No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 4 years, 3 months ago to Technology
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It appear that science is never settled. I have to wonder though - perhaps its my human limitation - how something could always be without ever beginning? Interesting position, it kind of makes you wonder about God.
SOURCE URL: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html


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  • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 3 months ago
    As long as this answer is, it is the short answer and it does not make me wonder about a god.

    First state your terms. In metaphysics the word “universe” means the total of that which exists. Within the universe, the emergence of new entities can be explained in terms of the actions of entities that already exist. To quote Nathaniel Branden:

    “To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction. If the cause exists, it is part of existence. If it does not exist, it cannot be a cause. Nothing cannot be the cause of something. Nothing does not exist. Causality presupposes existence, existence does not presuppose causality. There can be no cause outside of existence or anterior to it. The forms of existence may change and evolve. The fact of existence is the irreducible primary at the base of all casual change.

    “Just as the concept of causality applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole, so the concept of time applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole.

    “In other words, the universe did not “begin,” it did not at some point in time “spring” into being. Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is in the universe, the universe is not in time.

    “The person who asks: Where did existence come from? Or, What caused it? Is the man who has never grasped that existence exists. This is the mentality of a savage or a mystic who regards existence as some sort of incomprehensible miracle and seeks to explain it by reference to non-existence.

    “Existence is all that exists. Non-existence does not exist. There is nothing for existence to have come out of. And nothing means nothing.

    “If you are tempted to ask what’s outside the universe, recognize you are asking what’s outside of existence. And, that the idea of something outside of existence is a contradiction in terms. Nothing is outside of existence, and nothing is not just another kind of something, it is nothing. Existence exists. You cannot go outside it, you cannot get under it, on top of it, or behind it. Existence exists and only existence exists. There is no where else to go.”
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    • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
      Hello, Esceptico,

      If I could, I would give you at least a dozen more points. It is just an expression of how much I agree with you.

      I think that we will eventually learn quite clearly that universe had no "beginning" and thus dispense with the "need" of its "creation" and a "creator".

      Recently, in another post, we discussed a theory, which, in my opinion, quite plausibly, explained how thermodynamic "force" may have lead to the beginning of life on the basis of DNA. From there, evolution of living organisms takes over. Ever heard of Darwin? ;-) To me, that clearly explains that "the force of life" is a property of existing universe.

      In my opinion, all the "knowledge" is based on ability of rational animals to observe, perceive, conceptualize, analyze, communicate and record. The most interesting question for me is what will evolution produce after homo sapiens?

      Since we now know beyond doubt that each individual is unrepeatable unique existent, the rational self-interest is another expression of that force of life, i.e. a collection of properties of the universe, the only existence that exists.

      I reread this as a protection from thick fingers and realized that I better explain what I mean by "force of life". To me, that means the obvious "drive" to persist, reproduce and propagate.

      What do you think?

      All the best!
      Maritimus
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    • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
      I am often reminded of a question posed by a simple man, a friend of mine who manages a Grocery store.

      Who created Time? When did time begin? and Who and when did they/he say it starts ... NOW!!! Can you have negative time? Can you travel before time began? Time moves forward from when?

      Causality indicated that there was a beginning. Cause - Effect.

      The Cause would be the beginning the "effect: everything that came after.

      Can light exist without darkness? Can up exist without down? Can the Universe exist without _________"
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      • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
        I am sorry to say it, by there is no logic in the statement that causality indicates existence of a beginning.

        There is some sense of truth in the statement: "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

        Also, from what we know, what you call "light" is a narrow slice of electromagnetic radiation which human eyes can perceive. If you could see infrared spectrum, you might not have a good concept of "darkness".

        Jus my opinions.
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      • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 3 months ago
        I can understand these questions from a simple grocer but not a grocer who actually has any intellectual curiousity, someone with even a small education in philosophy. These questions are answered eloquently in The Basic Principles of Objectivism course and devoting space here to those questions does not enhance the discourse.
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        • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
          The point I was making is that for all the "science" all the math, all the work that goes into trying to answer these questions. Nobody REALLY knows for a 100% positive certainty anything.

          There is the biggest question to me? If there is no Creator, and this was all random accident with no purpose, why do people bother wasting their time trying to figure it out and expending any effort at all on it? Since there is NO point to it.
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          • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 3 months ago
            The fact there is no creator does not equal random accident. This is the fallacy of the false alternative. Regarding certainty, one must act upon the knowledge one has, and beliefs must always be subject to reexamination upon the presentation of credible evidence. Until such evidence is presented, work with what you have.
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            • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
              Yes, you have to act on the knowledge you have -- we can't do anything else -- but that doesn't leave it all open as "knowledge" without objective standards and proper methods. Making a mistake is one thing, and it must be corrected when discovered, but knowledge is an expansion on what we know, not a sequence of exploded fallacies unearthed by observations refuting what you thought you knew. The certainty you have is a based on the context of your knowledge and how you attained it, not an assumed omniscience without regard to context. Part of the correct method is to reject claims without evidence as irrelevant. I suspect that you agree with that.
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            • -1
              Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
              Huh? If what exists isn't merely some consequence of random action, you are saying that there was some "intelligent design." Whatever you want to call that, most consider that God.
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              • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 3 months ago
                Depends, I guess, upon how you define "random." If you are using the commonly understood definition or a more technical one.
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Random, as in not caused by any specific directed action, but as a consequence of unintended action - and in which other action was possible (not necessarily equally likely, merely possible).
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            • -4
              Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
              "The fact there is no creator ". That is not fact. That is theory. Just like I cannot PROVE God exists, you cannot PROVE he does not, therefore your claiming this as fact is not correct.

              However there is ONE fact here, that you BELIEVE there is no creator. That is indeed fact. Just as I BELIEVE there IS a creator that also is a fact.
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              • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
                It's a fact that arbitrary assertions are cognitively worthless, just as if they had never been said. That is all it takes to reject it out of hand.

                One cannot even begin to discuss whether something might be fact without explanation of the validity of the concepts employed, their source, and how they are being used.
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              • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 3 months ago
                I respectfully think you miss my point. Also, you need to distinguish the technical difference between hypothesis and theory. Have you listened to the 20 lecture series of Basic Principles of Objectivism? It is also now in print. Specifically, check Lecture 4 for the answers to everything you have raised here.
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                • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Should have been not

                  "The fact there is no creator does not equal random accident. "

                  Should have been...
                  "The ALTERNATIVE response 'there is no creator' does not equal random accident."

                  FIFY....
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              • Posted by mdant 4 years, 3 months ago
                I think Esceptico is missing your point. You are 100% correct. These things can not be proven so no one really knows for sure. I am not sure why the "Principles of Objectivism" is being quoted like they are the ultimate authority. It reminds me of devoted religious people that believe the answers in the bible are the ultimate answer that can not be questioned. I question everything!
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                • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
                  You clearly do not understand Objectivism or science. Objectivism is not like the bible, its like citing a text on physics. Knowledge builds on itself and Objectivism is built on reality, logic and reason, on Aristotle and Locke. You are on a website that is about these principles If you have an logical or reasoned argument as to why these are incorrect in this situation, then state it instead of whining.
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                  • Posted by mdant 4 years, 3 months ago
                    Ok, I thought the logic was self evident but apparently not so I will explain it.

                    First for the example of the illogical. Suppose I were to say that God existed and you said he did not. I then say prove he does not exist. Of course you could not and then I say "see you can't prove he does not exist so therefore he must exist".

                    That I think we can all agree is a common error of logic. Your failure to prove God does not exist in now way gives any proof that he does. However, what I am saying is exactly that...your failure to prove God exists and the other persons failure to prove God does exist is simply an exercise in futility. In the end he has been given absolutely no proof of God. But also, you have been given absolutely no proof of the absence of God.

                    The error in logic that I think I hear being made by some is that they seem to think that since you can not prove a negative (that a possibly mythical person exists), that this in some way, shape, or fashion, provides comfort in saying God does not exist. Which of course it would be illogical to do so since the whole exercise was futile and proved nothing.

                    That said, it does not mean that you can not analyze what we do know and come to the conclusion that you believe God does not exists and carry yourself appropriately. However, that is an entirely different thing from having proof and being able to tell people that you know God does not exist. All you have is an educated guess that you are acting on because it is the best information you have. I personally believe there is some "force" but do not believe it is likely to be anything like we think of as God (basically because I think all religions have been made up to help people deal with life and death).

                    There you go and I hope you understand now. As to whether or not this is in line with Objectivism teachings or not I could not care less. I examine things and apply logic and "know what I see" as to quote one of the hero's of Atlas Shrugged.
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          • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
            "The point I was making is that for all the "science" all the math, all the work that goes into trying to answer these questions. Nobody REALLY knows for a 100% positive certainty anything. "

            I've been saying this here and elsewhere forever. Never rule out absolutely the presence/existence of God. There is plenty of room in Rand's Objectivism for the unknown and/or unquantifiable to be respectful to others who may believe in God or intelligent design.
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            • 10
              Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
              Wouldn't it be just fine to answer some questions with "I do not know." instead of saying that it must be doings of some god?
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              • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
                No, its individual choice. Just as its easy to say I don't know and insist that there isn't some God.

                I don't ridicule anyone for what they believe (except muslims) and would hope the same
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                • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Would you agree that individuals can, and often do, make wrong (or mistaken?) choices.
                  You seem to believe that I tried to ridicule your beliefs? I can assure you that it was never my intention to do that. I think that you may be responding to my, in your opinion, inadequate respect for such beliefs.
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                  • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
                    No, I didn't believe you had. I do however think that both sides use the same argument against the other. One persons prophet is another persons fool and visa versa. Every philosophy has their prophet (teacher, proclaimer of the word/way) even objectivity. To me there is no conflict and neither is more right than the other.

                    I'm all for saying the jury is out so why make a definitive statement. And yes, anyone can make mistakes and wrong choices.
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                    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
                      All "prophets" are "fools", and so are the people who follow them. It isn't how one obtains knowledge, but it has nothing to do with teachers. Knowledge is a correct identification of reality, regardless of whether it is original or explained by a teacher and understood by the student. No philosophy of a "prophet" is more right than another because under the method of following prophets by faith there is no knowledge at all.
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            • Posted by  $  Mimi 4 years, 3 months ago
              I’m going to point you up for that. AJ because that was actually the point Ayn Rand made in a televised interview. Spirituality has its place value in summing up mankind. I’m good with that.

