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Everything posted by Edtharan

  1. The real difference when we make measurements of quantum systems is that they don't behave as systems we have had a lifetime of experience with. There is a roughtly equal amount of "indirect" measurment between them observed effect and us in both quantum and macroscopic. Typically there is a machine that sits between us and the phenomina that takes the measurments. In the macroscopic scale this could be a video camera, a microscope, a piece of string, an electronic switch, etc. In the quantum scale we have machines that sit between us and the thing we are trying to observe. It is the same degree of indirection, it is just that with the macroscopic world we think it is less indirect because the effect is one we are familiar with. So it is not a matter of directness or indirectness, but that of familiarity. This means that the answer to the question posed in the OP "why the quantum world appears weird" is: We are not familiar with it. If we evolved and grew up in a world dominated by quantum phenomena, the rules of the macroscopic world would appear weird. Just saying something is true does not make it so. Syaing that Quantum mechanics works with the concept of an Aether, means nothing unless you: 1) Define what the aether actually is, and then 2) Do the maths that show that it can't work without it. If including the Aether into QM would not add anything to our ability to work out what would occur in a given situation, then it is a completely worthless addition and only complicates further something that is already quite complex. But, if the Aether actually can give as a more accurate and more versatile theory, then you can show that it is necessary. But, to do this you have to come up with an experiment where using the aether gives the correct result and the standard model gives the incorrect result. And, because the results of the experiment is information, you have to describe how the aether works to give the more accurate result in the language of information (maths). As you can see, this is much more complex and requiers much more hard work than just saying that the Aether is needed. If you really believe that the Aether is necessary and are willing to prove it to the world, then do the work, develop the idea into an hypothesis, do the experiments get peer reviewed and turn that hypothesis into a theory and then let the world try and prove it wrong by doing experiments until they find that your theory has become a law. Quantum theory has been put through this procedure for around 100 years now. That is a lot of experiments and scientists working to try and disprove it. Now there are a few holes that have been discovered over the time, but with only minor tweaks these gaps get filled. What you are proposing would over turn all this work, and while scientists are not opposed to such revolutionary change, they won't just do it because someone said they thought it should be different. Even someone like Einstein (who he himself instigated a revolutionary restructure of accepted theory), who believed that QM should not be based on the uncertainty principal and who died believing that QM was in reality deterministic, could not find a flaw in it that would prove his belief right. Even though he said it should be otherwise, scientists did not just accept his word without all the evidence to back it up (and he could not provide that evidence).
  2. This doesn't work with observed phenomena like tunnelling, the Casimir effect, electrons (there are specific effects that can not occur if electrons had a definite location, protons (again, properties of the proton require that it have a non specific location/momentum or we would observe the behaviours of them to be different), quarks and a whole host of other observed phenomena that would be different if quantum systems had defined position/momentum attributes. Basically the last 50 Or more years of observations and measurements disproves your claim here. Actually it does. You claimed that the rules quantum realm must be deterministic because the macroscopic world had deterministic rules. This is assuming that the properties of one (the macroscopic would) must apply to another (the quantum realm. This is then very definition of that logical fallacy. The other part of the claim that "the rules at the quantum level are deterministic, but the end result caused by these laws will have some uncertainty" is logically impossible. Even with emergent phenomena, the emergent behaviours can not have something that can not be traced back to the underlying system. With my Conway's Game of Life example of emergent phenomena, the behaviours of the higher order system, while not predicable from the underlying system, none the less are completely controlled by the underlying system's rules. You can't have behaviour that is not traceable to the underlying system. So, if quantum rules were deterministic, then this means that although the specific behaviours of the macroscopic world might not be predictable from the quantum rules, there still can not be any behaviour that violates these underlying rules. And, since they would be deterministic, that means that the macroscopic world is also deterministic too. There would be no way that randomness could exist (it might be complex and not easily predictable, but it would not be non-deterministic). The only way you could have the macroscopic world become non-deterministic is for the quantum world to be non-deterministic too. But, if you accept that the quantum world has non-deterministic behaviours, then you are back to the standard model and your argument is invalidated. As your argument was a classic fallacy of division, then I can invoke it. You were arguing that the properties of one part (macroscopic world) determines the properties of the microscopic world. Note, that you have not actually provided any evidence that shows that the quantum world is deterministic, you have only made the claim that it is. And, when pressed for your reasons why you think it is, your argument was that the macroscopic world is deterministic. That is, by definition, the fallacy of division. And on that ground I invoke it. The term "classical" refers to laws of physics that are based on the Newtonian laws (and a few others). Relativity, although is completely deterministic, is still a non-classical theory. Now, with a claim like you made, that gravity is attributable to a "residual force of the strong nuclear force", then this means we would get gravitational poles, just like we get magnetic poles. It also means you would not be able to get gravitational monopoles either. But as we live at the bottom of a gravitational monopole, and we have never seen a different gravitational pole than the one we live in, then your claims are not supported by any evidence, and there is evidence to the contrary. This makes your claims extremely unlikely to be true. Your premise that "We cannot know the reality by indirect measurements" is actually false. All measurements are indirect. When you look at a measurement device, say a Geiger counter you are making indirect measurements. 1) The particle is entering the Geiger counter hits a gas, and causes it to ionise 2) The electrical current produced by this ionised gas is then picked up by the electronics 3) The electronics causes some mechanism or display to change 4) The light bouncing off (or emitted by) the mechanism then enters the eye 5) The light that entered the eye collides with chemicals inside the rod and cone cells of the eye and breaks them apart 6) The breaking of the chemical causes the cell to fire and send the signal along the optic nerve to the brain And that is not even looking at how our brain interprets that signal. This means that all measurements are indirect and therefore your premise here is plainly wrong.
