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  1. #11
    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burymecloser View Post
    Read a stupid blog post and need to Ti-vent... the author has got to be an immature Fi-dom, right?
    This is incredibly ironic.

  2. #12
    Senior Member burymecloser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    There is also a substantial 'body of proof' that the sun revolves around the earth ...
    What a long post to prove you missed the point.

    This isn't about the specific example the author cited. My issue is comparing something mysterious and personal to something consistent with everything we can know about the physical laws of our universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason
    Your 'body of proof' is likely nothing but secondhand reports from scientific authorities.
    So if I do first-hand research, you'll recant your comment?

    I've actually done a lot of first-hand research on the existence of gravity. When I jump, I come back down. Also, I have a solar calendar. Works great.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason
    Let us also not forget that 'proof' does not exist in science
    Welcome to Semantics Hell.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason
    Why is it anymore a 'matter of faith' than that the earth revolves around the sun? In abstract, 'Jesus came back from the dead' is a proposition. It my be true or false. There is nothing intrinsic to such a claim that means it must be 'a matter of faith'.
    Look, I'm sorry I said mean things about your blog post. It was a really good post, ok?
    i just want to be a sweetheart

  3. #13

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    I know that this thread started off as a way to "vent" about some blog post. But I find that the ideas espoused by the lone voice choosing to disagree are fairly common.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    There is also a substantial 'body of proof' that the sun revolves around the earth. To paraphrase Wittgenstein, while it may seem obvious to a 20th Century naturalist that the earth revolves around the sun, what would it have looked like if instead the sun revolved around the earth?
    Well, I am not going to go into the history of why most people believe that the earth goes around the sun. But I know why I believe it.

    The assumptions I make are:
    1) Gravity (to a good approximation) follows Newton's Law of Gravitation (F=G*Me*Ms/R^2) where G is about 7*10^-11 m^3/(kg*s^2).
    2) The Earth and Sun have masses that can be used to evaluate this law (about 2*10^30 kg for the sun, 6*10^24 kg for the earth).
    3) The distance from the sun and earth is roughly 1.5*10^11 meters. The distance swept in a roughly circular orbit of this radius is about 9*10^11 meters.
    5) The speed of roughly circular motion is given by v=sqrt(F*R/M).
    6) There are about 3*10^7 seconds in a year.

    The conclusions are:
    1) To traverse the distance of a circular orbit with the radius given by the Sun-Earth distance in a year, the speed would need to be about 3*10^4 meters/second.
    2) If the earth goes around the sun, Ve=sqrt(F*R/Me)=sqrt(G*Ms/R) is about 3*10^4 m/s. This is about the speed given above.
    3) If the sun revolved around the earth, Vs=sqrt(F*R/Ms)=sqrt(G*Me/R) is about 50 m/s. This is much slower than we would expect for a year revolution, let alone a day.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    The vast majority of evidence--and probably all evidence gleaned from your own meagre terrestrial vantage--is consistent with both interpretations, and so it is also "proof" of neither. Your 'body of proof' is likely nothing but secondhand reports from scientific authorities.
    I am not sure how you can say this. There a lot of evidence for the assumptions that I made above, and based on those, the earth revolving around the sun is much more reasonable. The sun revolving around the earth is not tennable based on the laws of graviation, what we know about the masses of the earth and sun, and the distance between the earth and the sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Let us also not forget that 'proof' does not exist in science, at least outside of purely formal derivations from hypotheses. In science, even the most well-established hypotheses may be overturned in the future. However much 'proof' you throw around, none of it will stick.

    In the sense of justified true belief, scientific hypotheses really aren't knowledge.
    Complete mathematical proofs do not exist for the things we believe about science. But to say that proof does not exist is a bit far fetched. The logical thinking involved in mathematics is still a useful tool.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Why is it anymore a 'matter of faith' than that the earth revolves around the sun? In abstract, 'Jesus came back from the dead' is a proposition. It my be true or false. There is nothing intrinsic to such a claim that means it must be 'a matter of faith'.

    The reasons why and how people come to believe such propositions is not dictated by the proposition itself. One person might believe it while full of questions and doubt, while another believes it with an unshakable conviction. One may come to believe it because that's what his parents taught him, while and another might do the same by considered and rational argument.

    No, tha's not why we use 'religion' and 'faith' interchangeably. That might be why you do, but I would say it's just a sloppy equivocation.

