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Only Those Who Admit the Foundation of Argumentation Will Be Allowed To Argue at UD

The law of non-contradiction (“LNC”) states that for any proposition “A,” A cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same formal relation.

The existence of the LNC is the very basis of all argumentation, and anyone who denies it also denies meaning, order, truth and logic. For obvious reasons, therefore, it is not only useless but also affirmatively harmful to the search for truth to argue with someone who refuses to admit unambiguously the LNC. Arguing with a person who denies the basis for argument is self-defeating and can lead only to confusion. Only a fool or a charlatan denies the LNC, and this site will not be a platform from which fools and charlatans will be allowed to spew their noxious inanities.

For that reason, I am today announcing a new moderation policy at UD. At any time the moderator reserves the right to ask the following question to any person who would comment or continue to comment on this site: “Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?” The answer to this question is either “yes” or “no.” If the person gives any answer other than the single word “no,” he or she will immediately be deemed not worth arguing with and therefore banned from this site.

We will start with Petrushka to demonstrate the application of the policy. Petrushka, can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

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119 Responses to Only Those Who Admit the Foundation of Argumentation Will Be Allowed To Argue at UD

  1. I accept the definitional foundation of logic.

    I also accept the findings of physics which make the concept of physical existence rather complicated. That just means that physical is not the same as the ideal, just as a physical circle is not an ideal circle.

    I thought this was something generally agreed upon. I thought it was the foundation of Plato’s thought.

    But to answer the specific question, in formal logic, the moon cannot both exist and not exist.

    The question faced by physics is somewhat different.

    UD Moderator: That’s not “no” Petrushka. Goodbye.

  2. Given Aristotle’s observation (Metaphysics1006a2) that “even some physicists” deny LNC and affirm that is indeed possible for the same thing to be and not to be at the same time and in the same respect, he would not have been surprised to learn that quantum mechanics has made such challenges fashionable again. Thus, we have Schrödinger’s celebrated imaginary cat, placed (within the context of a thought experiment) inside a sealed box along with radioactive material and a vial of poison gas that will be released if that material decays. Given quantum uncertainty, an atom inhabits both states—decayed and non-—simultaneously, rendering the cat (in the absence of an observer outside the system) both alive and dead. Where speculative consensus breaks down is on whether Schrödinger’s paradox arises only when the quantum system is isolated from the environment.

    Contradiction, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP).

  3. 3

    rhampton7, “yes” or “no,” can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

  4. 4

    This is a good time to explain how the new policy operated in relation to Petrushka’s answer.

    In the OP I made something very very clear so that even the most simple mind could grasp it. I quote: “If the person gives any answer other than the single word “no,” he or she will immediately be deemed not worth arguing with and therefore banned from this site.”

    Petrushka’s answer demonstrates very nicely why I did this. In one sentence he seemed to admit the LNC, and in the very next sentence he added a comment intended to reserve his right to argue that the LNC does not operate at some levels. He is, of course, free to attempt to ignore the rules of this site. And we are free to respond accordingly.

  5. How about this for a new policy. Why don’t you just answer for them since you have no interest in what they actually have to say and will brook no nuance in the answer. You aren’t interested in finding any truths, you are just interested in scoring cheap rhetorical points. For shamre.

    I am sure you will delete this comment. Have at it. I came here as an interested observer and since this is probably the last comment you will allow of mine (not that I was ever much of a participant), I will leave disallusioned.

    I will however pray that God grant you the wisdom to see how your behavior is viewed by others.

  6. 6

    ben h, “yes” or “no,” can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

  7. Barry Arrington,

    That really is more of an open question than you care like to admit, and only works with LNC if we allow for “differing viewpoints of evaluation (as foreseen by Aristotle) or to intervening modal and epistemic operators.” [You really ought to read the entire entry on Contradiction, as it explains how your question is unnecessarily presented as a false choice, such as "Do you still beat your wife?"]

    In the most simplistic terms, I would answer “The moon can exist or not exist, but not both” since this conforms to the macro-human experience. However the moon’s existence at moment T0 can only be known at T1 due to great distance between. Thus when we say the moon exists, we do so in regards to T1 (about 1.3 seconds in our past) and not at T0 (this present moment). To say that the moons exists at T0 is an assumption – one that is likely to be true with a very high degree of probability – but not at all TRUE in the absolute terms of logic.

    For the sake of argument, we know that there are millions of planets (and stars) that have been ejected from their home system, at present traveling interstellar space at considerable speeds. Although very unlikely, it is possible that a very small dark body is about to collide with the moon – destroying it.

    In short, Relativity makes existence itself a kind of Schrödinger’s cat.

    UD Moderator: That’s not “no” rhampton7. Goodbye.

  8. Guess what? I answer the same way as Petrushka. How about that Horatio Barry?

    UD Moderator: That’s not “no” ben h. Goodbye.

  9. 9

    For the onlookers, rhampton7 tried to dodge the question by saying that the moon we see was the moon that existed 1.3 seconds ago. That is true and irrelevant. The question anticipates that dodge by specifying “the same formal relation,” a phrase rhampton7 either ignored or does not understand.

  10. To say that the moons exists at T0 is an assumption – one that is likely to be true with a very high degree of probability – but not at all TRUE in the absolute terms of logic.

    I don’t think Barry is saying “if you say X, but ~X is true and you don’t know it, you can’t be argued with”. In fact, he’s clearly not saying that.

    Would you say that the moon both exists and does not exist at T1, in the same sense?

  11. It’s been fun, but I’m not comfortable with this. While I agree that it’s absurd to argue that the moon can exist and not exist, I’m not comfortable debating someone if they are required to humiliate themselves by repeating a one-word answer. I understand the reason, but it feels too much like submission, like staring a dog in the eyes until it looks down. But I’ll keep reading all the excellent posts and comments.

    Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

    Yes.

  12. Barry sounds just like Ayn Rand, in her absolute acceptance of A=A.

  13. 13

    Scott, do you really mean to say that the moon can exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

  14. 14

    Gregory, you quote the law of identity, the first of the three classic laws of thought. The LNC is the second. I agree with much of Rand’s economic philosophy but little else about her thought appeals to me and much of it repels.

  15. To Barry’s question, I answer “no.”

    rhampton7: Thus, we have Schrödinger’s celebrated imaginary cat, placed (within the context of a thought experiment) inside a sealed box along with radioactive material and a vial of poison gas that will be released if that material decays. Given quantum uncertainty, an atom inhabits both states—decayed and non-—simultaneously, rendering the cat (in the absence of an observer outside the system) both alive and dead. Where speculative consensus breaks down is on whether Schrödinger’s paradox arises only when the quantum system is isolated from the environment. Contradiction, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP).”

    Note that there is no “speculative consensus.” I.e, no consensus with regards to the various interpretations of QM. Schrödinger invented his Cat as an argument against the Copenhagen interpretation if we assume a “common sense” reality.

    Quantum uncertainty exists with regard to observer and various events or properties. It is a statement about the observer’s ignorance. It is not a statement about the actual state of the observed. I will repeat the bottom line here once again: absolutely nothing in the equations of any branch of QM is justification for denial of LNC. The interpretations of QM are not QM. And none of the interpretations has be empirically demonstrated to be superior to another.

  16. Barry,

    No, I don’t think that for a second. Again, I understand where you’re coming from. It seems perfectly reasonable that one should agree to that foundation of logic. But however logical it is, I feel that many or most who provide that one-word answer will be humiliated. It’s small, but it just feels like an act of submission. It would be too awkward for me to continue a discussion with someone knowing that they’ve humbled them, and I have the upper hand because they’re always on the edge of being removed. And I don’t like feeling like maybe the next day or the next some new line will be drawn and I’ll be banned just for politely disagreeing.

  17. 17

    Scott, we will have to agree to disagree. I do not think it is unreasonable to ask someone whether they agree that meaning, truth and logic exists before we seek meaning, truth and logical conclusions. I am not trying to humiliate anyone. I’m simply trying to find out whether they will argue in good faith, and you can not argue in good faith if you deny the LNC.

  18. Ayn Rand’s ‘economic philosophy’ is pretty much one of the most depraved and dehumanizing ideas in the history of humanity! If you would wish to defend such a position, Barry, it is obvious that other aspects of your ‘philosophy’ should be openly called into question.

    If you would ban me from UD for disagreeing with Randist ‘economic philosophy,’ I can assure you that DI leaders will personally hear about it. I do not submit to intellectual bullying!

    I agree with LNC – a moon is a moon – (& have defended as such and strenuously with many anti-Aristotelian proponents, including post-modern feminists). This gives you no right, neverthless, to attempt to bash people over the head for raising the ‘nuance’ that yes, A=A, but sometimes Aalso=B.

    Rand’s ‘virtue of selfishness,’ ego-centric, pseudo-scientistic, “the god of ‘I’,” uncompassionate, hyper-capitalistic, USAmerican triumphalistic, achievementism, is nowadays fit to be countered, even as a theory of ‘intelligent design.’ Is Randist ‘economic philosophy’ intelligently designed? No, in my scholarly opinion, it is not.

    Can you honestly think Randist ‘economic philosophy’ is ‘intelligently designed,’ Barry?

    Do I agree with LNC? Yes. Do I deny the ‘right’ of UD blog to pitch people into the ditch for not agreeing fully with Aristotle? No. Of course not.

  19. 19

    Gregory does not seem to have read my comment about Rand closely. I think I made it fairly clear that I am repelled by almost everything she says. It is hard to know why he thinks we disagree on that point.

  20. I want to protest this policy of kicking out critics of UD. I of course support ID but I’ve seen a lot of abuse at other websites where I am an opponent of the website’s ideas. I would hate to see UD become like those other websites. We need to be nice to our critics otherwise we will never win them over. So long as they’re not uttering profanity I say they should be allowed to stay.

  21. 21

    Noam, no one will be banned from this site for criticizing ID, and I have no idea where you got such a notion. Go back and read the OP. Only those who demonstrate beyond the slightest doubt that they do not intend to act in good faith (by denying the LNC) will be banned under the new policy. It has everything to do with whether a person is a fool or a charlatan, not whether they criticize ID.

  22. I want to applaud any steps that are taken to remove time wasters from UD. Looking over this thread and others, I’m absolutely delighted to see so many time wasters have been removed recently. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will now take a renewed interest in the comments here.

    No doubt that quality is better than quantity in this respect. Even if that means we end up with no ID critics here because not one of them is capable of approaching the debate with any kind of serious rational or empirical basis to their contributions. That is, after all, the destiny of all universal truth.

    Keep up the great work, Barry and co!

  23. It has everything to do with whether a person is a fool or a charlatan, not whether they criticize ID

    Isn’t that the same thing?

  24. 24

    lastyearon asks “Isn’t that the same thing?” No. As a matter of fact, I assume until it is demonstrated differently that someone who disagrees with me does so in good faith.

  25. Unfortunately, most of our critics have been brainwashed in post-modern anti-intellectualism to the point where their mental health has been seriously compromised. By any objective standard, they are incapable of rational thought, a clumsy fact of life that presents us with a dilemma: Do we [a] humor them as we have been doing, [b] ban them, which will drastically reduce participation (we are talking about the vast majority), or [c] offer them probation while we introduce them to reason’s rules and explain how they inform evidence. While the last option appeals to me at some level, I acknowledge the drawbacks to offering formal seminars in remedial education: those who need it most are the ones least likely to accept it. There is little one can do with those who choose to remain uneducable.

    In large part, we are dealing with a deeply-entrenched cultural problem. Cynics and their tutored victims have been equivocating in the name of sophistication for so long, that they can no longer utter the phrase, “If A is true, then but B must be false.” For them, apodictic certainty, even in the form of an unassailable deduction, represents a form of intolerance and smacks of “fundamentalism.” According to that mind set, everything can be true or nothing can be true. Anyone who says otherwise is perceived as a dangerous tyrant. (Notice some of the reactions to this post). A mind so seriously corrupted and an ego so thoroughly pampered can scarcely grasp the importance of submitting the intellect and will to any worthwhile standard of measurement–God, morality, reason’s rules, legitimate authority, or anything else that threatens to provide a realistic assessment of their competencies.

    Complicating matters all the more, these young skulls full of mush have been told that they are brilliant if they indicate a willingness to pass along these vacuous and destructive ideas to successive generations. They are celebrated for taking up the idiotic notion that logic is a useful mental tool that has nothing to do with the real world. Misery loves company, and corruption seeks to reproduce itself. That is why we keep hearing these same insane arguments.

    Perhaps we can help some of these people find their way back by nudging them at strategically timed intervals, asking them to leave a given thread when they display their nonsense, reminding them of the objective rational standards that define the difference between a rational argument and a meaningless rant. If they are willing to cease and desist, perhaps they can be allowed to stay. Naturally, that would require a high level of wisdom, but I think our administrators and commentators are up to it. As Emerson said, “To lift someone, you must first be on higher ground.”

    Do I know for sure that reason’s rules constitute higher ground because it liberates? Yes, I do. Do I know for sure that postmodern subjectivism is lower ground because it enslaves? Yes, I do. Am I aware of the difficulty these poor souls will encounter as they try to find their way back to intellectual sanity? Yes, I am. But it’s definitely worth the journey.

  26. Barry,

    I’m not comfortable with this either. I’m 100% behind ID as opposed to Darwinism, but I think some of these guys got unfairly banned. I don’t think their “irrational” ideas have ever surfaced in their arguments in the sense that they argue for both A and non-A at the same time.

    Look at what rhampton said:

    “The moon can exist or not exist, but not both” since this conforms to the macro-human experience. However the moon’s existence at moment T0 can only be known at T1 due to great distance between. Thus when we say the moon exists, we do so in regards to T1 (about 1.3 seconds in our past) and not at T0 (this present moment). To say that the moons exists at T0 is an assumption – one that is likely to be true with a very high degree of probability – but not at all TRUE in the absolute terms of logic.”

    He is not arguing that they can both exist and not exist at the same time. He is providing a scenario when at T0 it might not exist while at T1 it still does exist. That is different than saying that it simultaneously both exists and does not exist. OK, so he is being a bit stubborn there and trying to make a point which really is no point whatsoever. I doubt he would say the moon could both exist and not exist at T1. Why don’t you ask him the question in that way if he is too stubborn to answer it the way you are asking it?

  27. Gregory:

    Ayn Rand’s ‘economic philosophy’ is pretty much one of the most depraved and dehumanizing ideas in the history of humanity! If you would wish to defend such a position, Barry, it is obvious that other aspects of your ‘philosophy’ should be openly called into question.

    Guess who introduced the subject of Ayn Rand. That’s right–Gregory.

    Guess who, in response, argued that Ayn Rand/s bad ideas outweigh her good ideas. That’s right-Barry.

    Now guess who is equating Barry’s philosophy with Ayn Rand’s philosophy. That’s right–Gregory.

    If you would ban me from UD for disagreeing with Randist ‘economic philosophy,’ I can assure you that DI leaders will personally hear about it. I do not submit to intellectual bullying!

    If you are this indignant over an imaginary event, I can only imagine how righteous you would become if you had a righteous cause.

    I agree with LNC – a moon is a moon – (& have defended as such and strenuously with many anti-Aristotelian proponents, including post-modern feminists). This gives you no right, neverthless, to attempt to bash people over the head for raising the ‘nuance’ that yes, A=A, but sometimes Aalso=B.

    Does this mean that you retract your earlier comment in which you chided Barry for his “absolute acceptance” of the very same philosophy that you now claim to embrace? Do you even read what you write?

    Rand’s ‘virtue of selfishness,’ ego-centric, pseudo-scientistic, “the god of ‘I’,” uncompassionate, hyper-capitalistic, USAmerican triumphalistic, achievementism, is nowadays fit to be countered, even as a theory of ‘intelligent design.’ Is Randist ‘economic philosophy’ intelligently designed? No, in my scholarly opinion, it is not.

    Your passion for inventing and attacking strawmen is surpassed only by your capacity to conflate unrelated paradigms.

    Can you honestly think Randist ‘economic philosophy’ is ‘intelligently designed,’ Barry?

    I believe that you asked that incoherently framed question in the preceding paragraph.

    Do I agree with LNC? Yes. Do I deny the ‘right’ of UD blog to pitch people into the ditch for not agreeing fully with Aristotle? No. Of course not.

    Do you mean moral justification or legal right?

  28. On a different note, I wonder on what basis Darwinists do accept the laws of logic?

    Why does logic work in this universe? I guess this is close to Plantinga’s challenge to naturalism that has recently been discussed.

    Copied from crev.info

    “For if truth and honesty are not illusions, but really exist, which must be true to carry on this discussion, they refer to things that are timeless and universal – things in the conceptual realm that, expressed in language with semantics or meaning (which, according to our uniform experience always have an intelligent cause), can be rationally inferred to have an intelligent cause that is likewise timeless and universal.”

    Here is one more from crev.info:

    As we have pointed out numerous times, these scientists are plagiarizing Judeo-Christian presuppositions to engage in the act of explanation. Rationality refers to concepts that lie outside of naturalism. Naturalism is impossible. To explain something, you have to believe that your sensations correspond to external reality. You have to assume that your explanation contains the possibility it may be true. How can anyone believe anything, including one’s own brain, that is the product of an unguided process like evolution? To believe in truth, furthermore, you have to exercise morality – the assumption that truth is good. None of these things come with the evolutionists’ explanatory toolkit. If they are there, they were stolen. In fact, the whole toolkit was stolen. Using stolen implements, they construct impossible arts and humanities: tales of millions of years of monkey screeching and pounding morphing into Bach (10/17/2009), opera extolling a world without violent males, with moral leaders, with charity for all. (They forget that Milton wrote the libretto to Paradise Lost, not Darwin.)
    Here again we find that explanation is the domain of theology. The bigotry of modern science is to exclude the contractors who own the tools. …. In our day, imposters have usurped the role of theology. Evolutionary scientists presume to engage in explanation using tools they did not and could not manufacture.
    It’s not clear from any philosophy of science if scientists can, or should, try to explain anything, or how they would do so. Bas van Fraasen rejected explanation as a function of science. It should be noted that “folk psychology,” the common-sense version we all practice that attributes reasonings and feelings to our fellow human beings as causes of their actions, works just as well, if not better, than any advanced scientific explanation …. We all assume explanation is what scientists do because we were taught simplistic positivism in middle school. It’s time to graduate to the real world. Science does best trying to cure cancer, imitate design in nature, predict earthquakes and the weather, explore space, measure, observe, study, classify, organize, falsify, predict, learn, find relationships, derive equations, and inform technology. Anyone presuming to explain nature without a theological premise is engaging in self-refuting nonsense. ….
    If scientists really want to understand human nature, if they want to do something about war and brutality, and increase levels of charity, nothing can beat the record of transforming lives by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ: Example 1: from gang banger to soulwinner; example 2: from proud evolutionary biologist to joyful Christian; example 3 from terrorist to liberator of souls; example 4: from genocide torturer to repentant follower of Christ. Don’t look to science for results like this. Open the Operations Manual and get people back on track, one life at a time.”

    Question: In accepting the existence of logic, are Darwinists shooting their own feet given that their worldview cannot provide a foundation for logic or account for the laws of logic?

    At the risk of an untolerably long post, I will just give a link to another good writeup on this point – shoing the differences between man and beast entitled “Reducing Human Behavior to Natural Laws”

    http://crev.info/2008/10/reduc.....ural_laws/

    The commentary at the end of the article is worth reading!

  29. 29

    I wholeheartedly applaud this new rule.

    ScottAndrews2 said:

    It would be too awkward for me to continue a discussion with someone knowing that they’ve humbled them, and I have the upper hand because they’re always on the edge of being removed.

    When one is so self-important that they cannot even force themselves to eat a little humble pie in the home of a gracious host, they are more than likely just gong to be an insufferable brat anyway.

    Noam gish says:

    We need to be nice to our critics otherwise we will never win them over.

    No, we need to teach them there is a limit to the foolishness adults will tolerate; if they will not learn, then at least we have rid ourselves of the foolishness. Take a lesson from history: appeasement doesn’t work.

  30. 30

    I find plenty to support in the OP. For the record, the answer is “no.” The moon cannot both exist and also not exist at the same time, nor can any observable object. Cosmological bodies are not free to show up or not, depending on whether anyone’s looking. They always have mass, regardless of the apparent strangeness of subatomic particles. The mass of a body exerts an effect on other bodies, and this effect is not subject to the whim of an observer — it’s part of the finely tuned universal constants.

    If one believes A = A only some of the time, and that A = !A is true for some circumstances, whether they’re referring to logical propositions or a construct of physical reality, then that person is either deluded or devious.

    I recently wasted an entire evening trying to reason with someone that (analogously) two flips of a coin could yield a heads and a tails in two distinct ways (HT or TH) giving the combination a 50% chance of success over either HH or TT. This person had already decided that the two combinations were identical, and no amount of demonstration would convince her otherwise. Attempts to show proof yielded blank stares or more illogical protests. It became clear that this person had placed an irrational world view as the stake in a debating game against me. After the debate got started, our discussion had nothing to do with discovering truth, nor illuminating each other’s views, rather a win-at-all-costs attitude emerged as the keystone of the discussion. She was playing a game, and one that she plays every day in life: truth is what you can make others believe, and not anything that can be determined by universal principles. I was subject to any objection that appeared to provide the slightest bit of wiggle room for the person’s argument, and an utter lack of willingness to engage my points on their merits. For every advance I made in my arguments, she doubled down and protested all the more. Her arguments became more long-winded and rambling in an attempt to filibuster, seeking to derail the heart of the discussion by finding some small weakness in my peripheral knowledge, to try and gain the upper hand. After many revolutions of circular arguments and backwards reasoning on her part, when it became all the more clear that her protests would yield no fruit, she lost all interest in the matter and shifted to an unrelated argument. What I found was a person impervious to learning much of anything, but who was apparently pretty skilled at dishonest debating tactics. This is a person who’s psyche is comprised almost entirely of its own ego, who desires no real learning or illumination, but merely an advantage. The word “shameless” comes to mind, and it’s entirely apropos.

    This is a world view issue. This is what occurs in people who are either ignorant to their own biases and unable to determine objective reality from their own imaginings, or they have decided deliberately that truth is decided by belief — that ‘truth’ is merely what one can make others believe. This was the worldview I was up against in the aforementioned argument, as far as I’ve been able to tell. And it wasn’t the first time something like this had occurred.

    I’ve seen something similar here over the time I’ve been posting. It seems like a good idea to take a breather from having thoughtful commenters waste countless hours and words arguing against folks who need to win at all costs, to gain an advantage, who’ve already abandoned any form truth by defining it out of existence, who’ve already decided that zero concession is their policy.

    The goal of so many UD interlocutors, so it seems, has been to urinate on the walls here on practically any post, and to distract from arguments with all manner of objections, usually peripheral ones, or objections that intentionally distract from the nature of the argument being made. Of course this isn’t always the case. I’ve seen reasonable arguments by ID opponents from time to time. But they’re totally overshadowed by ill-willed attempts at obfuscation.

    It’s pretty difficult to formulate a good argument for something. It’s quite simple to merely object. Practically all I see from opponents, with few exceptions, is one objection after another, and never an attempt to build a positive case in such a way that it could actually be challenged. Yes, I’m speaking in generalities.

    As far as I’m concerned, I’m a guest in someone’s house here. I’ve no “right” to be here. It’s not a free speech issue. I’ve no right to act in any way that suits me, nor protest too much if I’m asked to leave due to ritual impertinence. Anyone who finds the atmosphere here less than amiable is free, even encouraged, to move along. This isn’t a public park.

    For those who enjoy endlessly debating Darwinists, there are probably 10^6 or more places to have flame wars and troll hunts on the internet. For my part, I’m glad this site isn’t just another one of those.

    At some point, good conversations depend on participants who can agree about foundational things, or who have a willingness to learn. It’s then that differences in opinion or outlook become illuminating. I’ll be interested to see if more pro-ID or agnostic lurkers who were otherwise intimidated from posting here show up over time.

    It’ll also be entertaining to watch the slough of sock puppets come through over the next couple of weeks.

  31. MI,

    Even in most public parks you are required to clean up your dog’s poop.

  32. First – all credit to those such as Scott and Tguy who state how uncomfortable they are with this and the spate of recent bannings. There are many other blogs – I particularly recommend Lizzie’s sceptical zone – where there is polite and informed discussion of these issues with a very light moderation. I am sure you would be welcome.

    Barry – Scott answered “yes” above and even recognised that he would be banned as a result. You promptly and publically banned the ID opponents who refused to answer “no”. Let us see you being consistent.

    It would do me good to be forced to be unable to write on UD as I can’t really afford the time. So my answer to:

    Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

    is that this is an ill-formed question demonstrating a lack of understanding of the interesting issue which is the nature of the “can”. “Can” is a modal word – it can be expanded into “Is it possible that” and all statements about possibility are relative to some set of conditions – which may be implicit or explicit. So it is possible to get from London to New York in 4 hours under some conditions but not others. What is interesting is what is the nature of those conditions in this case. I know that this will appear as sophistry and time-wasting to Barry and others but actually it is a subtle and important issue if, for example, you are using the LNC as an reason for believing in a deity. Barry’s rather hysterical edict stops any consideration of the question on UD.

    The question of whether TH is the same HT is also deeper than it might appear and this relates more directly to ID. I recommend reading Keynes on applying the principle of indifference to discrete cases where he points out that from a probability point of view counting HT and TH as two different cases is an assumption which may or may not be true. But I guess you would ban Keynes as well!

    PS I also have no idea what is meant by “in the same formal relation”.

  33. Deep down, Mark knows that is just sophistry and time wasting. He once tried to persuade me that subjective morality is the new objective morality. Ha! But getting himself banned rather than trying hard to offer rational and empirical objections to ID is one way to avoid admitting he has been wrong about everything.

    As for the Skeptical Zone, if you want to waste your time AND be insulted by a bunch of anti-theistic UD-haters, hurry over there quick. I posted there in good faith and soon learned that its host was just another time waster who posts unpleasant and untrue things about ID proponents (and wholeheartedly agrees with others who did so in less subtle ways).

  34. Chris – you are making a fool of yourself.

    But getting himself banned rather than trying hard to offer rational and empirical objections to ID is one way to avoid admitting he has been wrong about everything.

    Chris – I have been debating with ID folk for over five years. I am happy to continue to do so here (if allowed) or any other forum.

    I did not try to persuade you that subjective morality is the new objective morality. If it felt like that is was either because I explained it badly or you were unable to understand what I was saying. I leave the reader to guess which!

    Give me a single example of an unpleasant and untrue thing that Lizzie has said about an ID proponent.

  35. My answer to the question is no.

    However I find this move entirely inappropriate and dictatorial in it’s approach.

    Sure we all hope people will apply logic and common sense, but enforcing it in such an autocratic manner doesn’t sit well with me; especially given the nature of debates that sometimes occur here on Uncommon Descent.

    I really hope this isn’t a path Uncommon Descent intends to walk down. Since I came across the site, UD has served as an invaluable source of information surrounding a wide variety of topics, not by way of the main articles posted but the debates that followed.
    My 2 cents.

  36. As I will presumably be banned when Barry wakes up I will take the opportunity to get this final comment in.

    The chief motive behind these bannings seems to be that debating with some people is a waste of time because you can find no common ground. I have found this happens quite often with the likes of BA77 and KF. We disagree so fundamentally about what even counts as evidence that there is no point in continuing. I don’t blame them. It is just a mismatch. But that doesn’t mean I think they should be banned. All that is necessary is to stop debating and move on. No one is being forced to have a debate with anyone.

    Likewise, if Barry or anyone else, feels that a certain exchange or debater is a waste of time they can just ignore them. Someone else might find the exchange interesting (indeed we have evidence this is at least sometimes true) and by banning them you are depriving them of the opportunity.

