Intelligent Design

Stephen Hawking was Sometimes Embarrassingly Stupid

Spread the love

Yes, yes, I grant that he was brilliant in his field of expertise, theoretical physics.  But as was recently noted in these pages, when he ventured outside of his bailiwick, he said some really boned-headed things.  Consider just one example from his book The Grand Design

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

In one sentence Hawking committed two egregious logical blunders.  First, he committed the error of reification (ascribing concrete properties to abstract concepts).  The law of gravity does not do anything.  Like all laws of science, it is a mathematical model of observed regularities.  Why the regularities scientists observe should be such as they are and how those regularities came to be in the first place is beyond the realm of science – and thus not with Hawking’s area of expertise. 

Second, he committed the error of non sequitur.  “Nothing,” in the sense that is under examination, means “absolute non-being.”  Such a state has no properties.  When it obtains, it means there is absolutely nothing.  Now look at Hawking’s statement.  He said, essentially, “because we have something (the law of gravity), the universe can create itself from nothing.”  Well sure, if by “nothing” one means “something” then that is true.  But that is not what “nothing” means, as any reasonably bright second grader knows. 

This is why we should be very careful when we employ the argument from authority.  “X said thus and so” can be a powerful argument if X is the world’s foremost authority on the subject.  Certainly it is never absolutely persuasive because in the past the majority of scientists (even the smartest among them) have been wrong about basic things.  Until well into the twentieth century most cosmologists subscribed to the theory of the luminiferous aether.  That theory turned out to be bunk.  Still, when an expert speaks within the area of his expertise, his views are worth considering.  But when an expert speaks outside his area of expertise, he is just another layman, and his pronouncements do not deserve greater weight than another layman. 

Another example:  Albert Einstein was in favor of socialism.  The man who was widely considered one of the smartest scientists in history was utterly clueless in the realm of economics.

When it comes to the argument from authority, our best bet is to follow Sergeant Esterhaus’s advice.  “Let’s be careful out there.” ·

50 Replies to “Stephen Hawking was Sometimes Embarrassingly Stupid

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Well, he was the ultimate pure theorist, a disembodied brain. Theory is useless unless it’s derived, and constantly checked, by experience and sensory data. The real scientists of the 1800s (including Darwin!) were ardent hands-on experimentalists who occasionally formed a theory. Their theories were useful because they were used.

    Now we only respect absolute abstraction.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Sabine Hossenfelder likely agrees. She’s noticed that the emperor has no clothes.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Math-Beauty-Physics-Astray/dp/1541646762

    -Q

  3. 3
    Viola Lee says:

    Barry writes, ” First, he committed the error of reification (ascribing concrete properties to abstract concepts). The law of gravity does not do anything. Like all laws of science, it is a mathematical model of observed regularities. Why the regularities scientists observe should be such as they are and how those regularities came to be in the first place is beyond the realm of science – and thus not with Hawking’s area of expertise. ”

    Just FYI: I thought this was a good paragraph, although I don’t know very much about Hawking at all – it is the general idea with which I agree, and I quoted it on a post on the Brian Keating thread here.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Scientists are human beings just like everyone else so, as you say, when they step outside their field of expertise they can be as quirky as the rest of us; so we have Newton and alchemy, Linus Pauling and vitamin C and Feynman and his lock-picking, safe-cracking and bongo-playing and many more. We just don’t assign the same weight to their pronouncements on other matters as we do to those on their field of expertise.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky claims that “Scientists are human beings”

    Come on now Seversky, get with the Darwinian program.

    Every real ‘scientist’ who is in the know, and worth his salt, knows that his not really a ‘human being’ in the usual sense of being human, but that he is really “nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry.”

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    You really need to get over this whole thinking that you are a human being stuff Seversky and, if you really want to be considered ‘scientific’, start to embrace your inner ‘meat robot’

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    And if you really want to impress your friends with how ‘scientific’ you are, then, besides calling them ‘meat robots’, and a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules”, then you can really WOW them with your scientific expertise by repeatedly telling them that they are nothing but ‘chemical scum’

    “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit.,,”
    Stephen Hawking – From an interview with Ken Campbell on Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken, 1995

    Fair warning Seversky,,,, some of your friends may not appreciate just how ‘scientific you are being when you call them ‘chemical scum’ and ruff you up a little. So do be careful.

    LOL 🙂

    Of note:

    As much as it may hurt the feelings of atheists to know that they are not ‘chemical scum, the truth is that we have far more dignity, and significance, in this universe than they have falsely believed,,

    Specifically, the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity, itself has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    April 2021 –
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asked-of-steve-meyer-if-humans-are-so-important-to-god-why-did-they-take-so-long-to-develop/#comment-727599

  6. 6
    Viola Lee says:

    How silly.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/5

    Every real ‘scientist’ who is in the know, and worth his salt, knows that his not really a ‘human being’ in the usual sense of being human, but that he is really “nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry.”

    The mistake is in the “nothing but”.

    Yes, at different levels of abstraction we can be described as bags of skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum but those are far from all we are. That’s like describing the Mona Lisa as some dabs of paint on a piece of canvas. I doubt there’s anybody who really thinks that’s all there is to us.

  8. 8
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, on the one hand a reductionistic perspective is true. The physical world is nothing but this huge number of quantum events going on. On the other hand, we know we experience things at different levels than that: a diamond is different than a piece of chalk, and a cloud is different than a waterfall, for instance. Human beings, irrespective of whatever the nature and function of consciousness is, are a highly organized, integrated whole biological organism that does all sorts of things at the biochemical level to keep us alive and going about our daily business. There is no “nothing but” about it.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    Dr. Hossenfelder complains that current theory is so starved with data and overburden with hopeful mathematics that the result is currently just a giant thumb suck.

    Leonard Susskind relates about his battle with Hawking about the importance of conservation of information, which Susskind eventually won, eventually resulting in Hawking’s celebrated theory on how black holes would eventually evaporate. But no one has yet been able to describe what information (not Shannon information) really is. But what actually driving the conservation of information seems to be a physics principle of reversibility, which I think is falsified by entropy and Chaos theory.

    Thus, QM should actually be able to provide some experimental data on this issue . . .

