The Bible As A Closed System

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boagie
 
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2008 03:01 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
:)Where there is a will there is a way, no will, no way.



CLOSED SYSTEM

an isolated system having no interaction with an environment. (Von Bertalanffy, p.3)
a system whose BEHAVlor is entirely explainable from within, a system without input. Systems may be variously closed to matter/ENERGY, to information, and/or to organization. Systems closed to energy are autark, systems closed to information are independent, and systems closed to organization are autonomous (see autonomy). Biological organisms are largely closed to organization, the latter being specified by the dna at the point of inception. The output has nothing to do with whether a system is closed. Systems without output are non-knowable through observation from the outside (see open system). (Krippendorff)




SYSTEM

1) a set of variables selected by an observer. (Ashby, 1960)
2) Usually three distinctions are made: 1. An observed object. 2. A perception of an observed object. This will be different for different observers. 3. A model or representation of a perceived object. A single observer can construct more than one model or representation of a single object. Some people assume that 1. and 2. are the same. This assumption can lead to difficulties in communication. Usually the term "system" is used to refer to either 1. or 2. "Model" usually refers to 3. Ashby used the terms machine," "system," and "model" in that order for the three distinctions. (Umpleby)
3) a set or arrangement of entities so related or connected so as to form a unity or organic whole. (Iberall)
4) Any definable set of components. (Maturana and Varela, 1979) Any portion of the material universe which we choose to separate in thought from the rest of the universe for the purpose of considering and discussing the various changes which may occur within it under various conditions is called a system. (J. W. Gibbs, from his biography by Muriel Rukeyser, page 445) (1) A set of variables selected by an observer (Ashby) together with the constraints across variables he either discovers, hypothesises or prefers. Inasmuch as the variables of a system may represent (see representation) the components of a complex machine, an organism or a social institution and a constraint is the logical complement of a relation, an equivalent definition of system is that (2) it represents a set of components together with the relations connecting them to form a whole unity. Unlikee in general systems theory, in cybernetics, a system is an observer's construct. If it describes, simulates or predicts a portion of his environments it may be regarded as a model of that portion (see reconstructability). The model and the modelled "world" share the same organization but because of their different material realizations they are likely to differ in structure. Cybernetics starts with investigating all possible systems and then inquires why certain systems are not materially realized, or it asks why certain conceivable behaviors are not followed. Systems neither exist independent of an observer nor imply a purpose. (Krippendorff)


Purpose/Gödel's Theorem, General Systems Theory, and The Conservation Laws - Wikibooks, collection of open-content textbooks




"General Systems Theory, a related modern concept [to holism], says that each variable in any system interacts with the other variables so thoroughly that cause and effect cannot be separated. A simple variable can be both cause and effect. Reality will not be still. And it cannot be taken apart! You cannot understand a cell, a rat, a brain structure, a family, a culture if you isolate it from its context. Relationship is everything." - Marilyn Ferguson
The Aquarian Conspiracy
 
tune
 
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 02:25 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
The relevence of the bible as a system of any sort is obsolete.

The references and aspects of religion are metaphysical and therefore non-sensical and should therefore be dismissed. (ref. wittgenstein, ayer, hume[relevant to interpritation])

End of.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 04:49 pm
@tune,
Then religion is not a closed system. Religion changes - religion has input, takes in new information and change in organization.

Quote:
The references and aspects of religion are metaphysical and therefore non-sensical and should therefore be dismissed.


Depends on how you read the scriptures. Some interpretations do derive metaphysical conclusions, but this is not necessary.
 
tune
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 01:17 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Depends on how you read the scriptures. Some interpretations do derive metaphysical conclusions, but this is not necessary.


Religion by definition is dependant upon belief. Belief itself is justifiable for a person to think about to themselfs; or within a religious community with other 'believers' - This unfortunately is a private language, for the language to be public, and allow people the ability to converse with actually making sense of anything, it must be publically verifiable. Many scholars have correctly expressed the forementioned. This ultimately leads to the conclusion - Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

You should read up on A.J Ayer as his writing is very easy to understand. All meaning is derived from language, such that everything begins in experience and is labelled, the knowledge we have is expressed through the language which we do not allow to be anything else - this is what is publically accepted in soceity.

Now - for someone to hold their beliefs, that is absolutly fine. But for them to discuss them - they are wasting their breath as they are not mentioning anything.

Metaphysics has been erradicated since Hume first mentioned it, which at the time was not labelled 'metaphysics' but he said in section II of his enquiries: 'Here, therefore is a proposition which may banish jargon annd make every dispute equally intelligible: When we entertain any suspicion that a philosophical term is employed without meaning or idea (as is too frequent), we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived?'' - This which is reference to pseudo debates (aka metaphysics) which the questions themselfs have unobtainable answers as there is no test, even in theory that we can put forward to answer them. Hume was a meaning empiricist - everything begins in experience. This was then furthered by Ayer as linguistic analysis.

(a quote from hume relevant to the matter 'a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence' - where is the evidence of religion? How is it possible to obtain the notion of God and verify that God exists?)
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 01:56 pm
@tune,
Quote:
Religion by definition is dependant upon belief.


