God said “Let there be light”

No, this isn’t a religion thread.  It’s a response to some posts in the intentionality thread.

Quoting from Genesis:

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

I’m going to take that as a metaphor.  I’ll take “let there be light” to stand for the evolution of light sensitive cells in some biological organisms.  Once they had light sensitive cells, they had the possibility of distinguishing between light and dark.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

I was taught that the most basic step in geometry is to draw a line, and divide the world into the part on one side of the line and that on the other side of the line.

So, what we see here can be considered geometry.  It is also an example of what philosophers describe as “carving the world at the seams”, except that there are no seams.  We divide the external world on the basis of an internal criterion (the state of the light sensitive cells).

This dividing can also be called “categorization”.  That’s one of the possible meanings of “categorization”, and I see it as the important one.

As a result, we now have two statements:

  • Daytime is when it is light;
  • Nighttime is when it is dark.

I called these statements, rather than propositions.  But lets discuss them as if they were propositions.  Here are some things that we can say about them as propositions:

(1)  They are analytic propositions.  That is to say, they are true by virtue of the meanings of their terms.  In fact they are definitions or conventions that establish the meanings of the terms.

(2) They are intentional propositions.  That is to say, they are about something in the world.  They define what they are about.  They do not presuppose intentionality.  They do not presuppose that we can already divide the world into meaningful parts.  Rather, they tell us how to divide the external world based on internal criteria.  So they define the parts of the world that they are about, and they then give names to those parts of the world.  To me, this seems like original intentionality.

(3) They are not tautologies (in my opinion).  That is to say, they are not true in all possible worlds.  They are true only in the world in which they act as definitions.

(4) They are empirically significant.  They allow us to make statements such as “I heard that noise at daytime” or “I heard that noise during nighttime”.  That is to say, they give us the wherewithal to make finer empirical distinctions.

I see these kinds of geometric acts as central to cognition, as central to intentionality.  And yet philosophers seem to dismiss them out of hand.

Quine has written two articles, “Truth by convention” and “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” which dismiss analytic propositions and conventions as unimportant.  These two articles are generally considered influential and highly respected.  To me, that’s like a herd of lemmings going over the cliff.

40 Replies to “God said “Let there be light””

  1. Robert Byers
    Ignored
    says:

    This is what happened. It is a option it could only be understood if man understood all there is to understand about the universe including this light thing.
    Surely you must give credit to the writers.
    They see light as the great point in the universe. its not about the sun. that came later.
    It was not written for a readership living thousands of years ago.
    It was written for eternal mankind.
    Just as when it says LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE. the US would be strange to a readership who only believe in a single GOD.
    We just know now its the trinity.

    Remember the equation.
    If genesis is the word of god and its a description of creation THEN God can dumb it done only so much.
    One get the basics only for a complicated thing.

  2. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    I am going to restrict myself to this one post.

    It is pretty clear to me that the writer and the immediate responder have NO basic command of:

    1- Epistemology
    2- Biblical Hebrew

  3. BruceS
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    says:

    Neil:

    I agree with Tom that you seem to be defining common philosophical and logical terms in a non-standard and eccentric way. This makes it difficult for me to follow the logic of your arguments.

    I also find your gratuitous insults of philosophers to be annoying. Of course, that is just an expression of my feelings, not an argument. But what is good for the goose is good for the gander….

  4. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    There are fairly serious confusions here, I think.

    The most serious confusion is between cognition and geometry. While the act of drawing a line might be a good metaphor for making a conceptual distinction — certainly it was for Plato! — that doesn’t tell us anything too interesting about whether cognition is really geometric.

    We also need to ask whether the firing or not firing of photoreceptors really amounts to classification. I think not, but it’s arguable. I say that because I think classification requires a many-to-one mapping of sensory inputs to concept and/or a one-to-many mapping of concept to motor outputs.

    Turning from those issues to the sentences in question and their function in the OP. I do think that there are serious problems with Quine’s semantics.

    In particular, Quine’s rejection of analyticity is much less impressive when you realize that he is simply begging the question. Very early on in “Two Dogmas” he dispenses with meanings and decided just to talk about classes. Only once he’s done that can he show that there’s no criterion for synonymy in an extensional semantics. What he hasn’t done — and in fact never does — is give us an argument as to why we should reject intensional semantics in the first place.

