Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sye - let's go round again...

Hi Sye

So we are back here again. OK, let's go round again. Only this time even more slowly and carefully.

On your website, you present this argument:

(1) The existence of laws of logic nec. requires the existence of the Christian God
(2) The laws of logic exist
Therefore: the Christian God exists.

You call this a "proof". You have also said the argument on your website establishes, as it stands, the truth of the above conclusion beyond reasonable doubt, right?

Now we ask why we should accept premise (1). You say there is also an argument for (1) on your website. We look. We can't find it. You say it's behind the "continue" button. We still cannot find it - all we can find is the *assertion* that the contrary of (1) is impossible, but no *argument* that the contrary of (1) is impossible.

So, some questions:

(i) It is an argument, in the sense of premises and conclusion, that you supply to support (1), correct?
(ii) This argument does lie on the page behind the "continue" button, correct?
(iii) This argument does establish the truth of premise (1) beyond reasonable doubt, correct?
(iv) In which case, can you help us by setting out the argument in question with numbered premises and conclusion? Like so:

premise 1
premise 2
premise 3
[...)
premise n
Therefore: Conclusion

43 comments:

Stephen Law said...

I have a feeling I know what's coming. "But how do you account for the laws of logic then?" Let's see.

Tony Lloyd said...

"all we can find is the *assertion* that the contrary of (1) is impossible, but no *argument* that the contrary of (1) is impossible."

Sye's just got the "contrary" wrong. I posted this as part of a reply to the previous post (I'm posting it again in the hope that Sye might see it):

“If God did not exist then the laws of logic would not exist” negates to “the laws of logic exist and God does not”. It does not negate to “we can account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic”. Write it out Sye (use Stephen’s suggestion of truth tables), you can see that there are eight possible combinations of:
1. God exists (true/false) and
2. We can account for the laws of logic (true/false)
3. The laws of logic exist (true/false)
We can have:
1. God exists, we can account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic exist
2. God exists, we can account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic do not exist
3. God exists, we cannot account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic exist
4. God exists, we cannot account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic do not exist
5. God does not exist, we can account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic exist
6. God does not exist, we can account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic do not exist
7. God does not exist, we cannot account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic exist
8. God does not exist, we cannot account for the laws of logic, the laws of logic do not exist

We can rule out “2” and “6” (we cannot account for the existence of things that do not exist). That still leaves us with six! You claim “1” (incorrectly because you cannot account for the laws of logic). You also claim to establish “1” by denying “5”: an argument that depends upon the totally erroneous claim that “5” is the “contrary” of “1”.

Kyle P. said...

Here's a funny proof!

P1) That which does not begin to exist does not need a cause
P2) The laws of logic are abstract, invariant, unchanging, and have always existed

C) The laws of logic do not need a cause

Have I just used the Kalam Cosmo. argument to show that logic does not need anything to "account" for it?

The Barefoot Bum said...

I've been debating these guys for years, many of them considerably better educated and more skillful than Sye.

There is no actual argument. There is no "there" there.

The most skillful presuppositional apologists have merely learned every rhetorical trick in the book (many of them, alas, from secular philosophers) to sound like they're making an actual actual argument while still never saying anything precise enough to be actually rebutted.

Anyone who has studied philosophy even a little knows that one can always wriggle off the hook one way or another; there are just too many ambiguities in English, with no form of independent corroboration.

(That's one reason I became an engineer. At the end of the day, I can just say, "Let's stop talking about it and see if it works. Argue all you like; until it works, you're wrong.)

Tony Lloyd said...

(Coming out of the closet)

In an earlier post Sye said:

"I addressed the problem of induction. I want to know on what basis Stephen assumes that nature is uniform. I have not seen any answer to this question, if any of you have, please point it out."

There is no problem of induction. Induction does not exist.

BTW Barefoot, engineers are the worst! Most of the really, really, bad creationist books I have read have been by engineers :)

What you need are accountants. Accountants know that necessary propositions do exist. And they know that they have nothing to do with God. "Every debit has a credit" is always, always true. If Sye can show me anything in the bible to suggest that God decided that, or told us that, or even knew about that I might start taking him seriously!

Psiomniac said...

The barefoot bum,
I had the same sentiment when I extolled the virtues of chess a thread or so ago.

