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Ben Masada

The Myth of the Big Bang

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But what is complexity?

Complexity, somewhat counter-intuitively, implies order. In the case of DNA, that order is described by the chemical laws which determine the binding of atoms and molecules. Because there are many different ways of ordering atoms and molecules, we call long-chain compounds such as DNA, complex.

Complexity does not imply randomness. Something random can not be complex, because there is no underlying order determining the complexity of it.

However, that complexity implies order, does not suggest this order is determined by a Will or Intelligence. It does not suggest design. All that the complexity of the binding properties of atoms and molecules suggests, is that the universe is as it is - and would not be this universe were such 'natural laws' any different.

Just one question? Where did the chemical laws come from and what are they? A bit like where did the laws of physics come from?

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Yes, probably a big bang of nothing. That's what I would like to know from the faithfuls of the big bang what was there to cause the big bang. IMHO, that's what Carl Sagan meant by "our modern myth of the big bang." But it seems to me, atheists don't like these kind of questions which they have to think to answer.

Ben

Why do you think the big bang required a cause ? Is it because you believe all things are causally linked, and that nothing happens without prior cause? Why do you believe that? Might that belief be incorrect?

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Emma, first of all, I am not religious. Then, if the case is not of "believing in" but of "understanding", I am sure you count yourself in among

those who understand. Go right ahead and tell me what and how you understand that the big bang gave origin to the universe. Then, you can add to

that an explanation of what was there before the big bang. Thanks.

Ben

Point of clarification. In one post you said; being jewish was not a matter of birth but of belief. (or very similar) In another post you say you are jewish. Now you say you are not religious. How do you reconcile those three statements?

Do you consider yourself jewish? Do you consider yourself religious? Or do you consider yourself a non religious jew? Given, both prior statements and the content/tone of all your posts, is that possible?

It is relevant to comprehending your world view, and hence your understandings of/opinions on, the matters being discussed.

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Nice answer. Copa always has good answers. The only problem is that that Propensity to error is preciesly what makes life so succesful... On earth at least. Would that be right copa?

No that would not be correct. What makes life on earth successful is evolution via natural selection. Which is selection acting on a population's alleles.

Naaaa, my friend, I don't think it works like that. Mutations (errors) are what's responsible for evolution.

Not correct again. Biological evolution (the fact) is that allele frequencies change across generation to generation for a population. Why and how those change are described by the theories of evolution--First and foremost amongst them is natural selection. Natural selection is from 4 things; variation, heritability, resource competition and DIFFERENTIAL SURVIVAL AND REPRODUCTION.

So what is responsible for most biological evolution on earth? That answer would be natural selection. If you want to ask what be responsible for natural selection that answer is ultimately differential survival and reproduction.

Mutation is, in part, responsible for variation.

Evolution is not what's responsible for mutation.

Correct, mutation is from the imperfect replication of hereditary material. Because the system biological organisms use to replicate their genomes is sloppy and cluttered. Its not perfect nor even that precise for some organisms (think HIV)--All the hallmarks of a system "designed" by natural processes, not intelligent designers.

A mutation can be helpful or not. But in the greater context, i would have to disagree with copa that it's "sloppy".

Disagree away. The fact of the matter is though, biology is sloppy. Why aren't there hard and fast "laws" in biology? Answer: its sloppy.

Infact its fairly well suited to make life successful. But I do see his point.

See above, what makes life successful on earth is biological evolution by natural selection. Period.

The fork is actually a simple design suited to the task it was created for. But the same thing can be said for life.

It might just have to be "sloppy" to be effective.

No. If it wasn't sloppy we would not have biodiversity. If replication was perfect, then all life would be of the same "kind". A super intelligent being should have no problem designing life that was capable of getting along just fine with any environment it was stuck in.

If we were going to design something like DNA to survive as long as possible on a changing planet, it would be stroke of genius to come up with life the way it is. As far as we know, nothing else is capable.

So the most intelligent being of all time, can't come up with a better way for life to deal with change than DNA? For whole swaths of lineages to go extinct? For billions upon billions of organisms to suffer such that evolution can prevail at the level of a population's allele frequencies? For shame.

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I am not the one who said that the big bang is "our modern myth" but Carl Sagan. Would you please give me a break?

