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View Poll Results: Is science inherently atheistic?
Yes 77 46.39%
No 68 40.96%
On Planet X, God is a scientist 21 12.65%
Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 7th May 2012, 10:04 PM   #361
mijopaalmc
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
I'm sorry, this thread seems to be slipping away from me, can you or Westprog please specify what statements are being asserted?
I'm not really sure, but someone seems to the that he made some fairly specific statement related to some aspect of science.
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:33 PM   #362
westprog
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
I'm not really sure, but someone seems to the that he made some fairly specific statement related to some aspect of science.
Glad we got that cleared up then.
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Old 8th May 2012, 12:17 AM   #363
punshhh
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I did not say I did Know. I said "perhaps" that is the case. But, if you insist on arguing about it, then you can just tell us ...

... what experience do you have in science research?





I have already answered that, very directly in the example of Darwin’s publications in the 1800‘s.

Darwin seems to be a good example because his explanation of evolution, particular as it later became applied to the evolution of Homo sapiens, is a very direct refutation of earlier religious beliefs (still held by many today of course) that God actually made Man.

That research into evolution has unequivocally shown that Homo sapiens evolved from earlier species. And that Man was therefore definitely not created by a miracle from any God.

Apart from Darwin’s famous first publication in 1859, On The Origin of Species, Darwin also wrote several later books on the subject of evolution, inc. in 1871 a book dealing directly with the Descent of Man from earlier species. All of that is of course extensively discussed in Wikipedia -


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Des...elation_to_Sex


At that time, circa. 1850’s to 1880’s, afaik Darwin was not alone in choosing to publish genuine scientific research in the form of a book, rather than as a shorter discrete paper in one of the early scientific Journals.

The fact that Darwin, in the mid Victorian era, was publishing his work as a book, does not make it in any way inadmissible as a genuine scientific publication describing “new” and “original” research - everyone accepted at that time, and all of science accepts today, that Darwin’s publications are most certainly genuine scientific research.

If you want something different from Evolution, from more modern research papers, which directly refute the role of a God, then the paper by Vilenkin, Guth and Borde does precisely that in a very direct way -

A.H. Guth, A. Vlienkin, A Borde, Inflationary Space-time’s are not Past-Complete, Phys Rev. Lett., vol 90, p151301, (2003)

In that paper and in his earlier papers, Vilenkin explains in mathematical detail how the universe itself can come into existence from what we should properly regard as “nothing”.

And as Vilenkin has explained in a short book about that paper (“Many Worlds in One“, A. Vilenkin, Hill & Wang NY, 2007) that work is most definitely rejecting God as a creator of the universe. That work, in both the book and the paper, describes how our universe is in fact an inevitable consequence of what we should properly regard as the existence of “nothing” (ie a set of mutually cancelling primordial energy fields which lead to the Big Bang).

Similarly in a well know paper by Stephen Hawking with James Hartle, on the “No Boundary Condition”, Hawking also describes essentially that same model of the universe appearing from “nothing”. Vilenkin and Andre Linde had previously published similar models describing the universe forming from “nothing” as far back as 1982, and indeed so too had Edward Tryon as far back as 1973 -

J.B. Hartle, S.W. Hawking; The Wavefunction of the Universe, Phys Rev., vol D28, p2960 (1983)

A.Vilenkin, Creation of Universes From Nothing, Phys. Lett; vol 117B, p25 (1982)

E.P Tryon, Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?, Nature, vol 246, p396 (1973)


Again, in his most recent book, Hawking explains why that paper on the No Boundary Condition, is actually a refutation of the claim that God made the universe. Hawking explains why the No Boundary Condition is a model which specifically excludes creation by any supernatural means (The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, Bantam Press London, 2010). Hawking had of course given similar explanations before in A Brief History of Time.

Just to be completely clear about the above - what Hawking and Vilenkin are doing in those books, is explaining in laymen’s terms for a popular audience, how and why certain of their earlier research papers on the origin of the universe, are specifically and directly excluding a supernatural cause (such as God) for the Big Bang and for the existence of what we call “our universe”.

But much more generally, as I said earlier, you must know perfectly well that every single scientific paper ever published, which now amounts to many millions of papers, describe how all known events and process occur in our universe by entirely natural means, and never in any of those discoveries and explanations is a God ever found to be part of the explanation.

The fact that scientific authors conventionally and invariably choose not to spell out the blindingly obvious by specifically adding a sentence to say " the explanation given here rejects any suggestion that a God and supernatural events are necessary ", is irrelevant and entirely unnecessary - all of those papers give their explanations in a way which clearly excludes supernatural acts as any part of the process.

One of the great philosophical fallacies here is for philosophers to think that science is inherently incapable of ever detecting a so-called “supernatural event”.

On the contrary, if scientific investigations showed that events were occurring which defied any known laws off science, and proceeding instead by what appears to be otherwise inexplicable “miracles” (ie the “supernatural”), then science would have no hesitation at all in publishing that result.

If such supernatural events really occurred, then science could perfectly well find that no coherent and consistent explanation could be found other than to conclude that the events did indeed appear to be miraculous. But of course, in all the many millions of the most detailed and precise scientific discoveries and explanations, no such evidence of any supernatural or miraculous process has ever been found.

Even worse than the complete absence of any evidence for any such supernatural event, now after more than a century of modern science (and several centuries of earlier embryonic science), we have discovered highly detailed and astonishingly precise theories which explain how and why almost everything works in this universe. All events must conform to those theories, that is to say - the theories are universal in the sense that their can be no exceptions - you cannot have, and we do not have, events which conform only to certain isolated or specific parts of certain theories, but which are in contradiction to other established theories of science - all events and processes must conform precisely to all known theories.

