View Full Version here: : Hawking Leads by Faith ?

25-04-2011, 04:19 PM
I’ve been puzzling over this review of the Stephen Hawking/Leonard Mlodinow book: “Grand Design” (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/45515), by fellow physics author John W Moffat. (He’s a member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto).

Moffat makes some good points in his review, and I find myself agreeing with him on many issues. For example he says:

In this, he’s pointing out a logical flaw in the line of argument of the book, but the point underlined, is a great one. One of the biggest problems I think mainstream science is wrestling with, is just this issue. The mass-media does shape our reality, by citing scientific theory as real, but we don’t necessarily have to make it our reality. (It certainly isn’t mine). Its not science that does this ... its people’s interpretation, and the media’s presentation of it. Ie: science is ‘believed’, becomes ‘true’, 'faith' develops and then morphs into just another ‘religion’.

Have Hawking and Mlodinow fallen for this as well ?
(This is the aspect, and question, I pose in the title of this thread .. )

Moffat concludes ..

Pretty critical analysis, but perfectly valid, I feel.

So, like it or not, because there is no other consistent model, we must be part of the universe described by M-Theory. A leap of faith ?

I wonder .. :question:

The only M-Theory test I’ve ever seen hinted at, was described here. (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=73193)

And present-day tests for String Theory, (which would also be of significance in M-Theory), amount to entanglement and black hole mathematical commonality, thus enabling a string theory test to evolve (http://www.universetoday.com/72531/scientists-say-they-can-now-test-string-theory/) and ..
the results of tests of ultra-chilled sticky gas may allow experimental tests of String theory in the future. (http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-fahrenheit-neutron-stars-theory.html)

An interesting review (and thought provoking book).

Comments welcome.


25-04-2011, 09:30 PM
maybe the "basic tenets of the scientific method" need to be updated as new theory's and scientific models are updated or new ones found :P

Yes the old elephant in the room of science raises it head again "human consciousness" lol

"There is no such thing as objective science. We cannot separate the observer and the means of observation from that which is observed because Consciousness is embedded in the process"

I don't think so, if you want to make new discovery and solve problems you have to think on the wild side. You don't solve problems by going around in a circle you have to think outside of it.

sometimes "faith" is all we have to go by

how do you test the untestable?? if its untestable dose that mean its not true by the scientific method?? because if it is true but untestable then the scientific method to test all things in the universe maybe wrong.

I have it but haven't read it yet - so many books so little time :(

26-04-2011, 06:58 AM
Well, simply you don't.
Untestable things are also not observable (if they are observable, this is actually the first test, c'nest pas?) so they don't exist... and you can't test them, natrally.

If something is observable, then it is testable... ergo, they exist.

We had that discussion before.

26-04-2011, 07:17 AM
I've read the book, an interesting read but who am I to argue with Stephen Hawking? :)


26-04-2011, 07:27 AM
Refreshing, because this arm of science has become something of a broken record. The same old hyperbole - conjecture, rather than inquiry.

Post modernism...

It seems that the authors indulge themselves philosophically - indeed philosophy is not dead! Except where it is likely to compete...

I'm not permitted to comment further on this forum, but the contradiction is obvious and astounding. It seems that they are no closer to reality and have proposed further speculation. I guess we'll be reading about that for the next 20 years.

Is it not obvious that Hawking has an emotional interest in his claims, and that realistically, his endurance is not empowered by empirical inquiry, though he may wish to have the reader think that.

26-04-2011, 08:43 AM
Got any rational ideas about what should be done there Joe ? :P :)

Yes well … how else do we make sense of what we see through our own minds/brains ? Make a proposal, Joe. I'm ready for it … :)

Sounds like a rational approach …. (I wonder where that came from ?). :P :)
(Just kidding around .. :) )


26-04-2011, 08:54 AM
But String and M-Theory, for example, now have tests devised !

I think earlier on in the book, Hawking et al have made the point that philosophers have dropped the ball and have not kept up. So its up to the Scientists to further philosophy.

