian justification for Marxism, is not a condemnation of Darwinism. And attempting such condemnation is guilt by association; the theory of evolution is not a social or political philosophy, and does not favor any such. Claiming there is an ideological consequence of Darwinism that forms no part of Darwinism and that most Darwinists reject is not a valid argument against Darwinism. It's a smear.

As a Southern Baptist, I would have thought you were a little more alert to this particular fallacy. The Christian religion was frequently used in the South as part of the ideological underpinnings of slavery. Of course, no objective analysis of Christianity as a whole would support the thesis that slavery is a Christian idea, and Christianity was also the ideological underpinning of much of the abolitionist movement, but just pull a couple of quotes from this page (and I'm sure I can find a few dozen similar) and you can construct a lovely web page linking the two.

Now, suppose some anti-Christian FReeper made such a page, and I told him that more pertinent to the lurkers out there might be the modern Christian Identity movement. Would that be an argument on the merits of the case?

Please note, in case it's not completely clear, that I don't claim Christianity justifies slavery. I'm simply noting an analogous logical argument to yours that I hope will have some impact.

181 posted on 07/07/2003 12:58:11 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Alamo-Girl
A note to Lurkers following the question about Bell's Inequalities: Locality and measurement within the SR model for an objective interpretation of quantum mechanics
182 posted on 07/07/2003 1:03:54 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
How is it that the Bell's Inequalities results do not violate realism or locality?

As far as locality; it's my understanding that entanglement experiments don't contradict relativity, in that they fail to allow transmission of matter or information faster than the speed of light. 'Local realism' is not a physical law; it's a particular property of macroscopic matter which doesn't always hold in the quantum regime.

183 posted on 07/07/2003 1:07:04 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: betty boop
I said: It is axiomatic, that is, an assertion discovered to be true, which cannot be denied without leading to a contradiction.

You said: An axiom is not a demonstration. You are trying to take a pass on something that is the very thing in dispute here as "self-evidently true."

That is correct, an axiom is not a demonstration becasue it is primary. It is not derived from any other concepts, but it necessary to all other concepts in its category. An axiom is not an assumption, and it is not "self-evident." It is a truth that may be very difficult to first realize, but once it is discovered, it is impossible to deny without being self-contradictory, and all concepts dependent on it, imply its truth, whether explicitly recognized or not.

Existence is such an axiomatic concept. Existence is primary and precedes all other things. Since you did not bother to address the very clear (most third graders could understand it) explication of why existence must be before there can be consciousness, I assume you either misunderstood it, or just don't care about the truth.

We aren't dealing with the issue of concept formation here.

Really!? That explains a lot.

They hypothesize consciousness as a general principle and, as such, something distributed throughout nature, from the micro world of QM through the macro world of classical physics.

Yes, I know. Not exactly a new idea. A very old one, in fact, in another version it is called animism. A superstition remains a superstition regardless of the name you give it.

I asked you before, please give me one example of life independent of a living organism. I can show you countless examples of life, all exhibited as that qualitey that differentiates living entities (organisms) from non-living ones. Can you show even one example of life, not as a quality of a living organism?

If you think this conjecture is fallacious, then please show me why I should agree with you and not these other gentlemen.

I do not care if you agree with me or not. I would know I was making a great mistake if more than a very few agreed with me. Besides, if you agreed with me, what would we talk about.

Hank

184 posted on 07/07/2003 1:11:56 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: unspun
So, as much as you are apparently willing to talk about your personal life ...,p> I'm not. I mentioned a speck, a tiny particle of one aspect of my life in an anecdote and you equate that with, "willing to talk about," my personal life.

... and willing to attempt to invalidate reality ...

I'm not. Color is only a concept for all the colors. Have I invalidated the reality of the colors? Don't be absurd. (Well, of course you can be absurd if you choose, it's just an expression.)

And you've asked why one would label your tactics Fabianistic?

What tactics? Are we at war?

Based upon your tactics and the conflicting positions and expressions you've made, one wonders if and when you are sincere.

Don't worry about it. It's only a forum. You'll never have to do business with me. Then you would have to worry about sincerity.

(Jesus told parables with the intention of obfuscating the truth to hide his meaning from the Pharisees. Was Jesus insincere?)

Hank

185 posted on 07/07/2003 1:22:02 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Alamo-Girl
New theories are that the genetic mechanism to cause the development of eyeness were present in ancesters long before the need for eyes arose. Natural selection requires that a thing exist to be selected for/against.

PAX 6 is related to a lot of other developmental genes; the homeobox is a common motif in most such. They probably all have a common ancestor. The development of 'eyeness' as you put it, is probably a result of duplication and divergence of another developmental pathway. For example, in C. elegans, which has no eyes but has PAX-6, the gene is involved in two other differentiation processes; that of the tail, and of the sense organ.

