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  1. #201
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    The author of the paper is being a bit sensationalist. They don't "pop", which you know just as well as I do. They likewise don't "appear". Truly unscientific terminology.

    My definition for "nothing": Something which does not exist.

    So, if these particles, waves, ZPF fields, etc do exist (albeit out of our range) then that doesn't count as nothing.

    I've been doing a lot of reading and still haven't decided on my take on ZPE, the authenticity of the Los Alamos Casimir experiments, the Lamb experiments, etc.

    Doesn't matter though. If ZPE, ZPF, the quantum field fluctuations, etc do exist, then that doesnt' count as "something out of nothing".

    The question again needs to be asked though: Where did ZPE come from? The author of your paper wrote another in which he defined some of the characteristics of ZPE, infinite ZPE, how it all "began", etc. But he still rests on the haunches that ZPE always "was", though in a "liquid form" (as he puts it, mainly because as you approach infinity, in his theory, of ZPE concentration, the effect basically becomes that of a self-sustaining electromagnetic field). I don't buy it, as something that has an ending (as ZPE apparently does) must also by definition have a beginning.
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  2. #202
    Wibblesticks Gryff's Avatar
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    not read this for a while, just took a look, Jeremy, nothing has to be quantified, lets say theres a vacuum, in a jar.

    *nothing* is between the sides of the class, thus they are touching.

    If you say *space*, then you are defining nothingness as a material object.

    btw, vacuums have some odd properties, v interesting
    In a world where the human mind
    can be programmed like a computer,
    at what point does the human soul end
    and the cybernetic machinery begin?

  3. #203
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Gryff,

    But in that jar example, the "nothing" does indeed have properties, behaviour, cuase and effect, measurable physical properties.

    To me, if anything has any of the above, then it is in fact something, because it can have an effect on that which is "something".

    If there is "nothing", then it can have no effect, it can have no properties/behaviour, it is "uneffectable", etc.

    So, ZPE doesn't count as nothing. Nothing comes from nothing.
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  4. #204
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Here we go again...

    I was going to reply to S7even again, but he's shown himself to be not only an anti-religious bigot, but completely closeminded towards the concept of objectivity and God. I'll spend my time discussing this with the people who have shown more courtesy and/or intelligence.


    Polymath
    No they aren't. Zero point energy is something coming out of nothing. Perfectly acceptable according to science. And 'something has always been here'? The only reason to recoil from this concept is a failure of imagination. That's the first 'fact' dismissed.
    Not true. The primary theory floating around today is one of bits of matter and antimatter popping into and out of existence for completely unexplainable reasons. From what I understand, this theory came about because electroncs move around inside vaccuums, sometimes, the way they would as if other bits of matter were in there messing with them, as it were.

    Seeing as how, well, it's a vacuum, the conclusion was that maybe matter can pop into existence for no reason.

    It's not proven at all. It's a theory. We have LOTS of theories, in case you didn't notice.


    So since we sometimes use logic to determine physical laws, are you now claiming that physical laws are just opinion.
    I hate to sound like a broken record, but no, that's not what I'm saying.

    I believe in God. I believe in Objective Truth. I believe in the laws of the Universe. What I'm aksing is what basis you have for believing in Objectivity without God. You're wasting your time when you try to convince me that gravity exists, or that 1 + 1 = 2. I'm not saying they don't. I'm asking you how it can be proven...you're just stating it again and again.

    Let me ask you a simple question: if something were truly objective, how would you know it?


    Subjective is when you add 1+1 and get 58.
    Don't you realize that that statement in itself is subjective?


    Objective is when everyone does the sums correctly and gets 2.
    See, there's a whole in your logic: why does it matter if everyone does it? Truth is not based on how many people agree on it. Truth...objectivity...are what they are because they ALWAYS are. Truth is true even if no one in the entire world believes it's true. The fact that we all agree on something does not make it, in fact, true. That's the point.


    And it's not, 'it just does'. Logic is a tool devised by ourselves to be able to determine what is and isn't true. That's why it works.
    All you're really saying is "we can determine what is and isn't true by determining what is and isn't true." Logic is just a name for a process that WE have defined.

    It is "it just does." Logic tells us that certain things conflict...that certain things are not like certain other things...that if this thing is true, this other thing must be true, too. Etc.

    Why? There's really no reason. It's just the way things work. We don't know why they work that way...they just do.

    See, you claim we INVENTED these concepts: but do you really believe that? I don't think so. I think we DISCOVERED these concepts. I think we DISCOVER Math...we don't invent it.

