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Worst Inventions

#41 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 06:29

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Somebody I know (who is a total nerd but quite smart) once said that "an intelligent person cannot be religious". This is, in fact, complete nonsense.


He probably meant to say something more personal like "I can't understand how these supposedly intelligent people can believe in something so vague like God". As usual admitting you cannot understand something is hard.

For me it's different. I can understand why people would be religious but would never have religious beliefs myself. It just doesn't work for me. I do not "believe". I think the Big Bang theory is the best theory to describe the early universe because it fits the observations, whereas "creation by some deity" doesn't make any sense to me. But I don't believe in it.
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#42 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 06:29

luke warm, on Mar 27 2006, 12:51 PM, said:

sceptic, on Mar 27 2006, 04:45 AM, said:

who believes in Greek gods any more or Norse Gods.. did they disappear. were they there in the first place??

from "greek and norse gods never existed in the first place" we can't get "therefore no God exists"

Another two of my cents on this one.

For the Greeks, Vikings, Mayans etc., their gods did exist. What do we know, maybe they really existed and died when people stopped worshipping them (yeah, I know I start to sound like a nutcase now). The Tibetans, arguably the spiritually most advanced culture on Earth, take the existence of gods for granted. Only, for them they are not essentially different from humans or any sentient being, just living on a different plane, and even mortal.

Now, being raised and educated in a materialistic culture adhering to the scientific method, of course we have to rebut such ideas. The "spiritual method" is incompatible with the scientific method (as of yet).

For me, modern physics has long since turned into an esoteric discipline. Nuclear physics tells you that everything is composed to 99,999% of nothing. Quantum physics proposes theories that are not more against all intuition than believing in God against the intuition of atheists. I don't see physicists proclaiming that the smallest particle has been found and that search is over -- while being totally incomprehensible to almost anyone they still come up with more and more theories which get more bizarre every day.

I don't see why anybody should be ashamed for believing in supernatural beings in such a world.

I'm hoping you get my point.

--Sigi
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#43 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 06:38

Gerben42, on Mar 27 2006, 01:29 PM, said:

I think the Big Bang theory is the best theory to describe the early universe because it fits the observations, whereas "creation by some deity" doesn't make any sense to me. But I don't believe in it.

Who (or what) created the Big Bang, then? This is a question with which one could be concerned as well, and it's not incompatible with trying to explain everything since the Big Bang.

I like the approach that Buddhism takes in this regard, saying that there is no beginning, only an endless chain of cause and effect stretching into eternity in both directions. This is very logical, matches our observations and does not need a supernatural being.

--Sigi
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#44 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 06:58

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For the Greeks, Vikings, Mayans etc., their gods did exist. What do we know, maybe they really existed and died when people stopped worshipping them (yeah, I know I start to sound like a nutcase now)


Read "Small Gods" by Terry Pratchett. Gods in the Disc World only have power if people believe in them.

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For me, modern physics has long since turned into an esoteric discipline. Nuclear physics tells you that everything is composed to 99,999% of nothing. Quantum physics proposes theories that are not more against all intuition than believing in God against the intuition of atheists.


Physics is a way to describe the universe around us. This is useful because when we get an accurate description we can use this knowledge to our advantage. If you knock your bidding box from the table, physics will tell you how long it will take to fall on the floor and with what force the bidding cards are thrown out of the box when it hits.

Even though some of these theories may seem esoteric they are the best description humanity can come up with to base future predicitions on. The idea of a refrigerator cannot mature without thermodynamics, the elevator not without classical mechanics and the television not without quantum mechanics.

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There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly
what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly
disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and
inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has
already happened.

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#45 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 07:01

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Who (or what) created the Big Bang, then? This is a question with which one could be concerned as well, and it's not incompatible with trying to explain everything since the Big Bang.


One could be concerned with this or be honest with oneself and realize that there is no way to find out and as such irrational to make any assumptions about this. The only thing that one can say is that if all this never happened, there would be no one asking the question.
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#46 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 07:29

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concerning your last sentence, are there now 'substantial explanations for things'?


we have moved on a bit in the last 4-6,000 years and one or two things have been proven

i.e it does not thunder because Someone up there is angry and if you don't eat your vegatables you will not turn into a frog, and Imaculate conceptions can't happen
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#47 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 07:40

Some more things we figured out:

Volcanic eruptions do not happen because Someone is mad at the people of some nearby nation.

Humans cannot walk on water even though they have a lower density.

Owning a black cat and a broom does not make you a witch.

