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Messages - Fenring

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General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 08, 2022, 10:08:44 PM »
The early church supported pacifism and wealth sharing that is not overtly supported by the current biblical narrative.  I have always wondered what changes were made to the texts when the Roman Empire decided to claim Christianity as it's religion.

I'm not an expert on Church history vis a vis its iterant interpretations of scripture, but the current Catholic teachings may well be consistent with the pacifism and wealth sharing found in the gospels. The problem is that pursuit of one's duty has become a completely decentralized matter up to each person to do, with no community or central planning. So a given person could consult a series of priests and realize that they are, in fact, called to give up all of their things to the poor (which is the broader community), but this would require their own spiritual investigation and then choice. It wouldn't be done as a result of a rule the community has established such as existed during the gospels and Acts. But the lack of top-down direction to give up your things doesn't actually mean you're not supposed to. Part of what's changed is that many more walks of life exist now, so more variety of duties exist. For instance if you take a community that believes the world's end is near, they are not going to be very concerned with long-term goals that will affect married couples and the next generation; but once you are past that and have generations of marriage, etc, then you have different moral duties. For example it is probably immoral (if we're being strict) to hoard wealth for oneself as a single person who doesn't want to marry, whereas it is likewise probably a moral requirement for parents with babies to accumulate enough to ensure their well-being and future education, with some set aside for emergencies and unexpected problems. But this isn't inconsistent with scripture, so much as a different thing than their community was concerned with.

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 04, 2022, 04:50:10 PM »
The law of God, as seen in the Bible, is clear about what is moral and immoral. And since even people who have never encountered the law know generally what is moral and immoral, we can assume that the Bible is simply describing a law that exists already in the human heart...
Man, this is literally Jordan Peterson-level reasoning. Do better, man.

To be fair it's more or less an Aquinas argument about our connection with the eternal law.

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: August 03, 2022, 09:29:26 PM »
The  Kobayashi Maru was a trick set up by Spock to show the impotency of always winning. I think Trump and Kirk enjoyed the same mindset. You should put winning ahead of easy.

No, no, Trek 2009 isn't canonical! (Not if I have anything to say about it)

General Comments / Re: Climate alarmists are wrong.
« on: August 03, 2022, 12:07:57 PM »
And why is it that there are vineyards in England now producing high-quality wines, something that has never happened before because the temperatures in England are too cold for high-quality wines?

This is a more complex issue than you'd see in a climate article. Wine can be made in less than ideal conditions using various technology, although you do still need a growing season of a minimal length. Over the years the Niagara region, for instance, has grown in skill to the point where they are producing excellent whites and some very good reds as well, depending on your price point. They don't, however, have the economy to produce a good red at a low price, so reds there tend to be pricier compared with a Spanish equivalent of similar quality. But that is improving as well. And Ontario, generally speaking, is going to be a far colder climate than most (or all?) of England. I did check one article about this and it referred to a team of economists making projections based on climate data. That is a far cry from making some kind of statement about the potential for the wine industry in England to take off due to becoming more like France. Maybe it would make it easier for large production industry to be more successful, since huge production requires an economy of scale that does get helped with optimal conditions. But even sub-optimal conditions can be overcome with experience. For instance regions of Spain that are hotter than what Italian and the French growers are used to developed the ability to make lots of great wine in that climate. So it's also about how 'climatized' the geographical area is to what their capabilities are and maximizing those.

Sorry if this was a side track...

General Comments / Re: Climate alarmists are wrong.
« on: August 02, 2022, 12:55:25 PM »
Some people just won't be happy until we've turned our world into Arrakis or Giedi Prime.

But the spice must flow...

General Comments / Re: conspiracy detector
« on: July 28, 2022, 11:58:29 AM »
The deal is: all men will be disenfranchised. Men can serve in elected office, but they cannot vote. Women will elect who they want to elect.

I think you will find that corruption runs equally along the whole species...just in different ways.

General Comments / Re: OAN Network being cancelled
« on: July 28, 2022, 11:18:12 AM »
No - you are being disingenuous. Soros has publicly stated he hates the USA and wants to destroy it. Dis you miss that? He hates Free Enterprise and wants a change.

I think Tom's point is that there are probably all manner of powerful people out there with agendas that would make you raise an eyebrow. You can take right-wing types like David Rockefeller who has stated openly he wants usher in a new world order, whatever that means. If you want to be bipartisan you can look into him too :)

General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 01:41:06 PM »
Galileo studied pendulum's leading to the development of the pendulum clock and did research with inclined planes that showed that the distance an object fell was proportional to time squared and didn't depend on the mass of the object. These are some of the first important experiments of the scientific revolution. He did other interesting things too in engineering and pre-Newtonian physics that weren't just Astronomy.

I know Galileo did other stuff, but he wasn't the only one doing mechanics and astronomy. I guess my point was that he uniquely invented the technology to revolutionize astronomy, so I count that as a big win in practical science. But I never saw him particularly as an originator of experimental methods. I'll keep in mind to check up on this next time I'm spelunking through the history.

General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 01:05:57 PM »
The church almost executed Galileo for advocating for the Heliocentric model of the solar system. Hard to give them credit for that advance in science.

This isn't really an accurate way of describing it. The Galileo situation is typically misunderstood when people trot it out. There are two things he was in trouble for, one of which (arguably the main thing) was insulting the Pope in his book on two new sciences. He asked for permission to write it, they gave him constraints, and he twisted their constraints on purpose in a way that was basically giving them the finger. I can give you more detail if you like, but the long and short of it was they said it was ok for him to present his new theory so long as he didn't present it as uncontested fact, and showed the current theory alongside it. Instead of doing that he presented the 'alternate viewpoint' as an idiot named Simplicio, who was a stand-in for the Pope, and only said ridiculous things. That's kind of funny, but you have to keep in mind what kind of 'publisher' the Church was at the time (a very cautious one). The other problem was he wanted to trumpet his theory too quickly as fact rather than waiting for others to eventually vet his conclusions. This bears some similarity to the situation for Giordano Bruno, and in terms of the reasons they were in trouble largely having to do with things other than their science (e.g. their behavior, their disobedience, etc).

The main thing to keep in mind is there's a difference between resistance to change and refusal to change. The Church's tendency is and was to be very slow to accept modifications to its received worldview, and did not want any old crackpot teaching people all kinds of stuff as fact which hadn't yet had a chance to (slowly) make its rounds about the community in a satisfactory manner. This process could potentially take decades or centuries, and this slow-moving change is a bug and a feature depending on how you look at it, but overall is probably more of a feature. It becomes more of a bug when it's slow to change terrible, destructive goings-on in the present tense. It's a very modern conceit to think that a guy has a new scientific model, and they're oppressing him when they don't immediately allow him to begin teaching it as fact. But think of a comparison to, say, a medical guild or association, which doesn't allow new medications or techniques being used until they've gone through testing and been vetted. This is done to protect people, and to protect the reputation of all doctors in the association. Contrast with the proliferation of 'quack doctors' in the early 20th century, where you could not innately trust a doctor to use accredited techniques. So on its face this is reasonable, but what a contemporary person isn't primed to understand is that in the past this vetting process was much slower than such processes are today. But they did have half-way houses for such theory, and it was typically not banned outright. For instance, the Copernican theory was not exactly banned as such, but it was required that it be portrayed as a mathematical model rather than as a physical reality. And good thing too, since it was an inaccurate representation of the solar system.

