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Author Topic:   Non-scientific evidence
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 61 of 98 (560269)
05-14-2010 12:50 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Pauline
05-13-2010 11:18 PM


Re: Stage 2
So, the usual stuff, then?

I was expecting something more interesting.

Well, I was hoping for something more interesting.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Pauline, posted 05-13-2010 11:18 PM Pauline has not yet responded

Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2979 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 62 of 98 (560277)
05-14-2010 2:39 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Pauline
05-13-2010 11:18 PM


Re: Stage 2
Hello Dr. Sing,

I'm very familiar with all four arguments, so I'll just briefly summarize my disagreements with all four.

1. The Ontological Argument

To say that God must exist because he is the ultimate perfection assumes that something exists which has the ultimate perfection. Furthermore, one can think of a lot of things that are perfect, yet which do not exist. I could think of a "perfect" island, or a "perfect" rabbit, but that doesn't mean that either exists.

2. The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument basically tells us that every observed effect has some kind of cause. Let's just assume this to be true, although I'm not sure that it need always be the case. Causes always precede their effects. However, if time began with the Big Bang, there would have been no "before" where a cause could have taken place.
Creation takes time. There has to be a moment when the creation does not exist, followed by a moment in which it does, otherwise it wouldn't make sense to say there was a moment of creation. Now if T=0 was the Big Bang there would be no "before" the beginning, at least not in a meaningful sense. If so, what does it mean to say that the universe was created? Subsequently, how does one fit a creator into such a scenario?

3. Teleological "Fine-Tuning" Argument

This was once my favourite argument for God's existence. However, after giving it some serious thought, it almost seems the worst argument. Yes, the universe does have certain traits that allow us to exist. It also has a lot of qualities that are very detrimental to human life. As far as we know, Earth is the only planet with any kind of life. Not particularly impressive if the universe was carefully "fine-tuned" for life. Even our own planet would not have been comfortable for human life during much of its history. Not to mention the massive extinction events that have taken place in the past, wiping out most of the planet's biodiversity.

It is impressive, looking at the rest of the barren universe and marveling at how well suited our planet is for life. It is impressive that we exist at all given how hostile the universe is. But a universe barely capable of sustaining any life is not good evidence of careful fine-tuning, unless the Creator was satisfied with a sloppy job.

4. The Moral Argument

Dr. Sing writes:

We all know that animals lack conscience. They steal, but do not feel guilty. They kill, but do no view it as a sin.

This would be interesting, were it true. But other animals have been observed acting morally. I'm too tired and lazy right now to look up specific examples, but check out the wiki article Altruism in Animals

Most of the behaviour can be chalked up to simple instinctual behaviour (although human morality is probably instinctual to some extent). But more intelligent social animals, like chimpanzees, have morality that closely resembles our own. They behave altruistically, sharing food with each-other. Dolphins have been observed lifting wounded conspecifics to the surface, and even, I believe, doing the same for human swimmers.

We humans have much more complex social behavior than dolphins and chimps, and this is why we're able to live and function in larger societies. It is not surprising therefore that our parents teach us to behave in such a manner that we can function within the societies we are born.

Respectfully,

-A tired Meldinoor *yawn*


This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15069
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 63 of 98 (560279)
05-14-2010 2:58 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Pauline
05-13-2010 11:18 PM


Re: Stage 2
Since nobody has made any serious points I'll put up a couple off problems:


The Ontological Argument

Kant's objection is petty decisive. Although I believe that I prefer the point that "to be is to be instantiated" (though I forget where I read it, or who said it). It makes absolutely clear the problem with Anselm's argument that it confuses the idea of God with it's instantiation (which would be God Himself).

quote:

Reading this objection got me thinking about the property of existence. And the question I repeatedly kept asking myself was
"In order for something to exist, must it also correspond with reality?" A lot of people will say yes. However, there are examples of non-real existences. For example, if someone has a recipe they have created for the first time in their mind but have not yet tried/cooked, then that recipe exists-----non-really.

Here you have much the same confusion. You confuse the recipe proper - the instructions for creating the dish - with the dish itself. The recipe exists, at least in the mind of it's inventor. The dish does not. So there is nothing there that exists "non-really".

quote:

In this sense, a recipe that is real i.e prepared is perfect while a recipe in mind is imperfect--because it can be prepared. What do you guys think?

I would say that that is obviously false. Following a set of instructions does not make those instructions any more "perfect" in any sense. So long as we are careful to distinguish the recipe proper - the instructions - from the dish produced by following the recipe we see nothing that contradicts Kant's argument in the slightest.

quote:

If there was a perfect Being, we would see a LOT of perfect things in our world...perfect people, perfect places, perfect health, perfect wealth since we would expect that a perfect Being would create perfect things. However, we have reasons to doubt the existence of a perfect Being since we see that our world is imperfect---which means we need to account for where the imperfection came from and why is it existent?

I will note there that this is a major problem for you, and it is very likely that you do not have an adequate answer.


The Cosmological Argument

Merely arguing that our universe has a cause of some sort does little to prove that the cause is God.


Teleological Argument

Essentially what you are proposing is a fine-tuning argument.

The objection that much of the universe is NOT suitable for our existence is a problem that you acknowledge but you don't really answer. Most of the universe - virtually all of it! - is certainly not logically necessary for our existence, so you are either left proposing that the creator had some other purpose for the universe or that the creator was limited to creating universes much like ours. The first option is the better for your argument but it is certainly a bit of a blow for the stream of Christian thought that argues for the central importance of humanity.

