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  1. #16
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by expatrie View Post
    As to the supremacy of Science or Religion, while Science has a lot to do with daily life and various improvements since the Middle Ages, Religion can be nice to people who run that way, and it's been there the whole time.
    Try earlier. Greeks, Egyptians, Romans - Perhaps even civilisations before them. It wasn't science as we know it, perhaps, but scientific theories and discoveries were made well before the Middle Ages. The term "atom" comes from the Ancient Greek word "atomos", and I believe that term arose from a Greek philosopher who had effectively predicted the existence of atoms.

    But anyway, I have to strongly disagree with Sparrow (Oh, there's a surprise). I believe that religion and science can coexist, and in fact they do. Everyone interprets their religion differently. There's no reason why a scientist who believes in evolution cannot also hold a belief in God or other gods. It's not mutually exclusive - i.e. a belief in God does not rule out a belief in science.

    There's also no reason why both science and religion could be right at the same time. What if God is bound by the laws of the Universe? Could it not be that God (or gods) created our universe (or the multiverse), but due to the resultant laws of physics, He/they were consumed in the Big Bang? Could the very existence of the universe/multiverse block them from being involved?

    Yes, I believe religion played a huge part in explaining things in the absence of education. Gods/God filled many roles we now have answers for. There were gods who brought the Sun up, which we now know doesn't actually happen - What happens is the Earth rotates and it creates the illusion of a rising sun.

    However, that just made me have an idea. If God/gods could create a planet, a universe, life - All of this, surely it's not too far fetched that they could mask it all? Could it be a "Tree falling in the woods" situation? If you weren't there, how could you prove it?

    Fact about Dwagginz:
    He is agnostic with influences from pre-medieval religions (Specifically iron/bronze age gods such as Thor, Freya, Minerva etc), Christianity and quantum theories (e.g. Schrodinger's Cat, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and so on)

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by expatrie View Post
    Well, that's pretty dismissive. Science is about causes, religion is about faith. While I may not believe in God, I'm not exactly happy about it, considering it might give me some solace in the long reaches of the night and other dark spots, but I just don't.

    Religion is about faith, faith that the religion you follow has substance.
    Since there is no God, no supernatural being, no afterlife, no spiritual world whatsoever, then there is no substance, save a placebo effect. It's not dismissive to call a lie a lie. All those religions that answer to a higher being or a supernatural force are categorically, a lie. Science has solved that mystery to my satisfaction.

    Religion most probably played a critical role in our evolution as a species, indeed whatever reaches in our ancient brains entertained religion, also found science and discovery. Religion should be thought of as an ancient artifact from our past, obsolete and decadent.



    As for String Theory and its various hybrids, I think the jury is still out.
    My main problem with it is that it has gotten pretty much a free ride for far too long. A unifying theory will need to explain if there was in fact a Big Bang, whether that Big Bang was a creation event, or just an event within a grander scheme... and of course, what came before the Big Bang.

  3. #18
    4/25/11 published!!!! expatrie's Avatar
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    Post But, are we still on topic here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    Religion is about faith, faith that the religion you follow has substance.
    Since there is no God, no supernatural being, no afterlife, no spiritual world whatsoever, then there is no substance, save a placebo effect. It's not dismissive to call a lie a lie. All those religions that answer to a higher being or a supernatural force are categorically, a lie. Science has solved that mystery to my satisfaction.

    Um.

    No.

    I could write a lot here, but it feels like a waste of time. Science hasn't solved 'religion' to my satisfaction. But usually it's religion that seems to feel attacked by Science, not the other way around.

    I think you're constructing your definition of religion so you can refute it with a hand-wave as "false." It's called a straw man argument. That's your definition of religion. Religion, more commonly, (and to me) is about faith in something bigger than you and has nothing to do with the laws of physics or science. More like, ethics. Religion never had anything to say about gravity that I remember. And I think you'll find that most people would follow that idea. Like, you treat people like something more than chunks of oddly configured carbon and chemical reactions, you treat people how you want to be treated. Carrot on a stick of heaven or the afterlife notwithstanding.

