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Old 01-03-2012, 07:06 AM
 
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The fine tuning argument is bogus because if the universe is finely tuned for life, why is it that the vast bulk of it (consisting of hard radiation and vaccuum at a temperature near absolute zero) is, in fact, completely and utterly hostile to life? The argument also assumes that a universe not "tuned" in a fashion after our own could not sustain life, but presents no evidence to support such an assumption.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:09 AM
 
Location: La Cañada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I will go so far as to agree that this 'fine tuning' is the better argument for a 'Cosmic mind' aka 'God' with First cause coming a bit behind and the question of Abiogenesis in third place. None of those do more than suggest a possible 'sortagod', or Cosmic Mind or the God of Einstein - the computer that runs the universe.

I actually don't object to such an idea as it has nothing to do with any of the man - made religions, though again it is possible that religious thought in general might be connected with it.

But I am not persuaded. Something from Nothing looks a lot more feasible now than anyone could have thought ten years ago, the building blocks of life are found in abundance in nebulae and working models of abiogenesis at least provides a better theory than a cosmic mind just Did it.

While it looks lucky to an almost statistically unlikely degree that things turned out just to suit us, we have to recall that it was at least 50% that we turned out as we are to suit the conditions, and also that a number of catastrophes and extinctions were necessary to give us our chance.

That looks to me unplanned rather than planned and so, despite appearances, I have to favour that we actually have been lucky. Thus, I remain atheist - without a belief in a 'god'.

As to Einstein, "Religion without science is blind; Science without religion is lame" has to be placed in context - Einstein's religion was not based on a personal god. He had no time for organized religion. I have commented before that he did indeed believe in an intelligence which ordered the universe and which 'did not play dice', as he said when dismissing quantum mechanics. He was wrong.

That said, I do take his point in a way. Science is the best way of discovering facts - it is the only reliable way of doing it. Logic is a valuable mental toolset which is necessary to avoid fallacious modes of reasoning. But that is all they are. They do not and cannot replace emotions, appreciation of beauty, morals or concern for our fellows, though they can be invaluable for finding out where those impulses came from and how we should use them or not as befits a reasoning animal.

While science and those who use it as a preferred mental tool, must reasonably allow room for personal preferences, 'Faith' - especially religious Faith - can be a problem. While we can have our preferences about art, music or the way to run a society, we must accept that others have different ideas. While we might argue the merits, 'Faith' is a hindrance, not a help. It is, succinctly, assuming something to be fact without sound evidence. 'Faith' has no place in a rational society. That some people might want to believe without sound evidence, can be tolerated so long as they keep it to themselves. Such faith cannot be reconciled with science. It can co -exist in a scientist's mind and they can do valuable work - until that work conflicts with their faith and then the science suffers.

So, this argument of fine-tuning presents some evidence that suggests that a "Cosmic Mind" or "God/Deity" is possible, which is what I wanted someone to concede in the first place.
Remember, I am not a missionary of any sort, I am simply saying that as a scientific and religious person, I do fine in life. I have reconciled faith and science within myself, although it isn't always easy.
Now, what you suggest is no less than we are a cosmic fluke--we are an accident of the universe, and everything COULD HAVE turned out different, including the possibility of us speaking now (no intelligent life). So, these things, these many laws and natural occurrences that make our life possible are accidents or chance, and that seems unreasonable.
But everyone is free to their opinion, including me I daresay.
So faith to you is a good blanket term to describe those untouchable and abstract emotions and mindsets that are not scientific?
In my opinion, science and religion go well with each other, seeing as discoveries of science can explain how something happened and faith can explain why.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
So, this argument of fine-tuning presents some evidence that suggests that a "Cosmic Mind" or "God/Deity" is possible, which is what I wanted someone to concede in the first place.
No such concession is being made because it is assumption and no more. If you ASSUME the universe is fine tuned then of course we can start imagining fantastical explanations like a "mind" or a "god".

But assumption is all it is. Nothing is being presented to suggest that the universe was fine tuned for anything, much less for life. Producing life in fact is one of the things the universe appears to be least good at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
I have reconciled faith and science within myself, although it isn't always easy.
We may be operating on different meanings of "reconcile" here. By reconcile many of us, possibly most, are not simply talking about people who manage to hold both in their mind. We often hold irreconcilable things in our minds at the same time and operate under both things. This does not mean they have been reconciled. It just means we are a species capable of operating under such conflicts.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
So, this argument of fine-tuning presents some evidence that suggests that a "Cosmic Mind" or "God/Deity" is possible, which is what I wanted someone to concede in the first place.
Remember, I am not a missionary of any sort, I am simply saying that as a scientific and religious person, I do fine in life. I have reconciled faith and science within myself, although it isn't always easy.
'Possible' is not nearly enough for 'credible'. Believing in a 'god' (the rule is lower case) or deity on that basis is not reasonable or rational - it is Faith - based; and that is not compatible with science.

"I have reconciled faith and science within myself, although it isn't always easy." It shouldn't even be necessary. the 'fine tuning argument' should not be a matter of belief but a 'possible' (your term) theory which might be kept in mind until further supportive evidence is to hand. I do concede that one needs to be interested in that possibility to consider any evidence about it. But that should not be a belief. The scientist should not in this day and age have such a 'Faith'.

Quote:
Now, what you suggest is no less than we are a cosmic fluke--we are an accident of the universe, and everything COULD HAVE turned out different, including the possibility of us speaking now (no intelligent life). So, these things, these many laws and natural occurrences that make our life possible are accidents or chance, and that seems unreasonable.
But everyone is free to their opinion, including me I daresay.
It appears that you have conceded that the 'fine tuning argument' is not tenable for belief and have apparently retreated to the 'who made dem laws anyway?' argument...yep a footnote (1)

While what our pal Mystic would deprecatingly call 'common sense' might indeed see the innate physical laws of matter having to be drawn up by a Designing Cosmic Mind (DCM. I like that...rushes to get it trademarked) that would be to close the mind to the argument that atoms have to come together some way and the way it turned out was what worked; I'm sorry if that's vague but the question of innate properties of valency powers within objects that are mostly made of nothing is a deep one. I just say that the possibility that the physical laws of matter were unplanned (or 'chance' as you put it) is as tenable as the too easy 'designer' argument. I don't say that should be denied or dismissed, but it shouldn't rationally be believed by a scientist either - not yet.

Again, Faith in designed natural physical laws is not rational, scientific or justified and, for a scientist, justified reason rather than 'opinion' (by which you evidently mean 'Faith') is is a more appropriate mindset - indeed, it should go with the job. Science and faith don't mix.

Quote:
So faith to you is a good blanket term to describe those untouchable and abstract emotions and mindsets that are not scientific?
No. But it apparently is to you. I use the term 'hypothesis', 'possibility' or unproven speculation'. One has to consider them credible, tenable or believable before the term 'Faith' is used. I don't yet see the case for fine - tuned universe or designed natural laws as tenable. Now as to untouchable emotions and mindsets, that is a whole different argument and set of data (a scientist should not shift the subject of examination about so much) but here again, evolved instincts and reasoned problem - solving is also a possible answer and actually has some hard - research support. So the point is that, for a scientist, investing belief (Faith) in just one possible answer even without the research supporting the other just ain't appropriate for a scientist. Research it, yes, bet believe it before the answers are to hand? Unacceptable. That is why science and Faith do not go well together.

Quote:
In my opinion, science and religion go well with each other, seeing as discoveries of science can explain how something happened and faith can explain why.
Not in terms valid for science or for logical reasoning. Those explanations are hypothetical. Just as are the Something from nothing, we evolved to suit the conditions and abiogenesis are to a certain extent hypotheses.

Hypotheses and suggestions are all very well and should never (last time, I promise ) be thrown out with the bathwater which is what science and atheism never do... ok one last time (2) It is an accusation made by those who take issue with our rational and scientific insistence that hypotheses should not be believed without persuasive evidence. To to do so it to use Faith instead of sound science or sound reasoning, and that's why science and faith don't mix.

