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Author Topic:   Studying the supernatural
Straggler
Member (Idle past 198 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 166 of 207 (636155)
10-04-2011 11:29 AM
Reply to: Message 165 by 1.61803
10-04-2011 11:08 AM


Re: Harold Camping Predictions
This is what Camping predicted:

Wiki writes:

His 2011 end times prediction was that on May 21, 2011 Jesus Christ would return to Earth, the righteous would fly up to heaven, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011 with the end of the world.

If this had happened, indeed we would be in in the middle of the fire and brimstone part of it now, I don't really see how anyone could meaningfully deny that this would constitute positive evidence of Christian supernatural claims.

Call me a pseudskeptic if you will - But I doubt his revised claim will amount to much either.


This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 167 of 207 (636156)
10-04-2011 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 165 by 1.61803
10-04-2011 11:08 AM


Re: Harold Camping Predictions
To date nothing has been shown to be supernatural as there are either naturalist explainations or out right debunked.

... or remains a mystery.

That does not imo mean SOMETHING outside of our abilities to verify is NOT taking place.

Esspecially in light of all that we don't know.


This message is a reply to:
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GDR
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 168 of 207 (636159)
10-04-2011 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 164 by Straggler
10-04-2011 10:49 AM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
Straggler writes:

How would "different laws of physics" in this different universe qualify as "supernatural".....? Theoretical physicists have long been proposing the possibility of universes with different natural laws to the ones we know.

Well, as I said it all depends on our definitions of what is natural and what is supernatural. I'm assuming that what we call natural laws are the ones that we experience, and therefore a universe/dimension with different laws, even though they are natural to that realm, is supernatural to us.

Straggler writes:

But that is hardly the same as finding heaven.

You're probably right, but other than for the Platonic ideas that worked their way into Christianity the Christian vision of God is that His existence was in Heaven which co-exists and interacts with our own. If science can find other co-existing universes/dimensions it is consistent with the idea with the idea that heaven is part of a greater reality that we are spun off from.

I agree that we will likely never find the kind of certainty that some people want, but I think that thorough the scripture of science and the study of our existence it is a pointer to a greater truth.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 164 by Straggler, posted 10-04-2011 10:49 AM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
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1.61803
Member (Idle past 734 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 169 of 207 (636163)
10-04-2011 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 167 by New Cat's Eye
10-04-2011 11:31 AM


Re: Harold Camping Predictions
Catholic Scientist writes:

... or remains a mystery.


I'm good with that.

Catholic Scientist writes:

sic*Esspecially in light of all that we don't know.


Indeed. Or believe.

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 198 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 170 of 207 (636164)
10-04-2011 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 168 by GDR
10-04-2011 11:38 AM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
I recommend to you a book called Parallel Worlds; A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku.

In it he speculates about the possibility of intelligent life leaving this universe and going to another (particularly in the context of our own universe reaching a heat death state) - He talks about the physics of that possibility. It's interesting and entertaining.

But I am still doubtful that any of this relates to anything that can meaningfully be called "supernatural". So I'll leave it there.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by GDR, posted 10-04-2011 11:38 AM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
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GDR
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 171 of 207 (636173)
10-04-2011 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Straggler
10-04-2011 11:53 AM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
Straggler writes:

I recommend to you a book called Parallel Worlds; A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku.

I bought and read that book 3 or 4 years ago. (This does not mean that I understood it all. )Is there any particular part that you recommend that I re-read.?

I found interesting the amount he talks about John Wheeler. On page 350 Kaku writes:

quote:
Wigner's interpretation puts the question of consciousness at the very center of the foundation of physics. He echoes the words of the great astronomer James Jeans, who once wrote, "Fifty years ago, the universe was generally looked on as a machine... When we pass to extremes of size in either direction - whether to the cosmos as a whole, or to the inner recesses of the atom - the mechanical interpretation of Nature fails. We come to entities and phenomena which are in no sense mechanical. To me they seem less suggestive of mechanical than of mental processes; the universe seems to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine."

This interpretation takes perhaps its most ambitious form in Wheeler's theory of it from bit. "It is not only that we are adapted to the universe. The universe is also adapted to us." In other words, in some sense we create our own reality by making observations. He calls this "Genesis by observership." Wheeler claims that we live in a "participatory universe".


Here is a link to an article on John Wheeler written six years before he dies.

John Wheeler – Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?

I am not offering this up as any proof but Wheeler’s ideas are also consistent with the concept of our world being part of a greater reality which is roughly the same as what the Christian view has always been. I have no idea how much we can learn about this greater reality but it does appear that we are making headway and who knows how much it is possible for us to learn. It is an exciting prospect though.

Cheers


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Straggler, posted 10-04-2011 11:53 AM Straggler has replied

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Taq
Member
Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 172 of 207 (636191)
10-04-2011 3:51 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by GDR
10-04-2011 1:50 PM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
I am not offering this up as any proof but Wheeler’s ideas are also consistent with the concept of our world being part of a greater reality which is roughly the same as what the Christian view has always been.

I see it a bit differently. I will say that I have always found the Many Worlds hypothesis to be the ugliest and worst idea in physics to date, so my descriptions may be colored by this "bias".

I don't see any room in Wheeler's ideas for a "greater reality". There is only one reality, the one we live in. There may be other dimensions, but they too are a part of this reality even if they are hard to reach. To use an example, North America was not part of a greater reality in 1,000 AD Europe just because it was hard to reach or separate from their culture. It was part of their reality, their planet.

One of the things that has always struck me about Kaku's writings is that physics is not mysticism. Rather, there are many exciting things that are at first counter-intuitive, but slowly become part of our understanding of the universe. If we were able to travel back in time 10,000 years our description of the universe would probably sound as outrageous to people of that time as their pagan creation stories sound to us now.

At best, the supernatural is simply our description of our ignorance. Always has been. Each time we push our investigations into new areas we are sure that God will be there waiting for us. He never is. Instead, we find our ignorance and replace it with knowledge. Each time we find a universe that is explanable without needing to reference the whims of a supernatural deity.


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Straggler
Member (Idle past 198 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 173 of 207 (636197)
10-04-2011 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by GDR
10-04-2011 1:50 PM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
GDR writes:

Is there any particular part that you recommend that I re-read.?