Galileo and Descartes are the originators of the modern scientific method.

This is the first time I've heard this claim, actually. I've heard it ascribed to Francis Bacon, to various enlightenment people. What did Galileo do that was so revolutionary? I mean, he did invent a tool enabling telescope-based astronomy, improving the field of naked eye astronomy greatly, but there was already astronomy as such. I'm more versed in Descartes' philosophical work than any field work he may have done in science, so I can't be as sure with him, but I don't have any recollection in reading history and philosophy of science books that he's given some special status.

Both came from a Christian society. Descartes claimed to be divinely inspired. But neither was an agent of the church.

I think you're correct in disputing a blithe that anything any scientist said in the past was "the Church" saying it. However it's a complex subject, since you'd have to understand how the vetting process worked for not only doctrine but also issues related to doctrine but subject to potential changes. It's not really accurate either, though, to say that people who lived under the Church weren't agents of it; that would be to incorrectly separate out their faith life from their work life, which is a fairly recent concept. This is especially so since "the Church" can mean the administrative and ecclesiastical authority in the Church, but also just refers to all the people in it. It's not a monolithic voice, even though the authorities did reserve the right to limit what could be taught as facts.

General Comments / Re: Trump looses again
« on: July 26, 2022, 12:44:47 PM »
Actually you confuse me, too. Heliocentrism is usually compared against geocentrism - not a flat earth. All in all, it was the Church that sought out the science. It was the church that decreed the earth revolves around the sun, not placing the Earth at the center.

I believe he was saying that most laymen are ignorant enough about the history of science that they would confuse the Church's slow move away from heliocentrism with it advocating for a flat Earth. As you may know, many people in the last 50 years have been taught in school that in Columbus' time everyone thought the Earth was flat (which is flatly incorrect).

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 04:21:59 PM »
You should spend time thinking about the Principle of Sufficient Reason and whether you believe it holds true. If you don't, you should spend time with the consequnces of that belief. If you ultimately conclude that it holds true, then we can talk about any other place you think the argument on page one fails.

I think I've addressed this point at length by this point. One of the chief problems with a priori arguments is that they rely heavily on their self-declared statements, which in turn require the word choice in the statements to make sense. Like a house of cards, if the slightest thing is out of place in an a priori argument there simply is no argument - it's not even a question of disagreement with its conclusions. But hey, I can keep listing things I find wrong with PSR if you like...I didn't want to go totally bananas on it. I'll even list an objection that covers a hidden premise you've been using, namely that PSR is the only possible proposition allowing for causal logic in the universe. Here's an alternative:

There are reasons for all things, and these reasons may include connections and causes that are beyond our ability to understand. So while we can posit that they exist, we cannot form causal conclusions about them since our conception of cause may not align with how they really are.

So this variation might be called Agnostic-PSR, wherein we take it on faith that everything has a reason, but do not take it on faith that we can make positive statements about this.

And there's Tom's variation, where the farting goat creates reality and imbues it with the property wherein persistence is baked in without further input. That the farting goat vanishes subsequently was probably an unnecessary addition on Tom's part for the point to be made. This is the 'God setting everything in motion permanently' scenario which is oft mentioned. So here there would also be reasons for everything, but our ability to backtrace them would be cut off since there would not be any active connectivity between the original reason and the current setup.

Quote from: Fenring
If you want to say that a philosophical statement should be accepted by someone else, which is literally the only reason to put forward a proof, then your #1, #2, and #3 priorities should be to establish common language and communication standards with your audience or interlocutor.

I disagree.[/quote]

You disagree that the primary objective in communication should be to communicate?

I have no interest in inventing a new vocabulary with each person I meet, creating my own little version of the tower of babel. If I meet a quantum physicist, I don't expect him to make up an entire new vocabulary to meet me half way. If I want to understand his ideas, I'll learn his vocabulary.

And if you think his vocabulary containts internal inconsistencies, you'll use his vocabulary anyhow without objection? It doesn't matter who in fact makes up the vocabulary; this isn't a question of who has the burden of coming up with the word choice. This is about the words being used having the same meaning in the minds of both participants, however that should come to pass.

Quote from: Fenring
If someone is saying there's a disagreement about word meaning, and you insist there isn't, there is already a disagreement about word meaning!

What? I'm not insisting that you and I don't disagree. I'm just saying you're wrong and I'm right.

It doesn't matter who's wrong and right. What matters is that if we're stuck on a word's connotations then we can't proceed with things built upon the word until we agree the word's meaning is both coherent and consistent.

I have used the word cause in this thread as a synonym for the word reason, in the context of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. If there is a particular time I used it that you find confusing (i.e. you don't understand my meaning) ping it, and I'll be glad to clarify.

Yes but PSR does certain things within its parameters, and not other things. And in fact you have never really defined whether your use of it is entirely a priori, or employs a posteriori elements. I'm not sure if there's an authoritative understanding of this, but I suspect that historic uses of PSR were entirely a priori, meaning PSR was posited as a justification for making an a priori argument about first causes and such. Why can I say I know that God must be behind all things? The answer is I posit that my intellect and its logic are sufficient to think about it and come to a conclusion that is truth. So PSR ends up standing in as a permission (or an excuse) to posit these thought experiments (like first mover, like argument by necessity, etc) and say that they must make sense. I do not believe these uses of it would have claimed to have induced or derived PSR based on empirical results being consistent over time and therefore suggesting we can rely on our intellects for thought experiments. In fact the one would probably not imply the other anyhow. Your argument on pg 1, however, seems to be to use a posteriori information in its structure, and (as I've argued) unintentionally employs chronology. But realistically, would you agree that your argument is essentially completely a priori?

If I ask the question "Why does my keyboard not fall to the floor?" a fine answer is "because of the desk". be-cause. For the reason that.  The desk is the cause of my keyboard staying aloft. The desk is the reason for my keyboard staying aloft.

I like Aristotle's four causes and I think it's a fine thing, but I'm not really invoking it here. It's a really simple thing to say: My desk is the reason my keyboard doesn't fall to the ground.

It's a fine answer if you're being informal, and it also employs physical laws which operate in time. I already said you didn't bring up Aristotle; what I could have added is that you should, because the reason he divided things up into four causes was precisely to avoid mixing up what one means with a word like "cause". I don't like his divisions, but at least they acknowledge that you can't just lump reasons from different categories all together and use the word interchangeably.

