3653430 Views
554 Comments

Where is the evidence?

Published April 7th, 2013 by Bobby Henderson

Here’s a video that has been making the rounds.   Richard Dawkins shows great patience in interviewing Creationist Wendy Wright.  I find it painful to watch but also fascinating.



554 Responses to “Where is the evidence?”

1 26 27 28
  1. rupesh says:

    Evidence that evolution is fraud?! There is no evidence of evolution?! Lady! Look up the 9 months that a baby is made in you! It has a tail at the first few weeks! This woman is……..a fucking idiot.
    Admin @ http://www.questionpaper.org

    • Whizzard says:

      A legitimate problem with evolution is that there exist other explanations that account for the same body of evidence but reach alternative conclusions, e.g. that evolved conscious states lead to evolved physical states rather than vice-versa.

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        The best of the explanations that you mention is that the FSM created the universe 6000 years ago, but made it *seem* as if it were much, much older. The more that scientists investigate, the clearer it is that His handiwork – drunk as He was – is perfect.

        • Whizzard says:

          Apprentice Frederic,

          The FSM is an invalid analogy with respect to the conceptualization of a monotheistic god. Because the FSM is defined in terms of constraint, it is a valid analogy to a polytheistic god, but not a monotheistic one.

          With respect to a 6,000 year-old Universe, there’s simply no rational justification for this belief. Better is using extrapolation to arrive at the ~14 billion year-old age which is so commonly referenced (though this figure can change significantly depending on your location, e.g. at the event horizon of a black hole). Best is neither of these.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Whizzard,
          Since I did bite, I have to respond humbly and truthfully: I don’t understand your use of the critical and seemingly technically defined words “analogy”, “conceptualization”, and “constraint”, so will not bore you or the murderous, drunken, womanizing Rasputin (just kidding, R.!) by verbose arguing. I DO feel that explanations need not be rationally justifiable to qualify as explanations, and the FSM is on at least as firm ground as – say – Jehovah; hope you’ll appreciate a tinge of irony in that claim.

        • Whizzard says:

          Apprentice Frederic,

          Verbose? Really? I could have come in here and said, “God exists due to logical necessity,” and left it at that. Would that have given me more credibility? Of course not, and that’s because a response like that indicates that you won’t respond with the same thoughtful consideration I give to your replies, regardless of whether my explanations are short and concise or long but detailed.

          You might find it interesting that when I talk with religious people about religion, I tend to play devil’s advocate in favor of atheistic perspectives (’cause dogma). But that just gets back to the whole reason I came here in the first place. Religious debate is happening on a scale never seen before the Internet, but the vast majority (very, *very* vast majority) of people on both sides of the debate have no idea that they’re making invalid points because they selected an invalid context for the debate itself.

          Generally speaking, atheists rightfully attack the beliefs of the religious because of the piss-poor reasoning supporting them, and the religious rightfully attack the beliefs of atheists, but for the wrong reasons (that’s where the piss-poor reasoning comes in). Neither side of the debate seems to have any clue that, while exploration of the topic can yield definitive answers, empiricism is in no way suited to the task. This entire website is based off of an ‘a prori’ invalid counterargument to god that does a complete disservice to religious debate all over the world. Essentially, it’s promoting illogical thinking. If you want to revel in your smugness while being ignorantly incorrect, go right ahead.

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          “evolved conscious states lead to evolved physical states rather than vice-versa”. Yes, we can see this in gene therapy, or even proper diet. But all who believe in telekenesis, raise my hand.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Whizzrd,
          The verbosity I was speaking of was my own, not yours; sorry if that wasn’t clear. The ignorance that you speak of was also my own, but I did ask a serious – and I thought respectful – question to attempt to understand your point of view. If my post seemed smug, I am sorry, but am unsure how to repair that, which probably proves you’re right.

      • Rasputin says:

        For heaven’s sake, Whizzard – KEEP IT SHORT !!! Or else nobody wants to read it. The world’s best newspaper is The Sun in the UK, because it shortens every story to just a few paragraphs plus it’s got pictures of topless strippers on Page Three. At least until recently. The perfect newspaper for any Pastafarian.
        Having said that, I’m delighted that fellow Pastafarians have enough brain cells to argue matters of philosophy in such brain-numbing detail. I’m worried because they can’t have been fulfilling their religious obligation of drinking beer.

        • Whizzard says:

          Rasputin,

          We think with language. A non-detailed, non-specific, or arbitrary answer is a reflection of the thought process behind the statement. If it isn’t clear on paper, it probably wasn’t clear in thought. This is why I’m not a gangster rapper.