  37. Correction:
    I really hope this isn’t a path Uncommon Descent intends to walk down. Since I came across the site, UD has served as an invaluable source of information surrounding a wide variety of topics, not only by way of the main articles posted but the debates that followed.

  38. On pure logical ground, I think that it is not possible to have at the same time the moon and it’s non-existence at the same time. However, we can perfectly have a system where the moon pop in and out of existence at a very high rate which means that from a physical perspective, the moon is there and is not there.
    Personally, I’m UD enthousiast but I don’t see the purpose of what looks like a witch hunt. For some of us it took quit some time before understanding and accepting that the human, the animals, the cells, the cosmos, etc.. are actually the technology of an alien being (call it God if you want). We need to be patient and to answer calmly to those that are still confused.

  39. Funny how we’ve come full circle, Mark and ended up right back where we started. We first entered into discussion over on your blog (which, by its content and contributors was very much the predecessor to the Septical Zone). At the time you were fighting passionately for the right of people like The Whole Truth to debate on UD without getting banned.

    Now, you’re willing to martyr yourself for the same cause (I’m sure the easy way out is just a happy coincidence). But, ultimately, you are still defending people who are just like The Whole Truth really. The only difference is, some of those recently banned here took a while for their true colours to show through (including your own true colours by the look of things).

    In the end, you’re far more interested in moderation policy than you are in learning anything about Intelligent Design science. That’s not “just a mismatch”, that’s a case of you wasting the time of people who are interested in very different things (like reason and evidence).

  40. Chris – please ask these ID proponents as to whether I am “more interested in moderation policy than you are in learning anything about Intelligent Design science”

    vjtorley
    gpuccio
    Upright Biped
    Scott Andrews

    As you are so keen on me learning about Intelligent Design science perhaps you can explain the similarities and differences between Dembski’s approach to design inference, Fisherian hypothesis testing and maximum likelihood inference according to his most recent work on the subject (If you have trouble I can refer you to my take on it).

  41. Mark, I thought you said:

    “It would do me good to be forced to be unable to write on UD as I can’t really afford the time.”

    If you were wrong about that too, then please refer me to your take on “Dembski’s approach to design inference, Fisherian hypothesis testing and maximum likelihood inference according to his most recent work on the subject”.

    If anybody wants to point out that they believe you are more interested in Intelligent Design than UD’s Moderation Policy, I’m sure they will. I will disagree, of course. I can only judge from our own exchanges and the fact that you prematurely ended any discussions between us rather than admit you were wrong.

    Except on the subject of UD Moderation Policy where you seemed quite prepared to go on and on and on…

  42. Chris it is absolutely true that it would do me good to be unable to write on UD. It is a bit like a drug – hard to resist but bad for you.

    I will happily refer you to my paper once you have shown you are remotely capable of understanding it. Just a sentence or two on the difference between the three inference methods will do (need to be quick though – before I am banned)

  43. Okay Mark, if you can just admit the foundation of argumentation and answer the question:

    “Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?”

    with an unequivocal ‘no’, then I doubt you will be banned and we will have all the time we need for you to demonstrate that you really are more interested in ID science than UD moderation policy.

    I’m clearing my schedule in anticipation of an informative debate with you that, for the first time ever, won’t end with you giving up :-)

  44. Chris – I am not prepared to answer that question with an unequivocal “no” because

    a) I don’t believe that is the correct answer without further clarification of the question. In most contexts “no” would clearly be correct – but as I said earlier on it all hangs on what sense of “can” is implied by the context.

    b) The principle of banning people because you don’t like an argument they use (as opposed to say offensive language) strikes me as a poor one which in another context could be rather sinister. By “not signing” I show my opposition to it.

    How are you getting on with explaining the different types of inference? Or do you perhaps have a even more learn about ID than I do?

    (In case you are wondering why I have time for this little tiff – my first lecture just got cancelled)

  45. Sorry Mark, but if you can’t even admit the foundation of argumentation, how can you expect anyone to believe that you’re more interested in ID science than UD moderation policy?

    I must say, this thread has been really illuminating. I feel like we’re getting to know the true Mark. Arrogance is okay… if you can back it up. Can you back it up, Mark? The clocks ticking, old fella ;-)

  46. Chris Doyle- are you that Chris Doyle that suddenly deleted a whole threadful of his own posts at The Skeptical Zone?

    Sometime last year, maybe August-ish.

    Very odd behaviour. No reason was ever given.

    If you are not he, then forget I mentioned it.

  47. Hi Bydand, who were you over there then? I don’t recognise this particular incarnation.

    Nothing was deleted, it was merely relocated to another location once the last remaining traces of reasonable discussion were lost forever.

  48. So it was deleted, then, from The Skeptical Zone. I should have thought, if the argument was so devastating, it would have been left for all to see. An object lesson, as it were.

    Never mind – it was another time, another place, and I do not want to derail any discussion you’re having with markf.
    Do carry on, it’s quite illuminating.

  49. Any argument is only devastating to those who admit the foundation of argumentation and are susceptible to things like reason and evidence. Nobody matching that criteria made themselves known to me while I was there, Bydand (and you’re still hiding behind an odd name even now).

    Now then, Mark, where have you got to? Bydand is enjoying discovering the true you too. You don’t want to let him down do you?

  50. The moon cannot exist and not exist at the same time.

    An Inuit and a Panamanian meet in Kansas in July. It is 85 degrees F. The proposition, “It is hot”.

    When asked,
    Inuit – True, “It is hot.”
    Panamanian – False, “It is not hot.”

  51. It is quite alarming to find out so many ID critics actually entertain the idea that something can exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense. Its downright scary! Perhaps they have a vested interest in rejecting logic. I guess it gives them an excuse to be as illogical and anti reason as they want and whenever it suits them.

    ID proponent: Your being illogical!

    ID critic: Ba humbug! The laws of logic dont apply here!

  52. 52

    Being a newcomer here, and very interested in the discussions in general, I’m wondering about the relevance of the discussion regarding non-contradiction. While I’m personally willing to admit the obvious–that a thing can’t exist and not exist simultaneously–I don’t know what that has to say in support of ID, or against evolution. I may have missed something, so if someone could help to bring me up to speed I’d appreciate it.

  53. Hey Bruce,

    Basically the issue is this. Recently is was discovered that many ID critics who post on this site think it is an intellectual virtue to assert that a thing can exist and not exist simultaneously. They say LNC is just a useful convention which can be reasonably questioned like anything else.
    Now perhaps this issue is not directly tied to ID or evolution, but you really have to question the mental capacity of those ID critics who are nonchalant about dispensing with one of the essential foundations on which logical discourse is based. That is the issue at hand here. Are the Id critics who question the very foundations of rationality truly mentally competent to have reasonable discussions?

  54. 54

    Thanks for that, kuartus. In doing a bit of browsing, I’ve noticed a few ID supporters, without naming names, who seem to struggle with the idea of logical constructs in general. As an ID supporter myself, it appears that perhaps there is a double standard in effect, and my original question regarding the relevance of the LNC litmus test came about due to this concern. I think it’s possible that a person who claims the moon doesn’t exist at all might still be capable of a acknowledging that his sister’s cat exists, or understand, quite logically,that rotation of the earth gives the appearance that the sun is moving.

  55. markf

    Can the moon exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?
    ..this is an ill-formed question demonstrating a lack of understanding of the interesting issue which is the nature of the “can”. “Can” is a modal word – it can be expanded into “Is it possible that” and all statements about possibility are relative to some set of conditions – which may be implicit or explicit. So it is possible to get from London to New York in 4 hours under some conditions but not others. What is interesting is what is the nature of those conditions in this case. I know that this will appear as sophistry and time-wasting to Barry and others but actually it is a subtle and important issue if, for example, you are using the LNC as an reason for believing in a deity. Barry’s rather hysterical edict stops any consideration of the question on UD.

    This may be the first time in history that anyone ever claimed not to know what the word “can” and “cannot” mean in the context of the Law of Non-contradiction. The extent to which you studiously avoid obvious context while laboring pedantically over the importance of context is a wonder to behold.

    PS I also have no idea what is meant by “in the same formal relation”.

    So, you have never heard of the LNC as it is formally expressed? You really think that it matters whether the writer uses the words “in the same formal relation?” or “in the same sense?” or “under the same formal circumstances?” or “P is not P?” or a number of other ways to make the same point?

    This is all very interesting. You cannot accept Barry’s motives and I cannot accept your sincerity. Oh wait! I forgot to explain my use of the word “cannot” as a composite of the words “can” and “not.” While the context is evident to me, I don’t want to insult your intelligence with my gross and sloppy formulation. After all, what I find personally impossible is not synonymous with that which is logically possible.

    CAN

    1.
    a. Used to indicate physical or mental ability: I can carry both suitcases. Can you remember the war?
    b. Used to indicate possession of a specified power, right, or privilege: The President can veto congressional bills.
    c. Used to indicate possession of a specified capability or skill: I can tune the harpsichord as well as play it.
    2.
    a. Used to indicate possibility or probability: I wonder if my long lost neighbor can still be alive. Such things can and do happen.
    b. Used to indicate that which is permitted, as by conscience or feelings: One can hardly blame you for being upset.
    c. Used to indicate probability or possibility under the specified circumstances: They can hardly have intended to do that.
    3. Usage Problem Used to request or grant permission: Can I be excused?

    Please notice that I am using the word “can” in the sense of 2b, that is, “used to indicate probability or possibility under the specified circumstances.” However, I hasten to add that, for me, the word “possible” serves the purpose better than the word “probable” since I (personally) find it “impossible” to believe your claims of incredulity.
    This brings us to the meaning of the word “not.”

    not [n?t]
    adv
    1.
    a. used to negate the sentence, phrase, or word that it modifies I will not stand for it
    b. (in combination) they cannot go
    not that (conjunction) Also (archaic) not but what which is not to say or suppose that I expect to lose the game — not that I mind
    sentence substitute
    used to indicate denial, negation, or refusal certainly not

    In this context, I mean to use the connotation expressed in !a, that is, to negate a “word,” namely the word “can.”

    So, I hope that you will be patient with my attempt to clarify. When I say that I cannot believe you, I mean that I (the individual I also refer to as me) cannot (as defined in the integration of the words “can” and “not) accept (in the context of belief) your claims to the effect that you do not understand the meaning of the word “can” in the context of the law of non-contradiction.

    I fully realize that I have not even begun to cover all the possible combinations and permutations implied in my statement, but I hope that you will accept my modest attempt to clarify my meaning. Meanwhile, I have come to appreciate more fully the wisdom of Barry’s new policy. By all means, let’s rid ourselves of this kind of madness, ban anyone who refuses to argue in good faith, and get back to real dialogue.

  56. Actually, mark, I apologize. 2b should read 2c. I want to get my labels exactly right.

  57. It is quite alarming to find out so many ID critics actually entertain the idea that something can exist and not exist at the same time and in the same sense.

    I won’t go as far as to call it brainwashing, but it seems to border on that. It’s very strong indoctrination. We are taught over and over to accept as truth something that, as far as anyone knows, can’t possibly be true. The resultant mental reflex is comparable to a wife who sees clear evidence that her husband is cheating or reverting to alcoholism but chooses for it to disappear.

    Actual brainwashing is whole different story. But one actual technique, employed after a subject has been made submissive, is to force them to first listen to bizarre nonsense talk without laughing or responding, and then to repeat it without questioning. It’s a shortcut to the same thing – teaching a person to edit out questioning thoughts. I’m sure such educational indoctrination rarely has that deliberate intent. And I am not saying that darwinists are brainwashed zombies. They have just learned to submit their thoughts to a certain belief system, regardless of where it leads.

    And in response to what likely comes next, I have no doubt that many religious believers have a similar experience.

  58. markf reports that he is not permitted to post here any more.

    This has become beyond ridiculous.

    G’day

  59. –Bruce Parkington: “In doing a bit of browsing, I’ve noticed a few ID supporters, without naming names, who seem to struggle with the idea of logical constructs in general. As an ID supporter myself, it appears that perhaps there is a double standard in effect, and my original question regarding the relevance of the LNC litmus test came about due to this concern. I think it’s possible that a person who claims the moon doesn’t exist at all might still be capable of a acknowledging that his sister’s cat exists, or understand, quite logically,that rotation of the earth gives the appearance that the sun is moving.”

    As an ID supporter, you already know that the methodology by which we detect the presence of design does not, in any way, help us to know the identify of the designer. Of course, that limitation is removed when the designer identifies himself. I, can, for example, recognize that you are a troll, but I could never have uncovered your identify without your courteous transparency.

  60. 60

    StephenB,
    Thanks for the warm welcome.

  61. Bruce,
    It is my pleasure.

    As a pro-ID, pro-reason supporter, your insights will be invaluable. If an “outsider” had suggested, as you do, that ID proponents struggle with logical constructs, establish frivolous rules for dialogue, and exempt themselves from their own standards, we would likely be offended. But because you have declared yourself to be one of us, we know that your real intent is to help us build and grow through critical self evaluation.

  62. 62

    StephenB,

    I said that *some* ID supporters here, and there are only a few that I’ve seen, struggle with logic and consistency, so the issue doesn’t seem to be exclusive to the anti-ID crowd. Just an observation, nothing more.

  63. Why ask whether the moon can both exist and not exist. Why not just ask, “Are you on our side or their side.”

    Clearly, all critics of ID are:
    fools or charlatans

    refuse to argue in good faith

    brainwashed

    mentally incompetent

    a troll

    they spew.. noxious inanities

    arguing with them is self-defeating and can lead only to confusion.

    And since, there’s no point in dialogue, they’ve all been banned.

    What is the purpose of the question about the moon then? I don’t understand.

  64. Indeed, Mark, the most basic assumptions of anti-IDers renders rational argument with IDers – actually by either party, as you intimated – impossible.

    However, your little whinge doesn’t hold a lot of water from our viewpoint:

    “All that is necessary is to stop debating and move on. No one is being forced to have a debate with anyone.”

