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 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 60
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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)
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: 61
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: 62
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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: 63
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.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 65
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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: 66
view profile
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.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 68
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: 69
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: 70
view profile
History
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: 71
view profile
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: 72
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.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 73
view profile
History
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 10:30:13 AM
RE Msg: 75 by abelian:
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.''
That's exactly what the New Scientist said. However, there are a number of papers in each field, and there are only so many experts in each field who have been chosen to do the reviewing, and thus, the number of papers, IMO, should seriously outnumber the number of expert reviewers, within each field. Of course, if there are only a few papers published a year in each field, and each expert spends all the time necessary to review it, which means a fair bit of time for something that took years to develop, easily months if in a mathematically-based field, then it would have a lot more standing. But I cannot really quantify that, without having some definite figures on the subject. Perhaps you could point me in the direction of someone who does have expert knowledge on the process of peer-review, and wouldn't mind informing an ignorant upstart like myself?


It's also important to me to know who those reviewers are, after publication, for transparency.
You don't count.
Your dismissive statement is what I have encountered before, which is why I wrote earlier, that scientists wouldn't be willing to listen to my views on the issue of peer-reivew.

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).
I guess that I'd feel better about that, if there were 2 types of journals, one for other scientists, and not for lay people, including the media, and another for public consumption. But whenever I look up media reports of a scientific discovery, then it seems to come from the same scientific journals that you say are not for "lay readers". Sure, the media don't employ people without a knowledge of science, to read up on the latest PNAS articles. But they are not exactly expert enough that the media stories I read, all that often match what even the abstracts say, which I do look up, on the odd occasion.

I'm in a quandary. First you say that the journals are not for public consumption. So I cannot trust what I read in scientific journals. But if you don't offer anything else, then there is no reasonable way for lay people, which include the media, politicians, businessmen, and everyone else, to get information on new scientific discoveries. So I cannot trust any lay people from the media, the government, or businesses, who reads them, and tells the public what they mean. So then I can only trust scientists who explain their ideas to the public.

If they explain them well, all well and good, and some do. That's where a lot of my scientific information comes from. It's why I like to watch so many science programmes on TV. I select the ones in which professors explain their own findings. It's also why I like to read the New Scientist, because most of the articles ARE written by scientists, and published as such.

Some scientists leave me with a problem with everything they say, that, whether they are right or not, it isn't consistent, to my understanding. Even thinking about them at length, doesn't seem to help my understanding of those scentists. It just makes me find even more problems. So then, at best, I have something that even the person who came up with it, cannot seem to elucidate to me. I cannot work with something that doesn't make any sense at all to me.

I do watch scientists explanations about major physics, like the ones about black holes, and the Big Bang, and things like that. But these seem to end with a lot of physicists saying "We don't really know about black holes", "I really don't like Dark Matter, and would prefer that it goes away", things like that. Although I have a gist of what physicists are saying, I feel so non-plussed, that I end up feeling like I really want to read the maths behind it, because they aren't helping me. So maybe if I read what they read, I might at least understand that. But I really haven't put enough effort into learning particle physics and quantum physics for myself, only on a basic UK high school level.

But overall, such an approach would mean that I would have to discount all the normal sources for scientific discoveries to come to the public, which, I would imagine, most people would see as ignoring science completely.

So for now, either I listen to you, and take an approach that would seem to be me ignoring science completely, or I can put your words on the back burner, to check with people in the field that I meet or contact, to explain what you mean. I'm not sure which to do.

If you want a say in what the APS does, join the APS.
I'm not an American. So even if I did want to join an association of Physicists, it would be a British association. But even then, let's be honest, you and other physicists wouldn't give me the time of day unless I was accredited by working full-time in the field or an associated field in an established university. All of that requires getting into academia and having to deal with office politics, which I sucked at, and so badly, I realised that I would not do be happy at all, until I felt I could deal with office politics, or that I could work for someone who would field all that stuff for me. Maybe in the future, I'd re-consider a career in academia.

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.
I got that. I still don't understand why the scientific community would want to give them repercussions in the first place. But, hey, if that's the way it runs, then that's the way it runs. I won't quibble on your testimony on that.

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.
Fair enough, and thanks for the pointer.


