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  #161  
Old 17th November 2015, 08:12 PM
Spearthrower Spearthrower is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Darwinsbulldog said View Post
Nope. Cheese-making does not rock your reality, evolution does. Goddidit is still a mechanism, but so was Lamarck's.

Does that help?


Then you're failing to address the fact that after Darwin proposed the testable mechanism for evolution, that peoples' realities were rocked, but they were duly persuaded by its merit at explaining observations.

Regardless, I don't think we can go any further here - there's much we can and do agree on, but I think that hypotheses necessarily propose mechanisms, and that they are integral to genuine understanding of a phenomenon. I admit that I don't see how you can convince me otherwise, and I similarly don't seem to be able to convince you, but at least our relative positions are clear!
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Old 17th November 2015, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Then you're failing to address the fact that after Darwin proposed the testable mechanism for evolution, that peoples' realities were rocked, but they were duly persuaded by its merit at explaining observations.

Regardless, I don't think we can go any further here - there's much we can and do agree on, but I think that hypotheses necessarily propose mechanisms, and that they are integral to genuine understanding of a phenomenon. I admit that I don't see how you can convince me otherwise, and I similarly don't seem to be able to convince you, but at least our relative positions are clear!
Last question, is natural selection the true mechanism of evolution? I think it is, but that is only because I find all other explanations absurd. So NS is only a "working mechanism" to me, and I remain technically agnostic about it.
I suspect our positions are far closer than you might imagine.

I hope Hack comes along to falsify my notion that QM is explanation-free as far as mechanisms go.
But I remember Feynman's lectures on QED. He said nobody understands it.
If mechanism is the explanatory part of science, then we should all be able to understand it.

I do accept, of course, that having a working and testable mechanism in place made evolution easier to swallow. But people eat cheese and drank wine long before they knew about microbes and the science of fermentation.
They made cheese and wine without knowing any understanding of biology. They built cathedrals with little understanding of the physics. Because their knowledge was largely untainted by theory. [But i suspect you and I agree, it is the mechanism which is the most delicious part of the fruit of science].
But with no mechanism, yes the diet is plain indeed. But it is still a diet. An empirical diet. Bland I agree, but it will keep you alive. Sweet Cheeses to you, my friend!
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  #163  
Old 17th November 2015, 09:50 PM
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wearestardust wearestardust is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

I suspect we are going to find this is all just how we use words and we all agree, but don't let that stop me.

"drug X makes people well" is a pretty thin concept of explanation, it seems to me. It doesn't include the 'why does the drug work' (which can also be an important thing to know).

I'm still enough of a metaphysical anti-realist to agree that, yes, that we observe the things we observe is a fact. But, as we know, observation is a difficult business that much of the time needs to be done in a precise manner. I am not sure that the strawberry example is useful because it is too simple and contained. There is so much that can't be known from such simple, unsystematic observation.
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Old 18th November 2015, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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I suspect we are going to find this is all just how we use words and we all agree, but don't let that stop me.

"drug X makes people well" is a pretty thin concept of explanation, it seems to me. It doesn't include the 'why does the drug work' (which can also be an important thing to know).

I'm still enough of a metaphysical anti-realist to agree that, yes, that we observe the things we observe is a fact. But, as we know, observation is a difficult business that much of the time needs to be done in a precise manner. I am not sure that the strawberry example is useful because it is too simple and contained. There is so much that can't be known from such simple, unsystematic observation.
Interesting that you brought up drugs! A lot of early drug discovery was serendipitous. Like penicillin inhibiting bacterial growth on a plate of agar. Jenner noticing milk maids had clear skin, and perhaps cowpox and small pox were similar. Or Becquerel's photographic plate getting fogged. One of the reasons we should conserve nature is that the answers to many of our problems have already been discovered by evolution.
A biology lab that has been doing experiments for nearly four billion years.
To understand beer or cheese you have to be aware of it first. That means butterfly collecting. As you understand more, your search can be more focused. If cat's piss cures cancer, you will never know if there are no cats, and you will never know if you never find a cat.
We know cheese, we like to make cheese, to eat cheese, so of course we want to know the mechanisms behind what makes milk into cheese. The mere recipe is not enough.
But before cognition comes priming. The the technological knowledge of cheese. If you can make it, you can try to duplicate it, if you understand it, then you can synthesize it.
Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said:
Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution

He was right of course. But would the Lenski lab experiments make sense to anyone if you don't know some basic knowledge about bacteria? How could you do experiments on these bugs if you don't know how to keep them alive?