-The desk is the cause of the keyboard staying above the floor.
-The atoms in my body cause me to exist.
-Matter persists because God causes it to persist.

The only thing these have in common is that you are offering explanations of things. But an explanation is an idea or a model, not a thing or an event. An explanation can be about an identity, for instance: 1+1=2. That's an explanation, but it's not something that exists and causes effects in anything. Now you could use an awkward phrase like "1+1=2 is the cause of number theory" but that would be beyond awkward; it would not only fail to communicate anything but essentially puts us backward in understanding anything since we have to untangle a bad first step. It might be ok to say "1+1=2 is a necessary element of number theory" (let's say), but the word choice matters a lot in what you're saying. If the only commonality to "cause" in your usage is you're offering explanatory logic to something, it can mean basically anything, even made up things. And like I said it's such an awkward use of the word that it would better to employ an extant set of language (Aristotle's, just as an example) than to re-write English and use a word in a way where defining to your audience how you're using it requires a larger explanation than the proof you're presenting with it in the first place!

If you are confused by my words, ask me what I mean. It's simple friend.

That's my point, it's not simple. What you call a simple answer to a question of word meaning is actually an enormous rabbit hole where you are actually asserting all sorts of unannounced axioms to support that definition.

It looks perfectly coherent to me. Why does it look incoherent to you?

As I've mentioned, phrases such as "we can see that there are reasons for why things exists", "external cause", and "the nature of the thing itself" are deeply problematic for multiple reasons. Language clarity is one such reason. Another is terms that are made to sound self-evident but which I think are not; in fact as I've mentioned I suspect their content is not coherent. Another is the fact of making an essentially a priori argument but using obervational data as support for it.

Now exists. I'm here, right now. I'm typing these words, right now. If you'd like to say otherwise, say it with some conviction and with clear arguments, not a vague appeal to who knows what. Give me a concrete reason to entertain your idea and I'll do so. Saying "probably" doesn't mean anything at all.

Lack of ability to say "probably" about complex topics is...probably a serious problem. That being said, I'm 100% sure you didn't understand why I wrote that, based on this response. Obviously you feel like there's a 'now'. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about whether there is in fact[ such a thing as "now" in the formal sense, in the sense that you can freeze time and describe some kind of hierarchical structure in a moment without any reference to before or after. You think you can do that, exemplified by your description of the keyboard and desk, but I think you are missing what I said earlier about EM repulsion happening in time only. It is not an instantaneous or static effect. There's no such thing as "EM repulsion right now", there is only EM repulsion measured over time. This isn't just an artifact of inefficient measurement, any more than relativity is a reflection of bad time-measurement instrumentation. It's your insistance that you are not talking about chronology that I'm after here (which by the way is part of why I'm pretty sure this is a purely a priori argument). I'm saying the way you keep conceptualizing cause is in fact chronological, which is by the way ok, I think that is also how the original prime mover type arguments were also understood (i.e. to involve causes in time, not instananeous hierarchical structure).

Sorry for any typos, I don't have time to edit, gotta run!

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:53:15 PM »
Full disclosure for me, then: I actually think that both the present and the past are not objectively fixed on an absolute scale (some parts are, some are not), and the the future has very open-ended possibilities that depend on 'un-anchored' elements in the present and past. I have my reasons for thinking this, not easy to go into here. But that would make the 'present' some kind of bridge between unselected reality in both past and future. Sort of like a clearinghouse for parts of the puzzle getting solved or set in place. I'm sort of riffing a bit off Frank Herbert in where I started thinking on these lines, but my current guess would be something like that the 'present' is a past-present-future meeting place where the three are tied together and interrelated, and where you can't disentangle 'now' from 'just now' and 'just then'. I expect that the uncertainty principle would have to figure into this somehow. Anyhow this is all conjecture, I wouldn't try to persuade someone of it.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:24:05 PM »
To be fair, it's possible that Joshua is positing something like an "existence beam" made up of, say, existitrons, which radiates out from God (or all discrete points, if God is omnipresent), and only those things recently struck by existitrons can be said to exist.

I won't speak for him, but existence as divine emanation is more of a Gnostic idea.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 25, 2022, 12:13:09 PM »
Nope. You keep saying this, but you're wrong. If a room is dark, that is because there are no visible electrons bouncing around the room. That happens for a reason, in much the same way that when a room is not dark, there's a reason electrons are bouncing around a room.

This is the problem with analogies, and largely a problem with ancient argumentation: they don't tend to apply because things rarely map 1:1. The difference between non-existence and existence isn't equivocal to that between light and darkness, and therefore conclusions drawn about a dark room won't apply to a non-existent universe. As Tom points out, a room can be dark because there are obstructions not allowing light in. It's what we might call an open system masquerading as a closed system. The light is outside, let's say, and walls that block EM radiation stop it entering. There's a structure in play. What's more, the room is not totally dark vis a vis EM radiation, just to visible light. There is still background radiation, excitation in the molecules, etc etc. But in the case of non-existence, whatever that might be, we cannot posit an 'outside' to this, or an obstruction blocking existence from 'getting in'. There is just nothing. And we can't even ask in what the nothing is contained; in fact we can't even really conceive of nothing or what it's like (or not like!). So the analogy fails on so many levels that all it will do is confuse. That's not a slam on this particular analogy, but more on the difficulty of generating an analogy that works.

General Comments / Re: Addiction rehab
« on: July 24, 2022, 08:44:44 PM »
Okay. I'll restate.

How does a benevolent dictator progressively and continuously reduce the amount of misery?

Probably construct an economic system where people don't feel that money is worth more than they are?

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 24, 2022, 12:00:58 AM »
Hahaha, by total coincidence (I hope) the top suggested video for me on Youtube just now was this:

Check it out if you want to see how mired in difficulty the word "now" is, purely on a mechanical level. But it's worse! Assuming you've watched the video before reading on, you may find a few issues with Einstein's assumptions in how he defines "now", one of which should be obvious given what I just mentioned above: how can you establish "now" using mirrors and photons without making observations about the activity of those time? Einstein describes the thought experiment in such a way as to act as a zero-time-lag moment where the impact and calculation are instantaneous, but since by definition of relativity nothing is instantaneous he actually presupposes assumption #5, that there is a such thing as a a 'moment' (see where I'm going with this?) where you can determine "now" to be. And I'll remind you that it's theoretically difficult enough to define "now" even on a freeze-framed graph in a thought experiment, no less to assert that it in fact exists and can be examined as being a 'frame' in which something like electromagnetism (e.g. that force which keeps the laptop on the table) can be 'in operation'. Another problem with the thought experiment, just to name one more, is that Einstein is defining "now" in a manner that is not entirely useful philosophically speaking. It ends up being a sort of reference point establishing a nexus point between separate locations, which treats time more like a physical dimension that can be bisected than as a moment in which 'the present' occurs, phenomenologically speaking. That's in keeping with relativity, but it ends up being a mathematical treatment rather than an answer about whether we can ever speak of anything other than past or future from our vantage point.

