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An Explanation of the Big Bang and Evolution that doesn't exclude God.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Rouge Null, Nov 28, 2004.

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  1. Jediflyer

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 5, 2001
    Ophelia, you just convinced yourself that nothing is true, not even your own religion.

    How you did that, I am not quite sure. If I find myself bored later on tonight, I'll try to dissect your post and see where you lept off track and into the giant circular argument you now find yourself in.

  2. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    I said objective truth cannot exist unless you posit the existence of a non-human intelligence.

    Got God, got objective truth.
    Got ultra-wise space aliens willing to check our perceptions, got objective truth.

    Got just us--got subjectivity, and that's it.

    Thanks for the offer to check my work, Jediflyer, but I think I can handle it.
  3. Jediflyer

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 5, 2001
    People's unquestioned faith in science astounds me, especially since such a conviction is founded on the exact same collection of hopes, fears, and guesstimations that religion is founded on.

    Name them.

    For the moment, let's leave aside the fact that the "transparent veil" hypothesis is based on nothing whatsoever, and ask how on earth would we know "objective" reality if we tripped over it?

    "Objective" implies the existence of something outside the human mind, and in a world with no God, and presumably no helpful space aliens, we are going to check this objectiveness against what?

    How would those make a difference? They could all still be inside your mind. One must make the logical assumptions that 1) I exist, and 2) I am not everything, 3) therefore, other things exist. We can measure those other things in comparison to each other.

    . Or, to use a more contemporary example, suggesting that the human mind can use experiments, designed by itself and interpreted by itself, intended to answer questions posed by itself in hopes of yeilding answers comprehensible to itself, is like asking the board of directors at Enron to invent a measure of their company's finanical integrity, and apply it to see how honest they really are.

    This is bull ****. How did we go from not having the wheel to building skyscrapers and communicating via electricity if not by learning things through experiments designed by the human mind. Unless of course, your trying to say that the building I am sitting in and the clothes I am wearing always existed and the human mind did nothing to invent them via a process of learning and experimentation?

    The best we can say about science is that it allows us to make more accurate predictions about what will happen in the world around us. What happens between the moment the prediction appears in our heads and the moment we interpret the result data that comes in filtered through our senses is an absolute unknown.

    It allows us to make more accurate predictions because it allows us to understand how the world works. We don't understand many things now, but to say we never will understand those things we don't understand now is again bull ****.

    When I say that there has never been a shred of corroborating evidence that the human mind is a transparent veil, it is because there has never been a shred of corroborating evidence of *anything,* assuming "corroborating" means "information that is somehow entirely or largely independent of the human mind." Independent how? The word "information" has no meaning outside the human mind, unless you posit that there is a non-human intelligence out there, whether divine, demonic, or alien.

    Why do you keep going off about these non-human intelligences. They could just as easily be products of your imagination as another human intelligence. S

    Science builds models of the world that the human mind can interpert. If the model fits, that is how nature works. Nature itself is the "corraborating evidence"

    What is more likely, however, is that there is no division between our minds and the world outside them. There is no "outside" to step into and peer at the world as an objective, non-participating observer. Where would such an "outside" come from?

    I think the concept you are having trouble with is conciousness. We are part of the world that is aware.

    Did God place a magic box around the human mind, sealing it off from effecting the world or being affected by it, in order to grant us a little space of objectivity? Did he cut a little door in the space-time continuum that we can step through and look at the world from outside? I can posit no theories for the observability of an "objective" world that do not involve a God, since we would certainly need divine intervention to help us see things beyond the ability of our senses to see, and understand things beyond our ability to understand.

    Where do you get this idea that objectivity can only be gained from the outside
  4. IceHawk-181

    IceHawk-181 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 1, 2004
    Objectivity is a simple concept with no requirement for a higher being. It is simply being uninfluenced by personal prejudices or emotions. One can be objective by merely relying upon logical arguments based upon factual evidences to support logical conclusions.

    Science is not an ideology; it is the observation, description, and theoretical explanation of phenomena through experimental investigation. Grounded in logic and factual documentation.

    Religion is an ideology, based upon the worship of a higher being that is often a creator.

    Evolution is a Scientific Explanation of our origins. Physics explains, through experimental models, the factual workings of the Universe, as we understand them.
    Evolution and physics are both Sciences as they deal with factual and logical methods.

    Religion is a philosophy that holds beliefs. There is no factual basis, it is often illogical, and is heavily entrenched in emotion.

