I was involved in a debate with my friend a few days ago.

He proposed that the most logical answer for questions that can't be judged with science, logic and reason should be polar, i.e., either 'Yes' or 'No'. For example, he insisted that the logical answer to the question "Do you think humans will be immortal in the future?" should be either "Yes" or "No".

On, the other hand, I insisted that the most logical answer to such an extraordinary and unfathomable question should be "No Comment". I think that nobody should assign any sort of weight in important arguments (only) to such questions which can't be reasoned, rationalized and analyzed statistically. Opening doors to a wild speculative answers about such a question should be restricted.

In a similar manner, I attempted to provide a counter argument when he didn't back down. This argument has been inspired by the theory of Simulated Reality . The question is: "Do you think the Earth will exist after a billion years?". Please notice and remember the bold emphasis on the words "the Earth" in the previous question. His answer was "either Yes or No". I stepped on the wildly speculative platform that he constructed and asserted a paradox. If we found out that our earth has been a simulation all along and our earth was one of the many billions of other simulated earths out there, we don't know where the real Earth is because every time we discover an earth after our own, it turns to be a simulation again. Since we can't fathom, quantify and assert infinity *and* we aren't able to the find "the Earth" that we referenced to in our question earlier, the correct answer turns out to be "Uncertain" or "No Comment". You may also visit this link and listen to the argument made immediately as the video starts playing. Every question is not a meaningful question and such questions don't deserve an answer.

Do you agree with what I have to say? If, yes then leave your comments. If no, then leave your reviews on my question.

  • Your friend is considering questions as being propositions which aligns with what he says answers hould be logical. However most good questions are not of this nature, that is they are not propositions. This attitude lies not in the question but in the person. – Mozibur Ullah Apr 9 '14 at 21:52
  • @MoziburUllah: It seems that the word "proposed" implies a weak assertion. Ok. Let's just say that he declared his answer to be logical. – chosentorture Apr 9 '14 at 22:00
  • Is the Liars Paradox true or false? Godel didn't answer yes or now, he developed a whole new branch of logic to answer it. Which in fact doesn't answer the question, it still remains. The attitude that language can be reduced to propositions is a philosophy called logical atomism - Russell & Wittgenstein are the main exemplars. Wittgenstein said he showed in what way language could be molded into that fashion, and Russell concured - but they both agreed that resolving this question left most of the interesting, deep or profound questions untouched. A view of theirs that is often ignored – Mozibur Ullah Apr 9 '14 at 22:08
  • by their later acolytes. Their whole philosophy is part of that contemporary stream of thought called positivism - which it appears that you're aligned with judging from your first few sentences - if I'm not mistaken. – Mozibur Ullah Apr 9 '14 at 22:08
  • @MoziburUllah: Yes, I agree with the statement that "information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge only in scientific knowledge." Also, anything that cannot be analysed scientifically shouldn't be entertained in important discussions. – chosentorture Apr 9 '14 at 22:47

I think you and your friend are getting tripped up on language.

The appropriate answer to Do you think that P? for some proposition P should reflect your knowledge of the truth status of P. If you have good reason to believe it true, you should say "Yes, P. P is true."; if false, "No. P is false."; if you have insufficient information you should say "I do not know whether P is true or false" (possibly with additional clarification or explanation of the degree of your uncertainty). The key is that the question is not about P but about your thought processes regarding P. One can always force a decision ("Will humans be immortal: yes or no?") but characterizing your thoughts with this forced choice is an impoverished view of your thoughts at best (or at least I hope it is).

In contrast, the appropriate answer to What are the allowed truth values for P? is usually "true or false", if P is a statement for which a binary decision is pretty clear. Certain statements have insensible semantics ("Is somnolence more blue than yellow?"), while others cannot be crisply answered under the best of circumstances ("My friend Joe is happy") due to there being a continuum (or worse) of states that cannot in an elegant and principled way be divided into two groups. Still, for the questions you ask, the "I can't tell" option seems unlikely; "Will humans be immortal?" should have a pretty clear yes or no answer, at least after clarification about what counts as immortality (e.g. fully digital immortality).

  • Digital Immortality is a hypothetical concept at best. I'm not saying that it isn't possible but I'm inclined to think that it isn't possible based on the current evidence. Also, this link might help you explain what I'm trying to say. – chosentorture Apr 11 '14 at 18:29
  • @ChosenTorture - I'm not sure why I need help explaining what you are trying to say...? Did you mean something else? Also, my point stands, despite the additional text in that link: from your description in the question it does not sound like you and your friend are actually asking and answering precisely the same question (and this is why the answers are different). Perhaps you did not relate the discussion with your friend accurately? – Rex Kerr Apr 11 '14 at 22:47

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