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motel Darwin

In an effort to spread just a little of the empirical insight into reality that humans have accrued over the last, say, couple thousand years, distribute free copies of books by Charles Darwin, Richards Dawkins/Feynman, &al. in motel nightstand drawers.
  [vote for,

The Gideons, whoever they are, were certainly onto something in their clever idea to plant free-for-the-taking translations of a rambling collection of ancient southwest Asian cosmology in motel rooms across America. Ah, road-weary seekers, alone in the night, with just a reading light, a tiny bottle of JD, and a comfy pillow...what a great nearly captive audience!

So why not do them one better and update the cosmology in this highly dispersed public library to account for new human insights over the intervening, oh, two millenia? You know, paltry stuff like the earth revolving around the sun; humans being (so far strictly non-parthenogenetic) animals, without definitive qualitatively distinctive traits; earth having accreted roughly 4.5 billion years ago; the process of evolution by natural selection; thunder being a wave of compression resulting from intense bursts of ion flow in the atmosphere; Occam's razor; inclusive fitness; paternal, rather than maternal, gamete genotype determining human sex...you know, trifles like that. Maybe it's time to spread all that good news to the heartland!...

n-pearson, Jun 30 2003

Gideon Counterbalance http://www.halfbake...on_20Counterbalance
Related. [Monkfish, Oct 04 2004]

The Raelians http://www.rael.org/
Maybe combining science & religion is the answer (worth a visit just for the nifty animation) [kevindimie, Oct 04 2004]

I'm adding n-pearson to this. http://www.halfbake..._20Mouse_20Override
My poor scrolling finger :( [silverstormer, Oct 04 2004]

The Gideons http://www.gideons.org/
(whoever they are) [angel, Oct 04 2004]

The Library Hotel, New York http://www.libraryhotel.com/concept.htm
kudos to thecat. [n-pearson, Oct 04 2004]

Duane Miller's 'Out of the Silence' http://www.amazon.c...=reader#reader-link
How could I have doubted, Ray? You have convinced me. After all, your pal Duane couldn't possibly have, for example, simply gotten better over time, but waited to dramatically and instantly (re)'heal' for an audience, while -- coincidentally -- being taped. And no one would do something like that just in order to hawk an earnest and misty-eyed potboiler about it, right? Or as a wishful affirmation of one's 'faith', right? I mean, come on, duping paying customers with purported faith-healing -- who ever heard of such a thing? Halleluya! [n-pearson, Oct 04 2004]

Overbaked http://groups.yahoo.com/group/overbaked/
A group to take discussions like this one to. Probably overdue. [RayfordSteele, Oct 04 2004]

Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem http://mathworld.wo...etenessTheorem.html
see [althyr]'s comment below. [n-pearson, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Creation Science Fair http://objective.je...ionsciencefair.html
Keep abreast of new insights from the cutting edge of empirical inquiry! [n-pearson, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Invisible Pink Unicorn http://www.palmyra....o.uk/humour/ipu.htm
(peace be upon her holy hooves) [Jezzie, Oct 04 2004]

(?) "The game has eleven rules" http://www.disencha...echnology/game.html
"What's the difference between knowing something and just knowing the name of it?" [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]


       On the topic of religion, I don't think we really have discovered anything new in the past 2,000 years, and no sane person reads the Bible as a scientific treatise.   

       And, btw, I was really hoping that this was a place that I could go and, like William Hurt in the Big Chill, just evolve.
DrCurry, Jun 30 2003

       Well, it's kinda hard to 'discover' anything that's inherently empirically groundless given the evidence available at the time. If I claim to 'discover' a pink elephant floating in a corner of this room, do you think that 'discovery' will spread very far given current human empirical knowledge?
n-pearson, Jun 30 2003

       Don't confuse physical experience with religious tenets. And lay off the booze.
DrCurry, Jun 30 2003

       When ancient Arabs started venerating a black rock that had fallen aflame from the sky, it's easy to understand how they would interpret that unusual empirical event as a sign from some almighty sky-being. We now know that the rock in the Qa'aba is A METEORITE; the original local interpretation is totally outmoded -- and to cling to it is fully as sane as believing in Santa Claus as an adult.
n-pearson, Jun 30 2003

       Mr P: I forget exactly why Muhammed kept that one idol when he threw out all the rest, but that religion is less than 2,000 years old, and was closely based on Judaic and Christian religious thinking at the time. It does not contain anything that wasn't around previously, and that is precisely the point I was making. Can you point to *any* current religion that isn't a hodgepodge of older religions and/or religious views?
DrCurry, Jun 30 2003

       I like the idea of a differing viewpoint competing with the Gideon Society, but I think in most of the rural U.S. you'd be met with much resistance.   

       Perhaps it could be an option.   

       "Will that be a Gideon room or a non-believers' room?"
snarfyguy, Jun 30 2003

       Dr C: my point is that what you call a 'religion' is just whatever suite of -now- empirically groundless beliefs that persist together, typically by elders foisting them upon kids. Of course the content is old! -- it's outmoded beliefs about reality which now can survive only with some disclaimer of 'spiritual' exemption to empirical scrutiny. In other words, hokum.
n-pearson, Jun 30 2003

       What *I* call a religion is a series of beliefs about how you should treat your fellow man. That stuff *never* gets old.
DrCurry, Jun 30 2003

       If I could give this idea 2 croissants, I would!
Cr0esus47, Jun 30 2003

       DrC - I'd call that ethics.
n-pearson, Jun 30 2003

       You'll find Satanist tracts at your bedside at Motel 666.
snarfyguy, Jul 01 2003

       I've stayed at quite a few motels, where I often catch sight of a Neanderthal.
Amos Kito, Jul 01 2003

       The pronounced difference between gideon's offering and the bedside library you propose is categorical. Gideon's book is there to offer meaning to existence not plain scientific trivia. Darwin theorized about origins, but he didn't offer us much of a future. I am sure there are some who find scientific discovery to be cathartic. But for most it is merely head-knowledge. The heart must be fed, too. Or what are poets for?
k_sra, Jul 01 2003