Those are theories which explain how almost everything in this universe behaves. But in none of those detailed theoretical explanations is there any role played by anything supernatural, or by any miracles, or by any God. And all scientific papers ever published, at least in scientifically educated modern times, confirm those same theories which are, as I say, in every case directly excluding any role for supernatural input from a miraculous Christian God (or any similar God).
Thankyou for giving in a nutshell what science can say about existence and the origin of our known existence.

Please feel free to add any others if they come to mind.

Well to be honest I see nothing at all addressing these issues. What I see is a reference to some of what science has concluded and proposed about the way things behave.

To be more explicit science can tell us something about the behavior of the physical world we as humans find ourselves in.

To be frank, this is all science can do and only to a level commensurate with the intellectual capabilities of a primate, nothing more.


It cannot inform us of the origin of this material world including any agencies involved. Any purpose or reason that there may be for the manifestation of this material existence. Anything about that manifestation, how spacetime and matter occur in the way they do, what unknown requirements there are for it to occur.

Its even worse when it comes to the issue of existence. What of this "nothing" from which we have so miraculously popped I wonder?

Can any scientist honestly say that they have any clue about these issues?
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:06 AM   #364
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
And you dare to speak of strawmen! Shame, shame, cheeky boy, speaking of 3 years olds who using a baroque lexicon try to hide their infantile approach to discussion of your "You said B when you wrote A, and C by the way, just because I hate your guts".
Oh gee, more trolling from the same self-confessed troll. Now that's a surprise Let me see...

1. I addressed the exact things you said in the messages you asked about. If you think I have commited a strawman, please point out which and how it mis-represents the position. Just shouting "strawman" isn't a blank card out of defending nonsense you did say.

2. There is no baroque wording, it's all fairly common English words. If you find it baroque or obfuscating, well, then your skills aren't up to par yet. Maybe take an English course instead of learning by trolling a forum?

3. A delusional appeal to motive fallacy. No, I don't hate your guts, but even if I did, it were irrelevant. I challenged the actual points you made. Whether someone hates you or not, is irrelevant to whether what you said is right or wrong. And irrelevant to whether what anyone else says is right or wrong.

So kindly stop playing the emotional prom queen card, and actually start supporting your statements.

Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
<More about this, next weekend, as I learn a lot analysing your -and others- malafide, and I need time to do it>
You do realize that you just promised to come do some irrelevant trolling, right? The above literally boils down to "I'll be back to do an ad-hominem, I just need time to come up with a good one."

Well, how about coming back with something that makes sense and is on topic? Just an idea.

I mean, polluting the thread with insulting nonsense and drowning the signal in your own useless noise is bad enough when it's done on a whim, but at least it can pass for a momentary lapse of judgment. But actually planning 5 days in advance to come troll and derail is pretty disturbing.

Last edited by HansMustermann; 8th May 2012 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:29 AM   #365
Last of the Fraggles
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
On evidence of heritability, certainly. Not on the specific case as far as I am aware.

However, if you were to insist that science proved that Angelina Jolie was or was not your mother, I would assume that there would be such a document somewhere to support your position.
So it can pronounce in the general but not on the specific case? Are you sure about that? Science cannot pronounce on whether I, a 36 year old male, am the mother of a 37 year old woman? Not specifically?

Does that work for every scientific principle or only the ones that you want to argue about?

Should I be concerned that this morning will be the specific case where gravity no longer applies and I float off into the clouds? The next time I take a flight should I wonder whether this is the specific case where aerodynamics doesn't apply?

Sorry, that's not how reality works. Science absolutely takes a stance on whether I am Angelina Jolie's mother. The fact that noone ever studied it specifically and wrote a paper on it doesn't make it 'outside science'. Quite the opposite in fact.

Now as much as I can philosophise ways in which I could be Angelina Jolie's mother, I doubt any scientist would take them seriously enough to address them without some evidence of anything other than me making **** up or suffering mental illness. Science is very much a-JolieFragglemotherist.

Now, someone tell me why your God is more likely than me being Jolie's mother?
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:58 AM   #366
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
Well, my friend, you know I tend to consider those harbouring theistic ideas as humans, not as people who is wrong. I, as a human, find in musical harmonies and bel canto, the sense of power and safety our ancestors found 50,000 years ago with their similar family voices all together making the clearing vibrate, so it's not a mystery to me that others can find "miraculous" some features of the universe, and develop religion-like approaches to them, and not be so fond of music. Everyone is human as they can.
Understanding why people come up with woowoo ideas, and actually thinking it's justified to hold those ideas, are different things. And, again, it's strange that it's only applied to science.

E.g., we also understand pretty well, scientifically even, the kind of phenomena that can make one see ghosts. It's not just brain disorders, btw, but also illusions, or low frequency vibrations interfering with eye saccades. But you don't see many people arguing that therefore it's normal to believe in ghosts, that it just makes them human, or that there's something wrong with the ghost-deniers.

E.g., we also understand pretty well why primitive people mistook dreams for messages from God or demons or evidence that the neighbour is a witch. I mean, as late as the 17'th century, dreams were even admitted as evidence in trials, e.g., witchcraft trials. Plus, see the first couple of pages of Matthew for a clear illustration of that belief. But you don't see many people arguing with a straight face that it's normal to continue to believe that dreams are direct messages from God. And anyone who'd come up with something like "I know my neighbour is a witch because I DREAMED of her flying on a broomstick" would be laughed at or sent to a doctor, not congratulate for their grasp on human nature.

E.g., we also know why lots of people wake up in terror at night, thinking there's some weird figure sitting on them, or holding them down, or otherwise holding them paralysed. But if someone actually believed that they're visited by a demon at night, most of us wouldn't hold that for still being normal.