    But if we're talking about immutable Universal Laws that the universe is totally based on, the question must be asked: where did these highly reliable, complex, immutable laws come from? Why are they here? For no reason whatsoever?


    Truth, now. You are also saying that truth exists because 'it just does'. Truth is merely a description of whether something is right or wrong - it is contingent on nothing except the facts. Truth, yes, is a label. Things are either right or wrong - I'm sorry but that's the way it is. God has nothing to do with it.
    Why is that "the way it is"? And who says it is "the way it is"?

    Question: what makes something true? Is it everyone agreeing it is true, or rather, it is true no matter who believes it?



    neil100

    Okay so only some of them conflict, the point being every religious person who has posted on this thread claims they are correct in their beliefs and no one can prove their particular god/gods do not exist, however the very fact that certain religions conflict on pretty major ideas would suggest that large groups of people are in fact worshipping non-existent god/gods. For example the Jewish believe there is one true god, yet many other religions believe there to be many gods, they can't both be right. Even though it's not proof that either do not exist, it is proof that one of these religions is based on nothing.
    No, not exactly. It proves that some of these religions have their specifics messed up. Most believers share a very similar base belief.

    As for multiple Gods: I think the idea of polytheism is torn down rather easily, to be blunt.

    However faith has nothing to do with morality, honesty etc. My morality and honesty are developed from my enviroment, I find the idea of cannabilism immorale, yet if I had been born into one of the tribes who practised it over the last few hundred years I would find it quite acceptable.
    If your morality is based on nothing more than the society around you, then it really doesn't have much weight at all, now does it?


    Three questions for the Atheists here

    1 - What should the goal of mankind be?
    2 - Why should anyone do anything "moral" if it does not happen to benefit them personally?
    3 - What came before everything else?

  5. #205
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    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    neil100

    No, not exactly. It proves that some of these religions have their specifics messed up. Most believers share a very similar base belief.

    As for multiple Gods: I think the idea of polytheism is torn down rather easily, to be blunt.
    What do you mean by some of these religions have their specifics messed up? Do you simply mean these religions don't agree with yours so they are wrong?

    Why can polytheism be torn down so easily, please explain.

    It's not simply polytheism that seems a major contradiction between religions, there is also the issue of what happens when you die, does your soul go to heaven or are you reincarnated as a moose, duck etc, surely one of these beliefs must be wrong.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    If your morality is based on nothing more than the society around you, then it really doesn't have much weight at all, now does it?
    Given the choice of morality being mostly based on how my parents brought me up or an a work of fiction like the bible that is vengeful, sexist, intolerant, contradictory and thousands of years out of touch, I think I will stick with my parents and immediate society.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    Three questions for the Atheists here

    1 - What should the goal of mankind be?
    2 - Why should anyone do anything "moral" if it does not happen to benefit them personally?
    3 - What came before everything else?
    1 - To get a new president for the US as soon as possible . No seriously I don't know, maybe world peace, get everyone on the planet to a decent standard of living, I don't think there is one goal for mankind, but many. What does the bible or koran say should be the goal of mankind?

    2 - Well unless you are a psychopath or sociopath it is very difficult to do something moral and not benefit, most people when they do something moral that will benefit others in some way will feel good about themselves for doing whatever they done, so they will in fact benefit from the "good feeling".

    Just because someone is an atheist does not mean they don't believe in the worth of other humans, the simple fact that someone believes in the worth of others is enough to do something "moral" that does not directly benefit the individual in question.

    You seem to be suggesting that people with a belief in some religion have a reason to carry out a moral act which only benefits others, while atheists would have no reason to do this as they don't believe in a higher power. If religion is the only reason for you to carry out "moral" acts then this does not show you in a very good light.

    3 - I did post earlier about the fact Stephen Hawking wrote in his latest book that he believes there is no begining or end as such, so with no start the question of what came before is null. Also several people have posted on Zero Point Energy another theory which also answers your question, although I see you disagree with ZPE.
    Last edited by neil100; Oct 5, 2002 at 15:58.

  6. #206
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Thanks for responding in a civil manner. I could really get used to this.

    What do you mean by some of these religions have their specifics messed up? Do you simply mean these religions don't agree with yours so they are wrong?
    What I'm saying is that it's not exactly accurate to say they're based on "nothing," because very few religions are SO in contradiction of one another so as not to have some significant similiarities.

    Even religions that I think are wrong likely have common ideals with the one I think is not, so I wouldn't go as far as to act as if they are meritless just because they don't COMPLETELY agree with what I believe.

