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idav
2008-Feb-19, 05:39 PM
http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008/02/18/is-science-faith-based/

This has been the topic of many conversations and I've found insight in the thoughts of many. In my mind science is a tool of humanity. A tool to harvest the best information possible from our reality so that we can proceed through our lives in the best possible way. Science is not a matter of faith, but the two are not without relation. (I quantify this later) Hypotheses are not formed on whimsical speculation of a fantastic mind but upon educated guess of the issue's preceding information (sometimes the works of others, sometimes your previous works).

I am an atheist. And as a true Atheist I feel it important to qualify exactly what I am. I don't believe that there is no such thing as God, deity, divine interventions, Jesus in Cheetos or any other fanciful things. To Identify myself as, "Hello I'm an Atheist, there is no such thing in God." is to accept that the default position of our reality is that there is a God and I am against the status quo. Of course, and unfortunately this is true, but it is of little importance. A true Atheist is someone that applies Occam's Razor to the notions of dogmatic lore. I see no evidence for God therefor I don't focus my time and energy on him. I have no utility for him. I source morality from causality. I source spirituality from the incalculable wonder that is the unseen and unknown cosmos and the humility it brings me. I don't need God for anything. As Atheists we will never gain the status quo until we stop trying to fight it. We don't need to fight it, common sense will prevail or the forces that will squelch our mote of existence will destroy us. That is causality, the true nature of the world.

Faith: The word faith was something of particular interest in a debate I recently had. There was a person making the assertion that the Universe has a true nature. In conversation we agreed that "true nature" mean that the universe obeys a set of rules just as BA says. We debated on whether this was taken on faith or not. The ultimate truth/nature assumption is an absolute. How do you test an absolute? The very distinction of it's existence is that it's truth is infinite. It will produce a correct answer 100% of the time. The result of multiplying 0 and infinity is undefined. Human beings are not machines, we don't operate on truths, ones and zeros, ons and offs. We operate on the best information available that we choose to include. Simply, faith is a mechanism of our organism. Science is but a tool to discover what makes the most sense to have faith in. This ultimate presupposition of the Universe obeying a set of rules is truly an untestable assumption. It's an idea that supersedes all others which in my mind makes it logically. The greatest problem with this discussion is that the word faith can be suited to anyone's agenda. It's one of the most perverted words in human language and it rarely means the same thing for two people. My thoughts on this issue conflict even as I right this because this problem. Language is not 100% efficient, even if one were to discover the Ultimate Truth of the Universe he could not use language to give it to someone else.

The biggest difference between religion and science is that science embraces religions forbidden phrase, "I don't know". "I don't know" emboldens science and corrupts religion. Questions are the ultimate truth!

I'm young, and one of the greatest joys in life is that I have so much time to learn. My language is probably inferior to that of many on this board so I'll quote one of the most profound minds. Extra points if you can tell me who it is without googling it!

"I have some discomfort with both believers and with nonbelievers when their opinions are not based on facts ... If we don't know the answer, why are we under so much pressure to make up our minds, to declare our allegiance to one hypothesis or the other?" - My Hero

parallaxicality
2008-Feb-19, 08:42 PM
This thread will probably be deleted because it deals with religion, but anyway...

Phil is right. Science makes only one assumption; that the universe obeys rules. But this is a big assumption when placed up against religion or the hand of a conscious deity. In order to pursue scientific inquiry, it is necessary to adopt a kind of "methodological atheism", an underlying assumption that God does not exist or, if it does, will not arbitrarily withhold or alter the laws of physics to interfere with experimental results. For some religious persons who believe in the hand of God in all things, and in the efficacy of miracles, such an assumption is difficult to take. It would lead fundamentalists to conclude that science, as a philosophy, precludes God.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Feb-19, 10:00 PM
One can say that science assumes that reality can be known through physical evidence combined with reason. An assumption which I would say most people make implicitly in their day-to-day.

But technically you can do good science even if you don't actually believe this. On the other hand, I can't think of anyone who has.

idav
2008-Feb-20, 05:58 PM
I agree that Phil is right. However, he fails to make the distinction between the utility of science and the utility of religion and he fails to define what faith is. Also, the tone of his article implies a motive of rallying the troops rather than educating the ignorant, which I thought what he was about.

Personally I don't think it's appropriate to ostracize the word faith in order to maintain the causality of science. If he wants to educate his readers then he should have explained that the one assumption we rationalists do make is not made based on the authority of others but the observation and knowledge we've accumulated through out history. That is the distinction. The assumption we've made is as much a process of science as our methods themselves. We hypothesize the universe to obey a set of rules because all observations to date either support the idea or drive further inquiry. One might say, "Well how do you explain the study of black holes? They seem to break plenty of rules but we didn't rewrite our main hypothesis! (The universe obeys a set of rules)" To which the response would be that just because we don't understand something doesn't mean it it disproves our main assumption. Certain elements of science specifically disprove certain elements of religion. That is the distinction.

Chuck
2008-Feb-25, 02:51 PM
I have no faith is science. It might stop working tomorrow for all I know. When I see that it's not doing anything for me then I'll dump it, just like I dumped religion 40 years ago.

Science is not faith based. We evolved in a universe in which patterns persist and the genes that survived and reproduced were the ones that took advantage of this. Everyone does science at some level, even those who declare it to be evil. When you reach for an apple on a table you expect it to be there because that's the way things turned out when you experimented early in life. That's using science. You can believe that a supernatural being causes the apple to be there when your hand arrives but that doesn't alter the fact the scientific research was done. We do science before we even know the meaning of the word and we can hardly have faith in something before we even know about it.

shasocastris
2008-Feb-26, 12:18 AM
This is such an awesome article explaining atheism, science, and faith. I have to show this to some people I know to explain the distinction between science and faith (though they can't understand the difference between theory and hypothesis, so...)

Cheers!

Noclevername
2008-Feb-26, 01:16 AM
Science often presents scientists with answers they dislike, disagree with personally or weren't expecting. It just makes them use more science on those answers, to analyze the data even more closely and in even more detail. Faith, as far as I remember, works rather the opposite way; the more you start to disagree with it, the harder it is to maintain.

Arnold J Rimmer
2008-Mar-01, 11:52 PM
Well obviously not, you can not combine the two, faith by virtue is a an unreal belief while science is exploration of our World ..... God and Chemistry don't mix...

Jerry
2008-Mar-02, 01:08 AM
The biggest difference between religion and science is that science embraces religions forbidden phrase, "I don't know". "I don't know" emboldens science and corrupts religion. Questions are the ultimate truth!

Excellent.

Michael Noonan
2008-Mar-02, 10:14 AM
The biggest difference between religion and science is that science embraces religions forbidden phrase, "I don't know". "I don't know" emboldens science and corrupts religion. Questions are the ultimate truth!

Excellent.

I try to see what works for the 'normal mind' but for those with pareidola it twists from that view quite significantly. When one 'feels' links in the songs heard, written material, conversations then reflections on links mean questions come very freely. It is the answers that you have that you don't trust. It is a condition (in my case at least) conducive to faith ... there has to be truth somewhere and what am I not seeing in what I am looking at.

Just a counterpoint with the same aim to seek truth and revel in beauty. I don't know is a statement ... what am I not seeing is a question. So for one it is skepticism and "I don't know". For the other it is belief and searching for deeper meaning and having to discard that which is inconsistent. From that point of view there is still great beauty but lots of confusion in so many definitions all claiming to be "The One".

It is like fishing, not quoting here but it is the difference between uncertainty and probability. The fish knows it has the hook in its mouth and makes it choice on how to get loose. The person fishing follows the run of the fish and thinks they are in control. Either way the fish could get off, the line break and the hook cast again so the fish still gets caught. Same result but each from a different point of view.

Maksutov
2008-Mar-02, 10:19 AM
Re

"Is science faith-based?"

No, no, and most emphatically, no.

Jerry
2008-Mar-02, 04:02 PM
I am reminded of a little girl who prayed and prayed for a sister; and when she did not get one, she concluded that her sister must be evil.

***

Many in the religous right foster the utterly foolish notion scientific theories are evil and therefore wrong. They may be wrong, but they are not evil. Many involved in science see the religious right as enemies. While it is true that when woodenheaded fools get hold of the purse strings science programs may suffer, skepticism drives the discovery process. Admitting a flaw may exist in the knowledge base is the first step in weeding out errors.

Thumping
2008-Mar-05, 08:00 PM
I don't normally post anything to any thread, but I felt the need to ask a couple of questions.

If all science starts with the same evidence, same world, same universe, same laws of physics, then the only difference is the bias that one starts with.

If your bias is that there is a God that created everything with a specific order for life to even exist, then you are studying that order that's inherent in the universe.

If your bias is that there is no creator and that all existence is a mere chance event, or random collisions of matter, and that the order in the universe is just a chance event, you’re still studying the order that's inherent in the universe.

If you want to believe that there is a Creator God that created the universe and created life on this planet and created order in the universe, rather than believe that your a chance event and the order in the universe is just an accident, then, what is the problem with faith?
Either way, you have to start with an assumption (or bias). Your results will be the same. 2+2 will always equal 4 no matter which bias you start with.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-05, 10:04 PM
Welcome aboard, Thumping. Read the rules and stay awhile.

In answer to your question . . . the issue is the interventionary nature many people assign to God. When the only answer is "God did it," that doesn't actually provide any information. Many of those people are not getting four when adding two and two; many of them aren't even getting five or twenty-two. They're getting potato.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 01:15 AM
Welcome aboard, Thumping. Read the rules and stay awhile.

In answer to your question . . . the issue is the interventionary nature many people assign to God. When the only answer is "God did it," that doesn't actually provide any information. Many of those people are not getting four when adding two and two; many of them aren't even getting five or twenty-two. They're getting potato.

I agree that that maybe the phrase "God did it," may be over used. I also agree that it takes faith to believe that either:
1. The universe exploded from nothing (big bang) into something and that over time, random collisions of matter sprang forth life from non life, or

2. The universe was spoke into existence by a creator God and that life was created by that same God.

Either way, your bias has to start somewhere.
Is science faith based? Well, I guess it depends on how you judge your bias.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 02:05 AM
I agree that that maybe the phrase "God did it," may be over used. I also agree that it takes faith to believe that either:
1. The universe exploded from nothing (big bang) into something and that over time, random collisions of matter sprang forth life from non life, or

Since what you just said isn't what science actually says, it may require belief.

But that the Universe has expanded from a high-temperature state of compaction, and that life formed from the chemical interaction of organic molecules, are what science has found, and require no faith at all, just observation and analysis of facts.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 02:18 AM
Since what you just said isn't what science actually says, it may require belief.

But that the Universe has expanded from a high-temperature state of compaction, and that life formed from the chemical interaction of organic molecules, are what science has found, and require no faith at all, just observation and analysis of facts.

Ok. That sounds great and believeable. It's still a "big bang" that no one was there to observe, and I'll grant that science has been using the "big bang" theory for a while, but they still have never observed it. If science is based on testable theories that what is the "big bang"?

About the "interaction of organic molecules", this has not been observed either. Science hasn't even been able to reproduce it. Even if scientists could reproduce the "interaction of organic molecules" to create life, then they were the intelligent design behind it. It's still life from non life. Sounds like it still takes faith.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 02:36 AM
Ok. That sounds great and believeable. It's still a "big bang" that no one was there to observe, and I'll grant that science has been using the "big bang" theory for a while, but they still have never observed it. If science is based on testable theories that what is the "big bang"?

About the "interaction of organic molecules", this has not been observed either. Science hasn't even been able to reproduce it. Even if scientists could reproduce the "interaction of organic molecules" to create life, then they were the intelligent design behind it. It's still life from non life. Sounds like it still takes faith.
You seem to have some misperception of just how science actually works, and what the actual scientific theories about the Big Bang and the origin of life really say. Here's some starting information to help you better understand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

Gillianren
2008-Mar-06, 02:38 AM
I agree that that maybe the phrase "God did it," may be over used.

"Over used"? If you're giving it as an example of why an observed process works the way it does--like how the red shift evidence all supports a Big Bang--it's simply not applicable, much less overused.

Fadingstar
2008-Mar-06, 02:54 AM
Having faith doesn't require questions. Science is very fond of asking questions.
Just because scientists don't know the answer to something doesn't mean they must have faith in the result. The Big Bang is still under scrutiny. Scientists are still asking amongst themselves how did it happen in loud voices while waving their arms wildly. The same with the origin of life.
Faith just requires acceptance with no loud voices or arm waving. No true scientist would accept that.

You can have faith in the fact that 2+2=4, and just believe in the 4, but science would want to know where you got the 2s from, are you sure it should be a cross in the middle, and are those parallel lines really going somewhere. That is the difference between faith and science.
I can have faith in the fact that my alarm clock will wake me up in the morning, but science would expect the alarm clock to prove it.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 03:05 AM
Having faith doesn't require questions. Science is very fond of asking questions.
Just because scientists don't know the answer to something doesn't mean they must have faith in the result. The Big Bang is still under scrutiny. Scientists are still asking amongst themselves how did it happen in loud voices while waving their arms wildly. The same with the origin of life.
Faith just requires acceptance with no loud voices or arm waving. No true scientist would accept that.

You can have faith in the fact that 2+2=4, and just believe in the 4, but science would want to know where you got the 2s from, are you sure it should be a cross in the middle, and are those parallel lines really going somewhere. That is the difference between faith and science.
I can have faith in the fact that my alarm clock will wake me up in the morning, but science would expect the alarm clock to prove it.

Ok. I can see what your trying to say. If your science is entirely based on faith then you dont ask questions, science and discovery stops. If that's true, are you saying that the scientist that is studying the same universe using the same techniques as any other scientist, can they not believe in a creator God and still do good science? Your still studying the same thing. The difference is that the scientist that believes in God is attempting to discover how the Creator did it, the evolutionist is trying to figure out how nature did it.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 03:07 AM
"Over used"? If you're giving it as an example of why an observed process works the way it does--like how the red shift evidence all supports a Big Bang--it's simply not applicable, much less overused.


I not sure how the red shift proves the Big Bang. Most creationist / evolutionist theories have solutions to the red shift of the universe expanding. Nobody argues that the universe is expanding.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 03:15 AM
You seem to have some misperception of just how science actually works, and what the actual scientific theories about the Big Bang and the origin of life really say. Here's some starting information to help you better understand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

I checked the article on abiogenesis. It still talks about life from nothing.
The first sentence " is the study of how life on Earth might have emerged from non-life." Doesn't it still take faith to believe something that you have never observed or reproduced in the lab? Abiogenesis may be a interesting theory, but it's still a untestable and unobersvable theory only. So is the big bang. If you can see it or test it, does it take faith to believe it.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 03:17 AM
Ok. I can see what your trying to say. If your science is entirely based on faith then you dont ask questions, science and discovery stops. If that's true, are you saying that the scientist that is studying the same universe using the same techniques as any other scientist, can they not believe in a creator God and still do good science? Your still studying the same thing. The difference is that the scientist that believes in God is attempting to discover how the Creator did it, the evolutionist is trying to figure out how nature did it.

You've got it, except for using the term "evolutionist" to mean "atheist". A God-fearing scientist who studies evolution can still be an evolutionist.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 03:24 AM
You've got it, except for using the term "evolutionist" to mean "atheist". A God-fearing scientist who studies evolution can still be an evolutionist.


I agree that a God fearing scientist who studies evolution can still be an evolutionist, but (you knew that was coming) you can be a atheist, evolutionst, or God fearing scientist and still do good science.

Fadingstar
2008-Mar-06, 03:27 AM
In addition to Noclevername's response, when Stephen Hawking met the Pope, he said that we did not know what was before the Big Bang, and thus left room for God, and the Pope was happy.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 03:29 AM
I agree that a God fearing scientist who studies evolution can still be an evolutionist, but (you knew that was coming) you can be a atheist, evolutionst, or God fearing scientist and still do good science.

Exactly. Faith is irrelevant to good science. Only testable, provable data matters.

Fadingstar
2008-Mar-06, 03:35 AM
I agree that a God fearing scientist who studies evolution can still be an evolutionist, but (you knew that was coming) you can be a atheist, evolutionst, or God fearing scientist and still do good science.

True. But science doesn't care what you believe in, only in the proof of the pudding. You might believe in, say, pink elephants, but science will prove you wrong. Having faith in pink elephants will not make the science go away, as creationists would want it to do.
The point here is that you can believe in God who set the whole thing in motion to follow rules set within the moment of Big Bang, or you can say that the Big Bang was the result of some hidden mechanism that we may never find or see. But! Once the Big Bang was in motion, God did not get involved.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 03:38 AM
=Once the Big Bang was in motion, God did not get involved.

Scientifically, all we can say is that there's no evidence God got involved.

Fadingstar
2008-Mar-06, 03:40 AM
Scientifically, all we can say is that there's no evidence God got involved.

I stand corrected and eat humble pie:doh:

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 03:41 AM
Scientifically, all we can say is that there's no evidence God got involved.

Now that requires faith!

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 04:01 AM
Now that requires faith!

Then you have actual, testable evidence? Wow, better publish a paper on it, this'll change everything! Was it obtained by experiment, or by repeatable observation? :lol:

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 04:10 AM
Then you have actual, testable evidence? Wow, better publish a paper on it, this'll change everything! Was it obtained by experiment, or by repeatable observation? :lol:

Clever. This is starting to get fun. What actual testable evidence is there for, um, say, the "big bang"?

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 04:12 AM
Clever. This is starting to get fun. What actual testable evidence is there for, um, say, the "big bang"?

(Sigh) You didn't read the Wikipedia article, did you? Observed universal expansion via redshift, Microvave cosmic background radiation. Concrete, analyzable data.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 04:14 AM
You didn't read the Wikipedia article, did you? Observed universal expansion via redshift, Microvave cosmic background radiation. Direct, analyzable data.

Ok. So the universe is expanding. I agreed to that in another quote. Creationist and evolutionis and atheists all have valid theories on the expansion of the universe and nobody argues that.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-06, 04:22 AM
Ok. So the universe is expanding. I agreed to that in another quote. Creationist and evolutionis and atheists all have valid theories on the expansion of the universe and nobody argues that.

Er, no. Creationists don't have theories, they have untestable hypotheses. A hypothesis is an attempted explanation for observed data. A theory is a hypothesis that is supported by evidence. A hypothesis that can't be tested, like saying "god did it", is not part of science, which is a method of testing evidence.


