More Magic

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture
Submitted by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Mon, 2012-06-11 02:18

In 1973, Arthur C. Clarke stated that:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

But reading thru the discoveries of current theoretical physicists, the thought occurs to me that:

"Any sufficiently advanced scientific explanation of the cosmos is indistinguishable from magic."


( categories: )

Mr. Goode

ding_an_sich's picture

"Of course, there's no fundamental problem with adjusting a theory to make it fit the facts. It's certainly preferable to adjusting the facts to make them fit the theory! The problem arises when the theory requires too many adjustments. Like a car that requires too many repairs, such a theory should be towed to where it belongs, the scrap heap.

It seems to me that "dark matter" and "dark energy" add up to a pretty hefty repair bill. But I'm no cosmologist.

I'm with Big Bang cosmology for now, but not wedded to it. What are the alternative cosmologies? Anything sexy? (Tegmark's theories are sexy. But are they sane?)"

I agree with this. Many periods of science exemplify this, such as the rejection of Ptolemaic view of planetary movement in favor of the Galilean view, the Michelson-Morley experiment, the rejection of phlogiston in favor of Lavoisier's view of chemistry, etc. Such episodes involved a theory that was unable to account for given phenomena, or did so at the cost of parsimony. Hopefully, so long as scientists are intellectually honest, they will reject dark matter if it creates more problems then it solves.

Demonstration

gregster's picture

Take a look at this one especially from 7:20. Ignore the connotations of "levitation," and "quantum" is a regularly overused buzzword.

Adding epicycles

Richard Goode's picture

Cheers, Greg.

Wikipedia says

... "adding epicycles" has come to be used as a derogatory comment in modern scientific discussion. The term might be used, for example, to describe continuing to try to adjust a theory to make its predictions match the facts.

Of course, there's no fundamental problem with adjusting a theory to make it fit the facts. It's certainly preferable to adjusting the facts to make them fit the theory! The problem arises when the theory requires too many adjustments. Like a car that requires too many repairs, such a theory should be towed to where it belongs, the scrap heap.

It seems to me that "dark matter" and "dark energy" add up to a pretty hefty repair bill. But I'm no cosmologist.

I'm with Big Bang cosmology for now, but not wedded to it. What are the alternative cosmologies? Anything sexy? (Tegmark's theories are sexy. But are they sane?)

Black hole of inventions

gregster's picture

Here's a little to go on while I do some reading up. With Kyrel's mate Carl Sagan too.

It is interesting to observe how a theory grows into "fact" over time, evidence be damned. Carl Sagan's Cosmos was published almost a quarter-century ago. At that time, the Big Bang had not yet become a "fact"; questions were still permitted. On the issue of redshift Sagan wrote: "There is nevertheless a nagging suspicion among some astronomers, that all may not be right with the deduction, from the redshift of galaxies via the Doppler effect, that the universe is expanding. The astronomer Halton Arp has found enigmatic and disturbing cases where a galaxy and a quasar, or a pair of galaxies, that are in apparent physical association have very different redshifts...."

Sagan's acknowledgment here shows a candor rarely found in standard treatments of astronomy for the general public. It's also remarkable that 25 years ago, the astronomer Halton Arp had already posed the challenge to the expanding universe, and the Big Bang. And yet today, one would think the issues have all been settled.

Sagan continues, "If Arp is right, the exotic mechanisms proposed to explain the energy source of distant quasars -- supernova chain reactions, supermassive black holes and the like -- would prove unnecessary. Quasars need not then be very distant. But some other exotic mechanism will be required to explain the redshift. In either case, something very strange is going on in the depths of space."

[..]

Under the weight of this direct evidence -- or should I say proof -- the Big Bang hypothesis as a whole collapses. Yet instead of giving up a failed theory, astronomers have turned to a "get out of jail free" card -- inventing invisible matter, with the option to place it wherever it will be mathematically useful to make their models work. This is the myth of "dark matter," which in recent years has enabled astronomers to hold on to a picture of the universe defied by observation at every turn. Since it is both invisible and undetectable, there is no limit to the usefulness of dark matter, wherever the predictions of their theories have failed. In fact, this device can be applied to all anomalous movements within the macrocosm, with no possibility of refutation. Dark matter is outside the reach of any practical scientific tests, and we are only asked to believe in it because of the failures of standard models.

Mr. Goode

ding_an_sich's picture

"What's speculative realism? Is it critical rationalism with metaphysical realism as an overarching research hypothesis? Smiling"

Basically.

It's all about mathematization in order to get to the things themselves. No more ding-an-sich! Whoo! Big smile

Ding

Richard Goode's picture

I'm not a Kantian, but a speculative realist.

What's speculative realism? Is it critical rationalism with metaphysical realism as an overarching research hypothesis? Smiling

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

The Big Bang is the currently accepted model that explains the origin and development of the known Universe. It's an inference to the best explanation. Having said that, it's only a hypothesis. (Rand supposedly once said the same about the theory of evolution.)

I look forward to your case against. Smiling

(But I worry that your opposition to Big Bang cosmology is ideologically driven, not evidentially driven. Which would, of course, be irrational!)

Evasion

Richard Goode's picture

I don't necessarily reject discussing issues with Christians and Kantians, but if someone writes obscurely, lengthily, and far removed from Objectivism, I get bored.

In other words, blank out.

Kyrel, I don't know in what sense you can be considered rational.

