Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:44 pm

Metacrock wrote:The point is you can't think about why there is something at all rather than nothing at all without coming to the realization that there has to be some basic reality o the universe such that we should feel it is holy. In other words, there has to be something like what we call God. You can't understand anything about life without understanding that. Atheists are trying to cut off all realization about life, about being what it means to exist, just so they can keep their little pretense going; there's no reason to believe in God because I have science to tell me x,y,z.
We both could use more understanding. You could learn something about science and what we're really doing. Why do you keep insisting atheists want to diminish or cut off life? A full real understanding of the universe and our place in it is diminishes nothing.
but science doesn't tell you about the important things that religion does. without cosmological necessity there could be no evolution. there could be no emergent anything without cosmological necessity. But you dismiss that by just pretending it's not important to explain that God explains, ti's only important to explain the things you can explain without God. that's the little trick you playing on your self to get around the fact that science doesn't really explain anything that matters.
We're pretending "it's not important to explain that God explains"? I could tell you all about why the Theory of God works for people. That is not at issue here. And what is "cosmological necessity"? Are you referring to the cosmological argument, which is an argument that is actually addressed in my posts by the stuff you cut out? Honestly, I'm baffled.

take any one of my 42 arguments for God, every single one of them is something science can't explain without resorting to God. That's 42 separate reasons right there that disprove your assertion.
Given the track record of our discussions about your arguments, I'm not really that convinced by them. I look forward to seeing them in a more presentable form in your book, though :) I'm sure a lot of the problem is I can't read your writing very well.

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:38 pm

hey sorry about that panty waste thing QT. I really do think you are a fine dialouge partner, and I'm glad you are here. You are right to challenge. me. I can't learn if everyone just says 'O yea I agree." So please don't be offended. ST is right.

I'll get back on he argument track tomorrow.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:47 am

Yarr, I meant for this to post yesterday, but I failed at mouse-clicking.
Metacrock wrote:
The only counter-argument I've heard is "but God could be behind it all", which isn't a counter-argument at all because I agree with that statement.


when are you going to start reflecting people's argument honestly and the way they used them? I put forth a complex and sophisticated position involving the concept, religious a priori and you just come back and say "God could be behind it all." is that what I really said? no it is not and you know it is not. No way does that do justice to the arguments I've made.

why can't you refute them honestly?
I don't know which post you're talking about. The only time you mentioned a priori anything was when you said "God is necessary because if anything at all exists, then God is a priori, since God is being itself." God is necessary if anything at all exists, QED folks, let's go home. Uhh, yeah...
I guess "nothing in physics can take us beyond the Big Bang" is a counter-argument, but it's very weak because
weak! weak! it's the whole of the matter, it's the whole nub of the matter. why can't you deal honestly with arguments? If it doesn't your pre conceived bigoted notions you just dismiss it as though it means nothing that is not thinking. that is nto what the big thinkers do. that's the cowards way. "that doesn't' fit the precieved I made all ready so it jsut can't be. I can't accept it so it doesn't exist.
I gave you 4 good reasons why the argument is weak, and you didn't address any of them. I'd explain them in more detail if you showed any interest at all in listening to what I'm saying.

Quite frankly, I'm currently more interested in hearing what you think about my "new" theory of God than having an argument about this stuff. As a die-hard scientician, God-as-meme is quite compelling, and I think you'll find some things you like about it as well. For instance, the religious a priori is there, and now I can accept the religious a priori because it is explained by logical universals and our brain structures that inevitably produce certain categories in thought. The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality, although turning it into a divine Creator requires some far-fetched sci-fi. While everything (God included) is ultimately explained by fundamental laws of physics, God can't be understood in those terms any more than biology, so there's a scientific motivation to treat God "on its own turf".

