Debunking Religion?

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Nereid

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To FZ+:
1) To what extent do you consider the fields of linguistics, sociology, ethnology, semiotics, etc to be on the same playing field as science?
If you consider that the reported results in these fields come as a result of the application of the scientific method, then they can be used to debunk religion; specifically "The only things that are debunkable are claims that enter the grounds of science - materialist claims, that can be tested by experiment and logic. Therefore, the religion related threads that post here can only be ones that refer to tangible claims of prophecy etc"

To FZ+ and phoenixthoth:
2) If any of them are, as we don't have a top level set with any of these names yet, should we?
... in "Other Sciences", or "Social Sciences".

To Russ and phoenixthoth:
And when it comes to therapeutic stem cell research (for example), doesn't this abdication start to get in the way of doing really helpful research?
Perhaps it's just perception, but IIRC, there was a recent decision by the Bush Administration to ban the use of federal funds for stem cell research using fetal tissue. If this were just 'cloning' research, fair enough; but as I read it, the ban was on ALL stem cell research. Apparently this ban arose from pressure by some christian groups. Haven't scientists tacitly allowed this to come to pass, by not vigorously confronting the faith-based beliefs of a small minority? Especially in an avowedly secular state?
 

theEVIL1

mixing metaphors

RELIGION is an outward sign of a comitment of a particular set of beliefs. BELIEFS are based on one or more faiths. I have faith, hell, we all do. MY faiths are: that the sun will rise tomorrow (I know the sun really does not "rise") and that the earth will go on spining at 924 mph. Thes faiths are NOT based on some ancient archaic writings, nor on what I HOPE to be true..but on rational and reasonable experiences and can be shown to have been 100% true PRIOR to now..thus highly predictable for the future. THIS is where mystical faith and rational faith depart. As my friend Carl used to say "true science prefers it's coldest facts to it's fondest delussions." AND that is pretty much it...in, as SH might say.."IN a nutshell.."
 
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What do you define mystical faith as?
 
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Originally posted by russ_watters
... maybe its a catch-22, but someone who thinks they are basing religious convictions on evidence is falling into yet another trap: by definition, religious convictions require FAITH. So someone who is willing to base their religious convictions on science really has no religious convictions at all...
OK, I really like this paragraph. Hope you don't mind but I'm clipping it and saving this one to disk.
 

FZ+

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here's an intangible claim that is false. alephnull = alephone.
No. Here is a claim that following on from a series of axioms, is defined as false. But no objective way exists to talk of the validity of the axioms themselves, unless we give the statement tangibility by stating that 1+1 =2 etc and all the statements that build up to it are representative of some element of reality. Otherwise, my concept of alephfoo may be different from yours, and so the debate collapses.
this disproves your statement that nothing intangible can be falsifiable.
No. In fact, what you have done is to confuse the scientific idea of falsification. Falsification does not mean the declaration of falsehood, but the proof by means of reference to reality.

in that sense, everything in science is indeterminate.
True! Look up for a very interesting article on "Why does science work?", somewhere. Indeed, perhaps the biggest miracle in the universe is that maths and science are actually effective.

But there are degrees of indeterminancy. We can never declare absolutely something as true. (Including this post, paradoxically as it seems) We can however make the statement that somethings are more indeterminate than others, and we do that by trying to minimise our assumptions/axioms, and placing reference to tangible events. The nature of knowledge denies us pure determinancy, but there is a word of difference between something that is not determinable by the limitations of the universe, and not determinable by neccessity of the argument.

but if we abandon reason
The sleep of reason does nightmares make.

therefore, reason has to be abandoned if one is to accept the statement 1+1=2 as being true. and if this is true yet reason doesn't prove it, what else is out there that is true that reason doesn't prove?
No, reason is not to be abandoned - as this brings the question, abandoned in favour of what? Deductive reasoning, by definition, cannot bring new knowledge. But a test is useful, as it shows up flaws.

you could say that "god exists" is an axiom as well as "there is a set with no elements."
But on the basis of maths we can build things. We can show the apparent inconsistency that would arise if maths were not true, and hence we are persuaded into assuming maths in correct. Maths in general is a vulnerable axiom - it is an axiom that leads to implications, that should be reflected in the real word. God, can give either tangible implications or intangible ones - tangible = vulnerable, and useful, intangible = invulnerable, and opinionated. There is a sharp divide now between platonic mathematics and formalistic mathematics.

