Something else you can do this weekend »« The conference scene

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  1. says

    Woo Hoo, the wisatheists finally released videos my favorite event so far this year: Freethought Festival, and seeing PZ in person for the first time!
    Now I can watch all the speakers that I missed!

  2. frankensteinmonster says

    Science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes
    and incompatible in atheistic universes.
    Science might be be temporarily compatible with religion even in atheistic universes if the inhabitants haven’t accumulated enough knowledge yet to be reasonably sure that they are in an atheistic universe.
    And in the other direction, science can temporarily appear to be incompatible with religion in general even in theistic universes, if too many of the inhabitants of the given theistic universe fall prey to false religions.
    And of course, being compatible with religion in general does not mean that it is compatible with a particular religion.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes and incompatible in atheistic universes.

    This doesn’t parse. Since no universe has a creator (who created the creator?), they are all atheistic. And there is no evidence for imaginary deities. FM is doing the typical presuppose a deity bullshit for a later gottcha.

  4. frankensteinmonster says

    who created the creator?

    Irrelevant. Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a meta-creator.

    Since no universe has a creator

    How do you know ?

    FM is doing the typical presuppose a deity bullshit for a later gottcha

    May I ask you to stop making up bullshit and putting it in my mouth ?

  5. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    Worth watching for the crocoduck tie alone. The rest is gravy. But not on the tie.

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a meta-creator.

    Where is your evidence for this statement? Put up or shut the fuck up.

    May I ask you to stop making up bullshit and putting it in my mouth ?

    Only if you stop putting bullshit in your mouth…

  7. says

    Irrelevant. Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a meta-creator.

    How do you know?

    In other words, where are you getting these assumptions from? What evidence points you in this direction? If it’s coming from your own imagination, then why should we even bother listening to you?

    How can these creators be created? By what means? Also, by what means did this creator create our universe? You can’t just snap your fingers and say, “God did it!” and be done with it. How did this creator do it? If you have no idea, then you have no proverbial leg to stand on.

  8. saguhh00 says

    frankensteinmonster: “herp herp derp derp! yam yam yam!”

    Didn’t you just watch the video?

  9. frankensteinmonster says

    How do you know?

    it is logically possible.

    In other words, where are you getting these assumptions from

    they are contained in the very concept of creating something. Like ‘X creates Y’. there is no reason to exclude universes nor gods from being X or Y.

  10. anteprepro says

    Irrelevant.

    It is very relevant, as it reveals the question begging or gets someone supposedly defending The Perfect Christian God to shoot themselves in the foot by saying something like

    Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means

    You also have a very loose notion of compatibility, implying that you consider them compatible if the scientific knowledge base doesn’t contradict a given religion’s beliefs. That’s not the full picture of what we speak of when bringing up compatibility. Look first at the methods (or, in the case of religion, the “methods”).

    Like ‘X creates Y’. there is no reason to exclude universes nor gods from being X or Y.

    Of course there is a reason. Because there is no evidence that the universe could be considered a “creator” (per se), no coherent argument proving that the universe needs an external creator, and no case for “gods” being something that actually exists.

  11. cag says

    In the beginning god created the heaven and the earth

    This is the first lie in the bible. If the bible is the word of god then god is a liar and an unworthy moral source. If god inspired humans to write the bible then god inspires lying and fails phenomenally as a source of morality.

  12. frankensteinmonster says

    It is very relevant, as it reveals the question begging or gets someone supposedly defending The Perfect Christian God

    LOLWUT ?

    Look first at the methods

    with methods it is just the same as with the beliefs. May or may not be compatible.

    Because there is no evidence that the universe could be considered a “creator”

    Explain. Why for example one can not say that the cosmic microwave background was created by the universe when it was young ?

  13. Ze Madmax says

    frankensteinmonster @ #4:

    Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a meta-creator.

    Universes can be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a creator.

    Fixed that for you. And all I needed was this handy razor. Always remember: Parsimony is your friend!

  14. frankensteinmonster says

    Universes can be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a creator.

    Fixed that for you.

    You didn’t fix anything. that is what I said my very first post here.

  15. frankensteinmonster says

    And all I needed was this handy razor. Always remember: Parsimony is your friend!

    I am afraid, you are using it wrong. it applies to the preference of (scientific)hypotheses only. Not to statements of purely deductive-analytical nature.

  16. truthspeaker says

    frankensteinmonster
    3 July 2012 at 12:30 pm

    How do you know?

    it is logically possible.