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.
That's quite similar to what the vid said, about the zero-sum energy point. I still had problems with that. But since this seems to have got me into very hot water with everyone, and you do have a clear point, I'm thinking that maybe I just ought to put this also on the back-burner, until I learn enough of this type of physics (I don't want to say QM, in case someone starts arguing that it's particle physics, or something else, as that's happened before on this forum).

But if you do post back that you do not mind more questions on this, then I would be only too happy to post my more questions, as that way, I could hope to get them resolved.

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.
Can't say that I've read it. I have seen a few documentaries that do a nice summary of the arguments against theism. Unfortunately, it wasn't of the level of Hitchens. A lot of the points the presenter made, contradicted themselves, but in subtle, and not overt ways, at least, that's what I noticed. As it is, I suppose I COULD read it. But many of the arguments made today, are actually arguments that were very old in the 70s when I was a kid. They've just been dressed up in new, more scientific terminology. But the fundamentals of so many arguments are the same as they ever were. So it's quite difficult for me, because I've heard so many of them before, just in an old version.

Even Stephen Hawking's argument is not dissimilar to arguments that I myself proposed to myself at the age of 14, although his argument is not even as strong as the one I employed on myself.

I think I'd enjoy reading Stenger's book, only on the condition, that if I found serious flaws with his arguments, that I could go and debate them out with him face-to-face. Outside of that, it would just be me giving yet another person the benefit of the doubt, when I've done that many times before, to no avail.

But I'm sure that it's a good read, and I'm sure that he's presented points that many haven't heard before. I doubt tha most people were arguing over proofs of theism when they were in their teens.

Personally, I don't see what all of the fuss is about.
It's because Hawking is a scientist. People take scientists' word for it on anything. If you said that drinking at least 10 cans of Coca-Cola every single day of your life was good for you, people would believe you, because "you're a scientist", which is often followed up with "you're really smart, you know lots, and we are very stupid, and know very little, so whatever you say, you must be right". Consider yourself religiously infallible, at least from a large portion of the populace. They'll only disagree with you, if you say something that they do all the time, is wrong, like that drinking lots of alcohol is bad for you. But outside of that, you have more power than the Pope.


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).
Try writing out every axiom and every method of logic that you require to prove the existence of a positive, definite, flat metric on a manifold, in wffs, in pure logic. Or try proving it Pythagoras' Theorem using pure logical statements, and nothing else, no geometrical shapes, no algebra, no arithmetic, nothing but pure logic. It's doable, because mathematics is all logic. But you won't be able to do it, without putting in all those extra axioms. I tried to consider all the axioms that were required just for basic arithmetic, for instance, to prove 1 + 1 = 2, you require to define 1, +, =, and 2, and show they all exist, or assume they exist as axioms, and then define the extra condition that allows for the existence of combinations of elements that can be used as counting, to become another element, in an arithmetical way. It made my head spin. Apparently some mathematician did it, and it took him almost 150 pages!

A lot of what we do in maths, seems to me, to be context sensitive.


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.
Again, all of those "few" assumptions, I'd have to prove, using pure logic, and nothing else, no arithmetic, no calculus, nothing but pure logical statements. Then I'd be able to see just what assumptions I would need to prove it all. I am of the opinion to prove something like the existence of a Hamiltonian, could take a few hundred axioms alone. Just to prove calculus, requires the existence of continuous domains, and the existence of pairs of sequences that converge roughly in parallel, that both map to groups, and have norms over both, which both map to the same field, and probably way more than that.


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.
It is probably a very general statement for physics. I don't think it would be something that I would consider to be a general expression. But then, I've been thinking on what qualifies as a general expression for 20 years now, and what I think now, is very different from what I was taught. I have thought about standing up and saying what I've worked out. But I still think I need to solve a major problem before anyone would be willing to listen to me, and I still doubt that anyone would anyway.

So maybe I'm a nutcase on this, and I ought to get back to solving some riddles I am working on, mathematically speaking.

I hope that you can forgive a nutcase for bothering you.
 desertrhino
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 74
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 4:59:13 PM

I'm in a quandary. First you say that the journals are not for public consumption. So I cannot trust what I read in scientific journals.


I think the point is more that you cannot UNDERSTAND in adequate context, due to the direction and focus of your education to this point, what you read in the serious scientific journals. It not that you can't TRUST it. You just lack the background and training to decide what is reasonable or where there may be holes in the research.
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 75
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/19/2010 10:33:11 PM
...And that is supposedly the end of the debate? If that were true we should just annihilate everybody but the scientists because they are so educated and right. Holes in their research? Big ones..caused by their hubris and way too many toys to amuse them through their very educated and blind days. Aaah. Each victory gained by science pails in comparison to the losses experienced.
 desertrhino
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 76
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/20/2010 4:15:07 AM

Each victory gained by science pails(sic) in comparison to the losses experienced.


...says the woman posting to an online forum on a computer in the middle of backwoods Canada.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 77
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/20/2010 5:25:51 AM
"backwoods Canada?"

Would that be anywhere north of Highway 7 in Toronto?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 78
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/20/2010 12:04:19 PM
RE Msg: 77 by desertrhino:
I think the point is more that you cannot UNDERSTAND in adequate context, due to the direction and focus of your education to this point, what you read in the serious scientific journals.
Then I cannot falsify anything in it. But if I cannot falsify it, I cannot find it to be true either. So then, I can only take the perspective that it is just as likely to be false or true. All I could do then, is treat it as a hypothetical suggestion that anyone could make, but without validity.

It not that you can't TRUST it.
I trust scientists completely. I trust them to obey the laws of science, just like all inanimate objects, and all animals, including humans. One of this is the principle of scientific induction, which is that if something follows the same pattern of behaviour, then without anything happening that will force it to change its behaviour, it will continue to do so. So, whatever pattern of behaviour can be observed by yourself about a scentists, or about a group of scientists, then by scientific induction, they will continue in such manner.

You just lack the background and training to decide what is reasonable or where there may be holes in the research.
If I cannot say if it is unreasonable, then I cannot say it is reasonable. If I cannot say if it has holes, I cannot say it doesn't. So it becomes something that is equally likely to me, to be unreasonable as much as reasonable, and to have no holes as much as to have 1 hole or 2 holes or 3 holes or more holes. So then I can only take the perspective that it is at best, just as likely to be false or true. All I could do then, is treat it as a hypothetical suggestion that anyone could make, but without validity.
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 79
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/20/2010 11:52:53 PM

Hey merely

You wrote in response to my saying that hawking was expressing an opinion:
"Not really Paul K, Hawking was really just pointing out that something came out of nothing."
What is that if not an opinion??

Then you wrote:
"My point to you was that really, Hawking is outside of his field of expertise... philosophy covers this realm, not physics."

So now you agree that hawking was giving opinion?

Paul K


This was a long time back but I meant to answer it.

Basically, Paul K, I believe that Hawking's opinion that the universe needs no creator to come into existence is an expert opinion being that he is an accomplished physicist. An expert opinion is still an opinion, but it should be given more weight than a layman's opinion.

Now, whether or not god exists outside of the universe is a different question, just because no evidence comes from physics that there has to be a god doesn't mean there isn't a god.

I would say that philosophy answered that question allot longer before science did though. Also, that's why I think that Hawking is simultaneously outside of his field of expertise, but still put his scientific evidence that explains that god doesn't have to exist in order for the universe to exist in the expert category.
 Paul K
Joined: 3/10/2006
Msg: 80
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 11:56:45 AM
Hey merely

You wrote:

"I would say that philosophy answered that question allot longer before science did though. Also, that's why I think that Hawking is simultaneously outside of his field of expertise, but still put his scientific evidence that explains that god doesn't have to exist in order for the universe to exist in the expert category."

You should be a politician, as you covered both sides of the argument perfectly. I do agree with your current assesment.

You wrote:
"Now, whether or not god exists outside of the universe is a different question, just because no evidence comes from physics that there has to be a god doesn't mean there isn't a god."

Very nicely put, I agree.

Paul K
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 81
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 12:33:14 PM

Now, whether or not god exists outside of the universe is a different question, just because no evidence comes from physics that there has to be a god doesn't mean there isn't a god.


Doesn't mean there is one, either. The point of Hawking's statement is that God isn't needed to explain the existence of the universe.

And, if God is not the explanation for anything, isn't the consequence of that is that God is not the explanation for anything?
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 82
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 3:29:37 PM
stargazer1000:
And, if God is not the explanation for anything, isn't the consequence of that is that God is not the explanation for anything?


Only if nihilism, a valueless existence, is what we want to hold as truth.

