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 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 51
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the UniversePage 3 of 19    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
Well, assuming his findings were sound, I would have to consider moving into spinoza's territory.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 52
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/9/2010 3:53:22 PM
RE Msg: 51 by OpenEyes:
Well, assuming his findings were sound, I would have to consider moving into spinoza's territory.
But then you are NOT taking Hawking's word for it. You are putting several conditions on his statement:
1) That you verify his statement yourself.
2) That you only consider changing your opinion.
3) That you only change it slightly, to something that is pretty close to your current opinion.

If you now apply that same set of conditions to Hawking's statement as it stands, then you would be requiring theists to do the same things:
1) That each theist looks at what Hawking said, and decides for himself if it makes sense, according to what we know about physics or not.
2) That those theists who believe Hawking was definitely right, only CONSIDER changing their views.
3) That those theists who believe Hawking was definitely right, consider only to change their views SLIGHTLY, to one more consistent with Hawking's statement, but not that much different from their current viewpoint.

However, in that case, #1 implies that we don't trust Hawking at all, but only what he said. In which case, it really shouldn't matter WHO said it. So even if the Pope said it, we should evaluate it in the same way.

So really, the Pope would then be on the same footing as Hawking.
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 53
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/9/2010 3:59:16 PM
Just because you trust someone doesn't mean you accept what they say if it contradicts all other evidence you know without considering and examing it yourself. People who do that are what we call "gullible".

On second thought, that would explain alot about religion.

The pope has a strong political and financial reasons that his decision making would be compromised. Hawking, on the other hand, isn't exactly sitting on billions of dollars harvested from Atheists over millenia.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 54
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/9/2010 5:04:24 PM
RE Msg: 53 by OpenEyes:
Just because you trust someone doesn't mean you accept what they say if it contradicts all other evidence you know without considering and examing it yourself. People who do that are what we call "gullible".
Actually, people who do that are called "very gullible".

If you trust someone, and you accept what they say, if it is seems to make sense to you, and you dismiss what people say, that seems to contradict all the things you know, then you are "gullible".

1) There are many honest geniuses who don't know how to talk to people, and say many incredibly smart things, but who say them in incredibly confusing ways, that seem to contradict everything you know.

2) There are many glib liars, who know that most people will reject things that don't sound plausible. They always throw truth in with their lie, and only tell lies that seem plausible.

3) There are many clever-sounding show-offs, who want to spout stupid and ill-thought opinions. They also know that most people will reject things that don't sound plausible. So whenever they come up with some ridiculous idea, they always start with something sensible, and then twist it to support their opinion.

You don't want to reject the words of an honest genius, and accept the words of glib liars and the stupidities of clever-sounding show-offs. You certainly don't want to do the last 2, because there are a hell of a lot of them around, particularly if they got a good education that trained them how to make things sound plausible.

The only way to avoid doing that, is to treat everything the same, from whoever said it, and always consider that any statement could be false, no matter how plausible it sounds, and any statement could be true, no matter how crazy it sounds.

On second thought, that would explain alot about religion.
You cannot say that about religious people, unless you ARE religious, or at least, WERE religious as an observant and deep-thinking person. You can say that, about the things that atheists are told about religious people, if you are an atheist. As a result, if an atheist says that, what he MEANS, is that what he was told about religion, sounds like religious people just believe anything they are told. But that may have come from a glib liar, or a well-meaning clever-sounding show-off. It might be baseless, if you examine for yourself, what religious people do.

The pope has a strong political and financial reasons that his decision making would be compromised. Hawking, on the other hand, isn't exactly sitting on billions of dollars harvested from Atheists over millenia
Yes and no. I doubt that the Pope could just go out and buy himself a gold toilet. The money is locked up in the system. Likewise, Hawking isn't in the position to go out and buy a gold toilet. But the money that he relied upon for his income, was funding for scientific research, that amounts to billions of dollars every single year. So they are in a similar position.

There is also one thing that the current Pope said. He said something a while back about condoms not helping stop AIDS, and the best way was abstinence, excepting for one's spouse.

It sounds crazy. But I decided to research it anyway

Uganda was the country that everyone was raving about in the 90s as the worst affected by AIDS in all of Africa. It is 50% Catholic, and a few years after the Pope's speech, it's got one of the lowest rates in Africa. Botswana has only 5% Catholics, and yet rates there are 5 times that in Uganda.

Then I looked up circumcision in Africa. The UN did a trial, to see the effectiveness of circumcision. They found it reduced the chances of getting AIDS by 50%, and as a result, would stop spreading AIDS by the same. The interesting thing, was that the UN stopped the trial before it finished, because they said it was unfair to the non-circumcised men. Obviously, they could have given them free condoms, and condoms reduce the chances of getting AIDS by 80%. The problem is, that African men don't use condoms.

So what the Pope was saying, actually does conform to what is happening in Africa.

Now, does that mean that everything the Pope says is right? Of course not. But some of it is right, even though it doesn't make sense according to conventional knowledge.
 Robecology
Joined: 2/16/2010
Msg: 55
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/10/2010 7:08:12 AM
Good point (Science should claim "There is no evidence of (or for) God" rather than "There is no God". ) This allows me to interact with Religious people, enjoying their goodness without conflicting with them. The universe may be infinitely big, infinitely old...so who's to say there is "no God" or invisible, unpresent yet cognitive powerful "being"...or even "non-being". We simply have no evidence to disclaim God; but that doesn't mean (S)he-it doesn't exist.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 56
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/10/2010 3:20:04 PM
RE Msg: 55 by Robecology:
Good point (Science should claim "There is no evidence of (or for) God" rather than "There is no God". ) This allows me to interact with Religious people, enjoying their goodness without conflicting with them. The universe may be infinitely big, infinitely old...so who's to say there is "no God" or invisible, unpresent yet cognitive powerful "being"...or even "non-being". We simply have no evidence to disclaim God; but that doesn't mean (S)he-it doesn't exist.
If you change that to:

Atheists, whether scientists or non-scientists, should claim: "I simply have not come across things that I consider evidence to prove God; but that doesn't mean (S)he-it doesn't exist.",

Then yes, that would allow you to interact with religious people, and enjoy their goodness without conflicting with them.

You'll still meet some people who will try to persuade you of their beliefs. But you'll also meet staunch Democrats who will try to convince you to vote Democrat, staunch Republicans who will try to convince you to vote Republican, and vegans who will scream "meat is murder" and refuse to have sex with you unless you give up meat. But that's just the way people are.

You either accept it and don't worry about it, or you spend a lot of your life being very p*ssed off at the world. I think you'd have a much better time doing the former.

Speaking as someone who knows a lot of people of very different religious beliefs than my own, including atheists, I'd have to say that works very well.
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 57
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/10/2010 6:27:38 PM

And you dismiss what people say, that seems to contradict all the things you know, then you are "gullible".
I never said 'dismiss'- in fact, I specficially stated that I would examine their findings for myself if it contradicts what is known to be fact. If you trust them or it's a reputable source, but there's a contradiction, you try to dig deeper to find the discrepancy. If you don't trust them, and there's a contradiction, it may not be worth your time. Since Hawking is a trustworthy unbiased source, it's worth considering what he has to say about the universe, whatever it might be.


...but the money that he relied upon for his income, was funding for scientific research, that amounts to billions of dollars every single year. So they are in a similar position.

No, they're not- because scientific funding doesn't depend on his or others positions on god. Except in the sense that every dollar locked up by the church is a dollar not going to, say, medical research.

Abstinence is the most effective STI prevention, of course, but is it feasible? Maybe if the Pope had told the country that condoms DID help stop aids, African Catholics might actually use it- if the pope has as much clout as claimed that he could revolutionize health with a single speech, it seems like he could promote a very important tool in health and women's rights. Instead they're busy trying to insist that people should just not have sex before they're married (good luck with that).


Science should claim "There is no evidence of (or for) God" rather than "There is no God".
Science NEVER claims "there is no god". It just shows how non-essential the concept is by shrinking the gaps of human knowledge in which it hides.


Atheists, whether scientists or non-scientists, should claim: "I simply have not come across things that I consider evidence to prove God; but that doesn't mean (S)he-it doesn't exist.",
So why shouldn't atheists who hang out with religious get the benefit of conviction, since as you pointed out everyone else does? What you're describing is agnosticism, not atheism.
 CallmeKen
Joined: 9/4/2009
Msg: 58
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/12/2010 11:43:59 AM

Stephen Hawking is almost completely paralyzed, he speaks through a computer, his is eternally limp as wilted lettuce and he poops into a bag.
Well, that was just...ignorant.


Oh, I'm sorry, you want an informed opinion? Ok, I'll use my 3 years' experience as an online bookseller. If Hawking (and Mlodinow ) wrote a book on alternative dimensions and universal forces, it would have wound up as a curiosity collecting dust on a few college library shelves.

But give athiests something to rub in Christians' faces and, well, 11% of Americans classify themselves as athiests. At $15.40 a copy, times 33 million athiests in the US, that's a nice chunk of profit.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 59
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/12/2010 6:02:32 PM
RE Msg: 57 by OpenEyes:

And you dismiss what people say, that seems to contradict all the things you know, then you are "gullible".
I never said 'dismiss'- in fact, I specficially stated that I would examine their findings for myself if it contradicts what is known to be fact. If you trust them or it's a reputable source, but there's a contradiction, you try to dig deeper to find the discrepancy. If you don't trust them, and there's a contradiction, it may not be worth your time. Since Hawking is a trustworthy unbiased source, it's worth considering what he has to say about the universe, whatever it might be.
I realised that you never stated that you were either dismissive or gullible. However, all of us humans sometimes make mistakes and are sometimes biased, even when we have the best of intentions. So there is every reason to not rely on anyone's word, if you can check it out for yourself.

I agree that IF you know someone, where every time you have disagreed with them, and you have checked it out for yourself, they have always been right and you have been wrong, and you have a disagreement with that person, and you are trying to confirm it for yourself, then it makes great sense to trust in their view for the meantime, as probability dictates they are probably right, and you are wrong.

But in this case, most people who have a school education, and have access to public libraries, and the internet, and can think for themselves, CAN develop their own points on the subject, and can work out to a large extent if Hawking is right or not.


...but the money that he relied upon for his income, was funding for scientific research, that amounts to billions of dollars every single year. So they are in a similar position.
No, they're not- because scientific funding doesn't depend on his or others positions on god.
Scientific funding relies on politicians and corporations, and who show a great willingness to fire any scientist who disagrees with their goals, such as Prof David Nutt, the former UK government's scientific advisor on illegal drugs, who was fired for stating that they were less harmful than many legal activities.

Except in the sense that every dollar locked up by the church is a dollar not going to, say, medical research.
Exactly. Scientists are often having to fight for funding. Right now, with the current austerity measures, scientific funding looks to be severely cut. These austerity measures seem set to be there for several years. So scientists have a huge interest in gaining as much funding as possible. It thus makes sense that many scientists could believe that if they could persuade people to abandon religion, and not donate money to religious organisations, that they could get a lot more money for their funding. So yes, there is a big potential bias for scientists to want people to abandon religion.

Consider how many adverts are for scientific research, that appeal to the emotions and not reason. If YOU wanted people to give money to science, would you want them to do so because they can see there is a good need for it, or because they are manipulated into doing so?

There is everything good with science as a subject. But right now, we are living in a material world, and science has become big business, and that can lead to subconscious biases on the part of scientists.

I'd rather that Stephen Hawking just got his argument published anonymously, and THEN, when everyone had decided for themselves if it was true, THEN to admit it was he who penned it. Then people would not be likely to believe it because a great scientist said so,


Abstinence is the most effective STI prevention, of course, but is it feasible? Maybe if the Pope had told the country that condoms DID help stop aids, African Catholics might actually use it- if the pope has as much clout as claimed that he could revolutionize health with a single speech, it seems like he could promote a very important tool in health and women's rights. Instead they're busy trying to insist that people should just not have sex before they're married (good luck with that).
If abstinence is the most effective STI prevention, then surely it's the most preferable, if we can get it to work. I agree that the only question is if it is feasible or not.

So, if the pope had preached abstinence, and Uganda had the top rate of AIDS in the world, that would show that it wasn't feasible to preach abstinence. But the reverse happened, which showed the pope preaching abstinence worked, and as you put it, it is the best method of preventing AIDS.

Science should claim "There is no evidence of (or for) God" rather than "There is no God".
Science NEVER claims "there is no god". It just shows how non-essential the concept is by shrinking the gaps of human knowledge in which it hides.Either G-d did something, or G-d didn't. If G-d did it, G-d did it, even if scientists had an explanation for it. If G-d didn't do it, then G-d didn't do it, even if everyone says that it's incomprehensible. So you cannot define what G-d does by what you understand.

