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 xlr8ingmargo
Joined: 7/28/2009
Msg: 231
What is realPage 12 of 13    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
I was speaking of all the threads combined in the science forums. I tend to question everything by nature. Yes these online forums provide different perspectives on so many different subjects its kind of hard not to. When interesting philosphies cause me to think, my mind is so creative Im bound to come up with new possibilties for change.
I therefore thrive on the knowledge about myself they ultimately provoke.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 232
What is real
Posted: 5/1/2010 7:09:37 PM

Good morning gentlemen~ Can we all play nice together in the playground before we all get sent to the office and another perfectly good thread gets closed for review?


I'm prepared to be as civil - or uncivil - as anyone else wants to be. If posters like scorpio think they can bully their way over other people's opinions, then I'm more than prepared to step up and give it right back. The key to stopping bullies is to stand up to them.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 235
What is real
Posted: 5/2/2010 3:31:23 PM

I commend you when you say that it's obvious to you that science can't make metaphysical conclusions. So that means that you won't any longer try to use science to support or justify the metaphysics of Materialism.


Feel free to offer a direct quote, not inferredexample of where I have actually said this and I'll amend it. Looking forward to seeing that! Since, as far as I am aware, my position has always been one supporting the assertion that science and materialism aren't necessarily the same thing. In fact, I have frequently stated that science's only job is to provide evidence for real phenomenon. Materialism is a philosophy. Philosophy might be reflected in the personal beliefs of the scientist but it has nothing to do with accomplishing the job of science.

Near as I can tell, the length of this thread has been little more than a vanity-based blog post in which anyone who challenges your assumptions is subject to little more than your barely concealed contempt and forced to endure your affectations of intellectual superiority.

In the meantime...

Please point out anywhere where I have called you an "ass" or scorpy a "pinhead," or had anything to say negative about your particular professions.

Hypocrite, clean thy own house first.
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 236
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/3/2010 4:47:40 PM
appreciative9809 said:
I say that because I was getting tired of hearing that "more scientific or rational than thou" claim from science-enthusiasts, when comparing themselves to those who don't share their belief in the Materialism metaphysics.


Keep this in mind:

Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.

- Kant
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 239
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/3/2010 6:52:26 PM

Tell Mr. Kant that much reference to experience has been made in this thread, by me, as well as others.


I just thought that Kant would be great to post here because he showed how both pure rationalism and empiricism were fail, and his quote seemed to put it in better words than I ever could on my own.

He didn't seem to understand that religion exemplifies both experience without theory, and theory without experience. He never attacked religion... even though by his own rule... its blind intellectual play
 xlr8ingmargo
Joined: 7/28/2009
Msg: 240
What is real
Posted: 5/5/2010 4:10:33 PM
Man you guys crack me up with how some of you think your intellectually arguing. I think sometimes you all just try to out wit each other for sport~ I find it quite entertaining actually... pop corn anyone?
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 241
What is real
Posted: 5/5/2010 4:46:05 PM

Man you guys crack me up with how some of you think your intellectually arguing. I think sometimes you all just try to out wit each other for sport~ I find it quite entertaining actually... pop corn anyone?


Very likely true. Guess testosterone isn't just for sports anymore, eh?
 .dej
Joined: 11/6/2007
Msg: 243
view profile
History
What is real
Posted: 5/7/2010 3:51:02 PM

I think sometimes you all just try to out wit each other for sport

Well yeah, it's what debates are all about.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 244
view profile
History
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/9/2010 4:49:07 AM
I thought about it this way:

If we can assume that if we have no evidence for something, that it doesn't exist, then what happened with gravity and electricity?

Before the discovery of electricity, scientists didn't have evidence for the existence of electricity. But if we can assume that if we have no evidence for something, that it doesn't exist, then before the discovery of electricity, electricity didn't exist. But if it didn't exist back then, then how could it be discovered?

