From Use Of Which Of The Following Can You Obtain Knowledge? Feelings, Intuition, Prayer, Reason, Hope, Emotions Or Faith.

Intuition is not valid. Feelings, intuition, prayer, hope, faith and revelation are not valid sources of knowledge. There is only the noncontrictory integration of perceptual evidence, otherwise known as reason. To be valid, a concept must fit without contradiction into your knowledge base both:

HIERARCHICALLY-perceptions(colors/shapes) -->1st order concepts (chair)-->2nd order concepts (furniture)-->3rd order concepts (goods). Spirit is not valid because it is not made up of any essential constituents. Choice is real and valid because I can identify, by reducing a pattern of behavior to perceptual evidence, the essential characteristics.


CONTEXTUALLY-Santa Claus does not integrate contextually. He's a man, yet can visit millions of homes and climb down each chimney in one night! Contradiction. Must reject! God is omniscient. An all-knowing being must know what is about to happen to be omniscient, so he cannot know surprise. Contradiction. Must reject.

If there is a contradiction, go back, you must check your premises.

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Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 5:47pm


I do not struggle to admit it. My point is that it is a necessary and valid assumption that is inextricably linked to cognition. And not subject to proof, because it is necessary for proof.

Yes, I believe Ayn Rand had some very very good ideas. Now, she was mistaken about freewill and a few other things, but her metaphysics and epistemology are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It is not that things that aren't able, at this time, to be perceived that cannot exist, it is things that are not subject to proof that cannot exist. It is things that are not able to be perceived under any circumstance that cannot be real. If we were in a simulacrum and all we could ever perceive is this realm, then you cannot have knowledge of another place to even talk about at all. If we do perceive it, it becomes part of this realm, identifiable and knowable. It could not change the rules of knowledge acquisition. Under this circumstance, it is irrational to formulate or change your principles because your brain can create an hypothetical.

Whether our world view is correct or not, objective reality and causality, are necessary for cognition and you cannot use these to show that things in and of themselves have randomness as an essential part, or any part, of their character. We clearly misunderstand the quantum realm, but not concept formation. Evidence suggestive of quantum entanglement.........evidence is required by proof, which also requires logical deduction of a valid concept. Both our worldview is part wrong and quantum theory entails arbitrary essentials. And I'm totally fine with adjusting my worldview, but I am not comfortable with negating, that which is necessary to build a worldview at all, cognition. Also, this grouped entanglement is something that apparently only happens when we manipulate the system. Grouped entanglement occur, as it is my understanding, so unbelievably rare that they cannot pop an apple into existence or out. In our physical realm, nothing random happens, it would break the most basic primaries of thought. And that cannot happen.


Comment by Daniel Smith on January 27, 2011 at 5:02pm
"Oh, but I can't prove it? So what? I don't need to."


So you've already made the assumption, why do you struggle so hard about admitting it?


I cheerfully admit to assuming that entire realms of imaginary ideas that do not lend themselves to evidentiary testing are bunk, at least for now. I try not to get too upset when such ideas are presented because I cannot, and will admit that I cannot, technically disprove them. But as of yet at least, they cannot be proven either.


"I am not using sense perception as the only source of evidence. It is the validity of the self evident primaries of cognition and how everything in this reality other than the very limit of our perception integrates without contradiction."


You really are an acolyte of Ayn Rand, aren't you?


"I am not arguing to know the complete true nature of existence, only that objective knowledge is possible and you can have zero objective knowledge that our entire universe is a holographic or virtual representation or perversion of another. That is supernatural talk and it is useless to even attempt to try and prove or even talk about, since you cannot have knowledge of that which is outside our physical realm, anything outside our reality."


I'm going to have to take exception to this one. Just because a thing exists outside of our ability to perceive it does not place it outside of reality or make it supernatural. Until the invention of a microscope germs were not in the supernatural realm. Nor were any of the myriad of things we now accept as an integral part of our reality that we were unable to perceive or even conceive of 200 years ago. A thing is not necessarily supernatural because we have no objective knowledge of its existence. If it were in fact true that we do exist in a simulacrum, does the fact that we cannot perceive it make it less real? Our innate perceptual apparatus is limited, but the fact of its limitations does not mean that those things which exist beyond our limits to perceive them are supernatural, it just means that we are limited in our ability to perceive them.

You have elsewhere rejected the idea of quantum entanglement at larger scales than "a quark", yet assemblages of a hundred thousands atoms have been experimentally shown to exhibit quantum entanglement in experiments several years ago.