    You can approach science from an objective viewpoint, as facts are absolute and not able to be influenced.
    You cannot approach Religion from an objective viewpoint, as it requires belief, an act of emotion.

    Creationism and Evolution, the Intelligent Design and the Big Bang.

    These things hold irreconcilable differences. They explain the same phenomena; however do so in diametrically opposing methods. One group relies upon factual analysis while the other relies upon conjecture and a large base of support.

    How does one combine opinion and fact into a single working, logical, explanation?

    The reason that the scientific explanation of something is the truth is very simple.

    A Fact, when disagreed with, is still a fact.
    A Logical Argument, when disagreed with, is still Logical.
    A Scientific fact, reached though logical experimentation and conclusions, is a factual conclusion.

  5. Rouge Null

    Rouge Null Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 24, 2000
    Science can be wrong though, or at the very least mistaken.

    The atom was the smallest particle in the universe, then they split the **** thing, releasing a crapload of smaller stuff.
  6. Raven

    Raven Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 5, 1998
    The concept of the scientific fact does have a bit of a hole in it though. Science, done properly, is assuming that the universe does work in an internally consistent way, and is the process of determining how things work based on examining all available relevant observations in an unbiased way. But, this is all based on that assumption that the universe does work in an internally consistent way. That might seem to be a small quibble, but it?s not.

    To put it in simpler terms, science assumes that 1+1=2. However, if there is an Omnipotent God, God can change the rules anytime God feels like in any manner God feels is necessary/amusing. That is to say, 1+1 might not equal 2, but might instead equal purple or Vermont or "Legalize Gay Marriage!" bumper stickers. If that?s the case, then science can only produce approximations of the current mechanics of our own layer of reality, and probably not much more.
  7. IceHawk-181

    IceHawk-181 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 1, 2004
    The unfortunate failure of your argument is that 1+1=2
    This is a mathematical fact and as such is absolute.

    There are no instances in existence that would make this statement, 1+1=2, fallacious.

    Stating that, ?IF? a God does exist, and ?IF? that God has omnipotent powers capable of rearranging the very fabric of mathematical laws, ?THEN? 1+1=2 ?MAY? not be always a mathematical fact has no basis within the realm of reality.

    The very point of logic and mathematical laws is that they are absolute.

    Your entire argument is based upon the foolish idea that the physical laws that govern all of reality are, instead of absolute, completely subjective to the whims of a super-being that cannot be proven to exist.

    It is not possible, by definition, to disprove a fact.

    Facts are absolute.

    The simple fact is that physical laws govern the Universe.
    The Earth revolves around the sun, not due to God?s whim, but because a measurable physical force called gravity, which is a component of an object?s mass, exerts a force on the planet.

    Here is a simple question for you.
    If God is an omnipotent creature that can somehow redefine every law of the physical universe, can this ?God? create a task it is not capable of performing?

    The idea of an ?all powerful being? is a foolish as any childhood fantasy.
    Nothing can be, by definition, all-powerful.

  8. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    Jediflyer, and IceHawk-181 for that matter, what you're doing is conflating science with philosophy of science--or at least "philosophy of science" is its name when it makes sense.

    Actual science is very useful in a limited range of areas, especially at predicting the behavior of objects within the sphere of Newtonian physics. That's how you got to be sitting in the building you're in, wearing the clothing you're wearing. Science helps us do useful stuff.

    Science also says nothing whatsoever about what is True with a capital T. That is the realm of philosophy, religion, and ethics. You can tell when you've crossed the border between science and philosophy when you stop saying words like investigate, examine, measure, theorize, deduce, and replicate, and start saying words like truth, understanding, ignorance, superstition, religion, the sphere of human knowledge, whatever it was someone said about bringing a bright light into the darkness, should, ought, and must.

    No scientific text anywhere says:

    Hypothesis: The function of science is to bring a bright light into the darkness, so that the ignorant in the thrall of religion and superstition may come to understanding and increase the sphere of human knowledge

    That is not science. That is a rather insulting and hamfisted attempt at the philosophy of science.

    The philosophy of science does not inherit the "strong proof" of actual science. Strong proof is the kind you get when using the scientific method under controlled conditions. Strong proof is 2 + 2 = 4 proof. It does not apply to the vast majority of situations we find ourselves in--simply because we don't live in labs with carefully monitored variables and control conditions. "Objective" doesn't have to mean a lot here. It just has to mean that you didn't make up your mind about the outcome of your experiment before you started. "Objective" has no qualitative or philosophical meaning because strong proof situations don't address those questions.