       Um, I'd hardly call 'scientific trivia' the fairly deep insights into the fundamentals of the physical world that we have gained, including a realization that humans are integral to nature, and differ only quantitatively both among ourselves and relative to other matter. Those insights have strong implications for individual and societal policy-making. If by having a 'future' you mean believing -- against all evidence -- that some everlasting sky paradise experience awaits you (perhaps with 72 virgins on hand, in an appeal to your inclusive fitness...), pardon me if I refrain from envying your naivete. I'll use my endorphins while I can, thanks.
n-pearson, Jul 01 2003

       You're still confusing knowledge with personal value systems. If you wish to deny a role for some form of "higher power" in your life, that is your choice (and your religion, evidently atheism), but don't confuse it with science, which can neither confirm nor deny such a presence.
DrCurry, Jul 01 2003

       thats quite a statement in itself - what you are saying by that is, that science cannot ever uncover the ultimate truth.
po, Jul 01 2003

       True enough. Science in the strictest sense only clarifies the results; it doesn't specify the nature of the questions, and so isn't self-directed to go searching for ultimate truth. One can base their value systems upon one's conclusions about what scientific results tell us and what they don't, but that's still one step removed.   

       I get the distinct impression n-pearson is baiting someone for a silly science-vs.-religion war, which I'll be glad to participate in over email, if he so chooses.
RayfordSteele, Jul 01 2003

       I'm all for this, not for any anti-relgious proselytizatory reason, rather because it'd give me something more interesting to read in hotels than (a) the bible and (b) fire safety notices.
Perhaps this could be extended to aeroplanes, too.
my face your, Jul 01 2003

       Again, DrC, I think you're talking about ethics per se, which do not entail faith in empirically groundless ideas.   

       And Ray: to me, science is just systematically applied common sense. It's not an elitist and/or scope-limited way of looking at the world; it's simply using your senses and trying to draw the likeliest inferences from them. Importantly, that process involves testing -empirically falsifiable- ideas -- which means good scientists' beliefs can change. As far as I'm concerned, therefore (and assuming free will...), religious zealots are simply bad scientists.   

       Back to the mo-tel...proposed name: The Sheltered Mind Inn; proposed quaint retro signage 'Kleen Rooms -- Here, Nature -Loves- a Vacuum!'
n-pearson, Jul 01 2003

       //pardon me if I refrain from envying your naivete//   

       And I will refrain from envying your air of condescension. I gave that up when I admitted there were things inexplicable to the realm of science.   

       All in all a good idea, but a little snobbish in presentation.
k_sra, Jul 02 2003

       [n-pearson] I claim that for the most part, there is very little overlap between science and religion. While for the most part when they differ the scientific explanation is generally accepted, that doesn't mean that all religion is bunk. (And for the record, I am not a Christian.)   

       Also, while the bible has remained more-or-less unchanged (modulo differences in translation) for millenia, what is considered to be "current" scientific thought changes rapidly and there are almost always theories on many issues so I think that presenting any scientific result as being the final truth would at best a gross misrepresentation.   

       [po] Quite right. Considering that in Popper's definition of science, all scientific statements have a conceivable experiment that could disprove them, not being able to give any kind of ultimate truth is a pretty good defining characteristic of science.   

       [RayfordSteele] «n-pearson is baiting someone for a silly science-vs.-religion war» If so, he seems to be doing a pretty good job of presenting evidence in favour of the religious viewpoint by making scientists look bigoted. (But what else would one expect from a biologist? *ducks*)
cp, Jul 02 2003

       Perhaps we should dissect n-pearson to see if we can find his soul...?
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003

       Wait, so if I point out that the opposing viewpoint on reality lacks evidence, the ostensible rudeness of such candor becomes evidence -for- the opposing viewpoint? You're not from Salem, MA, are you [cp]?
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       *grin* No. But if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and weighs the same as a duck....
cp, Jul 02 2003

       Just a couple of thoughts.   

       1) If science isn't elitist, then how come almost every famous scientist throughout history has been (until recently) white, western, and from an affluent enough background to afford a good education?   

       2) Many religions would purport to have an empirical grounding. There is a large body of literature on the historicity of Jesus Christ, his "miracles" and his "resurrection", for example.   

       3) //strong implications for individual and societal policy-making// What implications, exactly? Survival of the fittest? Selfish gene? Not sure good science makes good society. We need ethics, if not religion, and ethics ain't science.
whimsickle, Jul 02 2003

       Now you're being absurd. Where do the very words algebra and chemistry come from? (Not that science isn't elitist, but it's academic elitism, not racial.)
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003


       1) You're right -- science has indeed been elitist; witness its still pervasive latinate vocabulary (Linnean names, 'proper' anatomical names, &c.), which, as in law, serves as much to keep folks out as to standardize terms for clarity or 'accessibility'. But science need not be elitist; that's my point. It's not an inherent (or, to me, desirable) property of the scientific process.   

       2) Tell you what: let's test the 'historicity' of the Shroud of Turin, for example -- or of the many purported saintly relics held by churches worldwide. You get the pope to give me a little cloth/bone from those, and I'll tell you what Y-chromosome haplotype Jesus' dad had, or whether or not all those 83 metacarpals of St. So-and-so likely belonged to the same hand.   

       3) If you believe in absolutist ethics, you're barking up the wrong tree in looking to reason. But please don't oversimplify what you perceive evolutionary theory, for example, to be; read a little William Hamilton, Dawkins, and some game theory, and you'll see that things are more complex than hackneyed circular truisms like 'survival of the fittest'.
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       [DrC] While I may be stretching a point, I don't think I am being absurd. The provenance of the words is irrelevant - the fact is if you ask anyone to name 5 famous scientists they will probably all be white and male.   

       Science is not (usually) in and of itself elitist, but it has always reflected the prejudices of the times. Like golf.   

