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Economic Freedom's: Objectivists are working to save the world from tyranny--isn't that altruism?

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35 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Two gasses, oxygen and hydrogen, change their status into a liquid when combined. A liquid has properties which neither of its constitutive parts have. This might shed light on that seemingly incomprehesible gap.

Any legitimate discovery - philosophical or scientific - is made through the same method: induction. 

>Two gasses, oxygen and hydrogen, change their status into a liquid when combined.

You're wrong on a number of assumptions.

1) merely mixing hydrogen gas and oxygen gas together in a room won't form anything. You'll have free-floating hydrogen gas and free-floating oxygen gas. Big deal.

2) When you provide an adequate heat source to cause a reaction between hydrogen gas and oxygen gas to form water, the water doesn't have any properties that cannot be explained by means of the properties of its constituent parts. Water is pretty much the sum of its constituent parts.

3) Hydrogen gas and oxygen gas are governed by the overarching 4 Laws of Thermodynamics (the 0th Law, the 1st Law, the 2nd Law (i.e., entropy), and the 3rd Law. The resultant combination -- water -- is itself governed by the 4 overarching Laws of Thermodynamics.

Not so with life. The difference between "living" and "non-living" doesn't reside in chemical elements under the rule of the 4 Laws of Thermodynamics. The difference between "living" and "non-living" resides in the fact that the former is made possible by a system of coded-chemistry, while the latter is not. Evidence? Chemically analyze a living person on his death bed, and then perform the same chemical analysis just after he dies. Same chemicals. Yet the first entity was alive and the second one was not. Obviously, the difference is not simply chemistry.

The genetic code is 1) universal (all living things that we know about have the same coded-chemistry, differing only in details); and 2) a true code, no different in structure from any other code, such as Morse Code and ASCII. There is no plausible way to get from "chemicals under the rule of only thermodynamic considerations" to "chemicals that are *not only* under the rule of thermodynamic considerations but that also obey an arbitrary system of coded signals between structures. By "arbitrary", I mean that the genetic code itself cannot be derived as necessarily having been formed by the nature of the chemicals involved in life (water, salt, phosphorous, magnesium, ribose, etc.). Similarly, Morse Code is an arbitrary code invented by the mind of Samuel Morse; the assignation of symbols to the English alphabet (e.g., "..." is assigned to the letter "S"; "---" is assigned to the letter "O"; etc.) was strictly a matter of arbitrary choice by Mr. Morse, and cannot be derived from the chemical composition of pencil lead on paper, or the sound-wave properties of a telegraph device.

Codes -- including the genetic code -- are always products of mind.

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35 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

It's only 'clearly' not part of logic if one holds the position that concepts lead to percepts, and not the reverse. 

To disprove this position, one can't rely on experiments, since allegedly your concepts construct the experience of doing the scientific experiment. Whether those experiments seem to be amiable to idealism or not, it makes no difference either way to the idealist.

>t's only 'clearly' not part of logic if one holds the position that concepts lead to percepts, and not the reverse. 

I didn't say anything about "concepts." I merely said "thinking."

 

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25 minutes ago, Economic Freedom said:

You're wrong on a number of assumptions.

1) merely mixing...

 

24 minutes ago, Economic Freedom said:

Chemically analyze a living person on his death bed, and then perform the same chemical analysis just after he dies. Same chemicals.

Yes, but... non-beating heart, non-functioning organs.

This was my point with the h2o example. Don't look at chemicals. Look at emergent properties

This thread is departing from the subject of tyranny.

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7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

I was unmistakably speaking on behalf of myself. LB wasn't confused by my post but it seems you were. It also seems you have taken it upon yourself to be LB's spokesperson. Is your intervention requested by LB or is it unsolicited?

It's pretty unmistakable that you are LB, people don't normally claim that an interpretation somebody else posted is their interpretation, without already saying that they agree with the interpretation. I don't know what you think I'm confused about, I think you forgot which character you were playing. 

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

In any case: if someone posts a statement about Aristotle, he or she should open a book by Aristotle and check to confirm it, or disconfirm it.