              Robbie on the other hand is getting on my last nerve.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 3 months ago
    I've watched this discussion for a while now and feel that I must add some information for clarity. The Big Bang Theory at it's base relies on three main legs. The first, most people think is of Hubble's work published in 1929 originating the concept of redshift in the spectrum of light recorded from what was supposedly measured by Hubble. That is in fact not the whole story as they say. The expanding universe was originated in the Catholic Church by an Abbott and amateur astronomer named Georges Lemaitre who in 1924 coined the description of the Universe as beginning from a 'primordial atom', which somehow exploded and drove the galaxies apart. Somehow that idea was conflated with mathematical cosmology and astrophysics to derive the expanding Universe originating from the exploding 'primordial atom' of the Catholics and to explain what everyone thought Hubble had determined through supposed redshift. Interestingly, Hubble never accepted that explanation for his work even though Hubble's Law was coined from the explanation.

    The second leg of the theory is mathematical (some of which is intricately beautiful in it's derivation and complexity) cosmology and model driven astrophysics in place of obversataonal data.

    And the third leg consists of misinterpreting or just plain not including the work of Hubble, Hoyle, and Arp. All of whom, with many others, did not accept the expanding Universe and argued quite strenuously against the purely mathematical and model driven cosmology and astrophysics of the 20th Century.

    Much of the purely theoretical and model driven physics, cosmology, and astrophysics have all encountered similar problems when attempting to compare to any actual observational and experimental work, requiring the addition of things such as dark matter and energy, zero point energy, and various others--all that seem to rely on the concept of consensus science. A total and complete misnomer and oxymoron in my opinion.

    Tossing God in and out of what is essentially a scientific exercise only confuses the issues.

    There simply does not exist at this date, any reality driven hypothesis for the major questions of these three sciences that
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  • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I think that it is a shame and potentially a symptom of a deadly disease for this blog that we have been mostly arguing, in this post and several others, about religious tenets. I find it personally offensive when some of the participants here claim that some of the others partake in the Objectivist religion worshiping Ayn Rand. Nonsense!

    I am running out of patience.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      A handful of religionists are arguing for their religion, and it most certainly does not belong here. The rest of us are simply rejecting it and explaining certain philosophical concepts and their proper application and relation to the physical science. Understanding concepts such as "time" is very important, but it stops before plunging into Cartesian rationalism and speculating what the physics "must" be. Philosophy is not physics.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
        There is a philosophy of science and science including physics cannot exist without it, which by the way is one of the problems with many areas of science today.
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        • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
          It seems to me that a major contributing factor to the problems with science today is the way it is funded and corruption that follows.
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          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
            Government coercive intervention corrupts everything. But both that and very bad ideas on philosophy of science have a common source in corrupt basic philosophical ideas.

            One of the worst examples we have seen of a new corruption on a very fundamental level was Bush's horrifying attempt to stifle stem cell research on religious grounds. The government takes the money in taxes, then decides what research is worthy of getting some of it back, then imposed religious criteria in an escalation of irrationality.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago
              I am not disagreeing with you on Bush regarding stem cell research. However, the net result of that decision was that groups in Japan and the UK came up with a much cheaper and less ethically challenged methodology for inducing pluripotency in stem cells. While your point is correct, you could have picked a better example.
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    • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
      Amusing. The implication of a universe without end is a threat to this blog, dare i say Randian Objectivisam? Integral in the heart of every human being is the notion, whether you believe in afterlife or not, that there is a beginning and an end to all things - there is permanence. The Big Bang was science's "theory", which many portray strenuously as fact, used to counter creation, no? When someone speaks of Creation here or anywhere they are slapped in the face with the Big Bang by many who seek nothing more than to belittle for not towing the prevalent conventional wisdom. Suddenly an eternal God is matched by an eternal universe? So everlasting is possible after all? See what I'm getting at?

      Personally, I believe in God and an afterlife, and still I respect others by only proclaiming that a person should never rule out the possibility of anything when there is no conceivable way of knowing for sure. I don't knock atheists or anyone else (except muslims for obvious reasons).

      And yes, there is a fine line separating worship, reverence, and admiration on this site when it come to Ayn Rand. As some Christians can quote line and verse (I"m not one of them) there are those here who can tell you exactly which of her books to look at, which chapter to search, and maybe even which pages to read to clarify my lack of comprehension when it comes to Objectivism - and they do so off the cuff. Do not discard this assertion as nonsense because I myself have seen it here many times. And I have never, proselytized here or anywhere about my personal beliefs.

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      • Posted by khalling 4 years, 3 months ago
        Many people are going to quote Rand here because it's part of the site mission. To encourage people to read about Objectivist philosophy. I quote all sorts of experts on topics within the site. When I want to make a moral case for a concept I often find Rand did the work best -use her explanation. There is a lexicon for her work. It makes it easier to tell you exactly where to find it.
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      • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
        I have to respectfully disagree on both points. I recall seeing infinite numbers of scientific reports with pages-long lists of references to other scientific work, either for clarification or economy of space and time to read. Nothing religious there.
        In my opinion, you consciously try to promote your religious views to the people here.
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        • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
          Isn't that the entire point to a discussion like this? To promote your views be them your "rational arguments for or against" a particular viewpoint?

          One could say the same about yours and many other posts. "You consciously promote your views on atheism to the people here."
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          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
            Religion is not a rational argument and is contrary to the purpose of this forum. Take it somewhere else.
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            • -1
              Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
              Let’s use some reason on your statement, and break it down to see how “Objectivist” it really is.

              Religion is not a rational argument.
              Your use of the word “religion” is not the same as the belief in God. You are not using reason when lumping the discussion of God with the term “Religion.”

              Objectivism by definition could be also called a religion, making your sentence totally contradictory.

              The specific definition of Religion is:
              Oxford Dictionary
              Definition of religion in English:
              noun
              1 - The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:
              ‘ideas about the relationship between science and religion’

              1.1 - A particular system of faith and worship:
              ‘the world’s great religions’

              1.2 - A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance:
              ‘consumerism is the new religion’

              One could easily add based on the Oxford Dictionary 1.2 the following:
              1.3 - A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance:
              'Objectivism' is the new religion, and Ayn Rand the Deity’

              Next you say this is contrary to the purpose of this forum. Really? Have you read what the purpose is? Primarily point 1. Promote Atlas Shrugged. VERY few topics on any of these threads promote the movie. So on that point you’re not correct. Next, point 2 does not say in any way shape or form that topics, discussions, reasoning’s, about religion, God, Atheism, are prohibited, but instead, Assist in the progress of Ayn Rand’s ideas. Is this done by attempting to alienate Christians, or Budhists, and trying to isolate Ayn Rand’s ideas to ONLY Atheists? I would think that by including ALL people you would be promoting the ideas. Trying to isolate them to only a few, is moving in the direction of a cult which Objectivism is NOT.

              And one final point the first and last sentence in the “About" is very disconcerting, since the word “Collective” is the antithesis of Individualism, and Objectivism, and probably needs changed.


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              The Producers of the movies hang out in here pretty regularly so don't hesitate to engage and ask real questions or bring some real commentary.
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          • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
            No, I don't. You can say it, but that does not make it true.

            Instead, I try to learn about details in Objectivist philosophy from "co-producers" and others on this blog. The propaganda for a religious basis of knowledge and for supernatural source of reality is an unnecessary distraction and impediment to learning philosophical truths.
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            • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
              It is all propaganda in one form or another. The only thing we can do is try to discern for ourselves what value WE individually place in any particular aspect of said thoughts and reasoning's.
              As a side note, your statement. "The propaganda for a religious basis of knowledge..." is promoting the opposite. so yes you do promote "your" version. We all do without exception. The only real question is how "tolerant" are you of opposing views and opinions. The Objectivist is exceptionally tolerant.

              The real thing in my opinion is to keep an open mind and entertain all thoughts, THEN decide what is for you or not.

              If a man saw you flick a lighter in the 1600's you would have been burned as a witch for MAGIC and SUPERNATURAL acts.

              The thought of God to me is no different. I accept that you have a different view and to be quite honest. more power to you. But, when you call me "stupid" that is where you cross the line of "reason" and a leaping directly into the very chasm of dogma you criticize.

              Many of the most brilliant physicists and scientists declare philosophy as worthless.
              Philosophers, many of them, have the same view of science in their quest for "truth."

              http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog...
              Physicists Should Stop Saying Silly Things about Philosophy

              Posted on June 23, 2014 by Sean Carroll
              The last few years have seen a number of prominent scientists step up to microphones and belittle the value of philosophy. Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, and Neil deGrasse Tyson are well-known examples. To redress the balance a bit, philosopher of physics Wayne Myrvold has asked some physicists to explain why talking to philosophers has actually been useful to them. I was one of the respondents, and you can read my entry at the Rotman Institute blog. I was going to cross-post my response here, but instead let me try to say the same thing in different words.

              Roughly speaking, physicists tend to have three different kinds of lazy critiques of philosophy: one that is totally dopey, one that is frustratingly annoying, and one that is deeply depressing.
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              • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                1. I did not call you stupid.
                2. Your definition of the term "propaganda" apparently differs significantly from mine.
                3. Perhaps the physicists who disparage philosophy have too narrow scope of knowledge because of a total focus on their love for physics.

                I can do nothing to express my views better, so there is no benefit for me from further discussion along these lines.
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                • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
                  His misuse of "propaganda" contradicts more than just your definition. He employs it to try to establish a moral and epistemological equivalency of reason and religion in a very bad package deal. He wants to be taken seriously.

                  The disparagement of philosophy by many physicists is mostly a consequence of bad philosophy taken as all there is to it, not just a love for their specialty in physics. Read Richard Feynman on this and you understand exactly why he said what he did about it.