    Lee Smolin also seems to have some great insights to add, but seems to be committed to Realism if not deterministic materialism from the outset.

    Obviously, as Seversky pointed out, scientists’ opinions outside their fields are likely to be as opinionated and wrong as anyone else’s. Hawkings’ disastrous foray into philosophy is a cringworthy example.

    -Q

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    “Why the regularities scientists observe should be such as they are and how those regularities came to be in the first place is beyond the realm of science – and thus not with Hawking’s area of expertise.”
    Nonsense—these two questions are squarely within “the realm of science.” In fact, they are the raison d’etre of science….

  11. 11
    ET says:

    “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

    “Because there are laws such as gravity, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force and electro-magnetic force, instantiated in a specific sequence, with gravity being the last, the universe can only be and is Intelligently Designed.”

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    In response to:

    Every real ‘scientist’ who is in the know, and worth his salt, knows that he is not really a ‘human being’ in the usual sense of being human, but that he is really “nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry.”

    In response to that Seversky states,

    The mistake is in the “nothing but”.

    Yes, at different levels of abstraction we can be described as bags of skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum but those are far from all we are. That’s like describing the Mona Lisa as some dabs of paint on a piece of canvas. I doubt there’s anybody who really thinks that’s all there is to us.

    Huh? Seversky have you been defending Darwinian evolution all these years and don’t even know what your very own worldview actually entails?

    First off, in the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution, human beings are to be considered the higher level of ‘abstraction’, and are therefore to be considered far removed from what we really are, i.e. NOTHING BUT a ‘skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum.’

    ab·strac·tion
    noun: abstraction
    1.
    the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events.
    2.
    freedom from representational qualities in art.

    WHAT IS ABSTRACT THOUGHT? A REPLY TO DR. ALI
    Abstract thoughts cannot arise from material things because a cause cannot give what it does not have
    MICHAEL EGNOR – JULY 16, 2019
    Excerpt: my thought about a real soccer ball in my hand is a concrete thought. My thought about perfect spheres, which the ball approximates, is an abstract thought. Whereas the soccer ball is a particular (non-perfect) shape, color, texture, weight, etc., a perfect sphere is defined in an entirely different way. It is the set of points equidistant from its center, with a volume equal to 4/3 pi r^3 in Euclidean coordinates, etc. A perfect sphere is entirely an abstract concept—no actual perfect sphere exists.
    Abstract thoughts about types are immaterial in origin—they do not, and cannot, arise from brain processes. Immaterial entities cannot arise from material things, because (to paraphrase Thomas Aquinas) the effect of a cause must, in some sense, be in the cause. A cause in nature cannot give what it does not, in some sense, have. ,,,
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/07/what-is-abstract-thought-a-reply-to-dr-ali/

    Seeing past the illusory abstraction of thinking that we are human beings, and peering into what we really are, (i.e. a ‘skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum)’, was the entire point of Rodney Brooks of MIT saying ““When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”

    So again Seversky, (if you are going to defend Darwinian evolution in all its glory), you really need to get with the Darwinian program. Scientists, nor anybody else, are to be considered a real human being on the reductive materialistic presuppositions that undergird Darwin’s Theory. That entire notion of being a human is merely an abstract illusion that is held by the uneducated, ignorant, bible-thumping, non-Darwinian masses. If you were a real ‘scientist’, you would know this! 🙂

    As M. Anthony Mills explained, “you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way.”

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict?
    By M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    ,,, As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    And as Logan Paul Gage explained, according to the reductive materialism which undergirds Darwin’s Theory, “Man, the universal, does not really exist.,,, Darwinism,, “abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.”

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt:,,, In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

    Besides the abstract concept of being a human person, there are many other abstract things, (things that everybody, including Darwinists, take for granted as being real), that become illusory and therefore ‘non-real’ within their reductive materialistic framework of Darwinian evolution.

    As Dr. Egnor states in the following article, “Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts…. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    ,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Thus, the Darwinian worldview is a severely impoverished and bankrupt worldview that lacks the intellectual funds that are necessary to explain everything that is truly unique, ‘real’, and important about human life. Indeed, it denies everything that is immaterial. Immaterial things that give humans the unique attributes and abilities that are directly associated with being uniquely ‘made in the image of God’.

    2 Corinthians 4:18
    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

    Of related note to Rodney Brooks of MIT saying ““When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are (really just) machines.”, is Jennifer Fulwiler’s conversion to Christianity following the birth of her child,

    What caused Jennifer Fulwiler to question her scientific atheism to begin with? It was the birth of her first child. She says that when she looked at her child, the only way her atheist mind could explain the love that she had for him was to assume it was the result of nothing more than chemical reactions in her brain. However, she knew that that could not possibly be true,,,
    “And I looked down at him, and I realized that’s not true.”
    – Jennifer Fulwiler: Scientific Atheism to Christ – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMbUvlOcXNA

    Also of note, the atheist simply does not live his life as if his worldview were actually true, thus his worldview cannot possibly be true.

    The Heretic -Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? Andrew Ferguson – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt: A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

  13. 13
    Karen McMannus says:

    In Hawkings A Brief History of Time, Hawkings wrote that the universe, “Just Is.”

    I wrote him and asked, “why then does consciousness ‘flow’ through an experience of time?”

    Crickets

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    Quantum mechanics is a long way outside my bailiwick (something I share, apparently, with Stephen Hawking but not with Barry) but the way I read Hawking’s statement, he was pointing out something that is accepted by physicists: I think it comes from some of the consequences of virtual particles. The BBC has an article about this.

