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Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God

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mdg
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« on: September 02, 2010, 08:48:32 AM »

From the Guardian.co.uk

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God did not create the universe, the man who is arguably Britain's most famous living scientist says in a forthcoming book.

In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.

In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is "not necessary".

The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have created out of chaos.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

In the forthcoming book, published on 9 September, Hawking says that M-theory, a form of string theory, will achieve this goal: "M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find," he theorises.

"The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph."

Hawking says the first blow to Newton's belief that the universe could not have risen from chaos was the observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings," he writes.

Hawking had previously appeared to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe, writing in his bestseller A Brief History Of Time in 1988, he said: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason–- for then we should know the mind of God."

Hawking resigned as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University last year after 30 years in the position.
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 08:58:56 AM »

well, ten points for him then.  cant wait to hear the woos going bananas over that one.
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 09:42:39 AM »

Maybe Mefiante and Mintaka (or other similar boffs) can explain to us poor plebs what M-theory is...I know they've (the mysterious they) have been looking for a unifying theory for a long time now.
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 10:05:54 AM »

Quote from: Brian
Maybe Mefiante and Mintaka (or other similar boffs) can explain to us poor plebs what M-theory is...I know they've (the mysterious they) have been looking for a unifying theory for a long time now.

Good idea,Brian. Unfortunately I'm not a boff, I'm a dof  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 12:01:14 PM »

Quote
"If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason–- for then we should know the mind of God."

It appears they've drawn a blank.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 12:32:56 PM »

Quote
"If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason–- for then we should know the mind of God."

It appears they've drawn a blank.

That's what he said in 1988, as I understand it he now rejects that God had a mind. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 12:52:46 PM »

Yay! Stephen Hawking is well respected (way more than Richard Dawkins, Hitch etc.) and his new book is going to have an enormous impact on the ears that will listen - this is a huge step forward for the cause of critical thinking. I'm a HUGE Hawking fan - read Brief History Of Time - this is awesome.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 13:28:22 PM »

In A Brief History of Time Hawking's repeated references to God puzzled (ever irked) me somewhat.   I got the feeling that he was canvassing acceptance and I would be glad if he has abandoned that angle.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 15:26:08 PM »

An unrelated news item
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Richard Dawkins hacks Hawking's voice synthesiser
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2010, 16:17:50 PM »

An unrelated news item
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Richard Dawkins hacks Hawking's voice synthesiser
Grin  Brilliant!
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Mefiante
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2010, 21:16:05 PM »

Maybe Mefiante and Mintaka (or other similar boffs) can explain to us poor plebs what M-theory is...
This is a challenge that will seriously tax my abilities to verbalise and translate a complex and interrelated web of highly abstract mathematical notions into ordinary language in a way that is both understandable and meaningful to the layperson.  Truthfully, I think it’s well above my abilities to do that (short of a decent-sized book) without either losing the reader or dumbing the topic down to the point of futility.  Nor have I been able to locate any resources that do not suffer either or both of those shortcomings.

In a nutshell, M-Theory is a variant/extension of string theory which models certain elementary particles not as point-like entities, but rather as ultra-super-tiny, tiny, tiny “strings” (not themselves made of ordinary matter), either open-ended or closed loops, that vibrate both in our customary and also in several curled-up spatial dimensions. The various dimensions, frequencies and superposed harmonics together determine the particles’ more familiar properties such as mass, charge, etc.  M-Theory extends the notion to attempt describing particle interactions and even spacetime itself in terms of “motions” or “stretchings” or “evolutions” of such strings through a higher-dimensional (to be precise, 26 dimensions in its most general conception) manifold.  Thus, a surface (or 2-D construct) results from a string vibrating in just one dimension while sweeping out a path in one other dimension.  Similarly, a 3-D construct arises from a string vibrating in one dimension that sweeps out a path in two, or one that vibrates in two dimensions that sweeps out a one-dimensional path.  It should not be difficult to see how the possibilities expand as the dimensionality grows.  With this flexibility in hand, it was/is thought (hoped, actually) that a suitable formulation could be found for describing particle (point-like) and gravitational (spacetime-like) interactions from within the same overarching framework.

