Monday, November 20, 2006

"Faith is as evil as smallpox"

A British Christian organisation commissioned a survey testing public perception of some of Richard Dawkins's more "confrontational" statements from his book 'The God Delusion,' and had the balls to release this result: "42% think faith is as evil as smallpox."

If you have a look at history, you'll see that they're right. Or just think about what Voltaire said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

LINKS: 42% think faith is as evil as smallpox - UK Polling Report
Learning from history - Not PC (April, 2006)

RELATED: Religion, Politics-UK, Philosophy, Ethics, History, Cartoons

35 Comments:

Anonymous Yossman said...

Funny enough Richard Dawkins is a believer too. He believes in naturalism. And you really need quite a big faith to believe that the material reality the we experience is all there is.

The very statement that 'faith is evil' requires a set of presuppositions that can't be proven themselves and thus require belief.

11/20/2006 11:24:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Yossman, to apprehend this world all you have to do is look around.

But to try and explain what we do know, ie., all this that we see and experience, by means of something we neither see nor experience requires a leap in the dark. Literally, a leap of faith.

The difference is clear enough.

11/21/2006 08:42:00 am  
Anonymous Yossman said...

No, I don't agree.

First. We do not know for sure that what our senses perceive is really true. If there is anything out there at all. In order to prove it rationally we have to use our logical thinking, the effectiveness - or rather truthfullness - of which we can only prove by using the very logic we try to prove, thus creating circular reasoning. (This is rather Kantian I suppose.) What I am trying to say is that we have to believe our senses and logic in order to interact with the world and interpret the world. By giving a rational/material explanation of all that is, we are already taking huge steps of faith. Believing in a God might be just a higher form of believing than believing the senses.

Secondly looking around doens't explain for a lot we see and experience. For instance our morality, or the big bang, or the apparent mind-boggling design on both macro and micor levels, or consciousness, or beauty and our ability to perceive it. It might actually be a very logical thing to postulate the existence of a powerful Being that has brought everything about.

Thirdly, the material worldview runs aground trying to build a lasting basis for morality for instance. How on earth can we derive an 'ought' from the 'descriptive' fact of zillions of atoms that are out there?

Truly, saying that faith is an evil thing is an illogical thing to say. The statement itself is based on faith as it can't be proven. It's a self-refuting claim.

In spite of my disagreement I do appreciate your comment!

11/21/2006 09:08:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Yossman, you're denying the obvious (in other words, everything that's all around you) in order to accept a fantasy that's only in your head.

You want to believe a fantasy, and you think wanting is enough. It isn't.

You want to explain existence by means of non-existence.

You suggest that our means of knowing this world is inferior to your suggested means of knowing your other (imaginary) one. (How do we "know" it? Somehow.)

Sheesh. Seems to me there's a lot of denial going on. Seems to me too that it is this denial that is at the root of why people have called faith "evil."

And you ask too how we can "derive an derive an 'ought' from the 'descriptive' fact of zillions of atoms that are out there?" Have a think about it. Here's just three examples:

* "If we want to avoid starving, we ought to eat.

* "If we want to provide for ourselves, we ought to use our minds."

* "If we want to address the facts, we first of all ought to face them."

The fact is, we can only begin talking about morality rationally once we abandon faith.

11/21/2006 10:42:00 am  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Indeed, faith is evil. Is evades reality and the means of man's survival qua man, i.e., reason. Faithists can only survive as parasites, not men.

Yossman, believing only in the material reality is not faith. It is reason. There is only one reality. The very definition of the word reality denies the possibility of their being more than one. But more importantly, reality denies the possibility of their being two.

The comment that faith is evil can be proven by analysing what it preaches and the results of what it preaches. Faith results in avoidable deaths and evasion of reality, thus proving it to be evil.

Yossman, PC actually has it right.

Also we do know our senses tell us true. They always do so. They are incapable of anything else. Sometimes our brain can analyse things wrong, but only due to irrational thought or a genuine lack of similar information to go on (which is a lot rarer than people think it is). And senses certainly tell us there are things out there.

Yes we do need to use logical thinking to achieve rational proof. This is achieved by integrating what our senses tell us with knowledge we already have. Logic and rationality work only by acknowledging reality, thus accepting what our senses tell us as true. Circular reasoning is not the method of doing this. Integrating the information our senses provide us is.

Yes what you said is Kantian, which proves it wrong. Kant, despite claiming to use reason, was an irrationalist not a rationalist.

No giving a rational/material explanation is not a step of faith. That is contradictory. reason denies faith and relies on reality instead of the unknown, making it the exact opposite of faith.

believing in God is a lower form of believing. God is a contradiction. Contradictions cannot exist in reality, not in part, or in whole (to quote Terry Goodkind). To believe in that which cannot exist is lower belief not higher.

yes, by itself looking around doesn't. But if you take in what you see, analyse it rationally, and integrate it what you already know then you will always get an accurate understanding of things. By it's definition reason is infalable. Only our attempts to use it aren't.

No it is not logical. It is never logical to believe in contradictions. It is illogical. Proof of the lack of logic is that for God to of created existence he would of had to exist. The axiom, the Law of Identity, states this. But if there was no existence before he created it then he could not of existed, meaning he can't of created it. Hence God is a contradiction. There are other proofs but I don't want to go into it right now.

The ought derives not from the existence of atoms. it derives from the requirements of a human survival.

No saying faith is evil isn't illogical. Faith has resulted in more undeserved deaths than anything else. Also it denies the true nature of existence by denying logic and reason, the only means of knowing reality and gaining knowledge, thus denying that which man needs to survive qua man as opposed to survival qua parasite. Thus it is logical and rational to call it evil.