                  But it isn't true that all philosophy is disparaged by physicists: They tend to embrace positivism and its variants such as "operationism", which is a very bad form of pragmatism (which denies it is a philosophy, opposing principle on principle). Some of the early positivists like Bridgeman were both physicists and adherents to the Vienna Circle. Einstein's early work such as special relativity was badly marred in its presentation due to the influence of Mach, and that remains pervasive to this day. But even that was in part a proper reaction against mystical German metaphysics pervading philosophy at the time, which understandable when you read what they said about it.
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                  • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                    Thank you, ewv. I just found out how much more I need to read and learn. As you said in another context, it takes a lot of hard work. I don't mind. At my age, I am virtually certain to run out of time. I don't mean as an excuse to give up.
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      • Posted by LetsShrug 4 years, 3 months ago
        AJ!! What about eternal life? Is there an end to that?
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        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
          "Having been born does not augur well for the concept of Immortality"... ---Woody Allen, I believe...
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          • Posted by LetsShrug 4 years, 3 months ago
            "Augur".. there's an underused word.
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            • Posted by  $  winterwind 4 years, 3 months ago
              so is auger. and, as I stopped to read something irrelevant in the dictionary on my way to auger, I will give you the even-more-underused word: apocarp.
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              • Posted by LetsShrug 4 years, 3 months ago
                Like... go auger yourself. lol
                I tried to look up apocarp but my computer (who has a mind of it's own) just keeps changing it to apocarpous ovary. I am actually UNable to just look up apocarp... I don't feel very free right now!
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                • Posted by  $  winterwind 4 years, 3 months ago
                  apocarp, n. a griyo if seeoarate ir oartuakkt joined carpels, as in the flower of the stonecrop, buttercup, etc.
                  there is also an adj, apocarpous, [apo- and Gr, karpos, fruit

                  and because I wanted to know:
                  carpel, n. in botany, a simple pistil, regarded as a modified leaf; also, any of the two or moe carpels that unite to form a compound pistil.
                  There follow the related words
                  carpellary, adj.
                  carpellate, adj. and
                  carpenter no, that's not right. carpenters do not have pistils at all.
                  freer now? You can borrow my big fat dictionary any time you want.
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                  • Posted by  $  winterwind 4 years, 3 months ago
                    no, I am not drunk. I wish I were. I have on the wrong glasses. always.
                    First sentence should read:
                    a group of separate or partially joined carpels
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                    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
                      Thank Zeus! I'm an amateur horticulturist and deal with lots of botanical latin (so I had hypothesized that apocarp was a botanical term). When I read "a griyo if seeoarate ir oartuakkt joined carpels" I was terribly worried that my brain had slipped a cog!
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      • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
        Enjoy your beliefs, AJ, as I enjoy mine. I like the idea of afterlife and God and all that, but I choose to not 'live my life' based on any kind of belief or strong conviction that either one DOES exist.

        A wise friend of mine said, some three or more decades ago...

        "If, right here and now, I could say something that completely convinced you that God Exists.... OR that God Doesn't Exist....
        And out of that Insight, you concluded that you would/should Change The Way You're Living Your Life....

        Then maybe you should take a hard look Right Now at How You're Living Your Life."

        Enjoy that one for a while... I certainly have.
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        • -1
          Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
          Yes, that is a good perspective, and for many sufficient. But for many more, if they were told that the consequence of their actions were only to exist to their corporeal life, what would their actions entail? I think that we're seeing much of the answer today. It seems to be that the Objectivist perspective is that one should respect others because that is the only way to ensure respect for themselves. And the only way to live a life to natural death is to have the respect of others not to take my life prematurely. Unfortunately, there are a goodly portion of society that doesn't give a rip about living a life to natural death. And if they can live a better but shorter life by depriving others of their liberties, so be it. From my observation of my fellow man and study of history, this is the default perspective of the majority of mankind. That and the hierarchy of self, family, clan, nation for acceptance of rights.

          There are failings of atheism/Objectivism when it comes to answering fundamental questions about the origin of the universe, how life initiated from inorganic matter, and how sentience came into existence. For many those questions are answered and in a way that respects the individual rights of our fellow human beings. Perhaps someday there will be a different answer, but in the meantime, I prefer this answer vs. none - which inevitably leads to not only chaos, but tyranny. For in a world where there is no supreme being, man will assume the role. I prefer God instead of some man, since most man-made supreme beings have been much more evil than most gods.
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          • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
            Robbie, if atheism or Objectivism have failed to answer 'fundamental questions' about the origin of the universe, how life initiated from inorganic matter or how sentience came into existence, I'm afraid that you're disappointed that those turnips don't yield blood any more than would a stone... any more than a set of x-y coordinates provide answers to questions in the z-axis direction!

            You, again, seem to postulate that, Man Will Assume The Role of The Supreme Being If No Supreme Being [Really] Exists. That Deocentric view implicitly assumes The Existence OF a Supreme Being (God) in the face of atheists' search for proof that one actually exists. Belief of the Existence of a Supreme Being is, to atheists, NOT 'proof' of the Existence of a Supreme Being. "We" atheists see that 'logic' as circular and faulty, while the folks espousing those beliefs appear to make it the be-all/end-all Proof That They're Right.

            And you wonder why the "discussion" is fruitile?
            :)

            And I think the irony of your phrase 'man-made supreme beings' might have escaped you... :)

            If you didn't see the irony/humor in that, I'll try to be explicit: from an atheist's point of view, Your God IS a 'man-made Supreme Being,' so complaining that the ones that cultures or cults create, using flesh-and-blood members OF their groups, creating their own Supreme Beings... seems a funny way to put it.
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            • -2
              Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
              There are two fallacies to your argument. First, that there is not supreme being. And second, that even if there isn't that humans won't assume that mantle. Both are wrong.
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              • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                Thanks, Robbie... that was fairly predictable...
                So if one cannot prove a negative (that there is NO Supreme Being,) please demonstrate how you can prove the opposite... That there IS one (or more, or any...)

                Atheists would like nothing better than a cogent argument to prove that! Really! We just never seem to receive any!

                Go for it!!
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                • -1
                  Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                  I'm not going to try to prove/disprove a supreme being to you - you either do so for yourself or not.

                  However, I can prove that in the absence of same, man will assume that mantle - hence, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc. Show me a society without a recognized supreme being, and I'll show you that it has a human that has assumed the mantle.
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                  • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                    "I'm not going to try to prove/disprove a supreme being to you - you either do so for yourself or not. "

                    ... but _I_ have to prove it? Robbie... stop digging. The hole you've dug is already deep enough, isn't it?

                    "One of the fallacies [of my] argument is that there is not [a] supreme being....." because it's a fallacy because you said it is?

                    C'mon, Robbie... all I'm doing here is asking questions and all you're doing is avoiding any attempt to respond with answers.

                    Which sort of explains why I am an atheist and enjoy asking related Questions so much!

                    Ok, your turn, again...
                    :)
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                    • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                      Hello, plusaf,

                      I have been down that road with Robbie. It is very frustrating: changes of subject, misleading use of words, circular logic, hidden meanings etc. I gave up. Just for your consideration.
                      All the best.
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                      • Posted by LetsShrug 4 years, 3 months ago
                        Me too!
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                        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                          Maritimus and LS... :)
                          "debating" with folks like Robbie is what I refer to as 'my second-favorite indoor sport.'
                          I enjoy the challenge of discovering the point at which the red herrings, lateral arabesques and circular logic begin to fly.
                          When I get tired of it or bored, I call off the fun and leave the alleged 'conversation.'

                          I appreciate your feedback. Cheers!
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                          • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                            Hello, plusaf,
                            You mast be either a masochist or an abstract graphic artist ;-)
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                            • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                              Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not a masochist... but I think that's the first time anyone accused me... or even suggested 'abstract graphic artist'... :)
                              I'll have to look into that... I Have had aspirations of Writing, though; I used to think I had no real graphics skills, but in the past few decades, some of that seems to have Appeared (so to speak... )
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                              • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                                I "accused" you of abstract art skills in reaction to red arabesques in circular flying. The reason for the other accusation was obvious. Both were done (I hope that you could "hear" it) with most benevolent intention.

                                Mentioning that "hearing" reminds me of something I learned decades ago from one of our sons and would like to share with you. Applying to colleges, neither knew what they wanted to do in life. I suggested engineering, at the time about the only rigorous curriculum left. Nobody will deny entry into medicine, law etc. because the candidate has an engineering degree, i.e. likely decent problem solving skills and some immunity to being snowed by numbers. So, the one I am talking about went to engineering at Columbia. Two years later, he explained his reason to switch to the College and English this way: "To write well, you have to be able to think well. So, if you found somebody who teaches you how to write well, you have really found someone who teaches you how to think well." I wished I had thought of it first. Risking to start another dispute here, at least at that time, many people thought that Columbia's English was the best in the country. I hope you enjoy the story.


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                                • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                                  I've got an EE bachelors and what I call "1/4th of an MBA". One of the MBA courses I did get under my belt MANY years ago at Rutgers in New Brunswick, NJ, was an Intro to Law course, taught by a very interesting guy.

                                  He described his background as that of a Chemical Engineer who did so well in his field that he ended up on several corporate Boards of Directors.

                                  He discovered that he needed more knowledge about Corporations so he got an MBA.

                                  Later he found that so much legalese was involved with his professional life, he sought and achieved a Law Degree.

                                  As the class concluded, here was a guy who, at least back in the 70s and 80s, would have No Risk of Unemployment for a Long Time!

                                  I didn't do very well in the class, but I did come away with one key concept about Law... if you're discussing an issue, when the first question gets posed, the Correct Response is: "It Depends."

                                  At that point you can take a while to determine which side you want to take (pro/con or whatever) and collect your rationale for supporting that position. "Right or Wrong" can come later, but if you don't start with "it depends" and look at multiple sides, you're not going to do well...

                                  That epiphany alone raised my final grade in that class by one or two letter grades.

                                  :)))))))))
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                                  • Maritimus replied 4 years, 3 months ago
                                  • Maritimus replied 4 years, 3 months ago
                          • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
                            You can't argue with a mystic whether you find it fun or not. But who has the time to waste. There are important things that are fun and much more satisfying than chasing a rabbit in circles down his evasive hole. Dismiss his religious posts out of hand on fundamentals as the destructive waste they are, inappropriately contrary to the purpose of this forum. To put it more bluntly: Please don't feed the troll.
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                    • -2
                      Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                      It is the conceit of the atheist (and hence, the Objectivist) that they believe that they can understand anything/everything. That conceit prevents them from seeing that which exists that transcends our understanding with something beyond our understanding.

                      I don't think that any rational historian doubts that a man by the name of Jesus of Nazareth actually existed. There are stories of his works that were beyond that of our concept of the universe (commonly called miracles). Let alone the concept of rising from the dead. Even one of those who travelled with him doubted this, as it was too fantastic even for him.

                      You will respond that there is no "proof" of these things, and you are correct. There were witnesses. Those witnesses told the stories which eventually were written down. I cannot prove that God exists to you, no more than you can "prove" to me that you love someone. Or what love even means to you.

                      I submitted a post that was mostly in jest about the Hubble pic that seems to show a smiley face in the sky. I jokingly asked if that was God smiling down on us. Probably not, but it could be God playing a cosmic joke on us. Who knows. You cannot prove that it is not, and I cannot prove that it is. That is up to you.

                      As for you, Maritimus, and LS being frustrated and not appreciating that I will not succumb to your arguments, well neither will you accept mine. My arguments are wholly consistent, from my perspective, and do not require circular reasoning at all. It does require a humility to accept that one cannot know or understand everything. Once you accept that premise, the rest is easy. I'll continue to present my position as long as you'd like, so long as the discourse remains civil. Several of the atheists here lack civility. I have never insisted that anyone else adopt my perspective, merely accept that there are those of us that have it (and there are many more on this site than some of you seem to know), and that there really is no inconsistency with the tenets that were cited above about Objectivism. I'll only speak of the Roman Catholic faith, as that is the only one which I am schooled - reason is paramount and required of humans. God gave us free-will which inherently requires us to reason. There could be nothing more fundamental to the tenets of Christianity.