Huh ???
Surely not the forum ?? Do you mean the topic ?

Hawking's position, from which he is now retired, ie: Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, requires him to promote discussions of this nature. I see him as just doing his job (even though its not really his job anymore. ;) )

Glad you're not being led by faith there Rowland ! :)

26-04-2011, 09:20 AM
Thank you Craig for clarifying those points. I do mean this thread - it is however a forum of discussion;)

I will however, take the authors to task on this matter alone.

Fallacious, unless qualified. Kept up with what? The supposition is, on one hand, philosophy is not in agreement, then it must be in error. On the other, the authors personal bias renders the same intent - can't have it both ways:)

I'm sure that Plato's Socrates (Republic) would see through the deception;)

Answering my own question - the authors must mean, that philosophy is not able to answer scientific questions, the facts thereof guide further philosophical speculation - but I hesitate to ask which arm of philosophy does Hawking et al. propose we abandon? Because philosophy deals with all of mans existence, whether we can agree or not.

It's an arrogant view, exceeding the intellect

26-04-2011, 10:16 AM
Interesting points, Rowland.

I get where you're coming from.

Are Hawking's/Mlodinow's accusations about philosophy provocative ?
Yep … one way good way to promote discussion (which is/was Hawking's job description). Let's face it, Hawking has also spent a lot of time talking about the no-need for the existence of God, as well. This is also part of the same provocative style. He also makes provocative scientific bets everywhere, (and has always done this). I think this indicates his style, in performing the leadership component of the Lucasian Chair job.

Arrogant ?
I don't necessarily agree. More like a 'crafty' or 'sneaky' way of being heard (in my view). Hawking's image is certainly not that of a Saint, nor is it one of humbleness, nor one of benevolence. But he is clearly passionate about his work.

Its really easy to say someone is 'arrogant' when they're talkin' Science. (I think I've experienced some of this recently .. and I hope I've learned something from the experience, too. ;) )
But its extremely easy to be misunderstood when coming from a scientific principle, or theory, or even a mathematical theorem basis, amongst a widespread audience having a high variance of subject-matter knowledge.

The judgement of another's character (eg: 'arrogant'), I've found, is a sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious game humans play on other humans … for (often) concealed reasons, (sometimes a smoke-screen, even).
;) :)
PS: Good chatting with you ! :) Cheers.

26-04-2011, 11:57 AM
You make a good point Craig... I am addressing the behaviour not the individual - though that may reflect upon the character. It wasn't my intention to personalize the issue, rather point out that the position is singular - may be that's a better word to use:)

Likewise, nice chat.

26-04-2011, 05:17 PM
Not yet but if you give me a couple of million $$$ and a lab I might come up with something lol

Hmmm Human nature?? we cant predict what people will do, meaning its untesable as what they will do. But we exist so we are proven. We can guess what we will do, but not know by the scientic method what we will do. so by my logic going by the quote below we shouldn't exist

how dose the above answer, about Human nature, fit this statement ? is it still true or is it false

26-04-2011, 05:29 PM
Human nature is irrelevant in science.
At the end of the day, Universe is as is not because of human nature but because the things are how they are. Moon doesn't orbit the Earth because of human nature, it does it because of gravitation.
Human nature may only affect the timing of discovery/realisation.. but not the facts themselves.

26-04-2011, 06:13 PM
I'll take a punt and guess that the couple of million $$$ will make no difference to the outcome.
Also, my point was that if you use 'rationality' as the basis, you'd be following a scientific process, and you'd invariably end up at the same point we're at in science, right now.
And thus, alas, I would've wasted my million $$$ … and the lab! :sadeyes:

Which says that the quote in your footer is either invalid .. or taken out of context, which I feel, may actually be the case here. (Is this the quote you're referring to ?)
In terms of practicality and usefulness, an observation can be objective. The interpretation of the observation requires theory, and may not be objective .. but so what ?
There is no absolute truth … and therefore … seeking absolute objectivity, in my view is a good waste of time !
Cheers (& I'm enjoying chatting with you :) ).