We can overcome nihilism without a god, sure, but some sort of creator of values of will ultimately be needed for "the masses"(the majority of non-reflective society of which most physical scientists are themselves a part of) to do so.

Its uncommon for one to be able to look at one's mortality with a straight face and not believe in some sort of meaningful purpose for life. Science provides no meaningful purpose for life. Science doesn't confront mortality, it delays it, ignores it, and tries to defy it. Science is not creative, it merely observes what has been created, by who knows what? Maybe nothing? So natural science is not value creating at all, its value destroying.

So, the question wasn't if god was needed to explain the existence of the universe in the first place, but wether mankind needs a creator of values in order to have a complete and meaningful existence.
 Paul K
Joined: 3/10/2006
Msg: 83
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Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 3:36:19 PM
Hey ginger
you wrote:
"science from my point of view has given far more answers than the majority of the religeous books combined."

As it well should. Since you you referred to "religeous books", I will assume that you meant "science books" at the beginning of your statement. I am certain that you wouldn't find many equations or formulas in religious books, as you wouldn't find religious content in books of science either. What some religous teaching purports to do is to explain things that science has no answer for either. Granted, it is a faith level belief, so it can be dismissed by those who don't believe.

I agree with your statement.

Paul K
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 84
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 3:55:43 PM
Paul K:
You should be a politician, as you covered both sides of the argument perfectly. I do agree with your current assesment.


Thanks Paul, thats flattering, I doubt I would get very far because to get votes a politician needs to flatter the masses. It would probably be fun to watch me run for public office and be critical of my own electorate.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 85
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 4:40:07 PM


And, if God is not the explanation for anything, isn't the consequence of that is that God is not the explanation for anything?


Only if nihilism, a valueless existence, is what we want to hold as truth.


Why is that the only alternative, except to demand a false choice of God or nothing? What "meaning" life ultimately has is entirely your own choice. And your own responsibility. However, the constant assertion that only "God" can lay the foundation of a basic moral code is not only wrong, it's at least paternalistic and at worst insulting.


Science doesn't confront mortality, it delays it, ignores it, and tries to defy it. Science is not creative, it merely observes what has been created, by who knows what? Maybe nothing? So natural science is not value creating at all, its value destroying.


Again, utter nonsense! Science does not remove anyone's basic requirement to be good to their fellow human being. Indeed, science has shown that what we term "morality" actually has an evolutionary basis in group behaviours seen in several species.

I'm not religious. I'm at best ambivalent to the concept of "God" and I'm very enthusiastic to the latest findings in a variety of areas of science. Are you trying to say that, on that basis, I lack a basic morality? Well, I think I tend to treat people pretty good and certainly haven't killed anyone yet. Indeed, some of the worst crimes against humanity have been performed in the name of "God."

So the evidence would appear to contradict your supposition.


So, the question wasn't if god was needed to explain the existence of the universe in the first place, but wether mankind needs a creator of values in order to have a complete and meaningful existence.


Please feel free, with as few equivocations and prevarications as possible, to demonstrate how this is true.
 merelymortal
Joined: 11/24/2009
Msg: 86
Stephen Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe
Posted: 10/21/2010 4:59:23 PM
stargazer1000:
Science does not remove anyone's basic requirement to be good to their fellow human being.


Sure it doesn't, but science also doesn't posit any moral values.


Indeed, science has shown that what we term "morality" actually has an evolutionary basis in group behaviours seen in several species.


What we term as "morality" is a bit deeper that what the scientists are examining in chimps and other animals. Are you saying that animals reflect on their mortality, and that science has confirmed evidence of this? Are you saying that Animals think about justice, and that science has confirmed evidence of this? Sorry, but while I can believe that a chimp group might split up food in a way it thinks its done "fairly", I don't buy that they are thinking about what happens after they die, or that they are contemplating justice and what it is. What you have proposed is just another example of how science breaks everything down to the lowest common denominator. This is exactly the reason why science is not value positing, it doesn't question existence or create anything, it merely observes facts and posits conclusions based on those facts.


Indeed, some of the worst crimes against humanity have been performed in the name of "God."


But those weren't crimes, those were actions of honesty and commitment to belief. If you read some of the wiki links to great book literature I put above maybe you will get a better understanding of what morality is than simply "nice behavior".
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