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:29 am

QuantumTroll wrote:Yarr, I meant for this to post yesterday, but I failed at mouse-clicking.
Metacrock wrote:
The only counter-argument I've heard is "but God could be behind it all", which isn't a counter-argument at all because I agree with that statement.


when are you going to start reflecting people's argument honestly and the way they used them? I put forth a complex and sophisticated position involving the concept, religious a priori and you just come back and say "God could be behind it all." is that what I really said? no it is not and you know it is not. No way does that do justice to the arguments I've made.

why can't you refute them honestly?
QT; I don't know which post you're talking about. The only time you mentioned a priori anything was when you said "God is necessary because if anything at all exists, then God is a priori, since God is being itself." God is necessary if anything at all exists, QED folks, let's go home. Uhh, yeah...
I was specifically responding to the charge that my arguments, and view of God are weak. I think they are far stronger than any Christian apologist I see on the net.
I guess "nothing in physics can take us beyond the Big Bang" is a counter-argument, but it's very weak because
weak! weak! it's the whole of the matter, it's the whole nub of the matter. why can't you deal honestly with arguments? If it doesn't your pre conceived bigoted notions you just dismiss it as though it means nothing that is not thinking. that is nto what the big thinkers do. that's the cowards way. "that doesn't' fit the precieved I made all ready so it jsut can't be. I can't accept it so it doesn't exist.
OT: I gave you 4 good reasons why the argument is weak, and you didn't address any of them. I'd explain them in more detail if you showed any interest at all in listening to what I'm saying.

But those reasons, if I have the right four in mind, don't mean anything. Evolution is an assumption I make. It's not fair to allege that ti some how makes God unnecessary,when it is part of theological world view. Same is true of emergent properties. I assume emergent properties to explain human spirit. So where's the sense in using that when it's part of my theology?

the other two I don't remember. I don't think you answered any of my God arguments much less the a priori.
QT:Quite frankly, I'm currently more interested in hearing what you think about my "new" theory of God than having an argument about this stuff. As a die-hard scientician, God-as-meme is quite compelling, and I think you'll find some things you like about it as well.
It would be hard to answer that without insulting you. I would have to forgo telling you what i really think of "memes." But suffice to say I think its' an illusion created by the fact that ideas spread epidemiologically because they are told by one person to another. The rest is a con game by unscrupulous people like Dawkins.

For instance, the religious a priori is there, and now I can accept the religious a priori because it is explained by logical universals and our brain structures that inevitably produce certain categories in thought.

First of all why must it be explained?

Secondly, why wasn't it explained anyway, as long as you are not explaining it away. You still don't seem to get the drift. when you reduce a concept ot a ponit where the thing observed to begin with no longer exists, you have no won the argument, you have merely explained away the phenomena. that is a bad move. That's not a disproof. it's proof your reductionism is ideologically driven.

Explaining something away is not an explanation. its' a doge.

Thirdly, God is beyond our understanding so any attempt to or claim to "explain God" is a prori foolish. you can't explain God.
The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality, although turning it into a divine Creator requires some far-fetched sci-fi. While everything (God included) is ultimately explained by fundamental laws of physics, God can't be understood in those terms any more than biology, so there's a scientific motivation to treat God "on its own turf".
[/quote]


that is nothing more than a con job. It's like HRG's mathematical crap. I can use big words you don't know about to impress you and make you think I have secret knowledge you don't have. I can do that stuff too. that's what Transcendental signifier is about. O that's a real idea, and it's a good argument, but I use those Derrida terms fight back at Hans for his elitist secret knowledge stuff.

that's all that meme crap is. It's just a way of saying "I can keep your ideas at arms length." NO I am not saying you are doing that. I think you take them seriously because you have hoodwinked into thinking Dawkins is really a good scientist.

My friend Latz Miller, best buddy for all of life science first grade, wrote the anti-Dennett article for Negations, tells me that Dawkins is not a major scientist, he doesn't necessarily know any more than my old freshman biology prof. Hes' not great the meme stuff is not a done deal. It's not like nuclear physics or anything.