You cannot make 3NT on a cross ruff.
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#48 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 08:47

sceptic, on Mar 27 2006, 02:29 PM, said:

and Imaculate conceptions can't happen

We've certainly found a way to do that by now (well, it depends on your definition of "immaculate" I admit)... :-)

--Sigi
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#49 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 09:01

Gerben42, on Mar 27 2006, 08:01 AM, said:

Quote

Who (or what) created the Big Bang, then? This is a question with which one could be concerned as well, and it's not incompatible with trying to explain everything since the Big Bang.


One could be concerned with this or be honest with oneself and realize that there is no way to find out and as such irrational to make any assumptions about this.

do you mean that the one who believes in a creator is equally irrational with the one who doesn't? both make assumptions

i think it's perfectly rational to ask questions based on observations, experiences, etc... and if science (apart from the string theory, which came into being in part as a way to counter christian philosopher's glee with big bang) can really only say, "there was an event that began approximately at this time, and this singularity is responsible for all we see" then yes, there is a huge logical hole there

Quote

The only thing that one can say is that if all this never happened, there would be no one asking the question.

but it did and we are, and those who do (on both sides) are, or usually are, quite rational

Sigi said:

I like the approach that Buddhism takes in this regard, saying that there is no beginning, only an endless chain of cause and effect stretching into eternity in both directions. This is very logical, matches our observations and does not need a supernatural being.

actually this doesn't stand up to logic, if one grants the impossibility of an effect without a cause... because no matter how you slice it, there has to be a first cause

added by edit: the reason there has to be a first cause has to do with the nature of infinity and the impossibility of in infinite universe (logical impossibility, that is)... if space/time is infinite, we could never logically prove we are where we are when we are
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#50 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 09:06

sceptic, on Mar 27 2006, 08:29 AM, said:

Quote

concerning your last sentence, are there now 'substantial explanations for things'?


i.e it does not thunder because Someone up there is angry and if you don't eat your vegatables you will not turn into a frog, and Imaculate conceptions can't happen

and you know these things how? i can't prove it, but i do think that the entire sum of human knowledge hasn't scratched the surface of what acutally is, much less of what is possible
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#51 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 10:16

luke warm, on Mar 27 2006, 04:01 PM, said:

actually this doesn't stand up to logic, if one grants the impossibility of an effect without a cause... because no matter how you slice it, there has to be a first cause

added by edit: the reason there has to be a first cause has to do with the nature of infinity and the impossibility of in infinite universe (logical impossibility, that is)... if space/time is infinite, we could never logically prove we are where we are when we are

If you could elaborate further on that I would be interested.

To me infinity is absolute (and absolutely inconceivable).

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#52 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 11:04

Gerben42, on Mar 21 2006, 02:29 PM, said:

The worst invention of all time is Religion.

I have tried to refrain from commenting on this, but I can't anymore.

Well, I am pretty atheistic myself, but I completely fail to understand
1. how anyone could hold such a naive belief in this absoluteness, and
2. post this in a internet discussion forum with a pretty wide and diverse membership, where it will obviously insult some people.

For example, I think the general point raised by Richard is pretty obvious, and anyone who has never considered it, but makes such a blatant statement as above disqualifies himself from such a discussion. And Richard's point is a pretty small and pretty superficial part of the overall stabilizing effect of religion on society.

Gerben, have you ever met or read about a deeply religious person, whose religion obviously had a huge positive impact on his/her life? If yes, how on earth can you reconcile this with a statement like above? If no, is that because you never met someone like this (unlikely), or failed to see it when you did?

Anyway, it seems to me making a statement as above is only possible when you see this forum as a platform to display your opinions, not as a discussion forum for constructive discussions. Which, to be frank, is consistent with the perceived attitude in many of your posts, Gerben.

End of rant.

Arend
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#53 User is offline   keylime 

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  Posted 2006-March-27, 13:14

I, in the most strong of opposition tendered from my breath, disagree that religion is the worst invention. To have read that religion is this horrible, seriously undermines my respect in some people.

To prevent a total firestorm from erupting on here, I will refrain from discussing the whys of this. Trust me, this definitely isn't the place for what would be a firebreathing declaration - that's why God created blogs. You'll read my full response to this disgraceful attempt to discredit what I and the MAJORITY of people in the world hold dear in a couple of days.

I will simply state that faith is a most intimate and personal journey, and to dismiss it so readily, is to take humanity and diminish it to a mere existence based on survival, instead of truly living and emerging as a better person as the result of trials and obstacles.

