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View Diary: Open Science Thread: Smackdown Edition (222 comments)

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  •  I'm (22+ / 0-)

    sitting here listening to golden techno oldies leading off with the The Lords of Acid and going through my spam folders, which are jammed full of angry creationist challenges and withering, geometric logic disproving all 'liberal science." Maybe I'll post a few of the funnier phrases in comments here in a bit. What secret UN signals are oscillating in your cranial antenna my fellow progressive borg?

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 03:09:59 AM PST

    •  re:Please Do (4+ / 0-)

      I love to read the withering arguments of crazy people.  

      Ian Musgrave's smackdown of Creationist arguments about our perfect eyes was excellent.  But is it too much to ask that his punctuation be as consistent as his scientific rigor?  Reminded me a little of the punctuation is fun chapter of Flowers for Algernon.

      •  Well (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Plan9, Liberal Protestant, potownman, ERyd

        let's see ... I have one with the subject line "Cowardly Darwinists" which goes on to state in part "Why is is that cowardly Darwinist [sp?] won't let students make their OWN decisions about the FACTS!! HMMM????!!!"

        They're fond of the caps key and exclamation points ...

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:23:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reminds me of Celebrity Jeopardy (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9, rktect, rocketito, potownman, oscarsdad, ERyd

          on Saturday Night Live .

          Trebeck: For Final Jeopardy, contestants, write down anything .  That's all you have to do.  Write down a coherent sentence.  Any sentence.  Connery!  That's not writing!

          "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

          by LithiumCola on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:39:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Science has become a religion (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DarkSyde, onanyes, TomP

            Correct me if I'm wrong, but science has been evolving in ways which incorporate most of the wilder creationist arguments about intelligent design.

            Space and time used to be coordinate systems which could be measured, weighed and judged. When we began to think of time as something which could slow, and space as something which could curve, and spacetime as a continuum which could ripple, oscilate, wrap around itself and otherwise behave rather oddly, it began to be possible to be less judgemental.

            I can remember when people used to talk about string theory. Dimensions of force were added, and then there were membranes, and then the membranes were described multidemensionally as big sponges and then Calabi-Yau theory eveolved into people speaking about branes unconfined by dimensions of space or time or matter or energy, and then parellel universes, then the parellel universes were thought of as undulating in the way the strings had vibrated.

            Then it was allowed that when parellel universes made contact they might cause their own singularities or big bangs and that non tangible things such as life and death and thoughts of infinity might be players also.

            On a recent program on the Discovery Channel one scientist was able to claim that he creates universes in his basement and then releases them into the wild just to see what happens.

            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 06:46:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What? (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SME in Seattle, rktect, G2geek, oscarsdad, TomP

              You've never created universes in your basement and let them go?

              Read UTI, your free thought forum

              by DarkSyde on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 08:42:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, I do my best work on my porch. (0+ / 0-)

                But if I had a basement, and I created them there, I would hope that after I let them go they would come back from time to time to visit.

                Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:05:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  See (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rktect

                  I heard you did it outside so you could chase them with the focal point of a magnifying glass and burn them to a crisp ... :)

                  Won't someone please think of the baby universes?

                  Read UTI, your free thought forum

                  by DarkSyde on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:17:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  While that's not me (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DarkSyde

                    its the other guy in the parallel universe that bumped into us last week, people have been thinking about the children of universes in the context of singularities and white holes for some time.

                    The idea is that if there are black holes sucking up all the matter and energy that enters their event horizons, there may be white holes spewing it forth through something called the Einstein-Rosen bridge.

                    While this idea has been around since before the acid wars of the sixties, its the work on M branes that is bringing it back into focus.

                    The complete Schwarzschild geometry consists of a black hole, a white hole, and two Universes connected at their horizons by a wormhole. The name "black hole" was invented in 1968 by John Archibald Wheeler. Before Wheeler, these objects were often referred to as ‘black stars’[7] or ‘frozen stars’.

                    It was Austrian Ludwig Flamm who had realised that Schwarzschild's solution (called the Schwarzschild Metric) to Einstein's equations actually describes a wormhole connecting two regions of flat space-time; two universes, or two parts of the same universe.