    Why can polytheism be torn down so easily, please explain.
    C.S. Lewis explains it better than I can, but I'll see what I can manage: in the end, the word "God" refers to the most powerful kid on the block, to put it crudely. If Jesus Christ exists as we believe He does, but there's an even HIGHER power above Him, then that higher power is, in fact, God. So you could argue that the very meaning of the word excludes the possibility of more than one God.

    The only solution for polytheists, then (aside from using a different definition of the word "God"), is to believe in Gods of equal power. The most common view is in some kind of "Life Force" -- there's a "good" life force, and a "bad" life force.

    The problem with this is that calling one of the forces "good" and the other "bad" automatically brings a third "God" into the picture: the one who decides what is good and bad. When you call one good, and the other bad, you are admitting that there is some higher standard of right and wrong that even these two forces are bound to. If there is no such standard, then what you really mean by the "good" force/power is merely that it's the one you happen to prefer...which doesn't necessarily make it good at all.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. Lewis writes more extensively on this topic (I might be able to recommend some reading if anyone is intrigued). That's the basic logic of it, though.

    It's not simply polytheism that seems a major contradiction between religions, there is also the issue of what happens when you die, does your soul go to heaven or are you reincarnated as a moose, duck etc, surely one of these beliefs must be wrong.
    Right. There are some major differences. There are also some major similarities in some of these beliefs. Whatcha getting at?

    Given the choice of morality being mostly based on how my parents brought me up or an a work of fiction like the bible that is vengeful, sexist, intolerant, contradictory and thousands of years out of touch, I think I will stick with my parents and immediate society.
    A few things:

    1) Your statements are highly rhetorical. "Thousands of years out of touch" and "work of fiction" are raw opinion, so I won't even address them, as they are pointless fluff in terms of this discussion.

    2) Don't you think it's the least bit interesting that you agree with the overwhelming majority of Christian morals? Don't you think it's interesting that Christianity has a major hand in the fact that your parents taught you what they did, whether you'd like to admit it or not?

    3) Regardless of which you'd choose, the fact of the matter is the same: if the morals are not based on God, what ARE they based on? Why do they make sense? DO they make sense? What is their *primary* goal? And, all those questions aside: isn't it obvious that your morals hold no more weight than your preference for Coke over Pepsi (or vice versa), logically, if they're just your personal opinion?

    Call me crazy, but I've always felt that things like, oh, rape and murder, were, you know, ACTUALLY wrong, even if everyone happened to approve of them.

    No seriously I don't know, maybe world peace, get everyone on the planet to a decent standard of living, I don't think there is one goal for mankind, but many. What does the bible or koran say should be the goal of mankind?
    Who's asking the questions here?

    The Bible gives us a few goals. I guess you can sum them up by saying: glorify God, love thy neighbor. The two kind of go hand in hand, though, as by doing one, you do the other.

    But let me follow up on this question: what should be the goal of mankind down the line? Are we trying to explore all the Universe? Continued technological development? Should this go on indefinitely? And if so, why? I want to hear what you think.

    2 - Well unless you are a psychopath or sociopath it is very difficult to do something moral and not benefit, most people when they do something moral that will benefit others in some way will feel good about themselves for doing whatever they done, so they will in fact benefit from the "good feeling".
    Let's be realistic, here: for most people, their own gratification gives them a "good feeling" far more than being nice to other people. This is why people won't usually hesitate all that much to lie if it gets them sex, money, or something else. Most people mean to do well, but in the end, their own gratification comes first, for the most part.

    There are many instances in which they'll probably enjoy themselves more by doing what would commonly be deemed "the wrong thing." The question is, why should they overpower their urges then? Why should they care about anyone but themselves? Can you give a reason for it?

    Example: why should people care about what happens to others after they die? Logically, an Atheist merely believes that the only reason they have the impulse to care is because it benefits the species. But once you've identified this instinct, why not try to overpower it? What good, logical reason is there to give a crap about other people, in the end? What good reason is there not to care about yourself far more than others?


    Just because someone is an atheist does not mean they don't believe in the worth of other humans, the simple fact that someone believes in the worth of others is enough to do something "moral" that does not directly benefit the individual in question.
    The question is not "do Atheists care about other people" -- almost everyone cares about other people. The question is "why should they?"


