[ExI] Belief in maths (was mind body dualism)

samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Wed Jul 7 01:48:37 UTC 2010

darren shawn greer wrote:
> > Even after finding no hypercubical golden dragons there, I reserve 
> the possibility that they may have only gone out for lunch while I was 
> visiting.<
> I'm a newcomer to this list, but I had to ask this question: how long 
> are you willing to wait before drawing a conclusion, based on belief 
> in the absence of phyisical evidence, that the HGD either don't exist, 
> or take extremely long lunches? Even if they do come back, logic could 
> dictate to you that they are a hallucination or simulated by an 
> advanced species that live on Alpha Centuri and like playing with the 
> minds of humans who have the gall to visit Titan. Logic is great 
> stuff, but eventually we must close off our logical processess with 
> conclusions and shut out the endless possibilities that human logic 
> offers. As some writer said once, keep too open a mind and nothing 
> will stay in it.
> If I'm intruding in the conversation, I apologize.
> Darren
> *Per Ardua Ad Astra*
> *For more info on author Darren Greer **visit *
> *http://darrenshawngreer.blogspot.com 
> <http://darrenshawngreer.blogspot.com/>*
> > Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 08:27:56 -0400
> > From: msd001 at gmail.com
> > To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> > Subject: Re: [ExI] Belief in maths (was mind body dualism)
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 2:56 AM, Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > If I can assume that by 'pure maths', you mean logic, you seem to 
> be saying that people who have absolute certainty (I'm making another 
> assumption that this means "think that it's overwhelmingly likely") 
> that there is no such thing as either a soul or psi, have come to this 
> conclusion by logical reasoning, rather than, say, lack of evidence to 
> the contrary.

Lack of evidence is a perfectly fine reason to not think something is 
so.  If it also has logical inconsistency problems and/or has no 
explanatory theory that is sufficiently sound then that is more reason 
to disbelief it.
> >
> > I originally meant statistics and probability. I have to include
> > logic because pure math is a broad category. I have a difficult time
> > understanding absolute certainty no matter how it is reached.

Everyone gets hung up over "absolute".   If I step off a cliff on earth 
with no invisible means of support am I absolutely certain I will fall?  
You bet!  Or so sure of the very high probability I would not waste a 
millisecond considering alternatives.

> You can
> > asymptotically approach certainty by way of reasoned arguments and
> > scientific methods. I feel that even if you have seen a coin flip
> > result in heads 99 times in a row, you cannot state with absolute
> > certainty that the 100th toss will also be heads.

I would say with fairly high certainty that the coin or the toss is rigged.

> (at least until you
> > have shown both sides of the coin to be heads) In the case of the no
> > soul or no psi argument, nobody is able to verify the other side of
> > the coin.
Nope.  Asserting that X exist is not the same at all as flipping what is 
supposed to be a two-sided fair coin.  False analogy.

> So we can observe many runs of the same result, but I don't
> > rule out the possibility that there may may eventually be an
> > unexpected result.

Poor logic if reasoning from the above analogy.
> >
> > >
> > > Don't forget that 'no soul' and 'no psi' are the null hypotheses. 
>  Anyone who claims that either of these things exists needs to provide 
> evidence or a  convincing logical argument.  Anyone who doesn't, 
> doesn't.  No logic (or maths) needed.
> > >
> >
> > Agreed. Claiming that either or both are Bullshit by lack of
> > existential evidence looks to me like a matter of personal belief (ie:
> > faith) No logic needed.
> >
It has nothing at all to do with personal belief or faith.  It is simple 
reasoning that there is not sufficient reason to believe these things 
are the case.   So not believing them is the only rational course for 

> > > Or are you the type of person who, when told that there are no 
> hypercubical golden dragons living underground on the far side of 
> Titan, says "Ah, but you can't prove that, can you?!?!"
> >
> > No. I am the type of person who stores that statement relative to how
> > much I trust your ability to make truthful statements. I remain
> > skeptical until I go underground on the far side of Titan. Even after
> > finding no hypercubical golden dragons there, I reserve the
> > possibility that they may have only gone out for lunch while I was
> > visiting.
> >
What, you wait till you can take a physical trip yourself rather than 
claim maker to provide evidence?   In the meantime you do not believe 
this, right?  Is this a matter of mere faith or of applied rationality?

- samantha

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