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New to Physics

  1. Oct 30, 2013 #1
    Hello. I'm currently at the point in my life when one must make a decision on what they want to focus their study on in school. I have recently gained an interest in Physics because of my atheist background and wanting to know more about the universe in which we live. I don't know if I have what it takes to make this my major and, would like to know what you actually will learn? Do you have to be "smart"? I'm 25 years old and to be honest, haven't really been serious about my studies up until now. My math comprehension is not the best but, I feel I can understand mathematical problems if explained to me. I would like to hear some of your opinions. Thank you for your time.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2013 #2

    462chevelle

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    ??why do you think you have to be atheist to be interested in physics. That is kind of insulting to people that study physics that aren't atheist. Math is very important and physics requires you to be very serious about your studies. Even for some of the smartest people I know, they study massive amounts.
     
  4. Oct 30, 2013 #3

    russ_watters

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    What do you want to do with your knowledge of physics? What do you want to do for a living after you graduate?
     
  5. Oct 31, 2013 #4
    sorry for coming off as being insulting. That wasn't my intentions. I was only stating this because having no belief in a god has sparked an interest of mine to study the natural world. That being physics.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2013 #5
    Possibly teach others why science is important. I really never had an interest in teaching till I noticed the lack of understanding by some people. Particularly those of faith (not trying to be insulting here).
     
  7. Oct 31, 2013 #6
    I have noticed many atheists have a very shoddy understanding of science too. I don't personally think it has much to do with religion anyway. Both groups have people twisting the facts to fit their worldview.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2013 #7
    I think this thread is starting to go off-topic but, I will respond to your viewpoints. I agree that your religions ous views (or lack thereof) have nothing to do with your understanding of the sciences. You can probably tell that from my original post that I too don't have a full understanding of what it means to be a physics major but, there is a difference between what atheist and theist claim to be the absolute truth. We are still fighting for evolution to be taught in school in some parts of the U. S. I would like for you to provide an example of an atheist using "shoddy" science to manipulate their worldview.
     
  9. Oct 31, 2013 #8

    drizzle

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    Speaking of evolution..

    Ota_Benga_at_Bronx_Zoo.jpg

    Poor man.
     
  10. Oct 31, 2013 #9
    I'm glad someone understands.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2013 #10

    dlgoff

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    So You Want To Be A Physicist
    Written by ZapperZ
     
  12. Oct 31, 2013 #11
    I'm fully aware that my experiences might not be representative.

    But anyway, I get the feeling that many atheists try to idolize science and mathematics, while it in fact is prone to many mistakes. For example, an atheist might bring up experiments by Miller and Urey to say "See, we don't need a God to explain the origin of life." While in fact they don't mention (and probably don't even know), that Miller-Urey is extremely far away from explaing an origin of life, so I find making the connection dishonest. Many atheists have significant troubles with saying "science doesn't know" or that a certain scientific theory is wrong".

    For example, I once discussed with an atheist who had so many wrong thoughts about science. For example, he thought that physicists were able to derive new laws analytically and never made guesses of any kind. Anybody with a bit of experience in science will know the converse is true. For example, the Schrodinger equation is (as far as I know) a complete lucky guess which turned out to be compatible with experiments. He also said that if a theory is incompatible with experiments, then the math is wrong and the scientists are dumb. This is of course very silly. A theory might be mathematically very sound, but it might just happen not to agree with experiment. Failed theories are abundant in science. The fact that a scientific theory can turn out to be wrong (= not to describe the real world), was very unsettling to him for some reason.

    Finally, I have met several people claiming " 1 = 1 thus the big bang happened". And those people really do mean what they said. Never even mind that they completely misunderstand what the big bang theory says.

    Obviously, I'm not saying all atheists are idiots. But some are severely uneducated about the practice of science. The danger is however that they think they do know all this stuff and they are so certain of their own understanding. So for me, atheists are not better or more rational than theists. Some people of either groups are very bright, others have a shoddy understanding and think they know more than they do.
     
  13. Oct 31, 2013 #12
    Thanks for staying on topic!
     
  14. Oct 31, 2013 #13

    462chevelle

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    The important thing for me as someone who believes in God. It doesn't bother me to learn anything that science has to offer, including the idea of the big bang. That doesn't mean I have to believe everything I learn 100%. The important thing is that you like physics for some reason and you have a general curiosity about it in your everyday life. I work as a diesel mechanic so every time I turn around I'm thinking about forces and static situations, or how rigid things are. makes me want to go learn about how I can figure out what would happen in certain instances. most people I know that try to study physics that really hate it. They are the people that never ask why or how. I have a friend that got an b in phys. 1 and an a in phys. 2 and he couldn't care less about physics. Why and how are the last things going through his head in any given situation. I think these things are important as well as being a real smart person. I'm not a real smart person compared to 99% of the people on here, but I have no fear of learning everything about math and physics I can. I just ask a TON of questions. Going to college is about learning and just make sure your competent in math at a college algebra level at least and some basic physics understanding and I think a person could start at year 1 and learn anything with the correct amount of study.
     
  15. Oct 31, 2013 #14
    Learning it to understand the universe we live in is the best possible reason to learn physics. I think you can do it, and no, you don't have to be smart to do physics. If you don't understand the math the way the university teaches it you can always brush learn it online. khan academy and patrickjmt on youtube do an excellent job, also you are never too old to learn. One of my uncles is 70 and he went to university. Good Luck.
     
  16. Oct 31, 2013 #15

    mfb

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    That is a pointless statement. Pick multiple (not too obscure) properties a human can have, and you can find a group of those who have all of them.
    This is possible even with "religious" and "atheist": interesting video

    To study physics, you have to enjoy physics and mathematics (which is nearly equivalent to "be interested in physics and mathematics ", I think), and you need a lot of time. Apart from that... yeah, should be fine.

    What looks "smart" can be just more experience.
     
  17. Oct 31, 2013 #16
    Tru dat. There is a difference between knowledge and intelligence.
     
  18. Oct 31, 2013 #17
    I never claimed my statement only applied to atheists.
     
  19. Oct 31, 2013 #18

    mfb

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    But where is your point then? "Some are severely uneducated about the practice of science." is even more trivial.
     
  20. Oct 31, 2013 #19
    Another poster made the comment that those of faith are particularly ignorant and R136 is commenting that in his experience atheists are as ignorant. That's my experience too.
     
  21. Nov 1, 2013 #20

    462chevelle

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    What looks "smart" can be just more experience.[/QUOTE]

    well then, maybe there is some hope for me.
     
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