1003: "Hitler and Eve"

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jjcote
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby jjcote » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:55 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:
jjcote wrote:A relationship that distant is interesting. Knowing what we now know about genetics, what is the probability that you and your 21st cousin wife have any genetic material in common?
They would only share about 99% of their DNA which is acceptable for the propogation of genetic diversity.

That's true, they would at least share the DNA sections that all humans share. But there's not much reason to think that they would share any of the bits that vary than any two random people (from the same ethnic groups) would.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:58 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Schodinger's cat is not alive and dead both. It's indeterminate. At least, it makes sense that way, while it doesn't make sense to say it's both.

No, it's both.

Schrödinger's cat is not an exercise in logic: It's a thought experiment to illustrate a difficulty with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. Schrödinger was casting doubt on an interpretation that he didn't like. On the other hand, superpositions of non quantum objects have been performed, so there's no reason to think that a cat can't exist in that state too.

To illustrate the difference between "unknown state" and "a superposition of states", consider the double slit experiment: photons, or even buckyballs (C60 molecules) can be sent down one at a time, and interfere with themselves. If it was only a matter of not knowing which slit it went through, this wouldn't happen.

lalop wrote:
Kibate wrote: i DO would let police search my house just like that, because i have nothing to hide.


This may sound like a troll question, but in fact it's very legitimate: how do you know you have nothing to hide? There are literally tens of thousands of laws on the books, as well as an untold number of precedents that determine exactly how those laws are enforced. Bills regularly pass that contain hundreds of pages, which many of the politicians do not even read in full. The effect is multiplied for your individual state, county and town.

Of course, it's conversely possible that, in a state with no privacy whatsoever, the people would be more hesitant about passing so many complicated and/or stupid laws. (In the actual state of affairs, the right to privacy provides an incentive not to care which laws get passed, and so we get what we have today.) However, this is not the nation you currently live in.

It's still perfectly logical to state "I have nothing to hide". If the police searched my house and found I was violating some obscure law, then why shouldn't I expect to be prosecuted for it? That is, I'm not hiding the fact that I'm hypothetically, say, improperly storing a hazardous substance, I just didn't know that a rusty milo can in the back shed was not proper storage. But having now been informed of my transgression, I'll pay the fine/do the time/whatever.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby meerta » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:15 am UTC

jalohones wrote:
meerta wrote:
KShrike wrote:Brings up a very good point. Just like "Adam and Steve", "Abel and Eve" is also immoral, probably even more immoral.

'Just like...' - isn't this disgusting homophobia? Why aren't people calling this out?


So I thought, but then KShrike challenged me to have sex with my mum to prove incest moral. I took that to mean that s/he was kinda fine with the lesbianism.


Excellent.

I'm only just getting this comic. I live in Britain but it's about the Christian fundamenalist (of whom we have less) mindset and its contradictions. On that basis, it's quite funny.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby cephron » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:20 am UTC

boothby171 wrote:Here we go! The "Top Six Incestuous Relationships in the BIBLE!"

http://listverse.com/2008/05/26/top-6-i ... the-bible/

Soooo......

According to many Christians, morality is DEFINED by the Bible.

If, in the Bible, God hisself recommends incestuous relationships, then incestuous relationships must therefore be moral.

I am an atheist.

Therefore: I, an atheist, have proven that incest is moral. For a given--though fully recognized--category of "moral" (what more can one do?)

QED (Quite Easily Done)


Quite easily skipping a couple steps, too.

Just because something exists in the Bible doesn't mean God recommends it.
There's plently of stuff in the Bible that God actively condemns--including incest, actually (during the covenant with the Israelites).
If one is trying to use God's recommendations as a moral template, I think it would be hard to justify incest.

"But what about the 'good guy' characters found in incestuous relationships?", some might ask. Someone pointed out that Lot was called a "just man" by Peter in the New Testament, and that Lot had impregneted his daughters (although the text would seem to have the daughters being the instigators, wanting children and having no other men around). So...does God recommend this course of action? Not explicitly, no. And what about Lot being a just man, a "good guy"...shouldn't he be a role model? Well, yes and no. Take David, for example. He's probably one of the Bible's biggest role models--God calls him "a man after my own heart"--but then he goes and commits adultery, and then murder to cover it up. And God gets royally angry with him and punishes him severely, and David lives with hard consequences of this action even beyond the punishment. So, saying: "X is a Biblical role model, and X did Y, so God recommends Y" is not a solid argument by any stretch of the imagination.

If you want to talk about God actively condoning incest between Adam and Eve and/or their children, bitwiseshiftleft made an excellent post about genres in the Bible ( viewtopic.php?f=7&t=79431&start=40#p2858375 ) which addresses this issue (and most issues with creationism with it). I am of the same position as bitwise on this matter.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:49 am UTC

It's religious and moral debates like this that make me glad the Roman-Catholic church allows the choice of believing this story to be a metaphor.

...not that I wouldn't anyways.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby The Moomin » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:50 am UTC

Azkyroth wrote:
The Moomin wrote:
invalidsyntax wrote:On that note however, is necrophilia immoral?

As the dead won't be able to give consent, I suppose it's technically rape which is immoral.

*Edited so it looked how it was supposed to do. I don't know what I'm doing.


Gym socks aren't able to give consent either.

The question, again is "who does it hurt?"


Given that logic, you'd be raping a condom any time you used one. You're not actually having sex with the sock, merely using it as a container, in a similar way to a condom.

The relations and friends of the corpse would probably be upset to see their loved one desecrated so, so they'd be emotionally hurt.

Your next step would be to argue what if you found a corpse with no living relations to have sex with? One with no friends that was hated by the rest of the society, etc. At which point I'd get tired and make a 'your mom' joke and possibly get lambasted by the forum.

