Author Topic: Natural Explanation Vs Magical  (Read 10182 times)

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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #435 on: April 13, 2014, 09:18:44 AM »
Foxy, I think what's going on here is that we may be being a bit loose in using the word 'cause'. It's fair to say that when we get down to physics and the laws of physics we are being descriptive of what happens (mathematically) but we can't give a cause for the basic laws of nature. The potential problem we are running into here, though, is the idea that a 'cause' is, rather than another force or something, a personal 'cause'. We've been treating around the Kalam Argument without ever getting there, quite, and this is another bit of it.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #436 on: April 13, 2014, 10:00:01 AM »
Jaimehlers

The 'circle' you describe is equivalent to an eternal cause/effect cycle. 

That possibility cannot be ruled out.

But keep in mind that an eternal cycle itself has no cause.  Anything eternal has no cause.
How do you know that it has no cause?  This sounds like something you decided must be the case.

Quote from: Dominic
Scientifically then, anything eternal cannot be explained.  It can be described by science, but it cannot be explained by science.  Scientific explanations require causes.  Otherwise they are not scientific.
Sorry, but science doesn't require causes.  It requires explanations that fit the facts.  Science has never required causes in order to explain things.  The problem with trying to explain the universe as infinite and/or eternal is that we currently have no way to verify these things (and they break what we believe to be the rules of the universe).  For example, the Big Bang either started everything off or acted like some kind of a reset switch or possibly something else, so we have no way to go further back than it in time.  And we can't get sensory information out of a black hole to see just what happens to stuff that gets sucked up by it.

Quote from: Dominic
If a description was sufficient to qualify as a scientific explanation, then the 6 day creation in Genesis could be regarded as a scientific explanation.
If the six-day creation in Genesis most closely fit the observed facts, including the various methods for dating the universe, then you might have a valid point.  But it's been pretty well determined that the six-day creation comes about as close to fitting the facts as a circular peg fits in a hole shaped for a star.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #437 on: April 13, 2014, 04:59:37 PM »
Depends on how you imply yhe word cause, there is a cause preceeding an effect and there is a cause as in, we fight for the cause. prolly needs specifying in this discussion to avoid word play.
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Offline voodoo child

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #438 on: April 13, 2014, 07:19:55 PM »
Before the white came, the Power of the World always worked in circles, and everything tries to be round..... The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same as ours....
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power move.

1863 Crowfoot, Blackfoot, warrior and orator. 
 
Where ever you stand is the center of our little blue ball.  The only causalities I see are the ones humans  tend to focus on. Big bang, evolution, wars, cultural movement, religious in-differences.
 
The magic slowly disappeared. The only magic left, was in our ability to imagine.
The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow, you are not understanding yourself. Truth has no path. Truth is living and therefore changing. Bruce lee

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #439 on: April 14, 2014, 08:17:22 AM »
So where are we now with this?

There already is a theory by Krauss which shows how universes can be formed without causes. Theories without causes are scientific, and uncaused really means uncaused: no extra unknown cause has to be invented.

Problems with Dominic's idea of the universal mind.

The universe is not eternal so anyone suggesting that the universe is a mind has to accept the limitation that the mind is also not eternal. The way the universe works also means that the mind is irrational.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #440 on: April 14, 2014, 09:11:31 AM »
I think we are back to finding hard evidence for claims. Now I will concede that Krauss' claims are not completely evidence and quite a bit is based on mathematics but uses things we already know and extrapolates them. of course we might see some changes if we ever get to a unified theory of everything but that might be some way off. However, for now, let's say that there is some evidence to back up the idea that the universe did not have a cause.

Now let's look at the other side of the thing from Dominic. He has two basic claims -

1. The Kalam type of claim that everything that begins to exist has a cause. It uses this to show, philosophically, that there has to be a necessary being, one which never began, in order to provide a cause for the universe etc. This is philosophy at its best, really, doing its own thing, coming to its own conclusions but without looking out of the window to see if what it is creating matches the world out there. Medieval theologians came up with the greatest being idea - a god we only think of is not as great as an actual existing god so god must exist - and it sounded weak in those days! Philosophy is fine by itself but to make sense it has to take into account what we know about nature and it fails to do so. No evidence of cause then.