Another objection is that we do not know precisely how the universe came to have the constants that it does now - or the probability that it would come out suitable for some sort of life, nor how often the process that produced our universe has occurred. So it is premature to insist that it must be the result of intentional design.

Thirdly, any proposed creator must be an intelligent being. Either it needs a universe like ours or it does not. Therefore, either intelligent beings do not necessarily require a universe like ours - or a universe like ours can exist without being intentionally created.

In short, the argument that the universe was created for the existence of intelligent beings simply does not hold up. A teleological argument that proposed a different purpose might, but that argument has not been made.


The Moral Argument

Your source simply assumes that morality is a set of laws imposed by a "higher" authority. Which rather begs the question of the source of that authority. It cannot be based on any moral claim to authority because that creates a vicious circularity. The obvious alternative - "might makes right" is widely rejected as a valid source of authority and is usually regarded as an immoral view! So I would question whether that argument admits that morality - as most people would understand it - even exists!

quote:

The source doesn't really talk about the concept of conscience. We all know that animals lack conscience. They steal, but do not feel guilty. They kill, but do no view it as a sin. Whereas, humans feel certain emotions that are specific to them and also closely related to their concept of morality.

While this is obviously true of some animals, is it true of ALL of them ? The evolutionary account does not expect it to be true of most animals either. Let us remember that you are talking about internal mental states which cannot be directly examined. Do you have any studies which prove that chimpanzees, say, have no conscience ?

(I will also add that even for humans you have a difficulty distinguishing between instinctive and cultural components of morality - a fact which both impacts any comparison with animals AND any view on the nature and origins of morality).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Pauline, posted 05-13-2010 11:18 PM Pauline has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Pauline, posted 05-14-2010 11:50 PM PaulK has responded

  
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1544 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 64 of 98 (560340)
05-14-2010 12:51 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Pauline
05-13-2010 11:18 PM


Re: Stage 2
Dr Sing, is this the best you can do? Tired old arguments that were discarded by thinking people ages ago?

I suggest you read other things than inbred theology. It might help relieve the damage that religion does to the intellect.

Still no beef!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Pauline, posted 05-13-2010 11:18 PM Pauline has not yet responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 65 of 98 (560389)
05-14-2010 9:19 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by New Cat's Eye
05-13-2010 3:09 PM


Re: Explanation and Prediction
So let me get this straight. We both agree (along with pretty much everyone else) that the scientific conclusion is more likely to be correct than any of the the unevidenced possibilities. We all agree for example that the underlying cause of gravity is more likley to be space-time curvature than magical gravity gnomes.

BUT you think that this belief that space-time curvature is more likely to be the undelying cause of gravity than gravity gnomes is irrational, unscientific and evidentially unjustifiable. That is your position.

Straggler writes:

I don't understand how you can disagree with that yet you seem intent on doing so. Why?

CS writes:

A liklihood of correctness does not logically follow from science.

So according to science all possible explanations are equally likley to be correct. CS that is just absolute bollocks. I can see why you have to cling onto that to justify your world view that the unevidenced things you do believe in are not contradicted by evidence in any sense.

But the fact is that the subjective experiences and forms of non-scientific "evidence" in which you place so much faith are much much better explained by phenomenon that have nothing to do with the existence of the supernatural. Deal with it.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-13-2010 3:09 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
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Pauline
Member (Idle past 1906 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 66 of 98 (560399)
05-14-2010 11:13 PM


Meldinoor says that the ontological argument is not evidence for God's existence because such an argument can be constructed for other things which we have no reason to believe are true. Gaunilo raised this same objection and giving the example of the hypothetical existence of the "perfect island" he said, An island that is perfect must exist or else it would not be perfect, therefore a perfect island exists. However, we have not seen visible perfect islands (or rabbits, Meldinoor). Moreover, how do we define perfection? One way is: A perfect island has all perfections within the domain of being an island. Or, A perfect rabbit has all perfections within the domain of being a rabbit. For the perfect island, the number of trees, leaves, sand grains, its atmosphere etc...have to be perfect. For a perfect rabbit, its height, weight, size, colour, shape, health, etc all are perfect i.e there can be no better rabbit than this one. All this sounds good...but we have no reason whatsoever to believe that such a rabbit exists because we have never seen such a rabbit. I agree with Meldinoor that the ontological argument is an argument--not evidence. The way it might become evidence is if it fits into our natural world. When I tested to see if it agrees with our world, it turned out that we what see actually contradicts the argument. We would expect that a perfect Being would be interested in making perfect creations. However, we see imperfections all around us. Where did they come from? Why are they here? This is a MAJOR obstacle for the ontological argument. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. It is a matter of personal choice as to which answer to embrace or.....not to embrace a particular philosophy, treat imperfections as part of this world and go on with life--that's another option. The Christian religion has its answer, but no, the answer does not constitute evidence for the existence of a perfect God.

