The Flat Earth Society

Flat Earth Discussion Boards => Flat Earth Q&A => Topic started by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 04:44:57 PM

Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 04:44:57 PM
Decartes once said "I think, therefore I am." Or at least, he might have said that, if he actually existed. The problem is that no philosopher, however how great, has ever managed to prove anything past that "I am" part. This leads, of course, to the rather simple answer to this whole Flat Earth question...

The Earth is not Flat. The Earth is not Round. There is no Earth. There is no space. There is no you. There is only Me. Or at least, I say there is only me. This assumes I exist... You should be safe in the knowledge that there is you, if you think... If not, you are not.

The point is, you're going on and on about how there is a Flat Earth, but you haven't addressed the main issue: Does Earth exist at all? Clearly, Earth is nothing but an illusion of my own psyche (as are the lot of you, but I enjoy entertaining myself in my own head), and thus the debate on whether the Earth is round or flat is completely irrelivent.

Prove to me that there is an Earth. Then, and ONLY then, will you have reason enough to attempt to prove that the Earth is round or flat.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: planētē on April 19, 2006, 04:51:50 PM
nice 8-)
Title: Re: The simpler answer...
Post by: EnragedPenguin on April 19, 2006, 05:00:49 PM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
The point is, you're going on and on about how there is a Flat Earth, but you haven't addressed the main issue: Does Earth exist at all? Clearly, Earth is nothing but an illusion of my own psyche[/u] (as are the lot of you, but I enjoy entertaining myself in my own head), and thus the debate on whether the Earth is round or flat is completely irrelivent.


So then clearly the earth exists.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 06:05:59 PM
By definition, an "illusion" is something that doesn't exist.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Knight on April 19, 2006, 06:08:03 PM
Four Fifths see this link:

http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1280
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 06:13:03 PM
Quote from: "Knight"
Four Fifths see this link:

http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1280


I like you. Who Knighted, you, by the way? Knight9910's been around here. (I knighted him, but I think he was a Knight before that)
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: GeoGuy on April 19, 2006, 06:14:28 PM
Ok, let's assume that nothing exists, that what I see and feel is nothing but a figment of my imagination.If this is the case than existence is simply what I perceive to exist in my mind. This in turn means that what my mind perceives does exist. So the question of whether or not something exists is irrelevant. Because it just means that what we are discussing is what my brain thinks exists, and therefore is the only thing that exists. :o
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 06:31:29 PM
That's silly. That's like saying "if I percieve a ghost, then there is a ghost," when it's really old mister Wither's from the abandoned amusement park (and he would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids and their dog.)

"Lets assume there is no existence. Then existence is what I say it is."

Do you read what you type? You're going on an assumption that you can't be false, which is silly, because you don't exist.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: 6strings on April 19, 2006, 06:34:44 PM
Actually, if we're working from Descartes' premise, then he's absolutely correct.  The only thing he can be sure of is his own existance and he has no "outside" frame of reference by which he can determine if the world he lives in is "real", at which point, say if he puts his hand on a stove, it doesn't matter if the stove is a figment of his imagination of if it's actually, objectively, real, the net result is the same: he's burned.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: GeoGuy on April 19, 2006, 06:44:53 PM
Edit: oops, 6strings already answered.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 06:48:00 PM
Understandable. Just because you're not real doesn't mean it's practical for me to act like that. But the Earth still can't be proven to exist.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: EnragedPenguin on April 19, 2006, 06:51:34 PM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
By definition, an "illusion" is something that doesn't exist.


So? you said "the earth is an illusion of my own psyche", which basically means "the earth only exists in my mind". So obviously the earth exists on some level, whether it be physical or not.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 19, 2006, 08:45:39 PM
Now you're just arguing semantics.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 19, 2006, 10:59:25 PM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
Now you're just arguing semantics.


No he's not.  Arguing semantics is arguing about what some sentence is supposed to mean.  EnragedPenguin said, "If the thing exists as an illusion, then it exists.  As an illusion."

It's obviously not the case that the definition of an illusion is "something that doesn't exist."  Clearly an illusion must involve a misinterpretation of a thing which is really there, or the imagination of a thing where there is nothing.  Either way, something exists -- be it a misinterpretation, or an imagination.

The above two paragraphs, by the way, are primarily semantic arguments.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: EmperorNero on April 20, 2006, 04:55:10 AM
I don't know if I'm the only one, but I agree with four fifths. Let's say the earth is a misinterpretation of something "real", then we have to agree about how different this something can be from the earth and still be called the earth. Also, if the earth is an illusion, it's a cube. Like a dice.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: joffenz on April 20, 2006, 05:19:46 AM
If it exists as an illusion, then it appears to have a shape and therefore the nature of it's appearance can be decided upon.

