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Friday, August 6, 2004 - 3:45amSanction this postReply
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(Edited by Marc Geddes on 8/25, 11:34pm)




Post 1

Friday, August 6, 2004 - 7:16amSanction this postReply
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Marc,
 
"All of reality is a manifestation of pure mathematics."
 
Um, I think this is backwards.  You mean, all of mathematics is a manifestation of reality.
 
"All mathematical structures have objective reality in the sense that they are not human creations."
 
Oh!  You're a Platonist!
 
"There are no certainties or axioms that we can accept without question."
 
[Raised eyebrow]
 
"All beliefs must always be open to question."
 
[Raises eyebrow even farther]
 
I find it interesting that you present your "self-referential network" system in a hierarchal fashion, proceeding from metaphysics to epistemology to ethics to politics.  It rather suggests that these facts can't come in just any order, doesn't it?
 
Nate T.




Post 2

Saturday, August 7, 2004 - 1:19amSanction this postReply
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Oh!  You're a Platonist!
Right.  I think that mathematical things are really concrete things existing outside our heads and I think that the whole universe (everything that exists- call it A) and the whole of mathematics (call it B) are one and the same thing (A=B).  Do you get it?
 
Perhaps this helps clear up my position in the other thread.  You can see why I think that a successful mathematical theory is not just a picture or *analogy* existing inside our heads.  I think that it is an actual description of what reality really is. 
 
If everything is mathematics, then your mind itself is a form of mathematics in action.  So the very process of reasoning is mathematical.  Therefore there is no reason why the pictures in your mind cannot perfectly match any part of external reality (remember any part of reality is just mathematics as well you see).
 
Let me point out that a computer doing mathematics (say adding 2+2) is not just a simulation or analogy of a human mind adding 2 and 2.  The computer actually is adding 2 and 2.  Once a perfectly accurate model of some aspect of reality has been achieved there is no longer any difference between the map and the territory.  The Map and the Territory are then identical. 
 
 
 




Post 3

Saturday, August 7, 2004 - 2:11amSanction this postReply
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In the spirit of Nate (above):

"Human beings were not the pinnacle of the evolutionary process."

Oh, what were they then ... these human-type beings?


"They were merely the beginning."

Oh. That clears things up. Thank you.
Marc, what do you say to the criticism that you've merely picked our current location on the evolutionary scale and "re-defined" it as "the beginning" (to fit your larger schematic of reality)?



"It is possible for beings to exist with cognitive and physical abilities as far beyond humans as humans abilities are beyond slugs. Human characteristics could be greatly advanced and should be."

I agree.


"There is nothing inherently good about what is natural."

I disagree. What is natural DICTATES what is good (for us).

Food is naturally more nutritious for man than poison is, and therefore, it is objectively superior. We do not need to appeal to a higher (Platonic) consciousness or, for that matter, to a lower (existentialist) consciousness to understand where things like food and poison fall on the scale from good to bad (ie. in order to understand how to live well as a human on earth).


"Humans should regard reality as a work of art in progress and aim to perfect themselves, utilizing science, technology and critical thinking to deliberately enhance human mental and physical characteristics towards this end."

I agree.


"Humans should seek to transcend to post-human states."

I disagree. Assuming it possible for the sake of argumentation, a species doesn't gain by "transcending" its identity. If it has the attributes of a certain type of being, then it works with those attributes - not BEYOND them.

If you took a fish out of water in order to teach it to ride a bike - it would never forgive you. The beneficent thing to do is to teach it to be a better fish, not something that its identity prohibits. This involves letting go of wishful thinking that "A" can and should be more than "A." Instead, it involves embracing hopeful thinking: be the best damn "A" that an "A" can be. It is that simple.

Ed



Post 4

Saturday, August 7, 2004 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
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Mark,

I think that mathematical things are really concrete things existing outside our heads ...
 
What is a mathematical thing?
 
Do you regard the things mathematics cannot describe as illusions, such as the ratio between either leg of an isosceles right triangle and its hypotenuse? (There is no number that can represent it.)
 
Mathematics is nothing more than a method based on the human discovery that things can be counted.
 
The reification of mathematical concepts is one of the earliest of superstitions (think Pythagorous) and the most fundamental of logical fallacies. That this pathetic superstition still has a market is incredible.
 
Not being able to tell the difference between concepts (mathematics) used to describe those aspects of reality that can be counted and measured and reality itself is the same as not being able to tell the difference between monopoly money and the real thing. 
 
Regi
 
 





Post 5

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 1:09amSanction this postReply
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What is a mathematical thing?

Let me turn your question around and ask you what you think physical reality is.  Once scientists examined matter it turned out to be mostly empty space between and within 'atoms'.  Then the atoms turned out to be mostly just energy.  Then the energy turned out to be mostly just information.  And information is nothing but mathematics in action.

