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December 14, 2009

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Science encourages ppl to question continuously, thats the point. Religions and mystic traditions either require faith and a stilling of the questions.

Its not clear global warming is scientific fact. The evidence suggests it is probable, but there are too many factors to say for certain.

Now RS is said to be a science of the soul. This is nonsense. RS and the soul might well be true and beautiful, but they are not a science, not in any way.

- Science requires repeatability. RS gives a method, but even when the method is followed closely some do not have the experience. So RS fails science's requirement of repeatability.

- Science requires accuracy. Even those who succeed in having the experience take different times to do so. Some have an experience instantly while others require decades of application. So RS is not a science, which requires accuracy.

- Science requires objectivity. While someone may claim to 'know' god or the soul, that is a purely subjective personal experience. So RS is not a science, which requires objectivity.

- Science requires falsifiable claims. However, the RS claims of a soul, god, astral planes etc are not falsifiable concepts. Their existence cannot be proven or disproven. So RS is not a science, which requires falisifiability.

That all said science is just one of many different methods of eqnquiry humans have historically developed to try gain knowledge of reality. Perhaps all these methods give their own partial truths, but RS is not a science.

Contrary to the religious view, since never claimed to be absolutely true, its very nature means it only gives models of reality, i.e. a partial truth.

But who really is arrogant, the scientist who claims a partial truth based on objective evidence or the guru who claims an absolute truth based on no objective evidence?


again, you have not listened to a word i have said, instead launched straight into your conditoned response of scientists as arrogant egotists proclaiming to know all.

Instead, what i have said above is that science offers models of reality, partial truths. We know these models are partially true becuase they are supported by repeateble, accurate, objective and falsifiable evidence.

instead of contesting these points, you've once again launch into an emotional dogmatic tirade of arrogance and ego, even when i have acknowledged that mysticism may provide its own partial truth, which indeed may be greater than what science provides.

You simply cannot get anything thru your head, I am making a very simple claim, mysticisism and RS are not a science. You can stand on your head, and it will still not be a science, whatever the guru claims.

One thing's for sure if you are an example of RS enlightenment, the sheer arrogance of lecturing others on truth seeking is an absolute joke.

Far as i can see, these folk have been reasonably patient with your vitriol, which is just shite spewed at them cos it happens to disagree with your beliefs.

Are you actually capable of forming a coherent argument of your own, rather than resorting to an idealogue's polemic?

I mean let us say you and your satguru are right about it all, why can't unenlightened folk try and discuss our own various positions and opinions? Why can't we question some of the RS teachings to weigh up their validity? What is the harm of that? You seem to take it as some sort of personal affront. Nowhere in this article was the satuguru insulted, so your response is puzzling.

Huckleberry, aka Ashy, never gives up and perpetually reveals on this blog his own weakness of character by so obviously projecting upon others the qualities he embodies himself.

You said it yourself Ashy: "who the hell is this dumbass idiot intellectual purporting to be bold and brazen and knowledgable enough to even begin to determine who knows what and who don't."

See what I mean?

As a very occasional visitor to this blog, I continue to be amazed at the level of misunderstanding displayed about both the reality behind religion and the reality behind science. There is little difference between the two, both attempt to explain the observable world and how it came into being, both attempt to control our way of life, both, in general succeed.
The difference is that religion maintains a steadfast faith that everything can be explained by the supposition of some ultimate being (God) and science maintains a steadfast belief that everything can be explained by the supposition of ultimate god of science, mathematics.
Without God, there would be no religion, without mathematics, there would be no science. An absolute blind faith is required by both schools of thought.

BleedingObvious, the truth of what you say actually isn't obvious.

You say there is little difference between religion and science. No, in reality there is a tremendous amount of difference. You say that religion succeeds in explaining the observable world, including how it came into being.

How does religion do that? And why should we consider that religion does a better job than science? For example, evolution has much better evidence behind it than does creationism. Point to a religion that does a better job than science at explaining the laws of nature.

You also err on the issue of faith. Religions have blind faith in the existence of God, because there is no evidence that God exists, and nothing in the physical world can be controlled or explained by the God hypothesis.

By contrast, science doesn't have faith in what has been discovered about the natural world, because knowledge is different from faith. For example, mathematics is used in amazingly precise equations that perfectly mirror how gravity or electromagnetism, say, produce effects in the physical world.

So you're absolutely wrong when you say that an absolute faith is required by both religion and science. Again, only religion is based on faith, because there is no evidence to back up religious claims. Scientific claims/hypotheses can be tested, and the false claims weeded out.

Thus science confirms possible truths about the cosmos, while religion always remains in a state of doubt (recognizing that no scientific truth is ever considered to be true with 100% probability).

BleedingObvious, you are terribly wrong on all accounts, on all points.

without religion, there would be no "God". the notion of "God" is a fabrication, an invention of religion. "god" derives from religion... not the other way around as you would have one believe. first came religion, then came "god". god is the premise of religion.

also, without science, there would only be religion and myths (as there once were). before science evolved, man only had myth and religion.

also, blind faith is only required by religion.

also, science depends soley upon substantial evidence, and not any faith.

and mathematics is neither a supposition, nor some god. science does not have a god.

its unfortunate that you are so poorly educated.


tAo, good points. It's interesting that almost always it is religious believers who try to equate science and religion, claiming that the two are equal in some way. You rarely find scientists who are determined to show that science is just as good as religion, like BleedingObvious tried (but failed) to do. This is because religious believers suffer from science envy, wishing that religion was on such solid evidentiary ground as science is.