I disagree. You may be interested in the book Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.

Quote:
Belief itself is justifiable for a person to think about to themselfs; or within a religious community with other 'believers' - This unfortunately is a private language, for the language to be public, and allow people the ability to converse with actually making sense of anything, it must be publically verifiable. Many scholars have correctly expressed the forementioned. This ultimately leads to the conclusion - Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.


The conclusion makes sense to me, but not because of the premises here. You're right to say that groups of worshipers develop their own jargon, but this is similar to the jargon of philosophers. It is very possible to learn that jargon.

Quote:
You should read up on A.J Ayer as his writing is very easy to understand. All meaning is derived from language, such that everything begins in experience and is labelled, the knowledge we have is expressed through the language which we do not allow to be anything else - this is what is publically accepted in soceity.


He is on my reading list. But I'm not so sure about the idea that all meaning is derived from language. Seems the other way around. Prior to language, did human thought have no meaning?

Quote:
Now - for someone to hold their beliefs, that is absolutly fine. But for them to discuss them - they are wasting their breath as they are not mentioning anything.


Sure, they are mentioning something - their beliefs. Without a similar experience, discussing those beliefs with someone might be difficult, but hardly impossible.

Quote:
Metaphysics has been erradicated since Hume first mentioned it, which at the time was not labelled 'metaphysics' but he said in section II of his enquiries: 'Here, therefore is a proposition which may banish jargon annd make every dispute equally intelligible: When we entertain any suspicion that a philosophical term is employed without meaning or idea (as is too frequent), we need but enquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived?'' - This which is reference to pseudo debates (aka metaphysics) which the questions themselfs have unobtainable answers as there is no test, even in theory that we can put forward to answer them. Hume was a meaning empiricist - everything begins in experience. This was then furthered by Ayer as linguistic analysis.


I've read the Hume. But this treatment assumes that religious discourse is necessarily metaphysical. To answer Hume's question, in this context, I would say that the ideas of believers are derived from their experience.

Quote:

(a quote from hume relevant to the matter 'a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence' - where is the evidence of religion? How is it possible to obtain the notion of God and verify that God exists?)


Through experience. Verification is more difficult. That's up to the individual - I cannot verify my God to another, no one else can verify theirs to me. You simply have to have the experience. I can verify that my shirt is green because I can bring you the shirt and you can see the color. But I cannot bring you to God, you have to bring yourself there.
 
tune
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 02:43 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
Quote:
Religion by definition is dependant upon belief.
I disagree.

You may be interested in the book Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.

If there is no belief, then what does religion have at its foundation? Where is the evidence without the necessity to believe?

Quote:

The conclusion makes sense to me, but not because of the premises here. You're right to say that groups of worshipers develop their own jargon, but this is similar to the jargon of philosophers. It is very possible to learn that jargon.

God in this case in relation to religion, is the jargon. Such Ayer refers to in the first chapter of Language, Truth and Logic - entitled 'Elimination of Metaphysics'. In which he ultimately aims towards the demarcations of sense and nonsense, he goes about this via his verification principle which has different stances which were problematic at the time of writing, but in later life he corrected himself. He then goes about his second chapter, 'Funcion of Philosophy' stating what Philosophy is and what Philosophy is not. Such as the problem of induction. He comes to the conclusion that great philosophers are analysts NOT metaphysicians.
Ayer then defines the nature of philosophical analysis, which is explicit definitions against definitions in use - which leads to linguistic phenominalism.
Ayer then faces the problem, how does the empicicist account for certainty? This is where the rationalist would normally take the high ground over the empicicist. Ayer solves this problem with conventialism, which is 'we don't allow it to be anything else' and that the language is certain, as it is devoid of factual content. Such as intension: certain = we don't allow it to be anything else. Extension: what the words refer to.

Baiscally Ayer's major concern is what we can talk about significantly. The job of philosophy is to analyse within sience. "The meaning of a proposition is the method of its verification."

Quote:
He is on my reading list. But I'm not so sure about the idea that all meaning is derived from language. Seems the other way around. Prior to language, did human thought have no meaning?

Yes, human thought does have meaning. BUT it lacks intelligible meaning. That is as it is not capable of being apprehended by the intellect alone. Prior to language - the nonsense was not conversed was it? (Yet such a proposition from myself is nonsensical due to there being no way of me verifying such a thing, there are no texts or recordings of what it was like before language existed. Yes - you may try and pick what i refered to apart with the use of cave paintings etc - that itself was the beginning of a language, of communication, and yes it began in experience, with the public verification of sense data, allowing the ability to share what may be verified!

Quote:
Sure, they are mentioning something - their beliefs. Without a similar experience, discussing those beliefs with someone might be difficult, but hardly impossible.

I do agree, it is possible to learn the 'private' religious language and discuss it with other people. But to be able to do so with significance, the statement must be tautologous or you must be able to verify it at least in principle, otherwise it is devoid of meaning, it is not part of the public language.

Ultimately the job of philosophy is to elucidate, talking of nonsensical matters is hardly analysing and clarifying, because by their very definition, they cannot be verified.

