0799: "Stephen Hawking"

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FourTael
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby FourTael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
FourTael wrote:Keep in mind that many believers do not study it seriously either. Knowing a bit more than a person that's done no research into a subject tends to mean very little. I know more about poker than most people that play poker, but that hardly makes me an expert. In fact, that presents an interesting trap: You know more than the people you deal with on a regular basis, and that leads to arrogance.

Surely a believer should be expected to know something about the religion in which she claims to believe? Especially when being challenged to defend her belief.

The fact that (as I pointed out) 45% of Catholics surveyed in the poll apparently did not know one of the core beliefs of their own religion simply beggars belief.


Belief as a whole should not be discarded because of such people, though. From my experience, those that have studied religion in-depth do tend to be religious (not necessarily from any particular bias, such as a Catholic studying Catholicism). The best example I can come up with (because he's probably the best example there is) is Huston Smith. He is one of, if not the, foremost expert on religion as a whole, and he is rather religious (though not belonging to any particular religion - most would call it more along the lines of spiritual).

By the way, Garrett Lisi is a physicist working on a grand unified theory (just Google him if you don't know about him). His religious beliefs are a little harder to find, but he's an atheist because he says that it doesn't make any sense for a being of infinite power and complexity to create something as simple as his unified theory. Putting aside the love of many people in academia of "elegance in simplicity" (such as his theory), there's also the issue that not all religions follow a creation idea, nor do all of the ones that do insist that whatever created us is infinitely complex (in fact, a number insist on the exact opposite, infnite simplicity).

markfiend wrote:
FourTael wrote:Again I'd like to point out the argument involving the first five chapters of Genesis. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's kind of my point.

Oh, I'm not trying to demolish the whole of religion based on an analysis of Genesis. It wasn't me who brought up Genesis in the first place, it was yedidyak. All I was trying to point out was that trying to prop up any creation mythology with modern science is a futile exercise. The mythology might kind-of fit if you're generous (or want it to fit) but on the whole you have to force the text to fit the science (yedidyak's approach) or force the science to fit the mythology (the approach of the literal 6-day creation mob).

All I'm saying is that when (among other things) Genesis chapter 1 says that plants were created before the Sun, we can safely say that it can be dismissed as any kind of literal account. I'm not discounting its value as (for instance) poetry.


Well, that's why I didn't quote you in my first post. My argument was against DarthDavid's argument. I just felt the need to respond when you talked about my first argument. The rest was mostly just stuff to add on to the rest of my argument as a whole.

markfiend wrote:What makes you think I haven't studied enough about religion? This is an arrogant assumption. The only reason I don't believe is that I don't understand?


Probably this:

markfiend wrote:Explain it then. What is a god? How does a god create a universe? Why does a universe need to be created but a god doesn't?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby jc » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:49 pm UTC

markfiend wrote: I am at a lack to understand how anyone can claim to believe or disbelieve without making at least some attempt to understand the subject.


The history of science is full of examples that might help explain that. For instance, consider the "luminous (a)ether" theory of how light works. Aside from the name and a cursory description, this theory is no longer taught outside history-of-science classes. It was discarded when Einstein published his papers.

You sometimes read that Einstein showed that the ether doesn't exist, but this is inaccurate. What he really showed was that the ether is unnecessary to explain the behavior of light. This is similar to the observation that science doesn't disprove the existence of any god or gods; it merely shows a way of understanding the universe that works better than any of the religious theories that have tried to explain the universe. So, by Occam's Razor, both the ether and God should simply be ignored as irrelevant.

Similarly, there was the whole ancient "epicycle" explanation of the cosmos. It was based on a large body of reasoning, and helped develop a lot of mathematics. It is still mentioned in history-of-science texts, but nobody except a few historians bothers to try understanding that massive body of work any more. It's not worth the large investment of time required to learn it, since it contributes nothing useful to our understanding of the universe. It's only interesting if you want to really understand how we got to where we are now. Most of us don't have the time or interest.