                    A white hole (from the negative square root solution inside the horizon) is a black hole running backwards in time. Just as black holes swallow things irretrievably, so white holes spit them out. However white holes cannot exist, since they violate the second law of thermodynamics[8].

                    General Relativity is time symmetric. It does not know about the second law of thermodynamics, and it does not know about which way cause and effect go. However we do. The negative square root solution outside the horizon represents another Universe. The wormhole joining the two separate Universes is known as the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.

                    Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                    by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:30:34 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  The Discovery Channel is not a good barometer (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rktect, Coherent Viewpoint

              for what should be considered science; neither are Scientific American, Popular Science, Science News, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times or any other newspaper.  The magazines tend to be full of speculation which may or may not be based on accepted results of scientific studies, and the newspapers mangle science as badly as any other story, sometimes more.

              If you're looking to judge where science has been, is now, or is going, look at some peer-reviewed journals:  Science, Nature, Cell, Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences (London), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).  Science and Nature in particular have short news pieces that put some of the more interesting findings in less technical terms.

              Honesty is still the best policy.

              by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 09:13:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think you're being fair (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect

                Most of the authors of articles in Scientific American are working scientists.  It is true that when these working scientists write in Scientific American, they aren't writing for a peer-reviewed journal and are free to present their more speculative ideas.  It is also true that, in recent years, SciAm has tried to sex it up a lot to increase sales, so their standards have gone down a bit.  Still, a regular reader of SciAm will be reasonably well-informed.

                And it's ridiculous to put Scientific American and Popular Science in the same sentence.  The latter has much lower standards.

                •  Perhaps you're right. I was very disappointed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rktect

                  when Scientific American went far more populist (or "sexed up", as you put it).  I wasn't trying to suggest that SciAm had sunk to the level of PopSci.

                  Honesty is still the best policy.

                  by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:16:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  By 2001 Science News was covering branes (0+ / 0-)

                  When branes collide there results a condition now known as the ekpyrotic universe.

                  Question is, can we manipulate slow moving gravity waves in such a manner as to cause such an event in the lab (or in your basement)?

                  If you start looking at black holes, which turn out to be rather plentiful in our universe, and add in with the extra universes some extra dimensions which have different sets of rules according to the properties of their singularities, things get interesting again.

                  Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                  by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:18:56 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Lets go to the peer reviewed stuff then (0+ / 0-)

                String theory goes back to the Reagan era and multidimensional D branes are not exactly new to science, they can be found in the literature going back to about 1995.

                M Theory carries it a couple of steps further.

                Unlike more conventional views of creation in modern physics, that are Ex nihilo, the M-Theory vision, although not yet complete, is of the whole observable universe being one of many super expanded 4 dimensional branes of an 11 dimensional existence. While branes of alternative universes exist "near us" their formulation of physical laws may differ from our own, as their number of dimensions. It is currently believed that a collision of "universe branes" somehow compacted enough energy to form what established physicists called the Big Bang.

                The work on D branes and black holes helped resolve disagreements over the number of dimensions at 11.

                Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:02:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So what's your point? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rktect

                  Correct me if I'm wrong, but science has been evolving in ways which incorporate most of the wilder creationist arguments about intelligent design.

                  I don't believe string theory or branes (with which I confess I am unfamiliar) were originally "wild creationist arguments about intelligent design"; if the intelligent design movement has tried to incorporate them into arguments for creationism, that still doesn't make your point.

                  The fundamental difference I see between science and religion is what is taken as proof:  in science proof relies on observation, while religion relies on the opinions of authority figures, such as the authors of the Bible.  Science relies on making a model, then testing the model through observation.  Strings and (I presume) branes are parts of theories, which may or may not be testable.  I believe some experimental work has been done to test predictions of string theory, so far without resounding success.  How does that suggest science is evolving toward religion?  

                  There is a group of people who have started considering interconnections between science and philosophy; "The Dancing Wu-Li Masters" was on that topic, I believe.  If such interconnections have become mainstream scientific beliefs, it is news to me.

