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Messages - GregDarcy

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1
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: August 22, 2014, 01:11:48 AM »
Quote from: Wapatango
we see no evidence of erosion between many layers supposedly separated by millions of years.
I am sorry. But I can see an example of erosion between rock layers exposed in a road cutting less than a mile from my house.
A more famous one is at Siccar Point in Scotland. Google it.
The roadworks have finally reached a point where I have been able to go up and take a photo of the erosional features. This photo has been selectively enhanced to show the feature more clearly.
In the photo, you can clearly see a dip in the lower layers. This is an erosional surface that has been filled in later by mud (becomes shale with lithification) The top surface of the shale also shows irregularities that point to a second erosional surface. My best guess is that this is a cross section of an ancient stream.

Bedding Lens Enhanced  by gregdarcy, on Flickr
Follow the link back to my photo stream to see an unretouched copy of the same photo. The system would not let me post both here.

2
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 26, 2014, 06:43:30 PM »
I have not gotten on here in ages for a variety of reasons including that I am so far behind and it takes so long to craft my response.  Writing does not come easily for me.  This is the only section I've read, so if my response recaps something posted elsewhere I apologize.  I'm going to try to respond to a bunch of different things I noticed, as I read through the section.  I hope this makes sense. 

Quote
I do not fit my definition of an atheist. In my educated opinion, the evidence within our physical universe points quite clearly to an ancient universe, with life having evolved within it. But I accept that it is entirely within the purview of a deity to have created that universe 6000 years ago along with a false trail of evidence.* Thus I do fit within my definition of agnostic as I believe the real truth is ultimately unknowable. * So as well as being a tantrum throwing, spoilt brat, he is also a liar. God is not a very nice chap is he?

As you might imagine, I completely reject these statements.  There is no false trail of evidence.  Much of the supposed "false trail" is actually a result of the Global flood during Noah's day.  There are many evidences to support that in many branches of science as I believe I have already mentioned in other posts in other topics.  I will only mention a couple things here.  The rock layers are supposed to be great evidence for an old earth.  However, we see multiple layers folded together without cracking, indicating that they were folded while wet, which means that they were laid down quickly.  We also see fossil trees standing upright through multiple layers, and we see no evidence of erosion between many layers supposedly separated by millions of years. 

As for your characterization of God, I am sorry that you have such a wrong view.  God is just.  He punishes wrong doing.  If you understood the magnitufe of the sin, you might better understand the punishments.  The good news is that because God is also merciful and gracious, He doesn't always punish right away giving us a chance to repent.  This God that you just tried to characterize as an awful person took your punishment Himself upon the cross, so that you could be free.  He knows you better than anyone, but He was willing to do that for you, despite all the times you've wronged Him.  I think you might want to read (or reread) the Bible asking God to show you the truth about His nature.  In the very beginning, Satan tried to get the woman to doubt God's word and God's nature.  He is still doing the same thing to humans today, and sadly, we still fall for his lies.

This is not my view. it is the view of the authors of the bible.
There is another thread covering "why do bad things happen", but I will take the time here to cover a few examples from the bible.

The "fall"
1. God set up Adam to fail. God knows everything, so when he set up the scenario that there was a forbidden "fruit"* and a serpent to tempt and a woman to be tempted And a man to be swayed, god already knew what the outcome was going to be as he knows everything that happens from the beginning of time to the end. So when the inevitable happens, what does god do? He not only punishes Adam, Eve and the serpent, he punishes all their descendants as well for a crime that god knew was going to happen when he put the pieces into play. If a law enforcement officer does this, it is called entrapment, and the case is thrown out. Rightly so. This is not god judging Adam for his dreadful sin. This is god playing a practical joke. And not a very nice one at that. But there is more. You may be able to make a case for god punishing Adam and Eve and all their descendants. I doubt I'd buy it, but I am sure there are others who would. But how do you justify the fact that he also ruined the lives of all the animals and plants as well? Remember that they also lived in Eden and were expelled at the same time. not only that, their natures were changed so that wolves now killed and ate any lambs that they came across. What exactly did the lamb do to deserve such a fate?