If that actually makes sense to you, dear reader, I’ve done a much better job than I could have hoped for.  If not, that’s okay too: as said, it’s highly abstract and the maths doesn’t port easily into everyday concepts.

String theory in all of its various guises is highly contentious.  It started as an attempt to fuse gravity with the three other forces (electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear) into a single cohesive description.  So far, it has failed.  Detractors are not shy to point out that despite 30+ years’ sharp focus and effort by some of humanity’s best minds, string theory has yet to offer any new insights or fruitful research directions.  Hawking’s support notwithstanding, I’m fairly certain that string theory will become redundant just as soon as someone hits on the right perspective.  When that will happen is, of course, an open question.

'Luthon64
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2010, 22:02:56 PM »

Maybe Mefiante and Mintaka (or other similar boffs) can explain to us poor plebs what M-theory is...

Gosh, thanks for the compliment, but it is totally undeserved. I don't think I've heard of M-theory before, and can barely follow Mefi's already simplified explanations on the best of days! But if you are looking for a good ciabatta recipe, we can talk. Smiley

Mintaka
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 07:10:02 AM »

From the Guardian.co.uk

Quote
God did not create the universe, the man who is arguably Britain's most famous living scientist says in a forthcoming book.

Duh! I like Stephen Hawking, but he's clearly no rocket scientist!  Cool
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 07:50:30 AM »

Maybe Mefiante and Mintaka (or other similar boffs) can explain to us poor plebs what M-theory is...
This is a challenge that will seriously tax my abilities to verbalise and translate a complex and interrelated web of highly abstract mathematical notions into ordinary language in a way that is both understandable and meaningful to the layperson. 

I lost you right there, but thanks for trying!  Embarrassed
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 08:14:18 AM »

Yeah, thanks for trying Mefiante. Even if I did understand it, it wouldn't have stayed in my brain - I have serious memory retention problems  Grin

It's getting so bad that I can start hiding my own easter eggs.

Although, I do seem remember watching a show where Michio Kaku gave a brief explanation about string theory - but that's about as much as I can recall.

mdg
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 08:42:59 AM »

There was a article in Popular Mechanics a few years back that gave me a idea what the basic idea is, and Mefiante's explanation is as succinct a explanation I've come across. Most of it is still way over my head, but also most of what I know is that M and string theory doesn't answer the questions it set out to answer.

Will have to see what is Hawking's argument.
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 10:41:08 AM »

Interesting video
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2010, 15:30:11 PM »

A Catholic group has challenged Prof. Stephen Hawking to prove Our Lady of Gaudalupe image is a fraud and have offered him $8356.38, which is kinda weird.




Quote
By Stephen K. Ryan      September 03, 2010

Today the world learned that physic's wunderkind, Stephen Hawking, has come down from the mountaintop to announce (quite dramatically) that  "God did not create the universe"   

Does he mean that the case is now closed?  We are not sure the Catholic Church has turned the lights out just yet.

 MinistryValues.com  would like to suggest to Mr. Hawking that before he rushes to any conclusion about God he should check with the scientists that work for the Catholic Church on the matter. Scientist by the way with better credentials than Mr Hawkings including a Nobel Prize.

The Catholic Church, as you might expect, disagrees with Stephen Hawking on the matter of God and creation.

We  would like to propose to Stephen Hawking that before he gets ahead of himself that he take care of a little business first. Like disprove the miracles of the Virgin Mary.