I'd also think that at some point, given that the only possibility of the sex that they desire is attainable with a despised corpse, their ego and sense of self worth may be hurting a little. Which may lead to suicide, which is possibly also immoral. I suppose constant "sex" with socks may lead that way too.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:57 am UTC

KShrike wrote:I'm back. Time to prove a point:
jalohones wrote:
KShrike wrote:I stand here right now and challenge every single atheist/agnostic in this thread to prove to me that incest is moral.


Who gets to define 'moral'?

Have sex with your mother. Right now.
Come back to me once you have done it, and tell me that you were brave enough to do this thing that just CAN'T POSSIBLY be immoral.


This has got to be the worst trolling attempt in the history of the Internet.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:05 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Schodinger's cat is not alive and dead both. It's indeterminate. At least, it makes sense that way, while it doesn't make sense to say it's both.

No, it's both.

Schrödinger's cat is not an exercise in logic: It's a thought experiment to illustrate a difficulty with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. Schrödinger was casting doubt on an interpretation that he didn't like. On the other hand, superpositions of non quantum objects have been performed, so there's no reason to think that a cat can't exist in that state too.

To illustrate the difference between "unknown state" and "a superposition of states", consider the double slit experiment: photons, or even buckyballs (C60 molecules) can be sent down one at a time, and interfere with themselves. If it was only a matter of not knowing which slit it went through, this wouldn't happen.


I know that your interpretation is widely accepted, but I don't accept it myself because it makes no sense.

It's natural to say that the buckyball must go through one slit or the other, and that if it goes through one then its path will follow one distribution while if it goes through the other then its path will follow a different distribution and the distribution of the actual buckyballs is not the sum of the two different independent distributions. It has to be true that each path is statistically independent of all the others, and it has to be true that the material the slits are in has no interaction with the buckeyballs except to either block them or let them go through slits, and it has to be true that one buckyball is being detected independent of any other, and so on. After you go through a long list of reasonable assumptions, you get the unreasonable conclusion that each buckyball must have gone through both slits so it could interfere with itself.

But this is not what is observed. What is observed is that the statistical distribution of buckyball detections fits a pattern of interference even when it appears that on average one buckyball passes through the slits at a time. The actual passage of buckyballs through the slit is not observed, and cannot be observed without destroying that statistical distribution. The path of each buckyball is undetermined. It is not known that each buckyball goes through both slits, unless you know there is no other way they could produce that interference pattern.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Randomizer » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:29 am UTC

A whole five page thread and not a single person mentioned a GOOMHR moment? I'm shocked. :P
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:33 am UTC

Randomizer wrote:A whole five page thread and not a single person mentioned a GOOMHR moment? I'm shocked. :P


Check the OP
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Azkyroth » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:59 am UTC

The Moomin wrote:The relations and friends of the corpse would probably be upset to see their loved one desecrated so, so they'd be emotionally hurt.


And there's your answer. :)

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby buddy431 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:16 am UTC

Azkyroth wrote:
The Moomin wrote:The relations and friends of the corpse would probably be upset to see their loved one desecrated so, so they'd be emotionally hurt.


And there's your answer. :)


Only if they knew about it.

Now what was her plot number again...?
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Ideas sleep furiously. » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:12 am UTC

BytEfLUSh wrote:
KShrike wrote:I'm back. Time to prove a point:
jalohones wrote:
KShrike wrote:I stand here right now and challenge every single atheist/agnostic in this thread to prove to me that incest is moral.


Who gets to define 'moral'?

Have sex with your mother. Right now.
Come back to me once you have done it, and tell me that you were brave enough to do this thing that just CAN'T POSSIBLY be immoral.


This has got to be the worst trolling attempt in the history of the Internet.


The best trolls are those who don't know they're trolling.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby erik65536 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:26 am UTC

heavywater wrote:
erik65536 wrote:Anyone who tries to argue for or against religion is introducing their own bias, because it is either not observation based or is so far unobservable. You can only make weak arguments either way. The strongest position is “I don’t know, but for now I am going to assume...”

This is why I find it so bizarre that so many logical people self-identify as atheist. I'm an agnostic atheist, I find the idea of a deity (or deities) so unfathomably unlikely that I rarely entertain the concept. However, logically speaking, the existence of a deity is unknowable until it is known to be true. We can't disprove the existence of an omnipotent being without ourselves being omnipotent. The out-of-hand rejection of the possibility of deities by atheists is... peculiar.

I know you agreed with me, but I would still like to argue a couple points because I like these sorts of discussions and almost everyone I know is unwilling to discuss possible faults in religious beliefs.

Its impossible to know anything for sure unless by definition you know everything, but over time some things become more and more likely. Evolution has been proven with enough confidence that the arguments against it are completely implausible. The best arguments are that the devil put fossils in the ground to confuse people or we live in the matrix. Anyone who discounts evolution does not care about the truth. They only care about reinforcing their personal beliefs.

Now does God exist? Lets assume that the universe was created spontaneously or it was created by an intelligent being. There is almost no scientific evidence to support either position. If someone wants to believe that there is a 0.5 or even a 1e-10 probability that either one is true that seems rational to me. However, if someone wants to argue that there is a 1e-10000000000000000 probability that either one is true, that seems completely irrational given how little we know about the origin and nature of the universe.

Maybe we can never conclusively prove either side, but one day we may understand the origin of the universe as well as we understand evolution. Maybe we will observe that the process that created the universe is an intelligent process...or maybe we will prove that no intelligent being could create a universe like ours.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Username4242 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:19 am UTC

It's worth noting that a wide variety of species preferentially avoid inbreeding. Given its possible deleterious effects, such inbuilt aversions make sense. I suspect that a good amount of our own taboo behind the subject stems from something similar.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Username4242 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:27 am UTC

jjcote wrote:
drakmon wrote:
Jared the Great wrote:...you would probably be shocked to find that you are interested in your, say, 17th cousin.