26-04-2011, 08:05 PM
We cannot know anything absolutely. We can only formulate a 'best model' that fits the current data.

I would rather live in an indeterminate Universe that leads to vast complexity out of simplicity than a boring determinate one.

Imagine if all humans fell out of the same die ie identical.

This has a bit of relevance


Apparently Hume in real life liked a drink or many. At least I have something in common with him.


26-04-2011, 08:12 PM

Thanks for that, Bruce !
hiccup … hiccup ..


26-04-2011, 09:18 PM
That's alright Bruce.

It could be that Hawking is being provocative to induce some original thinking and argument.

My father, teachers, lecturers and superiors in my scientific work always encouraged questioning the orthodoxy of anything. Even if you are wrong at the very least you might get a coherent explanation from someone who purports to know. If not why not!? Sitting around being nice and agreeing with each other does not get you very far.

There should never be any embarrassment at not knowing something. There is an infinite amount of information that I do not know. Even when at my old age I could potentially possess an infinite amount of knowledge, there is still an infinite amount unknown to me.

What was it that Woody Allen said? Infinity is really long especially near the end!

I would add that filling that infinite bit you do not know with some sort of simplistic superstitious mythology is just an intellectual cop out just like the Tempelton Prize encourages. Although like the whiskey priest my baser instincts could override my purity of endeavour!


26-04-2011, 11:16 PM

Most interesting. I have some thoughts to add here.

The classical approach to science is one of observation and discovery, formulation of hypothesis/theory and then testing. Continued observations and experiments suggest and modify theory that evolves to explain the observations. This is essentially an intuitive approach as scientists observe and make mathematical formulations to explain observed data. As the variety and complexity of observations increases, this also becomes a rather more haphazard approach as increasingly more stab in the dark hypotheses emerge to explain a bit of this or a bit of that but not the overall picture.

In contrast, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was a bold new approach, whereby a whole new theoretical construct was used to build a wider picture of the universe and predict non-intuitive effects that later observations would validate. In a sense, if the mechanisms that evolve the universe are essentially non-intuitive then it may need to be through a largely theoretical approach that an accurate description is developed.

The classical approach may be on the verge of being replaced by an essentially theoretical origin of it all. Here, observed reality will simply reflect the theoretical construct. String theory assumes that mathematics is an inherent characteristic of the universe itself and that the universe can be described by a purely mathematical construct. String theory of itself seems very open-ended and models can be designed with many different configurations. Whether the proponents of string theory or its extension, M-theory, can adapt them to tie up all the known physics and then lead us to new and useful paths of discovery is to be seen.

A major assumption of the explain it all theories is that there is a finite set of basic particles and governing forces that mould the universe. That is, the overall structure of the universe can in principle be reproduced from a finite set of mathematical algorithms modelled to represent all the established forces and particle interactions. There is of course no definitive point at which one can say that we have the theory of everything. Over a long period of time, such a theoretical model will seem to have explained all known effects and structures. A seeming stability will be sensed whereby new observations will simply blend in with existing theory and not contradict long established notions. New discoveries will simply be deductions implicit to the overall theory.

If the universe is found to be ever more complex, expanding into finer and finer detail, then we will be chasing shadows in the dark. New particles and unknown interactions will continually emerge to throw a spanner in the works. Unification will not be possible. Two different theories of everything could in principle explain all the known facts yet not be as "correct" as a third theory of everything that could explain a future observation that might contradict the former two. New observations can and will potentially falsify any previous "correct" theory of it all. And this process would continue ad infinitum as we vainly search for the elusive theory of it all. It is perhaps under this scenario that I think Hawking and Mlodinow are right - that no one model can claim to be a true description of reality.

And this I believe are philosophical considerations dependent on the true nature of the universe.

Regards, Rob

26-04-2011, 11:44 PM
Rob what you say is essentially correct as far as an approach to a real solution.

Consider what we know already.

At the basis of matter is a sea of quantum particles that defy logic on top of some predicted strings. At the next level we have so called atoms that start to behave predictably as far as chemistry is concerned.