All good universities teach the "big five" in biology: microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, ecology and evolution, usually in the second year. In first year will be maths, particularly statistics and probability, and usually the calculus. Physics, Chemistry and a general & introductory biology course. In the third year it will narrow down more , into a major and a minor. The honours year will be more specific, and so on to PhD.

Why bother learning all that shit? Say you just want to do genetics on fruit flies? or if you want to do genetics on humans, why bother with fruit flies?

part of the reason for getting students to invent the wheel is to give breadth as well as detail to their knowledge. It does not always work of course. How was anyone to know that the mammalian gene called Pax 6 was the same gene as the eyeless gene in drosophila?



For a water pump to work, first you need to prime it. We need to absorb knowledge like sponges. We have, even now, 150 years after Darwin, only formally described a small fraction of the species out there. Butterfly collecting is not important? It is the first thing we should do! To understand the pattern of life we have to know what the pattern is.



Had evolution been accepted as a technology 2000 years ago, that is 2000 years of butterfly collection. Two thousand years to prime our mental pumps!

And we would not have had to wait 2,000 years to get scientific results either. An intimate amount of detail will prime the cognitive pump. And out of that pump comes the nectar-mechanism. Because with mechanisms we can refine the way we organize all that information into a coherent whole.


We could know that studying eyeless is to study Pax 6, and vice-versa. Fortune favours the prepared mind in science.



Science without facts is spinning one's wheels, or perhaps, philosophy.

No if's butts, or maybe's, not accepting empirical theories in science is more serious than people imagine. Evolution is one big fucking butterfly we neglected to collect for something like 2000 years. It cost us dearly. I don't care if it had Ever-ready batteries inside, or has a stamp with "Made BY Fucking Thor", we should have collected it.
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  #165  
Old 18th November 2015, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

But it is time to bring this thread home, I think. So before I do that, I wish to apologize for the minor deceit I have been playing on people. Per Ahlberg, the Swedish palaeontologist has been quoted as saying :-

"Understand first, then criticize"

But the first step, I have argued, is to prime our brains with knowledge. You can't infer mechanism if you don't know the pattern.
One of the joys of my life has been to teach a little evolution, and of course, before one can teach, one has to learn yourself.
So why have I been confusing the issue of mechanism with religious mechanisms in this thread?
Teaching the unwilling is probably the hardest challenge of all. Of course, your puppy is not perfect, so he does not know everything about evolution. A creationist student caught me unawares one day. He asked me about the evolution of whales. Checkmate puppy!
I did the only possible thing you can do as a teacher in this situation, I promised to research it and give the student the answer in the next tute.
I had to prime my brain before I could help another.
So I studied cetacean evolution, and thankfully there are enough fossils to show the history of changes in this remarkable group of animals to see the evolutionary pattern. And we know the basic processes involved in limb loss in vertebrates, but the genetic mechanism are different in each group.
And spearthrower, you are perfectly correct, understanding the mechanisms explains the pattern.
Patterns are easier to accept than explanations though. In the history of the development of evolutionary biology, or indeed in teaching the reluctant student.
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  #166  
Old 18th November 2015, 11:32 PM
ptutt ptutt is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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stevebrooks said View Post
You mean like the hard core belief in god? A belief that has no scientific merit, no evidential basis, no explanatory powers, no verifiable and repeatable tests, no possible falsification, must be believed purely on faith and which conflicts in every way possible with all the evidence we have collected for the last thousand or so years?

That core belief?
Rather than debate every point...I will just say no, not necessarily any core belief, just a core belief. Do you have any?

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It should be pointed out that science doesn't do belief, if you believe in science then you aren't actually doing science, you are doing faith. If a new scientific theory was put forward that conflicted with an old long held scientific theory, if it had the evidence and mechanism, if it was verifiable and testable, if it made valid predictions and explained the phenomena it was describing more accurately than the old theory then it will eventually prevail over any opposition in support of the outdated theory. A perfect example of this is continental drift, a proposal that conflicted with existing thought and beliefs indeed appeared to conflict with common sense because no possible mechanism was imaginable that would support such an idea.
I agree that science is a process of discovery and it is ignorant to use logic like "see, look at all the mistakes science has made...how can you trust it". I'm not doing that.