                  Honesty is still the best policy.

                  by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:30:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Lets go down the list (0+ / 0-)

                    Things we have always thought may have taken a really long time to happen, may have happened much more rapidly than we thought.

                    Climate change might fall in that category, so might evolution with polar bears mating with grizzlies to give pizzlies and as was mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago cro magnons and neanderthals hooking up.

                    Space and Time may not be quite so much the constants that we thought, in that space curves and time slows and sometimes the continuum in which they find themselves is all wrapped up in itself.

                    The speed of light which is measured in terms of space and time may be relative to the perception of the observer.

                    The branes of different universes may interact depositing bits of their similarity and difference in different electro/mechanical/gravitational dimensions as they pass.

                    The old creation myths generally begin with heaven and earth, with the earth a formless void, and darkness over the deep and spirit over the water;
                    ie Air, Earth, Fire and Water, four sets of paired opposites and a fifth element.

                    We can think of that as two parallel universes capable of interacting if there is contact between their branes.

                    The comparison of the paired opposites allows coordinate systems such as time and space by the discernment between light and dark as a cycle of night and day.

                    With such systems we can measure, weigh and judge and say things are true or false or good and evil, but what if things are really subject to different sets of rules, different laws of nature if you will depending on the conditions that were operative at their time of creation.

                    Science is beginning to lose its faith.

                    Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                    by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:52:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm sorry, I thought you were saying science (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      rktect

                      is coming to resemble religion?  Now you seem to be saying the opposite:

                      Science is beginning to lose its faith.

                      The important difference--I'm sorry, THE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE between science and religion is that science relies on observation of the natural world, while religion does not.

                      The longer you look at something, the more you see.  We expect science to lead to new observations and sometimes to changes in our understanding of the world as a consequence.

                      When a new observation leads to a new idea, in science we call that progress; in religion, it is called heresy.  One may lose faith in their religion (I haven't, by the way), but science doesn't require any faith to lose.

                      Honesty is still the best policy.

                      by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 11:25:15 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How can Science more resemble Religion (0+ / 0-)

                        than to have a faith to lose?

                        In cosmology science isn't looking at observations of the natural world. Its imagining the way things might be and then using mathematics to construct an explanation that fits.

                        Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                        by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 11:40:42 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Cosmology has become an experimental science. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          rktect

                          Measurements of the microwave background has made an impact on cosmology, supporting predictions made from the Big Bang theory.  Microgravity experiments here at the UW have set limits on the size of the additional dimensions in 11-dimensional string theories, if in fact any such additional dimensions exist.  So your assertion that cosmology isn't loking at observations of the natural world is false.

                          Imagining the way things might be and using mathematics to construct an explanation that fits existing data--and makes testable predictions--is the process of constructing a testable theory.  It does not require faith; it is part of the process of asking a question.

                          Honesty is still the best policy.

                          by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 11:51:40 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Do you know of any data (0+ / 0-)

                            that comes from observations of black holes, white holes, parallel universes, or microwave background radiation that suggests different universes arising from different singularities, have different physical laws?

                            The only thing I know that leads to that resolution of 11 dimensions is pure mathematics.

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 12:00:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So? (0+ / 0-)

                            You seem to be saying that mathematical proofs are articles of faith, which is utter nonsense.

                            The point is that microgravity experiments are being used to test an 11 dimensional theory, not that some physicists have proposed there should be 11 dimensions due to mathematical arguments about other theories.

                            Science becoming more like religion would be taking an 11-dimensional cosmology on faith, rather than testing it.  That is not what is happening.

                            And, by the way, I fail to see how any of this supports the other part of your original assertion, that science is incorporating intelligent design.  I don't know of anyone who has proposed that cosmology involving 11-dimensional strings requires an Intelligent Designer.

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 12:24:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  A mathematical proof is always based on axioms (0+ / 0-)

                            If your axioms are subject to change according to random conditions such as prallel universes with different singularities having different sets of laws, that gets interesting.

                            As to the concept of intelligent design, I guess we need to begin by defining what is it that makes intelligence what it is and not something else, and likewise design.