I think it is right at the end where he talks about how intelligent beings in a dying universe might be able to "wormhole" their way (or at least some form of data from which they could be reconstructed in some sense) into a parallel universe.

It sort of echoes Taq's analogy of other universes being a bit like other continents to our long long dead ancestors. That it is difficult to get to doesn't make it "supetrnatural" or even part of a greater reality rather than just an expansion of what we understand as reality.

GDR quoting others writes:

Wigner's interpretation puts the question of consciousness at the very center of the foundation of physics.

The role of the consciousness in QM is a subject of much misconception. Here is a recent article on that specifically Link

Link writes:

The view that the implementation of the principles of quantum mechanics requires a conscious observer is based on misconceptions that are described in this article.

And you mentioned Wheeler in particular:

quote:
Caution: "Consciousness" has nothing whatsover to do with the quantum process. We are dealing with an event that makes itself known by an irreversible act of amplification, by an indelible record, an act of registration. Does that record subsequently enter into the "consciousness" of some person, some animal or some computer? Is that the first step into translating the measurement into "meaning" meaning regarded as "the joint product of all the evidence that is available to those who communicate." Then that is a separate part of the story, important but not to be confused with "quantum phenomena." (Wheeler, 1983).

GDR writes:

I have no idea how much we can learn about this greater reality but it does appear that we are making headway and who knows how much it is possible for us to learn.

I remain unconvinced that there is anything "supernatural" about this "greater reality". It seems more just a case of being difficult to investigate. And that is very probably a technological problem more than anything more mysterious.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(3)
Message 174 of 207 (636226)
10-04-2011 7:28 PM
Reply to: Message 155 by GDR
09-30-2011 7:26 PM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
Once again, thanks for a great and thoughtful reply.

Rahvin writes:

That's not so speculative actually - it's actually closer to a real view of the actual Universe. Humans only experience time as a one-way constant-speed ride because our brains run on entropy. Our thoughts, because they are electrochemical reactions in our meat brains, can only ever run in the direction of increasing entropy at the speed of those electrochemical reactions. Computers are similar, requiring an increase in entropy for processing data, but the mechanism of flipping transistors on and off is significantly faster than biological neural activity, so you could say that they "think" faster.

It seems to me then that the natural world only experiences change in one direction and if we were to study a world that could experience change in multi-directions we would be studying the supernatural.

Not quite.

We, as human beings with brains that of necessity run on entropy, experience change in one direction.

The Universe just exists, at every moment of time simultaneously. If we could take a step back "outside" of the Universe and take a look at it, what we'd actually see is a four (or more...) dimensional "object" made up of the three spacial dimensions plus time. We'd be able to look at any given time coordinate just as easily as we could look at any given spacial coordinate. The Unvierse would have different states at different coordinates (for instance, as you approach T=0 the spacial dimensions become smaller and smaller), but you could play the timeline of the Universe forwards or backwards or just look at the whole thing at once, and it would be just as internally consistent. It's not an intuitive concept, but that's reality - our intuition is framed by our experiences, which themselves are drawn only from a very tiny, limited subset of the real Universe.

I wouldn;t call that "supernatural." I'd call that "using mathematics and observations to see what the Universe is really like."

Rahvin writes:

But time really is just like the spacial dimensions. It's just a continuum of coordinates, where (just as with the spacial dimensions) events and objects at given coordinates have a specific relationship to nearby coordinates (ie, "causes" and "effects" are related in the coordinate system of time in that any "cause" must exist at a time coordinate posessing a lower amount of entropy than its "effect"). If our meat brains, or a computer's electronic processor, were not entropy machines, our perspective on time would be a lot more similar to our perspective on length, or width.

How, though, does this solve the problem of infinite regression? The logic behind demanding a "prime mover" in the first place requires that all complex entities be "designed" or "caused" by a more complex entity. How would an "infinite prime mover" then not itself require a still more compelx entity as a "cause?" Why does the ability to perceive time as just another spacial dimension, being free to move to various points in the timeline, solve the question of infinite regression?

I’ll use an example of a world with 3 dimensional time. We could move forward, back or at an angle in a combination of both. There wouldn’t be a time=0, there would only be points in time that we would move around in the same manner, (as I suggested earlier), that we move around the globe using our spatial dimensions. So, just as we move around the globe an infinite distance we would move around in time in an infinite distance.
The point is that if this was the non-entropic hang out of the prime mover it would be quite conceivable that he always existed and was never created. There then is no need of a more complex entity as a cause.

But this doesn;t solve the problem of infintie regression at all. Instead, it brings us back to special pleading on the matter of complexity.

Again: the argument for the necessity of a "prime mover" rests on the hypothesis that all complex entities require a still more complex creator. If you hypothesize a "prime mover" who himself does not need a still more complex creator, then you lose logical consistency in claiming that the Universe itself requires a complex creator. In other words, if the "prime mover" doesn;t need a "prime mover"...then why does the Universe itself require a "prime mover?" If everything that exists does not require a more complex creator, then why can't the Universe just exist without one?

It's a lose-lose scenario for the theist, GDR, simply because you cannot maintain logical consistency by insisting the requirement of a "prime mover" while not requiring a "prime mover" for the "prime mover" itself. The entire argument is flawed from the beginning, and the theist is doomed to special pleading regardless of the tactic used. It's either infinite regression, turtles all the way down (typically considered unacceptable) or an uncaused cause, which directly contradicts the argument used to suggest a cause in the first place.

Rahvin writes:

It sounds like just more special pleading to me, honestly. It's just another way to say "yeah, but this is the first cause" with no actual reason at all to suggest it other than personal preference...and hypothesizing about reality is something quite apart from choosing one's favorite color. Evidence is not what allows us to believe our preferred solution; evidence is what forces us to believe the logically most likely hypothesis. If you intend to be logically consistent, I don't see how an "infinite prime mover" is any different at all from a non-infinite version, except with the nifty word "infinite" attached.

Well obviously faith is not something that is objectively evidenced, but subjectively IMHO, it does make sense of the world I experience. I realize that it is quite reasonable to come to other conclusions as you have done but that is one of the things that makes life, and discussions like this interesting.

That's the thing, GDR - we can "make sense" of the world we experience all we want, but most of what we come up with jsut isn;t going to be at all accurate.

