'Walking through a wall' is meant as a metaphor; it's also sensationalised. It's a way of explaining a complex system. It's a linguistic way of illustrating that because atoms are 99% empty there's no reason why objects that are 99% empty shouldn't be able to pass through each other.
In many ways it's a poetic statement rather than a factual one.
We need to be very careful of metaphors. This is what went wrong with mono-theism in the 1st place! If you look at the history of mythology you will find that the metaphors used to explain complex philosophical concepts in other religions accidentally became 'scientific'/factual beliefs in monotheism. Mythologist Joseph Campbell also said that people erroneously began believing the signs and metaphors were real. I think one example he gave was that monotheism did the equivalent of thinking that the picture and description of meal in a menu was the meal itself. Somewhere along the way they forgot that it was just a sign/an indicator of something, but not the thing itself.
It is as simple as this, if you accept the possibility of an entire atom disappearing from one side of the wall and appearing on the other is existent but very low, You must accept that no matter how low the probability of a macro object doing the same whilst very low actually exists.
I could put this another way, You may right an essay and store it on a hard drive. Whilst mostly the amount of electrons that constitute the charge differential on a logical block will stay held as a digital logic one. there is still a possibility however low that all electrons will appear on the other side and switch the value to zero. If this were to happen in just the right sequence you could have your essay turned into "war and peace" over the course of a day. Agreed this is again so unlikely to happen that you will have seen the passing of several universes, but the possibility exists. Quantum mechanics is the basis of most of our modern electronic components and its only because of the large numbers of atoms involved that we have few problems, however some components utilise quantum effects rather than just taking them into account. the point however is that nothing is 100% certain. even the existence of the universe.
Doubting the existence of the universe. Now, you have gone too far. The universe necessarily exists. It is impossible for a human being to walk through a wall. There is a very very very very large number of combinations of subatomic, atomic, molecular, chemical and biological configurations that have existed, are existing and will exist and an even larger number of possibilities that won't and within all these sets of possibilities a human being walking through a wall is not among them, except in the case of very advanced technology.
You are simply wrong. I have explained why already. In relation to the universe my point is that it is just as possible for the universe to pop out of existence as for an atom to relocate to another location, Both are very improbable events one just much more so than the other. As stated this is the basic function in every transistor in the computer you are on right now in relation to electron behaviour. I think the hard drive example should prove the point well enough. You have a philosophers view of the world, Just like a person who understands how a transistor functions at the schematic level instead of actually understanding the physics responsible for its performance....
I know 100% certainty I can't walk through a wall - you're going to get a saw head testing it......
When I first responded to this thread, I said that I am as sure as I can be that there is no god or anything else supernatural, but that as a mere carbon based life form, I could be wrong. After reading all these posts, I am now 100% sure there is no god.
LOL yes, it's always good bringing up debate in AN.... it really takes you to the edge! LOL
MCT, you are writing about things I don't understand and want to. Looking up law of identity I discover I am way over my head if I am to understand you. You may decline the task of educating me and if so, I understand. On the other hand, if you could restate you logic and abstraction into concrete terms, I might catch on. In the meantime, you cause me to take yet another adventure of discovery.
I took logic in college and the only thing I remember is the prof. assigned 12 philosophers to read and I whote a proposal that I wanted to add a woman philosopher. His response was that there are no women philosophers worthy of reading.
You ask for more concrete language with stories. I think you've got this wrong. While a metaphor may help us understand each other by establishing an idea or two to begin working with, I believe that communication is clearest when story telling and metaphor are minimized. Metaphor is important for induction, where we must see how a new concept or perception might be like something else in certain ways, in order to begin to make sense of it, but must be realized as necessarily an incomplete source for knowledge. As I said, metaphor, or describing something in terms of something else that it is not, can be very useful, but always includes nonessential characteristics. This is why to gain knowledge we must integrate our perceptions and concepts using literal meanings and concrete language. Where concepts include only the essential characteristics that make an entity a part of that groups of concepts. This is the way I attempt to communicate. I try to minimize metaphor and describe things the way they are, in terms of perceptual evidence or first or second order abstractions, and not as what they are like or how they may make us feel. There is no metaphorical truth. There is only literal truth. The only way to gain this truth or knowledge about how some idea compares to what actually is in reality, is the noncontradictory integration of perceptual evidence. In other words, reason and logic are the only guides to knowledge. Not feelings, not revelations, not prayer, not hope, not intuition, not metaphors, not innate ideas. There is no way to learn more or obtain knowledge other than reason. You say that we have not ended our discovery with reason and logic and that there is more to learn, when reason and logic are the only means of knowledge acquisition. If one somehow got an idea and needed to know if it represents reality, they would have to think about it. The idea is then discarded if it is not logically consistent. If it is, then observations may be done to verify, but it is not knowledge if it has not been integrated without contradiction by reason.
The field of philosophy is jam packed with 'scholars' that make very little sense and contradict themselves regularly. Well, if you like my ideas and you wish to read a woman philosopher, then you must know about Ayn Rand. My philosophy is most closely aligned with her philosophy of Objectivism. I do not like calling it her philosophy, because I think it is more just a relatively accurate description of the nature of reality and the way the mind makes sense of it. A single objective completely causal universe (or multiverse) that never began, with locally distinct self-aware rational pattern recognition machines that operate on the basis of perceived rational self-interest, is the world view with the least contradiction. I think AR was wrong about freewill and a few other things. And she was a bit sexist, she was born in Russia in the early 20 century. I recommend Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. If you haven't heard of her, I am surprised. Many people hate her and her idea that selfishness is good. I think this egoism is very well supported by current cognitive neuroscience as well as by thinking rationally about it. I believe we are causal machines that are simply interacting with our environment. That we are aware of it lends an evolutionary advantage that involves instincts, then emotions as a basic rough guide to action and in the case of humans, a more precise guide in reason which allows knowledge. Objectivist epistemology is very consistent with the ways in which we humans are building artificial intelligences to think and process ifnormation and understanding the cerebral cortex and and today's most modern theories in physics and cosmology are easiest understood in the setting of an objective, noncontradictory, nonrandom, causal and eternal metaphysics.
Also, I have posted a few blogs on these topics, here at Atheist Nexus, check my page.
MCI, thank you for your prompt reply. You correctly state the weakness of metaphor, but some subjects just do not make sense to me. For example, I flunked my first statistics college course. Had to take it over and I started drawing pictures of employers, employees, business buildings, money, and banks and could begin to decipher the information. My prof put stat principles into metaphors any mother could understand instead of his sports metaphors. I passed the second course with flying colors. I am sure I do not understand stats as you or mathematicians do, but at least I get the picture.
I mentioned the physicist Lawrence Krauss, who uses metaphors with caution to emphasize they do not tell the whole story, nor do they entirely represent the subject, but at least an opening occurs where I can begin to understand his meanings.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, makes astronomy fun, although he gets tiresome after I understand the concepts.
Carl Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator, inspires my imagination, even as I understand some other scientists discount his work. I experience him, still, as a valuable guide to linking science and wonder.
Religion provided me with too many unhealthy, ethical, and moral problems and became a millstone around my brain. That is a metaphor, isn't it! Well, it describes my impression perfectly.