It's easy to understand why people might take the same attitude towards understanding religious theories. A cursory glance shows that this would soak up a lot of one's lifespan to reach any understanding. And it would add little if anything that's actually useful in our world, since what testing we can do of religious theories (e.g., the creation myths) shows that those parts are always badly wrong. Given our finite lifespan, the obvious approach is to dismiss religion as not worth the effort to learn in detail. If the testable parts are so badly wrong, the obvious heuristic is to dismiss the whole thing as probably equally wrong, and ignore it.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby ngamesnick » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

Just figured I'd register and post to mention two things:

A) Mark, you've made a logical fallacy. You say that scientists are more intelligent than those who practice religion, because 45% of those who practice religion don't know something. On the surface, this seems like a true statement, but when you consider the size and scope of the size of the two groups, the comparison is really not a genuine one.

There are a certain number of people who are actively practicing science, and in order to be a member of this group, you need to obtain a degree of some sort through higher education.

There is a much larger number of people who are actively practicing religion, and in order to be a member of THIS group, you simply need to believe in the religion.

Now, the two groups are not mutually exclusive. This next bit is exaggeration to the extreme for sake of an easy to make explanation, but it should still hold true:

Let's say that every single scientist is religious. Even if this were the case, they would be outnumbered by the rest of the religion, worldwide. If questioned on scientific grounds, only about half of the religious group might be able to answer. This ISN'T because everyone involved in religion is ignorant, but instead because when you have a large number of people together, you're bound to have those who are uninformed. This doesn't prove anything about "scientists being more intelligent than religious people, on average." Or, rather, it does, but because the sentence is so ill-defined, it's really meaningless. It's like saying, "Scientists are more intelligent than Americans, on average." Most scientifically active people are of above average intelligence. The average intelligence of any group of people who have not been preselected based on intelligence is, of course, going to be the normal average intelligence. This doesn't mean that scientists are smarter than anybody, but instead that there is a heavy sampling bias in these surveys. There are certainly liberal arts majors, creative writers, et cetera who are more intelligent than many scientists, and there are certainly religious persons who are more intelligent than some scientists. The survey really shows nothing but a lesson in statistics.


Now, part B)

I'm a religious person myself, and I think that the discussion here is, like in quite a few religious discussions even within a church, focused wrong. Religion isn't about proving yourself right or wrong in things that don't matter, and using the Bible as a weapon to bludgeon people over the head with, but instead a guide of how to live your life. Honestly, the way that the Earth was formed doesn't make much of a difference on how ANY of us live our lives, except for those studying it. All that it means to me is that I can be very thankful of the creator who made all of this. The cornerstone of Christianity, and I would think any other religion given it's definition, isn't to prove that you're right and have all the facts, but instead to live your life in a pleasing way to God, and show kindness, love, and compassion to others, which I don't think is something anyone would want to argue against.

Religion might mean differently to others, but this is just the way that I see it . Anyhow, continue your debate, just wanted to throw in my two cents.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby DorkRawk » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:I've never understood why theological comments by physicists are given more credence than scientific comments by theologians.


When physics starts to answer questions previously handled by religion (like the origin of the universe), their "theological commentary" is merely a symptom of introducing a scientific explanation for something that used to only have a mythological one. Scientists aren't tying to "do" theology, it's just that science has a tendency to replace theological explanations as it advances. It rarely work the other way.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby yankeefan984 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

dietaether wrote:
yedidyak wrote:
markfiend wrote:
yedidyak wrote:Not if a basic part of your religion is that the Pentateuch is entirely divine.

You can't have it both ways. If Genesis is an entirely divine account, it ought to be inerrant and correct on all points, without needing "interpretation" to make it say things it clearly doesn't say.


'Correct' in what way? And how exactly would you explain the big bang and formation of the universe in a way comprehensible to people in the Bronze Age?


If I were god, I'd also make sure that this prophet lived in a place like Egypt where every damn thing in the world was written down instead of passed along by word of mouth. I'd make sure nobody got it wrong.

"When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, I drew him out of the water."
You mean like that?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Apeiron » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

Did anyone else catch the MC Hawking reference in last week's Simpsons? i squeeled with geekish delight... confusing my poor wife. Stephen's contribution to to gangsta rap is almost as great as to physics.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Klear » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

This reminds me of this:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db ... 1623#comic

Also, I hate it when I waste so much time reading discussions like this and then realize that I really want it to turn into flame war...
I feel ashamed.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Glenn Magus Harvey » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

Ahh, how the press puts way too much stock into everything done by every celebrity and politician.