<addendum>

P.S. I know where I'm going when I die, and it ISN'T down into the ground six feet deep.
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#54 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-March-27, 13:23

Sigi_BC84, on Mar 27 2006, 11:16 AM, said:

luke warm, on Mar 27 2006, 04:01 PM, said:

actually this doesn't stand up to logic, if one grants the impossibility of an effect without a cause... because no matter how you slice it, there has to be a first cause

added by edit: the reason there has to be a first cause has to do with the nature of infinity and the impossibility of in infinite universe (logical impossibility, that is)... if space/time is infinite, we could never logically prove we are where we are when we are

If you could elaborate further on that I would be interested.

To me infinity is absolute (and absolutely inconceivable).

--Sigi

the subject is far too vast to bore everyone with, which isn't to say that my knowledge of this area is extensive... however, in debate after debate between atheists and christian philosophers, the atheist invariably came out badly once the big bang theory became widely accepted (and acceptable)

the reason is, it proved that the universe came into being... "from nothing nothing comes" has been a major philosophical tenet forever, and big bang gave christians the chance to ask, "what caused the singularity?"...

also, there is no logical basis for an *actual* infinite universe... this can be seen by taking a small slice of this universe, the time line, and showing that you can in fact add and subtract from it... we know when sept 11, 2001, was, we can point to it on the time line... if the universe, hence time, was infinite, there would be no way that you or i could say we live this day, this month, this year, because this particular point in time would not exist, we would never arrive "here" by adding 1 year to the next (if infinite, there are an infinite number of time intervals between one another, etc)

stephen hawkings has done work based on his creation of imaginary (there are those who dislike the use of that word) numbers... the use of such numbers is the only way his string theory can be supported... that theory can be used to prove an infinite universe, therefore no need for a big bang... one reason for the need of such numbers was the scientific theory of the big bang, and the resulting philosophical/religious problems it created - for those who do not believe in a creator
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#55 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 00:00

What if we stop offending other people and talk about bridge? First it was Gerben offending our religious members, now Luke Warm is offending those members who happen to like imaginary numbers.. me. I am certain that no imaginary number ever harmed anybody, so please leave them alone!
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#56 User is offline   Chamaco 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 00:53

Hey folks, let me state my absolutistic view in this respect.

The worse ever invention is by far COFFEE TO GO !!!

As once I wrote to my gf in the US,
"For me coffee to go is like sex to go : I am sure there are many people who would not mind having it in the streets, but I think that for certain things one needs to take his time"

:rolleyes:
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#57 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 02:17

luke warm, on Mar 27 2006, 09:23 PM, said:

there is no logical basis for an *actual* infinite universe... this can be seen by taking a small slice of this universe, the time line, and showing that you can in fact add and subtract from it... we know when sept 11, 2001, was, we can point to it on the time line... if the universe, hence time, was infinite, there would be no way that you or i could say we live this day, this month, this year, because this particular point in time would not exist, we would never arrive "here" by adding 1 year to the next (if infinite, there are an infinite number of time intervals between one another, etc)

I'm not sure if I don't understand this, or if I just disagree. It sounds to me as either of two problems:
- you cannot ask someone to think of an arbitrary integer (in this case: an arbitrary point in infinite time) because there is no probability distribution that assigns equal probabilities to all elements in an infinite set.
- you cannot construct a language that can denote an uncountable number of elements. So allthough mathematicians talk about the "existence" of uncountable sets, those sets necesarily consist largely of elements that can never be described.

But this does not show that infinite sets, such as infinite number of time points, do not "exist", unless you define the word "existing" as "observable". Of course, the visible universe will allways be finite. The idea that the universe is infinite merely says that it is the simplest mathematical model that agrees with observations (or the most beautiful mathematical model, or whatever optimization criteria one prefers).
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#58 User is offline   Sigi_BC84 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 02:54

luke warm, on Mar 27 2006, 08:23 PM, said:

also, there is no logical basis for an *actual* infinite universe... this can be seen by taking a small slice of this universe, the time line, and showing that you can in fact add and subtract from it... we know when sept 11, 2001, was, we can point to it on the time line... if the universe, hence time, was infinite, there would be no way that you or i could say we live this day, this month, this year, because this particular point in time would not exist, we would never arrive "here" by adding 1 year to the next (if infinite, there are an infinite number of time intervals between one another, etc)

I'm completely unable to see your point here.

First of all, one should be very careful with assumptions about the nature of "time". Especially one should not equal time to the physical notion of time.