All of this matter is nearly all empty space. Yet we happily assign such properties as charge and mass to entities we cannot pin down. So we invoke wave functions.

My conciousness is something real to me. I know it is a figment of my brain and senses. Reality is just the recording and retainment of our memories.

Godel scared the mathematics community out of their smug complacency.

I still think that we humans have barely started. We are just starting to understand molecular biology in a meaningful way.

We do not have a manual to our own hardware let alone the software! Or is that too simplistic?

Who reads manuals anyway?


27-04-2011, 01:39 AM
I cant process that, how can human nature not be relevant to science? when all of our understating of the universe comes from that very human nature. its the way that we understand it, and its a human way of thinking and understanding. We are the game makers and we make the rules. Earth is flat, no its round, man cant fly, well we went to the moon so on and so on, Human nature makes the rules then human nature brakes them, again and again.

No I agree its gravity, but we only know this is because of our human nature.

Yes I agree we only affect the timing of discovery or realisation of a fact "but so what ? There is no absolute truth" again human nature comes into those very facts.

That begs the big question of WHY? why are we evolving that way? and in such a short amount of time on the evolutionary clock. Why is evolution driving human consciousness in a totally different way to the rest of the life?

That begs an even bigger question, what was the builder and programmer trying to achieve in the first place, some say if we are the only ones in the universe, its an awful wast of space. I also say if human consciousness has no meaning its an awful wast of time, and I would be more happier being a wombat without humans.
I agree, and its this "human consciousness" driving science forward. some of our best advances in science have came from the worst "sins" of the human consciousness (WW1, WW2) again human nature driving science forward, Hawking is doing his job as a scientist, he's helping to push human nature to the fullest heights of its consciousness or its science if you like that word better, we need more like him.

I am as well, lots of good points to ponder over, have been written here :) human nature at work.

But at lest I would be happy, and i was going to buy you a puppy lol.

27-04-2011, 01:57 AM
Joe life is a total conundrum. We do NOT have a designer. We are the product of billions of years of random evolution. Complexity out of chaos. I do wish you could keep up with the rest of us.

If you invoke a mythical being I am out of here.


27-04-2011, 06:02 AM
We know it because we are naturally curious.. just like monkeys are (and many other animals as well), the difference with us is, we are more clever.
Thanks to this curiosity and because we are smart enough, we figured it out to such details monkeys will never manage - their capability of understanding the gravity doesn't go deeper than swinging on the tree branches.

However the existence of gravity (whatever it is) is a fact, totally independent of our understanding.

27-04-2011, 08:16 AM
Hmm … no problems there, Rob …. 'stab in the dark' hypotheses shouldn't be viewed as a threat to Science. The scientific process gobbles 'em up & throws them out !

It doesn't stop at the mathematical construct though, does it Rob ?
The predictions or even predicted side effects of some part of M or String Theory can be tested. I posted a couple of these at the beginning of this thread.

Models having M and String theory as their basis are put to the test using computer simulations all the time. Some fail the test … life goes on ..

I don't see that observed reality will simply reflect the theoretical construct, although I understand how others may see it this way. Giving in to that temptation, results in pseudoscience. The whole point is to resist putting on those filters because as you say, it is a big risk to the rationality process, maybe even the biggest, overall. This is the discipline part of science .. and "it ain't easy, maaam !"

Actually, I'm not so sure about that. String theory doesn't take this view.

This is the classical approach to science in which Hawking is a master. But I think, just as Einstein chose to be blind towards quantum theory, Hawking may be blind to Chaos/Complexity and he's only just tweaking to M and String Theory. I was quite surprised to see him giving such a big 'plug' for M-Theory in his book ! I think he's surrendered, and I don't think he has a deep a knowledge of it, as others do. His approach may be a cover-up for the fact that he's spent his whole life and reputation chasing classical, deterministic solutions. (This is just my hypothesis, mind you).

Nope. Disagree. Actually, Joe's point about human nature kicks in as the motivation for moderation in this risky direction.
Wikipedia works for some strange reason … people love to correct others … I have 'faith' that this characteristic will keep it all on track. ;)
Keep calm there, Joe. ;) :)

Yep … I can see that !