Funny story... my wife and I have been doing a ton of genealogical research for the past year and found out over Christmas vacation that we have a common ancestor roughly 600 years back. We're ~21st cousins.

See? This is why you should compare genealogies with your potential mate prior to mating!

A relationship that distant is interesting. Knowing what we now know about genetics, what is the probability that you and your 21st cousin wife have any genetic material in common? If I'm doing the math right, by 5th cousin, the chances of a shared chromosome drops to less than 50%. This makes the notion of "related" be entirely social/cultural, and you would actually share more with someone from a family that had lived in the same town/region/country as your family for some number of generations.


http://www.genetic-genealogy.co.uk/Toc115570144.html

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby willpellmn » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:43 am UTC

I did not enjoy the comic (I thought it was random and as pointless as the topic it lampoons), but am immensely enjoying the discussion thread.

I will posit a view that apparently has not been floated yet - incest is "wrong" (whether that means immoral or just icky I will not attempt to disambiguate at the moment), not in cases of genetic lineage, but in cases of familial acquaintance (perhaps including things like a kibbutz, I don't really know). IMO, babies and young children are disgusting, the slimy tadpoles and ravenous caterpillars of the human organism, inchoate and rudly formed, meant to be discarded once one grows into a sufficient degree of self-awareness to have a sense of dignity and integrity, which abhors the actions of the person you were before you developed it. Further progressing from this belief, I posit that sex is a form of intimacy with another human being, knowing what they look like naked and how their genitals feel and so forth, knowledge that you do not possess for others. To share such knowledge with a person who has memories of you in your larval form, that is what I regard as necessitating brain bleach. No person is meant to know both you and the loathsome grub that metamorphosed into you.

Whether sex leads to children is an entirely separate point, and the genetic abnormalities that may result in such children further beyond the issue. To me what is important about an issue such as incest is not what mechanical consequences it has in this world of matter, but how it transforms the mental constructs we regard as our identities, which to me are the only "true" selves we have. An important part of these selves is that sense of integrity I mentioned, and a person who has known you before you grew that is considering "you" to be a being other than what you have become, what you are in the meaningful sense of "you". That person thus should never know the real "you" completely, through the intimacy of sex; if they did it would symbolically unify your current, true self with the discarded cocoon of your unclean child-self.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby doogly » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:43 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I know that your interpretation is widely accepted, but I don't accept it myself because it makes no sense.

The world is not required to make sense to you.
The experiment is not performed with each particle released "on average independently," you can slow it down arbitrarily. They absolutely interfere with themselves. There are occasionally still fruitful discussions to be had about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, but this fact is bedrock. I am not sure what your issue with it could be, other than your personal taste.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby myoilu » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:11 am UTC

Randall, seriously what the heck man? you really crossed a line here.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:23 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:But this is not what is observed. What is observed is that the statistical distribution of buckyball detections fits a pattern of interference even when it appears that on average one buckyball passes through the slits at a time. The actual passage of buckyballs through the slit is not observed, and cannot be observed without destroying that statistical distribution. The path of each buckyball is undetermined. It is not known that each buckyball goes through both slits, unless you know there is no other way they could produce that interference pattern.

As doogly already mentioned, the problem with this assertion is that you still see an interference pattern on the sensor even if you shoot only one particle down the line.

However, I'm not certain that the double-slit experiment is really the right example to clarify what the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment was meant to demonstrate. The double-slit experiment just shows that particle behave in some wavelike ways; that particles really are just waves, perturbations of fields of energy. Waves that can only exists in multiples of discrete units, which makes them in some ways unless ordinary macroscopic waves we are familiar with, and more like ordinary macroscopic particles which also come in discrete units.

But the behavior of waves can still be plotted deterministically just as easily as the behavior of particles can. Schrodinger's Cat is all about indeterminism. The point of it is that there is absolutely no way to tell with certainly whether a radioactive particle will decay or not at any given moment, so if you do not make any observations of the particle for some time then there is absolutely no way to tell with certainty whether or not it has decayed. You cannot predict it, in principle: the information is completely inaccessible until you actually observe the particle and see whether or not it has decayed. Information which is in principle completely inaccessible is effectively nonexistent.

For illustration, most people will intuitively agree that there is no concrete fact of the matter right now about whether the particle will decay five minutes from now; there is only a particular probability, as the future is undecided. But if we make no observations of the particle for five minutes - it's now five minutes later - then it is equally true that there is no fact of the matter right now about whether the particle has decayed by now or not; there is only a particular probability. There is a fact about the present which is not merely unknown, but completely absent. The universe contains precisely the information that a perfect model of it contains (that's what it is for the model to be perfect), and if quantum theory is correct then it is impossible for any perfect model to contain concrete facts about whether or not an unobserved particle will decay or has decayed, and therefore the universe itself does not contain such a fact; merely some set of different possibilities.

More particularly, the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment is meant to discredit one particular interpretation (the Copenhagen interpretation) of how these sets-of-possibilities types of fuzzy impact us people in the world we're accustomed to. Everyone agrees that if the state of the particle is indeterminate, then the state of everything the particle is interacting with must also be indeterminate, such as a Geiger counter set up to go off if it measures radioactive decay. And then everything interacting with that must also be indeterminate, such as the can of poison gas set to be opened if the Geiger counter goes off. And everything interacting with that must also be indeterminate, such as the cat that would breath that gas and die if the can were opened.