11/21/2006 11:10:00 am  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Yes, PC, he is denying the obvious, i.e., everything that is around him. And indeed it is a fantasy. Faith can only lead to fantasy. Only reason and logic can lead to anything other than self-imposed delusion.

Indeed wanting isn't enough. People are free to chose to evade reality, but they are not free to evade the consequences of doing so. Reality enforces itself no matter how strong or the nature of any delusion.

Good examples, PC.

And yes, only if we abandon faith can we begin to discuss morality. Faith abandons reality. Only by accepting and acknowledging reality can we have any morals.

Yossman, you are not even a subjectivist. You are a nihilist, which is even worse.

11/21/2006 11:16:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Now, I have faith in GOD, because I think that Multiple World Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics does lead me to conclude that GOD Almighty is in another universe parallel to the one I live in. I can't sense directly or indirectly using any means of physical instrumentation to find out where in the other possible infinite universes he/she/it resides.

God, does interfere with my daily decision making process in my universe whenever I am deciding on an outcome of a choice (experiment) I made. I can't interfere with whatever GOD and his angels do in their own universe(s), but they always interfere with what I do in my universe, without asking my permission.

I think that GOD is fuckin playing mind games with me, for his/her fuckin non-stop interference with my decision making process all the time. Therefore I have faith in GOD for his ability to come to my universe (and his green little men) and interfere, perhaps raping & abducting my fellow citizens, then retreated to their own universe(s) without leaving behind any physical evidence of their evil action here in my universe.

I hope that MWI of Quantum Mechanics will one day able to come up with the prediction & technology to enable citizens of my universe to travel to other universes to find GOD and beat the hell out of him/her and his little green men for the crimes they have committed since the moment of BIG BANG, where they (GOD & little green men) have consistently been trespassing my universe over the last 15 billions of years without the permission of the objects in my universe.

11/21/2006 12:58:00 pm  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Falafulu, quantum mechanics is wrong about everything it says. It is irrational and therefore incorrect. The irrational cannot realistically be used as proof of anyhting other than the irrationality of the person who says it, or the person who uses it as proof. Which depends on the intent.

It is irrational because the world universe means existence/reality. Based on the definition of both there can only be one of these, as I have already said. Therefore there can only be one universe, therefore God would have to exist here in our universe not an alternate one.

Besides we have no way of sensing or scientifically proving that an alternate universe exists, therefore no reason to believe one does.

If God interferes with your choices then he is immoral. You have the right to be the exclusive decider of your choices. If anyone else decides it isn't your choice, it is theres. Only you have the right to decide your life, no one else, even God. If God acts to decide the lives of others, then he is violating their right to freedom, and as such is immoral.

However, God is doing absolutely nothing due to the fact he doesn't exist. Non-existant beings can't do anything. God is a contradiction therefore he doesn't exist, therefore he doesn't do anything.

Your decision making process is all your own. Don't blame others for your actions. Good or bad, you are to blame for your own actions.

Quantum mechanics will never achieve such a thing. The irrational can only achieve failure and death, not success and life. No technology will allow us to go to a place that doesn't exist, i.e., an alternate universe. it just isn't possible.

Quantum mechanics achieved the divorcing of science and reason. The problem with that is that science needs reason. Without reason science is a failure and doesn't work.

11/21/2006 01:58:00 pm  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Falafulu, quantum mechanics is wrong about everything it says. It is irrational and therefore incorrect. The irrational cannot realistically be used as proof of anyhting other than the irrationality of the person who says it, or the person who uses it as proof. Which depends on the intent.

It is irrational because the world universe means existence/reality. Based on the definition of both there can only be one of these, as I have already said. Therefore there can only be one universe, therefore God would have to exist here in our universe not an alternate one.

Besides we have no way of sensing or scientifically proving that an alternate universe exists, therefore no reason to believe one does.

If God interferes with your choices then he is immoral. You have the right to be the exclusive decider of your choices. If anyone else decides it isn't your choice, it is theres. Only you have the right to decide your life, no one else, even God. If God acts to decide the lives of others, then he is violating their right to freedom, and as such is immoral.

However, God is doing absolutely nothing due to the fact he doesn't exist. Non-existant beings can't do anything. God is a contradiction therefore he doesn't exist, therefore he doesn't do anything.

Your decision making process is all your own. Don't blame others for your actions. Good or bad, you are to blame for your own actions.

Quantum mechanics will never achieve such a thing. The irrational can only achieve failure and death, not success and life. No technology will allow us to go to a place that doesn't exist, i.e., an alternate universe. it just isn't possible.

Quantum mechanics achieved the divorcing of science and reason. The problem with that is that science needs reason. Without reason science is a failure and doesn't work.

11/21/2006 01:59:00 pm  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Sorry about the double post. My browser played up and didn';t show it the first time, so i reposted, then both appeared.

11/21/2006 02:00:00 pm  
Blogger peasant said...

PC sometimes you come across as an offensive troll.

