Two Epistemologies
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13-02-2015, 03:35 PM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2015 03:42 PM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: Two Epistemologies
(13-02-2015 12:56 PM)Iñigo Wrote:  I love this analysis Retzik. This is a really great observation. I would add that in science, we do use also use a constructive approach as a way to generate new hypotheses. For example, if lowering the LUMO of the diene through Lewis acid coordination of the carbonyl oxygen speeds up the Diels-Alder reaction, then formation of an iminium ion (which is isoelectronic with the Lewis acid coordinated carbonyl oxygen) should likewise speed up a Diels-Alder reaction. This is a case of building off a fact to generate a new hypothesis. The thing is that scientists realize the potential error of the constructive approach, which is why we ultimately test the hypothesis.

Not trying to be a grammer nazi of sorts but that is a hetero-DA reaction. DA reactions specifically are diene and a dieneophile. When heteroatoms are present, it is called the hetero-DA for that reason. I get your point though that it builds on the hypothesis which leads to new discoveries which leads to new hypotheses.

EDIT: also, oxygen does not form an iminium ion, it is oxonium ion. Iminium requires a nitrogen. Terminology is a bitch, i know.

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The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
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16-02-2015, 01:20 PM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(12-02-2015 05:09 PM)Dahlia Wrote:  Well said. In a sense, it reminds me of inductive vs. deductive reasoning. Both are valid and very useful, but deductive reasoning only works if one is willing to reject a hypothesis in light of evidence (or a lack thereof). Otherwise, it's presupposition. Inductive reasoning, I think, is more likely to produce solid conclusions because it eliminates the issue of bias.

By the way, Q, I'm curious about the "non-presuppositional apologetics" you mentioned. What does that entail?

Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

I'm certainly in the first and not second camp.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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16-02-2015, 06:36 PM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(16-02-2015 01:20 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

I'm certainly in the first and not second camp.

So are you saying the evidence is in the Bible?
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16-02-2015, 11:23 PM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(13-02-2015 01:23 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(12-02-2015 03:00 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  A chain of thought sparked from true scotman's recent thread.

This is something I've been pondering myself: a fundamental disconnect in epistemology, between how theists (especially apologists) and atheists approach questions of truth. There are two types of epistemology at work here. The first, which can be ascribed (with some justification) to theists, is a constructive theology akin to pure, formal logic. Begin with some inescapable axioms (eg, the axioms of Kalam, or an inerrant scripture) and build things up from there. The rub is, how do you prove the axioms? Its main competitor is self-correcting epistemology akin to the scientific method -- begin with the pool of theories, hypotheses, etc that we already have, scrutinize them for flaws, test them against reality, eliminate the false ones, generate new ones, and iterate. This one doesn't suffer from the problem of where to start; we always have things we believe, or suspect, or at least wish to consider. I have seen theist apologists use self-correction to a small degree to eliminate alternatives which they don't like, and I have seen non-theists use construction to a small degree to extrapolate and project implications of their conclusions, but at the underlying core the theistic process operates on constructive epistemology, and the scientific world view operates on self-correcting epistemology.

In mathematics, we have the concept of stable and unstable equilibrium in models where a particle's (or person's) movement is dependent upon its location, and vice versa. An equilibrium point is a location where the particle does not move. It will stay there forever. But we also have the possibility of perturbations, things that throw off that location by a small amount. Maybe these are vibrations, or minor measuring errors indicating that the particle was slightly off from where we thought it was. This is where the distinction between stable and unstable equilibrium becomes important. With a stable equilibrium, a particle slightly off from that equilibrium point will move towards it, trending to equilibrium. The error introduced by the perturbation is dampened and made irrelevant. With an unstable equilibrium, a particle slightly off from the equilibrium point moves away from it. The error introduced by perturbation is magnified and all hopes of returning to equilibrium are lost. Think of a marble balanced atop a globe and another at the bottom of a bowl. The one in the bowl has a stable equilibrium, and it will take a deliberate effort to get it out. The one on the globe has an unstable equilibrium, and the slightest vibration or breath of air will cause it to roll off.

Using this as a metaphor for these two epistemologies, a self-correcting epistemology establishes reality as a stable equilibrium. If we are off from reality, if we are initially in error or enter into error due to perturbation, then a self-correcting epistemology will correct that error over time. A constructive epistemology, however, sets reality up as an unstable equilibrium or even no equilibrium at all. A tiny error in the underlying axioms will be magnified and creep into the entire world view constructed from them. And even if there were (somehow, miraculously) no error at all in the initial conditions, a tiny perturbation (eg, a translation error or a scribe's addition) will also be magnified. This is an epistemology that grows errors, rather than culling them.

From this we can conclude three things.