By Formalistic mathematics, true. Maths is immune to scientific study, and is a network of tautologies only, and so as a whole has no truth value. By Platonic mathematics, false, because the whole of maths represents something tangible and experiencible in the real word. In this case, maths is neccessarily a science, and can be shown to be true or untrue.

what i'd like to point out is that 1+1=2 is believed to be true yet there is NO PROOF FOR IT!
Yes. But its belief is not the reason why 1+1=2 can not generally be dealt with. It is in the nature of the statement. Unless we make it a statement regarding the real world.
so why are religious people looked down on (i hear words like "sheep") so much for believing in God?
It's a fun sport people try out now and then. Theists call atheists sinners, evil, etc etc, and atheists call them back. Ok, to make the real point... The major bad point of all religions (from the perspective of an atheist/agnostic) is the emphasis on faith. Faith involves the striving for invulnerability of an argument. It is not the belief itself, but the fanatical aspect and lack of skepticism which accompanies it. Maths is sufferable because it is useful, it provides a rigid set of implications with which we can deal with. Religions on the other hand most insist on intangibility, and lack of usefulness. And there is a practical alternative to religion, whilst insisting 1+1!= 2 is rather non-useful.

But in general, it is more a case of religious people attempting to patronise non-religious people. (Count the percentage population gap!)
 

FZ+

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If you consider that the reported results in these fields come as a result of the application of the scientific method, then they can be used to debunk religion;
I see... But I hope I am not too naive in stating that in general, these fields strive to understand, not to judge. In effect, the application of this study tells us only the extent of people's belief, not whether their beliefs are correct.
 
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Originally posted by Nereid
To phoenixthoth:
This tangible/intangible, and "physical evidence" (as you define it) approach has got so much packed into it that to even begin picking it apart would probably need its own forum. Just to list, in shorthand, a few things that would have to be sorted out:
- inference (e.g. extra-solar planets, dark matter)
- abstraction (e.g. dimension, time)
- theory/hypothesis/principles (e.g. the dependence of the 'assistance of something that enhances our awareness beyond human limitations (such as a gamma ray detector) on theory')
- role of mathematics
- even definitions/nomenclature/terms.

As FZ+ said, a real can of worms.

BTW, neutrinos are tangible, by your definition.
yes, but that higher dimensions might exist as a result of any observation based in neutrinos would fall into the category of "inference." i don't think inference statments provide anything more than cirumstantial evidence for what are intangible claims. that's not to say that overwhelming circumstantial evidence isn't convincing. for example, a cop pulls over a guy standing next to a wrecked car. he's drunk. the cop arrests the guy for drunk driving. he pleads not guilty because the cop never observed him as being the driver of the car. (this was in an isolated area with no one else around.) granted, seeing him next to the car is circumstantial evidence, but it's convincing. i believe his not guilty case actually held up and he was released. i, unlike the court system, am convinced by overwhelming circumstantial evidence. but the question is how much circumstantial evidence is enough to rule out every possible (further, REASONABLE) doubt?
 
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the claim 1 + 1 = 2 is an intangible claim. i have to admit, you are right, its truth cannot be decided using reason. but if we abandon reason, then its truth is assured by all the circumstantial evidence that supports it. one way to go is to place one apple next to another and see if there are two apples. but of course, the statement "1+1=2" isn't just about apples. therefore, this little experiment doesn't prove that 1+1=2. in fact, we can repeat the experiemnt a google times with a google different objects but that doesn't prove 1+1=2 in general for all things. to conclude that would be to use induction rather than deduction. another way to go would be to use the axioms of set theory, but we've already seen how those are indeterminate. therefore, reason has to be abandoned if one is to accept the statement 1+1=2 as being true. and if this is true yet reason doesn't prove it, what else is out there that is true that reason doesn't prove? (by reason, i mean deductive logic.)
the last question inspired me. some of what's in http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/lowell.html [Broken] is relevant. the parts about godel's incompletness theorem which states that with any axiomatic system, there are TRUE statments using the same language as those axioms that will NEVER be proved from the axioms.

so, when i ask what else is out there that is true that reason doesn't prove, i'm suggesting that the statement "God exists" is one of them.

however, this assertion would probably be extremely difficult to prove. even within just mathematics, it's relatively easy to show that there are unprovable true statements but HARD to actually decide if a PARTICULAR statement is undecidable, ie, if it will EVER be proven true or false.
 