Big Bang theory accounts for observed data. It says that at one time, the universe was smaller and hotter. This is proven fact, it is not in doubt. The rest of the concepts attached to it, like time beginning then and there being "nothing" before it, are not part of Big Bang theory per se, they are hypotheses that attempt to explain the Big Bang.

Thumping
2008-Mar-06, 04:36 PM
Er, no. Creationists don't have theories, they have untestable hypotheses. A hypothesis is an attempted explanation for observed data. A theory is a hypothesis that is supported by evidence. A hypothesis that can't be tested, like saying "god did it", is not part of science, which is a method of testing evidence.


Big Bang theory accounts for observed data. It says that at one time, the universe was smaller and hotter. This is proven fact, it is not in doubt. The rest of the concepts attached to it, like time beginning then and there being "nothing" before it, are not part of Big Bang theory per se, they are hypotheses that attempt to explain the Big Bang.

From Dictionary.com --
Theory: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

hypotheses: a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

Fact: something known to exist or to have happened.

To know something as fact and not theory as you propose, you would have to have seen it with your own eyes or have some crediable witness to the event in question. If the event is not observable, not testable, and you cannot replicate it, then is it still a fact.

To claim that all creationist have are hypotheses and no facts or theories assumes that you know all creationists and know all data that creationist talk about. Your assuming that you have infinite knowledge. There is still a lot of evidence that shows the Big Bang might have happened, but there is no proof. You cannot prove it. Just because you cannot prove it doens't mean that it didn't happen, but it does mean it that it cannot be classified as a fact.

AndreH
2008-Mar-06, 06:15 PM
From Dictionary.com --
Theory: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
hypotheses: a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

Fact: something known to exist or to have happened.

To know something as fact and not theory as you propose, you would have to have seen it with your own eyes or have some crediable witness to the event in question. If the event is not observable, not testable, and you cannot replicate it, then is it still a fact.
To claim that all creationist have are hypotheses and no facts or theories assumes that you know all creationists and know all data that creationist talk about. Your assuming that you have infinite knowledge. There is still a lot of evidence that shows the Big Bang might have happened, but there is no proof. You cannot prove it. Just because you cannot prove it doens't mean that it didn't happen, but it does mean it that it cannot be classified as a fact.

Bolt mine

Usually I don't get involved into this type of discussion. But this is not the definition we use for a scientific theory.
In science, theories explain facts.

Moreover I do not agree with what you say about facts. Go to a high bridge with a stone in your hand. Stretch out the hand behind your back over the rim of the bridge. Open your hand so that the inside of the hand shows downwards. You will feel the stone suddenly vanish.
You were alone on that bridge, no witness. You did not see what has happened to the stone. As the stone is gone you can't repeat the experiment (maybe the mysterious thing that happened to your stone happens only to that special type of stones).

Do we agree that what has happened to the stone was: It fell. According to your definition this would not be a fact.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-06, 07:14 PM
Thumping, you're showing some clear, basic misunderstandings about the nature of science, not least regarding the scientific definition of the word "theory." We do not, for example, have to actually observe something happening in order to consider it "observed"; observing effects and determining that they could not be explained any other way (and I assure you, while creationists think they have explanations for the evidence, what they have is "God did it")--or at least, that this is a very good way of explaining it that hasn't been contradicted so far. If a better explanation came along, it would supplant the Big Bang. Better explanations don't supplant "God did it" in the eyes of a creationist, because that's all they need.

However, Big Bang cosmology, contrary to certain people's belief, has nothing to do with evolution. Abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution, really. Evolution starts after that.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-06, 07:43 PM
The creationist definition of "evolution" has broadened in recent years to include cosmological, astronomical, geological and chemical evolution as well as biological evolution. Basically, anything that science says that doesn't agree with Genesis.

AndreH
2008-Mar-06, 07:47 PM
Thumping, you will find a explanation for the term scientific theory in the General Science board: Evolution: Still a theory, las post on 22.01.2008.

(Sorry, I don'T know yet how to post links to other threads)

Disinfo Agent
2008-Mar-06, 08:26 PM
I think the word "faith" (like the word "belief") carries with it sufficient ambiguity that one may be justified in saying that science does involve some amount of faith/belief -- or not, depending on what one means by these terms.

I think the problem here, though, lies more specifically with the phrase "faith-based", which has been a little abused by certain political movements with antiscientific agendas, which shall remain nameless in respect of the forum's rules.

As someone else once said about another discussion a long time ago, the disagreement here is really about the subtext more than the substance.

Incidentally, welcome to the forum, Thumping.

Amber Robot
2008-Mar-06, 08:40 PM
Scientifically, all we can say is that there's no evidence God got involved.

No, we can't say that, because, scientifically, there's no definition for the word "God".

Joe Durnavich
2008-Mar-06, 09:42 PM
Science is not faith based. We evolved in a universe in which patterns persist and the genes that survived and reproduced were the ones that took advantage of this. Everyone does science at some level, even those who declare it to be evil. When you reach for an apple on a table you expect it to be there because that's the way things turned out when you experimented early in life. That's using science. You can believe that a supernatural being causes the apple to be there when your hand arrives but that doesn't alter the fact the scientific research was done. We do science before we even know the meaning of the word and we can hardly have faith in something before we even know about it.

Folks, Chuck has answered the question decisively. We can pretty much close up the thread and go home.

Faith doesn't come first. Before you can act on faith, you must first learn to act. Only later in life, after you have developed the skill of reaching for apples (and many, many other skills), can you then reach for an apple on faith.

steve000
2008-Mar-06, 10:19 PM
We can pretty much close up the thread and go home.

Ye ok let me have my two penneth first


To claim that all creationist have are hypotheses and no facts or theories assumes that you know all creationists and know all data that creationist talk about.
------------------------------------
I thought I'd have a look (fully open minded) and see what this creationist science is actually saying.


The view that the universe and Earth are actually young but merely appear old is very popular. It means that the Genesis account as read in a straightforward manner is scientifically accurate, and does not place any theological problems on whatever age scientists want to put on the universe or Earth.


(thats convenient :eh:)

You only need to read one example to conclude that this creationist science is nothing more than a manipulation of facts to suite a there own ideas. Simply an attempt to control the work that greater minds have done in understanding nature to suite there own personal belief and agenda. They manipulate fact as proof and they manipulate gaps in-between the facts as proof.They say - 'There is no reason not to believe that God created the Universe' - and that's true, but only as true as saying there's no reason to believe that 'God' did. So all it boils down to, nothing more and nothing less, is a faith- No facts, none, zero, without basis, nought, no-no facto, zilch... I don't have a problem with the idea that maybe there is something more than we see (maybe there is, maybe there isn't, who knows)... Creationists trying to twist facts and ancient stories into one will do more harm to there own cause than anything else, (as in the quote above).


Only later in life, after you have developed the skill of reaching for apples (and many, many other skills), can you then reach for an apple on faith.

You mean as we get closer to the death bed.. Your probably right, maybe we all will need faith at some stage.....
I dunno :)

Amber Robot
2008-Mar-06, 10:23 PM
Only later in life, after you have developed the skill of reaching for apples (and many, many other skills), can you then reach for an apple on faith.

By that point I would use the word "trust", not "faith".

Joe Durnavich
2008-Mar-07, 01:05 AM
You mean as we get closer to the death bed.. Your probably right, maybe we all will need faith at some stage.....

The point tried to relate back to Chuck's "We do science before we even know the meaning of the word and we can hardly have faith in something before we even know about it." A baby trying to stack blocks is not acting on faith that one block will stay on top of another. The baby does not know how to act on faith yet, for one. Its actions are better said to be a case of experimenting, discovering, or learning to stack blocks. That's not a case of faith.

Joe Durnavich
2008-Mar-07, 01:06 AM
By that point I would use the word "trust", not "faith".

Yeah, when you do something because that something worked in prior experiments, it is by definition a case of not acting on faith.

Starchild615
2008-Mar-07, 07:19 AM
This kind of conversation interests me very much, it reminds me of when I was about 9 years old, I had to go to religion classes after school every Wednesday in order to receive confirmation ( ask me what it is, I still dont know )

I was always into science, so I asked a question in the religion class I said " Teacher, how come there are Dinosaur bones as evidence but there are no Jesus bones" HA think of how that sounds coming from a 9 year old kid, well anyway, instead of an answer I got in trouble, they sent me to the head nuns office and said I was being sarcastic and a smarty pants. This was not the case, I really wanted an answer, this has bothered me since I was a child. Funny how in catholic schools they did not teach the kids about Dinos or Astronomy, but in the public schools, they did. So imagine me , a confused 9 year old who would learn about history and science during the day, and then go to religion class on a wednesday for 1 1/2 hours and all I learned during the day was contradicted in my Wednesday religion class.

This is why I am still confused to this very day. Imagine If I would have brought up the Big Bang in that class, I probably would have gotten a ruler across my bum. :o

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-07, 07:41 AM
By that point I would use the word "trust", not "faith".

Yeah, when you do something because that something worked in prior experiments, it is by definition a case of not acting on faith.

I suppose it depends on how you define faith. Just because something is taken so for granted that we don't need to make any effort to believe it doesn't necessarily mean it is falsifiable.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-07, 08:04 AM
No, we can't say that, because, scientifically, there's no definition for the word "God".

Irrelevant, we can still say we don't see evidence for it. In fact, if there's no definition, that's all we can say.

Amber Robot
2008-Mar-07, 05:34 PM
Irrelevant, we can still say we don't see evidence for it.

Sure you can , but if you don't actually know what it is, it's hard to know if there's evidence for or against it.

steve000
2008-Mar-07, 05:56 PM
acting on faith.

I read a post by someone on here recently that said that they take great satisfaction from the fact that when they are dead, that that is it, and nothing more. I have to say I agree with that.
I don't really wish to be hanging around on clouds plucking away on a little harp for all eternity. Were I think the mind takes over and makes you want to think there is more to it (than simply death) is the fear of losing a loved one, (or probably more strongly) when your about to lose a loved one, or after they have passed away. Obviously that, and other reasons (such as, trying to make sense of the Earth & the stars etc.)..Was why our ancestors created beliefs in Gods ect. I suppose at the time there was a strong urge to believe anything.
Not unlike this...
...............
[holy music]
FOLLOWERS:
Oh! Oh! Ohh! Oh! Ah! Oh!
ARTHUR:
He has given us a sign!
FOLLOWER:
Oh!
SHOE FOLLOWER:
He has given us... His shoe!
ARTHUR:
The shoe is the sign. Let us follow His example.
SPIKE:
What?
ARTHUR:
Let us, like Him, hold up one shoe and let the other be upon our foot, for this is His sign, that all who follow Him shall do likewise.
EDDIE:
Yes.
SHOE FOLLOWER:
No, no, no. The shoe is...
YOUTH:
No.
SHOE FOLLOWER:
...a sign that we must gather shoes together in abundance.
GIRL:
Cast off...
SPIKE:
Aye. What?
GIRL:
...the shoes! Follow the Gourd!
SHOE FOLLOWER:
No! Let us gather shoes together!
FRANK:
Yes.
SHOE FOLLOWER:
Let me!
ELSIE:
Oh, get off!
YOUTH:
No, no! It is a sign that, like Him, we must think not of the things of the body, but of the face and head!
SHOE FOLLOWER:
Give me your shoe!
YOUTH:
Get off!
GIRL:
Follow the Gourd! The Holy Gourd of Jerusalem!
FOLLOWER:
The Gourd!
HARRY:
Hold up the sandal, as He has commanded us!
ARTHUR:
It is a shoe! It is a shoe!
HARRY:
It's a sandal!
ARTHUR:
No, it isn't!
GIRL:
Cast it away!
ARTHUR:
Put it on!
YOUTH:
And clear off!
SHOE FOLLOWER:
Take the shoes and follow Him!
GIRL:
Come,...
FRANK:
Yes!
GIRL:
...all ye who call yourself Gourdenes!
SPIKE:
Stop! Stop! Stop, I say! Stop! Let us-- let us pray. Yea, He cometh to us, like the seed to the grain.
.........................
And that says (going back to the bit above, the above) to me that religion and it's idea of creation was man made, and for reasons that were understandable..... At the time.
As civilization and science advance the more the complexities of nature are accounted for by fact. And therefore the "need" to account for the unknown with a belief (and the capacity to push that belief on others), fades into history. IMO

Noclevername
2008-Mar-07, 07:01 PM
Sure you can , but if you don't actually know what it is, it's hard to know if there's evidence for or against it.

Not quite. If the premise is that God somehow influences nature, we look for signs of anomalous influences in nature. If we find none, then it doesn't matter who or what is not doing it. ;)

Gillianren
2008-Mar-07, 07:11 PM
This kind of conversation interests me very much, it reminds me of when I was about 9 years old, I had to go to religion classes after school every Wednesday in order to receive confirmation ( ask me what it is, I still dont know )

At 9? Are you sure it wasn't First Communion? That's what I was doing at 9. Either way, Confirmation (which usually involves teenagers these days) is the process by which you declare as an adult your intention to be a member of the Catholic faith. (I don't think other religions do Confirmation.) I managed to dodge it by pointing out to my mother that I had no room in my schedule for the necessary classes. (My church intended to make damn sure you knew what you were getting into.)


I was always into science, so I asked a question in the religion class I said " Teacher, how come there are Dinosaur bones as evidence but there are no Jesus bones" HA think of how that sounds coming from a 9 year old kid, well anyway, instead of an answer I got in trouble, they sent me to the head nuns office and said I was being sarcastic and a smarty pants. This was not the case, I really wanted an answer, this has bothered me since I was a child. Funny how in catholic schools they did not teach the kids about Dinos or Astronomy, but in the public schools, they did. So imagine me , a confused 9 year old who would learn about history and science during the day, and then go to religion class on a wednesday for 1 1/2 hours and all I learned during the day was contradicted in my Wednesday religion class.

Our local Catholic school taught paleontology and astronomy. In fact, the Church's stance since the '50s has been that evolution is real. The reason, further, that there are no "Jesus bones," at least according to Christianity, is that Jesus went to Heaven bodily, which would leave no bones. Did you actually not learn that? If not, it sounds like you went to a really lousy Catholic school. Further, if you were referring to fossilized Jesus bones, the answer is that there hasn't really been time for anything but natural mummification, and it's pretty rare. Further, the Church has a lot of other bones--saints' bones and so forth--but it doesn't have Virgin Mary bones, because she, too, is said to have ascended bodily.

Note that I'm not saying I agree with that. I'm just informing you of the Church's dogma, because you seem to have missed a lot of it.


This is why I am still confused to this very day. Imagine If I would have brought up the Big Bang in that class, I probably would have gotten a ruler across my bum. :o

Only, again, if you went to a really lousy Catholic school. How long ago was this?

Starchild615
2008-Mar-07, 08:18 PM
I only went to the Catholic School for 1 1/2 hours a week, and yes you are correct, it was for communion not confirmation.
I attended that around I'd say 1978-1979. They really did not teach us much about what you are saying. They would basically just take us to church for about 40 minutes and then back to the class for the remainder of the 1 1/2 hrs.

Now, you are correct, instead of getting in trouble for my question, she should have given me your answer.


I watch a lot of programs on history and discovery about the relics and bones and even the greatest professors say that there is no proof that they are the actual bones of the saints etc. The only story that intrigued me was the Story of St Bernadette, they exhumed the body approx 50 years later and they said it was still in tact. They have the body on display in a church in Lourdes. I would like to think it is real, but who knows. Then theres that whole Shroud of Turin thing, now they are carbon dating it and saying DaVinci made the shroud. Who knows, I guess it's all down to what we want to believe and have faith in.

As far as the School, like I said, I only attended 1 1/2 hrs per week, I can ask some old friends I have that attended full time what they learned, I think that it would be interesting to find out. I love this kind of conversation, my brain thrives on questions, information and controversy.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Mar-07, 08:39 PM
That's fine, but I hope you realise that saint's bones are not fossils. You're not confused over that, hopefully... :)

Starchild615
2008-Mar-07, 09:07 PM
Of course I know that :lol:
I am saying Relics not fossils

Disinfo Agent
2008-Mar-07, 09:15 PM
Just checking. ;)

Amber Robot
2008-Mar-07, 09:24 PM
Not quite. If the premise is that God somehow influences nature, we look for signs of anomalous influences in nature. If we find none, then it doesn't matter who or what is not doing it. ;)

Yes, but that still presumes that you've actually put a definition behind the word "God" and made some prediction about what the impact of such a concept would be. As far as I know, there has never been a scientifically accepted definition of the word "God". We might as well be talking about "Diptharbs".

Disinfo Agent
2008-Mar-07, 09:32 PM
As far as I know, there has never been a scientifically accepted definition of the word "God".There isn't even a consensual unscientific definition. ;)

Gillianren
2008-Mar-07, 10:15 PM
I only went to the Catholic School for 1 1/2 hours a week, and yes you are correct, it was for communion not confirmation.
I attended that around I'd say 1978-1979. They really did not teach us much about what you are saying. They would basically just take us to church for about 40 minutes and then back to the class for the remainder of the 1 1/2 hrs.

It's a basic tenet of the faith. The Ascencion and the Assumption are Holy Days of Obligation, for starters. (That's days you have to go to church, for those who didn't grow up Catholic.) Perhaps they didn't teach it in your First Communion classes because, you know, they assumed you should already have known it, and the shock came not from impertinent questions but from shock at your basic ignorance of your own faith! (No offence meant, of course.)


Now, you are correct, instead of getting in trouble for my question, she should have given me your answer.

Yes, and I assure you that I'm not excusing her behaviour.


I watch a lot of programs on history and discovery about the relics and bones and even the greatest professors say that there is no proof that they are the actual bones of the saints etc. The only story that intrigued me was the Story of St Bernadette, they exhumed the body approx 50 years later and they said it was still in tact. They have the body on display in a church in Lourdes. I would like to think it is real, but who knows. Then theres that whole Shroud of Turin thing, now they are carbon dating it and saying DaVinci made the shroud. Who knows, I guess it's all down to what we want to believe and have faith in.

Since the Shroud of Turin is documented to have existed before Leonardo da Vinci did, let us say I find that latter unlikely. I'm also curious as to how you expect them to prove that relics are anyone's bones in particular without DNA. I grant you that, for the older and better-known saints, it's pretty much true that you can build about fifteen people out of the various relics. But there's limited proof that can be done.


As far as the School, like I said, I only attended 1 1/2 hrs per week, I can ask some old friends I have that attended full time what they learned, I think that it would be interesting to find out. I love this kind of conversation, my brain thrives on questions, information and controversy.