                      OK, your turn.
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                      • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 years, 3 months ago
                        ...but there are witnesses for essentially all religions. The ancient ones are revered. The recent ones are "insane".
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                          True enough. It's possible that something that someone experienced yesterday and crafted their own religion is the ultimate "truth." It's also possible, and in my view the most likely situation, that each of them is a portion of the ultimate "truth" as viewed from a slightly different perspective and biased by the predilections of those who codified the theology.
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                  • Posted by LetsShrug 4 years, 3 months ago
                    Your argument blows. These dictators did not rise to power because of a lack of God believers, if anything they got there because of believers. We could say the same about Obama... all that guilt in the voting booths.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                      Hitler did not rise on the back of God. Nor did Pol Pot, or Mao, and Stalin actively advocated atheism. Your argument is fallacious.

                      As for O, he didn't need to use an argument of faith, he had skin color.
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                      • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                        Well, there's no way I can or would argue that last statement... :), but many other such dictators like the ones you listed DID, in fact, use and leverage their countrymen's religious beliefs in order to manipulate them, didn't they? I'm not a history whiz, but I do recall reading things like that, particularly about some of the Russian dictators...
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                          Oh, of course, there have been tyrants who have used religion to backstop their oppression. Heck, even some Popes have done so. But make no mistake, those people were not doing so as a fundamental tenet of their faith (excepting Islam, to the best of my understanding). They used it only as their excuse for power, not as a true basis for that power. Even so, there have been far worse tyrants how have not needed a religion to justify their lust for power - those cited being just a few of the more recent examples.
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                          • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
                            :)... which merely says that you think your anecdotal evidence has more veracity than any I could offer...
                            Not that THAT is circular, or any such thing...
                            :)
                            Yes, it has been fun playing these games with you, but I'm tired of it now.
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  • Posted by dwlievert 4 years, 3 months ago
    Once, when asked, if she could succinctly explain "Objectivism," Rand answered: Its Metaphysics is "Existence exists; Epistemology that Reason is the ONLY absolute; Its Ethics consists of "rational self-interest;" and its Politics that of Laissez Faire Capitalism.

    When you grasp the fact that when the unique absolutism of Reason is questioned, you must immediately deal with the problem of what internal capacity are you going to employ to question it? It is the same "internal" problem one encounters when questioning Existence, only in this instance it is applied externally.

    Rand & Branden "nailed it." That of course does not mean we should ever stop the pursuit of understanding cause and effect. It simply means that in our endless quest we should be ever mindful to not confuse the order or the context.
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  • Posted by salta 4 years, 3 months ago
    Everything in human experience has the "beginning-existence-ending" life cycle. So the brain has not evolved to understand the concept of existing forever. Maybe it never will understand.
    I view the big bang theory as humans imposing this model on the universe to make it acceptable to our simple brain.
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    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
      I agree with you but I'm going to be bold enough to suggest that "impose" is too strong a word.

      It's sensible and valid to form theories based on what you already know. As you said, the human experience is begin-exist-end so our scientific theories would tend to favor that model. The fantastic thing about science is that theories can be proven false and scientists shout Hoorah! and start on a new theory.
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      • Posted by khalling 4 years, 3 months ago
        it doesn't seem to be as true as it once was. How did people ever come to terms with phrases such as "scientific consensus"?
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
          Scientific consensus has a valid meaning when referring to the fact that most scientists agree on what is established knowledge. It is not valid when it is used to intimidate, without regard to the reasons, and it is not valid when it is philosophically corrupted to equate objectivity with collective subjectivism.
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        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
          I think THAT problem comes from scientific and/or mathematical illiteracy on behalf of the 'general public,' which has (have?) come to believe that a) scientific consensus exists OR is even possible, and b) that such consensus is 'proof' of the veracity of their beliefs!
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        • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 3 months ago
          now now 0 said the media should be paying more attention to global warming. that said his gnat size brain which is also simple doesn't get what the people from montana to maine and south to the gulf coast are experiencing. by the way it never was true!
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  • Posted by overmanwarrior 4 years, 3 months ago
    That is very interesting, thanks for putting it up. Time is only a dimension. Beginnings and endings are only measurements along that axis of observation. I'll have to read their actual paper which is included at the end.
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  • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
    Since we observe that the universe ages, and that it changes its nature as it ages, it is not unreasonable to assume that when it began it was different than we currently see it. That does not have to mean a Big Bang, though.

    I am no physicist, but it does not make sense to me that you create an equation to explain the universe and then have to invent an undetectable Dark Matter comprising 98% of it in order to make your math work out right. So I think this theory may be on the right track.

    I like CTYankee's analysis, but I will add that there is a constraint on earlier super-civilizations in that you have to have a solar system with at least a 3rd generation sun in order to have our table of elements. This is necessary in order to have a complex enough chemical environment to be able to evolve life as we know it; it may be required in order to evolve life at all. (Most descriptions of the Fermi paradox omit this point.)

    My impression of evolution is that it began when something called 'life' was able to (a) mutate and (b) select winners/losers amongst the mutants. The only forms that qualify for this in our environment are nucleic acid based lifeforms and prions. Do other folks think differently?

    Jan
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    • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
      Jan, I thought that the new COSMOS series handled those concepts pretty well, plus the fact that some very complex molecules have been detected in interstellar space, including compounds found in a lot of what we call "organic matter" here on earth!

      Coincidence? Untrue? Created By God to fool/mislead/annoy us? Or yes, the way chemical elements naturally interact makes it quite probable that they will combine in ways that, with appropriate energy supplies and environments, can and will lead to what we call "life."
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      • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
        Yes. That part was good. The increasing Global Warming hardcore fullbody press rants I could have done without...

        I am a casual fan of abiogenesis...it is amazing what chemicals can do by themselves under the correct circumstances.

        Jan
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        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
          Yeah, I thought he did go over the top or 'jump the shark' at the end with the MMGW rant. That surprised and disappointed me. But hey, even he can have hot buttons, too, eh?
          I'm just sorry the series ended on that note.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
      Yes, there have been many "inventions" (ad hoc assumptions) made to save the Big Bang theory. The nicest thing you can say about this is that math is ahead of the real science. There have been cases where the math lead us to scientific discoveries, but modern cosmology is putting the cart before the horse.
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      • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
        I think that math may have to lead for a while, which is always scary because it is pretty definitionally estranged from reality.

        Jan
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      • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
        ???... The Big Bang Theory is just that... a theory that appears to explain a LOT of the evidence we've observed with our senses and advanced technological sensors.

        If new facts or observations turn up that prove conclusively that The Theory has holes in it, first, the Theory, like most others, is tweaked to see if it can, with internally consistent logic, account for the 'new discoveries.'

        If it can't, it gets tossed and hopefully replaced with something more inclusive and accurate. If the tweaks appear to work, the tweaks are then open to experimental verification or rejection, too!

        And even today, there are other 'theories' competing with TBB Theory to 'explain what we see and measure right now.'

        Hell, the observation of the theorized Higgs Boson doesn't EXPLAIN 'how gravity works' any more than the discovery of the electron 'EXPLAINS' how electricity or electrostatic attraction WORKS, either!

        :) But those are some of the Real Fun Challenges in Science!
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    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
      " have to invent an undetectable Dark Matter comprising 98% "

      As usual, that reminds me...

      Sheldon and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory, standing near a white board in the apartment discussing Sheldon's work on String Theory. I'll have to paraphrase...

      Leonard: You have to wonder about a theory where you have to invent 23 extra dimensions just to get the math to work out!

      Sheldon: Oh, I didn't invent them, those dimensions are there.
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  • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 years, 3 months ago
    Cool post.

    Everything will never be known. The more we know, the more we find that we don't.

    For example, this discussion about the beginning of the universe could not have been had some 3,000 years ago in Greece, when people thought the Earth was the center of the universe and the creation began when Erebus emerged from Chaos.

    We assume things we don't know. We learn. We dispel old errors. We learn new things we don't know.

    The recent movie, Interstellar, did a pretty good job illustrating how confusing time, gravity et al, can be if we could harness the power to exist within an observation of their interactions (e.g. relativistic effects).

    This cycle has been going on as long as recorded history. Why would another predictably disruptive scientific finding make one wonder about an ancient unfounded assumption?
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  • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
    Thanks for posting. I did see this article. Cosmology has gotten way ahead experimental evidence. This model is supposed to not need the embarrassment of dark matter and energy, which is a good start. I have become convinced that there are lots problems with the Big Bang model.
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    • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 3 months ago
      Please explain to me how one can predict specifically that the universe has no beginning.
      does that mean there was nothing prior to what is referred to as the big bang?
      I find it interesting that someone is able to predict the past. prediction "during the years that Bill Russel played for the Boston Celtics they will win 11 NBA championships"
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      • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
        Yes, their idea is that there was not Big Bang.

        Perhaps understand is a better word.

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        • -3
          Posted by wiggys 4 years, 3 months ago
          IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST DOES IT MAKE A NOISE?

          as for the big bang if it did or did not happen is immaterial today. if it happened so what and if it didn't happen and all of the objects in space were there over 13 billion years ago so what. media conversation makes good reading for some i guess.
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          • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
            I disagree, wiggys... First, I do know how to answer the "if a tree falls...' conundrum/koan. "First, Define Sound."

            Second, I believe that current levels of UNDERSTANDING and comprehension ARE the current blocks to humans being able AT ALL to conceive of 'what was there before it all started'!

            But theories and postulates like the ones described in the link Just Might lead us to a way to conceptualize Answers or Images that ARE comprehensible to humans!

            Just as I believe that one of the major factors providing the impetus to all discussions about 'rebirth, life after death, heaven, hell,' and whatever else have the fundamental root in the (current) Impossibility of Any Human To Imagine What It IS Like to Not Exist, once they've Existed!"

            Picture the answer to THAT one, if you can... I think it'll be more difficult than the 'tree falls Problem.'

            :)))))))))))
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          • Posted by mdant 4 years, 3 months ago
            It is very interesting. I find these scientific inquires among the most interesting things you can do or read about. What could possibly be more interesting than attempting to come up with the biggest questions in existence...how and why there is existence. We will never know for sure but it is a ton of fun trying!!!
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 4 years, 3 months ago
    "It appear that science is never settled."

    Heresy! ;)

    That's what I love about real scientists. They are never afraid to challenge their own conclusions in search of a more perfect observation of Reality.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      There is no such thing as "more perfect" knowledge. Either you understand it or you don't. Scope and precision can be improved, but not knowledge does not become "more perfect" towards an impossible to reach end, commonly thought of as the equivalent of somehow wrapping your consciousness around reality for infinite insight.