Oh, and I thought the newspaper said "Jimes", not "Titties".

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Monika » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:17 pm UTC

This is not particularly relevant to today's xkcd comic, but somewhat relevant to today's xkcd comic's discussion:
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Brooklynxman » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

Since its in style to be posting SMBC

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db ... =820#comic

<.<
We figure out what all this means, then do something large and violent

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby FourTael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:48 pm UTC

SMBC annoys me sometimes. I swear, it seems like once a week, I end up rolling my eyes and going, "Yeah, I get it. You're an atheist. HILARIOUS."

I don't tend to have problems with humor about atheism or religion, but where it becomes a problem is when the humor implies that a particular religion is superior to others. Enter SMBC's recent trend.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Snowdream » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

Gotta be honest here,

Go for the Classical religions. When you tell people you worship a God -- Athena is usually not towards the top of the list.

Go Pallas Athena, Go! :D
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby tesseraktik » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:
NotAllThere wrote:When I read in the Times that Hawkings says God doesn't exist, I was expecting to see on the inside pages an article by the Pope on M-Theory and Quantum Gravity.


Or an in depth study of theology by Hawking? I've never understood why theological comments by physicists are given more credence than scientific comments by theologians.
I thought the point of the comic was that Hawking hadn't really made any theological comments [although admittedly he gave his book rather a provocative title], but that it had been reported that he did by the press?

"This system, which I suspect is part of a complete theory of physics, does not depend on the existence of a creator god."
HAWKING CLAIMS TO PROVE THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST
*cue cheers from anti-theists, cries foul from theists and some finding them all equally silly*

To quote the man himself: "God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator" [source]
In that same interview, he [arguably] mentioned that he could not say with 100% certainty that his explanation of the Universe was the correct one, stating that given the opportunity to travel through time, he ""would go forward, and find if M-theory is indeed a theory of everything."

By the way, can Stephen Hawking actually still move his head around? I think his range of motion is now pretty much limited to his cheeks and eyes.
Last edited by tesseraktik on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:57 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Maximus_Light » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:23 pm UTC

glasnt wrote:"Hey guys, I'm sorry, I ate a whole leg of goat yesterday, I don't feel like red meat today. I mean, tomorrow is Saturday, and we can have a bbq, but tonight, how about fish?"
IT IS UNHOLY TO EAT RED MEAT ON A FRIDAY, IF YOU DO YOU WILL BURN IN HELL!
"No, really, I did--"
*sigh*


lol, you've got a point there, that is something else others made up along the way... though he would've been against preparing food on Saturday (Jewish sabbath).
*shiver*
I'd hate to run into someone that said eating meat on Friday would put them in hell... wait isn't that PETA?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby nealh » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

In my head there is a fifth panel where Hawking rolls up to a park bench and mopes with Sad Keanu

...creating a sadness singularity!

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby markfiend » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

FourTael wrote:
markfiend wrote:What makes you think I haven't studied enough about religion? This is an arrogant assumption. The only reason I don't believe is that I don't understand?


Probably this:

markfiend wrote:Explain it then. What is a god? How does a god create a universe? Why does a universe need to be created but a god doesn't?

Bully for you. Atheists have been asking these questions for several centuries. Theists haven't come up with an answer. The last person even to make a serious attempt at them was Aquinas.

Come back to me when theists have reached agreement on what god is supposed even to be, never mind why I ought to believe it.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Karilyn » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:50 pm UTC

I'm reminded how the most recent proposal I heard of from a highly revered Christian scientist was the following...

Dinosaurs were around at the time of Noah's flood, and survived the flood riding on the ark. But after the flood, there was an increase of about 50% in the Oxygen in the atmosphere. Now, dinosaurs are really big animals, with really small nostrils, barely the size of a pencil hole. Now, of course, as we all know, oxygen ignites when heated, and friction causes heat. The higher oxygen in the atmosphere caused Dinosaurs to have to breath really hard, and the oxygen sparked and caused what this Christian Scientist had dubbed SNC (Spontaneous Nostril Combustion [I swear to goddess I'm not making this up]), causing the dinosaurs to go extinct by their faces lighting on fire, and also starting the myth about fire-breathing dragons.