David B. Ellis said...


I addressed the problem of induction. I want to know on what basis Stephen assumes that nature is uniform. I have not seen any answer to this question, if any of you have, please point it out.


This whole issue is a bit off topic but.....

My solution to the problem of induction:

If nature is uniform, then induction will be a useful way of predicting (within limits) future events.

If nature should become non-uniform, then I have absolutely no way to know what will be useful for predicting what will occur.

In the first case, induction is useful. In the second, I have no reason to think induction will be any less useful than anything else.


These two facts being the case the reasonable thing is to employ induction since on the one hand it is useful and, even in the worst case scenario, I have no reason to think it any less useful than anything else.

Note that this argument for induction does not have to, in fact, assume nature to be uniform.

Sye TenB said...

@ Stephen,

Alright, how about we go this way. Since you, and perhaps many of your cohorts are philosphically trained, why don't you show me how it's done. It would appear that your biggest problem with my proof is that you feel that the argument I offer "The impossibility of the contrary," for the truth of my premise that "God is the necessary precondition for intelligibiliy," is not, in fact, an argument.

Alright in the format you are requesting of me:

premise 1
premise 2
premise 3
(...)
premise n
Therefore: conclusion

please prove to me, that "The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

David B Ellis said: "If nature is uniform, then induction will be a useful way of predicting (within limits) future events."

How do you know this David?

Sye TenB said...

Tony Lloyd said: "Write it out Sye (use Stephen’s suggestion of truth tables)"

I'm curious Tony, as I have never even head of 'truth tables,' is the conclusion that one comes to using them necessarily, or absolutely true? It would seem rather odd to go through a process like that if we only came up with an arbitrary answer. Before I engage in that process, perhaps you can tell me why the answer that one comes up with using truth tables is necessarily, or absolutely true, or is it? And perhaps you could also tell me how you know this.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Tony said: ”There is no problem of induction. Induction does not exist.”

Hmm, not sure I quite follow you here Tony, are you saying that science is not based on inductive reasoning, or the assumption that nature is uniform?

”Accountants know that necessary propositions do exist. And they know that they have nothing to do with God. "Every debit has a credit" is always, always true. If Sye can show me anything in the bible to suggest that God decided that, or told us that, or even knew about that I might start taking him seriously!”

Perhaps Tony, you could tell me how you know that your reasoning about credits and debits (or about anything of that matter) is valid, as it will help me to narrow down my Biblical search regarding your claim.

Cheers,

Sye

Steven Carr said...

Sye continues to claim that 'Nature is uniform' while his worldview is that if something looks like a snake, moves like a snake, and eats like a snake, then it could well be Satan in disguise.

Supernaturalists, by definition, teach that nature is NOT uniform.

They believe in magic.

If there is a god then nature can change at will.

Sye cannot claim to be a Christian and tell us that water cannot change into wine.

But let us give Sye one more chance to prove that nature is uniform.

Can Sye prove , using his wonderful insight into induction, that dead people stay dead?

If Sye teaches that dead people do NOT always stay dead, then he cannot also consistently state that nature is uniform.

But presuppers are usually so arrogant that they are unaware that their teachings are self-contradictory.

The worldview of presuppositionalsists is self-contradictory.

Steven Carr said...

Have people sussed out by now that Sye is a waste of space?

There are no presuppositionalists that are worth talking to.

The guy claims to have examined philosophy and doesn't even know about truth-tables.

Sheesh....

anticant said...

Haven't you lot had enough of this mental masturbation yet? Surely there are better things to talk about on a philosophy blog.

Anonymous said...

The worldview of presuppositionalsists is self-contradictory.

Sye-mock:

Naturally I disagree [read: I am not about to answer this, I can't, so I rather change the move, this guy will not notice], but by what standard of logic are contradictions invalid ...

Paul C said...

Sye, can you give us a reason why anybody should answer your questions, if you will not answer the questions put to you?

p.s. "The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument unless you demonstrate that the contrary is impossible, which you have not.

Take your time.

snafu said...

Sye: in the format you are requesting of me...please prove to me, that "The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument.

Sye, you've lost it now. "The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument as it can't simoultaneously be premiss and conclusion. Hence it doesn't match the format given.

[This is what we've been telling you all along, I might add].

Stephen Law said...