In physics, time is used to measure the rate at which changes occur. To be able to handle it mathematically, time is quantified (by observing nature and creating a reference point that way).

Now, the physicist's notion of time as a "line" where you can mark events (which undoubtely makes a lot of sense) or as a fourth dimension (which ostensibly makes a lot of sense as well, although I don't have an intuitive grasp of that concept) has become so deeply ingrained in us that we believe that this actually is time.

Just to offer one alternative: maybe everything has already happened and what we perceive as "time" or "change" is not real in an absolute way. Maybe it is just an illusion which we are prone to. Maybe the people who claim to be clairvoyants have found a way to see more in the pattern of things-that-have-already-happened than the ordinary person. This is very speculative and only used here to illustrate my point that taking the concept of "time line" for granted and deriving statements about the impossibility of an infininite existence from it is shortsighted, in my eyes (no offense, Luke).

Apart from that I also don't get why, even if the timeline is real in an absolute sense, it could not be infinite in both directions. The set of real numbers is infinite (not even enumerable) and still you can easily compare two given real numbers in size. Likewise you can compare two given points in time to eachother, no matter where they are on the timeline.

"This particular point in time" always exists, actually it is the only thing that we can absolutely sure of. Past and future are illusions created by our mind (this is easy enough to see if you think about it).

--Sigi
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#59 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 05:38

helene_t, on Mar 28 2006, 03:17 AM, said:

- you cannot ask someone to think of an arbitrary integer (in this case: an arbitrary point in infinite time) because there is no probability distribution that assigns equal probabilities to all elements in an infinite set.
- you cannot construct a language that can denote an uncountable number of elements. So allthough mathematicians talk about the "existence" of uncountable sets, those sets necesarily consist largely of elements that can never be described.

well certainly a person is free to imagine whatever s/he wants... that's not quite the case here... not only did the numbers have to be made up, there had to be imaginary rules applied to their use (in formulas, for example)...

Quote

But this does not show that infinite sets, such as infinite number of time points, do not "exist", unless you define the word "existing" as "observable". Of course, the visible universe will allways be finite. The idea that the universe is infinite merely says that it is the simplest mathematical model that agrees with observations (or the most beautiful mathematical model, or whatever optimization criteria one prefers).

"time" is part of the universe and is not visibile.. however, it is also not infinite... there is no part of the universe, visible or not, which can be shown to be infinite... and helene, the simplest math model isn't the one being discussed.. it even goes by the name 'complex math'
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#60 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-March-28, 05:52

Sigi_BC84, on Mar 28 2006, 03:54 AM, said:

I'm completely unable to see your point here.

First of all, one should be very careful with assumptions about the nature of "time".  Especially one should not equal time to the physical notion of time.

In physics, time is used to measure the rate at which changes occur.  To be able to handle it mathematically, time is quantified (by observing nature and creating a reference point that way).

but sigi, *it does not matter* ... the fact remains that if time itself were infitine, we could never arrive here, now... this isn't something i'm saying just to be clever, even those who wish it were otherwise agree with

Quote

Just to offer one alternative: maybe everything has already happened and what we perceive as "time" or "change" is not real in an absolute way.  Maybe it is just an illusion which we are prone to. 

well certainly that's possible... it's also possible that you (or i) are actually the only living entities existing... however, one must start somewhere, and since using illusion as a starting place would of necessity make it an ending place, it's probably better to not use it

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Apart from that I also don't get why, even if the timeline is real in an absolute sense, it could not be infinite in both directions.  The set of real numbers is infinite (not even enumerable) and still you can easily compare two given real numbers in size.  Likewise you can compare two given points in time to eachother, no matter where they are on the timeline.

there's a big difference between comparing 2 points in time and in actually proving one could exist in an infinite universe.. from 1/1/2005 until 1/2/2005, in an infinite universe, how many increments of time should pass? the nature of infinity is such that there are infinite points between points...

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"This particular point in time" always exists, actually it is the only thing that we can absolutely sure of.  Past and future are illusions created by our mind (this is easy enough to see if you think about it).

i have thought about it, and i confess i don't see it... yesterday happened, it wasn't an illusion.. can i prove that? well no, i can't.. but this opens another whole realm of debate on knowledge and the nature of a 'functioning brain'

anyone can assert that anything dreamed up by his mind is real... unfortunately, those dreams don't lend themselves well to rational discussion, unless all people share them (in which case they'd be real anyway).. so whether real or illusionary, the battle of the alamo occurred at a certain point in time... and, in an infinite univers, "you can't get here from there"
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