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Dirty Semantic Tricks

By skyknight in Op-Ed
Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:07:58 PM EST
Tags: science (all tags)
Science

From the New York Times:

Science, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term "doubting Thomas" well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.
The problem with this neat separation into "non-overlapping magisteria," as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn't be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.

Thus begins an exploration into the controversy around the origins of our universe's most fundamental laws.


The article concludes with the following:

[T]he laws [of the universe] should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.

First, the author tries his hand at misdirection. Nature cares not of "rationality" anymore than Nature has a notion of "good" versus "evil". "Intelligibility", furthermore, represents a subjective quantity relative to the observer.

Second, the author attempts to muddy the waters by obscuring the notion of "faith". Linguistically speaking, there are two meanings for "faith", one with religious overtones, the other without. In a religious context, taking something on faith means taking it unquestioningly, or at least with a well restrained skepticism. In a more secular context, having faith in something comes from experience, being rooted in probability and statistics, a pinch of logic, and a pile of data. Believing that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning embodies faith of a flavor quite distinct from believing in the tenets of a given religion.

When scientists "expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order" as they "probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure", it comes not from having drunk the Kool-Aid of some unsubstantiated doctrine. Rather, this belief takes root in thousands of chronological years worth of experience and an infinitude of researcher-hours spent picking the universe apart. Religion can offer no such comparable track record.

The author's piece does broach an interesting issue, that of the origin of the laws that govern our universe, but the strategy that he adopts resembles that of those who aim to undermine science's credibility altogether. All too commonly the firebrands of various religions seek with their demagoguery to cast science as a competing and inferior religion as opposed to a wholly orthogonal school of thought. One cannot help but look askance at a self-styled "scientist" who employs a similar method.

Sifting through a pile of evidence entails a lot of hard work. Performing a statistical analysis on said mountain represents no small task. Packaging the fruits of these labors such that they are fit for public consumption involves a truly Herculean undertaking. Thus the favor that lobbyists bestow upon rhetoric as artifice comes as little surprise.

Despite its isomorphism to ad hominem, this line of attack proves all too common and all too effective. There is something distinctly comforting to the religionist to partake of this cousin of moral relativism. Smugly assured that science's outlook on the universe is yet another arbitrary stance, he settles into a position of intellectual complacency.

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Poll
Is science a flavor of religion?
o Yes 14%
o No 75%
o Somewhat 10%

Votes: 64
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o From the New York Times:
o Also by skyknight


Display: Sort:
Dirty Semantic Tricks | 115 comments (105 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
What's comforting about science is that an (1.50 / 2) (#1)
by Hiphopopotamus on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:14:47 AM EST

answer is eventually found, in time. What's true about this article, though, is that anything you put hope in is also something you are putting faith in, if that hope is in an outcome in the future.
_________________

I'm In LOVE!

I disagree (none / 0) (#10)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:57:54 PM EST

How's science doing on that "why are we here" question? And before you mention evolutionary principles, I'm going to cockslap and remind you I mean "we" in the absolute universal sense.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Bacially nothing, which is comfort to many (none / 1) (#11)
by Hiphopopotamus on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:05:58 PM EST


_________________

I'm In LOVE!
[ Parent ]

''The day shall end as it begins (none / 0) (#14)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:16:42 PM EST

and though you're far way from me,
I know in darkness I will find you
giving up inside like me."

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
What's science? (none / 0) (#120)
by schrotie on Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 04:20:09 PM EST

I was amazed to not find this issue brought up in the main text or any first level comment (didn't scan all threads). There seems to be a very widespread misconception that science is some quest for truth.

The vast majority of scientific theories have been proven wrong. Due to the induction problem no theory can ever be scientifically proven. If you consider a theory that was slightly changed in response to some contradicting evidence to still be basically the same theory than no theory can be proven wrong. When the term truth enters a discussion, that discussion is going beyond science's reach.

Science essentially is a method. Faith may induce you to apply certain methods. Thus one could argue that some rituals have more to do with faith than such rituals as accompany the scientific method. That is however a category error. A praying scientist does not compromise his results in the least as long as his praying does not otherwise impede his application of the scientific method.

What most of the discussion accompanying this article is about, is the question whether the blindingly apparent success of said method may imply something about the deeper nature of things.

[ Parent ]

LOL humans (2.33 / 3) (#16)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:33:04 PM EST

"Why are we here?" is answered "mu", which is to say you have based your answer on false premises. You presume there is a reason why "you're here", and all that needs to be discovered is what that reason is.

Asking why are we here completely ignores the possibility that there is no reason why we're here.

What humans tend to mean when they ask "why are we here" is "I want my life to have purpose and meaning". In essence, then inquirer has existential angst. The response should be to give them a hug, say "there, there" and give them some kind of psychological salve, such as saying "god loves you". There is no god, but it's a useful neurosis to give yourself, as it saves you from wasting time pondering the inponderable.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

then we aren't here (1.50 / 1) (#19)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:03:07 PM EST

i stated the question in language widely familiar, if imprecise. i shall restate for you, o' picker of nits: why conscious perception? your immediate answers are all proximal and you will find meaningless should you think them through. that is, notions of mind as the construct that helps us achieve our evolutionary aims along the vector of increasing complexity that is the inverse of the 2nd law do not address the question of what purpose does us being aware of it posed. were it all semiotics used to enhance our reproductive success, we would not be conscious of it, no more than we are conscious of our other animal behaviors.

and sure there is a purpose, though you by faith would deny it. that purpose is hinted at, inferred if you prefer, from the observation that so many other structures have purpose relating to one another in this great beautiful creation of ours. why is it that this one, this one that is so central to our existence, appears to be without point?

G-D DAMNIT, I AM TRYING TO REMEMBER WHO I AM AND YOU FUCKERS AREN'T HELPING BY TELLING ME THE ANSWER IS, "NO ONE."

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

sp/posed/pose (none / 0) (#20)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:04:19 PM EST

sry, got carried away.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
You're a crying baby looking for a dummy. (none / 1) (#23)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:52:03 PM EST

You're asking, for example, the ancestors of humans weren't wiped out thousands of years ago. That question is answered by "because you're here to ask the question". If the ancestors of humans were wiped out, and they could well have been, perhaps something else would ask the question in place of humans, or perhaps there would be nothing capable of asking the question.