I am somewhat confused in that both Brian and tAo have made statements that I am completely wrong. What is the reference standard by which you make these statements, what is right and wrong? How can you make this conclusion as a statement of fact, or are your words your opinion? If your opinion then why be so arrogant?
Science has the underlying 'faith' that all observable will be explained or modelled by mathematics. If you disagree, please illustrate one aspect of science that does not possess a mathematical underpinning. Mathematics is mans creation, it is mans tool to model and explain the observed.
Religion uses a another tool, probably also man made, - God.

Both of you seem to think I am promoting religion and decrying science - far from it.
Where have I promoted religion and put down science?
To say that without religion there would be no God is to say that God can only exist because of religion - you claim the benefit of scientific knowledge and process, so please explain the science behind this statement?
I would love to read the evidence that God only exists as result of mans religion.
Do try and think before you type.

Begin with an agreed upon definition of God. What is God? Then examine the supposed evidence that God exists thru science or religion.

BleedingObvious, science and mathematics are closely connected but aren't identical. The Great God Wikipedia supports this conclusion, so it must be right. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Relationship_with_mathematics

You asked for an aspect of science that doesn't have a mathematical underpinning. Well, let's look at the scientific method.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Relationship_with_mathematics

Here's one description of it:

Define the question
Gather information and resources (observe)
Form hypothesis
Perform experiment and collect data
Analyze data
Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
Publish results
Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

None of these steps require mathematics. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Data aren't always numerical. Much of biology is observational. Ditto for astronomy. The scientific method is an approach to understanding reality that all of us use every day.

As I blogged about before, the basic elements are theory - prediction - experiment - observation. None of these elements requires mathematics. My example of figuring out why the TV won't turn on entails zero mathematics.
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2009/05/science-is-the-only-way-of-knowing-objective-truth.html

Science is a way of understanding the world, not a bunch of numbers. It isn't faith-based, like religion is, except in the sense that science assumes that reality can be understood, albeit imperfectly. Without that assumption, we're all batshit crazy.

The benefit of using the scientific method (which, again, all of us do in getting through the day) is that it puts us in touch with reality and helps us relate to the world in a harmonious manner. We find linkages between aspects of the world and ourselves, not just a big blooming buzzing confusion, or an imaginary conception of the world that doesn't fit with the way it really is.

Science Bob has a nice simple description of the scientific method. Again, no math required, though often numbers will be part of the method.
http://www.sciencebob.com/sciencefair/scientificmethod.php

How does "God exists" come into being? Is there a way to describe this statement? If so, then write a comment and then the debate or discussion may begin. We can at least have a listing of reasons based on science and religion. No harm done.

Here's a nice summary of the differences between science and religion from chemist Brian Silver's "The Ascent of Science."
-----------------
The two most self-confident activities of mankind are religion and politics. No one is surer of himself than a believer. This self-confidence is based on a fundamental rigidity, a stubborn refusal to really hear the other side, to admit for one moment that there might be something basically wrong with the accepted dogma.

A believer may be prepared to say that we are all the children of one God, but he doesn't usually switch from Islam to Catholicism. Science, on the other hand, is completely open-minded -- despite the history of inertia.

Any monument can be demolished, any belief forsaken. It is exactly this liberating acceptance of the possibility that our minds can mislead us that underlies the magnificent successes of science.

Scientists are not invariably ecstatic when their scientific beliefs are undercut by better theories or new facts. But in the end, the scientific community gives in to change because, on the average, we refuse to be irrational -- or to be seen to be irrational by our colleagues.

It is the (reluctant!) willingness to be shown to be wrong that has so often led us in the direction of being partially right. Science, like art, is continually seeing the world anew. This is part of the joy of science.

BleedingObvious

Your viewpoint is put forward respectfully and with consideration.

I however disagree that god and mathematics are comparable as concepts - either with regards to one another - or in the context of their respective methods of inquiry (i.e. religion and science).

The fundamental difference is that God represents the ultimate, whereas Mathematics represents a representation (language) of the ultimate. There is an added layer of abstraction.

From the context of religion, God is NOT manmade. God IS deemed by the religious to be the prime-mover and the absolute.

From the context of science, Mathematics IS manmade. Mathematics is NOT deemed by scientists to be the prime mover and the absolute, merely an expression of such.

Thus, these concepts are not comparable or similar imo.

Also, you asked for an example of a science not based on mathematics - how about the Theory of Evolution? This was expressed without mathematics.

There are many other differences:
- Mathematics represents natural phenomena, whereas God represents a supernatural phenomena.
- Mathematics has form, is understandable and accurately expressed. God has no form, is not understandable and is not accurely expressed.
- Mathematics requires mathematical proofs, God requires only faith.

Brian
In response to your description of scientific method - Since when is logic not form part of science? It is the underpinning of the process you have described as scientific process. The manipulation of logic (mathematical logic) is an extension of formal logic, which arose from the need to record (via symbolic logic) the application of principles of logic (logical argument). At the heart of science lies logic, which obeys laws of mathematics. Confusion in scientists often arise from not understanding the difference between 'reality' and 'mathematical model'
By reality, I mean what is observed, by mathematical model, I mean what we understand.
Simple example, we can observe gravity, but we claim to understand it when we have found that F=ma applies. In reality we do not understand gravity from this simple equation, yet your scientific method example will have been completed.