    As for “Truth by Convention”, it must be stressed there that Quine’s argument is to show that logic cannot be a matter of social convention, not that no meaning is ever a matter of social convention. And in fact his argument there, as to why logic cannot be established by social convention, is perfectly correct.

  5. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    Two other problems with the OP: it is completely unclear how a statement that is true by virtue of meaning alone can not being a tautology.

    And I think there’s some confusion about necessary truth. To say (post-Kripke) that “whales are mammals” is a necessary truth is not to say that whales exist in every possible world. It is to say that in every possible world in which there are whales at all, those whales are mammals, and that there are no possible worlds with non-mammalian whales.

    Kripke’s point, which I think was correct, was to tease apart necessary truth from a priori truth, which in turn must also be distinguished from analytic truth. An important kind of analytic truth is logical truth: statements that are true in every logically possible world. Analyticity I am happy with “true by virtue of meaning alone”, though I would (in good Kantian fashion) distinguish analyticity from a priority.

  6. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: As for “Truth by Convention”, it must be stressed there that Quine’s argument is to show that logic cannot be a matter of social convention, not that no meaning is ever a matter of social convention. And in fact his argument there, as to why logic cannot be established by social convention, is perfectly correct.

    You mean the law of non-contradiction is not up for grabs?

  7. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    says:

    Mung: You mean the law of non-contradiction is not up for grabs?

    Not quite. There is still the fact of alternative logics, including logics in which the law of non-contradiction does not hold.

    I was only echoing Quine’s point that the meaning of elementary logical concepts, such as negation, conjunction, and disjunction cannot be established by social convention. Which laws are said to hold over those concepts is a slightly different issue.

  8. Mung Mung
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    says:

    TomMueller: It is pretty clear to me that the writer …

    What does Neil’s gasp of biblical Hebrew have to do with anything? He was just using those passages as a point of departure. He wasn’t attempting exegesis.

  9. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll reply to some of those tomorrow.

    On Biblical Hebrew — not actually relevant, but perhaps Tom meant that comment only in response to Robert Byers, and it might be relevant there.

  10. Robert Byers
    Ignored
    says:

    TomMueller:
    I am going to restrict myself to this one post.

    It is pretty clear to me that the writer and the immediate responder have NO basic command of:

    1- Epistemology
    2- Biblical Hebrew

    Okay one post it is. Keep your oral contract here!
    I don’t need to know these two things.
    No one does when reading genesis.
    The translation is good enough and great in these things.
    You made no actual point about error and so it doesn’t exist.
    Remember you can’t make it now. ONE POST!

  11. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Hi Tom,

    Did you mean to say that the writer [of the OP – that would be Neil] and the immediate responder [that would be Byers] have no basic command of biblical Hebrew?

    Because that’s what you wrote.

  12. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Hey Neil Rickert,

    I would very much agree that cognition and “categorization” are connected.

    I think that you know that I believe that cognition can be described as a form of data compression.

    It’s what we do when we take a pile of 10 amorphous shapes and subjectively categorize them as 4 circles and 6 non-circles.

    So instead of having to keep the various sizes and dimensions of each individual shape in memory we can simply remember there were so many circles etc.

    I would also argue that in cognition this data compression is nonlossy but that is a different topic

    Peace

  13. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I would very much agree that cognition and “categorization” are connected.

    So far, so good.

    I think that you know that I believe that cognition can be described as a form of data compression.

    Misfire. Those two things are not the same.

    Data compression is something that is done to data. Categorization is prior to data.

    It’s what we do when we take a pile of 10 amorphous shapes and subjectively categorize them as 4 circles and 6 non-circles.

    That your categorization was subjective, is not a problem. What does matter, is that if you go back and do it again you will get the same results (or close to the same results). Categorization, as used in the real world (as distinct from in formal systems) is unavoidably subjective.

    But notice what you did there. You categorized. And now you have data (6 of one kind and 4 of the other).

    Even our digital logic chips categorize. They receive input signals. And they categorize those input signals as logic 0 or logic 1 before the can perform a logic operation on them. That’s an example of categorization being prior to data.

    And two logic chips made in the same factory, will disagree on how to categorize particular signals. That illustrates the unavoidable subjectivity of categorization. Our computers work because they are cleverly designed to only depend on categorizations where the chips all agree.