    It’s vacuous clutter and very tedious from our viewpoint, so why allow it?

  65. You should be ashamed of yourself, Barry, for admiring Ayn Rand’s burblings. The creatire was an out-and-out psychopath.

  66. Stephen:

    Pardon my breaking in, but I think I need to put something on record.

    A PLEA . . .

    As you know, I hold that — even in the face of a quantum world, the law of non-contradiction is self-evident.

    In light of our experience of the world, once we understand what it claims, we see it is true and must be so on pain of patent absurdity. It is possible to reject or dismiss LNC, but it is not possible to operate in a sensible way in the world by ignoring it, and picking and choosing where to follow and where to ignore to one’s convenience is its own refutation by self-referential incoherence. Try asking yourself whether the dosage and prescription for a serious drug can be handled in as fast and loose a fashion as some seem to desire at will when it is convenient. That is a far more relevant example than whether the moon can be and not be in the same sense at the same time, under the same formal circumstances, and BTW that is why the different perceptions of the Inuit and the Panamanian on an 85 degrees F day, are not a good counterexample.

    I can go one better with the physics demo of having an ice cold beaker of water, a lukewarm one and a hot one next to each other. Put one hand each in hot and cold for a few moments, then plunge into the middle one. One had will fell hot, the other cold.

    The senses of the words hot and cold in question are diverse, and once we see that the Inuit is comparing to a different base from the Panamanian, the seeming case for relativism evaporates.

    But, we have too often been taught that cases like that are good enough to put the LNC under question. All it shows is just how badly taught we have been, just how dumbed down for generations.

    In short I think here we see the terrible twins of selective hyperskepticism and hypercredulity, each applied in an inconsistent, ideologically driven fashion.

    Having said that, I must ask us to seriously consider how we are handling the problem.

    Yes, there are those who are playing evasive “dancing wrong but strong” rhetorical games.

    But there are a lot of people out there who have been led to believe that in a quantum world and in a world of relativity, the law of non contradiction is dead, all announced in the name of “Science.” Y’know, what Lewontin et al would have us believe is “the only begetter of truth.”

    Indeed, ES was quoting a Nature blog, from the publisher of the most prestigious science journal in the world.

    As those who have checked my background so assiduously, to try cyberstalking games will confirm, I am someone who has had to take a leadership role in exposing destructive, exploitative religious groups using the name of the gospel and trapping the unwary in mind-bending games.

    So, I know from having had to help people put their lives back together, how hard it can be to get out of the coils of a web of mind-bending talking points drummed into you by those you thought were credible and trustworthy, and who made the out-group and its representatives seem to be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    It can take months, AFTER things have crashed so hard that you have had to walk away, wounded and bleeding. (It’s a LOT easier for those who saw though the slick talking points and unfreezing, manipulated change, refreeze games warned against by Edgar Schein and others so long ago now.)

    So, first and foremost, I plead for understanding of what it is like to be bewitched in a rhetorical web, presented by the latest new high priesthood, in whatever garb; including the holy lab coat.

    (And, let us ask ourselves, how many know enough to figure their way around quantum mechanics, or relativity, or for that matter — going back for a moment to technicalities tied to the main topics of the blog — statistical mechanics, information theory, and sampling theory?)

    In that context, let us studiously avoid using a litmus test that we use in ways that build a wall instead of a bridge.

    So, yes, those who show themselves uncivil, or enablers of the uncivil, and show themselves incorrigible, have built the wall from their side, and should indeed not be allowed to waste our collective time and energy.

    As a victim of web abuse, cyberstalking, outing tactics, threats against my family and so forth, I definitely see with that.

    We need a safe zone.

    But, the safe zone in view here must be one for sober discussion where serious minds can meet in a serious way, to discuss serious things towards at least mutual understanding if not agreement.

    So, let us calm down, and reflect towards better terms of engagement.

    There needs to be room for mistakes, for questions and even exchanges, so long as we are not looking at willfully disruptive or abusive or uncivil behaviour or enabling thereof.

    So, pardon, again.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  67. Judging from the posts, in addition to some training on what the LNC is and is not, it looks like we could use some training on the difference between a contradiction and a paradox.

  68. –Bruce: “I said that *some* ID supporters here, and there are only a few that I’ve seen, struggle with logic and consistency, so the issue doesn’t seem to be exclusive to the anti-ID crowd. Just an observation, nothing more.”

    Bruce, I think I’ve got it. You disdain double standards, yet you feel that we should compare

    [a] lapses in logic that come from members of the ID camp with

    [b] attacks on the foundations of logic that come from the anti-ID camp

  69. 69

    StephenB,
    Frankly I’m a little creeped out at your difficulty in recognizing simple observations for what they are. You have it in your head that I’m trying to foment some kind of unrest here, but if my few posts thus far are what did it, I think you need to take a pill.

  70. Bruce, on rereading my comments and absorbing the wisdom of a colleague, I find that I have likely jumped to conclusions about your intentions. So, please accept my sincere apology. You deserved better and I will do better. As a penance, let me provide an example of the importance of the LNC that you asked about.

    Recently, in an extended discussion on the philosophy of religion (not ID science) I had argued that, ultimately, a contingent universe requires a first/causeless cause. In spite of atheistic illusions, a “law” cannot create a universe because a law, by definition, cannot do anything other than what it does. The law of gravity, for example, cannot put off its regularity hat and put on its flexibility hat in order to create something because gravity does not have a flexibility hat to put on. If it did, it wouldn’t be a law. A law either describes (or entails) regularity or it doesn’t. According to the law of non-contradiction, a law cannot entail regularity and not entail regularity. It matters not whether we are speaking about our descriptions of the regularity or the regularity itself.

    In response, a critic argued that my definitions are only my definitions– the laws of thought, one gathers, are simply my “intuitions,”–nature doesn’t care a whit about the law of non-contradiction”—although the law is still valid–except that it has no “magical powers.” To add to the confusion, he substituted the word “nature” for the word “law,” insisting that I may not put “nature in a box” or declare what nature can or cannot do from my “dogmatic perspective.” In his judgment, there could be nothing to prevent a physical law of the universe from functioning as a non-law, and he didn’t mind investing over a thousand words of remarkably well-crafted, subjectively tinged prose, to make the [argument???].

    As he continued his “I’m-personally-committed-to-LNC- BUT” gambit, coupled with his “the map is not the territory” tactic, I finally decided to pull him away from his postmodernist interpretation, asking him if, in fact, Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time. One cannot take cover in the subjective realm of generalities while addressing that specific question about objective reality, especially one that calls for a “yes or no.” He refused to answer, confirming the fact that he did not accept any realistic application of the LNC. It was not an unusual event. I hope I have answered your question from my perspective and I would like to begin anew by offering you the right kind of welcome absent any of the previous sarcasm. I hope that you accept my overture and join in the discussion.

  71. Barry Arrington
    Re: “I’m simply trying to find out whether they will argue in good faith, and you can argue in good faith if you deny the LNC.”
    Am I reading you right or is this a typo?
    That sounds like you support that one can deny LNC and CAN argue in good faith.

  72. 72

    Thanks for spotting the typo DLH

  73. kairosfocus @66,

    That is nearly a tear-jerking post. I had just logged on this noontime to post my opinion on this policy after thinking it over a little last night. I decided to catch up and found your post very relevant to my take.

    I can sympathize with Barry and the few others who would rather not be troubled with the posters who cannot assent to the LNC. Much time has been wasted in discussions with such. But, not all who struggle to accept the LNC in any meaningful and practical way are necessarily of the nefarious type.

    Even if they were, however, it may (in fact, I’m sure it would) be more beneficial to allow them to post, if for no other reason than to sharpen the skills of more rational minds in dealing with such. I, for instance, never would have heard of the arguments posted by ES and others, nor would I soon be able to, by my own research, understand with enough clarity to refute those arguments if not for those like you, KF, who have now been forced to take the time to do so, if this policy had been enforced earlier.

    So, this new policy will keep those like myself less enlightened, as well as keep those who are open minded enough from moving toward a more rational ground and worldview. And there are always those “lost souls” we forget about, the lurkers who are, perhaps, the most in need of the types of discussions that would follow from a more open policy toward those with, admittedly, wildly irrational worldviews.

    I hope we all can face it; without much of the “time-wasting” discussions with those with unreasonable foundational ideas, we would be less able to articulate to them or others where their flaws are, or how they can come to understand and have a true, solid foundation.

    This new policy may not be analogous to cutting off our own noses to spite our own faces, but it is cutting off our noses nonetheless, and still not for very good (or good enough) reasons.

  74. Avicenna: “Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.”

    Sophist: “It is possible that I could be between strikes when you ask, or that the flame may not be yet lit, or could already be extinguished. Indeed, as should as a modal term that modifies the clause following it then it is possible that I am both beaten in one possible world and not beaten in another possible world as deontological consequence of the the governmental authority it that possible world. Therefore I am burned and not burned depending on which of the infinite multiverses we are in. But in speaking of all of them as a set it cannot be said that I am anything or not.”

    Barry: “Then it is the case that you are banned and not banned at the same time and in the same respect.”

    I applaud this move in general even if I think it’s going to be a bit harsh absence a pattern of willful mendacity on the part of any given poster. It is an unfortunate affair that modern Philosophy serves to teach people to unthink rather than to discern, argue, and ask questions. And this is so pervasive in culture that you can see some people in this thread trying to sort it all out. Being completely oblivious to these questions having been answered nearly a half-millenia before the birth of the Christian religion.

    Some notes for the curious:

    1. There is a difference between contradictories and contraries. Contradictories are mutually exclusive by definition, general contraries are not.

    2. Different times, manners, means, causes, are all different aspects or respects and are not an argument against the LNC, they are a misunderstanding of it.

    3. The Law of Identity is reciprocal with both of the Law of the Excluded Middle and the LNC. If either of the LEM or the LNC are violated with a thing in respect to itself then the LoI is violated. And if we countenance that everything is equal to everything accept itself then you countenance that I am Charles Darwin, the Creator god, and have constructed a reality in which the LoI holds. Have a nice day.

    4. Counterintuitive notions are called Veridical Paradoxes. All other paradoxes, classic paradoxes, are a use of the violation of the LNC as a refutation. A paradox is simply a refutation that appears absent the argument behind the premises that leads to the contradiction. Denying the LNC denies refutation and by it denies learning, wisdom, knowledge. If you disagree then refute me by failing to refute me.

    5. The Stanford page on Philosophy is a Sophist playground of Dialtheic notions. To the extent that Graham Pierce and the ‘true falses’ crew of dialetheism have a point, that point only exists as to the flaws of ‘classical’ logic. All of their examples of violations of the LNC that they use to support their point are all addressed by Aristotle as formal errors while they are similarly upheld by the modern ‘classical’ logic. Do not lose sight of this context if you choose to swim in Stanford’s epistemic swamp.

    PS: For the formalism: No. Obviously the moon exists or does not, but not both or neither.

  75. Even if they were, however, it may (in fact, I’m sure it would) be more beneficial to allow them to post, if for no other reason than to sharpen the skills of more rational minds in dealing with such.

    But how many times is it really necessary to have the argument?

    You seem to be saying that by allowing people who reject laws of basic logic and reason to post, that those arguing against them will enlighten yourselves and others. Alright – but that sounds less like a reason to allow such commenters, and more like a request to A) add a detailed, permanent post explaining why the rule is in place, and B) now and then revisit the issue as a reminder – say, calling out the example when it’s seen in the news or otherwise. Both can be done while maintaining the ban.

    I don’t comment here very much lately – my presence is on and off – but frankly, I’ve seen kf and StephenB and others have this same argument, over and over and over. People who reject fundamental axioms of reasoning gets old. It’s a perpetual derail, and frankly, it serves as a sign that no further discussion can be had with some people.

    What’s worse, by having to revisit this topic over and over again, other topics don’t get addressed. Everyone here only has so much time in the day. (Some of the people banned, on the other hand, seem to have all the time in the world.) You can only discuss so many things in a given amount of time – there are better topics.

    Anyway, I agree with the heart of your point: while these critics may be irrational, the mistake they are making deserves to be addressed since it comes up often on these conversations. So even if these posters remained banned, the least we can do is have the reason made crystal clear.

    StephenB and company, have you considered adding this rule and an explanation to the FAQ?

  76. Null,

    How about another solution:

    Allow them to post, but whenever they mention (as in insisting on steering away from the subject at hand) something that has been clearly addressed by the FAQ, a moderator simply places a bold rejoinder at the bottom of each offending post with a link to the corresponding FAQ. If we see a rejoinder, we simply do not respond. The issue has been adequately addressed.

    It sounds time consuming for the moderator, but I think the practice will become rare as the critics become accustomed to what is of interest and what is not.

    I think we need to admit that much of the discussion on this blog has been driven and controlled by outside forces with particular agendas based not on a desire for understanding, but for entertainment and discussions elsewhere (TIOID, anti-evo, TSZ, etc.); which is part of the reason why I have been absent (from posting) for several months. It becomes rather tedious.

    We can either ban them all, or decide to take back some control, while still allowing some alternative POVs. After all, they will find some way of coming back here, given their ever changing sock puppet history.

    Another thing that might help is to have a free-for-all thread where they can spew what they want within reason – similar to what EL does on her blog. Objectionable posts are simply moved to the FFA thread. That way, if they continue to discuss what has already been met with a rejoinder, their posts are moved to FAA, and we can get on with the important discussion. Also, someone who doesn’t mind addressing the FAA (let’s call it “the pit of hell”) can go there and address whatever nonsense shows up.

    Yeah, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I understand Barry’s reasoning and intention though. The critics believe the decision will be the death blow to UD. Somehow I doubt that.

  77. nullasalus,

    I understand your points. I have often gotten into the sorts of basic foundational arguments that stem from a practical, if not theoretical, rejection of reason and rationality. But, I’ve survived. I’ve let it go, again, and again, and again. But I think I have come to see others’ points more clearly every time, and am more and more able to whittle them down to an obviously irrational position.