Now I've replied at some length because you have politely put your case and I have (I trust) equally politely put the counter - case.

(1) if not please address the indications that some accidents were necessary for our species to have a chance to evolve.

(2) Faith does. Have you never seen abiogenesis tossed out with the bathwater as not even a possible explanation by the posting creationists?

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-04-2012 at 05:35 AM..
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The point is that, while many things that were once unknown or speculative are now known, it was scientifically correct to NOT believe in that until they were adequately supported by evidence. It is also true that many speculative theories and ideas - even proposed by scientists - have turned out to be wrong. That is why science always questions and has, sooner or later, to go with the evidence, which is why theists or cultists can often claim that 'science is always getting things wrong/changing its mind'. In fact the results tend to add to previous discoveries rather than discount them. Newtonian physics and relativity are still valid even though Quantum mechanics have introduced a whole new view of matter, physics and reality and maybe the speed of light is not always the limit. Those discoveries were and are still valid.
The physics of Newton was essentially overthrown with the arrival of the Theory of Relativity. There were concepts in classical physics which were shown either to be outright invalid or just good approximations.

For example, classical physics has no notion of a "speed limit"; you could accelerate any object beyond the speed of light with a sufficient force, whereas Relativity showed that you could not accelerate a mass beyond the speed of light. Likewise when objects are moving at close to the speed of light, classical physics breaks down. It is only when objects are moving slowly that classical physical laws are shown to be very good approximations.

So to claim that classical laws "were and are still valid" is not technically true. Classical physics is still taught in school, but the instructors will rarely tell you that they're approximations or invalid in some cases.

Scientific laws are tentative postulates. They cannot be proven to be true using inductive reasoning. They can be corroborated with evidence, and in some cases the evidence is overwhelming, but that evidence does not constitute definitive proof of a law. That leaves a kind of "faith" that those laws are correct.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:59 PM
 
Location: La Cañada
459 posts, read 606,558 times
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I do believe that some accidents were necessary to humanity and a catalyst for evolution of humanity (to be clear--although it is somewhat unrelated to this--I do believe in evolution of humans, but a creation of soul/spirit from a divine source, who to me is God).
There are many things that science cannot address because they are abstract, and science can only solve problems--including why we have abstracts and emotions.
Also, why are there so many scientists who are faithful/religious and fully believe that their beliefs can coincide with their line of work? Would they not be absolutely positive regarding Science as superior to Faith?
Also, personally, I believe scientists in this line of work should be able to have any mindset, so long as they produce results that are reasonable.
So, do you think that our existence is the result of chance? Sorry for the jumping around, it's just that I read a bit and must reply.
I suppose that this won't come to a head, so:

I admit defeat because I can come forward with no further evidence for my case; if not defeat, at least forfeiture because my beliefs may be proven at some point.
I must ask: are you agnostic, atheist or something else? It will help me understand your POV better.
Also, thanks for being more cordial than some people.
And I do realize that many people of faith refuse to see other options, while I can maintain my stance and listen to others'. Amazing, ain't it?
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:02 PM
 
Location: La Cañada
459 posts, read 606,558 times
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Originally Posted by austin944 View Post

Scientific laws are tentative postulates. They cannot be proven to be true using inductive reasoning. They can be corroborated with evidence, and in some cases the evidence is overwhelming, but that evidence does not constitute definitive proof of a law. That leaves a kind of "faith" that those laws are correct.
Austin is correct, though; It's not as if science is the definitive answer or has the definitive answer. All laws are theories, and every scientist and science teacher/professor will tell you, if they're worth their salt.
Science is however, the vessel to find out the answers.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TheCalifornianWriter View Post
I must ask: are you agnostic, atheist or something else? It will help me understand your POV better.
I, for one, do not use any of those labels to describe myself. I am just a person who follows a simple rule. The rule is as follows:

We live in a world where people make all kinds of claims all the time. Too many to check them all. Therefore if I hear a claim that has not just little but NO evidence, argument, data or reasons to support it then I dismiss the claim and resist it's use and application.