Guadalupe is one of the great mysteries of the world. The Catholic Church stands by the claim that "God" created the famous iconic image of the Virgin Mary.  Nobel prize winning scientists have investigated the famous icon an state under no uncertain term the image of Guadalupe was not created man. Richard Kuhn, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, has found that the image did not have natural, animal or mineral colorings. Given that there were no synthetic colorings in 1531, the image is inexplicable. 

Millions of Catholics believe the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously painted by God.  Clearly Mr. Hawking would find this  event impossible, yet the Catholic Church indeed stands by the claim that the image was the result of a miracle.

So with this in mind ministryvalues.com would like to offer Hawkings a $$8356.38 reward (its all we can come up with) if he can prove to us  who painted Our Lady of Guadalupe or tell the Catholic church how it came to be.  By proving the image of "Our Lady Of Guadalupe was not painted by "God"  would not only improve Mr. Hawkings considerable  reputation but he  would enjoy the added benefit  crushing the hopes and dreams of millions of believers. 

The Catholic Church claims the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.

Just Recently on an Official State visit, Ms. Hillary Clinton asked the Monsignor of the Basilica of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" who painted the  beautiful image of the Virgin Mary. The Monsignor answered "well God did!"   (we know he wanted to add "you big ninny)
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2010, 20:30:38 PM »

A Catholic group has challenged Prof. Stephen Hawking to prove Our Lady of Gaudalupe image is a fraud
These guys just don't get it. Surely the burden of proof is on them - they're the ones making the claim?
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2010, 20:47:23 PM »

At the very real risk of trivialising such an obviously well thought-out piece of scholarly research Roll Eyes

  • “Today the world learned that physic's wunderkind…”
    No, no.  That should be: “Today the world learned that physics’ wunderkind…” although “… physics wunderkind…” would be fine too.

  • “MinistryValues.com  would like to suggest to Mr. Hawking that…”
    No, no.  That should be Prof. Hawking.  He’s earned it.  Really.

  • “Scientist by the way with better credentials than Mr Hawkings including a Nobel Prize.”
    No, no.  Not only does your facility with plurals, punctuation and sentence construction suck, this time ’round you also manage to get the man’s title and his name wrong.  Really, now.  That should be: “Scientists, by the way, with better credentials than Prof. Hawking, including a Nobel Prize winner” or “laureate” or “recipient” or something.  The good professor’s surname has no trailing “s.”  Please.

  • “Nobel prize winning scientists have investigated the famous icon an state under no uncertain term the image of Guadalupe was not created man.”
    No, no.  Hyphenation for adjectival phrases, as well as conjunctions and prepositions are equally problematic, it seems.  How about:  “Nobel Prize-winning scientists have investigated the famous icon and state in no uncertain terms that the image of Guadalupe was not created by man.”

  • “Clearly Mr. Hawking would find this  event impossible…”
    No, no.  Once again, that should be Prof. Hawking.  He truly has earned it.  Not a word of a lie.

  • “So with this in mind ministryvalues.com would like to offer Hawkings $$8,356.38 as areward…”
    No, no.  It’s obvious that basic linguistic rules are well beyond your grasp.  Let’s try:  “So with this in mind, ministryvalues.com would like to offer Hawking $8,356.38 as a reward…”

  • “By proving the image of "Our Lady Of Guadalupe was not painted by "God"  would not only improve Mr. Hawkings considerable  reputation…”
    No, no.  Consistent punctuation and possessives are as far beyond your capabilities as basic respect for earned titles and correct names are, aren’t they?  How about:  “Proving that the image of "Our Lady Of Guadalupe" was not painted by "God" would not only improve Prof. Hawking’s considerable  reputation…”

  • “The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as…”
    No, no.  Wait…  Actually, this is almost okay although it would be much less awkward as:  “The image has numerous inexplicable features, such as…”

  • “Just Recently on an Official State visit, Ms. Hillary Clinton asked…”
    No, no.  Capitalisation is also somewhat troublesome.  More correctly, it should read:  “Just recently on an official state visit, Ms. Hillary Clinton asked…”

Some things are just so stupid that the only sane reaction is ridicule and mockery.