We have demonstrated over and over again through time that reality is more than what we were earlier able to perceive. Internally consistent non-contradictory worldviews have had to be scrapped over and over again as new evidence became available. You assert that the universe is subject to causality, yet quantum physics has demonstrated experimentally that much of what happens is probabilistic and not causal, or at least not causal within our current picture of reality. This would seem to be an "implicit contradiction" of a causal worldview, yet there is good evidence that it is the way things are. Does this mean that quantum physics is "partly comprised of arbitrary nonessentials or mysticism", or does it just mean that our current, internally consistent causal worldview is, at least in part, wrong? I'm pretty confident that our current "objective" worldview contains significant flaws that will only be realized as we improve our ability to perceive reality more accurately. Rejecting evidence that contradicts our current worldview just because it contradicts our current worldview is the antithesis of objectivity, wouldn't you agree?

Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 4:12pm


I think I mostly agree. Though, perfection is not an essential quality of knowledge. The question is how well does it integrate conceptually to the rest of reality. And the better the noncontradiction the more valid the knowledge. We do our best and our knowledge base is continually refined and updated. Objectivity and validity is the goal and our knowledge is only as valid as it is objective and noncontradictory. Anyway, it's all we've got and reality can be the only standard. Also, I'm not so sure that those nutritional recommendations weren't based on a still incomplete theory instead of objectively verified valid knowledge.

Comment by Edward Teach on January 27, 2011 at 3:45pm

The trouble with truly objective knowledge is that it is so damned hard to nail down. The axioms do seem to hold up, but the objective truth changes constantly. Whatever objective "truth" I know today may be tomorrows outdated info. I am positive that many felt that Newtonian physics was the last word on physics... until it wasn't.


In 1970, nutritional research had objectively determined the components and ratios for a healthy diet. In 2011, current researchers are equally certain that new data has lead us to the objective truth regarding diet. I am confident that the objective truth of the future regarding diet will be equally transient.


It seems to me that objective truth is a never ending spiral. We get closer and closer to it as new data comes in, but solid ground seems elusive.

Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 2:38pm
Fairies in the garden do not exist because fairies don't exist, if there was a little flying human like being then we would know about it, but certainly they don't exist if you are talking about the supernatural kind. This, I guess is your example of a negative that cannot be proved. There is no reason to think there is a fairy or God or Santa. They are all wrought with contradiction. Things with implicit contradiction cannot exist and there is no reason to attempt to prove them because they are, by nature of their supposed essential characteristics, not subject to proof. Knowledge of these things is impossible. And therefore arguing for them useless.

It is not the mere presence of my perception that I am using to verify my argument. I am not using sense perception as the only source of evidence. It is the validity of the self evident primaries of cognition and how everything in this reality other than the very limit of our perception integrates without contradiction. Without the validity of the axioms, the whole system breaks down, conceptualization is impossible and then so is knowledge acquisition and argument. The only way this could possibly be going on is if the axioms are valid. I am not arguing to know the complete true nature of existence, only that objective knowledge is possible and you can have zero objective knowledge that our entire universe is a holographic or virtual representation or perversion of another. That is supernatural talk and it is useless to even attempt to try and prove or even talk about, since you cannot have knowledge of that which is outside our physical realm, anything outside our reality.

Oh, but I can't prove it? So what? I don't need to. I assert no contradictions and therefore I do not carry the burden of proof. The universe is objective and causality is universal as far as our reasoning minds can possibly have the knowledge to speak about. If you've got another theory, it is partly comprised of arbitrary nonessentials or mysticism.
Comment by Daniel Smith on January 27, 2011 at 2:13pm

Michael, the circularity comes from asserting the truth of sensory perception by relying on that sensory perception as evidence.


Imagine a hypothetical case in which an AI was created within a computer generated environment, and that its interaction with that environment, bound by its programming, only allowed it to "perceive" the computer generated environment and not the fact that it all existed only within the silicon chips of the computer. If the programming were sophisticated enough, all of what the AI would perceive would be consistent, logical, and wrong, including its own perception of its senses. But since the AI would have no way of reaching outside of its programming it would have no sensory way of perceiving the larger reality, and while it might imagine such a scenario it would have no way of testing the idea. Considering the leaps with which computer science is advancing, such a scenario is not as far fetched as it once may have been. 


This is the dilemma we face in trying to prove logically that our senses are giving us a true picture of external reality. We cannot prove that we are not trapped within a similar simulacrum, because we would only have access to information that the simulacrum would present to us. 


As I've said, I find the idea trivial to dismiss but I cannot, and you cannot, prove that it is not the case, as the only evidence we have comes from our senses, and if the game is rigged, so are our senses. I can only assume the fairies in the garden are, in fact, imaginary. But I cannot prove it to be so.

Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 1:42pm


I think we evolved, before our big fat cerebral cortex, from more primitive versions of reasoning creatures with built-in guides, instinct, emotion. What hunger is, in addition to simply being a sensation that we can learn through reason will be satisfied by food, is more of an instinct, a less complex mechanism, not a source of knowledge. At any rate, whether it's a feeling or a sensation, it certainly is not knowledge unless it is verified. I imagine something like that is not too hard to verify. It is very close to a perception, which cannot be proved, only shown.


I agree with your second paragraph only in form. Choice is a clear identifiable valid concept. We all choose all day long. We only do it causally. Freedom and control are relative terms describing a relationship between entities, not an essential aspect of choice. Choice is dependent. Freewill is a nonexistent supernatural thing, real choice is not well described as free, it is causally dependent on the state of the chooser's brain and the moment to moment interaction with the environment. Things are determined when they happen, not before, what will be, will be, there is a fate and it cannot change, but it is not now predetermined. This deterministic functioning choice should not negate the benefit of jailing those who do really stupid shit to other people. They had a choice, although that choice was determined, possibly by years of indoctrination, abuse and deceit, they are responsible and either rehabilitated or incarcerated.

Yes, desire is a motivator. We want to be happy. Personal happiness is the only value all others are obtained for. And since morality is a set of rules to guide one decisions toward the attainment of personal happiness, it is moral, imo, to desire food, sex, comfort, etc., and we humans are only as successful in as much as we use reason and logic. The more we integrate our concepts without contradiction, the better our knowledge base will be and the more able we will be at fulfilling our desires. 

Comment by Edward Teach on January 27, 2011 at 1:09pm

I agree. Clean thinking would exclude feelings, intuition, prayer, hope, faith and revelation. Clean thinking could eliminate religion and every other faith (fantasy) based belief system.


What about desire? Not as a source of knowledge (although maybe), but as a source of motivation.  I have the desire for food, sex, comfort, etc., so I pursue them. I know I am hungry, not because of rational thought, but because I can feel it.


Also, I think reason would rule out choice. If my thoughts and behaviors are the result of the combination of genetics and environment, and I have no control over either factor, then every "choice" is a manifestation of my life events up to that point and my biology up to that point. Unless some other factor comes in to play, like God or soul, or spirit, or universal consciousness, then all choices are the product of elements over which I have no control.

Comment by MCT on January 27, 2011 at 12:48pm


I do not think my argument is circular. What negative are you talking about that I need to prove to make my point valid in your eyes? Describe my circularity please.


The axioms are valid because they are the only one's that make cognition possible. If they were not valid, and existence didn't necessitate identity, then perception and concept formation could not occur. We are thinking, right? I see no contradiction.

Comment by Daniel Smith on January 27, 2011 at 12:22pm

"If there is no proof either way that reality is what we think it to be, then there is no more validity in either assumption. I do admit that the one assumption seems to dead-ends itself, but I strongly suspect the dead-end is in man's understanding and not in the assumption."


"Reality is the gold-standard. And it can be said to exist for sure! The primaries of cognition, the axioms of existence, consciousness and identity and therefore causality, not only assume, but subsume, are necessary for cognition to occur. It is not a trivial assumption..."


Speaking of polar extremes...


Michael, the existence of an external reality and the validity of our perceptions of that reality are the touchstones of the modern worldview. But as a man who clearly values knowledge that comes from a logical examination of evidence you must admit that there is a break in the chain of logic when it calls on a circular argument to prove itself. I can conceive of other realities that would produce the same evidence, and I'm sure you can too if you cared to. I don't believe them to be the case primarily because such a situation would insert an entire realm of meta-reality with no evidence of its existence between my existence, (which I am sure of, and can prove to myself using the same rules of evidence I rely on for other knowledge) and the reality which I believe I perceive. But I cannot prove that it isn't the case, any more than I can prove the non-existence of a god or gods. So I am perfectly comfortable making the assumption that reality is largely as we perceive it, in the same sense that I am comfortable assuming that there are no fairies in my garden. And I do think it is a rather trivial assumption. But if you have a way of proving a negative I'm all ears.


JC, the problem I have with giving more weight to the idea that reality is not as we perceive it than to simply acknowledge the idea and discard it is that it is a counsel of despair. The accumulated knowledge we have gleaned from a thoughtful examination of evidence has produced tangible results. The fact that we can have this discussion at all using the tools we use to have it is a pretty shining example of how well the methodology works. We have to play with the cards we are dealt, and the fact that other cards may exist is, in the end, irrelevant.


"Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream"







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