2,657 thoughts on “Elon Musk Thinks Evolution is Bullshit.

  1. fifth:

    Did you catch my answer to keith’s? In which I said that I had no problem with his asterisk but in my worldview it would read

    *Assuming the Christian God exists.

    I think the two asterisks are functionally equivalent but that mine is simpler and according to Occam’s razor would be the preferred one.

    The wording is similar, but the meanings could hardly be more different.

    For me, the statement

    X is true*

    …means…

    X is true if we are not being Carteased, but I have no way of knowing that we aren’t being Carteased, and I assume it only for the sake of convenience, without actually regarding it as truth.

    For you, the statement

    X is true*

    …means…

    X is true if the Christian God exists, and I know for sure that the Christian God exists, so X is absolutely true.

    My approach is to claim no more than I actually know, while yours is to assume the truth of things you have no way of knowing.

    KN is also overreaching, though not nearly as badly as you, by claiming that he knows we are not being Carteased.

  2. fifth:

    This is how I see it. From our perspective “in time”

    1. The creation……………adumbration
    2. Adam and Eve talk with God……………adumbration
    3. Moses gets mooned by God……………adumbration
    4. The incarnation/Mary becomes pregnant with Jesus…………..culmination

    I hope that helps

    It does help. It shows that you are aware of the problem but aren’t facing up to it.

    When God mooned Moses, for example, it can’t have been a mere “adumbration”. You’ve agreed that it was Jesus’s actual physical butt that Moses saw.

    The incarnation had to have happened before the Mooning of Moses if what Moses saw was the actual physical butt of Jesus. (That is, unless you want to venture further into heresy and suggest that the physical Jesus traveled backward within time in order to perform the Mooning, or that there were actually two incarnations with a decarnation of some kind in between).

  3. keiths:
    fifth:

    The wording is similar, but the meanings could hardly be more different.

    For me, the statement

    …means…

    For you, the statement

    …means…

    My approach is to claim no more than I actually know, while yours is to assume the truth of things you have no way of knowing.

    KN is also overreaching, though not nearly as badly as you, by claiming that he knows we are not being Carteased.

    You again here beg the question about what is required for knowledge. Anyhow, as indicated I disagree with you. I think I actually know things about the world.

  4. walto,

    Anyhow, as indicated I disagree with you. I think I actually know things about the world.

    Only if there’s an implicit asterisk after “know”.

    You don’t know that you are not being Carteased, and neither does KN.

  5. keiths,

    If I understand your position, then in cases of simple perceptual beliefs — the noninferential use of high-order and/or low-order concepts guided by occurrences in sensory consciousness — we have something like, “I know* that there’s a glass of water next to me” where

    * unless I’m being deceived by a malign genie, or I’m a brain in a vat, or I’m a Boltzmann brain, or I’m in a hyper-advanced simulation designed by posthuman Engineers, or . . .

    where none of the items in that infinite disjunction can be eliminated on a priori grounds

    If that’s your position, I have no objections.

  6. Y’all both mean something different by ‘know’ than me and the vast majority of English speakers, but that’s your right! Go for it!

  7. walto:
    Y’all both mean something different by ‘know’ than me and the vast majority of English speakers, but that’s your right! Go for it!

    I’m perfectly happy to accept the ordinary normative pragmatics of “know”, but I’m willing to concede keiths’ philosophical point about the impossibility of ruling out skeptical worries by a priori fiat.

  8. keiths: You’ve agreed that it was Jesus’s actual physical butt that Moses saw.

    You are assuming that a “butt” is in view when scripture uses the term אָחוֹר.

    here is Strong’s definition of that term.

    Quote:

    the hinder part; hence (adverbially) behind, backward; also (as facing north) the West: – after (-ward), back (part, -side, -ward), hereafter, (be-) hind (-er part), time to come, without.

    end quote:

    What was in view was not God’s “face” but his backside there are important scriptural reasons why this is the case as I’m sure you know .

    I believe that Moses saw Christ but I would not go so far as to say it was his physical butt.

    IOW an adumbration.