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Originally posted by russ_watters
Yes, but please note, the subject of my post was not those people, it was the people with religious convictions.

Also, maybe its a catch-22, but someone who thinks they are basing religious convictions on evidence is falling into yet another trap: by definition, religious convictions require FAITH. So someone who is willing to base their religious convictions on science really has no religious convictions at all. I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you talking about religion interfering with scientific research? Could you clarify?
as previously mentioned, there are true statements that cannot be proved (roughly speaking).

DEFINITION: faith is believing such a statement though there is no proof. for example, many mathematicians have faith in the riemann hypothesis, as far as i know. that's not to say they don't still reserve some small doubt about it. in that sense, their faith isn't absolute faith, which is when there is no doubt.
 
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Re: mixing metaphors

Originally posted by theEVIL1
RELIGION is an outward sign of a comitment of a particular set of beliefs. BELIEFS are based on one or more faiths. I have faith, hell, we all do. MY faiths are: that the sun will rise tomorrow (I know the sun really does not "rise") and that the earth will go on spining at 924 mph. Thes faiths are NOT based on some ancient archaic writings, nor on what I HOPE to be true..but on rational and reasonable experiences and can be shown to have been 100% true PRIOR to now..thus highly predictable for the future. THIS is where mystical faith and rational faith depart. As my friend Carl used to say "true science prefers it's coldest facts to it's fondest delussions." AND that is pretty much it...in, as SH might say.."IN a nutshell.."
i understand you two categories of faith.

i hope you're not making the JUDGEMENT that one kind of faith is "better" than the other.

either way, faith doesn't constitute proof, as we all know. for sure, faith alone will not convince someone else. the proof is almost in the results. many people do have positive results with God. many do not.
 
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The fact that many objectively consider science, philosophy or other natural pursuits to be forever incomplete poses the possibility that they are continually approaching an infinite, ordered whole. As there are many functions of the brain beyond rational argument, so there are many justifications for religion. The choice is ours: we are god, or we are with God. (Either for you is fine by me.)
 
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Originally posted by FZ+
No. Here is a claim that following on from a series of axioms, is defined as false. But no objective way exists to talk of the validity of the axioms themselves, unless we give the statement tangibility by stating that 1+1 =2 etc and all the statements that build up to it are representative of some element of reality. Otherwise, my concept of alephfoo may be different from yours, and so the debate collapses.

defined as false. well, then, as everything depends on certain assumtions, axioms, then there is no way to ever say that any statement is objectively false. if you don't believe that aleph0 = aleph1 is an objectively false statement (even though this can't be proven except by first arbitrarily defining "false"), i don't know if we can have a meaningful discussion. i believe the statement is objectively false. can you prove that the statement "aleph0 = aleph1" is NOT objectively false?


No. In fact, what you have done is to confuse the scientific idea of falsification. Falsification does not mean the declaration of falsehood, but the proof by means of reference to reality.
the scientific idea of falsification is just another arbitrary definition of falsehood similar to the one that you pointed out in math. it's no longer science vs religion; it has become science vs math! when we can't even agree on what false means, you can't talk at all about statements being false. of course, by the scientific definition of falsehood, many, many "false" mathematical statements (like aleph0=aleph1) are not "false" (according to scientists) because there is no possible reference to reality. YET, science USES the statements that can't be shown to not be false by their definition of false in their arguments!!!

however, math is a part of reality. just a non-physical reality. thus, the two ideas of false can be combined.

a romantic sketch. when God said, "let there be light," that was the beginning of the universe. the whole of objective truth (physical and non-physical) corresponds to an infinitely bright light. in the physical universe, the lights are stars. in the non-physical reality, the initial light are the axioms. the non-physical stars are theorems, those are the lights. so the astronomer's search for other stars is like the mathematician's search for more theorems. black holes correspond to theorems which can't be proven using the axioms. i like to call such things thought holes. when i approach a thought hole, i feel like it will suck me (rather, my mind) into it. but that astronomers can find evidence that a black hole is a star leads me to believe that one day it will somehow be possible to realize that thought holes are true theorems as well. i know it's a strech...



True! Look up for a very interesting article on "Why does science work?", somewhere. Indeed, perhaps the biggest miracle in the universe is that maths and science are actually effective.

