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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:13 pm

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Greetings all,

Here's a quick intro to the topic I hope to discuss. Perhaps you can tell me whether there is interest in this subject, and where on the forum (and/or elsewhere) such a discussion is best placed.

A few assertions to start things off...

- I propose our culture has a "more is better" relationship with knowledge, and that such a relationship is simplistic, outdated, and thus dangerous.

- I propose that knowledge development proceeds at an exponential rate resulting in ever more knowledge, and thus powers of various kinds, being delivered to humanity at ever accelerating rates.

- I propose that accumulating ever more power at ever faster rates is a process which will inevitably exceed our ability to manage at some point.

- I propose that science is just a tool, neither good nor bad in itself, and that scientists are overwhelmingly doing their work with the best of intentions.

- I propose that scientists are likely poorly positioned to observe the process of knowledge development as a whole objectively, given their significant personal and professional investment in the "more is better" relationship with knowledge.

That should be enough to gauge your level of interest. I can expand on these assertions at length if desired, and would welcome discussion and challenge.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:03 am
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First I would ask for a definition of "powers", its a very nebulous word to use in this situation.

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:30 am

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Thanks for your reply paleoichneum.

To me, "powers" just refers to an ability to manipulate nature. Some of the knowledge explosion is fueled by curiosity, but most who fund science are hoping to eventually obtain some new power from their investment. Often the process feeds back on itself, further accelerating knowledge development, the invention of computers comes to mind as an easy example.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:33 am
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Culture is the collection of individual acts and expectations of individuals. It's overly broad to ascribe anything to culture and mistakenly assigns causality to the outcome... like blaming the shadow for the light being blocked.

Many people have a "more is better" attitude about many things, knowledge being just one. There's nothing inherently wrong with that even though your position seems to require it. Further, something being "simplistic" and/or "outdated" does not mandate that it's dangerous despite your suggestion to the contrary. The assertion is nonsequitur.

Knowledge development often accelerates, yes, but it's not exponential. You're misusing the term, and IMO stretching the "knowledge is power" colloquialism much too far... seemingly to make some broader point, one which I notice you chose not to illuminate as part of your post.

You suggest that loss of control is inevitable, yet do so without defining thresholds or even clarifying what you mean by control. Your position also implicitly suggests we already have control today... that it's something we have to lose in the first place... a suggestion which could strain credulity for many.

You have many specious assumptions like the above, but none quite as misguided or obviously axe grinding as lumping all scientists together as a single monolithic whole... incapable of making decisions not aligned to personal avarice and glory seeking... despite their individual areas of study or individual differences.

Evolution has selected for those who have ambition to acquire and learn more, but does not guarantee those qualities are enough to survive and pass on offspring. More is sometimes better, but not always.

I'm reminded of the proverb:
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.

Either way, I'd like you to be more specific about what point you're trying to make, what solution you propose. Welcome the the community.

Thread moved to Philosophy.

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:32 am

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An interesting thread that (ironically I am struggling as usual to integrate in my mind)

I sympathise with the OP and also iNow's sandy reference.

All knowledge has to be measured (evaluated) by its application and so its potential for exponential growth is subject to this ceiling.

We have the related question "can knowledge be bad?" and this seems to be veering into biblical territory.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:58 am
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Tanny wrote:
Thanks for your reply paleoichneum.

To me, "powers" just refers to an ability to manipulate nature. Some of the knowledge explosion is fueled by curiosity, but most who fund science are hoping to eventually obtain some new power from their investment. Often the process feeds back on itself, further accelerating knowledge development, the invention of computers comes to mind as an easy example.


What do you mean by "manipulate nature"?

As noted already, there is no indication that the majority of scientists are "hoping to eventually obtain some new power" (again the nebulous use of "power") and one that fails for most biology fields. What "power" is to be gained by a paleoentomologist from the description of a new ant species thats 49 million years old?

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:53 am

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Thanks for the responses everyone. My opening post was just an attempt to test for the level of interest, and not a complete exposition of my perspective. Also, please understand that if I respond to every point by every poster I'll quickly become a massive thread hog. That said, here's a start...

iNow wrote:
Many people have a "more is better" attitude about many things, knowledge being just one. There's nothing inherently wrong with that even though your position seems to require it. Further, something being "simplistic" and/or "outdated" does not mandate that it's dangerous despite your suggestion to the contrary. The assertion is nonsequitur.


Let's consider our relationship with food, just as an example to illustrate the point. Since the dawn of time most of humanity has lived close to the edge of starvation, and thus a "more is better" relationship with food made perfect sense. We lived this way for a very long time, which implanted the "more is better" mindset deep in human psychology.

But then, thanks to the knowledge explosion, something revolutionary happened. Today, great masses of people numbering in the billions have easy reliable access to food. This is obviously a very good development, but it's revolutionary nature does present some big adaptation challenges. In the developed world at least, obesity is now a bigger health threat than starvation. The "more is better" relationship with food which served us very well for a very long time now presents a new threat.

And so we have to adapt. A simplistic "more is better" relationship with food no longer works that well. We now face the challenge of refining this mindset to something more sophisticated. Yes, we still need to eat of course, but not as much as possible as often as possible. Due to our great success in producing food, we now need a more mature and nuanced relationship with food.