Sye

You misunderstand.

I am not saying you don't have an argument. Maybe you do (though of course I don't think you have a good argument - for there are not the resources on the page behind the continue button to support your conclusion).

I am saying I cannot figure out what the argument is supposed to be. How do you arrange what's behind the continue button into an argument? How does it run, premises to conclusion?

"The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument (that sequence of words presents no premise and conclusion), but rather the title you have given to an argument.

But what is that argument?

You say it's there on the page behind the continue button. Why then not set it out for us as premise(s) and conclusion?

Why not??

Why would you refuse this very simple request??

Rayndeon said...

@Sye:

Cohorts, eh? By the way - I'm not philosophically trained either. You don't have to be to know philosophy - you just have to read a lot.

please prove to me, that "The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument.

It is an argument.

The only problem is that nowhere have you actually shown that there is an impossibility (logical or metaphysical) in non-Christian views upholding logic and induction. You may have asserted it, but you most certainly have not argued for it.

For instance, you keep asking us to "justify" our use of logic and induction. But, the burden of proof is not on us, Sye - it is on you.

And for that matter, as I noted in the "God and logic" thread (my latest comment remains unreplied to by you), any epistemic justification of logic and induction is impossible. Any justification of logic and induction will itself use logic and induction and hence be circular. So, you cannot noncircularly justify logic and induction. So, the question of "How do you justify your use of logic and induction" remains a loaded question, as if anyone *could* justify it. You can't - no one can; that's why it's a *presupposition* or as I prefer to say, a *properly basic belief*. This is basic the ground matter and the essence of rationality, which by itself cannot justify itself.

This is why presuppositionalism is so wrong-headed. God is *not* more epistemically basic than logic and induction. If presuppositionalism is true, then logic and induction are not epistemically basic, but epistemically *derivative* of Christian theism. Yet, this would mean that any epistemic justification of logic and induction does not use either - yet, the presuppositionalist argument *does* use logic and induction. Hence, it gets the basicality condition backwards - logic and induction are more epistemically basic, not God.

Frankly, if *properly basic* beliefs like logic and induction *need* (note: they do not need and cannot have epistemic justification - see the link below for a summary) epistemic justification, by the same lights, so does the Christian God's existence. If it is insufficient to say that without logic and induction we couldn't make sense of the world, rationality, or science, it is likewise insufficient to say that without God, we couldn't make sense of logic or induction. The presuppositionalist mode of reasoning is self-refuting, since it leads to the conclusion that there must be some rational justification for the assumption of the Christian God's existence.

And, ultimately, no argument has even been given that Christianity provides epistemic justification for either.

The only real question remains is ontological. Is atheism compatible with logic and induction? It most certainly is. From an ontological standpoint, logic is modally necessary and since atheism is consistent with logic, it follows that logic holds in all atheistic possible worlds. Of course, one might argue that the abstract relata of logic are somehow grounded in God either by mode of (a) causation on God's part or (b) identity with an aspect of God i.e. God's concepts. I gave a link to a post of mine and two philosophical papers (written by conservative Christians interestingly enough) in the "God and logic" thread that detailed the incoherence of this. But, no matter.

What about induction? Well, induction relies effectively on contingent regularities between similarly contingent particular objects. So, unless we wish to entertain the absurdity that all facts are necessary, there is going to have to be some brute regularity ultimately. Ultimately, all contingent facts terminate in a brute fact. This does not mean that, ontically, that there is a finite time or anything like that. "Facts" refers to propositions and explanations of those propositions, not necessarily causality. Moreover, even an infinite time is brute since the existence of a particular series is brute. God is no exception and it is here that we so fundamentally see the uselessness and irrelevance of ontically justifying induction using God. As I said in the "God and logic" thread:

"Moreover, on the induction issue, it's not as God's existence explains induction or the reliability of memory. It works the same way as any other "theistic explanation": it takes some presumably brute fact X and "explains it" by saying that "God created X". In other words, *conveniently enough* there just *happens to exist* the type of God who created these things i.e. it takes God as a speculative brute fact. Moreover, it performs none of the functions of true explanation: prediction, elegance and simplicity, etc. "God did X" does not explain X anymore than "God created rocks that attract each other" explains why magnetism works. It simply *restates* the explanandum in question and forms a *tautology* that is empty and doesn't actually explain anything. It tacks on a speculative brute fact that doesn't actually explain a *known* brute fact."

