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#15676 - 10/24/06 01:28 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Hi TFF, any chance you could edit that "fossil" link back on page 2 of God & sci. (put a hard return in near the middle) because I think that'll bring the whole page back down to a readable size.

Do you have any thoughts re: defining "fact," from that thread also?

Thanks,
~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15677 - 10/24/06 02:38 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Amaranth, -regarding p.2 of this thread only:
Thanks for checking into this. I don't know much about computers, but the top of my window says ...-Microsoft Internet Explorer (and I've still got a cell phone that weighs about a pound too; y'know, old stuff).

Looks like I'm not the only one though, re:
posted October 23, 2006 02:15 AM Member # 924 (terryt)
?Soilguy. You know why the page got wider? Evolution.?

Thanks again; can you try my suggestion without messing things up? I'll let you know if it helps.
Ordinarily I wouldn't care, but I've been referring back to that page alot.

~~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15678 - 10/24/06 02:43 AM Re: God & science
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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sam, it's telling me that the time for editing has passed.

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#15679 - 10/24/06 02:45 AM Re: God & science
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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trilo,
it's important that you understand what a fact is to a scientist before you assert what is and what is not a fact. I know that conflicts with your desire to express the strongest opinions before you understand a subject, but at least you're given the opportunity to understand and of being understood.

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#15680 - 10/24/06 02:55 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Posts: 1164
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TFF, Thanks for trying. ...and well stated re: above (8:45).

Richard, I just now saw your post. I'll get back to you on that one.

~~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15681 - 10/24/06 03:12 AM Re: God & science
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Original statement:

"So trilobytes, does God like science?"

The answer seems to be "Sometimes". When it can be reconciled with a fundamentalist interpretation of The Old Testament. (I'd prefer to stay away from comment on The New).

By trilobyte's reasoning there are no such thing as "facts". Even the idea the sun will rise tomorrow is not a fact. All is relative.

I am sure of one fact though. In spite of all the evidence many people seem uncomfortable with the idea that we humans are simply just another of the many life-forms on this planet. We are only "special" because we think we are.

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#15682 - 10/24/06 05:17 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Yes, I'm starting to think that the phrase "speculative assumptions" is fairly accurate. After all, it is just a speculative assumption that the sun will rise tomorrow, or that atoms exist, or that space-time is the structure of existence, or that selective pressures exist, or that there is some process that causes mutations or variations, or that we live in a world that has existed more than 4000 years.

Thanks much;
~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15683 - 10/24/06 08:43 AM Re: God & science
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Like Socrates we really "know" nothing.

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#15684 - 10/25/06 01:02 AM Re: God & science
jjw Offline
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Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Ric8:

i singled out your comment because you seemed to be so covinced of it. Note

"My old science teacher said nothing could be proven to a certainty. Philosophy suggests that you can only prove one thing "That I think". Not that anyone else thinks, just that you can prove that you think."

No doubt your teacher had no difficulty proving that "he thought" but I am curious about the means he employed to do so. To whom do you make the proof? If there is doubt that the others think how do you seek confirmation that you think? Not right on topic so I withdraw.
jjw

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#15685 - 10/25/06 05:18 PM Re: God & science
RicS Offline
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Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 310
Loc: Sydney, Australia
G'day jjw,

Actually my science teacher employed his thoughts to prove he thought. To himself. However, he had nor has any ability to prove it to anyone else. I think that was the point.

Men in Black ended with a super being picking up marbles that included our universe and placing them into a bag. Men in Black II had everyone living in a train station locker. What's to say either of these are not true?

My personal view is that there is much in life that I can take as factual. I may not be able to prove these to anyone else but, hey, I really don't care. I do believe that I exist and that Newtonian laws apply most of the time. Not sure about the speed of light being the ultimate limit of speed but other than that and a few problems with some of the maths have no problem with quantum mechanics.

But these are personal views. They keep me happy, and able to make sense of my world without much thought about it.

Still not really on topic but you did single me out for mention, I think (Ric8 is me right?).


Regards


Richard
_________________________
Sane=fits in. Unreasonable=world needs to fit to him. All Progress requires unreasonableness

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#15686 - 10/25/06 05:49 PM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
jjw, re: "If there is doubt that the others think how do you seek confirmation that you think?"
I'd answer that one has to make some basic assumptions.

RicS and jjw, you are both definetly still on topic! I agree, and will add more later....

Thanks mucho nacho,
~~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15687 - 10/25/06 10:04 PM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Re: your posts from ?Evidence for God? et#1091 & de#693:

~my wife's gonna kill me for "wasting" more time on here, but....

et, Cool!
Very good point about the small amount of evidence vs. a large amount of repeatable, independent, etc. evidence.