Quote:
I've read the Hume. But this treatment assumes that religious discourse is necessarily metaphysical. To answer Hume's question, in this context, I would say that the ideas of believers are derived from their experience.


Ok, well, your statement is valid, if there are other people able to share your experience, and then verify it. If there are not, what is the difference between me hallucinating or simply having an illusion? It may be the case that what you experienced was the case. But for it to be the case, it must be publically verified. A private experience is nonsensical, and therefore should not be discussed (in relation to philosophical debate ofcourse, I am not disputing your beliefs, only your ability to converse the topic in philosophical debate).

Quote:
Through experience. Verification is more difficult. That's up to the individual - I cannot verify my God to another, no one else can verify theirs to me. You simply have to have the experience. I can verify that my shirt is green because I can bring you the shirt and you can see the color. But I cannot bring you to God, you have to bring yourself there.

I agree completely that you obtain knowledge through experience. I am ofcourse an empiricist myself. Thus I do agree. But what i strongly disagree with is 'I cannot bring you God, you have to bring yourself there' From what you are saying, it is only possible for someone to experience God if they take to the experience - similarly create the experience. If this was possible - would people not do this daily? would they not do it together? because if they did experience God together and could verify that they were experiencing God i would agree that it was an intelligible statement, and thus allowing discussion. But untill you can provide a test, even in theory for the existence of God, God remains metaphysical and therefore cannot be discussed.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 9 Sep, 2008 06:53 pm
@tune,
Quote:
If there is no belief, then what does religion have at its foundation? Where is the evidence without the necessity to believe?


Experience is the foundation. Evidence for what?

I thank you for and appreciate your discussion of Ayer. What I do not understand is how this relates to the issue of religious jargon. You say "God is the jargon" and in a large way you are correct. However, not all religion concerns itself with God, and even the theistic traditions tend to have a great deal of jargon beyond God, however related the jargon may be to God.

Again, we can learn the jargon. And if we share the experience that prompts the development of the jargon, we can have a visceral understanding of the jargon.

Quote:
Yes, human thought does have meaning. BUT it lacks intelligible meaning. That is as it is not capable of being apprehended by the intellect alone. Prior to language - the nonsense was not conversed was it? (Yet such a proposition from myself is nonsensical due to there being no way of me verifying such a thing, there are no texts or recordings of what it was like before language existed. Yes - you may try and pick what i refered to apart with the use of cave paintings etc - that itself was the beginning of a language, of communication, and yes it began in experience, with the public verification of sense data, allowing the ability to share what may be verified!


So then, language is not necessary for thought to have meaning. Language is only necessary to convey the meaning of thought.

Quote:
I do agree, it is possible to learn the 'private' religious language and discuss it with other people. But to be able to do so with significance, the statement must be tautologous or you must be able to verify it at least in principle, otherwise it is devoid of meaning, it is not part of the public language.

Ultimately the job of philosophy is to elucidate, talking of nonsensical matters is hardly analysing and clarifying, because by their very definition, they cannot be verified.


Well, the language can be verified by experience, to a degree. But I have to caution - language can only go so far and is ultimately unable to fully convey an experience. Full understanding of the language requires the full experience.

Even if no one else has the experience, I can still meaningfully express my experience, at least to some degree.

Quote:
Ok, well, your statement is valid, if there are other people able to share your experience, and then verify it. If there are not, what is the difference between me hallucinating or simply having an illusion? It may be the case that what you experienced was the case. But for it to be the case, it must be publically verified. A private experience is nonsensical, and therefore should not be discussed (in relation to philosophical debate ofcourse, I am not disputing your beliefs, only your ability to converse the topic in philosophical debate).


All experience is private. You do not have my experiences, and I do not have yours.

Quote:
I agree completely that you obtain knowledge through experience. I am ofcourse an empiricist myself. Thus I do agree. But what i strongly disagree with is 'I cannot bring you God, you have to bring yourself there' From what you are saying, it is only possible for someone to experience God if they take to the experience - similarly create the experience. If this was possible - would people not do this daily? would they not do it together? because if they did experience God together and could verify that they were experiencing God i would agree that it was an intelligible statement, and thus allowing discussion. But untill you can provide a test, even in theory for the existence of God, God remains metaphysical and therefore cannot be discussed.


Do you know that people do not experience God daily?

We can go after God together, we can pray together, meditate together, what have you. But I cannot have your experience of God, and you cannot have my experience just as you cannot see blue through my eyes, but only through your own.

What sort of test would you imagine? If I say "I was angry earlier" and you say "I've also been angry before", then we have verification that other human beings can experience anger.

Again, you speak of God as metaphysical. Some God-notions are metaphysical - Aristotle's God is metaphysical. But this is uncommon among God notions. Most are derived from experience.

In some circles, people do share their experiences of God. You can go to a Church or Temple, or even a Twelve Step meeting to hear them.

I'm sympathetic to what you say. Discussions of God can be dangerous, especially when people regurgitate what they imagine experiences of God are supposed to be rather than relying on their own experience. But if you take to experienced people, they should be able to discuss, at least to some degree, that experience.
 
 

 
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