The problem is that our ability to hypothesize increases with less knowledge. The less we know about a thing, the more conceivable options we have that would look logically consistent with our limited data.

If I tell you "I saw something," what could you hypothesize that would "make sense" of that statement?

I could have seen a person. Or a pencil. Or a computer, or a cloud, or a ghost, or a troll, or a pencap, or a sandwitch, or the Sun, or a god...

Every last one of those, and an infinite number more, are viable hypotheses for what I saw given the information only that it was (at least briefly) visible.

What happens if we know more? What if I say "I saw something blue, on wheels." Now you know it's not likely to have been a person. Or a ghost. Or a pencil, or the Sun. It could still be a truck, or a bike, or a car, or a wheelbarrow, or a long list of other possibilities, but with just a tiny little bit of additional information we've excluded the vast majority of possibilities from the first example.

We've already established that the world you and I experience is only a teeny, tiny fragment of a precentage of a fraction of the real Universe, that the human-sized scale is simultaneously too large and too small and too limited by our entropic brains and our visible-spectrum-only-eyes and our compelte lack of ability to detect neutrinos or protons or galactic clusters within our own experience. We're doomed to ignorance in our everyday lives; that's why we've needed to use mathematics and tools like the Tevatron or the new Large Hadron Collider or the Hubble Space Telescope to "see" what the Unvierse is really like - our experience alone can never and will never tell us enough about the Universe to let us make accurate hypotheses.

Combine that, then, with the fact that our ability to hypothesize solutions is increased by less knowledge about the world, and you can see the problem. To put it simply - even though it works just fine for everyday experiences, our gut feelings are nearly always wrong when applied at any scale outside of the everyday human life.

It seems to me that the turtle argument is correct in that at some point you require a first cause that is infinite. I agree that it doesn’t much matter whether or not it is one order of deity up or 100, but at some point there has to be an infinite first cause regardless of whether or not the first cause is intelligent.

Why?

Infinity is a concept that gets thrown around an awful lot by people who don;t understand what it means. Is it impossible that the Universe "just exists?" Perhaps "existence" is inevitable.

Why is a finite "first cause" impossible? Is it inconceivable that a "first cause" can exist for all of time and yet still be finite? Is it inconceivable that perhaps a "first cause" could actually be a finite entity in a dimesional set superimposed over the set we're familiar with? I'm perhaps delving farther into the theistic realm of speculation than I'm typically comfortable with, but I see absolutely zero reason to focus on an "infinite first cause."

If not all things require a cause, then it's conceivable that the Unvierse just exists...or that the Universe was simply caused by something else that just exists. When you abandon the reasoning that tries to force the sqare peg of "Everything requires a more complex cause" into the round hole of logical consistency, you arrive back at the beginning: the Universe requires a cause, or it does not; the distinction can only be drawn by evidence.

Rahvin writes:

Well, that's trivially easy: we already study parts of the Universe that are beyond what we can perceive with our 5 senses. We use technology and mathematics to develop the tools to make observations that let us mathematically predict the existence of things that we can then use technology and mathematics to detect and then display the results in a format that our five senses can perceive. We do this every day.

After all, you can't directly observe a neutrino. Innumerable neutrinos pass through your body every day, and not one of your five sense would tell you. Only a specialized detector can do that.

That would be those neutrinos passing through me at faster than the speed of light. Another way of looking at it though is that we can’t perceive neutrinos with our 5 senses because our senses aren’t strong enough. If we had vision that was billions of time stronger we presumably could actually see a neutrino. I’m suggesting something, that no matter how strong any of our 5 senses were we would never be able to perceive it.

No matter how strong our 5 senses are, we'd never be able to see a neutrino. The detection of neutrinos is not at all analogous to any of the 5 human senses - that's the point! We're limited by what we can detect ourselves, but what we can detect can clue us in to some of the deeper workings of the Universe, and we can use math to predict things that we can't actually detect, and then design technology to meet the sensory requirement!

If something is utterly impossible to detect, if it truly doesn't interact with reality in any way whatsoever...well, what's the difference between total and utter noninteraction and nonexistence? How would you know the difference? If there is no difference...then isn't that an admission that such things don't actually exist?

Right now it seems to me that the only way we could possibly study a supernatural world would be through mathematics but who knows what the great brains of the future can come up with. If other universes/dimensions exist then I think it is conceivable that someone in the future might come up with something that could detect this greater reality using some form of detector utilizing a 6th or 7th sense.

Why the separation of a "supernatural world?" Reality just as we know it today contains countless phenomenon that have traditionally been considered "supernatural" until a very short time ago. Why must the "supernatural" be a "different world?"

As far as I'm concerned, there is what {exists}, and what does {not exist}. Mysterious phenomenon are mysterious phenomenon, whether some people call them "supernatural" or not, whether they seem to contradict other well-established theories of nature or not. So far as we've seen, so far as we have reason at all to believe, reality seems to be governed by some set of consistent rules. It seems to me that, when an apparent contradiction is encountered, the rational approach is to investigate and find out if our observation is leading us to a false conclusion (meaning there was never a real contradiction), or if the observation is the key that proves our understanding of the rules of nature is flawed.

I view the investigation of the "supernatural" to be no different from the exploration of nature. There is only the discovery of what {exists} and what does {not exist}.

Rahvin writes:

We already know that we're part of a much greater reality than the Universe as we perceive it. We've known that virtually since Galileo pointed a telescope at the sky instead of a distant ground-based object and saw a bunch of "stars" (moons) orbiting Jupiter. What we see at the human-sized scale is a teensy, tiny, fragment of a fraction of a percentage of the actual Universe. I'm sure you've read some of cavediver's posts about real quantum fields...

The reality is that the Universe is not at all limited to just what we see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. The underlying reality is far more elegant, simple, complex, and amazing than anything we will ever be able to directly perceive. After all, you've never ever actually touched anything - the electrons orbiting the atoms in the cells that make up your skin electromagnetically repelled against the electrons in every object you've ever picked up, keeping just a tiny amount of distance between the two. You don;t even see ultraviolet, or infrared, or x-rays or radio or gamma rays - those wavelengths of light (and others) are all around us every moment and you'd never even know it. In every breath, you take in uncounted gluons and quarks without realizing. I could go on for hours like this, GDR.