Interview with Alvin J. Schmidt
How Christianity Changed the World (ISBN 0310264499)

Schmidt: Some distinctly Christian ideas that numerous people (even its enemies) ascribe to are
as follows: a) The value and dignity of human life. b) The freedom of speech and expression
which Christianity bequeathed to much of the world. c) The abolition of slavery, for Christianity
was the first to outlaw slavery. One need only ask: Where was slavery first outlawed, where
Christianity had a lot presence or little or no presence? The answer lies in the former part of my
question. d) The freedom and dignity of women is another example. Here too one might ask:
Where do women have the greatest amount of freedom and dignity, where Christianity has had a
lot of presence or little or no presence? Again, the answer lies in the former part of the question.
e) That charity is good and commendable; this too comes from Christianity, for the ancient world
did not really practice charity, as I document in the book. W.E.H. Lecky, no friend of Christianity,
once said: "The active, habitual, and detailed charity of private persons, which is such a
conspicuous feature in all Christian societies, was scarcely known in antiquity." Still another
historian, Gerhard Uhlhorn, has stated: "The idea of humanity was wanting in the old world." f)
Yet another example of Christian influence that is accepted even by secularists is the fact that
child labor laws are good and necessary, a phenomenon that arose in England with individuals
such as Lord Shaftsbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, and others. g) That no one is above the law.
This concept first appeared in A.D. 390 when Bishop Ambrose told the Emperor that he had to
repent for slaughtering 7,000 innocent people. In effect, he told him that even as emperor he was
not above the law. Then in 1215 the signing of the Magna Carta, greatly shaped by its Christian
formulators, is another example of no one, not even the king, is above the law.

11/21/2006 07:52:00 pm  
Blogger Yossman said...

Apparently you don't seems to understand that to interpret data is so much as to impose a mental (ie. invisible) mental structure upon those data. To arrive at any origin from a given amount of perceivable states you have to take a leap of faith. Postmodernism has shown us that much.

My point is to argue not in favor for a leap of faith, however, but to show that any position that interprets the world takes certain steps of faith. To believe in God is therefore not less rational that to believe in Him. My interpretation of the facts at hand has led me to believe there is a God (in fact just by looking around me).

Furthermore I would like to point out that 'faith' as such (whatever it really means) can neither be wrong or good. It is rather the content of faith - and very often the way in which it has been working out in people's actions - that has led to destructive consequences.

Islam for instance holds to the idea that unbelievers have to be converted by force. Allthough it needs to be said that most muslims would not advocate this at the present.

I know that many self-proclaimed Christians have done horrible things even in the name of their religion (slavery, crusades, imperialism, etc.)

As far as naturalism goes, here is an 'ought' derived from evolutionary naturalism that is not very nice either:

Nazism cannot be condemned by means of a naturalistic morality. The nazis were trying to advance their race and were doing the logical thing in order to diseminate their genes as widely as possible.

Finally, I don't claim to hold all answers. I do appreciate your comments, pc and kane bunce. You offer some valuable insights. Forgive if my English is somewhat awkward. It is my 2nd language after all.

11/21/2006 09:15:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

I forgot to post this prediction of the MWI on the other comment thread:

http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9906015

Here David Deutsch derives the Born probability rule of quantum mechanics from the MWI. Pretty neat huh! And you say the MWI has no power! Now, to be fair, several authors have objected to DD's derivation. However, these objections are being cleared up. For example,

http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/0604133

Kane Bruce: Quantum mechanics is not irrational - just some of interpretations of it. As I have been trying to argue with Falafulu on this thread, the MWI is a perfectly sensible interpretation that does not require non-deterministic non-locality or any special role for observers and that is fully testable.

11/21/2006 10:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[Here David Deutsch derives the Born probability rule of quantum mechanics from the MWI. ]

Brian,

Do you understand what is the meaning of prediction in Physics? From reading of about your posts, you have no clue to what is PREDICTION is.

In Physics, PREDICTION means that the physical theory predicted things (physical entity or physical actions via mathematical operators) that are currently UNOBSERVABLES. As I have quoted the example the existence of Quark particle, which was predicted in papers published in the 1950s. In the early 1980s, the first indirect observation of its existence was confirmed. There are tons of quantum mechanics predictions, which were published in advance of their experimental observations, usually many many years prior to observations. The longest to date was the prediction of BEC (Bose-Einstein-Condensation), which was published in 1924 and confirmed in 1995 (experimental observation), by Prof. Carl Weiman of Colorado University. Well, this is WHAT physicists called PREDICTION.

The paper title, "Quantum Theory of Probability and Decisions" by David Deutsch IS NOT PREDICTION. Physicist called this explanation and not prediction. The article is an explanation of how MWI fits in with Quantum Mechanics, but NOT how MWI predict some unknown phenomena called 'BORN PROBABILITY'. Born Probability has been there since day one of the development of Wave Mechanics (Quantum Mechanics) was started, a term used by Max Born. All articles you have posted in the other thread are explanations of known facts and not prediction of some unknown physical phenomena which had never been observed.

C'mon, Brian, please NAME ONE PREDICTION of MWI ?

I have said to you in the other thread that MWI has no single prediction at all.

Now, I had pointed out this criticism of MWI here, where the same thing that author is saying, MWI had never made any PREDICTION to date.

“The Many-Worlds Interpretation of QM”
http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/lostcauses.html

Brian S said...
[Here David Deutsch derives the Born probability rule of quantum mechanics from the MWI. Pretty neat huh! And you say the MWI has no power!]

Did you read the paper or you just read the abstract , huh ?

11/21/2006 11:34:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafusu,

Deutsch's result in itself indicates that the MWI is deeper than rival interpretations because they must *assume* the Born rule. Yes, deriving the Born rule qualifies as a prediction of the MWI.

BTW, I would appreciate it if you would stop talking down to me - I am not some idiot that recently came upon the MWI. I have a very good mathematical background (and a Ph.D. in the theory of signal detectability), have published scientific papers, and also have a good understanding of quantum mechanics. Don't assume I haven't read papers or don't understand them. My background should count for nought as far as our argument goes, but please don't underestimate me.

11/21/2006 11:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[Yes, deriving the Born rule qualifies as a prediction of the MWI.]

No, it isn't a prediction. The definition of PREDICTION from my 'longman dictionary' is to 'say something in advance' or 'reasoning about the future'. Now, Born probability, is something in the past and not in the future, because its derivation is well understood since the birth of Wave Mechanics. What is there to predict for something that is already well known and established such as Born probability.

