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Question about free will 
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Post Re: Question about free will
ant wrote:
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Hi Ant. It is a question of balance of probabilities. A. Universe is consistent: all real evidence and logic agrees.
versus B. Universe is inconsistent: no evidence supports, except for wishful thinking by religious fantasists.

Robert, You are setting up a False Choice


Far from it. Consistency versus inconsistency is a real choice. As an armchair scientist, I am continually astounded by the power of the assumption that the laws of nature are universally consistent. It continually proves to be totally reliable. Before the rise of modern science in the time of Newton, people had no basis to assume universal consistency, so fell back on the default of an arbitrary interventionist God who could do as he wished, as a personal being. So the false assumption of inconsistency has a powerful cultural hold as the basis of supernatural religion.

Science, in its discovery that our universe is actually governed by consistent rules that determine the behavior of matter, opened a new paradigm. Laplace summarized in well in his comment to Napoleon that God is an unnecessary hypothesis. On this basic axiom of universal consistency, the theory of relativity is a refinement of Newton's laws, showing that when Newton's assumptions are tested against observation, they break down at very fast speeds and in the presence of large lumps of stuff.

The principle of consistency was retained in the theory of relativity. Science has not yet fully explained how the universe is consistent because of the inconsistency between quantum mechanics and general relativity, but even this difficulty should not lead anyone to give up by saying, oh well the universe is not materially consistent and God magics the difference between small and large scales. The powerful assumption of science, which I endorse, is that apparent inconsistencies are not real but are only due to human inability to fully understand what is happening.

I personally differ from the mainstream philosophy of science because I regard science as an absolute matter of faith. I just think science has cracked the secret of the universe in fields such as GR, QM and the periodic table, which each have such abundant consistency in their core observations that they should be regarded as absolutely true. Refinement such as through a grand unified theory should be expected as a bonus, not a radical revision.

The relevance to the discussion here on free will is that our psychological liberty of choice can be fully explained as consistent with science. Saying that determinism destroys freedom is irrelevant theological speculation. It does not. At the point of decision we are completely free, despite large processes of the universe proceeding in a remorseless mechanistic way.

Intruding a supernatural entity into the picture offends against Ockham's Razor, by postulating an unnecessary being. All supernatural mythology is mere fantasy, the corruption of earlier natural observation. Imagining a God who operates contrary to the laws of nature is just mud on the page, obscuring our ability to formulate a logical understanding.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Question about free will
Dexter wrote:
ant wrote:
If someone feels they can speak on behalf of science and claim that there is most certainly no god, they automatically should carry the burden of proof, since they are making the claim.


You are attacking a strawman in most cases. Even Dawkins admits he is agnostic if you really want to stress absolute certainty.

You can't say that my favorite deity, the Giant Sock Puppet in the Sky, doesn't exist. But most people would be fairly comfortable taking a strong position on his nonexistence. I see little difference when talking about God, especially when you're talking about a very specific manifestation of God. And that is what 99% of believers are talking about.


Are you an agnostic?


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Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:51 am
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Post Re: Question about free will
ant wrote:
Dexter wrote:
ant wrote:
If someone feels they can speak on behalf of science and claim that there is most certainly no god, they automatically should carry the burden of proof, since they are making the claim.


You are attacking a strawman in most cases. Even Dawkins admits he is agnostic if you really want to stress absolute certainty.

You can't say that my favorite deity, the Giant Sock Puppet in the Sky, doesn't exist. But most people would be fairly comfortable taking a strong position on his nonexistence. I see little difference when talking about God, especially when you're talking about a very specific manifestation of God. And that is what 99% of believers are talking about.


Are you an agnostic?


If "atheist" requires 100% certainty that there is no God, then no one is an atheist, or rather no one should be, and very few would claim that they are. But then atheism would cease to be a useful word. If you want to stick to that, then I'm agnostic about your God, and you are agnostic about every other God.



Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:03 pm
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Post Re: Question about free will
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If "atheist" requires 100% certainty that there is no God, then no one is an atheist, or rather no one should be, and very few would claim that they are. But then atheism would cease to be a useful word. If you want to stick to that, then I'm agnostic about your God, and you are agnostic about every other God.
Quote:


I see. For a second I thought you were certain there is no god.
I guess it's reasonable to a satisfying degree to conclude that if there is no sock pupet god then it follows there is no intellegence beyond our comprehension.
I mean, we have a clear understanding of things like socks and puppets. So, it's inevitable that science will rule out a god completely. All it takes is a leap of faith in favor of science.


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Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:20 pm
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Post Re: Question about free will
ant wrote:
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If "atheist" requires 100% certainty that there is no God, then no one is an atheist, or rather no one should be, and very few would claim that they are. But then atheism would cease to be a useful word. If you want to stick to that, then I'm agnostic about your God, and you are agnostic about every other God.
Quote:


I see. For a second I thought you were certain there is no god.
I guess it's reasonable to a satisfying degree to conclude that if there is no sock pupet god then it follows there is no intellegence beyond our comprehension.
I mean, we have a clear understanding of things like socks and puppets. So, it's inevitable that science will rule out a god completely. All it takes is a leap of faith in favor of science.


I assume this is sarcastic, not sure of your point.

But it seems to be the standard confusion about "faith" in science, and about proving a negative. Science is busy explaining stuff and plugging the gaps in our knowledge. What is religion doing? Re-reading a book?



Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:38 pm
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Post Re: Question about free will
I take the scientific bend on this. Science as a rule doesn't prove things to be true. Instead, we say that a theory is "not wrong". Because saying something is true does imply there is nothing else to say about the thing. Everything is fully encapsulated and understood by some theory of other. We might have said that of Newton's laws. They lasted for hundreds of years before anybody found the flaws in them. Newton's laws are powerful descriptons of the world and they explained much... but they were not quite right. in some places they were wrong. So if we had proclaimed newton's laws to be true it would only be a matter of time before we had egg on our face.

So the test for a theory is does it explain everything we currently understand about that subject? yes. Does it agree with experimental results? Yes. Has any data come forward to invalidate the theory? No.

Then it's not wrong.

If any of the above went the other way then we'd have to say that it was wrong and in need of revision, or to be rejected.

When talking about god and all the things attributed to god, one thing we definitely cannot say about the idea is that it is not wrong. Because every time anybody has anything specific to say about god it is immediately demonstrated to BE wrong.

Cosmology as described in the holy books is wrong. We know better through observation. The explanations put forward by religions do not explain what we see in front of us (germs, evolution, galaxies, atomic structure, chemistry, life, thermodynamics, weather), and so it is wrong about that as well.

It doesn't explain the things we know. It doesn't agree with experiment. It is invalidated by new evidence on a continual basis.

All reason indicates that the notion of god is a false description of the world, and so that is my position. Show me where and how god can help us explain or understand anything at all, and i will give the idea the credit it's due.


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Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?


Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:12 am
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