      That science is never settled means that there is always more to learn, and that anyone can question anything as long as he has reason to without being subjected to the Inquisition. It doesn't mean that nothing is ever known for certain as a base on which to build further knowledge.

      in this case the "conclusions" challenged are those in hypotheses, not something established as true. I regard this field of mathematical cosmology to be highly rationalistic and without much value as it is currently pursued.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 4 years, 3 months ago
        I'm sure Newton would have felt the same way when Einstein introduced relativity. Or Bohr when the new model of the atom came out. Or heck, let's go back to Einstein and add in Hawking and quantum mechanics.

        Or maybe they would have just looked at things in a new way and went "You know, it wasn't that what I knew was wrong as much as a limited understanding. Now I can apply concepts that are a better description and fit more circumstances."

        The fatal conceit is in thinking that we know everything and using that as justification never to test our hypotheses when new data comes out.
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        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
          Oh, Danger, Will Robinson!
          What you just said, blarman, can too easily be applied to 'discussions' of the same aspects of Religion!

          Shields Up!
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 4 years, 3 months ago
            Absolutely it can. And it should.

            If it is truth, it will hold. If it is incomplete, we can amend it based on a more perfect understanding. If it is false, it should be exposed as such. I do not withhold religion from such analysis.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
      Some science is settled - that which is reproducible. Since the origin of the universe is unlikely to ever be such, it will never be "settled science."
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago
    The Hallings will be quite interested in this, especially Dale.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
      I am very interested in this. I think physics got off track with the advent of QM. -Copenhagen Interpretation I think a number of the fundamental experiments meant to show QM have been misinterpreted. As Carver Mead has pointed out much of the probabilistic nature of QM comes about because we do not know the QM state of our detectors nor the initial QM state of our experiment (sources). He points out that with coherent sources and detectors we can know the initial state, but none were available at the time and only a few even today.
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  • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Hello, plusaf,

    Interesting!

    I am a physical chemist, but all my life did what is called development engineering and failure analysis.

    From that background came my deep conviction that the most interesting things happen in the interfaces. Between phases, between subjects and between people, among others.

    I hope that you are keeping warm
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    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
      Aha! I was just re-reading this whole discussion when I came across "... the most interesting things happen in the interfaces."

      Somewhere here on galtsgulchonline I wrote something so similar that we could have been channeling each other. You are the only other person that I have seen articulate this conviction.
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      • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
        First a confession. I went to look what "channeling" means and even after that I am not sure what you meant.
        My first thoughts about this came while undergraduate student, about the time Ayn Rand first published AS. That was purely enjoying physical chemistry and falling in love with it. Later on, I got involved with sophisticated non-metallic composites and there I began to see that it was interfaces where things happened, or refused to. In my 40s, (I read recently that age described as "childhood" in philosophy) when I started being interested in philosophy, the generalization I spewed in that comment began to reveal itself to me. No, at 80 (in a few months) I have no doubt that the analogy holds. Of course, please note the "interesting" in that expression. What is interesting to you and me, probably is completely boring to many others. I do hold that each one of us rational animals should be responsible of developing a personal and consistent philosophy.
        It is pleasure to know that we agree at least on two subjects.
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        • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
          "What is interesting to you and me, probably is completely boring to many others."

          This is a central theme in the life of engineers.

          I can only claim 5/8ths of your time on Earth, but my first close inspection of the-edges-of-things came in my undergrad studies, specifically as related to the beginnings and endings of data structures in computer science. Then I started to see all other sorts of edges, conceptual and concrete, and that they almost always presented challenges.

          Since I seem to be full of cute anecdotes (what you and I find cute, etc), having been raised in a family with a solid tradition of regaling the world with the tales of our forebears, that reminds me...

          My mom, extremely non-rational person that she is, is an artist. (I beg forgiveness, non-mooching-artist!) She's done lots of different kinds but her specialty is portrait sculpture in terra cotta clay. She teaches sculpture at an art center in Florida and I must have been exasperating her in a conversation, something we are very good at doing to each other (although now we laugh about it). I think I was drawing a plan for something on paper, not even a good plan but something to help me see how it would go together. She exclaimed that I was reminding her that a particular kind of sculpture student is difficult to work with - engineers! They always come in with detailed drawings of what they want with precise measurements and all kinds of crazy - stuff that makes perfect sense to us. Unfortunately it's useless overkill with regard to sculpture in clay, especially for beginners.
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        • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
          Channeling in my sentence refers to a psychic medium becoming a conduit for a dead spirit to communicate through her. I was suggesting that the thoughts you and I expressed were so similar that each of us could have been writing what the other was thinking.

          It was hyperbole, of course, because there's no evidence that psychic mediums or channeling exist! (Just like timelords, right? I mean, we USED to not exist a long time ago but things are OK now. Or the other way around, or maybe just sort of jumbled and twisted. Linearity isn't all it's cracked up to be.)
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          • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
            Hello, Timelord,

            The engineers design. They don't just doodle. I was so glad to read that you both laugh now.

            It was interesting that your awareness of the interfaces came from abstract concepts of data structures. I first saw it in doing freshman qualitative chemical analysis and observing the interaction of sample with reagent in a test tube. As they say, there are so many ways to skin a cat.

            I love engineering. I adopted completely the concept (which I read as a quote) of engineering as THE ART OF THINGS THAT WORK. How beautiful! It is an art. You cannot calculate a design. You can speculate, guess, judge and take a gamble. If it fails, a good analysis can tell you where you overreached. Techne is ancient Greek for art. Whoever decided to call things technique and technical, understood this. If I had to do it again, I would still take pchem, adding philosophy as a second major and than do engineering and entrepreneurship all my (second) life. Being a Timelord, you should be able to instruct me how to come up with a second go-around. Shouldn't you?

            I live in Maryland. Where do you live? Any chance for a dinner together?

            I better stop.

            All the best!

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            • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
              You can't calculate a design, that comes from the imagination filtered through the knowledge of previous designs and technical understanding.

              You should be able to test a design, though, learn its weaknesses (structural and design) and correct them before building it. I was CS, I roomed with a mech-e and a civil and next door to a cheg. After I entered the real world I was so happy that comp sci was in the school of engineering. I met so many programmers with BS from the math department and they were usually awful debuggers. I think that having to take hardware design along with software gave me a much better understanding of where things were going wrong. I also was required to take 2 semesters of chemistry, 2 physics, 1 civil eng, 4 calculus, 2 EE and statistics for engineers on top of my CS courses which included hardware design, hardware labs, assembly on IBM 360 and Vax and all the software engineering theory and labs.

              A lot of people don't see the creative side of engineering and mine must have run deep because for electives I took creative writing, mythology, 2 or 3 philosophy and 2 semesters of Irish Gaelic (why, you ask? Well, I saw a sign that said Learn Irish! and I said, OK! and signed up.)

              Careerwise I like what I do but not always who I do it for! I think next time I'll be a mycologist. Fungi are COOL! If not mythology then horticulture. I'm happiest when my hands are in the dirt.

              I live in Connecticut, about 15 miles from Hartford in a little cow town. How little? When "they" wanted to put up a 4th stop light we reached for our pitchforks and torches and those plans were scuttled. I moved here only 15 years ago so I'm still the new guy.

              Dinner sounds great, how's last week work for you? I'll put it on one of the calendars although I'm not sure why I bother. They're never right!
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    • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
      :) Well, we're expecting a good butt-freezing here in Raleigh, NC, over the next few days, but so long as that natural gas keeps flowing, we'll be ok.
      The high winds Saturday night brought some trees down onto power lines and started some minor fires, but didn't affect our neighborhood.
      Que sera, sera...
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  • Posted by Abaco 4 years, 3 months ago
    "In all the world, few indeed are those who have a clear insight into both mathematical analysis and how it does, and does not, fit physical phenomena."

    I don't know who said it. I remember seeing many examples. This reminded me of it.
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  • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
    If there is no beginning, there can be no ending. If there is no beginning nor ending, can there be a limitation to expanse or quantity? Since we measure movement, if there is no beginning things must have been moving forever and the universe must be infinite.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      That is a rationalistic fallacy. As has already been explained, time is in the universe, not the other way around. It pertains to finite intervals of change. Existence -- the philosophical "universe" -- is "eternal", not of "infinite" age "in time": It has no "beginning" or "end"; those terms do not apply to it.

      It is a different matters for particular forms of the _material_ universe such as planet and galaxies.
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    • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
      And papers like the linked reference tug at the hem of the assumption that 'there was a Beginning, before which There Was Nothing.'

      Sure, IF there was No Beginning, the conclusion 'there can be no ending' might be an accurate conclusion, but the Basis of the conclusion 'no ending' is that of an Assumption which has not yet been Proven.

      See the conflict there?
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago
    The atheists will enjoy the predictions of this model. It does explain several of the limitations of Einstein's general relativity quite well, according to the article. I will readily admit that this isn't my area of expertise.
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    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
      This particular atheist won't enjoy the predictions one way or the other. What I will enjoy, if the science is correct, is the fact that human knowledge was advanced and we now have a better understanding of "the world" - meaning everything, all of reality.

      Most people don't realize that scientists are just as excited to prove a theory false as they are to prove it's true. Both outcomes increase our knowledge.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago
        As a scientist, I learn and am excited when I prove a theory false, but it's not nearly as satisfying as proving something true.
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        • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
          Well, you cannot really prove something true. You just continue to prove that it is not false (under certain constraints).

          "Not false again! Woohoo!" - that is a scientist rejoicing mightily.

          Jan
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago
            A theory can make predictions of phenomena not previously observed, and can be confirmed (perhaps not proven) by new experimental data.
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            • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
              Totally agree. It is just that people forget that when you have a theory, you create an experiment that tries to Disprove it. (Popular vision of science is that you try to prove your theorem.)

              So I get a bit fussy with this, even when conversing with people who I know know better. Sorry. It is kinda sorta spamming you, is it not?

              Jan
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              • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
                Sigh, I'll try to recreate some of what I had written before an undetectable gremlin took control of my hand and clicked on something that obliterated all evidence of my claimed genius. It will probably be a pale reflection of the original. It is my habit to copy what I'm working on to the clipboard at regular intervals - a substitute for the autosave safeguards against calamity that many desktop applications have. But I hadn't done that.

                I was ruminating on the statement that you cannot really prove something true and wondering if that claim was true. My high school geometry class was dedicated to proofs of theorems. A 300's level course in logic, given by my school's math department and taken as an elective toward earning my BS in Engineering, was loaded with proofs of theorems. I can't count the number of proofs presented by the lecturers over 4 semesters of calculus. Is a theorem different from a theory? I haven't the energy to refer to a dictionary right now. Creation and loss of the Silmarils has left me empty!

