News | Forum | People | FAQ | Links | Search | Register | Log in
Religion
This seems like such an obvious topic that it's probably been done before, but if so I don't recall it. Anyway. I've been making my views on religion known more than my relatively restrained usual lately, and I've come across some really smart people who disagree with basic premises of what I think. While I can definitely be persuaded on matters of semantics, the overall gist of the arguments I've seen - basically that disciplines other than scientific ones (say, philosophy, theology, even literature, etc) describe reality, that there is somehow a different sort of reality for them to describe, I can't be persuaded into thinking, at least not with the arguments I've met with so far. Whatever forces organize the universe are unlikely in my view to take human considerations (hey, isn't astrology a discipline to some people) into account when acting.

Anyway, I have gone many years with the (perhaps unjustified) assumption that most people on this board are atheists; but even if this is true there are likely to be disagreements about what the implications of this are. Lovecraft (an unapologeticaly elitist atheist) thought that voting rights should require an IQ test, for example. When I see Sarah Palin, I am tempted to agree. Intelligence does not mean that people won't be crazy it just makes it statistically less likely. Anyway that's enough from me, it's been a while since there was a good/new discussion thread on here so hopefully this goes somewhere.
First | Previous | Next | Last
Hmm 
non observed (made-up) ideas

*sobs gently*

I get your point. It's one I've made before about pragmatism in regard to absolute cynicism. But 'god' damn. 
Hmm 
Oh. And that's not science. That's a thinly veiled reference to violence in an intelectual discussion. And nothing more than a basic understanding of causality as it appears from the comprehension of humanity.

You are a rock with perception. Deal with it. 
 
how can science be mainstream anyway? it's a way of thinking and a method to employ to arrive at conclusions.

Laugh. In theory - of course you're right. In practice, science is like every other aspect of our lives... run by governments and powerful companies with agendas.

Sometimes "pure science" and "mainstream science" are in direct conflict, with catastrophic effects for the health of the populace and natural worlds. A couple of base examples: DDT's widespread use as a pesticide in Europe, and Cane Toads introduction into australia. 
 
Still not sure what mainstream science means. A definition would be nice. 
Begeezus What A Rant! 
Take global warming for example. Amongst the "scientific" community there's no doubt human's population explosion, oil and big agriculture economy is changing our planet. Oceans, rain forests, coral reefs and whole species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Still, it's in many media, politician's and even scientist's interest to create doubt. Plenty of people believe the "scientific evidence" is inconclusive, when this is not the case. When oil and drug companies fund research - pay the scientists' wages - who's going to tell the bosses they're wrong.

Though it's nice to regard science as something pure, it's intricately tied up with our political, social and economic structures. 
 
There are many potential roads to knowledge. Some lead nowhere, some get your somewhere.

String theory was an honest attempt at understanding. Perhaps it hasn't worked, but it wasn't just 'made up'. People worked on it for a long time attempting to build on previous work and solve incredible problems at the heart of physics. They poured a lot of work into it, and no one knew what results it could have produced.

The existance of Atoms was proven by studying brownian motion. The movement of little pollen grains in water lead to the confirmation of the otherwise invisible. In fact it has been discovered that a vacuum has energy due to 'Virtual particles', so we have no idea what might be round the corner that suddenly proves that yes, matter at it's smallest scale is strings or loops.

Stop having such a beef with mathematics and theory. Just because it's not provable now, doesn't mean that it won't be proven in the future, or that the theories will be applicable in another area.

And nothing wrong with being wrong, it helps on the path to being right. 
Rams Like To But Heads Occasionally 
If an area of space has virtual particles in it, can it truely be a vacuum? Sometimes the energy involved with a vacuum is really the potential difference of energy between a vacuum and a surrounding mass of particles. The vacuum will get infiltrated. 
 
There is no such thing as a 'perfect' vacuum. The universe is full of background radiation so you can't ever have a true vacuum, but what I was referring to is the nature of probability in quantum physics. The idea of quantum foam (iirc) being that any given area of a vacuum has no particles 'on average'. But particles are emerging and disappearing instantly, thus being called 'virtual' because you can't see them.

However, they can exert a (tiny) force on objects if carefully observed, and thus although originally just theory, it has been proven to exist. It's just not directly observable. 
You Will Know Them By Their Fruits! 
Scientists allow industries to develop. Wether or not the "research" becomes contrived in the process doesn't matter, it's a means to an end.

Besides, Einstein - he was a fruit! 
Ah OK 
I will tone down my violence at least. Oops, wrong Icon. Anyone who just got a black eye raise yer hands. My legal defense though is string theory. I just don't know where my fist particles are these days. 
Err 
Science is not a means to an end, at least not industrial development. Science is the pursuit of understanding the world around us. Whether it leads to the development of actual products is not its first priority. Sure, there is "industrial science", but that's not what we are talking about here. 
 
No one has given me a definition of mainstream science yet. I'm still unsure what that means. 
I Know... 
My posts are not amounting to much. Posts like #132 by ZQF has a better attitude about this, and can amount to something.

mainstream science = what's taught in schools? 
 
