Is Atheism Unscientific?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by th.w.heller, Oct 15, 2008.

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  1. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So far, there doesn't seem to be any violation of natural laws observed.

    If God exists then what does He do?
     
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  3. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

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    (1) So far is meaningless because the future is unpredictable and it's always crazier than we think.
    (2) Seeming is not being.
    (3) We don't know what the natural laws are.
    (4) We haven't observed the entire universe. That would be called a physical impossibility.

    If God exists, then what do you make of your claim that natural laws do not require his existence?
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    1. Agreed the future is unpredictable. We can get back to the question when this new evidence is finally gathered.
    2. Seeming is not being, but it's the best we can do so far. See #1.
    3. We know enough of them to know that the universe does not seem to violate any of them.
    4. We don't need to observe every square inch of space to know certain things, like there is no teapot orbiting Mars.

    Hypothetically, my claim is still valid.
     
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  7. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

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    Speak for yourself then. I don't know what the laws of science are because I'm not omniscient and the history of science tells me that the so-called "laws" change with the scientific fashion of the time.

    You don't know that. All it takes is one single observation of a teapot to annihilate your a priori religious belief.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    OK, when the laws change and then seem to be violated by reality, then there is room to speculate about the supernatural.

    I do know there is no teapot orbiting Mars, and it is unreasonable to give the notion any serious consideration. Of course, an observation of the teapot or God would change the game. Hasn't happened yet.
     
  9. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

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    Some so-called "laws" do change therefore some so-called "laws" are violated.

    That sounds like religion to me considering you've never been to Mars or spent any time in it's orbit. What if NASA put a teapot in orbit and you're not aware of it? What then?

    That's exactly my point. Yet doesn't really mean much if all of the sudden a teapot is observed.
     
  10. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    So you're defining atheism to suit your purpose

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    Technically, those people should be called agnostic, although I've heard this argument before (sitting at a table with very prominent atheists).

    True. This is the only scientific statement that you can make---it hasn't happened yet

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  11. mynameisDan Registered Senior Member

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    wrong again Miss goat. What atheists usually mean when they say this is they haven't "seen God". But seeing is only one of the 5 senses which scientists use to "observe". That is all sorts of data supporting the existance of God and of course no data in support of his universal non existance.

    Dawkins, in his book, climbing mountain improbable acknowledges the design argument for example. He simply dismisses it, calling it "designoid" or apparent design. But design arguments are actually quite strong.

    The atheist is faced with explaining away design and calling it apparent design and tries to suggest ways design could come about by chance. He cannot do this successfully however so design arguments stand.

    One example is that we live in a universe which is remarkably suited for life to exist. Many non believers have acknowledged that there is no explanation for all of the universal constants to be what they are, they just are (Sir Fred Hoyle was one). In addition, we have yet to find life anywhere else in the universe. And although the universe is very large and there are many solar systems with planets, we now know that the list of factors which are necessary for life to exist as we know it are getting very long.

    Earth is not the center of the universe, but this speck of dust has all of the right qualities for life, including such things as the right distance from the sun, a moon, water, planets to deflect space debri etc..

    In addition our earth is uniquely suited for scientific exploration. We are in the "goldilocks" zone in our galaxy. Not to close to the center, or too far out. Our atmosphere is transparent and our night sky clear. Our moon is the perfect size and distance from the sun to allow us to study the suns atmosphere. The large number of coincidences add up to "there must be a God" in most rational peoples minds. However, atheism is not rational. It is a brain abnormality, and thus, they will always exists in very small numbers (providing that we don't interbreed)
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Dawkins points out a radical difference between things that are designed and things that evolved. He terms the appearance of design "designoid" in order to differentiate it, and then goes on to tell you how it works, but I guess you missed that part.

    The appearance of living in a world that is suited to us is another logical fallacy. We evolved to fit here, in a place that might be poisonous to other life forms. A puddle of water always seems to fit the hole. We call this anthropic bias. No life form advanced enough to ask the question will find itself in a place unsuited for it's own methods of living (I don't expect you to understand any of this).
     
  13. mynameisDan Registered Senior Member

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    hmmm, what other life forms are you aware of besides the carbon based ones we all know of? Are you speculating here? Your view that we evolved to fit here is an axiom of yours. We have found no other life forms nor demonstrated any others could exist. All we know of are the life forms we have observed, and they cannot live just anywhere. You might earn yourself some points should you demonstrate that other (silicon based?) forms exist somewhere else. Until then, the universe is clearly designed, regardless of your beliefs to the contrary.
     
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Early life would find our oxygen atmosphere to be toxic, so that's one example. Since we don't know what other life forms could exist, we cannot say that our planet is unique in being suited for life. Furthermore, our planet represents only a tiny portion of the known universe, so the universe itself does not appear to be very hospitable. One look at the vast distances and consideration of the speed of light seems to show that the universe is not at all suited for humans to travel around in it.
     