Ben

The lay-community; otherwise, the book would not have been published to all people. Perhaps, he tried to let us know that the big bang should not

be something to believe in by faith but just a myth, whatever he meant. He was probably aware that it has not been proved a fact and that it

probably could never be.

Ben

Ben are you being intentionally disingenuous or were you being lazy (to lazy to look up what a quote mine really is)?

FYI there are rules here about posting knowingly false information and quote mining and what not. I'd read over the rules if you want to enjoy your stay.

Like Eightbits pointed out, Sagan certainly wasn't referring to "myth" in how you are trying to apply it here. If you don't understand go back and read it again, then again, then again. If its still too much, read Eightbits post and spend some time trying to understand it--Rather than just accusing him of "over-complicating" the issue, because I assure he did no such thing and actually hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Edit: As an afterthought Ben, is English your primary language? Maybe the idiosyncrasies of Sagan is escaping you because it is not.

Edited by Copasetic

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Information is complex! The four letter code is complex, it's not matter, it's immaterial. Where did the information come from? Who or how was it coded into four letter codes. What has more complex information than DNA?

Cheers copa!

That didn't answer the question. I said define complexity and specifically as it refers to biology. Now you want to introduce more words?

Okay fine, let's double up.

Please define; in your own words, biological information as well as biological complexity.

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This reply is to a different post not the one above. You accused someone starting from a conclusion then working their way backwards. You said science does not work like this. I agree, but how does science work?

Ok, sure, good spot.

Science works, in its loosest sense, by deciding on an end point, and then seeing if the evidence fits it. If it doesn't, you throw that conclusion out and start again.

What I meant was; you can't be sure of a conclusion, and then work backwards to find things that fit. Some here have already decided on the way they want reality to be, and will throw out - or plain ignore - any evidence that doesn't agree.

Information is complex!

I'll add "information" to the list of words that people use in a scientific context without really understanding what they mean by it (and I don't mean you in particular - it's just a word I see being thrown up more and more in creationist/ID arguments without any real understanding to its contextual meaning).

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This is ridiculous Lion. Sagan was not familiar with the philosophy of science? You realize what the P in PhD stands for right?

Oh, please allow us all to now be enlightened by a 'former'-atheist-converted-muslim-cabdriver-turned-internet-philosophizer to inform us on the philosophy of science.....Dunning and Kruger-- damn them, striking again!

Edit to test out my psychic powers: Can you then quote me and add a bunch of "lols", whilst claiming I also know nothing about the philosophy of science--simultaneously singing your praises for your l33t philosophy skills!

Admittedly I was wrong to say Sagan was devoid of any philosophical knowledge, wait I did not say that did I? I said he was not too familiar with philosophy of science, which I still stand by. Dawkins is totally devoid of any philosophical powers of deduction!

To be fair to you it is a little harsh of me to say that about Sagan, I actually have a huge amount of respect for him even though I have a lot of disagreements with him. What I should have said was that Sagan was resorting to old dead philosophical arguments ie god of the gaps. Which is outdated and so is Sagan on a philosophical level. The contemporary argument for god are nothing like god of gaps argument which is was a simplistic view with Christian theological origins.

That's all I was trying to say, funnily enough atheists today resort to the god of gaps when dealing with contemporary arguments for god, which is actually an indicator of how little they understood about the argument!

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Just one question? Where did the chemical laws come from and what are they? A bit like where did the laws of physics come from?

The laws of physics are the way they are because if they weren't we wouldn't be here to ask the question.

If water when frozen sank rather than floated, the earth would be a icy wasteland. Do we then come to the conclusion that ice floats in order to allow humans to one day populate the earth?

These laws don't have to "come from" anywhere. They are ingrained in the way the universe is, and if they weren't, we wouldn't exist to talk about. There may have been an infinite amount of universes before ours where the laws were slightly different - and they may have ended up empty of life, stars, everything.

The universe isn't fine tuned for us. We're fine tuned for the universe.

Edited by Emma_Acid

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Hi Lion, I would like to let you know that many an atheist have asserted that the universe started with the big bang; although they can't say how and why. That's what I see as the bottom line of belief by faith. No different from the common theist who believes by faith.