This guy was considered the foremost Christian Scientist. He is to Christian Science, what Stephen Hawkings is to Physics.

I rest my case.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby markfiend » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:08 pm UTC

ngamesnick wrote:Just figured I'd register and post to mention two things:

A) Mark, you've made a logical fallacy. You say that scientists are more intelligent than those who practice religion, because 45% of those who practice religion don't know something.
That's not what I said at all. I was merely refuting the suggestion that atheists know less about religion than theists. Frankly that study backs my point 100%.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Rackum » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:I'm reminded how the most recent proposal I heard of from a highly revered Christian scientist was the following...

Dinosaurs were around at the time of Noah's flood, and survived the flood riding on the ark. But after the flood, there was an increase of about 50% in the Oxygen in the atmosphere. Now, dinosaurs are really big animals, with really small nostrils, barely the size of a pencil hole. Now, of course, as we all know, oxygen ignites when heated, and friction causes heat. The higher oxygen in the atmosphere caused Dinosaurs to have to breath really hard, and the oxygen sparked and caused what this Christian Scientist had dubbed SNC (Spontaneous Nostril Combustion [I swear to goddess I'm not making this up]), causing the dinosaurs to go extinct by their faces lighting on fire, and also starting the myth about fire-breathing dragons.

This guy was considered the foremost Christian Scientist. He is to Christian Science, what Stephen Hawkings is to Physics.

I rest my case.



Source?

If true then there are several questions that must be answered:
-Name of this individual? (to confirm status as "foremost")
-Christian scientist or Christian Scientist? (pretty large difference here)
-If Christian scientist then what field of science? (not sure what scientist, from any field, believes that the heat from friction causes a spark ... static buildup from airflow maybe, but heat is a resounding no)

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby FourTael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
FourTael wrote:
markfiend wrote:What makes you think I haven't studied enough about religion? This is an arrogant assumption. The only reason I don't believe is that I don't understand?


Probably this:

markfiend wrote:Explain it then. What is a god? How does a god create a universe? Why does a universe need to be created but a god doesn't?

Bully for you. Atheists have been asking these questions for several centuries. Theists haven't come up with an answer. The last person even to make a serious attempt at them was Aquinas.

Come back to me when theists have reached agreement on what god is supposed even to be, never mind why I ought to believe it.


My point was that asking those questions shows how little you actually do know about religion as a whole, not to mention religion at all.

Karilyn: So you've decided to use Christian Scientists to toss out all religion? If you don't believe what Christian Scientists believe, then that means that you don't believe what Christian Scientists believe. That doesn't mean that all religion is false.

Edit: Again I'd like to point out that facts and figures =/= knowing about religion. To know about religion, you really need to understand it. Being able to say that Martin Luther was a (probably THE) key player in the Reformation does not mean that you understand the purpose behind the Reformation, what caused it, nor why it was still inadequate in its goals.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby markfiend » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

FourTael: answer tne questions rather than complain about me asking them.

Anyhoo in UK time it's bedtime. I'll be back in a few hours.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby FourTael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:18 pm UTC

I can't answer them because they do not apply. Again, you do not know enough about religion to be debating religion. The fact that you asked those questions proves that because those questions do not apply.

Edit: Perhaps a better way of stating it would be this: Why is it that light is unaffected by external factors? Your question falls along the lines of that question, only in a different subject.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Karilyn » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:22 pm UTC

Rackum wrote:-Christian scientist or Christian Scientist? (pretty large difference here)
-If Christian scientist then what field of science? (not sure what scientist, from any field, believes that the heat from friction causes a spark ... static buildup from airflow maybe, but heat is a resounding no)

Christian Scientist. Emphasis on Christian Science. I thought that was obvious. Also the guy's an idiot who makes stuff up as he goes along, I thought was obvious that I was trying to emphasize. He also denies that fusion or fission exists (under the claim that God's work is perfect and one element could not possibly changed into another element), among several other completely absurd statements.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby FourTael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:24 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Rackum wrote:-Christian scientist or Christian Scientist? (pretty large difference here)
-If Christian scientist then what field of science? (not sure what scientist, from any field, believes that the heat from friction causes a spark ... static buildup from airflow maybe, but heat is a resounding no)

Christian Scientist. Emphasis on Christian Science. I thought that was obvious. Also the guy's an idiot who makes stuff up as he goes along, I thought was obvious that I was trying to emphasize. He also denies that fusion or fission exists (under the claim that God's work is perfect and one element could not possibly changed into another element), among several other completely absurd statements.