Now GIVEN that the idea there is a god is an idea that comes before us devoid of even a modicum of evidence, argument, data or reasons to support it or lend it credence, I dismiss it and resist it's use and application.

OTHER people like to label me... atheist.... agnostic... whatever.... but I do not often answer to the labels. Nor do the labels tell you any more about what I think than I just told you above.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:38 AM
 
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Pre - P.s I imagine this is an effort to try to argue that science and faith are reconcilable because everyone has Faith - that you car will start, that your house will not fall down, that your wife is not cheating on you (classic theist debating ploy) and that some kind of uncertainty about scientifically validated data implies that there is a measure of 'Faith' involved. You do recognize that evidence plays a part here and argue that the evidence is not al that reliable, in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by austin944 View Post
The physics of Newton was essentially overthrown with the arrival of the Theory of Relativity. There were concepts in classical physics which were shown either to be outright invalid or just good approximations.

For example, classical physics has no notion of a "speed limit"; you could accelerate any object beyond the speed of light with a sufficient force, whereas Relativity showed that you could not accelerate a mass beyond the speed of light. Likewise when objects are moving at close to the speed of light, classical physics breaks down. It is only when objects are moving slowly that classical physical laws are shown to be very good approximations.
It is false to argue that a body of science is somehow invalidated because a question it didn't know becomes answered. Biology and genetics are still as valid as they ever were. DNA has explained more but invalidated nothing. Similarly the open question about the speed of light being answered (even then it does not seem to be devoid of an exception) does not bring down classical physics. They are still the basis for physics and correctly so.

Quote:
So to claim that classical laws "were and are still valid" is not technically true. Classical physics is still taught in school, but the instructors will rarely tell you that they're approximations or invalid in some cases.
My counter to the 'science is always getting it wrong' argument is that Newton has not been overthrown. Relativity does not disprove or discredit Newtonian physics. It adds more information. Rarely if ever have we had to go back to basics and start again when a theory or set of principles collapsed. To argue that the classical laws are still valid is correct. Technically, as you say, they are handy approximations, but your easy slipping of 'invalid' beside it it is just not correct. I should like to hear which Newtonian physical principle has been shown to be invalid (as distinct from a handy approximation) by any further discovery.

Quote:
Scientific laws are tentative postulates. They cannot be proven to be true using inductive reasoning. They can be corroborated with evidence, and in some cases the evidence is overwhelming, but that evidence does not constitute definitive proof of a law. That leaves a kind of "faith" that those laws are correct.
Hang on...someone at the door.

Scientific laws are as reliable as anything. They are as proven as anything can be and to call them 'tentative postulates' is absurd. Inductive reasoning proposes theories which are then tested using experiment, data - evaluation and deductive reasoning. The results, obtained by application of the scientific method, peer - reviewed, questioned, checked and duplicated, are accepted as valid fact and which would, I believe stand up in a court of law if such an inappropriate entity was called upon to decide the matter (in fact in the Dover trials, I think it did).

The evidence does constitute the proof of a law - if it stands up of course. Though you rather get it back to front - theory hypothesis first, then evidence and proof and finally theory as scientifically validated law.

Your remark about a 'kind of faith' reminds me of the constant tendency of theists to see all knowledge as a pure faith - choice and evidence as somehow irrelevant. Properly validated evidence is fundamental. Faith based on that is as sound as anyone could ask. If we are not to accept as reliable the body of data obtained, verified and validated through the scientific method, what are we going to believe? Guesswork? Suppositions?

Science data and the rules of logic are the best and only valid methods of getting reliable knowledge. All other is guesswork and speculation. Tinkering abut with rhetorical technicalities (not to mention false assumptions) cannot discredit it.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-05-2012 at 05:21 AM..
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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Originally Posted by looking4answers12 View Post
Why do some scientists believe?
Compartmentalization. They don't subject it to the same scrutiny as everything else.
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