The "flood"
Noah disobeyed god's express instructions, and was not only not punished, but was rewarded for his disobedience.
He was told to take seven of all animals animals (except "unclean") and birds. Of the unclean, he was told to take two (Gen 7:2-3). However, he only took two of each clean animal and bird (Gen 7:8-9) Yet in Gen7:16 We find that Noah did as god ordered him to. And so God saved Noah for disobeying his instructions. A somewhat different fate to that meted out to Adam for disobeying an instruction.
A just god? I don't think so. A capricious one perhaps.

Again, was Noah (and presumably his family) the ONLY good person on the planet? Despite being disobedient to god's direct orders. What about his wife, raised presumably by evil people, and his children's wives also presumably raised to the principles of evil?
And again, why kill all the other animals and plants? Were they evil? Or was he just a spoiled brat bored with his toys?
This "all powerful" being could have simply created a targeted virus that only affected humans, with Noah having a natural immunity, and left the plants and animals intact. After all he used that method against pharaoh, so he knew it could be done.

Sodom
Lot was quite willing to throw his virgin daughters to the town's evil ones. Despite this he was considered a "good" man and worth saving when the town was destroyed. Lot's wife, on the other hand, was so evil that she got turned into a pillar of salt. And her crime? Having one last look at the town that she used to call home. (Gen 19)

I am not even out of Genesis, and already there are multiple examples of god being less than just. To put it mildly.









*I see this as a metaphor, but as you take the word of the bible literally, you presumably accept that there was a real fruit, so I will go with that. I doesn't really matter from the point of the discussion


Edit by Fletch: ended the quote of Wapa's post for separation.

3
Philosophy / Re: Eyewitness vs other evidence
« on: January 24, 2014, 05:41:14 PM »
Sorry. I know I said I would let this rest, but I came across this in the bible yesterday:
Quote from: 2 Peter 3:8
But there is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, 'a day' can mean a thousand years

So our 6000 year old earth becomes (6000 x 365.25 x 1000) a little over 2 billion years old based on biblical evidence alone.

BTW I take all my quotes from the Bible from The Jerusalem Bible Popular edition 1974. This is because it is the only bible I have in the house. I chose to keep this one as it uses modern English and is based on translations from original manuscripts when available. Thus minimising language shifts. I don't trust internet sources as there is a real possibility of their being hacked, and are therefore untrustworthy sources. Of course if you believe, as I don't, that the bible in all its incarnations, is directly guided by the hand of God, then this cannot happen. But I prefer to be safe. While my paper copy can be burnt, and I can mis-transcribe, it cannot be hacked.

Exodus 20:11
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 31:17
17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
Neither of which comes even close to asserting that the "days" were 24 hours long, nor even all of the same duration.
In fact given that Genesis said
1:13 Evening came and morning came: the third day
1:14 "God said "Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night
There is a strong indicator that the then current (time of Exodus) major timekeepers were not in existence for at least the first few "days", so there was no way of knowing how long a day was. Nothing to stop it being 24 minutes or 24 Billion years as we now measure time.


4
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 10:35:59 PM »
Quote from: Wapatango
Historical science--trying to determine what happened in the past, including our origins--is neither testable, or repeatable.
This is simply not true. I have a small dent in the side of my car. From its position, size and shape, I know it was caused by someone opening their car door carelessly and hitting my car with their door. I know this because I have seen this type of dent before. To my shame, I have even caused a few.
I could take it further. I could analyse the paint residue left in the dent and determine the colour, make, and possibly the model of the vehicle. I could then subpoena the security camera footage of carpark where the ding happened and work out which vehicles matched the the description I have. With luck I would be able to determine the precise car and driver involved. without luck, I would probably be able to get to within two or three cars. All without having an eyewitness to the actual event.