The "box" that all of this is imagined to be in is some kind of impossibly insulating container basically set up in the hypothetical situation to prevent us from interacting with what's going on inside it until we decide to do so; think of it like a breakpoint in a debugger. The code has stepped through each line from the particle through everything else it's interacted with, and because the particle returned an array of possibilities rather than a single value, each other variable set at each step also has an array of possibilities rather than a single value, and then it hits the edge of the box and the execution breaks. We look in our debugger (our model of what's going on inside the box) and see all these arrays of possibilities as values for every variable -- including the life of the cat. It's not just a "0", or "1", but it's not a "0.5" either; it's something more like [0,0,0,0,1,0,0,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1]. Then we step over the breakpoint (open the box) and...

...the Copenhagen interpretation has it that our act of observation essentially picks a value at random from the array of possibilities about the life of the cat and fixes the cat_life variable to that, which then requires that each other variable related to that one become fixed to values consistent with the cat being how we observed it. So all of these variables which had arrays of possibilities for their values now have fixed values. Information which did not exist before suddenly now exists: there is now a concrete fact about whether the cat is alive of dead, where there was none before, solely because we looked at it. Observing it made the cat alive (or dead), when it wasn't really either until then. Observing the cat didn't just discover a fact, it created the fact. According to Copenhagen, at least.

According to Everett, whose many-worlds interpretation is Copenhagen's main competitor, what happens instead of that when we interact with the cat in its undetermined state (by observing it), the fact about what we observed also takes on an array of possibilities rather than a concrete value, and all the other facts about what we think and act in response to that observation take on arrays of possibilities rather than concrete values, and every fact about anything affected by what we do in response to that also takes on an array of possibilities rather than concrete values, and that since everything exhibits this indeterministic behavior a the base level anyway, every fact really has an array of possibilities rather than any concrete value, including facts about the state of the entire universe. It's not just that the values of these facts are imprecisely known to us, they really don't have concrete values; the cat really is both alive and dead, and we really do observe it as alive and as dead, and we remember seeing it alive and we remember seeing it dead, and we write in our reports both "the cat was alive" and "the cat was dead", and so on and so on... and the whole universe is working like this, with every way the universe could go, actually going that way, all together at the same time.

If there are indeterministic processes in the universe, those are basically our options. Either there is something special that happens at some level of interaction and facts can be created from nothing just by being observed to be so, or the whole universe exists in a superposition of possible states just as much as each particle does. Pick your flavor of weirdness. Personally, I prefer the option that has the universe consistent at all scales and doesn't ascribe magic powers to human observation.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J L » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:54 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:The universe contains precisely the information that a perfect model of it contains (that's what it is for the model to be perfect), and if quantum theory is correct then it is impossible for any perfect model to contain concrete facts about whether or not an unobserved particle will decay or has decayed, and therefore the universe itself does not contain such a fact; merely some set of different possibilities.[...]

If there are indeterministic processes in the universe, those are basically our options. Either there is something special that happens at some level of interaction and facts can be created from nothing just by being observed to be so, or the whole universe exists in a superposition of possible states just as much as each particle does. Pick your flavor of weirdness. Personally, I prefer the option that has the universe consistent at all scales and doesn't ascribe magic powers to human observation.


I really enjoy the discussions about quantum theory in these threads, even if they have nothing to do at all with the comic.

If I (as an interested laymen) may ask: how or why exactly does quantum theory say that it is impossible for the universe (or any model of it) to contain this information? How random is "random", and how is "information" defined?

I always thought that loss of information (for example in the case of particles falling into black holes) is kind of a "problem" for science, so I would expect the sudden "creation" of information to be a problem, too. Is it really sure that information about e.g. radioactive decay doesn't exist / is impossible to exist? Does this mean these events are noncausal? Or is it possible we just don't know yet where to look for it / how to calculate it?

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:27 pm UTC

doogly wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I know that your interpretation is widely accepted, but I don't accept it myself because it makes no sense.

The world is not required to make sense to you.
The experiment is not performed with each particle released "on average independently," you can slow it down arbitrarily. They absolutely interfere with themselves. There are occasionally still fruitful discussions to be had about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, but this fact is bedrock. I am not sure what your issue with it could be, other than your personal taste.


I'm not arguing with the experiment. I'm arguing with your interpretation of it. Your interpretation is not necessary, and it does not make sense. It works just as well to say that the path of each buckyball is undetermined until it is measured as it does to say that it definitely passes through both slits whenever you don't check what it's doing.

Your interpretation does not change anything about the results, so you can think of it that way and get the same results everybody else does. So keep it if you want to, you can imagine single discrete buckyballs that simultaneously travel through two slits at once in precisely the way you can imagine single buckyballs that simultaneously travel through two slits at once because God told them to.

But it doesn't make sense.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:29 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:But this is not what is observed. What is observed is that the statistical distribution of buckyball detections fits a pattern of interference even when it appears that on average one buckyball passes through the slits at a time. The actual passage of buckyballs through the slit is not observed, and cannot be observed without destroying that statistical distribution. The path of each buckyball is undetermined. It is not known that each buckyball goes through both slits, unless you know there is no other way they could produce that interference pattern.

As doogly already mentioned, the problem with this assertion is that you still see an interference pattern on the sensor even if you shoot only one particle down the line.


Not quite -- you see an interference pattern in a statistical distribution if you shoot many particles that are widely separated in time. Since they are separated in time, it's natural to assume their paths must be statistically independent of each other. Since it's absurd to imagine that their paths might be correlated in a way that results in interference, the only remaining choice is that each particle interferes with itself. And since the only way it can interfere with itself is to go through both slits at the same time -- there's no other possibility whatsoever -- then that's how it is. But I want to point out that what is observed is still a statistical distribution over many particles.

