"Can we talk" about

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gregorach
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257768Post gregorach
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:03 am

Susie wrote:
gregorach wrote: Of course, the key difference is that in the case of religion, absolutely nobody has any means to establish the "truth", or even whether the entire field of enquiry has any basis at all. The ordinary man in the street may not be able to independently establish the distances to the stars, but he can at least see that they exist.
Then why is anyone even engaging on a scientific basis when they could be engaging more profitably on a philosophical one?
If I understand your question correctly, because theologians keep trying to take over "our" turf and claim that their religious texts are a better guide to actual reality than science is. If they'd stop that (e.g. the whole creationist movement in the US) then there'd be a lot less trouble.

Although I'd have to disagree that philosophy offers a better approach to the problem... Have you seen any of the ontological arguments for the existence of God? Let's just say there's a reason why most philosophers are atheists... :wink:
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257770Post gregorach
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:06 am

The Riff-Raff Element wrote:I take your point about the five-sigma level of confidence, but nonetheless particle physics did build a lot on the Standard Model before proof of many elements of it were forthcoming.
Of course - you need to know what it is you're looking for before you go looking for it.
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257771Post demi
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:08 am

The Riff-Raff Element wrote:
demi wrote: E=mc2
Go on then. Prove it in your kitchen!

Everyone knows it. Hell, lots of people can derive it, but very few people have the means to demonstrate it, which is the point: we accept it as being true (well, I do) even though we cannot ourselves test it. That is an act of faith on our part. Dear old Albert E understood that, which is possibly why he rejected atheism in favour of taking an agnostic view. A very humble man was Einstein, and I'd suggest he was the better scientist for it.


i wont, im not a physicist, but you can read the book 'why does E=MC2' and find out for yourself!

get it second hand from amazon for a couple of pounds:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Does-mc2-Sh ... 0306817586
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then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257772Post Susie
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:09 am

Zech wrote:
Susie wrote:
gregorach wrote: Of course, the key difference is that in the case of religion, absolutely nobody has any means to establish the "truth", or even whether the entire field of enquiry has any basis at all. The ordinary man in the street may not be able to independently establish the distances to the stars, but he can at least see that they exist.
Then why is anyone even engaging on a scientific basis when they could be engaging more profitably on a philosophical one?
I know this wasn't addressed to me, but I don't understand your point - would you mind elaborating?

Thanks :icon_smile:
Just that, if science doesn't have the means to establish the truth in the case of religion (not the daft creationist bits, the fundamental religious aspect whatever that is), why is science the most appropriate and convincing subject to use to refute it, rather than e.g. something which deals with the nature of truth? (I'm not being sarcastic, I am genuinely curious).
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257773Post Susie
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:11 am

gregorach wrote:Have you seen any of the ontological arguments for the existence of God? Let's just say there's a reason why most philosophers are atheists... :wink:
Yes, fair enough! ;-).
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257774Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:11 am

demi wrote: the latter of which are established facts and, besides evolution, you can do the maths and see for your self. and with evolution we have all the evidence we need, plus more, to conclude that this is a fact and not 'just a theory' .
I have to disagree with you there. Evolution is still a theory, but it's not "just" a theory - it's a theory with huge amounts of data behind it. The trouble is when people take "theory" to mean the same thing as "untested hypothesis". I'm not sure I'd want to put a number on how much data we need before a theory becomes a fact - I'd rather avoid using the word "fact" in this context at all.
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257775Post demi
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:15 am

Just that, if science doesn't have the means to establish the truth in the case of religion (not the daft creationist bits, the fundamental religious aspect whatever that is), why is science the most appropriate and convincing subject to use to refute it, rather than e.g. something which deals with the nature of truth? (I'm not being sarcastic, I am genuinely curious).[/quote]



i think it because of the fundamental argument between religion and science. as science progresses it exposes the flaws in religion. which is why the catholic church has always had so much opposition to scientific research.
Last edited by demi on Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257776Post demi
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:18 am

Zech wrote:
demi wrote: the latter of which are established facts and, besides evolution, you can do the maths and see for your self. and with evolution we have all the evidence we need, plus more, to conclude that this is a fact and not 'just a theory' .
I have to disagree with you there. Evolution is still a theory, but it's not "just" a theory - it's a theory with huge amounts of data behind it. The trouble is when people take "theory" to mean the same thing as "untested hypothesis". I'm not sure I'd want to put a number on how much data we need before a theory becomes a fact - I'd rather avoid using the word "fact" in this context at all.


im afraid Richard Dawkins would strongly disagree with you there!
the evidence for evolution is conclusive.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257777Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:21 am

Susie wrote:Just that, if science doesn't have the means to establish the truth in the case of religion (not the daft creationist bits, the fundamental religious aspect whatever that is), why is science the most appropriate and convincing subject to use to refute it, rather than e.g. something which deals with the nature of truth? (I'm not being sarcastic, I am genuinely curious).
Well, that's a big if...