  3. I have always though of philosophy as sorting out the good ideas (as in: thoughts) from the bad ones. It does mean discussing the bad ideas, and that can end up in a lot of fussiness and to a casual listener it might appear pedantic, but the end goal is to work out useful concepts from the dross of random human thought.
  4. Yes, God would be able to do that and if I had magic powers, I could do it (I'd use my magic to make the man grow hair and then pull him by it - or there is hair on other places, you could pull him by a beard). Notice I use the term "Unnecessary" evil/suffering. If a suffering is necessary, then it is not unnecessary. If God created necessary suffering then that is right (that is it has nothing to do with good or evil). If God causes unnecesary suffering, then He is evil. As God is all powerful, then He could have created a universe with free will and no suffering or sin. The fact that we live in a universe with suffering means that it is unnecessary and therefore if God exists (and therefore created the universe) He must be evil. A single unnecessary evil act in the universe means that God is not all powerful, or is evil. If you can think of a single act of evil or a single instance of suffering that did not have to be (and with an all powerful God any act of evil and any instance of suffering is unnecessary) then we can conclude that if God exists He must be evil. It doesn't matter if God is subject to logic or not, only that we are. If God exists, then He created us subject to logic. This means that either God is subject to logic, and therefore we can apply logic to Him, or He wanted us to live according to logic, which means He wanted us to understand Him through logic and thus we can apply logic to our understanding of God. But God would have then made us where that is necessary. Being all powerful, He could have made it otherwise. Therefore the only reason we suffer is that God made us to suffer. And I would consider that evil. Irriducable Complexity can be caused without the need of a creator. See here: http://www.youtube.com/user/cdk007#p/c/F626DD5B2C1F0A87/16/LZdCxk0CnN4 Also, I have not heard about any digital code in DNA, and by definition there can't be. Digital code has only 2 states (1 or 0), where as DNA has 4 codes (A, T, G, and C). It is possible to map these codes together (represent a DNA code by 1 digital bits (00, 10, 01 or 11). But his does not mean that DNA has a digital code, only that we can use symbols to represent things symbolically. Actually, because we can represent things symbolically, then we can translate any set of symbols onto any other set of symbols. This means that if I used the right translation I could make the letters of your DNA spell out the works of Shakespeare. So when someone shows you some set of "messages" from some source (like with the Bible Code stuff or a sequence of DNA spelling out a message), all they have done is been fooled by a cleaver translation system. the message was not in the original source, but encoded into the translation (either knowingly or unknowingly) by the designer of the translation sequence. Often the people who come up with these translation sequences try many translation sequences at random, or by carefully crafting them until they hit on the one that show the message they wanted. I have seen a code that when used in one part of the bible it spells out a message3 that seems to prove the existence of God, but then used elsewhere it says that the bible was all a joke (it was designed to give those messages - as a joke). The result of this is that any messages you get out of these things is very much likely to be complete rubbish and not any actual "evidence" at all.
  5. But with an infinitely powerful God, this was unnecessary. Being infinitely powerful, God would have had an infinite number of ways to do achieve this. Not only that, He would have had an infinite number of ways to do this that required no suffering at all, is 100% effective (that is every single soul is saved and punishment and Hell are unnecessary), occurred instantly (and continuously - which didn't require it to occur at a certain point in time so we would have already been saved from the start) and still allowed for everything to have occurred as is has with free will and everything. Now, that He had an infinite number of ways to do this without any suffering means that if He did it with suffering, then it was at His own want that any suffering occurs at all. If the God of the bible exists, then we could sin with out causing suffering and without needing to suffer for our sins. The only solution to this is to either say that: God is not all powerful (but then He ceases to be the God of the bible and the bible is wrong), or God is evil and wants us to suffer for no reason (and also would not be the God of the bible), or that the God of the bible does not exist. Thus if the God of the bible is to exist, then He would have to step up (and to have stepped up) to His responsibilities, or He can not be the God of the bible. However, there are other Gods of other religions where their God(s) are not all powerful and not all of them are good (or at least concern themselves with human suffering (and some even want that), and their responsibilities are different than the God of the bible.