A summary and useful links can be found in my post here.

In summary of the above:

(i) There is no epistemic justification for logic or induction, so any presuppositionalist supposing that God acts as such a justification is being incoherent
(ii) Logic and induction are more epistemically basic than the assumption of Christian theism - hence, presuppositionalism gets the basicality condition *backwards*
(iii) Logic is ontically justified by virtue of its necessity - atheistic and more specifically, naturalistic worldviews are compatible with this. (See my link for further details)
(iv) Ontically, induction is ultimately brute. Positing a God does not explain it and only tacks on a brute fact that doesn't explain anything at all.

Stephen Law said...

Sye

do you know what the problem of induction is? It's a sceptical probem - how can we justify our belief in the regularity of nature.

It doesn't establish nature is not regular. Or indeed give us any grounds for supposing nature is not regular. The conclusion is - we can't know either way.

I can't see the relevance of this problem. An atheist might think they can solve the problem, or think it solvable, though not yet solved, or think it unsolvable. None of these three beliefs requires they believe in the Christian God.

There's another metaphysical question - what *makes* nature regular? - that you might attempt to do more with. That's not the problem of induction, though.

As I say, you keep muddling up the "how do you know?" questions with the "How is it possible that?" questions. We can spend more time on this once we have dealt with the issue of your website "proof".

One last thing - asking me, Tony etc. how they know things is in any case irrelevant to the issue at hand. As I keep pointing out. If you are correct, you are justified in using logic, and that logic reveals your website "proof" does not establish the truth of its conclusion beyond reasonable doubt. So you are justified in believing your website "proof" fails. What we are or are not justified in believing is irrelevant.

This last point has been explained to you many times. You have never dealt with it or shown it to be unsound. Yet you continue to play the "But how do you know..? card" whenever you find yourself in trouble.

This is an example of what is known as intellectual dishonesty.

If you continue to play this card in this deliberately dishonest fashion, you'll end losing my respect entirely.

The stage on which you are operating, Sye, has, through very patient unpacking and clarification over weeks, become so well lit that your moves can now be very clearly seen for what they are. Whereas previously the lack of clarity led me to afford you the benefit of doubt, it's now abundantly clear exactly what you are up to.

Have you no shame?

get_education said...

Sye,

In case you missed it, nobody here is feeling like "shit, my worldview is all fallacies," which is what you say that you do accomplish. What you are accomplishing is for everyone to easily notice that your whole thing is bogus, and then try to get you to see the light. The reason why people quit, is not because "they can't" answer your questions, but because they can't make you understand anything. Even their answers to your questions. Even the foundational concepts you need to understand their answers.

For your information only. I am not arguing with you.

G.E.

Stephen Law said...

I have now posted my first comment above as a new post.

anticant said...

Get Sye to see the light? Ha, ha - that's really funny. Was that a flying pig I just saw floating past my window?

I think you people are all rather beastly, trying so hard to disabuse Sye of his illusions. Can't you see he's HAPPY?

David B. Ellis said...


How do you know this David?


Do you have a refutation of the argument or not?

Sye TenB said...

GE said:

”In case you missed it, nobody here is feeling like "shit, my worldview is all fallacies," which is what you say that you do accomplish.”

Um, where do I say this??? Show me, and I will never post on any blog again.

”What you are accomplishing is for everyone to easily notice that your whole thing is bogus, and then try to get you to see the light. The reason why people quit, is not because "they can't" answer your questions, but because they can't make you understand anything. Even their answers to your questions. Even the foundational concepts you need to understand their answers.”

Well, mostly I get people saying things like “I am not arguing with you,” so they can make unfounded accusations, and avoid my questions.

”For your information only. I am not arguing with you.
G.E.”


Ya, something like that :-D

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

David, you said: ”My solution to the problem of induction:
If nature is uniform, then induction will be a useful way of predicting (within limits) future events.”


All I'm asking is that you support that claim. How do you know that induction WILL BE useful in the future??? How do you know ANYTHING about the future???

You say: ” Do you have a refutation of the argument or not?”

What is there to refute? If you are saying that induction WILL BE useful, because it HAS BEEN useful, then you are assuming that nature IS uniform, the very thing that you say you are not assuming.

