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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: TzarChasm
Fair enough. But what if the universe was just a giant simulation in a computer and all the processes that make it up are algorithms programmed into the simulation? An outside influence could be the implementation of a new algorithm (say a version upgrade) that takes effect retroactively throughout the whole simulation past, present and future. Since humans travel through time in one direction we'd think that the algorithm always existed as soon as it was uploaded.
All I'm saying here is that if humans were to be given all (or figure out on our own) the variables and equations that make up the universe, we should be able to figure out all the underlying processes that develop the universe throughout its existence. My reasoning is that it is unlikely (I misspoke when I said impossible) that we (humans) would be able to actually know all the variables and equations that drive the universe. There also may be variables and equations that effect the universe externally which would be even MORE unlikely for humans to ever know. For instance, if god exists, that would be an example of an external variable.
Humans currently don't know everything and likely won't be able to know everything therefore you never talk in absolutes.
For example: When evolution was first postulated, it was believed that all species evolve at the same rate over time. As the fossil record was developed over the next 150 years, we later changed our mind and determined that evolution works through punctuated equilibrium (animals evolve at different rates and evolution can speed up after great die offs). The original theory of evolution was wrong, but with the current evidence that was available, it appeared correct so was taught that way. Now we have new evidence that says otherwise and we changed the theory. Well there is still MORE unknown evidence and the theory of evolution will undergo more changes over the next 150 years (and probably for as long as it is an accepted theory). This is true about ALL of science.
They are possible because we cannot disprove their existence. That is the only evidence I can produce for it. It isn't enough to make their existence even CLOSE to likely, but we cannot rule out their existence either because there is no way to disprove something. Though you won't catch me saying they are real until more concrete evidence surfaces that would validate their existence. I just say that they MIGHT be real and leave it at that…
…Human knowledge doesn't know enough to rule out their existence. They likely don't exist, but I nor you nor anyone can disprove a negative so we can't say definitively that they don't exist. I believe the saying goes, "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence." So until you can produce the evidence that it doesn't and can't exist then the possibility of existence remains.
originally posted by: Aphorism
a reply to: Krazysh0t
Thanks for the kindly debate, Krazyshot. Your arguments are refreshing. Epistemological subjects are never ending in the argument area, so I don't think we'll be able to convince each other, but its nonetheless fun to think about. My position is unchanged.
Such an idea might be possible in a completely still universe. However, everything is changing and moving. The only way to know everything about everything in a chaotic universe is to know it all at one time in a sort of omniscient snap shot. The next moment, it would all be different, and that information would need to be replaced.
That sounds much better, but I would be weary of using such terminology as “never” as an agnostic. It is possible to speak in E-prime, however.
Humans will never nor can never know everything, therefor, saying we cannot speak in absolutes is redundant, and an opinion of ethics. It’s akin to saying we cannot fly so we better not flap our arms. We do speak in absolutes quite often, as you yourself show. Our statements, whether absolute or not, are never a 1 to 1 ratio with reality, and they could never articulate a universe. In that sense, the only absolute truth is reality itself.
Be careful when falling into the trap of pseudo folk logic. In real logic, we can prove a negative. The law of non-contradiction, for instance, is a proven negative. “You can’t prove a negative” is, contradictorily, also a negative. In fact, it is a shifting the burden of proof fallacy. Evidence of absence is possible.
But on the subject of God, you do have a valid point, as the claim “God exists” is much too universal and general to prove or disprove. It’s not that we cannot prove a negative, but that we cannot prove nor disprove such a meaningless statement. The statement is just as meaningful as saying there is a comet made of gold, or a planet made of wood. Thus the statement is arbitrary. In other words, it is meaningless, and has no bearing on human affairs, and could be put in its place with a reductio ad absurdem, which is a means to “proving” a negative.
I’ll agree with you in a sense that, no, we cannot prove the existence or non-existence of God. We simply cannot know everything at one time. But if we look at what we do know, rather than finding safety in what we don’t, we can come to some sense of truth on the matter. I have actually come to believe that God exists. I wrote a thread on it here: For the sake of argument, let’s admit that God exists. If the statement was “God exists in a book”, it could be proven, as it provides meaningful context and is within a universe of discourse (some logic jargon). “God exists in a book” is true, and a deductive and logical certainty.
God exists in a book,
the book exists on earth,
therefor God exists on earth.
The premises are true, the conclusion is true and the argument is positive. It even argues for the existence of God rather than its non-existence, although it limits it to a subject of literature. It can be proven by observation. Either directly or indirectly, this is the source of all knowledge regarding the subject of God. I find that this hypothesis is more honest, more safe, and more true, than simply “we can never know”.