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Are all things caused?  Or can there be acausal things?
Posted: 28 April 2007 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I find agnosticism a bit of a wishy-washy ideology.  I know with absolute certainty that an all-powerful and infinite God doesn’t exist.

What I meant about remaining agnostic about what caused the big bang was that we still don’t know what caused it and we have to admit that. I didn’t mean the theological position of agnosticism. I don’t believe in god either but the big bang theory tells us what happened within micro-seconds after the big bang but makes no claims or assumptions about what initiated it.

“Until all the data and evidence is in you simply state you cannot claim a conclusion.”

Yes, I can claim with absolute certainty that an infinitely powerful, all-loving God does not exist.

Yes, you can “claim” anything you want with “absolute certainty” but what evidence will support your claims? How convincing are your arguments? I too question the “all loving” but can you claim with epistemic certainty, all attributes aside, that a gawwd of some kind does not exist and support it with logical propositions? I guess it comes back to ‘you can’t prove a negative’.

Yes, I too value philosophy.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I find agnosticism a bit of a wishy-washy ideology.  I know with absolute certainty that an all-powerful and infinite God doesn’t exist.

What I meant about remaining agnostic about what caused the big bang was that we still don’t know what caused it and we have to admit that.

What causes a seed to sprout? 

I didn’t mean the theological position of agnosticism. I don’t believe in god either but the big bang theory tells us what happened within micro-seconds after the big bang but makes no claims or assumptions about what initiated it.

What initiates a seed to sprout?

“Until all the data and evidence is in you simply state you cannot claim a conclusion.”

All the data and evidence will never be in.  Not only is that my conclusion - but it’s the absolute truth.

I too question the “all loving” but can you claim with epistemic certainty, all attributes aside, that a gawwd of some kind does not exist and support it with logical propositions?

Don’t distract yourself with the ‘all loving’ component.  What’s vital is to realize the absurdity of even entertaining the notion of an “infinite” god.  How can something infinite exist?  Something that exists must be a distinct thing in relationship to another, and therefore be limited.  A finite infinite makes about as much sense as a black white.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
What causes a seed to sprout?

False analogy and very regressive. The same sort of regression as if I posited panspermia or multiple universes. Where did the seed come from? Where did the parent tree come from? Keep in mind I’m not arguing for the existence of a god, just that your analogy is not void of fallacy.

What initiates a seed to sprout?

H2O and ambient temperature; basic botany.

The universe, at the risk of assuming, did not “sprout” from the combining of one hydrogen atom and 2 oxygen atoms as there are obvious problemswith that notion. Not to mention the absolute temperature of the universe within 1/10 billionth of a second after the BB was immensely, staggeringly, unconceivably “hot”. All the world’s nuclear weapons detonated at once wouldn’t even be a glimpse into how hot the early universe was then. At this stage the electro-magnetic and weak nuclear force was one force. Just sayin’.

All the data and evidence will never be in.  Not only is that my conclusion - but it’s the absolute truth.

Ehh…..that’s my point of argument. How does one, like yourself, base a conclusion on incomplete data? That’s an inductive fallacy. We both agree that the data will forever be incoming about many but not all of scientific inquiry, that’s not the problem. The problem lies in one (you) “jumping to a conclusion” without the substantial data and evidence to support one’s (your) claims.

Don’t distract yourself with the ‘all loving’ component.  What vital is to realize the absurdity of even entertaining the notion of an “infinite” god.  How can something infinite exist?  Something that exists must be a distinct thing in relationship to another, and therefore be limited.  A finite infinite makes about as much sense as a black white.

The argument from incredulity is fallacious. A spherical Earth was once considered “black white” because the early church fathers could not accept how men with their feet opposite theirs could stay attached to the Earth, not to mention that the word of Christ (I don’t believe in him either) could not have reached them. When they did come around to accepting a spherical Earth they considered those regions the Antipodes and considered those regions uninhabited by man.

Don’t distract yourself with an “infinite” god. Again, I’m not arguing for the existence of a god, I’m just pointing out, what I perceive to be, weaknesses in your arguments/reasoning. If I’m wrong I’ll humbly accept correction.