       [n] Not being absolutist - just arguing that the correct approach to designing a just and happy society is not a scientific one. Other forms of inquiry (ethics) are better suited - regardless of the rich complexity of evolutionary theory.
whimsickle, Jul 02 2003

       That would be a point about popular knowledge, not science. Ask scientists to name famous scientists, and most of them will be foreigners.
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003

       Re. academic elitism: what Dr Curry said. European scientists are better-known because our society tends to focus on the history of Europe and European-colonised areas, not because there was no science being done elsewhere.   

       The reason that most prominent scientists in the past have come from wealthy and well-educated backgrounds is that there has historically been little or no pay for working in science, and so those who could not support themselves independently had fewer opportunities. Likewise most were male due to the social expectation of the time. (Of course not all fitted this stereotype. Marie Curie, for instance, is better known than her husband Pierre, and IIRC Faraday came from an English working-class background with little formal education.)   

       Just because a lot of science came from dead white males doesn't mean that it's bad or inherently prejudiced. Claim otherwise and you start to head into Alan Sokal territory.   

       I'm not going to comment on the historicity of the bible, mainly due to my lack of familiarity on the subject, but it strikes me that the church seems to be more a political organisation rather than a spiritual one.   

       Finally, I believe that scientific methods are valid when applied to morality; certainly incremental improvement of our ethical standards strikes me as an improvement over keeping millenia-old words as, well, gospel.   

       Where religion does seem to be useful, of course, is giving purpose to life. Personally I find life meaningful enough without religious assistance, but many don't; possibly I'm missing out on a lot like this but I find it difficult to believe that I'll burn in hell for eternity for not following one of the many mutually exclusive belief systems that claim this.
cp, Jul 02 2003

       That past (and ongoing, but, again, not inherent) elitism reflects the recent spread of European colonialism, as well as the longstanding, widespread patriarchy of human populations. But I think of scientists such as Joe Hin Tjio, the Javanese grad student who shattered received dogma about the modal human karyotype when he counted only 46 -- not 48 -- chromosomes per nucleus. Or Barbara McClintock, who discovered an amazing class of genomic sequences called transposons. Or Mayan astronomers who made remarkably precise estimates of the ratio of the solar year to the sidereal day.   

       And re. absolutism, I just meant believing in absolute good/right and absolute evil/wrong. Do your ethics invoke such concepts?
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       The church is entirely political, the Catholic Church in particular being the last remnant of the Roman Empire.   

       But i think we need to pause when poeple start to apply "scientific" methods to "morality". Even at its mildest, this has repeatedly led to absurdities such as taking children away from their parents, or preventing adoption of unwanted black kids by white parents. At its worst, it led to eugenics and the Holocaust.   

       When we apply religious measures of right and wrong to these situations, the answers are clear; when we apply scientific ones, we forget that we are human beings. (And before you argue on this score, just remember how widely vivisection is used as a scientific tool.)
DrCurry, Jul 02 2003

       Thank you [cp]. Well spoke on all counts.
snarfyguy, Jul 02 2003

       DrC, I hardly think of the Nazis as scientists -- I think of them more as zealots who clung dogmatically to particular myths. They heavily invoked a bunch of empirically groundless claims about the history of and purported differences among human populations.   

       As to science making us forget we're human -- I strongly disagree! To me, experimentation on non-humans for clear potential human benefit is both legitimate and useful, and I think so precisely -because- I'm human; my closer kin (humans) stand to benefit from such research, at the expense of the welfare of more distant kin (e.g. rabbits). Were I (counterfactually, of course) a rabbit, the converse would hold.
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       [n-pearson] I disagree with you again. (Surprise, surprise.)   

       Science has in the past been /against/ elitism. (At least according to the definition of elitism in the SOED: "advocacy of or reliance on the leadership or dominance of a select group.")   

       Throughout the middle ages, the religious elite has been aforesaid 'select group,' and scientists (e.g. Galileo Galilei and his heliocentricity springs to mind; likewise Charles Darwin and the origin of the species) have struggled against persecution when their beliefs have contradicted those of the mainstream.   

       And if you're not in favour of absolutist ethics, then presumably prefer moral relativism? Which, when taken to its logical extreme, leads to /approval/ of atrocities committed by those who believed that what they were doing was quite correct.   

       [DrCurry] (Trying hard to refrain from mentioning Godwin's Law.) Your problem with vivisection is....?   

       I don't think that applying scientific methods to morality automatically "dehumanises" people as you imply. The stolen generation scandal (in which Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their natural families in order to "improve" their lives) was not the result of science; but it was most certainly supported by the Church!   

       [snarfyguy] Thank 'ee muchly! :-D
cp, Jul 02 2003

       //an improvement over keeping millenia-old words as, well, gospel//   

       Place whatever literature you like, 2000 years later, if enough adherents remain.   

       In other words: First give Darwin a couple of millenia. If he endures the eons, then you can put him in a motel.
Amos Kito, Jul 02 2003

       //incremental improvement of our ethical standards strikes me as an improvement //   

       Ha, ha, ha! [cp], you stepped right into that one! And exactly what *standard* are you judging this ethical improvement against? What is your eternity-spanning measuring-tape? What never ending plumbline have you found? You sound like a man who believes in a Higher Law!
k_sra, Jul 02 2003

       Seems like you're not really changing that much, Darwin's just as likely to put me top sleep as the Bible.
scubadooper, Jul 02 2003

       [k_sra] Not at all. I have no eternity-spanning tape but my own sense of what is right. (Which is, admittedly, shaped by my upbringing and social expectations.) However, I am fortunate enough to be a member of the human race, a species capable of rational thought and introspection, and thus would like to think that I can be persuaded by rational argument to alter these moral values. Such an argument would likely be based upon an appeal to empirical evidence and reasoning based thereon - which sounds a bit like science to me.   

       Hmmm, I'm beginning to sound like a moral relativist which I just said I wasn't. I'm sure there's an important difference that escapes me at the moment..... Now my head hurts. Perhaps I shouldn't be trying to think at 2am in the morning.   

       [Amos Kito] I'm having trouble parsing that, sorry.
cp, Jul 02 2003

       Geesh one can't keep up anymore.   