It is quite possible and reasonable to make predictions about past events. They can then be tested.
Some examples:
There is a supernova remnant in the sky called the Crab Nebula. Based on observations made, it was predicted that the supernova originally erupted around 1,000AD. A troll through historical records revealed a Chinese observation of the event in 1054.*
Mary Schweitzer uses observational games to train her students
Quote from: Mary Schweitzer
We also play brain games….or, as I prefer to call it, learning? It is easy to find bones of recently dead animals here in these hills, along with our long dead dinosaurs. I have several times passed around these bones, and quizzed the students on aspects of osteology. It helps them to learn to ‘see’ bones better, and to realize how much can be learned about an animal, when all you have are bones. This is a good skill for a paleontologist to have! Much of it is common sense. When Toni and Jim first arrived, they weren’t willing to offer much of an opinion, but after a while they were very good at noting small features that let them make statements about the age or function of an animal. It also results in the accumulation of a lot of bones (or teaching tools). These, of course, are also subjected to random experiments by crew, including a ‘design your own vertebrate’ game….which can be rather interesting.
We see here she is training her student to observe carefully and make predictions about the animal. She also notes that the same techniques can be used in palaeontology. i.e Make an observation, form a prediction then test it. It can also be done in reverse: Look at a map and determine that a particular area is likely to contain fossils of a particular type. Then go there and dig. If you find the fossils you predicted then your prediction has been tested and confirmed. This is the basis for much mining geology I have a friend who is a coal geologist. His job is precisely this. He earns his money by making successful, repeatable predictions about what will be there when they dig. The companies who pay him would not take kindly to his predictions if they were not better than random chance.





*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_Nebula
quoted from http://notesfrommontana.blogspot.com.au/ Entry for July 9 2008

5
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 06:47:47 PM »
Quote from: Fletch
The arguement from young earth creationists is that people have shown the process to show incorrect dates.
Which is actually not a valid argument against any science. Science always holds that it can be wrong. It wouldn't be science if it didn't.  Both in the particular instance because of, for example, an error in procedure and in the general because the theory is wrong, in whole or part*. Thus we have seen a shift from the Earth centric model of the universe of Aristotle to the Copernican Heliocentric model (but still circular) through the Keplerian Elliptical but still heliocentric model. Through to the current model that has no centre. The religious have fought a rear guard action on this, even to the extent of burning the proponents of the new view at the stake.

On the other hand, The religious view of the young earthers is absolute. As such, it only needs a single verified counter example to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. And, as you say, there are many.


*For reasons of their own Young Earthers always seem to jump to the conclusion that a single aberrant result means that the ENTIRE theory must be wrong. Probably because it is true for them.

6
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 06:21:37 PM »
 :-[ Oops. Yes. I meant to put in a footnote.
By confirmed, I mean peer reviewed and repeated by independent researchers achieving the same result within acceptable experimental error.

Quote
There is no false trail of evidence.
Fletch has given you one example.
Here is another:
Radiometric dating indicates ages of rocks much older than the 6,000 years you posit for the earth.
Radiometric dating is underpinned by nuclear science which is part of what you like to call "operational science". As well as radiometric dating, that theoretic framework gives us Nuclear reactors, smoke detectors and the atomic bomb among other things. Some of these we could live without, but the theory predicts them and they work. Therefore the theory works. If you deny radiometric dating, you also need to deny Hiroshima and Three Mile Island. Same theory.
Now that theory gives us ages of rocks into the millions of years. If god created the world 6,000 years ago, then that is a false trail of evidence.

Note that it doesn't matter if there are some anomalous readings. The existence of even one "confirmed "date greater than 6,000 years is either false evidence, or proof that the universe is older than what some Catholic bishop calculated over three hundred years ago and well before the discovery of nuclear fission.

I repeat. If the bible is the word of god and to be taken literally, then god is a liar. I leave it to you to decide if the lie is in the rocks, or the book. Both cannot be true.

EDIT: You can have a third option if you like. The person who told you the bible is the literal truth was in error. If it is a metaphysical truth that contains mythic elements, the God need not be  a liar.

I think you need to clarify "confirmed" in that sentence to get past Wapa's forthcoming objection.

The reality, of course, is that there are far more than one instance that confirm the ancient age of the earth. The arguement from young earth creationists is that people have shown the process to show incorrect dates. This is akin to concluding long division doesn't work because there are some students in a math class that get a different answer.

