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Ch. 1 - Why are people? 
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We observe that the solar system is stable, that planetary orbits have very slow and predictable rates of change. Our assumptions about the stability of the earth are predicated upon the stability of the cosmos.


There is nothing that says the laws of nature will necessarily remain the same for the rest of eternity. I of course assume they will, and for all practical purposes it is axiomatic. However, our view upstream of the river of time is limited by the fact that we have not been there. I would say that mathematics is likely eternal, but this is a presumption of mine rooted in pantheistic wonder of the nature of mathematics. Eternity is a long time, not even the universe is purported to be eternal. I'm amazed that you think it's dumb to argue against something being eternal.



Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:55 pm
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Interbane wrote:
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Nietzsche was wrong. As I just noted in the memes thread, logic came into man’s head from Animal Foraging and the Evolution of Goal-Directed Cognition.


I think he was wrong as well, but it's still interesting. The parallel he drew to nature selecting logical people over illogical people was fitting for this thread, that's why I posted it.
Nietszsche's image that "logic [came] into existence in man's head [out] of illogic, whose realm originally must have been immense" has a fitting sarcasm regarding the stupidity of popular culture and traditional mythological error. However, it does get the causal origin of logic completely wrong. A redeeming evolutionary insight found in Dawkins and the rest of biology is that humanity is a highly evolved organism, and that features such as logical reasoning are deeply embedded in our DNA as adaptive traits. So the pessimism of Schopenhauer is unwarranted. The deep rationality of human life, with goal setting a key adaptation where gene enters meme, means the illogic of modern life can be replaced by an older logic.



Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:55 pm
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The deep rationality of human life, with goal setting a key adaptation where gene enters meme, means the illogic of modern life can be replaced by an older logic.


I had assumed you meant that we have evolved the capacity for logic, rather than logic itself. The capacity for logic says nothing about the environment to which we apply it. Today's world is different than the world of ages past, so a more complicated application of logic is required.

What book did you read about dopamine in? I just started the Extended Phenotype last night.



Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:04 pm
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Interbane wrote:
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The deep rationality of human life, with goal setting a key adaptation where gene enters meme, means the illogic of modern life can be replaced by an older logic.


I had assumed you meant that we have evolved the capacity for logic, rather than logic itself. The capacity for logic says nothing about the environment to which we apply it. Today's world is different than the world of ages past, so a more complicated application of logic is required.

What book did you read about dopamine in? I just started the Extended Phenotype last night.


As per earlier discussion, logic itself is eternal, outside time, so yes, we have evolved capacity rather than logic itself. Temporal capacity for logic is only useful to the extent it makes contact with the eternal realities of logic. I think I stumbled upon that article on how dopamine has evolved from reading Bart's thread on hyper-religiosity. In any case, I'm mainly mentioning dopamine and its influence on goal-setting to illustrate how we can in principle find a clear evolutionary path for neural development, with the evolution of logical capacity a clear adaptive advantage for humanity.

Looking at the timeline for human evolution homo erectus was around from 1.8 million years ago, but had brains 75% modern size. I suspect the expansion of the logical goal seeking capacity of the brain was the main step in the evolution of homo sapien from homo erectus.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:20 am
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As per earlier discussion, logic itself is eternal, outside time


You repeat this without support. This is desperately begging for an examination of what exactly logic is, with references to modern philosophy. Is it based on mathematics, in that it is a descriptive language of the universe itself? If so, give me your reasoning that these things will be applicable for all eternity.

If you say they are outside time, what do you mean? If you remove the component of time from spacetime, you do not have eternity, you have a "moment". In this moment, mathematics may apply to space and may have infinite applicability as long as we consider the spacial dimension of the universe infinite. This isn't eternity, however. Eternity necessarily requires the dimension of time as a component of it's infinite definition.

It seems to me that by saying something is "outside time", it's merely clever phrasing by which to then claim that it is eternal. I did a fast search of the phrase "eternal logic" on google, and the first 5 pages were all religious documents and blogs. Any philosophical overlap was of theological nature. It seems that my intuition was correct in disliking the term eternal. The concept is unnecessary and useless except in the case that you're trying to find a place for a god. It is another case of superfluous wishful thinking.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:41 pm
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Interbane wrote:
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As per earlier discussion, logic itself is eternal, outside time


You repeat this without support. This is desperately begging for an examination of what exactly logic is, with references to modern philosophy. Is it based on mathematics, in that it is a descriptive language of the universe itself? If so, give me your reasoning that these things will be applicable for all eternity.

If you say they are outside time, what do you mean? If you remove the component of time from spacetime, you do not have eternity, you have a "moment". In this moment, mathematics may apply to space and may have infinite applicability as long as we consider the spacial dimension of the universe infinite. This isn't eternity, however. Eternity necessarily requires the dimension of time as a component of it's infinite definition.