    • Trog says:

      My criticism of Ms. Wright is she has been emotionally overwhelmed beyond all objectivity while caring for a mentally vegetative relative – something she returns to repeatedly and apparently perceives as an unthinkable waste of her human existence unless she rationalizes beyond reason that a loving God endowed said relative with an immortal soul and a loving purpose for whatever traumas she’s experienced or witnessed.

      My criticism of Mr. Dawkins is he erroneously divorces his social senses of equity and compassion from the Darwinian processes of natural selection in human evolution and from the economic freedom of all individuals in a capitalist economy. Human social and liberal sensibilities such as his own are part of the natural order, and flourish when given the political and economic freedom to do so. The Darwinian society is our society – the worst of it and the best.

  2. Rasputin says:

    I admire and respect the philosophers and theologians who discuss matters on this website. There is some serious IQ at work here. Pastafarianism isn’t a spoof religion at all. Freedom produces better results than bondage. The free-thinking expressed on this website is superior to that which could be expressed inside those religions which use the buybull or the Koran. It’s remarkable that theology can be discussed at the highest level whilst also talking like a pirate. Aaaarrr.

    • Whizzard says:

      Rasputin,

      What I find particularly interesting is that he type of “dogma” stated by the Church of the FSM actually lends credibility to aspects of other world religions that are among the most harshly critiqued. Specifically, it exemplifies a self-resolving contradiction (i.e. the dogma of FSM = no dogma), and the same manner of self-resolution can be applied to apparent contradictions in other religions, such as the omnipotence paradox, etc.

  3. JJ the Aeroplaine says:

    The fundamental problem with this interview is that Richard Dawkins does not invert her pseudo-logic upon her immediately.

    One thing she continually falls back on, is that Atheism encourages us to mistreat those who we deem as not contributing to society in any meaningful way. Kind of like what the Christians are doing homosexuals, and single mothers, and abortion doctors.. etc

    She also mentions evolutionist regimes that promote infanticide… ect It is perceived she is speaking of Hitler and his constituents. This is incorrect. The Aryan race idea that National Socialism is based on is a creationist belief. According to the Nazis; the master, or Aryan race were decedents of “God’s Angels” and “Daughters of Men”. This is incompatible with evolution, and requires a supreme creator; specifically, the god of Abraham also known as the Christian “God”. From this we can extrapolate that this was not an atheist regime, but rather a branch of Abrahamic Tradition (Judeo-Christian/Islam). For more on this, please see Nephilim.

    If we accept their documented embrace of the Nephilim, then we must accept that they are intelligent designists, if not outright creationists, and identifies National Socialists not as a novel atheist regime, but as another in a long line of Christian atrocities. This gets me to my second point that Christianity is not intended to a inclusive club. What she is referring to when she points to functioning societies we can see evidence of in Uganda, where they are passing laws to put Homosexuals to death, where women are stoned to death in remote sections of the middle east when men want a divorce, the examples of Abrahamic atrocities in the modern day are overwhelming.

    The Abrahamic texts (TalMud, Bible, Al Quran) are used to sanction historic and present day atrocities. These include The Spanish Inquisition, Pogroms, Hitler’s Final solution, Boko haram, Al Qeuida, Islamic State,

    • Whizzard says:

      @JJ the Aeroplaine,

      Nice post. I’ll respond to your paragraphs in order:

      1) I think the fundamental problem with the interview is that the context of discussion shifts inappropriately without either party necessarily realizing it, although I agree that her pseudo-logic is pretty atrocious. Unfortunately, while Dawkins’ opponent is obviously ill-equipped for the debate, he discredits himself through asserting a position counter to religious explanation. He would do much better if he simply avoided such a position. As I have stated previously, empirical exploration has no business commenting upon claims of intelligent design. The end result is that Dawkins comes off a someone who does not recognize the limits of scientific exploration. He does, at times, subtly acknowledge the limits of science, but I think his personal beliefs persuade him into making some unwarranted assumptions, e.g. that the lack of evidence for the influence of intelligent design upon evolution leads to the (invalid) conclusion that there is no such influence, or that it would be silly to think that there is from *any* perspective, and not just an empirical one.

      2) I agree that it’s poor reasoning to think that a belief in atheism encourages people to treat others poorly. Religious dogma can influence people to do some pretty horrible things.

