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Thread: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist

  1. #1 Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    I recently read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." It was recommended by a friend who is a militant atheist who expletively insisted that if I read this book I would toss any conception of God that I have.

    Like Paley, I looked at life and the universe at large and concluded that there is an elegant design. Newtonian physics, relativity, string theory and evolution convinced me that there must be some sort of universal intelligence.

    I am NOT speaking of the fairy-gods of some popular cults or religions. I am speaking of the "designer" whoever or whatever that is.

    What proof is there of this "designer"?

    Well some people need to meet God in person and assume he is a person. I, on the other hand, am content to observe God's footprints on the beach and make the inference that he was once there. Ergo he at least existed at one time.

    However, my god is a designer and not necessarily a person. I'm not sure what my god looks like, any more than I know what you look like, but I know you exist because you are reading my words and will probably leave a comment. I can infer from your comment that you exist, but don't ask me to describe you because I haven't a clue.

    Paley's exposition makes sense to me--a design (the footprint) implies a designer (someone was at the beach).

    From stage left enters Richard Dawkins. He attempts to falsify Paley's brilliant exposition. Did he succeed? Well, I think he did a splendid job showing that designs are not perfect so therefore the "designer" is not perfect. No problem here. Human designers aren't perfect either.

    He also showed that the odds of something popping into existence (a miraculous creation) are extremely poor. Being a mathematician I found his exposition here quite titillating. It made perfect sense so evolution makes sense. After all, if a painter just threw all his paint on the canvas, odds are slim that the painting would resemble anything noteworthy. It makes more sense if the painting were done in stages.

    He then talked about how he designed a computer program to demonstrate how a non-thinking, non-caring evolutionary process works. This program would conjure up random designs and he would select the designs that most resembled some sort of creature. After several generations he ended up with one design that looked to me like a spider.

    But there is a gaping hole in his demonstration. Can you see it?

    The computer did not design itself. The program did not design itself. The random designs (mutations) are products of Dawkins' computer program which he designed and the selection process did not happen by itself. (It is possible to program the computer to automatically do the selecting, but a programmer/designer is still required.)

    Still, evolution makes sense. Then an idea popped into my head: evolution could be a process of creation or design. Take Dawkins' computer for instance. It is the descendant of a common ancestor--the first computer ever designed. Computers evolved. Engineers had random ideas analogous to random mutations filling up their heads. They then selected the ideas that seemed most appropriate. The rest became extinct. They then built their computers. Some succeeded in the marketplace environment, but most became extinct--we find their fossils at the junkyard.

    Now let's take Dawkins' book. Letters evolved into words. Sentences evolved into paragraphs and paragraphs evolved into pages...then finally the first draft emerged. It then evolved into the book that I read.

    Creation and evolution are one and the same! A design still implies a designer. Therefore, Dawkins succeeded in falsifying the fairy gods, but not the one that did the actual work of designing our elegant universe!


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  3. #2 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    A design still implies a designer. Therefore, Dawkins succeeded in falsifying the fairy gods, but not the one that did the actual work of designing our elegant universe!
    Or rephrased not the fairy god, you believe in.
    You do make I laugh.


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  4. #3 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    A design still implies a designer. Therefore, Dawkins succeeded in falsifying the fairy gods, but not the one that did the actual work of designing our elegant universe!
    Or rephrased not the fairy god, you believe in.
    You do make I laugh.
    Well I take it back. You seem to know what I believe, so you must be the god we speak of. Sprinkle some magic dust for me.
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  5. #4 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    A design still implies a designer. Therefore, Dawkins succeeded in falsifying the fairy gods, but not the one that did the actual work of designing our elegant universe!
    Or rephrased not the fairy god, you believe in.
    You do make I laugh.
    Well I take it back. You seem to know what I believe, so you must be the god we speak of. Sprinkle some magic dust for me.
    lol when you were reading the blind watchmaker, it never once crossed your mind he was referring to your god, as well as all the thousands of others, did it..
    You people are that blinkered! He could not of meant your imaginary friend could he.
    There are 2850 god this is not including the hindu gods which number in the millions. Why would you think he didn't mean yours as well, how is yours the right one, what makes it better than the rest. lol.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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  6. #5 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    From stage left enters Richard Dawkins. He attempts to falsify Paley's brilliant exposition. Did he succeed? Well, I think he did a splendid job showing that designs are not perfect so therefore the "designer" is not perfect. No problem here. Human designers aren't perfect either.
    One could perhaps attempt to argue against Dawkins by pointing out that the "designer" might have been incompetent, malicious, etc. But Dawkins probably doesn't really care about that too much, because his book is mostly aimed against the major organized religions (christianity, islam, judaism), all of which usually claim that god is perfect, all-knowing, etc. You would have a very hard time getting your average christian to admit to the possibility that his god might have made a mistake, so that's not an argument that's likely to come up often, although obviously that's not such a problem for you.
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    Williampinn missed the point Dawkins trying to make i.e. It does not need an intelligent designer to create a complex orgnaism, because complexi form can be the product of gradual change from very simple form guided by a few principles. I am not sure whether he mention imperfect design, but I think inelegant is more like what he intends to convey.
    Also Dawkins is not the only scientist who advocates evolution theory. most of the living biologists are with him, only they are not so outspoken.
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    I think we have an increasingly good idea of how the basic laws of physics can have all we see as result. So if a God ever existed, all he had to do IMO is create the universe with all its basic laws and then leave it alone. The rest would take care of itself. God would be the guiding hand at the instant of the big bang to create our universe. I think, though, that the anthropic principle can take care of that much more elegantly.


    Edit: So, basically prasit's point. :|
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I think we have an increasingly good idea of how the basic laws of physics can have all we see as result. So if a God ever existed, all he had to do IMO is create the universe with all its basic laws and then leave it alone. The rest would take care of itself. God would be the guiding hand at the instant of the big bang to create our universe. I think, though, that the anthropic principle can take care of that much more elegantly.
    I think the athropic principle is about the same kind and level of an explanation for things as God, if not worse. It does however address one important issue and that is the fact that physical law makes all we see a possible result does not mean that it is a probable result. In any case, if you are going to suppose the existence of God there is no need for this anthropic principle and so you cannot draw the conclusion that Kalster has about what God would need to do.

    There is however one kind of test that I think would settle the issue. That is if man can somehow truly reproduce the abiogenesis beginning of life and evolution to complex organisms in shorter period of time than the process actually ocurred. If we did that then it would be rather difficult to explain why God would take such a longer period of time to do the same task and would thus suggest that Kalister is right that if God exists then it was a hands off role that He played in the development of life.
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    I don't know, but I am not sure that our ability to create life would debunk the idea of God in theist's eyes. The mysterious reasons behind why God would do things is a common theme. One could, with little opposition, suggest that God guided the laws of nature into creating us, or created the laws with the advanced knowledge that we would result and then started his work with us from there. The latter used to be my preferred stance, because creating the universe would require lots of power and some knowledge (I think we could one day know how everything works and create some of our own matter from pure energy), while creating it in just the right way that we would inevitably result requires knowledge and insight beyond possible human comprehension (Chaos principle taken to the ultimate extreme). So if the latter were true, then God did have a hand in our development by knowing we would result from the universe he created, irrespective of whether we can create life or not.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I don't know, but I am not sure that our ability to create life would debunk the idea of God in theist's eyes. The mysterious reasons behind why God would do things is a common theme. One could, with little opposition, suggest that God guided the laws of nature into creating us, or created the laws with the advanced knowledge that we would result and then started his work with us from there.
    ...
    So if the latter were true, then God did have a hand in our development by knowing we would result from the universe he created, irrespective of whether we can create life or not.
    Oh I didn't say it would debunk the idea of God, I said it would lend substance to your claim that a God would have nothing to do after setting up the laws of nature. That would be much more of Deist type God in regards to the creation of living things - more like the views of John Polkinghorne than my own.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The latter used to be my preferred stance, because creating the universe would require lots of power and some knowledge (I think we could one day know how everything works and create some of our own matter from pure energy), while creating it in just the right way that we would inevitably result requires knowledge and insight beyond possible human comprehension (Chaos principle taken to the ultimate extreme).
    Well I don't know what "pure energy" is, but we already create matter in particle accelerators. Electrical energy is used to accelerate particles turning the electrical energy into kinetic energy, which is then converted into massive particles.

    If you are imagining Star Trek replicators then I don't think that is realistic at all. The energy to mass conversion factor (9x10^16m^2/s^2)is far too prohibitive to make that worthwhile. It just like the modern realization of the alchemists dream of turning lead into gold. We can do it now, but it just isn't worth the cost.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I recently read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." It was recommended by a friend who is a militant atheist who expletively insisted that if I read this book I would toss any conception of God that I have.
    Then you are to be highly commended for reading it. It is always a good thing to test our own ideas, but surprisingly few people do so, being content instead to stay inside their warm comfort blanket.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    ...concluded that there is an elegant design.
    I take it you mean an elegance in the overall appearance of a plan, rather than seeing design in any specific part of it. You see a harmony in the universe that you suspect is not accidental, but you don't see a designer in the flagella motor?

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    After all, if a painter just threw all his paint on the canvas, odds are slim that the painting would resemble anything noteworthy. It makes more sense if the painting were done in stages.
    I really like this analogy, and I am a painter so this makes total sense to me. I am now going to have to spend some time thinking about why this explanation never occurred to me before. I suspect it might have something to do with Jackson Pollack!

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    But there is a gaping hole in his demonstration. Can you see it?
    There are actually more than one "gaping" hole in his computer program; his survival rates and the percentage of organisms that are permitted to breed the next generation are pretty unrealistic. In another forum it has been argued on Dawkins behalf that these were done deliberately to make the point in a reasonable number of iterations. Personally, I don't appreciate how the number of iterations required to conduct an experiment is a problem for the reader of his book; for the experimenter who has to wait, sure, but not for the reader.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    The computer did not design itself.
    I think this is a subtle misunderstanding on your part, but I want to cover something else first and will come back to this if I may.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Then an idea popped into my head: evolution could be a process of creation or design.
    This, I think, is where you start to move away from what Dawkins was trying to say. He, and indeed almost any evolutionary biologist I have ever read or heard, would argue that creation and evolution are two completely different things, and it is disappointing that this distinction is not more widely understood and appreciated.