       [n-pearson], I don't think I ever implied that science was elitist by nature, but I simply don't think that science is capable of ascertaining scope; that's where philosophy comes into play. Science can tell me all kinds of things about some kinds of things, but it cannot tell me implicitly to ask the questions. That's simply rational philosophy at work. Which I suppose depends on whether you take a broad or narrow definition of 'science.'   

       I can see our definitions already have us talking past eachother. Your definition of science as 'applied common sense' takes a broad scope, which is fine, but understand that mine takes a more focused definition. Where you start with applied common sense and call it science, I call it simply rational thought, for both my science and my religion begins there. And where they come at what might be odds with eachother, I go back up to the top and look for alternative solutions.   

       I can ask a lot of logically-formulated, valid questions for which science won't ever have an answer, because of the nature of the questions, so in my definitions, rationally there is a superset to which science belongs.   

       Furthermore, the question of New Testament accuracy is one of history, not of science, as there is no empirical method of determining whether or not the events took place as described, outside of the given evidence. Therefore the passage of 2000 years is moot to the question.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       my money is on science. but it might take some time...
po, Jul 02 2003

       Please give an example question, Ray. Thanks, N
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       "Darwin Motels" is a registered trading name of The Westworld Corporation .......   

8th of 7, Jul 02 2003


       Are miracles possible? Note that no answer, outside of direct recorded experience, can be provided, for science does not wholeheartedly engage itself in restricting what is possible in the future, but rather explaining simply what has occurred in the past. Note that applications of science can define what is impossible in natural law, but also note that our knowledge of natural law itself has changed, to allow for what was previously thought to be impossible as possible. Hence, the goalposts of what defines a miracle are always moving just outside of natural law as it is known.   

       Also note that oftentimes, the pronouncement of a miracle greatly depends upon subjective improbabilities, which makes it difficult to separate between possible and impossible, once you work into the nitty-gritties of, say, quantum mechanics.   

       (Personally, I find little consistency in religions in general, as I find great discrepancies in the reliability of information from source to source, and am forced to filter out 95% of it).   

       BTW, if we are going to continue this, I would suggest email or some other venue.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       <Are miracles possible?> is your rigorously stated question which supposedly defies reason?! A 'miracle' being by definition an event which is impossible in the real world? I was expecting a tougher question. Or do you define miracle differently (if so, please be explicit)?   

       And btw, your distinction of 'history' from 'science' implies that archaeology and paleontology offer no potential insight. In fact, by your own admission humans can analyze past events ('history') only, which suggests we're S.O.L. generally. Oh well, I suppose I'll pack up the DNA sequencer, and just trust our high priests (who have no vested interest in seeing their dogma persist, of course...).
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       Certainly archeology and paleontology yield insight. But archeology is never in the business of saying that an event DIDN'T occur, only that it did, ie. lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, or however it's phrased. And paleontology has little to say concerning the validity of beliefs, only that they were believed.   

       A miracle, is in my definition, an event that breaks either obvious natural law, or an event high enough in improbability to be deemed an impossible coincidence.   

       You're already running into trouble. Odd that a scientist would be so loose with his terms. It does not defy 'reason,' it only defies natural law, and implies that some external cause outside of natural law set it in motion.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       Science's answer: no event can break a 'natural law', as by definition such a hypothetical law would have been proven invalid and thus not a natural law; second, in a probabilistic world, no event of zero probability (literally 'impossible', as you put it) can occur, period. If an event occurs, its probability was positive.
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       The Catholic Church acknowledged that the world is not flat in 1996. It’s a miracle that they ever did.
Shz, Jul 02 2003

       Aye, Shz, you may have found one ;-> Did they grandfather the finding back a few centuries, or does it only apply to 1996 and after?
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       So then the constraints of science simply get redefined to absorb the 'miracle' as a possible event? What if that 'possible event' goes against established theory that has been demonstrated time and time again, like the law of entropy, for example? Will a better law be found? What if there are no explainable differences in circumstance to justify the background for a new law?   

       Here's another question science cannot answer: is the repeatability of scientific law ultimately due to the natural confines of our physical world, or are physical laws consistent simply because God (or whatever) likes acting consistently, and always does so? Bottom line, if a higher power refuses to step from behind the curtain for whatever reason, science cannot reveal him. Or if he sadistically decides to play hide-and-seek, directing events such that he cannot be found except by methods which he chooses, science again cannot reveal him.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       Exactly! That's the essence of science: that as empirical evidence accrues, theory is refined to better conform to that evidence. As I said before, scientists must be ready to change their beliefs and summary theories in the face of new evidence. When McClintock found evidence that parts of the maize genome were jumping around, rearranging the previously accepted and static map of that genome, she and others had to adjust to that new insight. The history of science is full of cases of seemingly stochastic phenomena (e.g. the sex of children, the timing of eclipses, Brownian motion, &c.) becoming more explicable after a key new insight into their causal factors. Physics may ultimately, of course, be stochastic anyway, but the trend in human understanding is one of 'noise' becoming 'signal' time and again...
n-pearson, Jul 02 2003

       I'm well aware of that. But at a certain point, it's a copout, by saying 'anything's possible.' And you didn't answer the question. What if you have two identical scenarios; one where an observed miracle occurs and the other where natural law wins out? Say my clone and I flap our arms and try to fly, inside a room with no windcurrents or other differences at all; he flies away and I fall flat on my butt. Given that there are no differences in input, there is no basis for an all-encompassing law. One must be proclaimed as inconsistent, and therefore there must be some unobserved or unobservable external forces at work. That is exactly what is up for grabs in the matter of Christian history.   

       Furthermore, as a scientific theory becomes more refined, the gains made in describing the universe around us become smaller steps, like a log scale. Aristotle's 'earth, wind, fire, water' model was a great leap forward, in simply the process of modeling, but a great deal further behind the periodic table in representation than, say, the bohr atom model is from quantum mechanics; with increasing precision comes smaller advances. Any event that fall so far out of whack that it destroys theory back, to say, the advent of Aristotle's model would have to be deemed a miracle. And thus a great deal of past 'signal' would have to be lost, without justification. Nobody, for instance, is going to come tell you that Galileo was wrong and the sun does indeed move around the earth, even if such an event were to occur one time.   