      3) I generally agree with all of what you say, here. However, what I can add is that I personally am much more interested in first being able to know what the truth is. Assuming for a second that God exists (let’s even say it’s Allah, for the sake of argument), the problem with radical Islam wouldn’t be framed as, “Hey, we need to get rid of religion if this is what it can influence people to do.” Instead, it would be more like, “Hey, God exists but that doesn’t mean people should commit such atrocities.” By this I simply mean that the way in which the behavior of the religious is framed should necessarily be at least somewhat, if not entirely, on the truth of whether God exists or not. This is especially the case if it holds true that 1) God does indeed exist, and 2) there actually is a Universal justice system from which we can derive ethics. If this is possible — and I believe it is — then it may suggest a better way to approach and rectify the problems caused by the radically religious..

      4) Refer back to #3.

      5) I personally believe in what you’re saying here, too, although I think we would differ in that I also think many religious texts do communicate (albeit largely metaphorically) valuable insight about the nature of reality, and that there is such a thing as rightful or wrongful interpretations.

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        @whizzard: hope you’ll take this as good-humored: it’s a quote from Charles L. Dodgson, a mathematician and logician, AKA Lewis Carroll, the author, as you well know:

        “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

        • Excelsior says:

          Another sage put it this way:
          That that that is is that that is not is not. That that that is not is not that that is is!

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @To The Highest, Great, thanks – HeeHee

        • Keith says:

          And Mr Wizard the Lizard used to say to Tooter Turtle “Be vat you iss, not vat you iss not: folks of this is the happiest lot”

        • Whizzard says:

          @Apprentice Frederic,

          Sure, I can take it as good-humored. And what Tweedledee is really saying is, “It is the absolute truth that, contrariwise, if it was…etc…That’s logic.” So, in order to take his quote into serious consideration, we must first acknowledge the possibility that Tweedledee’s statement is absolutely true simply based upon his (unspoken) assumption that it is, in fact, absolutely true.

          We can continue to discuss the lunacy of and fallibility of logic by simultaneously advocating for it’s clarity and infallibility, if you’d like :)

          Logic has a specific structure that necessarily avoids contradiction and soundly resolves them where they otherwise exist. If you don’t understand or aren’t aware of this structure — which is inherently algebraic — most everything else I can contribute here will fall on deaf ears.

        • Whizzard says:

          @Keith,

          Do you believe we can any insight from the following considerations?

          - If I (subject) perceive a tree (object), I am not the tree, i.e. subject =/= object.

          Thus…

          - If I (subject) perceive my body (object), I am not my body, i.e. subject =/= object.

          Thus…

          - If I (subject) am aware of my thoughts (objects), I am not my thoughts, i.e. subject =/= object.

          Or, do you think that this is just 100% semantic wordplay which, although cute, gives us no useful information about the nature of, for example, observation?

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @Whizzard, Thanks for your comments. Since I’m a jokey kind of guy, I have to say that “deaf ears” reminded me of a joke whose punch line was “Sorry, I can’t hear ya! I’ve got carrots in my ears!” (That’s me…) Hope you’ll take that as good humored. To be clear – and hopefully not too smug – I believe I am aware of some of the structure you note, and I am pretty sure that I DON’T understand it very well. My rudimentary understanding is that, at present, completeness and consistency are not compatible and not necessarily resolvable, either. My further rudimentary understanding is that the whole thing starts with axioms and proceeds to a result via manipulations with the algebraic/symbolic deductive process you allude to. In a sense, one could view balancing a checkbook or modeling hypersonic flow over a wing as just such a process. In the empirical reality of physics, the “axioms” are approximate, and the schemes for solution are approximate, too. But I think you do nevertheless underestimate the power and value of such approximations. I think I understand that you believe that the axiom/deduction process can be taken to the vastly more elevated level of logic itself and its connection to reality itself (whatever that is!). It would help me – deaf as I am – to see axioms, detailed reasoning, and actual results written down. The literature of logic is likely to be overwhelming for a dilettante/parvenu/arriviste, but perhaps you could direct me to published details, rather than let yourself be further importuned.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          PS: If I am aware of myself, should I conclude that I am not myself?

        • Whizzard says:

          @Apprentice Frederic,

          Great reply. I look forward to responding in more detail after work.

          For now, I’ll leave you with a primer to consider which will help set the context for my post(s) to follow:

          Responding to your question about whether being aware of yourself implies you are not yourself, this is exactly the type of question I was hoping to receive as a follow-up to my previous post.

