Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
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29-08-2012, 07:32 PM
Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
Hello everyone. I'm a first time poster, but a long time lurker.

A little background on the question. I got into an argument with a friend of mine about faith in religion and faith in science. He argues the following:

Quote:They are not vastly different. Each is the belief in something that cannot be empirically proven. Watching a hammer fall a billion times tells you nothing except that a hammer fell a billion times. If you want to make claims about what will happen the next time you drop a hammer you must put faith in a premise which cannot be empirically proven.

I brought up gravity and it being a constant across space and time in order for our universe to be in the condition it is today. 14 billions years of history is fairly solid evidence.

He came back with the following proof:

Quote:Here is a logical proof for knowing that gravity will be -9.8 m/s^2 tomorrow.

1. In the past gravity has always been -9.8 m/s^2
2. The future will resemble the past

Therefore

3. In the future gravity will be -9.8 m/s^2

Premise 2 cannot be proven empirically without the above argument becoming circular

I think I may have backed myself into a corner. I know there is a way around what he is saying, but I just can't come up with it! Logic has never been one of my strong points.

Any help? If this is the incorrect place for a question such as this, feel free to move it.
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29-08-2012, 07:44 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
(29-08-2012 07:32 PM)Xerus Wrote:  Hello everyone. I'm a first time poster, but a long time lurker.

A little background on the question. I got into an argument with a friend of mine about faith in religion and faith in science. He argues the following:

Quote:They are not vastly different. Each is the belief in something that cannot be empirically proven. Watching a hammer fall a billion times tells you nothing except that a hammer fell a billion times. If you want to make claims about what will happen the next time you drop a hammer you must put faith in a premise which cannot be empirically proven.

I brought up gravity and it being a constant across space and time in order for our universe to be in the condition it is today. 14 billions years of history is fairly solid evidence.

He came back with the following proof:

Quote:Here is a logical proof for knowing that gravity will be -9.8 m/s^2 tomorrow.

1. In the past gravity has always been -9.8 m/s^2
2. The future will resemble the past

Therefore

3. In the future gravity will be -9.8 m/s^2

Premise 2 cannot be proven empirically without the above argument becoming circular

I think I may have backed myself into a corner. I know there is a way around what he is saying, but I just can't come up with it! Logic has never been one of my strong points.

Any help? If this is the incorrect place for a question such as this, feel free to move it.

Gravity in that context is a motion, not a cause.

Ask him if he will wake up tomorrow morning.
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29-08-2012, 07:53 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
(29-08-2012 07:44 PM)Bishadi Wrote:  Gravity in that context is a motion, not a cause.

Ask him if he will wake up tomorrow morning.

Quote:I think we can be sure that gravity will remain constant tomorrow and everyday after that. That assuredness, however, does not and cannot come solely from premises which can be proven empirically.

I tried that already. He basically came back with something like the above quote and proof, only in relation to his death.
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29-08-2012, 08:04 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
(29-08-2012 07:53 PM)Xerus Wrote:  
(29-08-2012 07:44 PM)Bishadi Wrote:  Gravity in that context is a motion, not a cause.

Ask him if he will wake up tomorrow morning.

Quote:I think we can be sure that gravity will remain constant tomorrow and everyday after that. That assuredness, however, does not and cannot come solely from premises which can be proven empirically.

I tried that already. He basically came back with something like the above quote and proof, only in relation to his death.

but if he was honest with himself, he would find out what makes him a living thing.
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29-08-2012, 08:12 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
A theory explains what we observe. We don't observe the laws of nature changing day in and day out. We observe consistency. It's not a matter of faith.
Faith is believing in something without any evidence to back up that belief.
In science we trust the things we have observed. Nature is extremely consistent. Each thing we observe happening time and time again adds to the consistent nature of the universe
Gravity is consistent. We can measure it.

Ya know what, I could go on and on about this, but your friend is an idiot and if you can't counter an argument about existence of gravity, then maybe I need more to drink.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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29-08-2012, 08:14 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
Your friend is partly right. We can't make absolute statements about the future. We do not know with absolute certainty that the laws of physics won't suddenly change. There's no way you can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that tomorrow morning the sun will rise in the east. We assume the laws of physics will remain constant.

But it's a damn plausible assumption! Equating it with the kind of faith that makes people believe in God and Satan and angels and devils is ridiculous. The difference is that the "faith" we need to believe the sun will rise tomorrow has been validated hundreds of millions of times. Every single time in the past that people assumed the sun would rise the next morning--IT DID! With religious faith, however, there is no validation and never has been. When your friend says the two "are not vastly different," he's wrong. They are.

Apples and oranges? More like apples and elephants.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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29-08-2012, 08:54 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
I might be making some headway. The conversation definitely deteriorated.

