Re: Beating a dead....

Dan Fabulich (daniel.fabulich@yale.edu)
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 03:13:47 -0400


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Reilly Jones wrote:
>What exactly do you mean by "a vacuum"? For instance, if the speed of
>light travels at different speeds depending on the density of space being
>traversed, how can we measure such differences since our measurements
>partake of the same density in the region in question? Certainly, an
>observer outside the event horizon of a black hole observing the speed of
>light inside the event horizon would be hard put to not observe that the
>light velocity inside was approximately squat. How does this change as the
>observer approaches the event horizon at a tangent? If light is travelling
>lengthwise between two incredibly long, incredibly dense parallel plates,
>which screen out the bulk of the density of space, would not the speed of
>light increase over that outside of this system? At the filamentary
>borders in deep space equidistant between all regional galactic
>superclusters, where the bulk of virtual particles are moving away from
>each other, is the speed of light increased over that of more dense space
>or are the photons dilated? Is not the speed of light also dependent on
>the length of the Planck moment, which may be constant in our local region
>of the universe, but may be different in other regions?

Go back and reread my argument again, this time note that all observers and
the light particle are travelling though the same medium, having uniform
density, which for convenience I'll call "vacuum."

>Halliday & Resnick are fine by me, mine's sitting at arm's length.

Maybe I misunderstand your argument in that case... Halliday and Resnick
have a chapter on relativity, which I thought you disagree with. Have I
grossly misunderstood you?

><...it has also been observed that muons, which have an average lifetime of
>2.200 microseconds, have an average lifetime of 63.5 microseconds when
>moving at 0.9994c relating to the laboratory; precisely the value predicted
>by special relativity.>
>
>And in regions of the universe where the Planck moment is approximately the
>constant it is in our region, when the muon achieves light speed, it lasts
>an eternity while spreading itself atemporally through every possible
>accessible place la Russell's/Feynman's sum-over-the-histories.

So what are we disagreeing about?

>Usefulness is not
>knowledge, it is substantially lower down the scale.

True. So when you provide me with a new cohesive model backed up by
experimental evidence, I'll use your model. But without that experimental
evidence, how do you purport to know which model, if either, is wrong?

>I read about plenty of confusing and contradictory interpretations. The
>dogma isn't overthrown yet, something more fashionable hasn't arrived, but
>hopefully it will arrive, or if it doesn't, at least its adherents will not
>treat it as science.

This is interesting. What have you been reading?

>[Black holes "melting"] Black holes are
>recyclable at a high enough technological level.

I've never heard of this. References?

>An intelligible universe cannot
>contain ontological randomness, but it can contain bucketloads of
>epistemological randomness.

I concede that any observable randomness is at least just that; random as
far as we can observe... but what is so unintelligible about randomness?

For that matter, what exactly do you mean when you say "intelligible?"

>DF: <Information is a signal which reduces uncertainty.>
>
>Reduces uncertainty for whom?

<sigh> Go read any book on information theory, and get back to me.

Oh, by the way, you glossed over my pop quiz: What's in a book that hasn't
been read?

>DF: <Most, if not all people who support abortion do NOT think that the
>fetus can be killed.>
>
>Aside from the sheer erroneous nature of this claim, I would say, "how
>convenient." I could just as easily claim, and with as much logic, that
>most people who support slavery do NOT think that slaves have full status
>with humans and can therefore be owned as property, like cattle or land, to
>be dispensed with arbitrarily. Slavery and abortion are definitional
>issues, the same issue, in fact, the definition of human.

I agree.

>This is another form of the might makes right barbarian tyranny.

You misunderstand me. I'm not arguing that you are wrong... I'm making
the much safer claim that you do not have a logical argument for abortion,
BECAUSE we do not agree on definitions and premises.

So, in syllogistic form:

(1) Axiom: That in order to have a logical argument, all parties must
agree on the premises and definitions relevant to that argument.
(2) We do not agree on the definition of human. (Empirical.)
(3) Therefore, we cannot have a logical argument about whether abortion is
the murder of humans.

P if and only if Q.
Not Q.
Therefore not P.

>If you
>recall, the American Civil War was fought largely over defining what a
>human was. No logical discussion between the North and the South was
>possible because they did not agree on common definitions and premises.

Too true. They were NOT having a logical argument. Just as you and I are
NOT having a logical argument about abortion.

>No
>utopia is ever possible anywhere, any time, because there are such
>conflicting ideals present in the world. The abortion, infanticide, &
>euthanasia fight will go on and on and on, ending up in either the elite
>accepting humane definitions of human, such as when Britain's elite
>abolished slavery without a war, or the elite will attempt to achieve
>consensus by neutralizing or eliminating opponents who hold conflicting
>definitions. This is the tried and true method of tyranny.

Well, yes. You can't have a logical argument with a tyrant, I completely
agree. Fortunately for me, this was all that I was trying to prove in the
first place. :)

Now, it is still possible that one premise, either the "pro-life" premise
or the "pro-choice" premise, are more defensible based on OTHER premises
which we do agree upon. I'd like to think that this is true. And indeed,
Jones, I exhort you to seek out such an argument. Don't just stick to your
guns. Branch out. Seek out new arguments. Because this one, to be blunt,
is illogical. (Not to mention ineffective!)

On the other hand, perhaps rational parties who disagree about abortion
cannot have a logical discussion about abortion, and anyone who claims to
have a logical argument for or against abortion is either lying or
confused. To have a logical argument you MUST agree on premises, premises
on which "pro-life" and "pro-choice" advocates may not ever agree. If this
is so, a logical argument is completely impossible.

For our sakes, I hope this is not the case.

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