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Hello from Frankfurt, Germany
Posted: 19 November 2012 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 06:36 AM

Well, if I’m not welcome here, I should probably leave. Mid-Atlantic’s comment reminds me of totalitarian countries embracing one worldview and rejecting all others (or calling them stupid). If that’s the spirit here, I’m probably in the wrong forum.

My response was very far from the overall spirit here.

However, I think your above comments about “cancer being a challenge to learn more” are hard to take seriously.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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GdB - 19 November 2012 12:08 AM
DarronS - 18 November 2012 10:19 AM

Stars blow up regularly, and even when on the Main Sequence emit radiation that would kill us if not for the Van Allen Belt deflecting them.

[nitpicking]It is the magnetic field of the earth that protects us. Electrically charged particles are caught by it, and so form the Van Allen Belt, instead of reaching the earth. The Van Allen Belt is therefore itself a very dangerous place to be, also for electronic devices. See here.[/nitpicking]

That isn’t nitpicking. I know the difference but posted without thinking deeply enough. Thanks for the clarification.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Going a step further, couldn’t we say it’s not the magnetic field that protects us, it’s the ferrite core of the earth that generates the magnetic field to protect us? LOL

Occam

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Posted: 20 November 2012 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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DarronS - 18 November 2012 10:19 AM
dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 09:53 AM

George, let’s take interstellar space as an example. It’s a very peaceful place. A few particles buzzing around here and there. In some other universes with slightly different natural laws and physical constants this might be all that’s really happening. A few particles buzzing around here and there. Eternal peace.

That is incorrect. Interstellar space is deadly to life. Stars blow up regularly, and even when on the Main Sequence emit radiation that would kill us if not for the Van Allen Belt deflecting them. NASA has found a galaxy blasting its neighbor with high-energy particles. Interstellar space is not peaceful.

As there is no life in interstellar space, there is no death to be witnessed. That’s why I called it peaceful.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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George - 18 November 2012 10:34 AM
dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 09:53 AM

Simple answer to your other question: No, there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God. All there is are plausible metaphysical arguments. Likewise there are plausible metaphysical arguments against the existence of God.

In other words, you are just making stuff up.

Plausible arguments are different from making stuff up.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Occam. - 18 November 2012 11:51 AM

The problem I find, George, is that when we discuss major differences with people who seem reasonable and logical, we and they are starting with completely diverse premises that undly our entire argument.  You and I accept physical, real world phenomena as our basis and reject metaphysical ideas.  Many fundamentalists accept metaphysical ideas as absolute truth and reject or ignore many conclusions drawn from physical world phenomena.  We recognize we don’t even come close to speaking the same mental language so we don’t bother discussing things with each other (beyond the fundamentalist’s need to proselytize).  The difficult case is one we see with people like D.S.62.  Since he also accepts real world phenomena and the conclusions from them, we can’t help but think we are speaking the same thought-language. 

Just as many of us are strong atheists but with a hidden agnostic streak that’s in our evidence, I see D.D.62 being much like us in that he is a theist, but with a hidden agnostic streak when he states, “there are plausible metaphysical arguments against the existence of God.”

While I don’t think any of us will change the others, discussions may help us clarify our own ideas.

OK, D.S.62.  Your turn, did I completely misunderstand your thinking?  smile

Occam

You partly misunderstood my thinking. I too accept physical, real world phenomena as my basis for understanding everything that is going on in our physical world. I don’t accept metaphysical ideas as absolute truth. I don’t reject or ignore conclusions drawn from physical world phenomena. As I’m not a fundamentalist I see no need to proselytize. I always defend the atheists’ right to be atheists. Yes, there is an agnostic streak in my thinking and I said so already in one of my other posts.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 05:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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mid atlantic - 19 November 2012 04:19 AM
dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 06:36 AM

Well, if I’m not welcome here, I should probably leave. Mid-Atlantic’s comment reminds me of totalitarian countries embracing one worldview and rejecting all others (or calling them stupid). If that’s the spirit here, I’m probably in the wrong forum.

My response was very far from the overall spirit here.

However, I think your above comments about “cancer being a challenge to learn more” are hard to take seriously.

Numerous theologists have tried to deal with the question of why God allows misery in the world. I’m a computer scientist not a theologian, but I’ve asked myself this question many times. It’s difficult to make sense of the cruelties of cancer. And many explanations do seem to sound strange. I’ll give you an example. Many historians think that one key driving factors for the Renaissance and beginning of the Age of Enlightenment was the Black Death in Europe. About a third of the population died. There was a huge shortage of labor. The old system of feudalism didn’t work anymore. People were forced to look for new ways.