    So instead of having to keep the various sizes and dimensions of each individual shape in memory we can simply remember there were so many circles etc.

    I would also argue that in cognition this data compression is nonlossy but that is a different topic

    It isn’t data compression, because there was no data. Rather, you came up with a useful way of constructing data where there was none.

  14. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: Data compression is something that is done to data. Categorization is prior to data.

    I would say that categories are prior to data but categorization requires data. You have the category light (or circle) in the absence of data but the act of categorization requires something to be categorize.

    Neil Rickert: But notice what you did there. You categorized. And now you have data (6 of one kind and 4 of the other).

    No I had data I had 10 shapes of various and different dimensions and sizes then I categorized and that data was compressed into 2 simpler categories circle and non-circle —–That is data compression.

    Neil Rickert: Rather, you came up with a useful way of constructing data where there was none.

    I would argue that I did not come up with the categories but they existed eternally in the mind of God. You know Platonism and all that.

    I would say that I chose to impose preexisting eternal categories on data that I encountered at a particular time and place. In this way cognition is the union of the temporal with the eternal.

    FYI This is an interesting topic by the way

    peace

  15. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: The most serious confusion is between cognition and geometry. While the act of drawing a line might be a good metaphor for making a conceptual distinction — certainly it was for Plato! — that doesn’t tell us anything too interesting about whether cognition is really geometric.

    I think you might be confused by the kind of geometry studied in high school. I am interpreting geometry far more broadly. The name “geometry” suggests measuring the world. So getting information about the world should be seen as geometric. I’m contrasting that with logic, which does not require a world.

    We also need to ask whether the firing or not firing of photoreceptors really amounts to classification.

    I did not use the word “classification”. Unfortunately, the term “categorization” is used with two quite distinct meanings. One of those is classification. But I’m not talking about that at all. The other is dividing up, and that’s what I am pointing to.

    Classification presupposes already existing classes (or concepts) and already known objects to be sorted into the existing classes. For dividing up, you do not require already existing classes. Rather, you look for a useful way of dividing into parts. The parts aren’t really classes, because “class” suggests a collection. Rather they are parts, or partitions. I’ve tried calling this “partitioning” instead of “categorizing”, but people find that really confusing.

    The idea is to divide into parts in ways that seem useful. Those parts may eventually become new concepts. But such concepts do not need to exist at the outset.

    There are two ways of doing things, and it’s probably reasonable to say that they are complementary.

    One way is when you already have classes or concepts. You describe the world as big things that are made out of the smaller things (which tend to consider the more basic concepts). I guess that’s more-or-less the reductionist approach. Your resulting description will tend to mostly consist of synthetic sentences.

    The alternative does not require already existing concepts. We start with the world as a whole. But it starts out featureless. Then we find ways of dividing it up into parts, and we name the parts based on how we divided. This adds features to our previously featureless world. And then we further divide those parts into smaller parts, thereby adding new features. The resulting description tends to mostly consist of analytic sentences.

    The explorers of history used the dividing method as their main tool. They would find ways of dividing up the territory they were exploring — maybe a major river or a mountain range. They start with a blank map, and then as they divide up the territory, the features emerge in that map.

  16. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: Even our digital logic chips categorize. They receive input signals. And they categorize those input signals as logic 0 or logic 1 before the can perform a logic operation on them. That’s an example of categorization being prior to data.

    Logic chips don’t categorize they simply sift input signals into bins. It is the manufacturer/user that determines that a bin with certain “dimensions” is a 0 while those with other “dimensions” 1.

    Water does not categorize items into floaters and sinkers. I decide that an object that remains on the surface is a floater while one that goes to the bottom is a sinker.

    Neil Rickert: And two logic chips made in the same factory, will disagree on how to categorize particular signals. That illustrates the unavoidable subjectivity of categorization.

    I agree that categorization is unavoidably subjective but logic chips don’t disagree any more than measuring cups disagree on how much milk they contain.

    Physical objects are never identical.

    It’s cooks that agree or disagree on how much milk measuring cups contain.

    peace

  17. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: Two other problems with the OP: it is completely unclear how a statement that is true by virtue of meaning alone can not being a tautology.