Just so I don't sound dismissive about all this, I think "is there such a thing as now" would be a cool paper topic, either in philosophy or physics. But it's a really non-trivial matter, which is why we must be cautious about throwing supposedly self-evident statements about reality around.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 11:24:21 PM »
Err, that's a bad typo (Ornerymod can edit it and delete this post if that's simpler). I'm *NOT* trying to gang up on you.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 09:42:50 PM »
I just wanted to throw in once more than I'm trying to gang up on you, Joshua, if it may appear to be the case. I'm not joining up with Tom to oppose arguments for God, or anything like that. As you know I agree with some of your views on the cause of all things, and so all of my objections above need to be understood as me going after a particular line of argument, not against your core beliefs. I hope that distinction is clear :)

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 23, 2022, 05:15:59 PM »

I'll make sure I'm being clear by saying this again: your problem thoughout the argument, and in these recent rebuttals, is always the language. You keep saying I am too (I guess) modern to understand the ideas you're putting forward. But you are way too far ahead of where we're at for that to be a concern. If you want to say that a philosophical statement should be accepted by someone else, which is literally the only reason to put forward a proof, then your #1, #2, and #3 priorities should be to establish common language and communication standards with your audience or interlocutor. If someone is saying there's a disagreement about word meaning, and you insist there isn't, there is already a disagreement about word meaning! If I tell you that you are using the letters C-A-U-S-E to point in all sorts of different directions, and you tell me I just don't know what you're talking about, we have already established what the particular arena of the debate should be: to nail down the meanings of the words so that we can finally move on to discussing whether the concepts you want to outline are in fact true. But we can't even establish truth-function in non-propositions that don't even have clear semantic meanings. I pointed out in a detailed way the ways in which "cause" were used in Aristotle (which is historically the only context I'm aware of in which that word can connote definitions of structure [e.g. 'I am made up of cells therefore my cells are the cause of me']) but you seem to have ignored the specifics, re: material cause, formal cause, etc. Without such restriction on what the word "cause" means, then, yes, it's a constant equivocation scenario.

This is just one example, of which there are may here, of where language disagreement makes it difficult to get to the point where we can discuss the truth merits of a proposition. You asked me why I have a problem with PSR, and I mentioned a few issues, but perhaps primarily that I'm not even sure it's a coherent proposition. So far I have not seen any evidence that you have understood what I mean by that, because you seem to be very quick to dismiss my concern and to still insist that I should be able to pick a side and say whether I agree with it or not. But you can neither agree nor disagree with a non-proposition, something that is just a jumble of sounds with no real meaning.

I will submit, though, that in addition to the fact that we have discrepancies in word usage amongst us, there is also the issue which you did allude to earlier, that we are inevitably jumping around. For instance it's admittedly hard to keep every single point in its proper place, such as this one for instance:

Just so I'm clear, are you citing these theological propositions as being the basis of your statement in clause #2 that science and philosophy do function? Note again, my objection is that your statement that we can trust science and philosophy is meant to support the proposition that God props up existence in this moment, which doesn't seem to make sense unless one or both fields have provided for us solid evidence that we can make strong statements like this. So are you limiting this solid evidence to the theological propositions you just named (about the attributes of God), or are there other domains of philosophy that have shown us success that should give us confidence in making statements about how existence is propped up?

No. I was clear how I used those philosophical (not theological) arguments; each one points to a different property of God that we can know through reason.

It may not have been as evident as it ideally would that this comment of mine, which you replied to, was directly and solely a matter of investigating your claim on pg 1 that since science and philosophy do work that we can trust remarks made about how creation is kept afloat moment to moment. Your only defense of that claim so far was citing the different aspects of God, and I was asking whether there was more backup or whether that's it. Putting aside any further answer to this question, you thought (it would seem) that I was accusing the theological/philosophical aspects of God of being in the wrong category for our discuss (theology, rather than philosophy). But that's not actually what I asked. Again, this can perhaps be hard to track if we're dealing with different line items in random order.

I 've got to run out now, but one last word for now:

The past doesn't exist. The past cannot be the reason why my keyboard doesn't fall. Something here in this moment must be the cause.

This may be language-related, or perhaps it's a philosophical point to debate, but my point about your resorting to chronology without intending to (I would argue you actually cannot get away from it no matter what you would try) is that even your phrase "in this moment" is most likely an incoherent phrase that doesn't point to a real thing. Nothing I'm aware of gives us the right to assert that there is a such thing as a "moment" (a slice in time that's neither future nor past), nor that we can specify something can be immediate without being a part of the past. Just by thinking something you are already referencing something already behind you. There is no 'now' now, to coin a phrase. I guess that would put Dark Helmet in a difficult position. And nothing I'm aware of in physics permits for talking about zero-time moments. Everything in nature seems to operate on finite lag. I hope you can see why this makes it a problem to claim that any scenario can be divorced from chronology.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 22, 2022, 09:02:08 PM »
But, we know it's Biden energy policies that is driving inflation in the country, because there is no inflation problem in any other country in the world. So it has to be something we are doing domestically.

Oh, wait...  ;)

Well, it's entirely possible Biden's admin (or any sitting president) did in fact make matters worse in the oil price itself. If producers were told to slow down production then this would obviously create a problem in the case of an uptick in demand. But again that wouldn't do jack to explain inflation in other commodities, stocks, real estate, etc.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 22, 2022, 05:27:42 PM »
I'll give you an example, via Washington Post:
A main driver of the wave of inflation besetting the country is the price of energy — all forms of energy.

But please, go ahead and tell the class how the price of oil is set. Don't Google it! Just write out a few lines about how it's done. I'll get my popcorn.

Aside from what Tom just said, I've been watching and reading a lot of macro analysis. Zero of them are saying that energy costs are a main driver of anything. Most are looking at the markets, supply chain, liquidity, trade balances, etc. Oil is a commodity. You can't reduce the world's economy to it.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 21, 2022, 11:57:05 AM »
Dividends may get there, but the thing right now is to cover the commodity losses. Crude vendors leveraged themselves to keep oil moving, and they expect to erase those losses through artificial scarcity before they consider any more capital investment.