Of course, from your empirically skeptical stronghold, you're forgetting to posit that in fact there was no such thing as "thousands of years ago", as the universe was created Last Thursday and everything we remember prior to that was implanted.

Again, you've tried to be skeptical and tried to conflate well-established knowledge and ill-established belief by comparing them both to objective truth. So I wonder why you're so narcissistic to believe that humans are the only lifeform capable of contemplating its own navel? We haven't found all species of animal available on this planet, and new ones are created all the time through evolution. Evolutionary biologists currently believe that it only takes one gene to get a big brain like ours. It's not a matter of "if", but "when" we start seeing more big-brained species. Presumably we'll do our best to exterminate them, because there's already enough intraspecies competition for resources.

We presume that other animals have no consciousness. Are you sure? What about the great apes? How anthrocentric!

This universe we believe we exist in is so huge that we haven't seen most of it. How can you be sure that there's nothing else that qualifies as "life" out there? Who says it even has to be carbon based? Who's to say that the universe isn't self-correcting?

Save your mock skepticism; you're only using in one direction, to try and give doubt to those who don't share your beliefs. Try applying it to yourself. When you do, realise that life is what you make of it.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

I'll not continue (none / 0) (#25)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:15:17 PM EST

since your primary mode of argument appears to be countering arguments I did not make.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Hey Mr Skeptical, (none / 1) (#29)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:33:35 PM EST

lol, science = religion. So, why do you think we're here? You seem deluded enough to think there must be a reason.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

I do (none / 1) (#30)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:38:18 PM EST

but I am also skeptical enough to know my answers are probably wrong. I try not to share empty speculation and focus on what I do know, and I know there is an organizing force in the universe that is following a vector of increasing complexity and that we appear (for lack of evidence of other intelligent species, though I do not dispute the possibility of their existence) to be on the bleeding edge. We have found reasons for pretty much everything else we've observed and so it follows there is reason for why we can do so in the first place.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
You do realise, of course, (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:59:10 PM EST

that this increasing complexity on Earth only exists because of solar energy. The sun is slowly decreasing in complexity, and it's decreasing faster than we're increasing in complexity.

Food chains are like capitalism; they're a pyramid scheme which only works because the unlucky peons at the very bottom are putting in staggeringly massive resources. The lower layers spend all their time obtaining resources, the higher layers spend decreasingly less time obtaining resources as they simply rob the collected resources of the lower layers.

If we're at the top, it's only by virtue of all the other layers continuing to exist.

Oh, and you should look at the is-ought problem. You're stating your opinion, a prescriptive statement (there must be a reason why we're great), on the back of a descriptive statement (we're great), with no evidence or reasoning to join the two. You remind me of the Jehovah's Witness who once visited me and asked if I agreed the universe exhibited some sort of design - I didn't agree, and went on to give reasons for my disagreement for about half an hour before he left.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

if there's a reason why snowflakes (none / 1) (#36)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 05:51:41 PM EST

develop such intricate crystalline structure, then there is one for my conscious perception of that fact. that is not descriptive or prescriptive, it is a hypothesis based on observation. your disagreement with the word 'design' is the implication of a designer, yet i am fuck certain you'll agree there is a structure, and one possible explanation for structure is design. that you dismiss it out of hand is an exercise of faith, not reason.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#66)
by vadim on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:02:08 PM EST

I think the problem here is with the reason you want to exist.

I'll explain. In Conway's Life there exist many interesting structures. Take a glider. It glides. Why does it glide? Because the rules of the system make it work that way.

Why do snowflakes have that structure? Because the physics of the process make it so. You can see a description of it on Wikipedia.

The problem of course that you probably want a "deeper" explanation, when probably there isn't one. Religion provides interesting answers like "He was struck by lightning because he angered Zeus with his behavior". Science provides boring ones like "He was struck by lightning because he happened to be in the path of least resistance".

The thing is, history shows that things happen for very boring reasons. Bridges don't break, and rocks and tree branches don't fall on your loved ones because of the grand designs of a deity, but due to processes that aren't even aware of your existence. Snowflakes are like that because they result from the way the physics work, just like Conway didn't intend to create all the systems in Life when he came up with it. They were implicit in it.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
You're not listening (none / 1) (#74)
by LilDebbie on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:10:22 PM EST

which is suspect is the result of dogma. I'm saying the "boring" mechanisms of everyday physical reality are this increasing complexity. First there was light, then that shit cooled down a bit and we got matter, then stars, asteroids, planets, life, consciousness, memes, DO YOU SEE THE FUCKING PATTERN HERE?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
It's called "emergence" (none / 0) (#75)
by vadim on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:44:15 PM EST

Simple sets of rules interact in interesting ways.

Conway's game of Life has just 4 rules. Things are still being discovered in it, and it's Turing complete so technically you could run Windows on a large enough one.

A very simple behavior results in robots gathering frisbees in piles despite not being aware of each other, the room, what's a frisbee, or even that they're supposed to pile them up.

Ants are individually very stupid, but though chemical signalling and other tricks manage to get quite impressive things to get done. Despite that probably no individual ant really has a clue of what it's doing and why, and what will the result be.


--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]
right (none / 0) (#76)
by LilDebbie on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:54:33 PM EST

and i'm arguing that is occuring on a reality-spanning scale.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
It is, but it's not grand design. (none / 0) (#81)
by it certainly is on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 02:29:26 AM EST

It's the result of millions of failed proto-ants that didn't get the formula right enough to survive.

Here, I'm going to be generous. this is a 45 minute expert discussion on altruism vs evolutionary theory. It reveals the key points, such as why scientists are so interested in social animals like ants and bees - if the worker drone doesn't mate, how does it express its genes and thus create more worker drones? The answer is fascinating, and I implore you to listen.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

when the fuck did i bring up altruism? $ (none / 0) (#86)
by LilDebbie on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 08:32:36 AM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
You lost them at "Why" (none / 0) (#87)
by packMule on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 09:59:52 AM EST

If you would like to know the cause of the complexity that allowed our consciousness to develop, I am sure they would dive with vigor into the details of lightning striking primordial soup.

But after asking 'Why' I believe you were pigeon-holed into someone who wants to backpedal the answers into your belief system.. meaning your religion.

BTW, I think changing to 'reason' had no affect.  Most people would read 'Intelligent Designer' into both words.


