When Will Science End?
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17-12-2014, 06:51 PM (This post was last modified: 17-12-2014 06:55 PM by tear151.)
RE: When Will Science End?
(17-12-2014 06:49 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  Apologies, just too tired to do this justice, brain shutting down....

I did see this....

(17-12-2014 06:38 PM)tear151 Wrote:  ... thus if I must make a conclusion....

... and wonder why we would need to come to a conclusion on the god question.

What if not being able to answer the question should turn out to be more valuable than being able to answer the question? What if ignorance has more value here than knowledge?

Imagine you met a cute somebody at the bus stop and they invited you home for lunch. After a great conversation you find they are leading you by the hand in to their bedroom for the first time.

What makes this exciting? Why will you probably remember this moment for years, maybe the rest of your life.

Ignorance.

Now imagine you marry this person and 30 years later you are in bed with them for the millionth time. You probably won't remember this event until next Tuesday. :-)

What's the problem? Why the difference?

Not enough ignorance.

We are debating what is true, if you're questioning the value of heat, why are you in the kitchen?

Youve pretty much just admitted you are wrong.

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17-12-2014, 06:56 PM
RE: When Will Science End?
(17-12-2014 05:02 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  Why not skip the speculation and just stick to the known facts?

OK. This conversation is without merit. I will ask the Mods to close the thread.

You've demonstrated to us that you have no knowledge of anything whatsoever using your own rigorous logic. You've also demonstrated that you're a "salesman", hopelessly mired in your own assumptions and incapable of change. I'd be better off talking to a rock. At least it will silently agree with my every word.

Seriously though, you've painted yourself into a corner. At this point you can concede that perhaps your argument isn't as sound as you thought it was or you can keep adding more paint.

I'm hoping that you won't opt for the latter as it just makes you look more and more intellectually dishonest and will just end with everybody ignoring you. That would be a loss because while you aren't the most Stirling of debaters you are head and shoulders above the average theist that wanders in here. Your grasp of science, reason and atheism are all weak but the fact that you even know what the words mean probably puts you in the 90th percentile. You don't resort to pointless ad hominem or four letter insults that we all learned on the playground and that's a refreshing change. Seriously. Most just wander in here and Witless at us with the sort of intellectual mush that brings you "Bananas QED Jesus".

Perhaps I can persuade you to give up what is rapidly degenerating into an exercise in futility with something more entertaining? Go have a look at Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, especially his work on the nooshphere. Much of what he believed we now know to be wrong but he was a Jesuit who studied and taught evolution in the 1920s so he was both extremely progressive and interestingly unconventional. Then go over and read up a bit on Emergent Behavior. The Wikipedia entry is a good start but don't miss out on Langton's Ant or Conway's Game of Life.

And if you can't make something interesting out of that you just aren't trying.

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17-12-2014, 09:49 PM
RE: When Will Science End?
I'm getting a whole lot of Sye Ten vibe out of the OP. It's impossible to have a conversation, much less a debate when different concepts are conflated and definitions are ignored. He's making non sequitors left and right and can't be bothered to acknowledge it. It's like Diddo took a couple of college courses and thinks he still has an argument.

It's frustrating to read.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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18-12-2014, 01:35 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
Science will end when people become extinct. Smile
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18-12-2014, 08:27 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
(17-12-2014 06:28 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(17-12-2014 05:22 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Do you deny that reason is the only reliable tool we currently have to investigate truth claims?

I deny that it's been proven that reason is a reliable tool for this particular task, questions about the ultimate nature of everything. Human beings are very small, and these are very big questions.

That isn't an answer to the question. I was not asking about the usefulness with regard to any particular task. I was trying to illustrate my position that reason is the only tool we have. The question of whether or not it can be applied to particular questions strikes me as moot; we either try to use it and see where it gets us or we give up and ignore the question. I prefer the former.

Quote:What do you propose is the best course of action in response to god claims?

This is a great question, and I may be too tired to do it justice. For now...

Investigate what can be investigated.[/quote]

I don't disagree but I'd add that we don't know what can't be investigated until we try. With the 'god question' we appear to be at the point where our tools can't tell us either way. Given that, I have to conclude that it makes no sense to believe a god does exist but that I also can't demonstrate that no god exists. That leaves me as an agnostic atheist. I have no belief that god exists. I make no absolute claim that he doesn't.

Perhaps this will clarify my position:
* I accept the logical absolutes as axioms because I realize that I can't prove reason with reason and have to start somewhere. Logic only produces results as good as the premises it is fed and they seem to me to be a good, basic foundation.
* I try to base my beliefs on what reason tells me based on the available evidence
* I accept that new evidence may require revising any belief and that all conclusions are tentative to one degree or another

If I am understanding you correctly, you are arguing that because we can't prove reason using reason we can't prove that it works so we can't claim that we know anything. If so, in a general philosophical sense I'd say "well, duh!". In the practical, everyday sense I'd say "bollocks!". I'm much more interested in the practical than the theoretical.

