Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: The limititations of our understanding.

  1. #1
    a.w.o.l
    Array

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,175

    Default The limititations of our understanding.

    Recently, Mr.Dawkins gave a speech suggesting that we live in middle-life (i believe thats the term he used). Because we live in middle life, we are limited in our understanding of metaphysical questions pertaining to the universe. We are limited in the same way as the ant (Which lives in presumbly lower-earth) is also limited in its ability to understand the universe.

    We don't believe that an Ant could ever possibly understand the shape of the world, and in this sense its understanding is limited.

    However, we also don't believe a 6 year old can understand algebra: Although we recognize that someday he might.

    Are we more like the ant or the 6 year old? Is it futile for us to attempt to understand the universe as it would be for the ant... or should we pursue understanding as the 6 year old must as he grows older?

    Undoubtly your answer is somewhere in between the two - but its an interesting thought. Any comments?
    Luther Stark is offline

  2. #2
    Nixon in '72!
    Array

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Annapolis, Maryland
    Posts
    13,457

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Human beings, like the child, have the faculty of reason and ability to use logic. And so, unlike the ant, we can expand our understanding. Presumably we can at maximum understand anything that logic and the six senses will allow, given enough time and effort. What the limits of that are of course cannot be known.
    sigline
    Why change Dicks in the middle of a screw? Vote Nixon in '72!
    Send a message via AIM to LasagnaSend a message via MSN to Lasagna
    Lasagna is offline

  3. #3
    WINNING WITH TIGERBLOOD
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    15,365

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Richard Dawkins is desperately pulling stuff out of his ass in order to salve his ego again I see.

    Probably because everyone didn't immediately turn atheist when his latest bit of vitriolic blasphemy was published
    sigline
    PLAGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    Chaos is offline

  4. #4
    a.w.o.l
    Array

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,175

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Quote
    And so, unlike the ant, we can expand our understanding.
    True but would you not agree that even if the Ant possessed our same faculties of reason and logic they would still only be able to reason and logic only so much?

    Quote Quote
    Richard Dawkins is desperately pulling stuff out of his ass in order to salve his ego again I see.
    That doesn't further the serious discussion, Chaos.

    Quote Quote
    Probably because everyone didn't immediately turn atheist when his latest bit of vitriolic blasphemy was published
    This really has very little, if anything, to do with God. Please stay on topic.
    Luther Stark is offline

  5. #5
    WINNING WITH TIGERBLOOD
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    15,365

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Oh Looother I'm going to make you feel angry again.

    Quote Quote
    That doesn't further the serious discussion, Chaos.
    Actually it does. Dawkins is positing the existence of philosophical concepts that are impossible for us to comprehend because of biological limitations in our capacity for logic and reason. This is an unfalsifiable position; if such concepts do exist, we are unable to discern them. If they do not exist, then they do not exist.

    Richard Dawkins is an asshole, but he isn't stupid. He knows that unfalsifiable arguments aren't really valid. So he is either fooling himself (a valid possibility) or he is just making stuff up and peddling it to whoever will hear him.

    Quote Quote
    This really has very little, if anything, to do with God. Please stay on topic.
    Oh I'm sorry Looother maybe the problem is you exist in "beginning life" and don't have the capacity to handle such simple issues as the possibility of people not believing what they say or pushing theories based not on their objective validity but on their ability to bring the theory-pusher money or peace of mind or whatever.

    Dawkins recently put out yet another of his vapid anti-God screeds and he got lampooned on South Park for it. I suspect that this "middle life" nonsense is just another theory made up with no logic or reasoning behind it as an attempt of Mr. Dawkins' to reconcile his own bloated opinion of himself with his lack of name recognition and lack of relevance in general to the general population. He is a man with an ego the size of the Sun and the vast majority of people don't know who he is, or dismiss him out of hand as yet another asshole atheist.

    Being a member of the intellectual elite means never having to admit you're wrong in any sense of the word; just come up with some new theory "proving" you and your intellectual colleagues are superior to Joe Sixpack and it is Joe Sixpack's fault that your ideology isn't more widespread and powerful. Your colleagues certainly won't object.

    As usual Looother your less than rigorous mental examination of things leaves you clutching at straws and forced to devolve to personal attacks. Get over yourself already little boy.
    sigline
    PLAGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    Chaos is offline

  6. #6
    a.w.o.l
    Array

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,175

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Quote
    Oh Looother I'm going to make you feel angry again.
    And something tells me you're going to enjoy that. Strange that NOT making people angry seems to fall so far down on your list of priorities. I always sort of figured it was one of the most important things to do in life.

    Quote Quote
    This is an unfalsifiable position; if such concepts do exist, we are unable to discern them. If they do not exist, then they do not exist.
    But the evidence is there, is it not? How can creatures incapable of smell detect odors? How can animals incapable of sight detect light? How can we assume that we have no limitations on our own perceptions - limitations that would make certain realities inconcievable... when it would seem that almost every other creature does have these limitations?

    Quote Quote
    As usual Looother your less than rigorous mental examination of things leaves you clutching at straws and forced to devolve to personal attacks. Get over yourself already little boy.
    Asking you to focus on the topic should not be misconstrued as a personal attack.
    Luther Stark is offline

  7. #7
    WINNING WITH TIGERBLOOD
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    15,365

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Quote
    Asking you to focus on the topic should not be misconstrued as a personal attack.
    There was nothing to be misconstrued as you put it. You knew I was on topic and just didn't like it.

