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Atheism is not a religion

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Deadly Ferret, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. cosmogenesis

    Mobster

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    It is not a strawman, science is not a good descrption for reality you are essentially stating, it does not explain things and it is not a good reason to go and see a DR? Other descritpions of the world are equally valid and hence equally powerful.
     
  2. semi-pro waster

    Man of Honour

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    That isn't what people have been stating, at least not that I have read. What they are telling you is that while science may be able to describe processes we see going on around us and predict events that will occur (repetitive patterns based on observed evidence etc) science is not about why they occur. Knowing that something will happen is very different to being able to say why it happened.

    And again I'll point out the obvious caveat here - science looks to the simplest model that is predictively accurate, that still doesn't mean it is the correct model. It might be, and the thought of an elegant universe is a tempting one, but we do not know that for certain and probably never will.
     
  3. cosmogenesis

    Mobster

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    I agree and have written it so. But I do also say that it is the best descritpion of reality and you or someone asked me how I know that and I point to medical science as a good example of this. Medical science might not be true in philosophical terms as science might not be true either but its the best we have got and hence gets our attention.
     
  4. ethan

    Soldato

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    There was however a book doing the rounds a number of years ago called "Blackfoot Physics" which gave a differing and somewhat enlightening depiction of reality to the community it was directed at. Unfortunately I never got the chance to read it. I believe the jist of the book was to illustrate how equally valid a different depiction of reality could be despite being unconventional and less technical and more primative than the traditional accepted methods of science.

    Here we go:

    "One summer in the 1980s, theoretical physicist F. David Peat went to the Blackfoot Sun Dance ceremony in Alberta, Canada. Hitherto having spent all his life steeped in and influenced by linear Western science, he was entranced by the Native world view and, through dialogue circles between scientists and Native Elders, he began to explore it in greater depth. Blackfoot Physics is the account of his discoveries. In an edifying synthesis of anthropology, history, metaphysics, cosmology and quantum theory, Peat compares the medicines, the myths, the languages, indeed the entire perceptions of reality of two peoples: Western and Indigenous. What becomes apparent is the amazing resemblance between Indigenous teachings and some of the insights that are emerging from modern science, a congruence that is as enlightening about the physical universe as it is about the circular evolution of man's understanding." It seems sometimes, even witch doctors can have their place. Hence "Other descritpions of the world can be equally valid and hence equally powerful." I assume we are talking about depictions of reality here?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2008
  5. Mr.Clark

    Wise Guy

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    How do you know that the supernatural event has even happened? How do you know it wasn't just a glitch with what was being observed? (camera, eyes, brain etc - the placebo effect can cause people to see things they expect to see or not see things that they're not looking for)

    You've got faith that these things exist, just as much faith I have in the only things existing being the ones that obey scientific laws.

    Not exactly. Not right now. It's all to do with neurons and interactions in your brain.

    Science freely admits it doesn't understand the precise nature of conciousness. (Compare that to religion, which either makes up answers or dismisses questions as things we're "not meant to know". )

    One day, however, scientists may find out how the brain works, be able to study it, duplicate it, control it. And then you'll have your answers.
     
  6. RDM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Feb 1, 2007

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    So in short, science cannot explain everything. Which was sort of the point I was trying to make.

    Science might, Cosmo doesn't. Compare Cosmo's attitude towards science and a deeply religous person's attitude to their faith and you wont see very much difference.

    May being the operative word here. It is also quite possible that they may not and that human emotion lies forever beyond the understanding of science. It certainly can't explain the why of everything, which some seem to think it can.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  7. ethan

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    Sorry I missed this-being too preoccupied with another thread.
    Well this would depend upon the nature and scope of the original event. You would attempt to provide a natural explanation to see if it could coincide with this event. For example, spooky banging noises heard coming from a room every night at 9pm. Check to see if the heating comes on at 9pm or whether or not the age of the heating system is contributing towards the noises that are being heard? If you reach a point where no natural explanation could account for the event-whatever that might be- then you will be approaching more of an acceptance towards the idea that the event could have been supernatural: again whatever that event might have been. Falsification could be quite adept. obviously I am not talking about instances that could be attributed towards being explained away by knocking pipes :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2008
  8. Mr.Clark

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    But we're back to faith again. I have faith that with enough scientific understanding, everything could be explained empirically.