 

Mathematics is nothing more than a method based on the human discovery that things can be counted.
 
The reification of mathematical concepts is one of the earliest of superstitions (think Pythagorous) and the most fundamental of logical fallacies. That this pathetic superstition still has a market is incredible.

The mistake the earlier Platonists made was to postulate some sort of world of ideal forms over and above the physical world.  That was indeed mysticism.  Modern Platonism only postulates that the mathematical world and reality are one and the same.  This is not mysticism, because the mathematical forms are located in the physical world.

 

My advice to you to go take a rudimentary course in the nature of rationality and the scientific method.

 

The whole basis of science and philosophy is the idea that there is a wider reality than the one we can currently directly observe.  Then we use critical thinking and indirect evidence to try to reason our way to ideas about this deeper reality.  Eventually we figure out a way to directly observe this deeper reality and our conception of reality is broadened.

 

Given objective reality and given that the mind can grasp it, scientists are perfectly justified in assuming that there is some degree of direct correspondence between things that are in their models and unobservables in reality, if they have a strong rational understanding of the principles underpinning the parts of reality under study.   

 

 

Not being able to tell the difference between concepts (mathematics) used to describe those aspects of reality that can be counted and measured and reality itself is the same as not being able to tell the difference between monopoly money and the real thing. 
 
Regi

Circular reasoning Regi old boy.  You've simply pre-supposed a complete distinction between a model of reality and reality itself.  You're saying that scientists can't know things in themselves.  That is also, by the way, is the philosophy of Kant.

 

How do you know in advance what is and is not a part of concrete reality?  The nature of reality is what are trying find out.  We shouldn't presuppose in advance which things are merely 'devices' and which are concrete observables.

 

 

 

 

 
 




Post 6

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 1:16amSanction this postReply
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"Human beings were not the pinnacle of the evolutionary process."

Oh, what were they then ... these human-type beings??


"They were merely the beginning."?

Oh. That clears things up. Thank you.
Marc, what do you say to the criticism that you've merely picked our current location on the evolutionary scale and "re-defined" it as "the beginning" (to fit your larger schematic of reality)?

Good points Ed.  I've re-written that bit.

"There is nothing inherently good about what is natural."


I disagree. What is natural DICTATES what is good (for us).

Food is naturally more nutritious for man than poison is, and therefore, it is objectively superior. We do not need to appeal to a higher (Platonic) consciousness or, for that matter, to a lower (existentialist) consciousness to understand where things like food and poison fall on the scale from good to bad (ie. in order to understand how to live well as a human on earth).

What I should have said:  What is natural is not necessarily what is good.  Aids, small-pox and aging are all natural for instance.

"Humans should seek to transcend to post-human states."


I disagree. Assuming it possible for the sake of argumentation, a species doesn't gain by "transcending" its identity. If it has the attributes of a certain type of being, then it works with those attributes - not BEYOND them.

If you took a fish out of water in order to teach it to ride a bike - it would never forgive you. The beneficent thing to do is to teach it to be a better fish, not something that its identity prohibits. This involves letting go of wishful thinking that "A" can and should be more than "A." Instead, it involves embracing hopeful thinking: be the best damn "A" that an "A" can be. It is that simple.

Ed

You're right that we wouldn't want to totally throw out our human identity.  The aim should be to enhance the positive human attributes.  The term 'Post-human' simply anticipates that once humans have been enhanced past a certain point, they'd be so different from the original 'natural' humans that they'd technically have been transformed into a new species.

Thanks for the comments Ed.  A greatly expanded version my 'platform' has now been posted on my web-site.  Those who are interested can read the new version here:

'The Libertarian-Transhumanist Philosophical Platform Ver 2.0'




Post 7

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 3:24amSanction this postReply
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You yourself would claim not to be certain of your case, so why would anybody waste their time with this rationalist armchair philosophy?



Post 8

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 4:35amSanction this postReply
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Why indeed Cam?! Very well stated. This Transhumanist crap, of which its unhinged promoters can be but 98% certain, is best, at present, located on the Dissent board - only I think we need another board to do it justice: Lunacy!

Linz



Post 9

Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:53amSanction this postReply
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oh come now, linz. we're not all as bad as marc.



Post 10

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 3:18amSanction this postReply
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You yourself would claim not to be certain of your case, so why would anybody waste their time with this rationalist armchair philosophy?

Cam,

 

Transhumanism is based on the best known conception of reality that scientists can currently come up with.  It is the total polar opposite of 'rationalist armchair philosophy'.  The philosophy is rooted in science and observation.  It says: we need to start with what science tells us is true, and then build up values and conclusions.  It's based on a ideas of a large number of the world's most brilliant people and is firmly rooted in what science tells us is true.  That's why you should accept it.

