**From:** Jeff Bone (*jbone@jump.net*)

**Date:** Thu Aug 17 2000 - 21:06:17 PDT

**Next message:**cdale@silly.techmonkeys.net: "Re: Prozac for everyone."**Previous message:**Eirikur Hallgrimsson: "Prozac for everyone."**In reply to:**Gordon Mohr: "Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Next in thread:**Gordon Mohr: "Re: Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Next in thread:**Tom Whore: "Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Reply:**Gordon Mohr: "Re: Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"

*> nothing's really provable
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*> anyway :-) ;-) :-)".
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*>
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By the way, lest I just sit back let Gordo's accusation stick, I *do not* hold that opinion. There's lots

of stuff that can be proven. It's easy (at this point, standing on the shoulders of giants) to prove that

any self-consistent, finite, formal deductive system can express statements unprovable under that system.

It's possible to prove that the Entscheidungsproblem is unsolvable, or similarly that given a machine M

with a program P, there is no formal way to predict whether P will complete. Less easily, it's possible to

prove that the transfinite numbers are not closed under the operations of addition, multiplication,

exponentiation, and so on. It's even possible --- though very, very difficult to do ab initio --- to

demonstrate that x^n + y^n = z^n has no whole number solution when n is greater than 2.

OTOH, it's generally pointless except as an exercise in entertainment or as a tool for achieving personal

enlightenment to try to prove anything at all about things like "happiness," "beauty," "moral right and

wrong," and so on. As Bonevac, my logic instructor, put it years ago: "the [logical] analysis of moral

and practical reasoning still abounds with controversy." The best we can hope for in such discussions,

IETF style, is "rough consensus of opinion" and perhaps some social equivalent of "working code."

And that *really* is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

jb

**Next message:**cdale@silly.techmonkeys.net: "Re: Prozac for everyone."**Previous message:**Eirikur Hallgrimsson: "Prozac for everyone."**In reply to:**Gordon Mohr: "Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Next in thread:**Gordon Mohr: "Re: Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Next in thread:**Tom Whore: "Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"**Reply:**Gordon Mohr: "Re: Zeciousness Re: Taking the billion? Re: Gedankenexperiments"

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