The futility of 'if'

Author: fauxlaw ,

Topic's posts

Posts in total: 18
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    Since it is April Fools’ Day, I will celebrate by offering a revised challenge of “if” and load it into the Forum. This topic varies slightly from my first loaded debate after joining the site, and will, hopefully, deter argumentative definition of words as a feature of the Forum commentary, although, iunder this format as opposed to the debate, I suppose it’s open season. Never the less, I will address my own definitions for clarification.
     
    The full language of the forum topic is: “’If’ is not utilitarian because it only acknowledges what is currently not true.”
     
    Definitions:
    Utilitarian: Useful by intentional-purpose activity. Frequency of use is not a factor, even when used frequently. A thing may be used frequently, or not, without meeting the intentional-purpose qualification. For example, using a flathead screwdriver as a wedge to pry one object from another, such as a lid from a bottle, may be useful, but that is not the intended use of a flathead screwdriver. Therefore, in the context of the debate, “if” is a word that introduces a non-utilitarian value that cannot attain value until the condition of the “not true” changes to “true.” It is the conditional statement of an if/then proposal that must change; not the definition of ‘if’ and/or ‘utilitarian.’
     
    Theory: A scientific concept proposed which has not yet earned “fact” status while still called a theory, regardless of its pervasive use in scientific protocol as a fact. Example: the Theory of Relativity. 
     
    Acknowledgement: Recognition of a condition that is currently either true or not true. The ‘if’ statement is the qualifier of a true/not-true condition, but is not the vehicle to change one condition to the other.
     
    Argument:
    In the debate I challenged on this subject, and lost, the loss was completely negotiated by my then opponent by obfuscation: to wit,challenging a word I did not define, “useless.” I thought it unnecessary, even though I subsequently advised my meaning of its use as being utilitarian in scope and not in frequency of use. However, since my opponent was first to apply a definition, that’s the definition that stuck, and I was unable to convince otherwise.
     
    My opponent [Oromagi, my friend] further obfuscated the argument by multiple definitions of ‘if,’ which I had not seen necessary to define. I still don’t.
     
    In the debate on this subject, Con argued eight separate definitions of ‘if;’ mostly in scientific use related to proposing a theory. In science, ‘theory’ holds a very respected position relative to fact v. fiction, or truth v. non-truth. The Theory of Relativity, for example, is still considered theoretical, and not a true fact, when compared to later theories, such as String Theory. The Theory of Relativity is a virtual fact by comparison.
     
    Given this acceptable confusion in scientific circles, I submit that playing a shell game with ‘theory,’ essentially violates my proposed if/then statement regarding the use of ‘if’ since, in practical terms, ‘theory’ cannot logically reside on both sides of a true/false condition, even if science will bend the logic. I declare it out of bounds for definitional consideration, as I’ve proposed in definitions. bHowever, since this is not a debate frmate, and no pints are at risk, it's open season! Have at it.
     
    Further, I argue that when something is currently not true [accepting that this condition could change, but is still bound by the current condition] there is no ‘if’ statement that can successfully alter the condition of ‘not true’ by itself; that is, without external manipulation.
     
    I will offer an example; one that I mentioned in the debate on this subject: Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru; the Star Fleet Academy’s no-win tactical challenge.[1] If you recall, cadet James T. Kirk successfully passed the challenge, but he changed the conditions of the challenge in order to pass a no-win scenario. Rewarded for his creativity, instead of being chastised for changing the rules, Kirk won the admiration of Star Fleet. Or, so goes the story.
     
    The deal is, Kirk applied external manipulation to change the ‘not true’ condition of the challenge, which was designed to be an unchangeable ‘not true’ condition. The purpose of the challenge was to conceive the most original, creative response to a no-win scenario. Star Fleet Academy’s issue was that they did not conceive that a cadet would manipulate the test parameters to defeat a no-win scenario. To do so in a logical question is to violate the purpose of the question, thus the change to a matter of utility, as defined, and not mere use, which has unintended baggage.
     