    Creation: The event or process of making life happen.

    Evolution: The process of gradual changes resulting in life that has adapted to be more fit for its environment.

    Creation needs to happen first, then evolution can kick in. Evolution can start to happen only after there is a life form to evolve.

    Darwin's theory of evolution tells us how the life forms we have will change over time to be more fit for their environment. It does not say anything at all about how that life came into existence in the first place.

    So, going back to your comment about the computer not designing itself. I hope you can now see that this is not a refutation of Dawkins argument because evolution is not an attempt to explain how the first computer got there, or how the first computer programmed organism got there; it is an attempt to explain how once it has got there it will, over time, evolve to become more fit for its environment.

    If you like, only once the computer has been invented can it evolve.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Creation and evolution are one and the same!
    Kudos to you for reading Dawkins. Understanding, unfortunately, still lies some way off.

    Incidentally, nothing I have said should be taken as an attempt to debunk God. Even though I do not personally believe it did happen this way, I see nothing intrinsically wrong with the idea that God made everything happen and then stood back and let evolution get on with its stuff. That way you can have both an elegantly designed universe with a harmonious plan and God's footsteps on the beach, and an un-directed evolutionary process. Whatever rocks your boat, I suppose.
    Everything the laws of the universe do not prohibit must finally happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Oh I didn't say it would debunk the idea of God, I said it would lend substance to your claim that a God would have nothing to do after setting up the laws of nature. That would be much more of Deist type God in regards to the creation of living things - more like the views of John Polkinghorne than my own.
    Then, we can take that one step further anbd also assume that since your god had nothing to do once the laws of nature were in action, that the laws of nature were not set up at all by a god but came about on their own, just like they act on their own. Your god becomes the fairy god.
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  14. #13 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    A design still implies a designer. Therefore, Dawkins succeeded in falsifying the fairy gods, but not the one that did the actual work of designing our elegant universe!
    Or rephrased not the fairy god, you believe in.
    You do make I laugh.
    Well I take it back. You seem to know what I believe, so you must be the god we speak of. Sprinkle some magic dust for me.
    lol when you were reading the blind watchmaker, it never once crossed your mind he was referring to your god, as well as all the thousands of others, did it..
    You people are that blinkered! He could not of meant your imaginary friend could he.
    There are 2850 god this is not including the hindu gods which number in the millions. Why would you think he didn't mean yours as well, how is yours the right one, what makes it better than the rest. lol.
    Well mine isn't a fairy god as you erroneously believe. Mine is simply the set of all spacetime coordinates, laws of nature along with anything else that is not corporal. If you want proof of my god, you only need to ask yourself: "Is there more to reality than what is under my nose?"
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  15. #14 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    From stage left enters Richard Dawkins. He attempts to falsify Paley's brilliant exposition. Did he succeed? Well, I think he did a splendid job showing that designs are not perfect so therefore the "designer" is not perfect. No problem here. Human designers aren't perfect either.
    One could perhaps attempt to argue against Dawkins by pointing out that the "designer" might have been incompetent, malicious, etc. But Dawkins probably doesn't really care about that too much, because his book is mostly aimed against the major organized religions (christianity, islam, judaism), all of which usually claim that god is perfect, all-knowing, etc. You would have a very hard time getting your average christian to admit to the possibility that his god might have made a mistake, so that's not an argument that's likely to come up often, although obviously that's not such a problem for you.
    You don't know how right you are. I posted at Dawkins' site and I think he was the only one who did not have a pitchfork and a torch! LOL! Imagine militant theists and atheists--two sides of the same radical coin. To be fair, there were some moderates who were polite thank god (can I say that word? lol).
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Williampinn missed the point Dawkins trying to make i.e. It does not need an intelligent designer to create a complex orgnaism, because complexi form can be the product of gradual change from very simple form guided by a few principles. I am not sure whether he mention imperfect design, but I think inelegant is more like what he intends to convey.
    Also Dawkins is not the only scientist who advocates evolution theory. most of the living biologists are with him, only they are not so outspoken.
    I get the point. I merely showed some holes in his exposition. It would have been far more impressive if Dawkins had not acted as a "guiding hand, " An experiment using microbes would have been a better demo since they evolve at an exponential rate and don't need Dawkins playing god, (but possibly need the real god.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I think we have an increasingly good idea of how the basic laws of physics can have all we see as result. So if a God ever existed, all he had to do IMO is create the universe with all its basic laws and then leave it alone. The rest would take care of itself. God would be the guiding hand at the instant of the big bang to create our universe. I think, though, that the anthropic principle can take care of that much more elegantly.


    Edit: So, basically prasit's point. :|
    I hear ya! I once imagined our universe being a virtual reality programmed by a computer programmer in a separate reality. The only proof we have of his existence is the algorithms (physical laws) that he compiled just before he hit the Big Bang switch to run the program.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I recently read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." It was recommended by a friend who is a militant atheist who expletively insisted that if I read this book I would toss any conception of God that I have.
    Then you are to be highly commended for reading it. It is always a good thing to test our own ideas, but surprisingly few people do so, being content instead to stay inside their warm comfort blanket.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    ...concluded that there is an elegant design.
    I take it you mean an elegance in the overall appearance of a plan, rather than seeing design in any specific part of it. You see a harmony in the universe that you suspect is not accidental, but you don't see a designer in the flagella motor?

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    After all, if a painter just threw all his paint on the canvas, odds are slim that the painting would resemble anything noteworthy. It makes more sense if the painting were done in stages.
    I really like this analogy, and I am a painter so this makes total sense to me. I am now going to have to spend some time thinking about why this explanation never occurred to me before. I suspect it might have something to do with Jackson Pollack!

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    But there is a gaping hole in his demonstration. Can you see it?
    There are actually more than one "gaping" hole in his computer program; his survival rates and the percentage of organisms that are permitted to breed the next generation are pretty unrealistic. In another forum it has been argued on Dawkins behalf that these were done deliberately to make the point in a reasonable number of iterations. Personally, I don't appreciate how the number of iterations required to conduct an experiment is a problem for the reader of his book; for the experimenter who has to wait, sure, but not for the reader.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    The computer did not design itself.
    I think this is a subtle misunderstanding on your part, but I want to cover something else first and will come back to this if I may.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Then an idea popped into my head: evolution could be a process of creation or design.
    This, I think, is where you start to move away from what Dawkins was trying to say. He, and indeed almost any evolutionary biologist I have ever read or heard, would argue that creation and evolution are two completely different things, and it is disappointing that this distinction is not more widely understood and appreciated.

    Creation: The event or process of making life happen.

    Evolution: The process of gradual changes resulting in life that has adapted to be more fit for its environment.

    Creation needs to happen first, then evolution can kick in. Evolution can start to happen only after there is a life form to evolve.

    Darwin's theory of evolution tells us how the life forms we have will change over time to be more fit for their environment. It does not say anything at all about how that life came into existence in the first place.

    So, going back to your comment about the computer not designing itself. I hope you can now see that this is not a refutation of Dawkins argument because evolution is not an attempt to explain how the first computer got there, or how the first computer programmed organism got there; it is an attempt to explain how once it has got there it will, over time, evolve to become more fit for its environment.

    If you like, only once the computer has been invented can it evolve.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Creation and evolution are one and the same!
    Kudos to you for reading Dawkins. Understanding, unfortunately, still lies some way off.

    Incidentally, nothing I have said should be taken as an attempt to debunk God. Even though I do not personally believe it did happen this way, I see nothing intrinsically wrong with the idea that God made everything happen and then stood back and let evolution get on with its stuff. That way you can have both an elegantly designed universe with a harmonious plan and God's footsteps on the beach, and an un-directed evolutionary process. Whatever rocks your boat, I suppose.

    I realize the consensus separates creation and evolution. I was thinking outside the box. When complete one of your paintings, did you create it or did it evolve or was it created then evolved? I see your first brush stroke as the first protocell, more brush strokes follow filling the canvas with a variety of mutations (colors and shapes and lines). These combine to make more complex images and so forth. You don't just barf out a painting and say, "Here it is!" You create/evolve it in gradual steps.

    As I declared: evolution and creation are one and the same!
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  19. #18 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Well mine isn't a fairy god as you erroneously believe.
    Would you care to explain the difference?
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Mine is simply the set of all spacetime coordinates, laws of nature along with anything else that is not corporal.
    Not what! Oh wait you mean Invisible/non existant, just like all the other fairy gods. Right!
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    If you want proof of my god, you only need to ask yourself: "Is there more to reality than what is under my nose?"
    Now why would I ask such an infantile question.
    Your almost as bad as numbers, he thinks that, he himself and polar bears dont exist.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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  20. #19 Re: Richard Dawkins--The Blind Scientist 
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Well mine isn't a fairy god as you erroneously believe.
    Would you care to explain the difference?
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Mine is simply the set of all spacetime coordinates, laws of nature along with anything else that is not corporal.
    Not what! Oh wait you mean Invisible/non existant, just like all the other fairy gods. Right!
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    If you want proof of my god, you only need to ask yourself: "Is there more to reality than what is under my nose?"
    Now why would I ask such an infantile question.
    Your almost as bad as numbers, he thinks that, he himself and polar bears dont exist.
    Well you exist, don't you? How about some more of that magic dust?
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    God created thermodynamics, mechanics and electromagnetism

    Nothing else needed to be done
    everything is mathematical.
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    William pinn wrote
    You don't just barf out a painting and say, "Here it is!" You create/evolve it in gradual steps.

    As I declared: evolution and creation are one and the same!
    The analogy does not fit. It is actually misleading.
    A bright-color painting fades into a pale-color painting. It does not need anyone to make it pale, it transforms, over time, under certain physical laws.

