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Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

It is our job as thinkers and scientists to continue asking questions including "why". And "it has no cause" is not a statement of fact but always an unfalsifiable

Of-course its falsifiable - you would falsify it by finding a cause. I can postulate that the light in my room switches on without a cause, then someone can perform an experiment and show that in fact it does have a cause. If an event truly has no cause then it is a statement of fact to say so. What is impossible is to prove it that something has no cause.

But follow this though experiment: How would you show that an event has no cause? Well you could do it by showing the infinite amounts of it that have occurred at any given instant, under any given conditions, which is what one would logically expect from something that occurs without a cause, but not from one that occurs with one.

How do you show that it has no cause except by embarking on a never-ending quest to find one (which is why science would never actually accept it had found it.)

But this isn't the way science works in practice, there are a lot of theories floating around that have not been proven in a strict sense, but conform to so many experiments that they have been accepted until such a time as either a full proof or counter-evidence emerges. So while it might be that on some strict level the above though experiment of what a event without a cause might look like would not be accepted as proven to be a non-caused event - it would be practically accepted as its based on numerous repeatable experiments under a wide variety of conditions. Importantly applications would be built based on this knowledge, other theories abandoned etc.

... God did it is not a repeatable process, so it is not a conclusion that science can make.

But "god" as in the first uncaused event is by definition repeatable, infinitely so. For it not to be repeatable it needs to be caused.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

I do believe you just said the equivalent of "It just is, stop asking irritating questions"...

I don't get why you think this. If things have no cause then they have no "why". Its not a call to stop asking irritating questions, but a statement of fact.

If an ultimate first cause were identified and proven as such, then I think that would be seen as loaded with meaning rather than meaningless

On the contrary, unless there really was god at the bottom, it would be the nail in the coffin of the notion that the universe had some greater meaning.

... then the question would be "how does the rule 'X pops into existance without a cause' come about"? Why not no rule? Why not a rule 'Y pops into existance without cause' instead? ... Unscientific as it cannot be falsified. Substitute almost anything for X and this becomes obvious. For fun substitute "the universe as it is now" for X, and you have the theory that the universe is brand new and sprang instantaneously into existance right now (including all our memories), caused by the absense of a universe. Perfectly self-consistent, but unscientific.

I think you have misunderstood this - I was giving an example of a causeless start and how as a result it has no why, as well as why one might consider such a thing truly possible.

Science relies on the idea that the universe can (theoretically eventually) be completely described by mathematical formulae and laws

You need to justify this statement - I've already stated that I disagree with this as science only needs observations to function not any specific way of describing the universe. Perhaps I misunderstood you, but I though that you stated earlier that mathematics is an inherent part of the universe.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

The cosmological argument is that if you keep back-tracing causes, and the chain is not infinite, then eventually you reach something that has no cause -- in which case you can't answer "why" on it

Wouldn't the why then be that it has no cause and hence its without a point? Imagine this actually being the case. Say that we have discovered that X pops into existance without prior cause. We observe / deduce that it has no prior cause and hence the why is "without a reason".

However logically we wouldn't expect this to be the case - as if X pops into existance without a cause - then one would expect X to pop into existance at an infinite rate (as without a cause would also imply that there is nothing stopping it). And if the presence of X prevents further X's from appearing then the cause of X's appearance can be stated as the absence of X.

Similarly, mathematics is rather wider than you suggest -- qualitative measurements are still mathematical, even if not written down in a formal notation...

Doesn't the incompleteness theorem contradict the notion of mathematics as a fundamental part of the universe and suggest that it is indeed just a self-consistent system for categorising and understanding the world? (and I admit here that its pushing my understanding of the issues involved)

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

Read it again. What do I mean by "you"? It was your word "you". I am illustrating a point you just don't seem to grasp by showing it in your very own sentences and argument. (Relabelling your own "you" as god was a bit of rhetorical ramming the problem home to you.)

If it isn't agency then indeed I haven't. Perhaps you could explain it.

as scientists we only have mathematical descriptions of observations to work with

No we have observations which we sometimes choose to quantify / theories that we use maths to power(for instance the theory of evolution is typically expressed without mathematics)... we also do qualitative measurement too... not to mention that should there be a more fitting way of observing and recording the universe then we would use that.