I've read the entire corpus by Aristotle. I read the link you provided just in case I forgot context. I have read ideas about what Aristotle said about slavery that are not just my own ideas. Did you think I made everything up?

6 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

It's their nature, so it's also their identity, therefore it's permanent. I hope that's clear.

Right, and only some people have that nature according to Aristotle.

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

I proffered  no opinion regarding "some", "most", "all", "any", etc. You're quibbling and splitting hairs. A statement was posted earlier denying that Aristotle supported slavery.

You specifically claimed (posting as LB) "Aristotle was a firm believer in permanent enslavement for most of the people, so that the few aristocrats could lead lives of intellectual leisure, engaging in civic leadership, philosophy, the arts, and so on". So you did offer an opinion about 'most'. I was the only one who said anything about the claim, and I didn't deny that Aristotle supported slavery. 

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

There are possibly more statements by Aristotle regarding slavery throughout the "Politics". Find a PDF copy and do a word search.

Pretty much only in book 1, a little bit in book 2.

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22 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

So "reason" -- the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by perception -- is not mental at all but actually physical, right?

Reason is a mental faculty.  It emerges from a physical substrate which is still not very well understood.

22 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

And if someone has a superior reasoning faculty, it must because he or she has superior genes underlying that faculty. Similarly, if someone has an inferior reasoning faculty, it can only be because he or she has inferior genes. Sounds like something out of an early 20th century book on eugenics.

It is not yet known to what extent differences in reasoning ability are genetic, to what extent they are environmental, and to what extent they are the result of choices made by the individual early in life. 

It is a statist abomination to impose a one-size-fits-all approach from above that is supposed to improve the human race.   

Parents who try to do something genetic to improve their children need to be very careful to make sure that they are acting in the child's best interests.

*************

In general, you seem to be taking a very simplistic, distorted view of evolution.  Can you provide any quotations or links to back up what you are saying?

 

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4 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

You are the one who contaminated this discussion with an impossible counterfactual.  Maybe I would have done better to ignore that post.  My point is that the evils of history do not show that humans are by nature evil.  They are the result of a lack of good ideas.

 

>My point is that the evils of history do not show that humans are by nature evil.

So you actually didn't mean what you actually wrote earlier; you meant something different. OK.

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7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

If anyone proves that there are lots of flaws in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism,

If anyone claims that there are lots of flaws in Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, the burden is on them to exhibit such flaws.

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

It's up to Objectivists to prove they are right

Ayn Rand has done this in her books.

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

they refuse to debate

My understanding is that Ayn Rand's objection to debate has to do with the debate format, as opposed to the presenting ideas format, and with her experience that people who wanted to debate her never understood her views, making the debate worthless.

7 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

Objectivists have splintered

Schisms in Objectivism have been discussed elsewhere, most recently in the thread "That Kelley creature".  I don't see any point in rehashing this here.

8 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

Einstein's theory of relativity

My point is that If anyone claims that there are lots of flaws in anything that has been proven, the burden is on them to exhibit such flaws.

 

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16 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

Reason is a mental faculty.  It emerges from a physical substrate which is still not very well understood.

It is not yet known to what extent differences in reasoning ability are genetic, to what extent they are environmental, and to what extent they are the result of choices made by the individual early in life. 

It is a statist abomination to impose a one-size-fits-all approach from above that is supposed to improve the human race.   

Parents who try to do something genetic to improve their children need to be very careful to make sure that they are acting in the child's best interests.

*************

In general, you seem to be taking a very simplistic, distorted view of evolution.  Can you provide any quotations or links to back up what you are saying?

 

>Parents who try to do something genetic to improve their children need to be very careful to make sure that they are acting in the child's best interests.

LOL! "Something genetic to improve their children"?

>In general, you seem to be taking a very simplistic, distorted view of evolution.  Can you provide any quotations or links to back up what you are saying?