George.
Thank you for your response, but I respectfully disagree. I suspect that the concept of God is not limited to the supernatural, those who hold belief in God (and I suspect by definition) posit that God is not limited. God is credited with the natural and the supernatural.
But the point I am trying to make is a little more subtle, I wish describe from human perspective, from human mind out, not from outside looking in.
The mind of the religious follower attempts to fit all observations into the context of religion, ie, the assumption (or belief) is that all and everything can be explained by God.
The mind of the science follower attempts to fit all observations into the context of mathematics (rules of logic), ie, the assumption (or belief) is that all and everything can be explained by logic (mathematics)
There is no proof for either approach, and I humbly suggest that the moment we view reality through preconditioned eyes, we will not see what is really there, we will see only what we want to see. Hence religious folk may genuinely see God everywhere, and scientists will genuinely see science everywhere.
One may extend this to those who make money their god, they see opportunities for profit, they see the word in monetary terms, likewise artists, and so on.
This is the way we each make our own Gods. - the God I referred to in my first post.(how can we discuss the God of religion when we do not know if or not such an entity exists, indeed, do we not say that there is no evidence for God, therefore the possibility that God exists is on same level as there being 1000 Pink elephants on my driveway? - a false logic though Brian !!!)

.

Bleeding Obvious, you sure live in a different world than the rest of us do. How can you say that there is no proof for the approach of science in using mathematics to explain the natural world?

Are you using a computer? Have you noticed that it is possible to put satellites into orbit? Science is marvelously successful at explaining how the fundamental forces of nature work. Show me one example of how a religion is able to do this unaided by science.

Brian
You have not understood my statements, try reading again. I did not make the statement you attribute to me.
The assumption that science makes is that science can and eventually will explain all of reality - is this not the goal of science?
The tool that science uses as its most basic and fundamental principle is that reason and rational thinking must apply. The formalisation of reason and rational thinking is logic, a branch of mathematics (itself based upon reason, rationality and logic)
So where is the evidence that all observable reality must obey the laws of manmade logic?
I say again, this is the goal of science.
Try to understand what I am writing before you hit the keyboard. I had hoped for intelligent debate, not kindergarden explanations !!!!

Bleeding Obvious, what you state as the goal of science is your own madeup goal. Please show me some references where the stated goal of science is to show "that all observable reality must obey the laws of manmade logic."

Do you know anything about quantum physics? Are you aware that science has discovered that the quantum world is probabilistic? (which bothered Einstein a lot). Do you really believe that all scientists believe that human logic underlies all of physical reality? Do you know any scientists who are artists, poets, musicians, mystics?

You can make up goals for science, then ridicule them, but this just shows how little you know about science.

Brian
Since when is probability not a branch of mathematics?
Here is simple and easy to follow process

Which of these statements do you reject?
1) Science requires rational thinking
2) Rational thinking implies the application of logical elements
3) Logic underpins mathematics
(3a) mathematics is based upon symbolic logical process)
4) goal of science is to understand 'reality', 'universe' 'creation', whatever you wish to call it.
5) Therefore (and this is logic Brian) it is assumed that reality can be explained by rational thinking, ie, mathematics.
6) Mathematics is a creation (tool) made by man.
7) Science goal is to fit reality into framework of mathematics

To answer your specific questions, even though they are directed at me in a personal sense, and I do appreciate that you are free to restrict others by rules you break, yes, I have a good working knowledge of quantum mechanics, particle physics and high energy plasmas. I am quite familiar with the wave function, and as I am sure you know, this is actually a mathematical tool to model the quantum world - QED.


Well, BleedingObvious, I guess the bottom line is that if you are bothered by the success of science in using mathematics and rationality to understand the physical world, you are free to be bothered.

I'm not. I find it marvelous that the natural world can be comprehended so well (albeit partially and imperfectly) by us humans.

If you don't like science, and are more attracted to religion, that's your choice. Each to his own.

Brian
Any particular reason to not answer my questions about the subject matter, but instead draw some entirely erroneous conclusions about me.
Why turn this into a personal assessment of each poster, instead of being bold enough to respond to the challenges made by the poster?

BleedingObvious, what challenges? I'm happy with science. I deeply enjoy reading my science books and magazines, and contemplating the wonders of the universe revealed by science. I'm not challenged by criticisms of science, because I don't find them to have much substance.

Like I said, if you have problems with science, that's your issue. I've explained why I think you're wrong when you try to equate religion and science as being equal in their understandings of reality. If you disagree, that's fine. We have different ways of looking at the world.

BleedingObvious,

"The assumption that science makes is that science can and eventually will explain all of reality - is this not the goal of science?"

No, this is wrong, and part of the fundamental misunderstanding.

Science is aware of the massive, if not infinite nature of the universe, and as such never claimed it will eventually explain all, somethings will likely always remain a mystery.

Science knows it has its limits and they are defined by evidence. Science will never stop questioning and trying to explain mysteries, but it does not claim that it will solve them all.

Science claims only to know that which is supported by evidence, which includes mathematical proofs. Mathematics was not always there, like god, and did not just spring into being either. Mathematics has been developed by man, and proved by man to be a logically consistent. You cant just say you have invented a new branch of mathematics without proving it.

God on the other hand, did apparently just spring into being or was always there, God is not man-made, not does he rerquire proof, nor is he logically consistent.

Was it not Feynman who said he suspects the universe is more strange than we or science can imagine. Science is concerned with what we know, based on evidence. Mathematics is not a speculative concept, it is a proved concept.

I have given a scientific theory, Darwin's theory of evolution which does not need mathematics to support or prove it.

Bleeding Obvious,

If you desire, please write a comment explaining(in your own words) the relationship of Logic(reason and rational thinking) to Mathematics. Explain in terms of this discussion, this may bring clarity to your point of view.

