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Lawrence Krauss - A Universe from Nothing
Posted: 26 February 2012 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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It is your business to invest in belief sans evidence, but why accept such a burden when there is no requirement to do so? What is ‘belief in belief’ besides an emotional investment in no thing?

If I say to you I had a feeling something wasn’t right when I saw a city bus coming down the street last night, and that I saw a pink tri-horned rhinoceros drive the bus into the lake, is it something you are willing to believe is true based on my feeling or my claim?

What is the difference between my insistence on the rhino driving a bus, or a claim I make that I know the universe thinks, or that I know God exists because sometimes I get this feeling that just appears when it did not exist an instant before, and it has to come from somewhere, does it not? It is just such an awesome, powerful feeling. It makes my skin tingle, my whole body feels energized and filled, my eyes water a bit, and I am so grateful, so humble. Some feeling this powerful just has to be the presence of God. Who is to say it is not God?

By the way, my 6 year old was in her first school play last night, and it was so cute. Just thinking about her right now, on that stage last night in a little pink outfit singing and trying to do simple dance moves, it was so precious, it just gives me this powerful feeling of closeness, and fills me with joyful love ... Hey, wait a minute! Is this some kind of trick?

It is simple good sense to prioritize good evidence and critical thinking over ideology and preconceptions, which includes declining to accept propositions without good evidence, and letting go of conclusions when the evidence doesn’t support them. Feelings and belief do not constitute evidence of anything but feelings and belief.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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But not evidence, thus is the same as saying the pink rhino is driving the bus.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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What if you knew that all of your feelings and “Peak Experiences” were part of the evolution of Human Consciousness… that they were all bits and pieces of our biological survival?

Some parts of the human consciousness that we have inherited from our ancestors is truly flawed, redundant, and inefficient.  Human kind has survived even though we have these flaws, but the power of self reflection was part of the package…and with it came science….. Why in any of this do we need to believe that something supernatural had to happen?

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Posted: 27 February 2012 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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G23 - 26 February 2012 10:19 PM

What if you knew that all of your feelings and “Peak Experiences” were part of the evolution of Human Consciousness… that they were all bits and pieces of our biological survival?

Some parts of the human consciousness that we have inherited from our ancestors is truly flawed, redundant, and inefficient.  Human kind has survived even though we have these flaws, but the power of self reflection was part of the package…and with it came science….. Why in any of this do we need to believe that something supernatural had to happen?

So what are you saying? That evolution works? That it is the universe’s plan for HUMANS only. Or is it just the natural way things work for all organisms? How do you know that our inherited survival instincts are truly flawed and inefficient and redundant? We are but a recent species and all other existing species of life seemed to have done well in spite of their lack of self reflection.

Are you an ID proponent? Or are you an AI proponent?  What is a “Peak Experience”?  X-games?  Sexual ecstacy?

Perhaps I am not getting a clear picture of what you are saying. I agree with some of what you say, then in the next sentence you say something which seems contradictory. Perhaps it’s my mindset, and perceive things that are not there… cheese

[ Edited: 27 February 2012 05:59 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 February 2012 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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ISeeAMuse - 26 February 2012 09:19 PM

By feelings I guess I might be proposing levels of awareness, where thought and reason are, as yet the most highly “evolved” form of cognition.

You would put feelings above Differential Equations on the cognition scale? You must be thinking with your emotions. grin

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Posted: 27 February 2012 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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DarronS - 27 February 2012 05:57 AM
ISeeAMuse - 26 February 2012 09:19 PM

By feelings I guess I might be proposing levels of awareness, where thought and reason are, as yet the most highly “evolved” form of cognition.

You would put feelings above Differential Equations on the cognition scale? You must be thinking with your emotions. grin

No, I would put them on par. Quantity and quality are two halves of one whole of valuation.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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The word feelings has such a wide variety of definitions it is perhaps too fuzzy a term to be useful in this sort of discussion. Its use so far creates a concern, at least on my part, that goalposts are being moved, although I think this is an inadvertent cognition error and not the result of deliberate intent by 4Muse.

I don’t agree at all that quantity is a value equal to quality, or that the two combined are equal halves of a whole.

Some definition of terms is necessary at this point, and 4Muse may not agree with this one. But assume for the sake of this argument that quantity means any measurable amount of evidence, and quality is defined as validity of measurable evidence and validity of reasoning from that evidence.


If the total amount of evidence and reasoning from that evidence is erroneous and therefore of diminished if not outright worthless quality, then an infinity of that quality of product is not worth the smallest measure of a product that possesses quality in any measure.

