Certain people can't ever get it right

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mentalgymnast
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by mentalgymnast »

dastardly stem wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:32 pm

It certainly appears to me he's pointing at the paradox of infinity and saying, "And there is God".
For minds greater than mine, where does the Sorites Paradox, or the paradox of the heap, fit in with your discussion of infinity?

Regards,
MG
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Moksha
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by Moksha »

mentalgymnast wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:01 pm
dastardly stem wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:32 pm

It certainly appears to me he's pointing at the paradox of infinity and saying, "And there is God".
For minds greater than mine, where does the Sorites Paradox, or the paradox of the heap, fit in with your discussion of infinity?

Regards,
MG
You mean if you start with 99 bottles of beer on the wall and start passing them around, at what point do you find yourself lying on the floor passed out and unable to finish counting?
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mentalgymnast
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by mentalgymnast »

Moksha wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:24 pm
mentalgymnast wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:01 pm


For minds greater than mine, where does the Sorites Paradox, or the paradox of the heap, fit in with your discussion of infinity?

Regards,
MG
You mean if you start with 99 bottles of beer on the wall and start passing them around, at what point do you find yourself lying on the floor passed out and unable to finish counting?
I know you say this in jest, but no, that’s not what I’m inquiring about. Let me point you towards a book you may want to read:

https://www.amazon.com/Black-White-Thin ... 206&sr=8-1

Or this interview:

https://www.skeptic.com/michael-shermer ... lex-world/

Let me rephrase the question. Does the discussion on this thread in regards to what infinity entails collide with the Sorites Paradox? And if so, what does that mean as we look at the beginning of our own universe? And how does the Sorites Paradox impact any discussion having to do with infinite time or eternity?

Thanks for reply, even if somewhat inadequate. There are some bright minds here. I’m asking some honest questions.

Truth be told, I think the idea of time and space existing as one eternal round, LDS teaching, seems to coalesce rather nicely...using broad strokes...with the Sorites Paradox. But I may be way out of my league for even thinking that.

Anyway, if folks have any thoughts/views as it relates to my questions, I’m all ears. 🙂

I suppose you can go back to your beer...

Regards,
MG
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by Physics Guy »

I don't think the paradox of the heap has anything to with infinity. It's about how it can be tricky to define qualitative categories in quantitative terms.

It seems reasonable to say that if a heap of sand truly counts as a heap, then removing one grain will still leave it as a pretty good heap. If removing one grain is enough to shake its claim to heap status significantly then it can't be much of a heap anyway. So a really good heap must still be a good heap if you remove one grain of sand.

Conversely if you have just a few grains, not enough to count as a heap, then adding one more grain can't suddenly promote the handful of grains to heap status. Whatever exactly we may mean by "a heap", it's all about having enough grains that one more grain will not matter. So if you don't have enough grains to make up a heap, adding one more cannot help.

And both those discussions seem reasonable, until you keep on taking grains away from your heap, or adding grains to your non-heap. At some point you'll have taken away every grain but the last one, or made a massive dune one grain at a time. One lone grain is certainly not a heap, and a massive dune certainly is a heap. So somehow at some point adding or removing one grain can change your collection of sand into a heap, or make it stop counting as a heap, after all. But it also seemed convincing before when we said that couldn't happen. That's the paradox.

It's cute but I don't think it's really that big a deal. Being a heap of sand isn't really a binary state. You can be a really-for-sure heap or an iffy heap. Below a certain number you're really not a heap, above another number you are (though these bounds might depend on how the grains are piled as well as on total number). In between there's just a gradual grain-by-grain transition between more and less doubtful heaps.

I doubt that anybody who has ever had to classify collections of sand as a practical challenge has ever had much trouble with this. I'm pretty sure even young children would spontaneously introduce intermediate concepts of "big heaps" and "little heaps" and get on with the job. So building up the Sorites Paradox as this terribly deep and difficult problem would seem overblown. But it's a neat little cautionary tale to illustrate a certain kind of problem that can crop up in language.
mentalgymnast
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by mentalgymnast »

Physics Guy wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:03 pm
I don't think the paradox of the heap has anything to with infinity. It's about how it can be tricky to define qualitative categories in quantitative terms.
On the premise that infinity=eternity we would describe it qualitatively because we cannot assign a quantitative value. But we can describe time in a series of bits and sets. At what point would time become eternity? I ask this from a perspective of looking at time as part of an eternal now. It makes it a bit easier to wrap my mind around eternity. How much time=eternity is where the Sorites paradox comes into play. Doesn’t it?

What would be that theoretical tipping point between finite time and eternity? Is there one?
Physics Guy wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:03 pm
It seems reasonable to say that if a heap of sand truly counts as a heap, then removing one grain will still leave it as a pretty good heap.
But a non heap nonetheless, right? After all, at some point a heap is not a heap. Unless a heap is purely arbitrary and it is whatever we make it. But that means that ten grains of sand can be a heap as can 100,0000. So back to eternity. My 70+ years of life are a ‘heap’. So when we describe our lives as being part of one eternal round it, again, is easier to wrap my mind around knowing that I am living in an eternal now. The heap isn’t a mathematical construct as much as a subjective construct. “You’ll know a heap when you see it.”

