Resolution: There is no end to the body of knowledge
I Rebuttal: Con R1: Science and Pseudoscience?
I.a Con offers a few suggestions that need response, although having little to do with the Resolution, which demands discussion on the body of knowledge. Knots of what we know, and our capacity to know them is something else altogether.
I.a.1 God is alleged to not have a brain? “…and God supposedly neither has a brain nor flaws.”
No flaws, I agree, but no brain? “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness”
flies in the face of the former claim, and it is not a stretch to consider our internal structure to be included in “image” and “likeness,” such as a brain. A perfect brain, of course, as ours will be, ultimately, because, well, we are in God’s likeness, which allows for our becoming entirely like him. Now, may we please release God from our discussion?
I.b Con claims, “Guesswork, religious faith, political theory, pseudoscientifical beliefs and philosophical conclusions are not actually knowledge…” Guesswork is the nature of scientific theory as we begin such enterprises. Religious faith is not restricted to religion, and faith, itself, is an additional sense available to humans every bit as much as echo location, and sense of the magnetic field of Earth, is available to some of our animal associates on Earth. Political theory [there’s that word, again, which science depends on for discovery of truth] is merely the attempt to find ways to make society a cohesive, cooperative whole, and Con adds pseudoscience, which does have some validity even before some pseudosciences, at one time, became science, such as the transition from geocentrism into heliocentrism, which itself became galactic centrism… etc. If philosophy cannot depend on known truths for its existence, simply because it cannot be demonstrated in a test tube, neither can climate science. This is why the potential for the body of knowledge is so vast. Infinite, in fact.
I.c Con alleges five reasons why the body of knowledge in finite:
I.c.1 Heizenberg’s uncertainty principle: Con argues the impossibility of knowing the position and velocity of a particle, and folds in uncertainty of less than h/[4𝝿].I reply: this argument presents an uncertainly of knowing things, which is not the topic of the Resolution. Con defined KNOW, as in “having information in your mind,” but that is not the subject; knowledge, as a set, and the nature of it, is our subject, not what we may or may not know, uncertainty, or not. Heizenberg has been awakened to no purpose, 45 years since his death. Back to sleep, sir, and sweet dreams.
I.c.2 Spacetime cones: Objects in space; their interaction, information limited by the speed of light, happenstances millions of lightyears away… etc. More things to know, whether they align with Heizenberg’s uncertainty, or not. But, again, we do not debate things to know, we debate knowledge as a concept of it being endless, or not. Let’s let Heizenberg sleep, already, and stay on point.
I.c.3 Black holes: information traps. Still more things to know, and how to lose them. More Heizenberg, and I trust he’s taken some melatonin-product.
I.c.4 Human limitations: Back to the brain, and its relative capacity to contain things to know, and Con’s obsession with these things to know, as if the brain will ultimately overflow, like filling a glass with water beyond its capacity. Do we also have a limitation called forgetfulness? Con referred to it as “memory shortage.” Do I deny this? No, but, yet again, this deals with information not retained, and not what knowledge is available. Con is offering you a bank account, but the Resolution is about the bank. I fear all the melatonin there is will not put Heizenberg back to sleep, now.
I.c.5 Pseudoscientific questions:
Con tells you that only what we experience can be called knowledge. The rest is pseudoscience and dismissible. No. That totally discounts what is currently unknown. There was a time, prior to 1928, when we did not know that a mold, Penicillium rubens,
could be developed into penicillin, a landmark antibiotic treatment.
Do we dismiss that knowledge because prior to 1928, it was unknown? Eight short years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon at Tranquility Base in July, 1969, President Kennedy offered a challenge to the unknown, “We choose to go to the Moon…”
that we develop technology we did not have in 1961, to accomplish the task before the decade was complete. Was that simply pseudoscience, or was it a challenge to acquire knowledge we did not have in 1961, but had it in 1969? Heizenberg can safely sleep, again, mainly because in the time passed between his death in 1976 and ten years ago, we discovered that the Uncertainty Principle has some uncertainty itself.
II Rebuttal: Pro’s R1: The Uncertainty Principle is certainly old news
II.a There is an old proposition that attacks theoretical experimentation due to the potential that measurement, itself, can cause variation in results. It’s an old issue, and seems to still plague us today. Well, it turns out that measurement of a particle is not limited to its position and velocity. We’ve discovered a particle’s properties include its polarization states; two of them, in opposing planes.
This gets into more than I need to know to demonstrate my BoP, but the argument is indicative that science has little time to rest on its accomplishments. Just as obviously, our body of knowledge, as limited as it may seem to us, now, is continuously increasing.
II.b Con concludes that what we “know” tells us only of our certainties. If I hand you a box of various items, a comb, a pencil, a toothpick, a football, a whistle, a matchbook, a ruler, a salt shaker, a smartphone, and a small, glowing, blue sphere whose color pulses, and it hums and vibrates slightly. You are very familiar with the first nine items, but the tenth is a mystery. You see, feel, and hear the object, it smells a little bit like chocolate, and, when licked, it tastes like a strawberry, but its purpose is completely unknown, in spite of influencing all your senses. Do you chalk it up to pseudoscience and ignore it as something not known?
II.b.1 You do know about five of its properties, already. Does Con’s argument satisfy? So, it suddenly changes its position, and its velocity is approaching the speed of light, so, add motion and variable visibility to its properties. Ignorable, still? Admit it; you’re intrigued. Curiosity raises its brilliant head. Something more to know.
III Argument: Joe Biden is not the only hairy guy
III.a In R1, I advised that R2 would introduce a concept that would figuratively reach orbit. I know, today, that’s a low-ball goal, considering we’re 52 years downrange of landing on the Moon and returning to Earth. A big bite taken out of that cosmic chocolate chip cookie that is the body of knowledge.