  6. Yes, if you analyse it as an algorithm, then yes you end up with recursitivty and circular reasoning. But, if you take a step back, then the fact that you are experiencing that means that there must be something real to experience that. Thus, if you are capable of experiencing "thinking" then you can conclude that you are real (of course, this does not prove you are real to anyone else. It only proves that you are real to you).
  7. Actually what you said is not logical. It is in fact a logical fallacy (that is false logic). Specifically: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_division Therefore it is not logical to say that because the macroscopic world is deterministic, then the quantum would has to be as well. But, as your arguments rely on logical fallacies, and there is a lot of data that show the quantum world is less deterministic than the macroscopic world, then your arguments seem to lack much in the way of support. But, that residual force would be the product of a non-classical effect (specifically due the law of quantum physics: that particles don't have a specific place and energy). If it was a "classical" explanation, then we would see the effect of gravity being stronger (and detectably so - it would be the gravitational equivalent of magnetism) in one direction than another. As we don't see this we can rule out classical explanations. We would have the ability to effect gravitation as we do the electromagnetic force (because the magnetic force comes from a residual electric field moving around). Yes: Reality wins. We know what is real by measuring it (and making repeated measurements and trying to find errors in the measurements). According to all measurements taken so far, quantum reality is very non-deterministic and non-classical. This is in direct opposition to your argument.
  8. I only skimmed the bulk of the thread, so if I am repeating something I apologies in advance. The problem is with the word "Chance" or "Randomness". With evolution there is no dispute that there is some kind of randomness involved, but evolution itself is not a random process. It is only the variation in biological evolution that has anything really to do with chance (sure there is still a little bit of chance as a stray meteor might just fall and wipe out a whole group of species - like what happened with the dinosaurs). The est of it (selection, reproduction, etc) has almost no randomness in it. What you are arguing is that if you carefully selected 10 poker cards and laid them out, then randomly changed one of them, and then wondering why 9 of the poker cards seem to be so ordered. It is also the same with the origin of life. Known non-random chemical reactions can lead to reproducing structures that are very similar to modern biological structures, can contain information and undergo evolution. The reason we don't know how life got started on Earth is not because there are no known mechanisms, it is that there are so many that we don't know which one actually was the one that occurred. For instance (of the top of my head): 1) We know that certain clays that would have been around on the early Earth can and do cause long, complex chains of organic molecules to form in specific patterns similar to many of these that occur in even modern organisms. 2) Nucleic Acids can and do form in hostile environments (such as on asteroids and comets in space) and can also form in water. These Nucleic acids will spontaneously form polymer chains with complimentary pair bonding (DNA is one such form). Under certain circumstances that would have been common on early Earth (such as near hydrothermal vents) where they experience a heating and cooling cycle or certain chemical interactions, they will replicate by splitting into their complimentary chains and then attracting their complimentary monomers to form the other pair bonded chain. And coupled with lipid vesicles which allow the transition of Nucleic Acid monomers, but not polymers (and these also spontaneously form too) will cause chemical systems that resemble living cells to form (they don't self replicate but they are subject to evolution and self replication is a very advantageous trait). ANd going back to the beginnings of the Universe. "The Big Bang" was most definitely not and explosion. Specifically it was the rapid expansion of space and time. And, according to the standard model, when you get down to sizes called the Plank Length and the Plank Time, the notions of space and of time are not concrete like we experience them. It is possible for and effect to preceded a cause (thus it is plausible that the universe actually created itself). On scales larger than the Plank scale, we can still experience the results of it (it is the source of quantum randomness). There is a phenomena called the "Casimir Effect". This works due to the fact (and it has to be a fact since the Casimir Effect relies on it being true and the effect has been observed occurring) that particles are randomly appearing from nothing and then rapidly disappearing again. With the Casimir Effect, you bring two electrically neutral and conductive plates very close together. In this situation, the wavelength of particles between the plates are constrained (much like a string on a guitar) and this means only particles with energies that fit to that gap can appear there, where as outside of the plates there is no such constraint. This means that more particles appear outside of the plates than between them, and this create a pressure that forces the plates together. Now, we can actually measure this force and it increase as the plates are brought together. If we follow the curve of the force as compared to the distance, then at 0 distance you end up with infinite force. At the Plank scale, this force would have enough energy to account for the entire universe. What this means is that if we consider the Plank scale at the beginning of the universe, then the energy needed to create it was available, and at that scale because of the randomness that exists (and as there is essentially no time, then all things that can occur will occur), then the universe can create itself. Think of it like this. Dealing cards from a deck is like time. So, if you deal out a set of cards then you have a chance to deal out a particular hand. But, the singularity at the start of the universe (the big bang) is like the entire deck. It contains every single combination of cards you could ever have and because they are all together then the chances of one occurring, no matter how unlikely, is a certainty.