    The other kind of proof is weak proof--which is basically rhetoric. There's nothing wrong with rhetoric. It's a fine way to persuade people of things when strong proof conditions don't exist. You can even use strong proof as evidence to bolster your weak-proof rhetorical argument.

    However, a rhetorical argument is still a rhetorical argument whether it uses strong-proof scientific examples or not, and it must be evaluated on its own merits. Saying, "This is true, because we have science, and science proves things" is dreadful rhetoric. This argument about "truth" does not inherit the strong proof of actual scientific experiments, no matter how many times experiments are mentioned. Rather, the argument is on exactly the same footing as an argument that talks a great deal about God, or space aliens, or what have you. The arguments must be examined on their logical merits, not on what kind of examples they use to support their positions.

    A worse error is to try to claim "objectivity" through rhetoric, which by definition cannot be done. Rhetoric rests on a person's ability to use examples in arguing a disputed point. If you are sitting there, making the argument up in your head, it is not objective. "Objective" is related to the word "object," meaning "a thing out there in the world and not made up in your head."

    The final silliness is to claim that objective truth and materialism can exist at the same time. When you are talking philosophy (must, ought, should, ignorance, human understanding, etc) "objective truth" means more than "I just didn't make up my mind about the outcome before I started." If it did, then no one would ever appeal to it. Who cares if you make up your mind about your position before you start a rhetorical argument? It's not relevant. "Objective" in this case means Truth with a capital T. As in, I am unquestionably right, and you are unquestionably wrong. This is actually one of the worst elements of bad religious arguments, but be that as it may. This is ground we've alread
  9. Raven

    Raven Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 5, 1998
    The very point of logic and mathematical laws is that they are absolute.

    Not if there's an omnipotent God...

    If God is an omnipotent creature that can somehow redefine every law of the physical universe, can this ?God? create a task it is not capable of performing?

    A truly omnipotent God would probably be above this contradiction in some ways that humans can?t understand any better than Chimpanzees can understand differential calculus ? if said omnipotent God can render basic mathematical operations invalid, said God could probably render the Modus tollens logical method invalid, in which case my point stands as is. Also, there is the possibility that an omnipotent being has the power to render itself less than omnipotent. That doesn?t mean that it was not omnipotent earlier, just that it?s not omnipotent after rendering itself un-omnipotent.

    However, having said that, my mortal mind can certainly conceive of a being that is capable of doing anything other than rendering itself incapable of doing something. A being capable of doing anything other than rendering itself incapable of doing anything could still be capable of changing all laws of reality on a whim. If that?s the case, my point stands with the clarification that all scientific knowledge can immediately be rendered non-applicable, exempting the reality that God cannot make himself any weaker.

    So, there you go, three explanations for how an omnipotent being could exist:
    1) Omnipotent in fact, all the time, the human mind just isn?t complex enough to understand how.
    2) Omnipotent in fact, unless choosing to make itself less than it is, in which case it ceases to be omnipotent. That it can cease to be omnipotent does not make it less than omnipotent until such time as it ceases to be omnipotent.
    3) Omnipotent in a limited way, that is it can do anything other than make itself less than omnipotent.
  10. Jediflyer

    Jediflyer Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 5, 2001
    Now why didn't you say that in the first place?

  11. GrandDesigner

    GrandDesigner Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 8, 2003
    If God is an omnipotent creature that can somehow redefine every law of the physical universe, can this ?God? create a task it is not capable of performing?

    Sure G-D can.

  12. MasterZap

    MasterZap Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 11, 2002
    [blockquote]Instead of telling each other interesting, and perhaps morally valuable tall tales about the gods, which were absorbed, passed on to children, and 'believed' with a knowing wink,[/blockquote]


    This is one of my strongest convictions; that the very idea of taking religion literally is a recent "folly". Religion was never meant as anything but a metaphor.

    When little Tiny-Cloud asks his father chief Slayed-Many-a-Bull who puts the sun in the sky, his father looks ponderously at the horizon, and begins to tell the tale about the deer god who pushes it over the heavens. And as Tiny-Cloud grows up and has children of his own, that ask the same thing, he will very well tell the same story, perhaps with some homebrewn embellishments.

