IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Closed Thread
Old 19th January 2014, 02:54 PM   #1
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Immortality: Jabba and Loss Leader Debate Thread

Mod InfoBy specific Moderator permission, this thread is dedicated to a debate between Jabba and Loss Leader. Any posts to this thread by anyone else will not be approved. Repeatedly attempting to post to this thread may cause a member to be subject to mod action. The decision of the mod team was made without reference to the opinions of the undersigned. I will never issue an infraction in this thread. Both Loss Leader and Jabba are still required to abide by the Membership Agreement including Rules 0 and 12.

A separate commentary thread may be found here.

Thank you.

-Loss Leader
Moderating Team
Posted By:Loss Leader




Waiting for Jabba to begin his debate anew.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader

Last edited by Loss Leader; 20th January 2014 at 12:57 PM.
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 20th January 2014, 07:32 AM   #2
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Waiting for Jabba to begin his debate anew.
Loss Leader,
- Thanks very much for your help. This should force me to put up, or shut up. And, everyone will see it -- which ever direction it goes.
- Do you have any specific Q/C/S (Questions, Comments or Suggestions) that you would like me to address first? If not, I'll start where I left off.
- I could try to start at the beginning if you prefer...
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor

Last edited by Jabba; 20th January 2014 at 07:34 AM.
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 20th January 2014, 08:50 AM   #3
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- Do you have any specific Q/C/S (Questions, Comments or Suggestions) that you would like me to address first? If not, I'll start where I left off. - I could try to start at the beginning if you prefer...

Why don't you just start wherever you think you need to in order to make your strongest case? I will read it as though nothing has come before.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader

Last edited by Loss Leader; 20th January 2014 at 01:35 PM.
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 20th January 2014, 10:16 AM   #4
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Why don't you just start wherever you think you need to in order to make your strongest case? I will read it as though nothing has come before...
Loss Leader,
- By applying Bayesian statistics, I think that I can essentially prove that I am (and, anyone else who is conscious is) immortal.
- Ill use my original terminology in the formula for now.

- P(SM|me) = P(me|SM)*P(SM|k)/(P(me|SM)*P(SM|k)+P(me|NSM)*P(NSM|k))
- SM stands for what I assume is the consensus scientific model about personal human consciousness i.e., we each have only one finite time of existence -- at most.
- me is the current existence of my personal consciousness.
- k is existing knowledge.
- NSM is the complement to SM.

- My estimates:
- P(me|SM) either approaches zero, or is zero.
- For P(SM|k), Im ALLOWING that given our existing knowledge, P equals 99%. (I dont THINK that its nearly that much.)
- P(NSM|k) is simply whats left of prior probability after subtracting P(SM|k) or, 1%.

- Consequently:
- P(SM|me) = (~.00001)*(.99)/((~.00001)(.99)+(.9)(.01))
- P(SM|me) = ~.00001/(~.00001+.009)
- P(SM|me) = ~.00001/~.009
- P(SM|me) = ~.00001
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 20th January 2014, 12:38 PM   #5
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
Loss Leader,
- By applying Bayesian statistics, I think that I can essentially prove that I am (and, anyone else who is conscious is) immortal.

Well, mathematical proof is the logical extension of true statements. Other types of proof have lower burdens because the truth of statements cannot be known. Legal proof, for instance, can be as low as a preponderance of the evidence. I'd like to know what level of "proof" you are aiming for.

In this case, I'd expect mathematical proof.



Quote:
- P(SM|me) = P(me|SM)*P(SM|k)/(P(me|SM)*P(SM|k)+P(me|NSM)*P(NSM|k))
- SM stands for what I assume is the consensus scientific model about personal human consciousness – i.e., we each have only one finite time of existence -- at most.
- “me” is the current existence of my personal consciousness.
- “k” is existing knowledge.
- “NSM” is the complement to SM.

- My estimates:
- P(me|SM) either approaches zero, or is zero.

Here's where you begin to run into trouble. What evidence causes you to think that the chance of your existence approaches zero? You only have one data point: you exist. What you are saying is that if we ran the universe over again from the beginning, the chance that you would exist would be exceedingly small. We don't know that. It's possible that if we ran the universe again, your existence would be a necessary outcome.