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Paul C. said: ” The impossibility of the contrary" is not an argument unless you demonstrate that the contrary is impossible, which you have not.”

Hmmm, Paul, I asked that it be PROVEN that ‘The impossibility of the contrary” is not an argument (in the format that Stephen gave i.e. premise 1: , premise 2: , premise 3: … therefore: conclusion). Well?

Cheers,

Sye

Papilio said...

Of course it isn't, as well you know. A valid argument must have premises and conclusion.

My cat is black

is not an argument.

All cats are black
I have a cat
My cat is black


is valid, but not sound.

The contrary is impossible

is a statement, not an argument. You could figure it as a premise - as it is, in your original argument, but that premise has been challenged, and you now have to explain why the premise is to be taken as a given.

Tony Lloyd said...

ATruth tables are great! Before truth tables you had to learn rules of inference and apply them. As “Logic for Dummies” says truth-tables are just “plug-and-chug”. If I use them I’m much less likely to get it wrong. “Logic for Dummies” says you can’t get it wrong but then the chap who wrote “Logic for Dummies” never met me.

Before I engage in that process, perhaps you can tell me why the answer that one comes up with using truth tables is necessarily, or absolutely true, or is it? And perhaps you could also tell me how you know this.

Eh? We both agree with the laws of logic don’t we? Or do you feel that you can break them if I can’t prove that where they come from? Is it a case of thinking that if you can get away with a fallacy you will? I’m sorry but that strikes me as being dishonest. I am accusing you of a basic logical error. Your argument that you need to establish why logic works in order to follow it and use it depends on a logical error. Instead of addressing that accusation you divert the issue and ask me to prove that my argument can be “supported” in the way that you think appropriate.

Look, think of a young (pre-speech) child eating an egg. Does the young child know where the egg came from? Has Mother spent the past few weeks sticking the child’s head up a chicken’s bottom? Does the egg still exist? Replace “young child” with “any of us” and “where the egg came from” with “where logic came from”. Why does knowledge of where logic came from have anything what-so-ever to do with whether logic exists or not? The answer is clearly that it has **** all to do with whether it exists or not, there are plenty of things that we do not know. There are plenty of things we do know but neither know why nor how. (I know that if I drink beer I will get drunk, I’ve no idea how it happens but I still know it does!) Not knowing why might be a bit of a pain but it has no effect on the fact that we do know. Now will you agree that “knowledge of origins” is not identical to “knowledge of” or “existence of”?

Back to truth tables. I mentioned them because its easier but I did write it all out for you: the info you need is there. Do you answer it? No, you pick something you feel you can make an issue of. Sye, this is fundamentally dishonest.

BHmm, not sure I quite follow you here Tony, are you saying that science is not based on inductive reasoning, or the assumption that nature is uniform?

I am saying that science is not based on inductive reasoning and I am saying that science is not based on the assumption that nature is uniform. There is no inductive logic (so science cannot be based on it) and an “assumption of the uniformity of nature” spectacularly fails to tell us which features of nature are uniform: that’s what scientific theories tell us. (Bryan Magee’s “Popper” is a really good introduction into this line of thought.)

C Perhaps Tony, you could tell me how you know that your reasoning about credits and debits (or about anything of that matter) is valid Quite complicated really and involves re-defining the meaning of “know” (see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1011802 ) But I have a question for you: say I don’t know, how does that support your contention?

(The quick answer though is “I’m the accountant and I said so” and, as Stephen is the Philosophy Professor I’m sure he’ll agree that the appeal to authority is by far the best logical fallacy).

Sye TenB said...

Tony Lloyd said: ”We both agree with the laws of logic don’t we?”

I doubt it. Do you believe that they are universal, abstract and invariant?

”Why does knowledge of where logic came from have anything what-so-ever to do with whether logic exists or not?”

It has to do with justification, not usage, of those laws.

”Back to truth tables. I mentioned them because its easier but I did write it all out for you: the info you need is there. Do you answer it? No, you pick something you feel you can make an issue of.”

As I said, I first want to know if they necessarily lead to truth, and how you know this.

”Sye, this is fundamentally dishonest.”

Well, I disagree, but still, would that be absolutely morally wrong?