    No, you can, and she did. What you offer here is not an explanation of why she is wrong but just the bald assertion thereof. Why are those views not equally valid, according to what criteria, and why should we care?

    Personally, I like the post. Many (though not all) of its criticisms of atheists and naturalists were right on target. The author's occasional descent into relativism was only partly mistaken.
    I agree with much of this. The blog post seemed relatively innocuous to me. However, propositions are a "matter of faith" if belief in them require ad-hoc hypothesizing or creating special cases to accept a proposisition. All else being equal, I prefer to not assume the truth of special exceptions to natural laws. But like the blogger pointed out, just my belief in something does not make it true.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #14
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I know that this thread started off as a way to "vent" about some blog post. But I find that the ideas espoused by the lone voice choosing to disagree are fairly common.
    You've provided an wonderful explanation of how the earth revolves around the sun--it's much better than I could do!

    In any case, what I meant when I said that the vast majority of evidence is consistent with both interpretations was, well, exactly that. One has to know a lot about the sun, the earth, basic physical laws and whatnot. Only then do we know what to look for when trying to falsify either interpretation. For most of us, with our meagre understanding and collection of observations, there isn't all that much to tell the difference. We'd need to leave the atmosphere to check if the earth was really orbiting the sun.

    Also, let us not forget the Catholic church's response to Galileo: 'the heliocentric theory is useful for predicting what we see, but what we see is just an illusion. The heliocentric theory does not actually describe reality. On the contrary, it merely describes and predicts appearances. In reality, the sun revolves around the earth, but by some unknown process the opposite just appears to be true.' All the evidence that supported Galileo's theory must also have supported the Catholic church's, since the Catholic church's theory implied that Galileo's theory would appear to be true. As a matter of logic, we can always reinterpret a theory instrumentally and maintain that something else is really true instead.

    What I'm saying here is not controversial within the philosophy of science. It's basically what is more commonly known as the underdetermination or theory-ladennes of evidence (close cousins of the problem of induction).

    Complete mathematical proofs do not exist for the things we believe about science. But to say that proof does not exist is a bit far fetched. The logical thinking involved in mathematics is still a useful tool.
    Yes, that's what I meant by 'purely formal derivations'. However, proof, in the sense of 'evidential proof', does not exist in science.

    It's worth pointing out that I know good counterarguments to all the criticisms I made in this thread. That is, I know why I'm wrong, but most people in this thread don't. They're ridiculing the person who wrote the blog post (and she did make some mistakes), but the responses here are in many respects just as ignorant.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  5. #15
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    My advice is to not read stupid blog articles.
    Tangentinially, is there anything more nihilistic than religion? To think, that this world, this life, has no meaning other than being a necessary step towards the after life...
    What's stopping me from just sitting around and waiting?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    You've provided an wonderful explanation of how the earth revolves around the sun--it's much better than I could do!

    In any case, what I meant when I said that the vast majority of evidence is consistent with both interpretations was, well, exactly that. One has to know a lot about the sun, the earth, basic physical laws and whatnot. Only then do we know what to look for when trying to falsify either interpretation. For most of us, with our meagre understanding and collection of observations, there isn't all that much to tell the difference. We'd need to leave the atmosphere to check if the earth was really orbiting the sun.

    Also, let us not forget the Catholic church's response to Galileo: 'the heliocentric theory is useful for predicting what we see, but what we see is just an illusion. The heliocentric theory does not actually describe reality. On the contrary, it merely describes and predicts appearances. In reality, the sun revolves around the earth, but by some unknown process the opposite just appears to be true.' All the evidence that supported Galileo's theory must also have supported the Catholic church's, since the Catholic church's theory implied that Galileo's theory would appear to be true. As a matter of logic, we can always reinterpret a theory instrumentally and maintain that something else is really true instead.

    What I'm saying here is not controversial within the philosophy of science. It's basically what is more commonly known as the underdetermination or theory-ladennes of evidence (close cousins of the problem of induction).

    Yes, that's what I meant by 'purely formal derivations'. However, proof, in the sense of 'evidential proof', does not exist in science.

    It's worth pointing out that I know good counterarguments to all the criticisms I made in this thread. That is, I know why I'm wrong, but most people in this thread don't. They're ridiculing the person who wrote the blog post (and she did make some mistakes), but the responses here are in many respects just as ignorant.
    The truth always rests on the assumption that we're right, even with the assumption that another is wrong. Welcome to the rest of us.