    But in a societal sense, what you think doesn't matter. It's what society as a whole wants. Some people seem to like and want religion in their lives, waning in it's influence on society or not. And like I said, I don't see how science can disprove god. Even though I don't believe in one. That's like saying mathematics disproves art. It's just the wrong tool for the job. Religion is philosophy. Science is something else.

    And it is dismissive to decide something's a lie in absence of any evidence. If you're so scientific, where's the proof? Isn't science about proof? Where has a laboratory experiment proved that (a) god does not exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    As for String Theory and its various hybrids, I think the jury is still out.
    My main problem with it is that it has gotten pretty much a free ride for far too long. A unifying theory will need to explain if there was in fact a Big Bang, whether that Big Bang was a creation event, or just an event within a grander scheme... and of course, what came before the Big Bang.
    Um, I don't think the Big Bang is really up for grabs as being proved anymore. It's pretty accepted as theory, what with all the red-shift, Cosmic Background Radiation and all.

    Of course the jury is still out on M-theory. But it hasn't gotten a free ride. I disagree that it must "prove everything" to be valid, just valid enough to base new theories or devices upon them. The inability to test it has already been explained. No test instruments strong enough to produce the effects, and that's what the LHC and other large-scale projects are supposed to (hope to) solve--test the theory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_...nd_controversy

    Or not.

    Well, at least they're supposed to reach Quark-Gluon plasma levels, right?

    Why should string theory address anything before the Big Bang? That doesn't seem relevant, because the laws of physics as we know them need not apply, the big bang is a result of those conditions, but need not be confined say, to the current fundamental ratios. (I mean electron to proton mass, Gravity versus electrical field force, etc.) And since (space)time is relevant only in the context of thermodynamics, well, the fabric of (space)time didn't necessarily exist back "then.where," so I doubt anything 'before' the big bang is even possible to derive definitively, although there are a few books on the subject. That sounds like pure conjecture. And I figure there are more solutions to that problem than just one.

    But I get the feeling I'm being trolled.

    Anyway, what's to prevent, say, an omnipotent being from setting up the big bang and all the rest of it is just boundary conditions? The ultimate Billiard shot? Philosophically, 'it' wouldn't even need to "start" at time zero. Since... ah, maybe you get what I'm saying already. We wouldn't be able to test when time started.

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    Quote Originally Posted by expatrie View Post
    Um.

    No.

    I could write a lot here, but it feels like a waste of time. Science hasn't solved 'religion' to my satisfaction. But usually it's religion that seems to feel attacked by Science, not the other way around.
    That's because Religion is under attack from Science.
    Do you not find yourself in the same corner with the likes of Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Watson & Crick?


    I think you're constructing your definition of religion so you can refute it with a hand-wave as "false." It's called a straw man argument. That's your definition of religion. Religion, more commonly, (and to me) is about faith in something bigger than you and has nothing to do with the laws of physics or science. More like, ethics. Religion never had anything to say about gravity that I remember. And I think you'll find that most people would follow that idea. Like, you treat people like something more than chunks of oddly configured carbon and chemical reactions, you treat people how you want to be treated. Carrot on a stick of heaven or the afterlife notwithstanding.
    What you're talking about is mostly spirituality/superstition/meditation and culture based morals, which may or may not have a God figure as an icon. That is not my argument.
    If the faith is in a God, God as creator front and center, than there is no substance to the religion. You say religion "is about faith in something bigger than you...", and that sounds like a new age cop out.
    I'm not discounting the placebo effect at all. The placebo effect of Judeo/Christian based religions is extremely powerful, and has considerable substance. Our Western Culture is based on that placebo effect.



    But in a societal sense, what you think doesn't matter. It's what society as a whole wants. Some people seem to like and want religion in their lives, waning in it's influence on society or not. And like I said, I don't see how science can disprove god. Even though I don't believe in one. That's like saying mathematics disproves art. It's just the wrong tool for the job. Religion is philosophy. Science is something else.
    From a philosophical standpoint you can't prove something doesn't exist, only that something has a degree of improbablity.


    And it is dismissive to decide something's a lie in absence of any evidence. If you're so scientific, where's the proof? Isn't science about proof? Where has a laboratory experiment proved that (a) god does not exist?
    Which God, the Judeo/Christian God as he appears in the King James Bible?


    Um, I don't think the Big Bang is really up for grabs as being proved anymore. It's pretty accepted as theory, what with all the red-shift, Cosmic Background Radiation and all.
    Then, you would be wrong.
    String Theory and Dark Matter, are unobserved phenomena that have come out of inconsistencies with the Big Bang theory. They've essentially been created to save the Big Bang framework of the universe. Why is it the physics that govern a black hole don't hold up for the Big Bang. As for Red Shift and Background Radiation... Red Shift measurements are, and correct me if I'm wrong, based on the Hubble Constant?.. which over the decades has been anything but constant. And I'll say nothing of the snag in the thread that quasars bring to Big Bangers.
    As for Cosmic Background Radiation, while it's the doom of the Steady State model of the universe it can be, and has been, attributed to something other than the Big Bang. Did you know someone had already predicted what the background radiation of the cosmos would be, and that prediction turned out to be much closer to reality than the original prediction made by Big Bang theorists?

    Of course the jury is still out on M-theory. But it hasn't gotten a free ride. I disagree that it must "prove everything" to be valid, just valid enough to base new theories or devices upon them. The inability to test it has already been explained. No test instruments strong enough to produce the effects, and that's what the LHC and other large-scale projects are supposed to (hope to) solve--test the theory.

    Or not.
    But M-theory is yet another invention to explain away problems with the Big Bang.

    Why should string theory address anything before the Big Bang? That doesn't seem relevant, because the laws of physics as we know them need not apply, the big bang is a result of those conditions, but need not be confined say, to the current fundamental ratios. (I mean electron to proton mass, Gravity versus electrical field force, etc.) And since (space)time is relevant only in the context of thermodynamics, well, the fabric of (space)time didn't necessarily exist back "then.where," so I doubt anything 'before' the big bang is even possible to derive definitively, although there are a few books on the subject. That sounds like pure conjecture. And I figure there are more solutions to that problem than just one.
    One of the most elegant remarks you're likely to ever come across, "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be". (Carl Sagan)
    That is why we need to know what was the Universe like before the Big Bang. An expanding universe doesn’t require that the universe began with a bang, but the Big Bang theory certainly requires an expanding universe.

    But I get the feeling I'm being trolled.

    I've made well over 500 posts here and it seems to me a moderator would have long since banned me if I were a troll.

    Anyway, what's to prevent, say, an omnipotent being from setting up the big bang and all the rest of it is just boundary conditions? The ultimate Billiard shot? Philosophically, 'it' wouldn't even need to "start" at time zero. Since... ah, maybe you get what I'm saying already. We wouldn't be able to test when time started.

    That would certainly be convenient.
    In the end you always have to ask yourself what came first, the chicken or the egg. Genesis says it was the chicken, Science says it must be the egg.

    What came first, the Big Bang or the Universe?

  5. #20
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    I can't say for sure, except that whatever the better way to go is, it won't be blazed by Stephen Hawking.
    Well, propose something -- anything -- or else all you're relying on is defamation and slander. "Not even wrong" indeed.

    I will agree with Hawking on one such thing, philosophy is not near as important in understanding things as Science is. You can however have a nice balance between Philosophy and Science, they coexist rather well I think.
    There's a truly bizarre set of statements. The Scientific Method is a philosophical approach. Methodology in any discipline is philosophy writ large.

