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Grognor comments on Excluding the Supernatural - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 September 2008 12:12AM

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Comment author: Grognor 01 December 2011 10:10:11PM *  5 points [-]

What he really meant by non-reductionist science, was that as a "non-reductionist scientist", one is allowed to throw up one's hands, and say that there is no explanation for something.


No. Good scientists say that there are no current explanations all the time. The non-reductionist claims to know that there can't ever be an explanation. That's the opposite of throwing up your hands and saying you don't have an explanation. That's a claim to know that all possible explanations will fail.

You tried to make a contradiction, but you ended up saying exactly the same thing. "There is no explanation," means no explanation exists, which is the nonsense position that Phil attacked three years ago. "We don't have an explanation yet," is entirely sensible, of course, which is why that position has never been attacked by anyone, ever.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 03 December 2011 06:27:12AM *  -1 points [-]

No explanation exists for why there is lint in my belly button. No one has explained it, even to themselves. Now, if we think about it, we may come up with an explanation, but that doesn't mean the explanation exists now, anymore than a house we might build exists now because we might build it.

No explanation exists for X <> there can never be an explanation for X.

Comment author: nshepperd 03 December 2011 11:55:13AM 13 points [-]

I have a feeling "no explanation exists" was meant in the mathematical sense of "exists". Which means exactly that there is no possible string of characters that is an explanation for X.