Granted, there is a tendency for atheism to rise in the final stages of civilisations. It happened to the Greeks and I think it happened to the Romans as well. But why?

Primitive man knew some things and not others. We know some things and not others. So we are on an equal footing there.

Primitive man lived in the wild, and knew how to live there. If we were dumped there, we'd probably die. In fact, many of us who get stuck in the wild, do. But if they were dumped in our world, they could adapt, and even if they didn't, they wouldn't die from our world. Why not?

Because we've sanitised our cities. We've killed off all the wolves, bears, and lions from our urban areas. We've established artificial lighting, artificial power, guaranteed sources of food, and we've taken great pains to eliminate as many germs and diseases as possible. Our cities have got far more in common with an operating theatre, or a scientific lab, than the real world.

So you have to realise that most of us are growing up and living in a carefully constructed artificial bubble. It's very easy to imagine that the designers and controllers of the bubble in which you live, controls the world, if that's all you know, and the designers and controllers of our bubbles that we live in, are US.

We only get a reality check when we are forced to abandon our cities, to abandon our tools, and everything we use to control nature, and to just learn to live with nature.


Atheists, whether scientists or non-scientists, should claim: "I simply have not come across things that I consider evidence to prove God; but that doesn't mean (S)he-it doesn't exist.",
So why shouldn't atheists who hang out with religious get the benefit of conviction, since as you pointed out everyone else does? What you're describing is agnosticism, not atheism.
OK. So change that to:

Atheists, whether scientists or non-scientists, should claim: "I simply have not come across things that I consider evidence to prove God; and based on that, I simply don't think that there is reason to suppose that G-d exists. But if you think that G-d exists, or you have personal evidence that G-d exists, then I'm not going to tell you that you are wrong, because I don't have that evidence."
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 60
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/12/2010 9:51:07 PM

Scientific funding relies on politicians and corporations, and who show a great willingness to fire any scientist who disagrees with their goals, such as Prof David Nutt, the former UK government's scientific advisor on illegal drugs, who was fired for stating that they were less harmful than many legal activities.
I think what we should take from that is that anyone in government employ will usually get fired if they publically come out against the government's party-line, whether or not they're scientists. Regardless of the fact that Hawking isn't employed by the government, or any corporation- except, get this, the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/own/documents/hawkingnew.html) - if the existence/non-existence of god is part of the current government's platform in the UK, it's the first I've heard of it.

Scientists are often having to fight for funding. .... It thus makes sense that many scientists could believe that if they could persuade people to abandon religion, and not donate money to religious organisations, that they could get a lot more money for their funding. So yes, there is a big potential bias for scientists to want people to abandon religion.
Aside from the bizarre conspiracy theory- "Scientists are pretending to be atheist for charity funding" ( since studies showing high levels of atheism in the sciences date back long before the economic crisis) when was the last time you saw anyone appealing for people to donate to astrophysics? Charity groups may act on the behalf of sufferers of disease to fund research and treatment, but I don't think I've ever seen "Citizens for the prevention of Black Holes" come on the air with an appeal.


So, if the pope had preached abstinence, and Uganda had the top rate of AIDS in the world, that would show that it wasn't feasible to preach abstinence. But the reverse happened, which showed the pope preaching abstinence worked, and as you put it, it is the best method of preventing AIDS.
Did you ever hear the phrase 'correlation does not equal causation'?
http://www.livescience.com/health/090331-bad-pope-condoms.html
"As reported in 2006 in the British Medical Journal's Sexually Transmitted Infections, Ugandan government health officials found that the rate of "ever use" condoms rose from 1 percent to 16 percent among women and from 16 percent to 40 percent in men from 1989 to 2000. Condom use during the most recent sexual encounter with a non-regular partner increased from 35 percent to 59 percent among men and 20 percent to 39 percent among women."
http://baptistplanet.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/death-condoms-and-abstinence-in-uganda/

As the British Medical Journal reported:
“Death alone accounted for a six percentage point reduction in HIV prevalence in the one year,....We estimate that mortality alone contributed five percentage points of the decline."

So when medical researchers actually studied the numbers, they found that the reduction in HIV was two-fold; all the people who had it died from lack of care, and use of condoms helped decrease new cases. The most important quote:

Researchers found no scientific evidence that the remaining decline was due to abstinence



Either G-d did something, or G-d didn't.
Okay. I'll go with the latter.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 61
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/13/2010 2:11:51 PM
RE Msg: 60 by OpenEyes:

Scientific funding relies on politicians and corporations, and who show a great willingness to fire any scientist who disagrees with their goals, such as Prof David Nutt, the former UK government's scientific advisor on illegal drugs, who was fired for stating that they were less harmful than many legal activities.
I think what we should take from that is that anyone in government employ will usually get fired if they publically come out against the government's party-line, whether or not they're scientists.
Yes, that is probably true.

Regardless of the fact that Hawking isn't employed by the government, or any corporation-
Not since he retired. But he was at Oxford and then Cambridge, from at least 1962 till he retired in 2009. During most of that 47 years, the university was funded substantially, if not mostly, by the government, and he was at the university as a postgrad and then lecturer for all that time, which means he was paid, either by grants or via the university, by the government.

except, get this, the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/own/documents/hawkingnew.html) - if the existence/non-existence of god is part of the current government's platform in the UK, it's the first I've heard of it.
It's based in the Vatican, not the UK, and has nothing to do with the UK government. It's the most recent successor to the Accademia dei Lincei, which was established in 1603. Here is a list of some of its members:
During its various decades of activity, the Academy has had a number of Nobel Prize winners amongst its members, many of whom were appointed Academicians before they received this prestigious international award. These include:

Ernest Rutherford (Chemistry, 1908)
Guglielmo Marconi (Physics, 1909)
Alexis Carrel (Physiology, 1912)
Max von Laue (Physics, 1914)
Max Planck (Physics, 1918)
Niels Bohr (Physics, 1922)
Werner Heisenberg (Physics, 1932)
Paul Dirac (Physics, 1933)
Erwin Schrödinger (Physics, 1933)
Peter J.W. Debye (Chemistry, 1936)
Otto Hahn (Chemistry, 1944)
Sir Alexander Fleming (Physiology, 1945)
Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee (Physics, 1957)
Joshua Lederberg (Physiology, 1958)
Rudolf Mössbauer (Physics, 1961)
Max F. Perutz (Chemistry, 1962)
John Carew Eccles (Physiology, 1963)
Charles H. Townes (Physics, 1964)
Manfred Eigen and George Porter (Chemistry, 1967)
Har Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg (Physiology, 1968)
Christian de Duve (Physiology, 1974)
George Emil Palade (Physiology, 1974) David Baltimore (Physiology, 1975)
Aage Bohr (Physics, 1975)
Abdus Salam (Physics, 1979)
Paul Berg (Chemistry, 1980)
Kai Siegbahn (Physics, 1981)
Sune Bergstrom (Physiology, 1982)
Carlo Rubbia (Physics, 1984)
Klaus von Klitzing (Physics, 1985)
Rita Levi-Montalcini (Physiology, 1986)
John C. Polanyi (Chemistry, 1986)
Yuan Tseh Lee (Chemistry, 1986)
Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry, 1987)
Joseph E. Murray (Physiology, 1990)
Gary S. Becker (Economics, 1992)
Paul J. Crutzen and Mario J. Molina (Chemistry, 1995)
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics, 1997)
Ahmed H. Zewail (Chemistry, 1999)
Günter Blobel (Physiology, 1999)
Ryoji Noyori (Chemistry, 2001)
Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry, 2004)
Gerhard Ertl (Chemistry, 2007)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_Academy_of_Sciences

I've highlighted some of the ones I recognised as being very eminent scientists. I find it interesting that 6 top names in theoretical physics were members.


Scientists are often having to fight for funding. .... It thus makes sense that many scientists could believe that if they could persuade people to abandon religion, and not donate money to religious organisations, that they could get a lot more money for their funding. So yes, there is a big potential bias for scientists to want people to abandon religion.
Aside from the bizarre conspiracy theory- "Scientists are pretending to be atheist for charity funding"
I think you might have missed my point. I don't think scientists deliberately collude. If they did, they could sell new weapons on the black market.

I think that it's just a basic result of evolutionary pressures, that among scientists who are already non-religious, there is a subconscious pressure from the survival instinct to generate enough funding to make them feel that their jobs are safe.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as if there is ever enough funding to satisfy scientists. That might also be a result of evolutionary pressures, though. It's a job with tenure. So it might be that the more money it has, the more people it attracts.

( since studies showing high levels of atheism in the sciences date back long before the economic crisis)
I knew that. There have been far more complaints about a lack of funding in UK science, and reports of real worries in that area, far more than before, since the Credit Crunch. It might not be coincidental that Hawking was a UK scientist for the last 47 years, and then, just as he published these comments, that was round about the time that UK scientists are seriously worried about losing at least 25% of their funding.

when was the last time you saw anyone appealing for people to donate to astrophysics? Charity groups may act on the behalf of sufferers of disease to fund research and treatment, but I don't think I've ever seen "Citizens for the prevention of Black Holes" come on the air with an appeal.
Astrophysics adverts? No. We do get many adverts asking us to donate to Cancer Research, though, and they do put on images designed to make us vote with our hearts and not our heads. Not exactly the Age of Reason. I've also noticed a change in programme structure in subjects like astrophysics. We used to get very informative programmes, that were chock full of information. In the last few years, there has been a change in such programmes. Now we get young good-looking astrophysicists, who are constantly "happy smiley people", who are telling us how wonderful and exciting science is, and who engage us with all sorts of "interesting" facts, but talk to us like an impressionable 15-year-old, who can be "persuaded", in much the same ways that I've seen in Scientology and other subjects with a hidden agenda.

It's not exactly cast-iron proof. But it does show a clear change to a specific method of presentation. So I cannot say that it definitely means scientists are trying to manipulate to get more money. But I cannot discount that choice either, particularly when this "popularisation of science" is happening a lot, and the more informative programmes are disappearing more and more.


So, if the pope had preached abstinence, and Uganda had the top rate of AIDS in the world, that would show that it wasn't feasible to preach abstinence. But the reverse happened, which showed the pope preaching abstinence worked, and as you put it, it is the best method of preventing AIDS.
Did you ever hear the phrase 'correlation does not equal causation'?
Yes, I do. But I didn't look up articles to support my views. I came across an article claiming that the pope's advice had influenced things. Then I did research for myself. I looked up the AIDS stats on Uganda and Botswana via Google, and the same for the religious demographics. See, I DIDN'T blindly take the pope's word for it, or anyone else's.

http://www.livescience.com/health/090331-bad-pope-condoms.html

"As reported in 2006 in the British Medical Journal's Sexually Transmitted Infections, Ugandan government health officials found that the rate of "ever use" condoms rose from 1 percent to 16 percent among women and from 16 percent to 40 percent in men from 1989 to 2000. Condom use during the most recent sexual encounter with a non-regular partner increased from 35 percent to 59 percent among men and 20 percent to 39 percent among women."
Fair enough. I could be wrong. But I'd like to see those figures in a bit more detail, because it's pretty specific when it says "during the most recent sexual encounter with a non-regular partner". Also, I wonder what "ever use" condoms are. But I'm willing to concede that I could be wrong.

From the same article:
Promoters of abstinence-focused HIV-prevention strategies, including the pope, point to Uganda's success in reducing HIV prevalence. While HIV rates climbed in neighboring countries, the proportion of Ugandans infected with HIV plunged from 21 percent in 1991 to 6 percent in 2002.

The success is attributed to the ABC campaign, short for "Abstain, or Be Faithful, or use Condoms." Conservative commentators often reference a Washington Post column from June 2008 by Sam Ruteikara, co-chair of Uganda's National AIDS-Prevention Committee, in which he states that the casual-sex Western agenda forced upon his country in recent years threatens to undermine the success of its homegrown solution.
According to this, the pope would be advocating condoms, at least, as a last resort. So it would be disingenuous to attribute the success of condom use to non-papal advice. However, I realise that this is a bit of a U-turn on my part. So if you want, you could take me to task on this.

Also from the same article:
There was no change in the rate of extramarital sex among men. Rates of premarital sex fell, but abstinence programs weren't emphasized; they constituted the A in ABC but weren't the first feature of the campaign.
This also raises questions for me, as many people in Western countries are marrying much later and engaging in a LOT of pre-marital sex. So I have to wonder if the actual figures on abstinence in general, don't give a very different impression than it being given here.