III.b So, let’s review our flat, two-dimensional plane of infinite dimension in all directions. In this model construction, we will actually take pieces of Con’s argument: things to know. We descend from the proverbial 30,000-foot perspective to within three or four feet. We see an infinite grid of dots on the plane. These are singular knowledge bits, such as seeing a strawberry. We easily recognize the fruit by its appearance. It isn’t a grape, and it isn’t an orange, and it certainly is not a banana. So, that one little bit of knowledge, the visual recognition of a strawberry registers in our mind; “strawberry,” the mind says.
III.b.1 Suddenly, a filament thrusts out of the strawberry and wanders up and away from the bit, like feeding out a fishing line from a pole. It rises high, and away, and suddenly comes down again, and plants in another bit not to far away; close enough to walk there. When we approach the bit, it is obviously a tongue. The filament pierced the tongue, and continues through the plane to its opposing side, repeats the feeding out from the tongue’s position, and ultimately plants itself into a larger bit not too far away. A brain, we see, when we approach it. Suddenly, before our eyes, many filaments are entering and leaving the brain. When the filament we’ve been following from the strawberry enters the brain, we sense the flavor of the strawberry, and it matches our recollection of tasting other strawberries. The memory is re-affirmed: we know we just ate a strawberry.
II.b.1.A The above is a bit simplistic, but it does demonstrate adequately enough one way we can conceive of an infinite plane, or body of knowledge. Not only are there quantum quantities of individual bits, i.e., bits of singular information, nay, not even a quantum but actually endless, but those bits link together by these filaments, thus linking bits together to create new and different information, such as the pulsing blue sphere that tastes like a strawberry. In fact, by tracing another filament through the tongue, we find, ultimately, that blue sphere, with a filament to the strawberry.
II.b.1.B Returning to our 30,000-foot perspective, we now see the plane is more like a sphere with billions of filaments, probably more, above and below the plane, all entering and exiting the plane to link bits of knowledge together, increasing an infinite linkage of seemingly different bits of knowledge to know. Many of these linkages have not yet been explored. It will not suffice to look at this with a finite mind and expect to understand the potential of this sphere to be an endless body of knowledge.
II.b.2 Maybe the pulsing blue sphere that tastes like a strawberry is a model of itself on a much grander scale; an infinite scale.
III Argument: Why the plane and the filaments are endless [but Joe will lose his hair]
III.a Leaving the model behind, let’s explore just what is meant by the model and its physical features, and why the container that is the repository of the body of knowledge is endless. The simple answer is: because we are endless, as well.
I offer fair warning now: this is a bit of a leap of faith; a thing not many people seem willing to exercise, thinking it nonsense. Nothing of the sort, but each person must prove that for themselves; this is not demonstrable test tube sense; its internal. And this is why I maintain that faith is not bound by religion; I can employ, and have, faith to solve every day problems in a variety of disciplines.
III.b I have observed a thin, green plastic rectangle, a plane, if you will, proceeding through a machine. I’ve watched that machine drill holes in it, another to lay down a conductible circuit grid, fuse it to the plastic, then another installed hundred of small chips and diodes and resisters and capacitors, and another to solder these components into place, and eject the finished circuit board to be installed in some device for which this board will function as an electro-mechanical brain. MNot a single human hand touched the board throughout this process, yet human hands made the machines that did all the work.
III.b.1 Did one man conceive all of this. Perhaps a designer, but I’ll wager that designer had others involved in the design process, and certainly in its testing, modifying, testing again, before issue to production to manufacture in quantities. Lots of separate people working in unison to achieve an objective. Many separate brains dedicated to differing functions in the process. Did one person need to conceive all of it? Maybe, but in my design and manufacturing experience, no.
III.c Therefore, even though I believe we, individually, can acquire vast pieces of data [information], we are not compelled to know all. Yet. That may be a future requirement, but for now the individual brain capacity is not strained. As a retired engineer, and statistician, and manager of same, and writer, and illustrator, I have worn several hats. Do I need a plumbing hat? Well, I have learned a few basics. I injured my leg, recently. Do I need to know its proper treatment? Rudimentarily, I do understand it, but I soon discovered my wound care need was outside my knowledge. A wound care physician was available to step in. Wound healed. So, that I could not heal my wound myself is of no consequence to me. I knew there was someone who had that knowledge, and I consulted him. Our body of knowledge, that doctor and me, share some knowledge, but some of his, and some of mine, differ greatly. I learned from him, for example, that what I called tools in his employ, he corrected my ignorance with another term: instruments. “What’s the difference,” I asked. “Instruments are twice as expensive,” he replied. Okay, I get it. That’s one reason why medical care is so expensive: nomenclature.
III.d Collectively, the doctor and I widen our bodies of knowledge. Add to us all the people I know, and all the people he knows, and the combined body of knowledge increases further. We can take advantage of those bodies of knowledge to improve our own. Or choose not to and remain dumb as a post. A worthless existence, I say. Prove me wrong. Add all the people that crowd knows… you get it. Now, some of those people, like me, write books. That spreads bodies of knowledge to an individual body of knowledge, one at a time times the books in circulation. I own and have read many books on a variety of subjects; some as old as Plato. That’s an expansion of a body of knowledge, isn’t it? I’ve heard estimate that there have been 70 billion of us on Earth. I think that’s a low-ball estimate. The network of expansion increases exponentially, uh, like an infinite plane. With hairy, connecting filaments.
III.e Endlessly, I contend, is the body of knowledge.
I close R2 and pass to Con.
Holy Bible, Genesis 1: 26