    As I declared: evolution and creation are incompatible.
    If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism
    -Albert Einstein
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I realize the consensus separates creation and evolution. I was thinking outside the box.
    I am all in favour of thinking outside the box, but it does help if you know how big the box is before you start. I am also in favour of trying out new ideas, tossing them around for a bit to see if they fit and then either adopting them or discarding them. I see that as healthy behaviour. But you do have to make sure you toss the bad ideas away or they keep coming back to haunt you like persistent toothache.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    When complete one of your paintings, did you create it or did it evolve...
    If I leave one of my paintings on my easel for a few days I don't find that it reproduces itself making copies, each of which is slightly different than the previous one. So, no, they do not evolve. I think you're getting a bit carried away with this analogy.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I see your first brush stroke as the first protocell, more brush strokes follow...
    This is not evolution. Those brush strokes were planned quite carefully from the start. I have drawn the picture first, and painted some colour washes to show me where the highs and lows are going to be, I have thought carefully about where the light is coming from and lots of other details. I know what I am going to paint before I sit down; there is no evolution taking place here.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    ...filling the canvas with a variety of mutations...
    These are not mutations in the evolutionary sense. Simply mixing two things together is not evolution; would you claim that a cake is the evolution of flour and butter?

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    You don't just barf out a painting and say, "Here it is!" You create/evolve it in gradual steps.
    No, I don't just barf out a painting, it is planned very carefully beforehand. I often spend weeks thinking about it, researching the subject, drawing sketches, planning colour schemes, painting tone sketches, considering which kind of paper to use, and thinking about the sequence in which the painting is going to be done. Only then do I paint the picture. It might be possible to think of the idea evolving until I am happy with it, but the physical picture does not evolve, not in the sense in which we mean evolution in this thread.

    I think you are confusing the everyday conversational use of evolve with the biological sense of genetic mutation leading to small changes and so on. The word is spelt the same, pronounced the same but has totally different meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    As I declared: evolution and creation are one and the same!
    Despite agreeing that the consensus view is that evolution and creation are separate, you nevertheless declare that they are the same. This makes no logical sense to me. They are either the same, or they are different. Having it both ways is not obviously possible.

    If you had said that you were suggesting that in some highly specific sense which you clearly explained, we might be able to think of them as being the same, who knows, I might have been able to agree with you. But I see no clear exposition of this sense in which you think they might be thought of as being the same. Your post reads like this:

    Yes, I agree they are different

    Highly confused analogy of painting with evolution

    I declare, they are the same.


    I think you need to do some work on the bit in between where you explain the sense in which you mean they are the same, because at the moment, I'm sorry, I'm just not getting it. In your OP you attempted to explain it in terms of the computer, but I have already explained why that analogy doesn't work. You need something like this:

    Yes, I agree they are different

    but...

    Clear explanation of the sense in which you suggest we can think of them as being the same.

    Therefore, I suggest that we can think of them as being the same, in this sense.


    That might work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    You're [sic] almost as bad as numbers, he thinks that, he himself and polar bears don't [sic] exist.
    I never said the polar bear does not exist.

    I said: You cannot objectively prove that the polar bear exists.

    There is a clear difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    When complete one of your paintings, did you create it or did it evolve...
    If I leave one of my paintings on my easel for a few days I don't find that it reproduces itself making copies, each of which is slightly different than the previous one. So, no, they do not evolve. I think you're getting a bit carried away with this analogy.
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I see your first brush stroke as the first protocell, more brush strokes follow...
    This is not evolution. Those brush strokes were planned quite carefully from the start. I have drawn the picture first, and painted some colour washes to show me where the highs and lows are going to be, I have thought carefully about where the light is coming from and lots of other details. I know what I am going to paint before I sit down; there is no evolution taking place here.
    If you go back and read my post carefully I think you will see how I merged evolution with creation. What I am suggesting is that if we could not observe you painting your paitings or planning them, we might conclude they evolved since they come into being gradually. We might think the paint was reproducing itself if we could not see you physically doing the work. I see natural selection as either the artist or a tool of the artist when I think of the evolution of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    William pinn wrote
    You don't just barf out a painting and say, "Here it is!" You create/evolve it in gradual steps.

    As I declared: evolution and creation are one and the same!
    The analogy does not fit. It is actually misleading.
    A bright-color painting fades into a pale-color painting. It does not need anyone to make it pale, it transforms, over time, under certain physical laws.

    As I declared: evolution and creation are incompatible.
    It does not take anyone human to make it pale, but it needs natural laws which in my opinion are part of the great one's tool kit. Natural laws are not made of any material and can be described as spiritual. Is there intelligence there. Yes if you define intelligence as the ability to make paintings pale and create a working universe that is far more complex of a design than any of Man's creations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    If you go back and read my post carefully I think you will see how I merged evolution with creation.
    I have done that William, honest, but I still don't see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    What I am suggesting is that if we could not observe you painting your paintings [sic] or planning them, we might conclude they evolved since they come into being gradually.
    At first this confused me, but then I realised that you meant that you can see the picture being produced, you just can't see me painting it; the paint is going on almost by magic, with no guiding hand. But I'm afaraid I don't see evolution here.

    The first paint spot is a protocell (to use your word). For this to be compared to evolution, each subsequent protocell would have to be different in some way from its predecessor that makes it more fit for its environment. Whereas in the painting process the last protocell could, it's possible, be exactly the same as the first.

    Alternatively, the picture itself has not made copies of itself and mutated, it has grown, like a coral reef growing slowly, or a sediment bank gradually becoming deeper and wider. I'm sorry William, I don't see evolution here.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I see natural selection as either the artist or a tool of the artist when I think of the evolution of life.
    Different folks often require different explanations before they "get" something they are trying to learn. So you can think of evolution like that if you want, if it helps you in any way, but I personally don't see how it helps understand what Darwin was talking about because it is wrong in many important ways and right only in its visual appeal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    You're almost as bad as numbers, he thinks that, he himself and polar bears don't exist.
    I never said the polar bear does not exist.

    I said: You cannot objectively prove that the polar bear exists.

    There is a clear difference.
    Then it should not be a problem to get inside it's encloser, should it or would being mauled to death, not be enough objective proof for you.

    Sorry I see no difference.

    If it exists, then it has objective proof.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    If it exists, then it has objective proof.
    You really are a very amusing fellow.

    You are attempting to prove that the polar bear exists, and your proof goes like this:

    If it exists, then it exists.

    Terrific. (slaps head) Why on earth didn't I think of that!
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    If it exists, then it has objective proof.
    You really are a very amusing fellow.

    You are attempting to prove that the polar bear exists, and your proof goes like this:

    If it exists, then it exists.

    Terrific. (slaps head) Why on earth didn't I think of that!
    yes my mistake, it does seem to read that way.
    The point, I have been making is, as you know, if it mauls you to death then it has proved itself worthy of being objective, unless of course you are a figment of my imagination, then perhaps polar bears are too.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I get the point. I merely showed some holes in his exposition. It would have been far more impressive if Dawkins had not acted as a "guiding hand, " An experiment using microbes would have been a better demo since they evolve at an exponential rate and don't need Dawkins playing god, (but possibly need the real god.)
    But if he had used microbes, all the people who believe that the universe/life/etc was designed would be complaining that he was simply using the microbes that god had already designed for him. There's no way to please them; any original system that an experimenter creates will have people shouting "But he designed the system!" while any experiment using the "real world" will have people shouting "but that only worked because the system of the universe/life/whatever was already designed by god!"

    I think his point was simply to show that most of the complicated, impressive things that people look at and assume must have been deliberately designed can emerge without deliberate design from simple system that obey relatively simple rules. Of course you can argue that the system itself might have been designed, but usually the system from which the complexity emerges isn't as impressive and smacking of apparent design as things that emerge from it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    ...unless of course you are a figment of my imagination, then perhaps polar bears are too.
    Precisely.

    The point is that our senses sometimes deceive us; distant objects seem to be smaller than they really are, for example, and how many times have you been fooled by an optical illusion? And we have no way of knowing when we are being deceived and when we are not, we just tend to believe what our senses tell us. So if we are not able to tell when we are being deceived, how do we know what is a true sensation and what is a deceptive sensation? We can't, and therefore we should not rely on our sensations to tell us the truth (but only from a philosophical perspective. If your hand hurts, take it out of the fire).

    Sometimes our sensations seem real, but we are not really experiencing them. In dreams, for example, we experience sensations that are not really happening, falling off high buildings, being chased up the stairs and so on. These feel very real while we are dreaming and it is only when we wake up that we realise it was a dream. We are not able to tell, while we are dreaming, that we are dreaming.

    So, our sensations may not be real, and we may not even be experiencing them, because we might just be dreaming.

    Therefore, just because you can see the polar bear, and smell it, and feel it's sharp teeth ripping into your flesh, does not mean that you are not asleep, dreaming that you are in the polar bear enclosure at the zoo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    ...unless of course you are a figment of my imagination, then perhaps polar bears are too.
    Precisely.

    The point is that our senses sometimes deceive us; distant objects seem to be smaller than they really are, for example, and how many times have you been fooled by an optical illusion? And we have no way of knowing when we are being deceived and when we are not, we just tend to believe what our senses tell us. So if we are not able to tell when we are being deceived, how do we know what is a true sensation and what is a deceptive sensation? We can't, and therefore we should not rely on our sensations to tell us the truth (but only from a philosophical perspective. If your hand hurts, take it out of the fire).

    Sometimes our sensations seem real, but we are not really experiencing them. In dreams, for example, we experience sensations that are not really happening, falling off high buildings, being chased up the stairs and so on. These feel very real while we are dreaming and it is only when we wake up that we realise it was a dream. We are not able to tell, while we are dreaming, that we are dreaming.

    So, our sensations may not be real, and we may not even be experiencing them, because we might just be dreaming.