Finally, I did have a problem with this bit of the article:
The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, most recently chimed in with an editorial in its March 28 issue, stating that the pontiff distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine.
If the pope was supposed to be anti-condom, and the lower rates in Uganda are NOt down to papal advice, then that would mean that the pope contradicted the evidence, and was not just "distorting" scientific evidence.

You could be right. But this article muddies the waters for me. It doesn't me give anything constituting clear evidence, or even a clear refutation.

http://baptistplanet.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/death-condoms-and-abstinence-in-uganda/
As the British Medical Journal reported:
“Death alone accounted for a six percentage point reduction in HIV prevalence in the one year,....We estimate that mortality alone contributed five percentage points of the decline."
So when medical researchers actually studied the numbers, they found that the reduction in HIV was two-fold; all the people who had it died from lack of care, and use of condoms helped decrease new cases. The most important quote:
Researchers found no scientific evidence that the remaining decline was due to abstinence
Again, this isn't clear. It's a statement, to be sure. But it doesn't really present the data accurately, only that results have been estimated. Since I don't know who was doing the estimating, I don't know them, and I cannot say if they followed rigorous logic, or just rounded it up to what they thought should be the case.

It's quite possible that it was condoms and death that caused the drop. But it's not clear enough for me to say it is or isn't. All you've done is made me feel confused.

FYI, I'm not a Catholic. Not even a Xian. So I couldn't give a sh*t what the pope says. It has no bearing on me. I'm simply of the opinion that one should not distort things to present your beliefs as being superior than others, just because your views happen to be popular at the moment, and you want to feel superior to everyone who isn't of your beliefs.

Anyway, it still doesn't make any difference. You have the ability to check out for yourself if what Hawking said was right. You're intelligent enough to figure it out for yourself. I cannot think of a reason why you should even NEED to trust in Hawking on this matter.


Either G-d did something, or G-d didn't.
Okay. I'll go with the latter.
Without you deciding if what Hawking said was right if the pope had said it, then I cannot say you reasoned to, only that you chose to.

However, you are entitled to make your own choices, and I support your right to make your own choices to the hilt.
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 62
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/15/2010 5:07:25 PM
Quite the quotesplosion. I'm going to try to avoid any more quotes nesting. I'm sure you can unpuzzle it.

Alright: you misunderstood my point about the pontifical academy of the sciences- I was well aware it was Vatican based (and staffed with scientific luminaries): they've been fighting tooth and nail to avoid another galileo incident. My point was that not only was your suggestion that Stephen Hawking might be biased towards atheistic outspokenness by corporate/government employers silly , but his only 'employer' answers to the man with the golden hat himself, who no doubt isn't handing out Christmas Bonuses for this.

As you pointed out, he is recently retired from a chain of funding traced back partially to British tax dollars; since he was no longer suckling from the Queen's teat however (how's that image grab you?) when he stirred this controversy, I doubt government funding factored into it. In fact, it would lend credence to these being his true findings, kept in check by a need to avoid rocking the political boat until he'd handed in his badge and gun.

As for the Pope's Rubberized Africa, you are right that the waters are quite muddy. Those blog posts themselves shouldn't constitute full evidences, but they do reference the actual more thorough studies done, which I doubt either of us have the inclination to devote muvh more of our time too. What my reading suggested was that Ugandan extramarital relationships weren't casual hookups and one night stands as they might be in Western society, but long term concurrent overlapping relationships, where its harder to alter preexisting habits and behavior and partners were more likely to feel comfortable with each other. The strategy that was effective was not abstinence, exactly, but encouraging them to sleep with only one partner at a time, to break down the webs of relationships into chains, with condoms playing a role in mitigation in pre-marital relationships and sex trade.

An important point I was making is that if it's someone you think trustworthy, and it doesn't contradict what you already know/understand/believe/have faith in (as it is with me), investigating is going to be somewhat redundant. Hawking hasn't exactly changed my views on the issue.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 63
view profile
History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/16/2010 12:40:36 PM
RE Msg: 62 by OpenEyes:
Quite the quotesplosion. I'm going to try to avoid any more quotes nesting. I'm sure you can unpuzzle it.
Why not just be clear? If you have trouble figuring out who said what, then just put the whole bit in quotes, and preface each quote with the name of the author of the statement, followed by a colon and a space for clarity. That makes it abundantly clear who said what. Much better, eh?

Alright: you misunderstood my point about the pontifical academy of the sciences- I was well aware it was Vatican based (and staffed with scientific luminaries):
Didn't seem like it, from your post.

they've been fighting tooth and nail to avoid another galileo incident.
Can't blame them. Galileo has often been cited as a case of religious persecution of the sciences.

Of course, the reality is that the church was following the accepted scientific consensus for the last 1000 years, which was the Ptolemain method, as endorsed by Aristotle, and was accepted by the majority of investigators into scientific astronomy. Galileo then proposed a new theory. Cardinal Bellarmine said that would be perfectly acceptable, as long as Galileo proved it beyond doubt, as the church had been teaching scripture according to scientific consensus for 1000 years, To go and teach a new theory of science, to everyone, when it was not the accepted theory, and had not been definitively proved either, would have meant teaching the populace lies about science.

Johannes Kepler pointed out that according to Galileo's theory, there should be only one tide, not two. That represented a MASSIVE hole in Galileo's theory. Kepler had examined the same data, and came up with his own theory, which was the basis of Newton's theory, and which the scientific community, and the church, both came to accept. However, Galileo wasn't satisfied with that. He refused to resolve the problem with his theory, and expected the scientific community, and everone else, to accept his theory, even though it was clearly incorrect.

Galileo was their president. Since he put forward a theory that was clearly incorrect, and refused to correct it, no matter what, that would be real egg on their face. I would want to avoid having such a person in power over any scientific institution.

My point was that not only was your suggestion that Stephen Hawking might be biased towards atheistic outspokenness by corporate/government employers silly , but his only 'employer' answers to the man with the golden hat himself, who no doubt isn't handing out Christmas Bonuses for this.
If Stephen Hawking was employed by them for his livelihood, then I would agree. But I doubt they do pay anyone for being a member.

As you pointed out, he is recently retired from a chain of funding traced back partially to British tax dollars; since he was no longer suckling from the Queen's teat however (how's that image grab you?) when he stirred this controversy, I doubt government funding factored into it. In fact, it would lend credence to these being his true findings, kept in check by a need to avoid rocking the political boat until he'd handed in his badge and gun.
It would definitely lend credence to these being his true beliefs, that he is probably not a theist. However, there really was no need. The UK technically could be called a Xian country, as one of the titles of the reigning monarch is "defender of the faith". However, in practice, religion is not really allowed to influence politics. An example of this is that in the previous government, half of the cabinet were atheists. That cabinet was accused of a large number of serious failings. But being atheists was not one of them. Religion doesn't really enter into British politics. So if Hawking was to have declared his position BEFORE he retired, it would not have had an ounce of difference on his career.

However, had he made these statements BEFORE he retired, then, as he was basing these statements on science, his peers would have peer-reviewed his findings. They would have been more inclined for him to publish them as a properly introduced scientific paper, and to go through serious peer-review. This would have meant that if there was even the slightest error in his conclusions, there was a very good chance that his peers might have picked up on it, for his work is mathematically based, and mathematicians would have analysed his work. Mathematicians were very careful to analyse Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, and found a fault it it, which took Andrew Wiles a whole year to correct. I asked one of my lecturers about it at the time, and he made it clear, that to the mathematical community, they wouldn't consider it proved until it had been extensively peer-reviewed. So, had he published his earlier, there is a very good chance that if there were any holes, they would have been found, and that would have made Hawking look like a fundamentalist for claiming things about religion that he hadn't checked properly.

However, now that he's retired, he is no longer a lecturer of mathematics, and, unless he published this in a theoretical physics journal, there is a good chance that he won't be called on it.

It's possible that he's right. But I've had a think about what he said, and I came up with several problems with his claims, on a scientific basis. That's why I wonder if any mathematicians or theoretical physicists have tried to work out if there are any loop-holes in his theory. Because if anyone had, I'd have at least expected a few to argue that he was wrong, or could be wrong, from a scientific basis.

So it might be that he waited until he retired, because he knows that this is not really that conclusive a proof, that it's got problems, and he didn't want to get into an argument over them.

As for the Pope's Rubberized Africa, you are right that the waters are quite muddy. Those blog posts themselves shouldn't constitute full evidences, but they do reference the actual more thorough studies done, which I doubt either of us have the inclination to devote muvh more of our time too. What my reading suggested was that Ugandan extramarital relationships weren't casual hookups and one night stands as they might be in Western society, but long term concurrent overlapping relationships, where its harder to alter preexisting habits and behavior and partners were more likely to feel comfortable with each other. The strategy that was effective was not abstinence, exactly, but encouraging them to sleep with only one partner at a time, to break down the webs of relationships into chains, with condoms playing a role in mitigation in pre-marital relationships and sex trade.
That's all I thought the pope would mean by abstinence. Saying to abstain from sex altogether, would mean that all of Uganda would have no children to succeed them. That would cause more deaths than AIDS.

Besides, AFAIK, only Catholic priests are required to abstain totally from sex. Catholics who are not priests, are allowed to have sex, just only with a person they are currently married to, and no-one else.

An important point I was making is that if it's someone you think trustworthy, and it doesn't contradict what you already know/understand/believe/have faith in (as it is with me), investigating is going to be somewhat redundant.
Sometimes, that is true. But often, it isn't, particularly if it's something where cognitive bias can play a part, like people's attitudes towards religion.


Hawking hasn't exactly changed my views on the issue.
I think that's true for most people. People who would cite Hawking as proof, probably believed the universe was created without G-d's intervention anyway, which means they don't really believe that Hawking is true. It's just a source they would quote to try to convert others to their beliefs. However, had Hawking said the opposite, that the universe required some form of creation by G-d. then those people would have not changed their views on the issue, and just said that Hawking was an idiot. So I'm not impressed by anyone citing Hawking either, for that reason.
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 64
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/16/2010 2:40:28 PM


Why not just be clear?
Because nested quotes dramatically increase the size of the page and the breaks in the flow of writing. But maybe it just irritates me. We'll do this the old fashioned way.
Didn't seem like it, from your post.

I linked to the personnel page when I first mentioned it, which means I had to navigate through the main page, and the list, to find him. And 'pontifical' organizations aren't based in anglican countries, anyway. Every good atheist knows the opposition.

Anyway, it wasn't a key point- I just found it ironic that you were suggesting he might be compromised by his corporate ties and this was one of the more significant ties he had.

Since he put forward a theory that was clearly incorrect, and refused to correct it, no matter what, that would be real egg on their face.

I'm not sure what you mean by him putting forth an incorrect theory- he was brought forth to stand trial for heresy (not 'an incorrect theory', as though that were something to be placed under house arrest for life ) because he wrote a book that seemed to advocate heliocentricism against Bellarmine's earlier orders. Also, the church, at that point, was still advocating modified geocentricism, not "kepler's theory" (they had in fact put his book on the prohibited list)- in fact, it was Galileo's placing Pope Urban's arguments for geocentricism in his book and pointing out all the contradictions that got him in hot water. Heliocentric teachings were only dropped from the prohibited books list in 1758, over 100 years after Galileo's sentencing, so the Church wasn't exactly keeping up with the times. It is true that Kepler's theories were more accurate, but that wasn't what they busted him on by any means. He certainly had proof that contracted geocentricism and was locked away anyway.


I doubt they do pay anyone for being a member.

Tough to say- they do have basic budgetary measures written into their public charter though, including decision making in disposal of income from the activities of the Academy. If the academy is making money, you'd think the members of the academy would want some. Just speculation on my part though.



However, had he made these statements BEFORE he retired, then, as he was basing these statements on science, his peers would have peer-reviewed his findings

He hasn't retired from science altogether, just the Lucasian chair at the university. I suspect he'll still be active, he's only 68 or so. Plenty of academic life left in him.

[QUOTE] the pope would mean by abstinence...Catholics who are not priests, are allowed to have sex, just only with a person they are currently married to, and no-one else.
What I'm saying is that noone abstained from having sex, marriage or not- the effective measures were the population that wasn't using condoms just reducing having sex with more than one person (in the polyamory, not menage sense).



People who would cite Hawking as proof... and just said that Hawking was an idiot

I think it would be very hard to claim Hawking was an idiot. As I said, if you trust someone's mind, you'd at least read over their findings even if they contradict your own. You did, after all. So would someone on the opposite side of the table.

That being said, I never claimed that Stephen Hawking's views proved there was no God- just that he was as qualified and uncompromised as anyone else to talk about what went in to the creation of the unvierse. Afterall, fully besides sitting on a pile of tithe money, the Pope isn't peer reviewed either. He's got the man upstairs on the Batphone, and who's going to contradict him?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 65
view profile
History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/16/2010 3:59:10 PM
RE Msg: 64 by OpenEyes:

I know. I wrote way too much. But I'm tired. This is a lot easier for me than than figuring out which bits to post.


Why not just be clear?
Because nested quotes dramatically increase the size of the page and the breaks in the flow of writing. But maybe it just irritates me. We'll do this the old fashioned way.
I just do what seems clear to me, depending on the situation. Sometimes, I do things with multiple quotes. Sometimes, I just put it all in one quote, and separate out each quote, prefacing it with the poster's name.


Didn't seem like it, from your post.
I linked to the personnel page when I first mentioned it, which means I had to navigate through the main page, and the list, to find him.
Fair enough. I didn't think of that.

And 'pontifical' organizations aren't based in anglican countries, anyway.
Not usually, no. You are right there.

But there are Catholic churches in the UK, and probably Catholic organisations in UK. Most of them would probably be branches started elsewhere. But it's not unreasonable for British Catholics to want to get together to help each other. So there is no guarantee.

Every good atheist knows the opposition.
Something I learned from group, was that if you THINK of someone as the opposition, they will be. But most of them will be opponents only because of your actions.

As the therapist put it to me, and everyone in the group agreed, if you walk down the road, see someone, think they might start on you, and raise your fists, they will see you as someone starting a fight. Most of them probably would have not started a fight with you. But now that you've indicated you are about to fight them, they will fight back, and will probably get in the first blow, to stop you before you hurt them. You'll end up in lots of fights, and you'll get hit a lot, and hurt a lot.

But if you walk down the road, see someone, and just keep walking, most will not start on you. A few will start a fight with you, and since they could get a punch in first, you'll get hit a few times. But most of the time, people will walk on. So you'll end up in very few fights, and get hit very few times, and hurt very little.

Anyway, it wasn't a key point- I just found it ironic that you were suggesting he might be compromised by his corporate ties and this was one of the more significant ties he had.
I really doubt that belonging to a Catholic-started scientific organisation is that important to someone like Stephen Hawking. He probably joins scientific organisations that will bring him into contact with other like-minded scientists. Since there have been a number of important theoretical physicists who were members, that organisation probably is one he'd like to join.


Since he put forward a theory that was clearly incorrect, and refused to correct it, no matter what, that would be real egg on their face.
I'm not sure what you mean by him putting forth an incorrect theory- he was brought forth to stand trial for heresy (not 'an incorrect theory', as though that were something to be placed under house arrest for life ) because he wrote a book that seemed to advocate heliocentricism against Bellarmine's earlier orders.
Yes. But he'd already written to Cardinal Bellarmine, and the cardinal had replied that the church would not have a problem with his theories, provided he provided solid proof. Also, when looking at Giordano Bruno, it is most likely that the state, and not the church, would have executed him, if he had not recanted.

Also, the church, at that point, was still advocating modified geocentricism, not "kepler's theory" (they had in fact put his book on the prohibited list)- in fact, it was Galileo's placing Pope Urban's arguments for geocentricism in his book and pointing out all the contradictions that got him in hot water.
That might be. But consider what happened to a kid who wrote a nasty letter to Obama. He was banned from entering the US for LIFE!

That was just a kid. It was just a nasty letter. There was no call for it at all.

Imagine what would happen to a scientific lecturer who ripped Obama's book apart, and showed that Obama is an idiot, and published that! I wouldn't like to think.

Heliocentric teachings were only dropped from the prohibited books list in 1758, over 100 years after Galileo's sentencing, so the Church wasn't exactly keeping up with the times.
Neither was the scientific community all that much either. There were still scientists who disagreed with Newton until stellar parallax was proved around then.

It is true that Kepler's theories were more accurate, but that wasn't what they busted him on by any means. He certainly had proof that contracted geocentricism and was locked away anyway.
If Galileo had had proof, then Galileo's proof of Heliocentrism would have been accepted by the scientific community, certainly in protestant countries. This didn't happen.

People like to claim that Galileo was an example of religious persecution of science. However, when I wa a kid, this was cited in the same breath as the known fact that during the Middle Ages, everyone believed that the Earth was flat, because the church suppressed that as well.

However, modern historians of the last 100 years have found that to be flatly false, and were actually from anti-religious propaganda of the 18th Century. It was published during the same time as the July monarchy, and was therefore likely to have been part of a larger system of politica propaganda.


I doubt they do pay anyone for being a member.
Tough to say- they do have basic budgetary measures written into their public charter though, including decision making in disposal of income from the activities of the Academy. If the academy is making money, you'd think the members of the academy would want some. Just speculation on my part though.
It depends. If you are employed full-time, then you need to be paid for your rent, food, etc. But if you are just an associated member, and your regular paid employment lies elsewhere, then it's just a way to increase the number of like-minded scientists you communicate with.


However, had he made these statements BEFORE he retired, then, as he was basing these statements on science, his peers would have peer-reviewed his findings
He hasn't retired from science altogether, just the Lucasian chair at the university. I suspect he'll still be active, he's only 68 or so. Plenty of academic life left in him.
His brain probably still works. But I found out in university, that a graduate's status is the same as an undergraduate's as far as access to the university facilities goes, even the university library. Whether or not you get academic status and access to academic facilities in the UK, seems to me, to depend on whether one is actively engaged by a university or other academic institution, or not.

He's probably still got some "pull" with Cambridge. But it could very likely be that as far as everyone in his field is concerned, he's "out to pasture", and whatever ideas he still has, are likely to be ramblings, or soon will be.

I'm not saying this is the case. But retired people in the UK, are often treated like they are non-persons, as far as their professions go.


the pope would mean by abstinence...Catholics who are not priests, are allowed to have sex, just only with a person they are currently married to, and no-one else.
What I'm saying is that noone abstained from having sex, marriage or not- the effective measures were the population that wasn't using condoms just reducing having sex with more than one person (in the polyamory, not menage sense).
Yes. But even according to Catholics, there isn't a problem with non-priests having sex, just not outside of marriage, and, if you look at one of your articles, you will see that, although it didn't drop to zero, there was a drop in pre-marital sex, which means there was a rise in abstinence rates amongst the never-married.

I'm not saying that the pope got EVERYONE to give up sex, or even all sex that was not in keeping with Catholic doctrine. But I wouldn't expect that either, as that would imply extreme results. AFAIK, getting extreme results like that, is extremely rare, for any situation, and for any group.


People who would cite Hawking as proof... and just said that Hawking was an idiot
I think it would be very hard to claim Hawking was an idiot. As I said, if you trust someone's mind, you'd at least read over their findings even if they contradict your own. You did, after all. So would someone on the opposite side of the table.
I'm not like most people. I don't fit into any camp. I don't believe in them. I make my own decisions on everything, and I believe that everyone has reasons for saying what they do. But most people would write off the pope, or imams, or evolutionists, depending on their allegiances, without thinking further that "he disagreed with my views, so he must be wrong". I don't like Dawkins at all, and find problems with everything he says. Yet whenever he's on TV, I find myself compelled to watch him, just to give him a chance. Very few others, who don't agree with Dawkins, would give him that much of a chance.

In science, it's even worse. A lot of people have been villified for having theories that are radically different to the scientific consensus. Often, the scientific community has changed their mind, and adopted their views, several years later. But no-one ever apologises, or even remembers. They just move on with the new guy, and forget about the old guy who proposed it in the first place.

That being said, I never claimed that Stephen Hawking's views proved there was no God- just that he was as qualified and uncompromised as anyone else to talk about what went in to the creation of the unvierse. Afterall, fully besides sitting on a pile of tithe money, the Pope isn't peer reviewed either. He's got the man upstairs on the Batphone, and who's going to contradict him?
If you were taking the view that he's as qualified as anyone else, including the Pope, to make a point on the subject, then I'd agree with you, and that since he knows a lot about science, then he probably knows more than most.

However, as a man of intelligence, and a man of science, he shouldn't have to rely on his reputation. He has the ability to prove his claims scientifically. So his claims should be valid enough, that even if he sent it to a plumber anonymously, and a plumber said it, it should be equally true.

I would expect that the Pope should have to back up his claims as well. But then, I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a Xian either.

I'm a Jew. We expect our Rabbis to prove their claims. So why should I expect my Rabbis to prove everything, and not everyone else?

Personally, I think that if everyone was as sceptical and as demanding of proof as I am, then most people would be very untrusting of scientists, politicians, and religious leaders. But then, would that be such a bad thing, to mistrust anyone in a position where people listen to them?
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 66
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/16/2010 5:52:37 PM

Sometimes, I do things with multiple quotes...
the difficulty I see is, especially with nested quotes, if you break my paragraphs into phrases to respond to individually, and then respond to each with a paragraph, and then I do the same, pretty soon the number of pargraphs are multiplying geometrically until one or both of us get bored and it turns into an endurance challenge.

that if you THINK of someone as the opposition, they will be. But most of them will be opponents only because of your actions.
Perhaps they are not opposed in the sense of antagonism- I simply meant those groups contrary to atheism, that is theistic groups.

really doubt that belonging to a Catholic-started scientific organisation is that important to someone like Stephen Hawking
Like I said, not a key point. Just irony. Similarly speculation on whether they pay him.
depend on whether one is actively engaged by a university or other academic institution,
The good news, then, is he's still director of research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/people/s.w.hawking/.

the cardinal had replied that the church would not have a problem with his theories, provided he provided solid proof.
The sad fact is that 'proof' tends to be overlooked when faith is involved.

If Galileo had had proof, then Galileo's proof of Heliocentrism would have been accepted by the scientific community, certainly in protestant countries. This didn't happen.
Galileo's observation of the phases of Venus directly contradicted Ptolomaic Geocentricism: (http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/geas/lectures/lecture11/slide02.html). The fact that there wasn't immediate accepting of heliocentricism is mostly a sign of how there wasn't really scientific communities before the scientific method caught on and how people hadn't really shaken all the doctrine out yet. The much slower spread of books and translation back then no doubt didn't help.


However, as a man of intelligence, and a man of science, he shouldn't have to rely on his reputation. He has the ability to prove his claims scientifically.
I think an established reputation is still very important in the sciences- which is why we want our published research done by people with degrees from reputable universities. Theoretical mathematics is possibly a pure field where anyone can contribute in certain areas, but other than that you need someone well verseed in information collected in the field, or in the lab, and you want to know it's been done properly before you publish it.

I also think this is one field where things can't really be proven scientifically; theoretical physics rarely proves its findings until much later, and the subject matter here especially defies all testing. Even setting aside that the nonexistence of anything is almost impossible to scientifically prove, how does one prove the nonexistence of an invisible, indescribable, omniscient, omnipotent entity who by some accounts is 'outside the laws of the universe' and doesn't want to be found? In the end, your best bet is to go with the person who has shown themselves to be right before, in my humble opinion.


If you were taking the view that he's as qualified as anyone else, including the Pope, to make a point on the subject, then I'd agree with you, and that since he knows a lot about science, then he probably knows more than most.
If you go back to my original post, that, pretty much sums up the only point I wanted to make in this thread, before I got dragged into Ugandan Sex Lives, Heliocentric Theory, and President Obama. Speaking of which:

It was just a nasty letter
I believe it was e-mailed death threats more than nasty language which caught their attention. Something the American government takes pretty seriously, I understand, given the presidential casualty rate.
 Kardinal Offishall
Joined: 2/26/2010
Msg: 67
view profile
History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/17/2010 5:12:36 PM
Scorp:


Regarding your dragging of Galileo’s name through the mud: Is this pathetic attempt at revisionist history of science another product of the mis-education of that religious schooling of yours?

Are you disputing that Galileo falsified the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic worldview with his telescopic observations? Did he not observe Jupiter’s moons, the sunspots, and the Venutian phases, all of which of course ran contrary to the religious dogma of pristine, immutable celestial spheres?

Are you really trying to defend the papacy on this one? Let’s hope not...(though with you, much nonsense is possible and indeed actual.)

And there’s a bit more to the Kepler story than you suggest. Galileo was uncomfortable positing an “occult force” to account for the tides.

Just because his heliocentric model had anomalies with respect to the tides doesn’t mean that, a) one ought to scientifically revert to geocentrism by default (as Galileo’s observations, at minimum, refuted the posit of a changeless heavens outright), and b) that one cannot nonetheless assent to the model if it explains more phenomena than the theory with which it aims to replace, inter alia. (Did geocentrism explain the tides?)

It seems implicit in your post that you would have preferred the Catholic Church persist in their perpetuation of an ostensibly false geocentric view of the cosmos.

Once again: what are you smoking?

Galileo was courageous for having the cajones to buck the dogmatism and enforced ignorance of his day, and even in a world where this alone was his only accomplishment it would still be worth lionizing.

Your pitiful attempt at putting a pro-religionist spin on the matter won’t change that elementary point. It won’t change the fact that it took the Church 350-some-odd-years to finally swallow their unholy pride and vindicate Galileo. And it certainly won’t change the fact that it is and ought to be the textbook example of the sort of enforced ignorance that religion has historically fostered.

Have you ever considered a career in religious apologetics? Perhaps you should trade in your cubicle for a lectern.

(Though on second thought, such a career change would likely require you to be forthcoming with your so-called “proofs” for theism -- so no dice.)

Also, your talk about Hawking’s proposal not being peer-reviewed along with your quarter-baked speculation regarding his current intellectual state is otiose. It has indeed been peer-reviewed, because the model was published in a journal almost 30 years ago. (I mentioned this in one of my posts in this thread, but I guess you missed it.)

And just because he’s formally retired from the Lucasian position doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his office at Cambridge anymore, much less that he’s ceased his work. In fact, not too far from where I am, over at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, he was recently appointed as a Distinguished Research Chair.

Here’s Hawking’s original paper, in case you wanted “proof” of its being peer-reviewed:


http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v28/i12/p2960_1


And speaking of peer-review...luckily for you public forums such as this one are a good way to have your own ideas vetted too.

Accordingly, I hereby convict you of an epic fail on this matter. Please collect your belongings and prepare to be promptly escorted away from your computer by security (in handcuffs). [wink]
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 68
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History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/18/2010 3:57:51 AM
RE Msg: 66 by OpenEyes:
the difficulty I see is, especially with nested quotes, if you break my paragraphs into phrases to respond to individually, and then respond to each with a paragraph, and then I do the same, pretty soon the number of pargraphs are multiplying geometrically until one or both of us get bored and it turns into an endurance challenge.
Theoretically, yes. But practically no. I just end up only quoting those conversation parts where the first point is still under discussion. It's rarely above 2 quotes. It's almost never above 5.

But it's your choice.


that if you THINK of someone as the opposition, they will be. But most of them will be opponents only because of your actions.
Perhaps they are not opposed in the sense of antagonism- I simply meant those groups contrary to atheism, that is theistic groups.
Yes, but words have power. Remember NLP. By describing them as "opponents", you program your mind to see them that way, and then your mind filters out anything other than that viewpoint. So it's probably wiser to call them people with alternative viewpoints. A bit of a mouthful. But it stops cognitive bias.


really doubt that belonging to a Catholic-started scientific organisation is that important to someone like Stephen Hawking
Like I said, not a key point. Just irony.
I agree. I think that it's highly ironic that Hawking chose to join a Catholic organisation and then make a statement like this. Kind of like someone moving to America and then saying that capitalism is worthless.

However, I find it deliciously ironic, that so many people say that the Catholic Church is so against science, and yet a Vatican-based Catholic science organisation doesn' revoke Hawking's membership, even though he's intellectually giving them the finger.

If only I had got someone to promise to eat his hat on that one. I've always wanted to get someone to "eat their hat".:laugh:


depend on whether one is actively engaged by a university or other academic institution,
The good news, then, is he's still director of research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/people/s.w.hawking/.
I don't know why people say he's retired then. He's simply changed jobs, or dropped one, in favour of concentrating on another.

Then everything I wrote about him being retired, really should be reconsidered in light of that.

His choosing of dropping his Lucasian chair of mathematics might have a factor in it. But not his retirement.


the cardinal had replied that the church would not have a problem with his theories, provided he provided solid proof.
The sad fact is that 'proof' tends to be overlooked when faith is involved.
Psychologists have known for decades that when someone believes something is definitely true, then the mind filters out anything to the contrary, even overwhelming evidence to the contrary. However, this only seems to happen with things that are believed to be definite, and not things believed to be possible and probable, but not definite.

As a result, proof is usually overlooked when definite knowledge is involved, but not when non-definite faith is involved, at least, according to psychologists.

However, this seems to contradict what many people say. But when you examine those people saying it, I have found they are often people who are claiming to have definite knowledge on the subject, and who are making claims that clearly are proved wrong by their own sources.


If Galileo had had proof, then Galileo's proof of Heliocentrism would have been accepted by the scientific community, certainly in protestant countries. This didn't happen.
Galileo's observation of the phases of Venus directly contradicted Ptolomaic Geocentricism: (http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/geas/lectures/lecture11/slide02.html).
Yes. However, they can be seen by the naked eye, and there were plenty of astronomers before Galileo. So we cannot claim that Ptolemy's method was so well accepted by scientists who didn't know this. So we cannot claim scientists considered this a clear proof that Ptolemy was wrong, and Galileo was right. Sadly, it's not uncommon for even accepted theories to not be consistent with all observations.

The fact that there wasn't immediate accepting of heliocentricism is mostly a sign of how there wasn't really scientific communities before the scientific method caught on and how people hadn't really shaken all the doctrine out yet.
Then how do you explain the fact that Galileo's theory had a major hole in it, and was not accepted, and yet, Kepler's theory was very quickly accepted by many, enough that even before Newton's publication, his idea was already the unofficial norm? Kepler is not exactly the world's most famous scientist or mathematician. Far from it. We owe our belief in Heliocentrism to Kepler's work. But there are far more people who know of Newton, than of Kepler. According to what you are saying, Galileo, being the most famous one, should have been believed, and Kepler, ignored, and yet the reverse happened.

However, when we look at both in a different way, that Kepler's theory doesn't have the problem of the tides, and Galileo's does, then it seems to be that both theories were equally well known, but that Galileo's was clearly not that sensible, and Kepler's was.

It's a sign of something, that science is slow to come up with models that are completely consistent with all observations, and this is not the only case where science has been slow to come up with such models.

The much slower spread of books and translation back then no doubt didn't help.
True. But Galileo was in Italy, where there were many translations of Muslim scientific works gained by Italian traders who traded with Muslim traders of the Silk Road.

It's not really a big deal anyway. The world has been taught that the church suppressed science and that is the de facto belief of most Westerners. This point is only a threat to those who have based so much of their whole ideology on this single point, that if the Galileo story would have turned out to be not be the form of church-based suppression of science that so many believe, that it could potentially bring down their whole ideology, which would make them question everything they believed in, and possibly lose such confidence in their ability to make sound judgements, that they end up causing themselves a nervous breakdown. The mind would naturally do anything to protect itself from that, as part of the survival instinct.

This is a clear result from what we know about the mind, that the mind refuses to accept known facts that contradict things that we are definitely sure of.


However, as a man of intelligence, and a man of science, he shouldn't have to rely on his reputation. He has the ability to prove his claims scientifically.
I think an established reputation is still very important in the sciences- which is why we want our published research done by people with degrees from reputable universities. Theoretical mathematics is possibly a pure field where anyone can contribute in certain areas, but other than that you need someone well verseed in information collected in the field, or in the lab, and you want to know it's been done properly before you publish it.
In theory, yes, if the reputations of people are a good indicator of their ability. If so, then we could all state that Einstein was wrong, because for the 2 years after he graduated, no scientific institution would employ him. We could say that Jenner was wrong, because he was only a simple country doctor, and many reputable scientists thought him wrong.

A reputation is gained by means of publicity. It is an indicator of how good a publicist one is, and not necessarily ability at all.

We WANT the best people to be scientists. But many are quick to point out, that science is about relying on the evidence, and not on popular opinion. So if anything, science would demand that we test all people, to see who actually is the best at science, and to ignore reputation.

I also think this is one field where things can't really be proven scientifically; theoretical physics rarely proves its findings until much later, and the subject matter here especially defies all testing. Even setting aside that the nonexistence of anything is almost impossible to scientifically prove, how does one prove the nonexistence of an invisible, indescribable, omniscient, omnipotent entity who by some accounts is 'outside the laws of the universe' and doesn't want to be found?
But Hawking IS claiming that to have scientific proofs in this field. That's the basis of his claim, proof by science. So, if you are being honest, you would discount Hawking's opinion totally on this basis.

In the end, your best bet is to go with the person who has shown themselves to be right before, in my humble opinion.
Fair enough. But so far, I don't have a list of claims that Hawking made, that were unknown at the time of his claim, that were subsequently proved right by physical observations and scientific experiments. So I couldn't say how right Hawking has been.

As you rightly pointed out, science cannot really state anything about this subject. So we cannot rely on the words of scientists on this subject, including Hawking, as they are basing their claims on science, as Hawking is.

That's not to say that we should rely on the Pope either. But there are lots of people who have opinions on this subject, other than Hawking and the Pope. We don't need to take 2 extremes, and say that we'd rely on Hawking more than the Pope. Otherwise, we end up with a very limited viewpoint, that represents only a tiny sliver of viewpoints, and then we are bound to come to false conclusions.


If you were taking the view that he's as qualified as anyone else, including the Pope, to make a point on the subject, then I'd agree with you, and that since he knows a lot about science, then he probably knows more than most.
If you go back to my original post, that, pretty much sums up the only point I wanted to make in this thread, before I got dragged into Ugandan Sex Lives, Heliocentric Theory, and President Obama.
I realise that. But it's still cherry-picking. It's taking 2 views, out of many thousands, and declaring that because you do not trust one, that you MUST accept the other. It's no different than saying that since we trust the Taleban less than Bush, then we must accept Bush's views 100%, and thus, must do away with the idea that everyone must be given the opportunity to a fair and speedy trial. It's positively dangerous to take this narrow-minded approach.

Speaking of which:
It was just a nasty letter
I believe it was e-mailed death threats more than nasty language which caught their attention. Something the American government takes pretty seriously, I understand, given the presidential casualty rate.
He was a KID! This is what he said, not what he did! If you are going to judge every adult by what they did as a kid, and by what every kid says, then you'd pretty much have to put most people in jail, who are perfectly polite and nice people.

This is paranoia at its worst, and probably allows perfectly polite-seeming people, who are intelligent enough to be polite, to lull the Secret Service into a false sense of security. If this is the sort of attitude the Secret Service has, it's no wonder so many American Presidents have been shot.

It's fear that is driving the scientific community in this regard. Anyone who disagrees with them is to be feared, and put down. That's an end to scientific openness, and with it, it's an end to scientific breakthroughs, for all breakthroughs are ideas that are radically different to the current way of thinking. That's what makes them "break-throughs". They "break through" the current scientific consensus, to show a much greater truth.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 69
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History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/18/2010 8:10:47 AM
RE Msg: 67 by Kardinal Offishall:
Regarding your dragging of Galileo’s name through the mud: Is this pathetic attempt at revisionist history of science another product of the mis-education of that religious schooling of yours?
Actually, I didn't get this from my school education at all. My Jewish teachers would probably be horrified to think that I think that Catholics were not the evil knowledge-suppressing people they raised me to think they are. Neither are my ideas things I read on some pro-religious website.

My ideas on this subject actually came about from 2 sources:

1) From being on this forum. So many people have been critical of religion, that I've taken to looking up what they say. However, in my roundabout way, I also read a bit more on the subject.

2) Watching science. There have been a lot of documentaries on the history of science, that I've taken to watching, and here too, I have learned many interesting things.

In the process I have discovered many things, that seemed to suggest that religion suppressed science. However, there have been stated facts that didn't fit with these views. This bothered me, as I don't like solutions to a puzzle that leaves bits missing. So I have dwelt on these matters. However, the more I have dwelt on them, the more I have realised that there were other ways of looking at these issues. Surprisingly, these alternative views have actually fitted the facts far more neatly than the original claims.

I do what I have always done. I examine the evidence, and when I find evidence that contradicts it, I try to resolve those difficulties. If they do not fit with the original theory, and they do fit with a different theory, along with all the evidence that supported the original theory, then I conclude that the different theory is far more likely to be the more accurate portrayal of reality.

Are you disputing that Galileo falsified the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic worldview with his telescopic observations? Did he not observe Jupiter’s moons, the sunspots, and the Venutian phases, all of which of course ran contrary to the religious dogma of pristine, immutable celestial spheres?
Of course he did.

Much of that was known well before Galileo's time, by Muslim astronomers, and many of those texts were available in the West hundreds of years before, by people like Daniel of Morley, who lived between 1140 and 1210, and others who visited Toledo, and copied many Muslim text and copies of Greek manuscripts.

Even when we look at Newton's work, there was still disagreement in the scientific community about Newton's claims, until stellar parallax observations had been confirmed to conform to the Newtonian model over 100 years after Newton.

These things were never so cut and dried as many have been told, neither for the scientists of Ptolemy and Aristotle's times, or for the scientists of Newton's time.

In fact, according to modern historians, there was no big revelation. There was no Age of Science, or Scientific Revolution. Science had been slowly been becoming more popular and more accepted since the 12th Century, and had been moving slowly onwards.

People like to think so, because it's very similar to the idea that a man just stood up one day, and revealed to them the idea of a monotheistic G-d. It's a revelation complex, the idea that one day, your ancestors were "revealed the truth", and now, you HAVE a true understanding of how things are, and thus, you don't need to question your philosophy, or how you perceive and understand life in general.

Sure, it's scary to question how you see things, because that means that you cannot be sure of what will happen, and you cannot be sure that you will be able to prevent painful things happening to you, even if you follow your methodology. But that's an existential truth. Life is inherently insecure, and you cannot stop that.

Are you really trying to defend the papacy on this one? Let’s hope not...(though with you, much nonsense is possible and indeed actual.)
I don't NEED to. If the papacy had determined to claim Geocentrism, when no scientist had, and Aristotle and Ptolemy had both supported Heliocentrism, then the modern popular view would be right. But it's not consistent with the facts, that even those who follow the modern popular view agree are true.

And there’s a bit more to the Kepler story than you suggest. Galileo was uncomfortable positing an “occult force” to account for the tides.
That would be fair, as if it not wise to assume logical entities that are not necessary. However, that same "occult force" is the reason for the planet's movement to begin with. So he's got the same problem with the whole system. He's not making his theory more acceptable by not positing such a force.

Neither would Kepler have been likely to posit that Galileo's theory was incorrect, just on the basis of such a force, because Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion were based on his examination of Tycho Brahe's observations, which in his own words, Kepler reviewed 70 times.

Just because his heliocentric model had anomalies with respect to the tides doesn’t mean that, a) one ought to scientifically revert to geocentrism by default (as Galileo’s observations, at minimum, refuted the posit of a changeless heavens outright), and b) that one cannot nonetheless assent to the model if it explains more phenomena than the theory with which it aims to replace, inter alia. (Did geocentrism explain the tides?)
Or course you have valid points.

However, I put myself in the head of a scientist of the time. If a scientist of our time heard a theory that was radically different than scientific consensus, that still had a major problem with it, in that it contradicted something plainly obvious to us all, I believe that if such a scientist was rational, he would point out that, although the current model could be improved upon, that we don't have anything clearly better, and it would not be wise to just switch to a theory that could, in all likelihood, be equally wrong.

It is easy to say in hindsight, that Galileo was right about Heliocentrism. But hindsight is always 20/20. It is much more difficult to say that we would have said the same, had WE been around in Galileo's time.

It seems implicit in your post that you would have preferred the Catholic Church persist in their perpetuation of an ostensibly false geocentric view of the cosmos.
Of course not. But I never assumed that the Catholic Church was right to begin with.

If you read my previous posts, I only claimed that the Catholic Church was following previously accepted scientific consensus anyway. That puts the conflict at the heart of scientific controversy within itself. It only affected the Catholic Church, because the church was understanding biblical scripture in light of that, and that was what put them into the conflict. But again, I considered what would happen, if there was a modern controversy of this nature, say, that a scientist had claimed to prove that the scientific theories that were used by Americans to understand the best way to run a country, were wrong. There are many criticisms of the American system, in economics, and in politics, and of representational democracy. The US government would equally not abandon their system just because one scientist claimed he had a better one, if his theory still had problems.

Once again: what are you smoking?
Tobacco.

I would not be so quick to claim that smoking even illegal drugs, means one is insane. One of my fellow students' father was a mathematics lecturer in another university, who would smoke marijuana with his fellow professors, and then discuss all sorts of theories, that they had not thought of before. It's long been known that such drugs have a mind-expanding quality that academics in the scientific field have used to develop new ways of looking at the universe.

Galileo was courageous for having the cajones to buck the dogmatism and enforced ignorance of his day, and even in a world where this alone was his only accomplishment it would still be worth lionizing.
This is revisionist history. Who suggested that Galileo was courageous 100 years ago, even 40 years ago? Why does no-one point out that Socrates was far more courageous than Galileo, when Galileo, on thread of death, gave up, and Socrates was willing to die rather than recant his views? It was only suggested recently, since it has become popular to criticise religions, and to claim that religions have always suppressed science. Galileo is a modern hero, because as is Bruno, because both opposed the views of the church, and it is popular today to oppose the views of the church, irrespective of whether the church is right or wrong on a matter. It's pure propaganda to use Galileo in this way.

If you want to lionise Galileo, then praise him for his discoveries that we still agree with to this day, his invention of the telescope, his observations of the 4 moons of Jupiter, and such things, that we do agree with.

But don't praise him, just because it suits a particular political agenda. That's just using science to support politics. We get enough of that today, and when science does clearly show that popular political views are incorrect, all we get is scientific oppression, like the sacking of Prof David Nutt.

Your pitiful attempt at putting a pro-religionist spin on the matter won’t change that elementary point. It won’t change the fact that it took the Church 350-some-odd-years to finally swallow their unholy pride and vindicate Galileo.

And it certainly won’t change the fact that it is and ought to be the textbook example of the sort of enforced ignorance that religion has historically fostered.
I'm not in favour of that approach, because it results in "Witness for the prosecution" type of thinking. It encourages people who are one side of a discussion, to point to religions, and say that religions seem to be in agreement with the opposing view, and thus is discredited. This results in people accepting that person's view, WITHOUT PROOF! Science, and all forms of analysis, would be proof-based, and nothing else. That any particular group sides with your view, or an opposing view, should NOT come into it. Otherwise, you are likely to get many unproved and false assumptions becoming accepted as part of scientific consensus, and that results in science going even slower to come to truth.

Have you ever considered a career in religious apologetics? Perhaps you should trade in your cubicle for a lectern.
Yes. But I disagree with religious people even more than non-religious people.

(Though on second thought, such a career change would likely require you to be forthcoming with your so-called “proofs” for theism -- so no dice.)
Not at all. I am willing to publicise many of my ideas, just not on the subject of proving theism conclusively.

Also, your talk about Hawking’s proposal not being peer-reviewed along with your quarter-baked speculation regarding his current intellectual state is otiose. It has indeed been peer-reviewed, because the model was published in a journal almost 30 years ago. (I mentioned this in one of my posts in this thread, but I guess you missed it.)
I have no doubt that Hawking's support of M-theory has been peer-reviewed. But I do question if his idea of the universe coming into being from nothing, and that many universes would do so likewise, have been peer-reviewed.

However, if those ideas have been published, I would like to read about them in greater detail, as the minute that I watched that short video presentation on his theories of the origin of the universe, I had many problems with it, purely from a scientific basis. So if you have the links to a full explanation of those specific points using physics, particularly explaining the actual mathematics, I would greatly appreciate it.

I do like to find clear evidence to change my POV, as that way, I learn.

And just because he’s formally retired from the Lucasian position doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his office at Cambridge anymore, much less that he’s ceased his work. In fact, not too far from where I am, over at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, he was recently appointed as a Distinguished Research Chair.
OpenEyes did point that out yesterday, and I wrote in reply, on my computer, that my views would have to be adjusted to take account of that. I would have posted this yesterday. But I had a friend come over, and we spent the day going out. So I didn't have the opportunity to acknowledge this until today.

Here’s Hawking’s original paper, in case you wanted “proof” of its being peer-reviewed:

http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v28/i12/p2960_1
Interesting. However, it is quite scant on the details.

Also, perhaps you can provide a source for finding the list of reviews of the paper, so that I might see what peer reviews have been done on it.

As for me, I have many problems with it. The Hartle–Hawking state defines a wave function of the universe, and then generalises this using a sum-over-paths method. This presents a certain problem for me, for, if we define our universe a u, a member of U, the list of all possible universes, then we can define R(u) to the relation that we can observe is true about our universe, that we base on our knowledge of our universe as we know of it. R(u) will then have an equivalent wave-function. Then, we can use the sum-over-paths, to generalise this to all members of U. However, R(u) has only been found for this u. In other universes, it is equally possible that other relations will be determined to be their wave-function, which is inconsistent with our wave-function. What is more, even if one wave-function was to be true for all universes, then this will be expected, because each universe will have a different set of events, and it is these events that constitute the data for our formulation of the wave-function. We can say that only the intersection of all wave-functions of all universes is true for all universes, and it is quite feasible that our universe just has data sets that give rise to extra terms that are not in the original wave-function. Having said that, though, then it equally follows that since we cannot determine which terms are in our wave-function, that are particular to the events of our universe that occurred by pure chance, we cannot determine anything within the wave-function, that is true for all universes, that would necessarily be true for all universes, unless it is independent of physically observed events. But that's everything in the wave-function, other than that determined by pure reason alone.

What is more, even much of our pure reason has been said to be determined by our observations, which may be particular to our universe, and thus may not be part of a universal wave-function. Many argue that much of mathematics, like counting is based on our observations, and thus, may only be a valid expression within our universe. Even the basic idea that something can only be true or false, is questioned, and many constructivists hold that this cannot be proved.

So what we are left with, is only pure reason, that cannot be based on any observations that we have within this universe. Otherwise, the wave-function would be an application of the anthropomorphic principle, that what we have observed, we assume is true for everyone and everything, when we cannot validate that for anyone else. In this case, we are speaking about the universe as a single particle, and making the claim that what is true for ONE particle, must be true for all particles, when we have no proof of anything, other than what is true for a single particle.

It would be rather like Schrödinger's cat, having observed it is not dead, and thus concluding that the isotope in its cage has not decayed, concludes that this will be true for all such cages, that all isotopes do not decay, and hence concluding that radioactivity does not occur.

Now, I agree that Hawking's mathematical proofs are probably brilliant. But no less brilliant than his colleague, Andrew Wiles, who also lectured in mathematics at Cambridge, and flaws were found in his original proof, and that is something that only applies to mathematics, not also to the universe, or even to multiple universes.

So, I have problems with his claims. In light of that, I am not in the position to say that he is definitely right, not when I have no way to independently comfirm his claims, and not in the position to say that he is probably right either.

And speaking of peer-review...luckily for you public forums such as this one are a good way to have your own ideas vetted too.
Too true. However, I would prefer that this forum had a selection of posters that was more representative of a cross-section of society, or at least of scientists, who, as some have pointed out, are mostly theists. I would even prefer personally to have half-and-half. But I don't see this as the case here, rather, the reverse. So I feel that I am speaking to only a one-sided view of things.

Accordingly, I hereby convict you of an epic fail on this matter. Please collect your belongings and prepare to be promptly escorted away from your computer by security (in handcuffs). [wink]
Please do. I see this as putting me in the same category as Edward Jenner and Albert Einstein. It is a challenge to my views, and thus, spurs me on to check and re-check my views, which only brings me to either a better truth, or impels me to find stronger and more scientifically viable proofs of my views. Eventually, such castigations will impel me to check my views so much, that I will have a proof of my views, that even I feel is more than valid enough to publish. At that point, I would have every reason to publish my views, and then, you will be able to say that my views are that of scientific consensus. Then you will agree with me, and will say that you always believed in my views.

I appreciate this most sincerely in the light of cognitive science, as your put-downs have encouraged me to consider my theories on the subject of the mind in much greater detail, and have shown me 2 things, that my views are far more consistent with known data than I ever realised, and that they have far wider-reaching applications that will help me immensely, and, when they are published, will transform the worlds of cognitive science, and even, education.

So please, keep your criticisms coming. It only serves to motivate me to find even better truth.
 Kardinal Offishall
Joined: 2/26/2010
Msg: 70
view profile
History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/18/2010 8:43:53 PM
Scorp:


As usual you are baffling.

Hawking and Hartle’s proposal is what it is. It was a theoretically and empirically informed speculative attempt to extrapolate from known physics, in addition to some other constraints, a way in which our universe could begin naturalistically (without need for positing a make-believe “prime mover” deity).



I appreciate this most sincerely in the light of cognitive science, as your put-downs have encouraged me to consider my theories on the subject of the mind in much greater detail, and have shown me 2 things, that my views are far more consistent with known data than I ever realised, and that they have far wider-reaching applications that will help me immensely, and, when they are published, will transform the worlds of cognitive science, and even, education.


javascript:smilie('') javascript:smilie('') ... javascript:smilie('')

You definitely must be on something. This is the clincher. You should print what you just typed and put it on your medicine cabinet (pun not intended).

I’m sure they’ve already begun polishing your Nobel Prize, Scorp, in anticipation of your sagely contributions.

I’ve exposed you a number of times for being so far off base in matters cognitive science, so poorly under- and mis-educated, that only someone delusional could think they harbor forthcoming breakthrough insights.

Finish reading that Pinker book before you needlessly generate another epic fail.



So please, keep your criticisms coming. It only serves to motivate me to find even better truth.


Oh I will... Though I call it showing you that your “truths” are sadly a phantasm of your own making.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 71
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 12:39:32 AM

Also, perhaps you can provide a source for finding the list of reviews of the paper, so that I might see what peer reviews have been done on it.

You apparently have no clue about the peer review process. The process goes something like this: (1) You submit a paper to a journal; (2) If the paper is on a subject that is appropriate for the journal, the paper is sent to three referees who are experts in the field and who remain anonymous; (3) The referees check the work in the paper for accuracy and if applicavle, make corrections and possibly make suggestions for revisions; (4) The corrections and suggested revisions are sent back to the author, who may or may not agree with the referees; (5) The author may dispute what the referees suggested, but in any case, sends back a paper which reflects his opinion on what needed to be revised; (6) The paper is sent back to the referees and the process continues until the referees return the paper with a vote to publish or not publish or publish with certain reservations or whatever. In any case, the referees are anonymous (although one can probably guess who they might be just because there aren't that many with enough people expertise to referee such specialized topics). The editor makes the final decision based on the referees's comments. The process takes around 6 months for a paper that requires no real changes.

Since the paper was published in phys rev d, it was peer reviewed. If it weren't it would not have been in phys rev d. Even Hartle and Hawking do not know who reviewed their paper. The anonymity is important to ensure that the referees cannot be pressured by well known scientists.

This presents a certain problem for me,

Mainly because you're just tossing out jargon. First of all the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction is a functional, not a function. The sum over paths in this case is over all possible metrics that satisfy the boundary conditions. Our universe is the one that maximizes the functional. The point is that one doesn't need to know initial conditions. The ``universe from nothing'' comes from the fact that the functional satisfies the Wheeler-DeWitt equation (which is actually the least controversial aspect of Hartle and Hawkings idea).

I see this as putting me in the same category as Edward Jenner and Albert Einstein.

Score yourself:
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html
 OpenEyes
Joined: 9/26/2010
Msg: 72
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 12:52:16 AM
Oy, what a mess.
1: Hawking is claiming proofs, yes; but nonnecessity and nonexistance are two very different things. You can't prove that something doesn't exist, but it is quite possible to show that it doesn't have to. Also, I'm not forming a Pope/Hawking Dichotomy- what I said is that Hawking is maximally qualified to talk about the fundamental construction of the universe. Can you think of someone better?
2: Einstein's hypotheses made easily tested experimental predictions. People weren' t excited about it until this was done. When it comes to theoretical physics, it's much more about who has done significant work in the field in the past. Hawking Radiation has some experimental evidence for it 30 years later, for example.
3: As I already said, heliocentric books, including Kepler's, weren't dropped from the prohibited books list until 1758; Kepler's theory was surpressed by the church just as much as Galileo's was- he just didn't get a visit from the inquisition. So it was never about Kepler's theory explaining things 'better'- if that were the case, they would have supported Kepler, no? It was always about heliocentricism going against church dogma and galileo's criticism of it.
4: That 'KID' was 17: not exactly unable to consider the consequences. Death threats can be criminal matters- Death threats against a head of state almost always. The fact that he wasn't prosecuted was a lucky break for him; if he was American he could have gotten five years. Also, it wasn't the secret service, but the FBI, who were involved in this instance.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 73
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 5:40:10 AM
RE Msg: 70 by Kardinal Offishall:
As usual you are baffling.
Hey, a lot of people told me that. But they've usually agreed with me, once I've taken the time to explain things to them, in what I consider a child's level of understanding.

Hawking and Hartle’s proposal is what it is. It was a theoretically and empirically informed speculative attempt to extrapolate from known physics, in addition to some other constraints, a way in which our universe could begin naturalistically (without need for positing a make-believe “prime mover” deity).
I appreciate that. But it's still based on the equations of our universe, which are in turn based on the observations we have made for our universe. So I cannot say that the same would be true for our universe. I cannot even say that in another universe, with the same rules as our own, that they would definitely come to the same conclusion, because they'd have different things happening, and thus could have different observations, and different conclusions about their universe.

I appreciate this most sincerely in the light of cognitive science, as your put-downs have encouraged me to consider my theories on the subject of the mind in much greater detail, and have shown me 2 things, that my views are far more consistent with known data than I ever realised, and that they have far wider-reaching applications that will help me immensely, and, when they are published, will transform the worlds of cognitive science, and even, education.
You definitely must be on something. This is the clincher. You should print what you just typed and put it on your medicine cabinet (pun not intended).You could have a point there. I definitely lack motivation and confidence in myself. It's one of the few things that everyone who knows me IRL is convinced of about me.

I’m sure they’ve already begun polishing your Nobel Prize, Scorp, in anticipation of your sagely contributions.
You're definitely the second person who's said that to me. I seriously doubt that I'd get a Nobel Prize, even if I did discover and publish something monumental. It's not that easy to win one you know.

I’ve exposed you a number of times for being so far off base in matters cognitive science, so poorly under- and mis-educated, that only someone delusional could think they harbor forthcoming breakthrough insights.
You've exposed that I disagree on many matters with you about cognitive science, and about what you have pointed out seems to be scientific consensus on the subject. I know that I have a deprecating self-image that believes that everything I do is wrong. But the trouble is, that I've been right a hell of a lot of times. A lot of that being right, comes from having such a low sense of self-confidence, that I'll go over an idea hundreds of times, before I even consider it as even a possible idea that MIGHT deserved to be considered as a hypothesis. So what a lot of scientists have published a theory they came up with, that they have proved beyond doubt, I would consider that, if I thought of a theory, that level of consideration would not even be enough for me to consider even telling anyone else about it.

From what I've been told, and from my own observations, I need to bolster my self-confidence, to actually put something out there.

I know that a lot of what I write seems to be radically different than how you think. But

Finish reading that Pinker book before you needlessly generate another epic fail.
All right, all right. I'll get round to it. Stop hounding me about it. It dwells on my mind too much already, to finish it. The more I think about finishing it, the more I feel pressure, and the more I feel pressured, the more I avoid something. So it's becoming counter-productive in my motivations. I'm having to work on developing more motivation in myself, just to complete it.


So please, keep your criticisms coming. It only serves to motivate me to find even better truth.
Oh I will... Though I call it showing you that your “truths” are sadly a phantasm of your own making.
I never minded that. I was expecting the Credit Crunch to be a few years later than it was. I was expecting that scientists would say that eggs weren't bad for you, only fried eggs. I have few more ideas of what I expect will happen in the future, in economics and in science.

Bear in mind, though, that I watch a lot of science programmes, just to keep up, and to see how much of my hypotheses, and the theories I have heard about, are consistent with other results. That way, I can see where I am off-track.

For instance, I was watching a Horizon programme last night, called "seeing is believing". It was very interesting, and informed me about certain results in the subject of visual and auditory illusions, that have great significance in the subject of cognitive science. I highly suggest that you watch it.

RE Msg: 71 by abelian:

Also, perhaps you can provide a source for finding the list of reviews of the paper, so that I might see what peer reviews have been done on it.
You apparently have no clue about the peer review process. The process goes something like this: (1) You submit a paper to a journal; (2) If the paper is on a subject that is appropriate for the journal, the paper is sent to three referees who are experts in the field and who remain anonymous; (3) The referees check the work in the paper for accuracy and if applicavle, make corrections and possibly make suggestions for revisions; (4) The corrections and suggested revisions are sent back to the author, who may or may not agree with the referees; (5) The author may dispute what the referees suggested, but in any case, sends back a paper which reflects his opinion on what needed to be revised; (6) The paper is sent back to the referees and the process continues until the referees return the paper with a vote to publish or not publish or publish with certain reservations or whatever. In any case, the referees are anonymous (although one can probably guess who they might be just because there aren't that many with enough people expertise to referee such specialized topics). The editor makes the final decision based on the referees's comments. The process takes around 6 months for a paper that requires no real changes.

Since the paper was published in phys rev d, it was peer reviewed. If it weren't it would not have been in phys rev d. Even Hartle and Hawking do not know who reviewed their paper.
Yeah, I read that about scientific journals before. I think it was in the New Scientist. However, if I remember right, it pointed out that when it comes to peer-reviews before publication, the editor of a journal uses the same people to do peer review on a subject, so these people are getting a whole load of reviews, and have their own full-time work on top. So if I remember right, the result was that they don't really get a lot of time to do a proper analysis that might take quite a lot of time.

Also, if you really want to review someone's work, then it would make sense that you repeat the experiment. If not, then you get a case like Jan Henrik Schon, where his work was published in journals, and yet, when anyone tried to repeat his experiments, they couldn't achieve his results. But if its "big science", then its going to be very expensive, and very time-consuming. A review like that, could require a budget close to the original, or at least in the same ball park.

However, I have noticed, or it had been brought to my attention, that many works have been reviewed after publication, and those reviews have been published in scientific journals. I also notice, that some theories that used to be accepted, are no longer accepted, because others have found faults with them, which have caused them to be replaced by other theories. I would have considered these such reviews of one's work by one's peers, to be also a form of peer review.

Also, given that there are time and budget constraints on pre-publication peer reviews, then post-publication peer reviews, which have more time to them, and probably would have actually used their results, and possibly found problems with them as a result, would then constitute a far greater test of those theories than any pre-publication peer review could hope to achieve.

If it's mathematically-based, like this one, then I recall the case of Andrew Wiles. I had just finished my first year of university. A friend, who knew that I had a great interest in mathematics, well before I did a degree in it, and independenty of doing a degree in it, had shown me a clipping that Andrew Wiles had solved Fermat's Last Theorem. So when I went back for my second year, I spoke to one of my lecturers. The first thing he did was to correct me, that it was called Fermat's Last CONJECTURE, as it was an unproved hypothesis. Then I replied that surely, since it had been solved anyway, that it did deserve to be called a theorem now. He replied that it was being checked out by mathematicians right now. As it happens, his published paper was found to have errors in it, that brought the proof into question. Andrew Wiles had to then go back, redo his proof and then publish it a year later.

So yes, pre-publication peer-review is a form of peer review, no less than asking someone else in your field to read over your work and see if there are any glaring problems that stand out. But is it a reliable means of determination, that the paper is definitely valid, and that it has been thoroughly checked out? From what I've been given the impression by experienced lecturers and from scientific media sources, no, it is not all that solid a form of review. But it does keep out a lot of the more woolly stuff.

I was asking for a list of post-publication peer reviews, to see what was written about it. I find it very useful to read what others in the field have said about a discovery, as then I find I have a more balanced viewpoint, and quite often, it is extremely useful to me, as it corrects me, both when I agree with the discovery, and when I disagree with it.

The anonymity is important to ensure that the referees cannot be pressured by well known scientists.
I can appreciate that it's important to ensure that peer-reviewers are not pressured.

However, in my view, it's important to know what the reviews said, both pre-publication and post-publication, as all of that is part of the scientific process of discovery. You cannot just look at the answers and expect to understand a problem in science, and scientific research is no different. You need to see all the working out.

It's also important to me to know who those reviewers are, after publication, for transparency. Different academics hold different positions. So if one is an ardent follower of Chomsky, and the paper attacks linguistic relativism, the reviewer might still be in the field and thus might have reviewed the paper. But he might have given a rather more optimistic view of the matter, because it supports his views. He probably still has points. But it makes one more aware of which points in the review are stronger points, and which ones are weaker.

But of course, that would require a change in the way that the scientific community functions, and I am not in any position to make them do what I think might be to their benefit.


This presents a certain problem for me,
Mainly because you're just tossing out jargon. First of all the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction is a functional, not a function.
Fair enough. But as it represents a map from a domain to a co-domain, to me, I still see it as a function. But you are entirely right.