E.g., we also have a good idea why people thought that a deadly disease moving from house to house, even when those people aren't even meeting with each other, can only be explained by magic. Or why in the renaissance they thought that if all evil (A) is explained by free will, and (B) has to come from Satan, then it follows logically that there must be some witches doing Satan's work of their own free will. And why that necessarily included not just disease, but also storms, livestock failures, premature ejaculation, or little Timmy having been eaten by wolves while gathering berries. But if anyone came and told you that their last flu, or their losing the erection half the time when trying to bone the wife, is caused by an evil witch next door casting evil spells with Satan's help, and you just know she's a witch because she has a familiar in the shape of a black cat, I should hope you wouldn't encourage them to keep up that "human nature".

E.g., we also know why for most of our existence as a species we though that the Earth was flat. I mean, the idea of it being round only appears circa 2500 years ago, out of 200,000 years we existed as a species. And it was still held by lemmings like Irenaeus arguing that the Earth rests on 4 pillars in the 2nd century CE. But yes, we can understand why people thought that. It doesn't mean it's still an ok opinion to hold. If anyone professed their firm personal belief that the Earth IS flat and DOES rest on four pillars, it doesn't mean we wouldn't think him woefully ignorant.

E.g., we have a good idea why primitive people thought that the sky is a solid dome over that flat Earth and in some cases why they though there's water above the dome. I mean, nowadays we know stuff like light refraction and diffraction, but they didn't, so that apparent blue hemisphere above looked like just that to them: a hemisphere. But imagine if someone came and said, like in the Dara O'Briain skit that they believe it actually is a dome, the stars are a carpet painted by God, and he doesn't believe the space station is real, because how are they going to keep it out there? Hang it on that carpet with hooks? Right.

E.g., we can certainly understand why some people, even as late as the renaissance, thought that milk is menstrual in nature (no, really, it's even as a premise in the Malleus Maleficarum.) Or why a lot of primitive people believed that semen and milk are the same kinda thing. But, well, human nature or not, you probably would be wary of taking a cappuccino from a guy who does hold a personal belief that semen is the same as milk

Etc.

It seems to me that knowing why a superstitious belief happens doesn't actually justify holding that belief. In fact, on the contrary: knowing for example that LSD is known to cause mystical feelings and visions and revelations, is a reason to NOT believe any mystical revelations that someone got from tripping balls.

Ditto in the case of religion. If you know why people got some feelings by sitting together and chanting and whatnot, then Occam's Razor says that that's the most reasonable conclusion and belief to take from that: you're seeing just the effects of people doing a certain group activity.

Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
The problem is that this works as you are not entitled to such opinions in this forum because you can't clone them in another person's mind by following certain mental and communicational steps. Because, of course, if you hold some theistic notion then you are trying to make others to share it uncritically. That's the role you'll be assigned here unless you clearly pray constantly the anti-creed.
Oh gee, more persecution complex BS. Just because someone thinks you've said something illogical, doesn't mean they're part of a conspiracy or just doing it because the group told them to. Sometimes they just think it's just illogical.

Besides, see above. We do know how to "clone" some feelings. It doesn't mean we automatically believe the same superstitious nonsense that someone else finds behind them.

E.g., I can get goosebumps and funny feelings when thinking about God, or for that reason about the great game designer in the sky, our saviour Snow White, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I can feel a presence watching me if I really imagine my imaginary cat. In fact, not just watching, but outright staring at me. Cats are known to do that

E.g., yeah, I can get funny feelings too sitting in a large group and chanting. Ever went to a football stadium?

Etc.

It just doesn't follow that if someone doesn't believe your superstitions, then there must be something wrong with them. Like they're surely just having some motive like forum group-think to not acknowledge you're right.

That kind of BS is exactly the mark of the apologist who can't support his woowoo. And incidentally that's another thing that we do have some idea how it happens: it's just a psychological coping mechanism. But that too just become right or true, just because we understand it.

Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
The problem with this thread is that science is not inherently atheist. Some have simply mixed up some narrow scoped visions and hindrances in the history of science, all because of religious interference. Some here may have made Galileo their champion and identified with him, but they are only similar to him in telling that there's only one tide a day to "prove" the earth si muove. Atheism is not part of the scientific method, nor an unified creed held by all the scientific community, no matter science itself is probably the second most frequented way to atheism. Good information is the first one.
The only ones mixing anything up are the lemmings still harping on that strawman, just for the sake of having something to argue against seeing atheism and science mentioned in the same sentence. Your repeating the same strawman even after it being pointed out as a strawman repeatedly, won't magically make it true. We're not in The Hunting Of The Snark, you know?
"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What i tell you three times is true."

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Old 8th May 2012, 02:06 AM   #367
Aridas
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Hmm. I may as well jump in.

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
To be more explicit science can tell us something about the behavior of the physical world we as humans find ourselves in.

To be frank, this is all science can do and only to a level commensurate with the intellectual capabilities of a primate, nothing more.
Intellectual capabilities that are, frankly, rather good overall, especially when based in solid logic. The way you choose to word that rather suggests that you're trying to demean said capabilities, while trying to leave yourself an escape plan, if challenged.

Unfortunately for you, you're just not very good at it, given that you left a huge, gaping hole when you tried to use the singular, as opposed to the rather large plural that is deserved. I could dissect further, but enough is enough.

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
It cannot inform us of the origin of this material world including any agencies involved.
Really now? That's odd. Pretty sure that that's an appeal to ignorance, right there. Also pretty sure that science has turned up a rather promising candidate or few on that note. Unless, of course, you're invoking the Omphalos hypothesis and throwing any hope of a useful discussion out the window?