Well, I was raised Catholic and am currently Pagan, so I'm used to answering a lot of questions.

Thumping
2008-Mar-10, 12:28 PM
Wow! I'm out of town for a couple of days and I miss out on a lot of stuff.

First, I want to clarify a couple of things. Creationists don't go around saying "we can't expain it so God did it".
Creationists actually say that there is so much evidence in the universe and everything in it that it points to intelligent design. The way the universe functions and is organized points to intelligent design. The odds that the universe exists the way it is and for life to exist on this planet are so astronomical as to be impossible. ( i have numbers if you want them) The answer isn't always that "God Did IT!", but that you can't avoid the fact that there is intelligence behind it. There are so many things in the universe that don't make sense unless there is intelligent design. I could make a list of things, but you could too. I am curious about what people think happened to all the anti-matter. If the big bang is true, then there should be equal amounts of matter and anti-matter in the universe. There should be whole galaxies made of the stuff. There isn't. There's very little detectable anti-matter in the universe. The law of averages states that there should be equal amounts of both. Where did it go or was it ever there? This is a fantastic discussion, so please keep it going.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-10, 01:23 PM
The problem is that all the things that creationists point to as evidence for ID can just as easily (and usually more easily) be explained by evolution, as Michael Behe's pwning in Dover, Pennsylvania ably proved. There is simply no evidence anywhere that unequivocally points to an intelligent designer and nothing else. The issue of "God did it" isn't about motive, it's about falsifiability. God cannot be disproven, so he cannot be employed as a scientific cause. God can do anything, he doesn't need to leave any evidence of his work behind, and he doesn't need to follow cause and effect or obey the laws of physics, so there is no way to investigate the God hypothesis scientifically. "God did it" is a philosophical brick wall that stops rational inquiry dead. As the introductory sign to the Creation Museum in Kentucky puts it, "Don't think. Just listen and believe." With God, that's all you can do.

Thumping
2008-Mar-10, 01:47 PM
Well, I don't completly think I made my point. Creationist scientists aren't going around saying "God Did It" and leaving it at that. The inquiry doesnt' stop there. The big difference is that Creation scientists are still on a quest for knowledge. They still want to know how it works or why it works. They don't stop at "God did it." They all firmly believe that "God did it." They are still trying to find out how "God did it". "God did it" isn't the end of the quest for knowledge, it's the beginning.

Where do Creationist start with their quest for knowledge? God.
Where does everyone else start? Random acts of nature.

I know this example has been thrown around a lot, but if you can look at a watch, or a car, or computer and know that there is a designer that built it then how hard is it to believe that one red blood cell, that is vastly more complex, was designed and not a random event. I hope this helps.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-10, 02:20 PM
You cannot scientifically analyze God or his works. Since God is omnipotent and capable of performing miracles, he can skip from thought to result without any need for physical action or effect. Since science only studies the physical universe, there is no point in attempting to understand how God Did It from a scientific perspective.

The issue, as I said, is falsifiability. Take the proposition, "The Moon is made of green cheese." This is a scientific hypothesis, because you can prove it is wrong. You can send a craft to the Moon, sample its soil, and, if necessary, grind the Moon to dust to show that there is not a single trace of green cheese anywhere within it. The Green Cheese Hypothesis is falsifiable. God doesn't work like that. You can imagine scientific ways in which He Might Have Done It, but, because God can do anything, you can never develop a testable hypothesis that shows how He Did Not Do It. This means that God is not a scientific hypothesis; from a scientific point of view "God Did It" is as far as you can go.

Thumping
2008-Mar-10, 02:51 PM
You cannot scientifically analyze God or his works. Since God is omnipotent and capable of performing miracles, he can skip from thought to result without any need for physical action or effect. Since science only studies the physical universe, there is no point in attempting to understand how God Did It from a scientific perspective.

The issue, as I said, is falsifiability. Take the proposition, "The Moon is made of green cheese." This is a scientific hypothesis, because you can prove it is wrong. You can send a craft to the Moon, sample its soil, and, if necessary, grind the Moon to dust to show that there is not a single trace of green cheese anywhere within it. The Green Cheese Hypothesis is falsifiable. God doesn't work like that. You can imagine scientific ways in which He Might Have Done It, but, because God can do anything, you can never develop a testable hypothesis that shows how He Did Not Do It. This means that God is not a scientific hypothesis; from a scientific point of view "God Did It" is as far as you can go.

You may not be able to analyze God, but you can analyze His works. If we are to assume that God is infalliable and true, then God will follow the laws He placed on His creation. Since God is not deceptive then we can analyze the universe with a scientific inquiry as to how God did it. Again, "God did it" is not the end of the search for knowlege, but the beginning. Creationist are not debating the existance of God or "That" He did it, just how He did it.

AndreH
2008-Mar-10, 03:43 PM
At 9? snip...... Confirmation (which usually involves teenagers these days) is the process by which you declare as an adult your intention to be a member of the Catholic faith. (I don't think other religions do Confirmation.) ....snip

Just for the records: If you mean by other religions, other Christian religions, then your thinking is wrong.
Protestants in Germany (and as far as I know in several other countries) do have confirmation. (Typically at the age of 14). It is held together with first Communion.
As far as I know (not sure) Martin Luther said that with 9 or 10 a kid ain't old enough to be aware of what all this is about and therefore changed that point.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-10, 04:00 PM
You may not be able to analyze God, but you can analyze His works. If we are to assume that God is infallible and true, then God will follow the laws He placed on His creation. Since God is not deceptive then we can analyze the universe with a scientific inquiry as to how God did it. Again, "God did it" is not the end of the search for knowledge, but the beginning. Creationist are not debating the existence of God or "That" He did it, just how He did it.

That's all well and good. Scientific evidence does not, after all, disprove God, since God, as I said, is not disprovable. Many scientists, while fully accepting the accumulated evidence of 400 years of scientific observation, nonetheless believe in God. The issue arises not when one decides to use science to study the wonder of God's creation, but when one's preconceived notions about God and the Bible interfere with objective viewing of the evidence. There is clear evidence in the fossil record that animals did not all exist at once, but existed in separate geological eras separated by millions of years. No dinosaur, despite Creationist wishful thinking, has ever been found in the same geological stratum as an anatomically modern animal, and no Cambrian creature has ever been found in the same stratum as a dinosaur. (If either was ever found, by the way, evolution would be disproven instantly, which is why evolution is a scientific theory and creationism is not) These strata have been dated radiologically to be millions of years apart. Astronomers routinely detect light that has traveled millions of light years to reach our eyes, which means that it must have left its source galaxies millions of years ago, or we wouldn't be able to see it. We can accept the evidence, or we can twist it, ignoring the bits that don't fit, into our preconceived ideas of what should have happened. This is not scientific thinking. In science, you go where the evidence takes you. We may wish to see the world as the flawless creation of a beneficent God, but there are just as many horrific and terrible creatures as there are beautiful and charming ones. More, if absolute numbers are counted. As David Attenborough likes to say, the same God that created the leaping gazelle and the majestic lion must also have created the malarial mosquitoes and the worms that eat into children's eyeballs. No one ever films them and they don't end up in zoos, but they affect our lives far more profoundly than the gazelles. So to see nature as the product of a benevolent creator, while perfectly fine and good, runs the risk of blinding the observer to the objective reality of the natural world.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-10, 05:17 PM
Creationist are not debating the existance of God or "That" He did it, just how He did it.

That might be the attitude of most Creationists, I don't know. But the Creationists who get in the media (and build museums) don't share that attitude; their prevailing and often-expressed attitude seems to be that any support or acceptance of human evolution makes you a Godless Commie(TM).

Thumping
2008-Mar-10, 05:18 PM
There’s too much here to debate. I’ll touch on a couple of things.
One, radiometric and radiocarbon dating are notoriously inaccurate. Radio carbon dating is good for only about 80,000 years. Knowing that, why do they always find C14 in coal deposits that took millions of years to form? If a diamond formed about 3 billion years ago, why do they still find C14 in it? If dinosaurs did die out over 65 million years ago, how do you explain the T-rex soft tissue that was found in a fossil dig in Montana that was reported in 2005? If radiometric dating is as accurate as claimed, then why do rocks of known age (new lava rock for example) always date into the millions of years? Samples taken from Hawaii and Mount St Helens that are known to be just a few years old always date to the millions?

What is objective? Science is not objective. People want to believe that they can be un-biased, but nobody is. Even our discussion is biased. You started with one preconceived notion and I started with another. Whose is ultimately correct? Just claiming that your unbiased isn’t enough. That is a bias in itself. You said “We can accept the evidence, or we can twist it, ignoring the bits that don't fit, into our preconceived ideas of what should have happened”, and I can say the same thing. Just because we have similar DNA to a monkey doesn’t mean we evolved from monkeys. It doesn’t’ mean we have a common ancestor, but a common designer. Everybody’s car has round wheels, but not all wheels fit on all cars. Some are not interchangeable.

If the geologic strata are indeed correct, how do you explain petrified trees that stand upright in several different layers of strata that are millions of years apart?

Your results will always reflect your bias that you start with.

Thumping
2008-Mar-10, 05:20 PM
That might be the attitude of most Creationists, I don't know. But the Creationists who get in the media (and build museums) don't share that attitude; their prevailing and often-expressed attitude seems to be that any support or acceptance of human evolution makes you a Godless Commie(TM).

Be nice. Your just throwing stones. Most creationist that claim that your are a Godles Commie, problaby have other problems to deal with. I've looked through some of the stuff from creationist that built the museum and they haven't called anybody Godless unless they claimed to already be. "Richard Dawkins for example".

Noclevername
2008-Mar-10, 05:25 PM
Your results will always reflect your bias that you start with.

Yes, that's why science has developed so many means to minimize the effects of bias, like duplicatable test results and double-blind testing. And so far, the evidence has held up to these methods.

I'm pretty sure the "facts" you just listed are ATM, and if you want to say anything further in that line of thought you'd be better off doing so in the ATM section. The rules here prohibit promoting ATM concepts in other threads.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-10, 05:49 PM
I would like to see them answered though; those are commonly used creationist arguments and I know they have been disproven, but I would like to know exactly how.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-10, 05:54 PM
Be nice. Your just throwing stones. .

No, I'm saying what I have seen. I didn't claim to know what all or most of Creationists think, as I said in my post. The ones I have seen or heard all seem to share the attitude I mentioned.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-10, 07:18 PM
Just for the records: If you mean by other religions, other Christian religions, then your thinking is wrong.
Protestants in Germany (and as far as I know in several other countries) do have confirmation. (Typically at the age of 14). It is held together with first Communion.
As far as I know (not sure) Martin Luther said that with 9 or 10 a kid ain't old enough to be aware of what all this is about and therefore changed that point.

Ah. Thank you kindly. I knew that there were some differences in sacraments, but not that one.

Thumping, I hate to get into an "am not/are too" debate with you, but you're flat wrong. Once you say "God did it" (which quite a lot of creationists do give as their only answer), there is no inquiry left or needed. You have your answer. If you look at why it happened, you are acknowledging that "God did it" is not a suitable answer and that science has the right system, and when you do that, there is no answer not made out of willful ignorance that does not result in awareness of the overwhelming evidence for evolution.

You really need to get thee to a library. Your "facts" are all wrong. The reason, for example, that new lava "always" gives an ancient dating is that, well, it doesn't. Sometimes, there are crystals within the lava that really are that old. More frequently, it's because someone is applying the wrong radiometric dating system. You seem unaware that there's more than one; C-14 dating is only used up to a certain age. After that, other forms are needed. The lava dating that you don't seem to realize is completely debunked comes from people applying incorrect science in the first place. If you haven't already, you need to go to http://www.talkorigins.org, because they know what they're talking about and you don't.

Jerry
2008-Mar-11, 01:28 AM
I not sure how the red shift proves the Big Bang. Most creationist / evolutionist theories have solutions to the red shift of the universe expanding. Nobody argues that the universe is expanding.
Don't you mean everybody argues that the universe is expanding?

There are a few of us who argue otherwise.

Welcome to the board - I think you posted good philosophical questions and responded well to the answers. We try to limit discussion of faith simply because faith implies absence of evidence: We try to understand evidence without imposing faith-based bias. But as you observed, that is not always easy.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 02:52 PM
You really need to get thee to a library. Your "facts" are all wrong. The reason, for example, that new lava "always" gives an ancient dating is that, well, it doesn't. Sometimes, there are crystals within the lava that really are that old. More frequently, it's because someone is applying the wrong radiometric dating system. You seem unaware that there's more than one; C-14 dating is only used up to a certain age. After that, other forms are needed. The lava dating that you don't seem to realize is completely debunked comes from people applying incorrect science in the first place. If you haven't already, you need to go to http://www.talkorigins.org, because they know what they're talking about and you don't.

You must be teasing me. I argued that radiometric dating is inaccurate and gave examples. You argued that there are crystals in the lava that are really that old. You proved my point. Also, if any of the radiometric dating methods were correct then why have to use more than one. Using different methods until you get the result you expect just proves my point again. I would absolutly love to see one example of new (known age) rock that dates with a young age. I do also understand that Radiocarbon dating is used mostly to date plants and animals and the half life of C14 is about 5730 years. Still doesn't explain millions of year old coal with C14 in it. This is a fantastic discussion and I'm really enjoying it.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 03:02 PM
Don't you mean everybody argues that the universe is expanding?

There are a few of us who argue otherwise.

Welcome to the board - I think you posted good philosophical questions and responded well to the answers. We try to limit discussion of faith simply because faith implies absence of evidence: We try to understand evidence without imposing faith-based bias. But as you observed, that is not always easy.

Thanks. I agree about adding faith to the argument. My main point is that your results will always reflect your starting point. If you start with evolution and filter your results with that starting point, you will get a different interpertation of the data than someone starting with a creationist standpoint. The data is still the same. The only difference is how you look at it. This may not be the best example, but it's like looking at a new car. I might like the car and I might think it'll last for years, while another person that had a different experience will look at the car and think it's junk or won't last but a few miles. The car hasn't changed, but our views are still different.

AndreH
2008-Mar-11, 03:12 PM
snip.. Using different methods until you get the result you expect just proves my point again....

this is a typical "fact twisting" claim.

If someone would use a caliper to meassure the length of timber wood, it would be applying the wrong method and he would get an in accurate result.
For small parts which have to be machined accurately you use a caliper, for timber wood you use a rule.
Different methods for different applications. Very easy.

steve000
2008-Mar-11, 05:09 PM
My main point is that your results will always reflect your starting point

If you have a start point, as you put it (based on factual evidence) the facts in the future may or may not lead away from that point. If those facts have to reach an end point then you are telling the facts which direction to take. If that end point is immovable then you are biased towards that end! How much more obvious do you need that to be?


Your results will always reflect your bias that you start

I trust what science says because it does not have a biased stance. I cannot trust what creationist science says because it does have a biased stance. When you say "they know God did it " that means that the work creationist science is doing in understanding facts, and how it presents those facts will be biased towards that end.

If you already have an end point to the were the facts need to end up then you are biased towards that end (yes, I am labeling the point). And however the facts come out, you will have to point them towards that end ('God'), even if they do not point to that end*! So if I say that creationist science may not intentionally manipulate facts (and that's being kind to them), It is directly associated with how creationist science works that may cause the manipulation of facts.
------------
------------
------------
(Maybe an exaggeration, but the basic point is the same)

It seems clear that many churchmen were unhappy with the decision to prosecute the eminent scientist. Even under the Church law of the time, the case against Galileo was questionable, and he was given a comparatively light sentence. He was not, in fact, confined to jail at all, but merely to house arrest in his own comfortable villa in Arcetri. Theoretically, he was to have no visitors, but that provision of the sentence was not enforced. His only other punishment was the requirement that he publicly recant his view that the Earth moved around the Sun.

Some people want to understand the facts of nature, and allow nature to tell them what it is. Some people try to fit the facts (anyway possible) into how there personal belief says it should be. You can see from the quote above what that 'personal belief' can do to the facts of nature.

*And there's no point saying "They already know God did it".. As far as I know ( and in respect to this conversation) God only exists in your head.

No offense intended.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 05:35 PM
this is a typical "fact twisting" claim.

If someone would use a caliper to meassure the length of timber wood, it would be applying the wrong method and he would get an in accurate result.
For small parts which have to be machined accurately you use a caliper, for timber wood you use a rule.
Different methods for different applications. Very easy.

I guess I didn't expain myself correctly. What I mean is that there are different radiometric dating methods for dating rock. Uranium/lead or potassium/argon. Each is supposed to be completly accurate in dating rock, but which one is right if they both give different results?

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 05:47 PM
If you have a start point, as you put it (based on factual evidence) the facts in the future may or may not lead away from that point. If those facts have to reach an end point then you are telling the facts which direction to take. If that end point is immovable then you are biased towards that end! How much more obvious do you that need to be?



I trust what science says because it does not have a biased stance. I cannot trust what creationist science says because it does have a biased stance. When you say "they know God did it " that means that the work creationist science is doing in understanding facts, and how it presents those facts will be biased towards that end.

If you already have an end point to the were the facts need to end up then you are biased towards that end (yes, I am labeling the point). And however the facts come out, you will have to point them towards that end ('God'), even if they do not point to that end*! So if I say that creationist science may not intentionally manipulate facts (and that's being kind to them), It is directly associated with how creationist science works that may cause the manipulation of facts.
------------
------------
------------
(Maybe an exaggeration, but the basic point is the same)

It seems clear that many churchmen were unhappy with the decision to prosecute the eminent scientist. Even under the Church law of the time, the case against Galileo was questionable, and he was given a comparatively light sentence. He was not, in fact, confined to jail at all, but merely to house arrest in his own comfortable villa in Arcetri. Theoretically, he was to have no visitors, but that provision of the sentence was not enforced. His only other punishment was the requirement that he publicly recant his view that the Earth moved around the Sun.

Some people want to understand the facts of nature, and allow nature to tell them what it is. Some people try to fit the facts (anyway possible) into how there personal belief says it should be. You can see from the quote above what that 'personal belief' can do to the facts of nature.

*And there's no point saying "They already know God did it".. As far as I know ( and in respect to this conversation) God only exists in your head.

No offense intended.