7
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 06:14:55 PM »
Quote from: Wapatango
The rock layers are supposed to be great evidence for an old earth.  However, we see multiple layers folded together without cracking, indicating that they were folded while wet, which means that they were laid down quickly.  We also see fossil trees standing upright through multiple layers, and we see no evidence of erosion between many layers supposedly separated by millions of years. 
Oh my. Where do I begin?
Let's start with a simple analogy. Now I know we cannot push an analogy too far, but...
Green (still wet) wood bends fairly readily.
But if you try to bend a dry stick, it will snap.
So if I see a piece of bent wood, it must have been bent while it was still green right?
Wrong.
You can bend dry wood by heating it until the lignin softens a little and bend it while it is still soft. Steam is often used in this process, but it is used as a vehicle for the heat. It is not necessary, it just makes the process more manageable. I have made bentwood chairs using this process.
Google "Thonet chairs" if you want to see some examples of how extreme this bending can be.

You can also bend dry wood at room temperature. I do this all the time by putting too much weight on my bookshelves. Over a few years, the shelves sag. When i take the weight off they remain bent, so it is a permanent change and not because of the springiness of the material. I correct it now and again by dismantling the bookshelves and turning the shelves over.

You can also bend thin strips of wood more readily than thick ones. So by gluing lots of thin strips together, you can make some quite extreme bends by bending them while the glue is still wet. Note that the wood is dry. The glue simply allows the layers to slip past one another while it is still wet. Once the glue hardens, the bend is held in place. This technique is called lamination. I have used it too.

Back to rocks
First let us consider ice. Not normally regarded as a rock I know, but bear with me. Ice is a solid. In fact, it is a crystalline solid. We know this because it floats in water. The reason that it floats in water is because its crystals are less dense than the fluid. Nonetheless, despite being a crystalline solid, ice flows. I have stood on the Perito Merino glacier in Argentina, and I have watched pieces fall off as they tip of the glacier flows over unsupported water. If you examine a section of a glacier you will see bends in its layers. But if I hit a piece of it, it doesn't flow out of the way of the hammer. It shatters instead. The key here is time.

Next rock: Pitch
In 1927, the university of Queensland set up an experiment. It is still running today. They made pitch liquid by heating it, then they poured it into a funnel with the end blocked off. Three years later, after the pitch had well and truly solidified, they cut the tip off the funnel. Then they waited. Eight YEARS later, the first drop fell from the funnel. To date, eight drops have fallen. Thus given time, this solid flows even at room temperature.

Next rock: Glass
Measurements carried out on the centuries old glass in European cathedrals indicates that it is thinner at the top than at the bottom. This is generally put down to the fact that the glass has flowed over the centuries. Because of this, glass is often claimed to be a super chilled fluid. It's not. It is a microcrystalline solid. Again we see evidence of a solid flowing.

Next example. Sadly I cannot find the exact example. Fletch?
I have seen a photograph of a centuries old stone bench. It had sagged over time until it was distinctly u-shaped. I have a vague recollection it was in the US somewhere, but England or Europe seem more likely.

Now back to your post:
we see multiple layers folded together without cracking, indicating that they were folded while wet, which means that they were laid down quickly.
No. It shows that they were folded slowly over eons. If you try to bend a wet rock (mud) it will slump at the point of maximum bend in a characteristic way. In general, these slumps are absent in folded rocks. Why? Because they were not bent while still unconsolidated.
Also you are confusing your time line. You are assuming that the laying down and the folding happened at the same time. I guess you need to if you are trying to claim that this all happened within the space of a single year. I make no such claim.

we see no evidence of erosion between many layers supposedly separated by millions of years.
I am sorry. But I can see an example of erosion between rock layers exposed in a road cutting less than a mile from my house.
A more famous one is at Siccar Point in Scotland. Google it.

We also see fossil trees standing upright through multiple layers,
Thank you for supplying proof that this did not happen because of some cataclysmic flood. If there had been a world wide catastrophic flood, the trees would have been knocked over. The fact that they are still standing indicates that they were buried slowly over many years in a more gentle process. You would have done better to have cited the petrified forest at the south end of New Zealand(Curio Bay). There the trees are all lying flat except for a few stumps that have had the main trunk broken off by the force of the event. Yes I have been there too.