    In the teepee at night, old medecine man Has-no-teeth tells even taller tales of Gods and Beings from ancient times, as the whole tent is filled to the brim of wide eyed children and adult alike, listening in awe. The next day, talks amongst the tribesmen are held about what was said the day before.

    But did cheif Slayed-Many-a-Bull really believe in the literal truth of an actual deer pushing the sun over the sky? Or was it just "something you say to your kid when that question comes", kinda like we tend to pull out birds and bees in some situations ;)

    I think everyone "Believed" this at about the same level we believe in santa claus. Everybody engages in the collective illusion willingly, because thats what you do.

    This all filled a tremendeously important social function, something today replaced by watching Survivor and American Idol, reading the newspaper, books, and surfing the web.

    Archeologists drive me nuts, because they always paint "folks of old" in a light which makes them religious nuts. Find a piece of pottery, et voila, the Archeologists proclaim "sacrificial ritual chalice". Find a building, et voila "temple to the glory of X". It drives me nuts. It's a pot and a house, gosh darn it. Sure it may have had a picture of Adonis, but hey, if an archeologist 2000 years in the future find YOUR room they may decree it a "temple to the worship Keanu Reeves" based on a fading postyer and your old souvernier coffee mug is a ritual chalice for some strange cultish thingamajig.

    Sure, archeologists need to make a living, and sensational claims sell better, but it still drives me crazy the moment they immediately draw a religiously-related idea from the tiniest piece of broken pottery.

    I do not think folks of old were engrossed in God-worship day in and day out, as history leads us believe. But just as the poster is of Keanu Reeves in your room, not of your neighbour Ted, we tend to talk about the 'spectacular'. So the tall tales of Gods is what survives, and the small tales of men dies out.


    I agree completely that there is no ultimate objectivity, simply because anything we do has to be filtered via our sensory apparatus, and there is no way for us to detect if the sensory input is real, accurate, or even fabricated. Think of "The Matrix" movie, there were surely a ton of scientists inside the Matrix doing all sorts of "physical measurments" ... on precicely nothing, because they were all in a simulation, and all I/O from their brains were faked.

    Food for thought, yes. Nothing is truly objective. Completely agree.

    The fallacy you engage in is thinking that postulating a God changes this; it does not.

    Firstly, any input from this God must be filtered again by the senses (even if they are not the traditional five) and hence become just as subjective as anything materialistic. So in that sense, "we are lost whichever way we turn".

    Secondly, God cannot be objective himself because he has no framework to compare with either; hence God has the exact problem of trying to acertain truth from two copies of the same newspaper, as it were.

    No difference.

    Claiming God is "ultimate" changes nothing, because what objective framework do you define "ultimate" from?

    Going down this
  13. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    Speaking in retrospect, I really shouldn't have connected science the quasi-religion with the philosophy of science, even with the caveat that "philosophy" is what you call it when it's good. I borrowed the term "philosophy of science" because I didn't think the mods would let me get away with posting anything more precisely descriptive.

    The actual philosophy of science involves a lot of things, but mostly deals with different ways of describing how the human mind relates to the outside world. (What I've been arguing for is mostly a combination of [link=]Intrumentalism and Social Constructivism[/link], if you care.) It also provides a rhetorical framework for use when physical experiments aren't possible--which is often. It doesn't stray into the territory of religion, and seldom mentions values and ethics, except as they relate to the discipline of science.

    I should also point out that I don't care if other people don't believe in God. It is not actually a shock that atheists exist in the world, or that they make arguments against God's existence. Fine.

    Just don't give me *silly* arguments against God's existence--and especially don't give me the same silly arguments over and over, and then smile to yourself about how logically devastating your argument is.

    The following argument, in my opinion, is silly, and I'm dreadfully tired of hearing it: God has not been detected.

    Presumably, the writer meant "detected in a scientific way." I am, I suppose, meant to panic at the thought that science hasn't dectected God, and go into an existential depression.

    Rather, I have to ask: What is it you think science *does?* Anything and everything? Every question is scientifically answerable, including the question of whether all questions are scientifically answerable?

    If you believe that, then you have placed science in precisely the unfalsifiable position that God has been declared non-extant for occupying. Science cannot do anything and everything, otherwise it ceases to be science, and becomes God--only a silly and not very useful God.

    So having established that there must be some things that science cannot address, let's look and see whether God just might be one of them.