Well, we can't get into the God debate here, but God does exist and He's not just in my head. If you really read into history about Galileo, he was a Christian scientist who believed in the authority of the bible and was trying to convince the church of what he believed and of what science told him. Galileo is a great example of a Christian scientist. In fact Galileo was not in trouble with the Church for believing that the Earth revolved around the sun but for disobeying papal orders. Until the trial against him Galileo was held in high esteem by the Holy See and even had an audience with Pope Paul V. Using Galileo to prove your point against Creationists doesnt work.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-11, 05:50 PM
You must be teasing me. I argued that radiometric dating is inaccurate and gave examples. You argued that there are crystals in the lava that are really that old. You proved my point.


She didn't say that. Radiometric dating only measures the age of a rock from the point it solidified. Liquid lava may possess, floating within it, microscopic crystals that are already solid and thus far older than the lava around it, but the lava around it will still keep the time it froze.


Also, if any of the radiometric dating methods were correct then why have to use more than one.

Different methods are used because different elements decay at different rates. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, so it's useful in dating things from, say 10-20,000 years ago, but after about 100,000 years there's too little of it left to give an accurate measurement. Potassium-40 has a half-life of 1.3 billion years, so it can be used to measure dates from as far back as the formation of the Earth, but, on the other hand, really isn't useful for any date before, say 1 billion years ago.


Still doesn't explain millions of year old coal with C14 in it.

Well, I'm not an expert, but radioactive decay is completely random. No one can predict exactly when a particular atom of any element will decay. May be tomorrow, may be in a billion years. All half-life measures is the time by which probability dictates that 50% of the material will have decayed. Even after millions of years, there is still likely to be some carbon-14 left. Plus it is also likely that carbon-14 could have entered the sample through later impurities.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 06:00 PM
She didn't say that. Radiometric dating only measures the age of a rock from the point it solidified. Liquid lava may possess, floating within it, microscopic crystals that are already solid and thus far older than the lava around it, but the lava around it will still keep the time it froze.



Different methods are used because different elements decay at different rates. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, so it's useful in dating things from, say 10-20,000 years ago, but after about 100,000 years there's too little of it left to give an accurate measurement. Potassium-40 has a half-life of 1.3 billion years, so it can be used to measure dates from as far back as the formation of the Earth, but, on the other hand, really isn't useful for any date before, say 1 billion years ago.

Well, I'm not an expert, but radioactive decay is completely random. No one can predict exactly when a particular atom of any element will decay. May be tomorrow, may be in a billion years. All half-life measures is the time by which probability dictates that 50% of the material will have decayed. Even after millions of years, there is still likely to be some carbon-14 left. Plus it is also likely that carbon-14 could have entered the sample through later impurities.

I'm not trying to be uncivil. I'm just trying to make a point and I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. I do have a question for you. You gave examples of half lives of different elements as an accurate account of dating and then said that decay rates are completly random. Could you clarify that for me? I'm not sure if your arguing for or against any of the above dating methods.

parallaxicality
2008-Mar-11, 06:14 PM
The decay rate for any one particular atom is completely random. A single atom of an isotope may decay tomorrow or in a million years. But you can determine, depending on how stable, on average, an element is, how much of an element will have decayed by a certain point. Physicists use as a yardstick the amount of time it will take, on average, for fifty percent of an element to have decayed into its daughter elements. That's its half-life. Something with a half life of 5700 years will have lost 1/2 its original amount in 5700 years, half of the remainder in 11400 years, half of the remainder in 17100 years, half of the remainder in 22800 years and so on. If you started with, say, a trillion atoms of the material (about the amount in a speck of dust), then in 2 million years there would still, according to probability, be 14 atoms left.

steve000
2008-Mar-11, 06:30 PM
:wall:


Earth revolved around the sun

Are you saying that the Earth going round the sun proves the existence of God.. in your opinion ?

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 06:48 PM
:wall:



Are you saying that the Earth going round the sun proves the existence of God.. in your opinion ?

Nope. I was arguing about the use of Galileo against the Church, when in fact he was a Christian scientist who believed in the authority of the Bible.

Does that help?

Gillianren
2008-Mar-11, 06:52 PM
I'm not trying to be uncivil. I'm just trying to make a point and I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. I do have a question for you. You gave examples of half lives of different elements as an accurate account of dating and then said that decay rates are completly random. Could you clarify that for me? I'm not sure if your arguing for or against any of the above dating methods.

We feel that way, too, because you obviously don't know what you're talking about. Learning about half-lives would take perhaps two minutes on Wikipedia. Or talkorigins, which I pointed out to you earlier. In fact, the calipers to tape measure analogy given to you earlier is a very good one. C-14 is the calipers. It gives very fine measurements for a very specific time. Potassium-40 is a very, very long tape measure. If you use C-14 to measure where you need a tape measure, you're probably going to get the wrong answer, because you're using the wrong instrument. And vice versa. I really don't understand what's so difficult to understand about this concept unless you don't want to.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 06:56 PM
The decay rate for any one particular atom is completely random. A single atom of an isotope may decay tomorrow or in a million years. But you can determine, depending on how stable, on average, an element is, how much of an element will have decayed by a certain point. Physicists use as a yardstick the amount of time it will take, on average, for fifty percent of an element to have decayed into its daughter elements. That's its half-life. Something with a half life of 5700 years will have lost 1/2 its original amount in 5700 years, half of the remainder in 11400 years, half of the remainder in 17100 years, half of the remainder in 22800 years and so on. If you started with, say, a trillion atoms of the material (about the amount in a speck of dust), then in 2 million years there would still, according to probability, be 14 atoms left.

Me thinks we are talking in circles. I'm not arguing about half lives of any elements. That is not in question. I'm just arguing about the results. For example:
For argument sake, lets say we have three devices designed to measure distance from point "A" to point "B". All three devices are scientifically accurate and not in dispute. All three devices give different results and when measured a second time with the same three devices the results are different than the first. This is the point I'm making about radiometric and/or radicarbon dating. If all of them are supposedly accurate, then why do they give different results?

About your argument that the molten lava has crystals that are not melted that could give old dates. I'm really REALLY not trying to be rude or anything, but, does that really make sense? Using your argument, I could say that all lava deposits are not any good for dating. Also, are you saying that all cooled lava deposits that date old and shouldn't, have crystals in them that would date old? I'm seriously not trying to offend, but that doens't make sense to me.

AndreH
2008-Mar-11, 07:10 PM
Me thinks we are talking in circles. I'm not arguing about half lives of any elements. That is not in question. I'm just arguing about the results. For example:
For argument sake, lets say we have three devices designed to measure distance from point "A" to point "B". All three devices are scientifically accurate and not in dispute. All three devices give different results and when measured a second time with the same three devices the results are different than the first. This is the point I'm making about radiometric and/or radicarbon dating. If all of them are supposedly accurate, then why do they give different results?
About your argument that the molten lava has crystals that are not melted that could give old dates. I'm really REALLY not trying to be rude or anything, but, does that really make sense? Using your argument, I could say that all lava deposits are not any good for dating. Also, are you saying that all cooled lava deposits that date old and shouldn't, have crystals in them that would date old? I'm seriously not trying to offend, but that doens't make sense to me.

BOLT mine:

I suggest you buy your self a caliper and meassure a piece of timber wood let us say 18 feet long.
Than you do it again. And again. If you get the same results, I would be very surprised.
Or vice versa, buy a rule and and try to get the accurate diameter of a 1/4" tube.

After you tried that, we can talk again about different meassuring methods.

I assume your reply to my last post already answered by parallaxicality

Noclevername
2008-Mar-11, 07:15 PM
That's exactly why good science never relies on one single measurement of anything. The total weight of evidence is what's considered.

Thumping
2008-Mar-11, 07:56 PM
That's exactly why good science never relies on one single measurement of anything. The total weight of evidence is what's considered.


We may have to agree to disagree. What you said doesn't make sense. Science doesnt rely on one single measurement? If science doesnt' rely on one single measurement then which measurement do they choose? The total weight of evidence is what's considered? do you mean that they average all the measurements? I don't get what your saying.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-11, 08:19 PM
We may have to agree to disagree. What you said doesn't make sense. Science doesnt rely on one single measurement? If science doesnt' rely on one single measurement then which measurement do they choose? The total weight of evidence is what's considered? do you mean that they average all the measurements? I don't get what your saying.

Clearly, you need to do some research on just how science works. Science uses numerous methods of analyzing data to ensure it is as accurate as possible. Results are checked and rechecked, measurements and experiments are repeated constantly, and methods of both observation and analysis are constantly reviewed by experienced peers. That's what the majority of research consists of-- checking the answers.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-11, 09:14 PM
Me thinks we are talking in circles. I'm not arguing about half lives of any elements. That is not in question. I'm just arguing about the results. For example:
For argument sake, lets say we have three devices designed to measure distance from point "A" to point "B". All three devices are scientifically accurate and not in dispute. All three devices give different results and when measured a second time with the same three devices the results are different than the first. This is the point I'm making about radiometric and/or radicarbon dating. If all of them are supposedly accurate, then why do they give different results?

Because they're not all designed to measure from point A to point B. (Of course, "designed" is the wrong word. The scientists are taking advantage of a well-studied, known fact about the universe.) One measure accurately from, say, point A to about point D. One measure accurately from point C to about point F. And so on. If you try to measure from point A to point B with one that doesn't give accurate results at that distance, why should you expect the right answer? Likewise trying to measure from point E to point F--or point X to point Y--with one that simply doesn't work that far through the alphabet. You have to know at least a little about half-lives in order to understand it. Namely that, since different elements have different half-lives, different radiometric systems work at different ages. Do you understand now?


About your argument that the molten lava has crystals that are not melted that could give old dates. I'm really REALLY not trying to be rude or anything, but, does that really make sense? Using your argument, I could say that all lava deposits are not any good for dating. Also, are you saying that all cooled lava deposits that date old and shouldn't, have crystals in them that would date old? I'm seriously not trying to offend, but that doens't make sense to me.

There are two options regarding getting incorrect radiometric dates from lava. One is, believe it or not, existing crystals of older materials. (You may not believe it, but geologists have found them, and you clearly don't understand science at all, so I'm going to put my trust in "we've found it" instead of "but it doesn't make sense to me.") Those will give an older date than new rock. Obviously.

The other, again, is using the wrong system. Brand new rock . . . well, doesn't really need to be dated in the first place, since you've seen it put in place. And anyway, C-14 isn't precise enough to give "last Thursday" as a date. But using the abovementioned "point C to point F" system, you're going to get the wrong answer on something that new. That's just how it works. I really don't know how many ways there are left to explain something so simple to you.

But, yes, all incorrect datings involve either foreign material or using the incorrect system. As to those petrified trees you mentioned earlier, there are several options there, too. Using the resource I've told you twice will be a good source of information, try http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC331.html. For radiometric dating, try http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD010.html. In fact, I'd recommend that you read all of http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html. It might help you learn something, though given how hard it is to get you to understand the basics, it might not.

Jerry
2008-Mar-12, 01:35 AM
I trust what science says because it does not have a biased stance. I cannot trust what creationist science says because it does have a biased stance. When you say "they know God did it " that means that the work creationist science is doing in understanding facts, and how it presents those facts will be biased towards that end.

I have to take minor exception to this, because scientist are biased. Deep-rooted concepts are more difficult to dislodge than they should be. A good example Nobel element reactions. These should have been investigated decades before they were; it was simply a matter of everyone accepting the gospel of inert elements.

Did I read a declaration in this thread that God exists? Wrong platform. If you don't understand the implications of using emperical evidence, don't post.

steve000
2008-Mar-12, 02:15 AM
should have been investigated decades before they were

I'd say decades is not a very long time..
And Does that mean the the fact was immovable or was not immovable?


Did I read a declaration in this thread that God exists


but God does exist


Creationist are not debating the existance of God or "That" He did it, just how He did it.

Whatever ever the facts of nature are they have to point in one immovable direction...wether they do or not...
Are you saying I should follow that view?

Jerry
2008-Mar-12, 03:49 AM
I'd say decades is not a very long time..
And Does that mean the the fact was immovable or was not immovable?
The golden age of inorganic chemistry ran from the late 19th century to about 1940. Thousands of labs, millions of manhours; the techniques necessary to create reactions with inert elements existed for a long time before it occurred to anyone to try it. This is a textbook case of textbooked myopia.


Whatever ever the facts of nature are they have to point in one immovable direction...whether they do or not...
Are you saying I should follow that view?
I'm missing something here. One fact about nature is that it appears to be directionless.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-12, 04:24 AM
. . . Nobel element reactions.

Surely you mean "noble." Instead of the Nobel you'd win if you could prove any of your ideas.

Noclevername
2008-Mar-12, 06:07 AM
I have to take minor exception to this, because scientist are biased.

Of course they are. Everyone is. But don't confuse science (the process) with scientists.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Mar-12, 12:42 PM
AndreH and Noclevername are right regarding evidence in science, Thumper.

A while ago, another poster asked for evidence that the universe is expanding, and Tim Thompson gave an excellent reply (http://www.bautforum.com/questions-answers/70557-evidence-expansion.html#post1178166). I urge you to read it.


Of course they are. Everyone is. But don't confuse science (the process) with scientists.Science is as good as the scientists who make it. I think what you are suggesting, and I agree with it in part, is that the various biases that scientists may have will in general cancel each other out, making the general scientific consensus less biased. However, if too many scientists in a field share similar biases, then the end result can still be very biased. There are historical examples of this.

If you meant to say that in the long run human criticism and empirical evidence tend to smooth out the biases, I agree again. Still, it can take some time for that evening out to happen.

Another important issue which you may not have considered, because it's not strictly speaking scientific (though Thomas Kuhn and his followers might describe it as such) is that even when the scientific consensus has been relatively evened, popular wisdom often lags behind it, sometimes with the support of some scientists who make up a minority, but who remain influential for reasons that are not strictly scientific, such as political prominence, or fame. Case in point, Professor James Watson (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/65999-dr-watson-racist.html).

steve000
2008-Mar-12, 10:40 PM
(this is worse than pulling teeth :o)
Correct me if I'm wrong
Science in general is only looking for the truth of 'how it is" and doesn't claim evidence as fact unless it is proven. So in general it does not have a bias stance of how everything got here, or what it is. And in general does not claim something as fact unless there is solid evidence for it? And if there is solid evidence for intelligent design, it will come out, wether that be in years, decades or whatever.
If creationist science is telling the evidence of nature what they already are, they are be placing a connection on nature that may not in reality be there. And if they say they already know how everything got here..that is incorrect..because we don't (as far as I'm aware) It's that combination, that I find biased and nothing to do with attacking someone's personal belief.
If solid evidence suggested a possibility of intelligent design, then I would be all ears. If the search is for the unbiased truth and how it really is, then from my point of view I'd have to be careful of adding a personal belief to it. (but i aint no scientist so I don't know if it's my place to say... only my opinion).

Noclevername
2008-Mar-13, 01:13 AM
Science is as good as the scientists who make it. I think what you are suggesting, and I agree with it in part, is that the various biases that scientists may have will in general cancel each other out, making the general scientific consensus less biased. However, if too many scientists in a field share similar biases, then the end result can still be very biased. There are historical examples of this.

If you meant to say that in the long run human criticism and empirical evidence tend to smooth out the biases, I agree again. Still, it can take some time for that evening out to happen.

The second one. There are always bumps in the data due to bias, but as the process is continually applied, they get smaller and smaller over time.

steve000
2008-Mar-13, 10:13 PM
I'm missing something here. One fact about nature is that it appears to be directionless.

You seem to be agreeing with me more than disagreeing.


If you don't understand the implications of using emperical evidence, don't post.

Wether I understand it or not.. is not a prerequisite for posting.. I presume.



Thumping
Well, we can't get into the God debate here, but God does exist and He's not just in my head. If you really read into history about Galileo, he was a Christian scientist who believed in the authority of the bible and was trying to convince the church of what he believed and of what science told him. Galileo is a great example of a Christian scientist. In fact Galileo was not in trouble with the Church for believing that the Earth revolved around the sun but for disobeying papal orders. Until the trial against him Galileo was held in high esteem by the Holy See and even had an audience with Pope Paul V. Using Galileo to prove your point against Creationists doesnt work.

Somewhere in your quote is simply a fact of nature being crushed by religious arguments.

It's only an opinion :dance: not the end of the world


So it seemed that only time would educate the delusional of society.
Not the talking nonsense like me variety.

Cheers :)

clint
2008-Mar-14, 02:46 AM
You have been talking a lot about bias on this thread. Let's go back to the roots for a moment:

Intelligent Design bases its hypothesis of Earth being 6000+ years old on one ancient book.
All other sources are disregarded.

When has there ever been a scientific theory that biased?!

steve000
2008-Mar-14, 11:58 AM
You have been talking a lot about bias on this thread. Let's go back to the roots for a moment:

Intelligent Design bases its hypothesis of Earth being 6000+ years old on one ancient book.
All other sources are disregarded.

When has there ever been a scientific theory that biased?!

Yeah that's what I'm saying..a science based on religion.. can only be biased..
Were as science in general is not biased..
Were did you get the idea otherwise?

My quote..

If creationist science is telling the evidence of nature what they already are, they are be placing a connection on nature that may not in reality be there. And if they say they already know how everything got here..that is incorrect..because we don't (as far as I'm aware) It's that combination.

I will clarify...
1. If creationist science is telling the evidence of nature what they already are, they are be placing a connection on nature that may not in reality be there. 2. And if they say they already know how everything got here..that is incorrect..because we don't (as far as I'm aware). It's the combination of the two that I find biased.

steve000
2008-Mar-14, 01:58 PM
You didn't quote me so I'm not sure if you were directing your question at me.. But that's my opinion on it anyway.


...................
(nothing to do with this, but I'm going to say it any way).

Me, having difficulty learning the intricacies of a theory (i.e. time), does not mean I do not trust it to be correct.

clint
2008-Mar-14, 03:48 PM
Yeah that's what I'm saying..a science based on religion.. can only be biased..
Were as science in general is not biased..
Were did you get the idea otherwise?


It seems obvious,
but since I see many posts on this thread trying to justify that science in general is not as biased as ID...
That's a bit like trying to justify that Earth's weather is not as unhealthy as Venus'.

Some people love to drag you into these kinds of discussions,
but it's a comparison that doesn't make any sense.

steve000
2008-Mar-14, 05:50 PM
It seems obvious,
but since I see many posts on this thread trying to justify that science in general is not as biased as ID...
That's a bit like trying to justify that Earth's weather is not as unhealthy as Venus'.

Some people love to drag you into these kinds of discussions,
but it's a comparison that doesn't make any sense.


I agree with you... I'm beginning to wish I hadn't bothered trying to defend the obvious. I was defending against the quote below from earlier in this thread.


