Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
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18-04-2015, 09:03 PM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(17-04-2015 01:06 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 11:18 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  The Q just admitted that prayer has no use for changing any earthy outcome and is essentially a waste of time ("dumb" by his words). Baby steps....baby steps!

I anticipated precisely that sort of YouTube "pray to a milk jug" nonsense and wrote what I did regardless... why? Because I'm trying to show you universals. Both skeptics and Christians can employ all types of biases.

However, you ought to know truth regarding:

* whether your wife is for real or cheating, bro

* whether you just ate a Big Mac or took poison

* if you're like, in a Matrix or if reality, is like, reality

Etc.

It is evident that there is a prevalent bias at TTA that theists are more prone to biases in general than skeptics because they have magical thinking, are superstitious, and so on. It is evident upon even a cursory reading of the Bible that the more prideful a person is, the more prone they are to error, grievous error.

I make a lot of mistakes, then again, I'm prideful. But I was a lot less humble before I was a Christian--not that such pride was justified. Be careful!

As time goes on, you make less and less sense. Please get proper treatment!

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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20-04-2015, 08:30 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
Q - science is not a data-making machine. It is a model-making machine. It is an interpretation-making machine. It is a prediction-making machine.

Science operates by:
1. Brainstorming ideas and selecting those that make clear predictions
2. Comparing the predictions made by these competing hypotheses
3. Testing those predictions and discarding or modifying all hypotheses that make any failed prediction
4. Selecting from the infinite set of competing unfalsified hypotheses the simplest ones to be practically used
5. Continuing at step 1 with refinements and new ideas

If you are imagining science as some endeavour to go out and measure and record but leave interpretation up the the individual then you aren't understanding the process. You're thinking that Step 3 is the whole of science. All that evidence gathering is for one reason only:

To find and eliminate the errors in our current understanding. aka To prove the other scientist's hypothesis is bunkum.

It's a merciless process that doesn't care how deeply you hold your belief. If your belief makes a single false prediction it is false and needs to be discarded or modified.

(17-04-2015 11:03 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I claim as a theist/Christian that science usually absolutely gets the data correct, but not always the interpretation of the data.

There are many ways for science to reach false preliminary conclusions:
- We may lack the imagination to come up with the right hypothesis
- We may not be able to distinguish between the predictions of alternate hypotheses
- We may fail to test a given prediction due to technical, budget, or attention deficits
- We may too hastily accept a given prediction as verified or disproved
- We may have trouble questioning or letting go of hypotheses
- We may have too big a set of unfalsified hypotheses and we may provisionally accept one that is simpler than the true hypothesis

So out of these ways to fail, what do you really mean when you refer to a failure of "interpretation"? What's your best example of a case where consensus scientific opinion was arrayed against a Christian doctrine or belief but later came to accept that doctrine? What's your best example of a consensus scientific opinion today that you think you have a good basis to reject, and why?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-04-2015, 10:31 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(17-04-2015 01:16 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 01:08 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I don't follow your question. What are you asking? I personally think archaeology has much relevance for events today and puts them in excellent context.

You said "I claim as a theist/Christian that science usually absolutely gets the data correct, but not always the interpretation of the data."

I simply asked for 5 examples.
Whether an archaeologist dates a find as "off" by 5 years, (they date in ranges anyway) is hardly "relevant", or an important issue So to support what you calimed, I'm asking for 5 "important" examples of how "today, scientific understanding is *in flux*". How can anyone not follow that ?
(BTW, it's the nature of science that the understanding of pretty much everything be *in flux*.)

Would you accept my lifetime as "today"? In my lifetime, the approx. known age of the Earth has changed in billions of years, Pluto has been un- and re-planet-ed, etc.

You can open this month's Scientific American (I haven't yet) and I can all but guarantee you will find several statements within like "scientists are uncertain how/why/when X happened yet".

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-04-2015, 10:33 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(18-04-2015 04:56 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 11:03 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I appreciate your candor, but I would modify this to say the following:

I claim as a theist/Christian that science usually absolutely gets the data correct, but not always the interpretation of the data.