    Therefore, just because you can see the polar bear, and smell it, and feel it's sharp teeth ripping into your flesh, does not mean that you are not asleep, dreaming that you are in the polar bear enclosure at the zoo.
    Lol, and wheres Keanu Reeves(neo) when you need him.

    "The Matrix"
    It wasn't real, it was just a film.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Lol, and wheres Keanu Reeves(neo) when you need him.

    "The Matrix"
    It wasn't real, it was just a film.
    But the philosophies in it are quite real my friend.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Lol, and wheres Keanu Reeves(neo) when you need him.

    "The Matrix"
    It wasn't real, it was just a film.
    But the philosophies in it are quite real my friend.
    Lol, are you another one thats not willing to jump into the bear encloser, to test the philosophy.
    Try standing on the motorway, or railway line, and tell yourself that the car or train thats about to hit you is'nt real.
    If the train or car passes right through you, you'll be proven right. lol.
    You people are laugh a minute.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    There's a school of thought in philosophy that if there's no empirical test that you can do that will ever show something to be false, then you might as well regard it as true - because even if it's false, it will never matter since you will never be able to tell and your incorrect belief will have no negative consequences. So who cares if your car is really just an illusion or something; so long as there's no test you can do that will show it to be an illusion, it doesn't matter.
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    William pinn wrote:
    Natural laws are not made of any material and can be described as spiritual. Is there intelligence there. Yes if you define intelligence as the ability to make paintings pale and create a working universe that is far more complex of a design than any of Man's creations.
    There is no reason why Natural laws need to be described as spiritual.
    If you say God created life through natural laws (without any tweaking) then the concept is Deism, not Creationism. I will not argue against Deism because its outcome is the same as Atheism.
    If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism
    -Albert Einstein
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Try standing on the motorway, or railway line, and tell yourself that the car or train that's [sic] about to hit you isn't [sic] real.
    You have said this, or things exactly equivalent to this, several times now, and I have patiently and carefully explained why this does not answer the question. On the other, hand all it does demonstrate is that:
    .....a) You have not bothered to read or attempted to understand the things I have been saying.
    .....b) You have not bothered to learn for yourself what objective proof requires.
    .....c) You have not bothered to look in a dictionary or elsewhere on the web to see whether your misguided delusion is even remotely possible.
    .....d) You have not thought to ask for clarification of any point.
    .....e) You have made no effort to understand the topic of the conversation but have repeatedly peddled your so-called refutation as though giggling like a silly schoolgirl were any kind of intelligent response, LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Lol, are you another one that's [sic] not willing to jump into the bear enclosure [sic], to test the philosophy? [sic]
    You do not test philosophy with experiments. Science does the experiments, science draws conclusions based on experimental data. Philosophies are tested by thinking. Try it sometime, it might help.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    You people are a [sic] laugh a minute.
    You're welcome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Lol, and wheres Keanu Reeves(neo) when you need him.

    "The Matrix"
    It wasn't real, it was just a film.
    But the philosophies in it are quite real my friend.
    But it takes human beings of a certain caliber/type to be able to see those realities past the end of their nose --- I mean past their ideolologies of steel and concrete, which cut down their perceptions of the world to force them to fit in the tiny boxes of their mind. Most of the people in "the matrix" never see, taste or imagine anything of reality.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Try standing on the motorway, or railway line, and tell yourself that the car or train that's [sic] about to hit you isn't [sic] real.
    You have said this, or things exactly equivalent to this, several times now, and I have patiently and carefully explained why this does not answer the question.
    Yes I know!
    You are a post modernist/cutural relativist.
    Whereas I believe your claims are logically inconsistent, and as such cannot be true.
    Would you agree that Objective reality is whatever remains true whether you believe in it or not.
    Now you might say that is insufficientlly precise or even circular, we could go back to stating what do you mean by "true" what do you mean by "believe" or even what do you mean by "mean"
    But for this purpose, Precise meanings of terms are unimportant, their common everyday meanings are good enough.
    I use the terms "objective truth" and "objective reality" these in my opinion are interchangeable, what is true is real and what is real is true.

    So:
    1, Is there such a thing as objective reality?

    Me: Yes
    You: No

    Then the next question must be.
    1.1, Is there an answer to question 1?

    Me: Yes
    You: Yes

    We are both agreed here, that this answer is objectively true. thus the answer we both gave to question 1.1 is an example of objective reality. something that remains true whether someone believes in it or not.
    If you say for instance the question 1.1 is to simplified, then we continue to the next question "is there an answer to question 1.1" and so on.

    1. There is such a thing as objective reality.
    2. There is only one reality: a statement cannot be true in one reality and false in another.
    3. The example I have given above is not merely an existence proof: it is a constructive proof, giving one or more examples of statements that are objectively true.

    Thats it in a nutshell.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    William,
    the way in which you have blended creation and evolution amounts to this - evolution is the means through which the act of creation is realised.
    Have I understood you correctly?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Whereas I believe your claims are logically inconsistent, and as such cannot be true.
    I do not answer Q1 with No.

    I have never said that objective reality does not exist.

    All I have ever claimed is that you cannot prove that it does exist.

    In other words, my answers are as follows:

    Q1 = Don't know, but you can't prove the answer is Yes.

    which means Q1.1 is no longer the next question.
    (but please don't ask me what is)

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    You are a post modernist/cutural relativist.
    A few months ago someone sounding equally as positive as you said I am an Objectivist. If it means I get free spliffs for christmas then sign me up. Otherwise, I'm not interested in labels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Whereas I believe your claims are logically inconsistent, and as such cannot be true.
    I do not answer Q1 with No.

    I have never said that objective reality does not exist.

    All I have ever claimed is that you cannot prove that it does exist.

    In other words, my answers are as follows:

    Q1 = Don't know, but you can't prove the answer is Yes.

    which means Q1.1 is no longer the next question.
    (but please don't ask me what is)
    Oh come on of course Q1.1 remains the next question, regardless of what your answer would be, how you cant see that is amazing.
    Forgive my indulgence stephen.
    Q1.1 states is there an answer to Q1, which you would still both say yes too.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    If you go back and read my post carefully I think you will see how I merged evolution with creation.
    I have done that William, honest, but I still don't see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    What I am suggesting is that if we could not observe you painting your paintings [sic] or planning them, we might conclude they evolved since they come into being gradually.
    At first this confused me, but then I realised that you meant that you can see the picture being produced, you just can't see me painting it; the paint is going on almost by magic, with no guiding hand. But I'm afaraid I don't see evolution here.

    The first paint spot is a protocell (to use your word). For this to be compared to evolution, each subsequent protocell would have to be different in some way from its predecessor that makes it more fit for its environment. Whereas in the painting process the last protocell could, it's possible, be exactly the same as the first.

    Alternatively, the picture itself has not made copies of itself and mutated, it has grown, like a coral reef growing slowly, or a sediment bank gradually becoming deeper and wider. I'm sorry William, I don't see evolution here.

    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I see natural selection as either the artist or a tool of the artist when I think of the evolution of life.
    Different folks often require different explanations before they "get" something they are trying to learn. So you can think of evolution like that if you want, if it helps you in any way, but I personally don't see how it helps understand what Darwin was talking about because it is wrong in many important ways and right only in its visual appeal.
    OK, have it your way. You then make copies of the painting, but each copy is slightly different due to human error. The best copies are selected, the ones that did not make the cut are thrown out, become extinct. Do you see evoltuion now? Or do the paintings need to mate with one another?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    William,
    the way in which you have blended creation and evolution amounts to this - evolution is the means through which the act of creation is realised.
    Have I understood you correctly?
    That's it. Evolution is not about who done it, but how he done it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    William pinn wrote:
    Natural laws are not made of any material and can be described as spiritual. Is there intelligence there. Yes if you define intelligence as the ability to make paintings pale and create a working universe that is far more complex of a design than any of Man's creations.
    There is no reason why Natural laws need to be described as spiritual.
    If you say God created life through natural laws (without any tweaking) then the concept is Deism, not Creationism. I will not argue against Deism because its outcome is the same as Atheism.
    No need to describe natural laws as spiritual? But you describe them as natural laws. You could describe them as god's laws just as easily. If Deists and Atheists are similar it is only because Atheists worship the Nature goddess. Who is nature exactly if not a goddess?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    There's a school of thought in philosophy that if there's no empirical test that you can do that will ever show something to be false, then you might as well regard it as true - because even if it's false, it will never matter since you will never be able to tell and your incorrect belief will have no negative consequences. So who cares if your car is really just an illusion or something; so long as there's no test you can do that will show it to be an illusion, it doesn't matter.
    Ditto! Although some atheists have fired back with, "You can't prove a negative." Of course this is a myth that is part of atheist dogma. I recently proved that there is no worm in my apple. Or, if you prefer, I falsified the theory that there is a worm in my apple.
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    There's a school of thought in philosophy that if there's no empirical test that you can do that will ever show something to be false, then you might as well regard it as true - because even if it's false, it will never matter since you will never be able to tell and your incorrect belief will have no negative consequences. So who cares if your car is really just an illusion or something; so long as there's no test you can do that will show it to be an illusion, it doesn't matter.
    Ditto! Although some atheists have fired back with, "You can't prove a negative." Of course this is a myth that is part of atheist dogma. I recently proved that there is no worm in my apple. Or, if you prefer, I falsified the theory that there is a worm in my apple.
    Can you prove that an alien named Williampinn on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy doesn't have a worm in his apple?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    I get the point. I merely showed some holes in his exposition. It would have been far more impressive if Dawkins had not acted as a "guiding hand, " An experiment using microbes would have been a better demo since they evolve at an exponential rate and don't need Dawkins playing god, (but possibly need the real god.)
    But if he had used microbes, all the people who believe that the universe/life/etc was designed would be complaining that he was simply using the microbes that god had already designed for him. There's no way to please them; any original system that an experimenter creates will have people shouting "But he designed the system!" while any experiment using the "real world" will have people shouting "but that only worked because the system of the universe/life/whatever was already designed by god!"