We can't run the universe again. So, we cannot make any judgment about your rarity. All we can say is that it is possible for you to exist in this universe.

Now, you then encounter the second problem which is whether you are in any way unique. The chance of you coming to exist may be very small, but the chance of anyone coming to exist may be a near certainty. Whomever gets to exist may have overcome long odds, but somebody was going to overcome those odds if not you. So, once again, the probability of any person existing might be 1, even if the probability of that very person existing was very low.

I see no way you could muster any evidence to overcome these problems.


Quote:
- For P(SM|k), I’m ALLOWING that given our existing knowledge, P equals 99%. (I don’t THINK that it’s nearly that much.)

You think you're being generous, but you're not. "Allowing" odds doesn't mean that there's any reason to accept those odds. Obviously, I cannot argue that there is a 100% chance that the standard model of the universe would produce you. I don't want to make that argument. What I can argue is that we don't know that chance. Speculating about it without evidence is not useful, except maybe to form testable hypotheses. Do you have a testable hypothesis?


Quote:
- P(NSM|k) is simply what’s left of prior probability after subtracting P(SM|k) – or, 1%.

- Consequently:
- P(SM|me) = (~.0000…1)*(.99)/((~.0000…1)(.99)+(.9)(.01))
- P(SM|me) = ~.0000…1/(~.0000…1+.009)
- P(SM|me) = ~.0000…1/~.009
- P(SM|me) = ~.0000…1

Make the numbers anything you want. Give yourself a 50% chance of being right. Give yourself a 99% chance. It doesn't matter. What you are trying to do is define an either/or situation where your idea has some chance of being correct. But the terms are undefined. Assigning them any value is at best premature and at worst impossible.

Lastly, I'll admit that I'm a very poor excuse for a statistician. However, I don't see anything Bayesian in your concepts. Bayesian probability requires assigning a prior probability using knowledge that we now have but did not have before the event took place.

I previously used the example of 9/11. On 9/10/01, many people would never have dreamed that 9/11 was even possible. I certainly never considered it. However, on 9/12, we knew that not only was such an event possible, but that we could have predicted it had we been looking at the right information. Intelligence agencies weren't communicating; our borders were porous; terrorists can fly planes; planes can be used as huge manned missiles; etc.

You have not shown that we have any information now that we did not have previously.


ETA: After a very quick lesson on Bayesian probability, I understand that a prior probability can be unknown and that it can be set by just plain guessing. However, the posterior probability has to be known. We must have more information between our first guess and our second.

In this case, our second guess contains no more information than that you do exist. Thus, the chance of you existing is 1. It appears that plugging 1 into the equation causes all values to go to 1. On the other hand, plugging 0 into the equation causes all values to go to 0. There cannot have been no chance of an event and the event cannot be predestined.

Since we have only one data point, a prior and posterior probability cannot be computed.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader

Last edited by Loss Leader; 20th January 2014 at 01:58 PM.
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 21st January 2014, 03:04 PM   #6
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Well, mathematical proof is the logical extension of true statements. Other types of proof have lower burdens because the truth of statements cannot be known. Legal proof, for instance, can be as low as a preponderance of the evidence. I'd like to know what level of "proof" you are aiming for.

In this case, I'd expect mathematical proof.
LL,

- Just to get us started -- I have miles to go, in multiple directions...

- I'm not so much aiming to prove our immortality as I'm aiming to provide enormous statistical probability of our immortality.
- In addition, being Bayesian statistics, the numbers I insert into the formula are all estimates, and I'll need to convince you that they are reasonable.

- Hopefully, that begins to answer your question...





















- I don't really understand your question very well.
- I'm hoping to essentially prove we're immortal
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 21st January 2014, 03:53 PM   #7
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- Just to get us started -- I have miles to go, in multiple directions...

- I'm not so much aiming to prove our immortality as I'm aiming to provide enormous statistical probability of our immortality.
- In addition, being Bayesian statistics, the numbers I insert into the formula are all estimates, and I'll need to convince you that they are reasonable.

- Hopefully, that begins to answer your question...

