Help with writing
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20-06-2016, 07:36 PM
Help with writing
I would appreciate any comments on the following and suggestions as to how I could improve it.

Here lies the crux problem, valid deductive reasoning requires an axiomatic inception. And it is here that the theists and the critical thinkers part company.

Mathematicians start with a small set of axioms and derive a large body of knowledge. Hilbert started with 20 and derived all of geometry. Peano proposed 5 from which all number theory follows. Scientists have applied the principle, the crucial difference being that scientists base their axioms on experimental research. There are bulletin boards in Physics departments across the country with the posting “And God said … (a list of Maxwell’s equations) … and then there was light.” That statement, even though humorously intended, sums up the scientific view. From a small set of facts, viz., Newton’s laws, Maxwell’s equations, Einstein’s axiom, Plank’s equation, etc., the entire physical world can be explained.

The chief complaint of theists is that scientists can’t explain everything. Their position is, whether stated or implied, that they can explain everything when, if fact, they can explain nothing. After thousands of years they still can explain nothing. Science has really only been at it for the last 500 years and in the last 100 years our knowledge has expanded exponentially.

Since the advancement of the germ theory of disease the human population of this planet has increased from less than one billion to its present population of over seven billion. When this country was founded the chances of a newborn living to age 50 was less than 50%. Today a newborn can reasonably expect to live past 70, possibly into his 80s or beyond. There are more centenarians today than at any time in our history. Not only that but science is starting to make progress on the problem of stopping, or even reversing, the aging process. The time may well come when the only way a person dies is by trauma, in other words, by suffering a fatal accident or being murdered.

That’s what biology has done for us, what it has the potential of doing for us. Meanwhile the physical sciences have taken us to the moon, provided us with the means to reach the other side of the planet in a day, and to live in a state of comfort that would be the envy of any of the Caesars. Most of us in the western world have no worries about where our next meal will be coming from.

So don’t tell me that science does not know everything. We’ve only gotten started. We may eventually know everything in the sense that we understand all the processes involved in physical interactions. Our misfortune is to have been born too early to reap the full benefits of what science can and will eventually provide. Don’t tell me “God did it.” As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “God is an ever receding pocket of scientific ignorance.”

So, starting from a small number of scientific facts, axioms if you will, and proceeding with logic and lot of hard work we arrive where we are today. Why don’t the theists see this? Why do we have a clergyman who states that if he were to read in the Bible that 2+2=5? As I see it there are only two possibilities: 1)they lack the capacity, or 2)they don’t want to.

They lack the capacity. Again quoting Tyson “The question is not why 85 percent of our most brilliant scientists reject God – it is why 15 percent do not.” (In a You Tube video he says 95% and 5%, but whatever.) Numerous surveys reveal that the more educated one is the more likely one is to be an atheist. A newborn child definitely lacks the capacity and will probably not gain the capacity until their teens or later. Lacking the capacity he gets all his knowledge from adults, from parents, from teachers. Knowledge is “revealed” to him. An excellent example of his expectation is the frustration that many teens feel when confronted with algebra. The answer is not given to him. The teacher wants him to reason it out. But he knows damned well that the teacher knows the answer and just will not share it.

Those who never gain the capacity, or refuse to develop it, insist that all knowledge be given him on a silver platter. He wants “revelation” from an authority. He rejects revelation from evidence and logic. This is the reason that churches have the get-them-while-they-are-young strategy. They can’t deal with anyone who questions their authority.

They don’t want to. Why don’t they want to? The theist who will admit to not knowing everything will follow that with the claim that they know everything they have to. That leads to the question “What do you have to know?” For the theist the answer is that he has to know that he will not die. Science does not tell him that. What science does tell him, that he can live longer, that he can live better, that he can live healthier, is not what he wants to hear. He wants to hear that he can live forever.

Sapere aude
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21-06-2016, 04:08 AM
RE: Help with writing
Plank’s equation... Planck's equation.