'Luthon64
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Julian
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« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2010, 10:01:44 AM »

If anyone is interested in the facts rather than religious hyperbole, I would refer you to my favourite skeptic podcaster, Brian Dunning aka Skeptoid - http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4201.

In summary, the image has never been subjected to a proper scientific analysis, because well, it is a sacred religious icon dammit, and we can't have pesky scientists cutting little pieces out of it. The legends surrounding the image, as well as its actual history, are pretty interesting though. As always, truth is more interesting than religious wishful thinking.
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« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2010, 10:03:57 AM »

As for Hawking I'm pretty sure his allusions to God have always been metaphorical. As far as I know he is a pantheist.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2010, 10:29:49 AM »

I'm no expert on divinely created art, or any art for that matter, but I do know that artists like to sign their paintings. This is presumably so because they normally have a little bit of paint left after completion of the main picture.  So what I suggest is that the relevant catholic gallery curator go and have a look at the right hand side bottom corner of the image. If it says "by God", then we'll all know for sure. Failing that, the painting can be scrutinized for a small depiction of a toaster.

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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2010, 10:49:05 AM »

Failing that, the painting can be scrutinized for a small depiction of a toaster.

Mintaka

toaster??
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2010, 10:58:01 AM »

toaster??

Quite. http://forum.skeptic.za.org/fun/image-of-toaster-appears-on-virgin-mary-painting/

M.
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2010, 10:59:57 AM »

Jacques Rousseau (an excellent skeptic who, oddly enough, taught me "Thinking About Bussiness - a core course - at UCT) has a thoughtful piece in the Daily Maverick on Hawking and God: http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2010-09-08-talking-of-hawking-and-thinking-of-god
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2010, 11:36:57 AM »

There are several problems with Hawkins' assertions.
1) Hawkins says:
Quote
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."

Hawkins definitions of "nothing" is wanting. Maybe he says a little more about that in his book (good marketing I guess). If his definition is anything like the classical metaphysical conception whereby nothing is literally nothing and nothing CAN COME from nothing, then he seems to ascribe some God-like property to the law of gravity. According to the classical conception, only God creates from nothing or ex nihilo.
2) Hawkins wants us to believe that the law of gravity is god-like in the sense that it is (like paul Davies opines) "eternal, immutable transcendent entities that just happen to exist and must simply be accepted as given".
3) From these quotes...
Quote
The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.

Quote
"The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph."

...it is quite clear that he has a mechanistic view (mechanistic metaphysics) of the universe and is unlikely to know much about the classical Aristotelian conception of God. With this mechanistic view in mind, Hawkins seems to desperately want to attack God-of-the gaps arguments (big bang ID, deism etc,) and probably rightly so. From an Aristotelian and classical theistic perspective this is of course a non-sequitur really and quite irrelevant.

And there are also several problems with the assertion that God is some kind of hypothesis (as in Jacques' piece). To say God is some kind hypothesis is like saying the interior angles of a triangle on an Euclidean plane adding up to 180 degrees is some kind of hypothesis. Sure, there are some (as per the IDers) who would like to argue that God is a hypothesis, heck even a theory, and perhaps Jacques as well as Hawkins targeted those people. Hawkins could have written the book without referring to God or other metaphysical topics (such as something from nothing or the ontological status of laws), but I guess it is good for book sales and it got people talking and thinking.
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2010, 14:04:13 PM »

Teleological, you are terribly confused. On the "something coming from nothing" question, you should really read up on quantum mechanics. And... who cares if he doesn't restrict himself to the "classical metaphysical conception"? That conception is based on nothing more solid that human intuition, and, since the universe is not only stranger than we conceive, but stranger that we can possible conceive, there is just no reason to think our intuitions are a guide to truth. Dawkins has a most excellent TED Talk on this: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_our_queer_universe.html
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« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2010, 14:44:16 PM »

And the whole forum, mesmerised and intrigued, waits with bated breath for this thread’s next exciting instalment…

Betting is now open. Lips Sealed

'Luthon64
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2010, 15:10:30 PM »

Quote from: Mefiante
And the whole forum, mesmerised and intrigued, waits with bated breath for this thread’s next exciting instalment…

Betting is now open
.

LOL! Wait I want to get some popcorn...

Oh dear, I laughed at your joke Mefiante, does that make me your lap dog/minion too?  Evil

@Michael Meadon - I would like to think that I am your friend (albeit an internet one) and feel it's necessary to tell you that the woo is strong with the one they call Teleological. I wish you luck.
When all else fails, just pat him on the head and toss him a cookie.  Wink

mdg
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« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2010, 15:14:37 PM »

I'm betting a six pack that Michael Meadon doesn't understand pabi AKA CTG.

I'm also putting a bottle of Jameson on that we'll fail (yet again) to get the explanation we so dearly require as to why we should take pabi seriously in the first place.

I'll quite understand if I get no takers  Wink
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« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2010, 15:21:13 PM »

P.S.

Telly, old bean, I don't know which book you were reading - I've never heard of Hawkins.

We're discussing Prof. Stephen Hawking's book, Get with the program, old chap  Wink

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« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2010, 15:26:01 PM »

And that after mefiante had to correct that exact error in this thread from another fundie already. 

tsk tsk.
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« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2010, 17:29:15 PM »

Oh dear, I laughed at your joke Mefiante, does that make me your lap dog/minion too?  Evil
Only if you beg me nicely… Grin

Either that, or you start biting the ankles of, and howling at those whose profound arguments I am obviously too dense to comprehend.  Laughing at my jokes will get you a good grooming, though. Wink

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« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2010, 17:35:06 PM »


@Michael Meadon - I would like to think that I am your friend (albeit an internet one) and feel it's necessary to tell you that the woo is strong with the one they call Teleological. I wish you luck.
When all else fails, just pat him on the head and toss him a cookie.  Wink

mdg

Thanks for the warning!  Smiley (And the feeling is mutual)... Yeah, I've seen Telly's posts around and noted the... erm... somewhat unclear thinking. But hey, I'm a sucker for punishment.
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« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2010, 17:43:26 PM »

I'm betting a six pack that Michael Meadon doesn't understand pabi AKA CTG.

Erm... Molecular biology? Genetics? High school biology taught me all about base pairs. But K? That threw me.

Also... if I'm right, my poison is Black Label.  Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2010, 17:59:24 PM »

Erm... Molecular biology? Genetics? High school biology taught me all about base pairs. But K? That threw me.
No, that would be ACTG.  “AKA” = “also known as,” and “CTG” = “classical theistic god.”  See here (among several other points further left within the forum) to get an even more muddled and incoherent picture of the latter miraculous entity.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2010, 22:02:09 PM »

Ah, right... :-)

But isn't pabi a protein?
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« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2010, 07:53:18 AM »

pabi is short for Pure Act / Being Itself because there is no way in hell I was going to keep on writing that out.

A complete ex recto, vacuous description if ever there has been one. Navel gazing at its very very very best.

In my opinion better not to have said anything at all.
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« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2010, 08:28:53 AM »

Right... But, as it turns out, pabi is ALSO a protein: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PABI. Not sure how in the hell I knew that.
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Teleological
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2010, 09:50:10 AM »

Teleological, you are terribly confused. On the "something coming from nothing" question, you should really read up on quantum mechanics. And... who cares if he doesn't restrict himself to the "classical metaphysical conception"? That conception is based on nothing more solid that human intuition, and, since the universe is not only stranger than we conceive, but stranger that we can possible conceive, there is just no reason to think our intuitions are a guide to truth. Dawkins has a most excellent TED Talk on this: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_dawkins_on_our_queer_universe.html