    You seem to be suggesting that people with a belief in some religion have a reason to carry out a moral act which only benefits others, while atheists would have no reason to do this as they don't believe in a higher power. If religion is the only reason for you to carry out "moral" acts then this does not show you in a very good light.
    I'm merely asking questions. I'm trying to show you why morality is somewhat contingent on God. If right and wrong are opinions, why should someone care? If my opinion of morality is not inherently better or worse than anyone else's, then explain to me why it should matter.

    You say it doesn't show me in a very good light, but I'd like for you to provide me with an alternative viewpoint by answering these questions. You make it sound like it should be obvious/easy...so go ahead: enlighten me.


    3 - I did post earlier about the fact Stephen Hawking wrote in his latest book that he believes there is no begining or end as such, so with no start the question of what came before is null. Also several people have posted on Zero Point Energy another theory which also answers your question, although I see you disagree with ZPE.
    Something that has not beginning or end? Wow, sounds a lot like God.

  7. #207
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    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    The only solution for polytheists, then (aside from using a different definition of the word "God"), is to believe in Gods of equal power. The most common view is in some kind of "Life Force" -- there's a "good" life force, and a "bad" life force.
    Well the definition of the word "God" seems to be the problem, as someone who doesn't beleive in any god, my definition changes if I am refering to christianity I refering to the C.S Lewis definition of god "as the most powerful kid on the block", however if I am talking about the egyptians or hindusim then I use their definition of god where there can be many. It seems to me you are simply placing your / C.S lewis definition of god on other religions to suit your theories. Saying something is wrong if we go by your definition of the word is hardly a strong argument, I could simply go along with the theory that a god is simply a powerful entiety that represents an idea and that there are many of them to represent everything, under that definition the idea of one god would be wrong.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    The problem with this is that calling one of the forces "good" and the other "bad" automatically brings a third "God" into the picture: the one who decides what is good and bad.
    It does not automatically bring a third god, it could be decided by who comes out on top the "good gods" or the "evil gods". Doesn't the bible have this good and evil with "God" and satan, who is the third force that decides the outcome there.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    Right. There are some major differences. There are also some major similarities in some of these beliefs. Whatcha getting at?
    The point being when we die we can't both go to heaven and be reincarnated as a moose, thus even if I am completely wrong and there is some sort of god/s and we get reincarnated when we die, then also everyone who follows the idea of we go to heaven when we die is also completely wrong and is infact basing their life on fiction. I admit there are many similarities between religions and some of the differences are minor, but the issues of heaven vs reincarnation and one true god vs many are major issues, which means some of these religions are just fiction.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    1) Your statements are highly rhetorical. "Thousands of years out of touch" and "work of fiction" are raw opinion, so I won't even address them, as they are pointless fluff in terms of this discussion.

    2) Don't you think it's the least bit interesting that you agree with the overwhelming majority of Christian morals? Don't you think it's interesting that Christianity has a major hand in the fact that your parents taught you what they did, whether you'd like to admit it or not?

    3) Regardless of which you'd choose, the fact of the matter is the same: if the morals are not based on God, what ARE they based on? Why do they make sense? DO they make sense? What is their *primary* goal? And, all those questions aside: isn't it obvious that your morals hold no more weight than your preference for Coke over Pepsi (or vice versa), logically, if they're just your personal opinion?
    1 - okay I admit "work of fiction" was a bit of pointless fluff as you put it, however I have to disagree with "thousand of years out of touch" being put in the same catergory. When we are considering what is right or wrong the fact many religions are out of touch is important, take birth control for example, some religions believe the use of birth control to be wrong and perhaps when these religions started thousands of years ago and the need for people as resource was great then society also thought it was wrong. However now with overpopulation the majority of society considers people who don't use birth control to be irresponsible, yet the pope still claims it is wrong despite the fact the vast majority of people in the developed world consider it to be right.

    2 - Well obviously I agree with some christian morals, I also agree with some from Islam, but would dispute the effect religion as had on me or my family. It has been observed that several animals chimps, benobos, macaques etc have a sense of right and wrong, do they have any idea of what religion/god is no, yet they still have developed the sense of right and wrong.

    3 - I have already stated my morals are based on primarily what my parents taught me, with some influence from my immediate contact with society as I was growing up and now they develop with what I see going on in society. Why do they have to have a primary goal? I would suggest the weight of someones morals is a rhetorical question, it is very individual, even people who follow the same religion have different morals. I believe there is more weight to actually thinking about and coming to your own conclusions on what is morale, rather than blindly following what a book says.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    Call me crazy, but I've always felt that things like, oh, rape and murder, were, you know, ACTUALLY wrong, even if everyone happened to approve of them.
    You are crazy.