          The leading questions of my previous post are obviously designed to show that, while we use a certain type of reasoning to discern where the boundaries of our “selves” actually terminates, people in general don’t extend this same line of reasoning to places where it still should clearly apply. People generally do conclude, whether by practical consideration or a total lack of insight, that they are the same as their body, even though these same people would also conclude they are not a tree. However, what’s particularly interesting is that the structure of logic allows for the possibility that one can reach opposing conclusions that are both true in a certain context (for simplicity, let’s call this the syntax level), and simultaneously false in another (let’s call this the object level). I’ll expand upon this later, but for now, the “too long, don’t read” version is that logic allows for truth to operate at different levels, and, again for simplicity, we can call these levels the “absolute” level and the “relative” level. Statements made at the object level are “relative” to the “absolute” level of description, and the “absolute” level of description is, well, absolute, *relative to the object level*

          Shifting to the validity of logic in general, the general problem I’m picking up on is that you aren’t convinced that there must be some analogue of truth which necessarily corresponds to reality. The inevitable result of making such an assumption (correct me if you aren’t) is that the assumption itself must be regarded as only relatively true, and therefore we remove any chance of making a concrete decision one way or another as to whether that assumption has any external reliability. At this point, we could shrug off such an assumption as, quite literally, “absolutely meaningless.” This in itself presents a contradiction: if the relative assumption is in fact “absolutely meaningless” we therefore can’t even conclude with absolute certainly the assumption is relative at all (thereby rendering the assumption itself invalid). But, if instead we maintain that our relative assertion is not absolutely meaningless, then here, too, we contradict the relative assumption (i.e. by deferring to absolutism which was assumed to be an impossibility).

          Basically, when you regress as far as you can, you will eventually run into an apparent contradiction no matter if you start from a relative or absolute vantage point. My following post will attempt to clarify how to resolve these contradictions (actually, logic necessitates that all contradictions be automatically be resolved where they exist; I’ll try to shift our awareness into the means by which this is possible. As a cliff-hanger, I’ll just conclude for now by suggesting that both logic and reality are closed systems/sets (note: so-called naive set theory has more validity than people think), and furthermore are “self-referential.” That is, all that is needed for logic and reality to exist is internally supplied and self-contained. In other words, reality confirms the existence of reality, and sound logic (i.e. a predicate for truth) confirms the existence of sound logic.

        • Keith says:

          Whizzard: Firstly I am not a philosopher or a theologian. Perhaps if I lived on a mountain top and “cultivated my way” for the next hundred years, I could give you a clever answer.
          I don’t have to perceive a tree to know I am not a tree. Most things about me are decidedly untreeish except for my genetic code which undoubtedly has similarities. Perhaps sometime back in the Pre Cambrian I could have been closer in composition to something that would give rise to a tree but as it happens I live in the Holocene.
          If I perceive my body it is because my brain and nerve endings are processing electrical currants and chemical changes produced by my brain and body. When my body dies my brain dies with it, along with my sense of perception: as far as I know, that is.
          If I am aware of my thoughts it means that I am still thinking. If I am not aware of my thoughts I’d be brain dead.
          My body and my thoughts are parts of me. Without my thoughts I am still legally me until my body dies, I am certified as dead and I rot or go down the chute.

        • Keith says:

          I spelled “currents” incorrectly. I am also not a scientist.

        • SillyKiwiMan says:

          I am a scientist. A biologist to be precise, certainly not a linguist. Whizzard is fond of wordy statements that don’t actually present evidence for his belief in a god, but attempts to get us to admit we may be wrong (which we already do), making him right by default. He has yet to make a compelling argument let alone contribute anything interesting.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @SKM: Succinctly put. The AIW quote above was meant to suggest merely that words are slippery at best, and using them super-carefully is either a full-time job or a waste of time, depending on your point of view. In computer-land, B(5) is neither a number nor the name of a number, but a symbol for the location of the representation of the number in storage. Most of us don’t need to care, fortunately. “Myself” is a good example of that problem in the philosophy in question. Thus, I take leave of this discussion – but not, I hope from the distinguished company of Pastafarian communicants – with a final quote found from Alice in Wonderland: “I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”

        • Whizzard says:

          @SilkyKiwiMan

          I am not a scientist, but I have submitted research proposals to the APA board and have used many types of statistical analysis. On a side note, I find it ironic that the one research proposal that I submitted which the board denied was because it simply hadn’t been done before. There were no ethical problems or otherwise, but I simply had no one to cite. In this case, “peer-reviewed” became more like “our understanding of what that other guy said.”

          I’m also not a philosopher or a linguist, at least in the formal sense. As it turns out, this is probably a good thing in that there’s a relatively large amount of unsound publication in the field.