However there is some value to the ontological argument and here's how I would put it:

1. The Ontological argument cannot be applied to natural entities. There is no physical entity that is perfect in every domain. IOW, saying the phrase "the perfect island" is like saying "the four-sided triangle"--it contradicts reality. A perfect island is perfect in being an island but imperfect in being everything else. A perfect island is imperfect in knowledge, imperfect in skills, imperfect in wisdom.....imperfect in everything else that contribute to not making it anything else. So after all, it is just a "perfect" ISLAND but not a perfect entity. However, in God's definition, He's perfect in EVERYTHING; there can be no one quality that we can point out and say oh look God does not have this. But I can point to the concept of a perfect island and say oh look, the island does not have wisdom...therefore it's imperfect. For this reason, it makes no sense to conceive of perfect natural entities. However it does make sense to conceive of a single supernatural perfect Being because He's not natural. Any natural being is bound---by space, time, matter, and every law that governs our universe---and by being subject to all these, any natural being therefore is imperfect. Think of any natural thing and think of omnipresence----imperfection. Think of any natural thing and think of eternality (eternalness?)----imperfection. So if we want to talk perfection in EVERY domain possible (which we expect of God), we HAVE to talk something supernatural or else we will be binding it by natural limitations which cause imperfections........ <---This is my objection to Gaunilo's objection. Objections to my objection are welcome.

2. Now that I have ruled out perfect natural entities, I'm left with perfect supernatural entities. So, let me conceive of a supernatural perfect Angel and apply the ontological argument to it. The perfect angel must exist or else it would be imperfect, therefore it exists....Well, not necessarily! We have no reason to believe that existence is a characteristic within the domain of being an angel. We say existence is a characteristic within the domain of being God because God is perfect in EVERY possible quality--even existence. I can't make the same argument for a perfect angel that I would for God. While one can conceive of a perfect angel just like a perfect island, the ontological argument cannot, however, be applied to either of these because, these two entities are not perfect in an absolute sense ( for example, they have a name--which means they are one thing and not another) Whereas, by definition, God is that than which no greater can be conceived i.e He is perfect is everything. You can't give God a name, or a job, or a degree, nothing! I think this is the reason God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that I AM has sent you. Which means...God is just......GOD, we can't limit him---even assign Him a name which is all encompassing.
This is my take on why Anselm's ontological argument is a valid philosophical argument. Is Anselm's argument supported by subsequent physical observation of our world? I already answered the question. No, it is not. This means we can either label it as irrelevant and forget about it, or take it a step further and investigate the origin of imperfection--and the choice is a personal one.

Meldinoor writes:

2. The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument basically tells us that every observed effect has some kind of cause. Let's just assume this to be true, although I'm not sure that it need always be the case. Causes always precede their effects. However, if time began with the Big Bang, there would have been no "before" where a cause could have taken place.
Creation takes time. There has to be a moment when the creation does not exist, followed by a moment in which it does, otherwise it wouldn't make sense to say there was a moment of creation. Now if T=0 was the Big Bang there would be no "before" the beginning, at least not in a meaningful sense. If so, what does it mean to say that the universe was created? Subsequently, how does one fit a creator into such a scenario?

Hi Meldinoor. I read your post and thought about it for a long time. Some initial thoughts surfaced and I tried to formulate a coherent answer. However, I realized that I had no proper definition of time, at least not a scientific one. Time is the progression of events, yes, but what exactly is it? A force? A constant? A dimension?...I'm not a physicist...so I set out to investigate what the physicists conception of time is. After visiting several physics forums (= feeling like being fed from a fire hose), I found that the generally accepted definition for time is something like:

Forum writes:

The term dimension has a specific mathematical meaning: "In mathematics the dimension of a space is roughly defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify every point within it". A minimum of four coordinates are needed to specify every event in spacetime, so spacetime is a four-dimensional space. The fact one coordinate is different from the other three does not make it any less of a coordinate.
Having said that, you are absolutely correct that time is fundamentally different than space as can be seen from the Minkowski metric: ds²=-c²dt²+dx²+dy²+dz². Time is still a dimension, but that minus sign definitely singles it out.

Some of what he said (like the equation) went right over my head, but I got this part: Our universe is 4 dimensional; with 3 spatial (space) dimensions and 1 temporal (time) dimension.

Taking this guy's definition (actually wiki's) of a dimension, I thought about this: Space and time are measurements of progress. To move from point A to point B is a progress in space. Similarly, to go from yesterday to today is a progress in time. I extended this idea to the question of Did time have to exist prior to creation? Initially, my mind was blank. After thinking about it for while, I think I have my version of an possible answer. It might be weak...but at least I started somewhere…Perhaps the physicists here can provide a scientific, formal answer. I am just going to speculate: Time tracks progress, and progress is contingent upon time but the existence of the object/phenomenon undergoing progress is not a result of time. IOW, God's creating the universe does not need time. Time is used to track the progress of an object, yes? Well, without any object whose progress to track ( i.e the universe) would it make sense for time to exist prior to creation? No, not really. Atleast not to me.

I set out to find individual physicists/their books. I found Sean Carroll.(I'd never heard of him before) The book sounds very interesting...in a naive sort of way because his concept of a temporally symmetric multiverse is completely novel to me. But from watching that video and reading one of his articles on Scientific American, I gathered that, time could possibly be linked with the second law of thermodynamics. The reason we cannot travel backwards into the past is probably because the entropy of the universe is growing more and more...at an almost irreversible rate (possibly the reason why you can’t undo or traverse the past). This view assumes an extremely stable beginning (Carroll mentions this), that is to say the entropy during Big Bang (or creation, or whatever...) was fantastically small. And so, I speculate that if time is a measure of the progress of entropy (like he says)...and if entropy was very small at the beginning of the universe (which is fact), then it makes sense that time also had a beginning. The way I come to this conclusion is because of what I said earlier--Time is a measure of the progress of something.