Have you look at the comment of the author of this article about the lack of any prediction made by MWI? Do you think that this author (shown below) would call 'deriving the Born rule' by MWI approach is a prediction? I think not.

“The Many-Worlds Interpretation of QM”
http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/lostcauses.html

C'mon Brian, NAME one SINGLE PREDICTION that MWI has made?

Brian S said...
[BTW, I would appreciate it if you would stop talking down to me - I am not some idiot that recently came upon the MWI.]

No, I didn't do that. I answered accordingly to the tone of your post, such as something like 'Pretty neat huh?'. One, of the papers (refutation of non-locality) you quoted in the other thread by David Deutch, does use, multi-linear algebra & tensor calculus. You challenged me, if I am upto it, to read that paper. I got the idea that you’re talking down to me. I have limited ability to code (numerical coding) of both multi-linear algebra & tensor calculus for data-mining software application, but I am not an expert in those topics. I assume that with your background in signal detection, I doubt that you have encountered both 'multi-linear algebra & tensor calculus' in your field, unless I am not upto date on that.


Brian S said...
[I have a very good mathematical background (and a Ph.D. in the theory of signal detectability), have published scientific papers, and also have a good understanding of quantum mechanics.]

Good to know, Brian , we have common interest in that similar domain. Regardless of our differences in this debate, I would like to make contact with you for possible exchange of ideas. I develop signal processing numerical codes in Java (both deterministic & random signal algorithms) for my own use. I haven’t done anything in ‘signal detectability’ , but the algorithms I have written so far, could be used in lots of signal processing & analysis task, such as using data-mining algorithms for anomaly signal detection, supervised & unsupervised signal classification , signal regression , signal clustering, signal forecasting, signal system identification, signal de-noising (using wavelets), and general signal pattern recognition. I don’t publish papers, but I am a consumer of peer review publications in a wide varieties of disciplines (machine learning, signal processing, computational finance, bio-informatics, statistics, data-mining, numerical analysis, and so forth), where I allocate 2 to 3 hours weekly to go to University to scan the weekly new journals being displayed on the temporary shelf just looking for something that would be interesting for me (perhaps that might help in an algorithm implementation in the future).

My interest in Quantum Mechanics has been resurrected over the last 18 months or so, since I came across its application to the analysis of financial markets. I have got some books on application of quantum mechanics in finance, where I am going to develop some models to be included in a computational fiancé API (application programming interface), I had already developed using the standard ‘stochastic calculus’. From what I read about Quantum Finance, from which the models that have been developed so far are found to have solutions that just improved over the traditional finance stochastic models. If you’re interested in the field of Finance, here are the links.

“Quantum Finance: Path Integrals and Hamiltonians for Options and Interest Rates”
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quantum-Finance-Integrals-Hamiltonians-Interest/dp/0521840457

“Physics of Finance: Gauge Modelling in Non-Equilibrium Pricing”
http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Finance-Modelling-Non-Equilibrium-Pricing/dp/0471877387

“Dynamics of Markets: Econophysics and Finance”
http://www.amazon.com/Dynamics-Markets-Econophysics-Joseph-McCauley/dp/0521824478/ref=pd_sim_b_2/002-4816879-4839232

Ok, back to the debate.

11/22/2006 01:29:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu - just to expand on my (somewhat rude - apologies!) answer above - you wrote:

"The paper title, "Quantum Theory of Probability and Decisions" by David Deutsch IS NOT PREDICTION. Physicist called this explanation and not prediction. The article is an explanation of how MWI fits in with Quantum Mechanics, but NOT how MWI predict some unknown phenomena called 'BORN PROBABILITY'. Born Probability has been there since day one of the development of Wave Mechanics (Quantum Mechanics) was started, a term used by Max Born."

I agree that Deutsch's derivation does not predict UNKNOWN phenomena. It is indeed an explanation of something we already knew about from experimentation. But we can say, for example, that Einstein's equations correctly predicted the orbit of Mercury, even though the descrepanies in Mercury's orbit were well known at the time. In the same way, we can say that the MWI correctly predicts Born's rule, something which previously we have had to assume a-priori.

Now, you admit that the MWI explains the Born probability rule. Do you have any other explanation for it? If not, why do you still refuse to take the MWI seriously?

"All articles you have posted in the other thread are explanations of known facts and not prediction of some unknown physical phenomena which had never been observed."

The MWI simply states that when the mathematics of quantum mechanics say that objects exist in multiple versions we should take this seriously to mean they do. As such, the predictions of the MWI are the predictions of standard quantum mechanics. I'm going to turn this around: your assertion that the MWI does not make new predictions is equivalent to the assertion that the MWI cannot be distinguished from rival interpretations. If so, then you have no grounds to prefer any of the rival interpretations for they also make no predictions that the MWI does not make. We have known since 1985, however, that the MWI is distinguishable from rival interpretations. This is not surprising as each interpretation makes different assumptions. Read Deutsch's 1985 paper, Quantum theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer, and you will see an example of a prediction made by the MWI that is not made by the Copenhagen Interpretation.

11/22/2006 01:39:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

I made a mistake when I wrote above that:

"I'm going to turn this around: your assertion that the MWI does not make new predictions is equivalent to the assertion that the MWI cannot be distinguished from rival interpretations. If so, then you have no grounds to prefer any of the rival interpretations for they also make no predictions that the MWI does not make."

Of course, you could have philsophical grounds and one of the arguments that I have been making is that the MWI is the only philosophically correct interpretation.

