On 06 Jan 2012, at 23:11, John Clark wrote:

On Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> In fact I do agree often with John Clark, but then he exaggerates also very often the point.

I've told you a million times I never exaggerate.

> The church was asking to Galileo to present his view as a theory or conjecture

What do you suppose would have happened if Galileo asked the church to present its views as a theory or conjecture?! Actually Galileo was not tortured but he was shown the instruments for it, as the worlds greatest expert on mechanics at the time he certainly understood how such machines operated, as a result he publicly apologized for his scientific ideas and said in writing that the church was right, the Earth was the center of the universe after all. I certainly don't hold this against Galileo, instead I look at it as yet another example of the man's enormous intellect. Only 20 years before, another astronomer Giordano Bruno, said that space was infinite, the stars were like the sun only very far away and life probably filled the universe, but Bruno was not as smart as Galileo, he refused to recant his views. For the crime of telling the truth Bruno was burned alive in the center of Rome so all could see, according to custom green wood was used because it doesn't burn as hot so it takes longer to kill. I imagine Feyerabend would say that the church's verdict against Bruno was rational and just too.

You might give reference to corroborate this. At first sight, the case of Galileo and Bruno does not seem comparable.

> Galileo did endorse the "modern" view of naturalism,

Another reason Galileo was a great man.

> and that science *has* to be naturalist

If there are things about the universe that are not naturalistic (and there might be), that is to say if there are things that do not work by reason then science has nothing it can say about them, so yes science *has* to be naturalistic.

You confuse naturalism (nature exists and is fundamental/primitive) and rationalism (things works by and for a reason). The first is the main axiom of Aristotle theology, the second defines the general scientific attitude. Today we know that they oppose each other. Indeed "nature" might have a non natural reason. For example nature, or the belief in nature, might have a logical and/or an arithmetical reason independent of its reification.

>and this *is* a scientific error (as comp illustrates) which has not yet been corrected (excepting the study of comp).

I don't know what that means.

It means, in a nutshell, that if you are willing to believe that your consciousness would remain unchanged for a digital functional substitution of your parts made at some description level of your body, (comp), then physics can no more be the fundamental science of reality, and the physical universe has to be explained in term of cohesive digital machine dreams/computation. Physics becomes one of the internal aspect, from the relative point of view of numbers/ program/digital-machine, of arithmetic. We have been discussing this a lot on this list. You might have also followed the first six steps of the reasoning (the universal dovetailer argument) on the FOR list perhaps. If not you might read my sane04 paper(*).

I don't oppose natural with supernatural, but with computer science- theoretical or logico-arithmetical. In fact, to believe that nature and matter is primitive gives a sort of supernatural conception of matter, of the kind "don't ask for more explanation". I am not satisfied by that type of quasi-magical explanation, and besides, I can explain in all details why that position is irrational once we bet that we are digitalizable machine. In fine, computationalism forces to recognize that Plato's theology might have been, with respect to the fundamental questions, more rational than Aristotle's materialist theology (used by christians and their atheists variants). The simple "dream argument" shows already that observation is never a proof of existence, and that the *primitive* existence of a physical universe is a scientific hypothesis, not an undoubtable fact (unlike consciousness here-and-now).


(*) http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHALAbstract.html


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