                Is there a point where Newton's theories on the laws of motion and gravitation are proven? Do we need to wait for the theoretical infinite troupe of typing monkeys toiling to produce the collected works of Shakespeare, temporarily reassigned to disproving theories, to finish their task of inventing and testing every possible experiment to disprove Newton's theories or have we satisfied ourselves with PROOF that they are correct?

                It's a sincere question and I'm fascinated to ponder, if a theory can't be proven true then can anything be proven true and can we ever know anything with 100% certainty? I can't quote AR or Objectivist philosophy nor refer anyone to a certain book or page off the top of my head, but I expect she had a lot to say on it. I have a sneaking suspicion that AR did show that it's possible to know something with 100% certainty.

                I've heard often and I think it's accepted that you can't prove a negative. I mentioned the undetectable gremlin earlier for this reason. A course offered by the Philosophy department called Philosophy and Logic 101 (a free "A" for computer engineering majors, even this one who tended to sit in the front row and fall asleep while gazing out the window at his dorm where lunch awaited - to the unexpected amusement of the teacher) discussed one day the philosophical meaning of the statement "there is an undetectable demon inside my watch." The conclusion was that it was a meaningless statement and logically invalid. And any honest atheist, including Hitchens, Dawkins and Penn Gillette, will matter-of-factly admit that it is logically impossible to prove that god does not exist. Such a proof of non-existence is not merely difficult, nor impossible for practical reasons, it is simply logically impossible to prove lack of existence.

                Now I've lost track of whether I've gone from rational to rambling. My internal safety valves say it's time to shut up.
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                • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Hello Timelord,
                  I wish I had more time right now to discuss this with you. Rand did have answers. A is A, Existence exists. I do not know your level of inquiry into Objectivism epistemology or metaphysics. Have you examined the following page? http://aynrandlexicon.com/searchresults/...

                  If the sources for these excerpts are unfamiliar, this is a good place to get the "cliffs notes."
                  I would start at the top and work down the list.

                  Respectfully,
                  O.A.


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                  • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
                    Very much into Objectivism. I've read several of AR's non-fiction philosophy books.
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                    • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 3 months ago
                      Hello again Timelord,

                      Very good. I would like to address the question of our ability to prove anything.

                      I have read almost everything she has written and/or contributed to. I have also delved into the thoughts of many other philosophers and investigated the question of idealism vs. realism (materialism). The "mindists" (idealists) believe that nothing exists outside the perception of the observer; there is only the mind no outside objective reality independent of perception. They are the idealists (some of these terms/labels are used in various ways; I refer to the most common usage in most philosophical discussions). The "realists" (those that believe in realism and materialism believe that the world is material objects which have essence, properties, characteristics independent of our perception. This is all relative to the question of existence and the poof of existence. The question "can we prove anything" is integral to our acceptance of existence, but the question also contains within it the answer. In order to pose such a question one must concede the fact or "proof" that a mind was required to pose the question in the first place.... that you exist as the questioner. It is a bit like Descartes- Cogito, ergo sum (I think therefore I am), of course Descartes ran into some other difficulties, but the basic premise has validity. If you can prove existence then you can prove something and thus it is possible to adduce that one can prove other things. In fact one can logically prove anything, if it be true, given enough information, empirical evidence and repeatable observations and finding no contradictions. Contradictions do not exist. If one finds a contradiction then you must question the premise or the apparent contradiction. http://aynrandlexicon.com/searchresults/...

                      All things except those that rely upon faith should be able to be proven. Rand, did not, as she stated have "faith"; she had "convictions." She held that man had only his senses to ascertain attributes of existence... of reality and the material world. From this she supported the premises, existence exists and A is A. Objects have definite properties independent of one's perception. One may be right or wrong in their perceptions but the object is what it is and is not subject to the whims or perceptions of the observer (be they right or wrong.) Rand holds that in any argument of reality and existence the proof resides in the fact that to make any argument one must use the concepts of existence. identity and consciousness as axioms... "Being implicit from the beginning, existence, consciousness and identity are outside the province of proof. Proof is the derivation of a conclusion from antecedent knowledge, and nothing is antecedent to axioms. Axioms are the starting point of cognition, on which all proofs depend. ... Axioms are perceptual self evidencies." OTPOAR pg.8 Also, many arguments can be resolved when observing as Rand did the fallacy of use of the "stolen concept." http://aynrandlexicon.com/searchresults/...

                      We have all heard the question, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it does it still make a sound? Of course it does. If one observes that "every" time a tree falls down it makes a sound then there is no logical reason to doubt it makes a sound even if a human observer is not there to hear it. To conclude otherwise is to suggest contrary to all evidence that the universe did not exist before man, since he was not here to observe it.

                      I once read a passage in one of my philosophy books of a story of two philosophers walking along a path and discussing the problem of existence in the real sense. One was a mindist the other a realist. When the mindist was not looking the realist took a stick (perhaps it was his cane) and hit the mindist in the back of the head without revealing the action. The mindist protested and the realist said, ah but you did not observe the stick hitting you... do you still doubt its existence? :)

                      Now, you also pose the question of proof regarding the problem relating to nature of things in the macroscopic versus subatomic world: Here is a problem which we are yet to fully understand, explain, and prove the whys regarding the apparent differences of action (i.e. Newton's laws on the macro versus the apparent contradictions in the subatomic). I suspect we will one day find the physical laws that explain the whys or come to an altogether different understanding when our instrumentality advances; just as Einstein's general theory of relativity needed time and confirmation. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200... Still, Newton's laws are fact/provable in any macro way and thus apply in that context.

                      Something of interest regarding realism and questions posed relative to its limits as a view of existence... http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realis...

                      If these things are known to you, then perhaps they may at least be helpful to others
                      Thank you for the opportunity to dust off some old books and also some cobwebs developing in my mind.
                      Respectfully,
                      O.A.
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                        OA - the issue that seems to exist with "proof" is the aspect of finding no contradictions - yet. Until/unless you can address the entire universe of possibilities, are you sure that you have exhausted all possibilities of contradiction?

                        Since I work with statistics, it is common practice (well, actually it is a necessity) to identify a threshold of proof. If you meet it, you accept the hypothesis, if not, you reject it. Doesn't mean that it is or isn't true, merely that the given evidence is judged to demonstrate truth or not.
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                        • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 3 months ago
                          Hello Robbie53024,
                          Understood. When contradictory evidence presents itself, either the "evidence" or "proof" must be reconciled or the original premise must be called into question. True/real axioms are not theory; they are self evident and thus should not be in dispute. It is what some consider an axiom that is sometimes dubious.
                          No one knows everything, but it is possible to "know" some things. Facts do exist. The notion that one cannot prove anything leaves us in a world of whims, where no one is right and no one is wrong.
                          Regards,
                          O.A.
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                          • Posted by Robbie53024 4 years, 3 months ago
                            Agreed. Axioms are self-evident and do not need proof. Also agreed that what some consider axiomatic can be disputed.

                            "Facts" are a bit more problematic - shouldn't be, but invariably are. This is because they are based on observation of some sort. And observations can be corrupted either intentionally or unintentionally. Thus the same "fact" observed by different people can be different. Take the picture of the smiley face captured by the Hubble telescope. To most that will be viewed as an interesting anomaly. To others the same picture will be viewed as a vision of the almighty. ;-)
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                • Posted by  $  jlc 4 years, 3 months ago
                  Timelord and other interested parties -

                  Thank goodness you lost your original draft, for the 'weak reflection' of it that you reproduced is sufficiently fascinating to convey meaningful demons and yet does not go so far as to endanger the structure of the universe. (Please keep that in mind when writing your next book AJ.)

                  I have wondered about the provability of something myself (as we all have). Let me take your example of Newton's Laws of Motion: If the objects that we take as our experimental subjects are very small, the size of electrons, then my impression is that they do not obey those laws - an electron is 'probably' somewhere in its electron cloud orbit (awaiting the proverbial outside force to act on it) but it could decide to vacation in Alpha Centari and drink run drinks with umbrellas on them on a Centarian beach for a while. Similarly, if the objects we take to demonstrate Newton's Laws are moving Really Fast, then acting on them with an outside force will not convince them to exceed c.

                  So it seems to me that the only chance of making a 'provable' physics statement is to treat it like a magical spell: the first thing you set are parameters and limitations. eg "Within the size of a pea to a planet and between the speeds of a snail and 90% c, an object will behave according to These Laws." And - from what I recall of calculus (where I spent most of my time drooling uncontrollably), mathematicians do a lot of this sort of parametrization. Or maybe math is an exception; god knows, mathematicians are the only ones who can keep physicists humble.

                  I understand and sympathize with your exhaustion - but I can offer a twilight gleam of hope: One of your Silmarils lit my way home last night. Thank you.

                  Jan
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          • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
            Isn't it true that math and geometry are full of formal proofs of all sorts of theorems? Isn't it also true that forensic science on a daily basis proves as true the theories of the prosecutors about what happened in a criminal action case? And proves them beyond reasonable doubt?
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          • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
            Actually that is not true, but is a common statement about science. Newtonian gravity is not wrong, it is just not correct in all circumstances. Knowledge is contextual and within a context it can be proven to be true.
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      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
        And it has nothing to do with atheism, which is only rejection of the supernatural, not a philosophical or scientific theory of anything. Pursuit of scientific knowledge is entirely independent of anyone else's belief in the supernatural.
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        • Posted by IndianaGary 4 years, 3 months ago
          You must, however, grant the thesis that any attempt to integrate the supernatural into ones scientific pursuit will likely color the result negatively. Science and the supernatural don't both reside in reality (the latter by definition.)
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  • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
    for some reason I can no longer see posts on this thread. I have received several emails stating comments have been made but unfortunately it appears that I have been restricted.

    Objectively you've proven my point.
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  • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
    AJ, 'Science IS never settled' !
    It's always being re-examined based on new discoveries, theories and thoughts.

    I'm intrigued by the report because I've not been intellectually satisfied by ANY of the banter about 'dark matter' or 'dark energy.'

    Both seem to be cop-out non-explanations for whatever is REALLY going on that we haven't figured out yet.

    This may be a foundation for the next steps or levels of that 'figuring out,' and I just welcome the hell out if it!

    Thanks for the find and link!

    But "God"? Not relevant to the discussion For Me At All. Just as much fun without He/She/It.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 3 months ago
      All knowledge is contextual and within its context is can be settled.. What happens in science is that we ask deeper questions (how does gravity act at a distance) and find new contexts (very small distances for instance) and there we find these theories are incomplete, not incorrect.