Which brings us back to the point that the mathematical description provably cannot describe a universe that self-boots from the empty set of "no data and no operations"

It would also prove that either our universe doesn't start that way or that there exists another way of describing the universe which would in turn open up said start to science and allow us to get at the why.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

Let's pose this question: are the "you" and "mathematical operations" nouns within the universe?

These are massive assumptions that you make here - I dont think you can really justify them. Why should "you" (by which I take you mean agency given your later conversion to god) be required for anything. As for mathematical operations - we use them as a self-consistent way of observing/describing the world. The universe is no more using mathematical operations then you are using addition when you put two apples together.

then you have just subscribed to mysticism and we might as well write: { }, God, divine creation

Or we could not, and as a bonus, keep our rigour.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

Sorry to hear you are confused. I'm disappointed though that you take the false logic of "if I am confused it must be wrong or does not belong in this discussion". I'll try rephrasing it for you one last time.

And I'm disappointed that you let your ego get the best of you, in addition to not actually addressing my point.

If your question is "why X" then you are implying "why X rather than !X" ... "why a universe exists" -- implying "why a universe rather than no universe". ie, "why a universe, rather than {}"

This is what I am talking about. Your explanation using logic only serves to confuse the issue. In that example if X is the universe then !X is not "no universe" - but all possible universes except that configuration. And as I already explained the empty set {} would be an empty universe not no universe. Either use these symbols properly, or just use normal English.

Just saying "yeah, but why {}" is not an answer to the question, but merely a claim that you shouldn't ask that question.

The point was to suggest that there may very well be nothing special about nothingness for it to be expected. Showing that a question is meaningless is an answer to the question (not that I am suggesting I have conclusively done so - in this case the point was that both are at this time equally enigmatic).

But your assertion was that the question could be answered, not just that you can rationalise not asking it.

My assertion was that discovering the causation of the event (i.e. how it occurs) - the "scientific" part gives us the why - the "philosophical/metaphysical" part. That is that we can extract the why from the how. None of this nonsense you have written up to now has even addressed this point.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

Unfortunately in doing so, you cut the relevant rephrasing of the GGP's original (rhetorical) question:

I cut out the mathematical nonsense as it doesn't really belong in this discussion. In this case the empty set would represent a universe that exists but is otherwise empty, i.e. something, not nothing. Its mathematical qualities are curiosities that dont necessarily relate to any real world issues (is the product of nothing 1?) and as such it only serves to confuse an already confusing topic.

{ } is a stable state because it is a static declaration. It contains no rules that can change it, nor any axis for it to change on.

What is this even supposed to mean? That you cannot perform any mathematical operations on an empty set? Nonsense.

{ } is the "default" (comparison) state because we are considering why any universe exists; { } is no universe existing.

All you have done is restated the point: "Its the default because we are considering why any universe exists". Well to repeat - as a interesting exercise, consider why nothing should exist instead. If you cannot think of any good reasons then why would you expect one but not the other?

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

You are mis-interpreting the "we" in his question as being a narrow set of people.

Given his reply I would suggest that my interpretation has been vindicated. In any case you are asking for an actual answer as opposed to the GP who was debating the impossibility of a WHY answer from science - things that are quite different.

I usually suggest phrasing the question differently to make it a little more precise. Here is the mathematical empty set { }. It is perfectly self-consistent .... [eh lets cut down on the verbosity]

Since you are a fan of philosophy and logic - why should there be nothing as opposed to something? Why is nothing the default state? Why is nothing a stable state? I would say these are major assumptions that are built into our thinking based on our experience on earth - but are they applicable elsewhere?

Comment: Re:NEWS FLASH (Score 1, Interesting) 196 196

Except what you claim is nowhere to be found in the article. They do say that an A to G conversion error is most common - but I already knew that before this article. Its common knowledge that (since dna is a computer nor digital) the chemistry impacts greatly on the copying accuracy and this is not consistent for all of the DNA/RNA "letters". Furthermore - there are regions of DNA that are more heavily protected from inaccuracies then others.