You stated,

"The assumption that science makes is that science can and eventually will explain all of reality - is this not the goal of science?"

---This may be the assumption of some scientist in a particular field of science, however, I have never followed such assumption. You may be expressing a view of only a portion of the scientific community. I'm not finding fault with you.
However, the "all of reality" may be the hang up.

Thanks for a reply,
Roger

Roger
My claim, which may be wrong, is that all scientific endeavours have, at their root, the ambition to gain further understanding and knowledge.
You suggest that this may be the goal of only some scientists.
Then allow me to ask you to suggest that branch of science that does NOT aim to achieve understanding, either through reason or logic or via some other mechanism with mathematical underpinnings.
This is entirely different from assuming it possible to achieve such knowledge, this is NOT my claim, my claim is that ALL branches of science attempt to gain a knowledge of reality that is accepted as being correct by the test of reason and logic, whether that reason or logic takes the form of probability functions, equations, or some other form of mathematics.

Brian
You ask what challenges?
Sorry, but I cannot be bothered to rewrite the same questions you chose to ignore in my previous comment. There is a simple question, you ignore it, then ask me what I asked.
Please take the small effort to read my previous comment.

Roger
I have no desire to write, in my own words, a paper on the relationship between logic and mathematics, besides, if you wish to study such material, I can point you to many excellent papers and books on the subject.
If you doubt such relationship exists, then simply state a branch of mathematics that does not rely on logic, reason or rational thought.

Sorry, I don't feel challenged to take your anti-science challenge, whatever it is. Like I said, if you don't like science, embrace religion as a way of understanding the world. (You might want to consider writing your blog comments with a quill pen on parchment and sending them to me by horseback).

Bleeding Obvious,

"......is that all scientific endeavours have, at their root, the ambition to gain further understanding and knowledge."

---This statement is OK. The ambition or better "goal" is OK.

You then asked,

"Then allow me to ask you to suggest that branch of science that does NOT aim to achieve understanding, either through reason or logic or via some other mechanism with mathematical underpinnings."

---I'm not saying, a particular branch of science does NOT aim to achieve understanding. This understanding would come about thru the Scientific Method.

With that said, explain what you mean by mathematical underpinnings? Again, I'm not finding fault, just trying to bring clarity into your point of view. The "...through reason or logic or via some other mechanism with mathematical underpinnings" needs further clarification. Please do so.
Thanks,
Roger

Bleeding Obvious,

Write a paragaph, and I am not doubting such relationship exists. I'm not finding fault. Hopefully, the blogging debate tactics can come to an end.
Roger

"Underpinnings" - foundation
A statement can be made in science that may assign true or false.
The very basis of science is that we can ascertain that something is true, a theory may be declared true.
Science often also requires a proof in order for it to be true
A proof requires logic.
The rules of logic can be defined in mathematical terms (note that logic was for many thousands of years considered more philosophy than anything else, but when Godel came along and developed the incompleteness theorem, logic needed more of a mathematical formalization.

So logic underpins mathematics means that mathematics is built upon logic.

An understanding of our universe implies that the physical universe may yield to logic. We do not have understanding without logic (hence the problem understanding women !!!!)

If science strives to understand the universe, science must first make the assumption that the universe yields to logic. therefore through logic, one can state that the underlying laws of the universe, the holy grail of science, are explainable in mathematical terms.
Finally, I posit that no evidence exists for this assumption, other than all that we have understood and consider knowledge is explainable in mathematical terms. This does not constitute a proof, therefore science accepts it on faith.

Roger
Some relatively easy reading on the subject of logic as foundation of mathematics

http://www.math.helsinki.fi/logic/people/jouko.vaananen/VaaSec.pdf

Bleeding Obvious,

You wrote,

"An understanding of our universe implies that the physical universe may yield to logic. We do not have understanding without logic......"

I would rewrite this, as:

"An understanding of our universe implies that the physical universe may or may not yield to logic. We may or may not have understanding with or without logic"

---What may need further clarification is how we are using the word--understanding.
I may or may not need to engage in a belief system to support my understandings.

Thanks for your continued responses.
Roger

Roger
You raise an interesting question, one I would like you to explore with me a little bit further please
What would constitute understanding without logic?
Can you give me an example of established science that has resulted in an understanding but does not use logic?
I presume you must have something in mind or otherwise you would not have written this sentence?

Bleeding Obvious,

We would need to define, understanding, and agree upon such definition.

True, I have a fascination with that which is not subjective and objective, however this would just be a simple fascination. I don't know what "that" is.

I don't have a problem with an "understanding" of mine being logical or not logical. It's just an understanding, nothing more. There could be such that is simply non-knownable. I can still find fascination in such.

Roger

Well, my pc time is coming to an end. If there is an example of first order...and second order logic, please fill free to comment on such. I don't have a background in the different therems. However, how the use of a type of logic relates to mathematics would be a great read. Again, I'm not finding fault

Sorry for all the above typos.
Second order logic and first-order set theory sounds interesting, and while I am not familiar with such, it would be interesting to learn more. Or, develop a beginning understanding. Likewise, I am new to the different theorems mentioned in the above referenced paper. With that said, it would be nice if there could be a simplified explanation of a relationship of scientific logic and the language of mathematics.
Maybe, someone can write a paragraph or more and bring some interesting conversation to this topic.