    Or, to put it another way, would be possible to scientifically detect God if he *did* exist? Let's look at our options:

    1) Direct experiment: Set up a parallel universe in which the existence or non-existence of God is known. This is our control universe. Introduce conditions which produce predictable and repeatable responses from God. Now attempt the same proceedure in the experimental universe. If the same responses appear, God has been proven to exist.

    This would be an excellent way to scientifically prove or disprove the existence of God, especially if it was repeatable. Unfortunately, it can't be done, so no luck there.

    2) Thought experiment: There are several possible ones, but I'll examine the favorite--falsifiability.

    For a hypothesis to be scientifically valid, it must be falsifiable. We can't prove God doesn't exist, so the hypothesis that God exists is not scientifically valid.

    Notice that the logic doesn't go: We can't prove God doesn't exist, so therefore God doesn't exist.

    *That* is not only non-falsifiable, it's self-contradictory and essentially meaningless.

    There must be non-scientifically valid things that still exist, otherwise all things are scientifically valid, and the falsifiability test itself evaporates.

    What kinds of things are treated as if they exist and yet are not scientifically valid according to the falsifiability test? Some examples:

    The existence of nations. How do we know they're real? All we have is some drawings on paper and the claims of a bunch of people--who occasionally disagree with one another. (Does The Republic of Taiwan exist?)

    The existence of relationships. To quote Whitney Houston: "How will I know if he really loves me?" This is so
  14. Undomiel

    Undomiel Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 17, 2002

    You said:

    Here is a simple question for you.
    If God is an omnipotent creature that can somehow redefine every law of the physical universe, can this ?God? create a task it is not capable of performing?

    My response:

    The answer is yes. He created us with free will. Our free will is a rock so big, even He can't lift it, thus set in motion and solidified by His own laws. We are not extensively pre-programmed to make instinctual decisions like the rest of the animal kingdom, but rather are born with free will to decide what course we will take as our consciences dictate and make informed decisions based on that free will (correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's the definition of sentience?).
  15. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    Ooh, you're good. I would have said, "If God is an omnipotent creature that can somehow redefine every law of the physical universe, can he invent a different annoying question for people to badger theists with?"
  16. Cyprusg

    Cyprusg Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 16, 2002
    ?If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgement on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to him??
    -Albert Einstein
  17. MasterZap

    MasterZap Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 11, 2002
    [blockquote]Imagine being Neo lying in his vat of goo, while the real world is all around him. He can't determine its reality, although he begins to suspect it's there. Then, suddenly, he gets a "revelation" from the "other side"--Morpheus contacts him, and then he's spit out of his pod, entering the world he'd been able to theorize about, but not directly experience[/blockquote]

    Doesn't work, because the phonecall from Morpheus comes via his (simulated) sensory apparatus. He then goes on an adventure which seems (to him) be as if he is freed from the matrix. But these events also come in through sensory apparatus of Neo. If the original Matrix simulation was perfect, this new "real" world would feel identical to the simulated. He would have no way to know if he was in fact freed, or if the "freeing" was just part of the simulation, a great deception.

    So the existance of Morpheus is neither here nore there as it comes to obectivity and Truth to a Tee.
    The "revelation" may just be false, and the "freedom" and "escape" just another simulation layer.

    Irregardless, Morpheus (be he "real" or "2nd layer simulation") has no way to know what world HE is in either. And Morpheus God, to Morpheus (assuming for a moment he exists) may think he is ultimate and the end-all know-all entity, but he cannot be sure, because he has no objective definition to go by. And NO, his own is not good enough, even if he is God.

  18. IceHawk-181

    IceHawk-181 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 1, 2004
    Annoying, perhaps, but the point is that the question is a philosophical one, not a scientific one.
    The answer to the question was not to identify it as a logical paradox, but to attempt and grasp with the possibility of actually answering it.

    Religion is philosophy; open to interpretation and personal belief.

    The definition of sentience?
    Who is to say that sentience is tied to the ability to choose?

    Simply because something has not been proven to be false does not mean that it is true.
    Equally, simply sense something has not been proven true, it is not necessarily false.

    This is the logical dilemma in which Religion has wrapped itself since the beginnings of man.

    It is as impossible to prove that God exists, as it is impossible to prove that a flower is beautiful. In the realm of personal belief there is no ?Truth? only opinion.

    I say there are mathematical and physical laws, which govern the Universe, something that has been proven time and again by the greatest minds of human kind.

    You say, with no evidence of any kind, that this super-being can bend those laws to his will.