       Like I said before, email me. This is long enough already. The site owner doesn't like neverending threads; this is not a chatroom.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2003

       Anti-religious twit meanderings. The author, not you Ray.
waugsqueke, Jul 03 2003

       When a religous enthusiast asks me to read a book I say "Sure! I'll read your book if you read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn."   

       Which, by the way, is a great book, a classic, but it's not what most people would call light reading.
talldave, Jul 03 2003

       n-pearson: the essence of science, as practiced today, is the building of careers, with all the suppressions, distortions and outright fabrications that implies.
DrCurry, Jul 03 2003

       no change there then.
po, Jul 03 2003

       <I'm well aware of that. But at a certain point, it's a copout, by saying 'anything's possible.'>   

       Au contraire -- I said that nothing occurs that violates the laws of physics. Don't confuse those laws with the theories of physicists, be they 4000 years ago or now. And I did answer the question: nothing violates natural law -- if you can't understand that a law isn't a law if it's violated, then I can't help you. At any rate, you and your clone wouldn't even be genetically identical (given somatic mutation and cell division rates, the odds of even one somatic nucleus in your body being identical to that of your zygote -- for even an instant -- are about 1 in 10 billion). Moreover, you seem to be forgetting that we haven't even come to the bridge that you're trying to make us cross!: show me even one example of a documented violation of current physics theory, as it is most conservatively stated! Unless you can come up with one, we have very little to talk about.   

       >Furthermore, as a scientific theory becomes more refined, the gains made in describing the universe around us become smaller steps, like a log scale.>   

       Yes, this is true. So?   

       As to pursuing this by email, I think our time and effort are more valuably spent in a public forum. This is, after all, a marketplace of ideas; if the thread is beyond scope already, perhaps we should desist, but others do keep popping in with comments (thanks for the thoughtful critique, Waugs...).
n-pearson, Jul 03 2003

       [n-pearson] «a law isn't a law if it's violated» Try telling a lawyer that.
cp, Jul 03 2003

       [cp] ;-> As in gravity: it's not just a good idea...
n-pearson, Jul 03 2003

       I was speaking of the world generally, <jutta> -- albeit idealistically.
n-pearson, Jul 03 2003

       I realy get annoyed when people use the old "Science cannot confirm nor deny the existence of a higher power" as relavane for proof. If you think science not being able to disprove a spiritualy human vision might possibly make it real, then so could Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, and the Keebler(tm) Elves. This is obviously just as irrational as the idea of a higher power itself. Religion had it's place unfortunately for us, for far too long. It's time to shed this seperating diversion, and grasp the truth of scientific discovery. ;) Crossiant from me "the only higher power is truth, and that is only for as long as we don't know it"
TimD, Jul 03 2003

       Timmy, just what are you saying about the Keebler Elves?!! You're just an anti-advertising bigot.
n-pearson, Jul 04 2003

       npearson - +++ / Mr Burns :) :) :) UnaBubba/blissmiss - Same old, same old, same old - squared.   

       Surprise, surprise that this is mfd. You hate it when someone who disagrees with you is smart enough to make good points (npearson).   

       I didn't see a link button on this so -- check out The Library Hotel in New York.
thecat, Jul 05 2003

       [n-pearson], per my clone experiment, nice non-sequitor sidestep of the point. Furthermore, even if he weren't my twin, if he started flying in the method I described, you'd have to call that miraculous and a breach of scientific law as well as theory. (And I do know the difference between the two, thank you).   

       Good, then, we've established that you believe that there are scientific laws that which cannot be broken. Thank you. I was beginning to wonder.   

       I'm not trying to make you cross the bridge, I'm trying to establish whether it is there or not. That's the first step.   

       Point 1: there are scientific laws.   

       Point 2: they cannot be broken by any methods known in the natural world.   

       Point 3: you have been presented with no evidence of supernatural activity, but just as the archeologist cannot deny events based on missing evidence, so you, also are stuck. It's the old problem. "You don't know that you don't know what you don't know."   

       [tymmyd], as for your elves comment, evidence, and such, just sit tight, we haven't gotten that far yet. Every debate requires the establishment of background.   

       [thecat], the rules with my faith prevent me from telling you exactly what I think of you. So here's just a little hint: just consider, that maybe, if you wander into a new place with a lot of new people from all over the planet, from every different walk of life imagineable, and after a few days they really don't like you, but they seem like reasonable people otherwise, maybe it's not them, maybe you need to reevaluate something. Don't be so quick to make enemies, at least before you learn the ropes. People usually have motives and perspectives for their actions. Try that, and you'll find a whole new world waiting.   

       [jutta], thanks for popping into this one. Feel free to kabosh it whenever.   

       I have in my possession an audio tape that captures a moment in time, where a man who contracted a virus in the nerves of his vocal cords, which destroyed them, permanently, or so said every top specialist he had seen, which was most of them in the world who had delt with star performers. At a Switzerland symposium, the discussion of his case ate up the rest of the symposium's agenda.   

       None had ever seen it come back, and there was no hope for partial recovery. For two years, his voice had been nothing but a raspy forced whisper, which the doctors said would disappear entirely in another 2 years, once his false chords had completely scarred over. He was forced to resign as pastor, but wanted to continue teaching his bible study class, as tough as it was to hear him.   

       Well, this bible study class was on a scheduled timeframe throughout the whole OT, over several years. It was the custom of the church to record his lessons, hence the reason this moment in time is captured for us. He happened to be giving a lesson on God's sovereignty and healing, specifically reading out of Psalm 103, which as you can imagine, was a difficult lesson to teach for him, emotionally. He was reading through verses 3 and 4, 'He forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases; he redeems my life from the pit,' and by the time he said 'pit,' his voice returned to its original state.   