Also, at that size a slit is not like a hole in a wall. The atoms around the slit make electric and magnetic fields, and those fields might possibly diffract the particles which go through a slit when the natural thing would be for them to continue in straight lines. Could the presence of another slit nearby change those fields enough to change the diffraction pattern for particles which go through one slit? Maybe. But there's no reason to think it would do it in precisely the way that's observed. It's unreasonable to expect a result like that, so the better interpretation is that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

When a particle goes through a tiny slit in a wall made of atoms, is there any chance that it somehow changes the atoms so they affect the next particle differently? Yes. But there's no reason to think it would, or that the result would get precisely the observed effect. Better to suppose that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

Could it be that the detector actually needs two particles to detect, that the first somehow primes it and the second completes the process? Then you could get interference even though the particles don't arrive at the same time. Something like that might be true for photographic film, but it surely isn't true for all the different kinds of detectors. The obviously better interpretation is that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

Like Sherlock Holmes said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left -- however unlikely -- must be true. Every other possibility has been eliminated so we know the particles each go through both slits. Nothing else makes sense.

Bazinga.

However, I'm not certain that the double-slit experiment is really the right example to clarify what the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment was meant to demonstrate. The double-slit experiment just shows that particle behave in some wavelike ways; that particles really are just waves, perturbations of fields of energy. Waves that can only exists in multiples of discrete units, which makes them in some ways unless ordinary macroscopic waves we are familiar with, and more like ordinary macroscopic particles which also come in discrete units.


Yes, since waves are the only way to get interference, anything that shows interference must be a wave. That makes sense.

Bazinga. (Incidentally, my wife says that string theory makes this all fit together. I haven't looked at that yet.)

But the behavior of waves can still be plotted deterministically just as easily as the behavior of particles can. Schrodinger's Cat is all about indeterminism. The point of it is that there is absolutely no way to tell with certainly whether a radioactive particle will decay or not at any given moment, so if you do not make any observations of the particle for some time then there is absolutely no way to tell with certainty whether or not it has decayed. You cannot predict it, in principle: the information is completely inaccessible until you actually observe the particle and see whether or not it has decayed. Information which is in principle completely inaccessible is effectively nonexistent.


Yes. Whatever you don't know might as well not exist. Whether it exists or not, you don't know about it so you can't take it into consideration.

For illustration, most people will intuitively agree that there is no concrete fact of the matter right now about whether the particle will decay five minutes from now; there is only a particular probability, as the future is undecided. But if we make no observations of the particle for five minutes - it's now five minutes later - then it is equally true that there is no fact of the matter right now about whether the particle has decayed by now or not; there is only a particular probability. There is a fact about the present which is not merely unknown, but completely absent.


Now you're getting pretty deep. If I don't know the score for the Lakers game, then as far as I'm concerned it's unknown. I can guess at probabilities. If I turn on the radio and find out, then I know. But other people have already turned on their radios and they do know. So for them it isn't unknown. It's unknowable for me until I can get to that radio and wait for the announcement, but it isn't unknowable in principle.

The universe contains precisely the information that a perfect model of it contains (that's what it is for the model to be perfect), and if quantum theory is correct then it is impossible for any perfect model to contain concrete facts about whether or not an unobserved particle will decay or has decayed, and therefore the universe itself does not contain such a fact; merely some set of different possibilities.


But there's no way to tell whether quantum theory is correct about that. Quantum theory only gives you the results it gives you. If there are things it can't tell you, those things are unknown to you. You can argue that they don't exist until you find out about them, but this is a philosophical position that has nothing to do with science.

More particularly, the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment is meant to discredit one particular interpretation (the Copenhagen interpretation) of how these sets-of-possibilities types of fuzzy impact us people in the world we're accustomed to. Everyone agrees that if the state of the particle is indeterminate, then the state of everything the particle is interacting with must also be indeterminate, such as a Geiger counter set up to go off if it measures radioactive decay. And then everything interacting with that must also be indeterminate, such as the can of poison gas set to be opened if the Geiger counter goes off. And everything interacting with that must also be indeterminate, such as the cat that would breath that gas and die if the can were opened.

The "box" that all of this is imagined to be in is some kind of impossibly insulating container basically set up in the hypothetical situation to prevent us from interacting with what's going on inside it until we decide to do so; think of it like a breakpoint in a debugger. The code has stepped through each line from the particle through everything else it's interacted with, and because the particle returned an array of possibilities rather than a single value, each other variable set at each step also has an array of possibilities rather than a single value, and then it hits the edge of the box and the execution breaks. We look in our debugger (our model of what's going on inside the box) and see all these arrays of possibilities as values for every variable -- including the life of the cat. It's not just a "0", or "1", but it's not a "0.5" either; it's something more like [0,0,0,0,1,0,0,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1]. Then we step over the breakpoint (open the box) and...

...the Copenhagen interpretation has it that our act of observation essentially picks a value at random from the array of possibilities about the life of the cat and fixes the cat_life variable to that, which then requires that each other variable related to that one become fixed to values consistent with the cat being how we observed it. So all of these variables which had arrays of possibilities for their values now have fixed values. Information which did not exist before suddenly now exists: there is now a concrete fact about whether the cat is alive of dead, where there was none before, solely because we looked at it. Observing it made the cat alive (or dead), when it wasn't really either until then. Observing the cat didn't just discover a fact, it created the fact. According to Copenhagen, at least.


Moldy philosophy. Does the tree in the forest make a sound if nobody hears it? Does my wife still exist when she leaves the room? It doesn't do a lot of good to argue about unobservables. I prefer Occam's razor. Whatever looks simplest and estheticly pleasing that still fits the observables, is good enough until it stops fitting the observables.