Science doesn't ignore what we can't see, taste, touch, hear or smell. Science figures out what can detect those things we cannot, and then builds a machine to do so to see what exists and what doesn't.

It is all so amazing. Nothing is intuitive. One science book I read made the statement that “everything is nothing” and he had a point.

Precisely. So what would be the difference between the "natural" and the "supernatural?"

Rahvin writes:

The investigation of the supernatural is what science is all about. We just stop calling it "supernatural" once we no longer feel confused about a mysterious question.

If we can study a universe that is interwoven with our own and call it natural then any question of the supernatural is going to involve the existence or non-existence of sentient life within this interwoven universe/dimension. That would bring it back to faith. It does seem to me though that if we established that there is another universe interwoven, interactive and more complex than our own it would be consistent with the idea of an external intelligence that is responsible for life here.

The determination of whether sentience exists outside of Earth is a far more specific question than is asked in this thread.

I still see your position as drawing a very significant distinction between the "natural" and the "supernatural." You talk about two separate "worlds" interwoven, when what we're actually talking about is a loosely defined collection of mysterious phenomenon. I think you're making the very significant mistake of defining "the supernatural" as "GDR's Christian beliefs," which are actually themselves a very tiny subset of the "supernatural." When we ask "can we investigate the supernatural," we aren't asking "can we find heaven."

Even so, the question is moot. It is undeniably true that reality consists of more than what we are currently aware of. Our map of the territory is neither perfectly accurate nor perfectly complete. There are stranger things in Heaven and Earth, GDR, than are dreamt of in your or any other philosophy. Yet the remaining mysteries of the Universe still, at the end of the day, boil down to things that {exist} and things that do {not exist}. If a thing does {exist}, if that thing interacts with the Universe sufficiently for us to ever become aware of it in the first place, then it can be studied. Investigation may be difficult or impractical or even impossible at a specific moment in time due to technological capabilities, or even simply having not made the observations that would let us create the math that would predict the existence of the things that we could observe to give us even the idea that a given thing could exist (who would have even thought of neutrinos a thousand years ago?). But if a thing is possible to know about, then it is possible to investigate. If an observation can be made, that observation can be repeated and tested. It can't always happen on demand, but we manage to investigate supernovae despite not being able to cause them on demand.

Rahvin writes:

More specifically, once a real explanation forces us to believe based on evidence, rather than myriad speculations allowing us to believe whatever is most pleasing based on ignorance.

We can make the claim of anyone , regardless of belief, that they believe something based on what is pleasing to them. Frankly, things come up in life that could more favourably dealt with from a selfish perspective if I believed differently. We all search for truth and there are no guarantees that we are right. Frankly I am confident of my beliefs and the more I study about the world we live in, whether it be science, theology or history the more convinced I become.

I don't search for truth. Not at all. You can keep truth. I make my own meaning for life and all its wonders.

I search for facts. I find beauty in the methodical investigation of Nature, asking her questions and making sense of her answers, discovering the underlying rules that truly govern reality and testing them to test the accuracy of my own understanding, separate from my own limited human perceptions. I find grace not in the ability to hold steadfast and become more convinced of my existing beliefs regardless of experimental results and new observations, but rather in the capacity to change my mind. It is by changing my own understanding of Nature based on the answers she gives me, unrestrained by prior opinions or personal preference, that I grow. Not all change makes us stronger, but becoming stronger is always a change. Each time I am forced to chance my understanding of Nature by logic and evidence, my understanding becomes stronger, more accurate. My map becomes that much more complete.

Can we investigate and study the "supernatural?" Of course we can. We've been doing it for centuries.

The difference between "natural" and "supernatural" is only that, once we understand an aspect of nature, we stop calling it "supernatural." "Supernatural" explanations are simply speculative hypotheses granted the unfounded courage afforded by the freedom of ignorance, and which usually really explain nothing at all; the ability to be allowed to believe, rather than be compelled to believe by evidence.

When we eliminate the mysteriousness of a question by giving it an answer based not on speculation but based on fact and observation and predictions and tests, we stop revering our own sense of mystery, we stop reveling in the freedom of ignorance, and we embrace the beauty of reality over fantasy.


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 Message 155 by GDR, posted 09-30-2011 7:26 PM GDR has replied

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GDR
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 175 of 207 (636233)
10-04-2011 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 173 by Straggler
10-04-2011 4:33 PM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
Straggler writes:

The role of the consciousness in QM is a subject of much misconception. Here is a recent article on that specifically

That was a 1983 quote and I believe his views had been modified since then. There is also Penrose but I bought his book "The Road to Reality" and found that I could only grasp about .001%. I'll spend some time with Kaku's book again.

Straggler writes:

I remain unconvinced that there is anything "supernatural" about this "greater reality". It seems more just a case of being difficult to investigate. And that is very probably a technological problem more than anything more mysterious.

It seems that my position of what is supernatural falls is a minority view. I understand the point that once we are able to investigate something it becomes natural and thus the answer to the question of whether or not we can study the supernatural is "no" when looked at in that light.

As to whether we believe that there is anything supernatural, (assuming by supernatural we are talking about a theistic god), about our greater reality will have to remain a position of faith subjectively received. Mind you, there would have been no one a century ago who would have had any inkling of what we understand today and in another century I'm sure that the population then will feel the same about us, so who knows. Try imagining a thousand years out.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 173 by Straggler, posted 10-04-2011 4:33 PM Straggler has taken no action

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 734 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 176 of 207 (636321)
10-05-2011 4:15 PM
Reply to: Message 166 by Straggler
10-04-2011 11:29 AM


Re: Harold Camping Predictions
straggler writes:

If this had happened, indeed we would be in in the middle of the fire and brimstone part of it now,

If you only knew what hell awaits you in central Texas. The word drought and hell are daily utterances.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by Straggler, posted 10-04-2011 11:29 AM Straggler has taken no action

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 182 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 177 of 207 (636324)
10-05-2011 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 174 by Rahvin
10-04-2011 7:28 PM


Re: Are we part of a greater reality?
Thanks for the time and effort you put into this. I'm afraid I don't have the knowledge to respond adequately but I'll do what I can.