    I think his point was simply to show that most of the complicated, impressive things that people look at and assume must have been deliberately designed can emerge without deliberate design from simple system that obey relatively simple rules. Of course you can argue that the system itself might have been designed, but usually the system from which the complexity emerges isn't as impressive and smacking of apparent design as things that emerge from it.
    And who made up these "relatively simple rules" before mankind discovered them? One possible answer is "no one; the rules are a given." But they are not material reality. I see them as evidence as something spiritual. If we remove all material reality, what is left is God or spiritual reality.

    If I am wrong, then what do you make of said rules?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    There's a school of thought in philosophy that if there's no empirical test that you can do that will ever show something to be false, then you might as well regard it as true - because even if it's false, it will never matter since you will never be able to tell and your incorrect belief will have no negative consequences. So who cares if your car is really just an illusion or something; so long as there's no test you can do that will show it to be an illusion, it doesn't matter.
    Ditto! Although some atheists have fired back with, "You can't prove a negative." Of course this is a myth that is part of atheist dogma. I recently proved that there is no worm in my apple. Or, if you prefer, I falsified the theory that there is a worm in my apple.
    Can you prove that an alien named Williampinn on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy doesn't have a worm in his apple?
    I think I just did. How did you know I am an alen? LOL!
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    Your not in the Andromeda galaxy now are you? :wink:

    Anyway, with you proving you don't have a worm in your apple, how does that touch the contention made by atheists in this regard concerning a god?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    ...unless of course you are a figment of my imagination, then perhaps polar bears are too.
    Precisely.

    The point is that our senses sometimes deceive us; distant objects seem to be smaller than they really are, for example, and how many times have you been fooled by an optical illusion? And we have no way of knowing when we are being deceived and when we are not, we just tend to believe what our senses tell us. So if we are not able to tell when we are being deceived, how do we know what is a true sensation and what is a deceptive sensation? We can't, and therefore we should not rely on our sensations to tell us the truth (but only from a philosophical perspective. If your hand hurts, take it out of the fire).

    Sometimes our sensations seem real, but we are not really experiencing them. In dreams, for example, we experience sensations that are not really happening, falling off high buildings, being chased up the stairs and so on. These feel very real while we are dreaming and it is only when we wake up that we realise it was a dream. We are not able to tell, while we are dreaming, that we are dreaming.

    So, our sensations may not be real, and we may not even be experiencing them, because we might just be dreaming.

    Therefore, just because you can see the polar bear, and smell it, and feel it's sharp teeth ripping into your flesh, does not mean that you are not asleep, dreaming that you are in the polar bear enclosure at the zoo.
    Ditto. Sometimes evidence or your senses can mislead you. When that happens, belief in something seemingly unreal can yield you better results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Your not in the Andromeda galaxy now are you? :wink:

    Anyway, with you proving you don't have a worm in your apple, how does that touch the contention made by atheists in this regard concerning a god?
    Atheist: :You can't prove there is a god.
    Me: You can't disprove the the existence of god.
    Atheist: The onus is on you, since no one can prove a negative.
    Me: I just proved there is no worm in my apple, so negatives can be proven. Further, the onus is on you since belief in god is the consensus view. Good luck.
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    If objective reality doesn't exist and we're but a figment of our imagination then we're not actually real, are we? This means that if this isn't an objective reality it contradicts itself by the fact that we are real, because we are something. Our perception alone is something, rather than nothing, therefore the idea of there not being an objective reality is self-contradictory. This must mean that it's untrue, thus proving that there is an objective reality per definition.

    Owned.

    Negative definitions can be useful in some respects like the absense of sight being blind. However it's quite different with God. You can't negatively define God because nobody knows what God is supposed to be in the first place. This renders negative proof useless as in for example x does not equal 5, etc, etc... It's useless because God isn't falsifiable. This is why proving a negative in this respect makes no sense.

    Owned.
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    You missed the point there, William, with my little Andromeda analogy. You can't prove god does not exist, because there is no evidence to examine in the first place. In the same way, you cannot prove he exists either. Neither of us can prove anything about a williampinn in the Andromeda galaxy, because we don't have access to any evidence, nor do we even know if objective evidence exists to prove this particular given. Onusses of proof are meaningless in such a situation.

    You might say that the evidence is all around us, i.e. life, the universe and everything. BUT, it is not evidence for either position, only maybe in favour of an uninvolved god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    If objective reality doesn't exist and we're but a figment of our imagination then we're not actually real, are we? This means that if this isn't an objective reality it contradicts itself by the fact that we are real, because we are something. Our perception alone is something, rather than nothing, therefore the idea of there not being an objective reality is self-contradictory. This must mean that it's untrue, thus proving that there is an objective reality per definition.

    Owned.

    Negative definitions can be useful in some respects like the absense of sight being blind. However it's quite different with God. You can't negatively define God because nobody knows what God is supposed to be in the first place. This renders negative proof useless as in for example x does not equal 5, etc, etc... It's useless because God isn't falsifiable. This is why proving a negative in this respect makes no sense.

    Owned.
    I agree. God needs to be defined first. Then it can be falsified.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You missed the point there, William, with my little Andromeda analogy. You can't prove god does not exist, because there is no evidence to examine in the first place. In the same way, you cannot prove he exists either. Neither of us can prove anything about a williampinn in the Andromeda galaxy, because we don't have access to any evidence, nor do we even know if objective evidence exists to prove this particular given. Onusses of proof are meaningless in such a situation.

    You might say that the evidence is all around us, i.e. life, the universe and everything. BUT, it is not evidence for either position, only maybe in favour of an uninvolved god.
    Of course I get your point. Surely you did not take my little joke seriously. You did name me after all. Next time use an alien named Fred. As to the evidence all around us, it does count if god is defined as that evidence. A pantheist has an easy time proving his god exists, so does a sun worshiper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by williampinn
    Or do the paintings need to mate with one another?
    No, I don't think they need to mate with each other but I'm glad you asked (even if you only meant it facetiously) because it made me think very carefully about why it is not evolution.

    I think there has to be some criteria that is at least approximately synonymous with selection for those that are the most fit for their environment. Obviously paintings can't do that exactly, but something that requires the one chosen for copying has to be selected in some way. Otherwise all you end up with is a long line of imperfect copies ending up with something that might be significantly different than the original, but for no obvious reason. That would just be random copying error, which is not evolution. Does that make sense?

    So, from the first painting

    1) Make three copies
    2) Select the one that most closely meets some criteria
    3) Go back to step 1)

    That could be roughly analogous to evolution.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    If objective reality doesn't exist and we're but a figment of our imagination then we're not actually real, are we?
    I think the reason we are going to continue to disagree on this point is because the definition of "objective reality" that I subscribe to is the one which is independent of the observer. This means that I cannot rely on my senses to provide me with objective truth. Whereas your version permits you to conclude that which you can sense is real.

    In your version, your senses are providing you with reality, in my version, my senses are providing me with perception.

    In my version, there is no certainty about whether objective truth is attainable, I am not sure that objective reality "exists", I am not sure that objective proof is possible. Whereas you seem certain that the answers to these questions are known, I think the answers are not knowable.

    If we do in fact have differing definitions, then this is simply an "apples and oranges" debate which is not going anywhere. From which we conclude that this is an issue about which individuals may choose; you choose a reality defined by your senses, I choose the potential for that to be true. Is that a reasonable assessment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    You can't negatively define God because nobody knows what God is supposed to be in the first place. This renders negative proof useless as in for example x does not equal 5, etc, etc... It's useless because God isn't falsifiable.
    Would you consider trying to use the rules of English grammar to prove a mathematical theory is incorrect? The verb goes before the conjunctive, therefore 2 + 2 does not equal 4. The mere idea of this is ridiculous, you probably think I am bonkers for even suggesting it. So why do we not do this? Because English grammar and mathematics are two realms of thought that depend on different assumptions, use different techniques and methods to do different things. There is, however, a certain overlap. Mathematicians use the rules of English grammar when writing their papers, they use full stops and adjectives just like the rest of us.

    So we can have access to one realm from the other, which is what mathematicians do when they write maths papers in English. We can use the rules of one realm to say something in the other realm, which is again what mathematicians do when writing maths papers in English, and we can even talk about one realm in the language of the other, so we can use English grammar to write about mathematics. What we do not try to do, is to prove that some realm is wrong in terms of another.

    We do not try to prove that mathematics is wrong in terms of English grammar, art is not wrong in terms of history, geography is not wrong in terms of music, dance is not wrong in terms of biology. We accept this because we appreciate that each area is right in its own terms.

    So why are you so keen on trying to prove that religion is wrong in terms of science?
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    I think the reason we are going to continue to disagree on this point is because the definition of "objective reality" that I subscribe to is the one which is independent of the observer. This means that I cannot rely on my senses to provide me with objective truth. Whereas your version permits you to conclude that which you can sense is real.

    In your version, your senses are providing you with reality, in my version, my senses are providing me with perception.

    In my version, there is no certainty about whether objective truth is attainable, I am not sure that objective reality "exists", I am not sure that objective proof is possible. Whereas you seem certain that the answers to these questions are known, I think the answers are not knowable.

    If we do in fact have differing definitions, then this is simply an "apples and oranges" debate which is not going anywhere. From which we conclude that this is an issue about which individuals may choose; you choose a reality defined by your senses, I choose the potential for that to be true. Is that a reasonable assessment?
    I think the answer is an a priori. By the fact that there's something rather than nothing -- and Occam's Razor telling me that evolution seems to be the simplest and best explanation to why I percieve -- I can without a doubt say that this is all real. The "something" is what I define to be reality. Or else we're just going to have a vague and nonsensical definition which is just about useless.

