Gnostic Atheism
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03-06-2017, 01:13 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 01:18 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Gnostic Atheism
(02-06-2017 06:00 PM)big green mouth Wrote:  
(02-06-2017 03:43 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  This is my take on things:

The catch with knowledge about reality is you can't tell what among your claimed knowledge is actually correct knowledge. So the best you can do is have repeatable, demonstrable models that appear to describe reality very well*. That is scientific knowledge. If we insist that we can't have knowledge unless it's certainly correct, we are forever chasing our tails. We can't see the answer sheet.

So you've effectively defined knowledge out of existence. Your take on scientific knowledge seems oxymoronic, given the oppositions which you've set up. I'm wondering what a scientific model has to go through to be considered "repeatable, demonstrable". Demonstrability appears to be an unachievable goal given how you've defined scientific knowledge, and repeatability doesn't appear to be a strong enough sieve to separate out false from true models. Maybe you were simplifying, but these doesn't seem to be the main criterion that we look to for certifying something as scientific knowledge.

(02-06-2017 03:43 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Knowledge on a personal level is even more fragile, and really amounts to beliefs which have a high degree of confidence behind them.

But I thought that you said certainty doesn't amount to knowledge. Why should the standards for personal knowledge be different than scientific knowledge?

(02-06-2017 03:43 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Robust knowledge is reserved for abstract systems of our own devising, where we set the rules in the first place and aren't restricted by the one-way nature of our relationship with reality. The only thing hindering us there is possibly making a mistake while using our own rules.

This restricts us to analytical truths. Is there no place for knowledge in the empirical world?

Excellent reply! I understand your concerns, and I'm trying to think of a better way to explain myself.

Language is very tricky here. We define scientific knowledge to be hypotheses that have withstood the rigour of the scientific process. They are our best attempts to describe (our observations about) reality, as a group effort, in ways that have predictive power. That is the essential part, really. They need to be useful in helping us partially predict the future. This is all that is needed from a practical point of view. But how much of this accurately tells us about a supposed objective reality? We have no idea. Maybe none of it. But it doesn't matter, since we only exist ultimately in our experiences and observations of reality. Things would seem the same to us whether reality is exactly what we think it is, or if it's something entirely different but which gives off the data we currently receive. Or if we're asleep, and so on.

So I'm saying that it's only useful to set the bar for our "knowledge" to accurately represent, as far as possible, our observations of a supposed reality. If we do that, we can be confident beyond reasonable doubt that we do really know something, because we observe it ringing true time and again despite everyone's attempts to disprove it. But if we raise the bar so that knowledge has to pertain directly to reality, then we've overreached.

Personal knowledge is just a more primitive version of scientific knowledge, where a person has set their own bar. That's why it's much less useful, and much less likely to be accurate even regarding our observations of reality. But again, if you step in and start telling people what they can and can't "know", you destroy all personal knowledge completely. A person can feel certain that what they think they know is correct, but they can still be wrong.

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03-06-2017, 01:28 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 01:31 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Gnostic Atheism
Ahem, long story short: I'm acknowledging the inherent limits of our senses' ability to correctly identify what they are actually sensing, without any possible error. If they are wrong, other people can probably confirm that they are wrong, because we sense something they don't. But if we're right, even as a collective, we can still all be getting a "false image". There's no way to tell.

You can add to that the limits of our cognitive processes and our ability to measure, leaving us only able to comprehend what is going on to a certain degree. Are there more layers? We don't know. Are we getting it all backwards somehow? We don't know.

But like I said, all this doesn't matter from a practical point of view. It's just philosophical musings. If we set a reasonable bar for what constitutes knowledge, and what the knowledge refers to, we have plenty to get by.

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03-06-2017, 01:48 AM
RE: Gnostic Atheism
One last point before I STFU:

If we insist on scientific knowledge being certainly correct, even regarding our observations of reality, then we either never have any knowledge for fear that we've not yet properly understood things; or it becomes dogmatic like a religion, where any current "scientific knowledge" isn't allowed to be corrected if it is found wanting.

That's another reason why "knowledge" needs to be somewhat flexible to be of any use.

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03-06-2017, 04:18 AM
RE: Gnostic Atheism
(02-06-2017 11:17 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  First, in order to be knowledge, it has to be absolute.

I think this was a mistake handed down by the philosophers.

Aside from the abstract, which Robvalue discussed, the best of our knowledge of the real world is probabilistic, and we can actually quantify our doubt. For instance, for all it's uncertainty, quantum mechanics yields the most accurate predictions possible, to many decimal points.

Now that's knowledge.
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03-06-2017, 05:30 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 05:37 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Gnostic Atheism
You could say that there is absolute potential knowledge about reality. It's just that we have no way to ever access it.

Maybe understanding would be a better word for what we can achieve.

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03-06-2017, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 07:44 AM by AB517.)
RE: Gnostic Atheism
(02-06-2017 11:17 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(02-06-2017 03:46 PM)AB517 Wrote:  the sky is blue. that's as real as it gets. if we go up and look for the blue, we never find it. It doesn't mean its not there. Blink

I think the better understanding is that we need to draw conclusions based on what we know. basing a claim on "nobody knows anything so I believe ...." is just crazy to me. Toss in unicorns and rainbows too, for color. Rainbow farts are prettier than thunder bolt throwing sky wizards to me.