Thousands of quotations and links. But since you boo-hooed about an earlier post of mine, claiming that you should've ignored it altogether, I can't think of a good, selfish reason that I ought to waste my time and effort posting links for you when you should actually stop being smug and lazy, go to the library, and start studying a subject about which you clearly know very little. Here are 3 references from very different kinds of authors, all converging on a similar conclusion: classical Darwinism is bunk:

1) https://tinyurl.com/m8j3a699
Evolution: A View from the 21st Century
James Shapiro, PhD (biochemistry) 
Recent data that Darwin couldn't have known regarding how living organisms at the cellular level contribute to their own evolution, rather than being simply passive objects of random forces causing the extremely rare, beneficial mutation. 

2) https://tinyurl.com/2dntzf6b
Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
Stephen C. Meyer, PhD (philosophy of science)
A summary of data -- some of which actually known to Darwin -- regarding the sudden appearance of all major biological phyla with no precursors in the Canadian Burgess shale deposits, an event known as the "Cambrian Explosion." Whether one accepts Intelligent Design as plausible or not, these data undercut any attempts to attribute the appearance of life and its speciation given Darwinian assumptions of slow, incremental changes over long periods of time.

3) https://tinyurl.com/27xd4db8
Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life
Hubert Yockey (PhD, physics).
Application of Claude Shannon's information theory to the appearance of life from non-living chemicals via thermodynamically-driven forces, showing it to be mathematically implausible. Yockey is a certified atheist so you don't have to worry about being assaulted with religious arguments.

I would also recommend the works on evolution by astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Economic Freedom said:

I can't think of a good, selfish reason that I ought to waste my time and effort posting links for you

I don't know why you're wasting any time here, you seem more annoyed than anything. Whatever your intention, you'll get more mileage elsewhere.

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

The discussion about evolution started when, as LB, you stated

You did not give any reason why this statement about human nature should be taken seriously in philosophical inquiry.

I asked you to back up your claim about Darwin and, as EF, you said

It would be more precise to say "Teleology – goal-oriented approach – has no part in Darwin's view of how human morality came to exist."

I then indicated the distinction between acquiring reason and acquiring morality by saying

You then blew this off by crudely and imprecisely restating my point and comparing it to

I think much of the rest of the debate about evolution in this thread has been a smokescreen generated by you to cover up how weak your argument is philosophically.

Obviously, we could not have acquired the faculty of reason by means of reason.  We acquired it by biological evolution.  This is not relevant to a discussion of what we did once we acquired the faculty of reason, which includes arriving at morality.

 

>I think much of the rest of the debate about evolution in this thread has been a smokescreen generated by you to cover up how weak your argument is philosophically.

I think much of what you've posted on evolution shows you haven't studied the subject, nor have you read a book on it in years. Your views are 50 years behind the times. I've already posted links to 3 relevant books on the subject. If you need help purchasing them, open a "Go Fund Me" account.

More importantly:

I actually only care whether arguments for or against Darwinian evolution are scientifically true; not whether they are philosophically strong. It's a scientific question, not a philosophical one.

Your ignorance of the difference between scientific research and philosophical inquiry underscores yet again the main reason Objectivists don't enter the field of scientific research, as well as underscoring the fact that Objectivism itself -- certainly as espoused by Rand, Peikoff, and other Fundamentalists -- is anti-science.

>Obviously, we could not have acquired the faculty of reason by means of reason.

We didn't "acquire" it at all. It was always there. Knowledge evolved; reason did not. In any case, when it comes to scientific research, nothing is obvious.

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>It would be more precise to say "Teleology – goal-oriented approach – has no part in Darwin's view of how human morality came to exist."

It would be even more precise, as well as more accurate, to say "Teleology – a goal-oriented approach – has no part in Darwin's hypothesis of evolution."

For Darwin, evolution is a process of pure-dumb-luck plus determinism taking place very slowly over long periods of time.

He was wrong, of course, but his hypothesis has sure gotten a lot of intellectual mileage, especially in academia.

 

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1 hour ago, Economic Freedom said:

For Darwin, evolution is a process of pure-dumb-luck plus determinism taking place very slowly over long periods of time.

He was wrong, of course, but his hypothesis has sure gotten a lot of intellectual mileage, especially in academia.