      Assuming the Earth is flat is not wrong if you are building a small house, Assuming that the Earth is a sphere is fine and correct for seaman, but a disaster for topographer.
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    • Posted by  $  4 years, 3 months ago
      I never said science was settled. In fact I've been very much saying what this article implies for many years. That theory is just that and that teaching theory as fact is absurd.There is no more proof to suggest a big bang than there is to say that God spoke the universe into existence (resonance has its creation theory too mind you).

      Perhaps its a human limitation but I cannot imagine anything forever existing, even God...everything has its origin. That dense mass for the big bang theory had to exist somewhere, where was that somewhere? If it didn't exist anywhere (because there was to "where" literally) was it suddenly thought into existence? If so by whom, by what?

      We can agree to disagree and I'm fine with that. But I have to admit the declaration I AM takes on an interesting tone after this revelation.

      Time is a human construct...even so stars are born and die (phase), a clockwork of sorts. How can we measure/date anything if the universe is eternal? Its quite compelling to think about.
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      • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
        It was already explained above. Time is within the universe; the concepts beginning and end do not apply to existence. There is a fundamental distinction between that philosophical "universe", i.e. existence as such, and particular forms within the material universe studied by astronomers.

        The concept of time is a "human construct" -- it is our means of consciousness grasping an aspect of reality. As a concept, it does not exist intrinsically in the universe, but the facts that give rise to it do -- like stars forming and disintegrating into something else. Stars _are_ born and they do die. They do whatever they do in accordance with their nature, independently of our ability to conceptualize and understand it and whether or not any human ever held a concept of time or birth or age in his head.
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      • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
        Theories can lead to designs for experimental prediction and observations, and when the observations appear to validate the predictions and especially Future Observations, 'Theories' have lots of value and are not 'absurd' at all.

        Yes, theories are NOT 'facts' but again, science is about making observations to discover whether Theories have predictive value. If they do, they persist; if they don't they're modified or discarded.

        Where was the dense mass Before The Big Bang? Too many fairly impossible assumptions to list in order to even approach that 'discussion.' Did the mass even 'have to exist somewhere'? If space-time Began with A Big Bang (or The Big Bang,) the concept of 'somewhere' is between moot and unimaginable (so far.)

        "If God Spoke The Universe Into Existence..." how about elaborating on "Spoke"? What language, what frequency? Sound? Light? Wavelength?

        :)
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 4 years, 3 months ago
    There is no reason to assume that the Big Bang was necessarily the beginning of anything, whether matter, energy or time. It could simply have been a transition or transformation point. I find it quite easy to visualize that "beginning" is just one more point along a continuum, and so is "ending". Things change and reshape themselves constantly. Hey, maybe it's all a moebius strip!

    I use a waterbed metaphor: push down in one spot, other spots push up. Or the kaleidoscope metaphor of infinite reorganization. I, for one, am happy to know scientists are out there wrestling with new discoveries and definitions, and will happily watch what all they come up with and nod sagely, thinking, "Very interesting. What will they think of next?"

    And since there is nothing outside of existence, that excludes any notion of a god. If a god is to be posited, it would have to be part of the existence in some form or other, even if only metaphorically as a place holder for what we don't yet know. Why cling to this current god fallacy when earlier human cultures have managed to rid themselves of all the old deities by and by?

    Building murderous religions on such a vacuous concept is a thought mutation that should be cured as soon as possible, and not by the genocide of their members, as so-called civilized folk, including some participants here, enthusiastically recommend, not realizing that that makes them as bad as the worst of those they condemn. We need better, more rational ideas.

    Someday we may even be able to answer the forbidden question, "Why does existence exist?" I for one am glad it does. Life is a blast. Thinking is a blast. Keeping life and thinking in existence is a worthwhile purpose and indispensable for moving more knowledge from the unknown to the known compartment. And that is in everyone's self-interest.
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    • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
      Hello, Puzzlelady,

      I agree very much with what you wrote here.

      The only reservation I have is with the injection of purpose. I would much prefer: "...existence is a worthwhile experience and..."

      The existence of a purpose implies a willful actor. That in turn goes quickly to supernatural and theology.

      Just a minute difference in wording.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 3 months ago
    Before quantum, before Einstein, everything had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Our very existence had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Trying to conceptualize anything without these properties was more than a human brain seemed to be able to handle. Then came the realization that our senses were not adequate to see the universe as it truly existed. The floodgates opened and in the flood the pillars of what we deemed our knowledge to be were knocked down and floated away. At the beginning of the 20th century, Einstein demolished Newton and the universe was turned inside out, leading to theory after theory after theory. We know that Einstein was right to the extent that his theories worked. But the true depth of knowledge started by him, still eludes us. Without even using the math, we can "prove" that the big bang happened, and never happened. We have managed to enter the realm of the inner workings of reality, but we haven't penetrated very deeply. For every question seemingly answered there appears to be hundreds of unanswered questions. Fifty different theories of existence wind around each other like Pollyanna's hair braids. The answers are not here yet, but every theory like and edifice made with grains of sand, will eventually hit upon truth. Perhaps Einstein was just a few hundred years ahead of his time. Perhaps not.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      It was always known that the human senses are not capable of giving us perception outside of a certain range. We can't perceive the very small, very large or very fast. The science of what happens in those realms is by inference, building on what we know in a conceptual hierarchy all the way down to our first perception as the base.

      Einstein didn't demolish Newton, he built on it. Without Newtonian physics he would have had nothing to build on and wouldn't have come up with anything. And yes, the more we learn the more questions it allows us to formulate for the progress of future knowledge.
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  • Posted by NealS 4 years, 3 months ago
    This new theory must come from the new math, or possibly even Common Core Math. I remember laying out on the lawn one evening with a friend observing the stars back around 1957 contemplating "infinity". Before we knew it the sun was coming up. I then had to explain infinity to my parents when I got home. And No, I didn't even know what marijuana was back then.
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  • Posted by CTYankee 4 years, 3 months ago
    I would invoke the Anthropic Principle(s) to deny the conclusion.

    1) Premise: If the universe was infinite into the past, then *some* civilization in the *infinite* past would have developed technology giving them essentially infinite god-like powers and out of boredom would have explored *every* conceivable moment and position of space-time and we'd *KNOW* that they are here.

    1b) Observation: They are not here.
    1c) Result: The the premise is incorrect.
    1d) Conclusion: The universe is *NOT* infinite into the past.

    2) Alternate Premise: If the universe were *infinite* into the future, then this moment of time would have no significance, and the presence of stars, galaxies, planets, would be statistically improbable... blah-blah-blah

    3) Possible Premise: If the universe were infinite into the future, then *some* civilization in the *infinite* future will discover time travel (aka god-like powers) and out of boredom travelled back in time to *all* possible pasts... blah-blah-blah...

    4) Corollary: Any reasonable set of analyses must conclude that the universe came into existence at some finite time in the past. Why? It doesn't matter. It must also conclude that the universe will fade into 'nothingness' at some *finite* time into the future, it may persist forever after that point, but after that time nothing else that happens or fails to happen matters.

    5) Premise: There is a *possibility* that some civilization in the *finite* past became transcendent, and chose to observe us during the once-through life of the universe.

    6) Premise: There is a *possibility* that some civilization in the *finite* future will become transcendent, and chose to observe us during the once-through life of the universe, for fear of creating a paradox.

    5&6) Hypothesis: Either the past of future god-like civilizations will have the infinite future following the demise of the normal universe to conduct infinite experiments without fear of destroying what was.
    5&6) Observation: We do not observe omnipotent beings, therefore they are not here.
    ) Therefore: The ultimate fate of the universe remains 'unimportant'.

    OK, OK, blah blah blah... But there are all the same reasons that I, and the atheists that are not actually 'anti-theists', reject the existence of god.

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    • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
      Actually I prefer the Hitchhikers Guide tot he Galaxy, where we here are earth are just part of a Giant computer experiment to produce the answer to the question of life the universe and everything, to which the answer is 42, all created by Pan-Dimensional Hyper Intelligent mice.
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  • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
    I find this topic VERY fascinating, both from a religious and secular view point and all the arguments made on both sides.

    Those who "believe," i.e. THEORIZE (no real proof), that Evolution started with a "Big Bang" have used this theory for decades to support Darwin and these theories that they say proves there is no God.

    Then these same people due to the PROOF that the laws of physics do not support the big Bang now are trying to provide another theory, which totally destroys their first one on which they base evolution on.

    Within my personal Christian beliefs there has never been any change.

    The fossil records, and earth core samples PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that what was written in the Bible thousands of years before core samples were pulled, was 100% correct. From the order life appeared to DNA, i.e. Psalms 139:16 Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, And in your book all its parts were down in writing,.." DNA often by science referred to as the "book of life."

    Every time science goes through these exercises my personal faith and belief in God is strengthened. Just like the math scientists use that has been developed over centuries by INTELLIGENT men and not just evolved out of a bowl of Campbell's soup. So they continue to convince me the Universe MUST have been created by intelligent design. All of which is using COMPLETE reasoning to provide my belief, and not blind faith.
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    • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
      You said a number of things that just aren't true. Einsteinian (relativistic) physics breaks down at the quantum level but accurately predicts reality at a larger scale. And mind you, "larger" in this case still covers the incredibly small, such as interactions at an atomic scale. Quantum physics was developed to help understand reality in the realm of the very, very small, atom-sized and much, MUCH smaller. We used to believe that protons, neutrons and electrons were fundamental particles, but that was wrong. The problem has been in getting the theories of the incredibly small and the theories of the big to integrate smoothly at their shared boundary.

      Thus, your claim that the laws of physics do not support the big bang is incorrect - for more than one reason. Most pertinent to the article referenced by this forum thread is that the new model in theoretical physics being worked on by Dr's. Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das, among others, is very much a work in progress. It doesn't disprove relativity or quantum mechanics. Their work so far suggests that it can work out some of the problems encountered by quantum mechanics in and near a singularity and that it may be an improved predictor of the physical universe as we understand it. The article even says that more work needs to be done and new mathematical models applied to "small inhomogeneous and anisotropic perturbations," which I have absolutely no idea what those are but they're apparently important. They don't expect those perturbations to significantly affect the results. Focus on "expect" and "significantly." First, they might be wrong, eventually we'll find out. Second, when either a statistician or a theoretical physicist says "significantly" they're not talking like normal human beings.

      The new model envisions the "universe as being filled with a quantum fluid. The scientists propose that this fluid might be composed of gravitons—hypothetical massless particles that mediate the force of gravity." Hmmmm, gravitons are hypothetical, massless particles? And this hypothetical quantum fluid explains the universe better than hypothetical dark matter and dark energy? How do gravitons fit into the universe if the Higgs Boson is a real thing? The most recent results from the Hadron collider suggest that the Higgs Boson may have been observed, a significant accomplishment that would bolster quantum theory. Maybe gravitons and Higg Boson compliment each other - Higgs Bosons are theorized to give mass to subatomic particles and gravitons are theorized to be a carrier for gravity (which is created by mass?).