    Science and Religion cannot coexist as equals. You must choose one over the other.
    So, science as faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    It's not dismissive to call a lie a lie.
    ...but that you're making that statement an absolute truth, despite lack of objective evidence for or against your assertion. While it's fair to say that you are sufficiently convinced that science has disproved the existence of God, the fact remains that that is your personal conviction and not an absolute, objectively verifiable truth.

    It is a lie in your opinion. While I'm not so lame as to think all opinions are equal, two equally informed and differing opinions can (and do) arise from the same sets of evidence. Your criticism of Hawking is basically that he's dabbling in theory and inferential science, and not applied, deductive science -- so too is the "scientific" assertion that science disproves God. It's inferential, not empirical. Theory.

    If you hold that personal conviction functions as truth ('I see from the evidence that it is not true, therefore it is not true'), then you end up back at loggerheads with those who arrive at the opposite conclusion from the same evidence ('I see from the evidence that it is true, there it is true').

    All those religions that answer to a higher being or a supernatural force are categorically, a lie. Science has solved that mystery to my satisfaction.
    Take, for example, the shape of new radio antennas in cell phones. Instead of a linear arrangement, changing the shape to a fractal design in 4 dimensions improves cell phone reception dramatically -- to the point that instead of requiring a 6 inch long pole, a die smaller in area than your pinkie fingernail produces multiple-times improved reception.

    There you have empirical evidence of a dimension beyond our own which influences and is part of our own. So the question, then, is how you split the difference between a "supernatural" realm and an "extranatural" realm. Unload the term "supernatural" of its cultural connotations (as you suggest expatrie's argument relies on them) and take it at face value to mean "above natural" -- categorically, is there a difference? Is there, or is there not, empirical evidence in support of a realm above/beyond our own?

    The only question from there is whether or not life is possible in dimensions outside of our own, given that it is possible within our own. If so, then you have super/extranatural beings.

    I find it contradictory to allow multidimensional theory in one breath and disallow near-identical religio-mythological concepts in the next.

    As for String Theory and its various hybrids, I think the jury is still out.
    If I'm reading you correctly, the jury is in. There's nothing supernatural, ergo there's no possible truth to String Theory.

    A unifying theory will need to explain if there was in fact a Big Bang, whether that Big Bang was a creation event, or just an event within a grander scheme... and of course, what came before the Big Bang.
    Which is precisely what Hawking's book, the subject of this thread, is attempting to do -- to provide an internally consistent description of a non-creation event within a grander scheme (hence the title, The Grand Design) including what came before the Big Ban.

    Shoot the messenger all you want, but don't forget to read the message!
    Last edited by Fung Koo; September 13th, 2010 at 07:01 AM.

  6. #21
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by expatrie View Post
    As to the "current trend of popular atheist literature," don't make me laugh.
    I was referring to Hitchens and Dawkins, primarily, who have been featured prominently in the media over the past two or three years. Titles such as "The God Delusion" and "God Is Not Great" come to mind when thinking of the title of Hawking's article from the Wall Street Journal.

    On the other hand, I tuned back into this thread thinking it would be an array of ad hominems on Hawking or back and forth name-calling, and congratulations on not dropping to that level yet.
    Give it time... give it time...

    But without funding it, there's no way to disprove it.
    Precisely. And along the way, we can expect unexpected results that falsify existing theories, resulting in the ongoing development of science. Science without pursuit isn't science at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by expatrie View Post
    Why should string theory address anything before the Big Bang?
    In fairness, String Theory is an attempt to explain what our universe is in the first place by approaching it as a phenomenon of something else. In that sense, it's describing our universe as subordinate to a broader extra-universal structure that exists before, during, and after our universe.

    Philosophically, 'it' wouldn't even need to "start" at time zero. Since... ah, maybe you get what I'm saying already. We wouldn't be able to test when time started.
    Well, that's part of one version of the Many World's theorem. Taken as a question of states in superposition, past and future are superpositions of the present. The present therefore defines which superpositioned Worlds create(d) our universe, not the past. In that sense, we're always in the middle of the Big Bang -- at the moment of creation. Time begins now. And now. And...