Your point is similiar to that of the old philosophical conundrum, "Does a leprechaun wear green?"

If it doesn't exist, it can't have a colour, right? However, green is the colour that it would be if it existed, therefore you can say that it wears green.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Introbulus on April 20, 2006, 08:46:00 AM
But at the same time, I could say that a Leprichaun wears brown clothes with a white-button shirt and leads a mundane life with no magic at all, and it could be just as true.  

Hence it "could" be true, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily so.

Then again, I believe in "Infinite Possiblity", where everything that is possible at some time happens, by merit that there's simply so much that could exist, that in some form or another it will exist in any form it is imagined now, in the past, or eventually.  

But I have no real way to prove my philosophy, so it could be just as imaginary as the Earth or Leprichauns.  

For the sake of everyday life, we can say a Leprichaun wears green, but for the sake of philosophy, we can only say that a Leprichaun could possibly wear green.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 20, 2006, 10:26:35 AM
Quote from: "EmperorNero"
Also, if the earth is an illusion, it's a cube.


Is this meant to be facetious?  If not, please explain the implication.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 21, 2006, 05:23:37 AM
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Quote from: "EmperorNero"
Also, if the earth is an illusion, it's a cube.


Is this meant to be facetious?  If not, please explain the implication.

-Erasmus


Yeah, this one threw me for a loop, too. Anyway, a few comments...

-When I said he was arguing semantics, I didn't mean the word "Illusion," I meant the word "Exists." Exists can mean "exists in eithera physical or purely mental sense." I'll grant you that, but I was using to mean "exists in a physical sense." I think we all agree what an illusion is (Something that is percieved mentally but is untrue physically.) It's the word Existance we were disagreeing on... (Oh my god, we've been arguing the semantics of the term "Arguing Semantics!" Okay, maybe not, but that's like... Weird)

-Leprechauns can't be said to wear green (And even in Irish folklore, they don't always wear green.) HOWEVER, the Phoenix can be said to be on fire, and Unicorns can be said to have horns. Fictional/illusionary things can have truth by defenition (The Unicorn is an equine with a single horn, so only equines with horns can be unicorns), but as Green is not part of the definition of Leprechaun, it cannot be said to wear green. It can be said that if they existed, they probably would, based on other things known about leprechauns, but it can't be said that they always wear green. Similarly, because Flat or Round isn't in the Earth's definition (at least not the one used around here), there's no truth to calling an Illusionary Earth flat or round.


-The mental illusion of the Earth is as large as my senses believe they percieve it.


Oh, and Intro... Infinite possibility denies Causation.  Causation is the foundation for any "real" physics. Are you denying Causation, or would you like to rethink that statement? And note that you can't really deny Causation. Hume tried it once, but it doesn't even pass Decartes, which is the most basic proof of existance.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 21, 2006, 11:43:21 AM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
because Flat or Round isn't in the Earth's definition (at least not the one used around here), there's no truth to calling an Illusionary Earth flat or round.


But certainly, I can be experiencing the illusion of a Leprechaun wearing red, but if I say "I am experiencing the illusion of a Leprechaun wearing green," I would be lying.

Quote
Infinite possibility denies Causation.


Why is this?

Quote
Causation is the foundation for any "real" physics.


I doubt the reality of causation, or its foundationhood for science.  I would claim that causation is a word we use to describe apparent-to-us relationships between things we label as phenomena, but that doesn't mean causation is really there.  Instead I would argue that we should consider the universe as being uncausative yet whose states must at all times satisfy certain laws, which are the laws of physics.  Thus the "history" of the unvierse is just a feasible trajectory through the state space of the universe.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 21, 2006, 12:19:07 PM
-Then you'd be lying about the illusion you're experiencing. But that's not the question at hand. If you were saying "There's a leprechaun wearing red right there," you'd be mistaken, simply because there isn't a Leprechaun. It's just an illusion.

-Infinite Possibility requires things to happen without sufficient cause. Causation states that everything happens in accordance to the rules, and unless something breaks those rules, there is only one possibility, not infinite.