But there are degrees of indeterminancy. We can never declare absolutely something as true. (Including this post, paradoxically as it seems) We can however make the statement that somethings are more indeterminate than others, and we do that by trying to minimise our assumptions/axioms, and placing reference to tangible events. The nature of knowledge denies us pure determinancy, but there is a word of difference between something that is not determinable by the limitations of the universe, and not determinable by neccessity of the argument.
i don't think it's a miracle at all. to me, it suggests that all the stuff is OBJECTIVELY TRUE despite the fact that it all rests on assumptions and arbitrary defnitions meant to correspond to our intuition. to that end, perhaps INTUTION is the true vehicle for accessing OBJECTIVE truth. this is what i hint at in my article "on removing little self taint from messages received from the source," which is somewhere on this site.

well, either way, i think the statement "we can never declare absolutely something as true" is absolutely false. and i'm not just being cute and saying, "we can DECLARE it." you know, like, i can DECLARE that 1+1=0 (which it is in the smallest field containing just 1 and 0). seriously, though, i think there are things that can be declared as absolutely true. however, any attempt to prove it using any axiomatic system will absolutely fail. it's not a paradox. two examples: "1+1=2" and "God exists." belief in such declarations is what i call FAITH. in the next millenium, perhaps faith will be the new accepted version of what constitutes proof, but i doubt it.


The sleep of reason does nightmares make.


No, reason is not to be abandoned - as this brings the question, abandoned in favour of what? Deductive reasoning, by definition, cannot bring new knowledge. But a test is useful, as it shows up flaws.
you may not be fully aware of how much of a nightmare it can be when reason sleeps. (to give just the tip of the iceburg, look at dr. nash.) i hope you're not, in fact. it's not something anyone should fully be aware of. to use your words, you're quite right: reason is put to sleep. not abandoned, as i said. when it is appropriate, it wakes up. nightmares. remember that nightmares are not real. don't you think it is irrational to be afraid of nightmares? on the other hand, in addition to nightmares, there are also very beautiful dreams; dreams i wish everyone could share in. these dreams are precisely what gives us objective truth. certainly, nightmares don't.

so, to answer your question, it is to be abandonded AND nightmares avoided (at all costs). another thing is this. the answer to your question is what i think will actually make us able to declare things as being absolutely true. in a metaphorical way, these are the dreams i mentioned.

But on the basis of maths we can build things. We can show the apparent inconsistency that would arise if maths were not true, and hence we are persuaded into assuming maths in correct. Maths in general is a vulnerable axiom - it is an axiom that leads to implications, that should be reflected in the real word. God, can give either tangible implications or intangible ones - tangible = vulnerable, and useful, intangible = invulnerable, and opinionated. There is a sharp divide now between platonic mathematics and formalistic mathematics.
i think you're wrong when you used the word "should." why do math axioms have to always lead to things in the real world? i assume you're talking about something like the banach-tarski "paradox." you say, "maths in general is a vulnerable axiom," and, "intangible = invulnerable." don't you think the axioms are intangible? how can math be both invulnerable and vulnerable? perhaps this is the platonic/formalistic split you're talking about. you're right about the opinionated part. people have different opinions about the axiom of choice. people have their opinions about euclid's axioms. probably riemann's OPINION was most important to you.

By Formalistic mathematics, true. Maths is immune to scientific study, and is a network of tautologies only, and so as a whole has no truth value. By Platonic mathematics, false, because the whole of maths represents something tangible and experiencible in the real word. In this case, maths is neccessarily a science, and can be shown to be true or untrue.
the whole of mathematics is not representable by something tangible or experiencible in the (what you call) real world. try representing the category of all categories or the class of all sets in the "real" world. try verifying the banach-tarski theorem experimentally.

Yes. But its belief is not the reason why 1+1=2 can not generally be dealt with. It is in the nature of the statement. Unless we make it a statement regarding the real world.
let's suppose we make it a statement about the real world. it says that when you add one quantity of ANYTHING to another equal quantity of that same thing, you then have two such quantities. in order to prove this experimentally, you'd have to try it will all things for to do anything less is to not prove it for ANYTHING.

part 2 to follow.
 