    Anyone who disagrees is also taking a faith-based position, just the opposite one ;)

    But for me, it's easier to believe that someone imagined the spooky noises (or mis-heard where they actually came from) than to believe in some supernatural forces...
     
  9. RDM

    Capodecina

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    Unless you take the agnostic approach and say that it is impossible to say either way at this time. :)
     
  10. Ex-RoNiN

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    No you can't :)

    Empirically explain why soup plates are used for eating food out of, rather than planting plants in them or storing underwear :)
     
  11. ethan

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    By way of illustration this is too easily an example to dismiss. Obviously things become a lot more complicated when you get a group of independent witnessess and other supporting evidence towards a non naturalistic interpretation. I'm all for choosing the simplest explanation if and when it fits: it's when it doesn't things get a bit more interesting.
     
  12. Mr.Clark

    Wise Guy

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    :confused:

    Is that a question that's not supposed to make sense?

    That said, you could store underwear or put plants in them.

    Why does green smell of cottage?

    Just because it's a question doesn't mean it makes sense...
     
  13. ethan

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    You're getting yourself in to a arguement against Logical Positivism here :D
     
  14. Inquisitor

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    At a high level of abstraction: because you can't fit many pairs of underwear in a soup plate and there are better shaped vessels for planting plants in.

    If you want a low-level empirical argument, you'd have to take it down to the neurological interactions in people's brains that make them want to use them in the way they're used.

    But then it's a stupid question so any answer is also going to sound stupid.

    Not that I disagree with you about science not being able to answer everything empirically of course, but your argument isn't terribly good :)

    Mr.Clark: how would you explain existence empirically?
     
  15. melbourne720

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    Someone's been reading The God Delusion :)

    Surely if it doesn't fit, then it's not an explanation?

    Isn't this a case of interpretation in hindsight? These sort of philosophies are pretty wooly, and don't lead to any scientific theories, but once the theory is in place then you can look back and find simularities. You could do that with any philosophy if you looked hard enough.

    Granted I haven't read the book and therefore the above might be 100% conjecture ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  16. Ex-RoNiN

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    It makes perfect sense. Look at my highlighted sentence. You agree that the physical properties of a soup bowl do allow such use....but please explain to me, empirically, why we do not use them this way?

    If your perception of your paradigm is correct, you can answer why soup bowls are only used as soup bowls, and not as underwear storage or plant growing.

    That's not empirical evidence. Also, you do not deny that they are capable of doing it; efficiency is not part of the question. Soup bowls can do it - why do us humans not use them for these purposes?

    Can, worms, everywhere - you're saying using a soup bowl as a soup bowl and not as underwear storage is given to us by nature? :D So when humans are born, we immediately know what to do with a bowl instinctively, we do not have to be taught or nurtured with the knowledge about how to use soup bowls?? :D

    The only stupid question is the one that you are not asking ;)

    I think you know where I might be going with this :D
     
  17. Dolph

    Man of Honour

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    Ironic you brought up the placebo effect, given that there's no understandable scientific explaination for it. it's simply a term given for something that's not understood but happens anyway and science gives the simplest explaination of the person wanted it to happen...
     
  18. cosmogenesis

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    You have to have a placebo because people could be imagining things rather than feeling real effects of anything. Science is limited in many respects as some sciences are younger than others and hence have limited value. Just because someone wants to apply newtons mecahnisms of physics to humans in the same cause and effect manner without fully understanding human physiology first of all. Plenty of evidence of bad drugs, unwanted side effects (complexities) etc.

    You cannot just mention the placebo effect as proof of your point about science not understanding everything Dolph.
     
  19. Dolph

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    Again, your lack of scientific education is showing. The placebo effect is a fudgefactor for an unexplainable effect. One that shouldn't happen given the cause, it's not understood at all, it's just a name given to observable, predictable, but unexplainable results. It's mainly used as part of blind experiments where someone is given something without an active ingredient, but if that group shows improvements against the control, that process is not yet understood.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  20. Monkey Puzzle

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    The thing is though, that the placebo effect, while not fully understood, appears magic or a fudge because people hold on to the Cartesian idea that our mind and body are separate, and so things like positive thinking, mood, stress and sleep have no bearing on how our body functions.

    It's not very well understood, but there are plausible hypotheses on how it might work. It's more the case that the supposed systems under consideration in many medical trials (with drug, placebo and control arms) are supposed to be controlled, which is pretty tricky in complex physiological systems, and multi-variate analysis is much more difficult.