So what makes M-Theory correct then ?
Is it just because 'it is the last man standing' ?

I don't think so.

27-04-2011, 11:01 AM

Nicely dissected and thank you for your opinion. :D

Regards, Rob

27-04-2011, 11:19 AM
Yes Rob.

You're right .. they were my opinions .. :)
(As well as a few statements of how I'd manage my way through the possible evolving landscape).
I hope that's Ok … everyone seems to have their opinions … :)

(And I hope we're just chatting. :) )


27-04-2011, 12:29 PM
Hmm ..

Hang on a sec ! :)

My assertion that: "There is no absolute truth", was framed within the basic starting out assertions of scientific method AND that we can never disconnect our own consciousness to see what 'lies beyond'.

Ie: if there IS absolute truth, then go and ask the source for an answer .. don't bother with science.

But on the other hand, if there is NO absolute truth, then seek using whatever tools you can, to achieve a relatively unimpeded perspective, and learn about the nature of physical reality, in the process.

There is a big difference between establishing a paradigm (eg: the scientific realm), and making the statement: "There is no absolute truth", and stating it as a fact !

I checked a definition of fact (from Wiki):

So, there still may be an "absolute truth". But as far as the scientific realm is concerned, this would not be a 'fact', because it can never be tested.

There can still be truths external to science, or even mathematics, which may be true, but can never be proven, to be true. Godel proved this.

This is all about isomorphisms connecting science to physical reality and this is the area we need to be the most cautious about.

Just because science may make no verification or denial statements about something, doesn't make it fact or not fact.

27-04-2011, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the thoughts :)

This is where you lose me .....

How can it be true if it cant ever be proven? and if it may be true it also may be false, its going around in a circle to me. How could Godel prove this when it has not even proven what needed proving in the first place?

good point, IS there an absolute truth to the universe? What will a unified field of everything answer? will it answer all the questions we want answered? will it answer your questions? will it answer mine? about life and the universe

where have I stated that? and where is the proof that's my belief anyway? you just brought it up not me, why?
Complexity out of chaos - by what force of nature?
We are the product of billions of years of random evolution - by what force of nature?

I read a good point about the boicentric universe model maybe its time to call in the biologists to help with the problem :) Maybe, no theory satisfies me for any proof at the moment, and why is it wrong to question what I don't understand? or state what I I think may be true but not proven. why can you use that logic but I cant?

27-04-2011, 02:56 PM
No-one said it IS true. It may be true or it may be false, but the point was, that by using axiomatic (maths) systems and processes that are entirely valid within those systems, Godel proved that there will always be things outside of those systems, which can't be proven by using those same tools of logic.
So true & false things may exist outside of maths/science etc, which can never be proven from within it .. that's all.
The 'proof' was for those who thought at the time, that maths could lead the way to all 'truths'. He proved they were wrong by using their own logic. (I actually think this supports your perspective, too).

Yep .. that's right … but who knows which it is ? Its just a moot point, from a practical, scientific perspective.

The 'logic' he used was mathematical logic. This is a very pure form of logic. It underpins everything we do (mathematically), every day. (Like calculating change from a shop-keeper).

Damned if I, or anybody else knows !

Doubt it. These theories only seek to explain physical reality and physically observable phenomena. (Which, within science .. is assumed to be able to be done with objectivity. Which is Ok because no-one can prove otherwise). As Bojan mentioned way back … (I think) .. physical reality might be only a subset of everything there is. But if there's other things which we can't observe, it doesn't matter to science because we can't observe it, anyway.

All the stuff we know about so far ..gravity, the strong nuclear, the weak nuclear.
Chaos and Complexity have very specific meanings in mathematics. They are not the everyday meanings we associate with them in common language usage. Both arise as a result of non-linear influences acting upon systems set in motion (time or space), which also have an extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. (This covers most of what we observe at the macro scales in nature).