2. The Universal Mind seems to be a Hindu concept which seems to be just that - a concept. The only minds we know are attached to human brains and claims for any other forms of consciousness need some demonstrating, not by asserting that they exist but by good hard evidence. For the idea of the Universal Mind we have nothing but an assertion.

So, Dominic, any evidence to back up your claims - that is evidence that shows how your claims match up to what we know about how the world works?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #441 on: April 14, 2014, 10:29:00 AM »

Foxy,

If mathematical models are science, what is the difference between maths and science ?

To me mathematics is static eg 2+2=4 instantaneous, timeless, eternal.  Mathematics can describe relationships which exist in science, certainly.  F=ma and E=mc2 are relationships.  Those relationsips are static/fixed.

But surely science is not just a collection of static relationships ?  Science deals with a world of change, describing that change and explaining the causes of that change ?

To try and equate science with a set of mathematical relationships is to try and eliminate change from science - or at least to eliminate cause.

Can mathematics explain a change ?   You will perhaps say maths can describe a change ?

Can mathematics ever address a cause ?

Has 'cause' been eliminated from science ?

If you do want to limit science to a set of mathematical relationships, what do we then call the study and explanation of causes ?

And all of this is before we get into the world of feelings, emotions, desires, will and purpose.

Are the mathematicians hard at work on equations to 'explain' these too ?

Sorry for all the questions - just thinking out loud so to speak.


Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #442 on: April 14, 2014, 10:54:41 AM »

Yes RJ, physical reality could be an eternal succession of big bangs - each bang caused by the last etc.

However what still then remains unexplained is the whole 'eternal succession of big bangs'.  Science cannot explain an eternity of big bangs because it would need to appeal to something outside of that process as an explanation. 

If you think science can explain a self caused eternity then you are mistaken.  Eternal existence, self caused and uncaused are outside of the scope of science.

Science can tell you lots and lots about what happens next after those phenomenon.


These statements demonstrate your know-it-all mentality - that somehow you think that you have it all figured out as to what science can or cannot explore, know about, or ascertain. Bullshit! I'm sorry, I won't buy this nonsense based in your arbitrary definition making, ignorance, and attempt to artificially isolate sciences scope so that you can usher in your magic deity assertion. It simply won't work here and lots have been showing you that. Where you do not know you should be admitting it - instead of believing your theology based upon a priori arguments.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #443 on: April 14, 2014, 11:12:28 AM »
Dominic,

Have you heard of Isaac Newton by any chance and have you any idea one of his most important discoveries was? Yes, it was Calculus - the mathematics of change. Modern science tends to use calculus as a starting place to model the  universe or parts of it. Modelling it means describing it mathematically and then using the model to make predictions that can be tested. Higgs and his Bosun is a prime example. Higgs did his work in the early 60s and his prediction of of the Bosun (done mathematically of course) was only recently shown to be right. Einstein's predictions were also a long time being shown to be right. That's how science uses mathematics to progress - it' not just 'eternal truths' or such like idea.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #444 on: April 14, 2014, 01:02:38 PM »

Foxy,

If mathematical models are science, what is the difference between maths and science ?

To me mathematics is static eg 2+2=4 instantaneous, timeless, eternal.  Mathematics can describe relationships which exist in science, certainly.  F=ma and E=mc2 are relationships.  Those relationsips are static/fixed.

But surely science is not just a collection of static relationships ?  Science deals with a world of change, describing that change and explaining the causes of that change ?

To try and equate science with a set of mathematical relationships is to try and eliminate change from science - or at least to eliminate cause.

Can mathematics explain a change ?   You will perhaps say maths can describe a change ?

Can mathematics ever address a cause ?

Has 'cause' been eliminated from science ?