Big Bang falsified

gregster's picture

I look forward to putting together my reasons Kyrel. The gist of it - the contentions of Halton Arp, and others. The number of contradictory observations to predictions of the theory is the main evidence. Such as spiral galaxies not being able to be explained. Its Achilles' heel being the over-reliance on gravity. One exception to the red shift theory could be the connected pair of objects NGC 4319 and Markarian 205. This is apocryphal to the scientific establishment. The Universe is calculated to be too young to explain the vast distances between objects. How would gravity operate at distance? I've yet to see the concept detailed - what is it physically? Electromagnetism, though, can travel at speeds to create that relatively constant attraction/repulsion. The field around a body could explain what they call gravitational lensing, because I have problems with spacetime curvature - it seems a description of an effect rather than a cause - and - spacetime? Then there are natural philosophy weaknesses.

Hmm...

ding_an_sich's picture

"In general, people should maybe focus more on coming to the point and making high-quality remarks. I don't necessarily reject discussing issues with Christians and Kantians, but if someone writes obscurely, lengthily, and far removed from Objectivism, I get bored."

So did you read my response? I bother to read the crap that you put forth, so why not read mine? Oh, let me guess, you get bored? Oh, so sorry. Too bad that doesn't really count for much.

And btw, I'm not a Kantian, but a speculative realist.

Big Bang

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Greg -- What is the scientific or Objectivist reason for disbelieving in the Big Bang?

More Clarity

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

In general, people should maybe focus more on coming to the point and making high-quality remarks. I don't necessarily reject discussing issues with Christians and Kantians, but if someone writes obscurely, lengthily, and far removed from Objectivism, I get bored.

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

And why reject the existence of ghosts, witches, and unicorns, which the bible emphatically states are all real?

One of the aforementioned virtues of rationality is the virtue of scholarship. If you'd done your homework, you'd know that the Bible does not state, emphatically or otherwise, that unicorns are real.

Words change their meanings over time.

Today, 'unicorn' means an imaginary creature usually depicted as a white horse with one long spiralled horn growing from its forehead.

Two hundred years ago, 'unicorn' meant simply an animal with one horn.

Four hundred years ago, the King James Bible translators mistranslated the Hebrew word 're'em' as 'unicorn'. No one seems to know for sure what a re'em actually is or was. It may or may not have been an animal with one horn. Most modern translations of the Bible translate the word as 'wild ox'.

But perhaps I dismissed the existence of witches and ghosts too hastily.

Ding

Richard Goode's picture

Seems more like a cult and less of a philosophy.

"Seems," sir? Nay, it is; I know not "seems."

More garbage about reason....

ding_an_sich's picture

"And in my judgment -- skepticism about reason is the root of all evil."

Well, you're judgment isn't worth very much then, because there are numerous accounts throughout history where skepticism about reason has led to good results. Look back to the advent of the new science (Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, etc.); before and during this time, the methods by which science had proceeded were being called into question. As you SHOULD know, the prevailing science before the neue Wissenschaft consisted of Aristotle's organon. This sort of science, as noted by Francis Bacon, did one of two things: 1) Used nothing but a priori reasoning to deduce certain things about the world, and 2) couch every discovery found in the world within the conceptual framework of Aristotle's organon. How, then, was the neue Wissenschaft to come about? By rejection of the methods and conceptual framework of medieval scientist. This included, and this may shake your worldview up a little bit, a - should I say it? - skepticism of reason (in particular, Aristotle's reason)! You'd have to be blind or ignorant of history to not note this. And that previous "or" is inclusive btw.

What can we conclude from this? Your judgment is false. Oh yeah, and let's add a "Q.E.D" at the end of this to add further insult to injury. Q.E.D

"I'm also curious: Do you consider the human senses to be unreliable or contradictory?"

If we are being honest with ourselves, then, yes, the human sense can be unreliable and contradictory. But let us qualify this with a "can", "sometimes", or "possibly". If you have been paying any attention at all to what goes on in science, you would have realized long ago that our senses are super unreliable for a good number of things. This is due, in part, to what scientists investigate. My eyes certainly cannot detect higgs bosons, muons, quarks, positrons, etc. And it certainly can't detect far distant galaxies. Hell, they even have a hard time, when looking at Venus, determining the luminosity of the planet because of the manner in which light hits the outer recesses of the eyes, thereby obscuring our view of the planet. So yeah, the senses can be unreliable and contradictory, but this is of course with qualification.

"Is the human brain inadequate to comprehend reality and lead man to deal successfully with reality and live a happy life?"

On the whole, no.

"Basically everyone pompously considers himself to be rational. That doesn't make it so. Virtually all Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Mormon intellectuals consider themselves to be highly rational. So too the Enlightenment- and reason-destroyers Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Hegel. So too the Scientologists, Lyndon LaRouchies, and Raëlians. So too the pseudo-Objectivist cultists Peikoff, Schwartz, Binswanger, Brook, etc."

But to rightfully be considered rational you have to have reason-based beliefs and a reason-following life. And you're not allowed to have cockamamie nonsensical ideas which torture logic. You can't be impossible to reason with or decently talk to.

All the folks listed above are considerably dishonest and malevolent in their ridiculous and unjustifiable beliefs. They're personally corrupt -- and not just ignorant or honestly mistaken. This goes together naturally with their irrationality."

Maybe that's the problem with rationality: you have a number of intellectuals and philosophers who claim to have knowledge of what reason is, and then proceed to make a system out of it. This thereby generates a plurality of different reason-based philosophies, each with its own means to accessing the real world. Rand is no exception to this. And to separate Rand from the rest only begs the question.

I consider most of the groups and individuals you stated above to be highly rational, just wrong. Which is not a contradiction. You can be rational and wrong about something at the same time. It's not hard to come up with examples to this. I'll leave this as an exercise to the reader, since I've already spoon-fed you all the other answers.

Mr. Goode

ding_an_sich's picture

"And what philosophy, in your view, could be more irrational than Christianity?