Hope this clarifies my points a little more ?. :question:
(I'll leave Bert to clarify his other points).


27-04-2011, 05:07 PM
Hmm .. the Biocentric Universe, eh ?
Robert Lanza's dream.
(We should start a new thread to explore this one, eh ?) :question:

There's not a lot of empiricism behind the concept. Our perceptions have to interact with something 'out there' in order for our minds to create reality.
And it has to be the same 'something' for everyone. We can all individually describe the same reality, pretty accurately actually. So, something else independent of our minds, must exist out there.

I don't know for sure, but I have a suspicion that Lanza is caught up trying to reconcile religious beliefs with Evolution, with a smattering of quantum physics thrown in, to make it sound legitimate. He might be right. But even if he is, what practical use is this perspective ? How can we turn it into something tangible ?

The beauty I see in the classical philosophy which underpins science, is that it has resulted in tangible things of practical value … like the computer you're sitting in front of, right now. It doesn't really worry me if standard science doesn't explain everything we know of (… my 2 cent opinion).

I guess this could be likened to the 'Holographic Principle' we talked about a long time ago. It was a bit of a 'stretch', too … ie: 'all that we are, is projected from the outside, to the inside'.
Biocentrism sounds a little bit like … 'all that we are, is projected from the inside, to the outside'.
Good luck Mr Lanza .. let us know when it comes to something tangible.

Brian W
27-04-2011, 06:31 PM
Ok Avandoc you are the scientist so prove scientifically that there is no designer.

Whats that you say... you cannot prove scientifically there is no designer... then I guess you just demand we accept your statement on faith or you will run away.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.


27-04-2011, 06:46 PM
Well, its kinda like the ol' Westerns … the fastest draw wins all !

A negative assertion is made by the person who least needs that assertion … ie: "We DO NOT have a designer" … (he doesn't need that pesky Designer, anyway !)

Let those who do need a designer, prove he's wrong …

They can't, you say ?? …
Well, there's ya proof !! Right there !

'Pfft !!'.. he blows air into the barrel of his smokin' gun !
.. The Sun slowly sets in West …

27-04-2011, 07:16 PM

Cheers :thumbsup:


Brian W
27-04-2011, 07:20 PM
Exactly my point. You and I and everyone else reaches a point where they accept on something less than proof what in their world view makes the most sense. So while your gun is smoking your only shooting blanks.

Brian ;)

27-04-2011, 07:30 PM
Actually, in science (of the type we're talking about), there is no proof, either.

So, the scientist doesn't have to play by any 'rules' which demand proof.

Theories are never 'proved'.
;) :)

Tell ya what, though … this Biocentrism thing has me thinking a bit ..

I kinda warm to the idea that consciousness creates time as its framework (or filter) through which everything must be perceived.

Now that would explain a lot !

27-04-2011, 07:30 PM
Brian, please don't count me in here.
As I said before couple of times, the only thing I actually believe is the scientific method, since this is the only activity that produces meaningful results. So even this "belief" has a sound fundamental in experience.

27-04-2011, 07:32 PM
A reminder of the TOS. :)

Brian W
27-04-2011, 07:47 PM
Fair enough Bojan and well said.

Brian W
27-04-2011, 07:51 PM
Moderators, please do not lock this thread on account of me. Some interesting stuff going on before I butted in and now I will withdraw.

27-04-2011, 07:56 PM
Terminology difference .. just clarifying my position … I don't have to believe in the scientific method … I'll just use it for no reason … purely by choice.

27-04-2011, 10:27 PM
Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm) Human intervention - was scientific method applied to this experiment? Does it demonstrate that both are simultaneously correct in their assertions... but only when observing subatomic particles...:P which is pretty much all of the time...:D

28-04-2011, 02:58 AM
OK now I understand :) takes time but it slowly works its way in. I just couldn't understand what he actually did.

That's all I want to achive here. Me thinking about stuff I wouldn't normally think about, learning new ideas through other peoples views, sure at times it can get a bit heated but hey thats life, we deal with it dust ourselves off, shake hands and move on. :) I never knew about Godel until he was mentioned here, so I have learned something . Now I know what bert ment when he stated "Godel scared the mathematics community out of their smug complacency."