In order for science to learn, new things must be discovered, that existed before we had evidence for their existence. So in science, things MUST exist before we have evidence for them.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 245
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/9/2010 3:30:44 PM
Scorp...

In the case of things like gravity and electricity, we had evidence of SOMETHING... we just didn't know what it was. We had evidence for electricity, in the form of lightning - we just didn't understand the mechanism behind it. We knew that objects fell to the ground when dropped - again, we had no explanation of why.

So... we did, in fact, have evidence for the existence of gravity, electricity, etc... we just didn't know why they behaved the way they did. Now we do.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 246
view profile
History
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/10/2010 3:30:05 PM
RE Msg: 284 by RocketMan_Len:
In the case of things like gravity and electricity, we had evidence of SOMETHING... we just didn't know what it was. We had evidence for electricity, in the form of lightning - we just didn't understand the mechanism behind it. We knew that objects fell to the ground when dropped - again, we had no explanation of why.
That seems to work, doesn't it?

OK, let's start off with that premise: first we have evidence of SOMETHING, but we don't know what it is, and then, we do know what it is.

Let's examine gravity:

First, we have evidence of apples falling off trees. We have evidence of SOMETHING, but we don't know what it is.

Along comes Newton. He tells us what it is. Now we KNOW what it is. A force.

Along comes Einstein. He tells us that Newton was wrong. It's not a force. It's a property of curved space.

So now what? If Newton could have been wrong, why can't Einstein? Why can't anyone else come along and tell us that apples falling off trees is due to something else?

Someone COULD.

That's what it means to say science "learns". Scientific theories are all first drafts. They can be extremely reliable. But they can never be said to be definite. So we can always find another theory that is just as good, or better.

What about the reverse? Can we say Dark Matter doesn't exist? 50 years ago, DEFINITELY. Why? Because we had no "evidence" for it.

But only a few DECADES later, we say that it DOES exist.

So, can we really say that if we don't have "evidence" of something, that it doesn't exist? Only if we say that Einstein was WRONG, and Dark Matter doesn't exist.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of the materialistic argument. But it's an argument, not a statement about reality.

Let me give you an example:

Suppose some scientist is about to reverse his car. He looks all around, and sees nothing. He has no evidence that anyone is behind him. So he starts reversing.
He keeps reversing. Suddenly, he hears CRUNCH! He stops the car, gets out, and sees that he's run over a boy's leg.

He goes to court. His defence is "I didn't see anything, so by materialism, that boy wasn't there." He loses the case, has to pay for the boy's medical bills, and has his licence revoked.

Now for another example:

Someone else is driving down a clear road, with cars behind him, and then slams on the brakes. BANG! The car behind goes into him.

He goes to court. His defence is "A pedestrian just ran across the road, so I had to stop." But no-one else saw a pedestrian. He loses the case, and has to pay for the damages to the other car.

We can all agree that both decisions are fair. But in the first, we refuse to accept the argument of materialism, and in the second, we refuse to accept the argument of non-materialism. What is the deciding factor in both cases?

It's a matter of risk analysis.

In the first example, there is definitely no harm in stopping. There is only potential harm in keeping on going. So one must err on the side of avoiding harm, and must stop if there is any potential reason to think one might cause harm.
In the second example, there is definitely harm in stopping. There is only potential harm in keeping on going. So one must err on the side of avoiding harm, and must keep going unless one has clear reason that harm will probably be caused by keeping on going.

We don't really rely on the argument of materialism as a cast-iron law. It's just one argument, and there is an equally valid argument of non-materialism. Both are equally valid. We choose between them based on what is likely to cause greater harm, or, if there is no potential for serious harm, then what is likely to cause the greater benefit.

Because science is supposed to be about logic and reason, and materialism is just a type of argument that we only apply when it is appropriate, science is independent of materialism.

It's a useful tool. But that's all it is.