    So yes, it seems we do define reality quite differently. And further discussion would seem useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Would you consider trying to use the rules of English grammar to prove a mathematical theory is incorrect? The verb goes before the conjunctive, therefore 2 + 2 does not equal 4. The mere idea of this is ridiculous, you probably think I am bonkers for even suggesting it. So why do we not do this? Because English grammar and mathematics are two realms of thought that depend on different assumptions, use different techniques and methods to do different things. There is, however, a certain overlap. Mathematicians use the rules of English grammar when writing their papers, they use full stops and adjectives just like the rest of us.

    So we can have access to one realm from the other, which is what mathematicians do when they write maths papers in English. We can use the rules of one realm to say something in the other realm, which is again what mathematicians do when writing maths papers in English, and we can even talk about one realm in the language of the other, so we can use English grammar to write about mathematics. What we do not try to do, is to prove that some realm is wrong in terms of another.

    We do not try to prove that mathematics is wrong in terms of English grammar, art is not wrong in terms of history, geography is not wrong in terms of music, dance is not wrong in terms of biology. We accept this because we appreciate that each area is right in its own terms.

    So why are you so keen on trying to prove that religion is wrong in terms of science?


    x is God and 3 is.... Let's say an apple. God is not an apple.



    x is god and 4 is not... A planet. God is not an planet.

    This goes on forever and we'll never be able to find out what God is by trying to negatively define him. It's useless. That's basically my point. No one can prove an unrestricted negative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    It's useless because God isn't falsifiable.
    Interesting. Do we agree on the principle of falsifiability?

    A claim cannot be considered valid (not true or false, just valid) unless it is falsifiable. This is because a claim that is not, at least in principle, falsifiable, cannot be shown to be false. This would mean that no amount of evidence would ever prove it false and it would be true merely by default.

    A crystal aniogram will balance your Karmic forces.

    This claim cannot be falsified because Karmic forces are not measurable and there is no way to tell when they have been balanced. So this claim cannot be falsified and is therefore discarded. We don't have to consider whether it is true or not, we just discard it because it is not falsifiable. Agreed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    If objective reality doesn't exist and we're but a figment of our imagination then we're not actually real, are we?
    Your claim here is that your senses are giving you true information and that you sense something (with one of the usual five senses) is sufficient for you to conclude that it is real.

    We can condense this to: What I sense is real.

    Is this claim, in principle, falsifiable?

    For you to demonstrate falsifiability you would have to show in principle, that when you reach out and touch your computer keyboard, what you sense is not caused by one of the following:

    1) You are asleep and dreaming it
    2) You are imagining it
    3) You inhabit a simulated Universe
    4) You are merely a brain in a vat

    ...and in addition, you would have to show,

    5) That there are no other alternatives

    And of course, if there are other alternatives you would also have to show that in principle it could be demonstrated that those alternatives were not responsible for causing you to sense your keyboard.

    So, is your claim that your senses are giving you true information, falsifiable?
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    So, is your claim that your senses are giving you true information, falsifiable?
    I'd say that this is a bit of an all purpose copout. You could use this argument to claim that nothing is absolutely falsifiable. A standard mechanism has to be erected at which it is decided if something is falsifiable or not and at the moment, that mechanism is the scientific method.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    It's useless because God isn't falsifiable.
    Interesting. Do we agree on the principle of falsifiability?

    A claim cannot be considered valid (not true or false, just valid) unless it is falsifiable. This is because a claim that is not, at least in principle, falsifiable, cannot be shown to be false. This would mean that no amount of evidence would ever prove it false and it would be true merely by default.
    Sorry this is poor reasoning.
    No it would not be regarded as true, it would be considered unknowable, and discarded.
    You certainly do have some weird beliefs.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    A crystal aniogram will balance your Karmic forces.
    This claim cannot be falsified because Karmic forces are not measurable. So this claim cannot be falsified and is therefore discarded. We don't have to consider whether it is true or not, we just discard it because it is not falsifiable. Agreed?
    Wow your learning. But what happened in your previous statement above.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    If objective reality doesn't exist and we're but a figment of our imagination then we're not actually real, are we?
    Your claim here is that your senses are giving you true information and that you sense something (with one of the usual five senses) is sufficient for you to conclude that it is real.

    We can condense this to: What I sense is real.
    Or what is true is real or what is real is true.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Is this claim, in principle, falsifiable?

    For you to demonstrate falsifiability you would have to show in principle, that when you reach out and touch your computer keyboard, what you sense is not caused by one of the following:

    1) You are asleep and dreaming it
    2) You are imagining it
    3) You inhabit a simulated Universe
    4) You are merely a brain in a vat

    ...and in addition, you would have to show,

    5) That there are no other alternatives
    And around we go back to the polar bear encloser.
    As you know if it is false, then this can be shown by observation or experiment, because Objective reality is whatever remains true whether you believe in it or not. thus 1-5 would be extremely infantile idea's thus are themselves discarded.
    Choosing alternatives could be in the billions, it could be whatever you could imagine,
    Thus occams razor, steps in.
    Hence why people dont all have your weird beliefs,
    if we did then none of us, as "Obviously" stated, could say we are real.
    Do you not see how infantile and stupid your beliefs sound.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalster
    A standard mechanism has to be erected at which it is decided if something is falsifiable or not and at the moment, that mechanism is the scientific method.
    To me, this reads as me looking at a telescope, through the telescope, with you telling me I should be turning my telescope elsewhere.

    So what are the criteria for deciding which things can be looked at through the telescope?

    I am using the scientific method - of which the principle of falsifiability is a part - to examine the validity of the scientific method. The conclusion of my examination so far has been that science is not objectively true, but just like everything else constructed by man, is true only in its own terms. Which I do not construe as a criticism of science, merely an objectively true statement about it.

    Every time I get to the point where that is the correct conclusion to draw some well-meaning soul tells me I can't apply the methods of science in that way, but sneakily omits to provide a proper explanation of why the method of science cannot be applied to science itself.

    Forgive my cynicism, but this does come across more as temperamental foot-stamping rather than reasoned argumentation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalster
    You could use this argument to claim that nothing is absolutely falsifiable.
    Is there anything inherently wrong with that conclusion?

    Your response to this is probably something along the lines of: Well no, not inherently wrong but it isn't very useful and doesn't get us anywhere.

    So I ask: Is truth not permitted to be true, or does it instead have to conform to someone's idea of usefulness and reasonableness before it can be considered true?
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    Your response to this is probably something along the lines of: Well no, not inherently wrong but it isn't very useful and doesn't get us anywhere.
    You got me!

    So I ask: Is truth not permitted to be true, or does it instead have to conform to someone's idea of usefulness and reasonableness before it can be considered true?
    Not just someone, but a bunch of people who have gotten the same results.

    From an individual's point of view you can say that nothing is objectively falsifiable, but in the case of the scientific method a bunch of people do the same experiment/observations using the same evidence and come to the same tentative conclusion, which incidentally are very seldomly, if ever, is taken as absolutely objectively confirmed.

    There are different levels of objective confirmation and the scientific method, as far as we know, is the best way to get to the highest level of truth.

    The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Your response to this is probably something along the lines of: Well no, not inherently wrong but it isn't very useful and doesn't get us anywhere.
    You got me!

    So I ask: Is truth not permitted to be true, or does it instead have to conform to someone's idea of usefulness and reasonableness before it can be considered true?
    Not just someone, but a bunch of people who have gotten the same results.

    From an individual's point of view you can say that nothing is objectively falsifiable, but in the case of the scientific method a bunch of people do the same experiment/observations using the same evidence and come to the same tentative conclusion, which incidentally are very seldomly, if ever, is taken as absolutely objectively confirmed.

    There are different levels of objective confirmation and the scientific method, as far as we know, is the best way to get to the highest level of truth.

    The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
    You do realise "Kalster" that "numbers" is only going to come back with, "can you be certain your not imagining this bunch of people, can you be certain your not dreaming, have you covered ever alternative, etc etc..."

    Laughable isn't it.
    A logician saves the life of a tiny space alien. The alien is very grateful and, since she's omniscient, offers the following reward: she offers to answer any question the logician might pose. Without too much thought (after all, he's a logician), he asks: "What is the best question to ask and what is the correct answer to that question?" The tiny alien pauses. Finally she replies, "The best question is the one you just asked; and the correct answer is the one I gave."
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    You do realise "Kalster" that "numbers" is only going to come back with, "can you be certain your not imagining this bunch of people, can you be certain your not dreaming, have you covered ever alternative, etc etc..."

    Laughable isn't it.
    Well, I do get his point, but it is an entirely useless one IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalster
    Well, I do get his point, but it is an entirely useless one IMO.
    I'll come back to whether it is useless or not, but first I want to talk about those three letters IMO.

    Those three letters imply that this is something about which people can have an opinion. It is not inherently true or false in itself, it is simply an opinion. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, and it is not a criticism to say something is your opinion, it is just an observation that this is an opinion as opposed to something that is objectively either true or false.

    In other words, this is a choice you made. There is no way for you to demonstrate, independent of the observer, that what your five senses are telling you is real, but you have made a choice to adopt the position that in most everyday situations this is the option that makes the most sense to you.

    And I do in fact agree with you on that point. When buttering my toast this morning I found it made the task waaay easier to just assume that the toast I saw was actually there.

    All I have been trying to do in this conversation is make the point that this is simply a choice you make. I am not placing a value on that choice, I am not claiming that my choice is better than yours, I am not trying to encourage you to make some other choice, all I have tried to do is to encourage you, someone, anyone, to acknowledge that this is simply a choice we make.

    As I said, in everyday, practical situations I agree that your choice is the one that makes the most sense, most of the time.

    However:

    1) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which that choice is not the most appropriate one to make?

    2) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which it might be valuable to remember and acknowlege that this is simply a choice you have made?

    I would say yes to both questions, and I can imagine that most people would almost automatically say No to question 1), but I would be interested to hear what you think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    I'll come back to whether it is useless or not, but first I want to talk about those three letters IMO.

    Those three letters imply that this is something about which people can have an opinion.
    LOL

    numbers thinks that there are some things about which people cannot have an opinion???


