Thursday, November 5, 2015

Geometric-Point-of-View and Experiential-Point-of-View

I think in the rush to say "No! The earth orbits the sun!" there may be another root question that gets missed, which is whether our point-of-view as people on the planet's surface is valid at all.

If you've ever played a first-person video game, you may have noticed that all of the all of the action seems to center around a first-person point-of-view.  Can that first person point-of-view be disproven?

But can my personal point-of-view be disproven?  From my own point of view, the stars move around the sky in 23 h 56 minutes.  The sun lags behind them, going around the sky every 24 hours, and the moon lags behind even further still, being lapped by the sun every month.

Can you disprove my point-of-view?  My point-of-view is as valid as any other point-of-view, so long as it doesn't cause me to draw any invalid conclusions. 

If I say, "It appears that the sun and stars are going around the sky once each day" that is a valid statement, but when I conclude "By Newtonian Mechanics, they should be flung outward into space, so Earth's pull must be so great that it is holding them in place." Now I've made a false conclusion.  There are many false conclusions that might be intuitively drawn by saying that the earth is at the center of our universe, just as there are many false conclusions that might come from saying "I am the center of the universe."

However, that doesn't change the fact that our own points-of-view, regardless of the false conclusions they may cause us to draw, are the only points-of-view we actually have.  So the geocentric perspective is not invalid, but the geocentric conclusion that the sun orbits the earth in 24 hours because of Earth's gravity has certainly been disproven.

Robert Frost
No.  That argument could be made if only the Sun and Earth exists.  Since we have a rover driving around on Mars, we can indisputably say that egocentrism is false and heliocentrism is correct.
Jonathan Doolin
I'm arguing for the validity of a point-of-view; e.g. "my point-of-view is a valid one"

You're arguing against egocentrism, e.g. "my point-of-view is the only valid one" That's an entirely different argument.
Robert Frost
I'm saying point of view is irrelevant.
Jonathan Doolin
Oh, in that case, then I really disagree with you.  You claim that we sent a rover to Mars, and you use that to make some kind of claim, but then you go on to claim that point-of-view is irrelevant.  It's a logically inconsistent argument.  You're using the point-of-view of the Mars lander, as something relevant, then saying that the point-of-view of the Mars lander is irrelevant.
David Veshapidze
That point of view, if it's also a belief, is caused by the ignorance if the subject and there is no point of trying to disprove the hypothesis to a person who stubbornly believes that.  Now, I am hoping your argument is purely a philosophical one and in that case, heliocentricity only matters to an average person for the sake of being knowledgeable.

If one lived in a house all their life, never leaving, with climate controlled, constant temperature and humidity, it wouldn't matter to them whether it was raining, snowing or sunny outside. Such person could believe the entire universe was at 72 degrees temperature, despite what the outdoor gauges were showing, but that would not make them right, just stubborn  and ignorant.
Jonathan Doolin
Ah.  I think here I was referring to "point-of-view" not so much as belief, but perspective. 

As a matter of perspective, it makes very much sense to use right-ascension and declination.  Declination is very much tied to the Earth's equator.  Nothing to do with the ecliptic.  Right Ascension is measured in hours because the stars move one hour per hour, relative to the earth.  However, they are tied to a point in space, which could be called geocentric  Because the point in the sky where the sun crosses the earth's equator is zero right-ascension.  However, the coordinate of right ascension isn't really geocentric or heliocentric--it's measured against the whole backdrop of stars.

Anyway, right ascension and declination are valid ways to describe the universe even though both are tied in some ways to a geocentric feature.  You could define declination from the ecliptic instead, but it would make it much harder for astronomers to find anything.  Using declination measured from the equator allows astronomers in the northern hemisphere, for instance, to use the North Star as a reference point, and just measure from there. 

That was the point I was trying to make about perspective... 

But as for this hypothetical man in the 72 degree room:

If he has outdoor gauges in his perspective, the readings of the gauges lie within his point-of-view.  If he doesn't look at the gauges, he remains ignorant.  If he doesn't trust the gauges, he is stubborn. 

Now the willfully ignorant person, who simply refuses to look at the gauge--there's little point in trying to prove or disprove anything to him... He doesn't care about evidence. 

But what if you have two people; one who trusts the gauges, and the other who doesn't trust the gauges.  Neither of them have any idea how the gauges work.  Which one, then, is ignorant and which one is knowledgable?

Both of them are ignorant, because neither one of them knows how the gauges work.  If they are both stubborn, then they should both be stubbornly trying to figure out how the gauges work, rather than getting in a fight over which one is more ignorant.
David Veshapidze
My gauges metaphor was to illustrate our current scientific knowledge of the movement of celestial bodies that allows us, with extreme precision, to launch aircraft and land on a tiny strip of land millions of miles away (mars), or perform a 7,800 mile flyby billions of miles away (Pluto) following a complex series of gravity assist maneuvers.

Person who trusts the gauges, does not just have "faith" in them, the gauges are the proven scientific facts that's we put in practice - He//she knows how the gauges work. The second person disregarding the gauges is willfully ignorant because they deny the science.
Jonathan Doolin
We seem to have agreed, in principle that point-of-view in terms of geometric perspective is generally valid for all observers.  If I see a house from one direction, and you see a house from another direction, we're both seeing the same house--but the differences we see are real and our point-of-view is valid.

As far as the other situation goes, you've listed TWO beliefs of the scientist in the room, not one.  The first is the belief that the gauges are correct.  The second is the belief that the second person "is willfully ignorant because he denies the science. "

The "willfully ignorant" person has given up on reading temperature gauges because he's found that all, within his experience, have behaved the same.  But they were all working fine, just never exposed to different temperatures.

 The scientist has given up on the "willfully ignorant," because he's found that all, within his experience, have behaved the same.  But they were all working fine, just never exposed to different ideas.

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