Meldinoor writes:

3. Teleological "Fine-Tuning" Argument

This was once my favourite argument for God's existence. However, after giving it some serious thought, it almost seems the worst argument. Yes, the universe does have certain traits that allow us to exist. It also has a lot of qualities that are very detrimental to human life. As far as we know, Earth is the only planet with any kind of life. Not particularly impressive if the universe was carefully "fine-tuned" for life. Even our own planet would not have been comfortable for human life during much of its history. Not to mention the massive extinction events that have taken place in the past, wiping out most of the planet's biodiversity.

It is impressive, looking at the rest of the barren universe and marveling at how well suited our planet is for life. It is impressive that we exist at all given how hostile the universe is. But a universe barely capable of sustaining any life is not good evidence of careful fine-tuning, unless the Creator was satisfied with a sloppy job.

I think we're looking at a glass filled to half of its capacity in two different ways. I'm seeing the half full glass and you're seeing the half empty glass. I'm saying that the universe is so finely adjusted that life is able to exist. And you seem to be saying that the universe is so poorly fine tuned so that life exists but finds it very difficult to do so. I don't think either of us is wrong.
You are right in saying that there are tons of factors that could kill life right now...celestial bodies roaming around the earth with unimaginable speeds etc…Imagine what would happen if a star like Arcturus were to collide with the Earth! What you are saying is that the earth is having a hard time braving all the storms…but what the Cosmological argument says is that there HAS to be someone out there whose is allowing it to brave these storms (fine-tuning)…BECAUSE chance itself is pathetically and abysmally incapable of such a grand feat! Mere chance never could have brought about the harmony of the factors that support life all at once.

Meldinoor writes:

But a universe barely capable of sustaining any life is not good evidence of careful fine-tuning, unless the Creator was satisfied with a sloppy job.


What do you mean by barely capable of sustaining any life? Given the biodiversity we see around us, we have to conclude that our planet is a great place for life, no? OTOH, if you are saying that if the universe was so finely tuned for life, then why don’t we see other planets being inhabited by life forms..yes, that is a valid question. To which I would respond by saying, well, what if the Creator intended life on only one planet and fine-tuned the rest of the universe so that not one factor amidst the zillions could do anything to stop life? That’s some fine-tuning, no? I don’t know much about theoretical physics and cosmology but I do know that the forces and laws of space are interrelated and intricate such that a major disturbance of even one factor could have catastrophic effects. I read that Arcturus is travelling past Earth. Well, what if something messed up its direction and it flew into us……, at 500,000 km/hr? Taking into consideration all other factors congenial to life, it is reasonable to attribute this grand feat to chance? Not really, no.

Meldinoor writes:

This would be interesting, were it true. But other animals have been observed acting morally. I'm too tired and lazy right now to look up specific examples, but check out the wiki article Altruism in Animals

I read the wiki article, it was extremely fascinating! I smiled at the hunting dogs bringing back food for the pack at home part.…Thank you.

Let’s just thrown the definition of conscience out there.

We probably all have made the distinction between conscience and conscious already.

Like wiki says, conscience is the faculty that enables judgments between right and wrong. The question is, can animals judge right and wrong explicitly and not instinctually?

Here’s some very interesting news about a dog who consumed it’s masters corpse. (faithful, eh?)

Here’s a succinct but deep article that differentiates consciousness from conscience: http://en.wikibooks.org/...lems/Consciousness_And_Conscience

The article, at the end, says that animals may or may not have conscience. I wish it went into more detail...

I would maintain that while animals, esp. higher ones like primates, elephants etc do act morally, they do it instinctually--second -level behaviour like the article says. OTOH, human morality is more aware and explicit. I gotta go and see what the journals/peridicals have to say about this…I’m too tired right now. So maybe tomorrow….*crashes!*

Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.


  
Pauline
Member (Idle past 1906 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008


Message 67 of 98 (560405)
05-14-2010 11:50 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by PaulK
05-14-2010 2:58 AM


Re: Stage 2
Paul writes:

Here you have much the same confusion. You confuse the recipe proper - the instructions for creating the dish - with the dish itself. The recipe exists, at least in the mind of it's inventor. The dish does not. So there is nothing there that exists "non-really".

No, no. I am making the distinction between the recipe proper and the dish. I am terming the former as non-real and the latter as real---real being what corresponds to the physical world i.e has a physical dimension. Is this a problem?

Paul writes:

quote:
In this sense, a recipe that is real i.e prepared is perfect while a recipe in mind is imperfect--because it can be prepared. What do you guys think?

I would say that that is obviously false. Following a set of instructions does not make those instructions any more "perfect" in any sense. So long as we are careful to distinguish the recipe proper - the instructions - from the dish produced by following the recipe we see nothing that contradicts Kant's argument in the slightest.

Preparing the recipe makes it possible for its characteristics to become real, yes? If I cooked the dish, I could eat it. How is not a step ahead of only having a recipe in mind?

I will note there that this is a major problem for you, and it is very likely that you do not have an adequate answer.

Would you like to hear my answer. Disclaimer: it's going to come from my religion. Let's not make this a religious discussion until we get to stage 3. Once we are there, I'll be happy to put it up.