It seems to me that by saying something is "outside time", it's merely clever phrasing by which to then claim that it is eternal. I did a fast search of the phrase "eternal logic" on google, and the first 5 pages were all religious documents and blogs. Any philosophical overlap was of theological nature. It seems that my intuition was correct in disliking the term eternal. The concept is unnecessary and useless except in the case that you're trying to find a place for a god. It is another case of superfluous wishful thinking.
You do like hard questions Interbane! The etymology of eternal - e-ternal - means outside time. A number such as pi, derived from the ratio between diameter and circumference of a set of planar points equidistant from one point, is indeed the same for all eternity, because it does not depend on anything temporal for its existence. Logical relations are analytic - true by definition, and so are independent of time, eg 2+2=4. Physical relations are synthetic - true by observation, so physical laws such as the law of gravity are not 'outside time' in the same way as logical relations, but do persist throughout time. Hence the difference between the logical and physical meanings of eternity. Eternal values are a whole nother kettle of fish (that is why Plato's Academy had only the three subjects of logic, physics and ethics).



Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:30 pm
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Interbane wrote:
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We observe that the solar system is stable, that planetary orbits have very slow and predictable rates of change. Our assumptions about the stability of the earth are predicated upon the stability of the cosmos.


There is nothing that says the laws of nature will necessarily remain the same for the rest of eternity. I of course assume they will, and for all practical purposes it is axiomatic. However, our view upstream of the river of time is limited by the fact that we have not been there. I would say that mathematics is likely eternal, but this is a presumption of mine rooted in pantheistic wonder of the nature of mathematics. Eternity is a long time, not even the universe is purported to be eternal. I'm amazed that you think it's dumb to argue against something being eternal.


Science can assess the rate of change of laws of nature. Where these laws are extremely stable in the record of the universe to date they can be expected to maintain this stability. But nothing is forever - the universe will eventually drift out to a series of permanently further away black holes and debris, or it will turn around to another singularity. Maybe the law of gravity will be different in the next universe. However, I find it hard to imagine that the concept of number, natural, integer, fraction, logarithmic, real, irrational, imaginary, fractal, would be essentially different in a successor universe, as numbers express spatial relations, and a succeeding universe would be constituted in space and time. Maybe the quantum forces would be different and life would not evolve? The fact is the quantum forces of our universe are immensely stable and omnipresent, so questioning their eternity goes well beyond short human time spans, within which numbers such as Planck's Constantare eternally true.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:00 pm
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A number such as pi, derived from the ratio between diameter and circumference of a set of planar points equidistant from one point, is indeed the same for all eternity, because it does not depend on anything temporal for its existence.


This seems little more than word play to me. What tips this off to me is that some mathematics only work in certain geometries. Pythagorean theorem to spacetime vectors jumps immediately to mind, since I just finished reading a book involving such math. You say that pi is the same for all eternity, but you don't support this claim with any reasoning. I think this is an a priori assumption of yours that you haven't explored. If I'm wrong and you can provide me some literature, please do. Like I said, the philosophy of mathematics is intriguing to me.

From Wikipedia:

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Logic concerns the structure of statements and arguments, in formal systems of inference and natural language. Topics include validity, fallacies and paradoxes, reasoning using provability and arguments involving causality and time.


Logic such as sufficiency versus necessity is dependent upon time as a component of it's reference. Since this logic refers to a process which requires time, the validity of logic is dependent upon the process always obeying it's rules. If the process becomes disobedient(if we stop time), logic then no longer applies, since it will no longer refer to something true. If logic no longer applies without time, then it is not eternal. But we don't have to stop here. The dependence of logic upon time applies to some logic, yet there are forms of logic that do not depend upon time, such as the logic of identity(A=A). However, there is a problem with applying this to real instances. If you want to say that the A pebble is pebble A(the same pebble), you must specify when you're talking about. The atomic structure of the pebble necessarily changes with time. To talk of the pebble as it is within a single instance is to refer to something we have no experience of. The pebble could at the same time be a pebble A and not pebble A, according to Quantum Physics. How you would apply the law of contradiction to quantum particles in states of superposition?

It becomes increasingly clear that logic follows from the semantics of our language. It is a system of understanding, in the same way that Plato's forms are.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:08 pm
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Interbane wrote:
You say that pi is the same for all eternity, but you don't support this claim with any reasoning.
We cannot conceive a real space in which pi does not apply. Pi is part of the structure of space, in so far as circles exist. Pi is an eternal logical condition for the existence of circles.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:21 pm
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We cannot conceive a real space in which pi does not apply.


Pi's relationship to a circle is analytic; within the definition of a perfect circle. When you conceptualize an abstract perfect circle, Pi is necessarily part of the definition. This does not make Pi any more eternal than a perfect circle. Also, to say that we can't conceive of a real space in which Pi does not apply does not mean there isn't one. Pythagoras theorem as a relationship to a triangle was discovered to not apply to some geometries.



Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:26 am
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I ran across this while browsing (Perhaps Neitszche was on to something):


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Another popular spin on this fallacy involves referencing the so-called laws of logic and suggesting that these "laws" have to be dictated by somebody or something, ergo God exists. In reality, there are no "laws of logic". Logic is a name given to describe the function of how your brain processes information. Your stomach's function involves digestion. Is there a "law of digestion?" No. Another intellectually bankrupt semantical run-around.


http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/To ... nce_of_God



Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:13 am
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Interbane wrote:
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We cannot conceive a real space in which pi does not apply.


Pi's relationship to a circle is analytic; within the definition of a perfect circle. When you conceptualize an abstract perfect circle, Pi is necessarily part of the definition. This does not make Pi any more eternal than a perfect circle. Also, to say that we can't conceive of a real space in which Pi does not apply does not mean there isn't one. Pythagoras theorem as a relationship to a triangle was discovered to not apply to some geometries.


Pi is equally eternal as a perfect circle. Both, like all mathematical concepts, are outside time. The hypothetical existence of a space in which Pi does not apply is not really relevant to actual mathematics.
Interbane wrote:
I ran across this while browsing (Perhaps Neitszche was on to something):


Quote:
Another popular spin on this fallacy involves referencing the so-called laws of logic and suggesting that these "laws" have to be dictated by somebody or something, ergo God exists. In reality, there are no "laws of logic". Logic is a name given to describe the function of how your brain processes information. Your stomach's function involves digestion. Is there a "law of digestion?" No. Another intellectually bankrupt semantical run-around.


http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/To ... nce_of_God


This argument is weak. Logic is not a 'brain process' but how that brain process links to the external reality. For example Jupiter is five times as far as the earth from the sun. This is a material relation between Jupiter and the earth which is independent of human cognition.



Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:00 pm
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The hypothetical existence of a space in which Pi does not apply is not really relevant to actual mathematics.


Why not?

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Logic is not a 'brain process' but how that brain process links to the external reality.


Wouldn't it be better to say that logic is a brain process, and also links to the real world? I've come to disagree with this understanding after doing some studying. It seems logic is a tool we have for understanding the world, and there is no such thing as an objective instance of logic. For every web site I've found, they all state logic as the study of principles of correct reasoning.

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For example Jupiter is five times as far as the earth from the sun. This is a material relation between Jupiter and the earth which is independent of human cognition.


I understand, but how do you go from this instance to the abstraction of whatever math you've gained from it being eternal?



Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:56 pm
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Interbane wrote:
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The hypothetical existence of a space in which Pi does not apply is not really relevant to actual mathematics.


Why not?
We are trying to understand reality. The beauty of the mathematics in The Selfish Gene is that it shows how intrinsically number is integrated into evolutionary reality. I am extending this principle (per the Platonic axiom that number is discovered not created by thought) to say perfect circles are real concepts, with clear application to the world. A hypothetical alternative universe in which Pi does not apply is not real.
Quote:
Quote:
Logic is not a 'brain process' but how that brain process links to the external reality.


Wouldn't it be better to say that logic is a brain process, and also links to the real world? I've come to disagree with this understanding after doing some studying. It seems logic is a tool we have for understanding the world, and there is no such thing as an objective instance of logic. For every web site I've found, they all state logic as the study of principles of correct reasoning.
The 'correct reasoning' definition of logic has been questioned, for example in Heidegger's definition of truth as disclosure rather than representation. Of course there is objective logic. We use it to say, for example, that Jupiter is five times as far as the earth from the sun.
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Quote:
For example Jupiter is five times as far as the earth from the sun. This is a material relation between Jupiter and the earth which is independent of human cognition.


I understand, but how do you go from this instance to the abstraction of whatever math you've gained from it being eternal?
The number five is embedded in this relation. This number only has ideal existence as concept, but would equally apply in a successor universe in which one thing was five times as big as another.



Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:40 pm
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The number five is embedded in this relation. This number only has ideal existence as concept, but would equally apply in a successor universe in which one thing was five times as big as another.


The number isn't embedded. We make a neural connection. Orbits are elliptical and Jupiter will most likely never be exactly 5 times as far from the sun as the Earth is. Even if it every happens to be within an inch or two of that exact length at any point in time, that will not be the case for every spacetime vector.

Quote:
I am extending this principle (per the Platonic axiom that number is discovered not created by thought) to say perfect circles are real concepts, with clear application to the world. A hypothetical alternative universe in which Pi does not apply is not real.


Show me an instance of a perfect circle. You can't, because there is no such thing. The concept as an abstraction of the category circular is able to be combined with the concept "perfect" in our heads. Just because we can imagine such a thing doesn't make this abstraction real. It's a method of understanding, a necessary neural segway into making sense of reality.

What is still a grey area for me is why nature obeys mathematical rules. Why does math necessarily apply? These processes and relationships are different than the idealist category of geometric shapes, so if you have insight in this area that is how you'll get through to me.



Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:59 pm
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