I guess I'm still trying to figure out where in the supply chain you mean. Do you mean those actually drawing the oil and selling it as raw commodity, or gas stations on the street, or maybe someone else? Just for example, Halliburton is an oil extractor, as well as other things; but their dividend is rather low and seems like it will likely stay that way. Just if we were talking about them in particular (let's say), who actually benefits from the elevated prices if the company's margins go up? The only ones I can think of are either private business partners (which may be owned by people involved directly with Halliburton), or else the shareholders directly via higher stock prices.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 20, 2022, 06:42:57 PM »
those vendors and their shareholders

Could you give an example? I know it's a bit unfair to ask you for micro details when you're making a macro claim, but I'm actually curious how you're thinking of the scheme so I can see if I can see it the way you do. For instance, it is through dividends to shareholders; bonuses to execs; direct profits to privately owned companies somewhere in the supply chains, etc. I've been watching stock prices for the last few months for various oil/gas companies, but at least within the stock market I'm not sure what gains would have been made unless someone sold off lots of stock when they peaked in early June. Dividends amounts haven't really gone up in the May/June period, so I guess I'd like to know how the monies would be flowing to the relevant parties.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 20, 2022, 04:45:04 PM »
as appears to be the case for the petroleum industry, to pay back investors after a couple disastrous years.

This is a total side-track, but in what manner do you think the investors are being paid back through high crude oil prices? Do you mean the shareholders in oil companies, or someone else?

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 20, 2022, 03:43:05 PM »
Most inflation right now is energy inflation.
Not to quibble, but most inflation right now is profit-taking.

And speculation bubbles. Actually I think a lot of profit-taking is speculatory as well, so long as we understand cartel-like systems to be speculative in nature since they see how far up things can go before they break.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 20, 2022, 02:34:44 PM »
The idea that non-violent coercion does not apply to private negotiations is one of the laughable fictions of the Chicago school.

I would just like to add that "non-violent" is not actually non-violent in many cases. It just means the violence won't be directly applied by the negotiator. Example: you are falling off a cliff in the Arctic, and I offer my help and a rope for $100,000. You don't "have to" accept, and I am not threatening you in any way, except that the fact that you will die if you refuse is the primary operator in the negotiation, and upon which I'm basing my offer price. I've just outsourced my justification for my extortive price to an environmental factor; 'not my fault'.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 20, 2022, 02:16:43 PM »
I only joined Twitter a few weeks ago, and it was for the exclusive purpose of following the thoughts of a few select individuals. Some of them also blog, one did not, so to follow that one person I had to be on Twitter. Most of the posts from any of these people include links to longer articles, so really the tweets are just a clearinghouse to post more in-depth material. I don't follow anyone whose content is exclusively found in the tweet itself.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 20, 2022, 02:14:43 PM »
Seriati, sorry I didn't reply yet by I've been too busy in the last several days to do my necessary homework to answer you properly. I will get around to it!

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 19, 2022, 12:03:19 PM »
I can see that argument. But I can also see the argument that changing a price after the fact when new info is discovered showing the original value was due to misrepresentations is also plausible. It's hard to know what was in Musk's mind, maybe it was just low moral fibre as you say. It certainly does look like he wanted to renegotiate when stocks were tanking. Maybe the bots thing was a fake excuse; or maybe it was legit and coincidentally came at the same time as stocks tanking. That conflicted fact timing is why I'm willing to say it's hard to suss out.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 19, 2022, 10:51:14 AM »
Let's say they stonewall him, with or without an explicit request for data in contractual form. Then he walks away without penalty. Happens all the time.

Right, except that it wasn't exactly a strict business investment, more like a moral investment. I believe him when he said he wanted it so that he could free up narrative control (in his view). So walking away would defeat the purpose of trying to reform it. So let's take this scenario as an hypothesis: what would be the best method to ensure he both gets Twitter and gets the info he needs? Yes, he could do a slower process, and they could stonewall him, and they effectively keep him out. Note that they did initially want to keep him out and were risking reneging on their duty to the shareholders when they wanted to reject his offer out of hand. So his situation was not just trying to buy a company, but also trying to wrest it away by force from people he viewed as bad actors. From that standpoint the cautious and slow approach would surely fail, no? Not sure if he actually had other options that could succeed other than getting his foot in the door in a big way.

So he only started to care when it looked like he could no longer afford the deal. I hate fraud and deceit, so my only investment in this is that Musk make it right after completely screwing up Twitter for investors and employees.

That is definitely plausible, but it's hard for me to tell. The fact of tech stocks tanking immediately after he made the offer makes it very hard to suss out his internal reasoning. Media tried to make it sound like it was his antics tanking Tesla and Twitter, but since all tech was tanking at the same time I find that claim dubious.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 19, 2022, 12:47:32 AM »
This is why rational investors perform due diligence. By waiving it, Musk was basically saying "I trust the numbers you've given me."

Now he's trying to run an audit to prove it was a stolen acquisition. But he has no proof that the bot count isn't exactly what they said it was.

I'm not really sure where I stand on this, if anywhere (I don't care as much as it may seem). But just to follow your reasoning, let's say Musk had in fact tried to do this due diligence before making a hard offer - how do you think that plays out? My thinking is Twitter gives Musk the same data it was giving everyone, and if he asks for more info or direct personal access to investigate the accounts himself, they refuse just as they would to anyone else. How else would he gain insider access to see for himself unless he had already put his foot in the door as a buyer? To be fair they did offer him a board seat first, so potentially he could have accepted it, and from within the board tried to get the board to agree to produce better data. But that process would likely be long, and even then he could potentially be overruled.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 18, 2022, 08:09:01 PM »
I don't have a facepalm big enough.

Perhaps you can find someone with extra-large hands so that your entire face can be capture in the smack?

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 18, 2022, 07:21:10 PM »
Filing by Musk's lawyers,

As I suggested above, the entire matter, according to the defense, rests on the facts of the bot/spam accounts. Whether a judge agrees that this is materially relevant remains to be seen, but I agree with the general sentiment of the defense regarding both the timeline and the details of what they are stating. It accords with what Musk was claiming on Twitter right after the deal was accepted.

I'd also like to note that the difference in language between the plaintiffs and Musk's team is quite striking. I'm not a lawyer so I can't tell how normal or abnormal it is, but I appreciate as a layperson that the defense's reasoning is worded in plain English, often with colorful but clear descriptors like "warp speed", which makes their arguments easily readable.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 14, 2022, 04:01:53 PM »
Meh, I hope Musk wins, I don't care if he gets charged a billion break up fee or whatever. His proposed moderation changes aren't good for society. Twitter is bad enough for real dialogue and discussion as is, filtering out or flagging the worst of the crap is the least they can do.

Hm, I think a lot of people have this idea that he wants to turn Twitter into Qanon or something. But what I think he actually wants to do is create much more hands-on self-moderating of content. Basically the unload the censorship choices onto the individual user. This could in theory create greater echo chambers, to be fair, if people use this feature and shunt out even more content for themselves than Twitter already does. But it would also allow some voices to be present for whatever niche audience they have. As with anything this process would have to be tested in practice.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 14, 2022, 03:29:59 PM »
An Obama era energy sector rule didn't that hasn't been on the books for 4 years didn't suddenly cause economy wide inflation.