Put another way, it's not even an ad populum argument, it's more of a nonsense argument (!) to say canards like "Q, all legitimate scientists agree that..." as if we can find certain things where we have to make assumptions (like the past or the future) where every reasonable person echoes agreement. Every rational scientist agrees Earth is round or nearly so, and that Oxygen and Hydrogen can form water, but it's not like simply adding more scientists to hypothetical assumptions makes the assumptions correct!

Don't worry, theists say dumb stuff too. I've gotten e-mails that so-and-so is ill and simply that if many Christians around the world will pray, so-and-so will be healed, as if God says, "Yup! I'll change the plan now..."

Science is a rigorous discipline, but scientific understanding is in flux. Today's archaeological proof that so-and-so began their rule in 40 BCE is tomorrow's understanding/assumption that so-and-so began their rule in 45 BCE instead or "so we think"...

To be truly happy, we must exercise critical thinking skills. Curiosity helps us learn about the world, so we should question and explore everything, even our most cherished beliefs.

Church doctrine, however, discourages people from being inquisitive, an attitude that originated from the bible. Adam and Eve were ejected from Eden because they ate of the tree of knowledge. Paul wrote,

“Where are any of our thinkers today? Do you see now how God has shown up the foolishness of human wisdom?” (1 Cor. 1:20, JB.)

God has thought for you, provided a package of beliefs you are to adhere to. Independence and original ideas are for fools.

People are told that faith is superior to thought. This unhealthy attitude can cause them to perceive it wrong to objectively examine any new idea. For example, many believers are wary of new technology, reluctant to take medicines, or change their diet. They’re not open to innovative ideas because they’ve been robbed of the confidence to think!

People can also be closed-minded because they’ve been told to believe a spiel for which they’ve never seen any real evidence, so have subconsciously become cynical about everything they’re told.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OLPL5p0f...A438AEB8).

I hear what you are saying but that isn't how I was raised/taught. I was taught that my birthright was to be an independent and original thinker. Later, when I converted from skeptic to theist and then Christian, I was told/taught to remain someone who indulges careful, critical thought.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-04-2015, 10:38 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(20-04-2015 08:30 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Q - science is not a data-making machine. It is a model-making machine. It is an interpretation-making machine. It is a prediction-making machine.

Science operates by:
1. Brainstorming ideas and selecting those that make clear predictions
2. Comparing the predictions made by these competing hypotheses
3. Testing those predictions and discarding or modifying all hypotheses that make any failed prediction
4. Selecting from the infinite set of competing unfalsified hypotheses the simplest ones to be practically used
5. Continuing at step 1 with refinements and new ideas

If you are imagining science as some endeavour to go out and measure and record but leave interpretation up the the individual then you aren't understanding the process. You're thinking that Step 3 is the whole of science. All that evidence gathering is for one reason only:

To find and eliminate the errors in our current understanding. aka To prove the other scientist's hypothesis is bunkum.

It's a merciless process that doesn't care how deeply you hold your belief. If your belief makes a single false prediction it is false and needs to be discarded or modified.

(17-04-2015 11:03 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I claim as a theist/Christian that science usually absolutely gets the data correct, but not always the interpretation of the data.

There are many ways for science to reach false preliminary conclusions:
- We may lack the imagination to come up with the right hypothesis
- We may not be able to distinguish between the predictions of alternate hypotheses
- We may fail to test a given prediction due to technical, budget, or attention deficits
- We may too hastily accept a given prediction as verified or disproved
- We may have trouble questioning or letting go of hypotheses
- We may have too big a set of unfalsified hypotheses and we may provisionally accept one that is simpler than the true hypothesis

So out of these ways to fail, what do you really mean when you refer to a failure of "interpretation"? What's your best example of a case where consensus scientific opinion was arrayed against a Christian doctrine or belief but later came to accept that doctrine? What's your best example of a consensus scientific opinion today that you think you have a good basis to reject, and why?

I understand the scientific method. Indeed, I employ it when looking at things like scripture and doctrines also. When someone presents a new idea, be they Xian or skeptic, I ask, "Okay, rather than fight with them I'll assume this is true. Now, let's test this truth, experiment with it, go further with it, etc."