8
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 04:41:08 PM »
Quote from: Wapatango
Out of curiosity, what do you think of the new trend in American math classrooms?  In case you haven't heard, if students get a math problem wrong but can explain how they got that answer, the answer is counted right.  Thus, if a child can explain how they got 1=2 then that answer is correct.  I know that is a little off the topic of this section, but it was the first thing my brain thought when I read your post. 
I think it says nothing about mathematics. It says a lot about the parlous state of education in the USA.

9
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 03:57:19 PM »
Quote
There is no false trail of evidence.
Fletch has given you one example.
Here is another:
Radiometric dating indicates ages of rocks much older than the 6,000 years you posit for the earth.
Radiometric dating is underpinned by nuclear science which is part of what you like to call "operational science". As well as radiometric dating, that theoretic framework gives us Nuclear reactors, smoke detectors and the atomic bomb among other things. Some of these we could live without, but the theory predicts them and they work. Therefore the theory works. If you deny radiometric dating, you also need to deny Hiroshima and Three Mile Island. Same theory.
Now that theory gives us ages of rocks into the millions of years. If god created the world 6,000 years ago, then that is a false trail of evidence.

Note that it doesn't matter if there are some anomalous readings. The existence of even one "confirmed"* date greater than 6,000 years is either false evidence, or proof that the universe is older than what some Catholic bishop calculated over three hundred years ago and well before the discovery of nuclear fission.

I repeat. If the bible is the word of god and to be taken literally, then god is a liar. I leave it to you to decide if the lie is in the rocks, or the book. Both cannot be true.

EDIT: You can have a third option if you like. The person who told you the bible is the literal truth was in error. If it is a metaphysical truth that contains mythic elements, the God need not be  a liar.


*By confirmed, I mean peer reviewed and repeated by independent researchers achieving the same result within acceptable experimental error.

10
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:47:05 AM »
Quote from: Wapatango
And the same is true of any non-believer.  Mary Schweitzer is a prime example.  She and her team discovered unfossilized blood vessels inside a t-rex bone that was supposed to be 68-million years old.  Since all scientists agreed that no unfossilized tissue could survive anywhere near that long, she ran the same experiment 17 times to make sure her results weren't contaminated.  Although her evidence clearly refutes her worldview belief that the world is very old, she still maintains that belief.  The only way to know which belief is correct, again, is to examine the presuppositions that are the foundation of the worldview which tints how we interpret evidence.  Saying a believer won't be swayed by negative results means nothing.  The same is true of all people.  Evidence will not change our worldview because our worldview determines how we interpret evidence.
Thank you for bringing Mary's work to my attention. I was not aware of it. While I studied Palaeontology (among other things) at Uni, that was many years ago, and well before Mary did her research.
A few comments:
1. You seem to imply that Mary is a non-believer. From what I read, that is far from the truth. While not a young-earther, she is deeply religious:
Ironically, the insides of Cretaceous-era dinosaur bones have only deepened Schweitzer's faith. "My God has gotten so much bigger since I've been a scientist," she says. "He doesn't stay in my boxes."

2.Saying a believer won't be swayed by negative results means nothing.  The same is true of all people.
This is not true of all scientists. When I was at University (the first time) the theory of Plate Tectonics was actively unfolding.  My text books and lecturers said that the primary tectonic movements were vertical (Orogeny or mountain building). Thus the Rift Valley of Africa was the result of a vertical movement in the Earth. At the same time the scientific literature was full of the new and radical concept of what is now called plate tectonics - then called continental drift after Wegener's original idea. In this the primary tectonic movement is horizontal not vertical. I later realised I was witnessing a paradigm* shift within the scientific community at first hand. Exciting times.

