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Old 12-14-2011, 05:07 PM #22
TheSilentAssassin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spracks21 View Post
Well, he also referred to this in the other thread as an experiment (Assuming this is what he meant). So that is bound to spark some curiosity and scrutiny. But I'm still interested to see where this goes.
Well then let's stop jumping the gun and reading into things so he can do his experiment.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:31 AM #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post

I define fire as change given form (I stole that, because it's ****ing brilliant).
That's why many people refer to chemistry as, "the study of change".
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:19 AM #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
I'll start off with a basic question:

What is fire?
A song written by Hendrix.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:30 AM #25
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Sorry for being so vague, I wanted to keep it that way as not to skew answers.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:57 AM #26
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Originally Posted by Treghc View Post
So, fire is... everything in this universe?

I'm not sure I understand.
Nope.

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Originally Posted by MaTtBoy-II View Post
That's why many people refer to chemistry as, "the study of change".
You are sort of on the right path here to understanding the meaning of the phrase.

I suppose I'll tear down the wall and open up Berlin for discussion. I wanted to continue with a dialogue but that doesn't appear to be working, probably my fault:

We talk a lot on this forum about ancient (commonly referred to as: ignorant) knowledge versus the modern empirical approach. What I am attempting to illustrate here is the difference between modern materialistic thought and descriptions vs. ancient thought and descriptions. The ancients were arguably less concerned in how things work, but why things work and their consequences.

Both definitions are correct. We understand fire today as a reaction. The ancients understood fire as a vehicle for change.

Consider a forest set ablaze. Life renews itself after the chaos, from the charred remains a new forest emerges. One different from the one before. From the ashes of every civilization, a new arises.

Men from ignorant times. They did not know the sun was the result of many nuclear fusions of hydrogen atoms. This knowledge may not have even been useful to ancient man. What they created are avatars which would embody the abstracted qualities of the sun to explain it's relationship with the world and man.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:43 PM #27
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Well ya, before science came philosophy. Philosophy in many respects is a dead profession; it has been rendered inert by science. It wasn't that ancients weren't concerned with the how, they just had little-to-no means of understanding it.

I feel like the why aspect of understanding the Universe can only be answered with "it just is". You are a product of the 'way things are'; if the weight of a proton was any different, you wouldn't be existing; 'unable' to ask the "why" questions. It's almost like an ad-hoc perspective.

Maybe the answer to any "why" question is: "So you could be here asking 'why'".

You can take it a step further and ask, what is "why"? How many species on this planet, or even in the Universe have a concept of "why"? Perhaps "why" is brain process relevant only to Man.

I subscribe, with a degree of certainty, that we are the Universe, merely perceiving itself. Perhaps 'why' is an inherent part of nature; a question any living thing will ask once its brain is complex enough.

Everything and anything in Universe is in a constant state of change, even things that aren't as obvious as fire. Why things change is a result of their properties, and how they relate to the properties of other things. I just feel like with "why" questions you end up in a state of infinite regress. Maybe 'why' isn't a question that should be imposed on the Universe.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:56 PM #28
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The only reason science is more "alive" than philosophy is government funding.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:01 PM #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
We talk a lot on this forum about ancient (commonly referred to as: ignorant) knowledge versus the modern empirical approach. What I am attempting to illustrate here is the difference between modern materialistic thought and descriptions vs. ancient thought and descriptions. The ancients were arguably less concerned in how things work, but why things work and their consequences.
I disagree, see the following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Both definitions are correct. We understand fire today as a reaction. The ancients understood fire as a vehicle for change.
Understanding fire as a vehicle for change doesn't explain why any better than the reaction point of view. Both view fire as a vehicle for change.

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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Men from ignorant times. They did not know the sun was the result of many nuclear fusions of hydrogen atoms. This knowledge may not have even been useful to ancient man. What they created are avatars which would embody the abstracted qualities of the sun to explain it's relationship with the world and man.
Of course the idea of fusion would have been useless to him, he didn't have any other knowlege to base that concept on. It'd be like introducing a child to differential geometry; you have to learn the basics first.

And yes, they created avatars to explain what they did not understand; but that is no different than what we do today. Newton's second law is nothing more than a very refined avatar for what we understand is occurring in the universe; it is an abstraction written on a piece of paper. The reason it is superior to the ancient man's avatar is that through its precision it can give precise predictions of future events; something ancient man was incapable of. To him fire was an agent for change - so all he could predict was that change would occurr. Today we know that fire is an agent of change - but we can also make predictions on the magnitude of that change based on our refinements.

Assuming the continued development of our intellect and survival, we will look back at our state of knowlege as it exists today and think to ourselves "they were men of ignorant times".