       But that's not why I believe what I believe. That is just a small bit of icing on the cake. And that's my last word on this thread. (later edit) Or not.
RayfordSteele, Jul 05 2003

       <even if he weren't my twin, if he started flying in the method I described, you'd have to call that miraculous and a breach of scientific law as well as theory. (And I do know the difference between the two, thank you).>   

       At risk of belaboring the point (and ignoring the fact that no two twins/whomever can demonstrably occupy identical regions of space-time per the requirement of your thought experiment), you apparently still don't get the mathematical definition of a law.   

       Anyway, Timmy's comment nicely sums up why the fact that science entails differentiating the likelihoods of conflicting hypotheses, rather than proving things, does -not- lead a reasonable mind to blithely accept any hypothesis as just as plausible as any other.   

       As to your putative evidence of miraculous recovery, let's analyze the phonetic content of 'he forgives all my sins, and heals all my diseases; he redeems my life from the pit'. Of those words, only 'he' and 'pit' lack voiced consonants (which require rapid airflow-induced flapping of the larynx). The pharyngeal fricative /h/ in 'he', however, involves airflow through the larynx at a high pressure just below that needed for the onset of voicing. How convenient then: the short word 'pit' (last, at least in your excerpt) neither involves voicing an otherwise airflow-obstructed sound (a consonant) nor the fine control needed to transition from a potentially raspy pharyngeal fricative to a nicely voiced vowel. Just a cursory analysis, of course -- hey, your friend may have spoken perfectly well since that great day, &c. But your eagerness to invoke divine explanation, rather than to seriously assess the possibility of other factors (including the placebo effect, or even your friend's willful deceipt, &c.), may be mis-serving both you and those with medical problems similar to your friend's.
n-pearson, Jul 06 2003

       The white-bread religious zealots here should try looking up "escalator of reason".
thecat, Jul 06 2003

       [thecat], thx, I'm always searching for relevant reading material from every rational angle on the issue.   

       3 short points [n-p]: your voice analysis is moot, I have enough background detail to tell you that much, I do understand a @#$! mathematical law, I'm a professional engineer fer chrissake, and willful deceit would not create a credible medical paper trail.   

       If you would like to hear the tape for yourself, look up 'Duane Miller' on Amazon.com. It comes with a book as well.
RayfordSteele, Jul 06 2003

       [Rayford Steele]   

       1. What the hell are you talking about/referring to? - SORRY. I didn't see the [n_p]. I knew I said nothing about voice recognition, etc.   

       2. So you are a 'professional' engineer. So what. I hear about scientific fact changing after considerable amounts of time. "God" deliver the masses from professionals who "know" things BECAUSE they are 'professionals'.   


       1. The atom being the smallest (particle or whatever).   

       2. Einstein or the apple guy -- Newton. Didn't one of these guys "recently" have a major theory [major and accepted theory - therefore scientific fact (till disproven)] reevaluated in whole or part.
thecat, Jul 07 2003

       [thecat], as [n-pearson] has pointed out, there are theories, and there are facts. The atomic *theory* is just that, and further changes were refinements upon it, not a wholescale throwing out the window. The professionals did their job well, in providing at least the right direction.
RayfordSteele, Jul 08 2003

       My issue isn't the science,it's the I'm the professional stuff. I don't know science well enough to do other than cover the basics (which I do quite well) but others do. "Professionals" should be unseen and unheard. Until they can back it up with humble facts presented humbly. Then they should take a bow.
thecat, Jul 11 2003

       I don't quite agree with that all the time [UB], as it discourages communication. [thecat], sorry if you read that as an arrogant statement, but much of what is seen as arrogance is simply in the eye of the reader. And anyways what, with [n-pearson] telling me I don't understand x and y and repeating the same line over and over again, and then having to put up with your nonsense at the same time, my patience was wearing thin. So yeah, follow [UB]'s advice. Besides, as someone who's annoyed the majority of everyone at this site at the same time, you have very little ground to be preaching about humility.
RayfordSteele, Jul 12 2003

       Bibles are left in Hotel rooms in an effort to prevent Big Bangs.
thumbwax, Jul 12 2003

       Mohammed openly based his teachings on the Jewish and Christian traditions, so I fail to see why my remark was condescending.
DrCurry, Jul 12 2003

       Um, I didn't say anything like that. Nor did I support the supremacy of any one religilion or group of religions.   

       However, if the warring factions you allude to paid *more* attention to the similarities between their respective religions or sects, there would be less strife, not more.
DrCurry, Jul 12 2003

       // Both US parties favor behaving under a chaste and erudite moral paradigm. //   

       Probably so they can more easily slam us all without giving rise to suspicion.   

       Just remember that an assumption of double standard presupposes that all religions are created equal, which sounds too much like a bunch of pc-nonsense to me, especially given the past two years.
RayfordSteele, Jul 13 2003

       [UB], you've got me there. Although if I really wanted to get technical, I would've emphasized more on 'created,' not 'as carried out by followers.' I see a great big gap, for instance, between the careers of JC and Mohammad, or even of Joe Smith.   

       In order to put this to bed here, I'm creating a yahoo group specifically for the occasional religious-type or otherwise longwinded or off-site topic discussion, as my old group at collegeclub is petering out, (hooray!)   

       See link.   

       [reensure], sorry, you lost me somewhere in the translation from verbage to my brain.
RayfordSteele, Jul 13 2003

       // (thanks for the thoughtful critique, Waugs...). //   

       Any time. Quite clearly you are just wanting to go on against religion - seemingly with the point of showing us who believe what fools we are. Not sure what other purpose you could have.   

       Well it isn't going to happen, just as no amount of yapping on the topic by myself or any of the other bakers of faith will make you see the light. You see, there's a basic problem with people who demand empirical evidence, proof of God. That problem is such proof, by design, does not and cannot ever exist. People who get this understand the meaning of 'faith'. Those that do not understand it need it proven to them, and they are fundamentally incapable of getting it by their very nature. Funny how that works, isn't it?   