My focus on the 5th definition (which I contend scientists must use in reference to the fundamental, basic assumptions in ANY theory) is to point out that kind of "fact" is no different than "unquestioned faith." It is "presumed as" true; a speculative assumption (that works incredibly well). However, just because it works so well, there should not be a "refusal to accept anything that goes against it." -de
I'm not saying we should accept anything that "goes against it," just that if you don't want to accept it, one shouldn't be judgmental. In the end, who's to say who's right? Fortunately, before the end, science is a lot more fun and practical.

As you say "We all know what we mean for fact." -et
But, THEY don't know what we mean (sometimes) by "fact" def.#5. Clearing that up early will prevent a lot of misunderstandings and heated debate.
I'm like a dog witha bone, eh?
Thanks again,

~~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15688 - 10/26/06 04:20 AM Re: God & science
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
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Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Samwik. Facts are what each of us believe to be true. What we believe to be true is often in effect what we want to believe. What we want to believe is largely determined by what we grow up believing. This is why Unamuno could say atheists in Spain were Catholic. I suggest that atheists in the USA are Christians. Many beliefs about evolution, for example, are filtered through an Old Testament perspective. We cannot escape our genes and our upbringing.

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#15689 - 10/26/06 05:00 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Hiya ttnz,
I'd wanted to comment of this before:
"In spite of all the evidence many people seem uncomfortable with the idea that we humans are simply just another of the many life-forms on this planet." -ttnz9:12PM
I appreciated your point here; I often notice the strange looks I get when I refer to "all the other animals...." smile

Re: the above, "facts...."
Yes, we only believe what we want to. I just think that to communicate with people, we have to recognize that there are facts that can be easily verified as true, and others that can only be "presumed as" true.

Thanks,
~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15690 - 10/26/06 07:27 AM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
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~sorry, I just had to rewrite this below. ~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15691 - 10/26/06 06:45 PM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
re: above post 10/25, 4:04 PM (6:04?)

Differing Theories on same topic:

I have a perfect example of this difference in fundamental assumptions (see above) from within science; no religion involved!

I came in on the middle of a discussion entitled, ?The Expanding Universe.?
I thought I could explain something that would answer the question at hand. After a second attempt, the answer I got back from the thread?s originator made me wonder if we weren?t operating under different, fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality.
I asked a couple of questions to confirm my impression, and felt sure enough we had totally different ideas about ?reality.?

Knowing this, I could see my ideas would make no sense from the other point of view, and vice versa; so that was the end of it. I did suggest a few ideas that I thought might be interesting, hoping that some day in the future we might be closer in our presumed assumptions about "reality."
*
So my final response to this issue was,
?Thanks for the explanation. Yep, that makes it clear.?
*
Although I continued to participate in the thread and address others? posts, I did not try to re-explain my viewpoint, hoping that if I made it clearer, anyone might change and suddenly understand my angle. At most I added a few links and comments, directed at others, responding to posts on that thread; which I hoped might pique some interest in the nature of "reality."
***
I thought this was such a great example because we were all talking about cosmology. Though with such differing basic assumptions about the nature of reality and how to define these terms, we might as well have been speaking different languages.

How is this different from talking to a religious person? I don't see it as much different; any comments?

trilobyte? Hope to hear from you.
Thanks,
~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15692 - 10/26/06 10:06 PM Re: God & science
RicS Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 310
Loc: Sydney, Australia
G'day Sam,

I've been trying quite hard to get what you are suggesting in this thread but can't quite wrap my head around it.

Why should you need to get a new theory if two incompatable explanations of evidence exist, for instance? Could it be that one of the two works fine but there is just more evidence that has yet to be uncovered or because of circumstance that evidence is lost.

Dinosaurs went extinct because of a meteor. It fits a great deal of the evidence but not all of it. Trouble is that it is possible that it, and other explanations might be all partly correct, or the meteor one is completely correct but the evidence is gone. 65 million years has been enough to wipe out the primary evidence so all that is left is speculation.

I think I understand your point about scientists making assumptions. It's actually amazing that when peer review occurs to many scientific papers, the basic assumptions are rarely questioned. Sometimes that's because everyone thinks those assumptions are well settled. But at other times I really have to wonder. Is this something like what you are getting at?

I was given a paper two days ago by a scientist in Britain that did a considerable amount of research demonstrating that Urban Effect had no real influence on the world's average temperature records over the last century or so. The assumptions he started with where truly breathtaking in their lack of support but they were not challenged anywhere. One assumption was that urban effect had to be greater on the warmest days. Sounds logical but there was no imperical data to back this up. Another was that urban effect would effect temperatures by a negligible amount on windy days. This one was the basis of the whole paper, yet there was no attempt to support the assumption at all. An assumption that I would suggest really made the whole thing a wasted exercise was that prevailing winds due to major weather patterns could be relied upon to establish that a particular day in a particular city was windy (this was done because the data that was available generally does not include wind intensity at all and even if it does it does not generally record it at the time of minimum temperature). His examination of the records showed that weather patterns for China actually caused the cities to warm up when he had assumed they would cool down yet even this did not cause him to wonder whether the assumption was correct.