[ Parent ]

When you started talking about purpose and design (none / 0) (#100)
by it certainly is on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 03:40:12 AM EST

Humans are pattern-matching fiends. They can't seem to do anything without finding patterns in it, or wanting to make a "bigger picture" out of it.

For example, humans regularly see faces in clouds; yes, you're seeing a face. No, the cloud did not actually set out to contain a face. No, the cloud does not contain a face. It is YOUR BRAIN which is champing at the bit to find other human faces in anything you look at. Much like the way dogs can spot other dogs from seemingly miles off.

When you anthropomorphise animals, see gliders in Conway's Life or attribute vivacity to ELIZA, it's your programmed human mind running algorithms that it was designed to run: algorithms that make contact with other humans more advanced than most other animals.

As Bacon said, the reason we need a scientific method in the first place is because human minds are particularly ineffective at cold logic. Our minds have many tricks in them to speed up processing, that psychologists have since discovered. We search for patterns. We stereotype. We skim read. We exaggerate even to ourselves. We prefer to be correct so we administer selection bias. We accept power hierarchies. We use our feelings - our minds can entirely be changed from before to after a good meal. This simply won't do for trying to understand the world.

What I'm asking you is for you to accept that your desire that the world around you be part of some grand plan is primarily your personal emotional longing for fulfillment, rather than a dispassionate, accurate summary of the processes that operate in the universe.

Why did I mentioning altruism? Because it's historically something that human animals have insisted is something that only occurs when we stop following our "animal instincts", stop being mere automatons that engage in stimulus -> response. Altruism is supposed to be the big thing that means we're not dumb animals. But even altruism could have a genetic explanation. I'm not going to claim the genetic explanation given in the program is correct, but I can say people claiming the opposite (that altruism makes humans unique) are arguing from a lack of imagination.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

An interesting and somewhat related article... (none / 1) (#102)
by skyknight on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 08:17:00 AM EST

can be found here.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Please don't make ''historical arguments'' (none / 0) (#103)
by LilDebbie on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 08:48:44 AM EST

as you are merely wasting everyone's time. Since you seem to have otherwise steered back on to the track, we can continue.

You point out that since my brain being well-equipped to find meaning, it may be searching for something that is not there, which amusingly enough elegantly explains my point all along. My concern, which you dismiss as beyond our ability to understand and therefore moot, is that the assumption that there are patterns for us to comprehend in the first place may be false. To wit, we are not observing an objective world, but rather creating one.

And that greatly concerns me because I don't know what exactly we're creating.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

oh man (none / 0) (#104)
by LilDebbie on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 08:49:57 AM EST

i totally failed it constructing that third sentence. my apologies.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
It's about what you bring to the table. (none / 0) (#108)
by it certainly is on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 03:03:02 AM EST

Despite what you seem to think, human experience defers to the objective reality. I'm going to presuppose an objective reality because while it's not absolutely guaranteed that it exists (we could be brains in jars, etc.), Solipsism is not a useful basis for modelling your reality. All you can say is "My mind (the thing that is cogitating right now) exists. I may not have a body, despite the fact it appears I have one. It could be a trick. I can't say anything else whatsoever because it may be wrong. The end." Not useful for how to build bridges or live your life.

The sun rises every day primarily because the human-invented English word "day" is defined by solar activity. The solar activity operates regardless of our knowledge about it, and it imposes its "will" on us. We had better learn about it, because we're incapable of changing it. The same is true of gravity, wind, light and so on. Anything we want to say about them has to match up with observation. Reality has the final say. If we predict reality will do something, and a consensus of people perceive that it doesn't, then we were wrong. This is the correspondence theory of truth. We recognise that we're basing it around human observation, but this covers most of the basics, insofar as explaining they exist. Having invented tools like microscopes, telescopes, infra-red/ultra-violet cameras, spectral analysers, etc. - things which can capture the empirical details that humans would miss - we can now get empirical data beyond our senses.

As Kant points out, we learn facts about the world, but these are impressions in our mind formed by sensation, not the thing-in-itself. So our basic working model is the impression we get. A simple example would be optics. If something appears red, it's because it's reflecting electromagnetic energy in (at least) the visible red range of the spectrum. If it's illuminated by sunlight, it's absorbing all other visible colours. So that actual colour of the thing, from the perspective of thing itself, is more like cyan: a mix of all colours except red. And once again, "red" is just a human-invented English word for electromagnetic waves with a wavelength around the 650nm mark. But what we've observed is that red has a special meaning to millions of distinct species in the animal world: it means "I am dangerous, don't try to attack me or eat me". This is independent of our human sensation. We've decomposed the eyes of many animal species and found similar biochemical mechanisms for colour detection. They too can see "red". They too are scared of it. So despite us picking a human name for it, the experience of red is shared by more than just humans. There's an advantage to appearing "red" in the natural world, and if this requires you reflect red light because that's how your predators will perceive your redness, then you do it.

The reason we accept repeated observation as the basis of knowledge is not just because it appears to be a fundamental mechanism for our brain's learning, but also because it's useful. Imagine a singularity happens; that's interesting, but not much use, as nobody else is going to perceive it. Meanwhile, there's an entire world full of reliable, repeating events. They will affect more than one person. That makes them important in our minds. If we did live in a world where nothing happened more than once, we'd have to adapt, but as we live in a world where the most important things to us appear to run like clockwork, we're going to follow that.

I'll say more later.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

So ... (none / 0) (#113)
by icastel on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 11:46:43 AM EST

Do you think science will, in time, be able to provide an answer to the "why are we here" question?


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
the object of my enduring faith (none / 1) (#35)
by SaintPort on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 05:10:45 PM EST

is that there is a point. (I could explore the anthromorphic theory here, but I'm too busy.)

My most recent and convincing revelation of that point is Christ.

But I am heretical enough to keep my eyes and ears open.

love always,
<><

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

[ Parent ]

why conscious perception? (none / 0) (#116)
by Corwin06 on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 11:58:10 AM EST

what purpose does us being aware of it posed.

Well, since we're equipped to understand things, it was bount to happen that we'd discover it eventually.

were it all semiotics used to enhance our reproductive success, we would not be conscious of it, no more than we are conscious of our other animal behaviors.