You haven't begun to answer my question. You haven't addressed a single thing that I posted above. Please address my points:

1. You have not provided a definition of proof. You say "essentially prove," but I am don't know what that means. Will you be proving your ideas to a mathematical certainty, a scientific certainty, beyond a reasonable doubt, by a preponderance of the evidence, to a probable cause, to a historical certainty, or to some other level of proof.

2. You have not explained why your proof is "Bayesian". To my understanding, Bayesian statistics provide a range of probabilities. I don't understand how your proof would be encapsulated by a range of probabilities.

3. One also needs both a prior and posterior estimate of probabilities. You have not indicated how any assumption you made was a prior probability or what information you learned that allows you to now assign a posterior probability.

4. You have not indicated how you can overcome the problem of having only one data point. All you know is that you do now exist. How can anything be extrapolated from that?

5. You have not indicated how you have solved the problem of a deterministic v. random universe. How do we know that the universe allows for any randomness at all? How do we know whether, given the exact same starting conditions, the universe would turn out the way it did?

6. You have not indicated why your life is an appropriate measure of anything. You may not have been born, but perhaps it was predestined that somebody would have been.

7. Granting you all of your presuppositions and agreeing that there was a near-infinitely small chance of your existence, how does that logically lead to any sort of conclusion about immortality?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 21st January 2014, 04:46 PM   #8
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
You haven't begun to answer my question. You haven't addressed a single thing that I posted above. Please address my points:...
Loss Leader,
- To fit my model of effective debate, the responder is allowed, if not encouraged, to deal with one "point" at a time.
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 21st January 2014, 04:50 PM   #9
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
Loss Leader,
- To fit my model of effective debate, the responder is allowed, if not encouraged, to deal with one "point" at a time.

I don't believe that is effective or efficient, however if I am only allowed to deal with one point, let me ask this:

Assuming you are correct that the probability of your existence is near infinitely small, how does this lead to the conclusion that you are immortal (or that the soul is, or however you care to phrase it)?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 22nd January 2014, 05:18 AM   #10
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I don't believe that is effective or efficient, however if I am only allowed to deal with one point, let me ask this:

Assuming you are correct that the probability of your existence is near infinitely small, how does this lead to the conclusion that you are immortal (or that the soul is, or however you care to phrase it)?
Loss Leader,
- I'll deal with two points here.
1) You can deal with more than one point at a time, but if you do, I'll deal with only your first point unless you tell me differently.
2) Does it help to say that it's the probability of my current existence being near infinitely small that leads to the conclusion that I am immortal?
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 22nd January 2014, 07:36 AM   #11
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
2) Does it help to say that it's the probability of my current existence being near infinitely small that leads to the conclusion that I am immortal?

No, I'm sorry, that's of no help at all. You didn't answer my question. I asked you, "Assuming the probability of your existence is near infinitely small, how does this lead to the conclusion that you are immortal (or that the soul is, or however you care to phrase it)?"

You replied by changing the word existence to "current existence." Fine. Assuming the probability of your current existence is near infinitely small, how does that lead to the conclusion that you are immortal?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 22nd January 2014, 09:11 AM   #12
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
No, I'm sorry, that's of no help at all. You didn't answer my question. I asked you, "Assuming the probability of your existence is near infinitely small, how does this lead to the conclusion that you are immortal (or that the soul is, or however you care to phrase it)?"

You replied by changing the word existence to "current existence." Fine. Assuming the probability of your current existence is near infinitely small, how does that lead to the conclusion that you are immortal?
Loss Leader,
- My first claim is that the probability of my current existence is unimaginably small -- given, what I'm calling the Scientific Model.
- Next, I claim that there are other somewhat plausible models given which my current existence is likely.
- One of these other models holds that my existence is continuous; the other holds that my existence is periodic.
- Either of these models would fit the definition of immortality that I would like to use here.
- If, I'm right about the above, according to Bayesian statistics, there is a very high probability that I am immortal.
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 22nd January 2014, 09:40 AM   #13
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
Loss Leader,
- My first claim is that the probability of my current existence is unimaginably small -- given, what I'm calling the Scientific Model.
- Next, I claim that there are other somewhat plausible models given which my current existence is likely.
- One of these other models holds that my existence is continuous; the other holds that my existence is periodic.
- Either of these models would fit the definition of immortality that I would like to use here.
- If, I'm right about the above, according to Bayesian statistics, there is a very high probability that I am immortal.