The big plus for me with Biocentrism is it includes life and life is part of the universe. I never could understand why its left out of all theory's, and when you look at it the human brain and consciousness are the most complex things in the universe. Why couldn't they play a bigger role in it? look at how simple some of the biggest discovery's have been take Darwinian evolution for example it was so simple in idea. Biocentrism is the same for me its so simple an idea.

I say yes, its my new pet model I love it. Plus Hawkins needs help with ideas lol

Plus it keeps people honest in the results that they use as evidence. I don't have a problem with that.

I totally agree with that statement. but he raised it first so he must defend his view to me, not me defending my view :) but, my view closely resembles he's view on that topic as well, just nowhere near as hard-line, So it would be a waste of time. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence :) but don't get me wrong, I am very interested in the subject as its a big part of human nature, world history and the people close to me, and it has left it mark on me. Maybe this is why he pointed the question to me in the first place, He misread my intentions? Not that I'm worried about it mind you. I've read some Hitchens and Dawkins as well, it just took me a little by surprise I just want to clear the air between us now, so we are on the same page.

:rofl: good answer mate, made me smile, because its properly the only truthful answer there is.

thanks rcheshire, good link :)

28-04-2011, 08:09 AM
Just started a new thread on Biocentrism. I've also copied Rowland's post over to it, because of the quantum physics entanglement aspects used by Lanza to support his Biocentrism ideas.

I think Rowland may have applied it to this discussion however, to emphasise the dependence of experimental results on the presence of an observer, which is a different aspect more applicable to this thread.

Please feel free to keep wrangling on any 'hanging' conversations left over in this thread, though.



29-04-2011, 02:00 PM
I used to work in a sheltered workshop that had over one hundred PhD's in every branch of science. Whenever one of these scientists started to wax lyrical about something that was completely untestable as some mythical being responsible for anything, I severely doubted his sanity or his ability and ultimately his judgment.

Never mind Godel what about Peano arithmetic. We cannot even define a set of axioms for integers that has no problems.

A joke I heard the other day

A physics professor has been conducting experiments and has worked out a set of equations which seem to explain his data. Nevertheless, he is unsure if his equations are really correct and therefore asks a colleague from the math department to check them.

A week later, the math professor calls him: “I’m sorry, but your equations are complete nonsense.”

The physics professor is, of course, disappointed. Strangely, however, his incorrect equations turn out to be surprisingly accurate in predicting the results of further experiements. So, he asks the mathematician if he was sure about the equations being completely wrong.

“Well”, the mathematician replies, “they are not actually complete nonsense. But the only case in which they are true is the trivial one where the numbers are real and positive…”


29-04-2011, 02:16 PM
Bang .. bang !!

Pffft ! ( .. clearing the barrel of smoke …)

… the Smith & Wesson quietly slides into the shiny leather holster !


09-05-2011, 12:15 AM
And if we did, he/she/it should be sacked and replaced by either someone more qualified or a computer with AutoCAD but not running Windows!!! :):P

Even Salvador Dali (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Persistence_of_Memory.jpg) would make a better designer, although we'd probably just ooze our way through life like his wonky clocks if he was :):P

09-05-2011, 12:33 AM
Ultimately, the truth of anything is what you make of it. The facts are as they present themselves. You make of them what you will. In most cases, the truth is not necessarily factual. Facts don't need the truth underpinning them to have any reality. Therein lies the fundamental difference between the two. The difference between belief and gnosis.

Better to believe in something with the experience/knowledge of what is being believed in than to accept it on blind faith and never knowing whether you're partaking in a case of self delusion or being led up the garden path.

09-05-2011, 11:03 AM
I have to agree with Brian on this .... one cannot ' disprove " the notion that there is no " designer. "
For me ( as a personal choice ) it's not about proof .... it's about where your " heart " is.
We all have a choice in life to accept what we want to believe.

There are those who accept that Science and theories are the answer for them.