Thumping
What is objective? Science is not objective. People want to believe that they can be un-biased, but nobody is. Even our discussion is biased. You started with one preconceived notion and I started with another. Whose is ultimately correct? Just claiming that your unbiased isn’t enough. That is a bias in itself. You said “We can accept the evidence, or we can twist it, ignoring the bits that don't fit, into our preconceived ideas of what should have happened”, and I can say the same thing. Just because we have similar DNA to a monkey doesn’t mean we evolved from monkeys. It doesn’t’ mean we have a common ancestor, but a common designer. Everybody’s car has round wheels, but not all wheels fit on all cars. Some are not interchangeable.

If the geologic strata are indeed correct, how do you explain petrified trees that stand upright in several different layers of strata that are millions of years apart?

Your results will always reflect your bias that you start with.


Placing higher intelligence behind it seems to me to be a naive attempt to understand what seems the incomprehensible. History has shown that nature is always incomprehensible. Till we learn to understand it. (Only an opinion)

(That's the last time I get into a 'science' 'religion' convo).

clint
2008-Mar-14, 11:47 PM
... Placing higher intelligence behind it seems to me to be a naive attempt to understand what seems the incomprehensible. History has shown that nature is always incomprehensible. Till we learn to understand it. (Only an opinion)

I think it's more than just an opinion, actually.
Plenty of evidence in human history.

Assuming a divine presence was always the easy way to explain strange phenomena
(like mountains, thunder, seasons, tides, day&night, vulcanos, earthquakes, Moon, Sun, light, gravity, etc)
Finding a working scientific theory was always much harder...

Elenwen
2008-Aug-14, 01:23 PM
I have read through this thread and found some interesting elements in what many of you have said. Although, I believe a discrepancy still persists. There are two types of facts. They are 'true' facts and 'false' facts. True facts are rooted in real science with reliable experimentation and data to support them. 'True' facts remain true regardless of thoughts that give an opposite view. False facts are data that is believed to be fact, although evidence has proven otherwise. For example, when people believed in the geocentric solar system it was 'known' as fact. However, Earth's actual placement in the solar system was not in the center regardless of how 'factual' the theory was. In the same strand, the big bang and evolution are currently theories, not facts, and it vexes me when people try to use them as 'facts' to argue the existence (or lack there of) of God. Logic does not permit a truthful premise to form from an untruthful one. Syllogism and deductive reasoning suggest that you cannot reach a positive statement from a normative one.
I am a hardcore believer in science but in true science. Theories are wonderful and much is learned from them but I don't think it is fair to use such in theories as a concise argument against some cases. Just to clarify, I certainly do not believe in Intelligent Design or anything that it suggests. I just think when people refuse to accept the big bang and evolution as anything other than a theory that it becomes a hazard to the expansion of scientific thought, and in a sense "faith-based" because they want the theory to be fact. Personally, I think in the years to come there will either be some other theory to explain our origin or solidify the theories already out there.


Finding a working scientific theory was always much harder...
Indeed! Fortunately there are people who don't just settle for the easy approach.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 01:39 PM
I have read through this thread and found some interesting elements in what many of you have said. Although, I believe a indiscrepency still persists. There are two types of facts. They are 'true' facts and 'false' facts. True facts are rooted in real science with reliable experimentation and data to support them. 'True' facts remain true regardless of thoughts that are give an opposite view. False facts are data that is believed to be fact, although evidence has proven otherwise. For example, when people believed in the geocentric solar system it was 'known' as fact. However, Earth's actual placement in the solar system was not in the center regardless of how 'factual' the theory was. In the same strand, the big bang and evolution are currently theories, not facts, and it vexes me when people try to use them as 'facts' to argue the existence (or lack there of) of God. Logic does not permit a truthful premise to form from an untruthful one. Syllogism and deductive reasoning suggest that you cannot reach a positive statement from a normative one.
I am a hardcore believer in science but in true science. Theories are wonderful and much is learned from them but I don't think it is fair to use such in theories as a concise argument against some cases. Just to clarify, I certainly do not believe in Intelligent Design or anything that it suggests. I just think when people refuse to accept the big bang and evolution as anything other than a theory that it becomes a hazard to the expansion of scientific thought, and in a sense "faith-based" because they want the theory to be fact. Personally, I think in the years to come there will either be some other theory to explain our origin or solidify the theories already out there.


Indeed! Fortunately there are people who don't just settle for the easy approach.
This is probably one of the most solid posts I have read in quite a while.
I wish more people thought like you do.
It's just as frustrating to me when people seem to think that opinions actually carry weight or have a purpose.
They don't
Water is wet.
Stone is hard...
Some things are easy to observe and verify.

But the more complex the observed system, the harder it is to verify accuracy.

In social systems, it's harder still, almost chaotic, to determine the true nature.

Regardless, all opinions are worthless. Reality will continue to exist in spite of what anyone thinks of it.
The problem is that people can disagree as to what that observed reality is...
But it makes the rewards of scientific thinking all the greater.

I have not participated in this thread because of that. Too many people think that science is a belief or faith system, even I have to be wary of placing too much faith on a theory.
All the same, I had to comment on the solidity of your post.:)
ETA: Also just noticed you're at 8 posts- so a belated welcome to BAUT.
Stay away from the doughnut table and avoid me like plague- I argue and am king of the grumpies.

Gillianren
2008-Aug-14, 04:08 PM
Theories are wonderful and much is learned from them but I don't think it is fair to use such in theories as a concise argument against some cases.

I don't think you understand how this works. Gravity is a theory, but we can be pretty sure things are going to fall down when we drop them. Germ theory is, as the title indicates, a theory, but you certainly wouldn't argue against it unless you had an awful lot of evidence. Science does not deal in truth. Science deals in data. With enough data, you can have a working theory; with a great deal of data, you can have a really strong theory. However, there simply isn't enough data in the universe to change a theory into fact. There is always the possibility that we are wrong.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 09:08 PM
I don't think you understand how this works. Gravity is a theory, but we can be pretty sure things are going to fall down when we drop them. Germ theory is, as the title indicates, a theory, but you certainly wouldn't argue against it unless you had an awful lot of evidence. Science does not deal in truth. Science deals in data. With enough data, you can have a working theory; with a great deal of data, you can have a really strong theory. However, there simply isn't enough data in the universe to change a theory into fact. There is always the possibility that we are wrong.

There is a difference between accepting reality and basing reality on faith, Gillianren.

parallaxicality
2008-Aug-14, 09:46 PM
I don't think there is, ultimately. Everyone must take some degree of reality on faith. The only issue is whether your faith is guided by evidence, or in spite of it.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 09:52 PM
I don't think there is, ultimately. Everyone must take some degree of reality on faith. The only issue is whether your faith is guided by evidence, or in spite of it.

Yes and that's pretty much part of what Elenwen said.
Kinda why I thought saying that, "I don't think you understand how this works." sounded inaccurate and harsh to me.

Elenwen...:think:
Sounds like a Welsh elf out of LOTR...

Probably carries a bow and hunts humungously giant elephant things and fights orcs for the King.

parallaxicality
2008-Aug-14, 09:57 PM
If Elenwen was referring to things like the afterlife or God then yes I'd agree, but if she was referring to anything testable then I would definitely side with Gillian.

Neverfly
2008-Aug-14, 10:23 PM
If Elenwen was referring to things like the afterlife or God then yes I'd agree, but if she was referring to anything testable then I would definitely side with Gillian.
How interesting, considering how often Gillianren has said exactly the same thing that he just said.

Let's take a closer look(bold mine):

Theories are wonderful and much is learned from them but I don't think it is fair to use such in theories as a concise argument against some cases

I just think when people refuse to accept the big bang and evolution as anything other than a theory that it becomes a hazard to the expansion of scientific thought, and in a sense "faith-based" because they want the theory to be fact. Personally, I think in the years to come there will either be some other theory to explain our origin or solidify the theories already out there.
The BBT is not a fact- it is a theory- is this incorrect?
Is it incorrect to point out the pitfalls of treating scientific theory as solid indisputable fact?
Can one refer to believing BBT as absolute fact as that being Faith based behavior?
Is it unscientific to say that the future will bring more accurate theories or add greater accuracy to current theories?

I think both of you misread what was said, perhaps out of fear that it was a creationist claim or something.

What Elenwen said was very much scientific and well grounded in the difference between theory and faith.

ETA: I accept the evidence of evolution- I accept it to the point that it overrode my faith and caused me to let go of much of that faith.
I accept the evidence as representative of reality.
I also accept that future research may reveal more information that is pertinent to evolution theory- one way or the other.
Upon examination of that evidence, I will choose whether or not to accept that evidence as valid and Undeniable.

If I believe in evolution, that means I treat it as absolute undeniable fact. Further evidence revealed on the nature of evolution will then cause me to have an emotional reaction while I struggle with my belief in evolution. THis is dangerous to scientific thinking.

Elenwen
2008-Aug-15, 01:04 AM
Neverfly, Elenwen is actually Elvish (I admit I'm a LOTR geek). It means Star Maiden.


I don't think there is, ultimately. Everyone must take some degree of reality on faith. The only issue is whether your faith is guided by evidence, or in spite of it.

If you're taking some degree of reality on faith you can't say that means there is ultimately no distinction between accepting reality and basing reality on faith Firstly, the two are fundamentally different. Maybe in the sense of how we humans accept reality it has some reliance on faith but actual reality has no such dependence. Faith is a product of human emotions. I wouldn't go so far as to say reality, outside of ourselves, produces faith.

As for evolution I do accept it as a working theory for now but I want to see it expand.

Gillianren
2008-Aug-15, 01:29 AM
As for evolution I do accept it as a working theory for now but I want to see it expand.

How?

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 01:34 AM
Neverfly, Elenwen is actually Elvish (I admit I'm a LOTR geek). It means Star Maiden.
Dagnabbit.
Chalk you in with Tobin Dax and Ginnie.

I thought you were a guy:neutral:
Welsh, form- Wen- male.
Wyn - female.

Oh well...
I could be wrong on that one- My Welsh is weak enough to be considered almost nonexistent.


As for evolution I do accept it as a working theory for now but I want to see it expand.
It can only expand.
Not only is it a working theory, but a very solid one as well.
The downside of it is that it contains many nuances that make it difficult for some folks to sort out misconceptions of it from observational evidence to theoretical assumptions.

Elenwen
2008-Aug-15, 01:00 PM
Dagnabbit.
Chalk you in with Tobin Dax and Ginnie.

I thought you were a guy:neutral:
Welsh, form- Wen- male.
Wyn - female.

Oh well...
I could be wrong on that one- My Welsh is weak enough to be considered almost nonexistent.

Many times I think I am a guy myself. I'll have you know that my LOTR fascination has faded since. I probably remember Elvish worse than you do Welsh.



It can only expand.
Not only is it a working theory, but a very solid one as well.
The downside of it is that it contains many nuances that make it difficult for some folks to sort out misconceptions of it from observational evidence to theoretical assumptions.

I concur. I didn't mean that the theory could contract. Darn semantics.

Gillianren
2008-Aug-15, 04:44 PM
I concur. I didn't mean that the theory could contract. Darn semantics.

Okay, but how do you want it to expand?

Neverfly
2008-Aug-15, 09:16 PM
Okay, but how do you want it to expand?

Personally, I would prefer length over width but hey...

I'll take what I can get...http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/106.gif

jj_0001
2008-Aug-15, 11:21 PM
At 9? Are you sure it wasn't First Communion? That's what I was doing at 9. Either way, Confirmation (which usually involves teenagers these days) is the process by which you declare as an adult your intention to be a member of the Catholic faith. (I don't think other religions do Confirmation.) ...

Well, Presbyterians have something similar, usually done as a young teen, you have to take a class and learn what the 'sacrements' are, and so on and so forth, and then they rebaptize you and you get down on your knees, etc.

Speaking from experience.

And before you do this, the "elders" grill you. I think they thought I was a little vague on the idea of faith. Odd, that.

jj_0001
2008-Aug-15, 11:23 PM
Wow, that's a lot of thread...

I think there is a very basic distinction here. Faith is based on belief, i.e. acceptance in the lack of evidence. There is no external confirmation of belief.

Science is based on testability, confirmability, and repeatability, and relies on both internal and external confirmation, i.e. you presumably conclude what you said in your paper was right, and the people who read it and tried it concluded you weren't too far off, either.

Two different things.

Gillianren
2008-Aug-16, 12:44 AM
Wow, that's a lot of thread....

I hate to tell you this, but it's not remotely a long thread around here!

Mattness
2008-Sep-07, 08:11 PM
The BBT is not a fact- it is a theory- is this incorrect?
Is it incorrect to point out the pitfalls of treating scientific theory as solid indisputable fact?
Yes, it is. As so many other people you seem to confuse what a theory and what a fact is (in science at least). Facts are merely observational truths, ie. experimental observations. Let me clarify: We see that the universe is expanding. We see that the universe has a CMB. We can measure the abundance of hydrogen isotopes in the universe etc. Those are observational facts. In regards to evolution: The fact of evolution is that life changes over time, as it is shown in the fossil record and our DNA.

A scientific theory exists to explain scientific facts (ie. observations). The BBT explains the observations we made in one consistent framework. The same is true for the theory of evolution, which explains the mechanisms by which life changed over time. THAT it changed is a fact.

A theory can never become fact.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-07, 08:54 PM
Yes, it is. As so many other people you seem to confuse what a theory and what a fact is (in science at least). Facts are merely observational truths, ie. experimental observations. Let me clarify: We see that the universe is expanding. We see that the universe has a CMB. We can measure the abundance of hydrogen isotopes in the universe etc. Those are observational facts. In regards to evolution: The fact of evolution is that life changes over time, as it is shown in the fossil record and our DNA.

A scientific theory exists to explain scientific facts (ie. observations). The BBT explains the observations we made in one consistent framework. The same is true for the theory of evolution, which explains the mechanisms by which life changed over time. THAT it changed is a fact.

A theory can never become fact.

Note that I said "solid" and "indisputable';)
But yes, you're right.

It's almost a bit of semantic play.

I can consider or treat evolution as fact.

But if evidence arises that disputes part of the theory- or if compelling evidence demonstrates the theory is wrong- Then, unlike a belief, I can accept the new evidence and treat the new theory as fact.

Ok. That sounds frivolous...
But I think I'm clear.
I cannot change a belief when evidence disputes it. I either believe or do not believe. But theories are designed to be upgraded in the hopes of achieving greater and greater accuracy.

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-07, 10:43 PM
science is confused..because one theory supersedes another..theory is black and white,experience is grey!(it's the colour of life)

Truth comes within..God is within you

God bless you!

Neverfly
2008-Sep-08, 05:45 AM
science is confused..because one theory supersedes another..theory is black and white,experience is grey!(it's the colour of life)

How so? Provide examples please.

By the way- Grey is a name whereas gray is a color.

Anyway... You claim that Theory is black and white. That's exactly what we were just discussing- that theory is not black and white at all! Rather, belief is black and white.

clint
2008-Sep-08, 10:58 AM
By the way- Grey is a name whereas gray is a color.

Depends on where you live (or learned English) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences# Miscellaneous_spelling_differences) ;)

Grey became the established British spelling in the 20th century, pace Dr. Johnson and others,[99] and is but a minor variant in American English, according to dictionaries. Canadians tend to prefer grey. Non-cognate greyhound is never grayhound. Both Grey and Gray are found in proper names everywhere.



Anyway... You claim that Theory is black and white. That's exactly what we were just discussing- that theory is not black and white at all! Rather, belief is black and white.

I agree, belief tends to be black and white, science is a lot more colorful than that :D

Gillianren
2008-Sep-08, 06:09 PM
I prefer "grey"; my best friend's last name is "Gray."

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-08, 11:10 PM
Big difference between what's tested in a laboratory(psychology) and what happens in the real world with real people

Lawyers should study lying at university...they twist the facts!

business management at uni..what happens whey the **** hits the fan in the real world!

still theory has its time and place

EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING

PL

aurora
2008-Sep-09, 01:22 AM
That's not an example. You were asked specifically to provide an example.

Occam
2008-Sep-09, 01:23 AM
Paul,
I see a rather pronounced pattern developing in your posts. You give me the impression that you are someone who really wants to believe there is more to life than is apparent. You seem to distrust science and question scientific methodology, yet are quite comfortable with making categorical statements that aliens, spirits, orbs et al are fact. For example:


science is confused..because one theory supersedes another..theory is black and white,experience is grey!(it's the colour of life)

Truth comes within..God is within you

God bless you!
A theory is not "black and white". A theory is, at its most basic, an attempt to explain something using quantifiable data. You state that science is confused because theories are superseded by other theories, whereas the very opposite is indicated. The reason one theory would supersede another is because we are learning all the time and science, unlike religion, is not afraid to say "we were wrong, we know better now".
You say that experience is grey. Grey or multicoloured, the thing about experience is that it's subjective. My experience is not yours and never will be. Science is not about experience, it is about repetition and verification, no matter who does the experiment. If you tell me that angels visit you each night and leave a chocolate on your pillow, I need some evidence. Showing me the chocolate doesn't cut it, I'm afraid, and neither does your sworn testimony. I want to see the angels, I want others to see the angels, I want to verify that everyone sees the same thing and I want to discount all other options before I will consider that the angels are, in fact, angels.

Truth does not come from within - belief does. Truth just is.
God is not within me, nor do I believe he/she/it exists. I could give you a list of things that are within me and that would be scientific. Show me a tapeworm and I'll reconsider adjusting the view of my insides. Show me a soul, or a little bit of god and I'll do the same.

Thanks for the blessing but I don't need it. I need understanding, more time and a bucketload of cash if you can swing it.

What I'm trying to say, is that you can believe any number of impossible things before breakfast but, if you want to talk about them on a science forum, then you need to have a little more than faith to run with.

To some others - gray is not a colour and color is not a real word. That is something I will continue to believe, no matter what evidence you care to throw at me :D

Paul Leeks
2008-Sep-09, 01:47 AM
thanks Occam

belief is more than blind faith...and science does not have the last word so for me..truth is somewhere in between.

I go on logic and experience(same as Dalai Lama) and I don't accept something as truth just because of it's authority

I try to look at things holistically physical & non-physical

I ask why am I here(purpose) on this earth..it goes beyond a Big Bang(accident) or purposeless evolution

basically I am happy with things

PL

hewhocaves
2008-Sep-09, 07:03 PM
Let me take a whack at this whole science / faith thingie...