Lantz was graduate student at MIT, got Masters in some science, worked in the lab of the guy who invented asritame, for Nature magizine and editor of some Science journal.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:39 am

QuantumTroll wrote:We both could use more understanding. You could learn something about science and what we're really doing. Why do you keep insisting atheists want to diminish or cut off life? A full real understanding of the universe and our place in it is diminishes nothing.
Yes I am not a science guy. I did study history of science as part of doctoral work. But I don't claim to have a good grounding in the fundamentals or in the actual doing of science.

Atheists want to diminish life; they do that because they want to cut off everything they can't control. they control reality by their reductionism and their metaphysics. I mean this in the Heidegger's sense. Empiricism = metaphysics. You wan to cut off whatever you can't expalin by your method. Any anomalies that you can't absorb into your paradigm (to put it in Kuhnian terms) you automatically assume aren't real.
Meta: but science doesn't tell you about the important things that religion does. without cosmological necessity there could be no evolution. there could be no emergent anything without cosmological necessity. But you dismiss that by just pretending it's not important to explain that God explains, ti's only important to explain the things you can explain without God. that's the little trick you playing on your self to get around the fact that science doesn't really explain anything that matters.
OT:We're pretending "it's not important to explain that God explains"? I could tell you all about why the Theory of God works for people. That is not at issue here. And what is "cosmological necessity"? Are you referring to the cosmological argument, which is an argument that is actually addressed in my posts by the stuff you cut out? Honestly, I'm baffled.
No it's not important. The point of belief is not the need to expalin things. That is tangential.

cosmological necessity is the basis of the cos argument. you said nothing that would beat it. tell me right now clearly and plainly what the argument is that you think beats it?

Meta:take any one of my 42 arguments for God, every single one of them is something science can't explain without resorting to God. That's 42 separate reasons right there that disprove your assertion.
OT:Given the track record of our discussions about your arguments, I'm not really that convinced by them. I look forward to seeing them in a more presentable form in your book, though :) I'm sure a lot of the problem is I can't read your writing very well.

But that doesn't change the fact that the bold assertions you have made don't work until they can around those arguments. I don't have the burden of proof because you made the bold claims.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by sgttomas » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:06 pm

Metacrock wrote:
The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality, although turning it into a divine Creator requires some far-fetched sci-fi. While everything (God included) is ultimately explained by fundamental laws of physics, God can't be understood in those terms any more than biology, so there's a scientific motivation to treat God "on its own turf".

that is nothing more than a con job. It's like HRG's mathematical crap. I can use big words you don't know about to impress you and make you think I have secret knowledge you don't have. I can do that stuff too. that's what Transcendental signifier is about. O that's a real idea, and it's a good argument, but I use those Derrida terms fight back at Hans for his elitist secret knowledge stuff.
Hm. Well I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss what he is saying here. I detect a path to God that is unfamiliar to you, but perhaps not incompatible. After all, he is saying that making God equivalent to physical evidence would be inappropriate, because the information at that level can't be properly interpreted.

...as for HRG. Heh, he's my bitch ;)

-sgtt.
Last edited by sgttomas on Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by sgttomas » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:20 pm

QuantumTroll wrote: Hmm, I can't actually see anything wrong with what I just said. Really. Sgttomas, I think you've helped me build an understanding of God that is totally consistent with - if not actually backed up by - scientific principles. If I am to be honest I have to think about bringing God into my life. What a surprising turn of events! No sense in being hasty, however, perhaps I'm tired because it's late.

I haven't even read any of the post beyond the one I quoted, so you'll have to excuse the fact that I've ignored them in this post :)
"brining God into my life".

The ability to articulate God as something meaningful is an important quality of life. I am particularly pleased that you may have found such a route, as I have spent considerable effort over the past 5 years to be able to describe God in the manner I did. It's personally satisfying that someone else found my effort meaningful, so thank you.