If you do want to limit science to a set of mathematical relationships, what do we then call the study and explanation of causes ?

And all of this is before we get into the world of feelings, emotions, desires, will and purpose.

Are the mathematicians hard at work on equations to 'explain' these too ?

Sorry for all the questions - just thinking out loud so to speak.

Mathematics is a set of definitions.

In physics an equation is checked by experiment to see if it approximates to what happens in the universe. If the equation does approximate to experiments, then a theory can be based on it.

An equation in physics is all about change. The = sign means that two different things are interchangeable. E=mc2 means that mass and energy are interchangeable.

Cause has not been eliminated from situations where it was never there. Cause and effect are just assumptions based on how things work in daily life. The universe is far crazier than any assumptions you can make from daily life. When you talk about the science which happens at the scale of everyday life it is useful to have two words "cause" and "effect" because it looks like things happen that way. The science of everyday life has a restricted set of conditions which make the words cause and effect useful, and scientists who study the kind of science you see in everyday life will talk about cause and effect. You probably want me to say what creates the conditions of science in everyday life. The answer is entropy.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #445 on: April 14, 2014, 01:40:55 PM »
Dominic, did you really just try to claim that equations are all static and fixed?  Tell me, have you perhaps run across the concept of 'variables' in the past?

Let's take F = ma, for example.  What that means is that the amount of force on an object is equivalent to the object's total mass times the acceleration it's under.  F, m, and a are all variables, not constants.  The equation itself doesn't change[1] but every variable in the equation can represent different values, therefore it's anything but static.  It works whether you plug in the values for a car under acceleration, a person in free fall, an asteroid flying through space, or just about anything else.  In short, it's neither static nor fixed.
 1. And it's a good thing it doesn't, because if it could change or be changed, it would be far more difficult, if not outright impossible, to have a scientific or technological base.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #446 on: April 14, 2014, 11:51:02 PM »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #447 on: April 15, 2014, 07:32:32 AM »

Foxy,

Let's get this out of the way as quickly as possible -

Are you saying that cause and effect are simply useful fictions ?  Imaginary perhaps ?



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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #448 on: April 15, 2014, 08:44:16 AM »

Foxy,

Let's get this out of the way as quickly as possible -

Are you saying that cause and effect are simply useful fictions ?  Imaginary perhaps ?

Cause and effect are real but they only apply to certain restricted conditions in the universe such as the kind of science you would use in everyday life without technology.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #449 on: April 15, 2014, 07:13:41 PM »

Foxy,

What is the agent of change in a mathematical model ?

What causes a change in either side of the equation ?

It would seem that maths can describe a change (like an eyewitness can) but maths is not in the business of explaining causes.

To limit science to mathematics is to effectively eliminate cause.  It is to say we no longer wish to consider or examine causes.

If so the next requirement is that either 'cause' be eliminated (by a wave of the mathematical wand?) or else we be told where we can study causes if not in science (philosophy perhaps ?  religion ?)


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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #450 on: April 15, 2014, 07:48:38 PM »

Foxy,

What is the agent of change in a mathematical model ?

What causes a change in either side of the equation ?

It would seem that maths can describe a change (like an eyewitness can) but maths is not in the business of explaining causes.

To limit science to mathematics is to effectively eliminate cause.  It is to say we no longer wish to consider or examine causes.

If so the next requirement is that either 'cause' be eliminated (by a wave of the mathematical wand?) or else we be told where we can study causes if not in science (philosophy perhaps ?  religion ?)

The direction an equation works depends on the circumstances. In the science which you see in everyday life you can call one side of the equation a cause and the other an effect. In F=ma, a force causes motion when you have to push your car after a crash, on the other hand motion caused a force when you crashed your car into the traffic light in the first place.

I am still wondering how you think a universal mind can be eternal when the universe is not, and I am wondering why you call yourself a Catholic when your ideas have moved so far away from Christianity ?

« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 08:23:21 PM by Foxy Freedom »
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #451 on: April 15, 2014, 10:50:26 PM »
F = ma as truthfully as ma = F

it is just a truth statement, an iterative equation will depend on preceding values, newtons laws are completely symmetrical in time.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #453 on: April 16, 2014, 08:31:21 AM »
F = ma as truthfully as ma = F

it is just a truth statement,

Careful.  It is a model.  The model is not reality any more than a map is the terrain.  We don't go running around saying maps are truth statements, even pretty good maps.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #454 on: April 16, 2014, 12:28:35 PM »
I somehow strongly disagree with the map analogy but i am not sure why.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #455 on: April 16, 2014, 12:43:41 PM »
I somehow strongly disagree with the map analogy but i am not sure why.

I sort of know what you mean...because while a map is NOT the terrain, it is a representation of it much as words can be a representation of something. And one cannot argue that the words used to describe something are not truth.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #456 on: April 16, 2014, 02:43:35 PM »
Well a map or an equation can be accurate, but can never represent reality completely.

Because the model or map has to leave out most of reality. Like, a globe looks like the earth, but is way smaller, does not have living people or running water on it, etc. No map, even if it is just of your back yard, can show every single thing that is in the back yard, every single blade of grass, every single ant.

The model cannot be as accurate as the thing being modeled, or you would just have an exact duplicate of the thing itself. The accuracy is not absolute, but in a "just good enough" sense.

Okay, Foxy, bring it on.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #457 on: April 16, 2014, 02:57:07 PM »
I somehow strongly disagree with the map analogy but i am not sure why.

Then, I would suggest that until you can articulate why, you should at least stop disagreeing with it and acknowledge it may be right.

 
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #458 on: April 16, 2014, 03:17:02 PM »
Well a map or an equation can be accurate, but can never represent reality completely.

Because the model or map has to leave out most of reality. Like, a globe looks like the earth, but is way smaller, does not have living people or running water on it, etc. No map, even if it is just of your back yard, can show every single thing that is in the back yard, every single blade of grass, every single ant.

The model cannot be as accurate as the thing being modeled, or you would just have an exact duplicate of the thing itself. The accuracy is not absolute, but in a "just good enough" sense.

Okay, Foxy, bring it on.

....and the mathematical model doesn't take into account everything or even predict everything. For example we have lots of data coming in from weather stations here in the UK and we have data from across the Atlantic from where most of our weather comes but its never enough data for the job and weather prediction for the UK is  of a hit and miss job based on the fact we can often have all the 4 season in one day - twice! The same applies to any mathematical model - not enough data and restricted in what it predicts. Nonetheless, Newtons equations of gravity work fine today for space travel - Newton would be surprised I think!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #459 on: April 16, 2014, 03:43:49 PM »
Yes, science approximates closer and closer to the way the universe works by eliminating bad ideas. You don't have to know everything to know that some answers are wrong.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #460 on: April 16, 2014, 04:03:07 PM »
Actually maths is not an approximation in the largest body of maths, it an accurate statement of truth zero error. just one example among thousands i could name would be group theory, ring theory, analytic analytic alebra, locus represention of the conics, knots......ok that's more than one.


of course using maths to model a real world problem is only as good as the input data and the construction of the model even then for that data set and those assumptions the output data is true...even if it is meaningless in the real world.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #461 on: April 16, 2014, 06:08:24 PM »
Actually maths is not an approximation in the largest body of maths, it an accurate statement of truth zero error. just one example among thousands i could name would be group theory, ring theory, analytic analytic alebra, locus represention of the conics, knots......ok that's more than one.


of course using maths to model a real world problem is only as good as the input data and the construction of the model even then for that data set and those assumptions the output data is true...even if it is meaningless in the real world.

Mathematics is not the universe.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #462 on: April 16, 2014, 06:48:11 PM »
Reality is a vector in hilbert space. if you can't write it in an equation then its not real. it's just banter.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #463 on: April 16, 2014, 08:55:00 PM »
Wtf does Dilbert have to to do with this?

Oh wait.  Nevermind.
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