I have still yet to see how anyone can logically prove a negative. Many would argue that nothing can be proved but only falsified/disproved. I don’t believe in god either, I’m just looking for a valid argument and I’m not convinced you have found it. And I mean absolutely no disrespect in that regard or any other post I have made.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”][quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
What initiates a seed to sprout?

H2O and ambient temperature; basic botany.

I wouldnt consider that an absolutely honest answer - what caused the H2O and what caused the ambient temperature?  What caused the seed itself? 

the absolute temperature of the universe within 1/10 billionth of a second after the BB was immensely, staggeringly, unconceivably “hot”.

I’m not sure how that gives us any bearing.  I think your taking my seed analogy too literally.  My point is that since we can’t ultimately determine what causes a seed to sprout, we certainly can’t determine what causes a universe to explode into being. 

That’s why I consider many scientists, especially physicists, to be not as high above religious theologians as they think they are.  Their hope of attaining an ultimate explanation, a model that explains everything really is quite naive.   

[quote author=“Dave”]

All the data and evidence will never be in.  Not only is that my conclusion - but it’s the absolute truth.

Ehh…..that’s my point of argument. How does one, like yourself, base a conclusion on incomplete data?

How does one like yourself,  conclude that there is such a thing as complete data?  Tell me, how is it logically posssible use empirical observation in order confirm or deny the infinite? 

We both agree that the data will forever be incoming about many but not all of scientific inquiry, that’s not the problem. The problem lies in one (you) “jumping to a conclusion” without the substantial data and evidence to support one’s (your) claims.

I don’t need evidence to know that it is logically impossible for something to arise from nothing whatsoever.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]
I wouldnt consider that an absolutely honest answer - what caused the H2O and what caused the ambient temperature?  What caused the seed itself?

That’s what I meant; it’s regressive. 

I’m not sure how that gives us any bearing.  I think your taking my seed analogy too literally.  My point is that since we can’t ultimately determine what causes a seed to sprout, we certainly can’t determine what causes a universe to explode into being.

Depends on how literally you pose the “seed” analogy. We know what “causes” the seed to sprout. 

That’s why I consider many scientists, especially physicists, to be not as high above religious theologians as they think they are.  Their hope of attaining an ultimate explanation, a model that explains everything really is quite naive.

That’s what they said about the Wright brothers, that’s what they said about Edison and his light bulb, that’s what they said about putting men on the moon. Some would say that a belief that science can’t unify physics is naive. Just look how far it has come.   

How does one like yourself,  conclude that there is such a thing as complete data?  Tell me, how is it logically posssible use empirical observation in order confirm or deny the infinite?

“In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”
Stephen J. Gould

I don’t need evidence to know that it is logically impossible for something to arise from nothing whatsoever.

Wait a minute…...aren’t you supposed to be arguing for acausality? Besides, many argue they don’t need evidence to “know” that god exists. It’s circular at best.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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[quote author=“skepticdave”]

I’m not sure how that gives us any bearing.  I think your taking my seed analogy too literally.  My point is that since we can’t ultimately determine what causes a seed to sprout, we certainly can’t determine what causes a universe to explode into being.

Depends on how literally you pose the “seed” analogy. We know what “causes” the seed to sprout. 

My point is that we don’t have an ultimate explanation.  You can say a seed requires H2O and temperature, but then, not only do you have to determine what causes those, but you have to determine how the seed exists to begin with, and then you have to provide data for that, but that data requires data, and so on and so on.  Next thing you know, you’ve worked you’re way back to the universes begining, asking what caused the big bang….......Amusingly, the answer is really not much different then the answer we have for why a seed sprouts.  There really is no answer.  What causes a seed to sprout is everything.  What causes the big bang is everything.  There will never be an all encompasing empirical explanation because you can’t model infinity

It is this sort of logic which lead philosophers like Socrates to conclude, “the only thing I know is that I know nothing at all.”

[quote author=“Dave”]

That’s why I consider many scientists, especially physicists, to be not as high above religious theologians as they think they are.  Their hope of attaining an ultimate explanation, a model that explains everything really is quite naive.

That’s what they said about the Wright brothers, that’s what they said about Edison and his light bulb, that’s what they said about putting men on the moon. Some would say that a belief that science can’t unify physics is naive. Just look how far it has come.