So then the obvious question is why you think that your immortality is "somewhat plausible"?

There is then a question of your logic. For some reason, you have chosen immortality as the antithesis of mortality. However, there are other possibilities I can think of:

A. Time is an illusion. The universe exists as a single point. Thus, everything that did or will exist actually can be said to now exist.

B. The universe popped into existence fully formed about thirty minutes ago. All of our memories and experiences and all evidence of the age of the universe were placed there as a starting condition.

As I understand it, you are saying the following:

1. There is a very, very small chance that Bob would be in jail.
2. If Bob committed murder, Bob would definitely go to jail.
3. Bob is in jail.
4. Thus, it is exceedingly likely that Bob committed murder.

But the fact that Bob is in jail does not necessarily mean that Bob committed murder. There are many other reasons Bob could be in jail. He could have robbed a store or cheated on his taxes, or he could be innocent of any crime. Why should we have confidence that Bob committed murder? The only thing you could add to shore up the argument would be that committing murder is the far most likely way to go to jail.

Now we can examine whether committing murder is really the most likely way to go to jail. Facts may bear this out, but they may not.

You want to say that your immortality is the far most likely way that you exist at any given moment. But there are reasons to suspect that this is untrue:

- There is no evidence that anyone is immortal.
- There is no physical theory of the universe that allows for immortality.
- There is no evidence that rare events do not happen.
- There is tremendous evidence that rare events are exceedingly common.
- There is no evidence that the universe allows for randomness and is not completely deterministic.
- There is no evidence that your existence is a rare event as opposed to one predestined by the starting conditions of the universe.

So, if you could clear any of that up, it would be very helpful.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 23rd January 2014, 07:42 AM   #14
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
So then the obvious question is why you think that your immortality is "somewhat plausible"?...
Loss leader,

- It seems to me that there is all sorts of "evidence" for an "afterlife" -- it's the credibility of this evidence that's so questionable.

- Personally, I believe that some of the evidence is at least somewhat credible. Many credible scholars do also.
- Note that in the Bayesian formula, I've inserted only 1% as the prior probability of any "NSM" (Non-Scientific Model). So long as I'm right about the likelihood of my current existence given the SM, it hardly matters how small the prior probability of the NSM is.
- Otherwise, there have been all sorts of claims of past lives, NDEs (Near Death Experiences) and OOBEs (Out Of Body Experiences). Not that the following means a whole lot, but on one plane ride I sat next to a somewhat "famous" neurosurgeon who had a patient with an NDE who was able to tell the surgeon what the surgeon had been doing in the next room. The surgeon wasn't a religious man, but he was impressed.
- Then, there's what Quantum Mechanics suggests about consciousness. Google "consciousness quantum mechanics."

- Then, there is what makes us think that our consciousness is ultimately hooked to our body -- 1) we think that nothing is non-physical, and 2) most of us don't know many people who have experienced an NDE or OOBE, or who 'remember' any past lives.

- All in all, I'm not convinced that we can eliminate the possibility of an afterlife, and if we can't...


revious lfetimes
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 23rd January 2014, 08:51 AM   #15
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
I'm going to skip to the end because I think I understand your argument.

From my perspective, your biggest problem is one of proof.

There are many different types of proof. The most rigorous is mathematical proof. Mathematical proof means that, if your axioms are correct, your conclusion is necessarily true. You're not even going for that level of proof. The very fact that you state your thesis in probabilistic terms shows that. You allow for the possibility, however small, that you may not be immortal. So your immortality is not necessary given the fact that you now exist.

You're also not offering scientific proof. That is proof that can be replicated and tested. The effects of gravity at low speeds very near the earth have been proven millions of times by high school students around the world. Things may suddenly work differently tomorrow, but every time we test it the results are always the same.* You are not offering a scientific proof because the concept of immortality is not testable - or, at least, it isn't testable by high school students.

You're offering a probability. This seems closest to a legal proof. In law, we cannot know what happened in the past. So, we settle for a probability. Civilly, if something is more likely than not, we consider it proven. Criminally, we want the probability to be higher but certainly not 100%. We convict Bob for murder because we found him standing over Mary, holding a gun, covered in her blood and screaming that he finally killed her. The possibility exists, however, that very powerful aliens set up the scene and fiddled with Bob's memories. That possibility is small, so we discount it.