Objectivism."

I second the notion. Seems more like a cult and less of a philosophy. Shocked

Umm...

ding_an_sich's picture

"Belief in goblins hasn't qualified as a philosophy. It remains a superstition."

Ever read Spinoza? Leibniz? Aquinas? Whitehead? They all qualify as philosophy, and yet they offer knowledge about God. Accordingly, if you know something to be the case, then you also believe it to be the case; ergo, they also believed in the existence of such a God. And, btw, nice hasty generalization. Smiling

Jeez, I can't believe I'm defending theists! XD

Also....

"Belief in unicorns hasn't qualified as a philosophy. It remains a superstition."

What about individuals who hold that such creatures are "mere possibilia"? Also, Modal Realists (such a Lewis) would hold that there are even real unicorns! And all of that, to much of the dismay of other philosophers and possible worlds talkers, still counts as, well, philosophy.

Jeez, I can't believe I'm defending Modal Realists too! XD

Hold on

gregster's picture

Belief in unicorns hasn't qualified as a philosophy. It remains a superstition.

Unicorns

Richard Goode's picture

Unicorns

Hold on

gregster's picture

Belief in goblins hasn't qualified as a philosophy. It remains a superstition.

Objectivism

Richard Goode's picture

And what philosophy, in your view, could be more irrational than Christianity?

Objectivism.

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?

We mean:

  1. Epistemic rationality: believing, and updating on evidence, so as to systematically improve the correspondence between your map and the territory.  The art of obtaining beliefs that correspond to reality as closely as possible.  This correspondence is commonly termed "truth" or "accuracy", and we're happy to call it that.
  2. Instrumental rationality: achieving your values.  Not necessarily "your values" in the sense of being selfish values or unshared values: "your values" means anything you care about.  The art of choosing actions that steer the future toward outcomes ranked higher in your preferences.  On LW we sometimes refer to this as "winning".

If that seems like a perfectly good definition, you can stop reading here; otherwise continue.

The foregoing is from Less Wrong, "a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality." It was written by Eleizer Yudkowsky, who also wrote Twelve Virtues of Rationality. Someone is rational to the extent that he evinces the virtues of rationality. Someone is rational to the extent that his beliefs are true and/or to the extent that he achieves his values.

Richard -- I don't know in what sense you can be considered rational.

You do now.

Don't forget

gregster's picture

So too the pseudo-Objectivist cultists Peikoff, Schwartz, Binswanger, Brook, etc. And if so, Big Bang theorists too.

Our Rational World

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Richard -- I don't know in what sense you can be considered rational. As Ayn Rand well established, reason and faith are opposites. They can't coexist and they destroy each other. 'Knowledge' which comes from faith or arbitrary, authoritarian, dogmatic revelation can't be integrated with knowledge which comes from reason. And in my judgment -- skepticism about reason is the root of all evil.

I'm also curious: Do you consider the human senses to be unreliable or contradictory? Is the human brain inadequate to comprehend reality and lead man to deal successfully with reality and live a happy life? Are you a epistemological relativist or subjectivist? And what philosophy, in your view, could be more irrational than Christianity? And why reject the existence of ghosts, witches, and unicorns, which the bible emphatically states are all real?

Basically everyone pompously considers himself to be rational. That doesn't make it so. Virtually all Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Mormon intellectuals consider themselves to be highly rational. So too the Enlightenment- and reason-destroyers Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Hegel. So too the Scientologists, Lyndon LaRouchies, and Raëlians. So too the pseudo-Objectivist cultists Peikoff, Schwartz, Binswanger, Brook, etc.

But to rightfully be considered rational you have to have reason-based beliefs and a reason-following life. And you're not allowed to have cockamamie nonsensical ideas which torture logic. You can't be impossible to reason with or decently talk to.

All the folks listed above are considerably dishonest and malevolent in their ridiculous and unjustifiable beliefs. They're personally corrupt -- and not just ignorant or honestly mistaken. This goes together naturally with their irrationality.

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

You said

My impression is that no great philosopher for almost 2500 years was a true atheist until Nietzsche.

but then reiterated what you've said previously about theists, that

They always seem to secretly know the truth ... [that] "god" is all bullshit

Pre-Nietzsche there were no true atheists. Post-Nietzsche there are no true theists. Two propositions that don't sit together well.

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

Are you skeptical about reason, and do you consider it limited in comprehending and explaining reality and discerning the truth?

Absolutely. (I am, however, the most rational contributor to this forum. By far and away.)

Do you consider yourself to be a Christian Objectivist? Or a pantheist semi-Objectivist? Or something similar?

I'm many things. Skeptic. Agnostic. Christian. Eternalist. Functionalist. Compatibilist. Realist. Libertarian. Philosopher. Blogger.

I'm not an Objectivist. There's much about Rand that I admire. But, as a philosopher, she was, to put it politely, inept.

Do you think faith and dogma are in some sense superior to reason?

Faith picks up where reason leaves off. Whereas dogma is antithetical to reason.

Is it the individual's duty to serve "god" or mankind, or at least to dedicate a large portion of his time and energy in doing so?

Yes. "Thy will be done."

Do you believe in ghosts, witches, angels, and unicorns, to go along with the Christian deity?

No to ghosts, witches and unicorns. Yes to angels. And demons, of course. Evil

I've never yet met a person of honesty, courage, integrity, or quality which believed in "god". Can you name one?

Yes. Reed Robinson.

Whenever I discuss religion with theists in person, and look them in the eye, they look (1) dark or malevolent, or (2) crazed or distant from the discussion/reality, or (3) both.

What if they're wearing sunglasses?