OK, so I'm guessing that you think that Christian Scientists represent the beliefs of all Christians, given what you've said so far. Christian Science is an entirely separate belief system from, say, Catholicism or Methodism.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby The1exile » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:39 pm UTC

A friend of mine went to a formal dinner where someone pennied stephen hawking's soup. I don't exactly condone that behaviour, but I nevertheless doff my cap to that man (and his descendants, now banned for 100 years).
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Rackum » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:Christian Scientist. Emphasis on Christian Science. I thought that was obvious. Also the guy's an idiot who makes stuff up as he goes along, I thought was obvious that I was trying to emphasize. He also denies that fusion or fission exists (under the claim that God's work is perfect and one element could not possibly changed into another element), among several other completely absurd statements.


Wanted to make sure since you decided to "rest your case" based on a single incident of someone who seems to be a lunatic being ... well, a lunatic. As far as I can understand, your argument is: someone who is a known idiot acts like an idiot, this person is a member of a religious institution, therefore all religious people are morons.

Please correct me if I've misunderstood your point.

Also, please clarify what exactly reminded you of this particular anecdote?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:03 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:And how exactly would you explain the big bang and formation of the universe in a way comprehensible to people in the Bronze Age?

In the beginning, a very, very, very long time ago, a great burst of fire created the heavens and filled them with light and dust. Over much time, most of the dust formed into great balls of fire, which burned across the heavens; the stars. Over even longer time, some of the dust formed into rocks, even some very, very large rocks. The Earth we stand on is one such large rock, which spins and circles the sun, which is why it and the stars appear to move across the sky. The planets are other such rocks circling the sun, and the moon is a rock which circles the Earth, which is why they appear to move across the other stars in the sky. Most of the planets and all of the stars are much, much larger than the Earth, but they are also so very, very far away that they appear as mere points of light from here. The heavens are very, very, very big.

There you go, basic cosmology that a Broze-ager should be able to understand. Fire, dust, light, rocks; hell, a stone-ager could understand these things. It's not explained how big balls of dust manage to catch fire, or why all these rocks and flames move around each other as they do. But then, Genesis doesn't explain how God separated the waters above from the waters below either. It just says what happens; how and why is a bit much for Bronze-agers.

And honestly I think this kind of story (perhaps elaborated and made a bit more eloquent) would be an even more awe-inspiring religious text than the comparatively unimaginative stories in actual historical texts. "All of the history and the world that you and every human who has ever lived know thus far is but a tiny part of God's total works. Your God is so great that his creation is vast almost beyond your comprehension. Now go forth and behold its glory!"
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:This makes me want to hug Hawking. *shrug*

You haven't always wanted to hug Hawking?
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby JohnofArc » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:23 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:What makes you think I haven't studied enough about religion? This is an arrogant assumption. The only reason I don't believe is that I don't understand?

Explain it then. What is a god? How does a god create a universe? Why does a universe need to be created but a god doesn't?

And, given that your answers will apply as well to any of the million-and-one conceptions of deity that mankind has come up with, how do you get from "a god exists" to the god that you believe in?

Uh, woah. Calm down

First off, either I phrased that horribly, or you're putting up strawmen; regardless, this needs to get cleared up before we take any more steps.

The only reason I don't believe is that I don't understand?

I don't know where you got this, or why you're basing your whole argument on it, or why you never bothered to ask me if that's what I meant to say since that's a pretty bizzare statement (apparently to both of us), but in any case that's actually nowhere near the point I was trying to make. So let's clarify.

You'll notice your post isn't actually part of the quote box I was replying to, mostly because I was replying to the idea that you can scientifically disprove religion, which I think is wrong on account of I disagree with the assumption it's based on (that science and religion are fundamentally at odds with each other as theism and atheism is). Considering the context I'm posting this in, a lot of people probably disagree with me right there, so let me give you my reasoning for it. Hopefully no one will individually quote every sentence to quibble about technicalities and miss the point.