My argument is that we are now in this very same situation in regards to our relationship with knowledge. Knowledge used to be very hard to come by, so a "more is better" relationship was very sensible. We still need new knowledge, but "more and more and more" is no longer a sufficiently intelligent paradigm today, because ever accelerating knowledge development will inevitably out run our ability to manage the power that flows from all this knowledge.

An obvious example of this is nuclear weapons. Modern civilization can now be destroyed within an hour at any moment. Physics knowledge which first arose out of pure curiosity has morphed in to the most profound level of threat to everything we hold dear. We find ourselves right on the very knife edge of losing control with everything on the line, which is really another way of saying we have lost control.

This is an example of what I call an "existential scale" power, that is, a power with the ability to crash modern civilization. As nuclear weapons so clearly illustrate, powers of existential scale require successful management every single day.... forever. We've been lucky so far with nukes, but if we ever have one bad day, it's game over. And the one thing we know for sure about the human condition is that bad days are inevitable.

The knowledge explosion is going to produce ever more powers of existential scale, at ever faster rates. Most of these powers will be developed with the best of intentions, just as nuclear weapons were. Most of these powers, such as say genetic engineering, will bring incredible benefits, just as arguably nuclear weapons have. And most of these powers will be abused or misused by somebody sooner or later.

With normal powers, we can make mistakes, learn from the mistakes, adapt and continue. Existential scale powers remove this room for error, because in this case mistakes can end the ability to learn and adapt.

On our current course, this is where the knowledge explosion is taking us, in to an ever more dangerous realm. Many truly wonderful miracles will occur along the way, but if we don't manage the worst case scenarios successfully the miracles won't really matter, because they'll all be erased. We're currently like the simple minded fat man who keeps eating, eating, eating, more and more and more, without realizing that a heart attack is the most likely outcome of such an outdated relationship with food.

There you are, more for you to chew on, go for it!


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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:54 am

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The world has shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. If we acquire the wisdom to learn to live together without eviscerating ourselves that will be a (the ) achievement in itself.

As others have speculated (without evidence) the reason we find no evidence of other life out there is because of these kinds of constraints.

Thankfully we can destroy ourselves but not the planet and its other hangers on.

I too have in the past made an equation between knowledge and material possessions.

How many Donald Trumps can we afford before our goose is cooked?

Or is he an education for us all?

Another aspect to this knowledge question is that halting or attempting to reverse the clock (as some would indeed do) is not the faintest option.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:45 pm
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Tanny wrote:
Let's consider ... (snip)

So as I said, more is sometimes better, but not always.

Your premise seems to be that we're reaching / have reached a point where the negative consequences and risks of our knowledge outweigh the positive ones and your implicit suggestion seems to be that we must take steps to reduce our knowledge level.

Is this a fair summary and why should our "knowledge" of this potential problem you're here elucidating be exempt or held to a different standard than all other types of knowledge?

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:55 pm

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Hi geordief,

geordief wrote:
How many Donald Trumps can we afford before our goose is cooked? Or is he an education for us all?


He's a dangerous education. Here's the relevance to this thread, as I see it.

The knowledge explosion fuels globalization. Globalization fuels economic and social change. Some people can't keep up with the pace of this change, economically, emotionally. And so they may become receptive to those with loud confident voices who claim to be able to "fix it".

As the knowledge explosion continues to accelerate, the pace of change will as well. And the faster the pace of change, the more people will be who won't be able to keep up, and thus more Trump-like dangers will emerge.

It's a mistake to focus too much on Trump, because it it wasn't him promising a quick fix simple solution, it would be somebody else. Trump is a symptom of the problem. He's useful as a dramatic symptom which helps us focus, so long as we don''t confuse him with the source of the problem, which is our outdated relationship with knowledge.

geordief wrote:
Another aspect to this knowledge question is that halting or attempting to reverse the clock (as some would indeed do) is not the faintest option.


My argument is not for halting knowledge, but rather for learning some new knowledge, how to better manage and target the pace of knowledge development.

The challenge now is to shift from a simplistic "more is better" system of managing knowledge, to a more intelligent analysis of which knowledge should be the priority, and what rate of knowledge production will produce the best results when all social factors are included in the calculation.

As example, when I become King :-) I will redirect most science research towards addressing the immediate existential threat presented by nuclear weapons. Such an effort seeks more knowledge, but not "more is better" on every front possible. Once that's done, the focus will be shifted to climate change.

If we could remove the nuclear weapons and climate change threats, that would be evidence that we are capable of fixing some of the huge problems presented by the knowledge explosion. Based on that evidence we might proceed with some confidence to develop more knowledge.

If we can't or won't meet those existential threats, then it makes no sense to keep rushing pell mell headlong in to even more knowledge driven crisis, which is what we're doing now.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:18 pm

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iNow wrote:
Your premise seems to be that we're reaching / have reached a point where the negative consequences and risks of our knowledge outweigh the positive ones...


That's a good start, and I'll try to make it more precise. Knowledge itself is not the problem so much as our current "more is better" relationship with knowledge, which I argue is simplistic, outdated, and dangerous.

I should rush to add that our current "more is better" relationship with knowledge is also VERY understandable, given that this relationship has worked very well for us for a very long time. I'm not arguing that we're stupid, but rather that we are failing to adapt to the new situation at the pace necessary, and as you know, a failure to adapt is often rewarded with death.

To address your point more directly, the negative consequences that should concern us most
are that we seem to be increasingly in an era where we may lose the ability to learn from our mistakes. Nuclear weapons are a great teacher here, given how incredibly simple they are, and the example requires little futuristic speculation.

iNow wrote:
...and your implicit suggestion seems to be that we must take steps to reduce our knowledge level.