Thoughts on "god"

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Richard: Well, your responses seem all over the place. Maybe I can try a different tact...

Do you consider yourself to be a Christian Objectivist? Or a pantheist semi-Objectivist? Or something similar? Are you skeptical about reason, and do you consider it limited in comprehending and explaining reality and discerning the truth? Do you think faith and dogma are in some sense superior to reason? Is it the individual's duty to serve "god" or mankind, or at least to dedicate a large portion of his time and energy in doing so? Do you believe in ghosts, witches, angels, and unicorns, to go along with the Christian deity?

By the way, I'm not relativist or subjectivist in any sense -- especially not in epistemology or ethics. Not sure where you got that.

My impression is that no great philosopher for almost 2500 years was a true atheist until Nietzsche. Even a genius intellectual like Einstein wasn't openly atheistic. So you might argue it's understandable for people to believe in a deity or supernatural creatures. Historically, almost all of our philosophical and intellectual leaders have misled us or lied. So belief in gods or unnatural beings seems plausible, maybe.

But I'm not so sure. Whenever I discuss religion with theists in person, and look them in the eye, they look (1) dark or malevolent, or (2) crazed or distant from the discussion/reality, or (3) both. They always seem to secretly know the truth. I've never yet met a person of honesty, courage, integrity, or quality which believed in "god". Can you name one?

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

That's a very ambiguous and hostile denial of my argument. Can you explain it a bit, please? All the evidence for, and proofs about, "god" which I'm aware of seem to be of a very different type from all other existing things and all other aspects of reality. The "truth" of religion seems very different from all other kinds of truth, and there doesn't seem to be an actual reason or valid justification for this. As far as I can tell, "god" is all bullshit.

I wasn't responding to your argument. Did you already have one? I was responding to your claim that

... everyone secretly or openly knows [that] Belief in "god" is 100% false ...

Many people (theists, for example) believe in God and some of those people, at least, have beliefs about their own beliefs and believe that their beliefs in God are "100%" true. So your claim, that everyone knows that theism is false, is bullshit. Unambiguously so. No hostility intended.

Let's look at your argument. Well, I see you have significantly watered down your conclusion. Before you were claiming that *everyone* knows that "god" is all bullshit. Now you are claiming that as far as *you* can tell, "god" is all bullshit. I accept your watered down conclusion.

All the evidence for, and proofs about, "god" which I'm aware of seem to be of a very different type from [evidence and proofs concerning] all other existing things and all other aspects of reality.

Perhaps, although Dawkins would disagree. IIRC, the first chapter in The God Delusion is titled "The God Hypothesis". Dawkins seems to assume that the main argument theists deploy to make a case for the existence of God is good old-fashioned "inference to the best explanation" which, of course, is the backbone of the scientific method. Dawkins is wrong. But he does show that the existence of God can be treated as a scientific hypothesis and, as such, assessed by the usual standards (which Dawkins then goes on to do, famously concluding that "there probably is no God").

The "truth" of religion seems very different from all other kinds of truth

More bullshit. Relativist bullshit this time. There's only one reality, and only one kind of truth. The statement 'God exists' is true if it corresponds to reality and false if it doesn't.

I love cosmology.

Smiling

Krauss is not Krauss

gregster's picture

It's all sensationalism.

Yes, and it's imaginary. It's Platonic in that they make the observations fit their equations. Coupled here with the leftist post-modernist A is not A of Krauss.

Speculations

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I love cosmology. And I have many opinions on the subject. More than 25 years ago I was arrogant enough to share some of them with Carl Sagan. He was very polite. Only quite a bit later did I realize how foolish I sounded. Puzzled

Kyrel

ding_an_sich's picture

It's all sensationalism. Don't even worry yourself over it. If you want to learn about real physics, just head over to wikipedia and start reading some stuff on thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, or just mechanics. Or you can go back to school and get a physics degree. Eye

Larry Krauss

gregster's picture

 

 

Kyrel

ding_an_sich's picture

Even though I am a physicist in training, I find that physicists are incredibly ill equipped to tackle philosophical issues; this is most certainly one of them. In fact, this is one of the greater questions in philosophical discourse, or the most profound. But it usually boils down to one of two answers:

1) There has always existed a something (the world is eternal in a way).

2) There exists a second order something that is used to explain the world (God; God is then eternal).

Either way, a something or THE something is eternal. I prefer the former though, as it provides far more convincing arguments.

But Krauss addresses neither of these options explicitly, but takes 1) implicitly, as you have particles and fields, which are somethings, account for the world in some way.

Honestly, I would leave Krauss be and read philosophers who talk of this subject. They are more deft at dealing with these issues.

Krauss

gregster's picture

I'm downloading that Krauss YT vid for casual viewing. Will see if he improved, but I won't hold my breath..

"He also served on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign science policy committee."

"he was one of the first physicists to suggest that most of the mass and energy of the universe resides in empty space, an idea now widely known as dark energy"

Here's closer to the real deal;

Kyrel

gregster's picture

the universe and its origin

The space alien with 300 IQ wouldn't concern himself with questions of origin.

My Quick Current Conclusion

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I finished reading Krauss's book and saw a more updated, post-book, 70-minute video of his (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...) regarding his idea of "a universe from nothing." But I didn't understand the book very well, and his reasoning in the video seems pretty vague, mumbo-jumbo-y, and wrong. (The center of his argument in the new video lecture seems to begin at minute 50, and runs for only 4 minutes or so, and then gradually peters out. The part before that can be skipped without missing his main points.)