          I believe I conceded elsewhere that I don’t directly try to prove God exists. This route is essentially impossible because it runs directly into the fallacy of inductiion (see Hume).

          The only way I know of to prove God exists to others is indirectly. First, I start out with a preconception of what God is (e.g. omnipotent; the Creator). Then I temporarily forget I made that preconception in the first place. Then, I aim to identify the most fundamental truths of reality. Finally, I retrieve my original preconception of God and hold it up against these truths and see if they are similar. If the fundamental truths necessitate an omnipotent creator, for example, then I can practically conclude God exists. But the word “God” doesn’t need to be in the picture at all. Introducing the preconception is just for fun lol.

          What I can directly show, however, is that absolute truth exists, and also what some characteristics of that truth are that necessitate an omnipotent creator. If you don’t want to consider it in a theistic context, I don’t have to, either, and the rest of everything I said will still hold the same. I’m just interested in understanding truth at the height of generality, and that’s what I’m generally talking about.

          Also, a lot of what I’m saying is about proving other ideas which themselves are required to show an omnipotent creator exists.

        • Whizzard says:

          @Apprentice Frederic,

          Why are you leaving the discussion when my last post clearly indicated that I wasn’t going to respond to your previous post thoroughly thereafter?

          You state: “@Whizzard, Thanks for your comments. Since I’m a jokey kind of guy, I have to say that “deaf ears” reminded me of a joke whose punch line was “Sorry, I can’t hear ya! I’ve got carrots in my ears!” (That’s me…) Hope you’ll take that as good humored.”

          I don’t mind joking as long as I feel the time and consideration I put into my responses are responded to with equal consideration (or, contrarily, if they are not given equal consideration then I would hope they wouldn’t be dismissed as fallacious).

          You state: “To be clear – and hopefully not too smug – I believe I am aware of some of the structure you note, and I am pretty sure that I DON’T understand it very well. My rudimentary understanding is that, at present, completeness and consistency are not compatible and not necessarily resolvable, either.”

          I’ll quote a couple passages from Christopher Langan, here:

          “To demonstrate the existence of undecidability, Gödel used a simple trick called self-reference. Consider the statement “this sentence is false.” It is easy to dress this statement up as a logical formula. Aside from being true or false, what else could such a formula say about itself? Could it pronounce itself, say, unprovable? Let’s try it: “This formula is unprovable”. If the given formula is in fact unprovable, then it is true and therefore a theorem. Unfortunately, the axiomatic method cannot recognize it as such without a proof. On the other hand, suppose it is provable. Then it is self-apparently false (because its provability belies what it says of itself) and yet true (because provable without respect to content)! It seems that we still have the makings of a paradox…a statement that is “unprovably provable” and therefore absurd.

          But what if we now introduce a distinction between levels of proof? For example, what if we define a metalanguage as a language used to talk about, analyze or prove things regarding statements in a lower-level object language, and call the base level of Gödel’s formula the “object” level and the higher (proof) level the “metalanguage” level? Now we have one of two things: a statement that can be metalinguistically proven to be linguistically unprovable, and thus recognized as a theorem conveying valuable information about the limitations of the object language, or a statement that cannot be metalinguistically proven to be linguistically unprovable, which, though uninformative, is at least no paradox. Voilà: self-reference without paradox! It turns out that “this formula is unprovable” can be translated into a generic example of an undecidable mathematical truth.”

          And…

          “Gödel used the term incompleteness to describe that property of axiomatic systems due to which they contain undecidable statements. Essentially, he showed that all sufficiently powerful axiomatic systems are incomplete by showing that if they were not, they would be inconsistent. Saying that a theory is “inconsistent” amounts to saying that it contains one or more irresolvable paradoxes. Unfortunately, since any such paradox destroys the distinction between true and false with respect to the theory, the entire theory is crippled by the inclusion of a single one. This makes consistency a primary necessity in the construction of theories, giving it priority over proof and prediction. A cognitive-theoretic model of the universe would place scientific and mathematical reality in a self-consistent logical environment, there to await resolutions for its most intractable paradoxes.”

          And finally…

          “How, then, can we ever form a true picture of reality? There may be a way. For example, we could begin with the premise that such a picture exists, if only as a “limit” of theorization (ignoring for now the matter of showing that such a limit exists). Then we could educe categorical relationships involving the logical properties of this limit to arrive at a description of reality in terms of reality itself. In other words, we could build a self-referential theory of reality whose variables represent reality itself, and whose relationships are logical tautologies. Then we could add an instructive twist. Since logic consists of the rules of thought, i.e. of mind, what we would really be doing is interpreting reality in a generic theory of mind based on logic. ”

          “My further rudimentary understanding is that the whole thing starts with axioms and proceeds to a result via manipulations with the algebraic/symbolic deductive process you allude to.”