Evidence will not change our worldview because our worldview determines how we interpret evidence.
This is true up to a point. I recommend you read T.S. Kuhn "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend also make apposite reading, but I think Kuhn gets closest to the truth. Science tends to move in jumps. There is a world view that determines how evidence is interpreted, and for that matter, what evidence is gathered and how. This is what Kuhn calls "Normal Science" Gradually discrepancies build up, and there is a period of "revolutionary science". This results in a paradigm shift and science settles down into normal science again. This time centred around the new paradigm. Rapid shifts in thinking occur during the revolutionary phase, but most discoveries are made during the normal phase.

she ran the same experiment 17 times to make sure her results weren't contaminated.
This is normal behaviour for any scientist looking in the face of an unexpected result. The more important question is Have her results been verified by other independent workers. The little I found from a quick Google indicates that the jury is still out on this. There appears to be both supporting and refuting experiments. This is also typical and a normal way that science works.

her evidence clearly refutes her worldview belief that the world is very old
No it doesn't. If true, it refutes the idea that soft tissue cannot be preserved in a fossil dinosaur. One possible interpretation is the one you adhere to: that the dinosaur fossil is at most a few thousand years old. Another possible interpretation is that soft tissue can in fact be preserved for millions of years. A third possibility is that her experimental technique was flawed. I am sure there are other possibilities. Mary's own view is the second. She has since done work indicating a possible mechanism.

she still maintains that belief [in the antiquity of dinosaur fossils]
To quote from the discover magazine article again:
"Schweitzer tends to ignore such dogma. She just looks and wonders, pokes and prods, following her scientific curiosity. That has allowed her to see things other paleontologists have missed—and potentially to shatter fundamental assumptions about how much we can learn from the past."
This indicates to me that she has seen the evidence for "68 million years" and finds it convincing. She is not afraid to question other firmly held beliefs of her fellow scientists, so the fact that she doesn't question this one would indicate that she has seen the evidence and finds it convincing. I know I found it convincing when I looked at it 40 odd years ago.


What I suspect we are seeing here is the beginnings of a paradigm shift within palaeontology. We are in the early stages yet, but I think it matches Kuhn's requirements for a paradigm quite well. If so we will see a blooming of research and new discoveries not only with dinosaurs, but also other extinct species.

What I take away from this example is that belief in God, even the Christian's God, is not incompatible with the concept of an old Earth. Nor is it incompatible with evolution.







*  Kuhn coined the term "paradigm", at least within the context of scientific theories. His definition is as follows:
A paradigm shares the following two characteristics:
[An] achievement is sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity
Simultaneously  is is sufficiently open ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve
(Paraphrased from P.10 of T.S. Kuhn, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd Ed, 1970, ISBN 0-226-45804-0)

http://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html

11
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 22, 2014, 09:18:20 PM »
Quote from: Fletch
Wow. Huge reply. Let's take it a bit at a time.
Thank you Fletch. I saw Wapatango's post and was at a loss. I didn't know how to tackle it. This gives me the clue.

Quote from: Wapatango
God is a good shepherd, but if a sheep keeps trying to break its neck by climbing too close to the cliff edge a good shepherd will break its legs to teach it to stay close to him for the lamb's own protection.
Let's examine this a little.
A shepherd's job is to look after sheep until he takes them to slaughter. So you are saying that God is raising us to slaughter?
 I always had trouble with the concept of the "good shepherd". Shepherds are certainly NOT good for the sheep in the long term.

Quote
a good shepherd will break its legs
I would have thought this would be how a BAD shepherd would go about things. A good shepherd would tie the sheep up, or if it was within his power, remove the cliff. As a human that would mean finding a less dangerous pasture. As a God another feasible alternative would be to make the cliff go away. Or give the sheep the ability to fly or climb a cliff or...

Quote
to teach it to stay close to him
Now will I stay near this person who has demonstrated a willingness desire to hurt and cripple me, claiming it is for my own good (Now where have I heard that before - Al Capone wasn't it) or will I take my chances elsewhere. even if it means jumping over this cliff to get away from this evil being.

Quote
for the lamb's own protection.
The only thing harming the lamb is the shepherd. As I think I said elsewhere: Thanks. But no thanks. I'll take my chances with a wild flock.

