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agnostic vs atheist
Posted: 31 May 2010 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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I would very much like to see a definition of atheism that doesn’t require proof of a negative - namely, there is NO god.

I never argued that.  I have no illusions that my atheism is a perfectly reasonable and defensible idea.  As I said, I merely find it the most reasonable and defensible.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers or that I’m reasonable about everything.  I’m a human being.  Such things are against my very nature.

The concept of being unable to prove a NEGATIVE is that there is no POSITIVE truth against which it is compared.

And?

In Science it is simple. The mind is merely one of many tools to bring to the testing of an hypothesis. Too bad it is also the most likely to be biased.

Yup.  Won’t argue there.

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Posted: 31 May 2010 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:09 PM

I would very much like to see a definition of atheism that doesn’t require proof of a negative - namely, there is NO god.

Do you believe there is a teapot in orbit around Mars? Do you believe that leprechauns or Santa Claus exist?

Do you have proof of any of these beliefs of yours? If not, then by what sort of reasoning do you come by your belief?

On that same topic, what do you mean by “proof”? Do you mean some operation of formal logic? (That’s how mathematicians and logicians use the word). Or do you mean some argument of the sort one might use in a courtroom to prove that Jones was not culpable for the crime, or that scientists used to prove that phlogiston and the luminiferous ether did not exist?

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Posted: 31 May 2010 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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No sir, I come to proof as a scientist. In fact, it is unlikely/impossible to be a certainty, but is most likely to be a probability: 95-99% probable the experiment can be conducted by other laboratories in the same fashion achieving the same result(s).

I have no illusions about the integrity of scientists. Many are simply playing at it, publishing the results of every experiment. Or worse, publishing fabricated results.

I know of too many cases of outright fraud, collusion and theft not to be seriously skeptical of all results, especially putatively earth-shattering results.

Scientists are often held as icons when they’ve done nothing beyond their initial contribution.

Best example: A. Einstein. Other than his work on the photoelectric effect, for which he received a Nobel Prize in 1927(?)- and none related to his earliest ‘relativity’ conjectures - he did nothing else worth noting.

[It should also be considered that the essence of Einstein’s published paper was published by a Brit 5 days after Einstein!! He was relatively tardy. I don’t remember his name but he shared his insights with Einstein prior to Einstein’s little paper. Curiously, Einstein took no note of the giants on whose shoulders he stood.]

My take on E = mc2 is that the speed of light, the fastest and greatest speed in nature, and that others such as Max Planck had already produced results that suggested a wave-particle duality, was it much of a prescient finding to put that together as “energy” = “mass” multiplied by the speed of light squared?

Enrico Fermi was the first to demonstrate the enormous energy locked in the nucleus of heavy atoms, but the energy released by his fission experiments were well short of Einsteinian prediction. As have been all nuclear reactions since.

[ Edited: 31 May 2010 12:54 PM by Analytic ]
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Posted: 31 May 2010 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:52 PM

Scientists are often held as icons when they’ve done nothing beyond their initial contribution.

Best example: A. Einstein. Other than his work on the photoelectric effect, for which he received a Nobel Prize in 1927(?)- and none related to his earliest ‘relativity’ conjectures - he did nothing else worth noting.

LOL  LOL  LOL  LOL
Nothing else worth noting? How about them “relativity conjectures”? Which, by the way, Einstein did after his work on the photoelectric effect. Max Planck regarded Relativity as one of the greatest intellectual achievement in history. From the wiki page The History of Relativity, “Eventually, around 1911 most mathematicians and theoretical physicists accepted the results of special relativity. For example, already Planck (1909) compared the implications of the modern relativity principle — especially Einstein’s relativity of time — with the revolution by the Copernican system.”

Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:52 PM

[It should also be considered that the essence of Einstein’s published paper was published by a Brit 5 days after Einstein!! He was relatively tardy. I don’t remember his name but he shared his insights with Einstein prior to Einstein’s little paper. Curiously, Einstein took no note of the giants on whose shoulders he stood.]

From the same wiki page noted above “There is no doubt, that the special theory of relativity, if we regard its development in retrospect, was ripe for discovery in 1905. Lorentz had already recognized that the transformations named after him are essential for the analysis of Maxwell’s equations, and Poincaré deepened this insight still further. Concerning myself, I knew only Lorentz’s important work of 1895 [...] but not Lorentz’s later work, nor the consecutive investigations by Poincaré. In this sense my work of 1905 was independent.” Albert Einstein

Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:52 PM

My take on E = mc2 is that the speed of light, the fastest and greatest speed in nature, and that others such as Max Planck had already produced results that suggested a wave-particle duality, was it much of a prescient finding to put that together as “energy” = “mass” multiplied by the speed of light squared?

