addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobe--smallglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1launch-new-window--smalllight-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Re: [humanism-174] Belief Systems

From: ken
Sent on: Thursday, July 19, 2007 1:45 AM
On 07/18/[masked]:49 PM somebody named charles pervo wrote:
> I WAS MERELY MAKING A SEMANTIC POINT ON THE MISUSE OF THE WORD 'PROOF' IN PHYSICAL.

Understood.  The term "law" when used in science is similarly inappropriate.


> THE SUCCESS OF SCIENCE IS IN THE PREDICTIONS IT MAKES.

Yes, and the ability to predict is limited or uncertain in one way or
another which is the reason for speaking in terms of probabilities.


> PLEASE PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF AN ACTUAL SCIENTIST' DENYING CAUSALITY.

Don't see how that would make the case.  Testimony of one individual...
proving a negative... not a line of argumentation with a lot of promise.

Moreover, if we're to abide by scientific principles, the party making
the positive assertion (that there *is* such a thing as causality) is
called upon to provide evidence.  A plea of "commonly accepted wisdom"
doesn't suffice if we're examining presuppositions.


> I EXPECT THAT YOU ARE REFERING TO QUANTUM MECHANICS, WHICH IS BASED ON PROBABILITIES, AND WHICH MAKES VALID PREDICTIONS.

Yes, that's the case where the absence of causality is readily accepted.

Yet, whether or not there is such a thing as causality is a
philosophical question, not really a scientific question.  It's a
question as to how we understand the world.  True, it's been axiomatic
for centuries, at least since Plato, that there is such a thing as
causality.  And in a course, general way it's useful to speak of causal
events when we mean that there's a very high probability of that event.
 But what inherence do axioms have in the world?  Are points, lines, and
planes "real" or in any way present in the physical world...?  Or are
they simply convenient inventions for understanding the world in a
particular way-- great for geometry, architecture, meteorology,
checkers, etc., but fundamentally non-existent confabulations expressive
of a culture.  How is this axiom we call "causality" different from
point, line, and plane?



> 
> ---- ken <[address removed]> wrote: 
>> Excellent point, Charles.  Science gave up on ascertaining causality
>> quite a while ago.  At most, contemporary research demonstrates a
>> statistical correlation between two phenomena.
>>
>> In a similar vein there's been talk of "rational belief" and comments
>> made that those who believe in God/god are less intelligent than "us
>> atheists."  We should remember that Einstein held a belief in God,
>> albeit not necessarily that of his Jewish heritage or of a personal god
>> who directly participated in his life.  Is anyone here asserting that
>> they're smarter or more rational than Einstein?
>>
>> Re: "rational belief": this is oxymoronic, like "dry water."  Just as
>> there's a quantum difference between water and ice, likewise rationality
>> and belief are qualitatively distinct.  For the prototypical explication
>> of this distinction, have a look at Plato's "Allegory of the Cave"; a
>> heftier look at the separate worlds of belief and thought can be had in
>> "The Ever-Present Origin," authored by Jean Gebser.  Existentialists
>> such as Martin Buber and Soren Kierkegaard also discuss belief and its
>> distinction from knowledge.  Understanding this (critical) distinction
>> between the experience of belief and that of knowledge, reason, and
>> rationality helps to understand how someone like Einstein, or even
>> someone less the genius, can hold a belief in the spiritual.
>>
>>
>> Regards,
>> ken
>>
>>
>> On 07/18/[masked]:31 AM somebody named charles pervo wrote:
>>> WHEN I SEE THE WORD 'PROOF' APPLIED TO PHYSICAL SCIENCE, I AM CONFIDENT THE USER IS NOT A SCIENTIST.  USED LITERALLY, IN THE SCIENCES, 'PROOF' APPLIES ONLY TO MATHEMATICS.  AUTHOR AND FREETHINKER VICTOR STENGER POINTS OUT THAT THE MEANING OF 'PROOF' IN SCIENCE IS MUCH LIKE ITS USE IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM - BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.  AM I BEING PEDANTIC? YES AND NO: WE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO LEAVE ANY HOLES OUR MANY OPPONENTS COULD BREACH.  SCIENTIST FORMULATE A HYPOTHESIS, TEST IT, AND IT MAY BECOME PART OF A MODEL, OR THEORY.
>>> ---- Maude <[address removed]> wrote: 
>>>>  
>>>> In a message dated 7/18/[masked]:22:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
>>>> [address removed] writes:
>>>>
>>>> Galileo was  persecuted for proving that the Earth revolved around the Sun 
>>>> instead of  visa-versa. This defied holy scripture at the time.  
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Ah yes! Thank you. This of course, prompted me to do some research and I  
>>>> found that who I had been thinking of other than Galileo who was persecuted by  
>>>> the inquisition, was Newton (my catholic high school education is a tad foggish 
>>>>  at this point) for his theory of gravity. Newton not only could prove that 
>>>> the  planet's motion was centered around the sun but also proved that really, 
>>>> the  universe and it's motion could be explained as being subject to 
>>>> mathematical  laws. Although Newton himself was religious and stated that his 
>>>> mathematics  explained how and why the planets moved, that it did not explain how the 
>>>> planets  were put into motion....he was a subject of the inquisition anyway, the 
>>>> thinking  being that his math removed god from being necessary for the 
>>>> revolving of the  universe. 
>>>>  
>>>> Then, with more research, I discovered that no one past 3 BC who was half  
>>>> educated thought the earth to be flat. The church never had a problem with a  
>>>> round earth as most clergy were educated and had studied Plato and Euclid  
>>>> (father of geometry!-I remember that!). They myth was revived in the 1830's by  
>>>> some guy who was hell bent to take a couple of Psalms literally and started to  
>>>> claim that the earth was flat. And those people are still among us, saying that 
>>>>  photos of the earth from space are a hoax. lol!
>>>>  
>>>> Maude
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ********************­****************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at 
>>>> http://discover.a...­
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
>>> This message was sent by charles pervo ([address removed]) from The Cleveland Freethinkers.
>>> To learn more about charles pervo, visit his/her member profile: http://humanism.m...­
>>> To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here: http://www.meetup...­
>>>
>>> Meetup.com Customer Service: [address removed]
>>> 632 Broadway New York NY 10012 USA
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
>> This message was sent by ken ([address removed]) from The Cleveland Freethinkers.
>> To learn more about ken, visit his/her member profile: http://humanism.m...­
>> To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here: http://www.meetup...­
>>
>> Meetup.com Customer Service: [address removed]
>> 632 Broadway New York NY 10012 USA
>>
> 
> 
> 
> 
> --
> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
> This message was sent by charles pervo ([address removed]) from The Cleveland Freethinkers.
> To learn more about charles pervo, visit his/her member profile: http://humanism.m...­
> To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here: http://www.meetup...­
> 
> Meetup.com Customer Service: [address removed]
> 632 Broadway New York NY 10012 USA
> 

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy