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DentArthurDent
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10 Oct 2013, 3:06 am

MCalavera wrote:
So it could've been anything. And, therefore, most likely just a relatively simple/naturalistic explanation that will forever be a mystery because past historical events cannot be replicated.


Indeed. whilst I have little doubt that the universe has a diverse set of lifeforms it seems unlikely that we have been visited by them. The effort needed to get here from other solar systems, let alone galaxies is almost unimaginable, so to me it beggars belief that any visitors would just do a surreptitious flypast. Unless of course you believe the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy in which case these are just teasers.

"Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets that haven't made interstellar contact yet and buzz them, meaning that they find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one's going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennas on their head and making beep beep noises"

This is why I like Douglas Adams, he had such a great way of exposing the illogical way in humans often think and behave.


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10 Oct 2013, 3:16 am

Biscuitman wrote:
Not read his books and don't plan to. He is viewed as a bit of a nut job over here by a lot of people, may as well read David Icke's rantings as far as I am concerned.


Wow what an inquisitive mind you have, you wont read the writings of a very well respected evolutionary biologist because other people in your circle of influence opine that he is a nut job. You have no intention to inquire why someone with his level of knowledge and respect would be regarded like this. Instead without any knowledge of your own, you are quite prepared to give an opinion that he is no more worthy of consideration than a man who believes the British royal family are in fact alien lizards disguised as humans.

Just marvelous go to the top of the class :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:


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fibonaccispiral777
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10 Oct 2013, 4:54 am

Declension wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
Exactly, it was a fact and nothing more.


It doesn't work like that. Choosing to state a fact in a certain context is an act which requires defending, even if the fact is true.

I mean, suppose I started a thread on Wrong Planet with a post which just says "Seventeen is a number!"

People would be like, "Why did you say that?" And a mod might tell me off for starting a pointless thread. Suppose I defended myself by saying "It's true! Seventeen really is a number!" Would that be helpful at all?


I suppose so but then I do not know whether there was a context that implied what he was saying was derogatory and even if there was, I am assuming he was replying to those Muslims that are anti-science or against sending their children to schools that promote scientific though, in which case it would seem logical that such a community has not made as much scientific progress. I would not that is a offensive but just an observation of the lack of scientific progress in relation to religious belief, which seems entirely logical to me.



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10 Oct 2013, 4:58 am

1401b wrote:
Jono wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Biscuitman wrote:
Not read his books and don't plan to. He is viewed as a bit of a nut job over here by a lot of people, may as well read David Icke's rantings as far as I am concerned.

I agree to an extent about The God Delusion, though I probably wouldn't go that far.

His science books are excellent though, I highly recommend them.
Thelibrarian wrote:

As far as the Big Bang theory being empirical, by definition it is not. Since empirical evidence means evidence coming from something concrete and observable, and you have not been able to explain what it was that went "bang", the Big Bang theory is just as much conjecture as the Hindu--or Christian--etiological mythology. The Big Bang theory is not scientific; it is the etiological myth of liberalism.

There is considerable evidence that the universe was once an incredibly dense speck of matter.

We can tell the universe is expanding because of redshift. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshift

The cosmic microwave background also provides evidence for the Big Bang: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_mic ... background


Well done. You have successfully rebutted that guy's argument by showing him the evidence supporting the Big Bang theory. However, we don't actually know that the universe started as as an infinitely dense point of matter. What we do know is that the universe is expanding and we can extrapolate that backwards to argue that the universe started as a point but the Big Bang theory does not itself explain the origin of the universe, just that it's expanding and that it seems to have had a beginning.


Humans don't know anything.
We have too many filters between reality and our brain's interpretation of it's perceptions. So let's not go there because that's just a form of moving the goal posts.
Most things I read don't say we know, it's framed more like Best Guess, Currently Think.
We have more indicators that certain things probably did happen than other things. It is not faith.

Atheism is not a religion.
It sometimes looks like a religion because the hair-pulling frustration of dealing with Antiatheists looks similar to the frothing of religious zelots.
Every time I've heard atheism called a religion it has seemed an obvious attempt to be insulting.

I don't even think we should "Agree to Disagree" (which is just a false surrender), I think at best, we should just Agree to Ignore discussion with those who choose a "Belief Validation System" that functions so very different from our own.
One side chooses to use observation, which places responsibility for world-improvement and self-improvement upon themselves.
The other side chooses to use loyalty to motivate a higher power to enact the desired improvements.

Dawkins may be relaxing to listen to, but he certainly is not relaxing to talk about. =)

BTW the Cyclic Model (Oscillatory Universe/Big Rebound) does a pretty good job of explaining possible circumstances immediately prior to the Big Bang.
And that is all that Scientific Theories are: an attempt to do a pretty good job of explaining something.


Wrong, humans don't know everything but that is different from saying that we don't know anything. Scientific knowledge counts as knowledge when there is overwhelming empirical support for it, so in that case we do know something. There is such a thing a approximate truths but there is no such thing as absolute truth.

Also, the cyclic model of the universe has turned out to untenable. The only cyclic model that that is still on the cards is Turok and Steinhardt's ekpyrotic model.



fibonaccispiral777
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10 Oct 2013, 5:03 am

DentArthurDent wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
So it could've been anything. And, therefore, most likely just a relatively simple/naturalistic explanation that will forever be a mystery because past historical events cannot be replicated.


Indeed. whilst I have little doubt that the universe has a diverse set of lifeforms it seems unlikely that we have been visited by them. The effort needed to get here from other solar systems, let alone galaxies is almost unimaginable, so to me it beggars belief that any visitors would just do a surreptitious flypast. Unless of course you believe the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy in which case these are just teasers.

"Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets that haven't made interstellar contact yet and buzz them, meaning that they find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one's going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennas on their head and making beep beep noises"

This is why I like Douglas Adams, he had such a great way of exposing the illogical way in humans often think and behave.


I agree. It seems highly likely that Aliens should exist within the universe considering how sparse the universe is and how many galaxies. I think I remember Richard Dawkins in an interview with Jon Stewart stating that there billions of planets that possibly could hold life, I do not understand the mathematics behind such a claim but if it it true it would seem odd and to some extent arrogant to believe that we are the only species in existence in the whole of the universe. Even if we found out that we were the only ones, I still would not say this is evidence of a creator though. Of course, the implications would be huge in terms of chance and luck, the fact that we were pulled from a random cosmic lottery but nevertheless there may be some sort of nature to the universe that means just us existing is inevitable. Assuming the universe can contract and expand, perhaps it has happened billions on times so that statistically we HAD to exist. I don't know. As for aliens, although it is statistically probable that they exist, this in itself is not evidence that they do exist. I would say there is a difference. Sorry I'm probably sounding stupid, you guys are too clever for me :oops:

I Love Douglas Adams. He once said a really good thing about time travel which was that if time travel existed, it would mean that it would pop up at every single point in time, which I thought was a clever observation regardless of if you think it is right or not.



fibonaccispiral777
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10 Oct 2013, 5:06 am

Jono wrote:
1401b wrote:
Jono wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
Biscuitman wrote:
Not read his books and don't plan to. He is viewed as a bit of a nut job over here by a lot of people, may as well read David Icke's rantings as far as I am concerned.

I agree to an extent about The God Delusion, though I probably wouldn't go that far.

His science books are excellent though, I highly recommend them.
Thelibrarian wrote:

As far as the Big Bang theory being empirical, by definition it is not. Since empirical evidence means evidence coming from something concrete and observable, and you have not been able to explain what it was that went "bang", the Big Bang theory is just as much conjecture as the Hindu--or Christian--etiological mythology. The Big Bang theory is not scientific; it is the etiological myth of liberalism.

There is considerable evidence that the universe was once an incredibly dense speck of matter.

We can tell the universe is expanding because of redshift. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshift

The cosmic microwave background also provides evidence for the Big Bang: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_mic ... background


Well done. You have successfully rebutted that guy's argument by showing him the evidence supporting the Big Bang theory. However, we don't actually know that the universe started as as an infinitely dense point of matter. What we do know is that the universe is expanding and we can extrapolate that backwards to argue that the universe started as a point but the Big Bang theory does not itself explain the origin of the universe, just that it's expanding and that it seems to have had a beginning.


Humans don't know anything.
We have too many filters between reality and our brain's interpretation of it's perceptions. So let's not go there because that's just a form of moving the goal posts.
Most things I read don't say we know, it's framed more like Best Guess, Currently Think.
We have more indicators that certain things probably did happen than other things. It is not faith.

Atheism is not a religion.
It sometimes looks like a religion because the hair-pulling frustration of dealing with Antiatheists looks similar to the frothing of religious zelots.
Every time I've heard atheism called a religion it has seemed an obvious attempt to be insulting.

I don't even think we should "Agree to Disagree" (which is just a false surrender), I think at best, we should just Agree to Ignore discussion with those who choose a "Belief Validation System" that functions so very different from our own.
One side chooses to use observation, which places responsibility for world-improvement and self-improvement upon themselves.
The other side chooses to use loyalty to motivate a higher power to enact the desired improvements.

Dawkins may be relaxing to listen to, but he certainly is not relaxing to talk about. =)

BTW the Cyclic Model (Oscillatory Universe/Big Rebound) does a pretty good job of explaining possible circumstances immediately prior to the Big Bang.
And that is all that Scientific Theories are: an attempt to do a pretty good job of explaining something.


