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Thread: Is Physics A Religion?

  1. #1

    Is Physics A Religion?

    Bertrand Russell writes in Our Knowledge of the External World:

    In physics as ordinarily set forth, there is much that is unverifiable: there are hypotheses as to (a) how things would appear to a spectator in a place where, as it happens, there is no spectator; (b) how things would appear to a spectator in a place when, in fact, they are not appearing to anyone; (c) things which never appear at all.
    What's the difference between physics and religion?
    Last edited by OilIsMastery; 10-10-07 at 11:12 AM.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    No.
    What's the difference between physics and religion?

  4. #4
    I won't play, go figure it out yourself.

  5. #5
    Alpha Rules:

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    (within reason... sometimes too many questions are asked at once). "I don't know" is a valid answer.

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    Say what you mean. Try not to be coy, or overly subtle.
    Most importantly, request for clarification must be answered. Politely.
    But don't worry. Since you're an atheist it's doubtful these rules will be enforced. Forum rules don't apply to atheists.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    What's the difference between physics and religion?
    OilIsMastery,

    Christians believe that Jesus will save the world.

    Physicists are trying to do it themselves.

  7. #7
    When did this thread incur Alpha Rules:?

  8. #8
    had a mod but let him go spidergoat's Avatar
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    The difference is evidence. Before you point to string theory or something, know that these are tentative ideas, not tenets of faith.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DeepThought View Post
    OilIsMastery,

    Christians believe that Jesus will save the world.

    Physicists are trying to do it themselves.
    Apparently you've never heard of a Christian physicist. Do you know who Isaac Newton is?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    The difference is evidence.
    Did you read the opening post?

    "In physics as ordinarily set forth there is much that is unverifiable."

    What evidence are you talking about?

  11. #11
    had a mod but let him go spidergoat's Avatar
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    What isn't verifiable?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    What isn't verifiable?
    In the future please read the opening post before you comment.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    What isn't verifiable?
    Basically things that happen when no-ome is around.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    Alpha Rules:
    You missed this bit:
    • About the Alpha Rules
      • Alpha rules may be engaged when making a new thread, by putting "(Alpha)" before the main thread title.
    They're not engaged by default.
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    What isn't verifiable?
    In the future please read the opening post before you comment.
    "Bertrand Russell says so" hardly counts as a specific example.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by przyk View Post
    "Bertrand Russell says so" hardly counts as a specific example.
    You wrote that; I didn't. Are you quoting yourself?

  16. #16
    had a mod but let him go spidergoat's Avatar
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    There is some extrapolation from the specific to the general, is that what you mean? Some principles are detected and verified indirectly, from their effects on something else.

  17. #17
    In physics there are hypotheses which cannot possibly be tested and will never be tested. Therefore physics is speculative. Just like metaphysics and religion. I'd sooner believe in chimeras and faeries than physics.

  18. #18
    had a mod but let him go spidergoat's Avatar
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    But these are acknowledged to be hypothesis until they are confirmed. Unlike religion, they are not considered fact until then. On some level, you are correct that theoretical physics (as opposed to the physics used to put the space shuttle in orbit), resembles the most liberal forms of religion. The requirements for confirmation of these ideas are very different, though.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    But these are acknowledged to be hypothesis until they are confirmed. Unlike religion, they are not considered fact until then.
    Physics makes factual claims all the time based upon assumptions and principles which by definition cannot be proven. In religion on the other hand we acknowledge our hypthesis is called faith not certainty. Religion is far more scientific than physics.

    On some level, you are correct that theoretical physics (as opposed to the physics used to put the space shuttle in orbit), resembles the most liberal forms of religion. The requirements for confirmation of these ideas are very different, though.

  20. #20
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    Apparently you've never heard of a Christian physicist. Do you know who Isaac Newton is?
    No, I do not know who that IS. If there is someone around by that name he probably has little to do with this topic anyway. But I do know of someone by that name who once existed. Perhaps that's who you mean and you simply don't know how to use verbs properly?

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