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Any purpose or reason that there may be for the manifestation of this material existence.
This sentence makes me think that you were only referring to the purposes and reasons of an intelligent entity, and not really addressing the rest.

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Anything about that manifestation, how spacetime and matter occur in the way they do, what unknown requirements there are for it to occur.
Somehow, I don't find this statement justified. But then... while I doubt that this is quite scientific in the way that you're asking for, that doesn't change that it answers the questions you just posed far, far better than any theistic explanation that I've ever seen.

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Its even worse when it comes to the issue of existence. What of this "nothing" from which we have so miraculously popped I wonder?
It's even worse when you understand that this is a strawman that theists love to use without even considering the positions that those they're claiming hold it actually hold. It's actually a couple, for that matter, but I'm just going to deal with one of them.

I'll give you a couple hints. First, I've never met anyone who's said that something came out of nothing, in the sense that you're using it. I've met plenty of people who are honest about the fact that they don't really know. I've met plenty of people who are dishonest about the fact that they don't really know.

Second, proposing that some kind of god has always existed is still proposing that existence has always existed and is adding something to that which both has no evidence for it and is unnecessary.


Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Can any scientist honestly say that they have any clue about these issues?
Can any person honestly say that they have any clue about these issues?

Hey, look, that was the attempted argument that you were trying to make, only less rhetorically skewed. While I could deal with this... I'm not even going to bother with it, because, by the look of it, all you've got is rhetoric and absolutely nothing of substance.

Maybe you could try again with points that aren't solely rhetoric and fallacious nonsense?
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Last edited by Aridas; 8th May 2012 at 02:30 AM. Reason: Needed it, a bit.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:28 AM   #368
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
So it can pronounce in the general but not on the specific case? Are you sure about that? Science cannot pronounce on whether I, a 36 year old male, am the mother of a 37 year old woman? Not specifically?

Does that work for every scientific principle or only the ones that you want to argue about?

Should I be concerned that this morning will be the specific case where gravity no longer applies and I float off into the clouds? The next time I take a flight should I wonder whether this is the specific case where aerodynamics doesn't apply?

Sorry, that's not how reality works. Science absolutely takes a stance on whether I am Angelina Jolie's mother. The fact that noone ever studied it specifically and wrote a paper on it doesn't make it 'outside science'. Quite the opposite in fact.

Now as much as I can philosophise ways in which I could be Angelina Jolie's mother, I doubt any scientist would take them seriously enough to address them without some evidence of anything other than me making **** up or suffering mental illness. Science is very much a-JolieFragglemotherist.

Now, someone tell me why your God is more likely than me being Jolie's mother?
To that I would add though, that even if one does make a claim that is completely untestable by science, then it still doesn't justify taking that claim seriously.

E.g., I could claim that all my family and half the co-workers have been replaced by identical copies from Mirror Earth. And I know that because for example I haven't seen my brother in a couple of months, and now he has a goatee like Mirror Spock. It's not something you can even devise a test for, because, hey, Mirror Earth people have the same DNA and face and age and diseases and everything as their normal Earth counterparts.

But then the question becomes: what reason do I have to believe it then? If there is no (sane) data to support that assertion, and no way to even test it, much less falsify it, then why would I believe that? If the difference between that swap and the null hypothesis are non-existent, and ultimately it's all fundamentally unknowable, then what delusion would make me claim to know it anyway?

And indeed we don't take that exact kind of delusion as something normal to believe, nor think that it being unknowable makes if normal to believe anyway. In fact, it's what makes it an unreasonable belief to hold, and by definition a delusion. In fact it's the Capgras delusion, a common symptom of paranoid schizophrenia.

E.g., to harp on YECs too, imagine I came and claimed that my imaginary cat created the universe last Tuesday. You might think that you existed last monday too, and have memories from that day, or that your mom has photo albums from decades before that, but it just shows how crafty my invisible cat is. She created the universe complete with such false memories and photo albums, and everything.

I'm pretty sure I could find some delusional rationalization for whatever testable claim you might try to find in that. And thus make it fundamentally untestable and impossible for science to tackle it from any angle. E.g., no, my imaginary cat is outside the universe, so your puny radars and telescopes can't see her. E.g., no, my imaginary cat hasn't answered any prayers since last Tuesday, so you can't do statistics to disprove her. In fact, she's been mostly sleeping and playing with her imaginary catnip mouse. You know how cats are. E.g., no, background microwave radiation and distant galaxies don't prove that the universe is 15 billion years old, the imaginary cat made the universe complete with that particular frequency of microwave radiation and light in transit from those galaxies. Etc

(But you have to believe in the great imaginary cat, dude. Otherwise she'll send you to the afterlife mouse farms to make mouse-flavoured cat food for all eternity )

It seems to me like at the point where one so carefully carved it out of causing any detectable stuff, it also becomes something that's unjustified to believe. It still baffles me that basically someone could then say, "see, but then I'm free to hold that belief, because science can't say anything about the great cosmic imaginary cat." In fact, doubly so when they can see what's wrong wit it when you put it as a cat, or for that matter a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs, and why it's not OK to hold such a belief. But replace that cat with a bearded guy in the sky, and it becomes just normal. Heh.

And for that matter, it seems to me like one could do the same rationalizations as for actual religions, and it shows why those are bogus. E.g.,

- "No, dude, I'm a moderate believer in the imaginary cat. I don't propose to kill people who don't worship her." Well, it would probably be good to know that I'm not homicidally crazy, but that doesn't make the belief more justified.

- "No, see, I'm not a LITERALIST. I don't actually believe it was unerringly last Tuesday. In fact, it may have been as late as Thursday. You know how lazy cats are." Yes, well, it's still believing something bogus anyway.