Wrong, humans don't know everything but that is different from saying that we don't know anything. Scientific knowledge counts as knowledge when there is overwhelming empirical support for it, so in that case we do know something. There is such a thing a approximate truths but there is no such thing as absolute truth.

Also, the cyclic model of the universe has turned out to untenable. The only cyclic model that that is still on the cards is Turok and Steinhardt's ekpyrotic model.


I must say I agree. Wittgenstein the philosopher said something quite good. He was teaching a class rather passionately about his theories on linguistic positivism and a student said 'But what if you are wrong? What about if we do not know anything and the world is so illusory that anything you or I think about it is actually false?' He apparently turned and said 'it may not be the truth but it is the closet we can get to truth and that is the best we can do.' Dunno, just thought it was quite a nice and relevant line.



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10 Oct 2013, 5:12 am

VIDEODROME wrote:
I thought he was polite even when appearing on FOX News with a guy like O'reilly saying you can't explain the Moon and the Tides.

holy sh**.


Haha, oh yeah Bill O' Reily. Yes, that really was ridiculous. Dawkins was very patient with him. I think I would have walked away at that point. We do understand how the tides work, we have known that for hundreds for years and even if we didn't, there are plenty of thing we haven't understood but then have understood later on retrospectively and thought why we ever believed it was a higher consciousnes that did, making god in a strange way a receding mark of possibility. Bill O' Reily is a ridiculous news reporter. He was doing an interview with a guy whose dad had died in the Iraq war I think it was and the man was saying that he thought that the American government to some extent was responsible for it since they funded and militarized the Mujaheddin and Bill O'Reilly said that he was anti-american and that he cared for his dead father more than him quintessentially. It was quite heartbreaking to see.



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10 Oct 2013, 5:43 am

fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
I suppose so but then I do not know whether there was a context that implied what he was saying was derogatory and even if there was, I am assuming he was replying to those Muslims that are anti-science or against sending their children to schools that promote scientific though, in which case it would seem logical that such a community has not made as much scientific progress. I would not that is a offensive but just an observation of the lack of scientific progress in relation to religious belief, which seems entirely logical to me.


There are definitely some interpretations of his tweet that are not racist. And to his credit, Dawkins did make the effort after his tweet to clarify exactly what he meant (which is that the Muslim education system is bad for Nobel prizes). But really, he should have made the effort to be extremely clear in the first place. It's true that Twitter has a word limit, but there's nothing stopping you from putting out several related tweets in a row.



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10 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

Declension wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
I suppose so but then I do not know whether there was a context that implied what he was saying was derogatory and even if there was, I am assuming he was replying to those Muslims that are anti-science or against sending their children to schools that promote scientific though, in which case it would seem logical that such a community has not made as much scientific progress. I would not that is a offensive but just an observation of the lack of scientific progress in relation to religious belief, which seems entirely logical to me.


There are definitely some interpretations of his tweet that are not racist. And to his credit, Dawkins did make the effort after his tweet to clarify exactly what he meant (which is that the Muslim education system is bad for Nobel prizes). But really, he should have made the effort to be extremely clear in the first place. It's true that Twitter has a word limit, but there's nothing stopping you from putting out several related tweets in a row.


Yes, I agree with you, he should have been exactly clear what he was saying as opposed to just sending into the virtual ether without clarification, it was bound to become misinterpreted and cause offense but once he had clarified, I found it nevertheless a worthy observation about the Muslim education system being oppository to scientific progress, which I wouldn't say is derogatory but rather the nature of such a religion.



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10 Oct 2013, 6:23 pm

fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
Sorry I'm probably sounding stupid, you guys are too clever for me :oops:


Hey do not put yourself down, firstly knowledge is often mistaken for intelligence. Occasionally teachers manage to get a point across which stays with you for the rest of your life. Too many years ago I was In Tech Drawing, we had a boy in the class who came from a farming background and did not seem overly bright, this was a common cause of derision for some of the "cooler" kids. On this particular day the teacher decided to deal with it. he stopped the class, announced we were going to have a quiz. The quiz was all about farming and more to the point farming science, the cool group were left to look dumb whilst the farming lad knew all the answers. Now this may not demonstrate intelligence but it certainly demonstrated that we all have different areas of knowledge, and remains the best attempt to deal with bullying I have ever seen.

Secondly you post makes perfect sense, is well thought out and and anyone who thinks its stupid needs to do research to learn why it makes sense.

Your right Dawkins points out that although the probability against life forming on a planet is most likely mind bogglingly improbable, the numbers involved make it probable. I just went looking for an estimate of the numbers of planets in the universe and conservative figures seem to put it at around 10 to the power of 20 or so.