Sure the naivity of the scientist has served us well, and will likely to continue serving us well - but not so much in the discovery dept, for I think all of the major scientific discoveries have been made.  From this point I think science is mainly going to be about engineering.  Fusion reactors would be revolutionary, but it wouldnt be so much a discovery as it will be invention.   
 
[quote author=“Dave”]

I don’t need evidence to know that it is logically impossible for something to arise from nothing whatsoever.

Wait a minute…...aren’t you supposed to be arguing for acausality?

I’ve been arguing for causality from the very begining.

Besides, many argue they don’t need evidence to “know” that god exists. It’s circular at best.

There is only a finger’s difference between a wise man and a fool.

- Diogenes of Sinope

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Posted: 30 April 2007 02:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Synchronicity?

This reminds me of an old Jung book I read a very long time ago.

If you believe that time is a linear function with a definite beginning and a definite end, then causality breaks down at the extremes. After all, if all things are created, then who created the creator? If all things are caused, what caused the cause at the beginning of all causes? And, at the other extreme, what results from the final cause?

If you hold that causality is true in all places and at all times, exclusively, then there can be no concept of linear time with beginning and end points at the extremes.

Now, we have evidence that causality exists. To claim that synchronicity exists too seems a bit like searching to a patch to cover the hole in the argument, sort of like how people ‘invented’ ether to explain how light could move through space. Especially so since we cannot truly determine if time had a beginning or will ever end. Lastly, what evidence do we have that time is truly a linear phenomenon, and that the perception of linear time is not due to our limited ability to sense time?

Allow me to explain: There are an infinite number of dimensions, not just the three or four we are traditionally used to thinking of in Newtonian physics. That is true simply because a dimension is merely another aspect of a thing’s existence, and a measure of that aspect. Length and depth hold no mystical meaning, they’re just aspects of an object. Now, a creature capable of perceiving two dimensions is not actually two-dimensional. Even a thin sheet of paper has depth, and any drawing on that sheet of paper has the depth of the thickness of the pencil lead dragged across it’s surface. So too are we capable of directly perceiving three dimensions, and inferring a fourth., and yet possessed of many more. And yet, we cannot and never will be able to directly perceive the fourth or higher dimensions with our senses alone.

Try to examine the ‘timeness’ of a thing. Can you stare at a rock, and without making any inference based on geology or if that rock has appeared int he historical records, or without looking at old photographs to see if it was there 50 years ago, the age of that rock? Can you look at a man, and without making any judgments based on his manner of dress or posture or physical development, his age? (NB: height is a faulty measure, as there are very short statured adults and very tall children: plastic surgery and makeup create illusions of youth, as do manners of dress and comportment).  You can’t, not in the same way that you can look at the same rock or man and say, that he or it is approximately 5’ in height and 2 feet in width. Likewise, I cannot look at a person, and say at what point they began life and at what point it will end, but I can look at a block of wood, and tell you at what point it’s length will begin and end at. You must infer the passage of time, you cannot measure it directly with your senses.

Thus, can we trust that our sensual perception of time is correct, that it is in fact linear, any more than a two dimensional drawing looking out across the page it rests upon could correctly tell the difference between a ball and a circle drawn on the same page?

I would argue that we cannot. We require mathematics and physics to do what our senses cannot so. to perceive N-space.

Causality implies alot of things. Before we create something like synchronicity to make the model fit out preconcieved notions of the universe, let’s ask whether our concepts of the universe are correct. Maybe, we need to throw the model out all together and come up with a new explanation.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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^ I’ll try to reply to this soon.  I’m tied up though for the next little while.

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Posted: 09 May 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Re: Synchronicity?

[quote author=“AlbanyDave”]This reminds me of an old Jung book I read a very long time ago.

If you believe that time is a linear function with a definite beginning and a definite end, then causality breaks down at the extremes.

That’s right, such a conception of existence is not logical.  People who believe in such a conception prove that they really have no faith in reason, despite the scientific outlook they proudly claim to have.

After all, if all things are created, then who created the creator? If all things are caused, what caused the cause at the beginning of all causes? And, at the other extreme, what results from the final cause?