    Quote Quote
    And something tells me you're going to enjoy that. Strange that NOT making people angry seems to fall so far down on your list of priorities. I always sort of figured it was one of the most important things to do in life.
    Why would you be important enough to me that I would care whether I made you angry or not? *puzzlement*

    Quote Quote
    But the evidence is there, is it not? How can creatures incapable of smell detect odors? How can animals incapable of sight detect light? How can we assume that we have no limitations on our own perceptions - limitations that would make certain realities inconcievable... when it would seem that almost every other creature does have these limitations?
    You are comparing apples and oranges. In all of those cases above, the brain still has the capacity to sense those things even if the organs used are not the organs used in a human being.

    What Dawkins is saying is that our brains literally do not have the capacity to understand or even give detail of these purportedly real metaphysical ideas.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4676751.stm

    It isn't that hard to see through Dawkins. The money quote - a paraphrase - is right here:

    Quote Quote
    Professor Dawkins' opening talk, in a session called Meme Power, explored the ways in which humans invent their own realities to make sense of the infinitely complex worlds they are in; worlds made more complex by ideas such as quantum physics which is beyond most human understanding.
    Beyond most human understanding. Not Richard Dawkins's understanding, I bet.

    What we have here is Ivory Tower Syndrome at its finest. The general populace doesn't know who Richard Dawkins is because their minds unconsciously program themselves to be narrow minded "middle world" thinkers. Richard Dawkins was lampooned in South Park because of "middle world" thinkers. If everyone was as smart and great as Richard Dawkins, they would be able to understand the higher concepts that he does and wouldn't believe in that God nonsense and would think Richard Dawkins is the greatest man ever.

    It's so transparent it's almost pitiable. Richard Dawkins is one of the most egotistical men on this planet and I always get a good dose of schaedenfrude (which is really one of the best words ever) whenever I read about him whining about this, that, or some other thing, with absolutely no one outside of his echo chamber of colleagues paying the slightest attention to him.
    sigline
    PLAGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    Chaos is offline

  8. #8
    Forum Elder
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,625

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Yes, perhaps we are destined to understand every aspect of the universe, and are we in the middle of some evolutionary process that will lead us to great achievements and understandings. However, that sounds like as if there is some sort of Masterplan for mankind. Did he mention anything about that? How is this "destiny" explained?
    sigline
    Hunta is offline

  9. #9
    WINNING WITH TIGERBLOOD
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    15,365

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Quote
    How is this "destiny" explained?
    As far as I can tell:

    "Do what Richard Dawkins says."
    sigline
    PLAGUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    Chaos is offline

  10. #10
    Forum Elder
    Array

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,625

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
    As far as I can tell:

    "Do what Richard Dawkins says."
    Yes, it does seem like that. I'm afraid you are right with your ivory tower, Chaos. Which is a shame because he does say interesting things, but this really hurts his credibility.
    sigline
    Hunta is offline

  11. #11
    Nixon in '72!
    Array

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Annapolis, Maryland
    Posts
    13,457

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luther
    True but would you not agree that even if the Ant possessed our same faculties of reason and logic they would still only be able to reason and logic only so much?
    There are the limitations of the cognitive ability of the mind attempting to reason, but I know of no failure in the nature of reason itself.

    All of reason can essentially be summed up in the phrase "there are no contradictions."

    What the hell, btw, does "middle beings" mean? Is Dawkins a Platonist now or something? Human beings are the most intelligent beings we have ever come across, and for all we know, the most intelligent beings in the universe.
    sigline
    Why change Dicks in the middle of a screw? Vote Nixon in '72!
    Send a message via AIM to LasagnaSend a message via MSN to Lasagna
    Lasagna is offline

  12. #12
    Real Old School
    Array

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: The limititations of our understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luther Stark View Post
    Recently, Mr.Dawkins gave a speech suggesting that we live in middle-life (i believe thats the term he used). Because we live in middle life, we are limited in our understanding of metaphysical questions pertaining to the universe. We are limited in the same way as the ant (Which lives in presumbly lower-earth) is also limited in its ability to understand the universe.

    We don't believe that an Ant could ever possibly understand the shape of the world, and in this sense its understanding is limited.

    However, we also don't believe a 6 year old can understand algebra: Although we recognize that someday he might.

    Are we more like the ant or the 6 year old? Is it futile for us to attempt to understand the universe as it would be for the ant... or should we pursue understanding as the 6 year old must as he grows older?

    Undoubtly your answer is somewhere in between the two - but its an interesting thought. Any comments?
    To your question about understanding the universe: It depends on the limitations of the brain. For one thing, our brain isn't a computer. We don't know if it's perfectly able to learn anything or . Also is our inability to gain knowledge other than through perception. We can never prove something through mere observation, even the world right in front of us existing can't be proven. In regards to that, there are possibly things we can't learn

    On the other hand, from what I understood when I watched Dawkin's speech, it wasn't about the limitations of understanding, rather the limitations of our intuition. Living in a "middle world" where we're too big to gain an intuition of quantum mechanics and too slow to gain an intuition of relativity. A smaller animal may understand quantum mechanics on a more personal level, but that doesn't inhibit our understanding. What inhibits our understanding would inhibit anyone's such as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
    sigline

    Sx4R.E.P.S.00X
    EnlightenedWhiz is offline

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •