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It's been awhile since we've had a nice reason versus faith discussion, and I found this article to be a great read:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19997789

 

The quote that stood out to me was by John Lennox, a mathematics professor at Oxford:

 

 

"If the atheists are right the mind that does science... is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn't trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science."

Edited by Hurlshot
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A mindless mind .. he kinda disproves his own argument there.

 

But it's somewhat pointless to discuss imo - as science is based on tangible falsifiable evidence and models whereas religion is based on belief and non-physical entities.. So there is really no common ground on which to discuss as one group will fundamentally require evidence or a thought pattern that the other group cannot produce. Prove God science says, disprove God religion says.. None of them can do that.

 

To quote Prof Kraus from the article;

"People who are religious believe they know the truth and they know the answer before even asking the question. Whereas, with scientists, it's the exact opposite."

 

And that is why I'll always side with science when it comes to answering questions - assuming a truth is a no-go in almost any other venture - but somehow a requirement for religion.

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Fortune favors the bald.

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"Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn't trust it."
You shouldn't trust it. Which is the point of science, so you don't have the trust the mind alone.

 

Reasoning without process and verification was a very crappy way to learn.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Invisible pink elephants.

 

Deists believe they know for a fact, as clearly as anyone can know anything anyway, that they exists. Atheists stipulate with equal conviction that they cannot.

 

The truth is that there is ample room in the human psyche for mutually exclusive ideas, even convictions. So as long as nobody puts a gun to the scientists head and forces him to chose, he can

indulge in the logical fallacy of invisible pink elephants. It won't hurt his scientific objectivity any.

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Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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The article is more about what place philosophy has in science. The example of Einstein asking very childish questions is used to illustrate how philosophy is used to establish new ideas, whereas science alone doesn't necessarily allow out of the box thinking.

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if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process

 

The jury is still out on Windows 8...

 

Theists and Atheists, that's a bit like a shouting contest between Pot and Kettle over who is blackest.

 

 

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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The article is more about what place philosophy has in science. The example of Einstein asking very childish questions is used to illustrate how philosophy is used to establish new ideas, whereas science alone doesn't necessarily allow out of the box thinking.

 

Well philosophy has it's place, but I can say from personal experience that philosophers tend to worry more about how they say things than what they say. :)

 

It's true however that the physical science can get a bit narrowminded, but I think that's actually true for every field, especially in this day and age where it feels like everything has been prodded, weighed and measured. I guess that calls for an ever narrowing of interests and fields to study where true multi disciplinary research is becoming more and more a thing of the past and experts from every field and ever smaller and concise subjects have to work together. In a way that probably enforces "box thinking", or maybe I'm a bit jaded - I study history and it seems like we have to go deeper and deeper as all the macro history has been written and rewritten countless times over.

Fortune favors the bald.

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I think this mathematics professor should have gotten a better education in evolutionary biology. Given the size of the known universe and the number of galaxies (billions and billions) and stars in each of these galaxies (billions and billions,) estimated to be in this universe, it was statistically improbable that intelligent life would fail to appear somewhere. Multiple planets which fall into the so-called "Goldilocks zone" have been discovered in the past 15-odd years since successful means of extrasolar planetary discovery were developed and put into use, and we don't even know if Earthlike conditions are the only ones under which life can develop.

 

To attempt to put a stop to scientific investigation for the sake of saying an invisible man, (anatomically identical to the modern men of Earth who evolved from an apelike ancestor,) is the origin of all things sounds more like scientific sabotage than legitimate philosophical discourse. I don't want to denigrate the field of mathematics (as it is what makes all of physics possible,) but if you're content to use math for nothing more than your own personal abstractions, you're probably not inclined to be a truth-seeker from the start, and such a person seems of little value to an endeavour as grand as discovering what came "before."

 

Yes, there is theoretically "room" for some form of god. If science were to ever find evidence that supports a theory of God, I might be inclined to believe in such a "God." Until such a time arises, I see no evidence of this "God" and thus shall not believe in it.

 

This whole fiasco seems more like pre-emptive political damage control to get religious fundamentalists (the Earth is 5000 years old, evolution is a lie, there's no such thing as drug resistant TB or any other microorganism, etc.) off of CERN's back.