-If there is no causation, how do you explain the regularity of these relationships between things, or any method of perception, assuming the universe exists?
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: EnragedPenguin on April 21, 2006, 12:23:20 PM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
-When I said he was arguing semantics, I didn't mean the word "Illusion," I meant the word "Exists." Exists can mean "exists in eithera physical or purely mental sense." I'll grant you that, but I was using to mean "exists in a physical sense." I think we all agree what an illusion is (Something that is percieved mentally but is untrue physically.) It's the word Existance we were disagreeing on... (Oh my god, we've been arguing the semantics of the term "Arguing Semantics!" Okay, maybe not, but that's like... Weird)



Ok, so why can't we discuss the shape we believe this illusion, that we like to call earth, is?

That's what I've been trying to get across. If the earth only exists as an illusion than it exists as an illusion and all we have to do to continue discussing it is remember that we are arguing metaphorically; for example "if there were such a thing as the earth, what shape do we believe it might be?".
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 21, 2006, 12:24:16 PM
I'm not saying you CAN'T argue it. I'm just saying that it's SILLY to argue it, especially as you can't assure that this illusion holds true for all observers. My Earth Model, for example, may or may not include the state of Wyoming.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 22, 2006, 01:07:35 AM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
-Then you'd be lying about the illusion you're experiencing. But that's not the question at hand. If you were saying "There's a leprechaun wearing red right there," you'd be mistaken, simply because there isn't a Leprechaun. It's just an illusion.


Er... okay.

Quote
-Infinite Possibility requires things to happen without sufficient cause. Causation states that everything happens in accordance to the rules, and unless something breaks those rules, there is only one possibility, not infinite.


So, can't it be the case that the rules state that either A or B may happen next, and there's no preference as to which?

Suppose for example that you could perfectly balance a pendulum upside-down.  Eventually (pretty soon probably), tiny fluctuations in the air pressure will cause it to fall.  Sure, on a low enough level, you could say it's deterministic -- but on that level, the problem is also intractable.  So on the level that we're interested -- the level on which we'd like to say "X caused Y", it's basically equally likely that the pendulum will fall in either direction.

Anyway, if two outcomes are possible, then isn't it conceivable that in some situations, many outcomes -- even infinitely many -- are allowed by the rules?

Quote
-If there is no causation, how do you explain the regularity of these relationships between things, or any method of perception, assuming the universe exists?


I still assume that the universe -- as well as our perception of it -- is governed by laws.  It's just that the laws are "omnidirectional" in the sense that if some outside force changes any parameter, the others change to compensate.

My favourite example of this is pressure in fluid flow.  Everybody knows Bernoulli's Law, where pressure is inversely proportional to fluid velocity, right?  Well, it turns out that if you find a way to change the velocity, you have automatically changed the pressure field, and vice versa.  So you can't say, "The pressure field causes the velocity field", because you could just as easily reverse it.  But surely it doesn't make sense that effects can cause their own causes.... so instead of fret about causality in that situation, I prefer to say, "There's a law that relates all feasible states of the parameters.  I assume (and have experimentation and/or reasoning backing this up) that any measurement I make of the parameters will agree with the laws."

Just my thoughts on the matter.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 24, 2006, 04:28:31 PM
-Yes. Okay.

-On a less-focused level, you'd say X or Y could happen, but you'd be wrong, because on the more-focused level, only X could happen, despite the appearance that Y is possible.

-OR you could say "X causes the linked functions of Pressure and Velocity fields to change" wheras X is whatever method you used to change the Velocity and Pressure fields and your problem is solved. If I hit a window with a sledgehammer and the window breaks, you're not actually going to accuse the sound of glass shattering on the glass shattering, you're going to accuse the sound of glass shattering on me hitting it with a sledgehammer.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 24, 2006, 05:11:02 PM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
If I hit a window with a sledgehammer and the window breaks, you're not actually going to accuse the sound of glass shattering on the glass shattering, you're going to accuse the sound of glass shattering on me hitting it with a sledgehammer.


Interesting example... I'm pretty sure that I would have said, "Breaking glass makes a certain sound -- that sound I just heard.  The glass broke because you hit it with a sledgehammer."

Anyway, if you insist on saying, "Well, on the finer level, only X was possible; not Y," then my response is: well, on the finest level, do we really have any coherent notion of causation at all?  All you got is fields and wave functions; things are pretty not-interestingly-deterministic down there, says quantum theory.  They tell me that electromagnetism works because a certain boson is exchanged between two charged particles; this boson transmits the force (think Feynman diagrams)  But why does the boson that gets exchanged leave its particle in the first place?  How does it know where to go?

Instead, I suggest that causation as humans understand it only happens on fairly high levels, and is, in fact, just something that higher animals made up so that their brains had something to busy themselves with besides muscle coordination and such.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 24, 2006, 05:49:09 PM
Breaking glass actually makes DIFFERENT sounds depending on how it's broken. The sledgehammer-through-glass sound is slightly different than the baseball-through-glass sound is different than the bullet-through-glass sound.