I guess he reasons thus: The unreal quantum particles in empty space fluctuate into and out of existence, and then these particles (which he admits aren't real) generate negative gravity which eventually results in something and/or a universe coming into being. Moreover, "nothing" is unstable, and naturally generates something. Even "nothing" or empty space -- without any particles or forces inside it -- isn't truly nothing, since the physical laws still apply within, and therefore a "field" is found inside this "nothing" or empty space, which eventually results in something coming into existence.

This argument isn't persuasive to me (assuming I actually understand it!). Moreover he seems to contradict the title of his two video lectures and new book, since he admits he isn't really arguing that a pure nothing generates something. I think he's also saying that dark energy or dark matter -- which we don't know anything about -- really probably create the universe, and so that also isn't actually "nothing."

Trying to follow along with Krauss, my head hurts! Eye I think a space alien with an IQ of 300, and a much more advanced level of science, would probably offer a very different and very superior explanation of the nature of the universe and its origin. I doubt it will involve theoretical and unreal "quantum particles."

How So?

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Richard -- That's a very ambiguous and hostile denial of my argument. Can you explain it a bit, please? All the evidence for, and proofs about, "god" which I'm aware of seem to be of a very different type from all other existing things and all other aspects of reality. The "truth" of religion seems very different from all other kinds of truth, and there doesn't seem to be an actual reason or valid justification for this. As far as I can tell, "god" is all bullshit.

Kyrel

Richard Goode's picture

Belief in "god" is 100% false and 100% evil ... Most people today prefer to lie about it, but everyone secretly or openly knows it ... Religion is founded on, and manifests nothing but, self-deception.

More bullshit.

Yep!

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Greg -- Most people today prefer to lie about it, but everyone secretly or openly knows it, yes. Religion is founded on, and manifests nothing but, self-deception.

I mean..

gregster's picture

.. "everybody knows it"? Otherwise I strongly concur Kyrel!

No, give us another, better one..

gregster's picture

Belief in "god" is 100% false and 100% evil -- and everybody knows it. And Islam means peace.

Last Word

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Belief in "god" is 100% false and 100% evil -- and everybody knows it.

Atheism is not a rational belief

Richard Goode's picture

Atheism is not a rational belief.

Now is no time for false modesty

Richard Goode's picture

Damien, your "Christianity"

The unthinking unquestioning belief in nonsensical batshit told to you by your parents without stopping to look at the batshit with an objective mind.

fails to factor in my doctorate in philosophy.

... before coming home to your parents beliefs in order to prove to them you are grown up now.

My mother remains unconvinced.

I am, however, the most rational contributor to this forum. By far and away.

yes, it does

Damien Grant's picture

I take account of teenage angst and youthful rebellion, before coming home to your parents beliefs in order to prove to them you are grown up now.

It is all so terribly normal Richard.

Shoot first, take aim later

Richard Goode's picture

Damien, your "Christianity"

The unthinking unquestioning belief in nonsensical batshit told to you by your parents without stopping to look at the batshit with an objective mind.

fails to factor in my decades long atheist phase. And

The abdication of reason in preference to superstition

misses the mark by a wide margin, also, I regret to say.

I am, by far, the most rational contributor to this forum.

I actually like this one more

Damien Grant's picture

http://blog.eternalvigilance.m...

from Goode's own blog. It is very clever. Jewish Zombie! I had not thought of that; brilliant.

batty

Damien Grant's picture

Atheism

Richard Goode's picture

Atheism makes perfect sense

Made of meat

Damien Grant's picture

Yes, I agree we are made of meat and programmed to do what we do but I disagree that this means there is no point in debating the issues because the debate becomes part of our programming.

We are impacted by our experiences and our brains are programmed to respond to reason, so debating becomes important.

Next time I'm hooning up or down the Kapiti coast, now I know where you lurk, I'll take you up on your offer.

Damien ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You should have called in. You'd have met my cousin Marx, the Eden Park bomber. He is *indisputably* a Marxist.

If we are biological robots then none of us can help saying what he says, and it's pointless debating the matter, since we're all just saying what we're programmed to say.

Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

No, my guests have departed, and I'm broken-hearted.

It would take at least five bottles of Shiraz for me to finish my ACT stories, uninterrupted. And that's just my first week. Eye

Biological robots

Richard Goode's picture

We are biological robots programed by our DNA and our past.

That's exactly right, Damien. But, for some reason, Objectivists recoil at the idea.

The human soul is no more and no less than a suite of software running on wetware known colloquially as “brains”.

We're made out of meat.

Peka peka

Damien Grant's picture

Drove past there today on my way to close a factory in wanganui after closing two stores in Wellington. Lovely day.

The koru lounge in Palmerston north is a little tired.

If we are the product of our DNA, Chemical make etc, how do we have free will? We are biological robots programed by our DNA and our past.

Well ...

Richard Goode's picture

I'd invite you to Peka Peka, but I know you'd just talk non-stop without listening, as you have before, and that would be pointless.

Sorry about that. Sad And to think, I used to be the quiet type. Sad

Well ... I'm keen to hear all about your brief time with ACT. That should be worth at least a couple of bottles' of Shiraz worth of anecdotes, and I needn't say a word.

Are your esteemed guests still with you?

No Goode

gregster's picture

God?

Is that it, is that all you amount to?

Pathetic, stone-age PhD-infested time-waster.

My goblin

Damien Grant's picture

Is more powerful than Richard's goblin.

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

I wouldn't want you to go thinking I'm sane

There's absolutely no danger of that.

I am, of course, perfectly sane. (It's just that I have a reputation as a "crank" to maintain.)

I am, by far, the most rational contributor to this forum.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

If, before even the big bang, god knew this, we cannot have a free will.

We do not have free will, because the future is as real as the past. There is no free will in an Einsteinian block universe.