- "No, see, I keep it compartmentalized. I still paid my taxes for last year, for example, even though I know I didn't exist until last Thursday." Again, it would probably be good to know that I'm not crazy enough to get myself locked up, but it's still an unjustified belief.

- "Dude, you're just mean. If you take away my belief in the imaginary cat, I'll suffer and have no purpose in life and whatnot." Err, so what? I'm sure that my being unable to cope with reality isn't making the belief less bogus.

Etc.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:39 AM   #369
punshhh
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Hmm. I may as well jump in.



Intellectual capabilities that are, frankly, rather good overall, especially when based in solid logic. The way you choose to word that rather suggests that you're trying to demean said capabilities, while trying to leave yourself an escape plan, if challenged.

Unfortunately for you, you're just not very good at it, given that you left a huge, gaping hole when you tried to use the singular, as opposed to the rather large plural that is deserved. I could dissect further, but enough is enough.



Really now? That's odd. Pretty sure that that's an appeal to ignorance, right there. Also pretty sure that science has turned up a rather promising candidate or few on that note. Unless, of course, you're invoking the Omphalos hypothesis and throwing any hope of a useful discussion out the window?



This sentence makes me think that you were only referring to the purposes and reasons of an intelligent entity, and not really addressing the rest.



Somehow, I don't find this statement justified. But then... while I doubt that this is quite scientific in the way that you're asking for, that doesn't change that it answers the questions you just posed far, far better than any theistic explanation that I've ever seen.



It's even worse when you understand that this is a strawman that theists love to use without even considering the positions that those they're claiming hold it actually hold. It's actually a couple, for that matter, but I'm just going to deal with one of them.

I'll give you a couple hints. First, I've never met anyone who's said that something came out of nothing, in the sense that you're using it. I've met plenty of people who are honest about the fact that they don't really know. I've met plenty of people who are dishonest about the fact that they don't really know.

Second, proposing that some kind of god has always existed is still proposing that existence has always existed and is adding something to that which both has no evidence for it and is unnecessary.




Can any person honestly say that they have any clue about these issues?

Hey, look, that was the attempted argument that you were trying to make, only less rhetorically skewed. While I could deal with this... I'm not even going to bother with it, because, by the look of it, all you've got is rhetoric and absolutely nothing of substance.

Maybe you could try again with points that aren't solely rhetoric and fallacious nonsense?
So nothing to say then ( oh apart from that "your just not very good at it").

I'll just point out that my post was in response to a post which did have something to say.
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:50 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
To that I would add though, that even if one does make a claim that is completely untestable by science, then it still doesn't justify taking that claim seriously..
I think we are in agreement. That's pretty much where I was going with my example. To be honest, I think the 'untestable' thing is pretty much a red herring as the things in life which matter and are real are testable or at worst theoretically testable but not practically so.

Generally, when you dig into a hypothesis then you bang up against some science that is relevant provided you keep within the bounds of 'reality is real'.

The only times I seem to run up against untestable hypotheses are when philosophers or wannabe philosophers try to generate them to prove a point. And then,as you say, why would you even give it consideration? At that point, I can be Angelina Jolie's mum and further discussion is not going to get anyone anywhere.
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Old 8th May 2012, 05:17 AM   #371
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Well, I suppose "wannabe philosophers" is a good moniker, but it seems common to me to see people back into some form of "no, you can't test that" when it comes to religion. Although the rest of the time they're perfectly ok with making testable and indeed falsifiable predictions like that prayers are routinely answered, or that bible-based morality is somehow better, or whatever, it turns into some fundamentally untestable mystery as soon as you even propose to falsify it.
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Old 8th May 2012, 07:58 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I do not believe that the valid conclusion, "you have no evidence", is always an insult. I observe that some people challenged to articulate what they cannot, revert to perceiving the challenge as an insult. It allows a rationalization for an unsupportable belief.
Whether its taken as an insult aside, I would argue it's more often used as an insult. Consider the implications when one scientist says this to another: not only is the thing you've probably dedicated your life to completely wrong, it's so hilariously wrong that it isn't even worth my time listing all the ways it's wrong, and how all those ways reflect on your ancestry, upbringing, and choice of pocket protector. Fistfighting haven fallen out of fashion as a method of resolving scientific debate sometime in the sixties, these days people prefer to take it on the chin, content in the knowledge that they will one day be asked to review the other's grant application.

The problem comes when a scientist looses this torrent of withering scorn upon someone who doesn't grasp all the implications, quite possibly as a result of the same processes that lead them to believe their nonsense, and interprets it as a mere off-the-cuff insult by someone who is attempting to blow them off. Or worse: deliberately uses the unfalsifiability as a shield for their pet theology.

Last edited by Beelzebuddy; 8th May 2012 at 08:01 AM. Reason: what is the proper grammatical phraseology for an informal meaning of a quote?
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:08 AM   #373
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
So it can pronounce in the general but not on the specific case? Are you sure about that? Science cannot pronounce on whether I, a 36 year old male, am the mother of a 37 year old woman? Not specifically?
Either I wrote carelessly or you read carelessly. Science is well able to pronounce whether you are the mother of Angelina Jolie. It can pronounce on the hypothetical case you have put forward, and also go a great way to establish if said hypothetical case is true.

Since I have no idea whether you are a 36 year old male or the eccentric 62 year old mother of a Hollywood superstar, I can't determine what the result of such an investigation would be.


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Does that work for every scientific principle or only the ones that you want to argue about?

Should I be concerned that this morning will be the specific case where gravity no longer applies and I float off into the clouds? The next time I take a flight should I wonder whether this is the specific case where aerodynamics doesn't apply?