       And this is okay. You don't have to get it. Just accept that there are people who do, and stop trying to prove them wrong. You're never going to be successful, and really, shame on you if you ever are. Let people believe what they choose.   

       If you don't believe in God, you're an athiest. If you actively try to show others they shouldn't believe either... well that's just being anti-religious and is obviously what you're up to here. And that's just really not a good thing.   

       For the record, about your idea - either book is acceptable to me. The beliefs are not exclusive.
waugsqueke, Jul 15 2003

       Waugs, I reject the claim that encouraging others to think more critically about received dogma, and to invoke reason in interpreting the world and otherwise acting within it, is 'not a good thing,' as you put it. If your beliefs don't withstand scrutiny, it's not my duty to sit on my hands and not point that out. I am indeed 'anti-religious', with good reason -- and, assuming free will, such an attitude is not bigotry against anyone per se, but well-grounded contempt for silly ideas, many of which prompt others to do things which gravely threaten my interests, and perhaps yours too. In god we trust? Wrong. In god Osama bin Ladin and George Bush trust -- and as such I reasonably distrust the decisions of both.
n-pearson, Jul 15 2003

       You're as much of a bigot as those that you're criticizing.
angel, Jul 16 2003

       // If your beliefs don't withstand scrutiny, it's not my duty to sit on my hands and not point that out. //   

       Wow, such complete lack of grasp is rare. On the contrary, it is indeed your duty to sit on your hands and resist the urge to tell people how wrong they are on a subject where neither right nor wrong can be proven.   

       Doing otherwise makes you the athiestic equivalent of a JW doorknocker.   

       Finally, the only scrutiny my beliefs have to stand up to is my own. No other opinions of anyone else matter, but if they did, be assured that those of an anti-God troll such as yourself would rank at the bottom.
waugsqueke, Jul 16 2003

       Well, I'm glad [angel] has weighed in. Now perhaps [god] or [devil], if they are lurking, wish to comment.   

       Waugs, can you prove that it's my duty to sit on my hands as you command? If not, perhaps you should follow your own advice.   

       At any rate, this thread has already extensively discussed the epistemological distinction between proof and parsimonious consistency with evidence. It's getting tiresome to have to repeatedly point out that belief in god, for example, has exactly as much evidence going for it as does belief in pink flying unicorns. And if folks who believe in pink flying unicorns start acting on that belief in ways that saliently affect me and those close to me, then damn right I will stand up and point out how groundless that belief is. Deal with it.
n-pearson, Jul 16 2003

       // Waugs, can you prove that it's my duty to sit on my hands as you command? //   

       Yes, I can. It's called the first amendment to the Constitution.
waugsqueke, Jul 16 2003

       //Yes, I can. It's called the first amendment to the Constitution.//   

       Even aside from this being an international forum, that is an -absurd- argument. I am not congress. Moreover, 'the' first amendment encourages me to speak my mind, not to sit on my hands.
n-pearson, Jul 16 2003

       No that's true. The constitution doesn't protect me from anti religious assholes.   

       Anyway, nuff said. You don't get it and never will. Point made.
waugsqueke, Jul 16 2003

       May I propose [marked-for-relocation] to Overbaked?
RayfordSteele, Jul 16 2003

       #1 Islam is not just Christianity rehashed, it is quite different. #2 If The Creator did not create/set in motion the universe then who/what did? Scientific laws did not create the big bang, observation of the big bang's consequences cause scientific laws to be formulated. #3 Science is a "good thing" but I don't believe it is the primary focus of existance. The Universe didn't come into being just so that science could be created. #4 The Catholic church was wrong about heliocentrism and took a long time to admit it was wrong. This is the fault of the falliable people who make up the church. Scientists are also falliable. They have been wrong before. Euclidian geometry is useful but it has some flaws when applied to non-Euclidian situations. #5 There is a very intersting proof in mathematics that shows that in every branch of mathematics (and maybe other fields, i forgot) there is either one statement which cannot be proved true or there is one false statement. Sorry i cant state it better i only heard a little about it.
althyr, Jul 16 2003

       Yeah, sure, reen ;-> Amid truisms (that's why Euclidean geometry is specified to be -Euclidean-) and straw men (who ever claimed that scientists were never wrong?!), [althyr] asks a great question: how did stuff get manifest in the first place? I for one don't know. My hunch is it was all made by a pink floating unicorn (and no one better tell me that's silly, b/c they can't prove I'm wrong). And how did the unicorn get there? Giant turtle. After that, it's turtles all the way down... That's what my elders told me, and I'm sticking with it.   

       Btw, a link to the math theorem cited (Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem) is up top.
n-pearson, Jul 16 2003

       [n-pearson], The bottom line I'm getting to is, if there is a boundary anywhere, then religion simply asks 'What's on the other side?" There are boundaries found in natural laws that scientists would be loathe to re-think their theories on for the sake of one demonstrated miracle. If I started floating, I'm pretty certain that it is more likely to be a miracle than some loophole I've found in the law of gravity. By your reasoning, if God himself were to walk up to you and introduce himself, you would ascribe him to natural law.
RayfordSteele, Jul 16 2003

       Ray, science is the asking of such questions and the systematic, if indefinite, search for their answers. 'Religion' is groundless speculation on their answers. Once again, show us just one real-world datum violating current physics theory, as it is most conservatively stated. Until you do so, your wishful speculation offers no insight into reality.
n-pearson, Jul 16 2003

       Wait, so how does science's methodological rigor make it 'invalid' in the face of a perceived contradiction? I don't follow your reasoning.
n-pearson, Jul 17 2003

       [n-pearson], I'm sorry, but your apparent constant need to explain the obvious about science is presumptive, patronizing, and really getting on my nerves.   

       Current physics theory violates itself in some regard.   