But for me .... Science ... is only Man .. discovering things that the " DESIGNER " already knows.

Ultimately ... I will get my answer ... ( and so will you ) when we depart this Planet at our appointed time.

It's where your heart is .... that's what counts.


17-05-2011, 10:06 AM
Perhaps the last word on faith should go to a fictional robot who by the way dismisses the human heaven as wishful thinking, but then says...

'Of course there is a Silicon Heaven! Otherwise where would all the dead calculators go?'

Kryten from Red Dwarf.


17-05-2011, 01:46 PM
… or, alternatively, the last word perhaps, should go to Hawking himself … from today's newspapers ..

Heaven is a fairy story, says Stephen Hawking (http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-says-stephen-hawking-20110517-1eq8f.html)

… it would seem that Hawking's faith in Strings and M-theory is not simply a matter of Faith.

(It would also seem that Bert is in revered company).


17-05-2011, 02:01 PM
You know what's going to happen....he'll pass away and suddenly find himself standing alongside his old body, when he'll see this big black object in the distance that'll suck him in and he'll head straight for the singularity in its centre :):P

Or, he'll be in this completely blazingly white space, nothing around him, when this guy walks up to him and says..."Hey, I heard that God doesn't exist." Hawking will say, "No he doesn't. Everything in physics tells us there's no need for a God or any other higher intelligence."...and the guy will then say, "Well, that's funny, I was here the last time I looked!!!" :):P:P

17-05-2011, 02:59 PM
You all copy data from various media do you not? Where does the information in your brain go to when it shuts down. I would suggest the same place your data goes to when a hard drive fails.

It is not a very good message I know. Compared to eternal joy and worshipping some mythical entity I only offer reality.

Sad really as reality is too hard to face so we settle for self delusion as it is far more satisfying!

To me it is self evident that all the strange superstitious beliefs are beyond reality.

Do you really believe the scratchings of goat herders or even more ignorant peoples from the past?


17-05-2011, 03:18 PM
Problem is, scientists still don't know where memory is stored, how its stored or even how it's retrieved. They've barely scratched the surface of how it works, despite what they think they know. But, if you want to use the analogy of a hard drive, even if it does crash and stops working, the memory is still there and can be retrieved...albeit by rather laborious and technical means. Unless the memory has been overwritten (even then, it can still be retrieved in many cases) a number of times or the platters have been degaussed, the memory will still be present. Using this analogy, so long as the brain of a dead person wasn't physically damaged beyond recognition or hadn't started to decay significantly, it maybe theoretically possible to retrieve their memories. How, don't ask, but it maybe possible.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do. Seem to put more veracity in the campfire musings of illiterate goat herders than in the hard won studies of highly trained and well equipped scientists.

17-05-2011, 03:40 PM
Frankly, I don't really care what Hawking (or anybody else) thinks about this issue.

.. Come to think about it …. I don't really care about my own opinion about it either.

What's the purpose of storing superfluous jetsam, anyway ?


17-05-2011, 04:59 PM
Come to think of it........what was I thinking about???!!!!:):P

17-05-2011, 05:22 PM
Come to think of it .. you don't have to wait until you're 95 … you already have Alzheimer's ! :P :)

17-05-2011, 06:04 PM
What???!!! What's that, sonny??? You've got Alzheimer's....Oh, you poor boy!!!??? Now....where am I????:):P:P

581??? What's that??? Not my phone number!!!:):P

17-05-2011, 06:55 PM
I have listened to many 'intelligent' people rationally discussing a universe inhabited by god and angels and saints and devout believers on radio National. They are all nuts!

They sound so earnest. They are deluded.

Sad Sad Sad


17-05-2011, 08:05 PM
It is enormously encouraging to see so many like minded people..

I have 'faith' in my fellow man... I have 0 religious faith.

I do agree with Mr Hawking's and find it refreshing to see so much agreement.

But please understand that all of humanity is not so well adjusted...

We must show tolerance and understanding. Yes it is so sad., but still true.

The humanist view of a true atheist...