    But someone who knows a lot about quantum physics would be able to explain this better.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    In Bob’s cited link we find,

    Why is there something rather tan nothing
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics tells us that there is no such thing as empty space. Even the most perfect vacuum is actually filled by a roiling cloud of particles and antiparticles, which flare into existence and almost instantaneously fade back into nothingness.
    These so-called virtual particles don’t last long enough to be observed directly, but we know they exist by their effects. (article links to “What is the Casimir Effect?” which states “The Casimir effect is a small attractive force that acts between two close parallel uncharged conducting plates. It is caused by quantum vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field.”),,,,
    One thing they have found is that, when quantum theory is applied to space at the smallest possible scale, space itself becomes unstable. Rather than remaining perfectly smooth and continuous, space and time destabilize, churning and frothing into a foam of space-time bubbles.
    In other words, little bubbles of space and time can form spontaneously. “If space and time are quantized, they can fluctuate,” says Lawrence Krauss at Arizona State University in Tempe. “So you can create virtual space-times just as you can create virtual particles.”
    What’s more, if it’s possible for these bubbles to form, you can guarantee that they will. “In quantum physics, if something is not forbidden, it necessarily happens with some non-zero probability,”,,,
    So it’s not just particles and antiparticles that can snap in and out of nothingness: bubbles of space-time can do the same. Still, it seems like a big leap from an infinitesimal space-time bubble to a massive universe that hosts 100 billion galaxies. Surely, even if a bubble formed, it would be doomed to disappear again in the blink of an eye?
    Actually, it is possible for the bubble to survive. But for that we need another trick: cosmic inflation.
    Most physicists now think that the universe began with the Big Bang. At first all the matter and energy in the universe was crammed together in one unimaginably small dot, and this exploded. This follows from the discovery, in the early 20th century, that the universe is expanding. If all the galaxies are flying apart, they must once have been close together.
    Inflation theory proposes that in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, the universe expanded much faster than it did later.,,,
    This seemingly outlandish notion was put forward in the 1980s by Alan Guth at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and refined by Andrei Linde, now at Stanford University.
    The idea is that, a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the quantum-sized bubble of space expanded stupendously fast. In an incredibly brief moment, it went from being smaller than the nucleus of an atom to the size of a grain of sand. When the expansion finally slowed, the force field that had powered it was transformed into the matter and energy that fill the universe today. Guth calls inflation “the ultimate free lunch”.
    As weird as it seems, inflation fits the facts rather well. In particular, it neatly explains why the cosmic microwave background, the faint remnant of radiation left over from the Big Bang, is almost perfectly uniform across the sky. If the universe had not expanded so rapidly, we would expect the radiation to be patchier than it is.
    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story.....ist-at-all

    OK, so they are basing their speculations that the universe can create itself from ‘nothing’ on “the Casimir Effect”, and “the churning and frothing foam of space-time bubbles”, and Inflation theory.

    But alas for them, all three of their supposed evidences that they used for their supposed ‘proof’ that the universe can create itself from ‘nothing’ turn out to be wrong.

    As to the Casimir effect, and as the following article states, “Casimir effects can be formulated and Casimir forces can be computed without reference to zero-point energies.”,,, “The Casimir force (per unit area) between parallel plates vanishes as alpha, the fine structure constant, goes to zero, and the standard result, which appears to be independent of alpha, corresponds to the alpha approaching infinity limit,” and that “The Casimir force is simply the (relativistic, retarded) van der Waals force between the metal plates.”,,, “In fact, the description in terms of van der Waals forces is the only correct description from the fundamental microscopic perspective,[20][21] while other descriptions of Casimir force are merely effective macroscopic descriptions.”

    Relativistic van der Waals force
    Alternatively, a 2005 paper by Robert Jaffe of MIT states that “Casimir effects can be formulated and Casimir forces can be computed without reference to zero-point energies. They are relativistic, quantum forces between charges and currents. The Casimir force (per unit area) between parallel plates vanishes as alpha, the fine structure constant, goes to zero, and the standard result, which appears to be independent of alpha, corresponds to the alpha approaching infinity limit,” and that “The Casimir force is simply the (relativistic, retarded) van der Waals force between the metal plates.”[18] Casimir and Polder’s original paper used this method to derive the Casimir-Polder force. In 1978, Schwinger, DeRadd, and Milton published a similar derivation for the Casimir Effect between two parallel plates.[19] In fact, the description in terms of van der Waals forces is the only correct description from the fundamental microscopic perspective,[20][21] while other descriptions of Casimir force are merely effective macroscopic descriptions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect#Relativistic_van_der_Waals_force

    As to their belief in “the churning and frothing foam of space-time bubbles”, they simply have no experimental evidence that a “churning and frothing foam of space-time bubbles” is even real.

    Quantum Foam Paper Suggests Einstein Was Right About Space-Time Being ‘Smooth’ – January 2013
    Excerpt: It appears Albert Einstein may have been right yet again.
    A team of researchers came to this conclusion after tracing the long journey three photons took through intergalactic space. The photons were blasted out by an intense explosion known as a gamma-ray burst about 7 billion light-years from Earth. They finally barreled into the detectors of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009, arriving just a millisecond apart.
    Their dead-heat finish strongly supports the Einsteinian view of space-time, researchers said. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are so small that they should be able to interact with the even tinier “bubbles” in the quantum theorists’ proposed space-time foam.
    If this foam indeed exists, the three photons should have been knocked around a bit during their epic voyage. In such a scenario, the chances of all three reaching the Fermi telescope at virtually the same time are very low, researchers said.
    So the new study is a strike against the foam’s existence as currently imagined,,, “If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length,”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....49734.html

    Confirming Einstein, scientists find ‘spacetime foam’ not slowing down photons from faraway gamma-ray burst (Update) – Mar 16, 2015
    Excerpt: The data showed that photons traveling for billions of years from the distant burst toward Earth all arrived within a fraction of a second of each other.
    This finding indicates that the photons all moved at the same speed, even though different photons had different energies. This is one of the best measurements ever of the independence of the speed of light from the energy of the light particles.,,,
    One of the attempts to reconcile the two theories (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) is the idea of “space-time foam.” According to this concept, on a microscopic scale space is not continuous, and instead it has a foam-like structure. The size of these foam elements is so tiny that it is difficult to imagine and is at present impossible to measure directly. However light particles that are traveling within this foam will be affected by the foamy structure, and this will cause them to propagate at slightly different speeds depending on their energy.
    The fact that all the photons with different energies arrived with no time delay relative to each other indicates that such a foamy structure, if it exists at all, has a much smaller size than previously expected.
    “When we began our analysis, we didn’t expect to obtain such a precise measurement,” said Prof. Tsvi Piran, the Schwartzmann University Chair at the Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics and a leader of the research. “This new limit is at the level expected from quantum gravity theories.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-e.....-foam.html

    NASA telescopes set limits on space-time quantum ‘foam’ – May, 28. 2015
    Excerpt: “We find that our data can rule out two different models for spacetime foam,” said co-author Jack Ng of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “We can conclude that spacetime is less foamy than some (quantum) models predict.”
    The X-ray and gamma-ray data show that spacetime is smooth down to distances 1,000 times smaller than the nucleus of a hydrogen atom.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-n.....antum.html

    And their final proof that the universe can create itself from nothing, i.e. “inflation theory”, literally implodes in on itself as a supposed scientific theory since it predicts everything and therefore, as they say, predicts nothing at all.

