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Caledonian2 comments on Excluding the Supernatural - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Caledonian2 12 September 2008 04:53:07PM 1 point [-]

I still seem to be able to envision what things would look like if a form of Cartesian dualism were true.

I'm sure there are people who believe they can envision an immovable object meeting an irresistible force. They do not possess a special ability, they are merely in error.

Our ordinary laws of physics would govern all matter except one or more places deep in the brain, where the laws of physics would be violated where the soul is "pulling the strings" of the body, as it were. These deviations from physics would not happen unlawfully, but rather would be governed by special, complicated laws of psychology, rather than physics.

The matter always obeys the laws of physics, because the laws of physics describe how matter acts. The laws would simply be more complex than you had anticipated.

What conditions are necessary for your "special laws" to apply? By what mechanisms does substance interact with spirit?

You can patch any model by introducing new, special-purpose premises that cause the model to match the observations, but what good is that?

You can redefine words so that any assertion about reality is correct, but what good is that? What use is it to say that the Eucharist transforms wine into blood, and bread into flesh, if you have to redefine 'blood' and 'flesh' in the process of speaking?

Comment author: Strange7 20 January 2011 06:54:59PM 1 point [-]

I'm sure there are people who believe they can envision an immovable object meeting an irresistible force. They do not possess a special ability, they are merely in error.

The roleplaying game "Exalted" by White Wolf game studio has rules for what happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object, as part of a coherent, detailed cosmology where that kind of thing happens on a regular basis. At certain scales, from certain perspectives, it resembles our own world.

Comment author: Blueberry 20 January 2011 07:50:48PM 2 points [-]

The roleplaying game "Exalted" by White Wolf game studio has rules for what happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object

This is like saying there are game rules for what happens when a player draws a square circle.

Regardless of the game rules, both of those objects can't exist in the same world. Either the object wasn't immovable or the force wasn't unstoppable.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 20 January 2011 08:04:27PM 0 points [-]

Or, far more likely, both.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 22 April 2011 01:22:31AM 10 points [-]

Regardless of the game rules, both of those objects can't exist in the same world. Either the object wasn't immovable or the force wasn't unstoppable.

What if they pass through each other? Then the one doesn't move, and the other doesn't stop.

Comment author: Blueberry 25 March 2012 01:00:21AM 4 points [-]

Mind. Blown.

Comment author: gjm 07 December 2015 03:54:22PM 1 point [-]

The usual formulation has "irresistible" rather than "unstoppable" and I always took it that (1) "irresistible force" means something that substantially affects everything it interacts with, (2) "immovable object" means something on which no force has a substantial effect, and (3) "meets" means "interacts with in the way forces in this general class interact with objects in this general class".

So if they "pass through each other", that means the object remained immovable but the force wasn't in this case irresistible.

(It's an amusing answer, though.)

Comment author: satt 09 December 2015 12:38:57AM 0 points [-]

The usual formulation has "irresistible" rather than "unstoppable"

You forgot the citation!