Well, I would urge members to earnestly debate what I actually say. You might resist a temptation to try to jump ahead to where you may think I'm going and then argue against that. I promise, I'll give you plenty to argue with, :-) there's little need to invent anything else.

Quote:
Is this a fair summary


It's a start and I thank you for the effort.

Quote:
...and why should our "knowledge" of this potential problem you're here elucidating be exempt or held to a different standard than all other types of knowledge?


It shouldn't be held to a different standard. It's your job to challenge my thesis just as relentlessly as I will challenge the "more is better" relationship with knowledge paradigm. If I didn't fully agree with this, I'd be typing this on a blog instead of a forum.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:49 pm
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The tl;dr version seems to be: We ought to focus more on wisdom and the application of knowledge than on the acquisition of knowledge alone.

Okay. Hard to disagree with that.

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:17 pm

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iNow wrote:
We ought to focus more on wisdom and the application of knowledge than on the acquisition of knowledge alone.


Here's another way to put that which might open new areas of discussion...

We ought to focus more on acquiring new knowledge about how to best manage the development of knowledge.

This focus already exists within the "more is better" paradigm. But does such a focus exist independently of that paradigm?

For example, is there a branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, and sees "more is better" as just one of a variety of options? I don't claim to know, but if such a field exists it seems that's who we should be talking to.

For the sake of boosting the engagement ratings of this thread by use of a controversial assertion :-) I suspect that the "more is better" paradigm is a kind of "holy dogma" within science culture, that is, a core assumption which is taken to be an obvious given beyond challenge.

If this is true, then to the degree it is true, science culture would seem to have some striking similarities to religious culture, which I find fascinating.

A good way to rebut such a theory would be to show us the branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, in a truly objective manner, without an assumption that more knowledge is automatically better. If you should know of such researchers, please educate us. If we can find no such branch of science, that would seem to be a good cause for concern.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:34 pm
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How do you propose doing that though? Do you propose Banning Research into certain areas only living people research certain things?

I still say you are taking a tiny POSSIBLE problem in a very small selection of sciences, and blanketly applying it to all science.


I will repeat my question from before.:

What power is gained/sought by a paleoentomologist when describing a 49myo ant in amber?

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:10 pm

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paleoichneum wrote:
How do you propose doing that though?


As a place to start, I propose identifying the problem as clearly as we can, and then discussing it with as many different people as we can. If you'd like a more specific proposal, then I suggest each member of the forum reach out to any contacts you may have in the scientific community, and see if you can interest them in contributing to this thread. I did that this morning myself, though I don't know if I did it well enough.

Next, an important point. Members should not assume that because I don't have all the answers to this challenge, and you don't either after thinking about it for a few minutes, that therefore there isn't a solution.

paleoichneum wrote:
Do you propose Banning Research into certain areas only living people research certain things?


Well, as I said above, when I am King I will stop funding most research that doesn't impact directly on the existential threat presented by nuclear weapons. If we don't solve that, there's really no point in talking about any other science research, as whatever is learned will likely be erased.

Quote:
I still say you are taking a tiny POSSIBLE problem in a very small selection of sciences, and blanketly applying it to all science.


I'm saying that if we don't effectively address the challenge presented by our "more is better" relationship with knowledge, all of science is likely going to vanish. The biggest threat to science is our outdated relationship with science.

The existential threat I'm referring to is not "possible" but very real. Ever since the invention of agriculture all out fight to the death wars using every weapon available have been a consistent and persistent reality of the human condition. If we keep giving ourselves ever more powerful tools, it's only a matter of time until those tools become part of that destructive process. It might not be nukes, the mass suicide device might be genetic engineering or something else. Nukes are just a simple example everyone is already familiar with, which is why I keep referencing them.

paleoichneum wrote:
What power is gained/sought by a paleoentomologist when describing a 49myo ant in amber?


Maybe none. Doesn't matter. The knowledge explosion AS A WHOLE continues nonetheless, at an ever faster pace.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:31 pm
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When your king?

We live in many different counties across the globe, how do you propose becoming king of the world?


Nuclear weapons are NOT the problem thst you started this thread about. Why did you NOT just start with an open dialog about then, rather then creating a red herring that science is needing to be dominated and controlled?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:50 pm
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Tanny wrote:
We ought to focus more on acquiring new knowledge about how to best manage the development of knowledge.

Go right ahead. Nobody's stopping you, but likewise we shouldn't stop others who are interested in focusing on other things.

Tanny wrote:
For example, is there a branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, and sees "more is better" as just one of a variety of options? I don't claim to know, but if such a field exists it seems that's who we should be talking to.

Not really, AFAIK. Closest that comes to mind are cognition and adult learning, but that's somewhat tangential to what you're exploring.

I'm not personally versed in this, but perhaps this will be of interest to you: https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Introd ... _Knowledge

Tanny wrote:
I suspect that the "more is better" paradigm is a kind of "holy dogma" within science culture, that is, a core assumption which is taken to be an obvious given beyond challenge.

And yet here you are openly challenging it and having a mature discussion with scientists. People are asking interesting questions, willing to join you in probing it, and open to criticism.

If that's how you define a holy dogma beyond challenge, then you must be using a much different dictionary and set of meanings than the rest of us.