       I absolutely refuse to continue this conversation here. If you want me to comment, go to overbaked.
RayfordSteele, Jul 17 2003

       I guess it depends how you define 'contradiction'. Current physics theory certainly fully accepts as fact, for example, that matter shows both particulate and wavelike inherent properties -- such a counterintuitive observation certainly strikes many folks as a paradox, if not a 'contradiction'. Does this somehow 'invalidate' science?
n-pearson, Jul 17 2003

       Do they do them in green?
silverstormer, Jul 17 2003

       <slightly on-topic> Perhaps it's rather telling that whilst the Gideon's have demonstrated considerable goodwill and largesse in freely distributing copies of their bible to hotels, the science establishment has done no such thing with it's own classic texts.
DrBob, Jul 17 2003

       // Do I have to sign on to yahoo? //   

       Yes. You need a viable yahoo account in order to access. It should work just like IBD, if you're on it. I defaulted to there because I'm familiar with it, although I suppose something like usenet might have less hassle involved.
RayfordSteele, Jul 17 2003

       DrBob: excellent point, and one that had occurred to me too, though I hesitated to post anything so on-topic.
DrCurry, Jul 17 2003

       bliss, the only pricetag is your sanity.
RayfordSteele, Jul 17 2003

       [UB response no longer relevant]   

       Dr's Bob and Curry make a good (and constructive) point -- that's why I proposed this idea.
n-pearson, Jul 17 2003

       << The law of contradiction means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense.>> This sentence is a lie?...   

       So your definition precludes any actual contradiction existing? That's how I read it. If not, please give us a real world example of a contradiction which invalidates science.
n-pearson, Jul 17 2003

       Thanks for the mystical dodge.
n-pearson, Jul 17 2003

       <afterthought>...Mind you, it's probably just as well. If hotel rooms contained books donated by every group, sect or faction with a gospel to preach then there'd be no room left for the guests.
DrBob, Jul 18 2003

       <R2-D2> Beep, beep blip beep bip</R2-D2> ;)

I saw the error of my haste, fixed!
silverstormer, Jul 18 2003

       (before edit) That's C-3PO I believe...
RayfordSteele, Jul 18 2003

       You say you *believe* it's C-3PO, but without empirical evidence, you are a liar and a ne'er-do-well, sir!   

       ;) in case it's not obvious.
beauxeault, Jul 18 2003

bristolz, Jul 18 2003

       [UnaBubba], it's hard to delete ad hominem rants and commands to defer to your autocratic judgment while preserving the bracketed requests within. Btw, what, praytell, makes this idea 'out of scope'?
n-pearson, Jul 22 2003

       bliss, I don't know what folks are discussing over there, but I'll forgo further comment here -- save on comments addressing the book distribution idea as narrowly defined - - and encourage others to move further broader-scope debate there.
n-pearson, Jul 22 2003

       I don't see how this is out of scope, either. It's an idea for distributing books to motels.
bristolz, Jul 22 2003

       Which is why I suggested [marked-for-relocation]. We could keep the idea and a few comments, copy-paste the debate over, and be done with it. Some members found it inflammatory; (I didn't until the annotations started turning that way).   

       [n-pearson], just FYI, we generally like to avoid using the bakery for endless debate, especially endless religious debate. That is out-of-scope as far as the purpose of the site, the idea is not as far as the written rules go. But I might add that there are the unwritten rules in any group, from which the rules came, and which largely define the its culture. Things like: "don't continue an endless thread on a tired topic that obviously wears at people's patience and pulls them away from other, equally deserving ideas if it continually stays at the top of the heap."
RayfordSteele, Jul 22 2003

       Niels Bohr, now that's a sleeper. Besides, I just look at the pictures.
kamenmann, Jul 22 2003

       bliss, yep. Or are you being satirical? My satire detector is returning a '? code'   

       It was also for debates like this one.   

       (Or maybe I'm wrong, we might have to debate that in OB...)
RayfordSteele, Jul 23 2003

       Why not put in a terminal and let the hypothetical guest hit halfbakery.com thus gaining much sought after erudition and sleep by the way.
bob_c, Jul 23 2003

       Regardless of what the thread has turned into, conformity with the rules is judged upon the original posting, not upon the ensuing annotations.   

       As for deleting mfd tags, that is almost always a bad idea. However, while I did not see the annotation that was deleted by the author, so I can't comment specifically, in general, I think it not unreasonable to expect that an annotation carrying an mfd tag payload not also carry opinion that strays much beyond whether or not the idea is suitable to the halfbakery. Save that for a follow-on annotation.
bristolz, Jul 23 2003

       Unabubba censored? No wonder some of my ideas have been escaping the hammer of god treatment, but still if true, why?
Zimmy, Jul 24 2003

       It'll taper off in time. It's nothing to get all worked up over, though.
bristolz, Jul 24 2003

       [n-pearson] I've joined this thread too late to really contribute. Not that you seem to need it but I'd just like to encourage you to keep up the good work. You're one of the few in this thread making complete and consistent sense and rest assured that there are many of us who understand that. I too feel a sense of frustration and sadness at witnessing the effects of exposure to outmoded dogma.
squoink, Aug 27 2003

       //By your reasoning, if God himself were to walk up to you and introduce himself, you would ascribe him to natural law.//   

       OK, I've arrived 11 years late but I'm catching up. Yes, if God himself appeared, I'd ascribe him to natural law. I'd want to check a few credentials first, and might thereafter want to consider extending natural laws, but that's a different matter.   

       To put it less flippantly - suppose someone appeared and said "I'm God" (or "a god"), and then proceeded to turn a burning bush into wine, I would:   

       (1) Look for smoke and mirrors
(2) If none could be found, try to get objective data that I wasn't dreaming or hallucinating
(3) If I wasn't, I would ask for and expect some kind of explanation as to what technology he was using to rearrange matter at an atomic level.

       One thing I don't think I could do would be to say "Oh, a god, well that's OK then, I'll just leave it at that."   

       More or less by definition, if God (or a god) appears, he's ascribable to natural laws, even if those natural laws have to be revised.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 09 2014

       You just couldn't leave this skeleton in the closet, could you, [Max].   

       So what do we do now, use fire? Stake through the heart? How do we kill this beast before it starts roaming around again, moaning and asking for brains?
Custardguts, Mar 10 2014


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