See above. Max Planck disagreed with you, and I am inclined to accept his opinion of the importance of Einstein’s work.

Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:52 PM

Enrico Fermi was the first to demonstrate the enormous energy locked in the nucleus of heavy atoms, but the energy released by his fission experiments were well short of Einsteinian prediction. As have been all nuclear reactions since.

I do not know enough about nuclear physics to argue this point, but I would appreciate you explaining it to me.

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Posted: 31 May 2010 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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I made some omissions and mistakes in taking Einstein’s majestic genius to task:

first, the British scientist was in fact a German, David Hilbert, on whose work Einstein depended but didn’t recognize;

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/15/einstein_relativity/

second, there have been books written on the subject of Einstein’s plagiarism; while I haven’t evaluated those tomes, there was a general discontent among mathematicians and physicists at the time that Einstein’s hypothesis was “not ready for prime time”. Among them was Max Planck who later changed his mind;

third, during that period of considerable doubt, Einstein had been nominated for the Nobel based on the relativity hypothesis, but it didn’t work;

fourth, when he DID receive his Nobel prize - 16 years later in 1921 (not 1927) it was specifically based on Einstein’s having contributed to the basis of the photoelectric effect, a well-accepted basis PRIOR TO Einstein’s intercession.

Einstein was no genius and, to my thinking, not a scientist - he was at best a dabbler and then only in theoretical physics. Even his first wife has been credited with the relativity paper!!

You see, being a skeptical inquirer first, last and always doesn’t permit of my having any “sacred cows”.

Many many investigators went before Einstein developing all he - and Hilbert - needed to publish their virtually collaborative ideas, with Einstein taking home the iconography - if not the prize.

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Posted: 31 May 2010 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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Einstein’s and Hilbert’s race to develop the field equations of General Relativity have been well documented, and came well after Special Relativity. The article to which you linked has a misleading headline. Quoting Prof. Winterberg from the article:

“My analysis of Hilbert’s mutilated proofs therefore cannot prove that Einstein copied from Hilbert,” he says. “It proves less, which is that it cannot be proved that Einstein could not have copied from Hilbert. But it proves that Hilbert had not copied from Einstein, as it has been insinuated following the paper by Corry, Renn and Stachel.”

Einstein’s theories have been proven correct with each succeeding experiment since 1921. Yes, other people were researching similar ideas at the time, but Einstein is the one who made the intellectual leaps that launched a new era in physics.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:09 PM

I would very much like to see a definition of atheism that doesn’t require proof of a negative - namely, there is NO god.

My goodness, give us a harder one than that. By one standard definition, an atheist is one who is without a god, so to speak, hence the term a-theist. This definition requires no proof of anything and is merely an acknowledgment that we know nothing about the matter. It is a statement about the state of our knowledge, not the “ultimate” nature of reality.

Show us a definition of theism that does not require one to accept as true that for which there is no evidence.

Show us a theist whose theism that is not based mainly on a wish that it be so.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 03:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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Analytic - 31 May 2010 12:52 PM

No sir, I come to proof as a scientist. In fact, it is unlikely/impossible to be a certainty, but is most likely to be a probability: 95-99% probable the experiment can be conducted by other laboratories in the same fashion achieving the same result(s).

I have no illusions about the integrity of scientists. Many are simply playing at it, publishing the results of every experiment. Or worse, publishing fabricated results.

I know of too many cases of outright fraud, collusion and theft not to be seriously skeptical of all results, especially putatively earth-shattering results.

Scientists are often held as icons when they’ve done nothing beyond their initial contribution.

Best example: A. Einstein. Other than his work on the photoelectric effect, for which he received a Nobel Prize in 1927(?)- and none related to his earliest ‘relativity’ conjectures - he did nothing else worth noting.

[It should also be considered that the essence of Einstein’s published paper was published by a Brit 5 days after Einstein!! He was relatively tardy. I don’t remember his name but he shared his insights with Einstein prior to Einstein’s little paper. Curiously, Einstein took no note of the giants on whose shoulders he stood.]

My take on E = mc2 is that the speed of light, the fastest and greatest speed in nature, and that others such as Max Planck had already produced results that suggested a wave-particle duality, was it much of a prescient finding to put that together as “energy” = “mass” multiplied by the speed of light squared?