    You get the point
    Last edited by Fung Koo; September 13th, 2010 at 07:12 AM.

  7. #22
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwagginz View Post
    What if God is bound by the laws of the Universe?
    Then he's an alien -- not God

    Granted, relative to us he could seem to be God. But by virtually any definition of God from any faith, the difference between God and us is that we are bound to the laws of the universe and he is not. Assuming an extant God, that could be a misinterpretation of an higher dimensional being. But, philosophically/theologically, I would think that saying that God is bound by the laws of the universe makes him not-God.

    Could it not be that God (or gods) created our universe (or the multiverse), but due to the resultant laws of physics, He/they were consumed in the Big Bang? Could the very existence of the universe/multiverse block them from being involved?
    That's an interesting way of conceiving it. God as limitless and all powerful until he gives reality a form and laws, thereby disallowing his own limitlessness and power... A yin and yang, if you will, between pure order and pure chaos.

    A neat idea! Unfortunately, like all notions of the nature of God (as opposed to the existence of God), it's strictly imaginary

  8. #23
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Then he's an alien -- not God

    Granted, relative to us he could seem to be God. But by virtually any definition of God from any faith, the difference between God and us is that we are bound to the laws of the universe and he is not. Assuming an extant God, that could be a misinterpretation of an higher dimensional being. But, philosophically/theologically, I would think that saying that God is bound by the laws of the universe makes him not-God.
    Perhaps. I can sort of see where you're coming from with that. So instead of God being an external force as some religions would have you believe, He could be just a creation that is across more dimensions than we are, and due to that He was interpreted as being a god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    That's an interesting way of conceiving it. God as limitless and all powerful until he gives reality a form and laws, thereby disallowing his own limitlessness and power... A yin and yang, if you will, between pure order and pure chaos.

    A neat idea! Unfortunately, like all notions of the nature of God (as opposed to the existence of God), it's strictly imaginary
    That's late night Dwagginz talk for you As a theory, it'd need a lot more work. If He is an external force, that would disprove a lot of what most religions, if not all, preach about God or their own gods.

    I prefer to think of them as speculation rather than imaginary notions

  9. #24
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    [QUOTE=Fung Koo;597100]Well, propose something -- anything -- or else all you're relying on is defamation and slander. "Not even wrong" indeed.

    I have no responsibility, nor interest in, proposing what the unifying theory of the universe might be. As for defaming and slandering Mr.Hawking; he is a hack and publicity whore, and who should not be confused with the real giants in the field.



    So, science as faith.
    No, not quite, Science as arbiter suits me better.



    ...but that you're making that statement an absolute truth, despite lack of objective evidence for or against your assertion. While it's fair to say that you are sufficiently convinced that science has disproved the existence of God, the fact remains that that is your personal conviction and not an absolute, objectively verifiable truth.
    It's also my personal conviction that unicorn farts are not the cause of rainbows. I have no way to fully verify that statement other than to relate how rainbows are formed. Unicorns may, or may not exist, but they do not have anything to do with rainbows. Such is God.

    It is a lie in your opinion. While I'm not so lame as to think all opinions are equal, two equally informed and differing opinions can (and do) arise from the same sets of evidence. Your criticism of Hawking is basically that he's dabbling in theory and inferential science, and not applied, deductive science -- so too is the "scientific" assertion that science disproves God. It's inferential, not empirical. Theory.
    Science does disprove God, at least the God we've been sold on. They claim God has infinite power, but that cannot be. Einstein proved it with E=MC2. Everything there is, everything, is either energy or mass. There is no other option. Unless you believe in some sort of transcendental realm with physical laws very different than our own, and that exists beyond our senses, then you can't have a God that deals in the infinite.

    "The word 'god' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive, legends, which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can for me change this." -Albert Einstein

    Imagine that, you read all the holy books of all the world's religions and you won't be nearer the clear picture of what the universe is really like than with one simple equation, E=MC2.


    Take, for example, the shape of new radio antennas in cell phones. Instead of a linear arrangement, changing the shape to a fractal design in 4 dimensions improves cell phone reception dramatically -- to the point that instead of requiring a 6 inch long pole, a die smaller in area than your pinkie fingernail produces multiple-times improved reception.
    There you have empirical evidence of a dimension beyond our own which influences and is part of our own. So the question, then, is how you split the difference between a "supernatural" realm and an "extranatural" realm. Unload the term "supernatural" of its cultural connotations (as you suggest expatrie's argument relies on them) and take it at face value to mean "above natural" -- categorically, is there a difference? Is there, or is there not, empirical evidence in support of a realm above/beyond our own?
    Any supernatural realm, or whatever you want to call it, or anything outside our rather narrow spectrum, that somehow effects our reality must at some point intersect. You can't apply force with no force.


    The only question from there is whether or not life is possible in dimensions outside of our own, given that it is possible within our own. If so, then you have super/extranatural beings.
    Define Life.
    What if any meaning does the word "outside" have when taking into account other dimensions?


    I find it contradictory to allow multidimensional theory in one breath and disallow near-identical religio-mythological concepts in the next.
    Because the one extrapolates from scientific data, and the other is based on bullshit.


    If I'm reading you correctly, the jury is in. There's nothing supernatural, ergo there's no possible truth to String Theory.
    String Theory hasn't been confirmed, not even close.
    What it may have to do with a cosmic dimension where dead people walk on streets made of gold I can not tell.



    Which is precisely what Hawking's book, the subject of this thread, is attempting to do -- to provide an internally consistent description of a non-creation event within a grander scheme (hence the title, The Grand Design) including what came before the Big Ban.

    Shoot the messenger all you want, but don't forget to read the message!
    In his previous work Hawking said that what came before the Big Bang was irrelevant. I'm glad he's changed his mind on that.
    Does he actually have any original ideas on this grand design, or like usual does he fashion other people's theories into a hodgepodge?
    Last edited by Sparrow; September 14th, 2010 at 04:43 AM.

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    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Sparrow, can you tone it down, please? Fung Koo is right - Without any sources or evidence for your claims, all you're doing is slandering Professor Hawking. He might be a fraud for all I know, but claiming so without proving it is nothing more than slander.

    Either way, throughout the history of science, it's never been the work of one great mind. Isaac Newton, often said to be one of the greatest scientists of his time, is believed to have stolen (or borrowed heavily) from the work of his fellow scientists, with Robert Hooke being a prime example. If Professor Hawking is guilty of this himself, then it's nothing new. It's happened before, and it'll happen again.

  11. #26
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Ah, religion!

    One of SFFWorld's favourite topics, one guaranteed to bring out the passionate, the good and the bad....

    Sparrow: yes, you have been round here a while, and we appreciate it. However, I will also point out to all here that these debates are more fun when the combatants - sorry, discussers - keep it civil and less ranty.

    If we get to a point where we find members taking personal potshots at others then the thread gets closed and we find the staff have to get nasty.

    One of the key aspects of SFFWorld is that we like members to have different opinions, but that the respect for other members is paramount throughout - otherwise discussion is limited. Which negates the need for a discussion thread.

    Mark
    Mark

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    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Gee, Hobbit, you scared em all away!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    I have no responsibility, nor interest in, proposing what the unifying theory of the universe might be. As for defaming and slandering Mr.Hawking; he is a hack and publicity whore, and who should not be confused with the real giants in the field.
    That's what I'm asking for -- your list of the real giants and their theories, coupled with your interpretation, as counter-argument to Hawking's recent assertions.

    Unicorns may, or may not exist, but they do not have anything to do with rainbows. Such is God.
    Just so we're clear, your analogy is: God may or may not exist, but does not have anything to do with creation?



    Science does disprove God, at least the God we've been sold on. They claim God has infinite power, but that cannot be. Einstein proved it with E=MC2.
    I would strongly recommend that you read "Is The Universe Leaking Energy?" from July 2010's SciAm. It discusses in very lucid terms the fundamental contradiction of the Law of Conservation of Energy, an infinite universe, and evident energy loss in the universe due to things like observable red shift.

    A fundamental aspect of the issue is the discrepancy between the law of conservation of energy (that energy can neither be created nor destroyed -- is therefore a constant in the universe) and an infinite universe. An infinite universe would have to have infinite energy, so the notion of a constant, conserved, fixed value of energy in the universe is therefore fundamentally contradictory.

    Einstein did not, in any way, prove that God cannot have infinite power. Your interpretation of e=mc2 leaves me a little baffled. It is not a mathematical statement that mass and energy is all there is. It's simply the equation that defines the proportional relationship between mass and energy -- mass:energy equivalence. In that sense, it's not an either/or -- it's two forms of one thing.

    The current issue is, loosely: if mass and energy are equivalent, how does energy acquire/lose mass?

    In other words, how was our physical universe formed from energy? And, where does energy come from?

    Any supernatural realm, or whatever you want to call it, or anything outside our rather narrow spectrum, that somehow effects our reality must at some point intersect. You can't apply force with no force.
    Right -- for which I just provided an example. At least one dimension beyond our own set has empirical evidence. I'm not sure you've answered the question: does this not support a factual plane/sphere/realm of existence that is beyond our own?

    Define Life.
    An assemblage of material and energy capable of acting on its environment with a degree of freedom from a cause:effect relationship.

    What if any meaning does the word "outside" have when taking into account other dimensions?
    Our universe is composed of 4 dimensions. Variations of string theory posit anywhere from 10 or 11 or 26, or even more. Many of those dimensions are spatial dimensions, including the dimensions that make up our universe (and who is to say our dimensions are hierarchically 1, 2, and 3? We might be 7, 2, and 11!). Something "outside" of our particular combination of dimensions would be spatially separate at the least.

    From there, it's an open question as to whether or not dimensions that intersect with our own and give rise to/define elements of our universe, but do not constitute its dimensionality, are "part of" our universe or not.

    In his previous work Hawking said that what came before the Big Bang was irrelevant. I'm glad he's changed his mind on that.

    Does he actually have any original ideas on this grand design, or like usual does he fashion other people's theories into a hodgepodge?
    Again, criticizing a scientist for doing science! In the history of science, every idea is predicated on a hodgepodge of previous ideas. The Scientific Method is a communal philosophy, hence the Scientific Community. By freely and openly sharing ones methods, data, and conclusions for peer-review and replication, the entirety of humanity stands to benefit from the accumulated hodgepodge of knowledge. The hodgepodge is the whole point!

    He's presenting a compendium of knowledge, thought, and inference from the Scientific Community, influenced by his own specialized work (don't forget that scientists specialize). It is openly acknowledged that all of the thought is not his own.

    And let's not forget that this current book (and the last one) was co-authored. So it's not even like Hawking alone is presenting these ideas. What about Mlodinow?

  13. #28
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    And we continue to provoke whenever we mention god. sorry, 'God'. Why is that, do you think? Because faith is not based upon fact but upon belief? And when beliefs cannot be proven, yet they are passionate, to challenge then is an emotional blow.

  14. #29
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    And when beliefs cannot be proven, yet they are passionate, to challenge then is an emotional blow.
    It also works in the other direction: when disbeliefs cannot be proven, yet they are passionate...

    Of course, disbelief and belief are two ends of one spectrum.

  15. #30
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Forget Hawking. Richard Dawkins has done a fabulous job of explaining why A) there is probably no God, and B) evolution is a fact.

    I've just recently finished reading The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution. If only more people could put in the effort to read and understand these books, the world would be a much saner place.

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