I think you have forgotten the premise I was defending...that is, that if God had all available means for people to know him, that means would be more effective than facts because facts require interpretation.

If knowing God through facts was synonymous with knowledge of continental drift it is clearly evident to be far less effective than just directly providing a means for people to believe. People would need to understand what continental drift is, they would need to be able to understand the theory and mechanism and observe the evidence for themselves to be convinced, rather than just having faith in scientists.

On the other hand, the only requirement for people to know God directly would be to transfer the knowledge of him to the part of us that contains knowledge.
  #167  
Old 19th November 2015, 12:25 AM
stevebrooks stevebrooks is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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ptutt said View Post
Rather than debate every point...I will just say no, not necessarily any core belief, just a core belief. Do you have any?
Seriously? You still asking this question? After everything that has been posted?

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I agree that science is a process of discovery and it is ignorant to use logic like "see, look at all the mistakes science has made...how can you trust it". I'm not doing that.

I think you have forgotten the premise I was defending...that is, that if God had all available means for people to know him, that means would be more effective than facts because facts require interpretation.
If god had all available means for people to know him, everyone would know him, and no, facts don't require interpretation. If it requires interpretation it probably isn't a fact, it's more likely an assumption. What requires interpretation are books full of vague descriptions of events that may or may not have happened 2000+ years ago.

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If knowing God through facts was synonymous with knowledge of continental drift it is clearly evident to be far less effective than just directly providing a means for people to believe.
I see you have completely missed almost everything, Continental Drift isn't a fact, Continental Drift is a theory, and a theory? I will let wikipedia explain;

Quote:
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.
So Continental Drift isn't a fact, it's a theory.

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People would need to understand what continental drift is, they would need to be able to understand the theory and mechanism and observe the evidence for themselves to be convinced, rather than just having faith in scientists.
Oh dear, people don't have faith in scientists, what people do is accept that the scientific method is the best method for understanding the universe. You don't have to understand or observe the evidence yourself because the evidence has been tested and examined, peer reviewed and confirmed using multiple different methods.

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On the other hand, the only requirement for people to know God directly would be to transfer the knowledge of him to the part of us that contains knowledge.
First, how would you determine that this knowledge came from god and wasn't just self delusion, imagination, schizophrenia or one of any number of possible sources. The answer is you don't because you have no method of verifying the information.

Second, why doesn't god just do this with everybody and get rid of all these pesky atheists.
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  #168  
Old 19th November 2015, 12:48 AM
ptutt ptutt is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

Sorry about this, but I have not been able to find the quote settings and this function removes my quotes which you reference.

1. If God exists and he wanted to be known by people he would provide a means of knowing him.
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Starless said View Post
He clearly has not.
This is not a refutation of the premise, however, I will address it.
How is it clear to you? If there was a God and he had access to the most effective means to know him and he wanted people to know him, how many people would believe? Are there no factors that could possibly inhibit belief?

I can think one. What about "Secondary Gain"? Where people are physically sick due to subconsciously desiring the benefits of being sick (eg miss work etc). Sickness is the body not performing optimally. If God does exist, then that would mean people would be accountable for their actions and there would be eternal consequences. Plenty of people don't want that to be true.

I think it would be very difficult for you to make a case as to how many would believe if God used the most effective means of helping people to believe.

Me: The reconciliation of justice and forgiveness through Jesus' crucifixion is one thing that stands out to me.

Quote:
So, the assertion that some jewish carpenter who went around claiming to be the son of god who was nailed to a couple
of planks of wood gives as carte blanche to do whatever we like as long as we believe in this god nonsense then we are forgiven.
What a load of nonsense!
This is bit of a strawman argument. Beliefs are linked to actions. If one truly believes in Jesus' teachings...then they will follow Jesus' teachings. In some way, it is doing whatever you like...however, you like to follow Jesus' teachings. It is biblically incorrect to think there is no accountability actions because one 'believes' (Matt 7:21-22).

Most...all...people I know have a strong sense of justice. At least, when they have been treated unjustly. Fairness is so deeply engrained in us, from the earliest age. We know justice is right.

