Dawkins - something or nothing?

S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
-Richard Lewontin

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Brian Whitworth on why physics is a "Hollow Science", taken from Quantum Realism, Chapter 1: The physical world as a virtual reality

"We take our world to be an objective reality, but is it? The assumption that the physical world exists in and of itself has struggled to assimilate the findings of modern physics for some time now. An objective space and time should just "be", but space contracts and time dilates in our world. Objective things should just inherently exist, but electrons are probability of existence smears that spread, tunnel, superpose and entangle in physically impossible ways. Cosmology now says that the entire physical universe just popped up, out of nothing about fourteen billion years ago. This is not how an objective reality should behave!"
 
#4
"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
I think we have been far too ready to accept weird claims from science, and maybe we should all have been far more sceptical. For example, when people talk about N dimensions, we need to remember that mathematical physics can make a space out of all sorts of things - for example there is 'phase space' which consists of a high dimensional space in which the axes are the position of each particle and the momentum of each particle (6 coordinates per particle). It is a 'space' from the mathematical point of view, but not in the everyday sense. We should perhaps query in just what sense the 10 or 11dimensions of string space are supposed to exist.

Science has lived too long on its mystique, and the fact that it re-purposes (sorry!) words without regard to their original meaning, and then lets non-scientists reel in the resulting muddle.

The ever expanding evidence for the fallibility of science really leaves me gasping!

David
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#5
Dawkins mentioned Krauss' definition of nothing which is self contradictory.

https://carm.org/lawrence-krauss-atheist-definition-of-nothing

https://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/what_part_of_no/
https://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/what_part_of_no/
"Nevertheless, Krauss doesn’t get it. He titles one of his chapters “Nothing is something.” What does he mean by this?
Just the familiar idea that according to quantum field theory, the vacuum state has complex properties such that matter can be created through quantum fluctuation events. As Krauss puts it in the title of another chapter: “Nothing is unstable.”
But the properties of the quantum vacuum are simply irrelevant to the question under discussion — the reason for the existence of anything at all — which Krauss has brazenly claimed to have solved in the title of his book. For, in spite of his protestations to the contrary, the quantum field is obviously not nothing in the relevant sense.
What, then, is the final verdict on Dr. Krauss’s latest book?
Yet another example of a perfectly good scientist out of his philosophical depth"
 
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#7
I personally think existence works like cell division, or at least that's how I try to explain it. There's no causality chain problem because there's no "first" or "last" event. It'd be like asking someone to find the "first" cell in their body.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#16
Hmmm - are you even sure this discussion is coherent? IMHO, this is exactly the sort of topic which should be tackled primarily by philosophers!

David
That's why they put the P in PHD. How much of the "science" we are told is actually nothing but philosophy?

Sometimes philosophers think too much ;) ... seems pretty obvious that nothing is no-thing and I choose to believe that because I have free will.
I believe that because I can't believe anything else
 
#17
Probably so, though I have no idea how they could determine whether something is the same as nothing. Heck, many of them have given up on free will!

~~ Paul
The real point here is that it is possible mathematically to have a model in which time stops at the big bang. I remember reading Stephen Hawkins' book "A brief History of Time", in which he speculated that time should be treated as complex near the singularity of the big bang - so time didn't exactly stop, but curved away from the real axis!

Frankly, I have become ever more sceptical about this kind of stuff. By now, I don't even find it exciting to read, because I think mathematical physics and reality have simply diverged.

David
 
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