The minute we take materialism to be more important than a case of risk analysis, that must be evaluated in each situation separately, we run the risk of betting against the odds. When we do that with science, we end up making mistakes. We ASSUME that Thalidomide is good for everyone, instead of considering that it might be harmful for growing embryos of pregnant women. Then if we are wrong, public feeling is so strong, that good drugs like Thalidomide get banned, not just for pregnant women, but for everyone. So science gets suppressed.

Of course, if we just accept that it's just an assumption, and we consider that Thalidomide might harm pregnant women, then until we can show that it's safe for pregnant women, we can just slap a contra-indication on it, "Not proved safe for pregnant women". There are lots of drugs with contra-indications for things like pregnancy. They are still sold at pharmacies. They are not a problem. Thalidomide would not have been a problem, if we'd just not made the assumption "If we have no evidence for it, then we can assume it's not something we need to worry about".

So you see, if we take the materialism argument too far, or the anti-materialism argument too far, we end up suppressing science. So we're much better off just realising materialism is an argument that is a tool, and is just as important, but no more important, than the anti-materialism argument.
 xlr8ingmargo
Joined: 7/28/2009
Msg: 247
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/10/2010 4:07:10 PM
^^^ You put that so clearly that even I understood it all the first time I read it!
Cool beenie weenies dude.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 248
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/10/2010 5:26:42 PM
Scorp...

Correction - Einstein didn't say that Newton was WRONG... just incomplete. And you're right - someone else COULD come along with a different explanation... however, that explanation would have to be able to account for EVERY prediction that both Newtonian and GR physics does.

You've got a point - materialism may not be the end-all and be-all of reality. But up to this point in time, it's the BEST we have to work with.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 249
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/10/2010 6:03:26 PM
Bit of a follow-up...

You also have to keep in mind - Dark Matter and Dark Energy weren't thought of fifty years ago, because all the observations we had of the universe were consistent with the theories we had at the time. As our instruments got more precise, and our observations detected discrepancies, we had to come up with something to account for the EVIDENCE we were collecting. Hence, the hypotheses of DM and DE.

To be honest, I haven't seen any non-materialistic arguments for the nature of reality that explain it better than the materialist ones. Sure, it could be that gravity doesn't exist, and that angels push things together... but how do you go about performing experiments to support that claim?
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 250
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/12/2010 1:26:02 PM
How is morality not a material problem? The whole idea of morality is founded on the choices we make affecting those around us, after all...
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 251
view profile
History
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/12/2010 2:25:05 PM
RE Msg: 287 by RocketMan_Len:
Correction - Einstein didn't say that Newton was WRONG... just incomplete.
Let's be clear. Newton said that everything in the universe travels in straight lines, just like a ball rolls in a straight line along a path. Then why do the planets orbit the Sun? Because as they move in a straight line, away from the Sun, a FORCE pulls them closer, just enough to keep them in an orbit.

Einstein said that everything in the universe would travel in a straight line, if nothing else was there. But objects warp space around it, making the universe like a series of Nürburgrings. Thus, there is no force that keeps the planets orbiting the Sun. Their paths are shaped like an orbit by the Sun. They just keep moving along their paths.

In addition, Newton provided a mathematical formula to describe the movements of the planets, which was accurate to a certain number of decimal places. Einstein also provided a mathematical formula to describe the movements of the planets. But if Einstein's formula was to improve on Newton's formula, it must be accurate to more decimal places. So Einstein's mathematical formula converted Newton's formula to tensor form, and added a correction value. That correction value made it accurate to many more decimal places.

So, Newton and Einstein fundamentally disagreed about the nature of motion, space, and gravity.
Newton said gravity existed. Einstein said it just SEEMED to exist, but really didn't.
Newton said space was straight. Einstein said it just SEEMED to be straight, but was really curved.
Newton said motion was straight, along straight space. Einstein said it SEEMED to be straight along straight space, but it was straight along curved space, making it curved motion.