    This argument will become an infinite loop of conjecture and half-truths.

    If we conclude that man ahs evolved from lower life forms, it is because God deemed it so, though his followers never knew that.
    If we conclude that the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago it is because deemed it so.
    If we conclude that the Universe is ever expanding, it is because God deemed it so.
    If we conclude that the Big Bang formed the Universe, it is because God deemed it so.

    This is the line of ?logic? that is currently being tested in this thread.

    It is something of an argumentum ad Attrition.

    You will simply default with statements like; could, if, perhaps, maybe, what if, and others until the other side finally bores of the argument and refuses to follow any longer.

    You can provide no scientific proof, no logical proof that a God-creature exists.

    As humankind can only understand that which it can perceive, and if God is not perceivable through human means, than humankind can never understand the existence of a God.

    The argument borders on irrelevance, as it is simply an exercise in repeating one baseless piece of conjecture.

  19. Undomiel

    Undomiel Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 17, 2002

    Since, I am not present during the carbon-dating of whatever substance is under question, I have no verifiable proof that the process is being used correctly or that it even works on the substance (or for that matter, that it works at all). As a scientist, then, I would expect proof that this carbon-dating process works (on which evolution must be bolstered else is falls like a house of cards). Due to situations outside my control, I cannot possibly be present at the carbon-datings, and therefore must rely on your evidence, which is minimal (scientifically-speaking), as the proof for science always has to be reproducible and verifiable. I cannot reproduce the experiment as the materials are unique - fossils, fragments of bone and so forth, held under careful conditions in a lab on the other side of the world. I have no way to reproduce your experiments nor your carbon-dating process. Therefore, I just take your word for it. Sounds very much like faith and religion to me.
  20. EnforcerSG

    EnforcerSG Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 12, 2001
    What is an objective truth? What makes some bit of information true in an objective sense? What does it mean that some bit of information is true objectivally?

    I said objective truth cannot exist unless you posit the existence of a non-human intelligence.

    Got God, got objective truth.
    Got ultra-wise space aliens willing to check our perceptions, got objective truth.

    Got just us--got subjectivity, and that's it.

    I am not following the logic of that (even in your other posts). How do they know that there is an objective truth?

    Lets say my cat is intelligent (is there any doubt :p ?), but not as intelligent as us. If the cat would come to the same conclusion that you did, that there must be something smarter than it to confirm that there is an objective truth, well there is us, but that does not mean that there is any objective truth?

    If there is a god, why is it impossible that there is something beyond him that he does not know about?

    And the matrix analogies... the MWAM (Matrix within a Matrix) theory basically just goes to prove what I am saying. For all we know, everyone who has been 'freed' is just in a different matrix and again, they would never know.


    The difference between what you said and God is that you can reconfirm even if you don't take the time/have the resources to. You CANNOT with God which is why I feel God should be separate from religion.

    Besides, there is much less evidence of that kind (of any kind IMO) for God.
  21. Undomiel

    Undomiel Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 17, 2002

    Stebachen (fictitious name), speaks eloquently on the subject from the pulpit in the crowded auditorium, introducing himself as knowledgeable on subjects relating to a particular kind of ancient history. He produces written volumes, painstakingly collected, cross-referenced and numbered for easier access and citation. Opening vol.1, he turns the pages gingerly, almost reverently. Adjusting his bifocals he peers over the top frames to see if his audience is still awake. Fortunately, the information promises to be interesting enough to hold at least some of their attention and so he proceeds. Eager faces greedily soak up his accumulated knowledge, and many scribble notes in the margins of their accompanying books of knowledge.

    No one in the room asks for definitive, verifiable, reproducible proof of Stebachen's information because they already believe he will tell them the truth. It's expected, automatically. They may question what it means and how it was arrived at, but the process utilized from which the information was gathered is written in stone, from times past, and cannot be refuted. No further evidence is necessary on Stebachen's part, than his papers outlining the events in detail. He may have fabricated the entire thing, but this is of no concern to his audience, who has bought the entire bag of goods, lock, stock, and barrell. If doubt arises, it is only from the radical fringe element, which has no real voice in polite society, as most everyone else in the auditorium automatically understands.