According to Everett, whose many-worlds interpretation is Copenhagen's main competitor, what happens instead of that when we interact with the cat in its undetermined state (by observing it), the fact about what we observed also takes on an array of possibilities rather than a concrete value, and all the other facts about what we think and act in response to that observation take on arrays of possibilities rather than concrete values, and every fact about anything affected by what we do in response to that also takes on an array of possibilities rather than concrete values, and that since everything exhibits this indeterministic behavior a the base level anyway, every fact really has an array of possibilities rather than any concrete value, including facts about the state of the entire universe. It's not just that the values of these facts are imprecisely known to us, they really don't have concrete values; the cat really is both alive and dead, and we really do observe it as alive and as dead, and we remember seeing it alive and we remember seeing it dead, and we write in our reports both "the cat was alive" and "the cat was dead", and so on and so on... and the whole universe is working like this, with every way the universe could go, actually going that way, all together at the same time.

If there are indeterministic processes in the universe, those are basically our options. Either there is something special that happens at some level of interaction and facts can be created from nothing just by being observed to be so, or the whole universe exists in a superposition of possible states just as much as each particle does. Pick your flavor of weirdness. Personally, I prefer the option that has the universe consistent at all scales and doesn't ascribe magic powers to human observation.


For lots of things, like the cat, it's possible to believe that precisely one of the possibilities happened, and what you do when you open the box is you find out which one did happen. In that case what QM gives you is a precise description of your knowledge about the world. Your model of the world can't be better than your knowledge of it. GIGO. Whether the parts you don't know about are actually a smear of probability distributions, or a giant assortment of fully fledged alternative worlds of which you will pick one, or a single world that you haven't observed, cannot be known to you because it's about what you don't know. The QM probability distribution is a model of the fuzzy things you do know about that stuff, and your model of what you know is not a description of what you do not know.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby The Moomin » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Also, at that size a slit is not like a hole in a wall. The atoms around the slit make electric and magnetic fields, and those fields might possibly diffract the particles which go through a slit when the natural thing would be for them to continue in straight lines. Could the presence of another slit nearby change those fields enough to change the diffraction pattern for particles which go through one slit? Maybe. But there's no reason to think it would do it in precisely the way that's observed. It's unreasonable to expect a result like that, so the better interpretation is that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

When a particle goes through a tiny slit in a wall made of atoms, is there any chance that it somehow changes the atoms so they affect the next particle differently? Yes. But there's no reason to think it would, or that the result would get precisely the observed effect. Better to suppose that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

Could it be that the detector actually needs two particles to detect, that the first somehow primes it and the second completes the process? Then you could get interference even though the particles don't arrive at the same time. Something like that might be true for photographic film, but it surely isn't true for all the different kinds of detectors. The obviously better interpretation is that each particle goes through both slits and then interferes with itself.

Like Sherlock Holmes said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left -- however unlikely -- must be true. Every other possibility has been eliminated so we know the particles each go through both slits. Nothing else makes sense.


You haven't eliminated the impossible, merely stated that you prefer the interpretation that leads to the result you want to prove?

Is there a chance that the particle may affect the atoms in the slit causing the following particles to deflect differently, you say there is, but then say why would you think that when you can say the particle must go through both slits? That's not science, or even an argument.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Like Sherlock Holmes said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left -- however unlikely -- must be true. Every other possibility has been eliminated so we know the particles each go through both slits. Nothing else makes sense.


You haven't eliminated the impossible, merely stated that you prefer the interpretation that leads to the result you want to prove?

Is there a chance that the particle may affect the atoms in the slit causing the following particles to deflect differently, you say there is, but then say why would you think that when you can say the particle must go through both slits? That's not science, or even an argument.


Bazinga.

(I'm quoting Sheldon from the TV show, "The Big Bang Theory". He says 'Bazinga' whenever he says something that he thinks is ridiculous and then somebody takes him seriously.)
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby VanDerZagallo » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

All of you are replying to an obvious troll post. Saying the post is not a trollbait doesn't make it less troll-ish.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby vortighast » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:41 pm UTC

I, being a lover of science yet a strong believer in Christianity and the inerrancy of God's Word, felt I must get my two cents in. First I must say that I take the Bible literally, cover to cover, and use it as the basis for all my beliefs (bitwise seemed to differ on this point). Arguing over the accuracy of the Bible is a whole different topic, but on that note I will say you have The God Delusion and we have The Case for Christ; in other words I've seen many sound arguments by experts in the field attesting to the historical accuracy of the Gospels, that they were written in 1st century AD.

How I feel about the discussion at hand is that morality in not invented by man, as some have said, but instilled in every person by God. Therefore, believing that Christianity applies to all people and not just those who accept it, it would follow that those who practice incest, or as I feel the Bible makes clear, homosexuality, are choosing to go against that morality that has been placed in them. As for the incest references in the Bible, I assume that God was not opposed to it (if in fact He approved of it in Scripture, I don't recall much of the Old Testament), possibly because its negative effects were not an issue at the time.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Maurog » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

Yeah, and we went against God's morality when we outlawed slavery.
He's mighty pissed at us right now for going against the pro-slavery morality he instilled in our hearts.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby doogly » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:31 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:I'm not arguing with the experiment. I'm arguing with your interpretation of it. Your interpretation is not necessary, and it does not make sense. It works just as well to say that the path of each buckyball is undetermined until it is measured as it does to say that it definitely passes through both slits whenever you don't check what it's doing.

Then how do you propose getting an interference pattern, out of classical physics + ignorance?
And how do you deal with Bell's inequalities?
vortighast wrote:Therefore, believing that Christianity applies to all people and not just those who accept it, it would follow that those who practice incest, or as I feel the Bible makes clear, homosexuality, are choosing to go against that morality that has been placed in them.

Christ should probably have placed this morality somewhere I would notice it then, because it seems to me that homophobia is repugnant and homosexuality a lark, a gas, a bouquet of roses. I don't know where he instilled his preferences in me. Maybe in opposite land, like some clever 5 year old. I totally played that game with my little brother.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby vortighast » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

This may get a little too spiritual for some but oh well.