If the smallest measure possible of evidence, and any reasoning from that evidence, is not proved invalid, that measurable quantity of evidence serves as a sufficient proof claim. Increased quantity of evidence of identical quality, in this case, does not improve the truth value of the smallest quantity possible, it simply only adds repetition of identical evidence. Volume of quantity adds to or detracts from quality as defined only based on the validity of each claim in the quantity of claims presented.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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1984isnow - 27 February 2012 08:10 AM

The word feelings has such a wide variety of definitions it is perhaps too fuzzy a term to be useful in this sort of discussion. Its use so far creates a concern, at least on my part, that goalposts are being moved, although I think this is an inadvertent cognition error and not the result of deliberate intent by 4Muse.

I don’t agree at all that quantity is a value equal to quality, or that the two combined are equal halves of a whole.

Some definition of terms is necessary at this point, and 4Muse may not agree with this one. But assume for the sake of this argument that quantity means any measurable amount of evidence, and quality is defined as validity of measurable evidence and validity of reasoning from that evidence.


If the total amount of evidence and reasoning from that evidence is erroneous and therefore of diminished if not outright worthless quality, then an infinity of that quality of product is not worth the smallest measure of a product that possesses quality in any measure.

If the smallest measure possible of evidence, and any reasoning from that evidence, is not proved invalid, that measurable quantity of evidence serves as a sufficient proof claim. Increased quantity of evidence of identical quality, in this case, does not improve the truth value of the smallest quantity possible, it simply only adds repetition of identical evidence. Volume of quantity adds to or detracts from quality as defined only based on the validity of each claim in the quantity of claims presented.

ok, what if the reasoning of an abundant quantity and quality of evidence is proved with a hgh degree of certainty and there is no evidence that anyone can intuitively feel this evidence, i.e. quantum, let alone conclude that this evidence points to an intelligence, then which is the more reliable method and reasoned information?

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Posted: 27 February 2012 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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[

color=gray]‘if the reasoning of an abundant quantity and quality of evidence is proved with a hgh degree of certainty’[/color]

If something is proved, degree of certainty does not apply. If there is a high degree of certainty about a falsifiable hypothesis, it may be promoted to theory pending the outcome of testing/repeatability by others. A ‘feeling’ that a claim of proof is accurate or inaccurate is only emotion that accompanies a conclusion based on some form of rationale. The feeling may be either positive and favorable toward the claim of proof, or negative and unfavorable. Or neutral, but that is a null conclusion and not useful for answering your question. Any such feelings are irrelevant toward either confirming or denying the proof claim. Proof claims are solely concerned with producing and verifying evidence, and conclusions based upon analyzing and testing that evidence. Any conclusion that claims certainty without evidence in support is only accurate if the claimant is lucky and doesn’t yet know it. When “I don’t know” is the only honest answer, it is the best answer. It is always better to acknowledge not knowing than claiming certainty one is unable to provide proof of.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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1984isnow - 27 February 2012 04:16 PM

[

color=gray]‘if the reasoning of an abundant quantity and quality of evidence is proved with a hgh degree of certainty’[/color]

If something is proved, degree of certainty does not apply. If there is a high degree of certainty about a falsifiable hypothesis, it may be promoted to theory pending the outcome of testing/repeatability by others. A ‘feeling’ that a claim of proof is accurate or inaccurate is only emotion that accompanies a conclusion based on some form of rationale. The feeling may be either positive and favorable toward the claim of proof, or negative and unfavorable. Or neutral, but that is a null conclusion and not useful for answering your question. Any such feelings are irrelevant toward either confirming or denying the proof claim. Proof claims are solely concerned with producing and verifying evidence, and conclusions based upon analyzing and testing that evidence. Any conclusion that claims certainty without evidence in support is only accurate if the claimant is lucky and doesn’t yet know it. When “I don’t know” is the only honest answer, it is the best answer. It is always better to acknowledge not knowing than claiming certainty one is unable to provide proof of.

I agree with most of that post (except as highlighted in red). By your assertion acceptance of a theory based on a high degree of certainty (by consensus) depends on what side of the bed you got up from.
But the subject is not the definition of paradigm or theory, the subject is the existence of a universal intelligence or emotional investment. For this there is no proof of any kind and relies solely on personal feelings. If feelings are irrelevant to confirmation of a universal sentience, then we can only end up with mysticism and mythology, without any degree of certainty.

[ Edited: 27 February 2012 05:11 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 February 2012 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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This may be TLDR, but I’ve edited all I can for today. Tomorrow I will probably look at it and see easy ways to cut it by two-thirds. No clue how to manage the color tool.

‘I agree with most of that post (except as highlighted in red). By your assertion acceptance a theory based on a high degree of certainty (by consensus) depends on what side of the bed you got up from.’