Ben

You see I do believe in a beginning of the universe, hence we have an approx age of the universe. We have empirical data which indicates a beginning of the universe, we have expansion which is empirically observed and indicates it had a point to expand from, cosmic back ground radiation, observations of Hubble, these are empirical data which when is intepretated best fits a big bang model, sure the same data can be used to create alternative models, but they are always philosophically flawed! That's why we believe the earth orbits the sun, cause the same data can show otherwise too, but we don't accept on philosophical basis not empirical or scientific basis!

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Admittedly I was wrong to say Sagan was devoid of any philosophical knowledge, wait I did not say that did I? I said he was not too familiar with philosophy of science, which I still stand by. Dawkins is totally devoid of any philosophical powers of deduction!

To be fair to you it is a little harsh of me to say that about Sagan, I actually have a huge amount of respect for him even though I have a lot of disagreements with him. What I should have said was that Sagan was resorting to old dead philosophical arguments ie god of the gaps. Which is outdated and so is Sagan on a philosophical level. The contemporary argument for god are nothing like god of gaps argument which is was a simplistic view with Christian theological origins.

That's all I was trying to say, funnily enough atheists today resort to the god of gaps when dealing with contemporary arguments for god, which is actually an indicator of how little they understood about the argument!

Actually I would argue that the contemporary philosophical arguments for god are the same arguments they have been using for hundreds of years. The best example is is the intelligent design argument.

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Actually I would argue that the contemporary philosophical arguments for god are the same arguments they have been using for hundreds of years. The best example is is the intelligent design argument.

The more our scientific knowledge increases, so does the tendency to resort to god of the gaps arguments.

"....but science can't yet explain this, therefore..."

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A comment on the debate about the use of "scientific" words. First, science cant just usurp a commonly held definition of a word like theory, and expect everyone to understand their specific usage of it, and or agree with that specific usage.

Second, word usage changes, even in science. In general terms and how theory was used when i learned science; physics and chemistry (along with mathematics and statistics to help in understanding the basis of science) many moons ago; was an idea or concept which was based upon established knowledge but extended to that which was yet unknown. The theory was then explored and discussed, debated, tested, etc., but it already had a strong scientific credibility and common acceptance. It was generally applied to something very strongly suspected, but not totally proven (as yet)

On the other hand a hypothesis is/was a proposition, usually starting with that; which puts forward a concept or idea for testing. There does not need to be any 'common knolwedge" basis for a hypothesis. It might be proven true or false, and its main purpose is to refine knowledge through selective and specific testing of the hypothesis; and allow further hypotheses to be developed for futher testing and refining, based on the results discovered.

It is fair (although a bit dumb) :devil: for sciences to use discipline- specific language within its disciplines. But if science expects lay people to understand it, then it needs to make very clear how it has adopted /adapted common language .Otherwise, as is the case today, science creates an unneccesary and dangerous gulf between itself and the lay person and also makes clear and effective commuication more difficult than it needs to be.

There is no need for this, and i suspect it is in part an esoteric form of language actually designed to give science a cachet and to deliberately increase the prestige of science, just as religious languages were used to create an exclusive, esoteric, cadre of insiders.

It may also reflect the natural evolution and specialisation of language which occurs within specialst and isolated groups of people.

Given the modern definions of theory, it seems logical that "the theory of evolution" should be "moved forward" to something more solid. It is not really capapable of being disproved, and if there is not enough yet known to call it a law, then it is more than a theory. Calling it a theory, in lay understandings (and in all the scientific definitions I have so far googled) means that it is not proven, and is thus capable of being disproven.

That leaves creationists an honest opportunity to challenge it. Yet atheists and some scientists (and myself) say it cannot be challenged. It really is established fact. If so, it should not be called a theory because that just confuses people :devil: . If not, then others are entitled to challenge it as a disprovable theory.

Edited by Mr Walker

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A omment on the debate about the use of "scientific" words. First science cant just usurp a commonly held definition of a word like theory and expect everyone to understnd their specific usage of it and or agree with tha tspecific usage.