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10 Oct 2013, 7:06 pm

Declension wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
I suppose so but then I do not know whether there was a context that implied what he was saying was derogatory and even if there was, I am assuming he was replying to those Muslims that are anti-science or against sending their children to schools that promote scientific though, in which case it would seem logical that such a community has not made as much scientific progress. I would not that is a offensive but just an observation of the lack of scientific progress in relation to religious belief, which seems entirely logical to me.


There are definitely some interpretations of his tweet that are not racist. And to his credit, Dawkins did make the effort after his tweet to clarify exactly what he meant (which is that the Muslim education system is bad for Nobel prizes). But really, he should have made the effort to be extremely clear in the first place. It's true that Twitter has a word limit, but there's nothing stopping you from putting out several related tweets in a row.


I think it's a sign of a narrow mind that uses Nobel prizes as a guide for intellectual development. What's he really trying to say? that a Cambridge graduate is more likely to win a Nobel prize than a product of a university from a muslim country? (if you re-read his tweet that's essentially what he is insinuating).

This is no different from certain elitists in the US republican party who have been on the public record that they would not take somebody seriously either in a work capacity or socially if they were not an Ivy league university graduate . Both these republicans and Dawkins are of course simply "aping" the old British aristocracy who define merit with a preparatory education in Eton, Harrow or Westminster followed by a degree from Cambridge or Oxford.



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11 Oct 2013, 12:49 am

DentArthurDent wrote:
fibonaccispiral777 wrote:
Sorry I'm probably sounding stupid, you guys are too clever for me :oops:


Hey do not put yourself down, firstly knowledge is often mistaken for intelligence. Occasionally teachers manage to get a point across which stays with you for the rest of your life. Too many years ago I was In Tech Drawing, we had a boy in the class who came from a farming background and did not seem overly bright, this was a common cause of derision for some of the "cooler" kids. On this particular day the teacher decided to deal with it. he stopped the class, announced we were going to have a quiz. The quiz was all about farming and more to the point farming science, the cool group were left to look dumb whilst the farming lad knew all the answers. Now this may not demonstrate intelligence but it certainly demonstrated that we all have different areas of knowledge, and remains the best attempt to deal with bullying I have ever seen.

Secondly you post makes perfect sense, is well thought out and and anyone who thinks its stupid needs to do research to learn why it makes sense.

Your right Dawkins points out that although the probability against life forming on a planet is most likely mind bogglingly improbable, the numbers involved make it probable. I just went looking for an estimate of the numbers of planets in the universe and conservative figures seem to put it at around 10 to the power of 20 or so.


I think the it is improbable that aliens do not exist. Hell, it would be a miracle if we found out we were the only ones existing in this infinitely wide universe. What is improbable, as you already said earlier, is the existence of super advanced aliens that have sufficient technology to go past the speed of light and all those fantastical things.



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11 Oct 2013, 2:56 am

MCalavera wrote:
What is improbable, as you already said earlier, is the existence of super advanced aliens that have sufficient technology to go past the speed of light and all those fantastical things.


There may be such lifeforms out there, but it seems strange that they would go to all that effort, come here buzz the planet for a decade or two and not make contact, I doubt very much that it is purely coincidental that the main period of UFO activity happened around the height of the cold war, and the space race.


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11 Oct 2013, 3:32 am

William Lane Craig did an incredible job of addressing many concerns Dawkins raised about Christianity, but he's pretty long-winded. Here's the speech on YouTube, for anyone who wants to see it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3HCthi2i_o[/youtube]

I also love how one guy actually stumped Dawkins with a very simple, "straight to the point" science question...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W4e4MwogLo[/youtube]


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11 Oct 2013, 3:55 am

DentArthurDent wrote:
MCalavera wrote:
What is improbable, as you already said earlier, is the existence of super advanced aliens that have sufficient technology to go past the speed of light and all those fantastical things.


There may be such lifeforms out there, but it seems strange that they would go to all that effort, come here buzz the planet for a decade or two and not make contact, I doubt very much that it is purely coincidental that the main period of UFO activity happened around the height of the cold war, and the space race.


Even if not a coincidence, there are many simpler explanations that can account for this.



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11 Oct 2013, 3:57 am

Moviefan2k4 wrote:
William Lane Craig did an incredible job of addressing many concerns Dawkins raised about Christianity, but he's pretty long-winded. Here's the speech on YouTube, for anyone who wants to see it.

I also love how one guy actually stumped Dawkins with a very simple, "straight to the point" science question...


William Lane Craig is a master debater, but that does not mean he is speaking the truth. What matters more to you: the truth or who is better at debating?

For the second video, he was stumped by the interviewer's stupidity. And no, it wasn't a good science question.