    I hope you are aware that according to Lutheran theology Christ’s human nature is omnipresent in the universe so this would not be difficult to achieve

    check it out.

    http://justandsinner.blogspot.com/2010/05/defense-of-omnipresence-of-christs.html

    Needless to say these are deep waters and your mockery leads me to believe that you are just not equipped to discuss this sort of thing with any sort of understanding.

    You are going to have to start to show a little maturity if you want your inquires to be taken seriously

    peace

  9. keiths: For you, the statement

    X is true*

    …means…

    X is true if the Christian God exists, and I know for sure that the Christian God exists, so X is absolutely true.

    No X is true* means

    X is true if the Christian God exists.

    The fact that I know that the Christian God exists is another matter entirely.

    keiths: My approach is to claim no more than I actually know, while yours is to assume the truth of things you have no way of knowing.

    Of course when all is said and done I do have a way of knowing things (revelation) and you by your own admission do not and that is the ultimate difference in our worldviews.

    glad we cleared that up.

    peace

  10. fifth,

    I believe that Moses saw Christ but I would not go so far as to say it was his physical butt.

    IOW an adumbration.

    That’s not what you told us last year.

    Were you wrong then, or are you wrong now?

  11. walto,

    Y’all both mean something different by ‘know’ than me and the vast majority of English speakers, but that’s your right! Go for it!

    Actually, what I mean by “know” (without the implicit asterisk) is pretty much the same as its standard usage. The difference between me and the vast majority of English speakers is not how we define “know”, but rather that most of them think it is possible to know (without the asterisk) things about the external world based on our sense data.

    They either aren’t familiar with Cartesian skepticism or, as in your case, they don’t fully understand its implications.

  12. KN,

    If I understand your position, then in cases of simple perceptual beliefs — the noninferential use of high-order and/or low-order concepts guided by occurrences in sensory consciousness — we have something like, “I know* that there’s a glass of water next to me” where

    * unless I’m being deceived by a malign genie, or I’m a brain in a vat, or I’m a Boltzmann brain, or I’m in a hyper-advanced simulation designed by posthuman Engineers, or . . .

    where none of the items in that infinite disjunction can be eliminated on a priori grounds.

    Almost, but not quite. If even one of the items in the infinite disjunction can’t be ruled out as unlikely, then that alone is enough to necessitate the asterisk.

    That’s why your acknowledgement regarding Bostrom’s scenario specifically — that it “has a likelihood of being true that cannot be estimated” — invalidates your claim to know that you are not being fooled in general.

  13. Kantian Naturalist:
    keiths,

    If I understand your position, then in cases of simple perceptual beliefs — the noninferential use of high-order and/or low-order concepts guided by occurrences in sensory consciousness — we have something like, “I know* that there’s a glass of water next to me” where

    * unless I’m being deceived by a malign genie, or I’m a brain in a vat, or I’m a Boltzmann brain, or I’m in a hyper-advanced simulation designed by posthuman Engineers, or . . .

    where none of the items in that infinite disjunction can be eliminated on a priori grounds

    If that’s your position, I have no objections.

    I do wonder why we need to worry, care, or even articulate it though. There appear to be no consequences at all flowing from injecting this faux uncertainty without the least reason not to pragmatically act as if the world around us is approximately as we perceive it.

  14. Alan,

    I do wonder why we need to worry, care, or even articulate it though.

    1. Some of us are curious about the world, even when the questions we ask have no obvious practical consequences or applications.

    2. Some of us like to separate truth from falsehood and justified beliefs from unjustified ones, and this desire extends to beliefs with no apparent practical import.

    3. There may be unanticipated benefits to considering these questions. For example, the awareness that we might be living in a simulation is stimulating physicists (e.g. Martin Savage) to think about how we might actually detect this (by observing the behavior of high-energy cosmic rays, in Savage’s case).

    Who knows what the long-term implications might be? If we’re living in a simulation, perhaps we can learn to hack it from the inside — for our benefit.

    There appear to be no consequences at all flowing from injecting this faux uncertainty…

    It’s real uncertainty, not faux uncertainty. If you disagree, you’re welcome to give us a definitive answer, along with your justification.

    …without the least reason not to pragmatically act as if the world around us is approximately as we perceive it.

    I’ve given reasons above.

  15. keiths: If you disagree, you’re welcome to give us a definitive answer, along with your justification.

