Friday, December 3, 2010

«A Bed Made of Sleep»

There are some things that simply can't exist in any space or time. Absolute knowledge of the universe is not required to assert that some things can't exist.

Putting faith in its place


  1. It is always uncomfortable to have my existence debunked. How can I prove that I actually engineered the technologies that I engineered? Clearly the things exist and work whether I exist or not ... Yes, I worked on airbag design tools, but all of them can be explained without postulating my existence ... When was the last time someone opened up an airbag module and saw evidence of me? Clearly I am nothing but a myth to myself, and it is merely unreasoning faith and verbal bullying that causes me to believe in my existence ...

  2. @ Looney: You actually have other evidence for your existence. In fact, even taking a solipsistic viewpoint, the only thing you know for sure is that you personally exist in some form.

    Airbags are incapable of reproduction and heredity, so I must come to the conclusion that they are not life and did not evolve. Now at this point, it is perfectly reasonable to say "I don't know how it came into existence" if I lack any other evidence. It is too large of a jump without evidence to say it had a creator that is far more complex than the device itself.

    I can't make the jump that that designer must have been you, and then use the airbag for evidence of you. I could just as well say the designers were fairies, and thus the airbag is evidence that faeries exist.

    However, I have other evidence that humans exist beyond just the airbag. I do have evidence that in fact people do design and build airbags. This still doesn't prove that you specifically designed them, and so you exist.

    The one thing I do take on faith is that the world around me is in fact reality. So while your designs are not strong enough evidence that you specifically exist, I have other evidence that you exist. You make comments here that are beyond any current artificial bot's capabilities, and I've met you in real life.

    That to me is enough to reasonably make the theory that you exist. Your existence is not as extraordinary of a claim as a God's existence, so I require less evidence.

  3. You must realize that this argument will fly right over the heads of nearly all people who hold these fictitious views.. Which renders the video nearly pointless unless you need your own non beliefs shored up I guess.

    I am not trolling here Marf. I just don't have a driving need to educate the god fearing ignorant masses.

  4. @ stratagem: Ah, but there are those like Looney that will understand it. While I know it won't convince him of anything, I am forever interested how someone of an intelligence far greater than my own can still be a believer.

    It provoked a response, one I hope to learn from. So it has not gone to waste.

  5. "Airbags are incapable of reproduction and heredity ..."

    @Marf, you have just invoked a deity by stealth! "Reproduction and heredity" amount to the lowest level optimization algorithms. They have exactly zero powers of design, but you have postulated that the supernatural creative powers of god reside in them. Of course you must then invoke "The Scientist", who is another mythological supernatural being. The Scientist is all-knowing, infallible, and cannot be questioned by mere mortals! He has no name, and no one has ever met or seen him, but third tier intellectuals at universities act as his priests, speaking on behalf of him things that he supposedly uttered.

    Then there is the supernatural doctrine called "Evolution". Supposedly it is science, but no one has ever come up with a plausible scientific definition for it. Instead, it is imparted by Faith. If someone places unquestioning Faith in Evolution, he suddenly becomes empowered to explain everything, even if it is a thousand times more complex than a fighter airplane. It reminds me of the charismatics!

    So my claim is that the atheist has merely eliminated one god from the pantheon, but created countless new ones as replacements! The other point is that no atheist actually accepts the argument in the video, if the argument is addressed to the atheists own deities and their claims to supernatural powers.

  6. @ Looney: *sigh* How do I even respond to that? When I say scientist I'm talking about researchers that publish their findings in scientific journals. Their publications are then scrutinized and independently tested in the peer review process.

    Even then, their findings are simply the best current explanation of the observations. It's out of self humility that the scientific community uses the word theory rather than fact (though there are facts in mathematics). The scientific use of theory has significantly more weight than the common use of the term. By all rights the common usage should be of the word 'hypothesis'.

    At this point we have to accept that in the English language one word can have multiple meanings.

    Gravity is also a scientific theory, one that is defined far more poorly than evolution, and in fact has far less evidence to support it.

  7. I think both of you are right. I tend not to beleive religious people or scientists- ie, I don't think God is real but I don't beleive in, say, relativity either.

  8. @ Vid: I don't believe in string theory. However, relativity has been observed and measured. The clocks on GPS satellites for example have to compensate for relativity. The experiments in particle accelerators (like the LHC) are some extreme examples of relativity at work.

    Whereas string theory is more of a case of the equations not working unless there are 11 dimensions.

  9. Well said. I suggest someone screen this to a very large audience. Eventually, people will spread their newfound "enlightenment". If I had the ability, I would speak out against this disgusting mindset. Atheists should have the ability to be atheist. This is a free country, is it not?


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