Why? I'm conscious of lots of MY animal behaviors. I even analyzed some of my responses to given situations as functions of how much each of the basic motivations defines my behavior.

and sure there is a purpose, though you by faith would deny it. that purpose is hinted at, inferred if you prefer, from the observation that so many other structures have purpose relating to one another in this great beautiful creation of ours. why is it that this one, this one that is so central to our existence, appears to be without point?

The reason that so many other structures have purpose relating to one another is that they evolved in an environment where those other structures also were present (and evolving). Conscience is an emergent property of a complex system where agents execute related tasks, which may or may not be recognized for what they are when observed from the top down like we do, instead of from the bottom up like it evolved. (If you find that incoherent, re-read.)

If you can't understand that, then your picture of the world is simply just wrong. Nothing has any reason for simply being. The only purpose is in artefacts : naturally-occuring, that is, evolved systems have evolved at random, following the math laws of Really Big Numbers of Really Small Particles in Very Chaotic Systems for a Long Long Time (minus-infinity to now).

Now get over it.

"and you sir, in an argument in a thread with a troll in a story no one is reading in a backwater website, you're a fucking genius
--circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Natural language and science (none / 1) (#39)
by ElMiguel on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 06:18:56 PM EST

Most scientific concepts are expressed and explained in natural language.  The problem with this situation is that laypeople tend to confuse the concepts themselves with the way they are expressed, and then try to make scientific arguments from the wording instead of the concepts.

When a physicist says "this apple falls down because the Earth's mass attracts it", what he roughly means is that a) every time we have observed two material objects in proximity to each other, we have also observed that they tend to move towards each other in a way that can be calculated from their masses and the distance between them, and b) the apple moves as predicted by using those calculations.

Personally, I think causality is just an artifact of the human mind that allows us to make evolutionarily useful predictions about our environment.  I see no reason to believe causality is a fundamental principle of the Universe or anything like that, and therefore asking "why does the Universe exist?" or somesuch is like asking why tsunamis hate us: a question flawed by anthropomorphism.

[ Parent ]

I'd also like to know why tsumamis hate us nt. (none / 1) (#78)
by spooked on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 12:20:15 AM EST



Seriously.
[ Parent ]
Why, why, why ... They just hate us. No reason. (none / 0) (#112)
by icastel on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 11:40:00 AM EST




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Simple answer (none / 0) (#121)
by Verteiron on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 01:53:16 PM EST

I think the simplest answer science has for that question is "because". Trite but true.
--
Prisoners! Seize each other!
[ Parent ]
The merit of Christianity (2.20 / 5) (#2)
by alba on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:21:01 AM EST

Actually, I can think of only one: a lot of present and past religions out there are worse. So we can consider ourselves lucky to merely be infected by Christianity.

http://www.fallwell.com/selective%20quotation.html

But still, Christians quote the bible literally only as a weapon against others and simply ignore things that are unbearable for themselves. It's not just dirty semantic tricks. It's a bunch of hypocritical lies. All of it.



christians are not one big group (none / 0) (#115)
by kromagg on Wed Dec 05, 2007 at 09:45:05 AM EST

There are religions among christianity that defer to the bible a lot more than others. I dislike the term "christians". While I'm sure the various churches like to be heard as one voice at certain times, the reality is they don't have a lot in common on a lot of issues. Especially when it comes to the bible as "word of god".

[ Parent ]
Religionists also need non-religious faith. (2.66 / 6) (#3)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:28:43 AM EST

How can they be sure that their Torahs, Bibles and Qu'rans still contain the same text they did yesterday?

Although it had been debated throughout the 16th and 17th century, it was David Hume who really nailed down the basic understanding of how we know "facts" - through repeated observation. The more we observe something happening, the greater the number of different scenarios where the observation holds true, then they more we are likely to trust in it.

While Descartes is famed for his systematically skeptical meditations leading him to conclude je pense donc je suis, his first step after that is where he loses my respect; his ontological proof of god. He was savagely attacked by other philosophers for his claims that some things were "clear and distinct" and thus were simply true, without any need for supporting argument.

The ontological argument is a pile of semantic bullshit. We start by defining god as "greater than any other thing, imagined or real". Then we say that being real is greater than being imaginary, so therefore god must exist in order to be greater than any other thing. The problem is that we can defined anything we like as "greater than any other thing", but it's just an assertion, and positing something doesn't actually make it true.

We can spend all day defining words that implicitly bring deities and fruit scones into existence, but our premises and postulations are all for naught, because they only affect ideas in our heads, and the ideas in the heads of people unfortunate enough to listen to us.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Faith in God's goodness is enough (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by rpresser on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:33:15 AM EST

that He wouldn't change the text from day to day. Right?

Also, I thought the ontological argument was from St. Augustine, or something.  Older then Descartes, at least.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

This goes right back to Descartes. (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:48:56 AM EST

This is the reason Descartes thinks the world isn't deliberately misleading, because Descartes believes that the Christian god's posited perfection and goodness would prohibit him being a trickster god.

But yes, both these lines of argument go back much further. The ontological argument was first posited by Anselm. However, Descartes chose to make the ontological argument a central part of his philosophy, and made a novel attempt at formulating it, in comparison to Anselm, Augustine and others who had also posited it throughout the years.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

on the ontological proof (2.50 / 2) (#88)
by Liar on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 01:53:03 PM EST

It's not that God must exist, it's that we cannot conceive of Him without also committing to the idea of His existence. It's like mentioning my friends who is a bachelor--it already encompasses the idea of a male friend. So also must existence be included in any definition of God as "that which nothing greater can be conceived" if we accept that existence is greater than non-existence.

It's not a semantic trick, it's a valid logical proof from the premises. Accept the premises, and the result follows. To really combat the ontological proof, you have to reject one of the premises (particularly that existence is greater than non existence), just like Kant did and hold that existence cannot be predicated. Something can be more red than another and something can be more just. However, it's nonsensical to say that my chair has more existence than my computer, or that either of those have more existence than the imaginary $10 billion CND in my bank account. A subject either has existence or it does not and that's the precondition for all predicates assignable to a subject.

Probably the most banal way to understand this is through the way that the existential modifier is handled in predicate logic. In order to say that "There is a red apple." you have to say "There exists an X such that X is an apple and X is red" expressed shorthandedly as (∃x)Ax&Rx1. In order to make sense of Ax&Rx, we must first determine its existential or universal status. Existence is the precondition for predicates, it cannot itself be a predicate.