    Classic burden shift. 🙂

    Of course I disagree, as I disagree that there is a point in worrying that there is an invisible pink dragon in my garage. When you can suggest some consequence flowing from your ability to imagine the untestable, you might engage my curiosity.

  16. BTW, Keiths, are you in my simulation or am I in yours?

    The simple answer to solipsism is surprisal. The real world never ceases to surprise me.

  17. keiths: If we’re living in a simulation, perhaps we can learn to hack it from the inside — for our benefit.

    Oh! So we’re together in the same simulation! Get working on that hack! 🙂

  18. Alan,

    The simple answer to solipsism is surprisal. The real world never ceases to surprise me.

    Seriously? You think no simulation could possibly surprise you?

  19. keiths: You think no simulation could possibly surprise you?

    I can imagine being surprised by something I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine being surprised by something I can imagine. Can you imagine being surprised by something you can imagine?

    Reality outstrips human imagination in surprisal value.

  20. keiths:
    walto,

    Actually, what I mean by “know” (without the implicit asterisk) is pretty much the same as its standard usage.The difference between me and the vast majority of English speakers is not how we define “know”, but rather that most of them think it is possible to know (without the asterisk) things about the external world based on our sense data.

    They either aren’t familiar with Cartesian skepticism or, as in your case, they don’t fully understand its implications.

    Thanks for your instruction boss. You are a true skeptic–actually knowing nothing of what everybody else thinks they know. FFM has you right. He says he knows lots of stuff and that without his God you can’t know anything (except with asterisks that, as KNN’s paraphrase points out, you can’t even fill in). Nice ‘knowing’ you!

  21. keiths: Some of us are curious about the world

    And some, like you, are extremely confused about what knowing is. What, exactly, is your definition of it, anyhow?

  22. keiths:

    Almost, but not quite.If even one of the items in the infinite disjunction can’t be ruled out as unlikely, then that alone is enough to necessitate the asterisk.

    I don’t think the disjunction is wrong, but it does seem redundant.

    First, in all of the situations, the subject will use the phrase. If they all use it, what is it adding?.

    You could argue that, from a God’s eye view at least, only one of the subjects is uttering a truth, and so the phrase accounts for that. But since the definition of knowledge already assumes truth, again is seems redundant to use it.

    The same would apply if the phrase was meant to convey that I only know if my utterance is justified.

  23. walto: I wonder: Is it possible from such a God’s perspective (of what Quine calls “eternal sentences”) to know that I finished my coffee after I had a bagel this morning?

    God would see our universe as a 4-dimensional block. For a God’s-eye view, a dimension would be solely a mathematical concept, and not spatial or temporal. Mathematically, to have an ordering, one needs an oriented coordinated system. God could experience the order of any two points imposed by any ordering.

    God could also take on the viewpoint of any observer in the block universe and so would simultaneously experience all possible accounts of temporal ordering and causality. So God’s experience would not be constrained by Einstein’s relativity.

    What about Quine’s ontological relativity? If there was no fact of the matter about word meaning, then I suppose even God is subject to that. But was Quine right about there being no meaning facts?

    God knows.

  24. The point is that epistemologists want to understand if we can know things like “I’m sitting now” “It will rain tomorrow” “Yesterday, I had pizza”–not some crazy asterisk sentence that no one can fill in. Keiths’ answer to those is NO (as was KN’s–yesterday, though not the day before.) That’s fine–it’s a position one can take. But it’s completely at odds with what most people think they know. And the reason that keiths has given for this stance to date has been question-begging. So I’m not sure why anybody would follow him to his lonely place.

  25. walto:
    The point is that epistemologists want to understand if we can know things like “I’m sitting now” “It will rain tomorrow” “

    Is that in reply to something I wrote? I see the temporal order as 10 minutes post my post.

  26. BruceS: God would see our universe as a 4-dimensional block.For a God’s-eye view, a dimension would be solely a mathematical concept, and not spatial or temporal.Mathematically, to have an ordering, one needs an oriented coordinated system. God could experience the order of any two points imposed by any ordering.

    God could also take on the viewpoint of any observer in the block universe and so would simultaneously experience all possible accounts of temporal ordering and causality.So God’s experience would not be constrained by Einstein’s relativity.