But their formulas, being based on mathematics, had to be incredibly similar. Why?

Because mathematics is NOT like science.

In science, one can propose a hypothesis, and, as long as one's data is roughly consistent with the predictions of one's hypothesis, we say that the hypothesis is likely true, and we call it a theory.

In pure mathematics, we call both rubbish. There are only theorems and conjectures in mathematics. A mathematical theorem is a hypothesis that is proved to be 100% completely true, to an infinite number of decimal places, AND where ALL other possible hypotheses are proved 100% completely false. A mathematical conjecture is a hypothesis that has not been proved to be 100% true, but where every piece of data we have matches it to an infinite number of decimal places, so much so, that everyone believes it is almost certainly true, but no-one has yet shown that it is 100% completely true.

Pure mathematics is about definacy. If there is any possibility that it is false, even if it includes the possibility of an invisible teapot orbiting exactly opposite to the Earth, then the hypothesis is not proved.

In applied mathematics, we allow for the use of formulas that are not perfectly accurate. We can work out possible conclusions from those formulas. However, we accept that they have a margin of error. Therefore the conclusions have a margin of error, that could be many times greater than the error margins of the original formula, by millions of times. So, we still cannot rely on them. We have to work out what their error margins are. To do that, we have to take the maximum error of the original formulas, and then apply them to our calculations, to work out the error margins of our new conclusions. Until we do that, we have a general result. But it's could be totally wrong, and we can't say how wrong we could be, until we do that. But, even in applied mathematics, we have to have a formula that can clearly quantify the data in a clear and definitive way, that can allow us to define an exact number of decimal places to which the formulas are accurate.

Neither Newton's theory of gravity, nor Einstein's theory of relativity, are acceptable in pure mathematics at all. They aren't even considered in applied mathematics, because they are just ideas, that have no clear and definitive statements, that can be described in a very clear and definitive mathematical way. Their formulas are accepted in applied mathematics, because they are clear and definitive, and can be tested to a fixed number of decimal places.

And you're right - someone else COULD come along with a different explanation... however, that explanation would have to be able to account for EVERY prediction that both Newtonian and GR physics does.
That is what Mathematicians are expected to do all the time. That's not a challenge. That's a mathematician's normal day. However, when it comes to the ideas that make the formulae palatable, they have to be consistent with the formulae in all situations. It's a real challenge for a physicist to come up with an explanation of any formula they might be handed.

You've got a point - materialism may not be the end-all and be-all of reality. But up to this point in time, it's the BEST we have to work with.
What you are expressing is the popular view of empiricism.

I used to think this was what empiricism was all about as well. However, about a year ago, there was a lot of discussion about empiricism in the forums, and I found it quite interesting. One day while I was in the library, I found a book on empiricism, and so I decided to read it, to learn more about it, and what the empiricist philosophers said.

Boy did I get a shock! Every single empirical philosopher listed, from Hume, to Kant, to Wittgenstein, all asked what was reality, and if we could work it out using either reason, or evidence, or both. The irony was that they ALL concluded that you could NOT conclude anything at all from what they called "sense data", which is what we call "physical evidence".

Hume argued that if you see an orange, smell an orange, and taste an orange, that you're not experiencing an orange. Your senses are getting information that is pretty much the same as the information you'd expect your senses to get from an orange. But you could never really say it was an orange, only something that SEEMED like an orange. Based on this, he concluded you cannot trust the material world at all.

Locke argued that the reason we all have different views on things, is because we are all shaped by our experiences, and these experiences shape the way we interpret the world. As a consequence, when we see, eat and taste something, and think it is an orange, that is because that is the closest thing to our experiences. But for we all, it could be an orange-flavoured ball of meat. It could even be an animal that grows that way. We would think it's an orange, because we re-interpret what we see in terms of our prior experiences, which included oranges, and didn't include animals that grow as spheres.

Ayer argued that if you look at a table, that from one angle, it looks like a triangle, and from another it looks like a rectangle, and yet from both angles, we would not say we are looking at a table. So Ayer concluded that what we see, hear, even taste, are all based on the angles of our perception. For all we know, if we just looked at things from a different angle, we'd reach entirely different conclusions.

So it became clear to me that what we generally refer to as empiricism, was the one thing that every empirical philosopher in our history has said is completely unreliable!

Now perhaps you understand why I found it a bit of a shock. It was so amazing that I read the whole book that day, just to really see if this was just the perspective of one philosopher's views. But it wasn't. It was the view of them all.

However, that's NOT the view that most people have of empiricism. So I have a huge conflict between when people talk about empirical concepts like materialism, and what the philosophers that actually discussed these ideas, really concluded.

RE Msg: 288 by RocketMan_Len:
You also have to keep in mind - Dark Matter and Dark Energy weren't thought of fifty years ago,

Dark matter was postulated by Fritz Zwicky in 1934, to account for evidence of "missing mass" in the orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

50 years ago is 1960, isn't it? That's about 26 years AFTER Dark matter was thought of.

because all the observations we had of the universe were consistent with the theories we had at the time. As our instruments got more precise, and our observations detected discrepancies, we had to come up with something to account for the EVIDENCE we were collecting. Hence, the hypotheses of DM and DE.

According to observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter accounts for 23% of the mass-energy density of the observable universe, while the ordinary matter accounts for only 4.6% (the remainder is attributed to dark energy)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

If only 4.6% of the universe can be accounted for by ordinary matter, and the rest is attributed to dark matter and dark energy, that means they constitute 95.4% of the mass-energy density. I could believe that we didn't know about 0.002% of the universe. But nearly all of it? And we didn't KNOW? If we can miss nearly ALL of the matter and energy in the universe, then how can we be confident at all that we're STILL not missing 90% of the universe? Seriously? How can we trust anything in astrophysics and cosomology at all, if they can be off by NEARLY EVERYTHING?

So I seriously doubt that we had any confidence that we had any clue about how much matter and energy there was in the universe, before we knew that there had to be something like dark matter and dark energy.

To be honest, I haven't seen any non-materialistic arguments for the nature of reality that explain it better than the materialist ones. Sure, it could be that gravity doesn't exist, and that angels push things together... but how do you go about performing experiments to support that claim?
That's a spiritualistic explanation. Non-materialism and materialism can both include spiritualism and non-spiritualism. Non-materialism just says that there could be things out there that aren't material, things that we currently have material evidence of. It doesn't enter into a discussion of spiritualism at that point.

Besides, spiritualism and theism involve questions about sentient beings. Therefore, it's about their decisions. Most of science really focusses on impersonal relations.

A classical example of this is the Obama election. That was dependent on how people would decide to vote. But you cannot easily quantify personal decisions scientifically, because every person makes decisions based on their individual experiences. In science, all you do is try to work out ways to determine how people would vote, independently of their individual experiences. So when we look at things scientifically, we try to avoid those types of questions, except in the most general way, that is totally independent of who we are talking about. Thus, to ask when or why angels might push something together, is really something that we try to avoid discussing in science, as much as possible.

Again, I don't rely on philosophical or scientific logic. It's inexact, and it can be superseded tomorrow, or even later today. So it's about as reliable as betting on the horses. I rely on mathematical logic, because it's only acceptable in mathematics, if it's incredibly exact, and that if it's true today, then it will be true tomorrow, the day after that, and every day from today till the end of time. I equally don't rely on the scientific explanation part of any theory. I rely on the mathematical formulae in the theory, because they have been tested, and we know exactly how reliable they are, to exactly how many decimal places, and when and where they are reliable, and when and where they are not reliable.

It's a very hard-headed and sceptical way of looking at the world. But it's incredibly reliable.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 252
What is real
Posted: 5/13/2010 6:15:55 AM
Ah 66scorp,would you just stop with the schoolyard bully tactics? Everyone else is getting tired of it. Me, I could go back and forth with you all day but that's just a good way of getting ourselves turfed. We might already be on our way. So it's up to you. Keep it up or drop it. Ball's in your court.

Now, let's look at this statement:


Science ASSUMES a physical, rational, material explanation for ball lightning, UFOs, after death experiences and bleeding madonas. To contemplate anything else is simply unscientific.


Science has to assume physical, rational and material explanations because that is the stock and trade of science. We all acknowledge that. And if it didn't, we would be frightened of every weird thing we saw in the sky, prostrated before every bleeding statue (and handing it's owner our money) and ignorant of how the brain functions. Science makes the world an interesting place without it having to be scary.

Does that mean science has killed "God?" Well, if it has, you might want to tell Ken Miller, the astronomers at the Vatican observatory and hundreds of other scientists who express religious beliefs.

So while materialism may be a foundational philosophy behind science, it doesn't rule over the scientists.

Morality gets a little trickier. While science might tell us how the universe works, morality is about how people work together, in particular context of their social and cultural context. What is interesting, however, is that scientists studying our closest evolutionary relatives have found evidence of "moralistic" cooperative behaviour. Kind of tells me that the basis of what we call "morality" is actually hardwired into the members of the troupe.

What we call "law" is simply a formal declaration of that fundamental hardwiring of the brain.
 xlr8ingmargo
Joined: 7/28/2009
Msg: 253
What is real
Posted: 5/13/2010 8:29:58 AM
^^^ Im proud of you Gazer~ that was a great post and you didnt get all fired up!!!
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 258
view profile
History
What is real
Posted: 5/13/2010 5:26:42 PM
RE Msg: 295 by stargazer1000:

Science ASSUMES a physical, rational, material explanation for ball lightning, UFOs, after death experiences and bleeding madonas. To contemplate anything else is simply unscientific.
Science has to assume physical, rational and material explanations because that is the stock and trade of science. We all acknowledge that. And if it didn't, we would be frightened of every weird thing we saw in the sky, prostrated before every bleeding statue (and handing it's owner our money) and ignorant of how the brain functions. Science makes the world an interesting place without it having to be scary.
I doubt that it would frighten anyone. Well, many people wouldn't be frightened. Certainly not a lot of the people I grew up with. We loved to go out in a thunderstorm. All part of the fun.

But I guess some people could be frightened.

But looking at it again, stupid people aren't easily scared. It just doesn't occur to them. Smart people aren't easily scared. They weigh up the odds, and act accordingly. You have to be between the two, someone who trusts in authority enough to expect it to save you, but without fully committing yourself to act in the interest of making it happen, an armchair citizen, so to speak. Then you have expectations, and optimism, but with reliance on others to achieve it. Then, when things happen, those people expect things to be solved for them. But, because fundamentally, people often let others down, you end up waiting to be saved by humans who are not planning to do so, or who don't know how.

It does make life easier if we just try to work with the universe as if it runs on inviolable, predictable rules. It makes the universe appear to be like a watch, something that you can control, that you can set the time on it, to what you want it to be, and something that, if it runs at a speed that you don't like, you can always "fix" it. That makes it far less frightening, to those who are easily frightened.

In many ways, it's true. After all, psychology suggests people run like Swiss watches. Certainly, players and those who work in Advertising, find that in general, people are easy to manipulate. Much of modern science just assumes the same about non-human objects in the universe, and, it's easy to see that the same is true, that non-human objects are as easy to manipulate as humans are to manipulate.

Does that mean science has killed "God?" Well, if it has, you might want to tell Ken Miller, the astronomers at the Vatican observatory and hundreds of other scientists who express religious beliefs.
Hundreds of years before the scientific revolution, there were lots of Muslims performing scientific investigations. Aliens would call them "Muslim scientists". I'd say that to my Muslim friends, my Xian friends, my Jewish friends, my theistic friends who don't believe in organised religion, and my atheistic friends. But I get the general impression that a lot of people on this site would consider that to even suggest that Western society didn't invent science, would be scientific heresy.