          Starting with axioms and working deductively won’t do you or anyone else any good — at least as far as synthesizing completeness and decidability is concerned — unless you have a way of relating those statements back to the fundamental characteristics of logic that enabled them in the first place. Sure, I use axioms and deductive reasoning along the way, but it needs to be tautological (e.g. A –> B –> C –> A –> … ). All support for the entire model must be self-contained.

          “In a sense, one could view balancing a checkbook or modeling hypersonic flow over a wing as just such a process. In the empirical reality of physics, the “axioms” are approximate, and the schemes for solution are approximate, too. But I think you do nevertheless underestimate the power and value of such approximations.”

          I would point out that the the laws governing physical processes are non-empirical and exact (this is true even if we allow the possibility for laws to change over time, because that which is governed changes relative to the law). If we approximate with a margin of error, it’s because of perceptual error or mismeasurement. But logic itself is the predicate by which way are able to discover and model these laws in the first place, and so we can skip over the whole approximation problem by going straight to logic. Specifically, we can avoid the approximation issue because logic, being the predicate upon which our empirical knowledge is based, can be used to reason about the nature of those empirical data in terms of the mind(s) that know them.

          You state: “I think I understand that you believe that the axiom/deduction process can be taken to the vastly more elevated level of logic itself and its connection to reality itself (whatever that is!). It would help me – deaf as I am – to see axioms, detailed reasoning, and actual results written down. The literature of logic is likely to be overwhelming for a dilettante/parvenu/arriviste, but perhaps you could direct me to published details, rather than let yourself be further importuned.

          Some of the ideas and much of the synthesis thereof comes from Christopher Langan’s self-published (i.e. outside the academic arena) work found at http://www.ctmu.org. He’s kind of a pompous jackass, but I think he has a hell of a theoretic model. I am aware of much of the criticism his theory has received, but I haven’t yet found any really substantive rebuttals, mostly because the rebuttals clearly show misunderstanding of his theory.

          A common critique I’ve seen is disdain for his use of so-called “Naive Set Theory,” but to my understanding his theory supersedes the critique. The theory itself is >50 pages and incredibly difficult to get through, mostly because he ‘creates’ a few words which he uses to explain and support his model which, although are proper in the sense that he logically adjoins various pre- and postfixes to root words, make reading the thing a true pain in the ass. It might help to explore the other stuff on the site first, especially since you’ll probably say “f*ck this!” after reading the first paragraph or three of his theory.

          In my own words — and this is something I think is actually fairly self-evident — reality is defined logically, and so it’s nature is inherently logical.

          Let’s say you get bopped on the head and are suddenly unconscious. In that unconscious state, there is no reality. There is no mind which exists to even say a reality does or does not exist. There is simply nothing that can be said about it whatsoever, and that is because there is a total lack of any definition. This is where people always make the mistake of, for example, assuming that reality continues to exist when they go to sleep, whether it’s because things seem to predictably change pre- and post-sleep or whether others who were awake can tell them it existed or even show them videos of them sleeping. This, however, violates occam’s razor. We are introducing a necessary assumption that reality continues to exist in the absence of perception, and it is always more accurate to conclude that no individual can ever claim reality does or does not persist while they are unconscious. Thus, in the absence of any perception, there’s simply nothing relevant to say.

          Prior to perception, there is no mechanism by which reality can be defined. There is nothing to make any distinction or difference. Not even binary logic is applicable, here. There is no means by which it can be asserted that 1/yes, existence or 0/no, not-existence. Definition is the axiomatic result of abstract metrics; you wanted axioms, and metrics are abstract scales of measurement that define (often spatial) relationships. The fundamental metric that gives rise to definition within physical reality is the abstract metric of perception, i.e. 1/yes, perception, or 0/no, no perception.

        • Whizzard says:

          Meh…I meant “was” in my first sentence :)

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @Whizzard: Apologies. Your response was thoughtful, for which thank you. I did pursue the Christopher Langan link and between it and your further words, found the (reasonably) complete response I wished for. I do believe that the position amounts to very sophisticated wordplay, but my IQ is possibly less than half of Langan’s REAL IQ, let alone the advertised one. If Stephen Hawking likes Langan, I’m gonna butt out.

        • Whizzard says:

          @Apprentice Frederic,

          I can’t help but notice that you do not present many specific counterpoints. Is this because you are unfamiliar with logical debate? Is it because that you have a blurry understanding of what I’m saying, or am I not being clear? It it a combination of all these things? Or, perhaps some reason not included here?

          Don’t worry about the IQ stuff. We both know that numbers like that don’t support actual ideas. Although, IQ is fascinating to me. I remember reading through certain puzzles specifically designed for elite high-IQ societies, and I especially enjoyed some of the chess puzzles. It’s pretty astonishing to see people solving “mate in 53″ chess puzzles (i.e. calculating and visualizing to find the only means of forcing checkmate, 53 moves in advance).

          I’d like to refocus on one specific type of scenario which I believe demonstrates the fragility of what we might call “common sense.” Suppose, again,, that you are bopped on the head and knocked unconscious. If you just want to imagine yourself sleeping, that’s fine, too.

          Now suppose that you want to make some kind of true statement about reality after you make up. Specifically, let’s suppose that you want to make a true statement about reality during the time at which you were unconscious/asleep.

          So, you might say, “While I was unconscious/asleep, reality still existed.” To that, I may reply, “What evidence or proof do you have?” At this point, it would be likely that you would simply ask someone to confirm for you that reality still existed, or that you might go online and find news articles posted during the time you were asleep, or that you might have set up a video tape to record yourself sleeping for visual confirmation.

          The problem is that all of these scenarios make unnecessary assumptions, and violate Occam’s Razor. In case you’re not familiar with it, Occam’s Razor suggests that the best explanation is one that, given a set of data, introduces the fewest assumptions.

          No matter how you square it, for one to claim that reality continued to exist while he was asleep is making an unsound claim. Instead, the best reply is just something like, “There is no applicable statement that I can make about reality while under such conditions.”

          “But…that guy told me he saw me sleeping the whole time, so reality must have existed!”

          No, he could have lied to you.
          “But…the news articles online! And don’t forget the tape of me sleeping!”

          No, maybe reality simply disappeared with your going unconscious only to pop back into existence. Maybe no news articles were written and no tapes recorded, but that it only appears that they were when in fact reality popped back into existence with both the articles and the recorded tape.

          Basically, the articles are evidence of articles, the video tape is evidence of a video tape with a recording on it, and “that guy” is evidence of a guy saying stuff.

          It seems we have two choices: 1) We can assume reality continued to exist based upon “that guy,” the articles, and the video tape, or 2) We introduce no assumptions and simply state, “there is no applicable statement to be made given such conditions.” Both solutions explain all the data, but only one of them introduces an assumption.

          Which answer do you think is better (or best)?

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @Whizzard, Yes, I am unfamiliar with logical debate; yes, my understanding of the points you are making is blurry. Yes, I have heard of Occam’s razor – including the electric one. I have already apologized to you – sincerely – and I now add sincere apologies to all others for a broken promise (that will be repaired) to leave the discussion rather than prolong what I do fear is unproductive for anybody. Regarding the sleep/unconscious parable you adduced, my sad response is only to quote a philosophy instructor I had long ago: “It is always embarrassing when two solipsists meet on the street.”

        • Whizzard says:

          @Apprentice Frederic,

          It appears that I’m spinning my wheels. If you’re going to invoke solipsism after this many posts, then it’s pretty clear that I’m up against an army of straw men. This is what happens when you forget all consideration of things I’ve stated in previous pots. At the very least, I was hoping that there might be some questions like, “Can you explain what you mean ‘here’ because it seems to conflict with what you mean ‘there?’”

          So instead, perhaps I could learn something from you:

          Let’s assume the premise that logic can be used make statements about both 1) reality, and 2) itself. I don’t think you would take issue with this premise.

          Let’s also assume the premise that I made use of logic to form statements about reality, and you made use of logic to form statements about my use of logic in forming statements about reality.

          Given these considerations, could you please explain to me the reasoning by which you are able to conclude that logic is incapable of explaining reality at the height of generality, but that, somehow, you are also able to conclude that your own use of logic can be raised to a level of such explanatory power such that you are able to make an absolute statement about the limits of real theorization?

          Basically, it appears as though you’re self-apparently shooting your point-of-view in the foot by failing to acknowledge the significance you place on your own use of logic (i.e. you are comfortable making absolute claims about when logic can be made applicable to reality and when it cannot) while dismissing the significance I place on mine. Consider, again, that ‘BOTH’ of us are making definitive statements about the relationship between logic and reality, and you’re suggesting that I can’t, but you can.