Merely arguing that our universe has a cause of some sort does little to prove that the cause is God.

Agreed wholeheartedly. All the cosmo argument does is tells us that the universe had to have had a beginning and most likely it was an uncaused beginning since infinity is not a logical option. No referencing to Jehovah or Allah or Hari or Satnam or whatever.

The objection that much of the universe is NOT suitable for our existence is a problem that you acknowledge but you don't really answer.

Weigh the favorable and non-favorable factors and that fact that we are here in front of our computers talking over the internet while having coffee is proof that the favorable ones exceed the unfavorable.

Most of the universe - virtually all of it! - is certainly not logically necessary for our existence,

Do you mean the thousands of celestial bodies floating around in space?

so you are either left proposing that the creator had some other purpose for the universe or that the creator was limited to creating universes much like ours. The first option is the better for your argument but it is certainly a bit of a blow for the stream of Christian thought that argues for the central importance of humanity.

It actually is a easily resolved minor problem.

Another objection is that we do not know precisely how the universe came to have the constants that it does now - or the probability that it would come out suitable for some sort of life, nor how often the process that produced our universe has occurred. So it is premature to insist that it must be the result of intentional design.

We are closing the gaps that's for sure. We'll wait and see if science has a solid answer for how the fine-tuning happened. I read online that we might never be able to solve certain mysteries in physics such as why time is 1-dimensional. We know what that means but we can only speculate as to the why part.

Thirdly, any proposed creator must be an intelligent being. Either it needs a universe like ours or it does not. Therefore, either intelligent beings do not necessarily require a universe like ours - or a universe like ours can exist without being intentionally created.

This sounds interesting. But I admit, I could use further explanation.

Let us remember that you are talking about internal mental states which cannot be directly examined. Do you have any studies which prove that chimpanzees, say, have no conscience ?

Tomorrow, hopefully...

Thanks,
DS

Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by PaulK, posted 05-14-2010 2:58 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by PaulK, posted 05-15-2010 4:27 AM Pauline has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15069
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 68 of 98 (560418)
05-15-2010 4:27 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by Pauline
05-14-2010 11:50 PM


Re: Stage 2
quote:

No, no. I am making the distinction between the recipe proper and the dish. I am terming the former as non-real and the latter as real---real being what corresponds to the physical world i.e has a physical dimension. Is this a problem?

It is a problem for you in that it makes your argument even more absurd. If you really made that distinction the way give the recipe "real" existence would be to write it down - provided you assume that it had no physical existence in the first place, which is itself contentious. You shouldn't even have mentioned the dish because it is irrelevant.

quote:

Preparing the recipe makes it possible for its characteristics to become real, yes? If I cooked the dish, I could eat it. How is not a step ahead of only having a recipe in mind?

So, in fact your argument DOES rely on confusing the recipe proper with the dish. The characteristics you refer to are those of the dish, not the recipe proper which as I told you is the instructions for preparing the dish. So the recipe proper does NOT become "more perfect", it is still exactly the same.

quote:

Would you like to hear my answer. Disclaimer: it's going to come from my religion. Let's not make this a religious discussion until we get to stage 3. Once we are there, I'll be happy to put it up.

I think I know your answer. Post it only if you are prepared to have it thoroughly demolished.

quote:

Agreed wholeheartedly. All the cosmo argument does is tells us that the universe had to have had a beginning and most likely it was an uncaused beginning since infinity is not a logical option.

Like many people you have funny ideas about logic. There is nothing wrong with infinity (it's weird but not illogical).

quote:

Weigh the favorable and non-favorable factors and that fact that we are here in front of our computers talking over the internet while having coffee is proof that the favorable ones exceed the unfavorable.

Bearing in mind the tiny, tiny fraction of our solar system we are able inhabit, and the far huger distance to even the nearest star it seems that the unfavourable factors outweigh the favourable. If you really assume that the universe exists just for the tiny and insignificant speck which is Earth, and for a species which has only existed for a tiny fraction of the Earth's lifespan then you are speaking from pride and not from an honest assessment of the evidence.

quote:

Do you mean the thousands of celestial bodies floating around in space?

I mean that we could just as easily exist in something like the relatively tiny geocentric universe depicted in Genesis 1, where the sun and stars are just lights in the sky, a few miles up.

quote:

It actually is a easily resolved minor problem.

Not really. Clearly have made the focus on us a central part of your argument so you can't drop that. Therefore you are limited to the idea that a perfect being HAS to create a universe something along the lines of ours. Which very much suggests constraints on its' abilities, and thus contradicting its perfection.

quote:

We are closing the gaps that's for sure. We'll wait and see if science has a solid answer for how the fine-tuning happened. I read online that we might never be able to solve certain mysteries in physics such as why time is 1-dimensional. We know what that means but we can only speculate as to the why part.

Mysteries are not enough to imply an intelligent cause. You are going to need to really deal with the problems to get beyond that (and that means going beyond speculation and making a strong case that your proposed solutions are actually true).

quote:

This sounds interesting. But I admit, I could use further explanation.

It seems pretty clear.

A creator must be an intelligent being, by definition.

If the creator can only exist in a universe like ours, we haven't really solved the problem. We still have an unexplained universe like ours - the one that the creator of our universe exists in. If we invoke another creator we end up with an infinite regress. If we do not then we admit that a universe like ours does not need a creator, and we may as well drop the whole idea.