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It's a fun sport people try out now and then. Theists call atheists sinners, evil, etc etc, and atheists call them back. Ok, to make the real point... The major bad point of all religions (from the perspective of an atheist/agnostic) is the emphasis on faith. Faith involves the striving for invulnerability of an argument. It is not the belief itself, but the fanatical aspect and lack of skepticism which accompanies it. Maths is sufferable because it is useful, it provides a rigid set of implications with which we can deal with. Religions on the other hand most insist on intangibility, and lack of usefulness. And there is a practical alternative to religion, whilst insisting 1+1!= 2 is rather non-useful.
really? in group theory, one can say 1+1=0 when dealing with the group {0,1}. are you saying group theory is non-useful? hmm... RATHER non-useful, even!

how can you possibly say that religions lack of usefulness? just because it isn't useful to YOU doesn't mean it's not useful to billions of people. likewise, science is not useful to many people. you say math is useful. how is the banach-tarski theorem useful? you say that emphasis on faith is a "major bad point" in religion. how else does one go about realizing the objective truths that can't be proven in axiomatic systems? i think you have too much faith in reason*. you have this faith because it's "useful" to you. likewise, faith in God is held on to tightly because it is "useful" to them. it's just that faith alone will never convince someone else of the objective truth. any attempt to do so through such means is a waste of time.

*for example, what if i didn't accept modus ponens? what if you talked until you were blue in the face that modus ponens is true but i just didn't share your faith in it? yes, you have faith in modus ponens just as i would have faith that it isn't true. you're probably wondering how someone could doubt modus ponens. that reminds me of religious people wondering how someone could doubt that God exists.

But in general, it is more a case of religious people attempting to patronise non-religious people. (Count the percentage population gap!)
well, i don't have the data you have, evidently. i've always seen it as the science people attempting to patronize the religious people. you even called faith a major bad point of religion. hmm...

cheers,
phoenix
 
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russ_watters

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Re: mixing metaphors

Originally posted by theEVIL1
MY faiths are: that the sun will rise tomorrow (I know the sun really does not "rise") and that the earth will go on spining at 924 mph. Thes faiths are NOT based on some ancient archaic writings, nor on what I HOPE to be true..but on rational and reasonable experiences and can be shown to have been 100% true PRIOR to now..thus highly predictable for the future. THIS is where mystical faith and rational faith depart. As my friend Carl used to say "true science prefers it's coldest facts to it's fondest delussions." AND that is pretty much it...in, as SH might say.."IN a nutshell.."
There is no such thing as "rational faith." That's an oxymoron. Faith by definition REQUIRES a lack of evidence or explanation. Your expectation of the sun rising tomorrow is a high probability prediction based on scientific theory.
Originally posted by radagast
OK, I really like this paragraph. Hope you don't mind but I'm clipping it and saving this one to disk.
Not at all - in fact, I'm honored.

However, I'll need you to send me $1 every time you reuse it.
 
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Originally posted by Loren Booda
The fact that many objectively consider science, philosophy or other natural pursuits to be forever incomplete poses the possibility that they are continually approaching an infinite, ordered whole. As there are many functions of the brain beyond rational argument, so there are many justifications for religion. The choice is ours: we are god, or we are with God. (Either for you is fine by me.)
just because they approach an infinite, ordered whole doesn't mean they'll ever get there.

my choice is #2.

cheers,
phoenix
 
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Re: Re: mixing metaphors

Originally posted by russ_watters
There is no such thing as "rational faith." That's an oxymoron. Faith by definition REQUIRES a lack of evidence or explanation. Your expectation of the sun rising tomorrow is a high probability prediction based on scientific theory. Not at all - in fact, I'm honored.

However, I'll need you to send me $1 every time you reuse it.
i agree. all faith is irrational. that's why letting reason sleep at times is helpful. we let it sleep when we expect the sun to rise tomorrow for we can't really be absolutely sure that it will. but doubts never cross our minds even though we can't be absolutely sure that it will.
 
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Re: Re: mixing metaphors

Originally posted by russ_watters
...Not at all - in fact, I'm honored.

However, I'll need you to send me $1 every time you reuse it.
Ahh, the concept of faith again. :smile:
 

Nereid

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Nereid, Q to phoenixthoth: This tangible/intangible, and "physical evidence" (as you define it) approach has got so much packed into it that to even begin picking it apart would probably need its own forum. Just to list, in shorthand, a few things that would have to be sorted out:
- inference (e.g. extra-solar planets, dark matter)
- abstraction (e.g. dimension, time)
- theory/hypothesis/principles (e.g. the dependence of the 'assistance of something that enhances our awareness beyond human limitations (such as a gamma ray detector) on theory')
- role of mathematics
phoenixthoth (yep, it's an extract) said: yes, but that higher dimensions might exist as a result of any observation based in neutrinos would fall into the category of "inference." i don't think inference statments provide anything more than cirumstantial evidence for what are intangible claims.
So, a partial list of areas of science beyond the pale, in your view (this is a question):
- all of cosmology
- a large part (most?) of astronomy
- most of high energy particle physics
- heavy elements, beyond ~Lr
- much of genomics
- most of sub-crust geology and geophysics
- all of evolutionary biology
- ...
 