Only those to whom the Spirit has given understanding are able to understand the things of God (can find the Biblical reference if one needs it). That being said, one could postulate that true morality, I guess is how I could refer to it, comes from conviction by the Holy Spirit. That is the Spirit's main purpose, to keep the children of God in line with His principles. Now I see this argument isn't much help for the majority of people (especially those reading this thread), but it certainly falls in line with the teachings of Christ, and would apply to everyone who chooses God.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby The Anon » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:04 pm UTC

hmm, I was always under the impression that it was Abel and Lilith.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Yondrose » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

willpellmn
"Whether sex leads to children is an entirely separate point, and the genetic abnormalities that may result in such children further beyond the issue. To me what is important about an issue such as incest is not what mechanical consequences it has in this world of matter, but how it transforms the mental constructs we regard as our identities, which to me are the only "true" selves we have. An important part of these selves is that sense of integrity I mentioned, and a person who has known you before you grew that is considering "you" to be a being other than what you have become, what you are in the meaningful sense of "you". That person thus should never know the real "you" completely, through the intimacy of sex; if they did it would symbolically unify your current, true self with the discarded cocoon of your unclean child-self."


Why do you loath the child you once where, and are you aware of how uncommon that is? Or how entirely separate he words 'unethical' and 'repugnant' are? I regret having denied myself silliness as a child and not learning how to smile sooner. Integrity and dignity are nothing alike. I have always considered 'dignity', in the sense you seem to be using it, to be childish and ostentatious. A pathetic excuse to brandish ones pride. As has been mentioned elsewhere "You where once pushed head first through your mothers vagina. Why do you act so dignified?"

by vortighast
This may get a little too spiritual for some but oh well.

Only those to whom the Spirit has given understanding are able to understand the things of God (can find the Biblical reference if one needs it). That being said, one could postulate that true morality, I guess is how I could refer to it, comes from conviction by the Holy Spirit. That is the Spirit's main purpose, to keep the children of God in line with His principles. Now I see this argument isn't much help for the majority of people (especially those reading this thread), but it certainly falls in line with the teachings of Christ, and would apply to everyone who chooses God.


Given that there have ever been studies of feral children, what makes you think ethics are inborn? Besides the bible. It was your assertion.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby AndyClaw » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:52 pm UTC

The biblical account of creation is consistent with genetics and biblical ethics.

The first created people would not have been created with genetic mutations. So where is the harm in inbreeding?

And why couldn't God have permitted marrying your sister while he knew that there would be no harm, and later, for our own good, make it prohibited in his revealed laws?

The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. The laws reveal things about God to us. This comic shows a twisted way of thinking about God.

What of morality? Evil is evidence for God. http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6023

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Jared the Great » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:05 pm UTC

AndyClaw wrote:The biblical account of creation is consistent with genetics and biblical ethics.

The first created people would not have been created with genetic mutations. So where is the harm in inbreeding?

And why couldn't God have permitted marrying your sister while he knew that there would be no harm, and later, for our own good, make it prohibited in his revealed laws?

The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. The laws reveal things about God to us. This comic shows a twisted way of thinking about God.

What of morality? Evil is evidence for God. http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6023


1: No... just no.
2: Every child born has some form of genetic mutation that one or both of their parents did not have.
3: Wait, what?
4: Those laws reveal stuff about this character, but so do the words of his son: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34-39. And this god of yours also encouraged his followers to commit genocide. (I can't find the exact verse right now, though)
5: Ooh, yay, that argument! So, there is a standard for every subjective thing? People vary in smelliness. Some are not very smelly, some are very smelly. Therefore, there has to be some greater standard for smelliness, which we shall call God.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J L » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:08 pm UTC

vortighast wrote:How I feel about the discussion at hand is that morality in not invented by man, as some have said, but instilled in every person by God. Therefore, believing that Christianity applies to all people and not just those who accept it, it would follow that those who practice incest, or as I feel the Bible makes clear, homosexuality, are choosing to go against that morality that has been placed in them. As for the incest references in the Bible, I assume that God was not opposed to it (if in fact He approved of it in Scripture, I don't recall much of the Old Testament), possibly because its negative effects were not an issue at the time.

vortighast wrote:Only those to whom the Spirit has given understanding are able to understand the things of God (can find the Biblical reference if one needs it). That being said, one could postulate that true morality, I guess is how I could refer to it, comes from conviction by the Holy Spirit. That is the Spirit's main purpose, to keep the children of God in line with His principles. Now I see this argument isn't much help for the majority of people (especially those reading this thread), but it certainly falls in line with the teachings of Christ, and would apply to everyone who chooses God.


So what you're basically saying is that [invisible thing that cannot be proven] keeps people in line with [other invisible thing that cannot be proven]'s principles and that said principles which [2nd invisible thing] may choose to enforce or not to enforce (depending on negative effects currently being an issue or not) are what you'd call "true morality" as opposed to the frail morality we sorry mortals struggled some umpteen thousand years to figure out on our own ...?

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby JohnTheWysard » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:08 pm UTC

bitwiseshiftleft wrote:Also also, Abel isn't recorded to have had any kids. But yeah, I get it, "Seth and Eve" doesn't sound like "Adam and Eve".


In fact, it's plausible that Abel was killed (by his brother Cain) before any opportunity to father anyone (on anyone). The implication is that we're all descended from a brother-murderer.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby diab0l » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
KShrike wrote:
mbklein wrote:
KShrike wrote:
jalohones wrote:
KShrike wrote:Have sex with your mother. Right now.
Come back to me once you have done it, and tell me that you were brave enough to do this thing that just CAN'T POSSIBLY be immoral.


Or, to paraphrase, "If you won't do it right now then it can't possibly be moral."