      I have never heard it stated that evolution presupposes a Big Bang. The theory of evolution explains how life evolves - and that happens after the conditions for life to exist have already been established. It's like forming theories about how structures fail during earthquakes. I don't care how the structure got there, whether it be man made or otherwise. I just need to know its properties as it exists now.

      You also misunderstand what the word "theory" means. A theory can be proven false, at which time scientists will move on, but it's still a theory. A theory can be proven true, but it is still called a theory. So writing {... "believe," i.e. [i.e. translates to "that is"] THEORIZE (no real proof), that Evolution ...} is absolutely wrong. Theorize does NOT mean believe or lack of proof. In this context it means to suggest a scientific model that predicts the observed nature of reality. You also seem to state, although your meaning isn't precisely clear, that the Theory of Evolution has not been proven true. The Theory of Evolution has definitively been proven true. (I'm not using evolution to advocate for nor deny a god.)

      "... trying to provide another theory, which totally destroys their first one on which they base evolution on [sic]." You make it sound like a giant cover-up when in reality it's how scientific progress is made. If a theory is proven wrong then you work on a new theory. If you don't then knowledge ceases to advance.

      "Within my personal Christian beliefs there has never been any change." That will not surprise many of us. It is generally the case with very strongly held personal beliefs, especially religious ones, that one will bend reality as much as necessary to make it match your beliefs. When a new discovery comes along these people will bend-new-reality-as-necessary to make it fit into their system.

      Your most alarming non-sequitur is your claim that the Bible's predictions, made thousands of years prior, are 100% supported by the fossil record and core samples of the Earth's crust. That's incredible, as in unbelievable, as in impossible to believe. Fossils and core samples have never contained any information even remotely related to the Bible, Hebrew or Christian. You then offered, "From the order of life appeared to DNA, [that is] Psalms 139:16 Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, And in your book all its parts were down in writing,.. DNA often by science referred to as the 'book of life.'" Aside from the fact that the first part of the first sentence is unparsable, you are trying to equate one of many translations of the Book of Psalms and the word "book" used metaphorically and with completely different meanings in the two cases.

      I don't know which translation you used, but Psalm 139 is David writing to the "chief Musician," and is David talking about god's intimate knowledge of David and his life. KJV Psalms 139:15 - 16 reads, "(15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." In these two sections, David, having already discussed how well god knows every movement of his body and thought in his head, goes on to say how god even knew these things before he was born. The "book" was god's mind, his perfect knowledge, and he marvels that god even knew he'd be born with certain "members," referring to arms and legs, surely, and genitalia, probably (as in gender).

      To suggest that this passage exhibits pre-knowledge of DNA is so absurd as to be unfathomable.

      "... the math scientists use ... not just evolved out of a bowl of Campbell's soup." Wow, math, like other fields of human knowledge, does not evolve in the same way that biological organisms evolve. Evolve, like many words, has more than one definition. Math, and all human knowledge, evolve through the efforts of man's intellect and the scientific process. People don't just sit around waiting for "math" to suddenly mutate into something we can finally use. Saying math was developed by intelligent men rather than having sprung into existence from the void is a fatuous statement. It doesn't follow that, just because intelligent men exist, that the universe was created by an intelligence. They're unrelated. If you insist that they are related then I will insist that because the Earth is covered with trees, and god created the world to reflect his nature, that god is made of wood. Trees produce oxygen and give us life, and god gives us life; god is wood! The fact that the bible is printed on paper, and paper is made of wood, illustrates god's promise and proves how much he loves humanity. And Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross so he could die in the loving embrace of his wooden father. And the fact that hundreds and hundreds of civilizations throughout the millennia, without the benefit of interaction, developed the concept of the Tree of Life, fills me with the joy of the realization of god's woodenness. Or was that the Web of Life? Now I'm confused. God must be a giant spider, that's it! God's a spider and spiders live in trees! O Holy Epiphany, GOD IS A WOODEN SPIDER!
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      • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
        I did not mean to touch a nerve like that and was simply quoting the referenced article.

        You indicated "my" claim. "Thus, your claim that the laws of physics do not support the big bang is incorrect ." however; the referenced article states:

        ""The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there," Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.

        The Laws of physics as "WE" understand them. Again, there is dispute amongst countless scientists on the theories, the math what the meaning is, which is my main point.

        You also TOTALLY misquoted my comment, about the Campbell's Soup. please READ it and quote me IN context. I DID NOT SAY MATH EVOLVED FROM A CAN OF SOUP!!!! For all your apparent education please read a bit more carefully. I was CLEARLY SAYING IT DID NOT just evolve, as the Universe did not just pop into existence, as life did not just Pop into existence either.. The use of making a parallel may have been lost on you since I seemed to strike a nerve with you for which I apologize.
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        • Posted by Timelord 4 years, 3 months ago
          The nerve you touched on was inaccuracy.

          The magazine article said what it said, but YOU wrote, "Then these same people due to the PROOF that the laws of physics do not support the big Bang." It is not correct to say that there is proof that the laws of physics do not support the Big Bang. It is correct to say that the mathematics of the theory of general relativity fall apart under the conditions of a singularity. The two statements are not the same.

          I didn't misquote your comment re math and Campbell's soup. My salient point regarding your statement was, "It doesn't follow that, just because intelligent men exist, that the universe was created by an intelligence. They're unrelated." That was your ultimate implication and I stand by my reaction. I will grant that my comparing biological evolution to the evolution of knowledge (math) would have been better to be left out. I never implied that you said math evolved from soup but I did accuse you of fudging the difference between the two definitions of evolution, *which you didn't really do*. However, after re-reading your "math didn't come from soup" comment I still claim that it was a ridiculous sentiment with no meaning that was used as evidence to reach a conclusion that WAS NOT SUPPORTED by the statement because the two are unrelated.

          Your parallel was not lost on me because there was no parallel.

          Don't apologize; you believe what you believe and you're not responsible for my reaction. I own myself. I'd suggest, however, that if you're going to try to present a logical argument for something that you stick to things that are actual evidence, avoid irrelevant comparisons and don't try to claim that geological core samples and DNA are discussed in the bible. This atheist has an app with over 25 versions of the bible on it for the express purpose of having discussions with theists.
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        • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
          A singularity in equations of physics is a "problem" but does not mean the theory literally "breaks down there". It isn't broken, it doesn't apply at all there, except as an indication of a rate of increase approaching it, because there are no infinities in reality. The problem is to understand what the equation does signify near a singularity and what else is needed. This is in the realm of hypotheses and theory formation, not a dispute among scientists on what a theory means. If you don't know what it means, then to that extent you don't have a theory.

          Laws of physics "as we understand them" is a redundancy. They are abstract, conceptual formulations describing and explaining what is observed as the way reality behaves, not something intrinsic to reality, independent of human consciousness. Nor are they figments of our imagination. They are objective principles as our form of awareness of reality, neither intrinsic nor subjective.
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    • Posted by ewv 4 years, 3 months ago
      This is a forum for Ayn Rand's philosophy of reason, not for quoting sacred text and rationalizing the supernatural.
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      • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
        Which "sacred text?"
        "Principles of Objectivism", "The Bible", Darwin's "Origins of Man"....
        Pick one or all since different people on this thread seem to imply the sacredness of each one of them all in THEIR view.
        What is YOUR sacred text?
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        • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
          Please point me to a quote where any Objectivist claimed that "Principles of Objectivism" is a "sacred text".
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          • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
            First the definition of Sacred IN context specifically 5a and b. Esceptico in his post implied the unassailability of "Basic Principals of Objectivism" as "the ANSWERS to everything raised here. "Basic Principals of Objectivism" are NOT the answers but only ONE set of explanations, of which many parts I do indeed find value in and others I do not.

            So what source(s) are you calming as Sacred and having all the answers we need?

            SACRED
            1a : dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity <a tree sacred to the gods>
            b : devoted exclusively to one service or use (as of a person or purpose) <a fund sacred to charity>
            2a : worthy of religious veneration : holy
            b : entitled to reverence and respect
            3 of or relating to religion : not secular or profane <sacred music>
            4archaic : accursed
            5a : unassailable, inviolable
            b : highly valued and important <a sacred responsibility

            Posted by Esceptico 22 hours ago
            "... Basic Principles of Objectivism? It is also now in print. Specifically, check Lecture 4 for the answers to everything you have raised here. "

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            • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
              The only source of answers to my questions that I trust is reality and my reason.

              I disagree with your characterization of Esceptico's quote as "implying unassailability". Objectivist philosophy has been assailed from its inception and is also as we speak. Perhaps Esceptico will notice this little exchange and say explicitly what he meant. I think he just gave a source of more elaborate and more carefully articulated answers.
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              • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
                I know one of my problems, is that I endeavor to use the English language in all its sublet nuances to capture the exact sentiment I am attempting to express. Unfortunately, many people take only the 1st of the definitions and apply them. I also failed to articulate properly when I indicated that I was called "stupid" when in fact,, I should said the implication that those who believe in God are stupid, silly, or whatever adjective one would ascribe.

                For my part as long as a person can clearly indicating a set of logical reasonable arguments, I personally think anyone can believe whatever they want, and be just as valid, especially when looking from their viewpoint.

                Much like the discussions that Science has where, as pointed out in the main point of the topic, "..Science is never settled..." and consensus does not mean fact or right either.
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                • Posted by  $  Maritimus 4 years, 3 months ago
                  I think that Objectivist philosophy and Christian doctrine are incompatible. Thus, you will find it difficult to agree with any serious philosophical arguments and propositions here.

                  I do not think that anyone here will call you stupid or try deliberately to make you feel "stupid, silly or whatever ...". On the other hand they will try to explain to you why they think differently than you do and try to explain why their philosophy seems to be logically consistent, reason based and deeply anchored in reality of existence. I do not think that would qualify as "propaganda", but to you it may. In that case just stay out. You would avoid what you perceive as putdowns and save time for more rewarding endeavors.

                  I wish you fair winds in your voyaging.
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                  • Posted by woodlema 4 years, 3 months ago
                    Look up the post:
                    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/22...
                    The answer is in reality, is that there is more in common between Objectivism, and Christianity than you might think.
                    If you actually study both, they are very much compatible. It is only where the personal belief of the individual comes into play that they diverge, but the pillars of Objectivism are also principals in the Bible.

                    Objectivism:
                    • Follow reason, not whims or faith.
                    • Work hard to achieve a life of purpose and productiveness.
                    • Earn genuine self-esteem.
                    • Pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim.
                    • Prosper by treating others as individuals, trading value for value.
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