1In case this doesn't work, ∃ is supposed to be a backwards "E"


I admit I'm a Liar. That's why you can trust me.
[ Parent ]
I get this, (none / 0) (#101)
by it certainly is on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 04:00:57 AM EST

and I would still classify it as a semantic trick, but I do like your working out of the logic.

See also Arnaud's objections to Descartes' Meditations: just because something can be conceived in the mind doesn't necessarily make it possible. If I were ignorant of geometry, I could conceive of a four-sided triangle.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

"dirty semetic tricks"!? (3.00 / 6) (#6)
by chlorus on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:10:48 PM EST

jew-hater

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?

Semantic, you fucknut, semantic; it's about cum € (none / 1) (#37)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 05:51:56 PM EST


--
It's hard to be humble when even Mr Bigballs rates me as #1 Kuro5hit.


[ Parent ]
I'm your Auntie Semantic (none / 0) (#99)
by postDigital on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 10:50:35 PM EST

and I approve of the following word list:

  • semenaquatic
  • semenautomtic
  • semenconductor
  • semenconsciousness
  • semenal
  • semeniar
  • semenary
  • semenotics

It should be noted though, that since the foregoing word-list has not yet withstood the analysis of a refereed peer review, they should be used sparingly.

The following word list has successfully withstood the challenges of a refereed peer review, and are considered appropriate for usage in all-trolling applications:

  • abasement
  • advertisement
  • amusement
  • basement
  • disbursement
  • easement
  • endorsement
  • enfranchisement
  • four horsemen of the apocalypse
  • reimbursement
  • warehousemen
  • wisemen


[ Parent ]
cha-ching! CHA-CHING! (2.40 / 10) (#7)
by chlorus on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:22:20 PM EST

Despite its isomorphism to ad hominem, this line of attack proves all too common and all too effective.

really ringing up the ten-dollar words today, aren't we? i mean, really, isomorphism? i took two classes on linear algebra in school and i still had to look that one up to refresh my memory. and ad hominem? look, buddy, we are not discussing high mathematical and logical concepts; you don't have to try to convince everybody here that you're some kind of genius. please write in plain english so people without degrees in mathematics and the sciences can understand you.

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?

equivalence to personal attacks (2.33 / 3) (#8)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:33:39 PM EST

I would expect to see ad hominem mentioned in philosophical debate and that everybody was well aware of what it meant. But yes, isomorphism is a peacock term.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Am I wrong (3.00 / 6) (#56)
by starsky on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 04:01:31 AM EST

in thinking you are using 'peacock term' to describe a word which an author uses to make themselves look great when that wikipedia article describes it as a word which makes the SUBJECT look great without justification?

Thanks.

[ Parent ]

I hadn't looked at it that way. (none / 0) (#83)
by it certainly is on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 02:44:18 AM EST

I think peacocks show their pretty feathers to reflect glory onthemselves, and thus I think "peacock term" works better referring to the peacock-like behaviour of people who use confusing jargon to show that they know it, rather than using plain English to communicate effectively.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

I also enjoy (none / 1) (#54)
by Verbophobe on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 02:20:55 AM EST

Thus the favor that lobbyists bestow upon rhetoric as artifice comes as little surprise.

That one took me a good minute, and I'm still not entirely sure I understand what he means! The paragraph wasn't even about lobbyists!

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]

While the article writer (2.75 / 4) (#9)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:54:58 PM EST

fails to properly articulate what he means by faith in science, it's still there and it is very simple. The scientist proceeds on the assumption that if he observes a certain phenomenon N times that the same phenomenon will occur on the N+1 try. There is zero rational basis for this assumption save that it's worked so far.

You may think this is a stupid criticism because you've lived your entire life seeing the same phenomenon play out exactly the same way countless times, but the fact remains there is no compelling reason, at least not that we understand, for that structure of reality.

Amusingly enough, this is a perfectly understandable fallacy made by human consciousness due to it being dependent on the notion of cause and effect. It is an existential faith, which most scientists will tell you is good enough by virtue of their lack of imagination.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Your semantics are likewise sloppy. (none / 1) (#12)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:08:09 PM EST

What a true scientist is really doing is operating with the knowledge of probability mass distributions. When such a scientist "assumes" something, it is done not on the basis that alternate explanations are impossible, but rather improbable. There is nothing irrational about making such a simplifying assumption if it allows for other useful things, as long as you hold out some possibility that it may later be invalidated. Such abstractions are necessary for building more complex systems of knowledge.

Suppose I have two coins, one of them "fair", and one of them somehow rigged such that it always comes up heads. I give you one of the coins without letting you know which one it is. You flip it five times and it comes up heads each time. How sure are you that I've given you the rigged coin? You flip it ten times with ten heads resulting. How sure are you? One hundred times... How sure are you now? At some point you may rationally assume that I've given you the rigged coin, but you always have to hold out some probability mass for the other scenario. No matter how many times a flip comes up heads, there is a non-zero probability that the next flip will be tails. That being said, we can make some pretty reasonable assumptions, and along with those assumptions we can express a measurable confidence.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
But that assumption is built into the method (none / 0) (#13)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:14:33 PM EST

and your "reasonable assumptions" are predicated on your ability to estimate said probabilities, which too is based on earlier assumptions. The only difference is that a scientist calls them axioms while the priest calls them commandments. Or did you not think Saint Aquinas applied rational methods to figure out how many angels danced upon the head of a pin?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Meh (none / 0) (#90)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 04:27:10 PM EST

You're right in that, in an absolute sense, nothing can be known or tested.  Every proposition requires a number of assumptions, and one could probably list a number of assumptions required by almost any proposition that anyone would make.  

I'd agree that both scientific and religious world views require a fair number of assumptions.

However, I'd suggest that the assumptions behind science also happen to be, for the most part, the assumptions required in order to continue living - the kind of assumptions required to shore up propositions like "If I drive off this bridge I will die".
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

LOL rationalism (2.33 / 6) (#15)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:24:00 PM EST

You say "zero rational basis" like rationalism was a valid philosophical theory, and not the discredited shambles it is today, with its main proponents stuck in intractable philosophical positions.

The very last thing I want in this world is for my life to be rational, that is to say only in the mind and void of experience.