  9. The concept of infinity is actually quite well studied. There are even quite well established properties that infinity must have. Of course, most people when they say God is all powerful just mean that they haven't actually given much thought as to what God could do, but will just say that if anything occurs, then God could have done that. An interesting problem of infinity is that God should have the power to make a rock that He could not lift. However, when you actually apply infinity to it, God can make that rock, but then He has the power to lift it. Infinite power must contain the power to do both. Thus, if God has Infinite power, then He has the power to break the laws of logic. If He has the power to break logic, then it is possible for God to create a universe where it is perfect, without suffering and without evil, even when those are necessary. If God does not have the power to break logic, then He is not all powerful, nor is he a supernatural being. And, this would mean that logically He is not a God. And, since in this argument, He couldn't break logic, God could not exist, there for if God exists at all, He must be all powerful. But, if God is all powerful, then Evil, Suffering and Sacrifice are unnecessary (and any God that created them must therefore be evil themselves - as you have agreed). Right and Wrong are not the same as Good and Evil. One can say it is wrong to lie, but is it evil to do so if it prevents a greater suffering? This means that Good and Evil are a separate concept to Right and Wrong. In the context of this debate, Right and Wrong can be taken as necessary and unnecessary. Is it necessary for suffering and evil to exist in a material universe? Probably. Is suffering and evil, evil? certainly. Is a creator that can transcend logic and therefore all powerful and does not have to do anything (even if it is a necessity) that creates a universe with suffering and evil doing something that to Him is considered unnecessary (even if logically it is a necessity)? Yes. Is it an evil act to create unnecessary evil and suffering? Yes. Therefore, if God exists, He must not be subject to logic, and therefore nothing is necessary to Him. If that God creates a universe with Suffering and Evil, then that suffering and evil must be unnecessary. And, as you agreed, any God that creates unnecessary suffering and Evil must be considered evil. If God could not make the universe otherwise, then He is not all powerful. As one of the attributes of the God of the Bible is that He is all powerful, then the bible can not be describe the actual God and therefore any belief in the God of the bible is a belief in a false God. So, either God has the power to make the universe otherwise and instead deliberately created evil and chose us to suffer unnecessarily, or God (as of the bible) does not exist. No. I mean sacrifice of any kind (even the "sacrifice" of asking for forgiveness). If God exists, He is all powerful, and therefore does not need us to sacrifice. Therefore any sacrifice must be deliberately caused by God for no reason that He wants us to do it for His own pleasure. However, if God is not all powerful (and therefore not the God of the Bible), then Sacrifice might be necessary. As you are not all powerful, then sacrifice and suffering is the result. And this is my point. An all powerful being does not require them and makes all suffering, evil and sacrifice unnecessary. However a finitely powered being (such as a human) can not eliminate them. But as the God of the Bible is supposed to be all powerful, then either He has caused unnecessary suffering and evil, or He does not exist. Thus, if the God of the bible exists, then He is evil. If the God of the bible is not evil, then He not all powerful (and thus can not be the God of the bible) and therefore does not exist. But, if God can give us direct knowledge, then He could give us the knowledge to understand that knowledge too. And, He could do it instantly (or better yet, let us be born with it). However He doesn't, so either He want us to suffer and be subject to evil (and then punish us for it) or He is not really the God of the bible (and therefore we have to reject the bible and all the religions based on it).