Rahvin writes:

We, as human beings with brains that of necessity run on entropy, experience change in one direction. The Universe just exists, at every moment of time simultaneously. If we could take a step back "outside" of the Universe and take a look at it, what we'd actually see is a four (or more...) dimensional "object" made up of the three spacial dimensions plus time. We'd be able to look at any given time coordinate just as easily as we could look at any given spacial coordinate. The Unvierse would have different states at different coordinates (for instance, as you approach T=0 the spacial dimensions become smaller and smaller), but you could play the timeline of the Universe forwards or backwards or just look at the whole thing at once, and it would be just as internally consistent. It's not an intuitive concept, but that's reality - our intuition is framed by our experiences, which themselves are drawn only from a very tiny, limited subset of the real Universe.

I wouldn;t call that "supernatural." I'd call that "using mathematics and observations to see what the Universe is really like."

In this thread there has never been any agreement on when the natural becomes supernatural, so I'll go along with the idea that if we can, through whatever means anyone comes up with, investigate other universe/dimensions then it is all natural.

I understand pretty much what you are saying but it would seem to me that one way or another any form of sentient life has to have a way of experiencing change. It seems to me that you are saying that when standing back outside the universe we can observe time in all directions but while we are in it we only observe it in one. (Isn¡¦t that something of a God's eye view. ) Looked at in that way though I can see why you would see it as natural. As you mention in your previous post, the idea of sentient life experiencing time in multiple directions makes sense mathematically. This does IMHO make the concept of an eternal intelligence or prime mover conceivable.

Rahvin writes:

But this doesn;t solve the problem of infintie regression at all. Instead, it brings us back to special pleading on the matter of complexity.

Again: the argument for the necessity of a "prime mover" rests on the hypothesis that all complex entities require a still more complex creator. If you hypothesize a "prime mover" who himself does not need a still more complex creator, then you lose logical consistency in claiming that the Universe itself requires a complex creator. In other words, if the "prime mover" doesn;t need a "prime mover"...then why does the Universe itself require a "prime mover?" If everything that exists does not require a more complex creator, then why can't the Universe just exist without one?

It's a lose-lose scenario for the theist, GDR, simply because you cannot maintain logical consistency by insisting the requirement of a "prime mover" while not requiring a "prime mover" for the "prime mover" itself. The entire argument is flawed from the beginning, and the theist is doomed to special pleading regardless of the tactic used. It's either infinite regression, turtles all the way down (typically considered unacceptable) or an uncaused cause, which directly contradicts the argument used to suggest a cause in the first place.

One of the arguments by atheists, as I understand it, is that if we have a universe that has always existed that it does away the need for a prime mover. It seems to me that if we could demonstrate that there is the possibility that a prime mover could always have existed then it does away with the need for a prime mover for the prime mover. Sure it gives us an uncaused cause but it still seems to me to be reasonable at some level to say that if something always was then it has no need of a cause.

The thing is of course the idea of always existing is something that we can only mathematically comprehend if even then. In the end we exist. I don't pretend to have all the answers at all and I'm only engaging in speculation. You say that it is clear that we are part of a greater whole. It appears that this greater whole or reality is in some way more complex that what we experience in our 4D world. If all of this is true and then we should look at what we know from the world that we are part of to consider what we might expect in a greater more complex reality. As humans we have intelligence, a sense of morality etc. If we are less complex part of a greater whole doesn't it stand to reason that within the more complex part of the greater reality that there would be sentient life with greater intelligence, greater morality etc.

Rahvin writes:

That's the thing, GDR - we can "make sense" of the world we experience all we want, but most of what we come up with jsut isn;t going to be at all accurate.

The problem is that our ability to hypothesize increases with less knowledge. The less we know about a thing, the more conceivable options we have that would look logically consistent with our limited data.

If I tell you "I saw something," what could you hypothesize that would "make sense" of that statement?

I could have seen a person. Or a pencil. Or a computer, or a cloud, or a ghost, or a troll, or a pencap, or a sandwitch, or the Sun, or a god...

Every last one of those, and an infinite number more, are viable hypotheses for what I saw given the information only that it was (at least briefly) visible.

What happens if we know more? What if I say "I saw something blue, on wheels." Now you know it's not likely to have been a person. Or a ghost. Or a pencil, or the Sun. It could still be a truck, or a bike, or a car, or a wheelbarrow, or a long list of other possibilities, but with just a tiny little bit of additional information we've excluded the vast majority of possibilities from the first example.

We've already established that the world you and I experience is only a teeny, tiny fragment of a precentage of a fraction of the real Universe, that the human-sized scale is simultaneously too large and too small and too limited by our entropic brains and our visible-spectrum-only-eyes and our compelte lack of ability to detect neutrinos or protons or galactic clusters within our own experience. We're doomed to ignorance in our everyday lives; that's why we've needed to use mathematics and tools like the Tevatron or the new Large Hadron Collider or the Hubble Space Telescope to "see" what the Unvierse is really like - our experience alone can never and will never tell us enough about the Universe to let us make accurate hypotheses.

Combine that, then, with the fact that our ability to hypothesize solutions is increased by less knowledge about the world, and you can see the problem. To put it simply - even though it works just fine for everyday experiences, our gut feelings are nearly always wrong when applied at any scale outside of the everyday human life.

I agree with all of that and it seems very often that the more we know the more we find we don't know. The fact remains that even with the LHC and the Hubble we are still only able to perceive a "teeny, tiny fragment of a percentage of a fraction of the real universe". I think we agree, that the greater reality which we are unable to experience is more complex than our little portion of it. It seems to me that it is hubris to think that we would be the only intelligence in all of that greater reality, particularly when we consider that virtually nothing about the makeup of this world is intuitive.

I don't see it as a gut feeling. I think it is a reasonable subjective conclusion based on what we objectively know. You say that we can't be that accurate about these things and I don't disagree. My contention is' on the basis of what we are talking about' is that it appears that a prime mover is more likely than the lack of one. It doesn't mean that the prime mover is a single intelligence or multiple intelligence. It doesn't mean that this intelligence has any specific physicality or anything else. We are only talking about the existence of such an intelligence, without any reference to details about this theoretical intelligence. Yes, I do believe more but that has nothing to do with science.