    But, it’s my choice. I can, and do, do it sometimes. Other times I don’t. I had engaged Elizabeth a couple of times over the past several weeks, and then just let it go, only to pick up the same theme on another of her posts. It’s up to me, and others, whether we entertain them or not. But if we do, there are people who can learn.

    What I think may also work is for there to be a self-policing system whereby another member may nudge someone who is arguing with a recurring irrational poster, letting him/her know that the “offender” has already had the basics explained to them ad nauseum. Hopefully, the perennial offender eventually starts to feel they are posting into a vacuum with no one responding to them.

    Perhaps, even, the egregious offenders could be confronted, not unlike Barry has done recently with certain people, to take them to task in a way that they are exposed to all or most other commenters. If they then refuse to admit to fundamental logic, then either ban them, or suggest that the rest of the community, when the offender slips into his/her irrational argumentation, simply reply with a link back to the thread where they were exposed.

    I don’t know. There certainly is such a thing as wasting time, but we should carefully evaluate what may constitute such. It’s not that I feel sorry for egregious offenders being banned; they themselves probably deserve it. But there may yet be some benefit from a different, more liberal, approach.

    As the new policy stands, I think it may be a little short-sited and too heavy handed.

    I’m now starting to think, however, that perhaps we are fooling ourselves. Why, for example, do discussions so often devolve into such basic discussions such as the grounding of morals, or the LNC? Isn’t it, clearly, because they are what really, actually, lie at the heart of the dispute? I think it is obviously the case, and when “cleverer” posters couch their illogic in peer reviewed studies and quantum physics and mind boggling (at least to me) equations, they need to be, and are, called out by those who can see through the fog.

    If, however, this is where the battle really lies, what choice do we have but to fight on that ground? Really, is it any different in academia? I think we may have a false notion that this takes place on UD because of a, more or less, open member policy. But it is just not the case. These very same LNC denying ideas fill every single book from every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author.

    We’re not dealing with the exception here on UD, it’s the rule.

  78. CY,

    Allow them to post, but whenever they mention (as in insisting on steering away from the subject at hand) something that has been clearly addressed by the FAQ, a moderator simply places a bold rejoinder at the bottom of each offending post with a link to the corresponding FAQ. If we see a rejoinder, we simply do not respond. The issue has been adequately addressed.

    And then come the claims that what they said didn’t technically violate the FAQ, or they disagree with the FAQ, and we’re back where we were – discussing discussing it. Repeatedly.

    Not to mention, who’s “we”? All the people who comment and disagree? It would be like herding cats, and time spent doing this is time not spent actually having reasonable conversations or writing up posts. You mention ‘critics becoming accustomed to what is of interest and what is not’. I’ve never seen a blog where critics cared much about that anyway – or even, for that matter, non-critics – without this kind of moderator enforcement. And I’d love to see any site where “just ignore them” worked as a moderating method, and which wasn’t basically a dead blog anyway.

    I think one thing’s being overlooked here: criticisms are important. Individual critics? Not so much. It’s not like there’s some lack of ID criticisms out there – one day of googling around for various objections to ID would give the pro-ID sorts on this site a wealth of content.

    We can either ban them all, or decide to take back some control, while still allowing some alternative POVs. After all, they will find some way of coming back here, given their ever changing sock puppet history.

    That’s a good point, but it’s a point in favor of banning. The sock puppets will always come, but puppets have a habit of trying to avoid ban rules lest it become too much of a hassle. I recall people on UD being banned in the past for anti-semitic remarks. Granted, that means we’re losing the input from anti-semite commenters, and maybe – apart from their anti-semitism – they have something valuable to say. Does that mean we should relax that rule for the Greater Good?

    It doesn’t seem persuasive for that case. And it doesn’t seem persuasive for the LNC situation.

    Another thing that might help is to have a free-for-all thread where they can spew what they want within reason – similar to what EL does on her blog. Objectionable posts are simply moved to the FFA thread.

    Why? I mean, what’s the value? Making it so UD supplies a place for everyone to talk about whatever they want, for as long as they want, whenever they want? Because that makes some people happy? There’s already a place for that: ‘most of the internet.’ People can, if they really want to, do that in the comments section of any youtube video for literally years.

    The critics believe the decision will be the death blow to UD. Somehow I doubt that.

    According to the same critics, UD has always eliminated critics immediately (and not just ones who deny basic laws of reasoning). Keep in mind the problem here isn’t “critics”, full stop. It would be silly to think that the critics of ID are somehow united in their disavowal of the Law of Non-Contradiction. What actually happened was, in this case, quite a lot of ‘critics’ were hailing from a singular cesspool on the internet, loaded up with people who take all this very personally and who generally have each other’s backs. They tend to think in unison, so when one of them denied the LNC, they all did.

    Incidentally, don’t you find it funny that the critics who detest ID – and UD – would insist this move will somehow kill UD, and that that’s why they oppose it? I think the evidence points more towards “some critics spend an abnormal amount of time and energy on UD. Without it, their lives are a little more empty.” Sad, but so it seems.

    Anyway, just a note that I don’t set policy around here – I’m more in the ‘tolerated’ category. But personally, I love the rule. And there’s something hilarious about it. Just think of how this would be explained by the critics complaining. “I was banned from Uncommon Descent! They said I was irrational!” ‘Those fools. What did you do?’ “I rejected the Law of Noncontradiction!”

  79. Isn’t it, clearly, because they are what really, actually, lie at the heart of the dispute?

    Partially. One denies the Law of the Excluded Middle to impeach your opponents argument inappropriately because you see that it will lead to a refutation. One denies the Law of non-Contradiction to inappropriately impeach a refutation your opponent has already completed. So, in a sense, it is at the heart of every dispute since it is precisely those ways in which to claim you were never disputed.

    Some people do this automagically by default of being human. Others use it for studied purpose; lawyers particularly. Shakespeare had some advice about what to do with them and Barry seems to have taken the Bard up on that.

  80. Brent,

    What I think may also work is for there to be a self-policing system whereby another member may nudge someone who is arguing with a recurring irrational poster, letting him/her know that the “offender” has already had the basics explained to them ad nauseum. Hopefully, the perennial offender eventually starts to feel they are posting into a vacuum with no one responding to them.

    I’ll say what I said with CY: show me any blog (that wasn’t basically a dead site) where this kind of thing has worked. “Just ignore them” never does, in part because people take (or think others take) silence to imply defeat. It’s a nice ideal, but it’s absolutely not practical. Any plan that requires many people on the internet, especially ones discussing controversial topics they think are important, to shut up and behave of their own accord isn’t a very good plan.

    If, however, this is where the battle really lies, what choice do we have but to fight on that ground? Really, is it any different in academia? I think we may have a false notion that this takes place on UD because of a, more or less, open member policy. But it is just not the case. These very same LNC denying ideas fill every single book from every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author.

    Like I’ve said, I have no problem with a permanent explanation being added to the FAQ – certainly not with mods posting on the subject now and then. But the sad fact is, when it comes to the LNC, there’s not that much to talk about. It’s not a matter of “okay, let the pro-LNC people go find evidence and arguments for the LNC, and let the anti-LNC people go and find evidence and arguments against it, and…” It underlies reasoning, period. To act otherwise is to encourage the problem by way of making it seem as if this is something people can “agree to disagree about”.

    That said, I’m not as sure as you. “Every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author” rejects the LNC? I’m not a fan of naturalists or materialists – Darwinists, meh. Depends what we’re talking about. But I’ve got to say, denying the LNC isn’t exactly in vogue from what I’ve seen. Certainly not so expressly. Yes, you can find some academics denying the LNC. You can find some academic doing just about anything. Really, I think if a sizable number of materialists thought materialism required denying the LNC, they’d ditch the materialism.

    Anyway, if that’s really your view – if you think the LNC has to be defended – then I suggest that treating dissent as reasonable on the subject is a bad idea. Better to just confront them, expose their views, and be done with them. The first step in getting people to adhere to a standard is to make sure you actually have one and act accordingly.

  81. Null,

    Good thoughts. Especially this: “criticisms are important. Individual critics? Not so much.”

    I believe there’s been a practice on certain anti-ID sites of actually selecting one particular person to be the official sock puppet here as a game of recon and eventual infiltration. Once that person is viewed as having some reasonable successes, the rest of them start pouring in. That’s their game. So yeah, I can definitely see it from your perspective. My concern is that we (or rather the moderators) keep the discussions lively and interesting (as Dr. Dembski would say, “not boring”), while maintaining some control as to where it leads, rather than allow the game players to dictate where it leads. I think we’re not the only ones here who tire of having to repeat the same rebuttals endlessly; and for others like me, just find ourselves in need of an extended break.

    There will of course be other critics coming here for the unforeseeable future.

  82. “I was banned from Uncommon Descent! They said I was irrational!” ‘Those fools. What did you do?’ “I rejected the Law of Noncontradiction!”

    That IS funny!!!

  83. That said, I’m not as sure as you. “Every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author” rejects the LNC? I’m not a fan of naturalists or materialists – Darwinists, meh. Depends what we’re talking about. But I’ve got to say, denying the LNC isn’t exactly in vogue from what I’ve seen. Certainly not so expressly. Yes, you can find some academics denying the LNC. You can find some academic doing just about anything.

    No, certainly not expressly do they deny the LNC. But, practically, to defend their positions, they have to at some point or other propose hypotheses, theories, models, or make arguments that rely on fundamentally irrational and contradictory propositions.

    Really, I think if a sizable number of materialists thought materialism required denying the LNC, they’d ditch the materialism.

    Right. They may not think it does, which is why it needs to be pointed out, which . . .

    Anyway, if that’s really your view – if you think the LNC has to be defended – then I suggest that treating dissent as reasonable on the subject is a bad idea. Better to just confront them, expose their views, and be done with them. The first step in getting people to adhere to a standard is to make sure you actually have one and act accordingly.

    . . . brings me to my final point. It’s certainly not that I think the LNC needs to be defended. Heavens, no! It’s that it needs, apparently, to be explained to some people, as you seem to imply by saying that materialists don’t know that materialism leads to worldview contradictions. Some need it explained, and most need it pressed upon them very hard, so they can see how and where their position fails to be coherent.

    I’m not entirely against your position of letting the FAQ do the main, if not all of, the work on this front. But again, I still think there is some benefit for those who can sharpen there skills at refuting illogical positions, as well as to others who are not likely to peruse the FAQ.

  84. CY,

    My concern is that we (or rather the moderators) keep the discussions lively and interesting (as Dr. Dembski would say, “not boring”), while maintaining some control as to where it leads, rather than allow the game players to dictate where it leads.

    Oh, absolutely. Luckily, I think we’re actually good on that front. I’d say lively, interesting and respectful. Really, the nice thing about the LNC sweep is that it also caught up the ‘pathetic and/or obsessed’ nutters in the process. No surprise there – and it does make room for new conversations. There’s such a thing as conversation dominance, where some people just determine how a thread will go because they talk s’damn much about the same old things. At least now, we won’t have to deal with LNC denials. (And really, it’s surprising how often I see them. I think StephenB and KF, for a long while, could more often than not be found pointing out the necessity of the LNC or ex nihilo, nihil fit.)

    Either way, we can wait and see. It’s not like Barry couldn’t reverse the policy if he disliked it in say.. a couple months. Who knows, maybe the critics will relent en masse. “We’re sorry for rejecting the LNC. We were stupid and irrational. May we please comment on UD now? Sincerely, the cesspool denizens.”

    Don’t rule it out. Most of the guys swooped in the LNC ban actually need this place, psychologically.

    Brent,

    I’m not entirely against your position of letting the FAQ do the main, if not all of, the work on this front. But again, I still think there is some benefit for those who can sharpen there skills at refuting illogical positions, as well as to others who are not likely to peruse the FAQ.

    Man, were this any other topic, I’d say there’s a point there. But I don’t think ‘rejecting the LNC’ is something properly answered with “refutation”, since the LNC rather plays a fundamental role in refuting. To paraphrase a philosopher (naturalist, even) on another topic: the proper way to handle someone who rejects the LNC is not refutation, but therapy.

  85. I have found that, at the core, the vast majority of our critics’ errors stem from their failure to respect the rules of right reason, primarily the law of causality and secondarily, the law of non-contradiction. (I know, here we go again). The problem is always there for those who can penetrate what is being said.

    What appears to be a conflict about the evidence does, more often than not, turn out to be a fundamental disagreement about what is ultimately possible from a metaphysical standpoint. If we grant our adversaries’ assumption that effects can occur without causes, they win; if they grant our assumption that every effect requires a cause, we win. Either way, it is no contest. Usually, though not always, the evidence is just a plaything waiting to be shaped by the world view.

    Larry Krauss, for example, dares to argue for A Universe From Nothing because feels free to exempt himself from the law of causality; Robert Spitzer, on the other hand, can provide “New Evidence For The Existence Of God” because he is confident about the existence of that same law. In other words, Krauss projects his irrationality onto the evidence, and the evidence goes crazy; Spitzer projects his rationality onto the evidence, and the evidence illuminates our minds.

    In parallel fashion, I dared to argue last week that a contingent universe requires a first/causeless cause because that conclusion is the inevitable outcome of honoring the Laws of Non-Contradiction and causality. At the same time, my adversary argued against the first/causeless cause because he felt bound by neither principle. For my part, a physical law is a physical law and can be nothing else. For him, a physical law can be what it is and also be something else. Reasoning from his assumption, no first cause is needed—never mind that reason has already been abandoned.

    In biology, we find the same kind of conflict. One group recognizes causality (mind from mind, life from life) and the other denies causality (mind from matter, life from non-life). One group interprets evidence reasonably; the other doesn’t. Assumptions are everywhere. If we grant uniformitarianism, the universe is old and common descent is inescapable; if we abandon uniformitarianism, the earth may well be young and common descent becomes problematic. If we accept reason’s principles, we get a universe; if we deny reason’s principles, we get a multiverse. Just look at the conflicting roots in the word [multi (many) uni (one).
    And so it goes. My point is that our main challenge is anti-intellectualism and I think we need to enter the arena with that perspective.

