virus: A=A, confirmed!

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 10:34:24 -0700 (PDT)

After a relatively busy week and weekend I final had a change to get back
to reading for pleasure yesterday. I opened up _Godel, Escher, Bach_ to
where I had left off, and was in a few minutes on the section in chapter
VII, The Propositional Calculus titled "Do We Know the System Is
Consistent" (p.192). The dialogue Hofstadter gives between Prudence and
Imprudence was almost a word-for-word re-enactment of the last few weeks
here on CoV. It is followed by this (emphasis mine):

"This little debate shows the difficulty of trying to use logic and
reasoning to defend themselves. At some point, you reach rock bottom, and
there is no defense except loudly shouting, "I know I'm right!" Once
again, we are up against the issue which Lewis Carroll so sharply set
forth in his Dialogue; you can't go on defending your patterns of
reasoning forever. There comes a point where *faith* takes over."

So I'd like to step out of this debate and set forth the cornerstones of
my faith for you. (No, these aren't axioms for anyone but me.)

1) Our senses receive data.
2) From this data we construct a model.
3) This model is our Implied Reality.
4) From comparisons of our Implied Realities we construct another model.
5) That model (or abstract construct) we call Objective Reality.
6) We can make inferences about the nature of Objective Reality based on
what we understand about our collective Implied Realities.
7) We have no direct access to this Objective Reality but,
8) Nevertheless we can use this model to effectively predict how actions
and behaviors will effect the data our senses will receive.
9) As a shorthand (and only that!), we often refer to steps 1-8 as, "We
perceive Objective Reality."

There. That is my faith. If you read it as meaning A=A, so be it. I
have "the faith of a mustard seed!" (Ask a Christian what that means if
you don't know, they probably won't know either, but it's fun to ask!)

And I am done with this thread.

-Prof. Tim