 

The irony is that in the most general terms, I can argue that's really just a greatly extended version of Objectivist principles.  Here's a summary of Transhumanism:

 

Metaphysics:  Objective Reality

Epistemology: Reason

Ethics:       Perfectionist ethics

Politics:     Capitalsim

 

Sound familiar? 

 

Ayn Rand has a place of honor in my latest draft of Libertarian-Transhumanism BTW:

 

'Libertarian-Transhumanist Philosophical Platform Ver 3.0'

 

(I've added lots of links to sites explaining the people and terms mentioned in this draft)

 

 






Post 11

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 3:21amSanction this postReply
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Why indeed Cam?! Very well stated. This Transhumanist crap, of which its unhinged promoters can be but 98% certain, is best, at present, located on the Dissent board - only I think we need another board to do it justice: Lunacy!

Linz

Linz,

 

Interesting reaction.  Transhumanism does seem pretty alien and um *out there* to most people at first.  But have you ever heard the expression... the truth is stranger than fiction?

 

People always start by pooh-poohing the ideas at first, but when they get around to actually trying to refute them logically they find that they can't.  No matter how hard they try, they find that they can't rebut the idea with reasoned arguments.  That's because the ideas are true.

 

Plenty of people at SOLO had a go at shooting down my epistemology for instance.  They couldnt do it.  Perhaps there's a reason for it eh?

 

Any way, carry on.






Post 12

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 9:34pmSanction this postReply
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"People always start by pooh-poohing the ideas at first, but when they get around to actually trying to refute them logically they find that they can't. No matter how hard they try, they find that they can't rebut the idea with reasoned arguments. That's because the ideas are true."

ok then, lets see you produce a treatise outlining your defense of altruism. if you really think your ideas are irrefutable, I have but one thing to say: put up or shut up.

and, unlike everyone here, I agree with transhumanist predictions about human enhancement. I honestly don't see what the objection to it is.



Post 13

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 9:38pmSanction this postReply
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addendum: I don't like your attempt to try to put a metaphysics and an ethics on transhumanism when it is clearly a not such and has no business having any claims of such nature made as part of its essentials. transhumanism is a series of predictions about humankind's future technological and biological status, not an overarching philosophy



Post 14

Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:36pmSanction this postReply
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Marc:
"Transhumanism is based on the best known conception of reality that scientists can currently come up with."

Ed:
And therein lies the problem. Marc "conception[s] of reality" don't COME from scientists. As I've almost said to you a million times before (in my head, actually - while reading your posts): something that's wrong in principle, cannot be made right by the mere juxtaposition of nonessentials. Why don't you bite the bullet and get a foundation like the rest of us so that we can place nice in this sand-box?



Post 15

Friday, August 13, 2004 - 2:24amSanction this postReply
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Once & for all, Transhumanism is bollocks, & its adherents nutters. I once made the mistake of publishing an article by one of them in The Free Radical. When asked for a photograph of himself, he supplied Darth Vader. An intelligent but supremely immature person's outlet for his infantilism.

Once & for all, I'm all in favour of life-extension & death-defiance & everything that accompanies western medicine, which is magnificent, but I draw the line at volitional, immortal robots. Mr Geddes, if I recall correctly, thinks the latter are going to invade & take over the planet in about 30 years. I suppose the consolation is that he's only 98% sure of this (this guy says he *won* the epistemological arguments here? What did I miss?!).

Linz



Post 16

Friday, August 13, 2004 - 5:06amSanction this postReply
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He's not sure he won the arguments :-)



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Post 17

Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 2:52amSanction this postReply
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Once & for all, Transhumanism is bollocks, & its adherents nutters. I once made the mistake of publishing an article by one of them in The Free Radical. When asked for a photograph of himself, he supplied Darth Vader.
You should have spotted the early warning signs then eh Linz? ;)

An intelligent but supremely immature person's outlet for his infantilism.
If all the adherents of Transhumanism are nutters, I guess one of the world's most widely read Libertarian e-zines ('Reason') is posting stuff by nutters now as well?  Did you read this article that recently appeared there:

'The Transhumans Are Coming!'

Mr Geddes, if I recall correctly, thinks the latter are going to invade & take over the planet in about 30 years.
Don't be an idiot. 

Any way I'll leave Objectivists to play in their little box now.  This will be my last post here.  See ya later! 




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Post 18

Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 7:38pmSanction this postReply
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Bless you Lindsay. Bollocks and nutters, of that I'm certain. :-)

Geddes hasn't "won" any epistemological arguments. As I explained in my recent article, he won't be able to so win until he can present his case without implying certainty. He's never done it, and he won't ever do it - rationalistic nonsense about everything being maths notwithstanding. His 98% stuff begins an infinite regress and his case refutes itself without the rest of us really having to exert much effort.




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