    As the following article states, “We would like to suggest “multimess” as a more apt term to describe the unresolved outcome of eternal inflation, whether it consists of an infinite multitude of patches with randomly distributed properties or a quantum mess. From our perspective, it makes no difference which description is correct. Either way, the multimess does not predict the properties of our observable universe to be the likely outcome. A good scientific theory is supposed to explain why what we observe happens instead of something else. The multimess fails this fundamental test.”

    Pop Goes The Universe – Scientific American – January 2017 – Anna Ijjas, Paul J. Steinhardt and Abraham Loeb
    Excerpt: “If anything, the Planck data disfavored the simplest inflation models and exacerbated long-standing foundational problems with the theory, providing new reasons to consider competing ideas about the origin and evolution of the universe… (i)n the years since, more precise data gathered by the Planck satellite and other instruments have made the case only stronger……The Planck satellite results—a combination of an unexpectedly small (few percent) deviation from perfect scale invariance in the pattern of hot and colds spots in the CMB and the failure to detect cosmic gravitational waves—are stunning. For the first time in more than 30 years, the simplest inflationary models, including those described in standard textbooks, are strongly disfavored by observations.”
    “Two improbable criteria have to be satisfied for inflation to start. First, shortly after the big bang, there has to be a patch of space where the quantum fluctuations of spacetime have died down and the space is well described by Einstein’s classical equations of general relativity; second, the patch of space must be flat enough and have a smooth enough distribution of energy that the inflation energy can grow to dominate all other forms of energy. Several theoretical estimates of the probability of finding a patch with these characteristics just after the big bang suggest that it is more difficult than finding a snowy mountain equipped with a ski lift and well-maintained ski slopes in the middle of a desert.”
    “More important, if it were easy to find a patch emerging from the big bang that is flat and smooth enough to start inflation, then inflation would not be needed in the first place. Recall that the entire motivation for introducing it was to explain how the visible universe came to have these properties; if starting inflation requires those same properties, with the only difference being that a smaller patch of space is needed, that is hardly progress.”
    “…inflation continues eternally, generating an infinite number of patches where inflation has ended, each creating a universe unto itself…(t)he worrisome implication is that the cosmological properties of each patch differ because of the inherent randomizing effect of quantum fluctuations…The result is what cosmologists call the multiverse. Because every patch can have any physically conceivable properties, the multiverse does not explain why our universe has the very special conditions that we observe—they are purely accidental features of our particular patch.”
    “We would like to suggest “multimess” as a more apt term to describe the unresolved outcome of eternal inflation, whether it consists of an infinite multitude of patches with randomly distributed properties or a quantum mess. From our perspective, it makes no difference which description is correct. Either way, the multimess does not predict the properties of our observable universe to be the likely outcome. A good scientific theory is supposed to explain why what we observe happens instead of something else. The multimess fails this fundamental test.”
    https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~loeb/sciam3.pdf

    Of related note, here is a fairly strong refutation of inflation theory, (and strong validation of the Christian Theistic model).

    March 2021 – Ethan Siegel’s faith in the multiverse is found to be wanting.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/astrophysicist-ethan-siegel-tells-us-why-a-multiverse-must-exist/#comment-725105

    Thus, as is usual in examining the claims of atheists, it is found that their anti-Theistic speculations as to how the universe, (or life) can create itself from ‘nothing’, are very long on flights of imagination and very short on any actual substantiating evidence.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    But test everything. Keep what is good,

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    Querius/9

    Obviously, as Seversky pointed out, scientists’ opinions outside their fields are likely to be as opinionated and wrong as anyone else’s. Hawkings’ disastrous foray into philosophy is a cringworthy example.

    And the same applies to those here who pontificate about philosophy, theology or quantum theory. As far as I know, none of the contributors here are professional philosophers or theologians or quantum physicists. That should not prevent us from discussing these topics but we should be mindful of our own limitations and ignorance.

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/12

    First off, in the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution, human beings are to be considered the higher level of ‘abstraction’, and are therefore to be considered far removed from what we really are, i.e. NOTHING BUT a ‘skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum.’

    However much you believe otherwise, the theory of evolution says nothing about human beings or any other animals being nothing but bags of skin containing biomolecules or any other reductionist perspective that you may find demeaning.

    So again Seversky, (if you are going to defend Darwinian evolution in all its glory), you really need to get with the Darwinian program. Scientists, nor anybody else, are to be considered a real human being on the reductive materialistic presuppositions that undergird Darwin’s Theory. That entire notion of being a human is merely an abstract illusion that is held by the uneducated, ignorant, bible-thumping, non-Darwinian masses. If you were a real ‘scientist’, you would know this!

    The impression I get is that you have a really thin skin when it comes to “Darwinians” looking down their noses at you as a member of “the uneducated, ignorant, bible-thumping, non-Darwinian masses”. Yet you are quite content to accept you are worthy of punishment in perpetuity as a sinful descendant of the couple who precipitated “The Fall”. And what were Adam and Eve’s offenses? They were curious and disobeyed God’s command, behaviors of which they were capable only because that is how they were designed by their God. You call that just?

    Thus, the Darwinian worldview is a severely impoverished and bankrupt worldview that lacks the intellectual funds that are necessary to explain everything that is truly unique, ‘real’, and important about human life. Indeed, it denies everything that is immaterial. Immaterial things that give humans the unique attributes and abilities that are directly associated with being uniquely ‘made in the image of God’.

    The theory of evolution deals with how living things might have diversified and flourished after life had appeared on Earth. It relies on naturalistic and materialistic resources for the explanations offered but it says nothing about the moral ‘worth’ of human beings specifically.

    Also of note, the atheist simply does not live his life as if his worldview were actually true, thus his worldview cannot possibly be true.