I like the world that science built. Firstly, empiricism soundly destroyed the rationalist argument. Everyone is an empiricist, whether their empiricism leads to correct thinking (the sun will rise every day) or wrong thinking (milk magically appears in bottles on my doorstep every morning). Science further developed by insisting on inspection and analysis of the empirical data, then prediction. Then repeatability. Then falsifiability. Each notch to science's bow makes it a powerful and formidable truth-seeking method. Compared with that, rationalism is armchair philosophy.

I can't believe that the brightest minds in the 17th century tied themselves in philosophical knots because they tried to hold on to Christian dogma, and yet they were seen as unorthodox and vilified anyway.

What about you? Do you prefer to believe in what the rationalists' explanations for the world? That the mind is separate from the body and exists in some ethereal plane? Show us your counter-examples against cause and effect. Go for it, make my day.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

perhaps i'm not hip to the correct terminology (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 01:49:38 PM EST

but i was using "rational" in the sense of having a solid foundation in objective truth, which i take as necessary for something not to be an article of faith. i don't know why you bothered to point out that everyone is an empiricist when i already did, but hey i know it can feel good just to type sometimes. as for science being a formidable truth-seeking method, i'm calling into question whether or not science has found any truth at all as opposed to creating the "truth" we currently believe.

i will not respond to your challenge as to the mind existing separate from the body as i do not profess such a belief.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

Get wise to it. (2.71 / 7) (#22)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:32:48 PM EST

If you're going to set up an epistemological debate, you should use its terms:
  • Truth is the posited "objective reality" that may or may not exist - severe Skepticism, like Descartes applied, will lead us to conclude that we can't be completely sure about anything, other than that "we" exist.
  • Belief or opinion is the "subjective reality" that we have. We may think the sun rises in the morning (probably true), we may think we're the best sprinter in the world (probably not true)
  • Knowledge or fact is where truth and belief intersect.
Most people are not interested in discussing Truth, because (by its classification), it's nothing we can ever really know. They're much more interested in Knowledge, which is Truth that can be communicated to more than one person, and they're interested in which Beliefs can be shown correct enough (i.e. approaching objective Truth) that they qualify as Knowledge.

You're cussing people bad for believing what they see and trying to conflate logical conjecture based on overwhelming empirical evidence with purely sensation-based reasoning. This is unreasonable. Pyrrho first suggested it because he was tired of evaluating the claims of various Greek schools of philosophy and was more interested in a happy life than in pursuit of truth. I'd guess that you're either the same, or you're just being deliberately contrary today. Either way, please give up your science-derived mod-cons until you embrace science.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

You defeat your own arguments now (none / 1) (#26)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:16:38 PM EST

Fascinating.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I'm glad you've decided to declare victory and run (2.71 / 7) (#28)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:30:36 PM EST

It saves everyone from having to hear more of your dreadful argument.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

modern science is providing a rationale (none / 0) (#34)
by rhiannon on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 04:13:04 PM EST

It's all above my head but I've been reading and hearing speeches about how reality does in fact encompass  worlds where the assumption of repeatability is false and that there is a reason we live in the world where things work n+1 times, infallibly.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
links plz $ (none / 0) (#38)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 05:52:36 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I can't come up with any (none / 0) (#42)
by rhiannon on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 08:00:32 PM EST

But try Paul Davies, he did a NPR Science Friday recently, check the podcast, or there is the 'multiverse' theory where any world where observers would arise would naturally be habitable to said observers.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
[ Parent ]
You're probably thinking of (none / 0) (#77)
by ubernostrum on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 12:17:16 AM EST

the anthropic principle, in one of its various forms. Which has been pretty much exploded philosophically, though some scientists still like to cling to it; the problem with it is that in even the best logically-grounded forms the popular conclusions drawn from it rest on fallacies or on incorrect reasoning. See William Lane Craig, "Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design" for one criticism of a popular formulation of the anthropic argument.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
hey cool. (none / 0) (#84)
by yuo on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 04:29:26 AM EST

I already touched on this point in my diary (which you commented in). I don't think we're necessarily disagreeing here, but you make it sound like scientists believe in this "existential faith" whereas religious people don't.

However, because repeatable cause and effect are essential to human learning (or as you say human consciousness), religions themselves have to exploit it, or else nobody would ever have to teach religion to their children.

In essence, I read your last paragraph as something like, "Scientists think they are human beings." I understand that it is a belief, but it feels like a bit of a stretch to call that a faith.

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

And thus is the Little Debbie (none / 0) (#105)
by shinshin on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 04:21:28 PM EST

able to justify to himself his skepticism of global warming.

I've got an article for you, bub.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

I'm going to invoke a semantic rule (2.25 / 4) (#21)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:05:05 PM EST

called the incompleteness theorem

good luck with that, SCIENCE

pwned (2.00 / 2) (#24)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:00:33 PM EST

The great Wiki predicted you were going to do that, and looks on you for doing so:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del's_incompleteness_theorem#Postmodernism_a nd_continental_philosophy

Appeals are sometimes made to the incompleteness theorems to support by analogy ideas which go beyond mathematics and logic. For instance, Régis Debray applies it to politics. A number of authors have commented, mostly negatively, on such extensions and interpretations, including Torkel Franzen, Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom. The last two quote biographer Rebecca Goldstein commenting on the disparity between Gödel's avowed Platonism and the anti-realist uses to which his ideas are put by humanist intellectuals.


kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

understand what you read before you post it (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:57:08 PM EST

jesus you're dumb

[ Parent ]
I did, do you? (2.66 / 6) (#33)
by it certainly is on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 04:01:46 PM EST

You're a fucktard trying to apply to epistemology theories that only apply to predicate calculus and mathematical proofs.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

you act as if the end goal of science (3.00 / 4) (#50)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11:53:46 PM EST

isn't to put a rigorous mathematical and logical construct onto the universe.  The things the article attempted to errantly apply the incompleteness theorem weren't fucking science.  You made this giant fucking strawman argument.

You can't say that science attempts to be bound by logic and then say the incompleteness theorem doesn't apply.

And you can go fuck yourself for launching such a bullshit argument over a tongue-in-cheek comment anyway.

[ Parent ]

THAT'S THE KINDS OF VITRIOL I LIKES (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by chlorus on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 01:37:10 AM EST


Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

I'm not very smart, but here's how I see it. (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by Scott Robinson on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 04:47:11 AM EST

Science is finding rules to how things work by induction from experience. Math is a way of expressing those rules.