If you are saying that genetics is complicated enough that some changes can happen quickly, or that Darwin knew nothing of genetics, you probably have a point, but this is irrelevant to the question whether reason evolved.

If you are saying evolution is guided by purposeful choices, please explain why this is not just a form of mysticism. 

 If you are saying something else, please clarify.

 

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5 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

If you are saying that genetics is complicated enough that some changes can happen quickly, or that Darwin knew nothing of genetics, you probably have a point, but this is irrelevant to the question whether reason evolved.

If you are saying evolution is guided by purposeful choices, please explain why this is not just a form of mysticism. 

 If you are saying something else, please clarify.

 

>If you are saying evolution is guided by purposeful choices, please explain why this is not just a form of mysticism. 

"Atlas Shrugged" came into being by means of purposeful choices. Please explain why that is not just a form of mysticism.

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8 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

"Atlas Shrugged" came into being by means of purposeful choices. Please explain why that is not just a form of mysticism.

We have direct evidence that Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged.

There is no evidence of any sort of purposeful being guiding evolution.  There is no need to suppose such a being, since genetic mutation and natural selection are enough to account for evolution.

On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

Recent data that Darwin couldn't have known regarding how living organisms at the cellular level contribute to their own evolution, rather than being simply passive objects of random forces causing the extremely rare, beneficial mutation. 

The process of genetic change may be complicated and involve action by living cells, but this does not make any of it purposeful.

On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

these data undercut any attempts to attribute the appearance of life and its speciation given Darwinian assumptions of slow, incremental changes over long periods of time.

So some changes were sudden, at least on a geological time scale.  This does not make any of it purposeful.

On 5/7/2022 at 6:21 PM, Economic Freedom said:

Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life

Here is an abstract of that book from PhilArchive:

Abstract

Information Theory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife: The Origin and Evolution of Life as a Digital Message: How Life Resembles a Computer, Second Edition. Hu- bert P. Yockey, 2005, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 400 pages, index; hardcover, US $60.00; ISBN: 0-521-80293-8. The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws. Yockey in his previous book (1992, 335) In this new book, Information Theory, Evolution and The Origin ofLife, Hubert Yockey points out that the digital, segregated, and linear character of the genetic information system has a fundamental significance. If inheritance would blend and not segregate, Darwinian evolution would not occur. If inheritance would be analog, instead of digital, evolution would be also impossible, because it would be impossible to remove the effect of noise. In this way, life is guided by information, and so information is a central concept in molecular biology. The author presents a picture of how the main concepts of the genetic code were developed. He was able to show that despite Francis Crick's belief that the Central Dogma is only a hypothesis, the Central Dogma of Francis Crick is a mathematical consequence of the redundant nature of the genetic code. The redundancy arises from the fact that the DNA and mRNA alphabet is formed by triplets of 4 nucleotides, and so the number of letters (triplets) is 64, whereas the proteome alphabet has only 20 letters (20 amino acids), and so the translation from the larger alphabet to the smaller one is necessarily redundant. Except for Tryptohan and Methionine, all amino acids are coded by more than one triplet, therefore, it is undecidable which source code letter was actually sent from mRNA. This proof has a corollary telling that there are no such mathematical constraints for protein-protein communication. With this clarification, Yockey contributes to diminishing the widespread confusion related to such a central concept like the Central Dogma. Thus the Central Dogma prohibits the origin of life "proteins first." Proteins can not be generated by "self-organization." Understanding this property of the Central Dogma will have a serious impact on research on the origin of life.
 
This sounds very different from what you said.

 From the Wikipedia article on the Central Dogma:

The central dogma of molecular biology is an explanation of the flow of genetic information within a biological system. It is often stated as "DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes protein",[1] although this is not its original meaning. It was first stated by Francis Crick in 1957,[2][3] then published in 1958:[4][5]

The Central Dogma. This states that once "information" has passed into protein it cannot get out again. In more detail, the transfer of information from nucleic acid to nucleic acid, or from nucleic acid to protein may be possible, but transfer from protein to protein, or from protein to nucleic acid is impossible. Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or of amino acid residues in the protein.