Global inflation.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 14, 2022, 02:39:58 PM »
Um, Seriait, there's a reason I asked for one or two, as I can't vet all that. It'd take me weeks or months to investigate each of those arenas to my satisfaction to be able to tell you 'authoritatively' whether I think your invididual points have merit. But are you seriously meaning to say that instances of systemic money shifting in the form of legal settlements and voter registration activities are why bread in stores would go up 50% in cost over the last two years? Or milk, or any good whether produced locally or sourced from Asia? And likewise these things are the cause of the stock market soaring starting Aug 2021, of the high price of crude oil coming into 2022, and why auto parts and chips are seeing shortages?

I'll focus on two of your points that I see as being more directly related to soaring inflation. Even if some of your other points have merit as being administrative bloat or mismanagement, that happens now and then in policits but doesn't generate 9%+ inflation.

Or how about the express new directives in the housing industry that they have to consider "equity" in mortgages going forward?  Do you remember the whole friggin' sub-prime crisis?  This is literally the same type of action that underpinned the entire subprime mortgage crisis.  It's directly adding to the costs of housing, as the every loan made that isn't justified by the actual financials increases the incurrence of losses that have be made up through the rates on everyone else.

Can you be more explicit about which directives you mean? I do read and hear a lot about the mortgage market, so I'd like to know which policies you mean and where they're coming from so I can see if we're seeing the same thing.

Or how about the changes to the minimum wage?

Well, how about it? This is why the prices of commodities and finished goods are going up? Even for commodities and raw materials not exctracted in the U.S.? Even from countries which have had no change in their minimum wage lately?

As a side point, perhaps tangential to the issue of inflation, people have become very fed up during the pandemic at working crap jobs for crap money, and to the extent that the 'great resignation' is a real thing, an increase in the minimum wage would be just the government doing by fiat what sensible businesses do on their own if they actually want to retain staff. I've been to grossly understaffed restaurants during the pandemic, with employees there griping about "no one wants to work" and blaming it on a paltry few covid relief payments. It's much more likely those payments gave people the breathing space (per the UBI argument) to be able to leave the job they didn't want to be at, but that 'not wanting to work' had to do with the conditions at that job. I'll note that Costco for instance has a reputation for paying well and having happy employees. I suppose this practice, which they undertook of their own volition, is responsible for 9.1% inflation as well?


General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 14, 2022, 12:23:27 PM »
My understanding is that they gave him access to the enterprise advertising API, which locks down the sample size and runs per day. Had he run once a day for a month, he could have obtained the same info they (apparently) use.

I assume he didn't want to take a month or more to collect his data? I dunno.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 14, 2022, 12:05:04 PM »
That's exactly why I pointed out that 100 per day versus 9000 a quarter is sophistry.
I don't have a horse in this race, but I need to point out that there is in fact a meaningful statistical difference between sampling 100 user accounts a day and sampling 9000 user accounts per quarter.

Wouldn't this skew the argument in Musk's favor? If he agreed with Twitter to look at a random sampling to satisfy his demand to know the % of bots, a mere 100 accounts in a given day could be way off the statistical average if that day's sampling is all they showed him in detail. And in fact his Tweet on the fly that day seems to indicate that he was shocked they were only going to look at 100 accounts with him. Him naming the number of 100 is the only so-called violation of the NDA, which is pretty silly, since that number would be materially relevant to the validity of whether they had done their legal due diligence. Whether he should have announced it on Twitter (ironically) is one thing, but the idea that this should be kept secret is pretty ridiculous on its face. Even if 100 random accounts sampled per day was their normal regimen, in the case of a sale they should obviously have seriously ramped up the number for Musk's benefit and for that of the banks. I personally wouldn't trust Twitter's own internal accounting of bot accounts; it really is needed in the case of a sale to have Musk and possibly others present to directly observe this analysis of the accounts.

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 14, 2022, 11:19:59 AM »
Ok, Seriati, I'll bite. Can you name one or two specific administrative practices enacted by the Biden administration that you can see as directly contributing to high inflation?

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 14, 2022, 09:50:25 AM »
I would argue that none of our current inflationary problems are due to an actually restricted supply of crude oil.

"Due" is a funny word. If we (incorrectly) view economics as a strict set of causal factors within a system, then perhaps you could be right that there is no direct causation between the Ukraine war and global prices. But I do think there is a connection, just not a materially causal one: people smelled opportunity. But it's not just that, since obviously some prices would directly be affected by a restricted supply. It's just that when seeing one price go up, the supply chain smells blood and follows suit. This is my hypothesis, at least. I think upward price spirals are at least equal part psychological game as inadvertent coordination. If you could raise your price without lowering demand, would you do it? Normally it would lower demand, but what if you knew your competitors would raise the price too? Then it can become a game of inching upwards as the market tries slightly higher prices over and over, watching each other to make sure everyone is still buying and it works. Contrary to what many economists are claiming, I think it's a de facto global cartel. Baseline prices are simply arbitrary, anyhow, right? After all, what is bread intrinsically worth in dollars?

General Comments / Re: The Biden Economy
« on: July 13, 2022, 11:42:44 PM »
Economists wouldn't know how to turn around the current situation even if you let any one of them do anything they wanted to make it happen. It is a complex issue, and I doubt Biden had that much to do with it. The Fed wasn't beholden to either Trump or Biden when it determined its approach in 2020, and it's not even clear they were the sole cause. QE going all the way back to 2011 could be contributing. Blah, blah, blah, I could go on. Anyone who takes sound bites about "who" is responsible for this is just looking for a way to stop thinking about it.

General Comments / Re: Musk and Twitter
« on: July 13, 2022, 10:46:04 AM »
I think you are all discounting Musk's own objection, which is that Twitter was claiming a false number of real accounts. Note that in the case of most companies the financials and their accuracy are going to be the key issue. But Twitter insiders have already admitted that Twitter doesn't even try to turn a profit, nor could they at present, so it is more than apparent that the sole source of value in the company is the number of actual users. I can see the argument that Musk is just making up excuses to back out. But putting aside his motive for making these comments, if in fact it's true that Twitter has a significantly different number of real users than they announced, I would argue that the real value of the company has been manipulated just as if they had faked lines on their balance sheet. Their user base is their real balance sheet. The platform's only value to anyone is amount of people reached, although Musk no doubt had plans to alter that and switch its gears so that it would become profitable. But based on its current business model, lying or being negligent about the number of real users should in fact alter its material value, and in a company of that size transparency about users is as crucial as transparency about depreciation and amortization would be to a real estate or infrastructure company.

I'm not a corporate lawyer so I have no idea how these types of things are deliberated on in court, but in a sense purely of 'fairness', it's evident to me that if Twitter's user base is off by a significant % (not sure what that would be, 10% or more?) then that should allow for a change of bid price after the fact and a new stockholder vote (assuming one had already happened). It would be up to a judge to decide not only whether the contract is binding on Musk in principle, but also whether Twitter is already in breach of it for publishing misleading information.