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18-12-2014, 08:36 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
(17-12-2014 06:49 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  What makes this exciting? Why will you probably remember this moment for years, maybe the rest of your life.

Ignorance.

Not ignorance, novelty. Anticipation of a new experience is not the same as ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss, it is a null state.

Quote:Now imagine you marry this person and 30 years later you are in bed with them for the millionth time. You probably won't remember this event until next Tuesday. :-)

What's the problem? Why the difference?

Not enough ignorance.

No, not enough novelty. (Although if you've been having sex on average more than 90 times a day for 30 years the problem may just be exhaustion.)

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18-12-2014, 10:32 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
(17-12-2014 05:28 PM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
(17-12-2014 05:20 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  Your behavior over the last day or so.

No lazy quips please. No vague characterizations. Please demonstrate in some detail, quoting my own words, how my behavior over the past few days shows I am a theist.

I have better idea. Why don't you tell us how you self-identify? You neglected to do that in your introductory post, which would have been polite. Now you're running around making all sorts of fascinating claims about what other people believe without having stated where your position is. That's the sort of thing that might make you look a little dodgy.

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21-12-2014, 07:13 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
Quote: I was not asking about the usefulness with regard to any particular task. I was trying to illustrate my position that reason is the only tool we have.

Then let's use reason.

Please provide the evidence that human reason is qualified to provide meaningful and useful answers to each and every issue that may occur to us.

As example, you might demonstrate how we can use reason to fall in love, which is a pretty common issue that most human beings are usually more than casually interested in. Please show us the slide rule logic equations that can be relied on to provide us with the falling in love experience.

This is an exercise in using reason to explore the limits of reason.

I'm sure we all agree that the human body has limits of ability. I'm sure we will all agree that all creatures ever born have limits to their ability.

So it's hardly wildly speculative to propose the human mind, specifically the powers of human reason, are also limited, and are likely not capable of successfully analyzing every single aspect of reality.

I remind you again, we are a species with thousands of nuclear weapons aimed down our own throat, a reality we rarely find worthy of commenting on. This is the state of human reason, we are perpetually riding the knife edge of self extermination, and that fact doesn't interest us too much.

Thus, you can forget about me accepting the qualifications of human reason to deliver meaningful answers to EVERY question that comes up.

I simply decline to accept the qualifications of your chosen authority, human reason, on the subject of gods ON FAITH as you appear to be doing.

Just as you reasonably require theists to prove the qualifications of their chosen authorities, I require the same thing of you and your chosen authority.

If you want me to accept that human reason can deliver meaningful answers on the subject of gods, or any other subject....

Prove it.

The choice you face now is whether you will be intellectually honest, and apply the same challenges to your own belief system that you reasonably apply to theist belief systems. If you decline to do so, which is your right of course, then you are really no different than a theist, you just have a different "religion", that's all.

Quote:The question of whether or not it can be applied to particular questions strikes me as moot;

If you want an investigation based on facts, then the question of whether your chosen authority is qualified is hardly moot, but is instead fundamental.

Quote:we either try to use it and see where it gets us or we give up and ignore the question. I prefer the former.

As you can see, I am USING REASON in presenting this challenge to you. I am using the VERY SAME reason process you reasonably apply to theism.

Quote:I don't disagree but I'd add that we don't know what can't be investigated until we try.

We have been investigating the god question with both reason and faith for thousands of years, and nothing has changed. Some people believe in gods, and some don't, just as it has always been since the very beginning. This is evidence of an inquiry process that's going nowhere.

Quote: That leaves me as an agnostic atheist. I have no belief that god exists. I make no absolute claim that he doesn't.

Perhaps it might interest you to consider another kind of agnosticism.

The flavor of agnosticism you describe can be seen as a failure to achieve a knowing. The agnostic atheist tries to answer the question, but fails to do so. This is what the word "agnostic" usually is taken to mean.

The assumption that unites theism, atheism and agnosticism is that a knowing, an answer, should be the goal of the inquiry. This assumption is so deeply held it is rarely if ever examined, it is taken as an obvious given.

When we are presented with an inquiry that has failed to produce a reliable knowing after thousands of years of earnest effort by some of the best minds humanity can produce, it's time to investigate and challenge the fundamental assumptions of that inquiry. I'm referring here to the unexamined assumption that the goal of the inquiry should be to produce an answer, a knowing.

Quote:If I am understanding you correctly, you are arguing that because we can't prove reason using reason we can't prove that it works so we can't claim that we know anything.

We can prove conclusively that human reason is entirely qualified for a huge number of tasks.

As example, we have built many millions of buildings and bridges using human reason, so I am entirely content to accept that long track record as proof that human reason is capable of creating successful physical structures.

But please remember, holy books have proven to be very useful in the personal lives of billions of human beings over thousands of years. But that does not automatically qualify holy books to be authoritative on every single issue, does it?