    First, “worldview” is too vague a concept to be useful.

    Second, the limitations of our knowledge and even complete ignorance in some areas mean that our understanding and explanations of those aspects of the natural world of which we are aware are almost bound to be inconsistent and even contradictory.

    Third, Christians are only able to hold a consistent set of beliefs about their faith by ignoring significant parts of the their Bible. Otherwise, to be consistent you would be bound to put homosexuals, adulterers and even rebellious children to death, for example.

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    Seversky @16,
    The only people here who “pontificate” are those who make completely unsupported assertions under the assumption that their opinions alone constitute irrefutable proof.

    However, none of the participants here are relying on their fame in one area to make assertions in areas in which they had no expertise, such as Hawking did.

    -Q

  19. 19
    Querius says:

    Seversky @17,

    Third, Christians are only able to hold a consistent set of beliefs about their faith by ignoring significant parts of the their Bible. Otherwise, to be consistent you would be bound to put homosexuals, adulterers and even rebellious children to death, for example.

    Oh really? Where in the Bible does it say that *Christians* are “bound to put homosexuals, adulterers and even rebellious children to death”?

    Torah was given to Moses as a mirror to demonstrate that no one is a “good person” and everyone deserves death, but Christ came to fulfill Torah with his own excruciating death in full payment for those who repent and ask for His forgiveness!

    God put on mortality and was tortured to death for you, so you could *avoid* being judged and found guilty.

    -Q

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    However much you believe otherwise, the theory of evolution says nothing about human beings or any other animals being nothing but bags of skin containing biomolecules or any other reductionist perspective that you may find demeaning.

    Seversky proves once again that he has no clue what he is actually defending when he defends the reductive materialism of his Darwinian worldview.

    First off, Darwin’s theory, with its reductive materialistic framework, simply has no way to differentiate humans from animals. Nor does it have a way differentiate animals from one another.

    The entire concept of there being distinct species that are unique from one another simply can’t be grounded within the reductive materialistic framework of Darwin’s theory.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, Darwin himself admitted that he did not have a rigid definition for what the term species actually meant,

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Charles Darwin

    To this day, Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, still have no clue how to differentiate species from one another.

    As the headline of the following article states, “The most important concept in all of biology, (i.e. species), is a complete mystery”

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    Excerpt: Enough of species?
    This is only the tip of a deep and confusing iceberg. There is absolutely no agreement among biologists about how we should understand the species. One 2006 article on the subject listed 26 separate definitions of species, all with their advocates and detractors. Even this list is incomplete.
    The mystery surrounding species is well-known in biology, and commonly referred to as “the species problem”. Frustration with the idea of a species goes back at least as far as Darwin.,,,
    some contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology have,,, suggested that biology would be much better off if it didn’t think about life in terms of species at all.,,,
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-species-the-most-important-concept-in-all-of-biology-is-a-complete-mystery-119200

    As should be needless to say, the inability for a supposedly scientific theory, a supposedly scientific theory that seeks to explain the “Origin of Species” in the first place, to clearly define what a species actually is is a clear indication that that supposedly scientific theory cannot possibly be the proper ‘scientific’ explanation for the “Origin of Species” in the first place!

    As the following article noted, Darwin, since he rejected the distinctiveness of species, simply had no right to call his book ‘Origin of Species’.

    Specifically the article stated, ” Darwin (although he rejected the) distinctiveness of the species as a fundamental taxonomic and eventually natural category, called however his famous book,,, “The Origin of Species…”, and not of races or of something like that.”

    The Species Problem, Why Again? – Igor Ya. Pavlinov – February 6th 2013
    Excerpt: Discussants, even belonging to opposite research schools, can quite agree with each other in recognition of fundamental status of the above “Boethian question”, whatever its particular answer might be. For instance, both “methodist” Linnaeus and “naturalist” Buffon (in his later years) believed in objective (real) status of the species as a universal and fundamental “unit of the Nature”. On the other hand, evolutionist Darwin, rejecting alongside with logician J. Bentham distinctiveness of the species as a fundamental taxonomic and eventually natural category, called however his famous book just “The Origin of Species…”, and not of races or of something like that.
    https://www.intechopen.com/books/the-species-problem-ongoing-issues/the-species-problem-why-again-

    That Darwinists have no realistic clue what the term species actually means is not surprising since the term ‘species’ itself is a immaterial categorization and/or definition that arises from the immaterial mind. That is to say, the definition of species itself cannot reduced to any possible reductive materialistic explanation of Darwinian evolution.

    i.e. How much does the concept of species weigh? Does the concept ‘species’ weigh more in English or in Chinese? How long in the concept of species in millimeters? How fast does the concept go? Is the concept of species faster or slower than the speed of light? Is the concept of species positively or negatively charged? Or etc.. etc.. ?..

    That is to say, if something is not composed of particles, or does not have physical properties (e.g., length, mass, energy, momentum, orientation, position, etc), it is, of necessity, a immaterial categorization and/or definition of the immaterial mind. The concept of species simply has no physical properties that we can measure, and therefore the concept of species itself is forever beyond the scope of any possible reductive materialistic explanation.

    There are many other immaterial things that fall outside the scope of any possible reductive materialistic explanation.

    Consciousness, beliefs, personhood, mathematics, logic, science, truth, beauty, love, morality, information, etc.. etc.. etc.., all fall outside the scope of the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists and therefore become illusions, (and/or the hand-waving word of ‘epiphenomena’), of ‘matter in motion’ for the Darwinist.

    For instance, in post 4 Seversky claimed that “Scientists are human beings”

    Yet human beings, since it is an immaterial categorization of the immaterial mind, simply do not exist for the Darwinist.

    Dr. Dennis Bonnette, at 37:51 minute mark of following video, in detailed examination of the philosophy of reductive materialism, shows that, according to Richard Dawkin’s own philosophy, Richard Dawkins does not really exist as a real person: (the unity of Aristotelian Form is also discussed).