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    All I have been trying to do in this conversation is make the point that this is simply a choice you make. I am not placing a value on that choice, I am not claiming that my choice is better than yours, I am not trying to encourage you to make some other choice, all I have tried to do is to encourage you, someone, anyone, to acknowledge that this is simply a choice we make.

    As I said, in everyday, practical situations I agree that your choice is the one that makes the most sense, most of the time.

    However:

    1) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which that choice is not the most appropriate one to make?

    2) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which it might be valuable to remember and acknowlege that this is simply a choice you have made?

    I would say yes to both questions, and I can imagine that most people would almost automatically say No to question 1), but I would be interested to hear what you think.
    My answer is also yes to both of these. BUT this COMPLETELY contradicts the view you previously expressed in the thread about belief and knowledge: "can we really trust each other?"

    EVERYTHING you know is ultimately a product of a CHOICE to believe it. AND the only way to leave open the possibility of 1 & 2 is to RECOGNIZE this FACT. BUT the unavoidable conclusion it that there IS NO DIVIDE between knowledge and belief. Thus it is also in this that we find the poverty of the view that knowledge is "true belief" which identifies what we know with reality itself and therefore leaves no possibility for 1 & 2 and thus no possiblity for recognizing that we might be WRONG.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    BUT this COMPLETELY contradicts the view you previously expressed in the thread about belief and knowledge:
    When I read this I thought,"What is he talking about, I never said that, did I?"

    So I went over there and found this:

    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Knowledge are those things you know to be true. Beliefs, on the other hand, are those things you do not actually know, but which you believe.
    Which makes it quite clear that you are right, I did say that. But from the conversation in this thread it becomes obvious that the previously expressed opinion was just rubbish.

    Thank you for helping me to realise that.
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    In other words, this is a choice you made. There is no way for you to demonstrate, independent of the observer, that what your five senses are telling you is real, but you have made a choice to adopt the position that in most everyday situations this is the option that makes the most sense to you.
    You mean demonstrate to myself, since you all might be a figment of my imagination? The problem I have with that is how can I even define myself without the outside world in the first place?

    1) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which that choice is not the most appropriate one to make?
    I do this on a case by case basis. No use doing it from scratch when I already determined the answer previously. It’s been a while since I had to do so though.

    2) Is it not worth even considering that there might be situations in which it might be valuable to remember and acknowlege that this is simply a choice you have made?
    I'd say that the final choice is not that big of an issue, since the options are not equally weighted in my experience, but yes, I'd acknowledge that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Thank you for helping me to realise that.
    Well you might want to reread that thread in light of this realization. My realization from reading this thread is that you were probably primarily after an answer to the question of how beliefs are formed and I agree that I did not give a specific answer to that question, but I certainly agree that choice plays an important role in the process, in the case of those beliefs that you form yourself. Those which are inherited are another matter. For example, I think that language has quite a few premises about how things are, built into the language itself and thus these will tend to be beliefs which are commonly inherited and absorbed without a role of choice at all. Some of the process of educuation is uncovering and questioning these premises that have always been accepted as true.
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    Since we are making a choice, the possibility exists that we might be wrong. In everyday situations such as toast buttering we have evidence from repeating the experiment a large number of times that increases our confidence that we are right. But the possibility nevertheless exists that we might be wrong. A large number of people repeat the experiment a large number of times and our confidence level is kept high by repeated success, but that possibility is still there, largely unacknowledged and unrecognised, but it is there all the same.

    Now, since you both answered yes to questions 1) and 2) we can move on and consider what happens in scenarios where we don't have any experimental data. What about a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see? A scenario in which your senses are in effect mute? How do you choose whether to believe what your sense are telling you now?

    The fact that my toast has always been there in the previous scenario is now no longer relevant, that was a different experiment in a different scenario. In this new scenario we have to start again, from scratch, with no experimental data, confidence level low, probability of us being right is 1/2.

    There is an old saw that says that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so the paucity of experimental data can not be used as though it were evidence. Instead, we have to start from scratch and devise a new experiment. Simply referring to a previous experiment from a different scenario is bad science. Since you both answered yes to questions 1) and 2) you have to at least acknowledge that the previous experimental data might not be relevant in this new scenario, so at the very least you should not rely on it, and you certainly should not be insisting that others make the same choice that you make.

    And that's the important point, not that you should not rely on it, but that you should not insist that someone else does. They must make their own choice, for their own reasons. The possibility exists that we might make the wrong choice and the absence of evidence gives us less confidence that we might be right, so advising others on the basis of very little evidence is more than just a wee bit over confident. Be free to make your own choice, just acknowledge the possibility that you might be wrong.

    The new scenario does not have to be anything as extreme as a brain in a vat, or a simulated universe. It can simply be a situation here on the same boring old earth but where the rules of the game have changed. We do not use the rules of English grammar to decide the truth of mathematics, we do not use the rules of choreography to decide the truth of history, we do not use the rules of musical theory to decide the truth of geology. We don't do those things because we know that they are the result of different choices. They are based on different assumptions, have different rules and seek essentially to say completely different things. And it does not strike us as being in the least bit odd that noted film composer John Williams has not written a book telling historians how to apply the diminshed third to Julius Caesar, or that the head choreographer at the Bolshoi ballet hasn't written a book telling chemists how to apply pirouettes to the periodic table. But we somehow do take it completely seriously when a noted biologist tells religion how to talk about the existence of God.

    Rationality is the most frequently cited reason. They say it is not rational to do this or choose that. But that is simply another choice. You choose to believe that rationality will give you good answers all of the time. And in many situations it does. It certainly would not be rational of me to jump into the polar bear pit as Stephen suggested. But where is your evidence that rational is always the right choice in all situations? It is not rational for a guy to walk up to a complete stranger and ask her if she would like to have lunch, nothing rational about that at all. But if it didn't happen I wouldn't be here to talk about it.

    Occam's razor has been cited, in this thread too. But that is just another choice. In fact choosing Occam's razor just gives you a crude tool for helping you make yet another choice. It is not "right", it is just a choice you make.

    You might argue that they are seeking to answer the same questions. Science wants to know how old the earth is and it is of passing interest to some theists. So yes, they do ask some of the same questions. But if a poet and a painter ask the same question it would not strike us as being in the least bit peculiar that they came up with different answers, but somehow science seems to think that everyone has to come up with the same answers they do, and that strikes me as being just a little bit conceited.

    The point of this has been that science does not have anything to say about religion; science is simply a choice you make which may or may not be right in any given scenario. Religion is simply a choice you make which may or may not be right in any given scenario, but the two do not overlap any more than cookery and fencing overlap and for Richard Dawkins, eminent biologist though he is, to pretend otherwise seems to me to be to be both ignoring the fact that science is just a choice and also to be completely missing the point.

    And that, is at least this atheists response to Richard Dawkins.
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    numbers wrote:
    Religion is simply a choice you make which may or may not be right in any given scenario, but the two do not overlap any more than cookery and fencing overlap
    Both cookery and fencing need a human to do the action, and overlapping point. Religion and science may not overlap if religion does not address scientific topics or vice versa, but they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    And that's the important point, not that you should not rely on it, but that you should not insist that someone else does. They must make their own choice, for their own reasons. The possibility exists that we might make the wrong choice and the absence of evidence gives us less confidence that we might be right, so advising others on the basis of very little evidence is more than just a wee bit over confident. Be free to make your own choice, just acknowledge the possibility that you might be wrong.
    Indeed quite correct, and that has always been my approach to Christianity, even to the point of attacking arguments for the existence of God and putting religious freedom (necessarily including a freedom from religion) as a highest priority for a "truly Christian" nation.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    But we somehow do take it completely seriously when a noted biologist tells religion how to talk about the existence of God.
    LOL Indeed. He does set a bad precedence for this new brand of atheism that is following his lead. I have repeatedly offered my sympathy to the atheist community for when their new found popularity means they can no longer count on the average atheist being more rational and intellegent than the average religious. Then it will be examples of obnoxious fundmentalist atheists that come to mind when people think of atheism, instead of those "giants" who have contributed so much to science and social justice.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Rationality is the most frequently cited reason. They say it is not rational to do this or choose that. But that is simply another choice. You choose to believe that rationality will give you good answers all of the time. And in many situations it does. It certainly would not be rational of me to jump into the polar bear pit as Stephen suggested. But where is your evidence that rational is always the right choice in all situations? It is not rational for a guy to walk up to a complete stranger and ask her if she would like to have lunch, nothing rational about that at all. But if it didn't happen I wouldn't be here to talk about it.
    It goes deeper than that because the very meaning of rationality is disputed. One can abide perfectly by the rules of logic in thought and discourse and call that rationality, and therefore this typical attempt of the atheist to say that rationality must include only believing what is supported by objective evidence is not a defintion of rationality that anyone has to accept.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Occam's razor has been cited, in this thread too. But that is just another choice. In fact choosing Occam's razor just gives you a crude tool for helping you make yet another choice. It is not "right", it is just a choice you make.
    Well I suppose you can adopt any name you like for any rational you use for choices you like. But the historical meaning and use of terms in contexts such as modern science IS a basis for argument and dispute.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    You might argue that they are seeking to answer the same questions. Science wants to know how old the earth is and it is of passing interest to some theists. So yes, they do ask some of the same questions. But if a poet and a painter ask the same question it would not strike us as being in the least bit peculiar that they came up with different answers, but somehow science seems to think that everyone has to come up with the same answers they do, and that strikes me as being just a little bit conceited.
    The distinction between modern science and relgion is the methodology which science has adopted and this methodology both limits what questions science can make inquiry into and completely negates the relevance of religious belief to the course of scientific inquiry. Religion is less precisely limited in what it can comment on while at the same time it cannot deny the relevance of the results of scientific inquiry to its own declaration of beliefs.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    The point of this has been that science does not have anything to say about religion; science is simply a choice you make which may or may not be right in any given scenario.
    ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! To speak about God, something would by definition cease to be modern science. This is precisely my objection to Dawkins claim that God must be treated as a scientific hypothesis.