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i'm not really sure the true extent to which scientific claims are actually intangible. i would guess that the vast majority of them are tangible.

i guess i have to be clear on what i mean by tangible. for example, from the typical point of view that tangible means you can touch it, a photon is intangible. that's not what i mean, exactly. tangible means something you can perceive with any of the five senses with the assitance of some device used to expand awareness (such as a telescope or particle accelerator).

even by that definition, i think a statement like "the universe is 11 dimensional" is an intangible claim.

this topic said that no intangible claims are allowed to be discussed. just wondered how stephen hawking would feel about such a restriction.

regarding intangible claims, here's what FZ+ said:

"The tangibility marker is a method of determining where the debate belongs. Intangibility does not doom the idea, nor elevate it. It does make it unscientific and inherently indeterminate, however."

so, then, the claim "the universe is 11 dimensional" is unscientific and inherently indeterminate. i wish stephen hawking and his cabal luck in determining the inteterminate. (one may note that i argued that intangible claims are not indeterminate.) you may want to check out this paper
http://www.hep.upenn.edu/~max/toe.pdf [Broken]
where it is argued that mathematical existence is physical existence. pythagoras's secret society called the semicircle believed that reality, at its deepest level, is mathematical in nature. if this paper is "correct," that would appear to lend evidence to the pythagorean belief...

cheers,
phoenix
 
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Originally posted by phoenixthoth
so, then, the claim "the universe is 11 dimensional" is unscientific and inherently indeterminate. i wish stephen hawking and his cabal luck in determining the inteterminate.
This is extremely misleading, and incorrect. Eleven dimensions are not grabbed out of the air, they are part of a cogent model of observed behaviour. If something that can explain the behavior better, without extra dimensions, is found, then I would see no reasons to keep them, but to say it is unscientific is highly inaccurate.
 

Nereid

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physical evidence and inference

phoenixthoth (yep, it's an extract) said: yes, but that higher dimensions might exist as a result of any observation based in neutrinos would fall into the category of "inference." i don't think inference statments provide anything more than cirumstantial evidence for what are intangible claims.
It's not the tangible/intangible per se in your approach to science that I'm interested to get to the bottom of, it's the 'inference' part.

GR is a theory about mass and spacetime (and more). Observations of a neutron star binary show a certain pattern. The observations can be matched very closely using GR. In particular, you can infer from the observations and theory that significant energy is being lost from the orbital system in the form of gravitational radiation. Is gravitational radiation verboten in your view of science?
even by that definition, i think a statement like "the universe is 11 dimensional" is an intangible claim.
How about this then: "There are theories which posit that the universe has 11 dimensions. At least some of these theories make predictions which are wholly consistent with observations and experimental results. As a shorthand, we write 'the universe is 11 dimensional'".
 
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Originally posted by radagast
This is extremely misleading, and incorrect. Eleven dimensions are not grabbed out of the air, they are part of a cogent model of observed behaviour. If something that can explain the behavior better, without extra dimensions, is found, then I would see no reasons to keep them, but to say it is unscientific is highly inaccurate.
i agree with you radagast, but this is the conclusion drawn from the FZ+ quote.

to say that 11 dimensions explains observations doesn't prove that there are 11 dimensions. that, to me, seems like a non sequitor. that is, unless occam's razor is an absolutely true statement which can be objectively verified.

cheers,
phoenix
 
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Re: physical evidence and inference

Originally posted by Nereid
It's not the tangible/intangible per se in your approach to science that I'm interested to get to the bottom of, it's the 'inference' part.