Rahvin writes:

Infinity is a concept that gets thrown around an awful lot by people who don;t understand what it means. Is it impossible that the Universe "just exists?" Perhaps "existence" is inevitable.

Why is a finite "first cause" impossible? Is it inconceivable that a "first cause" can exist for all of time and yet still be finite? Is it inconceivable that perhaps a "first cause" could actually be a finite entity in a dimesional set superimposed over the set we're familiar with? I'm perhaps delving farther into the theistic realm of speculation than I'm typically comfortable with, but I see absolutely zero reason to focus on an "infinite first cause."

You're right about me not really understanding what infinity means. Other than from a mathematical sense though I'm not sure anyone does. I do know though that I can travel around the globe for an infinite distance. I'm not sure what you mean with the suggestion that the universe "just exists".

The problem with a finite first cause always goes back to turtles, so it's a problem. However, as far as I'm concerned the problem exists regardless of whether we believe in a prime mover or not. If there is a strictly natural first cause then we require a first cause for the natural conditions that brought about the first first cause and it's turtles all the way down.

Rahvin writes:

If not all things require a cause, then it's conceivable that the Unvierse just exists...or that the Universe was simply caused by something else that just exists. When you abandon the reasoning that tries to force the sqare peg of "Everything requires a more complex cause" into the round hole of logical consistency, you arrive back at the beginning: the Universe requires a cause, or it does not; the distinction can only be drawn by evidence.

It makes no sense to me to suggest that an entropic world that only experiences time in one direction just exists on its own without cause. If we are an emergent property of a greater non-entropic reality then at least we could say we are natural offshoot of that greater reality which might not require cause.

Rahvin writes:

No matter how strong our 5 senses are, we'd never be able to see a neutrino. The detection of neutrinos is not at all analogous to any of the 5 human senses - that's the point! We're limited by what we can detect ourselves, but what we can detect can clue us in to some of the deeper workings of the Universe, and we can use math to predict things that we can't actually detect, and then design technology to meet the sensory requirement!

If something is utterly impossible to detect, if it truly doesn't interact with reality in any way whatsoever...well, what's the difference between total and utter noninteraction and nonexistence? How would you know the difference? If there is no difference...then isn't that an admission that such things don't actually exist?

Which is a good point. From what I can gather, no matter how strong our 5 senses are we would likely be unable to see any particle, which makes all of what we see an illusion of sorts. Everything is nothing. All this again points to a greater reality where things are more real. It is an open question of how much we will be able to discern about the "deeper workings of the Universe".

Rahvin writes:

Why the separation of a "supernatural world?" Reality just as we know it today contains countless phenomenon that have traditionally been considered "supernatural" until a very short time ago. Why must the "supernatural" be a "different world?"

That brings us back to the definition of supernatural again. I agree that a greater reality with different natural laws could be considered natural, and as a part of a greater reality it wouldn't be a different world. It is just that we are only able to perceive a small part of the whole.

Rahvin writes:

As far as I'm concerned, there is what {exists}, and what does {not exist}. Mysterious phenomenon are mysterious phenomenon, whether some people call them "supernatural" or not, whether they seem to contradict other well-established theories of nature or not. So far as we've seen, so far as we have reason at all to believe, reality seems to be governed by some set of consistent rules. It seems to me that, when an apparent contradiction is encountered, the rational approach is to investigate and find out if our observation is leading us to a false conclusion (meaning there was never a real contradiction), or if the observation is the key that proves our understanding of the rules of nature is flawed.

I view the investigation of the "supernatural" to be no different from the exploration of nature. There is only the discovery of what {exists} and what does {not exist}.

I have no problem with that.

GDR writes:

It is all so amazing. Nothing is intuitive. One science book I read made the statement that ¡§everything is nothing¡¨ and he had a point.

Rahvin writes:

Precisely. So what would be the difference between the "natural" and the "supernatural?"

Good point. By the definition I had been using, would make a particle supernatural which kinda eliminates the natural making everything supernatural.

However if we accept that everything about the greater reality is natural then it follows that if there is a greater reality, and if within that greater reality there is sentient life, and if, (a lot of ifs here I agree ), some aspect of that sentient life is responsible for our little corner of that greater reality, then the prime mover would also be natural.

Rahvin writes:

The determination of whether sentience exists outside of Earth is a far more specific question than is asked in this thread.

I still see your position as drawing a very significant distinction between the "natural" and the "supernatural." You talk about two separate "worlds" interwoven, when what we're actually talking about is a loosely defined collection of mysterious phenomenon. I think you're making the very significant mistake of defining "the supernatural" as "GDR's Christian beliefs," which are actually themselves a very tiny subset of the "supernatural." When we ask "can we investigate the supernatural," we aren't asking "can we find heaven."

When we talk about our universe being part of a greater reality it is pretty natural for us to think of it in terms of our theistic or atheistic POV, so yes I do employ some circular reasoning here but I'd like to point out that it was agnostic science that came up with the suggestion that we are part of a greater reality, with no thought of a prime mover being part of it. I am merely suggesting that it is consistent with Christian thinking that we are part of a greater reality which conceivably allows for part of that greater reality would be God's dimension or heaven. There just seems to be at some level congruence between science and Christian thinking in all of this.

When we talk about investigating the supernatural why wouldn't it include heaven, if heaven exists. Who is to say whether it can be investigated or not.

We have a meeting of the minds here, or I'll say a congruence, (it seems to be may favourite word lately ), of thought. Really well and generously written. Thanks.

Rahvin writes:

I don't search for truth. Not at all. You can keep truth. I make my own meaning for life and all its wonders.

Maybe, but we all hold to a world view that we believe in regardless of what we believe the source of that world view to be.

Rahvin writes:

I search for facts. I find beauty in the methodical investigation of Nature, asking her questions and making sense of her answers, discovering the underlying rules that truly govern reality and testing them to test the accuracy of my own understanding, separate from my own limited human perceptions. I find grace not in the ability to hold steadfast and become more convinced of my existing beliefs regardless of experimental results and new observations, but rather in the capacity to change my mind. It is by changing my own understanding of Nature based on the answers she gives me, unrestrained by prior opinions or personal preference, that I grow. Not all change makes us stronger, but becoming stronger is always a change. Each time I am forced to chance my understanding of Nature by logic and evidence, my understanding becomes stronger, more accurate. My map becomes that much more complete.