—A well-structured, concise essay. Smile

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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21-06-2016, 06:02 AM
RE: Help with writing
I think you need to include something about the role of the biology and chemistry in the way that the world can feed itself, through the use of fertilisers, biocides, insecticides etc. It's not just just about people living longer. It's also about the planet being able to support a huge increase in population without the Malthusian checks that were thought inevitable in the 19th century.

"Why do we have a clergyman who states that if he were to read in the Bible that 2+2=5?" - you have to finish this off. What does he state? Does he state that he believes this because it says so in the bible?

Otherwise...........good stuff

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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21-06-2016, 10:27 AM
RE: Help with writing
I thank both of you for your input. It's always good to have someone else proofread your stuff because when you read your own stuff simple things just get past you, e.g., Plank should be Planck and the "2+2=5" sentence fragment. Others see it immediately but the writer does not.

Thanks for the suggestion about fertilizers and insecticides. This is the first of several and I think I'll address that more fully later. Right now the world is capable of feeding everyone but it does not due to politics and religion. To fully address that would digress from what I'm trying to say.

Once again, my heartfelt thanks.

Sapere aude
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22-06-2016, 06:57 PM
Part 2
Science does not tell the theist what he wants to hear, viz., that he can live forever and that there is a method by which he can attain that immortality. Science is neutral on this point, neither confirming nor denying that there is an afterlife. What science does tell us is that there is no evidence of an afterlife in this world, “this world” defined as the space, time, matter, energy and forces that science has been able to detect.

The possibility of a supernatural universe is not, in and of itself, antithetical to science. For the last few decades science has been grappling with the possibility of parallel universes. The general concept is that, in addition to the three dimensions we experience daily, there may be a fourth (or fifth, or sixth, or …) dimension, that our universe is located at a particular point in this dimension while others exist at other points. Interactions between the universes is weak or non-existent. If the interactions between universes is non-existent then for all practical purposes the other universes do not exist. The Large Hadron Collider may settle this question but so far the data has been inconclusive.

Another possibility is that another universe could occupy the same space and time as ours but that interactions between the matter and energy (i.e. forces) are weak or non-existent. This seems to be the kind of universe that the Abrahamic religions call the supernatural. But there are exceptions. In Abrahamic religions the interactions between the two are not weak but are, at some times and in some places, quite strong. And the flow of information between the two is not balanced. Information from the supernatural to the natural has a greater effect than vice versa.

However, I seriously doubt that many theists would accept the notion that the supernatural, i.e., heaven, hell and whatever else, is a parallel universe subject to natural laws just as our own. Challenged to define exactly what the supernatural is I seriously doubt that any two theists would give you the same answer unless a)one is the follower of another, or b)they simply refer you to a dictionary. That brings us full circle to the fact that science does not tell the theist what he wants to hear: that he can live forever. But even though science is technically neutral on this point I must treat the question just as I did the parallel universe question. Recall that I said “If the interactions between universes is non-existent then for all practical purposes the other universes do not exist.” Since there is no evidence of the supernatural then for all practical purposes the supernatural does not exist. With certainly in either direction not an option I must fall back on probability. The probability that the supernatural exists, while not zero, is very low, so low that I must regard it as being zero.

One of my readers has objected, “So let me see if I has this straight:[sic] We can live better, we can live healthier and we can live longer -- but at the end of the day we all die and remain in our graves forever and forever and forever. And this is the good news of science? This is mankind's great hope: To live a few extra years?” Well, science is not in the “good news” business. If the results of our research does not please you, so what? Argumentum ad consequentiam which means “appeal to consequences.” It’s a logical fallacy. In this case the reader does not like the conclusion so automatically the conclusion must be wrong.

Science is also not in the hope business. There is hope and there is false hope. To embrace false hope simply because it is hope is a return to appeal to consequences.

Sapere aude
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24-06-2016, 05:59 AM
RE: Help with writing
(22-06-2016 06:57 PM)f stop Wrote:  Science does not tell the theist what he wants to hear, viz., that he can live forever and that there is a method by which he can attain that immortality. Science is neutral on this point, neither confirming nor denying that there is an afterlife. What science does tell us is that there is no evidence of an afterlife in this world, “this world” defined as the space, time, matter, energy and forces that science has been able to detect.

