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lessdazed comments on No One Knows What Science Doesn't Know - Less Wrong

38 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 October 2007 11:47PM

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Comment author: lessdazed 22 October 2011 03:38:37AM 1 point [-]

Spelling fixed.

The idea that something's changing makes it impossible to know is an extreme case of collapsing levels.

Comment author: pedanterrific 22 October 2011 03:54:32AM *  1 point [-]

I know it's pedant(errif)ic of me to point out, but it seems poor epistemic hygiene to let equivocations pass by unremarked:

SCIENCE may not be able to know ... the length and width of Universe, which is ever changing

is a very different claim from

The idea that something's changing makes it impossible to know

For one, the sort of person who places limits on SCIENCE's grasp usually has some mechanism in mind which makes it possible to bypass them (really good drugs, for instance). For two, I don't see any assertion of a causal relationship between the Universe's ever-changingness and SCIENCE's inability to put a tape measure to it. For three, I'm struggling to come up with a way to know the Universe is changing without being able to measure it.

Comment author: lessdazed 22 October 2011 03:58:36AM 0 points [-]

some mechanism in mind which makes it possible bypass them (really good drugs, for instance).

What?

I don't see any assertion of a causal relationship

What if it had read "the length and width of Universe, which is big"?

Comment author: pedanterrific 22 October 2011 04:09:23AM *  3 points [-]

(really good drugs, for instance)

What?

That is, the sort of New Agey people that tend to say "Science can never understand the nature of the soul!" don't mean that the soul can never be understood, just that understanding it requires divine revelation / seeing past the veil of Maya / altered mindstates corresponding suspiciously to the effects of LSD.

What if it had read "the length and width of Universe, which is big"?

Oh, I see - I parsed "Universe, which is ever changing" as a catechistic epithet, a la "Atomic Flux operating Near the God" or "Holy Mary, mother of God". It could be an implication of causality, but it still doesn't seem certain.

Comment author: lessdazed 22 October 2011 04:41:41AM 1 point [-]

people that tend to say "Science can never understand the nature of the soul!" don't mean that the soul can never be understood, just that it understanding it requires divine revelation

Good point. Sometimes they might mean one and other times the other.