12
Philosophy / Re: Love
« on: January 20, 2014, 05:27:17 PM »
Quote
go in the wrong direction for evolution from molecules to man.
Two things wrong here.
1. Evolution does not deal with molecules. Only with living things. Yes I know living things are made up of molecules, but evolution deals with the living. Though the explanation of why the living survives may have to do with he way the molecules interact.
2. You make the common assumption that evolution is a ladder (or pyramid or mountain or ...) with a base and a pinnacle. Usually with man at the top. This is not true within the evolutionary world view. An amoeba that is well fitted to its environment is just as "highly" evolved as a human suited to its environment. Complexity is irrelevant to evolutionary status. Just fitness to environment as measured by survival to future generations. It can be argued quite successfully that bacteria not homo sapiens are the pinnacle of evolution. Whatever happens to the ecosphere of the planet in the future, it is likely that some bacteria will continue to procreate and survive. It is less certain that humanity will.

13
Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 19, 2014, 06:28:18 PM »
Quote from: Fletch_smf
1 to 100 is a ridiculously specific scale. And to call yourself 72% instead of 71 or 73? I don't believe you can be that specific on your level of belief.
You are arguing about the number of angels that fit on the head of a pin here.
The numbers I chose were entirely arbitrary. I tend to think in terms of percentages which is why I chose 0...100
I was not aware of Dawkin's prior proposal, or I would probably have used that instead.

And to cite the article you referenced:
Quote from: Wikipedia
Dawkins self-identified as a '6', though when interviewed by Bill Maher and later by Anthony Kenny,he suggested '6.9' to be more accurate.

So even Dawkins doesn't see that 1...7 is entirely appropriate.

14
Philosophy / Re: Memories
« on: January 11, 2014, 04:31:57 PM »
Quote from: Wapatango (I think)
So, without the Bible what reason do scientists have to believe their memories are reliable
Ummm...even if you write something down as soon as you have done it, it requires memory.  You are remembering what you just did.  If you write it down before, you are remembering what you just said you would do.  As soon as you finish doing something, it becomes memory.  So, if memories aren't basically reliable, then writing it down, and having it be checked by others means nothing, because at every stage it requires memory.  Short term memory is still memory.   Whether something happened one second ago or 1 year ago, it is still in the past and requires memory. 
The bible is written down, so according to Wapatango the bible is unreliable as it requires memory to write it, so we cannot take anything that the bible says about memory to be accurate so we cannot say:
Quote from: Wapatango
There are probably close to 100 verses where God tells us to remember something.  Therefore, God is telling us that our memories are basically reliable (I didn't say perfect).

On the other hand, I can say that memory is basically reliable because
1. Language is a reasonable means of communication, and we have to learn language. Thus memory is required. As we can communicate using language then memory, at least as far as language is concerned, is basically reliable.
2. I can write something down. Then ask someone else to read it and also tell them what it says. If the two agree then I can confirm that my memory is reliable in this instance at least. If I repeat this many times successfully, then I can say my memory is basically reliable.
3. I can memorise a written shopping list. Then go shopping without the list. I consistently return with all the items on the list, when I check off it when I get home.
I can continue to expand on this as far as you like. The conclusion I draw is that memory is basically reliable. And I don't need to refer to the bible to do so.

On the other hand, I have experienced what is commonly called "Chinese Whispers" so I know that memory is not infallible.
Likewise, when I go shopping without a list, sometimes I forget one or two items. Again memory is not infallible, but as I come home with most of the items. My conclusion: my memory is basically reliable but not infallible. Once again I do not need the bible to draw this valid conclusion.

I can generalise this to most people's memory by checking that 1. Others can communicate using language. 2. Others manage to go shopping successfully.

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Philosophy / Re: Theism, Deism and non believing
« on: January 10, 2014, 03:03:51 PM »
Just to modify the last slightly.
1. Mathematics is exempt from the inability to prove something
1+1 = 210 always. This is not subject to disproof
Similarly and more generally,  x + y = y+x. Always and forever. It may not be true when applied to a real world situation however. Causality may be a factor for example.

2. I should have said that 100 can exist. It is possible to disprove something (but not all things!) absolutely.
Consider the theorem: All swans are black This is obviously true. Until, that is, you visit the Northern Hemisphere, and suddenly you see the disproof swimming around everywhere.

3. There is an element of... I hesitate to use the term as it does not convey the right connotations but ... risk management in my concept of belief. If the tooth fairy manifests itself to me, it makes no real difference to me. If the ultimate cause manifests to me, I need to rethink much of what I have hitherto believed to be fact.

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