                            Why is it so pleasing to scientists to have everything neatly mathematically in agreement with a theory instead of so observationally divergent as might be the case with data based on microwave background radiation.

                            At least one theory of branes allows that they may be able to react as a sentinent entity might in order to maximize their chances of survivaL, growth and power.

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 03:03:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rktect

                            ghjkl

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:09:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  mn (0+ / 0-)

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:28:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Looking at the Wikipedia article on cosmology, (0+ / 0-)

                            I suppose I should say physical cosmology has become an experimental science.  Religious cosmology has not.

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 12:39:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is how NASA puts it in perspective (0+ / 0-)

                            The NASA perspective seems to think we are looking at a decaying but still repeating cycle.

                            Seen from a different perspective we get this

                            Which one seems more in accord with the observed data to you?

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 03:28:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  First, thanks for posting the link to the source (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rktect

                            of these images, they require explanation in order to even consider your question--which I will not.

                            These images are from a tutorial on remote sensing by Dr. Nicholas M. Short, Sr., and is available from a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center website.  Dr. Short is a geologist who does not appear to work for NASA.

                            I also found a note at the bottom of the page for the tutorial very interesting:

                            Please direct any questions or comments regarding the Website to John Bolton.

                            I have personally worked for NASA at GSFC, and my father retired from NASA after more than 25 years.  It is highly dishonest for you to refer to the first image as "the NASA perspective" on cosmology, when Short is not a spokesman for NASA; nor does his work have much to do with cosmology; nor do his comments on cosmology have very much to do with the tutorial in which they are embedded.  Nor does his rationale for intelligent design, which also appears in the tutorial!

                            I will be contacting NASA to see if they are interested in promoting Dr. Short's unusual ideas.

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 04:47:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The article in general is on remote sensing (0+ / 0-)

                            One aspect of remote sensing is geospatial, another astronomical.

                            NASA looks at cosmology as best explained by the resolution of paired opposites as per the chart; ie; its either open or closed, implying a steady accelerating expansion or a decelerating recollapse depending on whether you accept or exclude the full range of data or prefer the stellar data or the microwave data which you mentioned.

                            In the second diagram the raw data remains in opposition and is not resolved.

                            John Bolton is an astronomer

                            Section 8 on Microwave Data is written by

                            T.M. Lillesand and R.W. Kieffer, Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation, 2nd Ed., © 1987. Reproduced by permission of J. Wiley & Sons, New York.

                            The editor and primary authory of the entire discussion is Nicholas M. Short, Sr. He says:

                            Although somewhat repetitive of ideas stated in the above letter, these statements may lead some to new insight. The argument goes this way: All our rational experience with the concept of cause or causality leads to one irreducibly simple idea - we cannot logically explain or even conceive of a "cause", that is something that exists and therefore is also an "effect", as itself being also "uncaused".

                            he denies the possibility of creation, including presumably by means of a big bang.

                            We are forced to conclude (at least until some new profound insight gives us a believable and provable explanation) that every effect is preceded by a cause which in turn is also an effect that requires a prior cause. This can be carried back into some kind of infinity - retreating backwards through time there is a constant procession of causes/effects.

                            To break out of this endless a priori chain, we must invent the necessity for some oldest cause being uncaused. But this defies both the deepest penetration of reason into this idea and our common sense. How can anything be truly uncaused!!!???. (Note: these ideas on causality go back to the ancient Greeks.)

                            Not exactly your usual believer perspective, but more of a scientific call for a breakout testable hypothesis as for example with the Platonic concepts of Being and Becoming.

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 05:39:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  John G. Bolton *was* an astronomer (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rktect

                            who died in 1993.  To my knowledge he was not a NASA employee.  The portion of the document you reference (and the letters by Short to a local Pennsylvania paper in support of creationism and intelligent design, which also appear for no apparent reason in this tutorial on Remote Sensing) was clearly added after (a) Bolton's death and (b) Short retired.