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    Hey, you don’t have to take Dr. Dennis Bonnette’s word for it, Dawkins himself denied the reality of his own conscious existence when, in the following debate, he stated that he agreed with materialistic philosophers who claimed that consciousness is an illusion,

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    To drive this point home, here are a few more quotes of Darwinian materialists denying the reality of their own conscious existence,

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    The claim that our sense of self, that is to say, our subjective conscious experience, is just a neuronal illusion is simply insane. As David Bentley Hart states in the following article, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    By definition, illusions are NOT reality but are a distortions that pervert our perception of reality. So why in blue blazes should anyone care what these neuronal illusions have to say about reality, much less what these neuronal illusions, i.e. Darwinists, have to say about science?

    Thus in conclusion, Seversky may claim that the theory of evolution says nothing about human beings, or animals, being nothing but bags of skin containing biomolecules, but the fact of the matter is that Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic framework, simply have no way to get from the material realm of biomolecules to the immaterial realm of humans.

    The Darwinist is, as Nancy Pearcey pointed out in her book “Total Truth’, forever stuck on the ground floor with no way for him to get to the upper story.

    Nancy Pearcey: ,,, A lot of people began to think the only really reliable truth is scientific empirical data. What we can test in the laboratory. Well, what do you do then with moral truth, spiritual truth? You cannot stick them in a test tube and study them under a microscope. So many people decided, well, they just weren’t really truth at all. They didn’t qualify as truth. They were just personal preference, personal values, personal feelings, and in the secular world that’s called the fact value split. Shaffer used the imagery of two stories in a building. So the lowest story is science and facts. The upper story is values, theology, morality, and he didn’t use the term fact value split. But when I was writing total truth, I had seen the connection. I said, whoa, wait a minute. That upper lower story imagery that he used is what secular academia calls the fact value split. And so when I brought the two together, people started saying, oh, that’s what Shaffer meant. That really is relevant after all.
    https://www.biola.edu/blogs/think-biblically/2019/total-truth

    And without that ability to get from the lower story, i.e. physical realm of biomolecules, to the ‘upper story’ of the immaterial realm of human beings, then humans, as far as Darwinian explanations are concerned, will forever be relegated to being merely “bags of skin containing biomolecules” and nothing more.

    In order to drive this point home, I will repeat this very informative post:

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt:,,, In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    ibid

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 4:18
    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    seversky is still confused as there isn’t any scientific theory of evolution.

    The theory of evolution deals with how living things might have diversified and flourished after life had appeared on Earth. It relies on naturalistic and materialistic resources for the explanations offered but it says nothing about the moral ‘worth’ of human beings specifically.

    There isn’t any known naturalistic an materialistic mechanism capable of producing the diversity of life. The concept is untestable and therefore it is not scientific.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Yes, on the one hand a reductionistic perspective is true. The physical world is nothing but this huge number of quantum events going on.

    That’s the “nothing but” that we’re talking about. Any other reasoning, meaning, values, intentionality, freedom, rationality, moral conscience, self-awareness, aspiration, spirituality … are all smuggled into the “nothing but” and at best, are illusory.
    Alex Rosenberg explains all of it and urges fellow atheists to proclaim the “nothing but” because to do otherwise is to build upon illusions (and to be somewhat dishonest about what atheism really is).
    Eliminative materialism – seeks (rightly) to eliminate all that is not reducible to physical categories.

  23. 23
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm, SA. I notice that you didn’t quote or respond to the rest of the post that you quoted from, nor what my comment was in response to.

    Here’s what Sev said that I responded to:

    Yes, at different levels of abstraction we can be described as bags of skin full of biomolecules or meat robots or even chemical scum but those are far from all we are. That’s like describing the Mona Lisa as some dabs of paint on a piece of canvas. I doubt there’s anybody who really thinks that’s all there is to us.

    And I wrote,

    Human beings, irrespective of whatever the nature and function of consciousness is, are a highly organized, integrated whole biological organism that does all sorts of things at the biochemical level to keep us alive and going about our daily business. There is no “nothing but” about it.

    Both of us were objecting to a strictly reductionistic way of looking at the world.

  24. 24
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 18 –

    However, none of the participants here are relying on their fame in one area to make assertions in areas in which they had no expertise, such as Hawking did.

    Eh? I thought Hawking knew quite a bit about cosmology.

  25. 25
    Viola Lee says:

    Also, SA, I’ll point out again that I’m not a materialist, as my aside “irrespective of whatever the nature and function of consciousness is,” was supposed to refer to. I accept that “other reasoning, meaning, values, intentionality, freedom, rationality, moral conscience, self-awareness, aspiration, spirituality …” are aspects of ourselves that flow, somehow from our consciousness. But my aside was meant to point out that no matter what the nature of our consciousness and the things we associate with that (reason, free will, etc.), we are also a material, biological body that cannot be dismissed as “nothing but” quantum events, which is the bottom of our understanding these days from a reductionistic viewpoint.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    OK, so you say that you are not a materialist. Do you have any thoughts on how we came into existence? Please share.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Also, SA, I’ll point out again that I’m not a materialist, as my aside “irrespective of whatever the nature and function of consciousness is,” was supposed to refer to. I accept that “other reasoning, meaning, values, intentionality, freedom, rationality, moral conscience, self-awareness, aspiration, spirituality …” are aspects of ourselves that flow, somehow from our consciousness.

    Yes, I understand and I was pointing to the notion that you would like to keep some kind of option open and available. But that contradicts your statement:

    Yes, on the one hand a reductionistic perspective is true.

    If there is “something more” and immaterial entities do exist (that’s what it means to be a non-materialist) – then the reductionist perspective is not true.
    I’m not just picking on you for this. I think it’s a common viewpoint where people want to hold a totally materialist view (reductionism is true) but they realize that it does not work in reality. I think the challenge is, for them, having to affirm that there are non-material entities that cannot be reduced to physicalism. It’s really a matter of affirming that “the reductionist perspective is false”. But for many (I’m not speaking of your case, I don’t know), that separates them from a certain friendship or membership among atheist materialists and puts them in a less defined category (perceived to be more vulnerable, but is actually more rational).

  28. 28
    Viola Lee says:

    Good distinction, SA. What I mean is that a strictly reductionist standpoint about the material world is flawed, which was Sev’s point. I was not meaning to imply that everything can be reduced to things in the material world.