First, that given a decent amount of time to work, a self-correcting epistemology will tend towards being correct, and a constructive epistemology will tend towards being erroneous. The self-correcting epistemology will likely never achieve perfect correctness, and it is remotely possible that a constructive epistemology might be right by sheer dumb luck, but of the two the self-correcting epistemology is far more likely to be far more accurate, and will become more accurate as time goes on.

Second, if we are interested in discovering truth and avoiding falsehood, we should favor self-correcting epistemology over constructive epistemology.

Third, anyone of reasonable (much less divine and inerrant) intelligence would know that, and if seeking to perpetuate a great truth down through the ages, would reject a method based on constructive epistemology (eg, unquestioned revelation) and would embrace either a self-correcting epistemology, or something better.

I think you have a very flawed understanding of axioms. An axiom is a concept that is formed directly from percepts. It is not inferred. Axioms are first level primaries. As such they can not be defined in terms of antecedent concepts. They can only be defined ostensively, by pointing to their referents. An axiom must be broad enough to be implicit in all future concepts. The true test of an axiom is whether or not an opponent would have to accept and use the concept in order to deny it. A perfect example of an axiomatic concept is "existence". Another is "consciousness" . An axiom does not need to be proved. It is implicit in any proof. For instance to prove anything one would need to exist and be conscious. Any proof would presuppose something to prove, a consciousness to prove it to. So an axiom is outside the need of being proved. They are incontestably true. "God" or "the Kalam" or "inerrant scripture" are not axioms. Any worldview not premised on an axiomatic starting point is in jeopardy. That is a major flaw in the Theist worldview that far from starting with axioms it contradicts all of the axioms.

I was thinking of axioms as a mathematician would use the term, which is not necessarily the same as what the word means in philosophy. In this context, "premise" might be a better word choice. The point is that the (overt) logic flows deductively forward from some beginning set of assumptions.
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17-02-2015, 07:22 AM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(13-02-2015 01:52 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Theists do have an axiomatic starting point but they do not identify it explicitly. Since they don't name it explicitly they are totally unaware that they begin their entire worldview with a contradiction. They begin with the axioms "consciousness" and "existence" but they make a fundamental hierarchical error. They place consciousness as the primary and existence as secondary. That means that first comes consciousness and then existence is the product of a consciousness. The right order is existence first and then consciousness as a product of existence.

If you were to ask them to expound on this, they would probably tell you there are three things. The third one you left out is "super special existence", which is the nonfalsifiable existence that exists both outside of time (and thus, our notions of causality) and outside of our observation (nonfalsifiable, of course).

So, they state that super special existence and consciousness exist simultaneously (because God is outside of time, which is important for answering the first cause argument without then immediately violating it with their god claim), and from those two come normal existence (the falsifiable one we actually care about).

Of course, it's all ad hoc and nonfalsifiable, but that's what they'll claim.


(13-02-2015 01:52 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  This has profound implications for their epistemology. It means that their worldview is inherently subjective. No wonder they hold faith as superior to reason.

Absolutely. Some of them know and embrace this. Hell, Martin Luther, the guy who kick started Protestantism is on record for saying that reason is the enemy of faith (I think he called reason a "whore", whatever that's supposed to mean).

The ones that piss me off are the ones that try to claim their beliefs are provable. It tends to make them adopt some very strange world views.
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17-02-2015, 11:39 AM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(16-02-2015 06:36 PM)Dahlia Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 01:20 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Evidentialism holds that belief should rest on evidence.

Presuppositionalism holds that belief rests on presuppositions.

I'm certainly in the first and not second camp.

So are you saying the evidence is in the Bible?

There is some evidence in the Bible, sure. There is also evidence for God in the natural world. After all, many people never exposed to the Bible are theists.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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17-02-2015, 11:44 AM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(17-02-2015 07:22 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(13-02-2015 01:52 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Theists do have an axiomatic starting point but they do not identify it explicitly. Since they don't name it explicitly they are totally unaware that they begin their entire worldview with a contradiction. They begin with the axioms "consciousness" and "existence" but they make a fundamental hierarchical error. They place consciousness as the primary and existence as secondary. That means that first comes consciousness and then existence is the product of a consciousness. The right order is existence first and then consciousness as a product of existence.

If you were to ask them to expound on this, they would probably tell you there are three things. The third one you left out is "super special existence", which is the nonfalsifiable existence that exists both outside of time (and thus, our notions of causality) and outside of our observation (nonfalsifiable, of course).

So, they state that super special existence and consciousness exist simultaneously (because God is outside of time, which is important for answering the first cause argument without then immediately violating it with their god claim), and from those two come normal existence (the falsifiable one we actually care about).