    I’m never sure what philosophers mean by “tautology”. To me, a tautology is trivial in some sense. We ought to be able to eliminate all tautologies in a description, and not change what it means.

    Take my example of an explorer describing a region by partitioning and naming the parts, so that the description is mostly analytic statements. If you remove all of the analytic statements, you won’t have much of anything left. So they can’t all be tautologies.

    There is a point, though, where I have some sympathy with Quine’s “Two Dogma” argument. Concepts are, unavoidably subjective. How I use concepts and how you use concepts may be different. So what’s an analytic sentence for me might be a synthetic sentence for you, and vice versa. So there is a point in questioning the way that analyticity had been in theories of language.

  18. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: As for “Truth by Convention”, it must be stressed there that Quine’s argument is to show that logic cannot be a matter of social convention, not that no meaning is ever a matter of social convention.

    I take it to be about mathematics more generally, not just logic. And I thought Quine was clear about that.

    My main issue with it, is that Quine defines a convention to be an abbreviation or a schema for abbreviations (such as tan x = sin x / cos x). But surely axioms are conventions in mathematics, and many of those axioms are not at all like what Quine defined to be a convention. They are more like categorization conventions (in the sense of carving up), in that they create new concepts.

    For me, it works as an argument against formalism as a philosophy of mathematics. But it doesn’t work as an argument against mathematics being based on conventions.

  19. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: No I had data I had 10 shapes of various and different dimensions and sizes then I categorized and that data was compressed into 2 simpler categories circle and non-circle —–That is data compression.

    By dimension, I take it you mean something like 1.4 cm, or 1.7 cm. But those are categories. Measurement is itself a form of categorization (in a very systematic way). So no, you don’t have the data before you categorize.

    I understand why you see it as data compression. But I disagree.

    I live in the Chicago area. So what’s Chicago? We think of it as a location. But the earth is spinning on its axis, and moving around the sun. The entire solar system is moving around the core of the Milky Way galaxy, and the galaxy itself is moving around the local group. So Chicago isn’t a location. It’s a whole group of location/time possibilities that we lump together and treat as one unit.

    But the thing is, that it cannot be data compression unless we first get the data, and then compress it. We have no way of getting all of that data. Our theoretical models describe as if there were such data, but it isn’t data that we can acquire. So categorization is a pragmatic method of getting useable data. Generally speaking we start getting data first, and then we build our theoretical models by idealizing how we get the data. We cannot just pick up that ideal data.

    I would argue that I did not come up with the categories but they existed eternally in the mind of God. You know Platonism and all that.

    You are a theist, so I guess I expect that kind of viewpoint. But I cannot find any actual basis for it.

  20. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I agree that categorization is unavoidably subjective but logic chips don’t disagree any more than measuring cups disagree on how much milk they contain.

    Measuring cups don’t measure. People measure, and they don’t always agree.

    If we take CMOS logic chips with a 5V power supply, then some chips will switch at 2.4V, others at 2.6V. The do vary. We just design our computers so that the important switching occurs when the input voltages are near 0V or near 5V, so as to avoid the ambiguity.

  21. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: By dimension, I take it you mean something like 1.4 cm, or 1.7 cm. But those are categories. Measurement is itself a form of categorization (in a very systematic way). So no, you don’t have the data before you categorize.

    I did not mean that I knew the dimension of the shapes I meant that the shapes had dimension. Is it your position that shapes are “dimensionless” until I measure them?

    Neil Rickert: You are a theist, so I guess I expect that kind of viewpoint. But I cannot find any actual basis for it.

    I’m not sure that theism has a lot to do with it except maybe in a presupositional sense that God is the necessary center of everything.

    I believe the categories as eternal mainly because they show up in so many unrelated and unexpected places.

    The category of “circle” shows up in places like the coprime integers and Stirling’s approximation. I would have never expected that sort of thing if I made up “circle” while looking at shapes as a child.

    I am also impressed that so many folks from different cultures and worldviews come up with the same categories.

    I see no “actual basis” for the idea that I invent the categories given these sorts of phenomena.

    peace

  22. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: Measuring cups don’t measure. People measure, and they don’t always agree.

    We agree on something at least

    Neil Rickert: If we take CMOS logic chips with a 5V power supply, then some chips will switch at 2.4V, others at 2.6V. The do vary.