Science is, ideally, a system of investigation that is independent of the investigator which attempts to describe and predict observable phenomenon in an ordered fashion by understanding the causes and influences of objects and events on the thing being investigated.

Faith (from a religious doctrine point of view - not as a synonym for 'hope') is a system of belief handed down from authority which attempts to order societal development through a series of social contracts between the individual and the community often with supernatural rewards as incentive.


This is about as apples / oranges comparison as you can get.

btw: I feel certain (have faith) that I will get more arguments about my definition of faith than science.

Gillianren
2008-Sep-09, 07:32 PM
btw: I feel certain (have faith) that I will get more arguments about my definition of faith than science.

You'll get one from me. My faith has no authority structure.

clint
2008-Sep-10, 09:11 AM
Where I come from we have this saying, it translates roughly like this:

There are three things you shouldn't debate with a man:
- the beauty of his wife
- the intelligence of his children
- his faith

Science, by contrast, can never advance without debate
- that the beauty of it ;)

hewhocaves
2008-Sep-10, 01:30 PM
You'll get one from me. My faith has no authority structure.

Yeah, its a harder thing to define without being so inclusive that it loses all meaning.

Louigi Verona
2008-Sep-11, 02:07 PM
I would say that everywhere I see one same thing - that faith is regarded in it's direct meaning - being blind to facts and believing in something that to our mind is no doubt, impossible.
It is a known idea in philosophy that real faith comes from religious experience, at which point faith stops being "blind". A person experiences a reality that then becomes part of his life. He needs no further evidence.
So I wouldn't agree that religion faith is an act of "blind" belief. Those, who practice blind belief are not, in my opinion, believers. They are people who make smth up for themselves. And I don't think that blind belief can be valued by God - there is absolutely no value in it.

AueA
2008-Sep-12, 01:01 AM
Hi peeps.

From a philisophical viewpoint, everything is faith based.

From a scientific viewpoint, no, science is not faith based, its based on evidence and theories that originate from various axioms.

But a philosopher would look at those original axioms and say you need faith to believe in them.

But who gives a damn what philosophers say.

I dont. :lol:

Disinfo Agent
2008-Sep-12, 03:53 PM
'...as Cicero once said, in matters of taste there is no dispute. In science, there is (legitimate) dispute. Therefore, science is more than a matter of taste.' (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/naturalism.html) :)

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Sep-16, 08:38 AM
Hello to everybody,

I am a member of this board since a long time, but even if I read the forum every day, I have never posted anything here. Only today I discovered this very interesting thread and want to say something about this subject.

The relationship between science and faith is a topic which interests me deeply, as I am a cosmologist (working on Planck (http://www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=Planck)) and a catholic. In my opinion, "faith has nothing to do with science" is true only if one thinks of science in abstract terms: you have an hypothesis, you test it in a lab, you check that your results agree with your ideas.

Unfortunately, this is not what happens in real life. Let me make an example. In the last years I have performed many thermal characterizations of the most critical parts of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) on board Planck. To do so, I made many analytical calculations using the heat equation. For this, I needed to use the value of the Boltzmann constant k a lot of times. Well, I never tried to estimate its value by going in the lab and making a dedicated experiment :-) . Rather, I looked for its in my books, because I trust my books: every time I was able to verify their statements in the lab, I found they were correct. So it is a rational act for me to have faith in the value they provide for k. (And this applies on the very heat equation as well.)

The same for the thermal models of LFI we have developed using ESATAN/ESARAD. We trusted the guys who wrote it instead of developing a custom thermal analysis software from scratch. And this because sometimes we have been able to verify its predictions in the lab, and we have found it was good enough for us. Again, our faith had a rational, empirical motivation.

In short, I am making two points: (1) we we speak of science, we cannot dismiss faith easily, as everything in our life is based on faith, and (2) faith is something that must be based on some "empirical" evidence, otherwise it is fanatism. (E.g. I trust ESATAN or my books because there is a rational motivation which justifies me having faith in them.) Of course, this applies both to scientific and religious faith (at least, the catholic one -- I cannot speak for other religions).

Gillianren
2008-Sep-16, 04:13 PM
Congratulations on your first post!

I think you are misunderstanding the difference between "faith" and "trust." Those books have shown you repeatedly that they are correct, so you trust them. You have empirical reasons to accept their validity. With faith, you do not. Do you understand the difference?

Louigi Verona
2008-Sep-17, 07:14 AM
"Example 2: In a similar sense, when practicing my religious beliefs, I must accept some assertions I cannot prove such as the existence of a divine being(s). Religion makes no sense without this assumption, which is impossible to prove but must be accepted as fact by the practitioner."

I would not agree. If you read my post above, I believe religious faith does NOT ask you to believe in the impossible.

DALeffler
2008-Sep-17, 08:13 AM
I think science is "simply" a system of discovery about what seems to work. The postulates behind a scientific theory are a reference point for that system: "We hold these truths to be self evident...". We have to assume something.

What seems to define science is in asking questions where the answer is either, "Nope, that can't be right because of this..." versus, "Yup, nothing says that's wrong."

IMHO, science really begins not by asking questions but in limiting the possible answers to those questions. Science doesn't establish a truth but rather a consistancy: We don't know the "truth" but what we do know gives us planes, trains, and automobiles...

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 08:20 AM
This is getting so philosophical...:rolleyes:

Can I "prove" that a rock is hard? That I know for sure- that it is hard?
What if there is a 0.00000000000000000001% chance that the rock is soft and crazy spacefaring chipmunks have created an elaborate illusion to deceive me?

Then- if that's the case, I must accept that the rock is hard without proving that it is hard 100%
That means, that it's Faith that science says that the rock is hard right?

Nonsense.http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/mesg/emoticons7/23.gif

It is not faith to accept the most likely of evidence while also accepting that there is a minute chance that observation could be wrong.

Faith is to accept something Without Evidence. THAT is what faith is.
It really is that simple.

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Sep-17, 08:45 AM
Congratulations on your first post!

I think you are misunderstanding the difference between "faith" and "trust." Those books have shown you repeatedly that they are correct, so you trust them. You have empirical reasons to accept their validity. With faith, you do not. Do you understand the difference?

The reason why I have faith is not completely different from the reason why I trust my books: repeated experiences, people and books have proven me that the christian belief is true. (The meaning of "prove" in this sentence is better explained below -- continue to read.)

P.S. In italian (my mother tongue) "trust" is "fiducia" while "faith" is "fede". Their derive from the latin words "fiducia" and "fides", which have the same root and a similar meaning. It is interesting that the english language uses two apparently unrelated words for these concepts.


Example 2: In a similar sense, when practicing my religious beliefs, I must accept some assertions I cannot prove such as the existence of a divine being(s). Religion makes no sense without this assumption, which is impossible to prove but must be accepted as fact by the practitioner.

Surely you cannot scientifically prove the existence of a divine being. But the scientific method is not the only way to prove things.

Consider this example. When I was a child, my mother cooked my breakfast. I always ate it because I never suspected her to having poisoned it. This trust of mine was as certain as the fact that Earth rotates around the Sun, because my repeated experiences with her evidenced she loved me and did not want to harm me. So every day I was certain there was no poison in my breakfast, even if I would not have been able to provide any scientific proof for this. I would call this a "indirect empirical evidence": I have no empirical proof of her love for me, but I am sure of this because of a number of empirical facts from my everyday life with her.

It is a similar matter when I decide to trust a book: I have no scientific proof it is right when I accept its value for k. (The fact that I have proven the validity of other constants and other formulae in that book does not prove that the very value of k is right, as it could contain a typing error.) But this does not alter the fact that it is reasonable to trust it. Again, this is a "indirect empirical evidence".

I think that such kind of "indirect empirical evidences" are as important as scientific ones when doing a scientific job: just consider how often you trust the work of other groups when deciding how to set up your own experiments...

So I accept the existence of a divine being because of a number of "indirect empirical evidences". There is no blind act on my side. I simply find this to be the most logic and reasonable choice according to my everyday experience.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 08:48 AM
Maurizio Tomasi, you are making a religious argument and statement.

See my post above yours.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Sep-17, 01:22 PM
Ciao, Maurizio. Welcome to the forum. :)

What you're saying seems similar to what George was arguing in this other thread (http://www.bautforum.com/general-science/77831-creationism-intelligent-design-seem-gaining-popularity-me-thats-scary.html). I tend to agree with you.

However, I'm not sure I would call the evidence for God "empirical". It has empirical elements, but, as you know, two different people can consider those pieces of evidence, and one will be convinced that God exists, while another will not. There seems to be an aspect of irreducible subjectivity in religious belief.

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Sep-17, 02:38 PM
Ciao, Maurizio. Welcome to the forum. :)

What you're saying seems similar to what George was arguing in this other thread (http://www.bautforum.com/general-science/77831-creationism-intelligent-design-seem-gaining-popularity-me-thats-scary.html). I tend to agree with you.

Thank you for the link. In that thread George posted a number of replies, but I think I spotted the one you are referring to.


However, I'm not sure I would call the evidence for God "empirical". It has empirical elements, but, as you know, two different people can consider those pieces of evidence, and one will be convinced that God exists, while another will not. There seems to be an aspect of irreducible subjectivity in religious belief.

Right. This is why I used the expression "indirect empirical evidence".

Subjectivity is important in other fields than religion too, even in science. A good example is Galileo. In Galileo's times, there was no clear evidence that the heliocentric system fitted the observations better than the geocentric one, since stellar parallaxes were long to be measured. He had clues but no proofs that the skies move differently from Ptolemy's model. His main arguments were his theory of seatides (which was wrong) and his own interpretation of some biblical passages. Yet he considered those to be evidences.

parallaxicality
2008-Sep-17, 02:52 PM
How many first principles are there? I mean apart from "the universe has rules".

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Sep-17, 02:55 PM
I would say, rather, that repeated experiences have "demonstrated" to you that your Christian faith works for you, and also given you reason to "trust" the work of other scientists. There is a small difference, though. It's quite unlikely that you could "prove" Jesus converted water into wine as cited in the Gospels any more than a skeptic can "prove" he did not. You could, however, with sufficient time, effort and resources, reproduce the experiments used by other scientists to derive the values of the constants to which you were referring to validate or invalidate their work.

Thank you Tes, this is very clear! After your post I can elaborate the main point of my first post in these terms:


I can repeat the experiments of other scientists to verify their discoveries.
However, science would not progress in such a way because this would slow me down a lot.
Therefore, in order to make any "good" science I have to trust the work of others.


My point was simply that "trustability" (is this a real word? "Faith" would be clearer...) is fundamental in any nontrivial human activity, and science is not an exception.

(By the way: I cannot prove Jesus converted water into wine any more than I can prove Augustus was the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Studying history has more limits than working in a lab ;) .)

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 03:55 PM
Neverfly,
You've unfortunately missed the point entirely. When doing science, you are not exercising faith that your observations are correct. Your observations are your observations. Nor are you applying faith that some unknown and unknowable agency has caused your observations or has, in your specious example, failed to fool you this time. You are, however, demonstrating your faith that observations of the physical world are meaningful apart from you, the observer, and that the objects and phenomena you observe are real and will continue to be real whether you observe them or not. Furthermore, when doing science you also demonstrate faith that another observer, say Lepton, will be able to reproduce your results under the same conditions. This absolutely requires a fundamental belief in the very assumptions I have mentioned previously, but that you cannot prove or disprove.
This is why I did not miss the point at all- in fact, You seem to have.

It is this kind of argument that I was responding to in the first place.
Tessara, you are claiming I require faith to accept that the observations are observable and then claiming
Quite amazingly,
that I require faith to accept that someone else can match those observations with the same experiment!? This one doesn't even make any sense at all!
If 'Lepton's' observations don't match mine- we try to figure out why. There's no faith involved. I would not have any faith that Lepton could reproduce my results. I would not Know if he could until he did.
No faith involved.

This is exactly what my post addressed and I would think that many posters here are 'fishing' for ways to bring faith into the equation.

I've read so far that there is faith in textbooks (Wrong. You can verify the textbooks), faith in mathematical axioms (Wrong. Those too, can be verified) and now- Faith that observation is relative to reality?! Isn't that what I outlined in that post that you claimed shows I missed the point? You- Clearly missed the point of my post- Specifically one important line in it. I suggest you go read it again and keep reading it until you get it.


Crazy SpaceFaring Chipmunks iz screwin' up my speriments!!

Gillianren
2008-Sep-17, 04:28 PM
P.S. In italian (my mother tongue) "trust" is "fiducia" while "faith" is "fede". Their derive from the latin words "fiducia" and "fides", which have the same root and a similar meaning. It is interesting that the english language uses two apparently unrelated words for these concepts.

Our "faith" comes from the Latin as well, probably by way of Norman French. Our "trust," however, comes from Old Norse by way of Old English. It is a curious fact of English etymology that the more basic concepts tend to be expressed in Old English-originated words, presumbaly because the words were already there and in use, and the "refined" words--urinate, fornicate, defecate as but three examples--are from the French and therefore Latin. Ergo, I think we can safely say that "faith" is considered a higher function than "trust." It also makes me wonder what the Saxon population of England said they did in their Gods.

clint
2008-Sep-17, 05:43 PM
(By the way: I cannot prove Jesus converted water into wine any more than I can prove Augustus was the first emperor of the Roman Empire.)

Wasn't that Caesar?
Just teasing, not important in this context ;)

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 09:56 PM
First you have to assume that a rock is a meaningful thing, separate from yourself and your observation of it and that hardness is a property that you are capable of measuring within the above constraints.
In order to pander to this notion requires that I am either in a matrix setting or Truman show--- Or that Crazy Spacefaring Chipmunks have me in a lab.
Granted, that is a minute and remote possibility.
However, it's still not faith if one is accepting that possibility.

It would be irrational to entertain the notion that Chipmunks are skewing my lab results. There is no evidence that such involvement exists.

This is not Faith. Faith is the acceptance without evidence.

The evidence that the rock exists, has measurable qualities and those qualities are verifiable by another party and so on is Extremely great.
The evidence that there are other factors skewing my results is nonexistent.
Accepting the overwhelming evidence is not faith.
Admitting that there is a non-zero possibility that it's all a dream is re-enforcement that it is not faith.



This is nearly an ad hominem,
Uhhh... No it isn't. Not in any way. How on Earth do you think my example was Ad Hom?!

and is what I referred to as "specious" earlier. You could just as readily have posited an "unknown force skewing your measurements" causing you to believe you had detected hardness in your rock sample(s) without the dismissiveness your clearly ridiculous paradigm suggests.
I could have said Dragon dried mucous dust magic too. Irrelevant to the point.
Your attack on my example changes no part of my argument. Nor does it detract from my point.

I chose specifically ridiculous possibilities for a reason.
Recognize the reason instead of attacking it. Then you might better understand why the example I chose was designed to be an absurd one.


mostly true. You could instead accept the more qualified statement that "All rocks I have measured demonstrate the property of hardness, therefore, I posit that the general class of objects known as rocks are hard."
This is a non sequiteur. The conclusion follows directly from your observations. Your observations, however, are not meaningful without assuming the first principles of science are true. That is the part that requires faith, as you cannot prove the first principles of science.
See above regarding irrationality.

It is not faith to accept the overwhelming evidence that rocks are hard. Or that water is wet all over the Earth.


It seems to me you're mixing terms here. Evidence is not the same as the conclusions drawn from evidence, and Occam's Razor does not apply to the evidence itself but rather to the conclusions.
See my previous post regarding definitions. I would disagree with your assertion, but I cannot invalidate it. In my definition, though, while faith does not require evidence, the presence of evidence does not invalidate faith.
Your personal definitions do not seem to maintain rationality.

Rather, you instead seem to be justifying your definitions in order to Justify faith- and in order to add faith to the equation.

I hope I was more clear this time.
It is not an act of faith to accept overwhelming evidence.
It is an act of faith to believe without evidence- and oftentimes- to believe in spite of contradictory evidence.

It would appear that you have a personal agenda in trying to apply faith in science.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 10:29 PM
I feel the same about science. I cannot help but believe that if we understand the basic assumptions and WHY we make them when we do science, that we will be better scientists as a result.

This is a good point. I will have to think on the whole thing a lot more before making a response to it.

Part of the importance of my argument is a matter of preventing arguments from "Casting shades of gray."
This means that people like to muddy the waters in order to make their opinions more presentable. Since everything is no longer clear.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 10:41 PM
Kindly don't assume that I'm a typical "recent addition to the community" and I won't assume that you're a knee-jerk atheist. =)

Not much assumption about it. I AM one;)
I was a devout Christian all my life and even was in the Ministry.
It is the use of certain tactics that immediately gets my attention. It doesn't always mean such tactics are being used... But more often than not they are- even unknowingly.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-17, 11:22 PM
<chuckle>

You seem to forget, I greeted you 35 posts ago and you're at 34 now;)

I was glad to see that you registered because you clearly have a lot of insight to offer the board.

I don't have any doubt that you are not a woo woo or closet schemer.
Doesn't mean I will always agree with what you say or how you say them anymore than you might agree with what I or others say.
By hashing it out, understanding can be reached considering that these are posts and not direct conversations.

Disinfo Agent
2008-Sep-25, 09:15 PM
PZ Meyers made a post about this a while back (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/peeeedaaaaaants.php). The comments on his blog are also interesting.

Jerry
2008-Sep-27, 06:42 PM
The flame war on this thread is totally unnecessary. I think Tesarra & co posted good definitions of faith that demonstrate a real equivalence between scientific and deistic faith within the context of the definition of faith they are using.

I prefer not to use the word 'faith' when talking about the inevitable bias that creeps in when one is weighing evidence: If an observation agrees with one's knowledge base it is more heavily weighted than an observation that does not.

You could define the 'art of science' as the critical analysis of your own bias in assessing the meaning of an observation.

An example: I once sat down with a scientist who demonstrated, by extrapolating with a french curve, that a set of data was in complete agreement with his theory of how an event occurred. A second scientist used a different french curve to fit the same data and arrived a completely different explanation. Further data demonstrated they were both wrong; and that the original data included outliers (which were weighed differently by the two theorists).

French curves, by the way, were the precursers to today's computer models: Always treat models that include any free parameters and provide an excellent 'fit' to otherwise complex observational data with extreme skepticism.

Elenwen
2008-Sep-28, 01:24 AM
I forget who this quote is by but it fits in well with this thread.

"Science is organized knowledge."

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Sep-28, 06:35 AM
You could define the 'art of science' as the critical analysis of your own bias in assessing the meaning of an observation.