11/22/2006 02:42:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

Another mistake. I gave you the wrong link above(failing memory I'm afraid!). This was the reference I meant to post:

Deutsch, D., (1986) "Three experimental implications of the Everett interpretation", in R. Penrose and C.J. Isham (eds.), Quantum Concepts of Space and Time, Oxford: The Clarendon Press, pp. 204-214.

(unfortunately not online).

BTW, I should point out that David Deutsch is on a fast track to win a nobel prize. Physics textbooks aren't going to be the same again! I have had a number of exchanges with him on the Fabric of Reality list and I can personally attest that the man is brilliant.

11/22/2006 05:46:00 am  
Blogger libertyscott said...

You either conclude based on the evidence of the senses and reason, or by believing something exists regardless of it objectively being able to be defined, sensed or detected.

It is back to A is A. The world exists and the events in the world all have causal relationships. Faced with the ability of human beings to explain reality, faith believers resort to the last bastion - what happened when the universe was created - because they cannot with any credible evidence, point to any supernatural intervention since that point. The disjointed scribbles of men who lived a couple of thousand years ago are no more valuable in this like than the tales of sailors who claimed to see unicorns, men with no heads and eyes in their chests etc etc.

Faith is evil simply because it is believing something is or is not, regardless of the evidence presented - it is a feeling, not a thought. The unwillingness by many of those of faith to engage, and the reaction by (a minority) to challenges to it (violence) speaks volumes about how useless a tool it is for human beings in giving guidance about how to function.

11/22/2006 06:41:00 am  
Blogger peasant said...

The believing Jew or Christian does not feel the need to be embarrassed when materialists attack religion as 'anti-scientific' or irrational. For he regards his own beliefs as not less but far more rational than those of the materialist. He regards them as providing a fuller, more coherent, and more sensible picture of reality. A picture in which the existence of the universe is not merely some colossal accident, in which human life has both purpose and meaning, in which ideas about ruth and falsehood and good and evil are more than chemical responses in our brains, and in which the beauty, harmony, and order of the universe, which science has helped us to see more clearly than ever before, are recognized as the product of a wisdom and a reason that transcends our own.

As Bryson unwittingly proved, it is rather absurd to claim that something came from nothing, and in the time it takes to make a ham sandwich at that.

Stephen Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

11/22/2006 10:28:00 am  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Yossman, as I have been trying to say, faith is contrary to the very definition of reason, i.e. trusting what reality tells you, since reality can never be wrong. As such reason and faith are two contrary things, and as such faith is NOT a part of reason.

Since faith, by definition, does not include these elements of faith it ignores reality. Man needs to acknowledge reality to survive qua man. Man requires reason to survive as a man instead of as an animal or a parasite. It is not for no reason biologists defined human to mean "the rational animal". It is because man needs reason to survive. Without it he isn't a man. Therefore faith, and not just it's content, is bad. This is because it will always lead to content that does not support human life, only animal and parasite life.

the Nazi actions were NOT logical. The logical actions of any species depends on that which it needs to survive as that species. Man needs reason to survive as man, meaning the logical action is a rational one, which rules out Nazi acts as being rational.

11/22/2006 12:01:00 pm  
Blogger Kane Bunce said...

Brian, quantum mechanics includes things like the Alternate Universe Theory and the Heisenberg Uncertaintity Principle (the claim that particles have indeterminate physical states). How can these be called anything other than irrational? Any interpretation of such things flies in the face of the axiom, the Law of Identity, and as such is irrational. It is also a blanket refusal to know and an attempt to hide the question. What can be more irrational than that I ask you?

I'd also like to agree with what Scott said.

Peasant, you don't need faith for human life to have meaning. In the view of Objectivists human life has plenty meaning, and we don't need faith to achieve it. That meaning? Life and happiness. Two very valid meanings. In fact the only valid ones. The meaning of life is just that: life and happiness. Life and happiness are the most valuable things life has to offer. Happiness is in fact a necessity of human survival. It is also a reward mechanism to tell us we are doing the right things, i.e., that which our life requires in order to perpetuate.

Objecivists do not think of such things as good and evil, or truth falsehood as mere chemical reactions. We deem good and the truth as necessary parts of human life and evil and falsehood as contrary to human life.

yes, the universe can't of come from nothing, but that doesn't prove religion right.

11/22/2006 12:38:00 pm  
Blogger peasant said...

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians considered the Pharaoh to be God? How easy it has been for men, even from primitive times, to seek immortality in themselves: Immortality. Power. Freedom. Strength to accomplish whatever man's will would desire.

We have travelled so short a distance in so many years. Today men stand on the shoulders of formulaic logic that leads them, without alternatives, they say, to the ultimate decision that man alone, within himself, contains the power and the secrets of Godhood. And they lean heavily upon their complicated reasoning to explain why such a decision is the only true destination of high and critical thought. But if that is true, why have profoundly primitive cultures, inhabiting vanished civilizations long lost to the Earth, forever held this same conviction? Why? I will tell you why. Because fearful man is destined forever to approach the void, to move towards that verge which separates the known from the unknown. It is the human tendency, as Kant explained. Yet man, because he is inherently selfish and self-serving above all things, will travel no road without the full measure of what he might possess. In his self-centred dominion, man will surrender nothing that must not absolutely be surrendered.

The Pharaoh was considered to be God because of his soul's divine union to the sun. He was considered more than mere man, and more than Nature. He was the ultimate Sun-Man, or Man-God, in the most natural sense. He was one with the Cosmos, holding the keys to life by the power of his will and by the power of the sun.