  86. nullasalus,

    Well, as usual, Stephen says it better.

    I think we are talking past each other a little, however. I’m not saying that we should discuss any further with someone who outright denies the LNC. I’m saying we should be willing and able to show where thinking leads to non-conformity to the LNC. I guess it’s my fault for letting us get to this point, but, no, I don’t think there is any further need to discuss anything with someone who flat rejects the LNC once his/her position has been shown to lead to a denial of it. I’m speaking of showing how one’s position leads to inescapable collision with the LNC and, as Stephen said, the rules of right reason.

  87. Brent,

    I’m saying we should be willing and able to show where thinking leads to non-conformity to the LNC.

    Alright. I thought you were saying that people who flat out reject the LNC (whether knowingly in the course of an argument, or before any argument begins) should be reasoned with. Someone who accepts the LNC universally, but who holds a position that may (unknown to them at the time) violate it is a different matter.

  88. Lastyearon says:

    Why ask whether the moon can both exist and not exist. Why not just ask, “Are you on our side or their side.”

    Clearly, all critics of ID are:
    fools or charlatans / refuse to argue in good faith / brainwashed / mentally incompetent / a troll / they spew.. noxious inanities / arguing with them is self-defeating and can lead only to confusion.

    And since, there’s no point in dialogue, they’ve all been banned.”

    What is the purpose of the question about the moon then? I don’t understand.

    OK, with comments like this, I’m beginning to agree with Barry on this.

    If you intend to say that all Darwinists believe that the moon can both exist and not exist at the same time, well then yes, the us against them approach would work, but even I have more faith in most Darwinists than to think they all believe such an obvious falsehood.

    I don’t think that even Rhampton who got banned believes this.

  89. Folks:

    I just breathed a sigh of relief.

    I am heartened by the discussion overnight, and the attitude of reasonableness that so plainly drives it.

    That is of course by way of highly specific contrast with the hoggish fever swamp mentality elsewhere, that we need not list. {And that is a theological term from the Sermon on the Mount, from Jesus’ own lips.]

    I want to build on Null’s observation above:

    I don’t think ‘rejecting the LNC’ is something properly answered with “refutation”, since the LNC rather plays a fundamental role in refuting. To paraphrase a philosopher (naturalist, even) on another topic: the proper way to handle someone who rejects the LNC is not refutation, but therapy.

    Indeed.

    I have now come to the conclusion, in light of my experience of 20 – 25 years ago as a “cult” exposer and life crash-and-burn “walk-away” helper, that the New Atheism movement has the marks of an unrecognised mind-bending nihilistic cult in our midst.

    So, our fundamental stance has to be therapeutic for victims, while guarding against inroads of the wolf-packs of nihilistic victimisers.

    That diagnosis undoubtedly sounds harsh, so let me explain a bit:

    1 –> I long ago came to favour a modded form of Edgar Schein’s framework for explaining the sort of change process involved in legitimate thought/attitude reform and the sort of mind-bending deceitful manipulation and exploitation that marks a destructive group or movement, a “cult” in the negative sociological sense.

    2 –> Let’s outline:

    a: Edgar Schein’s model, sees us as frozen in a sociocultural matrix of roles, attitudes, expectations, views etc.

    b: We are who we are, and our environment and relationships reinforce this, in many ways. Change is normally slow and radical change will meet with all sort of barriers. We are frozen, or even imprisoned.

    b: This may however be destabilised through unfreezing that intensely isolates us socially, emotionally, attitudinally, intellectually and/or physically from the former context, often creating what others speak of as cognitive dissonance.

    c: That opens up change. There is a subtle or blatant crisis were we do not fit in, and we feel pressure to change. We may even feel an urge within to change, and may desire to change.

    c: Change comes in by responding to what seems to work better in the new environment and/or imitating those ahead of you in the new way.

    d: It may remain external in locus, reinforced by social support and rewards or it may be internalised which is more stable long term.

    e: This then stabilises in a new role- attitude- message-behaviour etc frame that for whatever reason “works” better in the new setting. Refreezing.

    f: The key to brainwashing, as it is popularly called [there is no consensus on good terms, coerced manipulative thought and behaviour change is as close as I can get to a description that is going to fit into a nutshell), is NOT in this four phase process; that is a matter of basic human socio-psychological dynamics.

    g: The key distinction and danger are, that manipulation is UNETHICAL. It pivots on power games, deceit, violation of confidence, rape of person in the metaphorical sense, and sometimes all too literally. the victim is a target, not a person in his or her own right to be treated with respect and fairness, etc.

    h: The image I often have is the banana: plucked from its hand, peeled, sucked out of what was wanted, the husk tossed away and forgotten. That works with the sexual exploiters who try to rack up notches on their bed posts of girls they have seduced and tossed. It works with those who want cannon fodder for cultural-political movements, it works at the extreme with those who are making suicide bombers. And so forth.

    i: The trick is, this is closely parallel in phases and processes to genuine repentance and renewal of life.

    j: But, again, the key difference is ethical: the integrity or otherwise of the change process.

    k: Manipulation, intimidation, ducking key issues and questions, shunning or demonising those who ask relevant questions in reasonable ways or point out serious problems in similarly reasonable ways etc are big red flag issues.

    (And don't even dare to try the turnabout "he hit back first" trick; too often what is presented as a "civil" challenge here at UD turns out to be a front for the most nastily uncivil bully boy behaviour as my comment inbox has testified for month after month. The turnabout trick is yet another red flag sign. Observe by contrast that when I thought we could potentially go off the rails here, I started from our own potential problems, THEN have now turned to dealing with the other side of the story. Cf 66 above.)

    l: A note on what it takes for the therapy: if someone is deeply entangled, and has walked away because s/he has crashed and burned, it can take months to years to pull ones self and life back together. And, you are going to need counsellors and friends; hopefully, you have not totally alienated your family.

    m: But, if you see through the tactics that have exploited you and come to rethink and reorganise yourself on a sounder basis, that is a lot less painful, and a lot quicker, with much better long term prognosis.

    n: And, sis K, if you are monitoring, I have you in mind: from victim to valedictorian! My heartfelt congratulations again.

    3 --> The new atheists -- on abundant evidence all over the Internet with certain fever swamp sites as chief exemplars and Youtube's comment flame wars as a demonstration of what happens without due regulation -- seek to exploit the name of science and to isolate those it pulls in from a civilisaiton that is Judaeo-Christian. They do so to get cannon fodder for their sociocultural agenda, which we can easily see from say Aiden's songs: they are viscerally, hatefully anti-Christian, and have all sorts of things that they want to do openly that a culture dominated by the Judaeo-Christian value system will not tolerate or promote.

    4 --> So, they demonise and denigrate, in order to alienate and isolate, allowing the propaganda talking points and examples to be internalised. The same holds for the fever swamp sites on the web, that are indoctrination centres.

    5 --> And the clouds of angry, talking point tanked up mosquitoes we see here and elsewhere, are carrying the agenda.

    6 --> A worrying sign, is the sustained bestseller status of the sort of sophomoric village atheist talking point type books that have been pushed in recent years by leading spokesmen for the new atheists.

    7 --> In that context the recent smear rather than stand up to discuss and debate game we saw from a leading NAM spokesman, is not only an example being followed by the tanked up mosquitoes, but a plain example of how the leadership know or should know better than they are speaking.

    8 --> They know that they would publicly crash and burn -- with the video being there forever on Youtube -- if they had to stand up toe to toe with someone who knows their onions and is not afraid or unwilling to go toe to toe, so they have resorted to smears and atmosphere poisoning rather than serious and sober engagement on the merits.

    9 --> But, the mass support of what we may summarise as the obsessed, brainwashed, polarised, talking point tanked up fever swamp mosquitoes allows the agendas to move forward, regardless of the demonstrable want of soundness behind it. (I know, I know, that sounds harsh, but simply wander over by the fever swamps to see what I mean.)

    (Do you think that Nazism was ever a sound intellectual force? How then did it prevail in Germany, a leading centre of the mind in our civilisation? Let us think on that! Especially in light of Plato's grim warning from 2350 years ago on the dangers of nihilism and its factions.)

    10 --> But, regardless, the truth is that the unsound cannot stand up toe to toe with the sound, it has to exploit ignorance, gaps in knowledge and our disinclination to the serious intellectual labour required to build or evaluate a worldview.

    11 --> Sadly, it is ever so much easier to hang on to a movement, which does your thinking for you and backs you up! Especially, when it gives you ready made demonised scapegoats -- Aiden's blood-mongering vampire clergy image is iconic -- to blame for your ills and rages.

    12 --> So, take a moment to think:

    a: is this movement trying to tickle my itching ears with what it thinks I want to hear?

    b: Is it pandering to my prejudices, stereotypes and scapegoats?

    c: Or is it calling me to the hard path of duty to the truth I know or should know and the right that I know or should know that I ought to do?

    d: Is it willing to go all the way back tot he foundations of worldviews, and address first principles of right reason and the way reason and belief are intertwined inextricably in the roots of all worldviews, so we must move forward on comparative difficulties?

    e: is it calling for reasonable, open minded, critically aware faith, or is it pretending to be the sole authority that we should adhere to, "the only begetter of truth" and demanding blind adherence while demonising or belittling all who would differ or even question? (Are you shunned and shamed if you ask serious questions?)

    f: is it subtly or blatantly inviting me to blind adherence to some new magisterium or other, to hew to a partyline and follow the up-front hero-worshipped messianistic leaders without due regard to the human challenge: we are finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling and too often ill-willed?

    g: Does it cruelly ridicule, demonise, stereotype and scapegoat those who differ, using red herrings led out to strawman cariactures soaked in ad hominems that are then ignited through snidely or blatantly incendiary rhetoric, the better to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere?

    h: does it subtly or blatantly send the message that "we" have cornered the market on the truth [thanks for that phrase, AT], or does it have a broad minded view that receives and respects truth in light of the long history of ideas and the record of history seen as a test on the ground that reveals the challenges innate in ever so many glitteringly attractive ideas and movements?

    i: is it willing to acknowledge that we are under moral government of an objective principle that we can discern if we are willing and are open to look and think? in short, does it recognise the inherent right of the moral law of human nature? does it recognise the fundamental human moral hazard of finitude, fallibility, fallenness and ill will? Does it face specific moral hazards in its system of thought? does it try to govern itself in a way that uses checks, balances and mutual accountability that allows to detect and correct error? is loyalty two-way or is it only ever up? what about respect?

    j: is it then willing to address say Hume’s guillotine, the legitimate part: that unless there is a foundational IS in the worldview that can ground OUGHT objectively, then ought cannot ever be grounded objectively, reducing to the moral hazard that might and manipulation makes ‘right’?

    k: Is it willing to face the implications of the need for clarity and distinction in thought?

    l: That is, that at minimum, the following four classic first principles of right reason apply, not only when it is convenient but when it is most decidedly NOT convenient:

    [i] A thing, A, is what it is (the law of identity) — assuming its existence is of course possible;

    [ii] A thing, A, cannot at once be and not-be (the law of non-contradiction);

    [iii] A thing, A, is or it is not, but not both or neither (the law of the excluded middle).

    [iv] “to say that what is is, and what is not is not, is true.” (the Aristotle/Plato core definition of what truth is: accurate assertion as compared with reality)

    [v] “Of everything that is, it can be found why it is.” (That is, Schopenhaour’s from of the principle of sufficient reason)

    [vi] By direct application of v: “if something has a beginning or may cease from being — i.e. it is contingent — it has a cause.” (the principle of causality, and by extension, the implication that there may be beings that are non-contingent and are uncaused, starting with say the truth in a proposition like 2 + 3 = 5, which always was, always will be, and cannot cease from being.)

    ++++++++++++++

    The six first principles of right reason just laid out are self-evidently true, and are in fact mutually reinforcing.

    That is, in light of our experience of reality as minded intelligences, we can understand them, and relate them intelligibly to our world. When we do so, we see they are true, and MUST be true, on pain of immediate and patent absurdity.

    So, if we play fast and loose with them, we find ourselves in absurd inconsistencies.

    Like, the man who claims that quantum mechanics dismisses LNC, while laying out his case in a fashion that radically depends on the LNC, e.g. in how he uses the symbols and relationships in his mathematical expressions, and how he has to operate to set up, observe record and evaluate the empirical evidence he sees. Similarly, the man who would appeal to relativity to relativise knowledge runs into the postulate that in an inertial frame, the speed of light in vacuo will take the same well known value, c.

    But, we live in an era of mass confusion. So, many are in desperate need of help. (Sadly, as any helpers will tell you, many who most need help are the same who most stoutly resist it. their addictions are turned into their identities and that which helps is seen as a threat.)

    I therefore suggest that we must distinguish between the enmeshed, who need counsel and help if they are willing, and those who are simply tanked up fever swamp mosquitoes aiming to drown out and denigrate the message that would give help.

    So, I would caution that a rule like the proposed should only be used in dealing with the specifically and persistently disruptive and evasive who enable the disruptive and the side trackers.

    It should not be used as a litmus test, with the executioner standing by and testing the edge of his axe, but instead as one of a cluster of tests of being disruptive, uncivil and threadjacking. A three strikes and you are out test may be helpful on this.

    I also think that mandatory sentences are not very helpful, there may be a way to be reasonable, to caution and call back, to expose and only to remove the persistent repeat offenders.

    I hope I have been helpful.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  90. PS: When I looked in the WYSIWYG box just now I saw a weird date [Feb 6616, I think . . . this one is Feb 6099, and I am posting the afternoon at 1:29 pm at that far future date], and I have seen boxes that list me as anonymous on posting though it cleans up when the post comment goes through. Just a note to the web master on Bugs/Features of WP.

  91. “Some people do this automagically by default of being human.”

    Maus, I know it was most likely a typo (and not a typo either), but this new, unintentional yet willing, addition to the lexicon is rather appropriate to the moment.