    Even in respect to just the material aspects of the world, saying that it is “nothing but” quantum events, for instance, as if that somehow negates the existence and value of things built from those quantum events, is wrong

  29. 29
    Viola Lee says:

    Good distinction, SA. What I mean is that a strictly reductionist standpoint about the material world is flawed, which was Sev’s point. I was not meaning to imply that everything can be reduced to things in the material world.

    Even in respect to just the material aspects of the world, saying that it is “nothing but” quantum events, for instance, as if that somehow negates the existence and value of things built from those quantum events, is wrong

  30. 30
    Viola Lee says:

    re 26, to ET.

    No, I don’t, although there are different levels of understanding that can be meant by that question. I certainly don’t know how or why we have the universe we do, or why its nature is such that the things in the world, including life, have been able to develop in it.

    I don’t think anyone does.

  31. 31

    The nazi’s asserted they were not materialists.

    They generally asserted belief in the human spirit, the human soul, and also God.

    But, they asserted that the human spirit, the human soul, could be identified as a matter of biological fact. And that was the main basis of nazism, that personal character of people could be identified as scientific fact.

    So it doesn’t matter if someone says they are not a materialist. One has to be very precise about the logic involved. And the only correct logic is the creationist conceptual scheme.

    That personal character is on the side of what makes a choice, and therefore personal character can only be identified with a chosen opinion.

    So the identification of someone’s character is a subjective judgement. We can be charitable, mean, in making judgement on what someone’s personal character is. It is not a matter of cold hard fact.

  32. 32
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @24,

    I thought Hawking knew quite a bit about cosmology.

    It was the assertions that Hawing took *outside* his field of expertise that I’m criticizing. Some of his popular books ventured his position on philosophy and theology based on his fame as a theoretical physicist and theoretical cosmologist. As such, his opinions in these areas are not particularly noteworthy. For example, consider his final book, published posthumously:
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/10/17/stephen-hawking-his-beliefs-god-and-heaven/1668456002/

    Hope that makes it clear what I was trying to say.

    -Q

  33. 33
    Querius says:

    Mohammadnursyamu @31,

    When you make your assertions about the beliefs of Nazis and their leader, please consider supporting your assertions. Where do you find that Nazis asserted they weren’t materialists? Do you have a reference?

    For example, here’s a quote from the book, “Until the Final Hour” (subtitled “Hitler’s Last Secretary”), which is mainly based on the personal stories written by Traudl Junge soon after the end of WW2.

    Sometimes we also had interesting discussions about the church and the development of the human race. Perhaps it’s going too far to call them discussions, because he [Hitler] would begin explaining his ideas when some question or remark from one of us had set them off, and we just listened. He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbor and your enemy. ‘Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,’ he once said. ‘We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.

    So what should one conclude about Hitler’s beliefs from the above account?

    -Q

  34. 34
    Viola Lee says:

    I don’t know too much about Hawking, but I agree with Querius that there is not a surefire connection between someone’s scientific expertise and their thoughts on philosophy, particularly metaphysics, and theology. Reciprocally, the same holds true of people from other fields (technology, law, etc.) concerning their thoughts about both philosophy and science.

    The truth of the matter is that almost everyone here is talking about things that we don’t have any particular expertise in. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to learn, express ourselves, and share our thoughts, but it does mean that perhaps we should stay humble.

  35. 35
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    Hope that makes it clear what I was trying to say.

    I think you were taking Bob too seriously. To me, it sounded like he is trying to be clever. We point to Hawking’s lame philosophy and Bob says that he thinks his cosmology is very good. In other words, there’s no need for philosophy – physics answers everything. That’s classic scientism. I’ve tried to reason with Bob about this in the past (maybe he has changed?) and he has no interest in philosophy or theology. This explains why he cannot see Hawking’s errors and instead assigns all of his ideas to physical sciences. This is as if physics can tell us how to get something from nothing (which Mr. Krauss actually tried to claim in an embarrassing book of a similar title). I’ll predict that Bob will skip over that philosophical error entirely.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    As such, his opinions in these areas are not particularly noteworthy.

    The linked article giving his religious thoughts is sad. That’s the depth he was able to achieve over a lifetime? Yes, I wouldn’t call him an expert in theological understanding.

  37. 37
    Querius says:

    Thanks, Silver Asiatic. I didn’t realize Bob O’H was only joking. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

    Viola Lee,
    Yeah, I agree that one shouldn’t have to hold a relevant PhD to comment on a subject, but it would be nice if the comment came with some support once in a while such as a quote or some other evidence.

    Also, there’s something wrong when a celebrity, scientist, professor, or someone else with credentials in one field relies on their credibility in one field to make pronouncements, judgments, or endorsements in another. Unfortunately, this is done all the time. I mean, what relevance is there when some famous MLB player recommends a brand of deodorant or a movie star claims a solution to a political issue? Or a theoretical physicist has a personal philosophy or chooses not to believe in God . . .

    -Q

  38. 38
    Seversky says:

    Querius/19

    Oh really? Where in the Bible does it say that *Christians* are “bound to put homosexuals, adulterers and even rebellious children to death”?

    Torah was given to Moses as a mirror to demonstrate that no one is a “good person” and everyone deserves death, but Christ came to fulfill Torah with his own excruciating death in full payment for those who repent and ask for His forgiveness!

    God put on mortality and was tortured to death for you, so you could *avoid* being judged and found guilty.

    For Biblical prescriptions of the death penalty for homosexuality, try Leviticus 20:13, for adultery, try Leviticus 20:10 and for rebellious or disrespectful children, try Leviticus 20:9. But I’m sure you know these.

    As for the other claims, I know I shouldn’t be but I’m always surprised at how Christians can believe in such claims without being aware of their absurdity.

    In Christian belief God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator. Nothing happens but by His will. If we are able to behave in ways that displease Him then that is how He created us to behave. Being all-knowing, He would have known exactly how we would behave. Moreover, He had the power and knowledge to make us otherwise so, if we offend Him – which makes no sense given His foreknowledge of how we would behave – He has only Himself to blame. So in what universe is it just to punish us in perpetuity for being what He designed us to be? If He has the power to change us with a Jedi-like wave of the hand into that which pleases him, why doesn’t he do it and save everyone a whole lot of suffering?