    Yes just as every measuring cup will vary as to the amount of milk that will fit below the 1/2 cup mark. It’s the nature of all physical objects to vary one from another.

    We humans look at .49997 and .44483 as both one half ——or not depending on how we choose to categorize.

    peace

  23. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I live in the Chicago area. So what’s Chicago? We think of it as a location. But the earth is spinning on its axis, and moving around the sun. The entire solar system is moving around the core of the Milky Way galaxy, and the galaxy itself is moving around the local group. So Chicago isn’t a location. It’s a whole group of location/time possibilities that we lump together and treat as one unit.

    Exactly data compression is lumping it all together

    Neil Rickert: But the thing is, that it cannot be data compression unless we first get the data, and then compress it. We have no way of getting all of that data. Our theoretical models describe as if there were such data, but it isn’t data that we can acquire. So categorization is a pragmatic method of getting useable data.

    This is the Y axis I often talk about.

    We compress what we have and then as we learn more that information is included in the compression. I first decide the shape is a noncircle then as more information is acquired I might decide it is a octagon

    peace

  24. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Is it your position that shapes are “dimensionless” until I measure them?

    That’s why I try to avoid metaphysics.

    I believe the categories as eternal mainly because they show up in so many unrelated and unexpected places.

    But we could categorize in entirely different ways. A Kuhnian “paradigm shift” is a change in how we categorize.

    I am also impressed that so many folks from different cultures and worldviews come up with the same categories.

    Did they? Or did our categorization spread as a result of cultural exchange (a sort of horizontal category transfer).

  25. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Is it your position that shapes are “dimensionless” until I measure them?

    Neil Rickert: That’s why I try to avoid metaphysics.

    Let me try a better answer.

    When we measure them, we have data. Before we measure them, we talk about theoretical values. But theoretical values are not data, so they cannot be what is compressed in data compression.

    Whether theoretical values actually exist, is something people argue about. I guess the main positions are realism (they exist) and nominalism (they are just names).

    To me, it doesn’t seem to matter. Pick whichever you like. What matters is our measuring behavior or, more generally, our behavior in ascribing properties. And, as far as I can tell, whether you are a realist or a nominalist about properties doesn’t seem to matter for anything.

  26. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: When we measure them, we have data. Before we measure them, we talk about theoretical values. But theoretical values are not data, so they cannot be what is compressed in data compression.

    Theoretical to whom?

    I submit that the values are not theoretical at all but simply unknown to us before we measure. They are real and actual to God and any other observer who might be sufficiently familiar with the object we are observing.

    The reason that folks can debate about realism and nominalism is because they begin with the presupposition that an omniscient God is unnecessary. Such a leap of logic is unfounded and foolish in my opinion, but I digress.

    When we observe we are simply acquiring already existing information for ourselves. We are not creating information by our observations, any more than you are creating meaning by reading the words on your screen.

    The meaning was established by me you are just (hopefully) understanding it.

    Cognition is the act of compressing already existing information we encounter into a form that makes it available for us to use.

    peace

    P.S. Again this discussion is very interesting but at some point I will have to get back to work.

  27. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I submit that the values are not theoretical at all but simply unknown to us before we measure.

    Well, that’s your theory.

    In some cases, we know that they don’t actually exist. That is, we know that what we measure is statistical, and that our theories are idealizations which don’t exactly fit the quantum world.

    The reason that folks can debate about realism and nominalism is because they begin with the presupposition that an omniscient God is unnecessary.

    There’s no such presupposition here. There’s only the observation that, whether necessary or not, such a God is unevidenced.

    When we observe we are simply acquiring already existing information for ourselves. We are not creating information by our observations, any more than you are creating meaning by reading the words on your screen.

    That’s a disagreement over the meaning of “information”. I’m using it for Shannon information — symbol strings used in communication. And we construct that. Whether “create” or “construct” is the best term, I’ll leave for others to argue. If I use a camera to take a picture, I am creating or constructing that picture. I am not creating or constructing the world that is pictured, but I am constructing the picture (the representation of that world). And to me, “information” is that kind of thing — a representation constructed for the purposes of communication.

    The meaning is what is represented. But what it represents to me might not be what it represents to you. Seeing such miscommunication is something that we all experience.