Assuming that your logic is correct, you have proven that you are immortal to a high but not perfect degree of certainty. You call this "essential" proof.

The question is whether this level of proof is sufficient for your task. I believe - and this is my major criticism - that it is not. You are in the realm of philosophy. Philosophical proof strives to be logical or mathematical. Given that the starting conditions are right, the conclusion necessarily follows. "Given that God is perfect, whatever God wills is correct," is a logical proof. For the sake of argument, we are granting that God exists, is perfect, has desires, and is able to communicate them. All of these may be untrue, but if they all are true, the philosopher's conclusion is logically sound. His conclusion is so sound, actually, that it borders on tautology.

You have not proven immortality to the level required of philosophy. You don't even try. You freely admit that you are only proving immortality to some level of probability that is less than certain.

If you are willing to admit that you have not made a case that you must necessarily be immortal, I see nothing about which we could disagree. I grant you that you may be immortal. We have only one data point - that you exist. I can't prove that you're mortal or, at least, I don't have any desire to.

I do not grant, however, that this means that anybody should take any action or care about your immortality in any way.

Now, this is not the only criticism of your work. We can then look at your premises and consider their truth value. If you have an untrue premise, then the truth of your conclusion cannot be known. I believe you do have several untrue premises. But I would not be swayed by your argument in any case because it is uncertain.

As an example: We understand that there are runners in a race. The chance of Tom winning is 1 out of however many runners there are. But, if Tom was the only person in the race, the chance of him winning would be 1 in 1. Tom wins the race. Can we now say with certainty that Tom was the only person in the race? We cannot. He may have been, but he may also have overcome long odds. We cannot know. Should we nominate Tom as the best runner of all time? We don't know. He's possibly one of the best runners of all time, but we don't have enough information to stake our reputations on it.

Can you explain why anything less than logical certainty should be accepted regarding a philosophical question?


*Interestingly, in high school I disproved gravity. I showed that a toy car on a steep incline accelerated more slowly than one on a shallow one. It turns out I was holding the ruler backwards.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader

Last edited by Loss Leader; 23rd January 2014 at 09:39 AM.
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 23rd January 2014, 09:08 AM   #16
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
...Assuming that your logic is correct, you have proven that you are immortal to a high but not perfect degree of certainty. You call this "essential" proof.

The question is whether this level of proof is sufficient for your task. I believe - and this is my major criticism - that it is not. You are in the realm of philosophy. Philosophical proof strives to be logical or mathematical. Given that the starting conditions are right, the conclusion necessarily follows. "Given that God is perfect, whatever God wills is correct," is a logical proof. For the sake of argument, we are granting that God exists, is perfect, has desires, and is able to communicate them. All of these may be untrue, but if they all are true, the philosopher's conclusion is logically sound. His conclusion is so sound, actually, that it borders on tautology.

You have not proven immortality to the level required of philosophy. You don't even try. You freely admit that you are only proving immortality to some level of probability that is less than certain...
Loss Leader,
- Are you allowing for the moment that the numbers I've inserted into the formula are correct?
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 23rd January 2014, 09:37 AM   #17
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
Loss Leader,
- Are you allowing for the moment that the numbers I've inserted into the formula are correct?

For the purposes of discussing the concept of proof, I'm allowing that everything you've said is correct. I'm even allowing that your conclusion that there is a high probability that you are immortal is correct.

Also, you don't have to address me by name. We're the only ones in here.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 09:18 AM   #18
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
For the purposes of discussing the concept of proof, I'm allowing that everything you've said is correct. I'm even allowing that your conclusion that there is a high probability that you are immortal is correct.

Also, you don't have to address me by name. We're the only ones in here.
- Above you say,

...Assuming that your logic is correct, you have proven that you are immortal to a high but not perfect degree of certainty. You call this "essential" proof.