I expect this statement (the one you place in red above) is confusing because I am commingling scientific proof of certainty with establishment of truth in non-scientific areas. My intent was/is to assert that any claim or assertion that is established as proved beyond dispute, must then by definition be a statement that is so certain it is absolutely free from uncertainty.

If evidence and evaluation/testing of evidence establishes absolute proof of any claim, there is not some degree of certainty of the claim of absolute truth; no, that claim becomes one of complete certainty, a certainty beyond a single degree (or any unit) of doubt.

Very few statements in any endeavor attain this acceptance of certainty, and in science this is only applied to Laws. And in science, and also all other endeavors, future evidence discoveries my necessitate alterations to previous truth claims. Certainty is, in this sense, relative: certainty claims are not guaranteed absolutes. They are valid until proved otherwise. This, I think, is a main source of conflict for the faith believer, and between the faith believer and the skeptic. Religious dogma is rife with (invalid and unfalsifiable) absolute truth assertions, and people who unquestioningly accept these assertions as absolute truth expect reality to reflect these ‘truths’. When conflict arises, reality must be altered as necessary to conform to dogma, and all communication breaks down.

The sentences you highlighted in red are my attempt to explain ‘feelings’ and their relationship to truth claims. I only mean to convey that feelings is just a word that people sometimes use to describe the emotion that accompanies a thought process that is employed to evaluate and test truth claims. I place the word within quote marks so that, two sentences later, the reader will associate that word with my statement that feelings are irrelevant to establishing the veracity of truth claims.

In hindsight, I see that my meaning is clarified if I place quotes around ‘feelings’ in that sentence also, or perhaps place the hyphenated so-called before the word feelings. I do not intend to give feelings status they do not deserve. Feelings are an emotional response to some stimulus, not a sentient property, and that is all that feelings are. That emotional response is an alert to pay attention to the stimulus, and see if it demands a reaction. That is the only useful thing a negative feeling accomplishes. Feelings must be managed with astute discernment to avoid harm from them. Allow negative feelings to disappear as rapidly as possible; near instantaneously is best. Joy or happiness or any other positive feelings are something to savor while mindful that, like all consciousness, they are of a nature to dissolve, impermanent and subject to change. It is of no value to cling to feelings, and may be harmful to one degree or another to do so, and especially to identify transient feelings as Self..

I state in one sentence that the bar for hypothesis to be elevated to theory is established by its ability to be tested and repeated by others, and that is the sole necessary consensus that I mention. It is also the sole necessary consensus that is applicable. A group of people who do not test and verify, but perhaps raise hands in a vote at a town meeting or something like that, may vote anything they like up, down, sideways, or plaid: such an action is as valid as someones feeling, or intuition, or fervent wish as a result of childhood indoctrination in myth.

I absolutely agree that any contemplation of universal intelligence/sentience, or supernatural deities, and singularity explanations associated with those things is pure speculation informed by myth and mysticism with no degree of uncertainty. I have such low expectation of the possibility of such speculation ever proving true I would like nothing more than to say, “Impossible!” But I am content to settle for, “I doubt this with all my conscious awareness, but I honestly simply do not know, and am not aware of any way that exists to establish evidence of non-existence. And nobody can prove I did not see a tri-horned pink rhino. It would be pretty easy to prove I did not see one driving a city bus into a lake, though.”

[ Edited: 27 February 2012 06:40 PM by 1984isnow ]
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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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grin  We agree.  Though I did see a fish jump out of the lake, swallow a stork and return back to the lake. I can prove it. It was on tv just the other day… LOL

p.s. the Font Formatting tool is not available in the Fast Reply mode. But it is available in all other modes, including pic attachment.