  10. Just because we think (or fell) that something should be a certain way does not mean that is has to be that way, or is that way. Just because it would make more sense to you that quantum reality is deterministic, does not mean that it has to be (or is) deterministic. Remember, we are product of reality, reality is not a product of us. The reason I was using that assumption is that you had use the assumption that because the macroscopic world is deterministic, then that means that the quantum world must be too. Actually, if you look at the macroscopic world, it is not completely deterministic, there are certainly events that occur due to probability. This is partly because some events are so sensitive to initial conditions that quantum variability does play a part. Actually such phenomena are used in some Charged Coupled Devices to allow them to pick up very low levels of light. By exploiting "noise" an element in a CCD can pick up a signal far weaker than it could normally pick up. If a CCD element needs a certain amount of energy from photons to activate (say around 100), but you want to pick up a signal of just 1 or 2 photons, this might just be impossible. But by exploiting the noise from random events around it, the CCD element hovers near the point of activation (say at the equivalent of 99-98 photons). Then when the 1 or 2 photons you are after hits the CCD, it is enough to trigger the element and send the signal to the electronics. Also there are phenomena that are not attributable to any classical (ie: deterministic) cause. One such is the "Casimir Effect". This is when you bring 2 electrically neutral conductive plates close together. What occurs is the forces on them can be ascribed to known forces (gravity, electromagnetics, etc), but when they are about 1mm or so apart a new force appears attracting the plates together. As all forces can be controlled with these plates and external forces can be eliminated, there needs to some explanation of what causes this effect. There is no classical explanation. The only explanation is that particles are appearing randomly and non deterministically everywhere. However, between the plates there is less chance of them appearing (due to the fact that only certain wavelengths can fit between them where as outside any wavelength is allowed). Because less particles are appearing between them plates than outside them, the force from outside is greater than the force inside and the plates are pushed together. As no classical, deterministic explanation can allow for the random appearance of particles form nothing (and they subsequent disappearance back to nothing), then this means that the quantum world is not only fundamentally different than the macroscopic world (for one we don't see things popping into and out of existence), but also must be non-deterministic. In other words, this one effect completely disproves your claims that the quantum world must be deterministic and operate as the macroscopic world does. Now, faced with evidence against your claims (and you can easily find research papers - and even wikipedia articles - so this is not just idle claims by me), how does this effect your belief that the quantum reality must be the way that makes sense to you, rather than your understanding or quantum reality having nothing to do with how it actually is. And that is the point I am making. You think that reality has to make sense, but because we are a product of reality, not the creators of it, it does not have to make sense to us at all.
  11. But, if God is perfect, and infinity powerful, then why would He have had to create an imperfect system? So, if you believe this, then you have to explain why God deliberately and unnecessarily created suffering and evil. And, reconcile this with a God that is absolutely good and wishes us to not have to suffer or be subject to evil. Because God is supposed to be all powerful and infinitely good and knowledgeable, then He could have made the universe otherwise. Because God is supposed to be infinitely powerful and merciful He could forgive without the need of sacrifice (and the bible even states that He can and does), then it appears that the sacrifice of Jesus is unnecessary. So if I cam up to you and said to worship my god, one that created unnecessary suffering, unnecessary evil and required unnecessary sacrifice, would you think of him as a good god, or an evil one. No. God has the power to give us knowledge without such learning (there are passages in the bible where God give people knowledge directly). And, as God is all powerful, He has to have the power to do that or He is not all powerful. This is a form of Retrospective Determinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrospective_determinism . You are saying that whatever happens, happens and then afterwards stating that it was Gods plan all along. This means that every evil perpetrated by humans and every moment of suffering has been ultimatly caused by God as it was His intention for that to occur, and because He is all powerful and could achieve the same ends without all that, it means that the evil and suffering are completely unnecesary. In other words, you have just given the ultimate argument for God being evil. However, if it has gone off the rails, then God can still be good, but just incompetent (or if you want not all powerful - but then is He god then).
  12. Why should this be true? There are known phenomena called "Emergent Phenomena". These are behaviours that are not part of the basic "rules" of a system, but derive from them in a way that is difficult (or impossible) to predict without letting the system operate (whether it is probability based or deterministic, these things occur). One example is something called a cellular automata, specifically the one Called "Conway's game of Life" (you can get probabilistic ones, this one just happens to be deterministic). Conway's Game of Life uses a grid of "Cells" (hence: cellular automata). Each cell operates according to a given set of rules and these are quite simple: 1) If a cell has exactly 3 neighbours that are switched on, then it switches itself on. 2) If a cell has exactly 2 neighbours that are switched on, then don't change (that is: If on stay on, or if off stay off). 3) In any other case, then it switches itself off. Now from these rules, there is nothing that states there should be self perpetuating structures (structures that remain the same despite time moving on), also that some of these structures can seem to move around the world (the grid). But more than that, these rules do not state that you can construct a pattern of cells to create a computer (universal Turing machine). All of these are possible in Conway's game of Life, but nothing in those 3 basic rules actually state that they are possible, and in fact, it is actually impossible to know beforehand (that is until someone does it) that a certain emergent behaviour is possible at all. However, the most important thing is, all of these emergent rules are nothing like the underlying rules. So someone who could only see the large scale patterns of behaviour (the emergent phenomena of the system) would be baffled by the difference between the macroscopic and microscopic sets of rules. So, the fact that our quantum world operates by a seemingly different set of rules (including being uncertain) than our macroscopic world is not a problem because the rules of our macroscopic world emerge from the quantum rules. Following on from what I said above: Take for example position. In the quantum world position is subject to uncertainty. But, if a particle is observed (that is interacts with another particle), then its position looses that uncertainty (or momentum, etc depending on how the interaction takes place). Now a particle might only need to travel a couple of atomic diameters (or even less) before it interacts with another particle. But then that particle and the one it interacted with loose their uncertainty in position. Repeat this trillions of times and the position seems fixed, because the position is never uncertain enough to be observable by macroscopic entities. However, if you were to examine this object at atomic resolution, you might well see that each particle become uncertain, and then looses that when it interacts with another particle in the object.