  28. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    KN:

    The most serious confusion is between cognition and geometry. While the act of drawing a line might be a good metaphor for making a conceptual distinction — certainly it was for Plato! — that doesn’t tell us anything too interesting about whether cognition is really geometric.

    Neil:

    I think you might be confused by the kind of geometry studied in high school. I am interpreting geometry far more broadly. The name “geometry” suggests measuring the world. So getting information about the world should be seen as geometric.

    Neil,

    This is another eccentric redefinition of a commonly used term. As Bruce points out, your habit of doing this makes your arguments hard to follow. Worse, it seems to be unnecessary. What do you actually gain by referring to the acquisition of information as a “geometric” process?

  29. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: There’s only the observation that, whether necessary or not, such a God is unevidenced.

    The world outside my own mind is similarly unevidenced so I’m not sure if that observation is all that valuable.

    Neil Rickert: In some cases, we know that they don’t actually exist. That is, we know that what we measure is statistical, and that our theories are idealizations which don’t exactly fit the quantum world.

    If I understand you correctly whether the “quantum world” actually exists is an open question and will always remain so since according to you things are merely theoretical until I measure them and as you point out I am unable to do that with the “quantum world”.

    Neil Rickert: And to me, “information” is that kind of thing — a representation constructed for the purposes of communication.

    That is how I see it as well.

    In the case of the physical universe it is God who is communicating and as such it is he who constructs the representation

    Neil Rickert: The meaning is what is represented. But what it represents to me might not be what it represents to you. Seeing such miscommunication is something that we all experience.

    The person who constructs the message is who determines the meaning thereof. In the case of the physical universe that person would be God.

    If I misunderstand the meaning of the message it does not mean that there was no information present it only means that I have failed for some reason to perceive the intended meaning of that information.

    peace

  30. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: If I understand you correctly whether the “quantum world” actually exists is an open question and will always remain so

    I have not said that.

    according to you things are merely theoretical until I measure them and as you point out I am unable to do that with the “quantum world”.

    I haven’t said that either.

    You talked about there being values, even when not measured. I said that those are theoretical values (values that derive from our theories). I did not put a “merely” in front of “theoretical values”. And I did not assert that a measurement makes a theoretical value come into existence.

    A measurement is not a theoretical value. Measuring does not grab a theoretical value and force it into existence. Measurements are distinct from theoretical values. Our theories may include idealizations of our measurements, but that does not make a measurement a special case of a theoretical value. Measuring is a pragmatic way of getting useful information, rather than a direct reading of theoretical values.

  31. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I have not said that.

    Do you wish to affirm that the “quantum word” actually exists even though we can’t measure it?

    If so how do you know this?

    peace

  32. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Do you wish to affirm that the “quantum word” actually exists even though we can’t measure it?

    I make no claims of expertise in QM. Another interesting question is whether “actually exists” actually exists.

  33. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: I make no claims of expertise in QM.

    Does that mean that the reality of the “quantum world” is an open question for you?

    Neil Rickert: Another interesting question is whether “actually exists” actually exists.

    How so ?

    It doesn’t sound very interesting to me.

    It sounds like metaphysics and I thought that was a subject you tried to avoid.
    😉

    peace

  34. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Does that mean that the reality of the “quantum world” is an open question for you?

    Yes, but not one that I am concerning myself with.

    How so ?

    The meaning of “actually exists” is not particularly clear, and whether that is different from the meaning of “exists” is not very clear.

  35. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: Yes, but not one that I am concerning myself with.

    That is what I thought.

    So you can’t really say that measurements for the quantum world don’t actually exist “out there” all that you can say is that our measurements don’t correspond to the actual measurements.

    Is that a fair assessment?

    Neil Rickert: The meaning of “actually exists” is not particularly clear, and whether that is different from the meaning of “exists” is not very clear.

    Now you are starting to sound like Bill Clinton
    “It depends on what the definition of is is”
    😉
    peace

  36. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: So you can’t really say that measurements for the quantum world don’t actually exist “out there” all that you can say is that our measurements don’t correspond to the actual measurements.

    Is that a fair assessment?

    No. I am disagreeing with your use of “measurement”. That was my point in using “theoretical value”. I was not attempting express doubt or suspicion about theoretical values. Rather, “measurement” refers to what we get after actually measuring. A theoretical value is not an unmeasured measurement, and a measurement is not a determined theoretical value.