    Moreover, I contend that acknowledgement, by definition above, has no ability to change the conditional statement any more than the ‘if’ statement is able to accomplish it. For example, to say, “If I could fly, I would be in Paris tomorrow.” The ‘if’ statement automatically recognizes an incapacity; ‘I’ cannot fly; I am not equipped to do so due to the limitations my body possesses. I can resolve the problem with external manipulation of the ‘if’ statement, but that upsets the paradigm. And, as I am not currently in Paris, it does not matter that my conditional statement is one of a positive attitude; it is still not true. I can ‘if’ until cows return to the barn, but I cannot, of my own facility, change my ‘if’ current condition; I cannot fly. Who knows; with evolution and adaptation on my side, and my longevity increases exponentially, one day, I may have wings, but that is not the current condition. Therefore, the entire phrase is a logical falsehood. Currently.
     
    I suggest a read of understanding philosopher Hans Vaihinger [1852 – 1933], whose philosophy of Die Philosophie des Als Ob, [The Philosophy of As-Ifs] supports my contention that 'if' acknowledges only that which is currently not true. Vaihinger argued , “…all knowledge [episteme] is empirical in the sense that our guiding cognitive aim is the prediction and control of empirical phenomena, not correspondence to objective reality.”[2] This is the reason for defining ‘theory’ as I have, and why, therefore, bending its application as science is wont to do to somehow include “fact” as one of its functions. 
     
    Finally, as Vaihinger expressed, our desire is to predict and control empiricism, and resulting episteme, but it can do so only within the bounds of what is epistemic; what is known as curently true.
     
    So, the challenge is offered: “’If’ is not utilitarian because it only acknowledges what is currently not true.” Or, one might say, using Vaihigner’s Philosophy of As-If, ‘If’ is not utilitarian because it acknowledges what is currently not true, and does not correspond to objective reality. April Fools!
     
     
     



    [1]Meyer, Nicholas, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,Paramount Pictures, 1982


  • zedvictor4
    zedvictor4 avatar
    Debates: 12
    Forum posts: 2,351
    3
    2
    3
    zedvictor4 avatar
    zedvictor4
    --> @fauxlaw
    "What is currently not true",  is not necessarily not true.
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @zedvictor4
    Truth is eternal. What was true yesterday is still true today and will be true forever after. What is not true yesterday is not true today, and will never be true in the future. The difference is whether we are aware of the truth, or not. It is our discovery of what is true that changes by our increased knowledge of it, or not. We did not just discover that a water molecule was made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and suddenly it was so. It always had that construct, and we just discovered it was so. So it is with all truth.

  • TwoMan
    TwoMan avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 309
    1
    1
    3
    TwoMan avatar
    TwoMan
    --> @fauxlaw
    It could be argued that almost every truth statement is contingent upon an "if" statement. With the exception of the statements "The universe exists" or "I exist", what other truth statements are not contingent upon an "if"? For example "the sky is blue" is true "if" my perception of it is correct. 1+1=2 is true if mathematical axioms are correct. You exist "if" you aren't a halucination, etc.

    Certain axioms must be accepted "if" other truth claims are to be accepted.
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @TwoMan
    I disagree. Truth cannot be defined by simply what is known to be true. We did not know, for example, when the Black Plague hit in the 14th century that a simple regimen of proper hygiene would have, by itself, mitigated the spread of the plague [although it is not, in itself, the cure], yet it would have been as true then as it is today.
    Truth is eternal. Untruth is eternal. Meanwhile, humans discover truth that has always been. We, ourselves, do not create what is true; we discover what is true out of the unknown. Once known, truth does not change its character; it is immutable. It is our responsibility to hold it sacred. If we try to change it, that s its corruption; we make it profane by attempt at manipulation, such as limiting God by telling Him He is not God because He allows suffering. Maybe when we, ourselves, discover that most suffering is on our hands, not His, we will also discover why suffering occurs at all.
  • TwoMan
    TwoMan avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 309
    1
    1
    3
    TwoMan avatar
    TwoMan
    --> @fauxlaw
    How do you know that the Black Plague occurred in the 14th century? Because history books say so. Therefore, "if" the history books are correct, then the statement regarding Black Plague is correct. You cannot prove any statement is true unless you assume that your information is accurate.