                            The timing says nothing about the validity of Short's arguments, I am not making an ad hominem attack on Short.  What I am saying is that it is improper to take Short's speculations about creationism and intelligent design, which are a footnote to a tutorial on another topic entirely, and were added long after the tutorial was approved by anyone related to NASA, as NASA's official position on cosmology!

                            For example, a Google search for NASA and Cosmology provides a website which is specifically about Cosmology--unlike Short's comments.  If you search this site for references to God, you will find this:

                            1. I am religious and I also find science very exciting. Is there a conflict between science and religion?

                            According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) [emphasis added]:

                            "Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are limited to those based on observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists."

                            "Progress in science consists of the development of better explanations for the causes of natural phenomena. Scientists never can be sure that a given explanation is complete and final. Some of the hypotheses advanced by scientists turn out to be incorrect when tested by further observations or experiments. Yet, many scientific explanations have been so thoroughly tested and confirmed that they are held with great confidence."

                            "Truth in science, however, is never final, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow. Science has been greatly successful at explaining natural processes, and this has led not only to increased understanding of the universe but also to major improvements in technology and public health and welfare."

                            The National Academy of Sciences also says:

                            "Science is not the only way of acquiring knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. Humans gain understanding in many other ways, such as through literature, the arts, philosophical reflection, and religious experience. Scientific knowledge may enrich aesthetic and moral perceptions, but these subjects extend beyond science's realm, which is to obtain a better understanding of the natural world."

                            "Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature. Indeed, many scientists are deeply religious. But science and religion occupy two separate realms of human experience. Demanding that they be combined detracts from the glory of each." [emphasis added]

                            "Many religious persons, including many scientists, hold that God created the universe and the various processes driving physical and biological evolution and that these processes then resulted in the creation of galaxies, our solar system, and life on Earth. This belief, which sometimes is termed 'theistic evolution,' is not in disagreement with scientific explanations of evolution. Indeed, it reflects the remarkable and inspiring character of the physical universe revealed by cosmology, paleontology, molecular biology, and many other scientific disciplines."

                            One thing this says is that NASA doesn't take a position on whether a God (or if you prefer, an Intelligent Designer) exists; NASA defers to the National Academy of Sciences on that topic.  I believe you will also find the opinions expressed by the National Academy of Sciences (that science and religion are separate, and that they are not in conflict) agree with the position I have promoted here.

                            Your characterization of Short's statements on science and religion as "the NASA perspective" is simply wrong.

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 11:09:02 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You miss the point (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not as concerned with what the article says s with what the graphic says.

                            What the graphic illustrates well in my view is the astronomical perspective that NASA has long focused on. Hint: its not D strings, its not branes.

                            Remote sensing and the astronomical idea that time and space are so linear you can tell how far away things are in space and time by red shifts and microwave background radiation is more to the point.

                            I could care less about religion except in that I think believers tend not to be very good at intelligent design.

                            When it comes to the concept of creation believers are not particularly open to the idea of it being an ongoing and continuing process.

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:35:51 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You change the point. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rktect

                            You claimed

                            science has been evolving in ways which incorporate most of the wilder creationist arguments about intelligent design.

                            Speculations on cosmology, creationism, and intelligent design attached to a tutorial on remote sensing written by a retired geologist represent nothing about the evolution of science.

                            You also asked to be corrected if you were wrong, so I did.

                            Honesty is still the best policy.

                            by oscarsdad on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 04:11:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Science is evolving through these concepts (0+ / 0-)

                            of multidimensional, parallel universes with different sets of natural laws rippling sensuously up against against one another and then at the moment of contact generating new singularities into something which implies a 12th dimension of harmonic intent, possessed of abilities of intelligent design if you will.

                            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                            by rktect on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 05:52:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  heresy & revelation (0+ / 0-)

                        The elucidation of a new thread of religious truth can be seen as heresy by religious authorities, or it can be considered as "revelation' and become the source of a new religion or at least a new denomination of an existing church.  