Just highlight and select Size or Color from the drop down menu

[ Edited: 28 February 2012 02:36 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 10 December 2012 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Cool, Prof Krauss, thanx for writing this book to begin to whet our appetite for things weird and wonderful like nothing and the Universe and the juxtaposition of the two.. Reading Prof Krauss monthly in Scientific American for what seems like forever, it was inevitable he’d come up with this idea.I got the book immediately and am enjoying it to say the least. I recall a paperback book by Isaac Asimov entitled “Of Time, Space and Other Things” which I loved(I’ve tried to read all >200 of his books but some are out of print). Everything I know about science, almost, I got from Prof Asimov, Carl Sagan, and my high school Chemistry/Physics teacher, oh…and Bill Nye, and even Mr Wizard way back when. Prof Asimov has a chapter in the book called ‘Nothing Counts!” Part II Chapter 12, page 149. In it he discusses how numbers&manipulating; them since intro of zero and Arabic numerals was a great timesaver and how we humans would be nowhere without nothing to guide us(not a double negative, promise).It did appear Roman numerals were cumbersome to calculate with. And as humans progressed with writing and numbers they decided to put the alphabet together with numbers since both had the peculiarity of being ordered and arranged predictably, which helped in manipulating these particular sets of symbols. Until ‘nothing’ or zero was used to fill the gaps of numbers limited to raising the value or results of calculations it was confusing as actual gaps were used as in say A A for 101 or 202. so without a place holder some may have accidently left the nothing gap out which changed the whole value og the sequence.So, the point is a symbol for nothing had to be created and it was the nought symbol, or zero. No one knows who the guy was, but he was a Hindu, lived in the Ninth century, and sadly it took humans 5000 years to come up with ‘nothing ’ or the value of the next digit after the 9 numbers have increased one by one, it’s so simple yet as I said it took mathematicians 5000 years to come up with this simple idea. Nothing, empty, Hindu word sunya, zero(Which,BTW, was bastardised from an Arab word, sifr)became where we got cipher from. So, I guess you could say humans collectively laid an egg on this one, this ‘nothing.’...was that a cackle in unison I heard?  Thnx, again Prof Krauss.Kudos.

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Posted: 10 December 2012 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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I watched a youtube video of this or one of his University tours with Richard Dawkins. Although he gets a nice welcome, he’s very awkward to a crowd and I can totally relate. It’s easier to write while you have plenty of time to think and edit. At the end, the first person to stand up for questions from the audience was an even more nervous apologist who had to read from notes he prepared. It threw Krauss off and as he started to respond, he lost track of thought and fumbled. He promised that it would come back to him and he’ll respond then but it didn’t happen (at least during the recording). I can just imagine that that footage was used (is used) as a mockery of him in the apologist circles as someone who couldn’t respond to a surprise audience member as if he intended his audience to be absolutely friendly and missed screening the heckler at the door.

I am glad that the subject of ‘something from nothing’ is raised a little more seriously. Although on the right track, he’s wrong in his particulars there though. I so want to scream out what I know but I feel that since the system of recognition follows strict guidelines, I’m afraid of saying something that others will hijack as their own ideas. I believe even this site required that we accepted that what we say here is the property of “Center for Inquiry” and is theirs to use as they feel. I tried to talk to my brother about it but it requires too much fixing of his own mental misconceptions of the science he thinks he knows. For instance, he thinks that Einstein’s Relativity is Galilean Relativity. He also believes that the world during the dinosaurs was a tiny earth with a giant atmosphere in which the Earth acted (and still acts) as a sponge for the gas, etcetera… . 

I’m presently trying to get formally qualified because I am totally self-taught and it’s frustrating to think that it’s going to take four or five years before I get to the point that I have a recognized degree in order to be publishable. But I already have a partially closed theory of everything (some of the missing detail is things like the particular shape of matter that, though I see in my head, requires a very powerful computer to illustrate.) I’ve also ‘unified’ the forces and so far, everything fits with the data as I understand it.

I hope that one day I could work with someone like Krauss.

1984isnow,

I understand what you may be thinking. In order to trust or believe in anything, we only have our own subjective experiences to go by and so you perceive thoughts and feelings as the purest evidence you can trust. What you have to do though is to question everything you sense to ‘reduce’ it to something with precise meaning. You may claim, for instance that you have an overwhelming ‘feeling’ of joy and happiness at watching your daughter perform. But your error is that you labeled it “God” and then transferred or associated the other definitions of “God” that you learned from elsewhere and equated them as one and the same. You’re just conning yourself!

Some business or positive self-help group for instance tells you that you must take out the word “can’t” in your vocabulary and replace it with “can”. In some contexts while communicating with others you may use “can’t” and find that at every use of it, you are reprimanded for it because it is negative and non-functional. They tell you that you must take the word out completely, it is “stinkin’ thinkin’” The problem with this is that you’ve come to believe that when you hear the word “can’t”, you transfer it to an instance of “stinkin’ thinkin’” and all of the connotations it implies. So you start to notice that when others use it, you automatically assume that they certainly have a negative attitude. You are now brainwashed because you interpret a reality out there that doesn’t sufficiently qualify another person’s intended meaning. This is called transference. And it is no different than your belief that your feelings actually ARE God itself.

“God is love. Love is God. God is in you. He is in me. He is everywhere. He is the Son, the Ghost, the Holy Spirit….”

The logic is: A = B, B = A, A = C, A = D, A = E, F and G.  Therefore, if Z, then A! (by human associative induction)

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