The question is whether this level of proof is sufficient for your task. I believe - and this is my major criticism - that it is not. You are in the realm of philosophy. Philosophical proof strives to be logical or mathematical. Given that the starting conditions are right, the conclusion necessarily follows. "Given that God is perfect, whatever God wills is correct," is a logical proof. For the sake of argument, we are granting that God exists, is perfect, has desires, and is able to communicate them. All of these may be untrue, but if they all are true, the philosopher's conclusion is logically sound. His conclusion is so sound, actually, that it borders on tautology.

You have not proven immortality to the level required of philosophy. You don't even try. You freely admit that you are only proving immortality to some level of probability that is less than certain...


- According to Bayesian statistics, and the numbers I used, the SM is almost assuredly wrong, and the NSM is almost assuredly right -- i.e., my existence is almost assuredly not singular and finite.
- Are you just saying that even if my existence is almost assuredly not singular and finite, it is not almost assuredly "immortal"? (Sorry about that -- and, sorry for any thick-headedness on my part.)
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 10:10 AM   #19
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- Are you just saying that even if my existence is almost assuredly not singular and finite, it is not almost assuredly "immortal"? (Sorry about that -- and, sorry for any thick-headedness on my part.)

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that, given that your existence is "almost assuredly" immortal, why is that a sufficient level of proof for a philosophical argument?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 01:24 PM   #20
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that, given that your existence is "almost assuredly" immortal, why is that a sufficient level of proof for a philosophical argument?
- I think I'm missing something...
- Maybe I should liken this to a civil trial, and preponderance of evidence, instead? My claim is that the preponderance of evidence supports my immortality.
- Should I drop "essentially prove" from my original claim?
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 01:32 PM   #21
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- I think I'm missing something...
- Maybe I should liken this to a civil trial, and preponderance of evidence, instead? My claim is that the preponderance of evidence supports my immortality.
- Should I drop "essentially prove" from my original claim?

I've already likened it to a civil trial. And I've already agreed, for the sake of argument, that it is exceedingly likely that you are immortal - far greater than a preponderance of evidence, far greater than being beyond a reasonable doubt. What I'm now asking you for the third time is: why do you think that level of evidence is sufficient for a philosophical argument?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 02:34 PM   #22
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I've already likened it to a civil trial. And I've already agreed, for the sake of argument, that it is exceedingly likely that you are immortal - far greater than a preponderance of evidence, far greater than being beyond a reasonable doubt. What I'm now asking you for the third time is: why do you think that level of evidence is sufficient for a philosophical argument?
- My problem is that I don't understand why you're saying that it isn't. That's what I'm missing. Philosophical arguments hardly ever involve anything so supportable.
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 04:06 PM   #23
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- My problem is that I don't understand why you're saying that it isn't. That's what I'm missing. Philosophical arguments hardly ever involve anything so supportable.

You're wrong. Philosophical arguments must be logically necessary given the truth of their premises. If the premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true. Otherwise, there is no reason to have confidence in the conclusion. This article should start you down the road to understanding validity in logic and philosophy.

Can you give examples of invalid philosophies, those whose conclusions do not follow from their premises? I doubt you can find a philosophy that was historically well-regarded that is invalid.

Your argument is invalid. You concede the same. You have only a probability that you are right. Your conclusion that you are immortal is not necessarily true.

How can you overcome the lack of logical certainty in your conclusion?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 05:06 PM   #24
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
You're wrong. Philosophical arguments must be logically necessary given the truth of their premises. If the premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true. Otherwise, there is no reason to have confidence in the conclusion. This article should start you down the road to understanding validity in logic and philosophy.

Can you give examples of invalid philosophies, those whose conclusions do not follow from their premises? I doubt you can find a philosophy that was historically well-regarded that is invalid.

Your argument is invalid. You concede the same. You have only a probability that you are right. Your conclusion that you are immortal is not necessarily true.

How can you overcome the lack of logical certainty in your conclusion?
- But, all I'm trying to show is that one hypothesis is much more likely than the other. If my numbers are right, my conclusion is right. If I can convince members of the audience that my numbers are right, they should believe that I'm immortal. That is my objective.
- If that doesn't apply to philosophical argument, it isn't a philosophical argument I'm making.
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 24th January 2014, 05:18 PM   #25
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- But, all I'm trying to show is that one hypothesis is much more likely than the other. If my numbers are right, my conclusion is right. If I can convince members of the audience that my numbers are right, they should believe that I'm immortal. That is my objective.
- If that doesn't apply to philosophical argument, it isn't a philosophical argument I'm making.