General Comments / Re: GOP nutbag of the week
« on: July 11, 2022, 07:53:41 PM »
Actually even if that quote was entirely fictional I'd give it good marks for prose styling.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 11, 2022, 11:28:53 AM »
Joshua, in your last reply to me you're mixing up Aristotle's four causes. I know you haven't mentioned Aristotle, but you're using his language, so we have to keep consistent with that language. Just so I'm clear - there is no contemporary use of the word "cause" in the way you're using it, as the term does not mean what you're using it to mean. That's ok, we can use Aristotle's meaning so long as we're clear and consistent in that usage.

God is the fundamental cause of my existence at this moment

Since your premise is that non-existence is the default and it requires an active move by God to keep things persistent, this would be an efficient cause of things keeping as they are. This is a consideration of change or potential change, with that change (or lack thereof) being controlled by God.

but a proximate cause of my existence is the cells in my body or the molecules in my cells, which is caused by the atoms in those molecules, which is caused by the particles in those atoms, which are caused by <whatever>. And so on.

No, the material that makes up your body is not a proximate cause of your existence, it is the material cause of your body. And their structure is the formal cause of why you are the way you are. A proximate cause (a modern term) is an event closely related to another event that is related to a change in circumstances, i.e. one event affects another. This would fall under efficient cause, which is not what the material making up your body is.

Now you have refrained from addressing this type of issue, but if you wanted to look at subatomic physics and argue that everything is in motion within you, thus there could be a breakdown between formal + material causes and efficient causes for things happening, then I could accept that. But you are equivocating with the word "cause" and using it in all sorts of different ways within the same proposition. My cells are not the "cause" of my existence in the same way that God "causes" me to continue existing; they are categorically different. And again, this all requires us to accept the use of translations of antiquated language (which by the way I don't accept, but which I'll go along with to follow an argument) and disregard the fairly obvious fact that if you said to anyone today that the atoms making up your body are the "cause" of your existence they would just look at your funny unless they worked in a classics department. How could my cells and atoms by the "cause" of me when they ARE me? I'm not interested in pursuing that argument, but just illustrating how much we must already bend in using old language. Let's actually use that language as intended!

At the root of that chain of causation, right here in this moment, there must be something which necessarily exists, because all of those other things have contingent existence.

As I just mentioned, this backtraced chain of causation of why I exist in this moment does not work:

Me <-- my cells <-- my atoms <-- etc etc <-- God

My cells and atoms play no part, according to your argument, in allowing me to persist from moment to moment, since they do not intrinsically contain the property of persistence. Therefore they are not a cause of me ceasing to vanish. God would be the agent causing both them me to continue to persist, simultaneously. There is no chain of causation there, just one single causation keeping the entire boat afloat. The only way a reference to my body's structure matters is if you're looking to find out why I stay alive and don't die over time, which cannot be part of the argument since you are not talking about how things change over time.

Your argument's first clause is based on the fact that we can see why things exist, which surely must be about how things are working in time.

No. Not necessarily. We can talk about historical causes and those are valid. We can also talk about hierarchical causes.

Historical causes are about rate of change over time; it's physics and motion. You have ruled this out as being part of what you're talking about.

For example, why does my keyboard sit on my desk rather than fall to the floor?

Due to the effects over time of electromagnetism, which has nothing to do with why the desk, the floor, and electromagnetism continue to persist over time rather than just vanish. These chronological phenomena (so-called laws of nature) have nothing to do with persistence, which you yourself have insisted on since physical nature itself cannot contain persistence as a property. Therefore any goings-on of nature cannot explain persistence.

We can talk about the history of the keyboard: the gathering of the raw materials, the forming of them into a keyboard, their packaging, the delivery drivers, the store, my purchase, its unpacking, and me plugging it in to my computer and putting it on my desk.

Same objection as above.

But none of that has anything to do with why it sits 3 feet above the ground rather than falling to the floor. All of the causation of that is happening right here in this moment. The keyboard rests on my desk, which rests on the carpet, which rests upon the floor boards, which rest upon the floor beams, and so on. The cause for its sitting 3 feet above the ground is hierarchical, not historical.

This is wrong on every level. No natural effects are instantaneous, they occur over time, usually mediated by the speed of light. E/M replusing effects occur with a certain force over time; gravity functions at a certain strength over time, transmitted at the speed of light; all of this has to do with how things change over time. None of it is a static situation that 'just is'. Now if you want to call the laws of nature 'hierarchical' and define "hierarchical" as simply being synonymous with forces that categorically affect all matter and energy, I guess that would be ok. But you do understand that the laws of nature are only measurements of how things change over time, right? They are literally not anything else. Now you might think that something like a proton's mass is unchanging over time, but even this isn't clear. We don't know whether the proton mass is absolutely fixed, nor can we just 'see' its mass; but rather we can only speak of its mass via experiments that measure change over time. So the reality of mass is nested with the reality of active measurements, which in turn are a function of change over time. So you can call natural laws hierarchical if you like, but those are not a hierarchy in the sense of 'existing' within an instant of time as some kind of tower standing about material reality and heading toward God. They only exist vis a vis measurements of change over time. If you are eliminating chronology then you are eliminating them as well.

Similarly, our existence must rest upon something, here in this moment. The past no longer exists; something which does not exist cannot give existence to something now. It could have been an historical cause, but it cannot actualize existence here in this moment.

I understand this has been your position, but you can't fall back on the laws of nature to explain our existence either. Unless you are suggesting that persistence over time is actually a law of nature? But that's what Tom has been suggesting and you've rejected it. If persistence has no part of the physical laws then those are of no help to us to explain why things persist.

I don't get your objection. You seem to want me to offer a parallel argument because the one on the first page is not enough. While I think that request is kind of silly, I would point out that the argument for God being fully actual that I provided a few pages back is a completely parallel argument, as is the argument for God's intellect from the universals, as is the argument for God being non-composite. These four all start from observing something obvious about reality around us, and conclude a particular property of God. Then, upon reflection, wen can see that they're all pointing at the same God.

Just so I'm clear, are you citing these theological propositions as being the basis of your statement in clause #2 that science and philosophy do function? Note again, my objection is that your statement that we can trust science and philosophy is meant to support the proposition that God props up existence in this moment, which doesn't seem to make sense unless one or both fields have provided for us solid evidence that we can make strong statements like this. So are you limiting this solid evidence to the theological propositions you just named (about the attributes of God), or are there other domains of philosophy that have shown us success that should give us confidence in making statements about how existence is propped up?

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 09, 2022, 11:44:32 AM »
Hierarchical in the sense that it is all happening right here in this moment, as I outlined in my original post: "if I were to say "I exist because of the molecules and particles of my body," that would be true, but incomplete. I also need to explain why the molecules and particles in my body exist, and why the subatomic particle exist, and so on and so forth."