Edited by AGX-17
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Aside from John Lennox I felt that a lot of those scientists were just **** to the philosophers.

Like:

"That's why science makes progress and religion doesn't."

 

or

 

"I realised there was a need to discuss this," says Rolf Heuer, Cern's director general."

 

Belief is one thing, but that doesn't excuse bad manners or for someone who isn't an expert to talk about the merits of religion.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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To attempt to put a stop to scientific investigation for the sake of saying an invisible man, (anatomically identical to the modern men of Earth who evolved from an apelike ancestor,) is the origin of all things sounds more like scientific sabotage than legitimate philosophical discourse.

 

Where did all that come from? I don't think I saw any mention of stopping science or defining God as a man in that article.

 

Also some people seem to have trouble separating the idea of a creator, God, or industrious invisible pink elephants if you are Gorgon, and organized religion. One does not need the other to exist.

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One surprising thing I've noticed, is if you take a cross-section of scientists by discipline - a bigger chunk of physicists and astrophysicists will believe in God (even if not as part of an organised religion), while a majority of chemists seem to be more secular / agnostic / athiestic.

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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It's been awhile since we've had a nice reason versus faith discussion, and I found this article to be a great read:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-19997789

 

The quote that stood out to me was by John Lennox, a mathematics professor at Oxford:

 

 

"If the atheists are right the mind that does science... is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn't trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science."

 

What a rambling load of bollocks.

 

Anybody who hasn't studied how neural networks operate is not qualified to talk about how the mind operates. He can talk, certainly, but he is talking out his arse.

 

These "mindless minds" (less stupidly known as neural networks - distributed collections of nodes and linkages) are so efficient at what they do that we now widely replicate them in computers to solve computationally hard problems that traditional computing methods are bad at, such as image recognition and voice recognition, to name a few. Neural networks are used to solve problems ranging from optical character recognition in PDFs to battery sorting at recycling centres to face recognition to language translation. Google is especially fond of them.

 

It can in fact be mathematically proven that neural networks are Turing complete - that they can complete any task which von Neumann machines and modified Harvard architectures (i.e. traditional computers) can complete, with identical results. This alone should be sufficient to debunk the junk science this fool is pushing.

Edited by Krezack
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Without taking sides per se (because I live in indecision also), I will say one thing:

 

To quote Prof Kraus from the article;

"People who are religious believe they know the truth and they know the answer before even asking the question. Whereas, with scientists, it's the exact opposite."

 

And that is why I'll always side with science when it comes to answering questions - assuming a truth is a no-go in almost any other venture - but somehow a requirement for religion.

 

Except in life, you can never live without believing you know the truth. Without belief, there is no living. That is, practically speaking, you need to believe, whether by action or inaction, in something. The most atheist scientist does not believe 'nothing' - he may belive nothing in principle, but in practice, in the everyday, he must trust in the 'truth' of many things.

 

In the end the question, for me, is one of practical reason, not of Truth. (For to live as if there is no God, is in practice to believe there is no God, that is to stake my life on the 'truth' that there is no God. Same with science.) The question is not whether you can get by without practically speaking believing in anything. There is only the choice of what to believe.

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I believe you missed the point completely Krezack.

Plus he's talking about the brain rather than the mind, so that's two points missed.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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I believe you missed the point completely Krezack.

 

Not at all. Anybody talking about the mind needs to understand that it is a result of the operation of neural networks. If they don't understand this and talk about the mind, they're at best well-meaning but ignorant, and at worst an intellectually lazy quack.

 

The human mind is nothing mystical. It is the emergent behaviour of a collection of neural networks. It's that simple (I'm looking at you, too, Orogun01).

 

If you're going to debate the nature of atheism, religion, and science, you must do so from a factual framework, else there is no point in the debate aside from pseudo-scientific and pseudo-philosophical intellectual wankery.

 

Philosophy has a core place in science - indeed it established science. But pseudo-philosophical garbage like "humans are operated by a mindless unguided process that is inferior to the accuracy of computers and therefore anything they do is suspect" has no place in a rational philosophical debate (and seems very reminiscent of the nonsense arguments in favour of intelligent design). Not only is the premise scientifically false, but the implication is false too - anybody who has done work in optimisation systems (which both evolution and neural networks are) or deeply understands the concept of peer-review should be able to tell you that. I say should because this nincompoop should be adept at both and yet comes out with ignorant statements like this.

 

I do realise the slight irony in what I've said - since the guy I am quoting (through Hurlshot) is basically claiming (due to his lack of understanding of the science of the mind) that we can't debate atheism and religion from a rational framework. The problem is that the logic he uses to arrive at that conclusion about atheism and religion is itself both based in a rational framework, and itself logically flawed within that rational framework. It's a curious argument he makes, because it's hard (impossible) to prove wrong without using a rational (scientific) framework - he's essentially stating that he believes the mind contains a non-scientific spiritual component which guides it, and that he can't fathom how it could be possible for the mind to be correct if it is operated solely by an optimisation process like neural networks. Again, highly reminiscent of those ridiculous religious arguments in favour of intelligent design instead of evolution.

 

So I'd say it is not me who has missed the point, but that rather intelligent yet philosophically barren and scientifically illiterate mathematics professor.

 

EDIT: Essentially, he's saying that some mystical force is what allows his mind to produce rational scientific outcomes. Yet rational science says there is no such mystical force. Who is right - the mathematics professor trying to explain science via religion and in the process contradicting himself, or the cognitive scientists who work within a consistent and non-contradictory scientific framework and who make no ideological claims as to what their results SHOULD be?

Edited by Krezack
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To attempt to put a stop to scientific investigation for the sake of saying an invisible man, (anatomically identical to the modern men of Earth who evolved from an apelike ancestor,) is the origin of all things sounds more like scientific sabotage than legitimate philosophical discourse.

 

Where did all that come from? I don't think I saw any mention of stopping science or defining God as a man in that article.

 

Also some people seem to have trouble separating the idea of a creator, God, or industrious invisible pink elephants if you are Gorgon, and organized religion. One does not need the other to exist.

 

This entire thing sounds like another case of religion jumping up, waving its hands and shouting "hold up there, science, you'd better stop because you're making me question my belief in something for which there is no evidence! And the very definition of this belief, known as "faith," is to believe in something for which there is no evidence, an ethos I am very proud of. So... stop raking up evidence that causes me to question my beliefs!"

 

Science is about questioning and investigating natural phenomena and the world we live in, there is literally no need for science to say "hold it, we should consult religion before we continue in our objective search for the underlying truth of all things."

Edited by AGX-17
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Yet rational science says there is no such mystical force.

 

It says no such thing. You are acting like science has answered all the mysteries of the universe. We are nowhere near that point in our understanding of the universe, we seem to be creating more questions than answers at this stage.

 

Science does not address whether there is a mystical force or not. You are choosing to believe there is not.

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Science is about questioning and investigating natural phenomena and the world we live in, there is literally no need for science to say "hold it, we should consult religion before we continue in our objective search for the underlying truth of all things."

 

You are correct. But again, we aren't talking about religion, we are talking about the idea of a creator/mystical force/whatever. They are very different, even though that is the central idea of most religions. And the question isn't 'should we stop science to accommodate philosophy' but rather 'can philosophy help us create new avenues in science.'

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Just because there are certain thing we don't know about the universe, it doesn't mean there's a need for a higher being or intelligent design.

 

To invoke intelligent design is merely an argument from ignorance. I don't know what it is, so it must be so and so. It makes no sense. If you don't know then you don't, the discussion ends there.

 

In science, we follow what nature tells is. We work from what we know, and we push the boundaries into the unknown as we progress. And until we get there, we do not have any preconception of what is there. We do not guess, we do not invoke intelligent design to fill our ignorance of what we've yet to understand.

 

Invoking intelligent design stops progress. Issac Newton invoke god when he couldn't explain why the presence of several planets doesn't result in a disorientation of the solar system. He, the person who single handedly came up with calculus to explain the elliptical orbits decided that intelligent design is required when he could have answered the question himself had he continue to push forward. He could have came up with perturbation theory which was just an extension of calculus but unfortunately he did not. It was left to someone else who could see that there has to be a logical explanation to it rather than requiring intelligent design to came up with perturbation theory and solve the problem.