Tanny wrote:
A good way to rebut such a theory would be to show us the branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, in a truly objective manner, without an assumption that more knowledge is automatically better.

Perhaps what surprises me most is how fervently and blindly you seem to believe that all scientists operate with that as their foundation and approach to exploring our cosmos.

I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of scientists would readily acknowledge that more is NOT automatically better if polled.

Better is better, and sometimes less is more, and if your sample is genuinely representative of the scientific population (not cherry picked or pulled via false choice from biased heavily crafted question sets) then you'd be hard pressed to find individuals who disagree.

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:46 pm

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Quote:
Go right ahead. Nobody's stopping you, but likewise we shouldn't stop others who are interested in focusing on other things.


A counter argument could be that there is really little point to focusing on other things, because whatever is learned in those investigations will be erased when civilization is destroyed by some out of control existential scale technology. It would seem that all these other investigations are built upon the assumption that we can endlessly continue with the pattern of the past, building step by step upon what is learned today in the coming generations. Is that true?

My argument is that the knowledge explosion creates a revolutionary new situation which can not be met simply by continuing to do what we've always done. The revolutionary new factor is the accelerating emergence of existential scale powers. I'm not arguing for a police state which will prevent people from pursuing their interests, I'm just attempting to predict the logical outcome of continuing on the current course.

Tanny wrote:
For example, is there a branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, and sees "more is better" as just one of a variety of options?


Quote:
Not really, AFAIK.


If it's true (don't claim to know myself) that there is no branch of science studying where knowledge development is taking us, doesn't that suggest a sort of blind faith in the "more is better" status quo? If such a blind faith exists (to be debated) then wouldn't a loyalty to the principles of science require us to challenge such a faith? If we don't so challenge, then doesn't science become a kind of religion?

Tanny wrote:
I suspect that the "more is better" paradigm is a kind of "holy dogma" within science culture, that is, a core assumption which is taken to be an obvious given beyond challenge.


Quote:
And yet here you are openly challenging it and having a mature discussion with scientists. People are asking interesting questions, willing to join you in probing it, and open to criticism.


Yes, and I thank my fellow members for that. I truly do. FYI, I've had this conservation many times in many places for many years, and so far this conversation has proven itself of higher quality than most. So thumbs up for that.

But so far, we have yet to identify anybody else engaged in such an investigation. Hopefully participation in this thread will be expanded until we find those who can educate us on where such investigations are underway, that would be an excellent outcome. If we never find such investigations, then it seems reasonable to ring the alarm bell.

Quote:
If that's how you define a holy dogma beyond challenge, then you must be using a much different dictionary and set of meanings than the rest of us.


This is a good snappy come back :-) but it doesn't reveal the existence of scientists challenging the "more is better" relationship with knowledge paradigm. The best way to defeat my "holy dogma" claim is to show us those scientists who are engaged in such a challenge. I would welcome such information, and don't wish to be found right on this.

Tanny wrote:
A good way to rebut such a theory would be to show us the branch of science which studies knowledge development as a whole, in a truly objective manner, without an assumption that more knowledge is automatically better.


Quote:
Perhaps what surprises me most is how fervently and blindly you seem to believe that all scientists operate with that as their foundation and approach to exploring our cosmos.


Again, please show us the scientists who don't. Better yet, persuade them to join this thread and educate us, including me, about their work. I'm more than willing to be so educated, and am actually quite eager to find such folks, should they exist.

Quote:
I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of scientists would readily acknowledge that more is NOT automatically better if polled.


That's a reasonable theory, so let's now find the evidence that it's true. Which scientists are arguing that we should somehow limit knowledge development, or are at least exploring whether this is necessary?

Or, if finding such folks proves impossible, then it would be helpful to reach out to others and engage them in this conversation, in the hopes of finding those who can make a persuasive case that the "more is better" status quo can safely continue. I don't see such a case yet, but that doesn't automatically mean it can't be made.

One goal for this thread might be that we make it interesting enough that those who develop knowledge for a living will find it worth their time to engage. That would seem to be in the interest of not just this member or this thread, but the forum as a whole.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:50 am
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Tanny wrote:
A counter argument could be that there is really little point to focusing on other things, because whatever is learned in those investigations will be erased when civilization is destroyed by some out of control existential scale technology.

I don't subscribe to such defeatism/fatalism. It's lazy and just as equally applies to nearly everything one can imagine (I.e. doesn't help fortify your argument at all).

There's really little point to treating diabetes. People will just die of heart problems anyway.
There's really little point to reducing carbon emissions. Weve released so much already that it's too late to matter.
There's really little point to exploring outer space and trying to settle humanity in other parts of the galaxy. We'll just ruin those planets, too...

You get the point.

Tanny wrote:
It would seem that all these other investigations are built upon the assumption that we can endlessly continue with the pattern of the past

There are truck sized gaps in your logic. Nonsequiturs and unfounded premises like this make it hard to take your stance seriously. You keep asking us to provide examples of people thinking differently, yet have failed to offer even one example yourself of someone assuming "we can endlessly continue with the pattern of the past."

Tanny wrote:
My argument is that the knowledge explosion creates a revolutionary new situation which can not be met simply by continuing to do what we've always done.

That's not an argument. It's an opinion. Try not to conflate the two.

Tanny wrote:
I'm just attempting to predict the logical outcome of continuing on the current course.