Distill religion down to its most fundamental premise, what do you get? What is fundamental to religions?
It is the concept of God, Supreme creator, some greater power, whatever you want to call it, the concept is one we in the West call GOD

Now, try same approach to science, distill it down to its core, find its common denominator;- I humbly propose it is logic, rational thought - or, in its more general sense, mathematics.
A proof requires logic, and science relies on such proofs.
We accept that an observable phenomena can be described as 'known' when a mathematical expression has been found to hold true. We represent aspects of the observable in terms of symbols in an equation. The operators of the equation are pre defined. For example, we understand multiplication, addition, subtraction and division as being logically proven operators. We (more recently) understand the equals symbol for equivalence. And so logic forms the backbone of mathematics, and mathematics is the underlying factor by which observation is translated through science into the known.

So, I revert to my first post, it is God that underlies religion and mathematics that underlies science. or mathematics (read logic if you will) becomes the God of science.

Or, Brian, if you feel this topic is worthy of your attention, where in the observable universe can we conclude that mathematics (logic and rational thought) underlie reality?
It is unproven and merely a hypothesis that the universe can be explained in terms of mathematics just as it is by some God.
Hence the similarity between science and religion

".....an observable phenomena can be described as 'known'......"

---This simple statement is OK. An observable phenomena can convert from an unknown to a known through Science and through Religion. However, the process by which this conversion takes place is different with regards to science and religion. The use of the scientific method and a non-scientific method.
With that said, there is a similarity between science and religion, that is, the "absolute" known. Logic may not be able to absolutely know an absolute known.

BleedingObvious, your comments on this subject produce several reactions in me...

First, every conversation has an implicit and explicit purpose to some degree. People communicate for a reason. What is yours? Your string of comments on the subject of religion and science seem to be aimed at equating the two -- demonstrating that religion is as much a science as science is a religion.

My purpose in responding to you is to show that your comments don't make sense, because I value science more than religion. I don't think science needs defending, because it is doing just fine on its own.

Since your goal seems to be to deflate science and elevate religion, I have to assume that you aren't a science supporter and are more attracted to religion. At least, that's how you come across. You might want to adjust your manner of writing if you aren't coming across accurately to others.

I mention this because your comments border (or cross the line) into irrationality. You keep saying the same thing, but don't provide sound arguments for your sayings. This is why I wonder what your motivation is in commenting. You come across as someone who has his mind made up, and is out to show how "religious" science is, and science lovers are.

This is tiresome and rather boring. But I'll take a few minutes to respond, probably for the last time, to statements of yours that don't make much if any sense.

Nature is what it is. Science finds certain regularities in nature. We call these "laws of nature" and other names. It isn't science that makes gravity, electromagnetism, and such operate in a precise regular manner that can be modeled by mathematics. It is nature.

Most mathematicians have a Platonic view of their field: that mathematics exists "out there" somehow independent of human cognition. Other mathematicians and philosophers of science disagree. Regardless, it is indisputable that there are regularities in the natural world. If there weren't, the cosmos would be a big, buzzing, blooming confusion and we wouldn't be able to use computers to post comments on a blog (or do anything else).

You keep saying that logic is the "God" of science, just as God is the "God" of religion. Do you see the flaw in that reasoning, from that sentence? God is repeated. Why not say: logic is the "logic" of science, just as God is the "logic" of religion?

Meaning, religion needs something to justify itself. It needs a reason to exist. Religion calls this God. For science, the reason is the regularities in Nature, which is a more accurate term than logic or mathematics. I and others (George) have shown you that much of science doesn't rest on mathematics. Evolution, for example.

So you should complain to nature, the universe, if you object to regularities in the natural world. Whether these exist all the way down, so to speak (or if "all the way down" makes sense as a statement about the ultimate nature of the universe), is unknown. I've argued many times before that it seems impossible to explain existence, probably because existence doesn't need explaining -- it is a given that makes explanations possible.

Once again (and likely for the last time, because you keep ignoring this point), science doesn't claim that regularities exist on every level of the universe. They have been found so far, and there are a lot more regularities to be discovered. That's all we can say.

I assume that you believe God isn't logical or "regular" in any way, or that God could be known by science. Many mystics assert the same thing, that "God" is another name for ultimate mystery. But then there is nothing that can be known or said about God, because there is no regularity that can be known or described.

I sort of like that view of God. But it leaves us speechless. Which is why I wonder why you keep using so many words to talk about this subject. If God can't be known or described in any fashion, what makes you think you're justified in saying that God can be used to explain the universe, as religions do? And how do you know that "God" isn't the sum total of the regularities in nature that are known to science, as Einstein and Spinoza considered?

"First, every conversation has an implicit and explicit purpose to some degree. People communicate for a reason. What is yours? "

-- interest in open debate

"Your string of comments on the subject of religion and science seem to be aimed at equating the two -- demonstrating that religion is as much a science as science is a religion."

-- not at all, merely suggesting a closer examination of both could be of value. A suggestion inviting open debate of the subject, not the messenger.

"My purpose in responding to you is to show that your comments don't make sense,

-- Please have the decency to explain your comment - this criticism could lead to constructive debate, rather than an attempt to "shoot the messenger" !

"because I value science more than religion. I don't think science needs defending, because it is doing just fine on its own."

-- I, on the other hand, remain open to be convinced about either, but I have no doubt about the achievements of science

Since your goal seems to be to deflate science and elevate religion, I have to assume that you aren't a science supporter and are more attracted to religion. At least, that's how you come across. You might want to adjust your manner of writing if you aren't coming across accurately to others.

-- Entirely incorrect - my comments fall within the realms of investigative science and do not fall outside of rational thought.

"I mention this because your comments border (or cross the line) into irrationality."

-- Please explain - highlight an irrational comment that I have made please

"You keep saying the same thing, but don't provide sound arguments for your sayings."