But at the emergence of the Hebrew God, the Man-God was confronted by his ultimate nemesis. An enemy that perfectly defied his deific claim. So Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, became the scorned and rejected scourge of the world, despised as an enemy of the ultimate free man. The ageless collision of forces. Man and God. And men who would not kneel accused the God of Israel of being the waste product of a condemning moral code propagated by foolish men who must create an imaginary God that is beyond themselves. And Yahweh was condemned in the old world as the foolish false creation of weak men who were simply unable to survive or rule by the power of the Cosmos and by their own hand. A conflict of decision, of decided faith or non-faith. And it was on this ground of the unknowable that the battle first began.

I call it unknowable because this ground is ultimately the dominion of faith, ... where nothing can be understood empirically, and a man must decide, for himself alone, to believe as he would believe. I am old now, and have forgotten much of what I knew. But I still understand the limitations of empirical thought. I recall all the questions of fundamental certainty that evaded the critical reason of Descartes, Augustine, Hegel, Pascal, and Kant. So I do not claim to completely understand ultimate truth, nor do I stand alone in my ignorance of it. I know that I can defend my faith as far as reason may ascend, in any discipline of thought, be it philosophy or theology or science or archaeology. And I am certain that I hold a perfectly and ultimately reasonable faith. But, in the final plain of human reason, faith is faith, and knowledge is knowledge. God always has been, and always shall remain, the ultimate mystery. Always there will be fundamental questions of uncertainty that only faith may bridge. And it is because of what I know of these fundamental questions, and faith itself, that I say with confidence that reason will never fully close the void between the known and the unknowable. Faith, alone is the final step.

Yes, ... predation is the final plateau of the God-Man concept. Not love, and not mercy; it only recognizes strength. The strong rule, and the strongest rule completely. And it is this cruel fate that has always been the end of those who find their god in Nature, or in themselves, or in the Cosmos or the Sun. Man as God. nature as God. The Sun-Man. They cunningly devise whatever ideology that will allow them to justify their moral autonomy and their predatory lusts. a thousand faces for the same being. A thousand names to personify a god who is exactly what they want him to be. And they violently reject the unyielding moral code imposed upon man by Yahweh, a God who has always enforced a code of justice that would defend the weak, and punish the cruel.

James Huggins, The Reckoning

11/22/2006 03:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[But we can say, for example, that Einstein's equations correctly predicted the orbit of Mercury, even though the descrepanies in Mercury's orbit were well known at the time.]

No WRONG. General Relativity explained the discrepancies of the orbit of Mercury but not predicted it, as you ponted out that it had already known been known at the time.

General Relativity PREDICTED that ENERGY DO FALL exactly as MATTER does in a gravitational field. This means that energy (photon particles) falls towards a galactic body's gravitational pull, similar to a tennis ball falling towards the earth, in other words, that a beam of light (photons) could be bend by the influence of a galactic body's gravity. This PREDICTION was made in 1915 when Einstein published his work on the subject.

NO ONE at the TIME could ever thought that this is something that NATURE itself allow. So, this was NEW, no one had EVER proposed it before. In 1919, this was first confirmed in an eclipse in South America, where the light observed on the earth were indeed came from faraway star that were bent by our Sun and reached Earth. This was the year where Einstein did catapult to international fame, for this prediction. As technology advanced, this general relativity prediction has been observed in a phenomena which is called 'gravitational lens' , that is the magnification of distant galactic object, by way of bending of light rays. This sort of physical phenomena WERE NEVER known before, BUT they were predicted to exist IN ADVANCE.

"Gravitational Lens"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_lensing

So, do you see what's the meaning of predictions that Physicist expect ?

11/22/2006 05:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian,

I would like to make this differentiation between EXPLANATION of a physical phenomena and PREDICTION of a physical phenomena.


#1) EXPLANATION is applying a physical theory into a physical observation, where the observation has been known as a priori, but the underlying physical process that governs the observation, is not well understood or otherwise the observation is well understood in terms of interpretation by one physical theory but another different physical theory could be applied to the same observation, which reached the same conclusion as the established physical theory. Now, this is what happen to Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) & MWI of quantum mechanics. CI explained it and also MWI explained it too. TEW could also explain the observation. Any new theory that arise in the future where its derivation fits in with the same observation, then of course this new theory DOES explain the observation from a different angle compared to CI, MWI or TEW.

#3) PREDICTION is when a physical theory describe some physical observation in advance, where the existence of such observation has NEVER been proposed before, NEVER been observed before, etc... PREDICTION is where CI of quantum mechanics & relativity excels in their capability to play GOD (fore-telling things that exist in nature, before it is even observed) compared to rivals such as 'String Theory' , MWI, TEW , etc... As far as I know, ALL predictions made by CI Quantum Mechanics & General Relativity so far have NEVER been WRONG, not even a single one. All their predictions, were confirmed (experimental observation) to be compatible with the proposal of both theories.

So, there are my descriptions of the difference between the term, because I think that you confuse them.

BTW, do you have a copy of the David Deutch's paper that you quoted? I would like to get hold of one, which would save me time of digging it in the library.

11/22/2006 05:46:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[BTW, I should point out that David Deutsch is on a fast track to win a nobel prize.]

How do you know? Is it your wish or David Deutsch had informed you about his name being put forward by the Nobel committee for a Prize? If you made it up, then YOU should retract your comment as it might be damaging to Prof. Deutsch's reputation that someone wishing he is on a fast track to win a Nobel Prize. Don't ruin some scientists reputation by an unsubstantiated claim. To the best of my knowledge, the Nobel commitee's work in selecting candidates names that have been put forward for awards, are so SECRET, even from the winners. In the history of Physics and to win a Nobel Prize the candidate had to:

#1) PREDICT something new and later confirmed
#2) be the first one to confirm that PREDICTION by experimental observation.
#3) develop a theoretical framework, where others extended which lead to new PREDICTION.