Therefore, for the argument to be any good we must assume that the creator of our universe does not need a universe like ours.

However, this tells us that intelligent beings do not need a universe like ours to exist. Therefore if the creator desires the existence of intelligent beings, it has no need to create a universe like ours. Therefore the creator's purpose in creating a universe like ours was not the existence of intelligent beings (unless the creator was limited so that was the only way it could arrange for other intelligent beings, but that contradicts your religion).

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Pauline, posted 05-14-2010 11:50 PM Pauline has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 69 of 98 (560983)
05-18-2010 10:59 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Straggler
05-14-2010 9:19 PM


Re: Explanation and Prediction
We both agree (along with pretty much everyone else) that the scientific conclusion is more likely to be correct than any of the the unevidenced possibilities.

Not really... not for any possibility. You'd have to have a specific explanation to be comparing to.

We all agree for example that the underlying cause of gravity is more likley to be space-time curvature than magical gravity gnomes.

Yeah, because the gnomes are ridiculous. For something non-ridiculous we probably wouldn't be so hasty. We should be comparing the actual evidence for both propositions before saying which on we think is more likely. For the gnomes we ain't got shit...

CS writes:

A liklihood of correctness does not logically follow from science.

So according to science all possible explanations are equally likley to be correct.

No. If we don't have the liklihoods of correctness then how can we say they're equal? Saying they're equal is saying we do have those liklihoods and I'm saying that we don't have them.

But the fact is that the subjective experiences and forms of non-scientific "evidence" in which you place so much faith are much much better explained by phenomenon that have nothing to do with the existence of the supernatural.

I'm not seeing it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Straggler, posted 05-14-2010 9:19 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Straggler, posted 05-18-2010 11:29 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 70 of 98 (560990)
05-18-2010 11:29 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by New Cat's Eye
05-18-2010 10:59 AM


Re: Explanation and Prediction
You seem to be disputing that science tells us that some explanations are more likely to be correct than others. Is that your position?

We all agree for example that the underlying cause of gravity is more likley to be space-time curvature than magical gravity gnomes.

Yeah, because the gnomes are ridiculous.

No. If we rely on what is subjectively considered ridiculous we get nowhere. What if space-time curvature is subjectively deemed ridiculous by some? What if competing explanations are both deemed sensible (e.g. the Big Bang Vs the Steady State universe for example)? How do we decide which explanation is more likely to be correct and which is not? I'll tell you - We use the scientific method.

CS writes:

A liklihood of correctness does not logically follow from science.

Straggler writes:

So according to science all possible explanations are equally likley to be correct.

CS writes:

No. If we don't have the liklihoods of correctness then how can we say they're equal?

What other option is there?

We both agree that certainty is rationally unjustifiable. So if we also eliminate likelihood that means we can can never consider any one explanation as more correct than any other on the basis of scientific investigation. But the whole point of science is to weed out wrong explanations and promote explanations that can rationally be considered correct. No?

I'm not seeing it.

Why are gnomes a "ridiculous" explanation for gravity but gods not a "ridiculous" explanation for the cause of subjective human experiences? What is the evidential difference between the two explanations besides conviction?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-18-2010 10:59 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-18-2010 12:12 PM Straggler has responded

New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 71 of 98 (560997)
05-18-2010 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Straggler
05-18-2010 11:29 AM


Re: Explanation and Prediction
You seem to be disputing that science tells us that some explanations are more likely to be correct than others. Is that your position?

That depends on what kind of probability you are talking about, inductive or physical? In Message 157, I linked to the paper: The Concept of Inductive Probability. For the things we're discussing, science can get us to inductive probability but not physical probability.

Getting this deep into inductive logic to the point of that philisophical discussion is not something that interests me.

No. If we rely on what is subjectively considered ridiculous we get nowhere. What if space-time curvature is subjectively deemed ridiculous by some? What if competing explanations are both deemed sensible (e.g. the Big Bang Vs the Steady State universe for example)? How do we decide which explanation is more likely to be correct and which is not? I'll tell you - We use the scientific method.

Which implies that the scientific method has lead you away from the gnomes, but they're unfalsifyable...

Using the inductive probability to claim a physical probability is illogical.

qs=CSA liklihood of correctness does not logically follow from science.

Straggler writes:

So according to science all possible explanations are equally likley to be correct.

CS writes:

No. If we don't have the liklihoods of correctness then how can we say they're equal?

What other option is there?

Not knowing the liklihoods.

We both agree that certainty is rationally unjustifiable. So if we also eliminate likelihood that means we can can never consider any one explanation as more correct than any other on the basis of scientific investigation. But the whole point of science is to weed out wrong explanations and promote explanations that can rationally be considered correct. No?

I don't think so. It doesn't matter if its actually correct or not, it matters if it works and is reliable. You're assuming that working reliably means that its correct but science doesn't say this about it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Straggler, posted 05-18-2010 11:29 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by Straggler, posted 05-18-2010 12:53 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 72 of 98 (561010)
05-18-2010 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by New Cat's Eye
05-18-2010 12:12 PM


Competing Explanations
Getting this deep into inductive logic to the point of that philisophical discussion is not something that interests me.