                        Science does require faith in its methodologies, and a shift of methodology is often the basis for a shift in paradigm.  For example at one time behaviorism was the dominant paradigm in cognitive science, and held that subjective events are not relevant; more recently this has changed with the increasing degree of understanding of the relationship between subjective states and measurable physiological events.  Thus behaviorism has become a useful subdiscipline but is recognized as having a limited scope of application, in much the same manner as Newtonian physics is considered a subset of physics as a whole, and correct for limited classes of phenomena.

                    •  science & religion & truth (0+ / 0-)

                      Point of clarification here:

                      What is meant by "truth" differs from one discipline to another:  science, religion, the law, journalism, politics, and so on.   For example science quantifies "true" in terms of probability; the law qualifies truth as "proponderance of evidence" in civil cases and "beyond reasonable doubt" in criminal cases.

                      Religious truth is not limited to the pronouncements of religious authorities.  At root it is based on direct subjective experience of contact with God or the ground of being.  Scripture is derived from that, religious authority in its proper sense of speaking with knowledge, is derived from both; and religious "authorities" are more a function of politics i.e. the distribution of power in a society.    

                      Whether or not the subjective experience of God or the ground of being has any objective correlates aside from measurable brain events (e.g. in the temporal lobes), is a subject for philosophical debate and has been for a couple thousand years or longer.  

                      •  Yes and no. (0+ / 0-)

                        Standards for acceptance of specific ideas as true differs from one discipline to another, but when two different disciplines judge the truth of something, they are judging the same concept of truth.

                        Scientists don't say that "George W. Bush is President of the United States" is 99.9% true.  The theory "George W. Bush is President of the United States" is supported by observations; what scientists might quantify is the probability of the observations given that the theory is true, versus the probability of the observations given that the theory is false.  In this case I am unaware that there are any observations that don't support the theory; in this case science overwhelmingly supports taking action (say, starting impeachment hearings) that assumes the theory is true.

                        I agree with you that religion is based on subjective experience; as I say above (after you posted, but before I read your post) science restricts itself to objective experiences, ones that may be repeated by others.  The philosophical debate over objective experiences is much less contentious.

                        Honesty is still the best policy.

                        by oscarsdad on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 03:51:35 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Gimme That Newtime Religion (3+ / 0-)

              Give me a religion where I can talk to god myself, without an intermediary, any time I want. But whose intermediaries fill my society. In competition with each other to disprove their beliefs, to determine a consensus of reality no matter how surprising. Creating miracles I can understand myself, and contribute my own.

              Or just accept that they're honest, on the word of people who I do trust. But who I can test any time I want - at their encouragement.

              I don't know what you're complaining about. Except maybe that you don't understand the most esoteric insights of this science "religion" yourself. Though you could if you tried hard enough. Or that sometimes you see false prophets on TV. Who you could expose, if you tried hard enough, and who you are not obligated to believe.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 09:32:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Except that there really is a big difference (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect

                between science and religion.  Science relies on observation of reality; religion does not.

                Sort of like, before 2001, American politics was conducted by the reality-based community, but since Bush 43 was elected, it has not been.

                Honesty is still the best policy.

                by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:34:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not as Big as We'd Like to Think (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rktect

                  I don't think the distinctions are that clear. Nevermind the "religion" I described in my ironic post explicitly relies on observing, even challenging, reality.

                  Other religions, some would say all religions, depend on observation of reality. Traditional religions just ignore the essential requirements of science: consistency and testability (falsifiability). Religions all say they explain experienced reality, proposing unexperienced reality. Science itself, relying on consistency and testability, proposes those two axioms (unexperienced realities). So science, at least its practice, is a kind of religion. I just prefer my metaphysics minimized, especially when driving to work on it.

                  I don't think I'd like a religion or a science that depends on only one axiom, especially not just one of the two science axioms. And I haven't yet been able to imagine any way of knowing that depends on no axioms. Maybe Jeebus will tell us when she returns.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 10:57:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I like to think of the science of cosmology as (0+ / 0-)

                    Metaphysical Engineering which I define as the application of relative absolutes to the structure of non systems.

                    To invest hevily in modern cosmology it helps if you are attracted to contradictions in terms and able to resolve them mathematically.