  13. What about axioms that are true because they must be? Such as: I want a hot chocolate. If I want a hot chocolate, then it is true I want a hot chocolate. If I am using this as the basis of an argument (such as why I need to go buy some milk), then the axiom is true because it must be true (If I don't want a hot chocolate, then I don't desire a hot chocolate). The most famous of these is: I think therefore I am. To be able to think you must exist. Something that does not exist can not have thoughts.
  14. Actually the rate needed for placing of the blocks could be done, as long as you realise that blocks don't have to be places sequentially, but can be placed in different parts of a site at the same time. There is quite good documentary evidence that exists of how the ancient peoples managed to place blocks so accurately. One technique is to cover the lower stone with chalk (or other material) and then lower the top block onto it. Then you lift the top block and where there is chalk on it, you have to chip off part of the block. Using this technique it is possible (and has been demonstrated) that using only primitive tools you can place blocks so accurately that you can not slip a knife between them. It is known that Egyptians used barges to transport the stones along the Nile, from the quarry to the pyramid sites. There is also an simple explanation of why Egyptian and Aztec pyramids are about the same size: That is the limit of human potential for building without modern machines. There are also examples where these peoples practiced for hundreds of years at building these things, including ones where mistakes were made. They all start off small and simple, but steadily progress in complexity and size. In other words, this is exactly the sequence you would expect if people were learning on their own on how to build these kinds of structures rather than having just being told how to make them, or that they were made by a civilisation that already had the expertise and high-tech building equipment (such as a star faring alien civilization would have).
  15. The reason that the quantum world seems so strange is that we didn't evolve in it. We evolved in a macroscopic world where the effects of the quantum weirdness is smeared out and not noticeable. Also, because we have evolved in a world where their are macroscopic changes to overcome, we have evolved to perceive and deal with these. Think of it like this: When using your computer you don't need to know how all the transistors are switching inside the CPU. However, all these get bundled together (sort of smeared together if you will) into larger scale effects, ultimately resulting in what you see on your screen. Even the letters that you see on the screen when you type are not actually letters at all, but are a sequence of electrical pulses racing through electrical circuits. But that is not what you perceive. You perceive letters, numbers and other icons. The reality of a computer is completely strange an bizarre when compared to what is displayed on the screen.
  16. The interesting thing about Ezekiel 18 20 is that it sort of nullifies the original sin. If the Son won't take on the fathers sin, then why did God not let Cain and Able back into the garden of Eden? They didn't eat from the tree of knowledge, that was their father and mother that did that and "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father". So, maybe the son shall bear the iniquity of the mother then, that would explain it I guess .
  17. Well, as a social species, if we harmed people just because we felt like it, and if everyone did that, the trust that is needed for the society to remain together would disintegrate. So, the reason it is wrong to harm people is that we are a social species and we want the society we are in to continue. Actually, in ethics, it can generally be brought down to that. Interestingly these axioms can be taken to be true because they are necessary to be social. If you don't agree with the axioms, then you are antisocial (and the question is really in terms of ethics in a society). Another way to approach this is with this question: Is there a species that does kill each other? There are actually many examples of this in life, and in all cases they are not social species. And, with social species they all have the "don't kill each other" rule (at least within that particular group). If you have a look at game theory (specifically the "ultimatum Game" as played in groups), then you mill see there is a mathematical basis for the "no kill" rule, and this is because there is a social group and the desire for that group to continue.
  18. IF (and that is a big if) aliens are visiting us, then I think we will have to have certain traits in common. For them to come to us, they must be a technological species. That is: They must have developed the ability to build machines and tools that would enable them to cross interstellar distances. This means that they have to be a social species. No non-social species could build such devices. Even our modern (that is: non-hyper technology) takes millions of hours to go from raw materials to finished product (it is just that much of it can be done in parallel, but that requires a society working together). Using game theory, you can show that certain behaviours (such as altruism and co-operation) are necessary for a stable society. This means that any alien that visits us must have been subject to these same evolutionary pressures and thus has some (but not all) mental traits in common with us (another would be language as you can't pass on the complex knowledge needed to build space ships without it). I think that because of these traits we would have in common, it would be possible (but certainly hard) to communicate with an alien species and even share knowledge.