I'd be very interested in hearing more of your thoughts as you probe this issue along the lines of reasoning you will certainly identify, now that you have an ability to ground God in reality. Atheism is the inability to form meaningful beliefs about God, except ironically as a negation of a belief held by another person.

Skepticism of religion is much better when you can play both sides.

....the notion that "mind" could be the creator of the universe is a....it has something very attractive to it, yet deeply paradoxical and so troubling. Asimov's The Last Question is a really fun romp through that troubling concept.

I'm rather unfamiliar with memes, but if I get the gist of it, it's nothing too surprising to me. Actually, there's a great use of memetics in Neil Stephenson's fantastic cyberpunk novel, Snow Crash. In it, he explores the notion that certain memes (he uses a different word) can actually act like a computer virus - reprogramming the consciousness of the infected mind. Truly a great book. ...and you're a computer nerd, even, so I bet you'd love it ;) (heh, I'm more of a nuts-n-bolts nerd)

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by KR Wordgazer » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:39 pm

"Memes" as a concept makes little sense to me. It appears, in some ways, to be simply a new word for "idea" or "concept." But then the doctrine (if I can call it that) of memes goes a step further, giving these ideas and concepts a kind of will or volition to live, as though they were living creatures. What's up with that?

Quantum Troll, I'd appreciate an elucidation on this statement:
The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality
What, exactly, is the "memetic definition of God"? I'd like to know if we are on the same page before I discuss such an issue.
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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:49 pm

sgttomas wrote: "brining God into my life".

The ability to articulate God as something meaningful is an important quality of life. I am particularly pleased that you may have found such a route, as I have spent considerable effort over the past 5 years to be able to describe God in the manner I did. It's personally satisfying that someone else found my effort meaningful, so thank you.

I'd be very interested in hearing more of your thoughts as you probe this issue along the lines of reasoning you will certainly identify, now that you have an ability to ground God in reality. Atheism is the inability to form meaningful beliefs about God, except ironically as a negation of a belief held by another person.
Today I determined that one of the things that kept me an atheist is the strong urge to have a single coherent worldview. Now God is a part of it, I'm still uncertain how I ought to continue. I'm also a little uncertain whether my definition of God is a good one. I keep thinking this weekend might be a good time for some of those mushrooms, which have guided religious thought for millenia...
....the notion that "mind" could be the creator of the universe is a....it has something very attractive to it, yet deeply paradoxical and so troubling. Asimov's The Last Question is a really fun romp through that troubling concept.
The great part of this story is that it's actually describing the Halting Problem, which is a computer science problem that is practically unsolvable. The Halting Problem is the question "will a given program ever stop?". So yeah, this story is very interesting, because it also implies that the universe (and hence us) is computable. This story is exactly what I meant when I said that the idea of the mind as creator has a very sci-fi appeal :)
I'm rather unfamiliar with memes, but if I get the gist of it, it's nothing too surprising to me. Actually, there's a great use of memetics in Neil Stephenson's fantastic cyberpunk novel, Snow Crash. In it, he explores the notion that certain memes (he uses a different word) can actually act like a computer virus - reprogramming the consciousness of the infected mind. Truly a great book. ...and you're a computer nerd, even, so I bet you'd love it ;) (heh, I'm more of a nuts-n-bolts nerd)
We share the same taste in books, at least so far. I loved Snow Crash :D

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Re: Murray Gell-Mann on truth and beauty in physics

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:18 pm

Metacrock wrote: I was specifically responding to the charge that my arguments, and view of God are weak. I think they are far stronger than any Christian apologist I see on the net.
I did not say that your arguments were weak, I said they argued for a weak definition of God. That's not the same thing at all.
But those reasons, if I have the right four in mind, don't mean anything. Evolution is an assumption I make. It's not fair to allege that ti some how makes God unnecessary,when it is part of theological world view. Same is true of emergent properties. I assume emergent properties to explain human spirit. So where's the sense in using that when it's part of my theology?