As I said a couple of days ago, free will is a comforting illusion for the feeble-minded.

Oh Bruno!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The Goblian stake-burners are having a falling-out. Not for the first time. Let's hope they burn each other at the stake, and leave us free-thinkers out of their internecine savagery.

Depravity?

Damien Grant's picture

I'm a liquidator. I do not get to look down on anyone.

Ouch

Richard Goode's picture

I am a Calvanist.

Calvin was a c*nt. Totally depraved.

Not directly.

Damien Grant's picture

God created the big bang. Being omniscient and omnipotent, he knew when he did this that life would arise, what the life creatures would do with this life, and what creatures would be saved and which would be condemned.

If, before even the big bang, god knew this, we cannot have a free will.

Thus, Calvinists got it right. ( except for the underlying belief in god assumption)

Greg

Richard Goode's picture

At the Big Bang, life would not exist. So if there was a Big Bang, you are incorrect. Or is it that you are saying that there always was life? In which case you envisage a relatively stable system, much like mine. And no Big Bang.

God created life.

I do not believe in free will

Damien Grant's picture

I am a Calvanist.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

You and Baade should form a support group for wishful thinkers.

How about it?

Alcohol would be involved, of course.

We could invite Linz along as a guest speaker on the topic of free will.

Invisible green spider

Damien Grant's picture

Well, I usually refer to an invisible elephant floating around mars, that I think I got from reading Dawkins, but this is not that.

The spider is something that there is no evidence for and no reasoning behind.

If we are thinking about what happened before the big bang ( assuming this occurred), then we have an either/ or option don't we?

A collapsing and expanding universe is one theory I have read about, something from nothing I think is something rooted in physics somewhere. Well outside my area, but either seem beyond comprehension. I am unsure of your opposition?

Oh dear Damien

Lindsay Perigo's picture

That we have no evidence of it does not mean it did not happen.

The universe is run by an invisible green spider on Mars. Well? That we have no evidence doesn't mean it isn't so.

Again I say, pathetic. You and Baade should form a support group for wishful thinkers.

And your irrational preference is not "aesthetics." It's epistemology, and it's epistemological garbage. "Aesthetics" is what I'm talking about in my new KASS Beethoven thread.

From something to nothing

Damien Grant's picture

That we have no evidence of it does not mean it did not happen.

We cannot know (but we can believe) where there is no evidence of something. The Romans had no evidence of black holes, they did believe in Neptune, the later proved to be myth, the former real.

If the big bang happened, then one of two things preceded it. Something with matter or something without matter.

In the absence of evidence supporting either outcome, and lacking the hubris to think I can comprehend the answer, I am forced to abdicate to agnosticism and declare either a possibility.

I may prefer one to the other, but this is aesthetics, not science. And either way, the 13.75b is the current thinking, and scientific thinking has a habit of shifting when it is at the outer limits of human understanding.

I am unsure of the importance of this issue. Either outcome is consistent with Christianity, which has shown a remarkable resiliency in the face of advancing science.

No Goode?

gregster's picture

If you mean life came from non-life, then NO. There is NO evidence that life came from non-life. NONE whatsoever.

I repeat. At the Big Bang, life would not exist. So if there was a Big Bang, you are incorrect. Or is it that you are saying that there always was life? In which case you envisage a relatively stable system, much like mine. And no Big Bang.

Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I wouldn't want you to go thinking I'm sane

There's absolutely no danger of that. I just hadn't realised you were as certifiable as your Goblian former girlfriend. This fact saddens me, truly. Your silly word games betray a lost soul, and that makes me genuinely sad. I'd invite you to Peka Peka, but I know you'd just talk non-stop without listening, as you have before, and that would be pointless.

As usual, it's instructive to observe what you intentionally evade.
If "there's always been something," why wait until now to tell me?

This will come as a shock to you, no doubt, Baade, but I don't operate according to your timetable. It's always been the case that there's always been something. Why should it fall upon me to inform insane mystics, who insist "something" was the creation of a goblin, of this??!!

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

Where, pray (ahem), is the evidence of something from nothing?

The known Universe is a static four-dimensional object. It is temporally bounded by the Big Bang, an event which, from our perspective, occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago. I'm not sure your question makes much sense. Are you asking what caused the Universe to exist? Do you mean 'cause' in the temporal sense of a cause which precedes its effect? If so, nothing preceded the Big Bang. The Big Bang is not an effect of anything. It is an event on a temporal boundary.

But you have, many times. The goblin you call "God." Is this "God" now out of the equation?

You mean God, whom you refer to as a "goblin"? God created (i.e., is ontologically prior to) the known Universe. Jesus said, "I am the block; you are the world lines." (Actually, he said, "I am the vine; you are the branches." But you get my drift.)

So, Baade, have you now dropped your imaginary goblin?

No; and I wouldn't want you to go thinking I'm sane, either.

As usual, it's instructive to observe what you intentionally evade.

If "there's always been something," why wait until now to tell me?

Argument from pomo-authority

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I rest my case.

As do I. Complete bullshit from go to woe. Simply saying that what I'm calling "bullshit" is "modern physics" is not an argument. Where, pray (ahem), is the evidence of something from nothing?

And as usual, it's instructive to observe what you choose to ignore:

But you have, many times. The goblin you call "God." Is this "God" now out of the equation?

So, Baade, have you now dropped your imaginary goblin?

Modern physics is

Richard Goode's picture

Utter rubbish. Complete bullshit from go to woe.

I rest my case.

Utter rubbish!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Modern advocates often take inspiration from the way time is modeled as a dimension in the theory of relativity, giving time a similar ontology to that of space ... This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are "already there", and that there is no objective flow of time. It is sometimes referred to as the "block time" or "block universe" theory due to its description of space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block"

Utter rubbish. Complete bullshit from go to woe.