It might help if your framing of and assumptions about the current course weren't so unrealistic and if your logic chains weren't so uncoupled/disjointed.

Tanny wrote:
If it's true (don't claim to know myself) that there is no branch of science studying where knowledge development is taking us, doesn't that suggest a sort of blind faith in the "more is better" status quo?

No, and again, nonsequitur. I also reject your premise that more=better is somehow a status quo.

Tanny wrote:
The best way to defeat my "holy dogma" claim is to show us those scientists who are engaged in such a challenge.

Correction: The onus is not on us to "defeat" your claim, but is instead on you to support it. This is known as the burden of proof, and you are the sole carrier of that burden in this exchange.

You've repeatedly asserted the existence of this quote unquote holy dogma, yet have offered nothing whatsoever to verify or validate its existence.

Tanny wrote:
iNow wrote:
I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of scientists would readily acknowledge that more is NOT automatically better if polled.

That's a reasonable theory, so let's now find the evidence that it's true. Which scientists are arguing that we should somehow limit knowledge development

Please try to avoid moving the goalposts like this. I quite obviously was speaking about individuals readily acknowledging that more is not automatically better. That is not equal to thinking knowledge development must be limited.

This type of sloppy thinking, predilection to logical fallacy, and argument from unfounded assumptions does you no favors. Perhaps you simply lack the "knowledge" to better argue your case and convince others on the merits? ;)

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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:29 am
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paleoichneum wrote:
When your king?

We live in many different counties across the globe, how do you propose becoming king of the world?


Nuclear weapons are NOT the problem that you started this thread about. Why did you NOT just start with an open dialog about then, rather then creating a red herring that science is needing to be dominated and controlled?

I am still waiting....

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:12 am

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iNow, you keep characterizing my arguments instead of meeting them.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:52 pm

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iNow wrote:
You've repeatedly asserted the existence of this quote unquote holy dogma, yet have offered nothing whatsoever to verify or validate its existence.


Again, if there is no holy dogma, then it should be fairly easy to find at least some scientists who are arguing as I am. I'm not claiming they don't exist, only that I don't know if they exist, or how to find them if they do. I would be very happy if they do exist, and doubly happy if we could engage them in this thread, or at least find their work and examine it together. That would be a worthy goal for the thread.

If you too do not know of such scientists, and you too would be interested in finding them and engaging them in this thread by some method, then we are on the same team.

As a retired forum software developer with 20 years of daily experience on forums like this I would like to gently offer the following warning. If we let the thread descend in to a male ego chest thumping competition, there is exactly no chance we'll be able to attract people more informed than us to enrich this conversation. If that's where we're headed we should wrap this up now before we wreck the good work we've already done together. We could always come back to this again at some future point.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:32 pm
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I'm simply explaining that you're the one making assertions. The burden of proof belongs to you. The onus is yours. No chest thumping or ego involved.

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:19 pm

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iNow wrote:
I'm simply explaining that you're the one making assertions. The burden of proof belongs to you. The onus is yours.


You're focused on burden of proof because to you this thread is about victory and defeat, ie. about you and me. But really this thread is not about our relationship with each other, a very small and insignificant matter, but rather about our relationship with knowledge, a very important and fundamental matter.

I bear no burden if I wish to express that I am coming to the conclusion that the "more is better" paradigm is a dogma, because I can not find anyone within the scientific community who is arguing against the "more is better" assumption, in spite of years of looking. If you can provide what I've been looking for, go for it, with my thanks. If you can't, perhaps you could be honest enough to simply say that.

You are free to come to your own conclusion on this of course. But so far, you have not stated what your conclusion might be, or provided any evidence to support any conclusion. All you've done is sit back, wait for me to type something, and then say whatever I've typed is wrong in a snotty sarcastic tone. And if you keep it up I will probably start replying in kind, and then it's a short road to game over.

The only reason I care about this or bring it up at all is that I had some hope this thread might be used to engage working scientists in this conversation. Is that of interest to you? Do you support that goal? if yes, then I hope you already understand that if we start having a food fight, there is exactly no chance at all of making progress towards that goal.

I think we would both find it interesting to discuss this with those who know more about it than both of us, or at least a greater variety of voices. Right? Why don't we work together as partners in trying to make that happen?

Ok, enough said, I will drop this subject now return to the thread topic. Last word is yours if you wish to have it.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:47 pm
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Tanny wrote:
You're focused on burden of proof because to you this thread is about victory and defeat, ie. about you and me.

Uhmm, no.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof

Tanny wrote:
I bear no burden if I wish to express that I am coming to the conclusion that the "more is better" paradigm is a dogma

You are simply mistaken. That's not how things work, at least not in this community.

Tanny wrote:
perhaps you could be honest enough to simply say that.

I strongly encourage you to refrain from further aspersions on my character or suggestions that I lack either honesty or integrity.

Tanny wrote:
I had some hope this thread might be used to engage working scientists in this conversation.

Interestingly enough, most here would agree that's exactly what we were doing... at least until people actually started engaging you on your ideas and then for some reason YOU found yourself either unable or unwilling to address their points directly.

Tanny wrote:
I think we would both find it interesting to discuss this with those who know more about it than both of us, or at least a greater variety of voices. Right? Why don't we work together as partners in trying to make that happen?

Once more let me remind you that nobody is stopping you except yourself.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:52 pm
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I encourage other members to weigh in the OP topic if interested. Mine is but one voice, after all.