Then don't. Simply ask yourself why it is that we can justifiably consider evolution to be more likely to be correct than biblical literalism as an explanation for the diversity of life on Earth. Or why space-time curvature can be considered a correct explanation for gravitational effects as compared to undetectable gravity gnomes. Or why the Big Bang became accepted as the best (i.e. correct) explanation for the evolution of the universe as opposed to the other proposed alternatives put forwards (e.g. Hoyles steady state model). Ask yourself how it is that we are ever able to compare competing explanations.

Then ask yourself why god as an explanation for human subjective experiences is anything other than "unlikely" when compared to the empirically evidenced alternatives.

Which implies that the scientific method has lead you away from the gnomes, but they're unfalsifyable...

So what? This is simply the last gasp trick in the theistic playbook. "You cannot prove X does not exist so you can say nothing about X". Yet we all agree that gravity gnomes, whilst possible, are almost certainly not the cause of gravitational effects. Yet according to your thinking this conclusion is irrational and unscientific. Why do you insist that this is the case?

Because if gravity gnomes can be justifiably said to be unlikely as an explanation for gravity on the basis of the scientific method then you are also forced to confront the fact that God probably isn't the cause of your much vaunted subjective experiences.

CS writes:

You're assuming that working reliably means that its correct but science doesn't say this about it.

Wrong. You are denying the explanatory role of science. Why do some explanations result in an ability to draw reliable conclusions and others not?

To simply assert that science is a tool for making predictions without explaining or allowing us to understand the underlying causes of natural phenomenon is just an attempt to limit science in such a way as to be compatible with your belief in the un-evidenced supernatural as a valid explanation for certain phenomenon in which you are personally invested.

But the bottom line is that citing god as the cause of your subjective experiences is in no way different to citing those pesky gravity gnomes as the underlying cause of gravitational effects.

Both are possible explanations. But neither is likely to be correct.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-18-2010 12:12 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

Jzyehoshua
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 73 of 98 (564524)
06-10-2010 8:08 PM


No McDowell Citations
Surprisingly, nobody has yet brought up Josh McDowell's fantastic book, 'More Than a Carpenter', which in chapter 4 addresses this. The book is online here

McDowell though, makes the case that historical events are themselves unprovable by the scientific method, and that historians themselves must of necessity go outside the scientific method to evaluate the accuracy of historical documents just as lawyers must to evaluate the accuracy of events which have occurred.

As quoted from the book, pp. 38-39.

quote:

Testing the truth of a hypothesis by the use of controlled experiments is one of the key techniques of the modern scientific method. For example, someone claims that Ivory soap doesn't float. I claim it does float, so to prove my point, I take the doubter to the kitchen, put eight inches of water in the sink at 82.7 degrees, and drop in the soap. Plunk! We make observations, we draw data, and we verify my hypothesis empirically: Ivory soap floats.

If the scientific method were the only method we had for proving facts, you couldn't prove that you watched television last night or that you had lunch today. There is no way you could repeat those events in a controlled situation.

The other method of proof, the legal-historical proof, is based on showing that something is a fact beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, we reach a verdict on the weight of the evidence and have no rational basis for doubting the decision. Legal-historical proof depends on three kinds of testimony: oral testimony, written testimony, and exhibits (such as a gun, a bullet, or a notebook). Using the legal-historical method to determine the facts, you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you went to lunch today. Your friends saw you there, the waiter remembers seeing you, and you have the restaurant receipt.

The scientific method can be used to prove only repeatable things. It isn't adequate for proving or disproving questions about persons or events in history. The scientific method isn't appropriate for answering such questions as: Did George Washington live? Was Martin Luther King Jr. as civil rights leader? Who was Jesus of Nazareth? Does Barry Bonds hold major league baseball's one-season home run record? Was Jesus Christ raised from the dead? These questions are outside the realm of scientific proof, and we must place them in the realm of legal-historical proof. In other words, the scientific method--which is based on observation, information gathering, hypothesizing, deduction, and experimental verification to find and explain empirical regularities in nature--cannot uncover the final answers to such questions as: Can you prove the Resurrection? Is science at war with religion? Has science somehow disproved the existence of God? When men and women rely upon the legal-historical method, they need to check out the reliability of the testimonies.


Edited by Jzyehoshua, : fix tags

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : fix typos, add last sentence

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : removed bolding

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-10-2010 8:50 PM Jzyehoshua has responded

Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 74 of 98 (564532)
06-10-2010 8:50 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Jzyehoshua
06-10-2010 8:08 PM


Re: No McDowell Citations
McDowell though, makes the case that historical events are themselves unprovable by the scientific method ...

But he's wrong.

He equivocates. He starts off with:

Testing the truth of a hypothesis by the use of controlled experiments is one of the key techniques of the modern scientific method.

... which is true. (The bold font is mine.) But then he starts talking as though that's the only thing scientists could do. Now, if that was so, then the scientific method would have nothing to tell us about, for example, whether giraffes exist. Or the rings of Saturn. (Indeed, astronomy as a whole would not be a science, much to the surprise of astronomers.)

He then specifically goes on to say:

The scientific method can be used to prove only repeatable things. It isn't adequate for proving or disproving questions about persons or events in history.

This is absurd. A forensic scientist can determine whether John Smith was killed by being shot in the head without repeating the event.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Jzyehoshua, posted 06-10-2010 8:08 PM Jzyehoshua has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Jzyehoshua, posted 06-10-2010 11:21 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Jzyehoshua
Inactive Member


Message 75 of 98 (564548)
06-10-2010 11:21 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Dr Adequate
06-10-2010 8:50 PM


Re: No McDowell Citations
quote:

But he's wrong.