Formal, consistent, and complete systems are one particularly successful mathematical method. They make things like deduction possible.

But, just because a particular language can't express a concept doesn't mean it can't be understood.

[ Parent ]

short, but sweet $ (none / 1) (#27)
by LilDebbie on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 03:20:03 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Sigh.$ (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by V on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 07:23:36 PM EST


---
What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
[ Parent ]
faith and reason (1.85 / 7) (#46)
by circletimessquare on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09:49:47 PM EST

two diametricaly opposed concepts

there are some who spend their entire lives trying to reconcile the two concepts, when no reconciliation is ever possible. a fools errand

there are other who simply accept the bifurcation in our life, and use both concepts when they are properly applicable

such people succeed in life


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I think sometimes (none / 1) (#92)
by levesque on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 09:35:40 PM EST

I try to hard to reconcile

to reason faith, to faith reason

In a way they probably are already conciled.

[ Parent ]

Attention Spell Bot (none / 0) (#98)
by levesque on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 09:52:54 PM EST

The mistake is "to" not "conciled"

[ Parent ]
an interesting read on an (none / 1) (#47)
by mybostinks on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09:59:11 PM EST

otherwise dismal weekend here.

subject in body (none / 0) (#48)
by wji on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 10:22:15 PM EST

New York Times Columnist Fundamentally Misunderstands Issue, Wastes Time of Audience: Film at 11 no text

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
s/11/-11/ HTH nt (none / 1) (#51)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 01:21:07 AM EST




"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
+1 FP despite dissing faith (none / 1) (#53)
by michaelmalak on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 02:16:41 AM EST

I voted +1 FP for introducing me to yet another proof that science is a religion.  My previous proof (taken from or based on something I read on lewrockwell.com that I cannot locate right now) was that the scientific method implies that all knowable truth must come from observations.  Strictly speaking, the scientific method does not imply this, but as it is generally taught and understood, the implication is there.

Now you've led me to another proof.  Thank you.

But in the last two-thirds of your story, you've run roughshod over what faith means, and the relationship between faith and reason.  Pope John Paul II explained the relationship in his 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio.  If you want to skip to the meat, it's in paragraphs 64 to 68.  The meat of the meat is at the end of paragraph 66:

Speculative dogmatic theology thus presupposes and implies a philosophy of the human being, the world and, more radically, of being, which has objective truth as its foundation.
I.e. philosophy gives us a lot of knowable truth through reason alone (e.g. Aristotle's metaphysics, which goes beyond what is knowable by the scientific method), and this serves as a foundation to truths knowable only by faith.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver
what a startling abuse of the word 'proof' (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by chlorus on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 10:01:10 AM EST

and i thought this was abusive! clearly, i need to lower my standards.

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

Anything naturalist, thanks. (none / 1) (#82)
by it certainly is on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 02:34:40 AM EST

and please use the word "evidence" rather than "proof". They have very different meanings.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

It's really quite simple (none / 0) (#60)
by IHCOYC on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 10:53:08 AM EST

Science does reveal what happens to you after you die: all you need to do is consult the various forensic sciences, such as forensic entomology, and learn your future. You may accept that the future foretold by forensic entomology is all the future you have, or you may choose to believe otherwise. Science itself can only describe; it cannot make this choice for you.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelćis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit G
Science says what happesns to my body after I die (none / 0) (#110)
by Just this guy on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 04:25:51 PM EST

As soon as science explains the existence of an ego AND its perception of qualia it MIGHT have a shot at explaining what it experiences, if anything, after the associated body gets eaten by bugs.

[ Parent ]
I think science is a matter of faith (2.00 / 3) (#61)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:27:20 AM EST

I don't think the Universe is obligated to appeal to the aesthetics of human scientists. While it's true that many physical phenomena obey elegant laws, there's no way to know until we can discover them what the truly ultimate laws of physics will be like.


--
Looking for some free songs?


science has absolutely nothing to do with faith (2.25 / 4) (#65)
by balsamic vinigga on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 07:57:50 PM EST

though faith may inspire great scientists like einstein..  faith plays no role at all in scientific theory. If it does' it's not pure science.

However, there will always be a limit to science, since we aren't capable of coming to the end of understanding the natural universe.

---
Please help fund a Filipino Horror Movie. It's been in limbo since 2007 due to lack of funding. Please donate today!
[ Parent ]

Is electricity a matter of faith? (none / 0) (#122)
by maluke on Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 01:53:52 PM EST

How the fuck one could even take science=faith seriously.

[ Parent ]
Its pretty simple: (2.50 / 2) (#62)
by spooky wookie on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 11:49:22 AM EST

Science/Knowledge = investigating something.

Faith/Belief = concluding without investigating.

Whether or not either has anything to do with "ultimate reality", they are two completely different things.


You are a terrible writer. (none / 0) (#63)
by lemonjuicefake on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 06:00:14 PM EST

I agree but you writing is terrible.

Problem With Criticizing Someone Else's Writing (none / 0) (#114)
by icastel on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:19:38 PM EST

Is that you usually screw up your own post.  You get so eager to express your disgust/annoyance/what-have-you, that you end up making dumb mistakes, like forgetting commas and other minor things.


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Thanks for writing about (none / 0) (#64)
by Joe Sixpack on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 06:04:50 PM EST

this previously unexplored subject..

---
[ MONKEY STEALS THE PEACH ]

Regards to the Poll: (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by spooked on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:19:30 PM EST

'Are both science [whatever the fuck that is] and religion [yeah, just try to give me a consensual definition] each a system of meaning which make certain epistemological and ontological [amongst other ten-dollar philosophical adjectives] claims, which in turn inform and influence an individuals value-orientation?' would have been a better question, rather than that loaded bit of "poorly formated fool-meme."

What formal rationalist fail to realize is that not everything that a human can understand can be understood by their [religious or scientific] means. Various scholastic, scientific and religious disciplines offer different insights into different domains of knowledge. Trying to use one in a realm is doesn't belong, or championing one above another is a fucking sucker's game.

Seriously.
I don't particularly like polls... (none / 0) (#68)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:26:50 PM EST

and debated not having one at all, but went against my better judgment and added one all the same. It could perhaps have been better, but I don't know that CBB's "poorly formatted fool-meme" slur quite applies.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
if 'flavour of..' isn't loaded (none / 0) (#69)
by spooked on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:35:06 PM EST

then I don't know what is.