Sorry, that's not how reality works. Science absolutely takes a stance on whether I am Angelina Jolie's mother. The fact that noone ever studied it specifically and wrote a paper on it doesn't make it 'outside science'. Quite the opposite in fact.

Now as much as I can philosophise ways in which I could be Angelina Jolie's mother, I doubt any scientist would take them seriously enough to address them without some evidence of anything other than me making **** up or suffering mental illness. Science is very much a-JolieFragglemotherist.

Now, someone tell me why your God is more likely than me being Jolie's mother?
Well, you could be lying about the 36-year-old male bit.

And science is not a racetrack. It's not about comparing odds. It's about compiling evidence and doing tests. It's quite possible to compile evidence and do tests on both the general case of whether a 36 year old man can be the mother of a 37 year old woman, and whether LOTF is who he says he is.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:30 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I suppose "wannabe philosophers" is a good moniker, but it seems common to me to see people back into some form of "no, you can't test that" when it comes to religion. Although the rest of the time they're perfectly ok with making testable and indeed falsifiable predictions like that prayers are routinely answered, or that bible-based morality is somehow better, or whatever, it turns into some fundamentally untestable mystery as soon as you even propose to falsify it.
Yeah there's about 3 or 4 discussions going on in this very subforum right now that all basically boil down to:

Bob: God exists.
Ted: What evidence do you have.
Bob: Well Ted you see the evidence I have is that God doesn't require evidence.
Ted: I don't follow.
Bob: Okay well you see how it is when you make a statement it requires evidence?
Ted: Yeah that's usually how it works.
Bob: Well you see that doesn't work for God.
Ted: Why doesn't it work for God.
Bob: Well becomes God is defined as something that doesn't need evidence.
Ted: I see. And who gets to define criteria for God?
Bob: Well I do of course.
Ted: So basically God exists but you don't need evidence for that... because you say so?
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:39 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
They are interpretations by groups of people, but in most of the cases there is an authority figure that is mandated by the religious group to pronounce on these subjects.
Ultimately, such is still the opinion and interpretation of a man, and the actions are the result of choices made by individuals. If you want to extend culpability for actions that result in harm back to church authorities, then that is a case you will have to make to society in general. I would be happy to share my thoughts on the issue if you wish, but it is branching a bit far afield from the topic of this thread.

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If these are not the result of "external" belief systems, then give me an example of such an "external" belief system.
"Inspired" perhaps, but while actions are guided by beliefs, and beliefs are often derived from words, our society is generally quite tolerant of words and many categories of speech, preferring to judge individuals by the actions they take rather than the words they speak.

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Many parents who are Jehovah's Witnesses love their children, yet they would still prefer to let them die in situations where the alternative is a lifesaving blood transfusion.
Society deems their actions irresponsible and criminal, I have no problem with this set of societal standards.

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The reason why they would do this is because of their religious belief, and that they don't want their loved ones to suffer the bad consequences of the sin of blood transfusion.
Are they making choices for another individual that is detrimental to that person's health? Are there other Jehovah's Witnesses who act differently? It is their particular interpretation and understanding of the words of others and the choices they make regarding their own interpretations and understandings that is causing harm. Address actions rather than promoting thought-crime perspectives.

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For many, this is the belief that they were brought up into; their parents and their preachers both have pronounced on this. How is that not an external belief system. In most religions there is an official interpretation. Developing one's counter interpretation is often considered apostasy or heresy, and discouraged with the threat of damnation at the least, if not by sanctions in the real world.
It matters little what people write, say or promise, what matters are the personal choices we make and actions we take. Hold individuals to account for their choices and their actions.
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:17 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Whether its taken as an insult aside, I would argue it's more often used as an insult. Consider the implications when one scientist says this to another: not only is the thing you've probably dedicated your life to completely wrong, it's so hilariously wrong that it isn't even worth my time listing all the ways it's wrong, and how all those ways reflect on your ancestry, upbringing, and choice of pocket protector. Fistfighting haven fallen out of fashion as a method of resolving scientific debate sometime in the sixties, these days people prefer to take it on the chin, content in the knowledge that they will one day be asked to review the other's grant application.

The problem comes when a scientist looses this torrent of withering scorn upon someone who doesn't grasp all the implications, quite possibly as a result of the same processes that lead them to believe their nonsense, and interprets it as a mere off-the-cuff insult by someone who is attempting to blow them off. Or worse: deliberately uses the unfalsifiability as a shield for their pet theology.
Nevertheless,

1. it's an integral part of science to try to be able to say that about someone's theory. Not because of being a meanie and liking to shatter people's dreams of greatness, but because that's the only method we know of that produces reliable knowledge and progress.

At the very least, when you're building the next rocket or try to make the first economical fusion power plant, you'll want the kind of certainty that comes from the fact that thousands of people actually tried to find faults in that theory, all over the domain that you need for your actual application and then some. And for that matter it's how you know you should go with, say, a certain kind of ion thruster on your rocket, and not with some kid's idea that he could blow up a balloon and float to the moon.

And at the best case, if someone does find a domain where the theory is bogus, then congrats, you've just learn something new. That's how progress is made.

2. There's a reason why you don't hear that used more often, though, and it's not because it would be impolite or a terrible insult. Among other things it's because the demand for showing enough evidence from the start is built right in the method and the peer review process.

If someone claimed to have actually found some kind of God particle (the Higgs boson, or whatever), they HAVE to show their evidence up front, and it's built even into the process that there is a standard demand to do so. They have to show the data and how to reproduce it, or go take a hike. You wouldn't even get published, if you claimed to just know it to be true by personal revelation, and much less if you took some "I'm right because you can't know I'm wrong" stance.