Michael, it is not an intuition that circles are not squares or triangles have three sides, it is also not an intuition to understand that from nothing, nothing comes. It is a plain and simple logical statement, classical or not is irrelevant. Nothingness cannot become actual by itself. Nothingness has no being. On its own it does not even have the potential to be something simply because nothingness has nothing. If you do not accept this, at least provide some form of logic to support it. Bringing in quantum mechanics to try and confuse quantum vacua or quantum foam or the appearance of virtual particles or whatever with pure nothingness won't help. Heck, even wiki can give you an answer:
Nothing:
Quote
Science

In mathematics, "nothing" does not have a technical meaning. The number zero is often used interchangeably with the term. It could also be said that a set contains "nothing" if and only if it is the empty set, in which case its cardinality (or size) is zero. In other words, the word "nothing" can be an informal term for an empty set.

In physics, the word nothing is not used in any technical sense either. A region of space is called a vacuum if it does not contain any matter, though it can contain physical fields. In fact, it is practically impossible to construct a region of space that contains no matter or fields, since gravity cannot be blocked and all objects at a non-zero temperature radiate electromagnetically. However, even if such a region existed, it could still not be referred to as "nothing", since it has properties and a measurable existence as part of the quantum-mechanical vacuum.


With regards to intuitions (not logical statements), intuitions should at most be pointers to something objective and not be viewed infallible.
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« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2010, 10:18:02 AM »

Nothingness cannot become actual by itself.
No, you need pabi to mold and work nothingness and form it into somethingness  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2010, 15:15:10 PM »

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Michael, it is not an intuition that circles are not squares or triangles have three sides, it is also not an intuition to understand that from nothing, nothing comes. It is a plain and simple logical statement, classical or not is irrelevant.


That triangles have three sides is definitional; it's a priori. It does not bear on human intuitions about the empirical world, i.e. what is a posteriori. Furthermore, the question of why there is something rather than nothing is an exceptionally complicated topic both in philosophy and cosmology. I don't know the formal literature (I've only read Nozick's Philosophical Investigations on this), so I don't presume to have a strong opinion. I'd suggest that unless you know the literature, you should rather keep quiet as well. Also, how to adequately define "nothing" is itself a complicated question: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/#TheAnyNot
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« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2010, 15:27:54 PM »

Quote
Michael, it is not an intuition that circles are not squares or triangles have three sides, it is also not an intuition to understand that from nothing, nothing comes. It is a plain and simple logical statement, classical or not is irrelevant.


That triangles have three sides is definitional; it's a priori. It does not bear on human intuitions about the empirical world, i.e. what is a posteriori. Furthermore, the question of why there is something rather than nothing is an exceptionally complicated topic both in philosophy and cosmology. I don't know the formal literature (I've only read Nozick's Philosophical Investigations on this), so I don't presume to have a strong opinion.

So why say others are confused about it? I suggest you don't say others are confused about a complicated topic of which you presume to not have strong opinions or knowledge about the formal literature. Also that "nothing comes from nothing" is also defintional and an a priori logical statement.

I'd suggest that unless you know the literature, you should rather keep quiet as well. Also, how to adequately define "nothing" is itself a complicated question: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nothingness/#TheAnyNot

I am familiar with the Aristotelian-Thomistic view and definition of nothingness so we can proceed from there if you like.

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« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2010, 18:31:49 PM »

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So why say others are confused about it? I suggest you don't say others are confused about a complicated topic of which you presume to not have strong opinions or knowledge about the formal literature. Also that "nothing comes from nothing" is also defintional and an a priori logical statement.

I'm not metaphysician, nor do I know the this literature, but my philosophy degree equips me to spot nonsense when I see it.

Quote
I am familiar with the Aristotelian-Thomistic view and definition of nothingness so we can proceed from there if you like.

I'd rather chew my own arm off. That Thomists still exist is an indictment of philosophy.
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