Take global warming for example. Amongst the "scientific" community there's no doubt human's population explosion, oil and big agriculture economy is changing our planet. Oceans, rain forests, coral reefs and whole species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Still, it's in many media, politician's and even scientist's interest to create doubt. Plenty of people believe the "scientific evidence" is inconclusive, when this is not the case. When oil and drug companies fund research - pay the scientists' wages - who's going to tell the bosses they're wrong.

Though it's nice to regard science as something pure, it's intricately tied up with our political, social and economic structures.


what the hell does that have to do with science? you're just talking about ethics. 
 
= the mainstream media's modern scientific approach? 
Hmm 
Complex numbers do not exist in reality. There is no real square root of -1.

Also, without them then we wouldn't have the plethora of modern electronics.

Something, something, I can't see it so it's not real? (Except god/soul/magikal energy) 
Hmm 
Also uncertainty principle is part of quantum physics. Which would be the whole 'my fist don't know where they are now'. Wow. You are funny. Cat is dead?

And science is the pursuit of knowledge through empirical evidence/testing.

The misuse/pretence of science is not the same thing.


I presume that 'mainstream' science is 'science that disagrees with my viewpoint however well researched or peer reviewed'. Thankfully the principles scientific method accept the possibility of error. Hence; 'theory'. An oft misunderstood point.

Science that is taught in schools is hardly 'mainstream', it's just outdated/simplified 'lies to children' that roughly explain things without the increased complexity.

Or maybe just science that isn't 'discovered' by a crackpot (sorry, misunderstood genius) working in his basement against 'the man'. Ironically, a viewpoint derived in part from hollywood depictions of scientists. 
 
The misuse/pretence of science is not the same thing.

yeah, this is why i was so confused at first. you can't say that science is bad because asshole scientists do asshole things. that's just telling me assholes are assholes. 
 
Gotta read these posts carefully cause they are looking like shorthand/code.

The audio electronics industry use to say something odd about negative feedback in operational amplifiers. It was stated that its OP Amps would compare the input signal to the output signal and correct the distortion differences.

This really was never possible, but all the magazines stated it. It is something I know about because I made pre amps. All negative feedback can do is short an amplifier stage a little bit (gain isn't full) so that it lowers distortion, or adjusts frequency balance with an r/c feedback network. I don't believe all I read these days. Anyone can make a theory about anything, and it's just a theory. When the theory is proven it is law. 
Hmm 
I think you might just be stupid. 
Bah 
too smug, to dismissive (ahem, I feel a rant coming on... ahh, averted at the last moment). He was trying to say something. Even if I myself don't understand what that was.

I'm a layman's layman of course, but string theory seems like one of the most interesting cases in science. I read a book of interviews with scientists and I remember one guy saying something like "the fact that brilliant people have dedicated decades' worth of work to an idea without any idea of a way to prove or disprove it, is unprecedented in science." That's very interesting. I'm sure aftering reading that guy I need to read some defenses of string theory but he had me pretty much convinced that it was unscientific. 
Proof? 
You have to understand that you cannot prove a physics theory to be correct, you can only prove it to be wrong. We assume that relativity is an adequate model because it has been used sucessfulley to predict the outcome of experiments many times. That does not prove anything. Tomorrow we may find a contradiction and relativity is done as a theory / model.

You can only prove anything to be correct in mathematics. For example, you will never find a triangle that has a 90deg angle and where Pythagoras' tjeorem does not apply. 
 
Proof is relegated solely to logic/math.

Evidence/experiments/demonstrability are dedicated to science.

String theory is not science, it's math, but once they are able to test it or otherwise test predictions, it will enter the realm of science. A lot of it, based off what I've seen from The Elegant Universe, was based off an idea that physicists have that the universe can be expressed in 'elegant' equations, which they got from the 4 electromagnetic equations, which in turn are apparently very simple to express. To me, that's a very silly notion to base something on, that 'the universe can be expressed using elegant equations.'

But they also wanted something to reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics, which I guess it does pretty well, at least mathematically. 
all I meant with reference to that particular physicist's interview, was confirmation as per prediction (ie einstein's theories confirmed in 1921 (feel free to confirm the date that may be wrong)).

that said I am well aware that the whole idea of science (or at least this seems to be popular and I totally agree with it) is karl popper's idea of falsifiability. When I said my last post I was by no means meaning "oh here's an opening implying ignorance, please tell me what I clearly don't already know / haha." Obviously I'm aware of what Popper said and it's obviously a powerful view of science.

what I understood, as a layman, to be the problem with string theory, was that the theorists could always come up with a new mathematical formula to explain a given situation, since the theory itself did not predict any results but rather tweaked itself to predict whatever results one did observe. 
Gotta Reread 
The Elegant Universe! Great book. 
First | Previous | Next | Last
You must be logged in to post in this thread.
Website copyright © 2002-2021 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.