The sum over paths in this case is over all possible metrics that satisfy the boundary conditions. Our universe is the one that maximizes the functional. The point is that one doesn't need to know initial conditions. The ``universe from nothing'' comes from the fact that the functional satisfies the Wheeler-DeWitt equation (which is actually the least controversial aspect of Hartle and Hawkings idea).
I agree that Hawking has done accurate mathematics. But it doesn't necessarily take into account that it based on mathematical results that are based on our observations of our universe.

Whenever we write a mathematical equation, or even a mathematical proof, there are still underlying conditions that are assumed. For instance, Pythagoras' theorem cannot be argued with. However, it does assume that one is dealing with a Euclidean space, which requires the assumption of Euclid's Fifth Axiom. Even then, it still carries a lot of assumptions about the nature of geometry and arithmetic, that are generally assumed to be true for all spaces. We normally put in all these assumptions into the proof, or the resulting equation. If we did, then even something simple like the basic rule of Pythagoras' Theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2) would be huge.

We can assume these things in a given context. However, when we generalise to outside of this context, we cannot assume these results are true.

As a result, we can say that the universal wavefunction is true about our universe, and any universes which also operate with the same underlying assumptions that lead up to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, and the sum-over-paths method. But not about any other universes in which we cannot state for certain that these assumptions hold.

So it would be true to say that THIS universe's wavefunction is a maximal over all universes with observations that match our own universes enough to form the basis of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, and the sum-over-paths method, which would mean our universe is the most probable of those to occur, and thus has an optimal design.

But we cannot say this universe's wavefunction reaches a maximal, about universes in general, only about a subset of them.


I see this as putting me in the same category as Edward Jenner and Albert Einstein.
Score yourself:
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 74
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History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 6:49:19 AM
RE Msg: 72 by OpenEyes:
Oy, what a mess.
Don't you mean "Oy Vey"?:laugh:

1: Hawking is claiming proofs, yes; but nonnecessity and nonexistance are two very different things. You can't prove that something doesn't exist, but it is quite possible to show that it doesn't have to.
Yes, I do understand the difference. For instance, I cannot prove that aliens don't exist. But I think I can prove that aliens don't have to exist. But only because humans exist, and we have no evidence of alien existence, and we have sufficient explanations of how humans came to be. Although, having said that, without a proof of abiogenesis, someone could point out that, although evolution provides a valid explanation of how we got from the first amoeba to humans, we still need to prove abiogenesis to explain where the first amoeba came from. So come to think of it, I'm not quite sure that my proof would be such a great one.

It's real easy to come up with a false argument even when it comes to proving or disproving necessity. You are still proving the lack of existence of necessity. It's the difference between proving that A=>B is false, and proving A is false. So arguments of non-necessity often have the same challenges as proving non-existence from a theoretical basis. They are different. But not necessarily any easier.

Also, I'm not forming a Pope/Hawking Dichotomy-
Good. I'm glad that we can agree on that.

what I said is that Hawking is maximally qualified to talk about the fundamental construction of the universe. Can you think of someone better?
Yeah. There have been lots of philosophers who have discussed the origins of the universe, both those known to Western secular society, and many who are known to many, but not really all that well-known to Western secularists. Hawking can talk about physics. But once he gets outside of this universe, he's talking about places we've never been, based on things that he knows about, but are only based on where we've been. That's why I gave the example about Schrödinger's cat. We are the cat. We know all about our universe. But we really cannot know what other universes are like. So physics stops being such a given, at that point, and philosophical speculations do start to become much more important.

2: Einstein's hypotheses made easily tested experimental predictions. People weren' t excited about it until this was done.
I was reading back in the 70s, that scientists were STILL spending a lot of time and money testing Einstein's theory, even in the 50s.

When it comes to theoretical physics, it's much more about who has done significant work in the field in the past. Hawking Radiation has some experimental evidence for it 30 years later, for example.
If you mean to say that it takes decades before one has evidence to support a theory in certain subjects, that I can agree with. But then the same would be true to disprove a theory. So we might not have evidence for it, or against it, until 30 years hence. In the meantime, we cannot say that the theory will be validated or invalidated by physical experimentation, and then, we would not be remiss for saying it is currently neither true or false.

3: As I already said, heliocentric books, including Kepler's, weren't dropped from the prohibited books list until 1758; Kepler's theory was surpressed by the church just as much as Galileo's was- he just didn't get a visit from the inquisition. So it was never about Kepler's theory explaining things 'better'- if that were the case, they would have supported Kepler, no? It was always about heliocentricism going against church dogma and galileo's criticism of it.
Fair enough. But then why didn't Newton's Principia Mathematica make it into the Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

One of Newton's books made it onto the list of banned books. Yet his work on Heliocentrism did not. Kepler published other books, but they didn't make it onto the list of books. Clearly, the issue cannot be put down to banning science either by author or by subject.

Kepler's book that was banned, was his "Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae" (Epitome of Copernican Astronomy), and only that one was mentioned as banned, even though Kepler wrote more than this. It might not have been the best judgement to call your book after an author that had already had conflicts with the church, and whose books had already been put on the Index.

I found the Index online. You can examine the full list of banned books here: http://tinyurl.com/2avognf

4: That 'KID' was 17: not exactly unable to consider the consequences. Death threats can be criminal matters- Death threats against a head of state almost always. The fact that he wasn't prosecuted was a lucky break for him; if he was American he could have gotten five years.
But he WASN'T in America, he WASN'T 18, and plenty of people get death threats all the time, like Richard Dawkins, amongst many other people of all persuasions. I can understand them banning him for 5 years, to send a message that it's not acceptable for young kids to send death threats, particularly to Presidents of countries.

But a lifetime ban, implies that they consider him a genuine threat to the President of the USA. That would constitute terrorism on a global level, which would require the British authorities arresting him on suspicion of terrorism. No such arrests were made. So the British intelligence services, who have far more access to knowledge of his whereabouts, known aquaintances, and the like, to determine if it's just a nonsense threat or if it's something serious, realised that it was just a young kid, who was p*ssed off. He was probably p*ssed off at the loss of so many lives of loyal British soldiers of his country, just because his country was brought in to a war that many in this country believe was totally illegal, purely because America went into it, and because Blair backed Bush to the hilt.

It sends a message, that if someone is p*ssed off at political policies, but in no way constitutes a potential threat, that if they voice their feelings, that the US government will treat them as terrorists anyway. For Brits, it's not all that different when an old man, who was a lifetime member of the Labour Party, was forcibly evicted from a Labour Party Conference under Blair, for speaking his mind, that Blair was conducting illegal activities by bringing them into this war. All in all, it sends a message to the world, that if you disagree with how the US is doing things, then you will be treated as a terrorist.

Now look at it from the side of the Taleban and Al-Quaeda. If some of them thought that the US could find a happy medium with them, that they could afford to give up terrorism, they still would maintain that the US and the UK was wrong about the way they have handled Iraq and Afghanistan. But looking at what happened to a British kid, who is not considered a threat by them, they can expect that their problems with US policy will never be listened to, unless they bend over backwards to be polite.

However, the Harvard School of Business wrote a book on negotiation, in which it pointed out that when one side plays hardball and the other plays softball, the side that plays soft, will almost always lose their shirt. So they cannot back down that much. They have to at least be able to say what they think, even if they don't act on it.

But this sends the message that they cannot even say what they think. That leaves them only with their BATNA to negotiate with, their Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. That is, from what I can see, terrorism.

So this sort of thing, can keep those who are moderates within terrorist groups, and who have the influence to get their groups to give up terrorism, to avoid doing so, becuase they have reason to believe they will never have their grievances listened to.

It's overkill, that makes everyone else think that Americans want to steam-roller over everyone else, and that the only way to make Americans listen, is to keep doing things to them, that will FORCE them to come to the negotiating table, which so far, seems to be keeping on blowing them up in terrorist acts, until they realise they just cannot win such a war.

So no, it's not good, not the way I see it.

Of course, I'm not an American. My country hasn't been attacked twice in 100 years. The UK has been attacked loads of times. So maybe we don't scream blue murder every time we are attacked once, because we expect that it's bound to happen every now and then, it you control other nations, economically and militarily. But then again, the UK is a much older country. So we have far more experience in this matter.

Maybe we just need to wait until 3776, for Americans to catch up. It's not long, only another 1766 years.

Also, it wasn't the secret service, but the FBI, who were involved in this instance.
I wasn't disputing who had jurisdiction.

Summary:
The way I see things, Hawking has published something. If scientists wish to wax large about what it teaches them about their ToE of physics, that's up to them. But so far, all you've given me is even more reason to think that it's not at this point either proved or complete enough to suggest large statements about the universe, particularly about its origins.

Maybe in 30 years, it might be. Or maybe if someone else builds on it, it might be. Just I don't see it yet.

But then, that's my opinion. You are entitled to your opinion. But only because everyone is entitled to hold their own opinions, and that applies to me as much as you.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 75
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 8:08:07 AM

Yeah, I read that about scientific journals before. I think it was in the New Scientist. However, if I remember right, it pointed out that when it comes to peer-reviews before publication, the editor of a journal uses the same people to do peer review on a subject, so these people are getting a whole load of reviews, and have their own full-time work on top.

For future reference, don't take anything in New Scientist seriously. The APS joutnals (e.g. phys rev lett., phys rev a,b,c,d,...) are peer reviewed by members of the APS who are experts in their field. In particular, no one indivisual is getting ``a whole load of reviews.''

It's also important to me to know who those reviewers are, after publication, for transparency.

You don't count. The purpose of a scientific journal is to disseminate information to other scientists, not appease lay readers who won't understand the content or put the article in the proper perspective (which is that very little is going to be of lasting significance). . If you want a say in what the APS does, join the APS. The reason that referees are anonymous is to allow them to the freedom to reject a paper from someone of Hawking's stature without fear of repercussions.

Different academics hold different positions.

So? If the article is clearly written, technically correct and relevant to the journal, the article will get published. If an author has an article rejected, there is always the option of submitting it to another journal.
There's already more junk in journals than ought to be there. If you want the junk that gets rejected, but could possibly be of some interest to someone, no matter how unlikely that might be, try arxive.org. It's the world eprint repository for mathematics, physics and a few other disciplines.

But it doesn't necessarily take into account that it based on mathematical results that are based on our observations of our universe.

Well, you have to start somewhere and since the goal is to explain this universe, that probably seemed like a good place to start. On the other hand, the only constraint imposed on it is that the 3-geometry is a compact manifold without boundary. Strictly speaking, the model is at least incomplete, however it's sufficiently general to make predictions which agree with observation despite being incomplete. However, the real argument being made against theism here is more due to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation,

H Psi = 0

Since H is the Hamiltonian (i.e., the energy constraint) for all possible field configurations on spacetime, one needs to show that there exists a solution to this equation. If the equation above has a solution, then the total energy is zero at all times and there is nothing objectionable about the universe arising from nothing. The Hartle-Hawking wavefunction is such a solution, so what they've shown is that there are in fact universes which have features that are at least similar to ours which can arise from nothing with maximal probability. That supports what Hawking did say, which is that a god was not necessary.

I'd say that Hawking's claim is sensational only because he happens to be famous. In his book, ``God: The Failed Hypothesis,'' Victor Stenger does a much better job of reducing whatever role there is for a god to almost nothing based on things we know very well and that pretty much rules out any judeo-christian god.
Personally, I don't see what all of the fuss is about.

For instance, Pythagoras' theorem cannot be argued with. However, it does assume that one is dealing with a Euclidean space, which requires the assumption of Euclid's Fifth Axiom.

So? That's equivalent to equipping a manifold with a flat metric which is positive definite. Since we can use rulers to measure things, one might expect the universe to have a metric. Our universe is, in fact equipped with a Lorentzian metric, however, in the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction, what's relevant is the spatial part of the metric. (That what the 3^g or 3^G means).

Even then, it still carries a lot of assumptions about the nature of geometry and arithmetic, that are generally assumed to be true for all spaces.

Since they state right up front that the functional is a functional of the metric, I don't see the problem. That isn't a ``lot of assumptions.'' It's a few assumptions based on some very simple observations, like the fact that we can measures distances. Hint: First figure out what the gravitational field has to do with the metric and note that the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction has something to do with quantum gravity.

But we cannot say this universe's wavefunction reaches a maximal, about universes in general, only about a subset of them.

Eh? The point of a functional is to write down a completely general expression and pick out the subset of functions that extremize it, preferably leaving exactly one uniiverse - ours - as the most probable. All Hawking has done is to provide a model of a lot of universes in which god has, at best, a very small role to play, which is nothing like whatever concept of god as a personal exists in religion.
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