My understanding that David Deutsch has achieved neither of those main criterias listed above.

you said...
[Physics textbooks aren't going to be the same again!]

Really? Physics textbooks have always been different from year to year, due to new materials (recent theories) which have emerged continualy from researches and these new stuff are added to the curriculum.

11/22/2006 09:10:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

OK I relent! It is better to say that the MWI *explains* the Born rule rather than predicts it. Your points on this are all good points.

My question still stands however: If the MWI explains the Born rule, then why do you refuse to take the MWI seriously?

The paper I inadvertently cited above entitled "Quantum theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer" is the reason David Deutsch will likely be a future Nobel prize winner. In that paper David Deutsch predicted - and yes really predicted in the sense of something that we didn't know about before - the existence of universal quantum computers. We are probably now only years away from building one. I think it is a certainty that David Deutsch will get a Nobel once we have a full scale working quantum computer and the rapid progress in this area is the reason I wrote Deutsch is on "a fast track".

You will note that David Deutsch predicted the existence of the universal quantum computer because he took the MWI seriously. You maintain that the universal quantum computer can now be explained in terms of non-locality (though, really, you haven't explained how our universe can support 10^500 versions of an object when there are only 10^80 atoms in the entire universe). But what say you, where not universal computer computers a prediction arising from the MWI?

Now you say the predictions of CI Quantum Mechanics have never been proven wrong. Indeed. But the same is true of MWI Quantum Mechanics. So I could say that the CI predicts nothing that the MWI doesn't and therefore the CI doesn't predict anything new. However, I'm not going to say that because, as I keep saying, there are proposals to distinguish the two and I have given you references both on this thread and on the other thread (including the Deutsch 1986 paper). It is only a matter of time before one of these experiments - or some other such experiment - is carried out. The CI is a load of philosophical gooble-de-gook and I can't see it standing up to experimentation.

My copy of the Deutsch 1986 paper is currently AWOL as I have been somewhat disorganised due to my move to London this year and also a recent shift of apartment. 'Fraid it may be a trip to the library for you matey!

BTW, my challenge to yourself and PC still stands (if only to stop other threads getting taken over by MWI discussion!). One post from each of us on our favoured interpretation of quantum mechanics and why the other interpretations are wrong (or an explanation why all are a load of nonsense). PC? (Has he gone off into a parallel universe during our discussions - he has been strangely silent!).

11/23/2006 01:11:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Kane Bruce - Quantum mechanics says that reality is a much much bigger thing than we observe and that reality is partitioned into layers, each of which resembles a classical universe. The mathematics of quantum mechanics clearly tell us that objects including ourselves exist in multiple versions and we should take this seriously to mean they do. These multiple versions are not merely a mathematical device like the number i, for we can arrive at the same conclusion by a purely physical argument as David Deutsch demonstrates in Chapter 2 of "The Fabric of Reality". Moreover, if you treat the mathematics of quantum mechanics as just mathematics then you have no physical explanation for how a quantum computer can do computations using, say, 10^500 times the physical resources that are seen to be present.

If PC agrees to the challenge above, I can give you a full list of reasons why you should take many worlds quantum mechanics seriously (else I will just continue the discussion on this thread).

11/23/2006 01:49:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

I should mention that David Deutsch won the US$100,000 2005 Edge of Computation Science Prize. His has also won a number of other awards. You are living in fantasy live if you think he doesn't stand a good chance of winning a Nobel.

11/23/2006 02:59:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[I should mention that David Deutsch won the US$100,000 2005 Edge of Computation Science Prize. His has also won a number of other awards.]

So, your point is? I know a whole lot of other Physicists apart from David Deutsch that have won different Prizes but not the ultimate Nobel Prize for their contribution to Physics. Besides, winning a 'Computation Science Prize' doesn't mean you're on track to winning the ultimate one (Nobel). Note that the Nobel Committee doesn’t give awards to both disciplines of Computer Science & Mathematics. Mathematicians who won Nobel Prizes are mostly categorised as Economics where John Nash's award was in this category. John von Neumann did make a huge contribution to mathematics including computations, BUT he NEVER won a Nobel Prize because there is none for mathematics.

Late Prof. Daniel Walls (a former lecturer of mine) of Auckland University had probably won more highly regarded Physics Prizes (eg: Einstein's Medal - US) related to his pioneering work in Quantum Optics than David Deutsch. Prof. Walls is still one of the most distinguished New Zealand-born physicists.

"Professor Daniel Walls"
http://www.rsnz.org/directory/yearbooks/year99/walls.php

Prof. Mathew Collete from the 'Quantum Optics' at the Physics Department from University of Auckland took over after Prof. Walls passed away.

How do you think that quantum computers are going to be built? You have been yapping about quantum computer can do computations using, say, 10^500 times the physical resources that are seen to be present, BUT you HAVE NO CLUE to how is that going to be achieved physically?

I should advise that you also get a book in Quantum Optics and have some reading, because this is the field that will make Quantum Computers materialise. Yep, Quantum Computers is only possible to be built physically by using quantum optics design methods.


you said...
[You are living in fantasy live if you think he doesn't stand a good chance of winning a Nobel.]

No, I think that it is you who are living in fantasy, that you go as far in WISHING that David Deutsch must be going to win a Nobel Prize. Is this fantasy, wishful thinking or what? During the time that Prof. Dan Walls was lecturing at Auckland University, people at the Department and students were aware of the international reputation he achieved on his work in different areas of Quantum Mechanics, where some suggest that with this level of recognition from his international peers, he might have been getting closer to the ultimate Nobel Prize. This suggestion didn't originate from within the Department, although they would have loved to. This suggestion was originated from overseas colleagues who collaborated with some staffs at the Physics Dept, where they have quoted in numerous occasions that Dan Walls was getting close to winning the Nobel Prize.

See, the University of Auckland don't WISH, their other reputable colleagues from overseas were the ones that suggested that Auckland University Dan Walls must be in line to win one for his outstanding work in Quantum Optics.

Brian, you should stop wishing David Deutsch a Nobel Prize. Let the people who are involve in the field of research in Quantum Mechanics & Quantum Optics circulate that speculation whose going to win a Nobel Prize and who's not, since they really understand each other's work in the area. Lay people in Quantum Optics like me (Falafulu Fisi) and you (Brian S), should stick to arguing the philosophical interpretations of those concepts rather than veering into those fields like we're expert in the domain and WISH others Nobel Prize.

Brian, may I ask if you’re in the field of IT? If you are, then I can see some parallel between your argument and another IT person here in Auckland, who have always talk about Quantum Computers during the local frequent software conferences. He said, that he has been fascinated with the subject because he is a programmer and he like to see fast computers. I had said to him once, mate, you should pray that Quantum Computers shouldn’t be around in your lifetime, as if they are to be available in the next few decades when you’re still around, then you must think of some other career because coding in Quantum Computing is so complex, where to be able to develop software you need a very good understanding of quantum mechanics. Quantum algorithms are quite complex. This person, then replied to me saying, “Oh, I thought that we still code in the same way we do now?” I told him NO, that it is not like that at all.

11/23/2006 09:51:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Falafulu,

Let me quote from the Edge Website, as you seem ignorant about Deutsch's achievements:

"DAVID DEUTSCH is the founder of the field of quantum computation. Paul Benioff, Richard Feynman, and others had written about the possibility of quantum computation earlier, but Deutsch's 1985 paper on Quantum Turing Machines was the first full treatment of the subject, and the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm is the first quantum algorithm.

When he first proposed it, quantum computation seemed practically impossible. But the last decade has seen an explosion in the construction of simple quantum computers and quantum communication systems. None of this would have taken place without Deutsch's work."

Need I say more?

11/23/2006 10:19:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

"BTW, my challenge to yourself and PC still stands"

I understood I'd given my consent.

Why not begin with one post each of no more than five-hundred words on MWI, with Brian S first, FF next and myself last.

Send me your five-hundred words at organon@ihug.co.nz.

For mine, Brian, I've been waiting for you give an explanation for why MWI is a meaningful physical explanation and not just a useful concept of method.

You say, "The mathematics of quantum mechanics clearly tell us that objects including ourselves exist in multiple versions and we should take this seriously to mean they do."

Why should we?

As a concept of method there's no problem with using "multiple universes" as a postulate, but on its own the fact that it is useful as a postulate provides no proof for the postulate actually having existential import.

As I said before, I have seen nothing that says the MWI does anything more than provide good mathematical predictions for events that we do see -- events in this universe -- but the very confusion over what this means indicates that we still have no physical explanation for why what we see occurs.

11/23/2006 10:38:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Cheers PC. I'll put something together over the weekend and get it to you next week. Your questions are good questions and I'll try to answer them in my post.

11/23/2006 11:25:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Brian S said...
[When he first proposed it, quantum computation]

So WHAT? Civilization is just trotting along fine WITHOUT fuckin Quantum Computers. You are obsessed with Quantum Computer & I suggest that you should enrol for a second PhD in Quantum Mechanics that might enable you to publish your view on the subject, then submitted to a Physics journal where other Physicists can critique your work. In this way , you're exposed to the same criticism just as your GOD , David Deutsch.

Did you read the critique of MWI by other Physicists, where I posted 3 links in the other thread ?

Your obsession, is more like that civilization awaits Quantum Computers to save us from Global Warming or something like that. Look, Einstein proposed the existence of Laser in 1916, and confirmed by Charles Townes in the late 1950s. The birth of lasers had accelerated the invention of modern technology, that it is applied almost everywhere today, from medical application in surgery to telecommunication fibre-optics network systems. Did civilization was only saved by LASERS? NO. It improved technology, but people still survived.

Can we say, that Einstein has a special status, because he was the first one who proposed LASER? NO. He can be recognised for his effort, but he shouldn't be regarded as GOD because he theoretically proposed the existence of the lasing process. Can we say that David Deutsch is GOD because he was the first one to propose Quantum Computers? NO. Quantum Computing are as important as fields such as Photonics, Quantum Optics, Solid States Physics, etc, etc.

I can tell by your fixation, that the ultimate technology that you live and hope for everyday of your life, is potential emergence of Quantum Computers and nothing else.

How about you try and broaden your reading and learn what other related fields of Quantum Mechanics are upto, in terms of research. You will be shocked to find out how advance those other fields have moved, because right now, real technology have been produced from those researches? I am surprised that with your background in Signal Processing , you have completely missed out on the advancement which are coming from other Quantum Mechanics related disciplines such as Photonics? Again, this field had produced some revolutionary technology that improves the speed of telecommunication networks by many folds over the limited capacity of copper? This is the new broadband of the twenty first century. So, Photonics is NOT the only other fields, and that is basically the same with Quantum Computing. Photonics is as important as Quantum Computing, and that is, they could both advance civilization technologically, but they are not the end-all.

My point is, don't be fixated with Quantum Computing, because although it is important for the advancement of civilization's technology, IT IS NOT the only important field. The field of SOLID STATE PHYSICS are pumping out real technology in the industry, then potential Quantum Computers.

Now, I don't have time to participate in writing for the debate, BUT I will submit post on both of your article & PC. I think that it will be a good idea that Brian posts his article at 'Not PC', and then everyone can reply, because it is the subject of MWI is under scrutiny?

11/23/2006 03:57:00 pm  

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