I started thinking of simple physics experiments and a block of warm concrete. What would this do to air circulation? If there was a fan set up to blow across the block, would the warmth of the block change the air flow? Would the movement of air cause the block's extra temperature to drop to the surrounding ambient temperature in a short time? Think of a city on a winter's day. From studies of Berlin's urban effect and what it does to night time temperatures, to winter's days and nights etc, the assumptions actually didn't hold up all that well, but this paper was submitted to a professor who found no fault with the assumptions. It obtained funding and no one questioned the assumptions. It was peer reviewed and no one questioned the assumptions. It is now used as a the primary paper by a very large institute for many other research projects as their reference why urban effect has minimal effect on temperature and therefore does not need to be considered. And during all of this not one person thought to question the basic assumptions that the author used to base the whole paper on.

Interestingly, I was having quite a pleasant email chat with the professor mentioned about problems with data. The conversation abruptly ended when I made the comment that I wondered about the assumptions made in the paper in question and whether there was any observations made by others on which the author could rely.

I know this is in the wrong topic but I'm using an example that I understand to see if this is what Sam's underlying supposition is. What is a "fact"? Is that a similar query to why do scientists seem to use assumptions for studies when there is little or no evidence to back up that assumption? And how far do we go? Do we have to take every scientific discussion back to the basic principals and ensure that each is valid before we can build on it, or is it safe to assume that these "facts" are, well, "facts"?

Sam, is this close to what you are putting across? Or am I really off the track?


Richard
_________________________
Sane=fits in. Unreasonable=world needs to fit to him. All Progress requires unreasonableness

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#15693 - 10/26/06 10:34 PM Re: God & science
RicS Offline
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Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 310
Loc: Sydney, Australia
G'day all,

I gotta ask this. What's a transitional fossil?

If we start with a horse like creature with a longer than normal neck but in order to compete those in that species with longer than normal necks have a significant advantage and you end up with a giraffe, isn't every animal in that sequence just a representation of a species that existed at a particular point in time? My vague memory of evolutionary biology is of a tiny little creature that over about 40 million years ended up the modern horse. Where's the transition? Are not every single creature in that progression just an animal that either fitted its environment and was fairly successful or had to adapt and change. But all of those creatures survived and slowly changed otherwise we wouldn't have the hores. And back to the giraffe and those with short necks. What happens to them? Perhaps they ended up with their own specialisation or the long necked versions may have removed sufficient numbers to allow the short neck ones to continue on their merry way.

Or is the argument that evolution happens in spurts and the change from the longer horse like creature to a giraffe took not that many generations? In that case the chances of a fossil existing of any animal that was not either the earlier creature or the giraffe would be very small indeed.

To me I thought the theory of evolution includes that every creature on earth is evolving in some way. Some types of sharks may not have changed much in 100 million years or so but they still have made some changes and what is to say that many other types of species have not evolved from the basic species during that period, eventually being different enough so that they no longer could mate with the original species and continued off on their own, changing out of all recognition to the original shark, which because it wasn't a bad fit for its environment in the first place also managed to remain in existence during all that time.

This is not an area that I have much knowledge except the Science channels, the occasional article and what I learned at school so my musings may not be all that perfect but this idea of a "transitional fossil" seems a bit strange to me.


Richard
_________________________
Sane=fits in. Unreasonable=world needs to fit to him. All Progress requires unreasonableness

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#15694 - 10/26/06 10:48 PM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Just skimmed this, but wouldn't it have to be a "predicted" fossil. In other words, one that filled in a gap in the record. Once it is found, it'd no longer be transitional; but (as someone pointed out on the deleted "Impossible Split" thread, I think) now you are left with 2 smaller gaps in the fossil record. So now you have two more transitional fossils to look for. smile

Was that you DA? ...ttnz?
...Cheers?
~samwik

P.S. RICHARD, there is a more serious response to this question over on the "fossil" thread now. ~S
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#15695 - 10/26/06 11:02 PM Re: God & science
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
But Richard, why are you talking about fossils on this thread. This is about epistemology. I try to avoid trilobyte's technical posts like "fossils" (but sometimes it's just too easy to jump in). I don't really care much about evolution either, except in that it is a very good model of how a theory works and allows me to delve into the epistemological aspects of theories in general.
Don't get me wrong, I like evolution theory as much as relativity theory (rises to the level of "~truth" in my mind), but I guess I don't see it as important to my daily life as things like climate change.
So, I'll go back and read your posts later; but for now, hope this clears it up a bit.

Thanks much,
~~Sam

P.S. this "~truth" term means GRATIS: Generally Recognized Assumed Truth, In Situ.
~S
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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