  37. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: “measurement” refers to what we get after actually measuring.

    I would not disagree here.

    The disconnect I believe is that you assume that an object has no measurement until “we” do the measuring.

    quote:

    “God understands the way to it [wisdom], and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out.
    (Job 28:23-27)

    end quote:

    Everything in the physical universe was measured long before “we” arrived on the scene.

    Measurement is only ever theoretical from our limited perspective.

    When we categorize and measure and we are simply attempting to think God’s thoughts after him. With different degrees of success.

    peace

  38. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The disconnect I believe is that you assume that an object has no measurement until “we” do the measuring.

    Okay.

    (Job 28:23-27)

    Everything in the physical universe was measured long before “we” arrived on the scene.

    Does your god measure temperature in Celsius or in Fahrenheit? Does your god measure distance in miles or kilometers? Does your god use UTC or US Eastern Daylight Time? Does your god add leap seconds exactly when we do?

    If your god is omniscient, why would he need any of these? Measurements and the use of measurement units are practical (pragmatic) but imperfect ways for us to find out as much as we can, given that we are not omniscient.

    The way you describe your god makes it look as if he was created by man in man’s image. This is undoubtedly true, but it is a strange view for a theist to hold. (Well, okay, some liberal theists do see our described god as a human construct).

  39. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    No, this isn’t a religion thread.

    Oh, darn, I was looking forward to another religion thread. I though maybe you saw the light (pun intended).

    Quine has written two articles, “Truth by convention” and “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” which dismiss analytic propositions and conventions as unimportant. These two articles are generally considered influential and highly respected.

    Quine is brilliant. I read a few snips of what he wrote and it was almost impenetrable to understand.

    “the difficulty which appears thus as a self-presupposition of doctrine
    can be framed as turning upon a self-presupposition of primitives. If is
    supposed that the if-idiom, the not-idiom, the every-idiom, and so on,
    mean nothing to us initially, and that we adopt conventions . . . by way
    of circumscribing their meaning; and the difficulty is that [these conventions]
    themselves depend upon free use of those very idioms which we
    are attempting to circumscribe, and can succeed only if we are already
    conversant with the idioms.”

    In the idiom of computer languages:

    a = not a

    is a legitimate construct whereby the contents in memory location “a” are replaced by the complement of the current contents of “a”. But such statements make no sense in standard formal logic. Two different idioms are in play, and “a = not a” isn’t even proposition in most computer languages. The “=” means one thing in math, another in computer languages like C where “=” means “assign”. In C the double equal “==” has the same meaning of the “=” in math.

    We could say

    “==” = “=”

    or just

    == = =

    or is this proposition more accurate

    == == “=”

    or just

    == == =

    🙂

  40. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: Does your god measure temperature in Celsius or in Fahrenheit? Does your god measure distance in miles or kilometers? Does your god use UTC or US Eastern Daylight Time? Does your god add leap seconds exactly when we do?

    I have no idea but I could speculate and say no to all those questions.
    Does an Eskimo hunter need to use Celsius or Fahrenheit to measure the cold outside his igloo?

    Does a toddler need to measure distance in miles or kilometers to know far far it is to his favorite toy?

    Does a native American farmer need to use UTC or US Eastern Daylight Time to know when the sun will come up?

    Does a hitter need to calculate leap seconds in order to time his swing?

    It seems you have an awfully provincial idea of what is involved in measurement you should get out more

    Neil Rickert: If your god is omniscient, why would he need any of these? Measurements and the use of measurement units are practical (pragmatic) but imperfect ways for us to find out as much as we can, given that we are not omniscient.

    It’s not about what he needs to do it’s about what he can do. God does not need to do anything but he is able to do everything.

    One of the things he can do is communicate with us and a sense of temporal and spacial dimension is necessary in order to meaningfully communicate with a finite being existing in the physical universe.

    Don’t you agree?

    Neil Rickert: The way you describe your god makes it look as if he was created by man in man’s image.

    Not at all, any similarities between man and God is the result of Man being created in God’s image.

    It should not surprise you that a God that communicates with his creation could share some of the same cognitive tableau if he wanted too.

    peace

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