    Necessary but not sufficient.

  17. says

    You used statements of purely deductive analytical nature ? Where? All you’re done so far is spout nonsense, adding non-existent invisible sky people where none were necessary.

    Laplace got it right when he told Napolean why his equations didn’t include god – they didn’t need any gods to work just fine – just like the universe we live in.

  18. frankensteinmonster says

    Necessary but not sufficient.

    ?
    If a created universe is logically possible, then some of all logically possible universes are created. What is insufficient there ?

  19. frankensteinmonster says

    All you’re done so far is spout nonsense, adding non-existent invisible sky people where none were necessary.

    All you are doing is reading things into my posts. things I didn’t write.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Funny how those claiming a creator never show how or attempt to describe how creators are created. Nothing but presupposition.

    And they never want to consider why parsimony negates the idea of a created creator, which is nothing but unnecessary and illogical baggage.

  21. Art Vandelay says

    Great talk, PZ. Not that I could deliver anything like that nor as eloquently but the only thing I would add regarding the argument that other belief systems have done bad things too is that communism isn’t exclusive from religion in that it’s totalitarian. It’s members must believe it and not based on reason but on authority. Any system, that discourages or even demands that it’s members not think freely should all be lumped together. It’s not really enough to say that it’s not an argument that your belief system is good for the world just because other non-religious ones aren’t.

  22. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    frankensteinmonster isn’t claiming a creator.

  23. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Trick question:

    Is science compatible with deontology?

  24. says

    So order to do any science properly, you must first assume there is no god and base all conclusions on that premise even on matters not related to science?

    No, I have never read that in any science book that refers to scientific methods.

  25. frankensteinmonster says

    And they never want to consider why parsimony negates the idea of a created creator

    .
    Used that way, I am afraid, it negates any statements about logical possibility or of something. I am sure it is not the right way of using it.

  26. says

    frankensteinmonster is claiming that

    Science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes
    and incompatible in atheistic universes

    If xe is using theistic in any normal sense then xe is claiming that some god or other exists, and if said god is not the creator then what use is it?

    LILAPWL:

    As for the compatibility of science with deontology, since the word derives from the Greek for duty and science (or study of) then it is hard to see how science can be incompatible with deontology (See Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

  27. says

    So order to do any science properly, you must first assume there is no god and base all conclusions on that premise even on matters not related to science?

    Scientific testing of ideas does assume that no magical, supernatural being is going to interfere and alter results on a whim. If it were possible for a god to intervene at any moment, in any way it desired, no test or experiment would be meaningful or valid.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, FM sounds like it is channeling Rajkumar and SciFi/Shiloh from the TZT with talk about possibilities and logical necessities. Of course, not one iota of evidence showing what it means, so the channeling is effective.

  29. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    frankensteinmonster is claiming that

    “Science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes
    and incompatible in atheistic universes”

    If xe is using theistic in any normal sense then xe is claiming that some god or other exists

    Nope.

    To say “science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes” is not to claim that the number of theistic universes is larger than zero.

    The set of theistic universes may still be a null set.

    then it is hard to see how science can be incompatible with deontology

    :) Okay, I should have been a bit more specific:

    Is science compatible with deontological ethics?

  30. says

    Maybe I’m just slow today, but methinks deontology implies that FM needs to do hir duty and study fricking the sciences before pontificating any further.

  31. 'Tis Himself says

    Just because some statement is logically consistent doesn’t mean it has any relationship with reality.

    a. No dog has five legs.

    b. A dog has four more legs than a non-existent dog.

    c. A non-existent dog can be called “no dog.”

    d. Therefore a dog can have nine legs.

  32. frankensteinmonster says

    FM sounds like it is channeling Rajkumar and SciFi/Shiloh

    The thing is, that one can use similar words to say different, even opposite things. I am afraid that judging the content of my posts by comparing word usage statistics is just not enough. You might try to understand the actual meaning of what I am writing.

  33. frankensteinmonster says

    Just because some statement is logically consistent doesn’t mean it has any relationship with reality.

    True, but I didn’t say it has. are you too reading something in my posts that I didn’t write there ?

  34. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Just because some statement is logically consistent

    Your example is not even logically consistent, though.

    At (c) you’re doing a fallacy of equivocation with “no dog”,

    because back at (a) you’ve got a statement which is logically equivalent to “all dogs do not have five legs”,

    and at (c) your no-dog is not equivalent to all dogs.