Enrico Fermi was the first to demonstrate the enormous energy locked in the nucleus of heavy atoms, but the energy released by his fission experiments were well short of Einsteinian prediction. As have been all nuclear reactions since.

To assess probability, you must have a frame of reference. You have no frame of reference for the existence of God, which (unless I miss my guess) you assert is so omni-everything that he overlays nature. Therefore, it is completely illogical to assess the probability of the existence of a supreme being, which I assume is what you are calling God.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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Analytic - 31 May 2010 04:21 PM

Einstein was no genius and, to my thinking, not a scientist - he was at best a dabbler and then only in theoretical physics. Even his first wife has been credited with the relativity paper!!

A genius is someone who thinks ahead of where anyone else has thought before and who employs that capacity to creative effect. Einstein’s two ideas catapulted science into a new realm. By any reasoned definition, that describes a genius.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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... and his first wife has not been credited with his relativity paper(s).

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Posted: 01 June 2010 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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This argument in terms of definition has been around for centuries.  The word that is thrown at me when I question any belief is “Faith.”  I then ask if faith is not just another word for “hope?”  That usually brings on screaming insults…..  A Christian mind has no scientific thought.  It has no level of right over wrong just faith that their sins will be forgiven.  In my observations of living in a bible belt is that the level of selfishness is based on their own survival and will refuse to help a fellow human who has fallen.  These pious hypocrites are terrified of being sued to bother helping a senior man who fainted in one of our pools.  I asked a Catholic friend what he would do if someone got hurt while swimming and he said he would call 911.  Again he was afraid of being blamed.  We are not talking about anyone with extreme wealth or property here.  These are people with the lowest income and chose to live here because it is the cheapest way to live.  They would die if anyone took a quarter out of their car.  How they dare to take pride in their religion stuns me.  All they have is faith with no portfolio of good deeds to show for it.  They attend church for a renewal of their greatness. 

They remind me of a drunk buying his last bottle of booze before heading to AA.  That is faith!

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Posted: 01 June 2010 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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Sandy, you’re making rather gross generalizations here.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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Maybe if you were in my shoes once in a while, you would realize my reports are based on my work with seniors, hospice and the American Red Cross.  I automatically help anyone who is hurt, fallen or fainted.  I spent years in training for mammals who were hurt and not one of my Christian friends ever did anything but warn me of law suits.  This training came fronm survival training at home and in school in case Santa Monica took a bomb during WW2.  We all took action during and after earthquakes.  It is not just in America but can be found when anyone is hurt and needs help.  I work with handicapped seniors here and my instincts help in my work.  I often make others take responsibility over and above their fear of losing a dollar in court.  In my mind, this is where individuals who can help are far and above those who live in fear.  I am Hospice and in case you don’t know what that is….I am with terminal patients who will soon die of their disease.  Their last wishes in how they want to die are what directs our actions.  Many refuse Christian members as all they want is the soul of the patient to add to this list of actions.  Christians have a sworn duty to direct the dying patient into the arms of Jesus.  Without this those poor souls will end up in hell. 

Christians in general are worse than many could believe.  In America they demand ownership of the Federal Government to save their own miserable souls when they die.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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Christians in general are worse than many could believe.

In my experience, that’s humanity in general.  I’m not a big fan of Christians, I grew up surrounded by them and their hypocrisy, but I also saw many good ones.  Many that cared less about the person’s soul, or lawsuits, and more about simply helping them.  I’ve also known atheists and agnostics that cared nothing for others and wouldn’t lift a finger to help them.  Some people use their faith, or lack thereof, to justify their own indifference and laziness.  Others become fixated on the wrong aspects of an ideology.  The concern over lawsuits is unlikely to have anything to do with their faith and more to do with a very secular overreaction to our very litigious society.  Saying Christians are terrible people because they’re Christians makes one no better than the theists who claim atheists can’t be good people because they’re atheists.  In addition to being flat out wrong, it’s unfair and displays profound ignorance and prejudice.

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Posted: 01 June 2010 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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I am with dead.  I had the same sentiment when someone said a Mormon can’t be a good scientist. I have also for the record known a devout Jewish person of much more mental merit than I, who last I heard was working on his Phd in Astrophysics at Princeton.  The average Christian displays a great deal of that cognitive dissonance both for the good and the bad. I think what throws people off is if you ask a Christian about their values they will say one thing that sounds quite nice, and then stunningly, act good old fashioned plain human, as if they had payed no attention to what they had said at all.  They can say turn the other cheek on Sunday and then get down right vindictive on Thursday.  But, that in itself is human at least as far as the mode of humanity is concerned!

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