  19. There is an example in game theory that helps explain generosity (and altruism too). This is the example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimatum_game In the ultimatum game, one player is given a sum of money and is then required to split it with another player. However, the second player has the power to reject, or accept the deal. If the deal is accepted, then both players get the amount specified by the first player. However, if the second player rejects the deal, then neither player gets any money. Now, on a first look, it seems that, as any money is better than none, as the second player you should always accept the offer and so as the first player you should give only the smallest amount you can to the second player (as they will accept anything in preference to nothing). However, if you make 1 change to the basic game: Play the game repeatedly or with a social group. Then you get an interesting change. Players who reject unfair deals start to get better deals offered to them. This is because they get a reputation for rejecting unfair deals and this means that the first player should offer a fair deal as something is better than nothing. Not only that, but players who offer fair deals also start to get more money because they will have the second player be more likely to accept a deal than reject it (because the player who are offering unfair deals keep having their deals rejected and they earn no money from those). Because of this, and because we are a social species, we are subject to the second type of Ultimatum game (it doesn't just apply to money, but to helping someone, mutual sharing of resources, etc), and that means that there is a strong evolutionary advantage for generosity and altruism (that is: offering fair deals).
  20. Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/user/cdk007 It starts to talk about it at around 2:40. Basically, there are natural systems that can reproduce. Crystals are one example. But the video talks about how lipid bi-layers can grow (by absorbing other lipids) and reproduce (due to mechanical forces - like from waves against rocks). It also talks about how nucleotide monomers can join together into nucleotide polymer chains and then form pair bonded chains. And, when environmental changes (typically temperature) occur, it can cause the pair boned chains to separate into the complimentary chains, and then reform a new pair bonded chain from nearby monomers (basically the changes in heat cause it to replicate). This is the start of biological reproduction (it is not complete as it is driven by outside forces - variations in temperature), but any nucleotide sequence that increased the replication speed (as heat is not the only way they can be separated, they can use chemicals to do so) would reproduce more often and so have a larger population and take up more resources than the less quickly reproducing ones. This allows a step by step process by shich an externally forced replication can beome an internally driven reproduction.
  21. To support a statement along the lines of “scence has demonstrated that...”, I expect a standard of proof appropriate to science. But that standard is not appropriate for every investigation. Why? Practical constraints aside, why should we not strive for the best evidence and proof we can get and use the most reliable methodologies we have available? Why wouldn't you hold evidence up to the most rigorous standards we have? The only reason I can think you wouldn't: is if you are afraid that you might be found to be wrong. I am willing to change my mind given proof. This is why I can agree with the statement that science can't rule out a miracle. However, this does not mean that I believe in miracles, just that I agree that science does not rule them out. Science does not rule out the existence of invisible pink unicorns, but I don't believe in them and you probably don't believe in them either. The bible doesn't rule them out either, but just because there is the possibility that they could exist, it does not lead to the certainty of their existence. Basically proof using the scientific method. It was you that brought up the requirements of scientific proof. I require the same level of proof for the existence of a scientific phenomena as I do for supernatural phenomena. I have no bias either way (as I said, I am agnostic on the subject). However, it is your bias that I am questioning. You are willing to accept the existence of miracles without absolute proof, but you require scientific proof of anything else. What I am attempting to do with my posts is to show you have a double standard. On one hand you have a low requirement of proof (miracles) but on the other hand you have a high requirement of proof (science). This is the problem that believes have when dealing with agnostics and atheists. They have double standards for their requirement of proof. Anything that is supposed to be part of the religion, the level of proof required is low (or non existent), but anything else must have a 100% proof or it won't be accepted. The real difference between a believer and an atheist is that the atheist has a consistent standard for proof across the board. This stems from the all or nothing proof straw-man that the religious use. They think that scientific proof is about certainty. No it is not. It is about probability. What is most likely given the evidence. If miracles really did exist, it would actually be quite trivial to prove their existence. Miracles must violate the laws of the universe (if they didn't then they could be explained solely by the laws of the universe and they would not longer be a miracle, just an unlike event). However, if miracles don't exist, then it is completely impossible to prove their existence. All you need to do to prove miracles is to show the laws of the universe can be violated. But, this has to be done in a way that is repeatable (and an all powerful God could do that without any effort). These wouldn't need to be something in a book written 2000 or so years ago, this would be going on daily and for every single person in the universe. Yes. I heard about them in documents and such, but those documents are not proof that those scientific claims are true. The claims are true, independent of the documentation. IF the bible were like this then there would be no need for it. Also, with scientific claims, they are testable. It is possible (although not always practical) for anybody to go and check to see if the claims are actually true. There is no way I can test if the claim that Jesus was a real person is true or not. In fact, you very argument are undermining your own position. If you apply these same arguments to yourself and your own beliefs and not apply the double standards that I have been pointing out, then as the scientific claims can be tested (even if only in principal) and by your own claims, historical persons can't be tested, then you have to agree that the scientific claims have more support for them than the existence of Jesus as a real person. But special pleading is actually what you are doing. You are willing to accept the existence of an historical figure based on documentary evidence which you argue is can not prove the existence of a historical figure. You argue that a figure like Sophocles can't be proved to exist, but that Jesus can. This is the very definition of special pleading.