GR is a theory about mass and spacetime (and more). Observations of a neutron star binary show a certain pattern. The observations can be matched very closely using GR. In particular, you can infer from the observations and theory that significant energy is being lost from the orbital system in the form of gravitational radiation. Is gravitational radiation verboten in your view of science?
How about this then: "There are theories which posit that the universe has 11 dimensions. At least some of these theories make predictions which are wholly consistent with observations and experimental results. As a shorthand, we write 'the universe is 11 dimensional'".
nothing is verboten; just classifying claims and pointing out that sometimes the evidence is direct and sometimes it's from inference. not making a personal judgement on the superiority of various forms of evidence. to me, intangible claims shouldn't be verboten in science.

i'd have to look at the data and see how the observations justify the statement, "the universe is 11 dimensional." whatever the data is, i have the suspician that it's not going to be actually "seeing" it, but seeing physical consequences of non-physical realities.

cheers,
phoenix
 

FZ+

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if you don't believe that aleph0 = aleph1 is an objectively false statement (even though this can't be proven except by first arbitrarily defining "false"), i don't know if we can have a meaningful discussion.
But it cannot be objectively true, as you have declared there that this does not represent anything in reality. The meaningful conversation relies on a shared set of definitions (called language) - and speaks nothing of whether the language has a true basis.

can you prove that the statement "aleph0 = aleph1" is NOT objectively false?
Can we just look back over our concept of indeterminancy please? By indeterminancy, this means that I can't prove objectively it to be false - and neither can you prove it to be true. Whether it is true or false is a matter of subjective feeling and opinion.
In fact, you have perfectly captured the failure of most discussions about religion. Faced with this indeterminancy, it is simply impossible to have a meaningful conversation.

the scientific idea of falsification is just another arbitrary definition of falsehood similar to the one that you pointed out in math.
I don't see why you are consistently failing to get this point. Falsification has nothing to do with falsehood! Science has nothing to do with the unfalsifiable. What we get here is that mathematical axioms are non-scientific entities. What we do not get is a contest between science and mathematics, because neither can deal with the other. That is why there are no debunking maths posts, and that is why there should be no misguided debunking religion posts.

really? in group theory, one can say 1+1=0 when dealing with the group {0,1}. are you saying group theory is non-useful? hmm... RATHER non-useful, even!
I think you are failing to understand my point, as this is precisely what I meant. The idea of truth in this context is one of tautology - that in the formulation of the definition, we have forced the 1+1=0 statement to be true. In fact, it is probably more sensible to refer to this not as truth, but as consistency - like saying that 2 = 1+1 is consistent with 1+1=2. But what matters is the formulation of the rules itself. Does 1+1 = 0 represent something in nature. To that, if you follow a formalism based philosophy, you can only say that it is indeterminate, and that in exploring maths we dynamically change it to suit our needs.

The situation is wholly different in a platonic view of course. As far as the platonic view is concerned, this whole argument is moot because maths really is something that has tangible effects in the real world. 1+1=0 in some cases is a scientific discovery. Do you understand?


Because it seems you don't.

Let's start off from basics.

False = Is contradicted by reality.
True = Is supported by reality so far.
Indeterminate = Unable to test for support/contradiction by reality. Neither false nor true.
Falsifiable = Can be tested for contradiction by reality.
Consistent = provides a logical framework with other claims.
Tangible = Interacts with what is observable. Can be detected or implicates behaviour that can be measured.

When we talk of true mathematics, we really mean consistent mathematics. A mathematical "proof" consistutes a search for that consistency. In this way, we can make the whole of mathematics one body. We cannot however, unless we adopt the platonic idea of mathematics being tangible in itself.

String(or M) theory is a theory that is consistent as far as we know with past true theories, tangible in what it claims will happen, and is increasingly falsifiable. String (or M) theory is incomplete.

In terms of science, because of the element of falsifiablility, it is impossible to "prove" a theory in an absolute way.
 
Last edited:

Nereid

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Re: Re: physical evidence and inference

Originally posted by phoenixthoth
nothing is verboten; just classifying claims and pointing out that sometimes the evidence is direct and sometimes it's from inference. not making a personal judgement on the superiority of various forms of evidence. to me, intangible claims shouldn't be verboten in science.

i'd have to look at the data and see how the observations justify the statement, "the universe is 11 dimensional." whatever the data is, i have the suspician that it's not going to be actually "seeing" it, but seeing physical consequences of non-physical realities.

cheers,
phoenix
Is there something special about '11 dimensions'? (or 'gravitational radiation'?) If you're OK with one, why not the other?

If you get infected with an antibiotic-resistance strain of [pick you favourite nasty], aren't you seeing physical consequences of non-physical realities, evolution in this case?
 

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