He re-stated it in a Nature paper published in 1970: "The central dogma of molecular biology deals with the detailed residue-by-residue transfer of sequential information. It states that such information cannot be transferred back from protein to either protein or nucleic acid."[6]

160px-Centraldogma_nodetails.png
 
Information flow in biological systems

A second version of the central dogma is popular but incorrect. This is the simplistic DNA → RNA → protein pathway published by James Watson in the first edition of The Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965). Watson's version differs from Crick's because Watson describes a two-step (DNA → RNA and RNA → protein) process as the central dogma.[7] While the dogma, as originally stated by Crick, remains valid today,[6] Watson's version does not.[2]

Again, this sounds very different from what you said.

 

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31 minutes ago, Economic Freedom said:

>We have direct evidence that Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged.

Such as eye-witness testimony of persons claiming to have witnessed Ayn Rand actually hand-writing the manuscript? That sort of "direct evidence"? Specify, please.

The woman who typed up the hand written pages Miss Rand wrote still walks amongst us.

Edited by dream_weaver
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>There is no evidence of any sort of purposeful being guiding evolution.

There's also no evidence of any sort that a person named Ayn Rand engaged in teleologically mystical and goal-oriented action to write a book called Atlas Shrugged. Eye-witness testimony from someone claiming to have typed the manuscript? That's not objective proof worthy of being accepted by an Objectivist; that's just someone saying she did something or saw something. Imagine if we all accepted such eye-witness testimony as "proof" of anything! We'd probably have to accept the eye-witness testimony of survivors of extermination camps during WW2 (and there are many deniers who do not accept such eye-testimony as proof of anything except, in their view, the willingness of some people to lie); we'd probably also have to accept the eye-witness testimony of Ukrainians who say their cities and homes were shelled by the Ukrainian army or that Ukraine is a central hub (by virtue of its geographic location, as well as by virtue of the general anarchic and corrupt state of affairs in its own government) of child trafficking! Just imagine all of the ridiculous things we'd have to consider seriously as being plausibly true if we accept eye-witness testimony as evidence! It's not fully and majestically Objective, so the whole issue is a non-starter.

The reason we don't have to resort to such a mystical explanation as "someone named Ayn Rand intelligently-designed Atlas Shrugged by means of purposeful, goal-oriented action" is that the entire book, all 1160 pages, can be shown to have a non-zero probability of having appeared simply by pure dumb luck by means of naturally occurring forces. And you'll have to admit that as long as there's a non-zero probability of anything occurring, it probably will occur, given enough time. Right?

As far as the text itself goes, it can all be explained by very simple probability:

1) The book is about 1160 pages (hardcover might have a different page count from paperback, but 1160 pages is not too far off the mark). 

2) There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and we use another character -- a space -- to separate groups of letters (called "words") from one another. So if we include a space as a character, the English alphabet can be said to comprise 27 discrete characters. There are also punctuation marks, of which I include the following 11: period, comma, colon, semi-colon, exclamation point, question mark, apostrophe, open quote, close quote, open parenthesis, close parenthesis. We might include the open-and-close brackets and the diaresis but I'll skip those since they don't change the outcome by much. Also, I'm omitting the fact that there are actually 52 letters in the English alphabet, not just 26, because each letter has a majuscule (upper case) and miniscule (lower case) form.

So the total number of characters in English is the following:

26 letters;
1 space;
11 punctuation marks;
Total = 38 characters.

There are no physical or chemical constraints on any of those characters; i.e., any character can precede or succeed any other character. True there are mental constraints on the order of characters determined by mental considerations such as grammar, syntax, rules of spelling (e.g., in English, a "u" must follow a "q" 100% of the time, or in others, with a probability of "1") but mental considerations are irrelevant in this calculation, which only considers physical or chemical constraints -- the same kinds of constraints that come into play in biological systems. 