  22. Not so. I just asked you to apply the same criteria you require for science and apply it to belief in God. It is not begging the question, or rejecting evidence. I did neither (so in fact you are just presenting a strawman here). You required that Science have: Thus to believe in God you must have equally strong evidence FOR it. This is because you requier evidence FOR the scientific view point. Thus, if you are not "rejecting the evidence you don't like", then you have to requier the same level of evidence for either position. If you don't this is a logical fallacy called "Bias". As you have said, science doesn't rule out the possibly of a miracle, but you have also said there is no scientific proof of a miracle either (and if there were then miracles would not be miracles). There might be evidence as in historical documnets and interviews of people (like for modern times), but this is not Proof. It is just supporting evidence. Although you requier absolute proof from science, you do not require that from miracles. This is bias and is the point I am making. At best, you would have to admit that you believe that miracles are possible, but there is no definite proof. In other words you would have to be Agnostic on the subject. But, your language and your posts clearly show that you are anything but agnostic and are definitely on the side of miracles are real. Myself, I am an Agnostic Atheist. I admit that there could be the possibly of supernatural occurrences (miracles, Gods, etc), but I have no evidence to believe in any of the beliefs that exist today (or in the past that we know of), and many of the beliefs of these religions I also find immoral (so even if that religion were true, I would not worship that religion).
  23. Algorithms are a branch of mathematics. If you look at the history of mathematics, it started with simple statements like 1 + 1 = 2 and 1 + 2 = 3. Now, these simple statements can be generalise to statements like a + a = 2a and so on. This first step of generalisation is called Algebra. Interestingly algebraic statements can also be generalised into functions. And when you combine these functions together they are called Algorithms. An example is trying to find the area left over from a square with a circle cut out of it that has the same diameter as the length of a side of the square. You can do this by combining the Algebraic functions of both the area of a square and a circle, and subtracting the area of the circle from the area square. So the algorithm is: 1) Find the length of one side of the square 2) Find the area of the square 3) Find the area of the circle 4) Subtract the area of the circle from the area of the square. Written out in a Mathematical language: 1) a = Length of side of the square 1) b = a * a 2) c = pi * (0.5a * 0.5a) 3) d = b - c Or as a computer program (psudocode): Input: LengthOfSide CircleRadius = LengthOfSide / 2 AreaOfSquare = LengthOfSide * LengthOfSide AreaOfCircle = CircleRadius * Circle Radius * 3.14 FinalArea = AreaOfSquare - AreaOfCircle Output: FinalArea All 3 of these are identical. Even though the first is just an English language explanation of the process, it is none the less a mathematical algorithm. With algorithmic evolution, it too has a mathematical set of processes even though it can be expressed through English. These should help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Turing_machine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computable_function http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing-computable_function
  24. Aid has to be given in an effective manner. For instance, just sending food to a country can cause the price of food produced locally in that country to drop (in accordance with supply and demand). Now, as the farmers in that country are dependent on the food they produce to earn them money, giving food aid causes those farmers to not be able to earn a living selling the food they produce, they have to sell more of it and make less money altogether. This causes a vicious cycle where by the farmers become dependent on the food aid. The other problem with these situations is that the culture encourages large families. This is because traditionally child mortality rates have been high. For a population to remain stable, exactly 2 children for every family must make it to adulthood. Any more, and the population grows, any less, and the population shrinks. For most of human history, we have had large (5+ children) families, but the population has remained fairly stable (it has grown but only slowly). With the introduction of effective medicine, the child mortality rate was greatly reduced and the populations sky-rocketed. In 3rd world countries access to effective medicine has been poor, but now, because of aid programs and such, these countries are getting better access to medicine and consequently child mortality rates have dropped. This has lead to the increase in populations. It is not that they have access to more food that has caused the populations to increase, but it is access to medicine that has done it. Access to food has caused them to become dependent on the food aid due to it suppressing the local food economies. Then as the populations grew, this just re-enforced their dependence on the food aid (as families sizes grew and more families exist, the available space for food production per family goes down). Aid needs to be carefully managed so as not to cause the country that is receiving it to become dependent on it due to the aid suppressing the local economies.
  25. I think this is the important point: How is an observer supposed to differentiate this, and how could we, looking back thousands of years by reading what someone we have never met though it was?
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