-- Is not logic a sound argument?
A proof can be made about anything providing logic is used and paradox is not the end result

"This is why I wonder what your motivation is in commenting. You come across as someone who has his mind made up, and is out to show how "religious" science is, and science lovers are."

-- My mind is far from made up, but I am yet to receive a response to any of my questions, (I invited you to respond to my specific questions in a previous comment, but you chose to attack me rather than to respond to my specific questions


"This is tiresome and rather boring. But I'll take a few minutes to respond, probably for the last time, to statements of yours that don't make much if any sense."

"Nature is what it is."

-- Agreed

Science finds certain regularities in nature."

What is a regularity? Science also finds many irregularities - these are still scientific.
Do you not agree that such findings are founded in logic and rational thought?

" We call these "laws of nature" and other names. It isn't science that makes gravity, electromagnetism, and such operate in a precise regular manner that can be modeled by mathematics. It is nature."

-- We match an observation with a mathematical relationship, wherein the symbols and operators in that mathematical relationship represent fully observable phenomena. Thus we have a mathematical representation of observable nature, which we then call a law of nature. Until we observe otherwise, we assign such laws as universal laws of nature.

"Most mathematicians have a Platonic view of their field: that mathematics exists "out there" somehow independent of human cognition."

-- This is an old fashioned view of mathematicians, you do them discredit, I cannot accept your use of the word 'most'.

Other mathematicians and philosophers of science disagree. Regardless, it is indisputable that there are regularities in the natural world. If there weren't, the cosmos would be a big, buzzing, blooming confusion and we wouldn't be able to use computers to post comments on a blog (or do anything else).

-- It is indisputable that these patterns (regularities) can be represented in symbolic terms with operators between these terms that obey laws of logic (otherwise known as mathematics)

"You keep saying that logic is the "God" of science, just as God is the "God" of religion. Do you see the flaw in that reasoning, from that sentence? God is repeated. Why not say: logic is the "logic" of science, just as God is the "logic" of religion?"

-- Logic (and therefore mathematics} are man made (mathematics is a mental construct used to explain that observed, it works!) neither can be directly observed in any part of the universe.

The God of religion is of the same ilk, God cannot be observed directly or indirectly in the universe (possibly also a mental construct used to explain the observable universe)


Meaning, religion needs something to justify itself. It needs a reason to exist. Religion calls this God. For science, the reason is the regularities in Nature, which is a more accurate term than logic or mathematics. I and others (George) have shown you that much of science doesn't rest on mathematics. Evolution, for example."

-- The regularities in nature are defined in terms of mathematics (the scientific study of relationships between observable phenomena) and mathematics is a mental construct, ie rational thought)

"So you should complain to nature, the universe, if you object to regularities in the natural world."

No, the regularities are simply identified as a result of mental concepts, mental constructs and pattern recognition. Nothing actually changes in nature.
Likewise, if we choose to accept or reject the notion of God, it makes no difference to nature, it carries on with or without.


Whether these exist all the way down, so to speak (or if "all the way down" makes sense as a statement about the ultimate nature of the universe), is unknown. I've argued many times before that it seems impossible to explain existence, probably because existence doesn't need explaining -- it is a given that makes explanations possible.

"Once again (and likely for the last time, because you keep ignoring this point), science doesn't claim that regularities exist on every level of the universe. They have been found so far, and there are a lot more regularities to be discovered. That's all we can say."

-- Agreed, but science moves forward into a vast unknown, stimulated by the belief that all can one day be explained If it were not for the belief that all of nature can be (and may one day be) explained by science, this is why science doe not accept that God may exist in the gaps of science?
ie the gaps in science are not proof of existence of God, (to which I agree) therefore, the gaps in science will one day be explained in terms of rational thought (this is the belief of science !

"I assume that you believe God isn't logical or "regular" in any way, or that God could be known by science. Many mystics assert the same thing, that "God" is another name for ultimate mystery. But then there is nothing that can be known or said about God, because there is no regularity that can be known or described."

- Not at all and I do my best to not make assumptions (we all know the saying about making assumptions )
God may exist in some rational and explainable way, however, science does not generally accept this possibility. Science generally attempts to study and formulate laws of mathematics to explain the observed, deriving mathematical relationships, then, if not able to provide a suitable model, mathematics evolves into new levels so as to better model the observed Again, these are all mental constructs in order for us to apply mental logic to gain acceptable understanding..

"I sort of like that view of God. But it leaves us speechless. Which is why I wonder why you keep using so many words to talk about this subject. If God can't be known or described in any fashion, what makes you think you're justified in saying that God can be used to explain the universe, as religions do? And how do you know that "God" isn't the sum total of the regularities in nature that are known to science, as Einstein and Spinoza considered?"

-- It is the concept of God as the unknowable that gives religious explanations an easy answer, I do not agree with it, as it is no answer. Mathematics falls close at times, how many mathematicians today can follow Godel and understand his logic? Not many, perhaps ten, worldwide? But we accept it as fact.

I suspect BleedingObvious works in science and is that interesting chap who had the ability to change-up his IP addresses at one stage.

However, his arguement albeit interesting, is not correct imo.

Logic is essential to mathematics and science, that much is correct, and this is precisely what distinguishes it from God, which requires only belief.

A logical statement, like a mathematical one, needs to be proved objectively if its to be regarded as true - God requires no such proof.

The topic of logic and its inluence on philosophy is very interesting, and resulted in the logical positivism of the anglo-saxon model as opposed to the continental model. To complete the picture, there are of course, many different types of logic. Logic does not necessarily have to be absolute, i.e. true or false. Probability as well as fuzzy logic provide degrees of truth or likelihood. It is correct that these tools all form part of science.