He equivocates. He starts off with:

Testing the truth of a hypothesis by the use of controlled experiments is one of the key techniques of the modern scientific method.

... which is true. (The bold font is mine.) But then he starts talking as though that's the only thing scientists could do. Now, if that was so, then the scientific method would have nothing to tell us about, for example, whether giraffes exist. Or the rings of Saturn. (Indeed, astronomy as a whole would not be a science, much to the surprise of astronomers.)

He then specifically goes on to say:

The scientific method can be used to prove only repeatable things. It isn't adequate for proving or disproving questions about persons or events in history.

This is absurd. A forensic scientist can determine whether John Smith was killed by being shot in the head without repeating the event.


But does that scientist truly use the scientific method to do so? McDowell's point is that to do so, repeating it in a controlled environment, would allow you to show it COULD HAVE happened - it can prove possibility - but it can not go back in time and repeat the event itself. Therefore, the scientific method is often ineffective for evaluating past events - particularly those in the very distant past.

History is by nature not something you can repeat in a controlled environment. Too many variables. Controlled environments try to minimize variables for isolated differentiation of what caused a given results. But with any historical event, there are many factors in play, and often limited ability to catalogue or track them afterward even if you wanted to try and perfectly repeat the event later in a controlled environment. Thus by the strict definition of the scientific method, repeating results via a controlled environment, it's tough to replicate historical events using solely the scientific method. After all, 'observation' is a key element of the scientific method, but without time travel, how can one do that for past historical events unless they were videotaped somehow?

No one is saying the scientific method is useless. McDowell's point in the chapter is that it is merely not the method of choice when it comes to evaluating historical documents, and that historians rely on other methods for doing so. Though the online book I linked stopped at page 44, there is more info on this immediately after. McDowell in chapter 4, pp. 46-47, states:

quote:

... I believe that the historical reliability of the Scripture should be tested by the same criteria that all historical documents are tested by. Military historian C. Sanders lists and explains the three basic principles of histiography. They are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.

McDowell on pages 47-57 then details in depth how the Bible measures up to each of these tests for historicity. Some key points include:

* Bibliographical test: According to McDowell, "The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, not having the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts (MSS) and the time interval between the original and extant copy?" (p. 47) To paraphrase, McDowell then points out that the History of Thucydides (460-400 B.C.) relies on just 8 MSS from about 900 A.D., 1,300 years after the writing of the original document. And yet, scholar F.F. Bruce states "No classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest manuscripts of their works which are of use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals." Aristotle's poetics were written 343 B.C. is dated A.D. 1100, a 1400 year gap, with just 5 MSS existing. Caesar's history of the Gallic Wars, written 58-50 B.C., depend on 9 or 10 copies dating a milennia after he died. McDowell states, "When it comes to the manuscript authority of the New Testament, the abundance of material is almost embarrassing in contrast. After the early papyri manuscript discoveries that bridged the gap between the times of Christ and the second century, an abundance of other MSS came to light. Over 20,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts are in existence today. The Iliad has 643 MSS and is second in manuscript authority after the New Testament." (p. 48) At any rate, McDowell's point is that the Bible is foremost in the world when it comes to existence of reliable manuscripts, and that the accuracy of the earliest in comparison to those now in existence shows they were as reliably transmitted over a period of at least 1900 years as for any historical document ever examined.

* Internal Evidence Test: According to McDowell, "At this point the literary critic still follows Aristotle's dictum: 'The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, and not arrogated by the critic to himself.' In other words, as John W. Montgomery summarrizes: 'One must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies.'" (pp 49-50) McDowell afterwards references the known closeness to the events by the writers, citing Luke 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:3, John 19:35, and Luke 3:1. He then makes the point, based off earlier points (p. 44) that recent discoveries of accurate early N.T documents have since proved the New Testament's early date (e.g. John Ryland manuscript, A.D. 130), that "The New Testament accounts of Christ were being circulated within the lifetimes of those alive at the time of his life. These people could certainly confirm or deny the accuracy of the accounts. In advocating their case for the gospel, the apostles had appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning Jesus. They not only said, 'Look, we saw this' or 'We heard that...' but they turned the tables around and right in front of adverse critics said, 'You also know about these things... You saw them; you yourselves know about it.' One had better be careful when he says to his opposition, 'You know this also,' because if he isn't right in the details, it will be shoved right back down his throat." (pp. 51-52) McDowell cites Acts 2:22 and Acts 26:24-28, and cites scholars who make the point of hostile opponents serving as a corrective to potential inaccuracies.

* External Evidence Test: According to McDowell, "The issue here is whether other historical material confirms or denies the internal testimony of the documents themselves. In other words, what sources are there, apart from the literature under analysis, that substantiate its accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?" (pp. 54-55) Without going in depth, the sources referenced by McDowell as corroboration of the New Testament events include Eusebius, Irenaeus, while citing numerous scholars (Joseph Free, William Ramsey, F.F. Bruce, A.N. Sherwin-White, and Clark Pinnock) in making the case that archeology decisively supports the Biblical records and has even vindicated it against accusations of historical inaccuracy by skeptics.

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-10-2010 8:50 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-10-2010 11:28 PM Jzyehoshua has responded

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