I have never asserted, arbitrarily or otherwise, that a goblin created the universe. But, yes, there was nothing temporally prior to the Big Bang. The Big Bang was the beginning of time.

But you have, many times. The goblin you call "God." Is this "God" now out of the equation?

The block universe

Richard Goode's picture

So it would enjoin you to provide a scintilla of evidence for your fantasies at some point.

I believe in the block universe, as entailed by Einsteinian physics. According to Einstein, time is a fourth dimension, akin to the three spatial dimensions.

Modern advocates often take inspiration from the way time is modeled as a dimension in the theory of relativity, giving time a similar ontology to that of space ... This would mean that time is just another dimension, that future events are "already there", and that there is no objective flow of time. It is sometimes referred to as the "block time" or "block universe" theory due to its description of space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block"

The known Universe is a static four-dimensional object. Within it, all points in time are equally real; the present moment is not privileged. This is what I mean when I say, "The future has already happened." It's shorthand for, "We live in a block universe."

If you think time "is not a metaphysical entity", then I'm sure that Einstein's theories can be reworked to "reduce" time to temporal relationships between events. No problem. According to today's cosmologists, the temporal dimension is bounded in the past approximately 13.75 billion years ago. Or, if you prefer, there are no events such that those events stand in the temporal relation "before" to the event we call the Big Bang.

Objectivism, by contrast, starts with the question, "What is the reality here?"

and then proceeds to ignore what we have known for the past 100 years about the fundamental nature of the cosmos.

Do you agree with these cosmologists, Baade, that there was nothing prior to this unseemly cosmic cacophony, given that you assert, arbitrarily, that a goblin created the universe?

I have never asserted, arbitrarily or otherwise, that a goblin created the universe. But, yes, there was nothing temporally prior to the Big Bang. The Big Bang was the beginning of time.

(Did I mention that Einstein was the greatest Jew since Jesus?)

well

Damien Grant's picture

I prefer to keep my beliefs to what I can actually know but I break this policy when I accept gravity because I most certainly do not understand the physics behind it, but I have thought that if God gave me a book explaining everything I'd have to ask him for a better brain to understand it, and then apologize for not thinking he existed.

Thus I focus on shit I can get my head around, like insolvency law and upsetting teacher unions.

Baade and Damien

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Whereas, cosmologists conclude, on the basis of the present evidence, that the known Universe is 13.75 billion years old. There was nothing prior to the Big Bang.

Do they indeed, Baade? Then I wonder what exactly went "bang!"?

Do you agree with these cosmologists, Baade, that there was nothing prior to this unseemly cosmic cacophony, given that you assert, arbitrarily, that a goblin created the universe?

I suppose it's an advance, at least, to have a Goblian acknowledge that the universe is older than 4000 years.

When you say, "there must always have been something," do you mean that there must have been something continuously since the beginning of time, 13.75 billion years ago, or do you mean that there must have been something continuously for an infinite duration of time past?

The latter.

You are quoting Peikoff (note spelling) about space. We are talking here about time (which is not, note, a metaphysical entity). Every something is finite, but there's always been something. At least, Baade, that is the most reasonable inference to be made from the fact that we have direct evidence of something and no evidence of anything coming from nothing.

I see Damien joins you in your subjectivist flights of fancy in asking, why not? Knock yourselves out, gentlemen! The universe is controlled by an invisible green spider on Mars. Why not?!

Objectivism, by contrast, starts with the question, "What is the reality here?" (At least, it is supposed to.) So it would enjoin you to provide a scintilla of evidence for your fantasies at some point.

Damien

Richard Goode's picture

I cannot imagine something from nothing, but my lack of imagination nor the current limit of scientific knowledge, should not exclude the possibility of exactly that.

Quite right, too.

British geneticist and evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane once remarked that "the Universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." (Haldane also described Einstein as "the greatest Jew since Jesus" and noted that "God, if He exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles." But I digress.)

Why not?

Damien Grant's picture

I cannot imagine something from nothing, but my lack of imagination nor the current limit of scientific knowledge, should not exclude the possibility of exactly that.

Perigo's armchair cosmology

Richard Goode's picture

Now, I have direct evidence that there is something. I have no evidence that you can get something from nothing. Therefore I conclude, on the basis of present evidence, that there must always have been something.

Whereas, cosmologists conclude, on the basis of the present evidence, that the known Universe is 13.75 billion years old. There was nothing prior to the Big Bang.

When you say, "there must always have been something," do you mean that there must have been something continuously since the beginning of time, 13.75 billion years ago, or do you mean that there must have been something continuously for an infinite duration of time past? Because, to quote Piekoff again

[The concept “infinity”] is valid only when used to indicate a potentiality, never an actuality. ... Infinity exists only in the form of the ability of certain series to be extended indefinitely; but however much they are extended, in actual fact, wherever you stop it is finite.

and Binswanger

Every unit of length, no matter how small [or, presumably, large], has some specific extension; every unit of time, no matter how small [or, presumably, large], has some specific duration. The idea of an infinitely small [or, presumably, large] amount of length or temporal duration has validity only as a mathematical device useful for making certain calculations, not as a description of components of reality.

Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

But you have NO evidence, direct or indirect, that "there's always been something." NONE whatsoever. (Unless you're a LOT older than I thought.)