Of course, it's all ad hoc and nonfalsifiable, but that's what they'll claim.


(13-02-2015 01:52 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  This has profound implications for their epistemology. It means that their worldview is inherently subjective. No wonder they hold faith as superior to reason.

Absolutely. Some of them know and embrace this. Hell, Martin Luther, the guy who kick started Protestantism is on record for saying that reason is the enemy of faith (I think he called reason a "whore", whatever that's supposed to mean).

The ones that piss me off are the ones that try to claim their beliefs are provable. It tends to make them adopt some very strange world views.

You are saying many things here. First, Luther also said (paraphrasing) faith without reason isn't a sin but is isn't very notable, either. Second, time based on light has a finite start if you believe in a Big Bang universe. It's not "ad hoc and nonfalsifiable" as you wrote based on the most modern look at cosmology that scientists can fathom.

Nor do I jibe with your "No wonder they hold faith as superior to reason" comment. It's like I'm talking to a wall constantly at TTA--granted, I expect plenty of resistance to theist notions here--where you don't listen to anything I say. You just wrote on another thread and here something like (paraphrasing) "it's comforting if off to have reasons made-up for everything you believe" and then you accuse theists of putting faith above reason. I never want to hear the word faith again from you or anyone at TTA. The more correct Bible translation is "trust", and you and I may well trust Jesus Christ, because He gives us reasons to trust Him.

Thanks.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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17-02-2015, 01:40 PM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Second, time based on light has a finite start if you believe in a Big Bang universe. It's not "ad hoc and nonfalsifiable" as you wrote based on the most modern look at cosmology that scientists can fathom.

The non-falsifiable part is the part where no one can actually see this "outside-of-time reality" or even demonstrate that it "needs" to exist. It's ad hoc because it's posited to plug a hole in the first cause argument (what caused God?).


(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  You just wrote on another thread and here something like (paraphrasing) "it's comforting if off to have reasons made-up for everything you believe" and then you accuse theists of putting faith above reason.

I'm not seeing the contradiction here. So far as I can tell, you're saying "Rob, you say X and then later, you turn around and say X!".

What are you seeing different between "using confirmation bias to cherry pick your facts" and "putting faith above reason"? That's the same thing.


(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I never want to hear the word faith again from you or anyone at TTA. The more correct Bible translation is "trust", and you and I may well trust Jesus Christ, because He gives us reasons to trust Him.

The way you're using those words is the same. This is semantics at best.
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18-02-2015, 09:09 AM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(17-02-2015 11:39 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 06:36 PM)Dahlia Wrote:  So are you saying the evidence is in the Bible?

There is some evidence in the Bible, sure. There is also evidence for God in the natural world. After all, many people never exposed to the Bible are theists.

Please present said evidence for evaluation.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-02-2015, 02:35 PM
RE: Two Epistemologies
(17-02-2015 01:40 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Second, time based on light has a finite start if you believe in a Big Bang universe. It's not "ad hoc and nonfalsifiable" as you wrote based on the most modern look at cosmology that scientists can fathom.

The non-falsifiable part is the part where no one can actually see this "outside-of-time reality" or even demonstrate that it "needs" to exist. It's ad hoc because it's posited to plug a hole in the first cause argument (what caused God?).


(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  You just wrote on another thread and here something like (paraphrasing) "it's comforting if off to have reasons made-up for everything you believe" and then you accuse theists of putting faith above reason.

I'm not seeing the contradiction here. So far as I can tell, you're saying "Rob, you say X and then later, you turn around and say X!".

What are you seeing different between "using confirmation bias to cherry pick your facts" and "putting faith above reason"? That's the same thing.


(17-02-2015 11:44 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I never want to hear the word faith again from you or anyone at TTA. The more correct Bible translation is "trust", and you and I may well trust Jesus Christ, because He gives us reasons to trust Him.

The way you're using those words is the same. This is semantics at best.

I must misunderstand your last post, and I'm not the best communicator when it comes to forums online, but it sure looks like you are claiming that it's a non-falsifiable fact that there was no time before the universe existed. This is not right on its face--we both know that neither of us have time machines (pun not intended) to see the Big Bang--but to say there was time in this universe before there was light...? I call baloney.

And I don't have confirmation bias. I fought like holy hell (pun not intended) to be anything but a born again Christian. I paid a heavy personal price to be one. I did my homework and still do it. I'm here at TTA in part to let you rip my apologetics to shreds in a Hegel-like fashion--and if I deconvert, I'll play golf more often on Sunday. So what...?

I think you have the confirmation bias when you say it's non-falsifiable to not have linear time before a universe, because that is saying there is something or someone moving through time before the universe existed, which demands you renounce atheism. ...That's what.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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