One of the base assumptions I'm going with is that science and religion have the same goal. Both attempt to get an understanding of the origin and nature of the world around us, the former going about it through concrete evidence and the latter going about it through "faith" (although I hate using that word because of the automatic misconceptions tied to it, but I digress).

Now, yes, you can debate the literal-sense accuracy of specific tales of specific religions, argue about some chapters of the bible, the q'uran, whatever, using scientific evidence. However, you can't disprove the concept of theism, or even more specifically the idea of god, by individually attacking simple stories, mostly since things like genesis 1-10 are not universal to theism. In actuality, the argument of atheism vs theism fall under philosophy, and in order to disprove "religion", you would have to disprove the philosophical arguments and cases which support religion. The problem, here, with attempting to disprove the concept of theism with science, is that those supporting statements are not based upon the same principles as science as referred to in this thread. Now I realize that's probably a very vague and general statement, so let me try to make this more clear: The arguments for religion are not scientific (I.E this event A was a miracle, we can see it is a miracle due to evidence C, thus conclusion B is true), they are philosophical (the ontological argument, the argument from design, pascal's wager, the pragmatic argument, etc...). Attempting to disprove the concept of "GOD" through science is like trying to decide whether or not to keep the death penalty through the scientific method.

Of course at this point, some of you might be saying, "so what you're saying is that since science can't necessarily disprove "theism", theism is true and science is not?". To which I would reply, of course not, science is a perfectly valid method of going about the original question as mentioned two paragraphs ago. Not only is it valid, it's perfectly sound. The thing is, the argument can be made that there are valid, sound arguments for theism as well, which leads me to my original conclusion that science and religion are not fundamentally at odds with each other, the same way theism and atheism are fundamentally at odds with each other. The supporting arguments for atheism directly undermine the arguments for theism, and vice versa, but that isn't the case with the arguments supporting science as a method of philosophy versus religion as a method of philosophy.

Now you could tell me, are you saying science and religion are both true? Not necessarily. Just because a statement is both valid and sound does not mean that it is the absolute truth, or that it can't be more or less truthful than another valid/sound statement, and whether you agree with the scientific perspective versus the theistic perspective on questions such as the origin depend entirely on what you think is more compelling argument. So sure, modern science does provide alternate answers to questions previously answered only by theism. That might weaken theism's position as the absolute truth, but it does nothing to actually disprove religion.


Anyway, that's the end of my rage thinly disguised as a "clarification". What's the point of all this? The original post at the end of the quote chain asked why theistic statements made by "scientists" are more credible than scientific statements made by "theists", to which the people I personally was quoting replied that the "scientists" are more credible since "science disproves religion", the examples given being similar to the genesis 1-10 example briefly mentioned in the fourth paragraph. I'm saying that the quoted statements were false because that science does not disprove religion or is even necessarily at odds with it, which is what I meant by "haven't learned enough about religion" (very poor wording on my part, I apologize for that).

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Lucia » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

Pfhorrest, that's ridiculous! Everyone knows dust can't catch on fire! And surely if the Earth was made of dust it would all blow away! How utterly unscientific - we must not let anyone's minds be filled with such rubbish. (How do you abbreviate must not? Musn't?)
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby sippawitz » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:53 pm UTC


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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby danielnairn » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

Amazing how a webcomic can inspire such a stir of emotions! I just have to add my stupidness to the mix.

I come from the side of Cultural Anthropology: I think the main issue between humans being unable to resolve their differences in beliefs, such as atheism and theism, or science and religion, is worldview. Everyone has a worldview, and it is incredibly difficult to imagine that anything outside of the worldview is true, in the same way that it is difficult to imagine a fourth spatial dimension. We are taught worldviews unwittingly so that we are unable to even grasp what it is we believe. The point is, you cannot define something if you do not know it's opposite, irght? Light is the absence of darkness, hate is the absence of love, intelligent life is the opposite of non-living things. Er...I'm not saying this well, so please don't immediately respond by telling me I'm stupid. Just ask me to explain further a certain point.

Anyway, I've come to this conclusion: the reason scientists and people who love science tend to be atheists is because their worldview is that there is nothing outside of this universe, and if science can't explain it, it doesn't exist. What I believe is that there is more than just the universe, something outside of the fabric of space-time or whatnot.