Basically 1 and 2 so far are saying that if you think it's some kind of insult, then science is by its very method and definition primed to be very insulting if you give it half a chance to do it. It doesn't get to do it often -- at least for real science, anyway -- because a part of doing science is making sure you don't leave the door open for that kind of comeback.

3. That doesn't apply to Joe Random on a bulletin board, though. You don't even need to read more than a couple of pages of the average thread, to see stuff postulated from personal conjecture, or from personal revelation, or just from "I'll play the victim card and speculate about your motives, if you don't believe me."

Whatever insulting connotations you could find if one told "you don't have evidence" to a scientist who did show his evidence and everything, I just don't see them in telling it to some Joe Random who did nothing of the kind. The former may be trying to denigrate some work that they did do, while the latter is typically just a statement of fact. And it doesn't become less correct just because someone is choosing to act insulted.
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:47 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy
Whether its taken as an insult aside, I would argue it's more often used as an insult.
Anyone who thinks that in this discussion hasn't been paying attention. The theists have admitted they don't have evidence. Where we differ is that theists continue with "...and we don't need any".

It's not an insult--both sides agree that it's a fact. The issue is how to interpret that fact. Science demands data before consideration--otherwise there's nothing to consider. Theists demand consideration without data--otherwise it'd be science, not religion.
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Old 8th May 2012, 10:00 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann
3. That doesn't apply to Joe Random on a bulletin board, though. You don't even need to read more than a couple of pages of the average thread, to see stuff postulated from personal conjecture, or from personal revelation, or just from "I'll play the victim card and speculate about your motives, if you don't believe me."

Whatever insulting connotations you could find if one told "you don't have evidence" to a scientist who did show his evidence and everything, I just don't see them in telling it to some Joe Random who did nothing of the kind. The former may be trying to denigrate some work that they did do, while the latter is typically just a statement of fact. And it doesn't become less correct just because someone is choosing to act insulted.
You forgot one:

4. Being insulted doesn't matter. I may be trying to insult you by saying you have no evidence, or insufficient evidence--but as long as you don't have any evidence, it's also a fact and must be addressed.

"You're wrong because you smell bad" isn't a fallacy if you actually ARE wrong because you smell bad.
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Old 8th May 2012, 10:38 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
So nothing to say then ( oh apart from that "your just not very good at it").

I'll just point out that my post was in response to a post which did have something to say.
Concession that you had and have nothing worthwhile to add to the discussion noted. Failure to understand what you're talking about noted.
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:07 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
It's quite possible to compile evidence and do tests on both the general case of whether a 36 year old man can be the mother of a 37 year old woman, and whether LOTF is who he says he is.
Only if you don't accept supernatural explanations. But then if we aren't accepting supernatural explanations........
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:27 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Basically 1 and 2 so far are saying that if you think it's some kind of insult, then science is by its very method and definition primed to be very insulting if you give it half a chance to do it. It doesn't get to do it often -- at least for real science, anyway -- because a part of doing science is making sure you don't leave the door open for that kind of comeback.
Basically, this, and a large part of the reason it is so insulting is because - for honest scientists - it's very rarely true.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Anyone who thinks that in this discussion hasn't been paying attention. The theists have admitted they don't have evidence. Where we differ is that theists continue with "...and we don't need any".

It's not an insult--both sides agree that it's a fact. The issue is how to interpret that fact. Science demands data before consideration--otherwise there's nothing to consider. Theists demand consideration without data--otherwise it'd be science, not religion.
Also this. I don't think it gets communicated enough that to scientists, having insufficient evidence for your claims is kind of a big deal in and of itself. So scientists say "there's no evidence for god," and theists say "yeah, so what?" and the scientists say "but there's no evidence for god," and then they both just kind of awkwardly look at each other because the full import of that statement got lost along the way.

To bring it back to the topic at hand, having no evidence for or against something's existence does not mean it's a maybe. It's not a neutral position at all, but a blanket invalidation of all existential assertions which woud rely on that evidence. And since "gods don't exist until proven otherwise" is quite an atheistic stance, science is inherently atheistic because of it.
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Old 8th May 2012, 12:18 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Basically, this, and a large part of the reason it is so insulting is because - for honest scientists - it's very rarely true.


Also this. I don't think it gets communicated enough that to scientists, having insufficient evidence for your claims is kind of a big deal in and of itself. So scientists say "there's no evidence for god," and theists say "yeah, so what?" and the scientists say "but there's no evidence for god," and then they both just kind of awkwardly look at each other because the full import of that statement got lost along the way.

To bring it back to the topic at hand, having no evidence for or against something's existence does not mean it's a maybe. It's not a neutral position at all, but a blanket invalidation of all existential assertions which woud rely on that evidence. And since "gods don't exist until proven otherwise" is quite an atheistic stance, science is inherently atheistic because of it.
In the true sense of a-theism (without god beliefs), yes, science is atheistic. In the sense that many here and elsewhere seem to use the term as synonymous with anti-theism or "A"theism (against god or god beliefs), no, science is not inherently in opposition to, or against, religious or theistic beliefs. Which is a good thing as most scientists and researchers, now, and throughout history have had religious or theistic beliefs themselves.
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:02 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by Trakar
Which is a good thing as most scientists and researchers, now, and throughout history have had religious or theistic beliefs themselves.
Most scientists are, and have been, wrong.
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:08 PM   #384
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
That doesn't make a belief in the supernatural wrong.