    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Religion is simply a choice you make which may or may not be right in any given scenario, but the two do not overlap any more than cookery and fencing overlap and for Richard Dawkins, eminent biologist though he is, to pretend otherwise seems to me to be to be both ignoring the fact that science is just a choice and also to be completely missing the point.
    I don't think I would say that science is just a choice. I think that modern science was first created by relgious theists who decided that looking for an explanation for things apart from God was a worthwhile endeavor. And so you can choose whether you want to participate in that kind of investigation and choose what you personally want to learn from it. But science is NOT a way of life or any kind of choice that is in any way incompatable with the choices one makes in regards to religion. They are as you suggest, incompatable categories. Thus I fight against ID and Creationism in order to defend my freedom to make the independent choices to be interested in science and theology, for these attacks upon science attempt to disolve the distinction between the two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But science is NOT a way of life or any kind of choice that is in any way incompatable with the choices one makes in regards to religion.
    That is actually where I started. I used to be a fully paid up member of the Richard Dawkins fan club; Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens, they were my Gods. But I gradually realised that although their "it is not rational..." approach does make sense their response didn't explain people like Martin Rees the Astronomer Royal. He is a devout christian and a serious scientist, and Dawkins can't explain how the totally irrational "I can talk to the creator of the universe" person can be the same internationally respected scientist. According to Dawkins, Martin Rees has to have two heads. This hole in their approach was what sent me looking for some alternative.

    It has taken a while and this thread has been an attempt at sorting out my thoughts on the subject. Two important steps on the way were first, realising that my knowledge of fabric weaves doesn't normally come in very handy on the golf course; our areas of knowledge and expertise are in compartments with different skill sets, rules and experimental data. The second was that if I ask Beethoven, "How big is the Universe?" I get a very different answer from the one Einstein would give me, but that doesn't imply either one of them has to be wrong.

    There is still some work to do, mostly to do with beliefs; not where they come from but what I expect them to do for me. I am beginning to wonder whether my set of beliefs do actually have to be quite so consistent and coherent as I previously thought. In Martin Rees they clearly do not, but I still have to figure out how that works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Since we are making a choice, the possibility exists that we might be wrong. In everyday situations such as toast buttering we have evidence from repeating the experiment a large number of times that increases our confidence that we are right. But the possibility nevertheless exists that we might be wrong. A large number of people repeat the experiment a large number of times and our confidence level is kept high by repeated success, but that possibility is still there, largely unacknowledged and unrecognised, but it is there all the same.
    Yes there is always a possibility, but it is such a finite one, it is not valid reasoning, If the probability is near 0 why even consider it.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    we can move on and consider what happens in scenarios where we don't have any experimental data. What about a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see? A scenario in which your senses are in effect mute? How do you choose whether to believe what your sense are telling you now?
    Quite simply you don't.
    However could you suggest a scenario where you would be without sense. I would love to know how you think, remember, we are talking no sensations, an absolute if you like, it would be, like being dead. Don't forget there are technically more then five sense's
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    The fact that my toast has always been there in the previous scenario is now no longer relevant, that was a different experiment in a different scenario. In this new scenario we have to start again, from scratch, with no experimental data, confidence level low, probability of us being right is 1/2.
    This is why you dont believe what you sense's are telling you, as you have no way of verification.
    It would be infantile to consider anything viable under those circumstances.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    And that, is at least this atheists response to Richard Dawkins.
    Your not an atheist, your a deist, you said so earlier, in this thread or another, we could call you a hindu as you matrix belief, is similar to their beliefs.
    No atheist in the known universe has your views. I suppose I better say in my opinion.
    But then again, each to their own. if we all thought the same thing we wouldn't have such weird and wonderful people to laugh at.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    If the probability is near 0 why even consider it.
    Which would mean that you are not prepared to admit that you might ever make a mistake. Which I hope is true, I would sincerely like to see you go through life without once making a single mistake, I hope it works out for you. Good luck.

    I have in fact been meaning to tell you for some time now Stephen that I think that you are about as near perfect as a human being can be...

    On the other hand, we all make mistakes, sooner or later.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    However could you suggest a scenario where you would be without sense. I would love to know how you think, remember, we are talking no sensations...
    You really are a tease, fancy not arguing against what I actually said but just pretending I said something else entirely. But then, you are so perfect...

    What I said was: ...a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see?

    I didn't say you do not have a sense of touch, I said there is nothing for you to touch.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    This is why you don't [sic] believe what your [sic] sense's are telling you, as you have no way of verification.
    This completely contradicts everything you have said throughout this whole thread. All the way through you have maintained that what your senses are telling you is true. "What is true is real, what is real is true" those are your very words.

    I do appreciate that you are perfect and everything, but, really?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    No atheist in the known universe has your views.
    Since you are the perfect one, then I am obviously interacting with you from some other universe. The only reasonable conclusion, it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Yes there is always a possibility, but it is such a finite one, it is not valid reasoning, If the probability is near 0 why even consider it.
    Which would mean that you are not prepared to admit that you might ever make a mistake. Which I hope is true, I would sincerely like to see you go through life without once making a single mistake, I hope it works out for you. Good luck.
    I never said that now did I.
    (Note; i've added and highlighted what I actually said above in blue, ok)
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    I have in fact been meaning to tell you for some time now Stephen that I think that you are about as near perfect as a human being can be...

    On the other hand, we all make mistakes, sooner or later.
    wooooooooooooooo! sarky.)
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    However could you suggest a scenario where you would be without sense. I would love to know how you think, remember, we are talking no sensations...
    You really are a tease, fancy not arguing against what I actually said but just pretending I said something else entirely. But then, you are so perfect...

    What I said was: ...a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see?

    I didn't say you do not have a sense of touch, I said there is nothing for you to touch.
    Ah but you did, you said and I quote "A scenario in which your senses are in effect mute" which I think means unable to sense. correct me if I'm wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    This is why you don't believe what your sense's are telling you, as you have no way of verification. It would be infantile to consider anything viable under those circumstances.
    This completely contradicts everything you have said throughout this whole thread.
    Sorry no it doesn't. Once again I've highlighted, what I actually said above.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    All the way through you have maintained that what your senses are telling you is true. "What is true is real, what is real is true" those are your very words.
    I do appreciate that you are perfect and everything, but, really?
    Woooooooooo! sarky again.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    No atheist in the known universe has your views.
    Since you are the perfect one, then I am obviously interacting with you from some other universe. The only reasonable conclusion, it is.
    wooooooooo! sarky yet again love it.
    One of your imagined universes perhaps.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Yes there is always a possibility...
    Apologies for misunderstanding you last time. This time I read you as saying that you do accept the possibility that you might sometimes be wrong to assume that what you sense is real.

    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    What about a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see?
    With this bit, I am asking you to imagine that this is one of the situations in which it is wrong of you to assume that what you can sense is real. You have admitted this possibility exists, well here it is. Imagine it.

    It is not, incidentally, required for such a situation to actually exist. All I want you to consider is that having accepted that in theory the situation might exist, how might you decide what is reality without your five senses.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Sorry no it doesn't. Once again I've highlighted, what I actually said...
    You're right. Apologies. But now that I have clarified the previous point you might want to reconsider what you said.

    1) You admit the possibility that determining reality from your five senses might be wrong.

    2) You refuse to consider any alternative.

    I don't see how 2) is compatible with 1). Either the possibility exists, in which case there has to be some alternative, or the possibility does not exist in which case you are infallibly perfect. Which of these do you actually subscribe to?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    wooooooooo! sarky yet again love it.
    It wasn't meant to sound sarcastic. The last bit was supposed to read as though it were being spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi, (in another universe) but that obviously went woosh!
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    The last bit was supposed to read as though it were being spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi
    You mean Yoda? :wink:
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    What about a scenario in which there isn't anything physical to touch, or smell, or see?
    With this bit, I am asking you to imagine that this is one of the situations in which it is wrong of you to assume that what you can sense is real. You have admitted this possibility exists, well here it is. Imagine it.
    Yes a very improbable possibility, but a possibility all the same. so I will try to imagine such a situation.
    But in any given situation I would not assume anything, therefore there would be no assumption on my part, or any sensible persons part, I would think.
    I think I would try to find a rational reason for the lack of sensation. we've all had seen optical illusions, we do a double take, but we know there not possible. Same with audio and touchable illusions, I don't tend to assume they are something else, without further evidence. dont you agree that would be foolish.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    It is not, incidentally, required for such a situation to actually exist. All I want you to consider is that having accepted that in theory the situation might exist, how might you decide what is reality without your five senses.
    If we lost the basic five, it would be like being in a vacuum, we would have to rely, on our last exteroceptive sense (Balance) and our interoceptive senses, (kinesthesia( joint movement and acceleration), sense of time, temperature, pain, direction.)
    If by what your saying, you mean we where devoid of all our senses, then we would be dead. as that is the only time you would be devoid of them all.
    Quote Originally Posted by numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by The_only_stephen
    Sorry no it doesn't. Once again I've highlighted, what I actually said...
    But now that I have clarified the previous point you might want to reconsider what you said.

    1) You admit the possibility that determining reality from your five senses might be wrong.

    2) You refuse to consider any alternative.

    I don't see how 2) is compatible with 1). Either the possibility exists, in which case there has to be some alternative, or the possibility does not exist in which case you are infallibly perfect. Which of these do you actually subscribe to?
    1, is wholly wrong as determining reality with all your senses is the only way you can. There are no reasonable alternatives as I said before.
    I'll clarify it for you, there are no absolutes, so we cant say it is not possible, but be can say it's not reasonable to think it's possible, and as such we can discard it. This does not mean we cant be wrong, it just means we are very unlikely to be wrong.
    Some people, think and say, some weird stuff.
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  83. #82  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    You mean Yoda? :wink:
    Correct, you are.
    Everything the laws of the universe do not prohibit must finally happen.
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