    Clearing his throat, Stebachen begins his lecture on the latest unearthed fossil of cro-magnon man, which is essentially a piece of bone about 1 inch by 1 inch wide, found embedded in a field at the foot of an old volcanic mountain range.
  22. Undomiel

    Undomiel Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 17, 2002

    You can't reconfirm an experiment or process that requires definitive, reproducible proof if you don't have the materials on which the experiment was originally generated (which is true for most everyone else in the world). Scientists today are like the priests and bishops of the dark ages. They quote from documents most people don't understand and you are just supposed to take their word for it.
  23. Shroom

    Shroom Jedi Youngling star 2

    Apr 3, 2004
    "Scientists today are like the priests and bishops of the dark ages. They quote from documents most people don't understand and you are just supposed to take their word for it."

    I suspect(hope)you realised how untrue that statement was even as you typed it.

    The bishops and priests to which you refer were the jealous guardians of arcane knowledge whose dogmatic assertions you disputed at the risk of death or excommunication.

    Scientists publish work, and to be taken seriously their work is subjected to the (often intensely critical) assessment of their peers. Whilst I may not understand it as a layman, there are plenty of people out there who can. There is no 'one voice' of science desperate to give a unified response to each discovery or pronouncement (although I'll give a nod here to the Kuhnian argument regarding paradigm shifts). Instead, as well as collaboration we see an an often cut-throat competition between scientists, a survival of the fittest you could say, designed to weed out and pour scorn on those theories which have no merit in a constant attempt to advance and improve.

    I think you can safely say that no one is simply asking you to take someone's word for it.
  24. IceHawk-181

    IceHawk-181 Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 1, 2004
    The point about science is that its experiments are repeatable and verifiable. You need not conduct the experiment yourself to draw conclusions from it. What you must do is understand the principles of the experiment, look at the components of the experiment, and draw conclusions based upon your knowledge.

    If you lack the knowledge to draw a conclusion you consult the educated community, which has devoted its life to these subjects. Science is verifiable and, in order to create a scientific paper one must have well documented evidence and verifiable proof.

    In order for a paper to be published, a panel of highly educated experts in the field will examine the document. They will check the underlying principles of the experiment, examine the validity of the conclusions, and will often tear the paper apart to be sure it is scientifically accurate.

    These experiments that you complain about not being able to reproduce yourself, are heavily documented. If you have ever actually seen a scientific paper such as these you will notice that the entire experiment, from conception to conclusion, is presented in the paper. Pictures, data, references, everything is provided.

    The Priests of early humanity have little in common with modern day scientists. They coveted power, and ruled through moral obligations.

    Scientists study, and then reproduce results in order to advance our understandings of the world.

    If you fail to understand their experiments, they write massive texts of thousands upon thousands of words that clearly explain the principles. They are called textbooks.

    By the way, attacking science directly, and its validity, in this instance seems to be a rather foolish choice for a Straw Man.

  25. dizfactor

    dizfactor Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 12, 2002
    Scientists today are like the priests and bishops of the dark ages. They quote from documents most people don't understand and you are just supposed to take their word for it.

    umm, no. you're not.

    while i maintain an open mind about fringe science and acknowledge that no scientific model is ever perfect, your assertion here is completely unfounded.

    as has been pointed out, scientific knowledge is not hoarded or kept secret (aside from patented private industrial research, sensitive stuff like instructions for making high-yield thermonuclear weapons, and the like), but published in a wide array of journals and publications, most of which are available at your local university library. if you don't understand the jargon, there are classes and textbooks available to get you up to speed.

    hell, the government mandates a certain level of scientific education for everyone, and most scientists and scientific organizations still kvetch that we don't do enough to make science accessible to the general population.

    this isn't even discussing the mainstream science press or media outlets like the Discovery Channel. they most certainly do not have the attitudes of the medieval clergy who kept knowledge locked up for the priveleged few. if anything, they're frustrated that more people aren't getting involved. if you want to get down into the minutiae of a single given experiment, everything's documented to obsessive degrees.

    finally, if someone wants to make up some wacky experiment results and try to pass them off, they generally get found out when someone else goes to reproduce the experiment and it doesn't work. there's a whole system of peer review in place to keep out frauds.

    yes, everything in science is a theory. a theory is a model which describes reality in precise, measurable, mathematical terms. there is always a margin of error, it's always conditional and subject to future revision, but it's basically an open process which is subject to multiple layers of oversight and self-correction. as a result of that openness and self-correction, the current scientific theory of any given phenomenon is probably the best explanation you're going to find, and it's certainly the most heavily combed-over and least driven by blind faith. that's why you trust it every single day when you get in a car or turn on the lights or, say, use the internet.
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