    What you did there was wordplay, not valid logic.

  35. truthspeaker says

    FM, you implied that theistic universes exist, not just that they were logically possible. You did the same thing with creators of universes.

  36. frankensteinmonster says

    Is science compatible with deontological ethics?

    from wikipedia :

    Deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek deon, “obligation, duty”; and -logia) is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules

    depends whether the rules will be considered scientific hypotheses or axioms. let’s consider an example “Rule x : Do the good thing X !’
    .
    In the first case, it might be considered equivalent to to the hypothesis ‘X is good’ and thus be scientifically tested and be either rejected or accepted.
    .
    In the second case, we might consider it to be an axiomatic definition of ‘the good thing’ Then we might still test whether this definition is in agreement with how the people are using this phrase and for example come to conclusion, that their use is in agreement with the definition, or it is not, and people use the string ‘the good thing’ in an completely different meaning, thus invalidating the definition.
    .
    The third case is the dogmatic option that says “it is THE definition of ‘the good thing’, and even if all people use it differently, they are all wrong”. But this case is incompatible with the very methodology of science, in which language and definitions are made to describe reality better, and not the validity of reality being judged by preconceived fixed definitions.

  37. frankensteinmonster says

    FM, you implied that theistic universes exist, not just that they were logically possible.

    No I didn’t.

  38. says

    Irrelevant. Creators of universes can themselves be created by all sorts of means, or exist without a meta-creator.

    So, to explain what supports the first hypothetical turtle, we add another hypothetical turtle, in which case, this, or we simply throw our hands in the air and say ‘well the turtle exists because it exists’. The latter being the very problem (of explaining the origin of the universe naturalistically) that the turtle was introduced to ‘solve’ in the first place—the turtle hypothesis merely places the problem one further step back.

    As a matter of castles-in-the-air logic, there’s no way of disproving it, but without sightings of actual turtles, what advantage does adding the complication of turtles provide?

  39. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    So, to explain what supports the first hypothetical turtle, we add another hypothetical turtle

    That’s perfectly silly! It’s a Boltzmann turtle, of course.

    what advantage does adding the complication of turtles provide?

    Who said anything about an advantage?

    (Other than the prima facie fact that turtles are cool.)

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You might try to understand the actual meaning of what I am writing.

    Oh, you mean your meaningless statements of irrational possibility and rational necessity? They don’t make sense except maybe to someone who has studied sophist philosophy. Maybe a philosopher used to word salads might find them informative. As a scientist they are meaningless drivel without a reality check. Have you done one yet?

  41. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Oh, you mean your meaningless statements of irrational possibility and rational necessity?

    You’re in the wrong loop, Nerd.

    FM didn’t bring up necessity.

    As a scientist they are meaningless drivel without a reality check.

    Wrong; the reality check is that there’s no evidence that the set of theistic universes has more than zero elements.

  42. says

    PZ, The trick so that you don’t have to follow JT. I watched your video first (not intentionally, just the order of my RSS feeder).

  43. Walton says

    In the first case, it might be considered equivalent to to the hypothesis ‘X is good’ and thus be scientifically tested and be either rejected or accepted.

    But can you define “good” in empirically measurable terms? How are you defining “good”? Surely you’re assuming what you need to prove, that what is and isn’t “good” is a question of objective fact which is susceptible to empirical enquiry?

    (If you’re a fan of Daniel Fincke, you may indeed think that “goodness is a factual matter“, and that statements about moral values can be understood as statements of fact. I don’t agree with him.)

  44. says

    That’s perfectly silly! It’s a Boltzmann turtle, of course.

    I always forget. Are they the ones that live on Vegemite sandwiches, which they hunt on the night of the full moon, or are they the ones with the spectacle-shaped growths on their shells?

    Who said anything about an advantage?

    I meant as an explanatory device. Though I agree; just being damned cool is a pretty good reason for existence.

  45. Walton says

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think frankensteinmonster actually claimed that a god exists.

    Rather, as far as I understood hir, xe was saying that if a god did exist, religion in general would be compatible with science (though specific religions might not be, because it would still be possible for people to fall prey to false religions). By contrast, if there is no god, religion in general is incompatible with science – though it might temporarily appear to be compatible because of gaps in our scientific knowledge.

    This seems to me to be trivially true and a fairly pointless observation. I don’t really see how it adds to our understanding. But it isn’t wrong, as such.

    (frankensteinmonster, are you the same person as Frankosaurus / Professor Frink, btw?)

  46. frankensteinmonster says

    How are you defining “good”?

    People have to have an intuitive definition of ‘good’ in their heads when they are saying that something is ‘good’ and something not. Science can observe this and provide us with an explicit model of it.

  47. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Vegemite, probably? Not sure. I’ll have to pray about it.

    I meant as an explanatory device.

    Aye but I don’t see any reason to think that it’s being proposed as an explanation.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wrong; the reality check is that there’s no evidence that the set of theistic universes has more than zero elements.

    Then why even bring them up and posit them? That’s what I don’t see.

  49. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Then why even bring them up and posit them?

    I imagine it’s simply part of an attempt to give a comprehensive answer to the question “are science and religion compatible?”

    But hopefully FM will answer you.

  50. frankensteinmonster says

    This seems to me to be trivially true and a fairly pointless observation. I don’t really see how it adds to our understanding. But it isn’t wrong, as such.

    True, true. I expected that the first response to my post would be like …and all bachelors are unmarried, duh !. I was really surprised when people started putting theistic apologetics in my mouth instead.

    frankensteinmonster, are you the same person as Frankosaurus / Professor Frink, btw?

    No, I am quite sure that I am NOT. Provided that someone didn’t tamper with my memories, of course ;)

  51. mythbri says

    Regarding turtle support, I always supposed that they just kind of swim through space. It’s the four elephants that actually support the world.

    Duh.

  52. Walton says

    No, I am quite sure that I am NOT. Provided that someone didn’t tamper with my memories, of course ;)

    Ok. I apologize.

  53. r3a50n says

    Walton said:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think frankensteinmonster actually claimed that a god exists.

    I suppose what made me think FM was at least suggesting the existience of a god was this, emphasis mine:

    Science is compatible with religion in general in theistic universes

    That statement invalidly presupposes that there is such thing as a “theistic universe.”

  54. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    That statement invalidly presupposes that there is such thing as a “theistic universe.”

    No it does not,

    no more than the statement “unicorns have horns” presupposes that there exists such a thing as a unicorn.

  55. Owlmirror says

    no more than the statement “unicorns have horns” presupposes that there exists such a thing as a unicorn.

    However, there does exist such a thing as a unicorn.

    By a minimal definition of “unicorn”, anyway.

    What’s the formal minimal definition of a “God”, anyway?

    I suggest “person with magical superpowers” (and I can suggest some minimal definition of “magical superpowers” . . maybe something like “the ability to deliberately bring about results alone and in very short amounts of time that would require many humans many many years and very specialized tools to achieve” — this could be refined further if problems are found with it.)

    I usually phrase it as “invisible person with magical superpowers” when responding to theists, although I would be the first to admit that invisibility is not a necessary minimal trait.

    Theists either don’t challenge my definition, or don’t respond when I support my definition as referring to their God.

  56. Walton says

    That statement invalidly presupposes that there is such thing as a “theistic universe.”

    Hmmm, I didn’t read it that way. I understood it as a hypothetical: “in a universe with a god, X would be true” and “in a universe without a god, Y would be true”. As far as I understood it he was talking about hypothetical possible universes, not claiming that such universes actually exist.

  57. says

    Given that we exist in a theistic universe, and on a theistic planet no less, this is a safe enough assumption – as long as you remember that theism describes a belief in at least one god whether any such gods exist or not.

    The problem comes from the notion that religion (supporting a belief in a god) could even exist in an atheistic universe (where no beliefs in gods exist) – this is impossible, and as such it is impossible for a religion to be compatible with science in an atheistic universe. This claim can only be possible in a theistic universe (in which religions can exist since beliefs in god(s) exist), however unlikely it might be.

  58. r3a50n says

    No it does not,

    no more than the statement “unicorns have horns” presupposes that there exists such a thing as a unicorn.

    Er, what? The statement “unicorns have horns” does presuppose that there exists such a thing as a unicorn. Else, what is it we’re talking about that has the horns?

  59. r3a50n says

    RE: Walton, upon reread, you’re probably right. I think the problem is one of clarity rather than one of deity.

  60. r3a50n says

    Religion a force for Good?

    Not religion, the Navy, at least according to a commercial I saw on the teevee.

  61. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    What’s the formal minimal definition of a “God”, anyway?/blockquote>

    They seem to be a species of supernatural persons.

    They are typically distinct from humans, that is, gods are not typically dead or live humans; there are exceptions, but exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

    In areas where there exist more than one species of supernatural agents, gods are the most powerful species. (To be safe, I would substitute this for “magical superpowers”, since I’m not certain that all gods are capable of such great feats — though off the top of my head I don’t recall any counterexamples.)

    But not all of them are responsive to human needs, so in some areas it is more common to petition ancestor spirits.

  62. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Er, what? The statement “unicorns have horns” does presuppose that there exists such a thing as a unicorn. Else, what is it we’re talking about that has the horns?

    I thought they were mythical single-horned equines which are now known not to exist.

  63. Owlmirror says

    I thought they were mythical single-horned equines which are now known not to exist.

    “Mythical” kind of presupposes nonexistence, though. Is there a known counterexample?

    If “mythical” is struck, and “perissodactyls” is substituted for “equines”, one gets this, of course

  64. alwayscurious says

    If I understand everything, FM is saying that deontological ethics and science are compatible as long as it’s not taken absolutely (formulation 3). Formulation 1 & 2 seem to boil down to the same basic idea. Do I have that correct?

  65. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    “Mythical” kind of presupposes nonexistence, though.

    I figured it means “known to us via traditional storytelling.” I was thinking it’s equivalent to legendary, but I guess there’s a common schema by which unicorns would be legendary and not mythical, because they were believed to exist contemporaneously.

    So I would say that an ancient flood story would remain a myth even if all its elements were plausible (even likely) and physical evidence located its origin in a particular local flood.

  66. r3a50n says

    I thought they were mythical single-horned equines which are now known not to exist.

    Sure, but the statement wasn’t “mythical unicorns have mythical horns,” which devoid of context presupposes that unicorns are mythical and therefore, do not exist just as devoid of context the statement “unicorns have horns” presupposes that there are unicorns.

  67. Owlmirror says

    I figured it means “known to us via traditional storytelling.” I was thinking it’s equivalent to legendary, but I guess there’s a common schema by which unicorns would be legendary and not mythical, because they were believed to exist contemporaneously.

    The Wikipedia page you linked to emphasizes the definition as a term of art by anthropologists/folklorists; I see that it mentions the sense that I read it as having above (“popular misconception or imaginary entity”), as being specifically false/imaginary.

    The trouble is, your wording was rather loose. Being more careful and pedantic, one might say something like: “The unicorn — from the Latin term meaning “one horn” — is an animal which is narrowly defined as an equid with one horn growing from its forehead (and even more narrowly defined as having mythic or legendary attributes [attracted to or only approachable by young human (female?) virgins; the horn is said to detect and/or neutralize poisons]), but which cannot be traced to any living or extinct lineage of equids, inasmuch as all of them were and are hornless, OR more broadly defined as an animal with a single horn, in which case there are more than a few extinct and living lineages to which the term could accurately apply, in some cases following neonatal horn-bud surgery.”

  68. consciousness razor says

    Saying “Harry Potter has a magic wand” doesn’t necessarily presuppose Harry Potter or magic wands exist.

    You might claim existence isn’t a predicate, but even if you allow those sorts of shenanigans, I think you could still negate it in the quantifier without contradicting yourself. For example, you could say “there is no such thing as an existing-wizard.” But really we’re only concerned whether there’s sufficient evidence for a rational person to believe it, because logic doesn’t get you there by itself anyway.

  69. shockna says

    Am I the only person who can’t hear the video? >_>

    If not, is there an alternative recording somewhere?

  70. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    The trouble is, your wording was rather loose. Being more careful and pedantic, one might say something like: “The unicorn — from the Latin term meaning

    Wull see, I’m never that pedantic without stimulant drugs.

    I figure that natural language allows for statements like “obviously-nonexistent-entity-X has property-Y” whenever X is culturally understood to be obviously nonexistent.

    That time was, for me, immediately obvious at frankensteinmonster’s #4; excusably for others, it should have been obvious to everyone by #19.

    I’m gonna act like cr didn’t beat me to it, and say, hey we’re allowed to say that Harry Potter is a magician, goes to Hogwarts, and has a friend named Ron Weasely, right?

  71. r3a50n says

    RE: Owlmirror…

    Dang. I guess that’s what I get for simply going with the first picture I found of what appeared at first glance to be a single-horned dino. At least you got the point, thanks for the save.

  72. says

    Yay! I was there and saw him live!

    If I could afford it, I would see him live again next month. Oh, well. Guess I’ll have to wait until next April…