Re: HOLISM: Utility & Prediction

Anton Sherwood (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 23:25:22 -0700

Ian Goddard wrote:
> A list-member challenged the holistic-identity statement
> X=X+~X (the identity of X includes ~X by relation) by
> arguing that it does not allow us to predict facts
> about nature, unlike the atomist identity state-
> ment X=X. That argument is perfectly false
> and here is the proof...
> SCENARIO: There are two objects, A and B,
> traveling in different directions;

Relative to what?

> then the velocity of A is suddenly increased.

Relative to what?

> PROBLEM: Predict what happens to the velocity of B.

Relative to what?

Ian's argument assumes, without any justification, that the velocities
of A and B are defined relative to each other. That's a valid
definition, but it's far from the only possible definition. Both A and
B have velocities relative to C, for example, which do *not* behave as
Ian describes.

This isn't the first time Ian has tried to wow us by with a proof
based on assumptions that were not in the statement of the problem.

> The X=X atomist-identity theory predicts that the velocity
> of B is not altered, since an identity attribute, X, of B
> (of which velocity is one) is X free from not-X, X=X.

Who says velocity is an element of identity?

> The X=X+~X holistic-identity theory predicts that the velocity
> of B is altered exactly inverse to the alteration of the velocity
> of A, since an identity attribute, X, of B is X only by relation
> to A, so if the X of A increases relative to B, the X of B will
> decrease in the exact proportion -- zero-sum conservation law.
> This prediction is true, and the atomist prediction is false.

In other words, delta(|A-B|) = delta(|B-A|). Whoopee.

> ERGO: Not only does the holistic-identity theory allow us to
> make an accurate prediction about the world prior to testing,
> but the atomist-identity theory leads us directly to a FALSE
> prediction about the nature of the physical world!

When you get to define all terms, of course you can prove you're right.

> "Relativity" simply defines the holism of identity and the fact
> that the identities of A and ~A overlap one another, in exactly
> the fashion that atomism denies by ignore-ance of the facts.

If velocity is an element of identity, then there is no identity between
A before acceleration and A after acceleration; and so one might ask how
the above argument is relevant.

> Identity is difference,

Then why is it called by a word whose root means `same' ???

> and difference is symmetrical,

Once again Ian stands well-established usage on its head to get his way.
A symmetric relation is one where R(A,B) implies R(B,A); for example, if
I am taller than Ian, then Ian is taller than me.

> and thus identity is conserved,

(except when it isn't; see above)

> which is to say (as I have proven) that net identity,

(whatever that means)

> or net difference, always equals zero.

(A-B) + (B-A) = 0, yes; so what?

> Identity conservation:

This web page shows something of which I was not fully aware until now:
Ian confuses the vernacular meaning of identity (a property of a thing)
with the mathematical meaning (the relation between a thing and itself
or between two equal things).

"How'd ya like to climb this high without no mountain?" --Porky Pine
Anton Sherwood   *\\*   +1 415 267 0685