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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:58 pm
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iNow wrote:
I encourage other members to weigh in the OP topic if interested. Mine is but one voice, after all.

I've attempted to, but been pointedly ignored by the op

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:22 pm
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Indeed, and even though I seem to be engaged in a back and forth with our OP, it should equally be noted that they've also ignored most of my points and counterpoints.

Maybe there's a knowledge gap? 8-)

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:53 pm

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Well it is well known that curiosity killed the cat (no citation ,sadly) and we can extrapolate that if we added extra toys to a continuously shrinking territorial space he would quite soon meet his demise.

As, I said earlier I am in sympathy (and trepidation) with the OP's position.

The question he or she is posing is whether this should be elevated to a field of study in a similar way ,perhaps to Peace Studies or whether it is something most of us will agree (or disagree) with when the situation makes it seem urgent..

The OP would like to find others who consider his premise worthy of study and debate.

I have never come across this idea explicitly laid out before (although I feel I have had similar thoughts).

I might suggest that rather than putting the idea out in this way it would perhaps be more profitable to look for related topics of discussion and find there a point being made that he can disagree with,agree with or somehow embellish. Then he can join this inline discussion as a participant.

The thing is to find these related topics. I have no immediate suggestions but that is how I would probably go about it.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:31 pm

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geordief wrote:
Well it is well known that curiosity killed the cat (no citation ,sadly) and we can extrapolate that if we added extra toys to a continuously shrinking territorial space he would quite soon meet his demise.


That's an interesting way to put it, well said, thanks. Yes, curiosity killed the cat because it led him to stick his nose in to some situation that he couldn't successfully manage.

It wasn't that curiosity was bad, for curiosity was an important asset that helped the cat understand his environment, improve his hunting etc. Most of the time curiosity was good for the cat. So what really killed the cat was not curiosity, but his simplistic relationship with curiosity. The cat failed to make sophisticated judgments regarding what he should stick his curious nose in to, and what he should not.

Quote:
As, I said earlier I am in sympathy (and trepidation) with the OP's position.


It may help facilitate the conversation for us not to think of the collection of ideas being presented as belonging to me. I don't feel I'm really inventing anything, but rather just expressing a widespread concern about where civilization is going in my own selection of words. Applauding or defeating me personally won't accomplish anything useful, because all the same factors and concerns remain whatever my social fate may be. As example, I'm 65, I'm going to be dead soon, the ultimate debunking. :-) All the issues we're discussing will continue without interruption after that personal event.

Quote:
The question he or she is posing is whether this should be elevated to a field of study


Yes, well put. First I'd like to know if what we're discussing is already a field of study. If may be that there are already a thousand scientists studying this topic in earnest. The fact that I can't find them so far doesn't prove they don't exist. If that field of study doesn't exist, it seems entirely reasonable to want to know why.

Quote:
The OP would like to find others who consider his premise worthy of study and debate.


Yes, with the quibble that I'd prefer we reference "the topic" rather than "my premise".

Quote:
I have never come across this idea explicitly laid out before (although I feel I have had similar thoughts).


Yes, I think that's it. I sense that most intelligent people in our culture have also had these similar thoughts. A thousand different writers would express it a thousand different ways, but the basic theme is hardly the personal property of any one writer.

Quote:
I might suggest that rather than putting the idea out in this way it would perhaps be more profitable to look for related topics of discussion and find there a point being made that he can disagree with,agree with or somehow embellish.


I've been doing just this for 20 years all over the net, an informal research project of sorts. Here's what I've learned so far.

I now doubt that we will ever reason our way out of the problem, because the "more is better" relationship with knowledge is just rooted too deep in the human experience. However, a revolutionary situation like the knowledge explosion can provide revolutionary situations which have the potential to radically edit the group consensus. As example...

Nuclear weapons are the existential scale technology currently of most immediate concern. They are gradually spreading all over the world, and there seems to be little we can do about it. But....

Sooner or later one of these nukes is going to erase a major city somewhere in the world. And when that happens what now feels like an academic subject is going to become very very real to everyone who lives in a major city.

As example, consider the reaction to 9/11, a terrorist event which killed a "mere" 3,000 people. The reaction was two wars costing trillions of dollars, and non stop media coverage for years. Thus, we can reason the reaction to a single nuke explosion will have a far reaching impact on global consciousness. It could cause us to challenge the group consensus in ways that now seem unthinkable.

As I see it, the question now is, will we have one such relatively small catastrophe before the ultimate civilization crashing catastrophe? If yes, there's an opportunity there for significant learning.

I honestly don't think that discussions such as we're having will accomplish too much. I just engage in them because that's all I know how to do.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:40 pm

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A housekeeping note. As I said above, if I respond to every point by every poster I will become even more of a thread hog than I already am. Please don't take it personally.

If it's important to anyone to have a response from me to a particular point, you might try making that point concisely in a post by itself. Try also editing out any snarky distractions, which I'm attempting to ignore so as to not trigger my own snarky distractions. :-)

Also, I remind readers, I'm going to be dead soon. So if your interest in this topic is dependent on me personally, you aren't actually interested in the topic at all, which might be helpful to know. Remember, it doesn't always have to be me that tries to address some obstacle, you can do that too.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:49 pm

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One more thread hogging question...

Do you think this topic is sufficiently interesting and important to merit a group effort at engaging more people in this thread? If yes, that's a project we might work on together. And if yes, then our desire to build the participation might help restrain us from slipping in to personality conflicts, given that flame wars aren't going to attract anybody interesting.