I am saying that science is not based on inductive reasoning and I am saying that science is not based on the assumption that nature is uniform.”

Alright, perhaps you can tell me what the basis of all of science is then, if not the uniformity of nature? Why do scientific experiments if uniformity is not assumed?

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

”We both agree with the laws of logic don’t we?”

I doubt it. Do you believe that they are universal, abstract and invariant?


Immaterial to the matter in hand. I hold that you should follow them, you it appears do not.

It has to do with justification, not usage, of those laws.
Which is why, for the matter at hand, it is immaterial. The laws of logic and their justification are seperate issues.

”Sye, this is fundamentally dishonest.”

Well, I disagree, but still, would that be absolutely morally wrong?


Is it wrong? Do you only refrain from actions where someone else can prove to you that it is wrong? Does it become wrong/right dependent upon whether I can/can't demonstrate that it is wrong? If that is so then you do not believe in absolute morality. You believe in morality dependent on me.

Alright, perhaps you can tell me what the basis of all of science is then..?

Science is a methodology. It is the methodology of "conjectures and refutations". Much like running, painting or looking (which are also methods) it has no basis The methodology of science does not "support" the theories that it creates. It finds out where those theories are in error and comes up with new theories that say more and are nearer the truth.

Sye TenB said...

Tony Lloyd said: ”Immaterial to the matter in hand. I hold that you should follow them, you it appears do not.”

Why, in an atheistic universe should one follow the laws of logic?

I asked if my alleged dishonesty was absolutely morally wrong.

You answered: ”Does it become wrong/right dependent upon whether I can/can't demonstrate that it is wrong? If that is so then you do not believe in absolute morality. You believe in morality dependent on me.”

Um I believe in absolute morality, I was asking if you believe that my alleged dishonesty is absolutely morally wrong? Naturally, you avoided the question.

I asked: “Alright, perhaps you can tell me what the basis of all of science is then..?”

You answered: ”Science is a methodology. It is the methodology of "conjectures and refutations". Much like running, painting or looking (which are also methods) it has no basis The methodology of science does not "support" the theories that it creates. It finds out where those theories are in error and comes up with new theories that say more and are nearer the truth.”

How does science finds errors and come up with new theories without induction, or assuming the uniformity of nature. (This should be good).

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

Um I believe in absolute morality, I was asking if you believe that my alleged dishonesty is absolutely morally wrong? Naturally, you avoided the question.

Yes, it is wrong. And as it is absolutely wrong what you or I think about it is irrelevant to it being wrong. (And before you ask why it is absolutely wrong: there is no "why", that's what absolute means).

How does science finds errors and come up with new theories without induction, or assuming the uniformity of nature. (This should be good).

Good? It's the best thing ever! If you see lots and lots of swans and they're all white then you need to pretend that nature is uniform in this particular way to get to "all swans are white". That's a theory that nature is uniform in that particular way it doesn't support the theory it is the theory.

If you see one black swan you know that your theory "all swans are white" is wrong. You know it is wrong by deduction (Modus Tollens - Popper Logic of Scientific Discovery section 18).

Try Bryan Magee's book on Popper (short, very well written, great read).

Tony Lloyd said...

Ooh! Nearly forgot. Here's Fenyman on the science without induction bit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozF5Cwbt6RY&feature=related

(The schema he draws on the blackboard is the same as that given by Karl Popper in "Objective Knowledge" page 297. Karl Popper is the chap who came up with the "swans" example)

Sye TenB said...

@ Tony Lloyd,

You are joking right? Ah well, I’ll play,

I asked if my alleged dishonesty is absolutely morally wrong?

You answered: ”Yes, it is wrong. And as it is absolutely wrong what you or I think about it is irrelevant to it being wrong. (And before you ask why it is absolutely wrong: there is no "why", that's what absolute means).”

Alright, I won’t ask why; What in an atheistic universe makes it absolutely morally wrong? (resume dodging :-)

I asked: ”How does science finds errors and come up with new theories without induction, or assuming the uniformity of nature.”

You ‘answered:’ ”If you see lots and lots of swans and they're all white then you need to pretend that nature is uniform in this particular way to get to "all swans are white".

And science doesn’t use induction??? Riiiiiight.