Second word usage changes, even in science. In general terms and how theory was used when i learned science ohysics and chenmistry (along with mathematics and statistics to help in understanding the basis of science) many moons ago; was an idea or concept whih was based upon established knolwedge but extended to that which was yet unknown. The theory was then explored and discussed debated tested etc but it already had a strong scientific credibility and common acceptance. It was generally applied to something very strongly suspected, but not totally proven (as yet)

On the other hand a hypothesis is/was a proposition, usually starting with that; which puts forward a concept or idea for testing. There does not need to be any 'common knolwedge" basis for a hypothesis. It might be proven true or false, and its main purpose is to refine knowledge through selective and specific testing of the hypothesis; and allow further hypotheses to be developed for futher testing and refining, based on the results discovered.

It is fair (although a bit dumb) :devil: for sciences to use discipline- specific language within its disciplines. But if science expects lay people to understand it, then it needs to make very clear how it has adopted /adapted common language .Otherwise, as is the case today, science creates an unneccesary and dangerous gulf between itself and the lay person and also makes clear and effective commuication more difficult than it needs to be.

There is no need for this, and i suspect it is in part an esoteric form of language actually designed to give science a cachet and to deliberately increase the prestige of science, just as religious languages were used to create an exclusive, esoteric, cadre of insiders.

It may also reflect the natural evolution and specialisation of language which occurs within specialst and isolated groups of people.

I think the problem with this is that it would require us to create new words. There are only so many words...I think the Rap community is really the only area where new words are being created for the English language. Either way, it is not hard to understand the modern terms in science. I mean this is the age of the internet right?

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Ok, sure, good spot.

Science works, in its loosest sense, by deciding on an end point, and then seeing if the evidence fits it. If it doesn't, you throw that conclusion out and start again.

What I meant was; you can't be sure of a conclusion, and then work backwards to find things that fit. Some here have already decided on the way they want reality to be, and will throw out - or plain ignore - any evidence that doesn't agree.

I agree you can't be sure of a conclusion. I agree with what you say above but im intrigued why you're called a materialist, do you believe facts or truths can only be established by empirical standard of knowledge?

I'll add "information" to the list of words that people use in a scientific context without really understanding what they mean by it (and I don't mean you in particular - it's just a word I see being thrown up more and more in creationist/ID arguments without any real understanding to its contextual meaning).

Information is key, information is knowledge, it's immaterial and can't be quantified or measured. For example the DNA has four lettered code, the letters are concepts we have assigned to clear information present in the DNA, it's not a cell it's biological in nature although encapsulated within biological matter. When you refer to genetic code we assume it came about by accident, any other code, it must have been designed or at least has a cause. So where did the genetic code come from, how did this information come in to being. Not the physical biological matter that we called DNA, but the genetic code?

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I think the problem with this is that it would require us to create new words. There are only so many words...I think the Rap community is really the only area where new words are being created for the English language. Either way, it is not hard to understand the modern terms in science. I mean this is the age of the internet right?

So you accept the right of science, not just to create new meanings for words, but to "impose" those meanings on all others, with the hegemonic assistance of the internet? :devil:

And even given "the right", the consequences are negative and serious in terms of preventing communication and separating/estranging those within a discipline from those outside it.

I have lived long enough to actually observe this evolution of word usage, not just in the sciences but in many academic disciplines. I was well educated, including 4 years of university study, and I found when i came on the internet, that many people today had completely different, even "alien" definitions and understandings of words, from those I was educated in. Heaven help someone who is not aware of those changes, and thinks it just, "is so" and always was so.

And no, while one can use the internet to look up modern jargon or terminologies that does not, in itself, make them correct or acceptable. It is like american spelling. The internet imposes that on all english speakers, by default, yet if I, or one of my students, uses it in academic work, we are quite rightly corrected.

That is a classic, and well documented, example of the hegemonic effect of the internet.

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A comment on the debate about the use of "scientific" words. First, science cant just usurp a commonly held definition of a word like theory, and expect everyone to understand their specific usage of it, and or agree with that specific usage.

