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  • #4816

    Unseen
    Participant

    but what’s wrong with having faith in physical laws and logic? One needn’t be defensive about disbelieving in magic.

    I just wrote a long rant about this, before seeing this. What’s wrong with having faith in physical laws and logic is that faith is not required. Why muddy the waters by introducing faith or belief into these areas?

    But we do believe in physical laws with a kind of faith, in much the same way we have faith that our day-to-day experiences are not a dream or an artificially-induced illusion  (as in the Matrix movies). There’s always that possibility of Descartes’ Evil Genius.

    We believe in physical laws not because we know them to be true to a certainty, but because of the mountain of evidence behind them and because you need to believe something in order to get off the dime. Our understanding (best guess) is that the physical laws we know today weren’t always in effect. They evolved at some time after the big bang. In other words, it’s a faith-held belief that they are regular and always in operation, even though, since they came to us after a change, the future may hold changes as well.

    Then you have certain phenomena which seem to defy what we know of physics. Interaction between particles over an astronomical distance. Particles seeming to travel faster than light.

    When you calculate a trajectory, you don’t figure in the possibility of a blip in the operation of physical laws, and to what else can you attribute that confidence other than having faith/trust that such variations won’t happen?

    #4802

    Unseen
    Participant

    Honestly belief is just means accepting something without evidence. It’s really not that loaded at all. No need to think too deeply into the word belief.

    No, you’re actually defining “faith,” which is the KIND of belief which isn’t evidence- or logic-based. In the case of the rhinoceros, it’s both evidence- and logic-based. The evidence is what we know about the laws of the universe. By applying logic, I can with full justification disbelieve in the rhino.

    Of course, our belief in the laws of the universe is partly faith-based. We assume the universe is regular and predictable and consistent with known physical laws. We believe this because the alternative—that the universe isn’t regular and predictable and lawful (the one religious people seem to favor)—makes real knowledge impossible. In the sense that there’s no rational alternative, our belief is unavoidable. That isn’t real faith, if you ask me.

    I guess my point is this: While you can maintain that you have never thought about the existence of God and really have no opinions on the matter, fine. It feels disingenuous and I think most folks assume that you’re life in which you are acting as if God doesn’t exist speaks louder than your words, because if you really believed in God, you’d have duties like evangelizing, tithing, attending church services, prayer, etc. (BTW, by that standard many people who claim to be religious don’t truly believe in God, either.)

    There is nothing wrong with disbelieving in God as long as, as with the rhinoceros, you have good reasons for doing so.

    Sure, someone could claim that my disbelief in the rhinoceros is a belief based on faith, but what’s wrong with having faith in physical laws and logic? One needn’t be defensive about disbelieving in magic.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #4770

    Unseen
    Participant

    “What do you mean by ‘believe’” would be a fair question. But it’s better to leave those words out of the discussion, beyond citing whether or not a person has “religious belief.”

    “I believe I’ll have another beer.”

    Now we’re talkin’.

    Just pointing out another use of the word “believe.”

    #4767

    Unseen
    Participant

    “What do you mean by ‘believe’” would be a fair question. But it’s better to leave those words out of the discussion, beyond citing whether or not a person has “religious belief.”

    “I believe I’ll have another beer.”

    #4743

    Unseen
    Participant

    Now, do you think a noncorporeal spirit acts in the world in contravention of physical laws? Or do you simply have no opinion about such a ridiculous idea?

    #4742

    Unseen
    Participant

    God as normally understood (and I’m doing plain language philosophy here) is a spirit with magical powers such as creating stuff (universes, burning bushes, etc.) ex nihilo (excuse me for the latin: “out of nothing”). A spirit, as normally understood, is a noncorporeal consciousness able to interact with the material world without the need of invoking the physical laws. I view that as impossible, and if not impossible, a meaningless and useless idea based on Occam’s Razor. In other words, we don’t need it and it doesn’t really explain anything or contribute to our knowledge.

    I don’t think God/gods are so difficult to define. I go back to:

    God as normally understood (and I’m doing plain language philosophy here) is a spirit with magical powers such as creating stuff (universes, burning bushes, etc.) ex nihilo (excuse me for the latin: “out of nothing”).

    A spirit, as normally understood, is a noncorporeal consciousness able to interact with the material world without the need of invoking the physical laws. I view that as impossible, and if not impossible, a meaningless and useless idea based on Occam’s Razor. In other words, we don’t need it and it doesn’t really explain anything or contribute to our knowledge.

    Do you or anyone or anyone else here disagree with these definitions?

    #4724

    Unseen
    Participant

    I gather you don’t believe in any deity based on not seeing any reason to accept such a belief. Not believing is disbelief, and a disbelief is a belief.