The possibility of a supernatural universe is not, in and of itself, antithetical to science. For the last few decades science has been grappling with the possibility of parallel universes. The general concept is that, in addition to the three dimensions we experience daily, there may be a fourth (or fifth, or sixth, or …) dimension, that our universe is located at a particular point in this dimension while others exist at other points. Interactions between the universes is weak or non-existent. If the interactions between universes is non-existent then for all practical purposes the other universes do not exist. The Large Hadron Collider may settle this question but so far the data has been inconclusive.

Another possibility is that another universe could occupy the same space and time as ours but that interactions between the matter and energy (i.e. forces) are weak or non-existent. This seems to be the kind of universe that the Abrahamic religions call the supernatural. But there are exceptions. In Abrahamic religions the interactions between the two are not weak but are, at some times and in some places, quite strong. And the flow of information between the two is not balanced. Information from the supernatural to the natural has a greater effect than vice versa.

However, I seriously doubt that many theists would accept the notion that the supernatural, i.e., heaven, hell and whatever else, is a parallel universe subject to natural laws just as our own. Challenged to define exactly what the supernatural is I seriously doubt that any two theists would give you the same answer unless a)one is the follower of another, or b)they simply refer you to a dictionary. That brings us full circle to the fact that science does not tell the theist what he wants to hear: that he can live forever. But even though science is technically neutral on this point I must treat the question just as I did the parallel universe question. Recall that I said “If the interactions between universes is non-existent then for all practical purposes the other universes do not exist.” Since there is no evidence of the supernatural then for all practical purposes the supernatural does not exist. With certainly in either direction not an option I must fall back on probability. The probability that the supernatural exists, while not zero, is very low, so low that I must regard it as being zero.

One of my readers has objected, “So let me see if I has this straight:[sic] We can live better, we can live healthier and we can live longer -- but at the end of the day we all die and remain in our graves forever and forever and forever. And this is the good news of science? This is mankind's great hope: To live a few extra years?” Well, science is not in the “good news” business. If the results of our research does not please you, so what? Argumentum ad consequentiam which means “appeal to consequences.” It’s a logical fallacy. In this case the reader does not like the conclusion so automatically the conclusion must be wrong.

Science is also not in the hope business. There is hope and there is false hope. To embrace false hope simply because it is hope is a return to appeal to consequences.

That's why so many people believe, religion is a way for you to escape the constraints of reality.

Accepting reality is secondary to believing in stories that say that reality is actually underpinned by the supernatural realm, i.e. the imaginary realm.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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09-07-2016, 02:26 PM
Part 3
“Atheism logically terminates in despair.” I have heard this statement, or words to that effect, from more than one believer. Of course that statement is just an extension of the Argumentum ad consequentiam. The believer persists in offering the undesirable outcome as a reason for belief and refuses to acknowledge the fallacy of his position.

But does atheism terminate in despair? I maintain it does not. I know quite a few atheists and not one of them is living a life of despair as far as I can tell. Nor do I. I arrived at my current beliefs over a few years as a teenager and I never despaired over my conclusions. In fact, and I believe many atheists would agree with me, the realization that we have only one life to live makes that one life all the more precious and motivates one to make the most he can out of life.

At this point many believers, particularly Christians, will throw in the “you just want to sin” argument. The morality argument. “Without God there can me no morality.” We’ve all heard that one, right? I can think of no better rebuttal to that than this excerpt from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. If you a believer please read it anyway. I promise it won’t hurt you.

Quote:If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would “commit robbery, rape and murder,” you reveal yourself as an immoral person, “and we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you.” If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim that God is necessary for us to be good.


The believer who believes that he only lives a moral life because God is watching is no different than the unbeliever who obeys man’s laws only because he fears arrest and imprisonment. Obviously there are immoral people among us, but most of us are “good without God.”

Sapere aude
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