Second, word usage changes, even in science. In general terms and how theory was used when i learned science; physics and chemistry (along with mathematics and statistics to help in understanding the basis of science) many moons ago; was an idea or concept which was based upon established knowledge but extended to that which was yet unknown. The theory was then explored and discussed, debated, tested, etc., but it already had a strong scientific credibility and common acceptance. It was generally applied to something very strongly suspected, but not totally proven (as yet)

On the other hand a hypothesis is/was a proposition, usually starting with that; which puts forward a concept or idea for testing. There does not need to be any 'common knolwedge" basis for a hypothesis. It might be proven true or false, and its main purpose is to refine knowledge through selective and specific testing of the hypothesis; and allow further hypotheses to be developed for futher testing and refining, based on the results discovered.

It is fair (although a bit dumb) :devil: for sciences to use discipline- specific language within its disciplines. But if science expects lay people to understand it, then it needs to make very clear how it has adopted /adapted common language .Otherwise, as is the case today, science creates an unneccesary and dangerous gulf between itself and the lay person and also makes clear and effective commuication more difficult than it needs to be.

There is no need for this, and i suspect it is in part an esoteric form of language actually designed to give science a cachet and to deliberately increase the prestige of science, just as religious languages were used to create an exclusive, esoteric, cadre of insiders.

It may also reflect the natural evolution and specialisation of language which occurs within specialst and isolated groups of people.

The modern usage of theory in science stems from Popper in 1934.....Are you telling us you went to school and learned about science in pre-1934 MW? I knew you were old and all....

Given the modern definions of theory, it seems logical that "the theory of evolution" should be "moved forward" to something more solid. It is not really capapable of being disproved, and if there is not enough yet known to call it a law, then it is more than a theory. Calling it a theory, in lay understandings (and in all the scientific definitions I have so far googled) means that it is not proven, and is thus capable of being disproven.

That leaves creationists an honest opportunity to challenge it. Yet atheists and some scientists (and myself) say it cannot be challenged. It really is established fact. If so, it should not be called a theory because that just confuses people :devil: . If not, then others are entitled to challenge it as a disprovable theory.

Theories in science do not get proven, nor do they get promoted to laws. They remain, always, a theory.

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So you accept the right of science, not just to create new meanings for words, but to "impose" those meanings on all others, with the hegemonic assistance of the internet? :devil:

And even given "the right", the consequences are negative and serious in terms of preventing communication and separating/estranging those within a discipline from those outside it.

I have lived long enough to actually observe this evolution of word usage, not just in the sciences but in many academic disciplines. I was well educated, including 4 years of university study, and I found when i came on the internet, that many people today had completely different, even "alien" definitions and understandings of words, from those I was educated in. Heaven help someone who is not aware of those changes, and thinks it just, "is so" and always was so.

And no, while one can use the internet to look up modern jargon or terminologies that does not, in itself, make them correct or acceptable. It is like american spelling. The internet imposes that on all english speakers, by default, yet if I, or one of my students, uses it in academic work, we are quite rightly corrected.

That is a classic, and well documented, example of the hegemonic effect of the internet.

Listen, I am not supporting the internet as a prime source of information but it is all a lot of people have. The internet can accurately find the definition of "fitness" in biology or "theory" in science. To not understand these terms is a total lack of effort.

So you accept the right of science, not just to create new meanings for words, but to "impose" those meanings on all others, with the hegemonic assistance of the internet?

Let me answer you question with one of your points...

I have lived long enough to actually observe this evolution of word usage, not just in the sciences but in many academic disciplines.

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We've been through this before.

The retreat to the "materialists vs us" argument is one taken by those who are annoyed that the findings of empirical science don't agree with the way they want to world to be.

I am not a "materialist" - and there was no such thing as "materialist science" until it was invented by those I just described - people who can't process the fact that there is simply no evidence for the sort of spiritualist reality they were hoping for.

I see.. No way around the goggles then. Materialism is reality not philosophyt, everything is the way a narrow few say it is despite evidence to the contrary, and the fact that experimentation prooves our universe is based on information processes instead of stuff dimply means the information intirpreatatiin is wrong because narrow minds must see stuff. Alright you win. I'll join your faith.

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The modern usage of theory in science stems from Popper in 1934.....Are you telling us you went to school and learned about science in pre-1934 MW? I knew you were old and all....

Theories in science do not get proven, nor do they get promoted to laws. They remain, always, a theory.

You see that is not what apparently actually happens, ANd the definition of theory varies even in scientific definitions.