Do you really want to have a rousing round of Name That Fallacy?
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:30 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
That doesn't make a belief in the supernatural wrong.
No the fact that belief in the supernatural is an intellectual dead end that allows, accepts, nor creates any better understanding of how the real world actually works, is nothing more then slapping a cooler sound name on not knowing, and is used exclusively to defend Woo is what makes it wrong.
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:37 PM   #386
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
No the fact that belief in the supernatural is an intellectual dead end that allows, accepts, nor creates any better understanding of how the real world actually works, is nothing more then slapping a cooler sound name on not knowing, and is used exclusively to defend Woo is what makes it wrong.
None of the above actually makes belief in the supernatural wrong. All you have done is conflate what you perceive as "good" or "worthwhile" with what you consider "right".
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:37 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc
That doesn't make a belief in the supernatural wrong.

Do you really want to have a rousing round of Name That Fallacy?
Sure. What's it called when you argue against a point of your own creation that's weaker than your opposition's argument, to make it look like your opposition's argument fails when in fact it's never been addressed?

My argument isn't "Most scientists are wrong, therefore beleive in the supernatural is wrong". My argument is "Most scientists are demonstrably wrong, therefore you can't use the fact that most of them agree on any given point as proof of that point". I didn't quote Trakar just because I like to use the quote function--I did it to provide the context of my statement. Trakar's point is extremely weak, and all I did was point out a weakness in it.
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:42 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Sure. What's it called when you argue against a point of your own creation that's weaker than your opposition's argument, to make it look like your opposition's argument fails when in fact it's never been addressed?

My argument isn't "Most scientists are wrong, therefore beleive in the supernatural is wrong". My argument is "Most scientists are demonstrably wrong, therefore you can't use the fact that most of them agree on any given point as proof of that point". I didn't quote Trakar just because I like to use the quote function--I did it to provide the context of my statement. Trakar's point is extremely weak, and all I did was point out a weakness in it.
First, you have to make sure that the person to whom you ascribed an argument is actually arguing the position you ascribed to them. You have merely assumed that Trakar was arguing that, since past scientists believed in the supernatural, we should believed in the supernatural.

What that fallacy?
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Old 8th May 2012, 01:51 PM   #389
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc
You have merely assumed that Trakar was arguing that
Being able to read plain English?

Even if Trakar wasn't arguing that because scientists accept the supernatural it's justifiable (as an aside, why else would he post his statement?), my argument is still relevant as it pre-empts the argument that logically follows his statement. If he says "Well, I agree; I wasn't saying that" that it's a mere misunderstanding and we move on in the conversation (misunderstandings ARE NOT fallacies). And if someone else comes in and argues that because scientists accept gods, therefore belief in the supernatural is in agreement with scientific principles, I've provided a citation that argues against that idea.

I'm done playing with you, mijopaalmc. You're unnecessarily rude, and refuse to admit when you're wrong. You contribute nothing to the conversation.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:17 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
Science is atheistic in universes without evidence of gods.
That would be all of them...
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:36 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Being able to read plain English?

Even if Trakar wasn't arguing that because scientists accept the supernatural it's justifiable (as an aside, why else would he post his statement?), my argument is still relevant as it pre-empts the argument that logically follows his statement. If he says "Well, I agree; I wasn't saying that" that it's a mere misunderstanding and we move on in the conversation (misunderstandings ARE NOT fallacies). And if someone else comes in and argues that because scientists accept gods, therefore belief in the supernatural is in agreement with scientific principles, I've provided a citation that argues against that idea.

I'm done playing with you, mijopaalmc. You're unnecessarily rude, and refuse to admit when you're wrong. You contribute nothing to the conversation.
Oh...the...irony!!!
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:40 PM   #392
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Quote:
Oh...the...irony!!!
Yet another post devoid of information, intended to insult rather than argue.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:42 PM   #393
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Yet another post devoid of information, intended to insult rather than argue.
I thought you were taking your ball and going home.

Have you read your own posts, by the way?
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:44 PM   #394
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Well were does this leave us then? When one side just up and divorces themselves from reality and tries to make opinions devoid of evidence or even counter to evidence equal to opinions supported by evidences just by invoking magic words what's the bloody point?
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:48 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Well were does this leave us then? When one side just up and divorces themselves from reality and tries to make opinions devoid of evidence or even counter to evidence equal to opinions supported by evidences just by invoking magic words what's the bloody point?
Maybe you should re-evaluate your evidence fetish.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:49 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
Maybe you should re-evaluate your evidence fetish.
*Laughs* So wanting people to actually think things instead of making them up is an "evidence fetish?"

That's just... wow. *Slow clap.*
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:51 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley
*Laughs* So wanting people to actually think things instead of making up is an "evidence fetish?"

That's just... wow. *Slow clap.*
His last few posts to me have been little more than a verbose "You're a doo-doo head". And I agree--it's not a fetish to expect statements to be supported by at least minimal data. It's just good sense and rationality.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:52 PM   #398
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
*Laughs* So wanting people to actually think things instead of making them up is an "evidence fetish?"

That's just... wow. *Slow clap.*
Nope, saying that the only thing worth considering are those that are supported by empirical evidence is an evidence fetish.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:52 PM   #399
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Sure. What's it called when you argue against a point of your own creation that's weaker than your opposition's argument, to make it look like your opposition's argument fails when in fact it's never been addressed?

My argument isn't "Most scientists are wrong, therefore beleive in the supernatural is wrong". My argument is "Most scientists are demonstrably wrong, therefore you can't use the fact that most of them agree on any given point as proof of that point". I didn't quote Trakar just because I like to use the quote function--I did it to provide the context of my statement. Trakar's point is extremely weak, and all I did was point out a weakness in it.
If the point is "the supernatural does not exist" then the argument is indeed appropriate. If the point is "science is inherently atheistic" then the religious faith of scientists is an important point. In fact, it is in itself a refutation of the idea.
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Old 8th May 2012, 02:54 PM   #400
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
Nope, saying that the only thing worth considering are those that are supported by empirical evidence is an evidence fetish.
Potato, Po-tah-to.
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