For me, that’s where the scriptural record comes into play. Providing a ‘I know it when I FEEL/see it’ experience, time after time.
Physics Guy wrote:
Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:03 pm
Below a certain number you're really not a heap, above another number you are (though these bounds might depend on how the grains are piled as well as on total number). In between there's just a gradual grain-by-grain transition between more and less doubtful heaps.
If this is so, why are many of us reticent of considering the possibility that we are eternal beings? And if so, that there is a creator that makes this all possible? Or at least providing a degree of uncertainty on the part of secularists in their assumptions and premises that lead them towards thinking of time as being finite, as far as the human intelligence/mind is concerned.

Regards,
MG
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Gadianton
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by Gadianton »

MG wrote: I ask this from a perspective of looking at time as part of an eternal now
The Mormon "eternal now" idea is sheer nonsense. Feel free to show otherwise by defining it.

(while doped up: "It's like, forever, you can't even see the edges of it because its expanding away from us so fast; there aren't even edges because it's forever; but at the same time, it's right in front of us! It is us! we are it -- it's us, everywhere, Holy Crap, how f'd up is that?!)
How much time=eternity is where the Sorites paradox comes into play. Doesn’t it?
No. But, I'll give you this, it might make sense in Mormonism.

Mormon leaders waged a war of common sense on Christian theology. They tried to make theology concrete and work out logically in material terms. They didn't do a very good job, but that's beside the point. The point is, as you know from the D&C, JS tried to solve the conceptual problems of infinity by simply banishing it:
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.

7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
What Joseph is saying here, while pretending to be getting a revelation, is that "eternal" and "endless" are rhetorical, and there really isn't a such thing. There IS an end to the torment, he implies. Eternity, apparently, doesn't really go on forever.

Oh sure, it's a very long time. Long enough that your heap problem is relevant to the Mormon idea of eternity.
honorentheos
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by honorentheos »

I hope Physics Guy comes back to this to clarify.

I guess my understanding is the way many of us use the term infinity casually is not what is being discussed...or, perhaps, is why the OP was written in the first place. The Sorites Paradox hangs on the lack of definition for something like a pile. Unlike, say, a mole of some element or a given weight of sand, a pile isn't defined. So one is making a qualitative judgement as to whether or not a pile of sand is in deed a pile. Or someone is overstating the case regarding how much sand is involved.

An infinity isn't like the pile even if it is uncountable. If I were to refer to the set of natural numbers as an infinity, that has meaning not subject to interpretation. One doesn't take from or add to this infinity, certainly not in the way one could remove or add sand particles to a "pile". There have already been posts on this in the thread. So the Sorites Paradox doesn't apply.
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by honorentheos »

Physics Guy wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:50 pm
It might be completely wrong to attribute emotions or intentions to whatever it is that set the initial conditions, let alone a white beard. But whatever chooses the initial conditions of the universe does seem to be tantamount to God. If you held a job interview for God and the only candidate that showed up was the thing that set the initial conditions of the universe, it might turn out not be the kind of candidate that you'd had in mind, but you'd have to give it the job.
...
Failing either of those two escape hypotheses, we seem to be stuck with physics permanently pointing to something beyond itself, to set the initial conditions of the universe. It's not obvious from science that that something has to be much like anything that any religion has called God. But it seems to me that many atheists fail to appreciate how tremendous that something does have to be. It somehow made an awful lot of very specific detailed choices. How? Why? These aren't scientific questions in the sense that they are likely to yield to scientific methods, but they are very much the same kinds of basic questions that motivate science, and so in this sense they're not unscientific. They're just appallingly hard.
I appreciate this post a lot for many reasons, not least of which being its integrity.

It does remind me of the challenge of biological evolution where the factors that gave rise to a particular run of mutations resulting in various forms of species branching off can be deduced in reverse but are not nearly so easy to predict going forward. There's a certain inevitability to the perceived results - even a sense of superiority and intention - that is not found in those initial conditions alone. What became demanded the conditions that were, yet what was didn't have to result in only what became. That's easy to say for biological outcomes, unfathomable when it comes to the conditions that define the nature of the universe. But it's what it reminded me of when I read it.
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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

You wanna know how I know eternity is a real thing? Well, you know how they say x-mount of monkeys given enough time will randomly type out a novel or whatever? Well. Check this out. I just learned today there was a literal LDS children’s hymn called Queer Pussies.

Don’t stupid tell me we’re not not in an infinite recursion of absurdities.

Speaking of which. Isn’t the heap of sand example just an example of infinite recursions? For example, when I was tripping balls on some sweet “medicinal” shrooms a while back I noticed that reality itself was just a series of fractals continuously manifesting and then giving way to more swirly fractals.

Trippy, right?

Well. If you take one grain of sand away from a heap of sand and place it over *there*, eventually you just end one heap while creating another. Shiva and Brahma, amirite?

Goddamn I love not having binary or black and white thinking. I managed to shoehorn a drug reference along with an upanishad reference. I’m not even sure what an upanishad is, but it sounds Hindu-y. But you know what they say. Give x-amount of idiots enough time and they’ll eventually type out a coherent thought on the Internet.

- Doc
Debunking the Right’s ‘voter fraud’ claim:

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/ ... _BReFc2nPA
mentalgymnast
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Re: Certain people can't ever get it right

Post by mentalgymnast »

Gadianton wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 2:15 am
MG wrote: I ask this from a perspective of looking at time as part of an eternal now
The Mormon "eternal now" idea is sheer nonsense.
It would be to anyone that believes that you’re born and then you die. Full stop.

Regards,
MG
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