It's a decent sort of article, by the by. The discussion should be worth the FP. Sorry to see that you're getting an unnecessary amount of flak for stylistic things. On K5. Honestly.

As for th CBB reference, I always sorta liked that turn of phrase. It's cutting, depreciating, condescending and arrogant all at once. Plus with the use of meme, kinda obscure and anachronistic, seeing as memetics never turned out to be anything of substance. Maybe I was a little zealous in its application. My apologies.

Seriously.
[ Parent ]
I have grown accustomed... (none / 1) (#71)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:41:35 PM EST

to the writing style related flak, embraced it even. I know that my word choice occasionally errs on the side of obscure, but some criticisms of my prose style quite plainly smack of anti-intellectualism. I mean, honestly, is "ad hominem" really all that obscure? If you don't know what "ad hominem" means, you have no place posting on this site at all. Perhaps I deserve being slapped for "isomorphic", but I didn't think it particularly over the top.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Also... (none / 1) (#70)
by skyknight on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 09:35:50 PM EST

you slightly botched your quotation, but it was reasonably close.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Off the top of my head. (none / 0) (#73)
by spooked on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 10:48:18 PM EST

Only in there because of pwhysall's sig.

Seriously.
[ Parent ]
And yet (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by ubernostrum on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 12:24:50 AM EST

You're still trapped in the problem of induction. Inductive generalization from repeated observation, as a logical basis for an empirical epistemology, fails utterly (since inductive generalizations have no logical basis other than inductive generalization from past applications, resulting in the fallacy of begging the question), and this failure has been known and accepted within the philosophy of science for hundreds of years.

Most of the really interesting work in philosophy of science has to do with accepting and moving past this to place science on firmer footing; see, for example, the fallibilism of C.S. Peirce, and Karl Popper's attempt at a semantic shift from verification (which has no possible logical grounding in an empirical epistemology) to falsification. Even the work of Kant was concerned not with building up an epistemology, but with exploring the fundamental limitations which both rationalist and empiricist epistemologies must inevitably run into.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
Did you actually read the article? (none / 1) (#80)
by Homburg on Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 01:25:20 AM EST

The paragraphs you quoted, and indeed most of the first page of the article, do indeed look like a load of bullshit. I'm as annoyed as you at the facile "ooh, science is just another faith" nonsense that the stupider religionists come up with (seriously, these people need to study some philosophy of science; and, preferably, some philosophy of religion, too).

But contrary to what you suggest, Davies isn't saying that "science's outlook on the universe is yet another arbitrary stance," he's saying that scientists should attempt to come to some kind of scientific understanding of the nature of laws of nature themselves, which seems like a perfectly reasonable undertaking to me; have a look at the research center he heads to get an idea of the kind of questions he's interested in. I think they could do with having some philosophers on board, too, but they don't look like complete nutters.

'pinch of logic' (none / 1) (#106)
by trane on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 06:25:31 AM EST

actually logic is the foundation of statistics and probability. Go back and read your Aristotle; although he got some axioms wrong, he was right in treating logic as the thread that holds all of scientific inquiry together.

science may encounter god someday... (none / 0) (#107)
by mikelist on Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 06:28:10 AM EST

...in fact there is a possibility that they do so everyday, but there is currently no evidence to support this. science is agnostic in that allowing for all untested concepts they admit that if they meet god in their research, they will accept that.

 until god can be quantified/qualified, the concept is irrelevent to science. which is a little different than asserting god doesn't exist.

My own view of science (none / 0) (#109)
by A Bore on Fri Nov 30, 2007 at 07:52:23 AM EST

Despite the fact that I am shortly to get a PhD in the field of cutaneous research, my own view is that science is merely a religion with statistically marginally better predictive abilities than classical religions. The major problem that is never acknowledged in science v religion discussions is that human perception, and thus arguably the universe itself, even down to its fundamental tenets, is plastic and alterable. Faith cures may rely on the placebo effect, but this is nothing more than words used to denote success in a scientifically credible language. Furthermore, our very view of the world around us warps the universe into corresponding to that framework. This is why my own personal sorcery is becoming more and more difficult to accomplish, as reality is dampened by the humdrum beliefs of the rationalist, scientific-world-view memebots surrounding me. Likely, my ability to alter events to my advantage would work better in the suspicious and superstitionistic US, but for family reasons I have to be based in the UK. It is interesting to speculate that sorcery would have worked much better in the past, due to the abundant ignorance of peasants, thus explaining the prevailing and wide-ranging acceptance of it, which so called rational people now look back on with such fond sneers. Of course, it goes without saying that I attach no credence to the blatant fantasy-section-inspired lesbian witches that call themselves Wiccans, with their dragons-and-crystals bullshit. Real sorcery is a much more serious business.

Ooo, a specimen! (none / 0) (#111)
by garote on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:46:27 AM EST

Nice to see a living, breathing example of that the above article is discussing.  Science is not "merely" religion with "marginally" better predictive abilities.  Science is CONTINUED REFINEMENT OF THOSE PREDICTIONS.  Which is something that sets it entirely and substantially apart from ALL religions and religious thinking, minor or major.

Your own personal sorcery is merely your own ingrained predisposition to muddy the waters of perception between what you experience, and what you wish for.

I'm glad you and your ilk are now reduced to picking on "dragons-and-crystals bullshit" to distinguish yourselves.  Takes a bullshitter to know one.

[ Parent ]

Faith doesn't heal cholera (none / 0) (#117)
by it certainly is on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 07:45:24 AM EST

Alternative medicines without active ingredients work by placebo and regression to the mean. Both are real effects, and work well on a wide variety of common maladies, but they don't cure cancer or repair stab wounds.

That's why you get scientists CRITICALLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY studying placebos, but not pretending it cures all ills, as some alternative medicine peddlers do. They're in it to make money and they don't pretend to know how placebo works or what range of ailments it will and won't have an effect on.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

FUCK GOD (none / 0) (#118)
by Mylakovich on Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 01:19:40 AM EST



Here's the thing. (none / 0) (#119)
by cactus on Mon Dec 17, 2007 at 05:03:28 AM EST

Religion cares whether you believe in it or not.

Science doesn't. It doesn't give a shit what you believe, it works for you no matter what you believe.
--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
Dirty Semantic Tricks | 115 comments (105 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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