An ambitious goal might be that we work together to craft this thread to a level of quality that might engage real working scientists in some significant number. An impossible dream perhaps, but we won't know unless we try.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:24 am
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And I will continue to ask my questions until you respond. You and discussion, but choose not to respond to posts....

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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:24 am
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paleoichneum wrote:
paleoichneum wrote:
When your king?

We live in many different counties across the globe, how do you propose becoming king of the world?


Nuclear weapons are NOT the problem that you started this thread about. Why did you NOT just start with an open dialog about then, rather then creating a red herring that science is needing to be dominated and controlled?

I am still waiting....

I am STILL waiting......

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:50 am
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For the record, I'd like to see a response to paleos question, as well. Continuing to ignore it after now four requests is simply rude (and borders on breaking site rules).

In the meantime, a ten second google session led me here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_ecology
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_ecosystem
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociolo ... _knowledge
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_knowledge

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:00 am

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iNow wrote:
For the record, I'd like to see a response to paleos question, as well. Continuing to ignore it after now four requests is simply rude (and borders on breaking site rules).


For the last time, I'm not going to respond to snarky comments, rude questions, or basically any question where the questioner shows no evidence of trying to answer the question themselves. I'm not going to spoon feed this to members who show little evidence of being interested in the topic themselves. If this is unacceptable, ok, no problem, ban me and entertain yourselves without my assistance.

I'm adopting this position for a specific reason. I'd like to see this thread, and this forum, become a welcoming place for people who are more interesting and informed than us, specifically working scientists. Such folks are too busy to waste their time scrolling through ego wars.

Bottom line, cut it out, or cut me loose. I'm agreeable either way.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:19 am

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Quote:
I'm adopting this position for a specific reason. I'd like to see this thread, and this forum, become a welcoming place for people who are more interesting and informed than us, specifically working scientists. Such folks are too busy to waste their time scrolling through ego wars.


After reading this thread, I'd vote for cutting you loose...

As someone who was a working scientist for 2 decades before moving into teaching it seems to me that your thinking seems to be very muddled and you don't seem interested in supporting your assertions. That doesn't go down well among scientists or members of science forums. In order to get the discussion you want you need to convince us to take you seriously, you seem to be unwilling or unable to do that.

I'm sure you will ignore this "snarky comment", but that just makes my point. If you were seriously interested in developing your idea you would take criticism on board, every good scientist does this, they don't get butt-hurt and ignore those who have valid criticisms of their thoughts...

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:39 am

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Ok, cutting me loose is agreeable here. This could be done on a forum wide basis by the mods banning me, or any member can choose to add me to their ignore list. I have no complaint with either option, because surely no one is obligated to read what I write.

Until then, given that this is a science forum, let's do an experiment. The purpose of this experiment will be to determine if anyone here is actually interested in this topic.

I'm going to go away and discuss this elsewhere for awhile, removing one possible obstacle to a productive conversation. When I return one of two things will have happened.

1) Members will have continued this discussion and created a number of pages of intelligent thoughtful commentary which sheds further light on the topic of our relationship with knowledge. This outcome would be credible evidence that members are interested in the topic of this thread.

OR:

2) The thread will die a natural death, or wander off on to some other subject. This outcome would be credible evidence that members are not interested in our relationship with knowledge, or at least not interested in discussing it here.

It's possible I am suffering from wishful thinking disease, and seeing a level of interest that doesn't exist, because that's what I want to find. If that's the case, that's my problem, and it can be solved by running this experiment.

This thread is now in your hands. Let's see what you do with it.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:41 pm
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Tanny wrote:
let's do an experiment. The purpose of this experiment will be to determine if anyone here is actually interested in this topic.

We've done this experiment. Multiple members have engaged you. The results are in. You're the only one choosing not to discuss... the sole member choosing to abandon your own topic.


Tanny wrote:
The thread will die a natural death, or wander off on to some other subject. This outcome would be credible evidence that members are not interested in our relationship with knowledge, or at least not interested in discussing it here.

Yet another fallacious conclusion and evidence of your sloppy thinking.

More likely, if this thread dies upon your decision to walk away from it, it will be because forum topics are akin to plants in a garden. You've put down the seeds. You need to feed, fertilize, and water them to allow them to blossom and flourish. It's only after they flourish that people can come feed on and share those fruits. Perhaps you can convince people to help you tend them beforehand, but instead you've ignored and been impolite to those who've tried.

At the risk of taking the analogy too far... Instead you're dropping seeds into a garden, choosing to abandon the property entirely and then drive across the country to spend the next several months elsewhere, then preemptively blaming your old neighbors for the almost certain death of a garden YOU planted and YOU abandoned. That's just silly.

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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:59 pm
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Tanny wrote:
iNow wrote:
For the record, I'd like to see a response to paleos question, as well. Continuing to ignore it after now four requests is simply rude (and borders on breaking site rules).


For the last time, I'm not going to respond to snarky comments, rude questions, or basically any question where the questioner shows no evidence of trying to answer the question themselves. I'm not going to spoon feed this to members who show little evidence of being interested in the topic themselves. If this is unacceptable, ok, no problem, ban me and entertain yourselves without my assistance.