We can also look at evolution. New species arise in times of hardship. It is a fundamental principle. Without changes in the environment the genetic changes of species are very slow. Sexual reproduction evolved about 1.2 billion years ago because it offered better protection against diseases and new environmental conditions. So in a way, without the diseases of the past you and I would not be able to enjoy sex. Life seems to have built-in mechanisms to deal with challenges.

What is your answer why cancer exists?

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 05:16 AM by dansmith62 ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Cancer exists because it exists. That’s as far as the philosophical explanation goes. If you want to answer it scientifically, you would say that when a cell mutates (on average) eight times, it stops to cooperate with other cells and begins to do its own thing. Since the probability that a cell will be allowed to mutate this many times is very improbable (most of the times the rest of the body destroys these troublemakers before they get too far) which is why it usually happens later on in life. And because it happens later on in life, it is blind to natural selection. There is no magic here, no “higher meaning.” Although it’s plausible that Zeus is upset at human kind for turning to all the wrong religions and forgetting all about Olympus, punishing us by making the cells mutate—plausible, but I am not sure since I am a designer and not a theologian.

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 05:43 AM by George ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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BTW, we are not really sure why sex evolved. We have all kinds of possible explanations but we simply don’t know for sure. But I understand how difficult it is for you, the theists, to accept “we don’t know” for an answer. You need clear and simplistic answers so that you can follow up with your nonsensical and confusing explantations to make it all fit into your primitive fairy tale.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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George - 20 November 2012 05:40 AM

Cancer exists because it exists. That’s as far as the philosophical explanation goes. If you want to answer it scientifically, you would say that when a cell mutates (on average) eight times, it stops to cooperate with other cells and begins to do its own thing. Since the probability that a cell will be allowed to mutate this many times is very improbable (most of the times the rest of the body destroys these troublemakers before they get too far) which is why it usually happens later on in life. And because it happens later on in life, it is blind to natural selection. There is no magic here, no “higher meaning.” Although it’s plausible that Zeus is upset at human kind for turning to all the wrong religions and forgetting all about Olympus, punishing us by making the cells mutate—plausible, but I am not sure since I am a designer and not a theologian.

You are the one talking about magic, not me. I don’t believe in magic. Let’s just look at it from a purely scientific viewpoint. You described how cancer occurs. That doesn’t explain why it exists and why it is so “successful”. Why have animals not developed a strategy to destroy the mutated cells in every case, even in later life? There seems to be an exception. Naked mole rats don’t get cancer. Human children can get cancer, before they can reproduce.

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 06:50 AM by dansmith62 ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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George - 20 November 2012 05:55 AM

BTW, we are not really sure why sex evolved. We have all kinds of possible explanations but we simply don’t know for sure. But I understand how difficult it is for you, the theists, to accept “we don’t know” for an answer. You need clear and simplistic answers so that you can follow up with your nonsensical and confusing explantations to make it all fit into your primitive fairy tale.

Yes, we are not completely sure why sex evolved, but there is a pretty good hypothesis i.e. faster change of genomes to deal with new pressures. I think you understand very little about theists. Or you know a few of them and then come up unfounded generalizations. The out-group homogeneity effect is a quite powerful mechanism. You need clear and simplistic answers about theists to make it all fit into your primitive fairy tale about the theist world. Why do some atheists behave in such a primitive way? They are well educated after all. Well, I don’t know.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Cancer is as successful as is the oxidation of metal. I am not sure what else to add here. And I already told you why our bodies haven’t found a way to fight it. Yes, it does happen in childhood but it’s rare—presumably, because those who were likely to get cancer in childhood didn’t get to reproduce. That’s the beauty of God’s natural selection: you are a screw up and you’ll die along with your genes.

If good God existed I doubt cancer would exist. But there is no God and evolition doesn’t give a flying hoot about our well being—at least not about our well being past our reproductive stage. Why would it? It’s aim is reproduction, not happiness.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Are you sure there is no God? Absolutely sure?

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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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dansmith62 - 20 November 2012 07:11 AM

Are you sure there is no God? Absolutely sure?

Speaking for myself I cannot answer that question until you define god.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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dansmith62 - 20 November 2012 07:11 AM

Are you sure there is no God? Absolutely sure?

I am as sure as I know that you have at least one kidney. In theory you might not have even the one kidney and have some super awesome liver instead that compensates for the absence of your kidney, but, well, call me a skeptic. Or you could be a very intelligent giraffe who stole a computer from one of the zoo keepers and now pretend to be Dan from Frankfurt. Anything is possible, I guess.

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 08:11 AM by George ]
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