Forgiveness is a really interesting topic. Forgiveness is a gift...there is no payment required...however, there is a cost and the burden of that cost is carried by the forgiver. They have been wronged. Yet we know that forgiveness is a good thing. Some of the most beautiful stories are about the power of forgiveness (Les MisÚrables comes to mind). However, forgiveness in itself is unjust, the two concepts collide.

When do we need justice? When should we forgive?

Me: Honestly, I have evaluated so much evidence and argument (for and against) over the last few years it becomes meaningless.

Quote:
No you have not! There is no evidence and only the feeble, flawed ontological arguments such as Descartes fifth meditation to evaluate.
All you have evaluated is unsubstantiated dogma.
Quite presumptuous for you to assume you know all the material I have covered I have looked at both sides. I have evaluated debates and arguments presented from both atheists and theists. Yes, William Lane Craig, John Lennox, Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sean Carroll, Lawrence Kraus, Victor Stenger, Shelly Kagan, Bart Ehrman (agnostic). I have read Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris's blogs and referred to counter arguments from Iron Chariots Wiki. I have engaged in several discussions and debate online to test the strength of arguments. What I like about debate, is many people can present good sounding views...it is only once these views are scrutinised their worth can be determined.

For instance, I haven't come across a good justification for Sam Harris to assert that people can't be used as a means to an end...he has just stated it to be axiomatic, fancy word for saying..."it just is". His whole theory of objective morality would fall apart without this assertion and he has no justification for it. Sorry for the tangent.

BTW, just to clarify, I don't restrict myself to use the word 'evidence' to mean empirical evidence. I use it in terms of information that can lead one to a belief about something.

I haven't examined the materials you listed. I would agree that "Nature is not a proof of the existence of god" unless God allowed us to know him through nature. Could save myself time reading it?
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Old 19th November 2015, 01:31 AM
ptutt ptutt is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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stevebrooks said View Post
Seriously? You still asking this question? After everything that has been posted?
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The only currently held core beliefs that persist in spite of new evidence, new research and new data are religious ones...
I just find it surprising you would seem to suggest that only religious people hold core beliefs. You mean, you don't believe in any core values to be true? You don't believe the world to be real? You don't believe your experience is real? There is no empirical evidence of such. Really? You don't have any core beliefs???

Quote:
If god had all available means for people to know him, everyone would know him, and no, facts don't require interpretation. If it requires interpretation it probably isn't a fact, it's more likely an assumption. What requires interpretation are books full of vague descriptions of events that may or may not have happened 2000+ years ago.
I responded to this in my post to Starless http://atheistfoundation.org.au/foru...&postcount=168

Quote:
Oh dear, people don't have faith in scientists, what people do is accept that the scientific method is the best method for understanding the universe.
No, not all people do.

Quote:
You don't have to understand or observe the evidence yourself because the evidence has been tested and examined, peer reviewed and confirmed using multiple different methods.
You have to have faith that scientific process has been followed. Are you suggesting that the scientific method is infallible? I would suggest whenever humans are involved in a process errors can be made or missed.

Quote:
First, how would you determine that this knowledge came from god and wasn't just self delusion, imagination, schizophrenia or one of any number of possible sources. The answer is you don't because you have no method of verifying the information.
I understand your point. That we need some objective reference to verify truth. However, the optimum solution would be for God not to require an objective reference to verify it to be true, we would just know it to be true.

I'll give you a bit more context to where I got this from. There was a programming lecturer who proposed that the optimum design can be derived by answering the question "How would God do it?" For instance, if God was to design a login page...how would he do it? Well, he already knows who you are, so there would be no login page. That's the optimum solution.
http://blog.codinghorror.com/the-god-login/

Quote:
Second, why doesn't god just do this with everybody and get rid of all these pesky atheists.
Maybe he has done 'this', however there are other factors that can influence belief as I mentioned in my linked post above.
  #170  
Old 19th November 2015, 02:01 AM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

ptutt, your arguments are circular.

To spend a dollar, you first have to own a dollar.

God[s] are imagined things unless you can demonstrate they exist. You can't say that in an ideal case, god would exist, therefore he exists.

An interactive god would leave signs of his interactions with nature. There no evidence whatsoever of these interactions. You can suggest no credible mechanism by which this god could interact with the world and yet remain undetected. We can photograph small atoms now, and watch chemical bonding take place.
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