Shauno

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About Shauno

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  1. It seems to me that the view that "Religion is bad" is deeply entrenched here and not amiable to any sort of real discussion. I believe that many of the position stated here are not well thought out, and the existing discussion goes around the same sometimes ridiculous points again and again (On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 4:51 itoero blaming the Jews for the holocaust was a particularly low point) Since I see no point in continuing, I shall no longer post on this topic. Hopefully some readers will reconsider their positons on this topic - I can only say that Religion can be a great source of person strength and comfort. Best wishes.
  2. To summarise, I would say that alternative position here would be (1) The statement God is dead is not a pseudo-religious statement, and Atheism not a pseudo-religion (apparently if it was, so are football teams) (2) Morality is not God-given. My (moral) judgement is just as good as anyone else's. But my view is (1) Without God, the nature of man is such that personal moral codes are "flexible" and evil happens. I doubt most people even develop a moral code. There lives are comfortable enough not to. They react instinctively - but we evolved in brutal tribal societies and our instincts are not good. We would not needs laws if we could trust ourselves to do good. But laws are a poor substitute for a personal moral framework such as those provided by religion.
  3. dimpeer - I doubt anyone but philosophy graduates have read Nietzsche, any probably many of those wouldn't have either. They would have been exposed to his ideas etc. From your previous comments I doubt you even knew who he was a couple of days ago.
  4. No, not my own invention. A gross simplification of Nietzsche - not someone I admire or have even read. But the view that "people behave nicely if you think that on the whole it benefits you, but can do terrible things if it suit you" is also not too far from the Christian view of people as flawed individuals. I think most people have a personal sense of morality, which means generally people get along without expensive conflict, but unfortunately it does not take too much for people to abandon it, or "modify" it. (For some reason, I always think of the mob of Argentine veterans chasing the Top Gear team out of Argentina. No-one could argue that they were otherwise decent people but they became a violent mob)
  5. Religions are about the supernatural. Football supporters have nothing to do with the supernatural. The statement "There is no God" is a pseudo-religious statement. The ideas that flow Atheism have been explored. Read Nietzsche. Atheism has consequences - for a start, you reject all God-given morality and elevate your own judgement above that that of any religious authority. Historically that has been a very bad thing. You may want to claim that being an Atheism is not a pseudo religion, but it is. (Did you actually follow my post?) Even you agree Atheism "has consequences". I would hope that everyone would find that mentality abhorrent, but I don't believe that it true. There are many, many examples. The death penalty is one. The commandments are clear - thou shalt not kill. (The Quakers take this literally, most Christians believe in self defence, etc) However there is no valid reason for killing prisoners - just revenge. It is very easy to say it is better for society just to kill them, but that is pure Nietzsche. I don't see how you can be a Christian and believe in the death penalty. The treatment of "non-combatants" is another one. How many people in the US felt that they deserve whatever they get? Suddenly torture was OK. But again I don't see how a Christian could support that. No it doesn't. Behaviour only becomes a function of expected outcome. I.e. You behave nicely if you think that on the whole it benefits you, but can do terrible things if it suit you.
  6. iNow - to address some of you statement Thank you for the correction, and I should’ve been more cautious with my words. What I intended to emphasize was how he used Christianity as another type of nationalism to further his ends. Getting something completely wrong is not "beng more caustious with words" - and he did not use Christianity as another type of nationalism, whatever that means. The Russians and other target were generally Christians, apart from the unfortunate Jews. Sorry - accidently posted this before I had finished it.
  7. dimpeer: Getting back to your view that atheism has nothing to do with religion, I would like to point out that the statement "There is no God" is not a scientific statement. It cannot be proved one way or another. It is simply a personal statement of your belief about the nature of reality - it would definitely be a religious statement, except that most people regard a religion as requiring a god or some sort of supernatural element. If Buddhism is a religion, then so is Atheism. The statement "There is no God" is certainly a quasi-religious statement. Atheism has consequences -> There is no God-given morality -> The rise of the Ubermensch (superman) who regards himself above morality, and can do terrible acts if it advances society. It is tempting to regard Nazi Germany as the only instance of nihilism, but that is not true. Communism rejects religion (the opium of the people) for the same practical reasons. And the mafia (despite lip service to the Church), regards themselves as above standard morality (ubermensch -> wise guys). In a very real sense, Atheism is a religion. Anyway... the argument over boundaries is silly. Presumably if you are against "boundaries" you are against football team, families, school enrolments, different languages, etc. This thread is supposed to be about whether the world be a better place without religion? To me the obvious answer is that religion has overwhelmingly been a force for good. You only need look at the schools, hospitals, hostels, pastoral care provided by the Church. It has provided inspiration for figures such as William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa. It provides moral guidance for millions.
  8. Not true. Communism had Fascism have their own morality which by necessity excludes Christianity. Claiming Atheism wasn't a part of these philosophies is as disingenuous as claiming that Christianity had nothing to do with the Inquisition and Crusades since Christianity is only about love and forgiveness, although I actually think Christianity has a better claim at disassociation. Nietzsche explored the consequences of "God is dead", and the destruction of morality. I doubt Hitler was intellectual sophisticated enough to be a devotee of Nietzsche but Nazism closely follows Nietzsche. If there is no God, then all sorts of horrors can happen and are OK if they further society. The Ubermensch is king. But in modern society, perhaps the encroachment of moral relativism is most terrifying. I have been following assisted suicides in Belgium - originally only for terminally ill, the bar has been lowered to depressed young adults!! Christianity has absolute standards - thou shalt not kill. The most terrifying thing is that without religion many observers cannot see anything wrong. One of the points I've seen raised many times is that we would be fine without religion, and primitive tribal societies used as an example. By primitive tribal societies are not "noble savages", they are incredibly violent with perhaps 20% of males dying at the hands of others. That is our true nature - one that Christianity acknowledges, and I worry without the absolute foundations of religion, our future will allow that nature to surface.
  9. Wow, 31 pages. I started with good intentions to read the pages but gave up around page 12. One of the things that disturbed me is that I didn't seem to be any actual Christians defending religion - there were some non-believers doing so. I am a Christian and it troubles me greatly that religion is falling out of favour. I see the world as a more dangerous place without it, with the exception of Islam. I see all the good works done by the Church - hospitals, schools, hostels, care homes, pastoral care, ... I see how it can inspire - Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, ... I see the harm from atheist ideologies. The great murderous wars/campaigns/purges of the 20 Century were all driven by atheist ideologies (Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Mao Tse Tung's China, Pol Pot' Cambodia) or pure greed. I see the rise of assisted suicide in places like Belgium, and late stage abortions.
  10. Politics in Scientific debate