I didn't say it is impossible for incest to be immoral, nor did I ask you to commit anything that I consider to be an offensive act. I asked a question which I consider a fair one, given that you invited a discussion of morality. Your respone of "Go have sex with your Mum!" doesn't really do much to strengthen whatever your argument actually is.

If having sex with your mother is offensive than it can't possibly be moral.
Better yet. Tell me WHY you would never have sex with your mother. Is it social? Is it some sort of inner moral standards? Is it because you are told not to?

Go eat a live banana slug. Right now. If you won't do it, eating slugs must be an inherently immoral act.

Fallacious...


You say you aren't a troll. But you behave exactly like a troll. There's no way an outside observer can tell the difference. So your idea of what a troll is, must involve how the troll feels inside. Probably you feel like a troll just plays with his victims, he says outrageous things just to get them outraged and then he sits back and chuckles that he can affect them so much. But it turns out that sincere people can troll each other, they each feel compelled to speak out and state their sincere positions which enrage the other. And there is no way either of them can tell that the other is not a troll, because a "real" troll would pretend to be just as outraged as the sincere victim. So -- with no intention to -- people victimize each other. As L Ron Hubbard said, we are all of us victims and victims of victims.

My response to you then should be independent of whether you are really a troll or not. There is no possible way I can tell the difference, so I must either guess which it is and respond according to my guess, likely getting it wrong, or else respond in a way that's appropriate regardless of whether you're sincere. Walking away is one method that's appropriate either way. Nobody owes you a reply.

You have asked a fundamental question. What is morality and how do we know?

Fearless above suggested that morality depends on predicted consequences. It's immoral to do things that will hurt people. By this standard, to be sure you're doing the right thing you need to know the entire future history of the human race. The effects of your actions will reverberate throughout the future, and how do you know which consequences will be more important? So for example, there are probably things you could do which would further development of alternative energy. It's possible if we don't get adequate alternative energy we will inevitably get into a genocidal war where 90% of humanity is killed. Maybe the most important thing you can do in the next 20 years is whatever furthers alternate energy. However, we might be heading toward an ecological catastrophe. Maybe there's no way the earth can sustain 7 billion people. If you do something that prevents a catastrophe where 90% of humans die, the long-run consequences may be much worse.

The most important decisions of your life have consequences you do not know and cannot predict well at all. So I say this is an utterly inadequate basis to decide morality. And yet we have an ethical obligation to do what we can toward good consequences, even though we cannot know what will happen.

If we can't judge by results because we don't know the results, should we base our morality on things people told us? People who know even less about results? Obviously not.

Maybe you should do the right thing completely independent of results. Like, if you do the right thing and it has horrible results, at least you can say you did the right thing. The results weren't your fault because you did the right thing. If you do something that results in everybody in the world dying, and humanity goes extinct along with a million other species, but it was the right thing, then nobody should complain about it afterward. Probably somebody else was involved who did the wrong thing, and that makes it all their fault.

If you don't know what to do, but you believe somebody knows better, then you should follow whoever you think has the best advice. If God told somebody else what you should do, but God did not tell you, then you should believe the guy that you believe gets the inside info from God. What if you're wrong? What if that guy didn't get his info from God but somebody else did? You have to make a choice, and decide who you think is the real prophet. Unless God tells you personally who to believe, you just have to do the best you can. Why would God put you in a position where you go to Hell if you believe the wrong prophet and there's no way for you to know which is which except by your own judgement? I don't know. I'm not God. But Jesus said you'll know them by their fruits, which to my understanding goes back to judging by results.

For myself, I take a more pragmatic view. It doesn't matter why people believe in a morality. The fact is, people do believe in various moralities, and they punish minorities who disagree. We must live with that fact. If you do something that the large majority of people disagree with, you will face bad consequences. So don't do it. If people get offended when you pay them with your left hand, then don't pay them with your left hand. If they think it's immoral to wear clothing in warm weather, then strip. Or go somewhere else. There's no point arguing with them whether their morality is right because they hate being trolled.

More and more, the USA is being taken over by a libertarian philosophy which says it's immoral to enforce morality on anybody unless you can prove that they hurt other people. How will they enforce that morality? I shudder to think.... Will it collapse under the weight of its own contradiction? Probably not for a long time -- lots of other contradictory moralities haven't. You disagree so you want to argue that your morality is right and theirs is wrong. Good luck with that. When they come after you, remember you have the defense that you aren't hurting anybody but yourself. Maybe it will help.


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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby atrahasis » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:42 pm UTC

vortighast wrote:I, being a lover of science yet a strong believer in Christianity and the inerrancy of God's Word, felt I must get my two cents in. First I must say that I take the Bible literally, cover to cover, and use it as the basis for all my beliefs (bitwise seemed to differ on this point). Arguing over the accuracy of the Bible is a whole different topic, but on that note I will say you have The God Delusion and we have The Case for Christ; in other words I've seen many sound arguments by experts in the field attesting to the historical accuracy of the Gospels, that they were written in 1st century AD.

How I feel about the discussion at hand is that morality in not invented by man, as some have said, but instilled in every person by God. Therefore, believing that Christianity applies to all people and not just those who accept it, it would follow that those who practice incest, or as I feel the Bible makes clear, homosexuality, are choosing to go against that morality that has been placed in them. As for the incest references in the Bible, I assume that God was not opposed to it (if in fact He approved of it in Scripture, I don't recall much of the Old Testament), possibly because its negative effects were not an issue at the time.

The trouble with this post is that it is completely indistinguishable from a master-crafted troll post.

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby doogly » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

No, Seth and Eve. And some from Cain and his wife, who exists.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Partyr101 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:53 pm UTC

I'm a creationist and to be honest, I'm somewhat offended by this. How would atheists feel if we made a comic about Darwin cheating on his wife?


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