But what these tools of science all have in common is that they've been developed and proved by mankind at some point. If one disputes any of this, and feels they are unproven assumptions, one can find the relevant proofs which objectively validated a particular logical, mathematic or scientific theory.

On the contrary, there is no objective proof written down for the existence of God. RS say they offer a method whereby if you do certain things you will have a subjective experience, but this is not obkective proof. Whoever provides such objective proof would have made the biggest discovery mankind has ever made. It may happen, anything is possible, but so far it has not.

I suspect what is more likely is that if there is a God, he is beyond the limits of science and mathematics, and therefore unprovable and uncomparable.

George
"Logic is essential to mathematics and science"
Agreed, and I assume that you also accept that logic is product of mind of man, not an observable phenomena of nature?

that much is correct, and this is precisely what distinguishes it from God, which requires only belief.
Is not God also a product of mind of man, not an observable phenomena of nature?

I am not stating equivalence, just similarity.

"A logical statement, like a mathematical one, needs to be proved objectively if its to be regarded as true - God requires no such proof."

-- No, many examples, eg the proof that the sum of any two even integers is even does not REQUIRE objectivity, eg. consider two even integers x and y. Since they are even, they can be written as x=2a and y=2b respectively for integers a and b. Then the sum x + y = 2a + 2b = 2(a + b). From this it is clear x+y has 2 as a factor and therefore is even, so the sum of any two even integers is even.

"The topic of logic and its inluence on philosophy is very interesting, and resulted in the logical positivism of the anglo-saxon model as opposed to the continental model. To complete the picture, there are of course, many different types of logic. Logic does not necessarily have to be absolute, i.e. true or false. Probability as well as fuzzy logic provide degrees of truth or likelihood. It is correct that these tools all form part of science."

-- This is why I suggested 'mathematics' rather than 'logic' although it matters not which type of logic for my argument.

But what these tools of science all have in common is that they've been developed and proved by mankind at some point. If one disputes any of this, and feels they are unproven assumptions, one can find the relevant proofs which objectively validated a particular logical, mathematic or scientific theory."

--- This is exactly my point !!!
Mathematics is a tool developed by mankind, it is a model that works, it describes the observable universe, and so we accept it. But it is no more than a man made mental construct.

I propose that science considers God to be ALSO a man made mental construct. (Brian - this is not a statement to the effect that I am desperately promoting religion and bashing science as you seem to be intent to believe !!)

The crux of my comment is that the observable universe is something man seems to have a need to understand. In so doing man supports the use of one mental construct (mathematics) yet decries another (God)
Why - because mathematics seems so logical and rational and supports the observed, well it would wouldnt it, mathematics has been developed specifically as a mental tool for that purpose.

"On the contrary, there is no objective proof written down for the existence of God. RS say they offer a method whereby if you do certain things you will have a subjective experience, but this is not obkective proof. Whoever provides such objective proof would have made the biggest discovery mankind has ever made. It may happen, anything is possible, but so far it has not."

- There are many thought exercises in mathematics that do not have objective proof, so this argument does not hold water.

"I suspect what is more likely is that if there is a God, he is beyond the limits of science and mathematics, and therefore unprovable and uncomparable."

Science (many references to Brians posts are possible here) does not like this possibility, noting that God cannot be fitted into the gaps in science knowledge.

Either it is believed that the universe can be explained or understood by science (A) or it cannot (B)
If A then mathematics becomes the God of science, because it is then believed that all the universe has a mathematical underpinning
If B, then science acknowledges that God may exist beyond the reaches of science and logical thought, therefore God is accepted as a possibility by science (Not one of Brians pink elephants that he seems to imagine on his driveway from time to time)


George, you make much sense. BleedingObvious doesn't. He continues to miss my main point: that religions posit regularities in (or as) God's nature, just as science posits regularities in the nature of Nature.

The big difference between religion and science, as you correctly point out, is that science offers up evidence and explanations for these regularities, while religion doesn't. This is because religion can't point to any evidence of regularities in the universe that are produced by a supernatural God rather than natural phenomena.

All religious believers can do, honestly, is say "God is a mystery." This is far removed from the scientific method, which describes the natural world, often with astounding precision. Have you ever tried praying for something? See how often that works, compared to how often your TV goes on when you press a button.

Thanks for the discussion, BleedingObvious. You've helped me confirm why I value science much more highly than religion. Thinking about "regularities" in both areas showed me more clearly than before that religion tries to emulate science by finding explanations for why the cosmos is as it is -- regularities rather than chaos.

But religion fails in this because it deals with subjective beliefs rather than objective realities. Religion has "science envy," but isn't able to transform itself into a reality-revealing discipline like science can.

It's interesting, and telling, that many spiritual paths like to call themselves a science, such as "Science of the Soul." But you never find scientific groups calling themselves a religion: "The Religion of Geophysics," for example. This shows the primacy of science as the best way of understanding reality.

Godel's incompleteness theorem are often raised to show science's limits, but science already knows its limits.

Godel roughly said that a formal system cannot be complete and consistent. However, science is not a formal system. Godel was disproving Russel's philsophical attempt a purely mathematical formal system relying on deductive apparatus. Deduction is only one form of logic, another is induction. Deduction draws logical conclusions from definitions and axioms (of a formal system), while induction draws general conclusions from specific examples.

Science is often concerned with inductive reasoning, as opposed to mathematics relying on deductive logic. Inductive reasoning and science make no claims to absolute truth, only a likely probability of it based on the available evidence, hence its limits.