I feel the same way, except that I have far fewer facts to clutter up my thinking. I don't find that paragraph in any way contrary to Christianity. I'd even go further and suggest you are talking about studying natural theology which should lead to a greater understanding of God if He indeed exists.

As I said earlier it is clear that the more we find out the more questions we have. I think it was Einstein that was told he should stay out of physics as all the discoveries had been made and that all he could do is add a few more decimal points. Newtonian physics provided all the answers for a deterministic world. With all the great discoveries through relativity and QM it appears to me that Pandora's Box has been truly opened and there is a never ending stream of puzzles left to explore.

There is no shortage of ignorance in any field whether it be theology or science. Look at all of the competing theories in both fields. However, I do agree that we should embrace the reality, (or maybe what passes for reality), of what we can know. However that doesn't preclude us from searching for new realities that are beyond anything that we can now investigate.

We agree that we are part of a greater reality with more complex laws than the laws of very small portion of the whole that we are able to perceive. We would probably agree that the part we can't perceive is in some sense physical. As we are the smaller less complex part I think that it is a reasonable speculation that the part with the more complex physical nature would also contain more complex sentient beings than what exist in our little part of reality. If we are an emergent property of the whole than it also seems quite possible that we are the result of intelligence from the greater reality.

Sure that's all speculation but I don't think it is unreasonable.

Cheers


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 174 by Rahvin, posted 10-04-2011 7:28 PM Rahvin has taken no action

  
Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 178 of 207 (637058)
10-13-2011 6:43 AM


Without a means to test for the supernatural how can the supernatural be refuted or dismissed simply by explaining how some natural phenomena work?

Once we figure out how lightning works it has nothing to do with whether Thor is the one throwing those boltz or not. It only explains what happens after Thor lets go of the bolt.

Because there are scientific explanations to something only shows IMO that God (or Thor) designed it to work that way.

The more things are explained the more we see a designer at work and we are just catching up. IMO.

I think the more we find out about nature the more it favors a desinger more so than randomness or chance happenings.


Replies to this message:
 Message 179 by Straggler, posted 10-13-2011 7:18 AM Chuck77 has replied
 Message 180 by Rahvin, posted 10-13-2011 5:02 PM Chuck77 has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 198 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 179 of 207 (637064)
10-13-2011 7:18 AM
Reply to: Message 178 by Chuck77
10-13-2011 6:43 AM


Firstly who says we can't test for the supernatural? Mod for one has explained in various places how he would test various supernatural claims.

Secondly - Haven't we been through all this with the whole 'Hogwarts Hypothesis' thing? That something cannot be tested is not a barrier in and of itself for rejecting it.

Thirdly - The idea that the more natural explanations replace supernatural ones the more legitimate supernatural beliefs are is just pointlessly perverse to the point of ridiculous.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 178 by Chuck77, posted 10-13-2011 6:43 AM Chuck77 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 183 by Chuck77, posted 10-14-2011 5:07 AM Straggler has replied

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 180 of 207 (637139)
10-13-2011 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 178 by Chuck77
10-13-2011 6:43 AM


Without a means to test for the supernatural how can the supernatural be refuted or dismissed simply by explaining how some natural phenomena work?

I don't think we should do any such thing.

Let's look closely at an example of how a phenomenon that was regarded as "supernatural" was investigated, and the results of that investigation. I'm going to pick lightning, because it's decently well understood.

Up until the 18th century or so (and later, really), lightning was a mysterious phenomenon. Because it's fairly universal around the world, essentially every culture had their own hypothesis to explain the mystery. To the Greeks, lightning bolts were javelins of godly power thrown my Zeus, and a lightning strike meant the victim had somehow offended the god. To the Norse, lightning was caused by the thunder god Thor and his mighty hammer Mjolnir. In some Native American and African cultures, lightning was caused by various "thunder bird" entities. The Bible has stories of the Hebrew god lighting sacrificial altars with "fire from heaven," which sounds an awful lot like lightning.

The key similarities? Everyone had seen lightning, and nobody had any idea what was going on.

Human beings are inherently curious by nature, and we dislike perceiving ourselves as ignorant. When we see a mysterious phenomenon, we try to come up with plausible hypotheses to explain the mystery and satisfy our curiosity. The problem is that we don't always do this rationally...and in the absence of evidence, all hypotheses are equally plausible. The less you know, the more possible hypotheses can potentially offer an explanation - additional evidence helps us narrow the options down to the most likely few, and eventually the real answer.

Ancient cultures had no concept of electromagnetism. They didn't even have the tools to make the tools that would give them the clues to make the tools needed to make regular observations or take measurements. They had their eyes and ears, and what they saw and hears were completely unpredictable flashes of extremely bright light followed by an incredibly loud sound that tended to (but didn't always) happen during rainstorms.

What happened over the last few hundred years? We don't consider lightning to be "supernatural" any more, or even all that mysterious!

We investigated. Scientists made observations using ever-more-modern tools, developed hypotheses, and tested them. They used additional information, evidence, to narrow down the field of nearly-infinite plausible hypotheses to just a few that explained all of the results accurately, and eventually settled on the currently accepted model. Lightning is (very basically) an electrical phenomenon caused by a difference in charge between the ground and the atmosphere sufficiently strong to overcome the resistance of air, functionally similar to the sparks of static electricity one can generate from one's finger.

Now, nobody really thinks Thor or Zeus are up in the sky or on a high mountain tossing lightning bolts.

Did we eliminate the "supernatural?"

No. The original "supernatural" phenomenon was lightning and lightning was proven to actually exist.

We just stopped applying the "supernatural" descriptor because, with a well-supported theory for the actual mechanism at work, the phenomenon is no longer mysterious.

The only things "dismissed" or "refuted" were the competing hypotheses, made up in absolute ignorance, which had no actual tie to the very real phenomenon itself.

Judging by this model, then, what would happen if, just as an example, the entity that inspired the mythologized description of the Biblical deity were to one day be observable? Just for the sake of exploring what would likely happen, imagine that some new ectoplasmic telescope was developed that allowed us to detect and measure a previously unobserved section of reality, and there we actually came into direct contact with Yahweh, who (after a bit of translation) greets us with "Yes, I've been here all along, it took you long enough to find me."