Why should people believe that you are immortal just because it's much more likely that you are immortal than not? You don't even claim that you are definitely immortal, only that you are very likely so.

I have a box. It has a 99% chance of holding a chocolate cake and a 1% chance of holding a rattlesnake. Now, without opening the box, I'm asking you to believe that the box has a cake. I'm asking you to pay me $10.00 for a cake that you're not sure exists. Why would you believe that there's a cake and not a snake?

And you're not asking people to pay $10.00, you're asking them to fundamentally change their life's philosophy.

So, for the fourth time, why should a we consider "near certain" to be "certain" in this case?
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 25th January 2014, 07:22 AM   #26
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Why should people believe that you are immortal just because it's much more likely that you are immortal than not? You don't even claim that you are definitely immortal, only that you are very likely so.

I have a box. It has a 99% chance of holding a chocolate cake and a 1% chance of holding a rattlesnake. Now, without opening the box, I'm asking you to believe that the box has a cake. I'm asking you to pay me $10.00 for a cake that you're not sure exists. Why would you believe that there's a cake and not a snake?

And you're not asking people to pay $10.00, you're asking them to fundamentally change their life's philosophy.

So, for the fourth time, why should a we consider "near certain" to be "certain" in this case?
- I would believe that the box probably did contain a cake, because the prior probability that the box contained a cake was 99%...
- And if I thought that $10 was a great deal for a cake, and was sure that I could open the box without getting bitten or letting a snake out, I'd probably risk the $10 and buy the box with whatever it contained...
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 25th January 2014, 08:38 AM   #27
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
- I would believe that the box probably did contain a cake, because the prior probability that the box contained a cake was 99%...
- And if I thought that $10 was a great deal for a cake, and was sure that I could open the box without getting bitten or letting a snake out, I'd probably risk the $10 and buy the box with whatever it contained...

So, you've failed to understand my point regarding validity. In any case, your end argument would be invalid even if all your givens are true.

Let us turn to p and ~p. You have set up two conditions: Either you are mortal in a random universe or you are immortal in a random universe. You are, however, wrong about the definition of ~p. If P is "I am mortal in a random universe," then ~p is any possibility other than that you are mortal in a random universe.

The universe could be nonrandom. It could be that, were we to run the universe from the beginning, it would necessarily produce you. Just because you are a small part in the universe doesn't mean you are not necessary. So, you need evidence that the universe is random and not wholly deterministic if you want to rule that out.

It could be that the universe is only half an hour old, having been created fully formed including all people with all their memories earlier this morning. If this is so, then there's nothing really amazing about you existing right now. No number of coincidences created you.

It could be that the universe is finite and that you, while not immortal, are destined to live for 51% of the life of the universe.

You have said that ~p = immortality because that's the condition you want to think about. But that's not how you define a negation.

So, what you have proven, if anything at all, is that it is very likely that something other than your mortality in a random universe is happening.

The only way that your immortality could be the only negation of mortality in a random universe is if every other choice were impossible. Can you rule out as impossible that the universe was formed half an hour ago? Can you rule out as impossible that we live in a deterministic universe?

I don't think you can. And this becomes the most seriously insurmountable problem of your philosophy. You only have one data point: you now exist. What can be ruled out? Can we tell if you were a random occurrence or a necessary one? Not unless we run the universe over from the beginning? Can we tell if the universe was fully formed as it is half an hour ago? Certainly not from within the universe.

You may argue that these are not the scientific model, and you would be right. But we're not arguing whether p is p. We're talking about whether "immortality" is sufficient to form the set of all ~p. Remember, immortality is just as unlikely as the universe being a half-hour old.

Is immortality an impossible condition? I think it is. It' certainly an impossible condition to test. There is no mechanism known by which a "soul" could survive the death of the body. There is no mechanism known by which a "soul" can be separated from the body. The impossibility of immortality, however, is not fatal to your argument. Your argument already died by being an invalid conclusion drawn from a logical error.