An example: I once sat down with a scientist who demonstrated, by extrapolating with a french curve, that a set of data was in complete agreement with his theory of how an event occurred. A second scientist used a different french curve to fit the same data and arrived a completely different explanation. Further data demonstrated they were both wrong; and that the original data included outliers (which were weighed differently by the two theorists).

French curves, by the way, were the precursers to today's computer models: Always treat models that include any free parameters and provide an excellent 'fit' to otherwise complex observational data with extreme skepticism.

Very interesting example, Jerry. I was trying to convey the same idea, but your post is far clearer!

parallaxicality
2008-Sep-30, 04:25 PM
I forget who this quote is by but it fits in well with this thread.

"Science is organized knowledge."

Pithy and wrong. All academic study is about organising knowledge. You could say the same of history, philosophy or literary analysis.

steve000
2008-Oct-03, 10:11 PM
"Science is organized knowledge."
Dunno but faith is disorganized guesswork and morally wrong for 'possibly' misleading :silenced:

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Oct-04, 12:02 AM
I have found an interesting quote by Luigi Giussani (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Giussani). It is the transcription of a lesson taught by Giussani in 1994:



...What I'll speak to you about has to do with faith. But our faith, the faith upon which we'll develop all our work, applies the same method I spoke about: knowledge of a reality through mediation. It's a reality that you don't see, but that you know through mediation. But this isn't the only sphere in which the word faith can be applied and used. The word faith indicates a method that reason lives and applies, by nature, in every sphere of life.

[...]

Can we say that reason is most exalted in the method of faith?

Perfect! Reason is never so fundamentally, actively, and potently engaged as it is in faith, in the method of faith.

Why? Because A, to entrust himself to B, must engage his entire self, not only a little wheel in his head. When he reasons in mathematics, a little wheel goes round. Here, instead, all the wheels and links and connections with the body and the soul are involved: it's my "I" that trusts Nadia, it's my self. And when I say "I," I mean: reason, eyes, hearth, everything.

[...]

In faith, reason is engaged much more richly and powerfully than it is in other methods. That's because all the other methods are partial. They have to do with a specific type of object. A man who knows everything about flies and writes a 1,500-page book, who's a Nobel prizewinner in science, and who doesn't know a whit about his wife - his kids hate him and he mistreats them - is a pitiful man, not a Nobel prizewinner, because his wife and kids need a reason that is naturally complete and at peace. He is extremely sharp with respect to one aspect of reality, one segment (incidentally, it's a fairly small part of reality), the fly, the phenomenon of the fly. He knows everything about this, but he doesn't know anything about his destiny or other people's situations. He's a poor wretch, even if he is a Nobel prizewinner.

[...]

Everything we'll do together during these hours of lessons or discussions rests on reason in its characteristic dynamic, which is called "faith." Everything rests on reason inasmuch as it's capable of faith, faith being the most utmost capacity of reason. "Utmost," because without it man wouldn't exist: history would no longer exists, nor would culture, nor society. Thus, knowledge of destiny would no longer exist.

(Is it possible to live this way?, Vol. I, pp. 11-14)


I think that this gives a new perspective on the topic. (Note also that Is it possible to live this way? was originally written in italian: this explains why in some places Giussani uses "faith" and "trust" almost interchangeably.)

In my previous example I said that trusting my books for the value of k they report was an act of reason. The point is that we have tried to interpret that example in terms of the scientific method: I have a model - I test it with an experiment (model: "This book says the truth about k" - experiment: "I will go in the lab to check it"). But in the 99% of cases people never perform the experiment: they simply trust what they read. Giussani's quotation can explain why this happens: he says that the reason why I trust my book is something which has to do with my entire human self, and cannot be always reduced to a "create-a-model-then-test-it-to-verify-its-correctness". (In this sense, whoever wants always to double-check the results of some experiment quoted in a book would be a "wretch," instead of a great scientist.)

Whirlpool
2008-Oct-04, 04:35 AM
Dunno but faith is disorganized guesswork and morally wrong for 'possibly' misleading :silenced:

Depends on what kind of "Faith " that is already set in a person's mind.

steve000
2008-Oct-04, 07:33 AM
Depends on what kind of "Faith " that is already set in a person's mind.

Yes sorry it wasn't said against some ones personal faith. What I meant was the people who try to force it into peoples minds. Anyway forget I said it its not worth the hassle.

The Admiral
2008-Oct-04, 02:13 PM
Hi;

I'm not really a new member. I'm a returning old member. I have fond memories of Phil's old Philosophy Board. A great group and many great discussions.

Is anonimity mandatory now? If so, just de-enroll me.

My real name is David L. Nelson. My real location is Racine Wi. I am 82 years old and a lifelong strong Atheist. I have been on many forums and have always used my real identity and have suffered no ill consequences thereby.

I wont be posting much. I'll just stop by and read from time to time.

Dave Nelson

Warren Platts
2008-Oct-05, 10:12 AM
Hi Admiral Nelson,

You are a man of much experience, and a self-described lifelong atheist; I am interested in what you have to say. What is your "take"? Was your adoption of a scientific worldview an act of faith or reason (or both)?

BTW, I never post anonymously either. Funny thing though; every time I go through airport security, I'm a "selectee". . . . Go figure. :whistle:

The Admiral
2008-Oct-05, 04:02 PM
Hi Warren

Thanks for the reply. I believe that my Atheism was prompted by reason. I was born to a Methodist mother and a father who didn't go to church. I never heard him say a word about religion one way or the other but I suspect he was an Atheist.

I attended Methodist Sunday school to the age of 12 and even took catechism and was confirmed, without my consent of course. I think that by the age of 8 I knew I was being fed fairy tales. Of course, my teachers, mostly young women, believed it all.

My second son's name is also David. He travels some, and believe it or not, David Nelson is also a suspect name. I'm a retired airline pilot and have no desire to travel. I think it has been at least 10 years since the last time I took a commercial flight.

My favorite past time is pool. In fact I am leaving the house shortly for the pool room where I play in a straight pool round robin and I have a match, every Sunday afternoon. Wish me luck, I need it.

antoniseb
2008-Oct-05, 04:49 PM
... I believe that my Atheism was prompted by reason. I was born to a Methodist mother and a father who didn't go to church. I never heard him say a word about religion one way or the other but I suspect he was an Atheist. ...

Hi The Admiral,

You do not need to be anonymous. Using your name is fine, and many of our most respected members do so. However, you should note that outside of this section (Bad Astronomy Stories), we generally try to avoid discussions of religion or politics except in very limited situations connected to astronomy or spaceflight.

Anyway, glad to see you're recent activity here.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Oct-05, 08:42 PM
I would like to add that for those who prefer anonymity, it is respected and protected as long as it's not misused as a means to break the rules.

We've actually banned a member for demanding information that could help him identify another member because we considered it likely that the information was intended for real life harassment.

Jerry
2008-Oct-10, 01:42 AM
Pithy and wrong. All academic study is about organising knowledge. You could say the same of history, philosophy or literary analysis.
Correct scientific principles apply to all anthropological studies.

'Organizing' means different things in different applications. I think Parallaxicality is using a 'stamp collecting' definition.

Organizing can also mean figuring out how a given observation fits into a theoretical framework; or doesn't as the case may be.

Organizing also means throwing out that which is not useful. 'Not useful' is the most subjective of all scientific classifications.

When Eddington and others reduced the data from the 1919 eclipse; the results from one of the three instruments used to measure the stellar displacement was discarded. Although there is reasonably good justification for this decision, if you look at the data in the context that there is no preferred displacement; the justification looks much weaker.

In other words, relativity was the only theory that predicted a displacement. (Eddington argued that they were comparing a 'Newtonian' displacement with one predicted by GR; but this was a faux argument: The 'Newtonian' displacement was actually based upon Einsteins prior theory, not Newtons) It seemed reasonable to reject a null displacement (all three results inconsistent with no displacement); so more weight was given to the possibility that the Sobral Astrographic plates were overexposed than that the partial cloud cover (and reduced star field) reduced the reliability of Eddington's determination.

Today, after many subsequent measurements; it is reasonably clear that the 1919 decision was the the correct one; but as a matter of fact, virtually all attempts to optically measure gravitational bending of light yield result in a mean displacement of light that differ from relativistic predictions. ref http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0709/0709.0685.pdf

steve000
2008-Oct-22, 11:13 PM
{Quoted from an unconnected thread in atm}


No thinking scientist takes you seriously

Maybe that ^ should be applied to people who have obviously no wish (and definitely don't expect) to be taken with any seriousness.. So when seriousness is afforded to them that may not be deserved nor desired they cannot take it seriously themselves...How is it possible to take a subject matter seriously when much of that subject matter appears nonsensical to the person who is vilified for not taking it seriously..:doh:
`BUT! on the other hand the subject may have always been (or 'as near as damn it' always been) within the consciousness of that individual and throughout life accepted it without second thought and without question. Until asked to question that subject matter on a more serious level - then memory may involuntarily cloud the questioning on that subject with the parts of the subject matter that are - or may appear to be (how can I put it) factually a bit iffy - therefore giving an exaggerated implausibility factor to the core of the question (then again I 'm not qualified to say so i could be talking plop:eh:).

*Edit* What I was trying to say is if your mind is pre installed with an idea of how something should be (i.e. creationists) then it appears that it can make it more difficult to deal with a subject from a neutral standpoint.

(finalis) my opinion to the original thread question is (obviously) no.

north
2008-Oct-27, 04:10 AM
http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008/02/18/is-science-faith-based/

[quote]This has been the topic of many conversations and I've found insight in the thoughts of many. In my mind science is a tool of humanity. A tool to harvest the best information possible from our reality so that we can proceed through our lives in the best possible way.

very , very well put





Science is not a matter of faith, but the two are not without relation. (I quantify this later) Hypotheses are not formed on whimsical speculation of a fantastic mind but upon educated guess of the issue's preceding information (sometimes the works of others, sometimes your previous works).

hmm..



I am an atheist. And as a true Atheist I feel it important to qualify exactly what I am. I don't believe that there is no such thing as God, deity, divine interventions, Jesus in Cheetos or any other fanciful things. To Identify myself as, "Hello I'm an Atheist, there is no such thing in God." is to accept that the default position of our reality is that there is a God and I am against the status quo. Of course, and unfortunately this is true, but it is of little importance. A true Atheist is someone that applies Occam's Razor to the notions of dogmatic lore. I see no evidence for God therefor I don't focus my time and energy on him. I have no utility for him.


I source morality from causality.


explain

creativedreams
2008-Dec-06, 02:46 AM
I believe the universe is full of life, but I can't rule out the possibility of there being a God because it had to start somehow. Because of the infinity of the past (before the big bang or any other theory) may not be possible to answer? Did God create the big bang?...and so on...

timba1988
2008-Dec-07, 07:52 PM
I hate being labelled an Atheist because I don't believe in the bibles version of god. It's not like I practise being an Atheist.

I do believe that there is a creator of this thing we call the Universe. But it's definately not the guy people in churches tell you it is.

Have faith in science!!! The soon we do that, the sooner we find out why we are here.

Cougar
2008-Dec-09, 07:59 PM
Have faith in science!!!

It is probably best to leave the word "faith" out of science altogether, regardless of what meaning you intend for it.

"Faith" usually means: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. But logical proof and material evidence are precisely what science is all about. Therefore, the answer to the title question of this thread is not only "no"; it is "emphatically no." Science is in direct, complete, and extreme opposition to the concept of "faith." The question seems to be designed to provoke an emphatic response. So there you have it. :whistle:

Cougar
2008-Dec-10, 06:38 PM
Seriously, though, I'd like to see a somewhat better exposition than "The proposition is incorrect because I say so". It's somehow unsatisfying from a scientific standpoint. ;)

Which proposition are you talking about?

Cougar
2008-Dec-12, 01:44 AM
"Faith" usually means: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.


I could have paraphrased your earlier post as: "The answer to the central question of this forum is: No, because I say so."

That was a dictionary's definition, not because I said so.


But logical proof and material evidence are precisely what science is all about.

I venture to say this assertion is pretty widely held, not just on my say so.

The two are quite different, most would agree. Depending on how this difference is "framed," unnecessary arguments might be found.

eric_marsh
2008-Dec-13, 04:21 AM
When I think of "faith" it pretty much means "believe without proof." I can't comprehend how people can live their lives based on such a premise.

I suppose that "faith in science" could be taken two ways. One would be to have faith in the results that science produces. I imagine that there are those out there who see the white lab coat crowd as some sort of high priests to the god of science, but they are probably not very bright. The second way would be "faith in the scientific method." This is a step up from "faith in science" but not a very big step. I'd guess that it is proscribed to by people who have not really examined the implications and methodologies that we call science. In essence science is what we see at the theories and experiments level where ideas are tried, tested and accepted and disposed of based on results.

Science also exists at a meta-level where the very methodologies that we call science also consist of ideas that are tried, tested and accepted or disposed of based on results. I think that anyone who understands this will have no faith in science but only accept the scientific method as the most effective method that we have come up with so far, perhaps flawed but producing results that are more usable than all the other approaches that we are aware of.

So I don't have faith in science. I'm actually a good skeptic - I don't have faith in much of anything at all.

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Dec-15, 09:32 AM
When I think of "faith" it pretty much means "believe without proof." I can't comprehend how people can live their lives based on such a premise.

I regularly buy bread from my baker. I never go to the lab to check if she has poisoned it, because I trust her: she has no reason to try to kill me, and she has always sold perfectly fine bread. Since I trust her, I believe that the bread I brought this morning is fine, even if I have not tasted it yet and have therefore no proof of my belief.

This is what I call "faith". It is a perfectly reasonable act, and I can't comprehend how people can live their lives without such a premise.

P.S. I have already discussed about this point (see my posts above). Meanwhile, I think I have spotted the difference between "trust" and "faith": "trust" is an attitude towards somebody (I trust my baker), while "faith" is a knowledge you derive from somebody you trust (I know the bread I bought this morning is fine).

parallaxicality
2008-Dec-15, 11:18 AM
many languages don't make a distinction between faith and trust

Gillianren
2008-Dec-15, 05:37 PM
English does, however, and I really do think it's an important distinction. In the bread analogy, I believe (ha!) it's trust. After all, any baker who went around randomly putting poison in the bread would soon be in very serious trouble indeed. It's based on evidence, so it's not faith. I do think it's an important distinction to maintain--I understand the language barrier, but there are a lot of terms that don't translate very well from one language to another that are still worth preserving.

trinitree88
2008-Dec-15, 11:29 PM
Science is what scientists do...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Faith is faith based. pete

Neverfly
2008-Dec-16, 07:28 AM
Haven't seen you post in a while Tessara. Glad to see you back:)

Neverfly
2008-Dec-16, 07:38 AM
Interesting, but incorrect. The preferred definition in American English (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The definition to which you referred comes in second to this one. Perhaps it's a close second, but nevertheless it doesn't meet the standard implied by your use of the word "usually".
Which really makes this an argument of Semantics.

By your preferred definition, accepting convincing evidence is a matter of faith.
Ok.
Then in that case, I would agree that there are some areas in science that rely on that form of "faith."
BBT is one.
BBT is a matter of accepting the observational evidence. Some evidence is not yet known, so it's an incomplete picture. Therefor, BBT is a matter of "faith."

Yet, there is a fundamental flaw with this...
Even with your definition, there is the suggestion that the belief is unfounded, unsupported or constant.

"Faith" in BBT is none of those things.
It is founded, supported and also changing. It changes when New Evidence supports new theory.
See, Science does not deal in absolutes or proof- true. But, it does deal in accepting the evidence in order to create the most accurate model of reality.
Having "confident belief" would then require that the evidence supports the most accurate model- or that model must be scrapped or tweaked or otherwise repaired.


I fail to see why you insist on this conclusion. I would agree if you qualified your statement by inserting "religious" in front of the word "faith". I've said previously in this thread that I agree Science and Religion are very different and incompatible frames of reference. The word "faith", though, does not necessarily come with religious baggage in tow. To state that Science is based on faith is not at all the same as stating that Science is based on Religion. The first is an acknowledgement that there are ideas in Science we accept but cannot prove. The second would be the very claim that the Intelligent Design advocates, Young Earth Creationists, Astrology True Believers et al would love to hear.


Regards,

Tes

Understand, Tessara, how MOST readers define "Faith."
You are trying to dispel ignorance by using a true definition.

But the word faith has already taken on the meaning in Most Peoples minds as a religious practice.

In Science, I do not take it on faith that adding chemical X to Chemical Y will produce chemical Z and a horrendous explosion that will make me miserable.
I accept that it will based on the evidence of knowledge and understanding of chemistry.
If I accept it just because I'm told to, and never actually research it- that could be faith.
If I accept it as the Chemicals WILL- that could be called faith. But neither of those are scientific.
If you're going to use strict definitions, you must also use strict scientific ones as well.

So, scientifically, does BBT require faith? Not really. Because if something better comes along, I will reject BBT like a bad habit.
I will "Lose" that "Confident belief." There is a difference between confidently Believing something, and accepting the evidence that supports something. One only requires belief, the other requires supportive evidence.

Maurizio Tomasi
2008-Dec-16, 02:15 PM
In the bread analogy, I believe (ha!) it's trust. After all, any baker who went around randomly putting poison in the bread would soon be in very serious trouble indeed. It's based on evidence, so it's not faith.

My trust in my backer is based on all the evidence I have collected in the last years, you are right. (Note however that evidence by itself is not enough: there must be a "self", i.e. me, that decides whether to trust or not.)

Faith enters when I am considering the bread standing right now in front of me on the table: since I have yet to taste it, I have no evidence at all that that piece of bread is really fine. This knowledge is 100% based on faith, in my opinion.

Cougar
2008-Dec-19, 04:17 AM
"Faith" usually means: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.


Interesting, but incorrect....
Your whole post was very thoughtful. Thank you.


Interesting, but incorrect.... The preferred definition in American English (according to the American Heritage Dictionary) is: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The definition to which you referred comes in second to this one. Perhaps it's a close second, but nevertheless it doesn't meet the standard implied by your use of the word "usually".

It is a close second, if not nearly equivalent. The operative word in both is "belief," which, as you say, has the potential to carry the unfortunate implication of religious belief.


But logical proof and material evidence are precisely what science is all about.


Half right.... As has been frequently stated in multiple forums on this board, Science does not deal in proof or absolutes but rather in varying degrees of confidence based on the evidence at hand.

I wholeheartedly agree, but I was careful to say logical proof, which is a very precise mathematical structure and is fairly indisputable...