Since eyes undoubtedly evolved from some other primitive organ, this makes perfect sense.

The bottom line is that there is strong evidence for genetic programming in the presumptive ancestral genes. Whether that programming arose by God’s design, by alien seeding (panspermia) or through self-organizing complexity of physical processes --- is the big question.

Making the likely conjecture that the eye developed from another sensory organ, possibly a chemo-sensory one, the gene which controlled differentiation of that sensory organ then took over differntiation of the eye. The further evolution of PAX-6, including the patterns of conservative single amino acid mutations seen between organisms, exactly follows that of other highly conserved proteins, and the pattern predicted by evolution.

But by all means show some common feature in the genes of C. elegans and Hydra PAX-6 (both eyeless) that suggests that PAX-6 was 'designed' to control the differentiation of eyes. That feature would have of course have to be specific to PAX-6 and absent from other similar proteins such as the other PAXes.

186 posted on 07/07/2003 1:33:59 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor; RightWhale
Thank you for your reply!

PAX 6 is a small protein that forms part of the mechanism of the differentiation of eyes. It does not control the evolution of PAX 6.

I think you meant to say control the evolution of eyes. But in either case, the article by Weiss explains to the contrary, i.e. Pax-6 is a developmental regulatory gene. By the way, the link was bad – so here it is again for you and RightWhale:

How the eye got its Brain I get your analogy with Christianity, Slavery and Christian Identity. I also agree that what I have said could be misconstrued that I am blaming Darwin for Marxism, Animal Rights and Metaphysical Naturalism. I made no such claim.

My claim is that science is being abused today by these Marxists and Metaphysical Naturalists being in so great authority that they direct not only what is being done but how it is read (theory and “meaning”) in science publications.

I am asserting that the science community has dropped the ball.

Scientists (I imagine being aware of the Galileo incident) – have been very careful to make sure that traditional religion does not influence the work done and is not factored into the theories and “meaning” derived from that work in the science publications.

But, IMHO, science has failed to recognize that it is being likewise used by the ideology/religion of Marxism and Metaphysical Naturalism. My specific recommendation was that science ought to either:

police itself to keep the Marxist/Atheists from influencing the work done and theories and “meaning” derived from it in science publications, or in the alternative

allow all ideologies/religions a seat at the science publication table.


187 posted on 07/07/2003 1:34:22 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thank you for your post!

As far as locality; it's my understanding that entanglement experiments don't contradict relativity, in that they fail to allow transmission of matter or information faster than the speed of light.

I have only heard of one superluminal experiment and it was not in reference to an entanglement or Bell's inequalities. Do you have a link, so I can research this assertion?

188 posted on 07/07/2003 1:39:14 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Hank Kerchief
"I'm not. Color is only a concept for all the colors. Have I invalidated the reality of the colors?"

Then maybe you would like to begin again and this time start with reality instead of construct.

What tactics? Are we at war?

I am, spiritually. You seem to be too, whether or not you accede to it, expecially in your attempts to attack and deconstruct Christian understanding

Don't worry about it. It's only a forum. You'll never have to do business with me. Then you would have to worry about sincerity.

"Time is money." - B. Franklin. I invest both in FR. All users invest at lest the former.

(Jesus told parables with the intention of obfuscating the truth to hide his meaning from the Pharisees. Was Jesus insincere?)

It was an attempt from one who knew who would believe and who would not, in order to pass along revelation from God to believers while putting off the unbelievers. We wouldn't suggest you are the Messiah, would we?

189 posted on 07/07/2003 1:44:13 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: Alamo-Girl
I found Weiss' argument somewhat convoluted; but it appears mostly an appeal not to attach a particular evolutionary function too early, or too anthropomorphically, to a particular gene, particularly a developmental gene; and that real evolution is very messy, with recruitment of unrelated genes in development, duplication of others, multiple functions for still others, etc..

No one disagrees PAX-6 is a developmental regulatory gene. Weiss makes the point that PAX-6 controls some (but varied) aspects of eye differentiation in some (but not all) animals; He seems to ignore the fact it also controls development of two other functions, one sensory, in Caenorhabditis, and some unknown function in Hydra and the coelenterates. But his case - that development of complex organs is likely to be complex and messy and anything but a 'just so story' - would suggest a process, the primary origin of whose variability is randomness rather than design, no?

190 posted on 07/07/2003 1:48:43 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Alamo-Girl
Your post #179 referred to superluminal entanglement. You can find cites to earlier experiments in Penrose.
191 posted on 07/07/2003 1:51:09 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thank you so much for your post on the Pax-6 and eyeness!