As a matter of fact, this is rather how I view faith in God. Humanity around the world desired an explanation for the inexplicable, comfort for the unknowable, and so God or Gods were created. As our understanding of our Universe has expanded and been refined, the notion of God has changed into the view that all things are interconnected. The idea of an independent will that acts on our universe beyond the laws of nature has been abandoned by many, for good reason.

There are some who would argue that to know the laws of nature is to understand the mind of God. I might argue that the next logical progression is to know the laws of nature is to know God himself.

In that way you might understand my analogy to the ancient's understanding of fire evolving into our current understanding of fire.

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The only reason science is more "alive" than philosophy is government funding.
Not just that, but in accordance with American culture percieved utility as well. The disdain for philosophy is the spawn of the anti-intellectual movement; government funding merely reflects that sentiment.

Knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone is no longer viewed positively and may never have been viewed positively by the general population in the US. It must have utility, and while philosophy certainly has applications it is seen as the ultimate self-indulgent intellectual endeavor by most of the population.
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Last edited by Umami : 12-15-2011 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:08 PM #30
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True. But there's also the part about the fact that anti-science rhetoric still can receive funding (prove climate change isn't caused at all by humans!1!1!!!).

But nevertheless, you're right.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:34 PM #31
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[quote=Umami;73757935]I disagree, see the following.
Understanding fire as a vehicle for change doesn't explain why any better than the reaction point of view. Both view fire as a vehicle for change.

It explains the effects. Not the how. Both view fire as a change, sure. But one simply states how it occurs, the other states it's effects.
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Originally Posted by Umami View Post
Of course the idea of fusion would have been useless to him, he didn't have any other knowlege to base that concept on. It'd be like introducing a child to differential geometry; you have to learn the basics first.

And yes, they created avatars to explain what they did not understand; but that is no different than what we do today. Newton's second law is nothing more than a very refined avatar for what we understand is occurring in the universe; it is an abstraction written on a piece of paper. The reason it is superior to the ancient man's avatar is that through its precision it can give precise predictions of future events; something ancient man was incapable of. To him fire was an agent for change - so all he could predict was that change would occurr. Today we know that fire is an agent of change - but we can also make predictions on the magnitude of that change based on our refinements.
I created this thread in order to bridge the gap between ancient thinking an modern thinking. If anything, you have just illustrated that we haven't come as far as we thought. We understand the mechanics of many systems, yet their effects remain unchanged from ancient understanding..

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As a matter of fact, this is rather how I view faith in God. Humanity around the world desired an explanation for the inexplicable, comfort for the unknowable, and so God or Gods were created. As our understanding of our Universe has expanded and been refined, the notion of God has changed into the view that all things are interconnected. The idea of an independent will that acts on our universe beyond the laws of nature has been abandoned by many, for good reason.
I sympathize most with the pagan perspective: "Gods" are Representative of eternal forces which dictate and dominate human life. They aren't entities so much as they are manifestations of which we are unable to conquer, only understand and pay respect and heed to.

[quote=Umami;73757935]
There are some who would argue that to know the laws of nature is to understand the mind of God. I might argue that the next logical progression is to know the laws of nature is to know God himself. [quote]

Interesting proposition. I believe we would first have to know how to undoubtedly recognize what God is, before we can hope to understand it.

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Originally Posted by Umami View Post
In that way you might understand my analogy to the ancient's understanding of fire evolving into our current understanding of fire.
I'm trying to build a bridge. Nothing more.

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Originally Posted by Umami View Post
Not just that, but in accordance with American culture percieved utility as well. The disdain for philosophy is the spawn of the anti-intellectual movement; government funding merely reflects that sentiment.

Knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone is no longer viewed positively and may never have been viewed positively by the general population in the US. It must have utility, and while philosophy certainly has applications it is seen as the ultimate self-indulgent intellectual endeavor by most of the population.
American culture is another topic. I didn't finish the paragraph. I'll respond when I have free time.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:59 AM #32
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
I created this thread in order to bridge the gap between ancient thinking an modern thinking. If anything, you have just illustrated that we haven't come as far as we thought. We understand the mechanics of many systems, yet their effects remain unchanged from ancient understanding..
While I won't dispute that we haven't come as far as a lot of people think, our understanding of the effects of systems is not unchanged from ancient understanding. That is simply false. They understood the effect of fire as "change". There was little understanding of what that change entailed. We understand the underlying mechanics, and even how those mechanics relate to fundamental properties of the Universe, and as a result can predict what the exact effects of combustion are.

If you want to sweep the knowledge we've acquired that has enabled us to make those predictions under the rug fine, but I don't think that's honest.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:48 PM #33
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The definition of change is an abstract one and fire is one of many, if not the most potent vehicle. The effects of fire were understood metaphysically not materialistically. Which is the point of contention for the modern man.

Nothing is being swept under the rug.
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