Now, how many characters are in the complete work known as Atlas Shrugged? Hard to say. I guess we could find an online version and do a character count but this is just a "back of the envelope" calculation, so I'm going to "guestimate." I'll guess that there at least 300 characters per page (probably more); since there are about 1160 pages, the total number of characters would be around 300 x 1,160 = 348,000.

Now: just taking into consideration laws of physics and chemistry -- not "rules" of spelling, grammar, etc. -- what is the probability that the entire string of text, from "Who is John Galt" to "traced the sign of the dollar" arose purely by dumb luck? It's very easy to calculate:

Think of those 348,000 characters as being "slots" waiting to be filled by a character spit out by any physical force we imagine (naturally occurring ink blown by tornado, for example. It could happen, right? It's not completely impossible, right?). So what is the probability that the first character we see in a current copy of the book -- an open-quote, or " -- could appear in the first position of the text (i.e., the first "slot")? It's not hard to figure out. If there are 38 characters, then the odds of one of those characters appearing in the first slot are one-in-38, expressed arithmetically as "1/38." This means: there's a 1-in-38 chance that the first slot in the text will be an open-quote.

The 2nd slot in the novel shows the letter "W" (i.e., "Who is John Galt?"). What are the odds of that letter appearing (after being blown in by some tornado or storm from a pool of inky substance that just happens to be lying around on the ground) by chance? Same as before: there are 38 characters total; "W" is one of those characters; so the odds of that character appearing in the 2nd slot are 1/38.

Now: what would the odds be of both of those characters appearing by chance? It's a simple probability product: 

" = 1/38
W = 1/38
" and W (whether in temporal succession or simultaneously, it makes no difference for the calculation): the word "and" in probability means "times", so we simply multiply the two probabilities:

" and W = " * W = 1/38*1/38=1/1,444. So there's a 1-in-1,444 chance of a " and a W appearing by chance in the first 2 slots.

What about the 3rd slot, the letter "h" ("Who . . .?"). Same thing. It's also 1/38. And so it is for every character in the entire string of text, from "Who is John Galt" to "traced the sign of the dollar." Since we're guessing there are about 348,000 characters total, the odds of the entire text string appearing by chance must be 1/38 multiplied by itself 348,000 times, or 1/(38^348,000). It's a bit easier to conceive of the denominator if we convert it to base 10, so we do a little junior high school log arithmetic:

38^348,000 = 348,000*log(10)38

The log(10) of 38 is about 1.58 (i.e., 10^1.58 is about 38);

So 38^348,000 = 348,000*log(10)38 = 348,000*1.58 = 549,840; or

38^348,000 = 10^549,840

And since that number was in the denominator, we have the odds of Atlas Shrugged having come into existence completely by random processes and pure dumb luck as being:

one chance in 10^549,840, or 1/10^549,840,

which is NON-ZERO.

And because it is a positive Real Number, we cannot simply dismiss it as impossible (which would be a zero probability), and therefore there's no need to trust unreliable "eye-witness" testimony as some sort of evidence in favor of a mystical force like "teleological, goal-directed action" to account for a 1160-page novel, which after all, is really just a very long string of characters, and ink is just ink; a liquid with chemical properties, capable of taking many shapes from completely random physical forces. We don't need anything other than those physical forces and the chemical properties of liquid ink to account for a long text string like Atlas Shrugged.

>There is no need to suppose such a being, since genetic mutation and natural selection are enough to account for evolution.

Just as random physical forces, the chemical properties of liquid ink, and the ironclad math of simple probability are enough to account for the appearance of a long string of text we have named "Atlas Shrugged." See above.

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1 hour ago, Economic Freedom said:

You haven't explicitly answered the question: Direct evidence such as eye-witness testimony?

She, who shall not be named directly in this thread by me, is an eye-witness. The information is available for those who have discovered how to query the available evidence.

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11 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

. . . 

And you'll have to admit that as long as there's a non-zero probability of anything occurring, it probably will occur, given enough time. Right?

. . .