Since you posted that before I posted the corrected link to the Weiss article, I must presume you haven't read it yet and thus do not know what he says the various hypotheses are.

In a nutshell, one has to imagine that all of the ancestors in these phylas happened to use pretty much the same selection of resources when faced with the need to see light. That does not speak to random mutation but genetic pre-programming.

192 posted on 07/07/2003 1:51:19 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
all of the ancestors in these phylas happened to use pretty much the same selection of resources when faced with the need to see light

There are only so many excellent solutions to the survive and multiply movement of lifeforms. The less than excellent solutions disappear because they are eaten. It might be noted that sensitivity to light is not restricted to eye constructions. Transistors have this sensitivity, as to diazo dyes and in fact any chemical bonds.

193 posted on 07/07/2003 2:08:47 PM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thanks for the heads up! I'll do some further research on this. I knew they were excited this might be be evidence of the GHZ state, but didn't realize the entanglement test was superluminal. Thanks for the lead!
194 posted on 07/07/2003 2:09:35 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Right Wing Professor
Thank you for sharing your views on Weiss' article!

But his case - that development of complex organs is likely to be complex and messy and anything but a 'just so story' - would suggest a process, the primary origin of whose variability is randomness rather than design, no?

Primary or secondary, the origin of variability is the question. But I wonder if we read the same article, since you got a different impression of what he meant was a "just so" story.

I believe that mathematics will eventually answer the question whether it is even possible that such variability (I call it genetic programming) could have arisen from non-living conditions in the timeline as hypothesized.

195 posted on 07/07/2003 2:20:14 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: RightWhale
Thank you for your comments about the other light sensitivities! Do you have any comments on the Weiss article?
196 posted on 07/07/2003 2:23:11 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
A-G, your future's so bright, you hafta wear shades.
197 posted on 07/07/2003 3:01:36 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." - No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
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To: Alamo-Girl
any comments on the Weiss article

The possibility of the eye was already present at the critical juncture when complex moleculaes made the leap to cell structure. It was present before then, in simple molecules, in single atoms, and in subatomic particles. We should worry no more about this than about the rise of consciousness. All that was latent, awaiting sufficient complexity for expression. All phyla trace back to the first gigantic upheaval of which no trace except in our imagination remains. The capability of the eye was already present and the various expressions of the eye are due to different phyla emerging from the original peduncle.

198 posted on 07/07/2003 3:09:39 PM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: unspun
It was an attempt from one who knew who would believe and who would not, in order to pass along revelation from God to believers while putting off the unbelievers. We wouldn't suggest you are the Messiah, would we?

He knew who would believe before they believed but did not know there would not be fruit on the tree until He actually saw it. (Mark 11:13) As for my own insight, one never knows. (Heb. 13:2)

By the way, what is, "Christian understanding." The Bible makes no reference to any such concept. In fact, there is not one verse of Scripture that says a person ought to be a Christian.

The word "Christian," (in any form) only appears in the Bible three times. Not once is it used as a term for what a child of God is supposed to be. In today's world, there is no majority of people who call themselve's Christian who agree on what that means. Most of those who believe they are, "Christains," ought to call themselves "Augustinians," since most of the doctrines they believe were invented by that Pagan arch-Catholic.

Since it is you who brought up the subject, I submit the majority of doctrines you call, "Christian," are contrary to Biblical teaching.

Oh yes, I an not at war. (James 4:1)

(Spiritual warfare is not fought on forums. It is fought on one's knees.)

Hank

199 posted on 07/07/2003 6:08:02 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: unspun; betty boop
Unspun, thanks for the ping.
Bettyboop, yet another great post!

I just came back from a much needed vacation and… well, wondering if I should roll up my sleeves and dive in again. --- Well, why not…

It seems to me that five senses without consciousness of some sort is meaningless. C.S. Lewis I believe captured this in his story of trying to explain lights’ existence to a culture of the blind. How would one explain logic or anything for that matter to those who refuse to see?

We know light does exist and we know logic does exist; can the two exist separately? If one states that all that exists is energy, is all that exists equal to MC 2 – – LOL!

Light and logic… Many have postulated that mathematics existed before its’ discovery. Obviously light did but what about logic? If logic is not a universal given but something invented by mankind than logic is an illusion much like the way a blind society would ‘see’ light as described by one who sees light. But can logic exist outside of time, space, and matter? Can light?

Mathematical formulas can exist beyond our existence as light and I would ‘think’ logic can and does. If one were to ponder this, which one of the five senses would they use? How do we describe light as a given or logic as a given to the blind to either? The blind can be blind to the existence of light and logic. It does not negate the existence of either.

200 posted on 07/07/2003 6:49:36 PM PDT by Heartlander
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