I'm sure you could use the same worldview argument to say something about those who favor religion over science, but I haven't thought about it.

Anyway, that's my addition of stupidity to the argument that WILL NEVER END. As long as the internet exists, people will find a way to argue religion vs. science.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Monika » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

The1exile wrote:A friend of mine went to a formal dinner where someone pennied stephen hawking's soup. I don't exactly condone that behaviour, but I nevertheless doff my cap to that man (and his descendants, now banned for 100 years).

He did what with a penny and Hawking's soup? Image
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Sofie » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:50 pm UTC

The big things that always got me about "smarter people disbelieving in religion" argument (aside from the other logical fallacies) are:

1. These people are not experts in religion. Most have taken very little to no time to study it seriously.
And you don't have to be, because it obviously doesn't make sense. You don't need to be an expert on astrology, flat earth theory etc to disbelieve it. The burden of proof is on the one with the crazy idea, everyone else has better things to spend their time on.
I've never understood why theological comments by physicists are given more credence than scientific comments by theologians.
Thor wants his lightning back :(
Actually, there's a major difference. If some experimentalists find ways to test current theories of Theoretical Physics, and find violations of those theories, the physicists will shrug, and start developing theories that take the new observations into account. This is what happened with the Michelson-Morley experiments, for example, leading to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

If some experimentalists were to find exceptions to the theories of major religions, however, the results would be different. The religious people would hunt down the the experimentalists, jail or kill them, then hunt down all their publications and destroy them. They wouldn't develop new theories; they'd do everything in their power to suppress and exterminate the supporters of competing theories.

If we want a better world, we're probably better off following the scientific approach than the religious approach. Thus, thousands of years of religious "development" never produced any cures for diseases, improved crops, central heating, etc. It only took a few centuries of science to produce such improvements in our lives. If we want our descendants to live better lives, it's obvious who has the better record of delivering improvements.

Historically, the main effect that religions have had is to deliver misery to most of the population. And they're done this on the authority of their God, without even presenting any evidence that such a God exists.
Well put.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Aster Selene » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:51 pm UTC

Guys.

Stop the religious debate. You're making my head hurt, and I've been in a ton of religious debates over the years!

Let's all just believe what we want to believe and stop trying to convert everyone else to Christianity/atheism/paganism/C++-ism, okay? It's getting stressful and annoying, and it's just antagonizing other people.

Can we talk about the comic now?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby neoliminal » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:10 am UTC

tuckels wrote:I'm all depressed now.


Go see The Town. I hear it's good.
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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby JohnofArc » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:20 am UTC

And you don't have to be, because it obviously doesn't make sense. You don't need to be an expert on astrology, flat earth theory etc to disbelieve it. The burden of proof is on the one with the crazy idea, everyone else has better things to spend their time on.

Disbelieving =/= disproving, if you think "obviously it doesn't make sense to me" is a valid reason for disregarding an idea, then quite frankly you're neither a scientist nor a philosopher. You're some guy talking out of his ass.

By the way, crazy is one of those things that are absolutely relative. Since overall, the percentage of atheists is ~5-30% depending on the specific country and source of information, burden of proof still rests on the atheists.
Last edited by JohnofArc on Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby Aster Selene » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:24 am UTC

-sigh-

I liked the comic. My dad loves Stephen Hawking - forced me to read A Briefer History of Time before I started my AP Physics class.

/intentionally trying to change the subject abruptly

Look, no matter how much you argue, both the atheists and the religious people are still going to walk away from the argument thinking that they're right. So nothing's going to get done. It's not like the fate of religion rests on this debate.

So please stop, okay?

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby link3000 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:01 am UTC

Aww... Poor Stephen.

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Re: "Stephen Hawking" discussion (#799)

Postby jc » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:05 am UTC

Sofie wrote:Thor wants his lightning back :(


Well, he can just come and try to take it back. When he wasn't paying attention, we tamed it, and we're using it to run half our economy and 99% of the Internet.

What was wild, uncontrollable terror to Thor's religious subjects is now a human technology that we like and depend on. My wife and I raised two children who played with electrical toys, and we've recently given our grandchildren electrical toys as birthday presents. If it's a battle between Thor and modern humanity, I'm betting against Thor.


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