  7. #17
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    There's a few different kinds of atheist.

    Two of them are (there are more but I'm listing two)

    The type that actually don't have a belief. This is like a strong version of agnosticism.

    The other kind are the ones that have negated belief. This means that a statement can take the form of "I believe x"

    Why are these different? One actually has a belief, and the other doesn't.

    People concentrate too much on what is or isn't being believed rather than belief vs not belief, but there really is a difference between "I don't believe" and "I believe"

    "I don't believe" is clearly an expression of lack of belief, and is an entirely different predicate from "I believe." They do not say the same thing.

    You can clearly see this if you use a different predicate. One example would be "I eat cheese" vs "I don't eat cheese"

    Given that, though, how does one say that they are convinced that there is no god? It's actually very simple. This is achieved by adding a negation "I believe that there is no god."
    It's true that you can divide people like that, but is it really a meaningful distinction? I mean, what counts as a "belief" - is it being 100%, 51%, or 1% convinced that there is no god, or somewhere in between? Is there really that much difference between someone who 100 vs. 99% believes, or between 49 and 51%, between 0 and 1%?

    In your analogy, someone who says "i don't eat cheese" could mean anything from "I have never and will never eat cheese. I would die first" to "I don't eat cheese since I don't like it, but I would probably try it if I saw a cheese that looked tasty" and "I eat cheese" could mean anything from "I don't like cheese, but I'd eat it if I were really hungry" to "I would die before giving up cheese". Is there really more differences between groups than there is within the same group? If not, then the distinction isn't particularly meaningful.

    Would you count someone who says "I don't believe there is a god because evidence and logic says otherwise, but I would reconsider with new evidence and/or a good logical argument" to be a "believer" or a "non-believer" of atheism? Does it just depend how "strongly" they believe? What's the cut-off?
    -end of thread-

  8. #18
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    It's true that you can divide people like that, but is it really a meaningful distinction? I mean, what counts as a "belief" - is it being 100%, 51%, or 1% convinced that there is no god, or somewhere in between? Is there really that much difference between someone who 100 vs. 99% believes, or between 49 and 51%, between 0 and 1%?
    I don't understand why it really matters.

    In your analogy, someone who says "i don't eat cheese" could mean anything from "I have never and will never eat cheese. I would die first" to "I don't eat cheese since I don't like it, but I would probably try it if I saw a cheese that looked tasty" and "I eat cheese" could mean anything from "I don't like cheese, but I'd eat it if I were really hungry" to "I would die before giving up cheese". Is there really more differences between groups than there is within the same group? If not, then the distinction isn't particularly meaningful.
    Again I don't think it really matters. What do I care? What do you care? My goal was to only differentiate belief and non belief.

    Would you count someone who says "I don't believe there is a god because evidence and logic says otherwise, but I would reconsider with new evidence and/or a good logical argument" to be a "believer" or a "non-believer" of atheism? Does it just depend how "strongly" they believe? What's the cut-off?
    I'd call them sensible. I'd also say they're a non-believer, not a disbeliever. /story

    What I'm talking about doesn't imply strength or levels, because in the end it really just is or isn't there. If someone says "I don't eat cheese" that's good enough for me. I don't really care about the 'degree' they don't eat it because I'm not going to pester them about it.

    That's the same with "I don't believe." What do I care? If they say that, problem solved and discussion over. There is no "well you must believe something a little bit, right?" because that's just me trying to prompt them and project, wanting there to be more to the situation than is actually relevant.

  9. #19
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    My goal was to only differentiate belief and non belief.
    yeah, I know. I'm just saying that I think it's a kind of a meaningless line to draw, that's all.
    -end of thread-

  10. #20
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    yeah, I know. I'm just saying that I think it's a kind of a meaningless line to draw, that's all.
    Why? It's very meaningful and is a big difference in ontological tenability.

    Or put differently, one is an ontological conclusion and the other isn't. One says "I am convinced (to some/any degree) that God does not exist." and the other says "I actually decline to make a judgement, because I don't/can't know enough."

    That's a very big difference, especially in a world where people want you to have a stake in something. Many people want conclusive decisions such that even if you don't make one, they'll frame you as having made one anyway. Why, I don't know, but they do.

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