BleedingObvious

My above post on godel and logic, puts forward at least one difference between mathematics and science. I would also say logic is science, rather than a subset of it. Instead both logic and science can use the mathematics, but its not necessary. Whereas God is wholly necessary for religious explanations. So imo these concepts are not equivalent or similar.

But to get back to the crux of your arguement, which is the view that both Mathematics and God are manmade constructs, this much is correct.

However, does this form of cultural relatavism leads one closer to the truth insofar as distinguishing if one method of explanation (science or religion) is more accurate than the other, or indeed their validity at all?

"God" may be a manmade mental construct, but so is "Never Never Land" where JM Barries 'Peter Pan' lived - does this make them similar?

But apart from the question as to their relative validity insofar as models of reality are concerned - the real difference lies in the richness of explanation that they respectively offer.

Mathematics is composed of detailed provable theorems that model or explain reality in many different ways with great predictive and repetive powers; whereas in contrast religion's sole explanation is simply God. There's no richness or logic or predictive explanation at all.

Brian,

Yes, i would agree and think you are also complaining about the lack of richness, which mathematics offers as opposed to God. I don't know if there is a god or not, but it seems to me if its our universe we want to understand, we gain nothing from it by a belief in God or any other belief system with unproven concepts, which may simply be manmade myth, as the abrahamic religious tenets surely are.

I also agree with you that religion has a sort of envy of science that the religious often seek to borrow from it, by delving into its less well explained aspects like godel, quantum theory, etc.

Nevertheless they are interesting discussions and BleedingObvious makes some thought-provoking comments.

Mathematics is largely based on 'a priori' deduction that is independent of experience, whereas Science is largely based on 'a posteriori' induction that depends on emperical experience.

This is how i would explain the ability of mathematics to draw conclusions which often surpasses or extend our experiences of reality (or possibly your thought experiments), but there is still a form of logic behind it.

Put another way, Einstein would disagree with your suggestion of the importance of mathematics to science and reality - "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

I feel as if I have made some slight breakthrough in communication, thank you George. I am not going to attempt the near impossible, so sorry Brian, I do not think I can respond to your comments, you constantly assume I am making statements that I am not, you try to dig deep into why I am writing some comment, and completely miss the simplicity of my argument. George has all but understood.
I am not saying mathematics and science are the same
I am not saying that science and religion are the same
I am agreeing that religions and science both acknowledge regularities.
Oh, and the reference to Godel, I wanted to draw your attention not the the result (incompleteness theorem) bit to the method, examine his use of logic.

Science uses the tool of mathematics effectively, it is able to predict outcomes to a high degree of accuracy, and so we accept it as an accurate model of the universe, all be it lacking in areas which we have reason to believe we will learn more.

Religion is unable to boast such success, it does not and cannot use its knowledge to predict an outcome, although it tends to the safe side of predicting outcomes when we are no longer alive (easy one that !!!)

And so, at face value, there appears a world of difference, science, eminently practical, able to predict with increasing accuracy and reliability - vs religion, no evidence, no predictive capabilities.

So what am I on about in this thread?
If science is to proceed with an open mind, should science assume that all creation is explainable in terms of logic?
The mechanism through which man accepts a proof and so gains knowledge is by the man made construct of logic. We do not accept the illogical or the irrational.
So when we observe chaotic behaviour, we create a form of mathematics to explain the observed. We have such mental constructs as fractal dimensions, probability, and so on.
Consider maths as a language, lets assume English for the moment.
So we go out into the universe and explore, we find some new object, totally unknown, and then give it a name, now it is known.
We have gained knowledge and feel arrogantly superior in that we are slowly but methodically understanding creation.
When we next come across a similar object, we have a name for it, we have a concept for it, we can predict what it will do because we have this mental concept into which it now fits. This is what we call knowledge.
But is is any wonder, is it any surprise that it works, it will always work, when we observe something, observe its behaviour, observe its form, categorise it, define it in our terms, then feel we know something about it because we have created some logical construct that fits all observable aspects.

To those who have belief in existence of God, they can experience something similar, they have their convenient explanation, whatever happens, it can be classified as Gods will, another mental construct that falsely satisfies our mental desire to feel we have knowledge.

BleedingObvious,

Yes, science is logic-based, but more importantly it follows the evidence, whether that is chaotic (chaos theory), unpredicatble (heisenberg) or counter-intuitive to our minds (quantum theory).

Science probably can only represent a portion of reality, but its not clear how big/small that portion is OR if there is an alternate method that is validatable. There is no way of validating whether God or Peter Pan exists using faith as a method of explanation.

Thus, i agree that science, like language itself, is possibly limited by its objectification or categorisation of a richer reality. Its interesting watching a human baby learn as parents teach it associations and hence program language and categorisation so soon. The Taoist/chinese notion of 'Hsuan' suggests an underlying chaos or incomprehensible denseness to the nature of the universe - perhaps before all categorisations are projected onto it by a manmade percieving mind?

The mystical traditions validate by direct subjective experience, but this is not objective and hence might be a creation of mind. Nevertheless, it seems worth pursuing perhaps precisely because this first person experience might overcome the apparent objectification limits of science. So yes, perhaps there is some sort of primordial state of awareness or perception underlying all this conditioning, which the mystical traditions try to tap into by stilling the mind and going within. Whether such primal awareness is the essence of all things, or a drop from the ocean of oneness or a soul particle of God - seems to depend on particular interpretations.

Thank you George
Excellent interpretation of my original post

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