But now that you mention it, I was rather impressed by Goodbye, Descartes, The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind [1997] by Keith Devlin... ("In many respects, situation theory is an extension of classical logic that takes account of context.")


I've said previously in this thread that I agree Science and Religion are very different and incompatible frames of reference. The word "faith", though, does not necessarily come with religious baggage in tow.
Right, not necessarily. I'll go along with that. But it does have that potential. When I have time to choose my words carefully, I try to find one that does [I]not have any particular potential to be misunderstood or misinterpreted. (Not saying you don't. :o )

Amber Robot
2008-Dec-19, 05:24 PM
Science does not deal in proof

Interesting, but incorrect. Science does indeed deal in proof. If you're able to require us to only use the first definition of 'faith' in the dictionary, then you should be using the first definition of 'proof' in the dictionary: "evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth." That is what science does. Collects evidence to make compelling arguments to believe something as true. Proof.

Neverfly
2008-Dec-19, 08:53 PM
Actually, the problem with stating that Science deals in proof is that so few things in Science are ever actually established as true, at least in the absolute sense. They are established to be the best possible model given current understanding, but not absolute truth.

Shall we pull up a Definition for "Truth" now?;)

Neverfly
2008-Dec-19, 09:48 PM
Well, perhaps my view is skewed by my religious upbringing. I tend to think of "truth" as something absolute and unchanging, which probably makes it closer to something from Plato's world of forms than the real world we do science in...

If you can come up with something better, please enlighten me. I am, after all, here to learn. ;)


Tes

According to Websters...:

truth Definition

truth (tro̵̅o̅t̸h)

noun pl. truths (tro̵̅o̅t̸hz, tro̵̅o̅t̸hs)

1. the quality or state of being true; specif.,
1. Obsolete loyalty; trustworthiness
2. sincerity; genuineness; honesty
3. the quality of being in accordance with experience, facts, or reality; conformity with fact
4. reality; actual existence
5. agreement with a standard, rule, etc.; correctness; accuracy
2. that which is true; statement, etc. that accords with fact or reality
3. an established or verified fact, principle, etc.
4. a particular belief or teaching regarded by the speaker as the true one

However, Wikipedia makes a valid point
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth

Meanings for the word truth extend from honesty, good faith, and sincerity in general, to agreement with fact or reality in particular.[1] The term has no single definition about which a majority of professional philosophers and scholars agree, and various theories of truth continue to be debated.

Amber Robot
2008-Dec-19, 11:58 PM
Well, perhaps my view is skewed by my religious upbringing. I tend to think of "truth" as something absolute and unchanging

And perhaps my view is skewed by being non-religious, but I tend to think of "faith" as belief without or in spite of evidence. The point in my post was that you were not being consistent in your demand for semantic usage of words. You wanted to use a different definition of faith than I would use, and I wanted to use a different definition of proof than you would use. So, this is mostly just a semantic argument.

I entered this thread late, but I think the point is that by any reasonable definition of the term "faith-based" I would say that science is not faith-based. If you wanted to redefine "faith-based" to mean "based in faith", where you use the "trust" definition of "faith" then yes, I would probably say that I put a lot of *trust* in science when doing my work. But because I have seen some, but not all, of the evidence and understand the processes through which these evidences are obtained, I am willing to put *trust* in other scientist, upon whose work mine might rely.

I think many lay people don't understand that physics is just a *model* of the universe. The degree to which it is "true" is the degree to which it is "in accord with experience, facts, or reality". The degree to which it is useful is the degree to which it can produce explanations for and predictions of phenomena of the universe that can be observed and measured. Just because the model is a work in progress does not also mean it is a house of cards.

John Jaksich
2008-Dec-21, 07:42 AM
I hope I don't repeat anyone's post...but...I think no one really knows who or what God is...? What is obvious is that there are people (well-meaning, I assume) who want to want to dictate their meaning of truth as a form of belief and (unfortunately) so that there is no means to question the status quo. I.D.ers aside, some of us, who may have a science inkling, like to experiment and question the world in which we reside. Faith, science, and truth reside side-by-side in a world in which evolution is the norm.

Gigabyte
2008-Dec-23, 03:52 AM
I think of conversations like this one as entertainment, an enjoyable game, perhaps a waste of time, but the sort of pastime that some enjoy. From a scientific view, in order to determine the answer to the question, (assuming it is a real query, and not just a method to introduce a conclusion), I must use logic, reason and science to investigate and come to my own answer on the matter.

First, I must know what the person asking the question means by the terms used. What sort of faith is meant in this regards? And what do they mean by "science"? To be scientific, the symbols used to communicate must be agreed upon. This is (IMNSHO) a basic requirement of science. We must understand and agree on the very terms we are using, or the entire exchange is either pointless, or bound to introduce confusion, in any case, we can't advance without an agreement on what it is we are using to discuss (or argue).

The word "science" has multiple meanings, and there are different kinds of science. There is no "Science" in the sense of a universal and agreed upon sense. "Faith" is far worse, not only are their different meanings, faith is often an individual "thing", deeply personal and often mysterious.

If I go with my own understanding of what I think the question means, I could be simply proceeding on "faith" in my own knowledge and understanding of both the language used, as well as the intent of the person framing the question, and possibly other motives I may have, in regards to a foregone conclusion, all based on my limited understanding of what is being asked. This is, of course, the easy road. And I can answer, "No, science is not based on faith.", or "What an absurd question.", or something like that. But to do so is to speak from a position of authority, and it is the sort of final and unquestionable "truth" that can irk me when I hear others issue forth such pronouncements, as if they know something to be 100% true. No question about it. Case closed. Proof positive. End of story!

So I get a small chuckle over the matter, it is interesting, on several levels at once.

Then I consider matters of reality.

And, I just took a 5 minute break from writing this to ponder "science", and a curious mental event took place. Which changed what I was going to type next. I considered "science" in great depth, and before attempting to go further, a host of question arose, which I will now present.

Is there any such thing as "science"? After all, there is an inherent assumption that "science" is real, within the question asked.

So, it is quite appropriate to ask about this matter.

Is "science" real? Of course "science" is a word. So we might ask are words real?

Can "science" be measured? Does it have any mass? Any energy? Is "science" affected by gravity? Electromagnetic radiation? Heat? Can we describe it's appearance? Can it be accelerated? Does a magnetic field effect it? Can it be divided? Reduced? Dissolved? Can you show it to somebody? Can you measure "science" with any known instrument? Can we state it's age? Does space/time effect "science"? Does "science" effect space/time in any way?

Can "science" be damaged? Transported? Felt by any sense? Can it hurt you? Is it toxic in any way? Does it effect living organisms in a manner that can be detected?

Obviously the answer to all those questions is a resounding "no".

From a scientific viewpoint, science isn't real. It meets none of the requirements for establishing or testing something as true, as real, as valid. It can't be measured, much less tested, or demonstrated.

It is, from a scientific viewpoint, as unreal as "love" or "hypnosis", or dare I say it, as "belief".

Science is a mental construct, something created and held only in human knowledge, in a shared set of symbolsm thoughts and methods.

This sounds foolish of course, after all, subjecting "science" to the same sort of rules and requirements as something like light or gravity or matter, seems silly. Next we will be asking if thoughts are real, of communication is real, if perceptions are real.

Or worse, what do you mean by real? :D

As I said, it is amusing, thought provoking, and fun to explore with our shared symbols, such questions, even if the only sure thing, is our own faith, in our own knowledge, that we know what is true.

otherstar
2008-Dec-23, 04:37 AM
In addition to Noclevername's response, when Stephen Hawking met the Pope, he said that we did not know what was before the Big Bang, and thus left room for God, and the Pope was happy.

Or course the Pope was happy, he knows that science, philosophy, and religion are separate disciplines with their own methodologies. It's not the place of science to deal with God, that's the domain of philosophers and theologians.

Cougar
2008-Dec-24, 02:23 AM
I think of conversations like this one as entertainment, an enjoyable game, perhaps a waste of time, but the sort of pastime that some enjoy....
And a chance to flex the writing muscle, and to look into interesting questions...


And, I just took a 5 minute break from writing this to ponder "science", and a curious mental event took place...

What on Earth did you do in those five minutes? :lol:


Is there any such thing as "science"? After all, there is an inherent assumption that "science" is real, within the question asked.

So, it is quite appropriate to ask about this matter.

Absolutely. And that 'inherent assumption' makes up part of the context of the question, which contains needed information if one is to hope for robust communication. Plus, as you say, precise definitions. But it's the context or the situation or the background that Keith Devlin (http://www.stanford.edu/~kdevlin/) has been looking into for some years...



"Speaking and understanding a language... requires not only an implicit knowledge of the grammar of that language... but also an implicit knowledge of the relevant culture." - Devlin

otherstar
2008-Dec-24, 04:22 AM
Here are the links to the full articles:

Definition of "true" - http://www.bartleby.com/61/69/T0386900.html

Definition of "truth" - http://www.bartleby.com/61/33/T0393300.html


Neverfly, please try not to get lost in the dictionary for hours, ok? ;)

Highlights I believe are most relevant:

True - ADVERB: 1. In accord with reality, fact, or truthfulness.

Truth - NOUN: 1. Conformity to fact or actuality.


So, given these definitions, I would have a hard time accepting that Science deals in proof (I have no reason at all to quibble with Amber_Robot's definition of proof) because the models we use today may be demonstrated tomorrow not to fit the data as well as we had thought. We can hardly state that our current model for biological evolution is "In accord with reality" if it changes as new data are acquired. Reality hasn't changed, but our understanding of it has. Reality isn't Science, our understanding is.


Tes

Could these definitions be more circular? I mean to define truth as "conformity to fact or actuality?" When the definitions both terms "fact" and "actuality" both turn on some meaning of truth, or a synonym of the same, the definition itself is called into question.

I find this article to be far more comprehensive and less circular: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/

Cougar
2008-Dec-24, 02:53 PM
Could these definitions be more circular? I mean to define truth as "conformity to fact or actuality?" When the definitions both terms "fact" and "actuality" both turn on some meaning of truth, or a synonym of the same, the definition itself is called into question.

Well, having the term "facts" in my signature, I view facts not as some absolute truth but as observations or data. As stated, any "truth" would have to "conform to fact" or observation, but of course science is not in the business of "truth." Seeking truth, maybe, but any absolute truth would be fixed in stone, static, and dogmatic. Scientific theories and always contingent upon the next observation or realization.

Jerry
2008-Dec-29, 12:44 AM
When I was a kid, there was a quiz show called the Whiz Kids, where young teenagers demonstrated an amazing depth of knowledge of all things. (I don't know if this show was tainted, as others were, by giving the contestants the answers to study before the 'contest'.) A half century ago; many scientists did have a broad knowledge of both their own fields and science in general.

Today, this is impossible, and faith or trust in other scientists in other fields has become an essential aspect of contemporary science. As a general rule, you can't have scientists in one field acting as if scientists in other specialized areas are a bunch of idiots. This is why the politicalization of global warming has been so demoralizing.

What is less obvious is when the scale is tipping. There were legitimate arguments against the global warming scenario as little as five years ago that are no longer valid today. "Truth", meaning generally accepted factual evidence does change with time. Missplaced "Faith" can be legitimate trust in the wrong experts, or a lack of knowledge of the latest evidence.

What we should not do, is condemn the scientific method of discovery when mistakes are uncovered. It is the method that finds the errors, not the faith.

Gigabyte
2008-Dec-29, 03:13 PM
And a chance to flex the writing muscle, and to look into interesting questions...

After some more pondering, I consider the question/statement to be flawed, making it impossible to answer, or even consider properly.


What on Earth did you do in those five minutes? :lol:

Pondered!! I pondered the concept!!

As an example, let us consider a hard science example, and one that may be more nebulous in nature.

I want to use science to figure out how high an object is, one that is far too tall to actually measure. I measure the shadow of a smaller object, that I know the height of. Already. Then measure the unknown shadow. Using math (science) I can calculate the height. Or wait until the shadow is exactly the same as the height and just measure the shadows distance.

There is no faith involved. (My pre-formed opinion on the matter)

Faith will not alter the conclusion of the matter in any way. But is faith required to risk my life climbing the object, based on my measurement? Is something as simple as knowing that all objects cast a shadow the same? Can I over think this any more? Are we having fun yet?

Then I consider something like psychotherapy, which some consider "bogus" science, and suddenly faith in the therapist may have an effect, is that faith in science or faith in a person? See how the question starts to change? Hypnosis would be an even better example. Is it science? Does the definition of science preclude anything faith based from being considered science? Is it a tautology? Is tautology even the right word to ask about?

Doesn't the definition of science by definition mean no faith is required? Isn't science based on stuff that isn't faith, where no stretch of the definition of faith will include the principles of science?

Is the entire premise silly? Or worth 5 more minutes of pondering? Do I ask a lot of questions or what? Were you amused at all? Does humor have any place in science? Was that off topic? Am I in trouble now?

Ken G
2008-Dec-30, 01:57 AM
Does the definition of science preclude anything faith based from being considered science? Is it a tautology? Is tautology even the right word to ask about?

Doesn't the definition of science by definition mean no faith is required? Isn't science based on stuff that isn't faith, where no stretch of the definition of faith will include the principles of science?All these questions presuppose that the terms "faith-based" and "science" have already been given precise definitions. That is not always a safe assumption. Often, in discussions like this, when people don't agree on the answers it is simply because they haven't agreed on the questions. For example, I can see value in defining faith-based in a way that includes science (as in, the faith we have in science, based on a faith in experience, consistency, and demonstrable evidence), and I can see value in defining faith-based in a way that explicitly excludes science (such as to distinguish what we believe simply because we choose to from what we believe because it stands up to empirical testing). It all depends on the purpose of the point that is being made-- but it is crucially important to specify what definitions are in place, and even more importantly, why. Otherwise the discussion just goes around and around, establishing nothing because no two people are even talking about the same thing.

George
2008-Dec-30, 05:35 PM
Isn't science based on stuff that isn't faith, where no stretch of the definition of faith will include the principles of science? Yes, but the key word here is "based". It is the ability to have a foundation that is objectively measurable that makes science work so well. Science is restricted to such empirically-based support mechanisms. Yet, science makes use of this information and builds hypothesis and theories that use reason, which comes from some element of trust in their judgment. The objective evidence for Big Bang Theory is quite substantial, but the theory itself draws conclusions and makes predictions that use reason. Predictions found in theories can be measured in an objective way, which is the embodiment of science.

The confusion that exists when discussing faith often stems from the difference between faith and blind faith. They are different. You can exercise faith in something given some objective elements to assist your decision. Or, you can exercise faith based on no objective evidence whatsoever. Or, you can even exercise faith in something based on evidence that is counter to your particular faith. The latter two represent "blind faith".

The baker's bread example is a good example of non-blind faith, as there is objective evidence (never getting sick before, experienced baker, flour is usually stable, etc.) that supports the faith in the specific loaf that will be eaten.

This view is independent of religion, but it certainly is important to it.

Prior to Galileo, there wasn't such a requirement to have such a degree of experimental and empirical objective evidence as the foundation of a theory, not counting the predictive requirement and benefit that comes from a good theory. For centuries, prior fiat functioned fine within the teleological framework of the leaders and scholars of their day. That is still true for religion, but it too is strengthened by some objective evidence, and weakened by the same evidence if it is contrary to their belief.

George
2008-Dec-30, 06:47 PM
Consider an interesting example where both faith (with some evidence supporting it) and blind faith interact in a final act of faith. Indiana Jones had to make a decision to either jump onto a bridge that did not appear to be there or not jump, and he had no time to conduct objective tests since he wanted to save his father who had been shot -- remember this adventure? Based on his experience, and ours, bridges are never ever invincible, so if he jumps he is acting on the worst kind of blind faith since the evidence is counter to his faith in jumping.

However, he also has some evidence to support his believe that there was a bridge since the prior to obstacles were overcome because his guide book had been correct. Of course, we would have thrown the sand out onto the bridge before we jumped, but that would not have been as exciting as Ford jumping out there into the abyss. :)

Disinfo Agent
2008-Dec-30, 08:33 PM
Could these definitions be more circular? I mean to define truth as "conformity to fact or actuality?" When the definitions both terms "fact" and "actuality" both turn on some meaning of truth, or a synonym of the same, the definition itself is called into question.All definitions are ultimately circular, because they rely on the assumption that the author and the reader have some amount of common semantic ground -- that they speak a common language, in other words.

Dictionary definitions, especially, are not so much meant to define a word, as they are to remind the reader of what it means, or to express it in terms of words that the reader already knows.


The confusion that exists when discussing faith often stems from the difference between faith and blind faith. They are different.That is indeed a source of confusion. In this thread and others, we've seen people insist that any faith must be blind. I can't agree with that, because I'm convinced that there is a continuum, or at least a range of possibilities, spanning from the blindest faith to the most rational derivation. Our convictions are always somewhere between the two, and we never quite reach either endpoint.

Although it's also true that it's convenient in practice to make a rough classification of our ideas into kinds, just as we classify the visible spectrum into colours.

George
2008-Dec-30, 10:42 PM
In this thread and others, we've seen people insist that any faith must be blind. I can't agree with that, because I'm convinced that there is a continuum, or at least a range of possibilities, spanning from the blindest faith to the most rational derivation. Our convictions are always somewhere between the two, and we never quite reach either endpoint. Yes, it is more a matter of degree than kind, admittedly, but the distinction between faith and blind faith is helpful to see the continuum.


Although it's also true that it's convenient in practice to make a rough classification of our ideas into kinds, just as we classify the visible spectrum into colours. :) Excellent, I love georgepomorphic talk! ;)

Disinfo Agent
2008-Dec-31, 10:30 AM
I suspected you would like the analogy. :D

George
2008-Dec-31, 08:21 PM
I suspected you would like the analogy.
I suspected it so.

Another analogy that should help can be found in the exciting scene from Indiana Jones. His father is shot and Indy must reach the Holy Grail to save him. He comes the edge of an abysmal crevasse and recalls that he must leap from the lion, yet there is no place to leap to. Either he trusts his eyesight, which is telling him he dies if he jumps, or he trusts what he read in his Dad’s book, which suggests he will survive. To jump based solely on the former argument would be an act of blind faith. However, he does have evidence to support that the latter argument, the book’s word, is correct in spite of the danger. Since he must save his Dad, he acts on this mixed faith and leaps. [Of course, it never seemed to occur to him to throw the dirt out upon the camouflaged bridge until after he lands on it. Duh, must be Hollywood.]