                    Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                    by rktect on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 11:01:29 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks for some thoughtful criticism. (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not sure I agree that consistency and testability deserve to be classified as "unexperienced realities" in the same sense as the articles of faith in other religions; they are axioms regarding the reasoning process, which I think should be considered categorically different than axioms regarding the existence of unobserved intelligences.  This is related to my statement that science depends on observation of the real world, in the sense that what is not observable is not added axiomatically.  You may consider this categorical difference to be somewhat arbitrary, however there does seem to be a practical difference between predictions of scientific theories and religious beliefs:  religious beliefs don't appear to be as reliable predicting the behavior of observable objects, for instance.

                    Philosophy and metaphysics tend to provide a lot of stumbling blocks for my most deeply cherished beliefs, though, so please keep the criticism coming.

                    Honesty is still the best policy.

                    by oscarsdad on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 12:15:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  More Thoughts (0+ / 0-)

                      Religions do predict future events like "as you sow, shall you reap", and "karmic consequences follow from ethical actions", and "god will curse you for eating pork". There are others, more specific, but not all religious predictions are metaphysical outcomes, even if faith is required to accept their formulae.

                      Consistency and testability are unexperienced realities - of our material world. They are clearly part of the material reality we experience, or science's proofs wouldn't be persuasive, certainly not so universally. But where is our experience of the mechanics of consistency and testability, their actual realities? We experience those realities only as derived principles. But the axioms are just our representations of the material mechanics. Our axioms might be inaccurate, but they are representations of some mechanics, even if they're not "cause and effect" without human consciousness to define them that way.

                      So science depends on observations of the consistency and testability of the real world. Science incorporates those aspects of the world into its formal processes. But they're real, though unexperienced. Articles of faith, like closing your eyes and touching your nose while driving. Or waiting for a messiah. Or putting letters in the mailbox without opening the door again to look for them to have dropped.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:41:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  One thing is clear to me... (0+ / 0-)

                        I should have avoided the term reality, which is subject to multiple definitions and interpretations.

                        I'm talking about objective reality, which is what reasonable observers can agree on.  I think religions depend on subjective reality, i.e. personal experiences that are not necessarily shared by others.

                        The distinction I am drawing is that science confines itself to objective reality, while religions do not.

                        Honesty is still the best policy.

                        by oscarsdad on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:18:38 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Still Look Similar to Me (0+ / 0-)

                          That's what we're both talking about. Religion's metaphysics doesn't talk about just metaphysical experiences (eg. heaven, the soul). They are also obsessed with metaphysics of ethics. Which is experienced by the senses in this life, as consequences of actions. Whether the karma of Buddhism, the justice of Judaism, or even the reincarnation of Hinduism. Those are systematic explanations of a consistent reality. They just depend on cause and effect mechanics that cannot be proven, merely observed in events and consequences.

                          Again, just look at the Logical Positivism basis of science: testability as validity. And consistency. Then look at science of, say, dark matter, in a string theoretical model, scaled by the cosmological constant. A lot like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

                          The main difference between other religions and science is science minimizes the axioms. And that makes the knowledge of science accessible to anyone initiated in the techniques, in which we initiate anyone who seems like they can handle it as children. Like everything in human experience (and, eg, relativity and respectable religions), differences are a question of degree on a continuum. Even the discrete quantum jumps of some science is a model, like "good vs evil" that some obsesses some sects.

                          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                          by DocGonzo on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 08:12:25 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Don't know if I (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rktect, oscarsdad

              agree with rktect's content, but love the cool pictures.  Must be because they remind me of old pyschedelic daze.

        •  re:Yep (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandora, Plan9, onanyes, ERyd

          Except for the HMMM????!!! bit, it looks a lot like a religious tract.  When something is TRUE, you put it in all caps.  When it's REALLY TRUE, you put it in bold caps.

      •  Just goes to show you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74, ERyd

        the quality of one's eyes doesn't always directly correllate to who can see straight.

        Most people are idiots... But don't tell them. It'll spoil all the fun for those of us who aren't. It's in the bible!

        by d3n4l1 on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 05:25:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your diaries. (0+ / 0-)

      They usually are very interesting and well done.

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