<--Incorrect. Past events have run out of time, and "given enough time" should be realistic. The chance that left to themselves all the air molecules in a room where one is breathing will come to reside in a one-cubic-inch volume in a corner of the room is so small, one shouldn't get nervous about it or give it a second thought. Moreover, there are combinatorial infinities of higher type than the infinity of a supposed infinity of time (higher infinities than the real numbers); so Nietzsche was incorrect to think his body and life experiences could reoccur in an infinite amount of time.

Scan 14.jpeg

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Thermal Physics – Kittel

Edited by Boydstun
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  • dream_weaver changed the title to Economic Freedom's: Objectivists are working to save the world from tyranny--isn't that altruism?

>-Incorrect. Past events have run out of time, and "given enough time" should be realistic.

I agree. I was clearly being provocative in my previous assertion since most people incorrectly believe that as long as some event can be shown to have a non-zero probability of occurring, it will occur if given enough time. We both agree that's untrue.

>The chance that left to themselves all the air molecules in a room where one is breathing will come to reside in a one-cubic-inch volume in a corner of the room is so small, one shouldn't get nervous about it or give it a second thought. 

I also agree. The reason that we shouldn't fear air molecules randomly aggregating in the corner of a room (thus suffocating us to death) is that there are vastly more combinations of air molecules not aggregating in the corner than there are combinations of molecules aggregating in the corner. Simple statistical mechanics.

Similarly, there are more combinations of molecules of stone and plaster comprising differently shaped piles of rubble than there are combinations of stone and plaster comprising inhabitable structures like The Parthenon, which explains why structures like the Parthenon go from being low-probability-low-entropy arrangements of molecules (the structure as it appeared in antiquity after it was built by intelligent minds) to lying in partial ruins (as it appears today), and not the other way around...even though by hypothetically assuming the other way around, no physical laws are being violated. 

As Feynman pointed out in his Cornell lectures, if you saw a film clip of a tornado tearing through a pile of rubble and a perfectly assembled barn is the result, you'd understandably claim that the film was being run backward, because in our experience, non-intelligent forces like tornados don't take arrangements of things that have a high probability of appearing on their own (piles of rubble) and converting them into low-probability arrangements (barns).

It's called "statistical mechanics" and it provides a compelling illustrating of how things break down over time when left by themselves without intelligent intervention to maintain their low-probability arrangements, as well as illustrating how things cannot go from high probability (high entropy) arrangements to low probability arrangements (low entropy) without intelligent intervention. I.e., without purposeful, goal-directed, teleological action.

The same arguments apply to the origin of life, as well as the diversification of disparate species.

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Something the monkey excerpt above fails to mention:

Most of the biochemical processes involved in life are "reversible", and would reverse themselves unless held in equilibrium. To make the monkey example relevant as an attempted explanation that life arose by chance, we'd have to add the following: every time a monkey randomly typed a character, it would also type a backspace key and type over the letter using the correction ribbon. 

There are as many forces in nature that undo built-up arrangements of molecules as there are forces that do the building up; probably more (that's why the 2nd Law says that entropy moves from low to high, and not the other way around, at least not without purposeful action to maintain the earlier low-entropy state). So the assumption that, if only given enough time, random combinations will inevitably build up arrangements that are functional (e.g., proteins) and meaningful (e.g., literary novels) is a non-starter.

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2 hours ago, Economic Freedom said:

It's called "statistical mechanics" and it provides a compelling illustrating of how things break down over time when left by themselves without intelligent intervention to maintain their low-probability arrangements, as well as illustrating how things cannot go from high probability (high entropy) arrangements to low probability arrangements (low entropy) without intelligent intervention. I.e., without purposeful, goal-directed, teleological action.

The entropy of the entire system always increases, even when the entropy of parts of it decreases.  This is true whether the decrease of entropy in part of the system is due to purposeful, goal-directed, teleological action or to some other cause.

Natural selection does not operate at random in the long run.  It is capable of producing low-entropy results in parts of a system whose total entropy is always increasing.  It is not purposeful and does not need to be.

We do not yet know exactly how life began.  The appropriate reaction to this situation is to investigate and to find out as much as we can, not to arbitrarily say a purposeful being had to do it.

 

 

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