    What about Quine’s ontological relativity?If there was no fact of the matter about word meaning, then I suppose even God is subject to that.But was Quine right about there being no meaning facts?

    God knows.

    I think Searle was right that Quine was wrong about that.

    The other stuff in your post, regarding eternality:

    God could experience the order of any two points imposed by any ordering.God could also take on the viewpoint of any observer in the block universe and so would simultaneously experience all possible accounts of temporal ordering and causality.So God’s experience would not be constrained by Einstein’s relativity.

    may well be right, but I find it so confusing! It’s part of why I stopped trying to understand Spinoza.

  27. Kantian Naturalist: I’m perfectly happy to accept the ordinary normative pragmatics of “know”, but I’m willing to concede keiths’ philosophical point about the impossibility of ruling out skeptical worries by a priori fiat.

    If skeptical worries means there is no external world at all then that seems true.

    But if the issue is whether one can have knowledge of an external world which is assumed to exist in some form, and if one assumes semantic externalism, then I think one can say they all have an equal claim to justified true belief*.

    By semantic externalism, the meaning of the proposition they believe will be in accord with their external world and so the truth-conditions of that proposition will track the external world. Hence they all have true beliefs.

    What about justification? Two cases (at least for most epistemologists): internalism and externalism.

    Since they are all in the same mental state, an internalist would say they all have the same degree of justification.

    A causal externalist (if there are any left) would say they all have a causal history for their beliefs appropriate to their context. A reliabilist externalist wold relativize the reliability to the context, so again they all could claim the same level of reliability.

    Of course, one could say that at most one of them has knowledge from a God’s eye view of truth and meaning. But we already know the status of God’s claim to knowledge.

    —————————–
    * I am not sure if this is true for Swampmen or Boltzmann brains, so I could be convinced to omit those two cases.

  28. walto:
    Yes.Your post about the infinite disjunction.#25 on this page, I think.

    OK. I agree with what you said is the goal of epistemology. But I was replying to Keith.

    On Searle: I did not post my comment about OR to re-open that debate I have not even looked at any replies on QP in order to avoid temptation.

    Rather, the point of my post was to give context for the pun at the end.

  29. BruceS,

    Those are all tough questions, but I’m not sure we need to settle them to say we can know that there’s a tree in front of us. If we’re in a particular perceptual state, we have some evidence of there being a tree in front of us (both internalists and externalists can agree on that). And we have no countervailing evidence. Worries about cartesian demons are not evidence. So, if it’s true that there’s a tree in front of us we can know it.

    I don’t deny that one or both sides may say that what justification we have is insufficient. But they need a basis for such claims. When the absolute paradigm of what is meant by “justification” is precisely such perceptual claims, idle worries about dreaming don’t –indeed CAN’T–defeat such warrant without it being the case that nobody will have any idea just what evidence might be.

    Could there be a hologram in front of me right now? So what?

  30. BruceS: On Searle: I did not post my comment about OR to re-open that debate I have not even looked at any replies on QP in order to avoid temptation.

    I will tell you, then, that I now think Searle was wrong that Quine’s gavagai argument is a reductio of “linguistic behaviorism.” (And I was wrong to think he was right.) I think what Searle should have said is that it is a reductio of Quine’s “no fact of the matter” claim.

    And, btw, you should come back and discuss Strawson’s Kant with us. This place is kind of an annoying frat house.

  31. BruceS: What about Quine’s ontological relativity? If there was no fact of the matter about word meaning, then I suppose even God is subject to that. But was Quine right about there being no meaning facts?

    Yes, Quine was right about that. However, I don’t see that as a cause for concern.

  32. Neil Rickert: Yes, Quine was right about that

    Actually, the argument he makes for it depends on him being wrong about it. So if you think he was right, you’ll need other arguments than those he gave.

  33. keiths: That’s not what you told us last year.

    Were you wrong then, or are you wrong now?

    I think it’s a case of you not listening charitably. There is a very very real sense that Christ was physically present and reveled himself to physically to Moses.

    You just don’t have the chops to understand this sense as witnessed by your continued use of the terms “butt” and “mooning”.