That’s right, the only logical conclusion is an infinite totality without begining or end.

If you hold that causality is true in all places and at all times, exclusively, then there can be no concept of linear time with beginning and end points at the extremes.

That’s right.

Now, we have evidence that causality exists. To claim that synchronicity exists too seems a bit like searching to a patch to cover the hole in the argument, sort of like how people ‘invented’ ether to explain how light could move through space.

It is uneccesary to think of synchronicity as acausal. Here is an analogy: Picture people living in a 2 dimensional flat-land.  Now picture a very large V-shaped 3 dimensional object coming into the view of the 2 dimensional land dwellers from above. First of all, not only will the three dimensional V-object only appear only in two dimensions, but it will appear as if two totally related objects appeared simultaneously.  The truth is that the two seemingly unconnected events are connected and caused.

Also, consider the analogy that David Bohm developed to explain some puzzeling effects observed in Quantum physics.

Suppose there is a glass aquarium with one fish in it. A TV camera is
aimed at the side of the tank, and you are in another room looking at
a screen connected to that camera. On the screen you see a fish
swimming left to right, and then turning away from you.

There is a second TV camera aimed at the left end of the tank,
connected to a second screen which you can also see. On the second
screen you simultaneously see a fish swimming away from you, then
turning left.

If you only saw one screen, you might make many fish observations that
lead to conclusions about fish behavior, with no reference to the
other screen. If you study the other screen, you would come to the
same conclusions, and imagine you have a second fish. Doing the EPR
experiment is like watching both screens at once and puzzling about
the connection between the “two” fish. But the fish on one screen does
not exist independent of the fish on the other.

Bohm says: “Rather, they refer to a single actuality, which is the
common ground of both (and this explains the correlation of images
without the assumption that they causally affect each other).” (1)

 

[quote author=“AlbanyDave”]
We cannot truly determine if time had a beginning or will ever end.

I would say that it is an absolute logical truth that time has no begining or end.

Lastly, what evidence do we have that time is truly a linear phenomenon, and that the perception of linear time is not due to our limited ability to sense time?

Empirical evidence to prove this will always be impossible.  As for whether or not time is a linear phenomena, I’m not sure what you mean.  It’s linear in the sense that it unfolds, but it has no begining or end.  Time also cannot be percieved in any other way than in terms of animation, movement.  How could it be known in any other way?
 

Now, a creature capable of perceiving two dimensions is not actually two-dimensional. Even a thin sheet of paper has depth, and any drawing on that sheet of paper has the depth of the thickness of the pencil lead dragged across it’s surface.

I disagree.  I think a VR simulation of a 2 Dimensional world is possible. 

So too are we capable of directly perceiving three dimensions, and inferring a fourth., and yet possessed of many more. And yet, we cannot and never will be able to directly perceive the fourth or higher dimensions with our senses alone.

Try to examine the ‘timeness’ of a thing. Can you stare at a rock, and without making any inference based on geology or if that rock has appeared int he historical records, or without looking at old photographs to see if it was there 50 years ago, the age of that rock?

I don’t believe time is seperate from space.  When you look at one, you are looking at the other.  Einstein’s suggestion about the indivisbility of time and space seems perfectly reasonable.

Thus, can we trust that our sensual perception of time is correct, that it is in fact linear, any more than a two dimensional drawing looking out across the page it rests upon could correctly tell the difference between a ball and a circle drawn on the same page?

You seem to be implying that you think time and space is in someway absolute and objective, but I say that time and space are relative to the observer. 

I would argue that we cannot. We require mathematics and physics to do what our senses cannot so. to perceive N-space.

You are percieving only the very mathematics themselves and nothing else.  Perhaps you are defining a particular form of mathematics as N-space.  That is fine.  But Math is not reality, for reality cannot be contained in mathematics. 

Causality implies alot of things. Before we create something like synchronicity to make the model fit our preconcieved notions of the universe, let’s ask whether our concepts of the universe are correct. Maybe, we need to throw the model out all together and come up with a new explanation.

All models are invariably false.  They are sometimes useful tools, but they can never serve as ultimate explanations.  The closest you will ever get to a theory of everything is ‘causality’.  That’s the most truthful thing you can say about ‘ultimate’ reality.

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