All I'm asking readers to do is challenge the authority of reason in the very same way they challenge the authority of holy books. I'm asking we not accept ANY authority on faith.

That is, all I ask of atheist readers is that they be loyal to their own chosen system.

Too many words from here, sorry. You turn, go!
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21-12-2014, 07:45 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
(21-12-2014 07:13 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  I simply decline to accept the qualifications of your chosen authority, human reason, on the subject of gods ON FAITH as you appear to be doing.

Well, since you repeatedly ignore what I, and others, have said and you offer nothing except the repeated assertion that can't use reason until we prove it works which has already been conceded is impossible I see no reason to continue.

If you want to call it faith, be my guest. I don't agree. Faith does not start off with simple axioms and build a system of thought upon them, faith starts off with speculation and wishful thinking and builds a fairy castle on that.

Quote:We have been investigating the god question with both reason and faith for thousands of years, and nothing has changed. Some people believe in gods, and some don't, just as it has always been since the very beginning. This is evidence of an inquiry process that's going nowhere.

Which is why we say we don't believe, but we don't know. Reason may never be able to answer the question; if not then, as I have said repeatedly, when a better tool is found we will use it but until then we use what we have.

Quote:When we are presented with an inquiry that has failed to produce a reliable knowing after thousands of years of earnest effort by some of the best minds humanity can produce, it's time to investigate and challenge the fundamental assumptions of that inquiry. I'm referring here to the unexamined assumption that the goal of the inquiry should be to produce an answer, a knowing.

And I reject that completely. I am satisfied that "we don't know" is the best current answer. I accept that "we may never know" may be true. I am not satisfied that "we can never know" is the case or that we should stop searching. Our understanding is growing all the time; many things we take for granted today were out of reach only 100 years ago. Deciding that knowing isn't a worthy goal strikes me as a very nihilistic approach and that is anathema to progress.

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21-12-2014, 08:19 AM
RE: When Will Science End?
(21-12-2014 07:45 AM)unfogged Wrote:  Well, since you repeatedly ignore what I, and others, have said

If you would, please summarize in a sentence or two what it is you think I am ignoring.

Quote:and you offer nothing except the repeated assertion that can't use reason until we prove it works which has already been conceded is impossible I see no reason to continue.

No one is required to engage my posts of course. However, please note, I AM USING REASON. So if a reader wishes to engage in reason with me, there is nothing stopping them from doing so.

Quote:If you want to call it faith, be my guest. I don't agree. Faith does not start off with simple axioms and build a system of thought upon them, faith starts off with speculation and wishful thinking and builds a fairy castle on that.

Please prove that human reason is capable of providing meaningful answers on the question of gods.

If a reader has not even asked themselves this question, they are operating from an unexamined faith in the power of reason to address these questions.

It should be added, such an unexamined faith is very understandable, and very common, but it is still an unexamined faith if the qualifications of reason have not been challenged and tested in the same manner we would challenge and test the qualifications of holy books.

Quote:Which is why we say we don't believe, but we don't know.

What typically happens on atheist forums is that many (not all) posters seem pretty darn sure there is no god, until they are effectively challenged, and then they retreat in to various kinds of fall back positions.

Quote:Reason may never be able to answer the question; if not then, as I have said repeatedly, when a better tool is found we will use it but until then we use what we have.

We ARE using reason right now. So anyone who wishes to use reason is in the right place. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of using reason, but am instead advocating more reason. This is extremely simple...

1) We are using reason when we challenge the authority of holy books to deliver reliable answers on the subject of gods.

2) We are using reason when we challenge the authority of human reason to deliver reliable answers on the subject of gods.

EXACT SAME THING IN BOTH CASES.

Any atheist willing to be loyal to their own chosen methods should have no problem with the process I am suggesting at all.

Those atheists who have turned atheism in to a little fort they feel compelled to defend at all costs may find my comments inconvenient, as is their right.

Quote: I am satisfied that "we don't know" is the best current answer.

Yes, agreed! See? Not so hard.

A next step, for those who are interested, can be to ask...

Is is a failure that we don't know? Or is not knowing actually a good thing?

As example, what if we had already seen every woman (or man if you prefer) in the world naked a thousand times?

Would that be a good thing? Or would that strip a very necessary mystery out of one of life's most marvelous wonders?

The assumption at the heart of of the god inquiry is that knowing, having an answer, would be a good thing.

Challenge that. Investigate it. Don't take anything on faith just because everybody else blindly assumes something.

Quote:Deciding that knowing isn't a worthy goal strikes me as a very nihilistic approach and that is anathema to progress.

If a reader reaches the point where they've seen their lover naked a million times, and it's no longer that exciting....

.... Is that state of knowing "progress"?

Is it "progress" to be a geezer like me and feel you've been there and done it all a thousand times, and the joy of discovery that is the blessing of youth is almost gone. Progress?

What makes anything new and exciting?

Isn't it ignorance?
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