the other two I don't remember. I don't think you answered any of my God arguments much less the a priori.
You know you can read old posts and see what those reasons were. If I have supporting arguments, I can allege whatever I want to. You can't just say I'm wrong because I'm contradicting your theological world view, that's begging the question.
QT:Quite frankly, I'm currently more interested in hearing what you think about my "new" theory of God than having an argument about this stuff. As a die-hard scientician, God-as-meme is quite compelling, and I think you'll find some things you like about it as well.
It would be hard to answer that without insulting you. I would have to forgo telling you what i really think of "memes." But suffice to say I think its' an illusion created by the fact that ideas spread epidemiologically because they are told by one person to another. The rest is a con game by unscrupulous people like Dawkins.
I appreciate your restraint.

For instance, the religious a priori is there, and now I can accept the religious a priori because it is explained by logical universals and our brain structures that inevitably produce certain categories in thought.
First of all why must it be explained?
It must be explained because that is how I live my life. If something doesn't make sense, I think about it until I understand how it fits in my mental model of the universe. Everyone does this, but my mental model is handicapped because I need to explain things in a very specific way. Why? Because this very specific way has systematically improved our understanding of the world for centuries.
Secondly, why wasn't it explained anyway, as long as you are not explaining it away. You still don't seem to get the drift. when you reduce a concept ot a ponit where the thing observed to begin with no longer exists, you have no won the argument, you have merely explained away the phenomena. that is a bad move. That's not a disproof. it's proof your reductionism is ideologically driven.

Explaining something away is not an explanation. its' a doge.
I'm not explaining things away. Stop telling me that I'm denying, explaining away, losing meaning, etc etc. It's meaningless rhetoric. Tell me what I'm missing out on.

Thirdly, God is beyond our understanding so any attempt to or claim to "explain God" is a prori foolish. you can't explain God.
Just saying that something is a priori foolish does not make it so. I just explained God, so clearly I can do exactly that.
The memetic definition of God is quite rigorous and grounded in reality, although turning it into a divine Creator requires some far-fetched sci-fi. While everything (God included) is ultimately explained by fundamental laws of physics, God can't be understood in those terms any more than biology, so there's a scientific motivation to treat God "on its own turf".
that is nothing more than a con job. It's like HRG's mathematical crap. I can use big words you don't know about to impress you and make you think I have secret knowledge you don't have. I can do that stuff too. that's what Transcendental signifier is about. O that's a real idea, and it's a good argument, but I use those Derrida terms fight back at Hans for his elitist secret knowledge stuff.

that's all that meme crap is. It's just a way of saying "I can keep your ideas at arms length." NO I am not saying you are doing that. I think you take them seriously because you have hoodwinked into thinking Dawkins is really a good scientist.

My friend Latz Miller, best buddy for all of life science first grade, wrote the anti-Dennett article for Negations, tells me that Dawkins is not a major scientist, he doesn't necessarily know any more than my old freshman biology prof. Hes' not great the meme stuff is not a done deal. It's not like nuclear physics or anything.
Lantz was graduate student at MIT, got Masters in some science, worked in the lab of the guy who invented asritame, for Nature magizine and editor of some Science journal.[/quote][/quote]
Oh yes, it's all a con job. :roll: Look here. Throughout this thread, I've mostly used physical arguments (you know, the kind of arguments that built lasers and stuff) to show that the universe can be completely physical, and that God might be a part of this universe. I'm actually going to need some physical counter-arguments before I'll back down even an inch. Character assassination of Dawkins will accomplish about as much as character assassination of Darwin, it's simply irrelevant. I admit that a lot of meme theory is pretty sketchy, but I'm convinced there's really something to it because it sometimes really helps to explain stuff. And that is, after all, how I judge the character of an idea. More on this later...

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