Certainly the emotional impact and the media headlines would be spectacular. But what else would happen?

Wouldn't we try to use our new tools to make more observations about this previously unexplored region of the Universe? Wouldn't we try to figure out how Yahweh has been around so long, what his real relationship is to the biological life we're used to here on Earth? Wouldn't we try to figure out which aspects of the Bible are really based on reality and which were distortions or additions, and what may have been subtracted and lost?

Imagine we were able to run tests, and make observations, and develop hypotheses and test those as well. Imagine that we were able to develop a reasonably accurate model of how Yahweh interacts with the rest of the Universe, in effect explaining his "powers." And what if there were others of his species...or what if the entity Yahweh is actually a collective consciousness made up of countless individual non-sapient members of his etheric species? What if other "gods" previously did exist as their own collective consciousnesses, and Yahweh is the result of an eventual merger of all of the "old" deities into a singular mind (there's a bad science fiction novel in here somewhere, I'd bet)?

It would almost certainly require an entirely new branch of physics, and certainly a new field of biology.

But as our understanding grows...would we still consider Yahweh to be "supernatural?"

I don't think so. I think we'd regard him as something like an alien - a nonhuman, sapient entity whose biology is wholly different from humanity, sharing no common ancestor or common point of origin, whose existence occupies dimensional regions of the Universe that humans and other Earth-grown organisms do not experience normally.

I think, like lightning, we might look back at the old myths in light of our new knowledge, and chuckle a bit at the old theologies on "God," or at those who didn't think such things could exist.

I think we might just accept Yahweh and his newly discovered species as another part of nature, simply one we were ignorant of in the past...and stop using the "supernatural" descriptor as he becomes less and less mysterious, just as we did with lightning.

Do you disagree? Why, or why not?

Once we figure out how lightning works it has nothing to do with whether Thor is the one throwing those boltz or not. It only explains what happens after Thor lets go of the bolt.

But this is a shift in the goalposts. We observe no hammer, no man in the sky. We can generate lightning on our own, artificially, on demand, without asking Thor to help. The model works perfectly well without adding Thor...and in fact it works less well if we do add him, only because then we have to explain why Thor conveniently creates lightning for us when we use a Tesla coil or one of the other methods we have, but not when we just ask nicely or leave out a part.

Because there are scientific explanations to something only shows IMO that God (or Thor) designed it to work that way.

The more things are explained the more we see a designer at work and we are just catching up. IMO.

But this is the reasoning of the "God of the Gaps." As more knowledge is gained, a previously embraced hypothesis must be abandoned in favor of what evidence shows to be more likely. Yet rather than abandoning the hypothesis, the previous explanation is simply moved to another point of ignorance, a part of the phenomenon that is still mysterious, pushed into hiding in the ever smaller and smaller gaps in our understanding of the Universe.

Worse, it signifies the acceptance of the hypothesis regardless of the experimental result. Every result is taken as additional evidence in favor of the original hypothesis, whether the result was originally predicted by the hypothesis or not. If not observing a hammer or a man in the sky or needing Thor's permission to create lightning is evidence in support of Thor just as observing those things would be...then you may as well not even bother making observations at all. Your mind is already then made up; you've written the conclusion, "...and therefore Thor is real," before you even looked at the evidence.

Let me relate a brief story from World War 2. The United States was extremely concerned about sabotage and other covert enemy action within its borders. You have hopefully heard of the Japanese internment camps set up in California to imprison those of Asian heritage on the sole basis of their ethnicity, because they were all suspected as "spies."

Then-California-Governor Earl Warren was called to testify before Congress in 1942 regarding the threat of a so-called Japanese "Fifth Column" of saboteurs. One questioner pointed out that no sabotage had actually occurred, and there was no evidence of any kind relating to any other kind of espionage. Warren's response:

quote:
"I take the view that this lack [of subversive activity] is the most ominous sign in our whole situation. It convinces me more than perhaps any other factor that the sabotage we are to get, the Fifth Column activities are to get, are timed just like Pearl Harbor was timed... I believe we are just being lulled into a false sense of security."

Governor warren took the absence of evidence of a Japanese "Fifth Column" to be evidence that such a thing did actually exist!

If sabotage occurs, then there are saboteurs. If no sabotage occurs, this is even stronger evidence that there are saboteurs, just lying in wait!

If we observe a hammer striking in the sky when lightning flashes, then Thor exists. If we do not see the expected hammer, this is even stronger evidence that Thor is the one causing the lightning, and our explanation is simply the mechanism that takes effect after Thor strikes his hammer.

Do you see the problem?

You've written your conclusion in your mind before examining the evidence. Regardless of the outcome, the final sentence is "...and therefore what I already believed is true." It's not just about unfalisifiability, about a claim that is set up to be impossible to test - it's about taking even negative results as positive evidence when a test is actually made.

This is why scientists write down their predictions before conducting an experiment. If a hypothesis actually explains something, then you can use that hypothesis to predict a result. If the result is too different from the prediction, the hypothesis is inaccurate, flawed, or just outright wrong.

I think the more we find out about nature the more it favors a desinger more so than randomness or chance happenings.

Yet nobody claims that Nature is random. Chemistry, for instance, is not random. Which atoms can bond to form molecules, the physical structure of proteins, the color of the light generated from burning an element, all are dictated by the structure of Nature itself, the laws that we seek to uncover through scientific inquiry.

Lightning doesn't strike at random. It strikes when there is a specific buildup of charge, when the difference in charge is great enough to overcome the resistance of air. It takes the specific path of least resistance...which is why now we use lightning rods to prevent fires from lightning strikes. It's not random at all - it's so predictable that we can actually take steps to redirect it.

And we can predict the behavior of lightning because we investigated a "supernatural" phenomenon. We observed it. We developed hypotheses, and created the tools to test them, and observed the results. And now, we understand lightning so well...that we've stopped calling it "supernatural" at all, without at any point disproving that the phenomenon actually occurs.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 178 by Chuck77, posted 10-13-2011 6:43 AM Chuck77 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by GDR, posted 10-13-2011 7:29 PM Rahvin has taken no action
 Message 182 by Chuck77, posted 10-14-2011 2:13 AM Rahvin has replied

  
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