So then we fall back on the information we can at least test. What is testable is that in a very large, very old, seemingly random universe, you came to exist. With that as the only information we have, we cannot say very much. Certainly your existence right now is consistent with the workings of a random universe.

Does the fact of your existence give us any reason to discard what we can testably verify about the universe? It does not. Is Gena Davis' Oscar inconsistent with her being a generally bad actress? No. Is Barack Obama's presidency inconsistent with the fact that fewer than one in 300,000 million Americans is President? No. Your existence is consistent with the way in which we have learned the world works.

So, we have high confidence in P, being that you appear to exist in a universe that appears random. We have low confidence in ~P, being everything else. Even if we had high confidence in ~P, you have not given us any reason to prefer one subset of ~P (your immortality) over any other subset.

An untrue premise combined with an illogical definition to produce an admittedly invalid conclusion - you have failed to establish the truth of your concept.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 25th January 2014, 10:09 AM   #28
Jabba
Philosopher
 
Jabba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,613
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
So, you've failed to understand my point regarding validity. In any case, your end argument would be invalid even if all your givens are true.

Let us turn to p and ~p. You have set up two conditions: Either you are mortal in a random universe or you are immortal in a random universe. You are, however, wrong about the definition of ~p. If P is "I am mortal in a random universe," then ~p is any possibility other than that you are mortal in a random universe...
LL,
- I don't really understand your p and ~p. For me, p is the hypothesis that I will exist for only one finite life at most; and, my ~p is anything else.
- So ~p would include the possibility that I exist multiple times, but not an infinite 'number' of times, and I would not be immortal...
- For the moment, I'm happy to make my ~p hypothesis the more specific, "I will exist either continuously or multiple times.", and argue for real immortality later.
__________________
"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence." Charles Bukowski
"Most good ideas don't work." Jabba
"Se due argomenti sembrano altrettanto convincenti, il meno sarcastico probabilmente corretto." Jabba's Razor
Jabba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 25th January 2014, 10:15 AM   #29
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
LL,
- I don't really understand your p and ~p. For me, p is the hypothesis that I will exist for only one finite life at most; and, my ~p is anything else.
- So ~p would include the possibility that I exist multiple times, but not an infinite 'number' of times, and I would not be immortal...
- For the moment, I'm happy to make my ~p hypothesis the more specific, "I will exist either continuously or multiple times.", and argue for real immortality later.

Then you'd be happy to be wrong. As I already explained to you, the negation of p IS NOT that you either exist continuously or multiply. It is EVERYTHING OTHER than the fact that you are mortal in a random universe. If your idea of ~p doesn't include the chance that we live in a deterministic universe, then you are wrong. Your argument is not logical. Nothing can be known about your conclusion because you have an incorrectly defined term.
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 25th January 2014, 01:00 PM   #30
Loss Leader
I would save the receptionist.
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 27,909
Oh, I forgot:

Since P is "Jabba is mortal in a random universe," ~P must also include the chance that anybody else is mortal in a random universe. Remember, ~P is the set of all things that aren't P. So, even if you are amazed at the extraordinarily small chance that you personally exist, you cannot equate that with the chance that somebody exists.

There has been life on earth for 3 billion years, about a fifth of the life of the universe. Humans have been on earth in some form for 2 million years. There are 7 billion people here now. Even if you were not here to make your argument, there is a chance that somebody would be here to make some similar argument. Indeed, every single person you've ever met is just as rare and special as you.

So the set of ~P includes some things that we can say are definitely possible. It includes that some people may exist at some time, and we do. Thus, you cannot logically confine the set of ~P to be "Jabba is punctually or continuously immortal."
__________________
I have the honor to be
Your Obdt. St

L. Leader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 26th January 2014, 03:21 AM   #31
zooterkin
Nitpicking dilettante
Administrator
 
zooterkin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Berkshire, mostly
Posts: 52,232
Mod WarningThe forum servers are unable to keep up with the blistering pace of this thread, so it is being closed.

The discussion will resume in the original thread.
Responding to this mod box in thread will be off topic Posted By:zooterkin
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.Bertrand Russell
Zooterkin is correct Darat
Nerd! Hokulele
Join the JREF Folders ! Team 13232
Ezekiel 23:20
zooterkin is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Closed Thread

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:11 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.