    #4720

    Unseen
    Participant

    I agree, Unseen. I have an affirmative notion on the absence of gods. I disbelieve in them. The definition of atheism as simply an absence of belief in gods is the basic dictionary definition as translated from Latin. It doesn’t really encompass my atheism, nor apparently yours. However, in London for example, most people genuinely don’t consider the issue – they don’t think about gods nor take any position about them. If you ask, they will say, “I’m not really religious” and move on to another subject. That’s probably the atheism you’re referring to as a bit wishy washy. It seems to me that there’s a bigger fight in the USA over the god thing, and consequently a more assertive denial seems necessary

    Many members of ThinkAtheist argued that atheism is a lack of belief in God (or any theistic deity). I believe they did this to avoid the accusation that atheism is, like religion, a belief system, just like Christianity or any other religion.

    Well, it’s okay, to my mind, to have beliefs if you can defend them with reasons and evidence (or lack of evidence).

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #4718

    Unseen
    Participant

    It’s a fine point but don’t you have to define something to believe it doesn’t exist? I know what a closet and a rhino are. I don’t know what god is…. everyone seems to have a different idea about that. Thus I simply lack belief…really can’t say more than that.

    God as normally understood (and I’m doing plain language philosophy here) is a spirit with magical powers such as creating stuff (universes, burning bushes, etc.) ex nihilo (excuse me for the latin: “out of nothing”).

    A spirit, as normally understood, is a noncorporeal consciousness able to interact with the material world without the need of invoking the physical laws. I view that as impossible, and if not impossible, a meaningless and useless idea based on Occam’s Razor. In other words, we don’t need it and it doesn’t really explain anything or contribute to our knowledge.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #4502

    Unseen
    Participant

    Don’t forget your towel.

    #4480

    Unseen
    Participant

    Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein. Names don’t get much better than that. LOL

    I don’t think there’s much doubt his family was wildly dysfunctional. Perhaps that’s why he gave his own inheritance back to his siblings. Divorcing his family? He could have been one of the richest people in the world, but decided instead to be a “normal” person, though of course he turned out to be anything but…

    I wrote my master’s thesis on his book On Certainty, a book about knowledge theory (epistemology). I quote the last two entries below in italicized type.

    Whether he is right or not, his gift was always to look at things in a totally novel way. He thought thoughts no one had ever thought before and had a talent for expressing his thoughts in clear and relatable ways. An aspect of his “ordinary language philosophy.” While his thoughts are deep and sometimes hard to comprehend, the language he uses isn’t dense and almost always avoided philosophical jargoneering.

    675. If someone believes that he has flown from America to England in the last few days, then, I
    believe, he cannot be making a mistake.

    Maybe he’d be crazy or joking, but he wouldn’t be making a mistake.

     
    And just the same if someone says that he is at this moment sitting at a table and writing.
    676. “But even if in such cases I can’t be mistaken, isn’t it possible that I am drugged?” If I am and
    if the drug has taken away my consciousness, then I am not now really talking and thinking. I
    cannot seriously suppose that I am at this moment dreaming. Someone who, dreaming, says “I am
    dreaming”, even if he speaks audibly in doing so, is no more right than if he said in his dream “it is
    raining”,  while it was in fact raining. Even if his dream were actually connected with the noise of
    the rain.

    (Sorry about the spacing. The system isn’t helping.)

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Unseen.
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    #4463

    Unseen
    Participant
    …if you have a wide-band receiver that is very sensitive you will receive background radiation which is very random, especially if you filter out all periodic signals. Sample (digitize) this and you have a random source of numbers. Remember when the TV stations went off air and you got snow…that is very much a random signal.

    You didn’t answer my question: How do we know that the noise is random? Or does is it random in terms of mimick the “randomness” of a random number generator?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Unseen.
    #4454

    Unseen
    Participant

    Thermal noise and background radio signal noise are very much random signals.

    What does that mean? How can anyone know that? Or are we back to “as far as we’ll ever know…”?

    #4453

    Unseen
    Participant

    In traditional parametric statistics, researchers arbitrarily set a 5% chance as being too small to worry about.   So when the chance of getting a series of 9’s of a certain length falls below 5%, we conclude that’s probably not due to random chance.

    Is that a “law of statistics,” a “rule-of-thumb,” simply a behavior one observes in statisticians, or what? What is the basis for that?

    #4452

    Unseen
    Participant

    Anyways, thought I would comment just to see how you were doing and if you were OK.  It seems the TA site has disappeared while I was away, and this new one has the site rules that don’t allow old professors like me around, but wanted you to know I cared.

    I have a job now and only two very valuable days off, this being the second one this week, so I no longer have the time to answer very long posts. At most, I just toss a comment or two into the ring.

    My health is about as good as a (nearly) 71 year old type 2 diabetic can expect. I found a small lump under the skin of my left arm recently and looking at my back in the bathroom mirror, using a hand mirror, I see a couple things that need to be assessed as well. Kaiser doesn’t seem to think it’s important enough to get me into see a dermatologist soon, so I have an appointment in mid-October.

    Other than that, the ticker is working fine and my blood pressure isn’t sky high. Neither is my cholesterol.

    I should last a little longer.

Viewing 15 posts - 1,366 through 1,380 (of 1,576 total)