”If you see one black swan you know that your theory "all swans are white" is wrong. You know it is wrong by deduction “

And on what basis, pray tell, do you proceed on the assumption that modus tollens is valid? (This should be even better than the last one :-)

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

And on what basis, pray tell, do you proceed on the assumption that modus tollens is valid?

Well not by induction! It's deductive logic. There are many arguments for modus tollens none of them use induction.

Did you not look at the youtube link? You have a scientist there telling you were he gets his theories: he guesses them. He then tells you how he tests them: he deduces the consequences and if observation contradicts it he gets rid of the theory.

Stephen Hawking says the same (or, at least, Popper is the one philosopher of science referred to in "A Brief History of Time").

Perhaps I'm being a little hard on you, many people (myself included) have your initial reaction to Falsificationism. Read the Magee book. (After that you can "mainline" with "Logic of Scientific Discovery").

I would say that many people do not agree with Popper but no philopher I have read ever resorts to your iterative "and how do you know?" For a good critique of falsificationism try Hilary Putnam's essay "The 'Corroboration' of Theories" or Chapter 3 of Newton-Smith's "The Rationality of Science".

My own answer to the "why should I" question is explored in http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1136046

Sye TenB said...

@ Tony Lloyd,

Eh, what happened to my question on absolute morality? I anticipated a dodge, but that one takes the cake!

I asked: “And on what basis, pray tell, do you proceed on the assumption that modus tollens is valid?”

You ‘answered:’ ”Well not by induction!”

Um. Read the question again. I asked on what basis you DO proceed on the assumption, not on what basis you DO NOT.

”Did you not look at the youtube link? You have a scientist there telling you were he gets his theories: he guesses them. He then tells you how he tests them: he deduces the consequences and if observation contradicts it he gets rid of the theory.”

Ya, I looked at it, and I did not see where that scientist justifies the logic by which he deduces ANYTHING. Perhaps it’s on another link? And are you saying that science does not proceed on the theory that nature is uniform???

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

The answer to the question "what makes it absolutely wrong" : nothing. If anything made it absolutely wrong it would be contingent and not absolute, its wrongness would depend on whatever made it wrong. If that thing didn't make it wrong then it wouldn't be wrong, so it wouldn't be absolute.

"And are you saying that science does not proceed on the theory that nature is uniform???" For, I think, the third time: yes, I am saying that science does not proceed on the theory that nature is uniform.

Sye TenB said...

Tony Lloyd said: ” The answer to the question "what makes it absolutely wrong" : nothing.”

Um, then how do you know it’s wrong, and not say…right?

”For, I think, the third time: yes, I am saying that science does not proceed on the theory that nature is uniform.”

Thanks for that! Tony, why do scientists do experiments if they do not proceed on the expectation that they same experiment, under the exact same conditions will produce the same results? Are you saying that scientists do not do this??? Are you saying that scientists put people in the space shuttle not having a clue what will happen when the rockets are ignited??? Are you really that deluded?

Cheers,

Sye

Sye TenB said...

Anonymous said: "Sye, As a person who is part of an event being bet on, it would be unfair of you bet in this way. Rather like a boxer betting that he himself will go down in the first round."

Would that be absolutely unfair?

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

why do scientists do experiments if they do not proceed on the expectation that they same experiment, under the exact same conditions will produce the same results?

Why do an experiment if you already know (in the "justified, true belief" concept of "know") the result?

Scientists do experiments to test theories (as Feynman explained) not to prove them. Testing may prove theories wrong (by deduction) but do nothing to establish them as right.

Putting someone in a rocket is not an "experiment". This belongs to what is called the "pragmatic problem of induction". David Miller, Karl Popper's pupil and later colleague and friend, in Chapter 2 of his "Critical Rationalism" deals with most objections (including yours).

My own view on what technologists have when they think they know is given in my paper "Justificationists Anonymous" (link above).

Sye TenB said...

Tony Lloyd said: "Scientists do experiments to test theories"

Do scientist use results from previous experiments to test theories? If so, are they justified in doing so? If so, why?

Cheers,

Sye

Tony Lloyd said...

"Do scientist use results from previous experiments to test theories?"
Yes

"If so, are they justified in doing so?"
No.

"there exist no grounds whatever, conclusive or inconclusive, for anything that we know" http://intl.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/284/5420/1625

"If so, why?"
Rather pre-supposes a different answer to the above.