    Well I'm not sure, what about cannabals, in the past several islands dotted about the world have practiced cannabilism, something that you or I would consider wrong, yet for someone born into this isolated society is perfectly acceptable.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    The Bible gives us a few goals. I guess you can sum them up by saying: glorify God, love thy neighbor. The two kind of go hand in hand, though, as by doing one, you do the other.
    Okay I'm fine with the love your neighbour bit, but the glorify god bit, sounds like some mad dictator who demands glorifaction from his people.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    But let me follow up on this question: what should be the goal of mankind down the line? Are we trying to explore all the Universe? Continued technological development? Should this go on indefinitely? And if so, why? I want to hear what you think.
    Why do we have to have some goal? Technological development is good if it can improve the qualtiy of life for mankind, yes we should definetly explore the universe so we can find some other life and inform christians that we are not made in gods image, god looks like a little green man.

    Originally posted by TWTCommish

    There are many instances in which they'll probably enjoy themselves more by doing what would commonly be deemed "the wrong thing." The question is, why should they overpower their urges then? Why should they care about anyone but themselves? Can you give a reason for it?

    Example: why should people care about what happens to others after they die? Logically, an Atheist merely believes that the only reason they have the impulse to care is because it benefits the species. But once you've identified this instinct, why not try to overpower it? What good, logical reason is there to give a crap about other people, in the end? What good reason is there not to care about yourself far more than others?

    The question is not "do Atheists care about other people" -- almost everyone cares about other people. The question is "why should they?"
    The problem with your argumment is that so many people who follow some sort of god lie, cheat, kill, seek self gain etc just like many people who don't beleive in god, so clearly god is not the reason for people having morales.

    As to why, because society teaches you why you should care about others, empathy and desire to conform, you will say society is based on christian values, I would disagree, did everyone before christanity came along believe killing was fine, no of course not, I would also point you to this:

    "A female Japanese macaque who lives in Jigokudani park was born with no hands and feet. Her name was Mozu, and despite her natal affliction she continues to survive, living successfully among a group of free-ranging macaques. The group apparently accommodates for her handicap because they could easily just overtake her or leave her to perish, and either way she would not survive. Why this tolerance? Is there any gain for the individuals of the group to have Mozu in their lives? Mozu could only be a detriment to the group and if the individuals of the group are trying to maximize their survival chance, Mozu appears to only stand in the way. In this show of seeming respect for a handicap monkey by her peers lies the questions; are animals good-natured and if so do they have the capacities for virtue and morality? Or are these only human states?

    Moral reason is a state constructed by fear of punishment and the desire to conform, according to child psychologists. This definition involves intention though, which is not a concern of those who study sociobiological theory. Sociobiology, in contrast, attempts to describe altruism in terms of fitness, or the passing on of genes from generation to generation. Two ideas have emerged to explain altruism from a sociobiological perspective and these are kin selection and reciprocal altruism. Kin selection is the advantage gained by an individual from helping close kin because relatives share much of the altruist’s genetic make-up. Reciprocal altruism is when altruisitic acts are exchanged between individuals at different times so that both individuals ultimately gain fitness benefits. The time lag between the altruistic acts is key because if the acts occur simultaneously it is merely cooperation. The initiator must take the risks of not being repaid."
    Last edited by neil100; Oct 6, 2002 at 06:13.

  8. #208
    SitePoint Evangelist S7even's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TWTCommish
    Here we go again...

    I was going to reply to S7even again, but he's shown himself to be not only an anti-religious bigot, but completely closeminded towards the concept of objectivity and God. I'll spend my time discussing this with the people who have shown more courtesy and/or intelligence.
    What you just said was clearly a personal attack and nothing more. Anyways, I am not going to waste my time having discussions of such a low level.
    It would be helpful for you to take a logic course. After you learn what fallacies are (and especially the “ad hominem abusive” fallacy) then come back to have an intelligent discussion.

    Good luck.

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    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Originally posted by S7even
    What you just said was clearly a personal attack and nothing more. Anyways, I am not going to waste my time having discussions of such a low level.
    It would be helpful for you to take a logic course. After you learn what fallacies are (and especially the “ad hominem abusive” fallacy) then come back to have an intelligent discussion.
    It was definitely a personal attack; but I don't see how you can take any kind of moral highground here, seeing as how you've made ridiculous, insulting, HORRIBLY rude blanket statements about theism in general. You have no manners in such matters as far as I can tell.

    As it is, I still treat you and your beliefs (however misguided) with more courtesy than you treat mine...I don't see why you should expect any more than that.

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