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Thread: Immortality and Conditional Probability

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    Immortality and Conditional Probability




    - Hopefully, I won't aggravate readers so much with this approach.

    - Here, my claim is simply that the likelihood of my current existence is virtually zero under any of mainstream sciences' explanations of my current existence.
    - It seems to me that the one significant reservation to that conclusion is that 1) I'm right if I'm referring to me specifically, but that 2) I'm wrong if I'm referring to myself as someone/anyone instead -- and, 3) this latter is what I should, mathematically, be doing.
    - My follow up claim is that it is appropriate to refer to myself specifically in this little thought experiment.

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    I think you stray into philosophy and leave science behind in such discussions. I don't think mainstream science actually concerns itself with existence commonly.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    1. Why is this in a new thread instead of your original?
    2. You're right. Any claim about existence the rests upon your one singular consciousness has no ability to infer anything about anyone else's consciousness. If first-person experience is your measuring stick, then it can never reach inside another first-person experience and any confirmation beyond that is ipso facto irrelevant without you providing some way that make first-person and third-person attributions commensurate.
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Quote Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
    I think you stray into philosophy and leave science behind in such discussions. I don't think mainstream science actually concerns itself with existence commonly.
    noetsi,
    - I would say that I stray into Statistics and leave mainstream science behind.
    - I agree about mainstream science not concerning itself with our "existence." Though, I suspect that it doesn't because no explanation seems to work... Trying to see how mainstream science would have to deal with it, I come to the conclusion that scientifically, and statistically, speaking, I just shouldn't be here. But, I am here -- so, I'm suspecting that there's something seriously wrong with an assumption, or so, of mainstream science.

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba View Post
    so, I'm suspecting that there's something seriously wrong with an assumption, or so, of mainstream science.
    I'm suspecting there's something seriously wrong with your understanding of science. If you can offer a definition of "existence" that can be measured and studied under some framework to which an explanation for it could be offered, then you'd be doing science. Otherwise, it's philosophy. Worse than that, it's just armchair philosophy. You can use statistics all you want, because statistics is agnostics as to the meaning behind the numbers you're computing. The issue is (1) doing your math right, and you've failed to do that at pretty much every step, and (2) interpreting your results correctly, which you can't do because you've already made your conclusions. You're simply trying to work backwards to get the math right to offer an interpretation to match your conclusions. That's the antithesis of rational thinking, which is the only way you'd "aggravate" anyone here.
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Statistics is mainstream science (well we frequentist think bayesians get lost at times....)

    Science is not a body of knowledge. It is a method to create known reality. By definition it can only analyze what can be measured. And existence can not be measured with any certainty (well it depends on what one defines as existence I guess). What can not be measured is the dividing line between science and philosophy (and religion).
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Quote Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
    What can not be measured is the dividing line between science and philosophy (and religion).
    Dividing line, no. Demarcation, pretty much.

    http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Positiv...dp/0813324696/ (older)
    http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Pse.../dp/022605196X (newer)
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    I am not sure what the difference is between the two (dividing line/demarcation) in practice byran

    I would not call either religion or philosophy pseudoscience. They are not science (well they have different ways of deciding on what reality is, and some philosophers might not agree they are not a science).
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    A dividing line distinctly separates two things. Demarcation means you can distinguish two things. Of course you can distinguish two things if there is a dividing line, but you can also distinguish two things even if there is no clear dividing line.

    For instance, there is no dividing line between what makes something pseudoscience or science. If you try to make a dividing line on falsifiability or measurement, then you'll run into problems in this or that case versus other cases (astrology, for instance, can have measurements with questionable falsifiability). Thus, the problem of demarcation is still a rich topic in philosophy, even though a lot of the work in it (Kuhn, Lakatos, Laudan, etc.) had "settled" the key issues decades ago.

    Who said philosophy and religion is pseudoscience? Quite clearly, they are all different things. But can you say why and how they are different?
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Reading the books you linked I thought they were calling them that.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    I don't see how you would gather that. Laudan's collection covers broad issues in the philosophy of science (including demarcation specifically in one of the papers) as a response to the decline in logical positivism, the popular stance with regards science in the decades prior. Pigliucci and Boudry are squarely talking about pseudoscience. Religion is not a central theme in any of it and all of them are philosophers.
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Quote Originally Posted by bryangoodrich View Post
    But can you say why and how they are different?
    omg! i think i know this one!

    falsifiable hypotheses

    ...and some other stuff...
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    Yes spunky. Falsifiability is generally accepted as a necessary condition for science, but it is not sufficient. That "other stuff" is important
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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability

    In social sciences, including economics in many cases, you really don't have falsifiable hypothesis that can be tested. Either there is no reliable data or too many factors simultaneously influence the results (confounds) to test it. The "all things being equal" (all other factors being controllable) element of the test is impossible to support.

    This can be true even in the hard sciences. Hypothesis about dark matter for example are beyond are present ability to test. The nutrino existed for decades as a theory before we found a way to test for it and so on...

    Falsifiability may in theory separate the sciences from other theory, but in practice it commonly does not.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Immortality and Conditional Probability


    Falsifiable in practice versus in principle are two different things. "The economy is too messy to test" doesn't mean it isn't possible. Likewise, before CERN we couldn't run tests at the required energy levels to find things like the Higgs boson, but that didn't mean it wasn't falsifiable in principle. While I'll be the first to bash economics any day of the week, there's nothing preventing an economist from putting up a well-defined operational definition for what they're testing and then using the observable data to test it, no different than any observational study in biology, psychology, or medicine. The real issue in these sorts of study is not falsifiability anymore, but what conditions are holding for the test to be true. If anything, economics is a shining example of ceteris paribus laws, and these have nothing to do with what's practical or not. Cartwright (http://www.amazon.com/How-Laws-Physi.../dp/0198247044) demonstrates this is implicit even in the hardest of sciences by attacking where physical theories and laws lie to us. Nothing in science is truly Platonic in practice, so your point is rather moot.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/052167798X/ This is also worth checking out; a bit more technical, but she again shows how economics does very well at certain things. In this case, by how economists study causality
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