There is a very good reason why religious people are not scared off by science. If you believe that an omnipotent, omniscient being created everything, and can destroy you at any moment, but only has your best interests at heart, it's rather like walking right through the middle of a military exercise, after the guy in charge assured you that his people have perfect accuracy and perfect sight of their targets, and never hit anything they don't intend to, and he's told them to leave you alone. Absolutely terrifying, even if you know for 100% that they have never ever hit anything they intended to avoid. But once you get used to that, the apparent chaos of the universe is water off a duck's back.

So while materialism may be a foundational philosophy behind science, it doesn't rule over the scientists.
It could be the foundation of American science. After all, a lot of Americans seem to think that Locke, Bacon and Newton, all said that everything can be measured empirically.

Morality gets a little trickier. While science might tell us how the universe works, morality is about how people work together, in particular context of their social and cultural context.
It's funny you should say that. I recall that my maths professors said that in mathematics, morality is as predictable as gravity. It just requires a different sort of equation. In maths, there are lots of types of equations, many more than most people imagine.

What is interesting, however, is that scientists studying our closest evolutionary relatives have found evidence of "moralistic" cooperative behaviour.
I'm very surprised. I saw that when I was 3. You can see it anywhere in nature. Do I and most people I know have "magic eyes" that scientists lack?

I just seriously have to wonder that considering what is right there in front of us, any scientists can say they only "found" evidence, and didn't see it all along.

Kind of tells me that the basis of what we call "morality" is actually hardwired into the members of the troupe.
If you are talking about the nature vs nurture debate, it was debated back when I was a teen. The usual way such discussions go is that one person says nature, and brings up an example or a quote from someone. Then others say that it's nurture, and give other examples. Then each side brings even more examples. Eventually, there are so many examples for each view, that most people get confused. That's why it usually ends up without a clear answer for both sides.

What we call "law" is simply a formal declaration of that fundamental hardwiring of the brain.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 259
What is real
Posted: 5/14/2010 5:15:27 AM
Cheers scorp, and since I have been an equal participant to this, so I apologize as well.

And apologies to the other participants of this thread, as well.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 260
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/14/2010 6:35:27 AM

We are no closer to understanding any 'why's of existence


Perhaps there are NO answers to the 'whys' of our existence... other than the obvious 'why not'. We may be looking for reasons behind things that have no inherent reason behind them.

And maybe that's the biggest difference between the philosopher and the scientist - the philosopher likes to play with questions that may not have ANY answer, while the scientist deals with questions that COULD have an answer.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 261
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Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/14/2010 7:22:43 AM
RE Msg: 305 by RocketMan_Len:

We are no closer to understanding any 'why's of existence
Perhaps there are NO answers to the 'whys' of our existence... other than the obvious 'why not'. We may be looking for reasons behind things that have no inherent reason behind them.

And maybe that's the biggest difference between the philosopher and the scientist - the philosopher likes to play with questions that may not have ANY answer, while the scientist deals with questions that COULD have an answer.

The mathematician says what IS true.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 262
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/14/2010 8:24:34 AM
Baloney. Even in mathematics, the concept of GIGO applies. If your initial premise is somehow flawed - no matter how elegant and perfect your equations are, the result is just as worthless as anything else.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 263
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Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/15/2010 7:28:21 PM
RE Msg: 307 by RocketMan_Len:
Baloney. Even in mathematics, the concept of GIGO applies. If your initial premise is somehow flawed - no matter how elegant and perfect your equations are, the result is just as worthless as anything else.
Ironic you should say that. The attitude of Western civilisation to mathematics has been to place GIGO as its founding principle. As a result, in mathematics, if anything has even the slightest possibility of containing garbage, it is rejected.