    I don't think people in general have the time or skills to consult scientific papers, or spend time researching a topic in depth. And "reputable" Scientists can make questionable pronouncements as well. Many of the government adviser just get it wrong. Yet another example: The government scientific advisor advised that we should all be driving diesels (to minimise green house gases), but 10 years later we find that the particulates are killing tens of thousands of people a year in the UK alone. And to be honest, even some of Hawking's later pronouncements were little more than speculation (e.g. 200 years to leave the earth). I think we will slowly lose the battle for minds if we do not acknowledge to ourselves that Science reported in the media is less than perfect. So how does the average person tell what is the truth? You certainly can't trust journalists. Pop science magazine circulation seems to be falling since you can go to Google instead. Perhaps a satirical magazine that poo-poos bad science? Like the Science of Stupid but aimed at bad Science? But then perhaps that would just generate bad PR Perhaps this is just an intractable problem?
  11. There are so many different types of truth - historic truth, personal experience, scientific truth, mathematical truth, ... Historic truth is whatever the winner says? Personal experience is subjective Religious truth is objective and absolute. Scientific truth should be objective as observations should be repeatable, but theories can only be proved wrong, probably. Mathematical truth would appear to the most solid, but there are theorems that are true or false but cannot be proven (Godel). Even the tools we use are imperfect. Years were spent axiomatising maths (e.g. Frege) only for Russell to produce his famous paradox. The axiom of Choice and Set Theory itself is not beyond criticism. So this thread should be kept going for some time.
  12. Politics in Scientific debate

    Seems a shame that this thread went nowhere. Politics <-> Science is one of most interesting topics around. But I don't believe that it is a simply case that many people don't want to believe in Science (that may be the case in a minority), it is more that people don't know what to believe. I'm an old guy so I've been around a lot and no longer believe public pronouncements, especially from the government - they have been wrong so many times. We had Scientific advisors (UK perspective) reassure us about things from Salmonella, MMR vaccine to Mad Cow Disease. The reality is their advice is tinged with commercial interest. And, yes, I am a Global Warming skeptic. Why? I briefly went into teaching after leaving University and in the late 1980 was teaching what the BBC stated was "settled science" - a tipping point will be reached soon, and we will have 5 degree of heating over the next 100 years. 30 years later and we are not 1.5 degree hotter. Richard Feynman famously said if the theory does match the facts, the theory is wrong (!), but we never revise our original forecast. (Clearly Global Warming is a topic in itself) We may never convince the Creationist but I think we mindlessly accept Scientific pronouncements without analysis and assume that those who are skeptical are not a bright as us and should know better. There is a real chance that we could lose the battle in the long run. Look at the vaccine debate. Parents, including me, were not happy with the UK government response, which was about saving money (and arrogance). My wife got hold of some medical reviews of the literature and they followed children typically only for 28 days after vaccination, and would not IMHO necessarily picked up Autism, so we paid for single shots. I now have no doubt that there is no link, but the government response alienated many including me and may have a lasting effect on vaccine uptake. So how do we make Science reporting better quality and more convincing? We can't rely on journalists who just want a good story, and newspapers are so polarised... and seemly becoming more so. Any ideas?
  13. Why is time called a 4th dimension?

    If we get back to the original problem, space-time is regarded as 4 dimensional since position can be specified by 4 independent coordinates. In GR, the some region around any point in space-time looks like a R4 - e.g. for any point near a black hole you can still find a region (possibly very small) that looks like R4. I think we have been sidetracked from the original question by the language used, which tried to simplify the answer by saying that the coordinates can be used to find an object of some sort. Actually the coordinates specify a location even if there is nothing there, or we do not know where something is. Methods of finding things is a totally different topic about which discussion could go on forever.
  14. What is Time?

    I think the definition that "time is what clocks measure" is a good one. Beyond that it become tricky. Change happens with or without our ability to measure it - that is just the Universe we live in. How do we know that clocks measures time homogeneously (i.e. not in fits and starts)? We can come up with some clever constructions which based on symmetry considerations should behave that way.
  15. Review requested

    Hi studiot I have added to the introduction to hopefully make the paper clearer. Newer version is attached. London_Interpretation.pdf