In common english once something is proven it is no longer a theory. The two terms are mutually exclusive. It is also disengenous to assert that nothing can be proven to the point where it no longer is theoretical.

Is the shape of the earth only viewed by science as theoretical? And if the answer is yes, that only proves my point. LOL Many things which were once theories, are now established facts. Many things currently theoretical will be proven to be true and no longer theoretical.

For example I can appreciate that certian elements of evolution remain theoretical. But evolution itself, as a process, is no longer a theory but an established fact. Calling it a theory is both disengenous and misleading. I appreciate scientists might do this. That is my point It leads to a failure to be able to communivcate.

Take the following for example

Law

A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain 'why'.

Example: Consider Newton's Law of Gravity. Newton could use this law to predict the behavior of a dropped object, but he couldn't explain why it happened.

http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm

Given what is known about evolution, why are, at least, elements of it not considered laws.

I went to high school in the mid 60s, and to university in the early 70s. At that time "modern" usage of those terms did not exist in my education system. Either in pre university sciences and mathematics, or in the disciplines I studied at university including; english language, speech development, politics, geography, history, psychology, childrens literature, a variety of education specialities, or statistics.

But by then it is possible that in Australian universities those usages were beginning to develop within the sciences. They had not yet produced a generation of teachers who employed them in high schools.

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis.

Are you saying that,in general terms, the theory of evolution can be disproven?(or is capable of being disproven)

Other scientific definitions indicate that a theory remains a theory even when it is absolutely proven true.

Well it once was a theory, historically, but it cannot be once proven true. Not without completely redefining human understanding of theory and theoretical knowledge.

Edited by Mr Walker

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You actually both want me to do your research for you?

No, its called communication. And you are in forum. People ask questions here and people answered them.Speculating ,debating. Personally I dont like "here is a link " answer. But you didnt tried to do that either. Thing is you cant tell me anything I dont know already, obviously.

Save me from your and Beckys mom laziness story.

Ofcourse you dont need to answer my previous question.

Evidence of big bang. :tu:

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The laws of physics are the way they are because if they weren't we wouldn't be here to ask the question.

That makes no tangible sense, it's tantamount to saying "it just is"! It's not a tangible response us humans take well to.

If water when frozen sank rather than floated, the earth would be a icy wasteland. Do we then come to the conclusion that ice floats in order to allow humans to one day populate the earth?

No and that's irrelevant! My question was where did the laws of physics ie the laws the govern our universe existence come from? It's similar to asking why the universe exists at all? To say it just is, is not a tangible answer!

These laws don't have to "come from" anywhere. They are ingrained in the way the universe is, and if they weren't, we wouldn't exist to talk about. There may have been an infinite amount of universes before ours where the laws were slightly different - and they may have ended up empty of life, stars, everything.

If the laws don't have to come from somewhere and are ingrained in the universe, then how so? When the universe began, did it decide it's parameters and boundaries? Did you know there is no evolutionary equivalent in physics. Laws of physics are labels we have given to naturally observed phenomena ie gravity etc. The universe could have easily not existed the fact it is, is against all odds.

The universe isn't fine tuned for us. We're fine tuned for the universe.

What does that even mean? If we dint exist the universe would, but if the universe in it's initial beginnings was fractionally and I mean minute fractions it would have collapsed etc and not existed never mind being conjusive for life. The universe whether you like it or not, the math the empirical data etc show it could have very easily not existed, and to do so in its current state is tantamount to being miraculous and at optimal tuning for life to exist and everything else.

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Actually I would argue that the contemporary philosophical arguments for god are the same arguments they have been using for hundreds of years. The best example is is the intelligent design argument.

Example please! The god of the gaps argument is dead and so are the counter arguments. There are much stronger arguments in philosophy combined with science. There are many facets to intelligent design, I don't even go there I always start with a cause you cant define it as god or anything else until you apply a strong form of conceptual analysis, the same process we use to create numbers!

Edited by Lion6969

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For example I can appreciate that certian elements of evolution remain theoretical. But evolution itself, as a process, is no longer a theory but an established fact. Calling it a theory is both disengenous and misleading. I appreciate scientists might do this. That is my point It leads to a failure to be able to communivcate.