  15. Betrayer0fHope MY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYY Registered Senior Member

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    Atheism isn't the belief that God cannot exist, Atheism is the belief that God does not exist.
     
  16. mynameisDan Registered Senior Member

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    From all that we do know, this is the only life forms that can exist. Your suggestion that others can is pure speculation as I stated previously. So what you have is an argument of silence. We can't even make carbon based life forms and have no idea (scientifically speaking) how they arose. Scientists search for things that allow habitability on other planets such as water. They don't just assume that other forms of life exist which do not need it.

    The universe is not entirely habitable, you are correct. What I stated before is that the universal constants are such as to make life as we know it possible. Our planet appears to be uniquely suited to not just survival, but also scientific discovery as I mentioned before. It is the combination of all of these factors which speak loud and clear, there must be a God. Which is exactly what former atheist Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wichsramasinge did say.

    Referring to abiogenesis he said the following in The Intelligent Universe (London: Michael Joseph, 1983, 256 pp.), Hoyle says:

    …as biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that its chances of originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance (pp. 11-12).

    Regarding the relative masses of protons, electrons and neutrons he states:

    If the combined masses of the proton and electron were suddenly to become a little more rather than a little less than the mass of the neutron, the effect would be devastating. The hydrogen atom would become unstable. Throughout the Universe all the hydrogen atoms would immediately break down to form neutrons and neutrinos. Robbed of its nuclear fuel, the Sun would fade and collapse. Across the whole of space, stars like the Sun would contract in their billions, releasing a deadly flood of X-rays as they burned out. By that time life on Earth, needless to say, would already have been extinguished (pp. 219-220).
     
  17. mynameisDan Registered Senior Member

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    whatever. The point is that it is a belief and an irrational one at that.
     
  18. Betrayer0fHope MY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYY Registered Senior Member

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    Beliefs are irrational, now?
     
  19. th.w.heller Registered Member

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    For all intents and purposes I, as an extremely skeptical agnostic, am operationally an atheist but I must say that I find the fervency of opinion (on both sides) over this question rather unsettling. Perhaps this is part of the "certitude" to which Maher was referring.
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Dan,

    Our universe is "not entirely habitable"? By area, weight, or volume, the Earth compared to the rest of even the solar system amounts to a ratio so small it is close to zero. So, it would be more accurate to say that the universe is uninhabitable.

    The fine-tuning argument is flawed. Since we don't know what kinds of life are possible, we cannot say that the universe is fine-tuned for life. In another kind of universe, there could arise different kinds of life.

    ...promoters of design often use mutually contradictory logic: On the one hand the creationists and God-of-the-gaps evolutionists argue that nature is too uncongenial for life to have developed totally naturally, and so therefore supernatural input must have occurred. On the other hand, the fine tuners (often the same people) argue that the constants and laws of nature are exquisitely congenial to life, and so therefore they must have been supernaturally created. They can't have it both ways.​



    ...I find that long-lived stars that could make life more likely will occur over a wide range of these parameters. For example, if we take the electron and proton masses to be equal to their values in our universe, an electromagnetic force strength having any value greater than its value in our universe will give a stellar lifetime of more than 680 million years. The strong interaction strength does not enter into this calculation. If we had an electron mass 100,000 times lower, the proton mass could be as much as 1,000 times lower to achieve the same minimum stellar lifetime. This is hardly fine-tuning.

    Victor Stenger
     
  21. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

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    He's one of the biggest atheists out there. Atheists who don't like to be categorized as atheist are the biggest atheists of them all. Atheism is a completely unscientific religion.
     
  22. jpappl Valued Senior Member

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    Atheism is not unscientific.

    Theism is. Not bringing a belief or dis-belief in a god into the equation has nothing to do with science. Since atheist are not trying to convince you a god exists which is beyond the ability of science to try and answer at this point. Atheism works fine within science.

    Theist are claiming a belief in a god and as such are claiming knowledge that is not proveable. That has nothing to do with the scientific process. That is a belief only.

    Theists can work within science but they need to leave their gods at the door.
     
  23. jpappl Valued Senior Member

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    Lixluke,

    Definition of atheism:

    The broader, and more common, understanding of atheism among atheists is quite simply "not believing in any gods." No claims or denials are made — an atheist is just a person who does not happen to be a theist.

    Definition of religion:

    A religion is a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

    So how can you equate atheism with religion. Atheism may be a belief, many I know will argue that. But even if we call it a belief it is not the same as a religion.

    Atheists are not creating a seperate reality for us to believe in based on faith only. They are not interested in the topic other than to tell you "don't tell me what to believe."

    They are not interested in applying faith to a deity of anykind. You can believe there are Rabbits and Cows without believing in a god. You can also believe in no gods and that does not a religion make.
     
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