    Aristotle(not): “They were automagical in their denial of the LNC’.

    :)

  92. LYO, I think you are misreading QM on that. The moon may be viewed as a wavicle, but in so doing, it will be of such scope relative to h, that the correspondence principle kicks in, and things like uncertainty on position-momentum go away effectively. Similarly, the moon whether we regard it as a matter-wave or a classical solid body or even a glob of green cheese, is patently there; we cannot reasonably and coherently say it is and is not, in the same sense, time and context of meaning. KF

  93. 93

    I think that the formation of the proposition is what is essential to any LNC question. If one is going to define Jupiter in the ordinary, macro sense, the answer is an easy “no”.

    If one is going to go all superpositional quantum-theory on us, then the proper question is: can the collection of all potential states of subatomic phenomena collectively referred to as the locations where Jupiter might exist, exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?

    Booyah.

  94. F/N 2: Let’s do a Heisenberg calc for the moon.

    Let’s cite Max Born, to see the heart of this:

    …To measure space coordinates and instants of time, rigid measuring rods and clocks are required. On the other hand, to measure momenta and energies, devices are necessary with movable parts to absorb the impact of the test object and to indicate the size of its momentum. Paying regard to the fact that quantum mechanics is competent for dealing with the interaction of object and apparatus, it is seen that no arrangement is possible that will fulfill both requirements simultaneously…

    dP*dx >/= h/2*2*pi

    Let’s take side motion, and say we can have it to =/- 1 in 10^4 — we can measure optically and/or by radar to much better than this.

    Just to see what we are talking about:

    LHS: dP * dx = 10^-4 *(7.36 *10^22 kg* 1.023*10^3 m/s)*dx

    = 7.53*10^21*dx

    RHS: 6.626 *10^-34 Js/2*2*pi ~ 5.2728 *10^-37 Js

    So, using the lower bound that we are about the limiter of uncertainty:

    dx = 7 * 10^-57 m

    That would be a lot less than the diameter of an atom!

    Such an uncertainty, even if many, many orders of magnitude higher, would be unobservable and irrelevant to any real world issues. This is just a manifestation of the premise that for sufficiently large, heavy objects quantum results trend to classical ones.

    We can have high confidence in the moon’s location and speed, never mind uncertainty relations. Considered as a wavicle, the moon is pretty well defined as to size, momentum, location and identity; thank you.

    Which brings us back to the point: we have an object we observe in our sky and have labeled the moon, being a well known object ever since humanity looked up into the sky and thought intelligently on it.

    Can it exist and not exist at the same time in the same sense and place, why?

    And, those who suggest that say QM allows them to dismiss the point, are plainly challenged: and how did you know that the terms and relations and operations in your equations that led you to those conclusions, were and were not in the same sense at the same time?

    In short, how do you stop the descent into chaos and confusion?

    KF

  95. tjguy,
    You said…

    even I have more faith in most Darwinists than to think they all believe such an obvious falsehood [denial of LNC].

    Yet, I find Brent’s view much more representative of the general feeling here…

    These very same LNC denying ideas fill every single book from every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author.

    Perhaps I can ask a question of everyone here:
    Which comes closest to your view:
    a) All criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    b) Most criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    c) Some criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC

  96. kf, you said:

    Let’s do a Heisenberg calc for the moon.

    (…)

    So, using the lower bound that we are about the limiter of uncertainty:

    dx = 7 * 10^-57 m

    That would be a lot less than the diameter of an atom!

    Such an uncertainty, even if many, many orders of magnitude higher, would be unobservable and irrelevant to any real world issues. This is just a manifestation of the premise that for sufficiently large, heavy objects quantum results trend to classical ones.

    We can have high confidence in the moon’s location and speed, never mind uncertainty relations. Considered as a wavicle, the moon is pretty well defined as to size, momentum, location and identity; thank you.

    In the light of this, would you say that the answer to Barry’s question is:

    Theoretically yes, practically no?

    fG

  97. Perhaps I can ask a question of everyone here:
    Which comes closest to your view:
    a) All criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    b) Most criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    c) Some criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC

    d) Most criticisims of ID stem from ignorance and jealousy. The “LNC litmus test” is just a verification.

  98. FG: Subject changing. The point is that the quantum analysis on position is essentially the same as a classical one, as the correspondence principle reduces to the classical result for large objects, in this case something of order 10^-57 m is well below the threshold of observability, another way of saying it is not even seriously scientific. This sort of thing is a well established result from the 1920′s and beyond. And, anyone who has done a first quantum course will know this. So, all of this stuff about superposed states [a superposition is not a contradiction!], or position-momentum uncertainty [which here goes to an observational zero] is blinding with science. The issue is, whatever that thing is we call the moon, can it be and not be at the same time in the same sense: and [Moon AND-not-Moon be true?]. The answer is obviously not, on pain of absurdity. But, there are those who will sit there all day and try to make arguments, because the underlying principles of right reason point where they would not go. I spent enough time already earlier this week, going through the quantum arguments and why they do not go where they are too often said to go, starting with Schroedinger’s poor little cat; including by people speaking in the name of “science.” (And BTW, most scientists nowadays are not particularly qualified in logic or epistemology, which is where this stuff lives; in Bohr’s and Einstein’s day [and in a day of antisemitism let me note: both Jewish Nobel Prize holders for Physics . . . ], it was a different matter.) Did you take enough time to see that and think it through, or are you just interested in wasting time? The proper issue for this thread, is, whether we are dealing with talking point games or genuine confusions. If you have a serious objection or concern, let us hear it on a serious point. KF

  99. Which comes closest to your view:
    a) All criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    b) Most criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC
    c) Some criticisms of ID stem from denial of LNC

    It’s not that simple. Most (or all) are committed to a naturalist/materialist worldview, either because they were duped into believing it with faulty evidence and arguments, or just because it is more emotionally appealing to them for metaphysical reasons (they don’t want there to be a God). Many (perhaps most, but certainly at least some) do not realize the degree to which such a worldview cannot be coherent and comply with LNC.

    Understanding then that the root of their denial of the LNC is more fundamental (and really by extension, no one just sets out on a journey to deny LNC), most critics of ID are those who have a particular worldview; one that happens to inherently deny LNC.

  100. Brent, Joe,
    Thanks for the quick responses.

    Joe, you said: “Most criticisims of ID stem from ignorance and jealousy. “

    Can you point to one ID criticism or name one ID critic that in your opinion isn’t ignorant or jealous?

    Brent, you said: “most critics of ID are those who have a particular worldview; one that happens to inherently deny LNC.”

    Can you name one ID critic that in your opinion doesn’t inherently deny LNC?

  101. These very same LNC denying ideas fill every single book from every single highly respected naturalist, materialist, Darwinist author.

    Quoting myself above, I hope everyone understands what I mean. Please note I said “LNC denying ideas.”

    I of course only mean that the ideas expressed in such books, when examined, lead inexorably to incoherent and contradictory ends. Often there isn’t really much need to examine them, in fact; they are pretty obvious. But I certainly don’t mean to say that if you search such works that you will find explicit denials of LNC or other rules of reason.

  102. lastyearon,

    Can you name one ID critic that in your opinion doesn’t inherently deny LNC?

    Yes and no (but not at the same time or in the same sense . . .).

    Many critics are not entirely critical of ID, for one. They do offer criticisms and are critics in that sense, but not opposed to ID in general.

    I’m sure there must be those who are more critical of ID in general, that do not deny LNC, but I cannot off the top of my head think of any names. Most vocal critics of ID will be those with a naturalist/materialist worldview, and will lead them to deny LNC, at least practically in relevant areas so as to keep their worldview intact.

  103. Subject changing.

    Hardly – I relate your post directly to the OP!

    The point is that the quantum analysis on position is essentially the same as a classical one, as the correspondence principle reduces to the classical result for large objects, in this case something of order 10^-57 m is well below the threshold of observability, another way of saying it is not even seriously scientific.

    I am sure all of us here realise that the quantum computations when applied to objects as large as the moon result in probabilities that are vanishingly small, and that is why I suggested that the practical answer to the OP question is without any doubt ‘no’.

    However, purely mathematically and physically speaking, vanishingly small is not the same as zero. Ergo, if we want to be pedantically theoretical in a physical/mathematical sense, the correct answer should be ‘yes’.

    Of course I understand that Barry wasn’t after a mathematical or physical answer to the question, but after a logical one. Ordinary logic obviously says that the moon (or anything else) can’t both exist and not exist at the same time (I’m not entirely sure what is meant by ‘and in the same formal relation’ but never mind that for now).

    What I find interesting is to consider why there appears to be this tension between the rules of ordinary logic and the theoretical results of QM (which as we know are very well supported by practical experiments). As you say, this tension is vanishingly small when we refer to the moon, but what if Barry’s question had been: ‘Can a photon both exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?’ If you then did the calculations, what would the outcome be? How would we relate that result to the ordinary logic that clearly says ‘no’?

    fG

  104. Can you point to one ID criticism or name one ID critic that in your opinion isn’t ignorant or jealous?

    As has been pointed out, and as exists with the ToE, there isn’t one solid unified theory. What I am trying to say is that we IDists, although showing a somewhat unified front against evobabble, are the best critics of ID as we are far from being unified as to what, exactly, ID entails, as in refinement- ID lacks refinement.

    So that is a valid criticism.

    And the “criticisms” from the anti-ID mob ain’t going to get us there. If they wanted to provide some proper criticism they would just show us how their position did/ does it so we could do a side-by-each comparison (because the way to the design inference is through necessity and chance).

  105. FG: you did it again. The point at stake is that a definable object A has a distinct identity, and that which is not A is just that — cf the diagram in the already linked, which shows the grounds of the LNC. The point of the QM uncertainty calc is to show that quantum fuzziness on the border of the moon is well below observable limits; indeed the fact that the moon’s surface is made of crumbly or powdery rock materials gives a much more fuzzy border than the quantum uncertainty of location. None of these makes a moon/non moon border an issue of consequence — the moon is not a significantly fuzzy object, and the stability of its identity is not in question; which is all part of what “moon” has long meant. In short, the issue is one of being “blinded with science,” and this is promoted in our day because there are agendas that seek to profit from vagueness about things and claims so that it is hoped to smear out that which should be plain. KF

  106. FG: You are running all over the world of ideas. Why not take up Einstein’s photoemission relation and see what it has to say about photon identity? The photon involved is characterised by a frequency parameter, and if not above a work function threshold no emission. Beyond, energy of released electrons is a function of excess energy. Without the photon being a definable object, and the electron, the analysis would collapse. Indeed, the same extends to the chalk or ink marks, and the symbols and relationships they express, as well as to the observations in the experimental setup. Again, the issues are foundational to reasoning. KF

  107. I’ve been reading the current threads about the law of non-contradiction (LNC), and I’m aware of previous threads on this and related subjects (although I haven’t paid much attention here for a year or so). I’d like to provide what is perhaps a broader perspective on the subject, or one that at least adds a few more elements to the discussion.

    The LNC is a basic assumption of logic: for any proposition A, (A and ~A) is False. This and a number of other assumptions and operations comprise the foundations of symbolic logic, out of which many other complex statements can be determined to be either true or false.

    It’s worth noting that the particular nature of statement A is irrelevant: the LNC is true whether or not A is a “meaningful” statement in respect to the world or not. If A = the moon exists, the LNC holds. If A = the ocean is proud (which is not meaningful because pride or the lack of it are not attributes of the ocean as we understand it), the LNC holds. If A = all boojums tweeble (which is utterly meaningless), the LNC holds.

    The LNC is a truth about propositions in the abstract, as elements of a logical system, as opposed to the truth or meaningfulness of the propositions themselves as they relate to the world. Another example: “democracy is the best form of government” and “democracy is not the best form of government” cannot both be true, but that in itself tells us nothing about whether in fact democracy is the best form of government.

    Another example worth considering: let A = X is a point on the earth that is on a mountain. Now surely then, for every particular Xo, either “Xo is a point on a mountain (A) or X is not a point on a mountain (~A)” is true, but “X is a point on a mountain and X is not a point on a mountain” is false. However, if we start looking at actual points on the earth, deciding whether some points Xo are on a mountain or not on a mountain becomes a matter of applying various definitions and criteria, and even, in some cases, of making arbitrary decisions – all of which go beyond the logical proposition A to which we applied the LNC.

    So the point is not whether logic is true or not (there is no doubt about the logical validity of the LNC),but rather what is the relationship between logic and the world, and/or what is the nature of our use of logic as we investigate the world.

    A simplistic but fundamental distinction in philosophy is made between what could be called the Platonic and the Aristotelian views. The Platonic idea is that the ideals, including logic, are primary, occurring before, both temporally and ontologically, the material world. Most of the people on this forum are Platonists, I think, and ID in general, for most people, is Platonic in this broad sense: mind precedes matter, and intelligence and rationality, in the form of, among other things, logic and mathematics, informs itself upon matter.

    The opposite view (and I know that this doesn’t really reflect Aristotle’s views, although he did have some fundamental disagreements with Plato about this subject) is that the material world is primary, and that logic and math are abstractions that we have make based on our experience of the world.

    Wikipedia puts the difference this way:

    Aristotle disagreed with Plato on this point, arguing that all universals are instantiated. Aristotle argued that there are no universals that are unattached to existing things. … In addition, Aristotle disagreed with Plato about the location of universals. As Plato spoke of the world of the forms, a location where all universal forms subsist, Aristotle maintained that universals exist within each thing on which each universal is predicated. So, according to Aristotle, the form of apple exists within each apple, rather than in the world of the forms.

    Or, as a philosophy student friend of mine said many years ago, it looks like the goat follows the path, but that’s because the goats made the path in the first place. That is, we say that nature follows laws, as if the laws are there first and make the world do what it does, but in fact the world does what it does, and we abstract from that behavior certain regularities which we then formalize in abstract systems, which we call the laws of nature. But nature comes first, in respect to our abstractions; the “universals exist within each thing on which each universal is predicated,” but without the instantiation of the universal in the particulars of the material world, no universal would exist. No goats, no path.

