Rational Thought
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02-04-2016, 03:52 PM
Rational Thought
Can someone talk me through the logic of this one please?

Say you conclude based on the available evidence that the universe "just exists", or somehow self-created itself or whatever, and that humanity is just a random by-product of a random chain of events within that universe, and ergo all of our brains are yet a further random by-product.

Could you ever truly declare that you had "rationally" arrived at that as a conclusion? Because surely such an argument is self-imploding, is it not?

If your very premise is that your own brain is ultimately just a random by-product, then how can you declare that anything you have concluded with your own brain is rational at all?
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02-04-2016, 03:59 PM
RE: Rational Thought
Hi, Diversesynergy. Substitute "a god" for "the universe" and for "humanity" and you will have an even worse problem -- Something that "just exists" and allegedly has magic, or superpowers, that need even more explanation.
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02-04-2016, 04:07 PM
RE: Rational Thought
The term "random" in the argument above is incorrect. Most processes are "undirected" but display non-random behavior. If the universe were truly random then a dropped stone would be expected to do something random. Instead it invariably falls toward the ground (assuming you're on Earth). Or are we on to Intelligent Falling again?

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Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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02-04-2016, 04:11 PM
RE: Rational Thought
Thanks Astreja

Interesting tangent, but doesn't really address my question.

I actually disagree with your logic on the tangent though. As soon as something "exists", then at some level it must be infinite and "just exist". Either the universe "just exists" and is infinite, or whatever created it (or whatever created the thing that created it and so on) "just exists". One level must "just exist" - or else nothing exists.

From there you just need to consider is it more likely that a universe for which all the available evidence points to finite-ness, time and entropy etc. "just exists" - or that a higher level of infinite being (whether that is a traditional God, or something else) outside of our universe "just exists"? It is certainly frighteningly arrogant to think that the sum total of what can be taken to exist is that which is detectable with our infinitesimally limited senses and technology.

Hence, I think the "universe only" proposition has greater logical problems, personally.

Also - anything that existed at a higher level to our existence in this universe would almost by definition have "superpowers" compared to our level of existence. That isn't irrational, that is almost guaranteed. For instance let us posit a 100th-dimensional being that could travel through time within our lesser-dimensional universe, that being would appear "magicky" from our perspective and current scientific level of understanding - that is a given, surely?

Diverse
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02-04-2016, 04:16 PM
RE: Rational Thought
Hey Paleophyte

So if you posit that humanity exists as a result of random chance, and a random chain of events of this universe - then to use the term "random" is inaccurate?
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02-04-2016, 04:23 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 03:52 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Say you conclude based on the available evidence that the universe "just exists", or somehow self-created itself or whatever, and that humanity is just a random by-product of a random chain of events within that universe, and ergo all of our brains are yet a further random by-product.

Could you ever truly declare that you had "rationally" arrived at that as a conclusion? Because surely such an argument is self-imploding, is it not?

If your very premise is that your own brain is ultimately just a random by-product, then how can you declare that anything you have concluded with your own brain is rational at all?

There is really nothing random about "us" humanity exists solely because we evolved this way.

My brain is a result of the accumulation of millions of years of natural selection.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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02-04-2016, 04:25 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  ...
anything that existed at a higher level to our existence in this universe would almost by definition have "superpowers" compared to our level of existence. That isn't irrational, ...

It is when all evidence points to 'lower' levels of existence.

Wink

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02-04-2016, 04:30 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 03:52 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Say you conclude based on the available evidence that the universe "just exists", or somehow self-created itself or whatever, and that humanity is just a random by-product of a random chain of events within that universe, and ergo all of our brains are yet a further random by-product.

Could you ever truly declare that you had "rationally" arrived at that as a conclusion?

Yes, with the caveat that the development of human brains is not precisely random, but rather stochastic (random within constraints and affected by the previous state of the system).

(02-04-2016 03:52 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  If your very premise is that your own brain is ultimately just a random by-product, then how can you declare that anything you have concluded with your own brain is rational at all?

The rationality of a statement is completely unrelated to the origins of the entity making that statement.

Logic is like math, to the point that the analysis of formal logic boils down to what is called propositional calculus. Whether or not a statement is rational is a matter of whether or not it abides by the rules of logic, not where the brain making it came from.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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02-04-2016, 04:32 PM
RE: Rational Thought
All the replies seem to argue semantics over the definition of "random". Call it random; unguided; evolution - the logical problem you face is the same.

If your brain is nothing but the product of "stardust", ie the matter of this universe, then on what basis can you ever fundamentally conclude that anything it derives for you has any meaning or rationality?
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02-04-2016, 04:35 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  I actually disagree with your logic on the tangent though. As soon as something "exists", then at some level it must be infinite and "just exist". Either the universe "just exists" and is infinite, or whatever created it (or whatever created the thing that created it and so on) "just exists". One level must "just exist" - or else nothing exists.

"Just exists", yes. "Infinite", no. I have no idea how you got that part.

(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  From there you just need to consider is it more likely that a universe for which all the available evidence points to finite-ness, time and entropy etc. "just exists" - or that a higher level of infinite being (whether that is a traditional God, or something else) outside of our universe "just exists"?

"More likely" is a nonsensical statement when we lack the information necessary to make any meaningful analysis of probabilities regarding gods. We don't even know that it is possible that a god could exist, let alone that it is likely.

(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  It is certainly frighteningly arrogant to think that the sum total of what can be taken to exist is that which is detectable with our infinitesimally limited senses and technology.

No one said that it was. This statement is completely unconnected to your previous one.

(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Hence, I think the "universe only" proposition has greater logical problems, personally.

It doesn't.

(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Also - anything that existed at a higher level to our existence in this universe would almost by definition have "superpowers" compared to our level of existence. That isn't irrational, that is almost guaranteed.

No. It's gibberish.

(02-04-2016 04:11 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  For instance let us posit a 100th-dimensional being that could travel through time within our lesser-dimensional universe, that being would appear "magicky" from our perspective and current scientific level of understanding - that is a given, surely?

And if wizards existed, they would also be outside of our current understanding of the universe. But they don't, so the point is rather... pointless.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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