A classic example of this is Fermat's Last Theorem. During the summer break after my first year of university, a friend showed me a newspaper article that said that it had been solved. When the next term began, I mentioned this to one of my lecturers. My corrected me that mathematicians referred to Fermat's Last Theorem as Fermat's Last Conjecture, as it had not yet been proved, no matter how accurate it had shown itself to be, and one does not call anything in mathematics a Theorem until it has been proved for 100%. I then pointed out to him that it HAD been proved. He then told me that mathematicians were checking over the proof, and it remained to be seen that it was proved. Turned out that Andrew Wiles got a tiny bit of the proof wrong. The whole paper was thrown out. He spent a year fixing that one little bit. Then it was re-submitted, re-checked, and only once mathematicians had indeed determined that it was definitely correct, that mathematicians accepted it.

However, even then, in mathematics, one is expected to learn every proof of every theorem that one will use. That is pointless if one knows those theorems are true. Ergo, in mathematics, even for those theorems that everyone "knows" are 100% true, you are still expected to be sceptical of them, and not use them, until you have read and understood the proof for yourself, enough that even if everyone else thought it was wrong, you could prove to them all that it was right.

In mathematics, GIGO is the defining rule. In mathematics, if you have any possibility of the slightest bit of garbage, you're expected to be sceptical. If you do actually accept something as true, or accept something as false, you're expected to have proved it to yourself beyond even unreasonable doubt.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 264
Science doesn't support Materialism or contradict the alternatives
Posted: 5/17/2010 9:39:27 AM
So, Newton and Einstein fundamentally disagreed about the nature of motion, space, and gravity.

No, not really. Both Newtonian Gravity and general relativity hinge on the equivalence principle. The only difference is that Newton lacked the mathematics to apply it in the most general way. Both theories are expressible in terms of a pseudoriemannian manifold equipped with a Lorentzian metric. In the Principia, Newton expressly stated that he made no presumptions about the physical nature of the gravitational field, so essentially, Newtonian gravity is simply the divergence theorem from vector calculus. That makes Newton's theory of gravity a geometric theory of spacetime as well, except that Newtonian physics is invariant under the Galilean group in which case one may couple forces to potential functions, while general relativity is invariant under general diffeomorphisms.

In science, one can propose a hypothesis, and, as long as one's data is roughly consistent with the predictions of one's hypothesis, we say that the hypothesis is likely true, and we call it a theory....blah blah blah...

Yoiu really ought to study some physics, since that is flat out incorrect. Fundamental theories in physics have exact postulates which are exact mathematical statements, so if the theory doesn't correctly describe the physical phenomena to which the mathematics was applied, the the theory is still true in the mathematical sense. Newtonian physics is nothing more than the Galilean Lie algebra. If the mathematics of Lie groups and Lie algebras is wrong, your statement is incorrect, since the mathematics is, to use your terminology, 100% true. If the mathematics is correct, your statement is still wrong, since as I just pointed out, that's what Newtonian physics is. Same argument for general relativity, except the group is general diffeomorphisms on a pseudoriemannian manifold (where the pseudo means the metric is indefinite instead of positive definite.)


It's inexact, and it can be superseded tomorrow, or even later today.

Since physics is just a physical interpretation of mathematics, you're wrong.


I rely on the mathematical formulae in the theory, because they have been tested, and we know exactly how reliable they are, to exactly how many decimal places, and when and where they are reliable, and when and where they are not reliable.

In that case, you are talking about engineering, not physics. In physics, the formulae derived from a set of postulates is used to test the postulates. If the formulae fail, then one or more of the postulates is wrong even though the theory is exactly true in the mathematical sense.


The mathematician says what IS true.

No, mathematics is nothing more than a formal system for proving theorems from a set of rules. Those rules can be anything so long as the rules are self-consistent. That doesn't mean there is any physical content in the mathematics.





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