    Furthermore, the being nailed to the cross was not human. As the Son of God, Jesus may have worn a human body – a bit like the “Edgar suit” from Men In Black – but that was all that could be killed. Christ the Son, like God the father, is held to be immortal. We no more have the power to kill him than we do to destroy this Universe. So the Crucifixion was at best a form of street theater. There wasn’t really any other point to the whole exercise.

  39. 39
    Viola Lee says:

    re 37.

    I think the difference to consider is whether someone is somehow asserting, either implicitly or explicitly, that their expertise in one field gives them some special credence in some other, unrelated field.

    For instance, a movie star has just as much right as anyone else to have a political opinion, and the same obligations to try to support their opinion, but they don’t have the right to think that just because they are a famous movie star that in itself adds extra weight to their political opinion.

    I also agree that a theoretical physicist has no special claim to the validity of a personal philosophy or whether to believe in God.

    However, to tie to things together, you write, “But it would be nice if the comment came with some support once in a while such as a quote or some other evidence.”

    I’m not sure that just a quote in itself adds to an argument if the quote adds nothing substantially new to the discussion, and especially of the material quoted falls prey to the same problem: a pronouncement by someone who doesn’t have expertise in the subject. One can almost always find others who agree with oneself, but stacking up quote after quote by people all coming from the same viewpoint doesn’t accumulate more weight to an argument.

  40. 40
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    For Biblical prescriptions of the death penalty for homosexuality, try Leviticus 20:13, for adultery, try Leviticus 20:10 and for rebellious or disrespectful children, try Leviticus 20:9. But I’m sure you know these.

    Please note the word in asterisks in Querius’ reply to you. He gave a theological explanation following regarding “to fulfill”.

  41. 41
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    In Christian belief God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator. Nothing happens but by His will. If we are able to behave in ways that displease Him then that is how He created us to behave.

    It’s not like evolution where people, supposedly, are determined by physical forces to do whatever they do. Nobody will be successful with a claim that “God forced me to do it”. We speak of God’s “permissive will”. He allows things to occur, balanced within the justice of rewards and punishment, as well as “the holy exchange” given by victim souls who offer their sufferings for the benefit of others, taking on pains to bring mercy and forgiveness to those who otherwise would be lost in evil. In that “divine economy” – pain and self-sacrifice are the currency that pay for unjust pleasures (sin).
    A survivor of the bombings of Nagasaki saw the event that way. The nuclear bomb fell almost directly on a predominantly Christian city in Japan (a rare thing) on a huge Catholic cathedral, incinerating thousands. The survivor saw this as holy souls, giving their lives and pain as victims in a holocaust to pay for the sins of the war and bring it to an end. They are seen as martyrs in that light.
    Abraham Lincoln saw the Civil War in a similar way – the blood of the dead paid for the guilt of the sin of slavery.
    That kind of understanding of suffering is common view within that Christian faith, since Jesus’ life was the exemplar of the same.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Furthermore, the being nailed to the cross was not human. As the Son of God, Jesus may have worn a human body – a bit like the “Edgar suit” from Men In Black – but that was all that could be killed.

    That’s the heresy of Docetism – back to the 2nd century. Not exactly a new (or correct) idea. Refuted by St. Ignatius of Antioch along with others.
    The Christian view is the hypostatic union.
    You can invent your own religious beliefs, certainly, but not many are going to care or even understand why you’re thinking that way.

  43. 43
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius @ 32 –

    It was the assertions that Haw[k]ing took *outside* his field of expertise that I’m criticizing.

    Fair enough. I reacted because the quote being discussed here (“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”) is flat-out cosmology. It may sounds nuts, but that’s quantum physics for you.

  44. 44

    @querius Your answer is a stupid strawman.

    Nazi’s accept the human spirit and soul, the same way that compatibilists accept free will. By redefining it to make it consistent wirh the logic of materialism / fact.

  45. 45
    asauber says:

    From what I understand, the Nazis created their spirituality in their own image, so as to facilitate their worldly ambitions.

    Very common approach for those with worldly ambitions.

    Andrew

  46. 46
    Querius says:

    VL @34,

    The truth of the matter is that almost everyone here is talking about things that we don’t have any particular expertise in. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to learn, express ourselves, and share our thoughts, but it does mean that perhaps we should stay humble.

    Agreed.

    But I’d also add that unsupported assertions add no value to the discussion. If John Doe writes, “You’re full of baloney. Darwinism has been proven multiple times,” my reaction is that a Mr. John Doe of East Cupcake, Minnesota has an opinion that differs from mine. So what?
    If John Doe can at least produce reasons why he came to that conclusion, we can have a discussion. If John Doe can produce some supporting discoveries that can be interpreted to prove Darwinism, we can have an interesting discussion.

    -Q

  47. 47
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @39,

    Yes, I agree with this as well. And quoting an MLB star on some pronouncement on the origin of life isn’t very compelling.

    -Q

  48. 48
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 40-42,

    Nicely articulated in a target rich environment. ; -)

    As to the exact nature of the Son of God, I purposely limit my opinions to the plain reading of the scriptures such as Hebrews 1. I’d rather be simple and say “I don’t know” for lack of understanding than be doctrinaire and wrong. There are also things that we probably aren’t capable of understanding, especially when it comes to things such as a timeless being in a temporal world.

    I’d also say that God created humans in his own image with a conscious connection to a larger spiritual world with a measure of free will. That’s why we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    -Q

  49. 49
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @43,

    Fair enough. I reacted because the quote being discussed here (“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”) is flat-out cosmology. It may sounds nuts, but that’s quantum physics for you.

    The problems is that there’s no quantum theory of gravity. Even theoretical physicists took issue with Hawkings’ pronouncement. Since we really don’t understand gravity, ascribing the origin of the universe to gravity becomes a statement of faith that’s qualitatively no different than ascribing it to God . . . or dark energy . . . or the Multiverse.

    -Q

  50. 50
    Querius says:

    Asauber @45,

    Yes, exactly. Their spirituality was a Nazi blend of mysticism, honor, colorful ceremonies, solemn oaths, German mythology, strong willpower, and a sort of racial manifest destiny based on patriotism and Darwinian evolution. “God” was a cultural element brought into their beliefs but had no grounding in Judeo-Christian scriptures or values.

    -Q

Leave a Reply