May take on the relationship between science and philosophy is that philosophy lays the groundwork - sorts out the boundaries of a problem and figures out what questions to ask - then science takes over and develops those questions into testable hypotheses and tests them. This is an iterative process with a fairly large overlap in the middle. Sometimes philosophers stick with a question when they really should get out of the way - I've heard philosophical presentations on the nature of perception, in which psychology has made pretty good headway. It was frankly embarrassing. Conversely I've worked as a scientist in areas that could do with a lot more philosophy - I quote a colleague, "I'd worked in this area for thirteen years before I really thought about the definition." AARGH!
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257779Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:27 am

gregorach wrote:Now, psychology on the other hand... ;)
Oi! Oh, hang on...

A friend of mine - a fellow psychologist - once said, "Sooner or later the physicists will solve all their problems and move onto psychology. When they do, we'll all be out of a job."
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257780Post gregorach
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:34 am

Susie wrote:Just that, if science doesn't have the means to establish the truth in the case of religion (not the daft creationist bits, the fundamental religious aspect whatever that is), why is science the most appropriate and convincing subject to use to refute it, rather than e.g. something which deals with the nature of truth? (I'm not being sarcastic, I am genuinely curious).
Oh, it's not. But a great many people keep trying to use science to justify their beliefs, or rewrite bits of science to conform to their religious texts. Unfortunately, a lot of religious people (though not all by any means, so if anybody reading is thinking "But I'm not like that!", then this isn't about you) actually are mainly concerned with "the daft creationist bits" and seem remarkably uninterested the deeper philosophical questions. People really do like their personal, interventionist God, and he tends to evaporate once you get into the more serious philosophy. It seems that a lot more people want to believe that "I didn't come from no monkey" than are interesting in seriously debating the nature of omnipotence or the problem of theodicy.

Like I say, if they'd stay off "our" turf there'd be a lot less trouble.
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257781Post gregorach
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:35 am

Zech wrote:
gregorach wrote:Now, psychology on the other hand... ;)
Oi! Oh, hang on...

A friend of mine - a fellow psychologist - once said, "Sooner or later the physicists will solve all their problems and move onto psychology. When they do, we'll all be out of a job."
http://xkcd.com/793/ :iconbiggrin:
Cheers

Dunc

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257783Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:39 am

gregorach wrote:
Zech wrote:
gregorach wrote:Now, psychology on the other hand... ;)
Oi! Oh, hang on...

A friend of mine - a fellow psychologist - once said, "Sooner or later the physicists will solve all their problems and move onto psychology. When they do, we'll all be out of a job."
http://xkcd.com/793/ :iconbiggrin:
:lol:
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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257784Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:46 am

gregorach wrote:Like I say, if they'd stay off "our" turf there'd be a lot less trouble.
Though to be fair, we have pinched quite a bit of their turf.
gregorach wrote:Actually, the idea that religion is about answering the "big imponderables" is an entirely modern invention. It's only come about because science has done so well in dealing with the much more practical matters (predicting the weather and the movements of the stars, why do people get sick, why do disasters happen, etc) which were the original domain of religion.
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Take nobody's word for it, especially not mine! If I offer you an ID of something based on a photo, please treat it as a guess, and a starting point for further investigations.

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Re: "Can we talk" about

Post: # 257785Post Zech
Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:52 am

demi wrote:
Zech wrote:
demi wrote: the latter of which are established facts and, besides evolution, you can do the maths and see for your self. and with evolution we have all the evidence we need, plus more, to conclude that this is a fact and not 'just a theory' .
I have to disagree with you there. Evolution is still a theory, but it's not "just" a theory - it's a theory with huge amounts of data behind it. The trouble is when people take "theory" to mean the same thing as "untested hypothesis". I'm not sure I'd want to put a number on how much data we need before a theory becomes a fact - I'd rather avoid using the word "fact" in this context at all.
im afraid Richard Dawkins would strongly disagree with you there!
the evidence for evolution is conclusive.
I'll have to accept my difference of opinion with Richard Dawkins over whether to use words like "fact" and "conclusive" in this context. I'm being a stickler for the principle that everything is provisional and nothing is ever proven whereas he is professor of public understanding of science. Since the idea that nothing is certain is pretty hard to swallow, I have to acknowledge that he's got it right for the purposes of communication. I still stand by my position, though.
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Rachel

Take nobody's word for it, especially not mine! If I offer you an ID of something based on a photo, please treat it as a guess, and a starting point for further investigations.

My blog: http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.com/

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