Here is my response.

Quote:I do not believe in the supernatural because there is no evidence. Likewise, I do not believe in a flying spaghetti monster or Cthulu.

I believe in the theory of gravity, the three laws of thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, special and general relativity and multitude of other things because there is tangible evidence that they are correct.

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is defined as "belief in something without proof." I cannot see how religious faith is in any way equal to your scientific "faith."


His response.

Quote:Your tangible evidence is only relevant if you except the premise that the future will resemble the past. That premise can't be proven with tangible evidence without begging the question. By your own definition you must have faith in that premise for any tangible evidence to be anything more than a description of the past. That's not to say you should give up all of the tangible evidence science has collected throughout the years. It also doesn't mean you should except any premise on faith alone. It just means you shouldn't be automatically dismissive of beliefs based on faith when the system you swear by ( a great system btw) requires faith in order to be predictive and not just descriptive.

I mean, what am I supposed to say to that? It's the ultimate trump card for pushing the argument into a supernatural realm.

Thanks for all the responses so far everyone!
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29-08-2012, 09:04 PM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2012 09:24 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
(29-08-2012 08:54 PM)Xerus Wrote:  I might be making some headway. The conversation definitely deteriorated.

Here is my response.

Quote:I do not believe in the supernatural because there is no evidence. Likewise, I do not believe in a flying spaghetti monster or Cthulu.

I believe in the theory of gravity, the three laws of thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, special and general relativity and multitude of other things because there is tangible evidence that they are correct.

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is defined as "belief in something without proof." I cannot see how religious faith is in any way equal to your scientific "faith."


His response.

Quote:Your tangible evidence is only relevant if you except the premise that the future will resemble the past. That premise can't be proven with tangible evidence without begging the question. By your own definition you must have faith in that premise for any tangible evidence to be anything more than a description of the past. That's not to say you should give up all of the tangible evidence science has collected throughout the years. It also doesn't mean you should except any premise on faith alone. It just means you shouldn't be automatically dismissive of beliefs based on faith when the system you swear by ( a great system btw) requires faith in order to be predictive and not just descriptive.

I mean, what am I supposed to say to that? It's the ultimate trump card for pushing the argument into a supernatural realm.

Thanks for all the responses so far everyone!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hume%27s_fork

The results claimed by Hume as consequences of his fork are drastic. According to him, relations of ideas can be proved with certainty (by using other relations of ideas), however, they don't really mean anything about the world. Since they don't mean anything about the world, relations of ideas cannot be used to prove matters of fact. Because of this, matters of fact have no certainty and therefore cannot be used to prove anything. Only certain things can be used to prove other things for certain, but only things about the world can be used to prove other things about the world. But since we can't cross the fork, nothing is both certain and about the world, only one or the other, and so it is impossible to prove something about the world with certainty.

If accepted, Hume's Fork makes it pointless to try to prove the existence of God (for example) as a matter of fact. If God is not literally made up of physical matter, and does not have an observable effect on the world, making a statement about God is not a matter of fact. Therefore, a statement about God must be a relation of ideas. In this case if we prove the statement "God exists," it doesn't really tell us anything about the world; it is just playing with words. It is easy to see how Hume's Fork voids the causal argument and the ontological argument for the existence of a non-observable (non-material) God. However, this does not mean that the validity of Hume's Fork would imply that God definitely does not exist, only that it would imply that the existence of God cannot be proven as a matter of fact without worldly evidence.

Hume famously rejected the idea of any meaningful statement that did not fall into this schema, saying:

If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

- An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Member of the Cult of Reason

The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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29-08-2012, 09:14 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
(29-08-2012 09:04 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  Faith: belief that is not based on proof

Basically that's all you need.

I wish!! His latest gem on comparing scientific and religious faith.

Quote:It's actually one type of faith. Faith in something without empirical evidence. If you are right that there has never been evidence for the existence of a supernatural being (you're not unless you presuppose such evidence could not exist) then the two examples of faith are the same.

Facepalm
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29-08-2012, 09:21 PM
RE: Logical proofs: Empirical evidence for constant gravity in the past and future
WTF are you doing? You're giving atheism a bad name. You can't hang out no morez. Big Grin

I thought you were gonna link up some stuff about gravity - G - being proven constant... man, I don't even know if you can do that... but you come with 9.8m/s^2 which only concerns the current mass of the earth, a thing that wasn't around fourteen billion years ago... Dodgy

So you're like one of them fucks (Chas, where are you?) who think "faith" is a bad word and should not be used in any context? Or what?

'Cause it seems to me what you did wrong here is let your opponent dictate the field of battle, and like a green lieutenant, come running into the major's tent, wanting me to waste my units extracting your clumsy ass...

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