I'm adopting this position for a specific reason. I'd like to see this thread, and this forum, become a welcoming place for people who are more interesting and informed than us, specifically working scientists. Such folks are too busy to waste their time scrolling through ego wars.

Bottom line, cut it out, or cut me loose. I'm agreeable either way.

It seems that you want to ignore the questions that are not in line with furthing you assumption that your basic premise is right.
I purposely asked the questions I did to show the holes in your inital assumption,

Answer them please.

(6th time asked now, by two forum members)

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:41 am

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iNow wrote:
More likely, if this thread dies upon your decision to walk away from it, it will be because forum topics are akin to plants in a garden. You've put down the seeds. You need to feed, fertilize, and water them to allow them to blossom and flourish. It's only after they flourish that people can come feed on and share those fruits.


I've turned the soil, plowed some rows, and planted some seeds.

And now I'm giving the garden to you. If you want these fruits, you will tend this garden. Or perhaps you will walk away and tend some other garden.

Nobody is under any obligation at all to conduct further investigation on this topic. If you find the topic interesting, nobody is stopping you from investigating on your own. If you don't' find the topic interesting, you might question why you are investing time in this thread.

In any case, whatever happens next, it's your time, your posts, your brain, your decision.

Has nothing to do with me at all.


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:45 am

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paleoichneum wrote:
Answer them please.


If you're sincerely interested in finding an answer, you will investigate the question yourself.

If all you're willing to do is wait for me to spoon feed you answers so you can burp them back up on my shoes, you aren't actually interested in the question.

If you aren't actually interested in the question, I'd be wasting both our time by trying to answer it.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:17 pm
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Tanny wrote:
paleoichneum wrote:
Answer them please.


If you're sincerely interested in finding an answer, you will investigate the question yourself.

If all you're willing to do is wait for me to spoon feed you answers so you can burp them back up on my shoes, you aren't actually interested in the question.

If you aren't actually interested in the question, I'd be wasting both our time by trying to answer it.

Re questions were posed TO YOU to see what your answers were. You are refusing to answer them Why?

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:58 pm

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If you aren't actually interested in the question, I'd be wasting both our time by trying to answer it.

You show little evidence of being interested in anything beyond ego melodrama.

However, I might be wrong, and you could prove me wrong by now proceeding to write a series of intelligent thoughtful posts which address the topic of the thread, so as to demonstrate that you are going to conduct your own investigation in to this topic no matter what I do. If such posts should reference me personally in any way, I'll know you still aren't serious about the topic this thread was created to explore.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:36 pm
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Tanny - For the amount of time you've spent posting and evading the question you could have just answered it.

Please provide a respectful answer to the question asked with your next post, Tanny, or I will simply lock the thread.

My reason: Your refusal to engage in a mature discussion and respond to members who have shown an interest and asked questions.

I'd like to see this discussion continue. The topic is interesting. In that spirit and for maximum simplicity, here is the post awaiting your reply:

paleoichneum wrote:
When your king?

We live in many different counties across the globe, how do you propose becoming king of the world?


Nuclear weapons are NOT the problem thst you started this thread about. Why did you NOT just start with an open dialog about then, rather then creating a red herring that science is needing to be dominated and controlled?

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:14 am

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Locking the thread seems a good plan to me. Or, why not delete the thread, and my account too while you're at it? You know, clean sweep, return the forum to it's state prior to my arrival. All these problems you've been complaining about thus decisively resolved.

Your latest post too also adds nothing of value to the topic the thread was started to discuss. It's just more blabber about me. Not a crime, but not interesting either.

Image


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:24 am
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Tanny wrote:
Locking the thread seems a good plan to me. Or, why not delete the thread, and my account too while you're at it? You know, clean sweep, return the forum to it's state prior to my arrival. All these problems you've been complaining about thus decisively resolved.

Your latest post too also adds nothing of value to the topic the thread was started to discuss. It's just more blabber about me. Not a crime, but not interesting either.


Why are you NOT interested in answering my questions regarding your thoughts and mind set?

You assert I need to explore and get the answers, that is EXACTLY what I am doing in the only way that is possible to find out how someone else is thinking. (you in this instance.)

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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:02 am

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paleoichneum wrote:
Why are you NOT interested in answering my questions regarding your thoughts and mind set?


Because you are putting nothing on the table in exchange. All you have to offer are demands. I get nothing out of the deal. FYI, I'm not your Mom.

Quote:
You assert I need to explore and get the answers, that is EXACTLY what I am doing in the only way that is possible to find out how someone else is thinking. (you in this instance.)


I'll be dead soon. What will you do then? Give up and die yourself? Has it occurred to you that you can actually conduct an exploration using your own brain?

Thank you for the assumption that I am the only possible source of answers to be found anywhere in the entire universe, but according to my wife that's actually not true. Who knew??? I can tell you it came as a big shock to me as well. :-)


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Tanny
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:10 am

Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:35 pm
Posts: 23

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PhDemon wrote:
As someone who was a working scientist for 2 decades before moving into teaching it seems to me that your thinking seems to be very muddled and you don't seem interested in supporting your assertions.


Observe how this poster too characterizes my remarks as "muddled", but never bothers to explain which thoughts they are referring to or how the thoughts might be unmuddled. The reason I didn't reply to these comments is simple, the poster didn't actually say anything relevant to the topic of the thread. Instead, just more blabber about me.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Our Relationship With Knowledge  |  Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:25 am
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:40 pm
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Location: Iowa

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That's enough

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iNow

"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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