The only claim this article actually makes is that the rate of errors is much higher than anticipated - something that is very interesting but hardly contradicts the notion that RNA copies from DNA.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

You realize that you just made a religious statement of faith? ;)

No - I suspect I don't realise it because I didn't. However I would appreciate it if you could explain your point of view.

Science has accepted as proven (Evolution), that it was by accident. They are just back filling the details. ;)

Science has accepted evolution as proven because it has been proven. They are filling in the details, yes, but in the same way as we know that gravity is true, despite the occasional revision of the details.

As for it being an accident there are a few aspects that are yet unresolved. First one is that the origin of life itself remains murky, second is that the question of the inevitability of higher consciousness emerging - both of which will impact that conclusion.

Any other theory is, fantasy and the realm of philosophy and religion and fiction. At least that is what Scientists keep telling me

A bunch of no good commies, I know - the only reason we keep them around is because they keep coming up with breakthroughs that save and improve our lives. It was a lot better before they got so uppity.

Comment: Re:Science Journalism (Score 1) 570 570

Science cannot explain WHY we are here

Sorry to pick on you for just one statement - but I see this often and it is wrong. If through science we discover we have been created as part of an experiment by an alien race then we would have discovered WHY we are here (i.e. to be part of an alien experiment). If the truth is that we came by accident then science has discovered WHY we are here (i.e. no reason).

Comment: Re:Great, more Elitism in Government (Score 1) 76 76

Sometimes, and I don't want to comment on the tea party situation specifically, it does no good to rationally debate people. People are not inherently rational and so sometimes cling to positions that are not rationally defensible despite hearing arguments to the contrary (and everyone is subject to this, incl. myself) - so an alternative can be to mock them. People are more likely to respond to social arguments (you will be laughed at if you believe this) then rational arguments (you will be logically wrong if you believe this) and so it can be a successful strategy of changing people's minds / motivate them to explore alternative viewpoints (not necessarily the main proponent(s) who will likely bunker down further - but they are not important anyway - its those on the periphery). Its advisable to use both approaches in tandem.

Yes its not ideal but people are in many ways fubar so you gotta do what you can.

Comment: Re:Where is the shoulder mount? (Score 1) 72 72

I'm not sure why I am responding to this - I guess you remind me a bit too much of what I used to think and I feel the need to explain why my views have changed. In any case you may find some of the reasons to be of interest.

Communism isn't evil or oppressive, at least no more than capitalism.

There are two main problems with communism - one is that the centralisation of decision making (and hence creativity) is unsuitable for managing a large country (note both china and Russia abandoned much of these ideas and introduced, albeit limited, free market reforms). Second is that it creates large concentrations of power that inevitably revert to authoritarian control - its basically part of human nature (you will see this in decision making literature). Given the above its not surprising that the system has failed to demonstrate a working compatibility with democracy - and while capitalism is not without flaws - these have been largely mitigated in the western world.

Regarding Perl Harbor, the USA was providing financial aid and weaponry to Japan's enemies (China and the UK). Roosevelt insulted Japan everytime he got some camera time (AKA all the fucking time). There are many sources that say that the US knew about the attack, and allowed it to happen to be able to enter the war.

These are all true (expect perhaps about knowing about the attack - while they knew an attack was likely they did not know the time and place) but are irrelevant. The US did provide some token support to the Chinese (the UK was not at war with Japan at the time and declared war at the same time at the US) - however the main thing that the US did was embargo a critical ingredient to their war of ruthless expansion - oil - something perfectly legitimate to do given how Japan was behaving at the time (the rape of nanjing for instance). If you think this makes an attack legitimate then I would disagree - if they wanted to they could have given up all their gains in their wars in return for resumed oil imports. The they chose to attack says it all.

The US has done more than any force (except for the British Empire) in the past several centuries to keep the world regionally stable and people world-over fed and un-oppressed

If you disagree - name the country that has done more? While the US has done some bad things it has also done very good things - it stood up to the USSR, kosovo, somalia etc - the world would be a much poorer place if it has not existed.

Work smarter, not harder, and be careful of your speling.