          …Puzzling.

    • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

      “Atheism encourages us to mistreat those who we deem as not contributing to society in any meaningful way.” Really? What is the foundation for that? Here in the U.S., you might say that compassion for the “unproductive” and atheism are the province of the left, while fundamental Christianity and disdain for those unfortunates can be found on the right.

      Speaking as an atheist, I don’t have those inclinations, nor do I have some rabbi/imam/priest or minister telling me how to think.

      • Excelsior says:

        Anyone who needs to have someone else (God or his lackies) to tell him what is right and what is wrong is a retarded imbecile and a menace to society! They say that without religion men would be beasts! Is that so? Why do religions (excepting Pastafarian) call on followers to murder those of other religions? (even religions with the same God like Judaism and Islam) Even different cults of the same religion (like Sunnis and Shiites)Throughout the centuries almost half a billion people have died in “Holy” wars!
        Take the Bible OT for instance. There is only one sentence telling you not to murder (in the 10 Commandments). However there are dozens of other verses commanding you to murder, plunder, enslave, take sex slaves, etc.
        Actually there is only one valuable standard for human behavior in the Bible, namely the Golden Rule! However Christ didn’t invent it. It was invented by the Chinese sage Confucius 550 years before Christ was born and has nothing to do with religion!!
        I strongly advise FMS to incorporate the Golden Rule in his Bible. Look it up in Confucius’ teachings.

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          There was a slogan back in the day, “If it feels good, do it”, that was greatly misunderstood. Instead of being a call to hedonism (that I largely heeded :-) ), it can mean “listen to your conscience rather than someone else’s list of rules”. If you’d feel bad later, don’t do it.

  4. Excelsior says:

    Look out, Big Brother is watching!
    All gods (except FSM) Attach an Intensive Surveilance Camera (ISC) on you at birth. It records all you activities throughout your life to see if you’re elligible to go to heaven. (Orwell in his “1984″ probably got his idea for “Big Brother” from here! The ISC is super-cutting edge, it can even read your mind and see your dreams! It doesn’t miss a thing! Some religions like Judaism and Islam are very strict about what you eat and how you eat it. They are also finicky about pissing, crapping and bathing so that the ISC will go to the toilet with you. The ISC doesn’t miss a thing. When you’re having sex, there it is making sure you’re doing it the correct way and aren’t sneakily using condoms which will banish you to hell! These gods don’t trust anybody.
    The FSM doesnt do this sort of thing. He has trust in his followers. He lets them use their conscience as a guide! The Golden Rule is also a way to tell good from bad.

    • Rasputin says:

      Excelsior, reading your words is liberating. Yahweh, Jehova and Allah are narcissistic control freaks. The FSM is freedom. Oh, joy.

  5. Excelsior says:

    Dear Rasputin,
    We’re lucky to be living in the age of FSM! I don’t see how anyone would want to worship in any other religion!

    • Rasputin says:

      I saw the 1954 film, “Long John Silver” today, with the splendid Robert Newton talking like a prate. There is a bit where a dishonest pastor breaks his word. Long John says,
      “Sometimes them that quotes the bible have less bible in them than them that don’t”.
      Lots of buybull-thumpers are deceitful hypocrites.
      I’m happier to believe people who claim the world was created by a flying spaghetti monster. Clearly such persons are logical and possess common sense.
      Aaarrrhh.

      • Rasputin says:

        Sorry, I said “prate”. Of course I meant “parrot”.

      • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

        Later in the 50s Newton actually did The Adventures of Long John Silver for a couple of years. I was fascinated, probably because this was the first TV “hero” who wasn’t squeaky clean.

  6. Trog says:

    My criticism of Ms. Wright is she has been emotionally overwhelmed beyond all objectivity while caring for a mentally vegetative relative – something she returns to repeatedly and apparently perceives as an unthinkable waste of her human existence unless she rationalizes beyond reason that a loving God endowed said relative with an immortal soul and a loving purpose for whatever traumas she’s experienced or witnessed.

    My criticism of Mr. Dawkins is he erroneously divorces his social senses of equity and compassion from the Darwinian processes of natural selection in human evolution and from the economic freedom of all individuals in a capitalist economy. Human social and liberal sensibilities such as his own are part of the natural order, and flourish when given the political and economic freedom to do so. The Darwinian society is our society – the worst of it and the best.

1 26 27 28

Leave a Reply