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Do scientist eventually give up on the ultimate truth?

  1. Mar 14, 2008 #1
    Most of the great scientists I have seen..

    are men who have strong belief in God. So is it common for all scientist to give up on the ultimate truth and accept that the occurings in this universe are controlled by an almighty?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2008 #2
    "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." - Albert Einstein

    "Hypotheses non fingo" - Newton (on the cause of gravity).

    93% Of the National Academy of Sciences Are Atheists (more)

    "The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever — almost total."

    Famous scientists including Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, James Watson, Francis Crick, Paul Dirac, Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, Franc Wilczek, Paul Nurse, Paul D. Boyer, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Harold Kroto, Peter D. Mitchell, Jacques Monod, Hermann Joseph Muller, Linus Pauling, Richard J. Roberts, Steven Weinberg, Amartya Sen, Michael Smith are atheists. Other atheist scientists are Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Steven Pinker, E. O. Wilson, Peter Atkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Steven Jay Gould, Massimo Pigliucci, Issac Asimov, Noam Chomsky, Michael Shermer, Steven Hawking, Sean Carroll, Victor Stenger, Laurence M. Krauss, Leonard Susskind and more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  4. Mar 14, 2008 #3
    Qed?
     
  5. Mar 14, 2008 #4

    Danger

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    Bravo, Moridin. :approve:
    I have personally never heard of any scientist who even thinks that there is such a thing as 'ultimate truth'. The purpose of science is to understand reality to as great an extent as possible. Even supposing that there is an 'ultimate truth' is contrary to that goal.
     
  6. Mar 14, 2008 #5
  7. Mar 14, 2008 #6
    Pretty much. This is overkill, but I'll go ahead and do it anyways.

    Where Do The Laws of Physics Come From?

    "The laws of physics were not handed down from above. Neither are they rules somehow built into the structure of the universe. They are ingredients of the models that physicists invent to describe observations. Rather than being restrictions on the behavior of matter, the laws of physics are restrictions on the behavior of physicists. If the models of physics are to describe observations based on an objective reality, then those models cannot depend on the point of view of the observer. This suggests a principle of point-of-view invariance that is equivalent to the principle of covariance (or cosmological principle, or Copernican principle) when applied to space-time. As Noether showed, this leads to the principles of energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum conservation and essentially all of classical mechanics. It also leads to Lorentz invariance and special relativity. When generalized to the abstract space of functions such as the quantum state vector, point-of-view invariance is identified with gauge invariance. Quantum mechanics is then just the mathematics of gauge transformations with no additional assumptions needed to obtain its rules, including the superposition and uncertainty principles. Conservation of electric charge, isospin, and other quantities follow from global gauge invariance. The forces in the standard model of elementary particles are fields introduced to preserve local gauge invariance. Gravity can also be viewed as such a field. Thus practically all of fundamental physics as we know it follows directly from the single principle of point-of-view invariance."

    No deity need apply. Position has been filled.

    This is also described in the book "The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do The Laws of Physics Come From?" by physicist Victor Stenger.

    Here is the refutation of the classic 10% Argument.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  8. Mar 14, 2008 #7

    lisab

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    Of all the professors I had in college, none used the word 'god' more than my physics professors :rolleyes: ! In that context, 'god' was intended to mean "that which we don't understand - yet," not the god that is in the bible/torah/koran/(fill in blank_________).

    I don't comprehend the need which drives a person to have fundamentalist or strong religious views, but it would appear that whatever that need is, it's fulfilled by understanding the world the way a scientist does.

    What do you mean by "ultimate truth", rohanprabhu?
     
  9. Mar 14, 2008 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    I would say that the goal is more to produce models that predict what is observed. Whether or not the model for the atom leads to an understanding of the reality of an atom is indeterminate.

    Science is about models, not truth.

    Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind - Albert Einstein,
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  10. Mar 14, 2008 #9
    I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Einstein never gave up on his theory of everything. To his last day he tried unsuccessfully to reconcile his theory with his vision of God. Quantum physics interfered with his vision because it seemed as if nobody was 'at the controls.'

    Oddly enough, quantum physics today is the source of many of the new religious/spiritual myths. Depending on how many times a thing is turned on its head some new interpretation of it can be found to be meaningful to one's worldview.

    I like this quote from Isaac Asimov for it's intellectual honesty and emotional balance. I've made a very different choice for almost the same reasons.
    Anyway, Truth is more in the realm of philosophy than science, near as I can tell. Science is limited to objective facts. I'm not sure what you mean by 'ultimate truth,' but I doubt scientists will ever give up their inquiry into the nature of the universe by postulating that God is the cause of all causes. The moment that hypothesis is accepted scientifically is the moment scientific inquiry dies.
     
  11. Mar 14, 2008 #10
    My physics seminar professor is in that video :)

    Science is a tool that is used to model and predict phenomena in the physical world, whereas philosophy is used to make logical assumptions about anything you can imagine. Therefore I'm of the opinion that science is not the proper tool to use when it comes to "proving" the existence of a deity. Philosophy on the other hand may be the best approach. It discriminates against the misuse of logical assumption, whereas science discriminates against anything that cannot be physically proven.
     
  12. Mar 14, 2008 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    The key concept being a "personal God".

    Before God we are all equally wise — and equally foolish
    Albert Einstein

    I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
    Albert Einstein (24 April 1929)

    I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science.

    My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.
    Albert Einstein

    I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him.
    Albert Einstein, Letter to Edgar Meyer (2 January 1915)

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
    Albert Einstein from a letter to an atheist, written in English (24 March 1954). It is included in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman

    My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.
    Albert Einstein, Letter to M. Berkowitz (25 October 1950)

    The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science... ~ Albert Einstein

    The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man.
    Albert Einstein
    Variant translation: The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
     
  13. Mar 14, 2008 #12

    Evo

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    True, Einstein did not believe in a "god". This is a great quote showing Einstein's disdain for a "god".
    Thanks, Ivan for posting those.
     
  14. Mar 14, 2008 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    He clearly did believe in a God; just not a personal God who punishes.

     
  15. Mar 14, 2008 #14
    You should read a few books on this subject. I would recommend the God Delusion. Science absolutely is able, and the proper tool to falsify such claims.
     
  16. Mar 14, 2008 #15
    Thats a benign god that has no effect, at all, on our daily lives or how we live them. I have no problem with people believing that all day long. It does not require praying, taking science out of the classrooms, not eating pork, or any other silly ritual.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2008 #16

    Evo

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    Exactly, he didn't believe in a "religious" god. He only believed in nature and science.
     
  18. Mar 14, 2008 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    He clearly assigns a consciousness to his God concept.
     
  19. Mar 14, 2008 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    That is the difference between spirituality and religion.

    FYI, I consider myself to be spiritual, but I accept no religion as being absolute.

    I pray from time to time. Also, to say that this sort of God concept has no effect on our lives is a leap of faith. But does a God check to see if I went to Church on Sunday... I'm with Einstein.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  20. Mar 14, 2008 #19

    Danger

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    Einstein very clearly stated, as is quoted above, that he believed in Spinoza's god. As much as I don't like referencing Wikipedia, it's as good a source as any for this definition.
    The consequences of Spinoza's system also envisage a God that does not rule over the universe by providence, but a God which itself is the deterministic system of which everything in nature is a part. Thus, God is the natural world and He has no personality.

    In other words, there is no god. It's just nature being itself.
     
  21. Mar 14, 2008 #20
    In the sense that we dont have books on how to 'live our lives properly'. It might give you happiness, but it does not dictate how to live your life.
     
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