On the finest level, modern science does tend to find itself with things that don't seem to work right. However, I have always felt comfortable saying that just because we don't know the causes on the finest levels doesn't mean there aren't causes.

I believe that at the very least, in order to percieve, the perceptions must becaused by something else. Even when people say that it's just incidental that the hammer hits the glass, the glass breaks, and a sound occurs, and even if they're not "linked" in any specific way, there has to be something causing our brains to believe it's happening...

Unless, of course, we're going to Nihilism, which is always fun.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 25, 2006, 12:14:58 AM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
in order to percieve, the perceptions must becaused by something else. Even when people say that it's just incidental that the hammer hits the glass, the glass breaks, and a sound occurs, and even if they're not "linked" in any specific way, there has to be something causing our brains to believe it's happening...


Sure, science can in principle tell us in arbitrary detail and with arbitrary accuracy what's going on in brains.  But can it tell me that what it's like for me to hear glass breaking when a baseball hits it at such-and-such a speed is the same as what it's like for you to hear it?  In other words, can it explain what subjective experience is like?

I think not, because it's only in the business of answering questions about observables, and there's no way, it seems, that you can observe your own subjective experiences except by being you.

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Four Fifths on April 25, 2006, 06:25:38 AM
We can usually assume that subjective experiences carry a number of similarities, considering that people tend to agree on most subjective experiences. Even then, a total analysis of the brain may theoretically be able to understand subjective experiences. Just because it hasn't been done yet doesn't mean it's not possible.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Erasmus on April 25, 2006, 10:12:13 AM
Quote from: "Four Fifths"
We can usually assume that subjective experiences carry a number of similarities, considering that people tend to agree on most subjective experiences.


Do we?  I claim we agree on the observables that are correlated with our subjective experiences.  Like, every time we see a ripe tomato, we say we are experiencung red.  In fact, every time we receive light of a given wavelength and intensity, we say we are experiencing red.  But that's just because we're taught to call that particular experience "red".  There's nothing inherently red about the tomato or the light.

Quote
Even then, a total analysis of the brain may theoretically be able to understand subjective experiences.


It's nice that you brought that up because it's a classic thought experiment in the study of the philosophy of mind.

Meet Mary.  Mary has been raised her whole life in a black-and-white room.  No items were ever given to her that had any color.  Also, she was genetically engineered to be a perfect albino.  It was also arranged, either by drugs or by genetic engineering, they she never has dreams or hallucinations.

What she is given, however, is complete and total and perfect knowledge of the workings of the human nervous system, in all its parts and functions.  A Final Theory of Neuroscience, if you will.  In particular, given any stimulus, she knows exactly what neurons in her brain will fire, and when, and at what rates, etc.

Does Mary know what it is like to see the colour red?

-Erasmus
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: lizardogre on April 25, 2006, 01:16:45 PM
My theory;

There is a person A and a person B.

Person A sees a TV and tells Person B that it's a TV, but the way Person B sees it is the same as the way Person A sees a radiator. This is because we are taught by somebody else what everything is, we don't teach ourselves from a huge picture dictionary that we're born with in our head, if we were, then Person A could walk up to Person B and say "that looks like a banana", but this would confuse Person B because he thinks it looks like a Chinchilla, so when Person A picked up the cinchilla, peeled it and ate it in a couple of bites, then Person B would have no clue whats going on.

If we now say that there is one of these all knowiing picture dictionarys, and then Person A and Person B would go back to knowing the same things as they taught, and what looks like a toilet to person A, through p
Person Bs eyes from the point of veiw of this picture dictionary looks like a Cow.



This is confusing and I don't expect you to understand it, but please ask me to explain what you don't get.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: Knight on April 25, 2006, 01:27:51 PM
All that changes is the terminology.  If I believe a banana to be called a corputtle and you come up to me and say "hey, that's a banana," I'd say "uhhh I think it's called a corputtle."  Then you say "No, it's a banana, look."  And you pick it up, peel it, and eat it.  That doesn't confuse me because that's the same thing I do with corputtles.  The only confusion is that you call it a banana for some reason.  So if we all know what a television does and how it works, but I don't call it a television (I call it a... grinkle), the only thing that would change is terminology.
Title: The simpler answer...
Post by: troubadour on April 26, 2006, 04:44:40 PM
this is more like philosophy or metaphysics, not actual science.