Take the following for example

No, no, no, MW. You are confusing colloquial usage again. When we say evolution the theory, we don't mean its 'theoretical' (well mostly, though you could build phylogenetic trees which are theoretical--which normally here 'theoretical' refers to a model), what we mean is that it is an explanation for a "fact" or phenomena.

http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm

Given what is known about evolution, why are, at least, elements of it not considered laws.

Laws in science are different than theories. They serve different purposes. A law in science, like your link says, is a generalized statement about the behavior of a phenomena or system--It simply iterates how that system behaves under certain circumstances. It does not explain the how and why of a system or phenomena.

Like your link points out, theories do explain the how and why. That is why a theory in science, is much, much more powerful than a law.

To continue your link's example. Newton's laws explain how say, a ball behaves when you drop it from a building--But why does the ball fall? To explain that you need theory in science which is done through relativity.

Let's do another example to make sure were on the same page--One with biology. Are you familiar with Mendel and his laws? His second law for instance says that separate genes for distinct traits assort independently of one another during replication. It worked well in predicting behavior of a system (Mendel's pea plants) and determining the probabilities of offspring generations--But what did it actually explain? Nothing. It is a robust and statistically true observation, it doesn't actually let you understand the biology you intend to understand (after all that is why we do science--To understand). So how do you understand independent assortment? Through theory: specifically in this case through cell theory, which explains how and why the mitotic gets aligned the way it does and why distinct genes separate independently form one another.

Follow now?

I went to high school in the mid 60s, and to university in the early 70s. At that time "modern" usage of those terms did not exist in my education system. Either in pre university sciences and mathematics, or in the disciplines I studied at university including; english language, speech development, politics, geography, history, psychology, childrens literature, a variety of education specialities, or statistics.

But by then it is possible that in Australian universities those usages were beginning to develop within the sciences. They had not yet produced a generation of teachers who employed them in high schools.

Possibly, I don't know your specific circumstance nor the the prestige or standards of learning your institutions operated at. I can tell you though, these ideas we are discussion--For namesake, let us say Popperian science, was well established in the scientific world.

Are you saying that,in general terms, the theory of evolution can be disproven?(or is capable of being disproven)

First we need to separate something. There is the biological fact or phenomena of evolution, if you will. This is a fact of life on earth--It can't be disproven, its the way our world works.

The modern synthesis is the combined theories of how and why that fact of evolution happens. Yes, the theories which explain biological evolution (the fact) are falsifiable. They could be disproven. All scientific theories must be falsifiable.

Other scientific definitions indicate that a theory remains a theory even when it is absolutely proven true.

Well it once was a theory, historically, but it cannot be once proven true. Not without completely redefining human understanding of theory and theoretical knowledge.

Theories in science aren't proven true, ever. They can only be proven false (again must be falsifiable). Why do we accept them then? Because while you cannot prove a theory true, you can support it with evidence--Either indirect evidence or direct evidence. Further, a scientific theory like a law, makes generalized statements about the behavior of a system or phenomena--What you would call a prediction, these predictions mean a theory is powerful in its explanatory ability.

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That makes no tangible sense, it's tantamount to saying "it just is"! It's not a tangible response us humans take well to.

No and that's irrelevant! My question was where did the laws of physics ie the laws the govern our universe existence come from? It's similar to asking why the universe exists at all? To say it just is, is not a tangible answer!

If the laws don't have to come from somewhere and are ingrained in the universe, then how so? When the universe began, did it decide it's parameters and boundaries? Did you know there is no evolutionary equivalent in physics. Laws of physics are labels we have given to naturally observed phenomena ie gravity etc. The universe could have easily not existed the fact it is, is against all odds.

What does that even mean? If we dint exist the universe would, but if the universe in it's initial beginnings was fractionally and I mean minute fractions it would have collapsed etc and not existed never mind being conjusive for life. The universe whether you like it or not, the math the empirical data etc show it could have very easily not existed, and to do so in its current state is tantamount to being miraculous and at optimal tuning for life to exist and everything else.

Why is the sky blue, where do babies come from, where did the moon come from, why does light striking a plate emit a current, how was the sun formed, how was the grand canyon made, what are comets made of, etc etc etc

See what I did there? If not here is a hint in spoilers for you;

Where do the laws of physics come from.......

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