    Last year I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you were using those terms for comedic effect. It’s now clear to me that don’t have a clue what the passage is talking about.

    peace

  34. Alan Fox: There appear to be no consequences at all flowing from injecting this faux uncertainty without the least reason not to pragmatically act as if the world around us is approximately as we perceive it.

    There is the consequence of acting as if you have reason to believe that you are accurately perceiving things when you don’t

    peace

  35. fifthmonarchyman
    . . .

    Needless to say these are deep waters and your mockery leads me to believe that you are just not equipped to discuss this sort of thing with any sort of understanding.

    . . . .

    I suggest you only see those waters as deep because you are standing on your head in them. Really they barely wet one’s shoes.

  36. fifthmonarchyman: There is the consequence of acting as if you have reason to believe that you are accurately perceiving things when you don’t

    peace

    Of course we do.

  37. walto )I think what Searle should have said is that it is a reductio of Quine’s “no fact of the matter” claim.

    Interesting. I did go back to QP and read some of the posts on Reason, Truth and History. But I did not open the OR posts.

    In any event, Quine is way smarter than Searle. Plus I don’t think there are any pictures of Quine like this one of Searle.

    And, btw, you should come back and discuss Strawson’s Kant with us.

    Yes, I saw you tempt KN with that, but seriously working on Kant (as opposed to “A Short Introduction to …” or this book) is beyond my pay grade without a helluva lot of work on my part, and that kind of work is not where my heart lies for now.

  38. walto:
    BruceS,

    Those are all tough questions, but I’m not sure we need to settle them to say we can know that there’s a tree in front of us.If we’re in a particular perceptual state, we have some evidence of there being a tree in front of us (both internalists and externalists can agree on that).And we have no countervailing evidence.Worries about cartesian demons are not evidence.So, if it’s true that there’s a tree in front of us we can know it.

    […]

    Could there be a hologram in front of me right now?So what?

    I am not sure if you mean to refer to a complete ontology by that last sentence or just an isolated misperception.

    In the case of a completely different ontology, I take you as saying that it makes no difference to our claims of knowledge what the ontology is. Or is that taking what you mean too far?

    My post was a special case of such a claim of neutrality of ontology: Since under externalist semantics, ontology makes no difference to the TB status of claims of a subject living in that ontology, then all have an equal claim to JTB regardless of your epistemological approach to J.

  39. BruceS,

    Quine was def way smarter than Searle, but we all make mistakes. And there are a ton of pics with quine wearing a racy/jaunty cap, IIRC. But, admittedly, nothing as silly as that thing.

  40. walto:This place is kind of an annoying frat house.

    Well, one definitely needs to choose the toga appropriate to the thread and interlocutor if one wants to participate in most threads.

  41. BruceS: I am not sure if you mean to refer to a complete ontology by that last sentence or just an isolated misperception.

    Either.

  42. I’m not crazy about the very idea of “the external world”. External to what? The body? The brain? The prefrontal cortex?

    Likewise, I don’t think there are “sense-data”. I think that representational realism — the idea that we are directly aware of “inner” (inner to what?) states and then infer or reason or postulate our way to some “external” reality — is a deeply confused picture of mindedness, of perceiving and thinking. It is false to the phenomenology of perception, unsupported by cognitive neuroscience, and also the gateway drug to skepticism. And once you’re into the skeptical dilemma, as FMM can personally attest, only God can save you.

  43. Alan:

    The simple answer to solipsism is surprisal. The real world never ceases to surprise me.

    keiths:

    Seriously? You think no simulation could possibly surprise you?

    Alan:

    I can imagine being surprised by something I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine being surprised by something I can imagine. Can you imagine being surprised by something you can imagine?

    Yes, of course I can. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in my line of work who hasn’t been surprised by a simulation.

    Have you done any work with simulations?

  44. keiths:
    Alan:

    keiths:

    Alan:

    Yes, of course I can. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in my line of work who hasn’t been surprised by a simulation.

    Have you done any work with simulations?

    I guess I’ve always kind of thought that games/simulations are rather more prone to surprise than the world. The latter is extremely regular at its most basic, and deadly serious.

    Are we surprised by “reality” at times? Of course, none of us has seen everything. But magic can occur in simulations.

    Glen Davidson

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