    Since you cannot prove that your information is accurate, you are left with the following - "If" your information is accurate, only then can your truth claim be accurate.
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @TwoMan
    How do you know that the Black Plague occurred in the 14th century? 
    Oh, ye of little faith. You think we are limited to books to prove what is known of history; in particular about the Black plague? In my republic, we can count on other sources than just books. As far as books go, yes, we are limited by their dependable scholarship, as in your republic. Sorry about yours. In my republic, it is possible to date the bacterium that caused the Black Plague because it still exists today, and their genome can be measured by date of origin. If the target item cannot be measured [using equipment that is capable to 10x the scale of specification, and is calibrated to required standards], then the claim of truth is inaccurate. Therefore, because it can be measured, the statement of measurement capability is true.
    Try to keep up.
  • TwoMan
    TwoMan avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 309
    1
    1
    3
    TwoMan avatar
    TwoMan
    --> @fauxlaw
    "If" the equipment is capable and "if" it is calibrated properly and "if" your interpretation of the data is correct, then you can make a truth claim regarding the date of the bacterium.

    You are making truth claims based on assumed axioms as we all do. However, you must be aware of epistemological limits.
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @TwoMan
    My episteme was noted: bacterial genome aging. You really want to argue vocabulary? In which language? I'm fluent in five, one of them ancient Egyptian.
    Ma gavte la nata. figure that one out, then why don't you overcome your fears and enter something in profile. of what are you afraid to remain so unknown?
  • TheJackle
    TheJackle avatar
    Debates: 4
    Forum posts: 8
    0
    0
    4
    TheJackle avatar
    TheJackle
    --> @fauxlaw
    THAT is the exact word jerk off stuff I am talking about!!    While I am fappin to some good porn, you are probably sticking the pages of your dictionary together with your self righteous goo.

  • DrSpy
    DrSpy avatar
    Debates: 7
    Forum posts: 20
    0
    0
    2
    DrSpy avatar
    DrSpy
    I love free speech.  I am just wondering if some people need to be reminded of what proper behavior is.



  • zedvictor4
    zedvictor4 avatar
    Debates: 12
    Forum posts: 2,351
    3
    2
    3
    zedvictor4 avatar
    zedvictor4
    --> @fauxlaw
    Well yes.

    But in that context truth is irrelevant and has no meaning.

    Truth only has meaning if it there is something to regard the truth.

    And as far as we are aware it is only humankind that finds a need to regard the truth.

    Therefore truth is relevant only to humankind and the physiology and processes thereof.

    So not knowing is as relevant as knowing within the context of limited human knowledge and human function.


    So "if" being the question and human regard being the qualifier.

    We can therefore attribute "if" the same status as truth, irrespective of what may or may not be eternal truth. 

    Because as far as humanity is concerned.... What qualifies can be either, what is or is not currently known to be true.


    The equation is reliant upon the human, otherwise there is no equation.
  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @zedvictor4
    And as far as we are aware it is only humankind that finds a need to regard the truth.
    Tell it to my beloved dog, now gone to the great beyond, who greeted me every evening at the door when I arrived home, eager for hug, even why I was gone for days and weeks at a time on business trips when, at times, my wife and children were not at the door. 

  • fauxlaw
    fauxlaw avatar
    Debates: 40
    Forum posts: 949
    3
    5
    10
    fauxlaw avatar
    fauxlaw
    --> @TheJackle
    Getting some good premature efactulation with that fappin? Meanwhile, who needs porn? The tool is polished while tickling some fancy. And the dictionary is on the shelf, on the imac, on the macbook, on the ipad, on the iphone.
  • zedvictor4
    zedvictor4 avatar
    Debates: 12
    Forum posts: 2,351
    3
    2
    3
    zedvictor4 avatar
    zedvictor4
    --> @fauxlaw
    Very nice story.

    But dogs are as dogs do.
  • Dr.Franklin
    Dr.Franklin avatar
    Debates: 31
    Forum posts: 8,115
    4
    5
    11
    Dr.Franklin avatar
    Dr.Franklin
    if is amazing
  • Melcharaz
    Melcharaz avatar
    Debates: 4
    Forum posts: 426
    1
    4
    8
    Melcharaz avatar
    Melcharaz
    Demons used the word "if" when speaking to jesus. Jesus said "if" a couple of times too.

    What needs to be understood is the specific implications of if and its context. As the word If can introduce doubt and fear, in other context it presents an opportunity. 

    I believe that people shouldnt use the word if in the context of doubt or fear. But in hope and in belief of an open opportunity like Jesus did.

  • zedvictor4
    zedvictor4 avatar
    Debates: 12
    Forum posts: 2,351
    3
    2
    3
    zedvictor4 avatar
    zedvictor4
    --> @Melcharaz
    Did Jesus speak English then?