    So, in respect to this view, what is the relationship between logic and the world? Logic has an internal consistency within which true and false are clear, and within which the LNC is absolutely true. But as soon as you move from “let A be any proposition” to letting A be a particular proposition about the world, you have left the world of pure logic – like the point X which may or may not be on a mountain, or the statement about whether the ocean can be proud or not. Now what you have is a model, or mapping, where certain aspects of the world (but not the whole world) are mapped to certain propositions which can then be manipulated with logic and math to reach new conclusions. This is a very powerful technique, as we have found. However, the logical manipulations don’t necessarily always lead to true conclusions – not because the logic is faulty, but because the model we have built linking the world with the logic is faulty. (incomplete, vague, wrong, not complex enough, etc.)

    Therefore, after we do the logical manipulations with our propositions (using the LNC and other fundamental tools of logic), we still have to test our conclusions by re-examining the world – we have to see if our model is good, and whether, and in what ways, our model needs to be improved.

    Thus, logic itself, without this process of creating and testing models, cannot tell us anything about the world. We accept logic and math as tools (extremely powerful tools, with their own internal truths) for reasoning about the world, but we have found, repeatedly, that what seems “logical” today is not so true tomorrow, because the propositions that we put into our logic are faulty.

    So, and let me now wade into controversial waters, I would say that No, it is not correct to say that the moon can exist and not exist at the same time, for two reasons, one empirical and one logical. The first is that the proposition “the moon exists” is clearly enough defined that I think that the link between the proposition and the reality is strong enough, in respect to both “moon” and “exists”, that we have little doubt that logical manipulations will prove to lead to valid conclusions; and the second is the logical reason that the LNC precludes, logically, “A and ~A” from being true. Here we have a good solid model, and thus are quite sure that the LNC can be applied.

    However, if we replace “moon” with “virtual particle”, then things are not so clear: not because the LNC is any less valid (it’s always logically valid), but because “exists” is not nearly so much an obvious attribute that applies to virtual particle. Saying a virtual particle exists might be more like saying the ocean is proud than it is like saying the moon exists – it might be ascribing an attribute to virtual particles that is not appropriate. Or perhaps it’s more like asking whether a particular point is on a mountain or not – perhaps the nature of virtual particles is such that there is a gradation between things which exist in some sense (however we might define that) and things that don’t, and we have to draw an artificial and somewhat arbitrary line in order to force our dichotomous understanding on a world where the lines are not clearcut.

    In this case, then, if one were to ask if it possible to say “that a virtual particle can exist and not exist at the same time”, I would say this: within the world of logic where A = “a virtual particle exists”, the proposition is logically impossible, but as a statement about the real world that statement is problematic and uncertain, not because the logic is faulty (the LNC can’t be wrong), but because the model we have between our logical constructs and the real world is inadequate.

  108. Virtual particles are just mathematical formalisms and do not need to be interpreted realistically. There is no physical evidence for them and indeed cant be any evidence for them. I think its safe to say thet dont exist at all.

  109. Aleta,

    If I understand you correctly, you are doing exactly what is being condemned in this thread. You are reserving a possibility that the LNC may not hold in the “real world”.

    All your talk of the LNC always holding and not being logically wrong means nothing at all if you are going to reserve for yourself an instance where it doesn’t hold. And this you seem to do when you say that it isn’t so easily applied to the real world of objects.

    Bull! It isn’t a problem, ever, in any instance whatsoever, that the LNC is questionable. Once one says that something is defined in such and such a way, and it is “A”, then, that’s it! It doesn’t do anything at all to the LNC if another person disagrees with the definition. It’s just completely beside the point.

    The way your post reads, however, makes it seem that such disagreements actually reflect on the LNC, even while you try to couch your language in a fashion to make it seem that the LNC is unassailable.

    Is the LNC always applicable to the physical world or not?

    Is the LNC always applicable to the non-physical world or not?

    And I don’t mean applicable in some “sense”, but does it absolutely hold and act as an arbiter of the validity of propositions?

  110. Hi Brent. You write, “If I understand you correctly, you are doing exactly what is being condemned in this thread. You are reserving a possibility that the LNC may not hold in the “real world”.”

    I think you do not understand me correctly, then.

    You write, “The way your post reads, however, makes it seem that such disagreements actually reflect on the LNC, even while you try to couch your language in a fashion to make it seem that the LNC is unassailable.”

    I am not “trying to couch” my language: I’m trying to make a distinction between a purely logical proposition and a model of the real world using language to describe some phenomena.

    You ask, “Is the LNC always applicable to the physical world or not?” The LNC is applicable to propositions within an abstract logical system. Any application of the LNC, or logic in general, to the physical world involves a combination of logic, language, and empirical investigation. I am a strong supporter of logic (I have taught introductory logic, and lots of math – geometry proofs are one of my favorite parts of math) and I appreciate the incredible power of logic and math. But as I explained, and as I wrote on another thread, the LNC can be applied to any proposition whatsoever, so obviously the LNC itself doesn’t lead us to new knowledge. And I said, although you dismissed this, in the case of virtual particles, the problem is not the LNC, the problem is that the proposition “virtual particles exist” might not be a clearly defined or meaningful statement, and therefore applying the LNC might be no more useful that appling it to “All feebles are gumbles.”

    You ask, “Is the LNC always applicable to the non-physical world or not?” What would be an example of the non-physical world that you have in mind?

    Also, you write,”All your talk of the LNC always holding and not being logically wrong means nothing at all if you are going to reserve for yourself an instance where it doesn’t hold. And this you seem to do when you say that it isn’t so easily applied to the real world of objects.” I’m not “reserving” anything for myself. I’m saying that many scientists in the field of quantum mechanics have serious questions about the extent in which “existence” as we understand it in the macro-world can clearly be said to apply to virtual particles.

  111. Brent: “If I understand you correctly, you are doing exactly what is being condemned in this thread. You are reserving a possibility that the LNC may not hold in the “real world”.”

    Aleta: “I think you do not understand me correctly, then.”

    He understands you correctly.

  112. Aleta explains what I am getting at so much better than I can, and I am in full agreement with what she is trying to get across. There is not much I could add so I will bow out again of this discussion, except to leave you with this thought:

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    fG

  113. Aleta,

    What would be an example of the non-physical world that you have in mind?

    7 = 7

    I’m not “reserving” anything for myself. I’m saying that many scientists in the field of quantum mechanics have serious questions about the extent in which “existence” as we understand it in the macro-world can clearly be said to apply to virtual particles.

    Then they are having a definitional problem, not a LNC problem. If they or anyone else wants to claim that it throws the LNC into question, then they are just off their rocker. But the very funny thing is, you emphatically show that you know this! You put the word existence in quotes! And that you did, even though you are comparing two things that you know are distinct; i.e., the macro-world and virtual particles. So even if existence didn’t apply to both in the same manner, it still wouldn’t violate LNC, because there is a distinction to the type of thing the word is applying to.

    Question: Are virtual particles actual or not?

  114. Folks:

    In this thread, I first addressed a serious concern about trends of confused thought in our civilisation and how I think we should respond to the genuinely confused, therapeutically not with litmus tests. (The stubbornly disruptive, disrespectful and uncivil or outright nihilistic are another matter.)

    In so speaking, I highlighted the depth of confusion about first principles of right reason that is now so utterly commonplace, pivoting on the concept of self-evidence as the connexion between what could be dismissed as arbitrary axioms for games we call mathematics and the like, and the real world in which we have to live. (Let the puzzled reflect on the Josiah Royce example: “error exists” to see a case of what a self-evident truth looks like, and how we recognise such and put them to work.)

    Subsequent events in the thread have underscored why the therapeutic approach rather than the litmus test approach, will have to be central.

    I frankly feel almost like a fool for having to drum home what should be basic and simple, patently obvious truths. But, this is a measure of just how sick our civilisation is. And, of just how deep the confusions in our thought go.

    Let us start with a basic point, as can be seen in the discussion here on in context: the first step in serious thinking about anything, is to make relevant distinctions, so for each such case we divide the world into A and not-A.

    (Notice the example of a bright red ball on a table. Or, you can take: Me and not-Me, etc etc. It helps to start with the concrete and obvious so keep that nice red ball you got when you were say 6 months old in mind.)

    Once there is a clear distinction, the relevant laws of thought follow directly, let’s illustrate:

    World: || . . . ||

    On identifying a distinct thing, (A), we distinguish:

    || (A) . . . NOT-A . . . ||

    From this seemingly simple and commonsensical act of marking a distinction with a sharp border so to speak, the following follows, once A is indeed identifiably distinct at a given time and place under given circumstances:

    (a) the part labelled A will be A (symbolically, [A => A] = 1),

    (b) A will not be the same as NOT-A ( [A AND NOT-A] = 0); and

    (c) there is no third option to being A or NOT-A ( [A OR NOT-A] = 1).

    Or, in broader terms:

    [a] A thing, A, is what it is (the law of identity);

    [b] A thing, A, cannot at once be and not-be (the law of non-contradiction);

    [c] A thing, A, is or it is not, but not both or neither (the law of the excluded middle).

    And since there is a tendency to use classical quotes, let me cite one, from Paul of Tarsus, on the significance of all this, even for the very act of speech, the basis for reasoned, verbalised thought:

    1 Cor 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church . . .

    In short, the very act of intelligible communication pivots on precisely the ability to mark relevant distinctions. Indeed, the ASCII code we use for text tells us one English language alphanumeric character encodes answers to seven yes/no questions, why it takes up seven bits. (The eighth is a check-sum, useful to say reasonably confident that this is accurately transmitted, but that is secondary.)

    So, let us get it deep into our bones: so soon as we are communicating or calculating using symbols, textual or aural, we are relying on the oh so often spoken against laws of thought. This BTW, is why I have repeatedly pointed out how when theoretical physicists make the traditional scratches on the proverbial chalk board, these principles are deeply embedded in the whole process.

    These are not arbitrary mathematical conventions that can be made into axioms as we please, they are foundational to the very act of communication involved in writing or speaking about such things.

    Beyond that all the attempts to wander over this and that result of science in a desperate attempt to deny or dismiss actually rely on what they would dismiss. They refute themselves through self-referential incoherence.

    For instance, just now, someone has trotted out virtual particles.

    Is this a distinct concept? Can something be and not be a virtual particle under the same circumstances?

    If so, the suggested concept is simply confused (try, a square circle or a triangle with six corners); back to the drawing-board.

    (But of course there are effects that are traced to their action, so they seem to have reality as entities acting in our world below the Einstein energy-time threshold of uncertainty. The process that leads us to that conclusion is riddled with the need to mark distinctions, and to recognise that distinctions mark distinct things.)

    And, BTW, we can extend to the next level. The number represented by the numeral, 2, is real, but it is not itself a physical entity; it just constrains physical entities such that something with twoness in it can be split exactly by the half into equal piles.

    Similarly, the truth asserted in the symbolised statement: 2 + 3 = 5 constrains physical reality, but is not itself a material reality built up of atoms or the like. All the way on to 1 + e^pi*i = 0, etc; thence the “unreasonable: effectiveness of ever so much of mathematics in understanding how the physical world works. That is, we have a real, abstract world that can even specify mathematical laws that specify what happens and what will not happen. Even, reliably.

    All of this pivots on the significance of marking distinctions.

    So, those who seek so desperately to dismiss the first principles of right reason, saw off the branch on which they must sit.

    It is a sad reflection on our times, that we so often find it hard to see this.

    I know, I know: “But, that’s DIFFERENT!” (I am quoting someone caught up in a cultic system, in response to correcting a logical error.)

    No. It is NOT actually different, but if we are enmeshed in systems that make us think errors are true, the truth will — to us — seem to be wrong.

    Which is part of why en-darkening errors are ever so entangling.

    It takes time and effort for a critical mass of corrections to reach breaking point and suddenly we see things another way. In that process, empirical cases are crucial.

    But, there is another relevant saying: experience is a very good teacher, but his fees are very dear. Alas for fools, they will learn from no other.

    Sadly, there are yet worse fools who will not even learn from experience, no matter how painful.

    But then; it is ever so for those bewitched by clever, but unsound, schemes.

    I hope that a light is beginning to dawn.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  115. Brent writes, “Then they are having a definitional problem, not a LNC problem. If they or anyone else wants to claim that it throws the LNC into question, then they are just off their rocker.”

    Exactly the point I’m trying to make. I’m not trying to throw the LNC into question – I’m trying to discuss the difference between logic as an abstract system and the use of logic as a tool for manipulating meaningful concepts as we try to understand the world. Logic can be used to manipulate everything from meaningless and useless symbols to very meaningful and useful symbols – it is not logic itself which gives the symbols meaning and utility.

    (A and ~A) = false is a purely logical statement of the LNC. Any statement that replaces A with a proposition in language is a combination of logic and other elements of understanding. The underlying logic doesn’t change – the LNC logically holds – but the meaning and application varies depending on what proposition A is.

  116. Also, when I asked Brent for an example of something non-material to which the LNC might apply, he responded “7=7″: i.e., I presume, mathematics.

    Leaving aside the question of the non-materiality of mathematics, of course the LNC applies to math. Math and logic are all part of the same system of symbolic tools. In fact, the LNC is very explicitly used in the technique of proof by contradiction, such as the proof that the square root of 2 is irrational.

  117. I didn’t mean mathematics, just the number “7″, for example, being non-material, and that it will always be what it is, and never what it is not.

  118. such as the proof that the square root of 2 is irrational.

    How do you know it’s irrational?

    Is it actually irrational, or both irrational and non-irrational?

    The point is, this does nothing to the law of non-contradiction.

  119. Brent, the proof that the square root of two is irrational uses the law of contradiction. I didn’t say it “did anything” to the LNC, whatever you mean by that.

    Also, if you meant just the number 7, then yes, I agree that “it will always be what it is, and never what it is not.”

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