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Just because there are certain thing we don't know about the universe, it doesn't mean there's a need for a higher being or intelligent design.

 

To invoke intelligent design is merely an argument from ignorance. I don't know what it is, so it must be so and so. It makes no sense. If you don't know then you don't, the discussion ends there.

 

In science, we follow what nature tells is. We work from what we know, and we push the boundaries into the unknown as we progress. And until we get there, we do not have any preconception of what is there. We do not guess, we do not invoke intelligent design to fill our ignorance of what we've yet to understand.

 

Invoking intelligent design stops progress. Issac Newton invoke god when he couldn't explain why the presence of several planets doesn't result in a disorientation of the solar system. He, the person who single handedly came up with calculus to explain the elliptical orbits decided that intelligent design is required when he could have answered the question himself had he continue to push forward. He could have came up with perturbation theory which was just an extension of calculus but unfortunately he did not. It was left to someone else who could see that there has to be a logical explanation to it rather than requiring intelligent design to came up with perturbation theory and solve the problem.

A healthy dose of skepticism is always good, whether in religion or science it helps to keep the person humble. If there is a God or not is an unknown at this moment, anyone claiming an absolute is having a clear bias in their opinion.

Also, I do agree that a lot of thinkers and scientist of from Newton's period used God as a scapegoat to their conclusion. Most notably Descartes, whom Newton studied.

I can't personally blame them since it was a different time when the church ruled and the existence of God was an absolute.

 

On another note, I would really love it if somewhere in the future someone discovered an error with our mathematical system. It would be funny to me if all those zealot scientists would suddenly realize that their entire society was built upon faith on a system.

The greatest difference between science and religion is the search for knowledge, once science stops searching and starts imposing they are at fault of the same sins that they accuse religion of.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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On another note, I would really love it if somewhere in the future someone discovered an error with our mathematical system. It would be funny to me if all those zealot scientists would suddenly realize that their entire society was built upon faith on a system.

 

Perhaps you should dedicate your life to finding a flaw in one of the fundamental axioms of, say, arithmetic? For example proving "for every number x in the set of natural numbers, x=x... except when it doesn't."

There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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Yet rational science says there is no such mystical force.

 

It says no such thing. You are acting like science has answered all the mysteries of the universe. We are nowhere near that point in our understanding of the universe, we seem to be creating more questions than answers at this stage.

 

Science does not address whether there is a mystical force or not. You are choosing to believe there is not.

 

No, you are trying to fit a God into the gaps. Let science do its work, stop being impatient, and in the meantime don't jump to conclusions.

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On another note, I would really love it if somewhere in the future someone discovered an error with our mathematical system. It would be funny to me if all those zealot scientists would suddenly realize that their entire society was built upon faith on a system.

 

Perhaps you should dedicate your life to finding a flaw in one of the fundamental axioms of, say, arithmetic? For example proving "for every number x in the set of natural numbers, x=x... except when it doesn't."

 

Yeah, I find it funny that Orogun suggests we'll find a problem with our axioms and then those damn scientists will rue the day!

 

Except of course that axioms can't be proven nor disproven and thus to talk about falsifying them or finding a 'bug' in them is utter nonsense.

 

Scientists have had to deal with axiom shifts multiple times (when they discover that the axioms they are using don't adequately describe our universe). The most well-known one was the shift from Euclidean to non-Euclidean geometry for spacetime (i.e. Newton vs Einstein). Contrary to it taking all those "science zealots" down a notch, it started a scientific and technological golden age, revolutionised our understanding of the world and filled in even more of the gaps previously assigned to those various gods and supernatural forces which people believe in.

 

To imply that someday we'll find that our axioms don't match our world and that a new set of axioms does, and that these axioms will allow for any subset of the mystical nonsense Humans like to believe in is... very wishful thinking, and contrary to the results of historical axiom shifts in science.

 

I mean, I guess I can't ever definitively rule it out (and I'm still not certain of the implications of Gödel's incompleteness theorems) - but I can ignore uneducated people grasping at straws and go do some useful science.

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