Yeah but the fact of things existing right now, in this moment, is not a hierarchy: there is no intermediate cause between God willing something to persist and it persisting. So explaining why your blood flows chronologically requires intermediary causes, since God created everything, God causes things to persist, and since they work according to laws they do specific things. But take away chronology and there is no intermediate step, hence no hierarchy. And you have said you are only talking about persistence itself. The reason my blood exists right now in this moment is not because subatomic particles exist; those are not in any way the cause of my persistence since they are as dependent as the rest of everything for existing (according to the argument).

Where have I invoked chronology?

Your argument's first clause is based on the fact that we can see why things exist, which surely must be about how things are working in time. If it's not then I actually don't know what it would be trying to say - that we can see in the instantaneous moment of time why they are made to persist? No, it sounds to me pretty clearly that we see that things work according to a certain logic, which is a chronological consideration. Likewise, your clause about science (and philosophy) working is strictly a chronological affair since science says nothing about why things persist in this moment.

And if our courage to say we can have success in understanding things comes from our observations and learning about how things work, that category of understanding (chronological) does not lend us credence to then make statements about why things persist across time. It's not part of what we are observing. Philosophy, on the other hand, does offer metaphysical speculations, so we could still include that and eliminate science as mattering from your argument. However part of your argument stipulates that we have had successes in philosophy which demonstrate that we can trust its intuitions, and I've already asked what an example might be of a success in philosophy such as would lend us any credibility in knowing we can say things about why things persist in this moment.

Yeah, I don't think God is the proximate cause for the flow of my blood. God is the ultimate cause, in that he causes all things to be in existence, but my heart is the proximate cause. I don't think it's accurate to reject all intermediary causes as illusory.

I didn't, your argument does if we are only talking about why things persist right now. You're mixing up the hierarchy of proximate causes in chronology with a hierarchy of why things persist, the latter of which doesn't have a hierarchy since God willing it is the only cause (according to the argument).

But what evidence in science and philosophy give us the information needed to say God supports us all right here and now in this moment? What successes have we had that can demonstrate we can deduce this type of result?

The argument I presented on the first page: contingent things exist in this moment and the PSR is true, therefore something which necessarily exists must be the cause of existence in this moment.

Heh, you can't cite the argument you're making as an example of a success in philosophy that should make us trust philosophical statements. I am asking upon which firmament previously established in philosophy do we have a good basis for having observations or solid statements about why things persist right now in this moment. As Tom is, I'm asking in what possible way a statement about things persisting can be anything but an axiom.

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 08, 2022, 02:37:06 PM »
It was like watching Jordan Peterson


General Comments / Re: Why I hate the Chinese Room Argument
« on: July 08, 2022, 11:50:49 AM »
(I'd prefer to reserve the word "brain" to describe the apparatus by which a mind is sustained, personally. I think it's a useful distinction to make.)

That would imply that the mind is inside the brain, would it not? But the brain/hard AI argument would be that the brain IS the mind, and that the 'software' is non-transferrable without essentially destroying that entity (or artificial life form, if we're going there). A lot of people, IMO erroneously, like to throw around the idea that they 'are' their brain, housed in a body, and this is a similar type of thing to say that a brain merely contains the person's personality (which you're suggesting re: machines, not humans afaik). But I will it will become clear in time that a person is their entire system, and if you for example did a brain transplant you be effectively creating a new person.

General Comments / Re: Why I hate the Chinese Room Argument
« on: July 08, 2022, 11:29:06 AM »
I guess the issue I was raising is that so long as your definition of "mind" is anything with self-referential complex processes (loosely speaking) your definition will end up matching your example, but will also contradict how the word is used by many. Just as an example, a think a common usage of "mind" would point to a scenario where a regular person has no problem deleting or even smashing your software system, no matter how self-referential it is (I decline to say "self-aware" since that term may be tautological), and would likewise say they would not want to destroy a "mind". Something about the word seems to connote life, whereas non-life can be destroyed at will, putting aside issues like vandalism. So it would be semantically sticky to try to use "mind" to speak of something we assign no moral value to. On the other hand, "brain" seems a bit more neutral as people sometimes refer to machine 'brains' without it suggesting they're alive or even that they have consciousness and can think. Brain, of course, presupposes a physical hardware involvement rather than calling the software AI the 'mind'. I've heard arguments made that a physical body may be necessary for hard AI (I've even heard this argument used to assert that Data on TNG may be alive, whereas Doc on Voyager cannot be).

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 08, 2022, 03:29:50 AM »
I do think the arguments which rely on chronology hold, but I don't want to debate sci-fi with you and Tom, and I find it easiest to sidestep that whole mess by talking about a hierarchical chain of causation rather than an historical one.

Hierarchical in what sense? It seems to me that if you're only talking about God propping up reality, as I mentioned above there is no hierarchy or order of efficient causes. God wills it, and we persist. But your argument uses elements from Aquinas' formats which are talking about chronology, such as saying contingent things require causes, but cannot cause each other to infinity, and so forth. You're ruling out infinite regress and time loops because you want to trace that chain to a final destination; but a final destination doesn't exist in the God--> us supports us with His will direct argument. You don't need intermediary causes to even have to worry about excluding infinite regress. But what evidence in science and philosophy give us the information needed to say God supports us all right here and now in this moment? What successes have we had that can demonstrate we can deduce this type of result?

General Comments / Re: God Exists
« on: July 08, 2022, 02:29:33 AM »
You keep missing a key point of the first argument. It is not an argument backwards through time; it is an argument right here in this moment. Something here in this moment must necessarily exist and be imparting existing to all other contingent things.

Sorry to intrude again on your comments to Tom, but I do want to mention something I highlighted once but want to emphasize: you've said you don't want this to be about chronological causes but rather a single current cause of reality existing. But as I mentioned before a lot of the language you used is bound up in chronological considerations. Aquinas' 2nd and 3rd ways are both at least in part talking about a chronological chain of causation: in the 2nd way he refers to efficient causes of things, and how infinities are impossible; but this could only be true if he's talking about materially subsequent events. If he was talking about the single cause of everything existing there would be no chain of efficient causes, no middle term, nothing; just God and all the things He - in one efficient cause - wills to exist. So that argument surely must actually be about linear time and how it can traced back to its Creator. It may also be about the direct God-us cause, but can't be just about that. And his 3rd way is more or less strictly a linear-time argument about how things must have gone before, and this proving there's a God (the Parmenides 'nothing comes from nothing' argument). The 4th and 5th ways don't help us in this regard since they're on about something else, while the 1st is indeed on about chronology but you've specifically said you are not talking about the Prime Mover argument so we can drop that one. My point is just to say that both of Aquinas' relevant arguments that lend themselves to your version of it at all include linear chronology in them. So yours would be different in that you're only talking about propping up existence rather than finding a chain of causation. I think this departs from what the older versions (such as Aquinas) saw as the schema in the arguments. If you want to drop that aspect of it then fine, but then what does our science and philosophy from step 1 on pg 1 actually tell us of use about what props everything up right now?

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