Nah. And it doesn't even have to be as extreme as that to be shown that true knowledge is unobtainable without omniscience which is unobtainable as a human.

Let's take your "sky is blue" example. This isn't knowledge and can easily be demonstrated as subjective.

A color blind person doesn't know of a blue sky. He perceives it in different shades.

A blind from birth person has no perception of color, and can only perceive in his mind what the sky might look like... But it's certainly not blue.

"Yabut KC, those are people with disabilities. The general population sees a blue sky; therefore, we know it's blue."

Not so fast, Scooter.

First, in order to be knowledge, it has to be absolute. So, in all cases and instances, the sky would objectively be blue regardless of the surrounding circumstances.

Second, who's to say what we perceive as blue actually blue? We've assigned a shade of color a name based on human eyesight, but do we really know if that is the true color?

We cannot know with absolute certainty that the sky is blue or the grass us green or up is up or down is down. We can only speak on our perceptions relative to our human senses.

A more correct statement would be, "Based on normal human vision, the sky is blue."

All true. and your right, with a better start: Everything we know is "human". That is one of my base axioms to start all lines of logic. Its kind of implied for me.

A next step might be, for me, use what we know "the sky is blue" for form a belief statement; "the blue came from the sun." I might test cow farts to start while I am waiting on my new instrument I designed.
Cows have great blue flamers.

"omni", I am not so sure there is omni present gravity, so omniscience is meaningless to me.

My main point is that we start off with what we do know. What we think we know is all we have. There is no opinion of "lets base it on what we don't know because we don't know anything anyway." for me.

I like the trem scooter. i have the background that high schoolers, ex accountants, and other whiners don't have, I am more that happy to give them rides.. Not that they even care about what is actually going on. They have personal opinions/belief to maintain.
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03-06-2017, 07:39 AM
RE: Gnostic Atheism
double post
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03-06-2017, 08:06 AM
RE: Gnostic Atheism
(03-06-2017 01:13 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(02-06-2017 06:00 PM)big green mouth Wrote:  So you've effectively defined knowledge out of existence. Your take on scientific knowledge seems oxymoronic, given the oppositions which you've set up. I'm wondering what a scientific model has to go through to be considered "repeatable, demonstrable". Demonstrability appears to be an unachievable goal given how you've defined scientific knowledge, and repeatability doesn't appear to be a strong enough sieve to separate out false from true models. Maybe you were simplifying, but these doesn't seem to be the main criterion that we look to for certifying something as scientific knowledge.


But I thought that you said certainty doesn't amount to knowledge. Why should the standards for personal knowledge be different than scientific knowledge?


This restricts us to analytical truths. Is there no place for knowledge in the empirical world?

Excellent reply! I understand your concerns, and I'm trying to think of a better way to explain myself.

Language is very tricky here. We define scientific knowledge to be hypotheses that have withstood the rigour of the scientific process. They are our best attempts to describe (our observations about) reality, as a group effort, in ways that have predictive power. That is the essential part, really. They need to be useful in helping us partially predict the future. This is all that is needed from a practical point of view. But how much of this accurately tells us about a supposed objective reality? We have no idea. Maybe none of it. But it doesn't matter, since we only exist ultimately in our experiences and observations of reality. Things would seem the same to us whether reality is exactly what we think it is, or if it's something entirely different but which gives off the data we currently receive. Or if we're asleep, and so on.

So I'm saying that it's only useful to set the bar for our "knowledge" to accurately represent, as far as possible, our observations of a supposed reality. If we do that, we can be confident beyond reasonable doubt that we do really know something, because we observe it ringing true time and again despite everyone's attempts to disprove it. But if we raise the bar so that knowledge has to pertain directly to reality, then we've overreached.

Personal knowledge is just a more primitive version of scientific knowledge, where a person has set their own bar. That's why it's much less useful, and much less likely to be accurate even regarding our observations of reality. But again, if you step in and start telling people what they can and can't "know", you destroy all personal knowledge completely. A person can feel certain that what they think they know is correct, but they can still be wrong.

Yes, we cannot totally disregard personal reality. the word "balance" becomes important. I can tell a crazy person that they are receiving messages through the air, but that they are not what they think they are.

Its more like we have two types of solutions for humans. one is emotional and one is logical. Personal reality is a mixture of those. That mixture may or may not understand itself.

"personal realities" can let us make choices that are 'reality". I go save my child from danger. That is "reality" too.

"person reality" is a result of a brain state. More people's realities mixed together can remove personal knowledge error and bias. Adding more people can reinforce personal reality also.
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03-06-2017, 08:11 AM
RE: Gnostic Atheism
(03-06-2017 01:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  One last point before I STFU:

If we insist on scientific knowledge being certainly correct, even regarding our observations of reality, then we either never have any knowledge for fear that we've not yet properly understood things; or it becomes dogmatic like a religion, where any current "scientific knowledge" isn't allowed to be corrected if it is found wanting.

That's another reason why "knowledge" needs to be somewhat flexible to be of any use.

I think you have got it summed up nicely. the word balance comes to mind. We need to address all realities and see how they interrelate. Assigning proper weights to individual realities becomes important.

And like the poster stated (sorry I am lazy). A base line axiom is "everything we describe, everything's a human understanding."

More importantly, what you have stated, we don't tell others what they have to think and we don't base an "belief" of of "nobody knows". All we have is what we have. do the best we can.
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