Well, I am, of course, but still not that old. Now, I have direct evidence that there is something. I have no evidence that you can get something from nothing. Therefore I conclude, on the basis of present evidence, that there must always have been something. There is nothing "arbitrary" about this at all, no matter how many times you quote Peikoff at me (unattributed as usual). What is arbitrary is your claim that the something was created by a goblin. In that regard, you should digest some more Peikoff:

It is not your responsibility to refute someone’s arbitrary assertion—to try to find or imagine arguments that will show that his assertion is false. It is a fundamental error on your part even to try to do this. The rational procedure in regard to an arbitrary assertion is to dismiss it out of hand, merely identifying it as arbitrary, and as such inadmissible and undiscussable.

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

Perhaps we should content ourselves with, "There's always been something." ... We have direct evidence of "something," ...

But you have NO evidence, direct or indirect, that "there's always been something." NONE whatsoever. (Unless you're a LOT older than I thought.)

Your claim that "there's always been something" is arbitrary.

“Arbitrary” means a claim put forth in the absence of evidence of any sort, perceptual or conceptual; its basis is neither direct observation nor any kind of theoretical argument. [An arbitrary idea is] a sheer assertion with no attempt to validate it or connect it to reality.

Another thing. If "there's always been something," why wait until now to tell me?

Kyrel

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Perhaps we should content ourselves with, "There's always been something." That idea may beggar the imagination, but Baade asks us to believe his goblin is eternal. We have direct evidence of "something," no evidence of a goblin (or super-something).

I think it's a bit harsh to accuse poor old Parmenides of linguistic sloppiness. After all, they were just starting out back then. And P gave us a precursor of "existence exists"—"what is, is." It was when he specified that "what is" was one big indivisible changeless Something that he went awry. It's fascinating to note that the change-is-illusion/nothing abides dichotomy (Parmenides/Heraclitus) traps folk to this day.

Exactitude

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

For this discussion to be of value, I think everyone must use really clear and unambiguous language -- maybe even exact and perfect language. Unfortunately, philosophy seemed to err with linguistic sloppiness at least as early as Parmenides around 500 BC.

I haven't finished Krauss's book, but I don't think you can get something from nothing, and thus I speculate the universe is eternal, but perhaps with a series of Big Bangs and Big Crunches.

No Goode

gregster's picture

Funny - but I don't need a reminder of "arbitrary" from its lowest exponent.

So, which is it?

At the Big Bang, life would not exist.

That probably aids your argument more than mine.

Is that sufficient to cause you to doubt the Big Bang? Life exists, therefore there can not have been a Big Bang, according to you.

Or is it as I have proposed, my theoretical argument, that, like seed dispersed upon barren ground, life can appear from available chemical constituents. Complex life exists. Case closed.

Or is it that you are saying that there always was life? In which case you envisage a relatively stable system, much like mine.

If you mean life came from non-life, then NO

Richard Goode's picture

If you mean life came from non-life, then yes.

If you mean life came from non-life, then NO. There is NO evidence that life came from non-life. NONE whatsoever.

Your claim that life came from non-life is arbitrary.

“Arbitrary” means a claim put forth in the absence of evidence of any sort, perceptual or conceptual; its basis is neither direct observation nor any kind of theoretical argument. [An arbitrary idea is] a sheer assertion with no attempt to validate it or connect it to reality.

What Isn't, Isn't

gregster's picture

I do bear that in mind, and don't agree with that at all. If you mean life came from non-life, then yes. Chemical elements have to exist to begin with. "From dust thou art" is not the same as "in a very real sense you and I came from nothing originally." And while we're at it, strictly speaking, "multi-verse" is a nonsense. And if the Universe were flat or closed - what would exist beyond it? Hold on, nothing exists outside the universe. To locate that area, or to even propose it, is to include it in the universe. And is this supposed space - "empty space," as your man describes it - really empty, a vacuum? There are not known to be any true vacuums as was once thought. There is something everywhere, be it an electromagnetic force, or solid matter, and whatever else. So, there is no such thing as "empty space." Space is a relationship between loci. So, the idea that the universe is expanding out, filling empty space, is erroneous.

From Dust Thou Art

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Greg -- Altho' it's massively counter-intuitive and seems unlikely that everything in the universe (or multi-verse) could have come from nothing, bear in mind that in a very real sense you and I came from nothing originally, and are destined ultimately to return to that aboriginal nothingness -- and sooner than we think or wish.

Worth a watch, but..

gregster's picture

That man talks a lot of outmoded but widely believed nonsense. “A universe dominated by nothing.”

Einstein wasn’t happy with his own cosmological constant fudge factor, yet this guy here’s still trying to hold it in his own thinking.

The big bang theory fails instantly once the question of what propels the now-slowed expansion is posed. Don’t take that to mean that I buy it.

Conveniently his answer to “How much energy would we have to put into empty space in order to speed the expansion up?” exactly matches his missing “dark matter.” What a genius.

He truly is a modern flat-earther; “The universe is flat.. and it could have began from nothing.”

He asserts the big bang has been proven by “cosmological background radiation” as “predicted [by george] by Gamow.” I see Gamow's lifetime interest in playing pranks has outlasted him. That’s success at least.

The background radiation is probably merely the result of the number of stars in the universe, and the electrical current via plasma, through which they inter-connect, combined with stars that may have burned out or otherwise interacted with matter, exothermically.

From Gamow’s wiki page; “Alpher and Robert Herman predicted that the afterglow of the big bang would have cooled down after billions of years, filling the universe with a radiation 5 degrees above absolute zero.” Sounds like basic reverse engineering to me, not a prediction at all. And it rested on the faulty BB theory.

Even the title is a dead end – and a giveaway that what we have here is snake oil; “A Universe From Nothing.”

I shouldn’t need to explain again why that is incoherent. The man’s a cretinous creep, albeit a humorous one.

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