What you omitted, however, and I don't think you did so intentionally, is what scientists do when hypotheses are unable to be submitted to testing. We have no way, for example, to test using the conditions of extreme gravity/expansion/energy etc. for the singularity immediately post- or pre- Big Bang.

To answer your question, I use the term Big Bang often as it resonates with listeners (and TV watchers!) but some reputable scientists still cling to Steady State/oscillating universe theory and etc.

Regardless, scientists are the same as others regarding interpretation of data, hunches, etc. despite that their minds may be more refined from practice or the field they study when they have some data but are unable to test hypotheses.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-04-2015, 10:55 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(20-04-2015 10:31 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 01:16 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You said "I claim as a theist/Christian that science usually absolutely gets the data correct, but not always the interpretation of the data."

I simply asked for 5 examples.
Whether an archaeologist dates a find as "off" by 5 years, (they date in ranges anyway) is hardly "relevant", or an important issue So to support what you calimed, I'm asking for 5 "important" examples of how "today, scientific understanding is *in flux*". How can anyone not follow that ?
(BTW, it's the nature of science that the understanding of pretty much everything be *in flux*.)

Would you accept my lifetime as "today"? In my lifetime, the approx. known age of the Earth has changed in billions of years, Pluto has been un- and re-planet-ed, etc.

You can open this month's Scientific American (I haven't yet) and I can all but guarantee you will find several statements within like "scientists are uncertain how/why/when X happened yet".
Facepalm

I like how you make an assertion and then refuse to back it up.
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21-04-2015, 08:27 AM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(20-04-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I understand the scientific method. Indeed, I employ it when looking at things like scripture and doctrines also. When someone presents a new idea, be they Xian or skeptic, I ask, "Okay, rather than fight with them I'll assume this is true. Now, let's test this truth, experiment with it, go further with it, etc."

You're looking at step #3 there. But I'm not sure if you're on the right track with "assume it is true... test this truth". What you want is more like "entertain this proposition, derive its predictions, find predictions it makes that differ from alternate propositions, then test those specific predictions.

(20-04-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(20-04-2015 08:30 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Science operates by:
1. Brainstorming ideas and selecting those that make clear predictions
2. Comparing the predictions made by these competing hypotheses
3. Testing those predictions and discarding or modifying all hypotheses that make any failed prediction
4. Selecting from the infinite set of competing unfalsified hypotheses the simplest ones to be practically used
5. Continuing at step 1 with refinements and new ideas

What you omitted, however, and I don't think you did so intentionally, is what scientists do when hypotheses are unable to be submitted to testing. We have no way, for example, to test using the conditions of extreme gravity/expansion/energy etc. for the singularity immediately post- or pre- Big Bang.

See step #4 and step #1. If you can't falsify a hypothesis you still have to hold something as provisionally true to do engineering with and to bring with you into the next iteration of the process. Under the scientific method the thing you hold provisionally true is the unfalsified hypothesis that carries with it the smallest burden of unverified assumption.

If we're to hold firmly to Occam's razor then we would provisionally accept that the universe either began with or somewhat before the big bang and has no cause, or that the universe existed forever. You could hypothesise that a God is involved in the big bang somehow but doing so doesn't offer new predictions we can test and is unjustified. Broadly speaking it is difficult to justify the inclusion of a god through the scientific method who doesn't make itself apparent. I'm not aware of unfalsified god hypotheses that make clear predictions. If you have a god hypothesis that makes clear predictions that differ from prevailing theory I'm interested in hearing what those predictions would look like.

That said as individuals we never hold firmly to Occam's razor. Science is all about competing groups and individuals shooting off in their own directions trying to prove their own slightly weird pet hypothesis by disproving everyone else's. It is the summation of those efforts - the consensus opinion - that coincides most consistently with Occam.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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21-04-2015, 02:29 PM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(21-04-2015 08:27 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  
(20-04-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I understand the scientific method. Indeed, I employ it when looking at things like scripture and doctrines also. When someone presents a new idea, be they Xian or skeptic, I ask, "Okay, rather than fight with them I'll assume this is true. Now, let's test this truth, experiment with it, go further with it, etc."

You're looking at step #3 there. But I'm not sure if you're on the right track with "assume it is true... test this truth". What you want is more like "entertain this proposition, derive its predictions, find predictions it makes that differ from alternate propositions, then test those specific predictions.

(20-04-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  What you omitted, however, and I don't think you did so intentionally, is what scientists do when hypotheses are unable to be submitted to testing. We have no way, for example, to test using the conditions of extreme gravity/expansion/energy etc. for the singularity immediately post- or pre- Big Bang.

See step #4 and step #1. If you can't falsify a hypothesis you still have to hold something as provisionally true to do engineering with and to bring with you into the next iteration of the process. Under the scientific method the thing you hold provisionally true is the unfalsified hypothesis that carries with it the smallest burden of unverified assumption.

If we're to hold firmly to Occam's razor then we would provisionally accept that the universe either began with or somewhat before the big bang and has no cause, or that the universe existed forever. You could hypothesise that a God is involved in the big bang somehow but doing so doesn't offer new predictions we can test and is unjustified. Broadly speaking it is difficult to justify the inclusion of a god through the scientific method who doesn't make itself apparent. I'm not aware of unfalsified god hypotheses that make clear predictions. If you have a god hypothesis that makes clear predictions that differ from prevailing theory I'm interested in hearing what those predictions would look like.

That said as individuals we never hold firmly to Occam's razor. Science is all about competing groups and individuals shooting off in their own directions trying to prove their own slightly weird pet hypothesis by disproving everyone else's. It is the summation of those efforts - the consensus opinion - that coincides most consistently with Occam.

We are thus dealing with provisional truth. If I didn't make it clear in the previous post I apologize--I'm speaking of untestable hypotheses. We need to admit that saying compacted ice is 800,000 years old at some level is certainly conjectural since we are all recognizing that via weight the oldest snow is heavily compacted and that data from trapped greenhouse gases and dust is examined but with some assumptions placed.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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21-04-2015, 02:43 PM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
(20-04-2015 10:33 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(18-04-2015 04:56 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  To be truly happy, we must exercise critical thinking skills. Curiosity helps us learn about the world, so we should question and explore everything, even our most cherished beliefs.

Church doctrine, however, discourages people from being inquisitive, an attitude that originated from the bible. Adam and Eve were ejected from Eden because they ate of the tree of knowledge. Paul wrote,

“Where are any of our thinkers today? Do you see now how God has shown up the foolishness of human wisdom?” (1 Cor. 1:20, JB.)

God has thought for you, provided a package of beliefs you are to adhere to. Independence and original ideas are for fools.

People are told that faith is superior to thought. This unhealthy attitude can cause them to perceive it wrong to objectively examine any new idea. For example, many believers are wary of new technology, reluctant to take medicines, or change their diet. They’re not open to innovative ideas because they’ve been robbed of the confidence to think!

People can also be closed-minded because they’ve been told to believe a spiel for which they’ve never seen any real evidence, so have subconsciously become cynical about everything they’re told.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OLPL5p0f...A438AEB8).

I hear what you are saying but that isn't how I was raised/taught. I was taught that my birthright was to be an independent and original thinker. Later, when I converted from skeptic to theist and then Christian, I was told/taught to remain someone who indulges careful, critical thought.

No you didn't use critical thought otherwise you'd still be an atheist.

There is no Allah theory of thermodynamics, no Hindu theory of gravity, no Buddhist theory of evolution, no Vishnu theory of entropy.

"Wait and see" does not mean clinging to bad claims. You are either lying about being a former atheist, or you didn't understand how slick apologists could suck you in. That bible was written by bronze age ignorant humans who had no clue of scientific reality. But fear not, the OT nor the Koran or the Vedas or the Baga Gavitas or science textbooks either.

Humans make up gods, that's it. Sorry that isn't sexy enough for you, but that is the truth.

If you think Christianity is the only religion to try that BS tactic, you'd be wrong. I have seen Jews, Muslims, Hindus and even once a Rastafarian try to co opt science. That is what all religions pull when they cant debunk it.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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21-04-2015, 03:51 PM
RE: Long term advice when debating theists. OP/ED
oh shit, I just saw jesus in my backyard, looky!!!!!!!!!!

[Image: veulmu.png]

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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