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post #31 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 04:27 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

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kvining - 11/8/2004 5:50 PM
I find it surprising you appeal to Hume. Its been a long time since I read his books, but I thought he despised the idea of miracles and such.
He's the best thinker because he shows that the Intelligent Design theory has no scientific foundation.
See his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
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post #32 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 04:30 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
kvining - 11/8/2004 5:50 PM
I find it surprising you appeal to Hume. Its been a long time since I read his books, but I thought he despised the idea of miracles and such.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



He's the best thinker because he shows that the Intelligent Design theory has no scientific foundation.
See his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
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post #33 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 04:37 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

Humes argument is convincing, but doesn't it focus on pragmatism rather than certainty: if there really are miracles in say 0.0001% of cases, then applying this makes us wrong 0.0001% of the time. Another difficulty is if we encounter a technology beyond or own ('indistiguisable from magic' - Arthur C Clarke) perfoming what appear to be miracles - again we would be wrong, but in the other direction. What do you think?

I just came back from a workshop that included Murray Gell-Mann, nobel laureate physicist. He was of the opinion that we are on the brink of discovering all of natures laws. He thought they would be VERY simple. The interesting thing for me as a biologist is the generation of so much complexity from so much simplicity - explain that!

I would dearly love to see Philosophy taught in Schools. Unfortunately, it seems hard enough to teach anything in schools, even basic lieracy and numeracy.
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post #34 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 04:38 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

..or spelling!
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post #35 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 05:38 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

Did you mean to say Uri Geller the physicist?
http://www.uri-geller.com/

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post #36 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 05:52 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

No, this guy had a brain.

Mr Uri Geller is such a nice man don't you think? I particularly admire his use of litigation (or threats of) to supress critics who say he is a low life charlatan and not a miracle-worker.
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post #37 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 06:03 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

Well, like his good friend Michael, he's just a little misunderstood.
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post #38 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 06:06 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

[QUOTE]jjl - 11/8/2004 6:37 PM
Humes argument is convincing, but doesn't it focus on pragmatism rather than certainty: if there really are miracles in say 0.0001% of cases, then applying this makes us wrong 0.0001% of the time. Another difficulty is if we encounter a technology beyond or own ('indistiguisable from magic' - Arthur C Clarke) perfoming what appear to be miracles - again we would be wrong, but in the other direction. What do you think?
QUOTE]

You're right. Hume bases knowledge on experience and it does cause that problem. New odd events
are unexplainable. However, we should adapt our knowledge to account for these new experiences.
But, he does have a definitive argument against the rationality of belief in miracles understood as violations of natural law. Since natural laws are built up on the basis of repeated observations, the evidence for these laws will always exceed the evidence for the exceptions. If the evidence for the exceptions becomes overwhelming, the natural law is restated in order to account for the formerly miraculous. So, there's no room for rational belief in miracles.

By the way, I've become more interested in the Scottish Enlightenment recently and am thinking of teaching a Humanities class on it and taking students to Scotland. The geology professor at school is interested in hooking up with me. He would focus on James Hutton and I would teach Hume, Smith Hutcheson and Reid. (I know very little of Reid and Hutcheson at the moment) I was inspired to think about it by an article in the New Yorker about how great a city Edinburgh was in the 18th century
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post #39 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 06:10 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

Quote:
jjl - 11/8/2004 6:37 PM

Humes argument is convincing, but doesn't it focus on pragmatism rather than certainty: if there really are miracles in say 0.0001% of cases, then applying this makes us wrong 0.0001% of the time. Another difficulty is if we encounter a technology beyond or own ('indistiguisable from magic' - Arthur C Clarke) perfoming what appear to be miracles - again we would be wrong, but in the other direction. What do you think?

I just came back from a workshop that included Murray Gell-Mann, nobel laureate physicist. He was of the opinion that we are on the brink of discovering all of natures laws. He thought they would be VERY simple. The interesting thing for me as a biologist is the generation of so much complexity from so much simplicity - explain that!

I would dearly love to see Philosophy taught in Schools. Unfortunately, it seems hard enough to teach anything in schools, even basic lieracy and numeracy.
I hope its simple. I've been trying to get a grip on String Theory, which is supposed to give us all these answers, and I haven't been successful yet.

On the issue of how life arises, I have been reading some stuff that makes a good case that our idea that all life must be water based may be wrong. A computer is not very far from meeting all the criteria of being alive. A planet rich in silicon, given 4 billion years like ours, could very well bring forth silicon based life forms. After all, our planet has in about 20 years just about done it.





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post #40 of 53 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 06:25 PM
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RE: Coulter headlamps and shoots some baited pond ducks

[QUOTE]kerry edwards - 11/9/2004 1:06 AM

Quote:
jjl - 11/8/2004 6:37 PM
Humes argument is convincing, but doesn't it focus on pragmatism rather than certainty: if there really are miracles in say 0.0001% of cases, then applying this makes us wrong 0.0001% of the time. Another difficulty is if we encounter a technology beyond or own ('indistiguisable from magic' - Arthur C Clarke) perfoming what appear to be miracles - again we would be wrong, but in the other direction. What do you think?
QUOTE]

You're right. Hume bases knowledge on experience and it does cause that problem. New odd events
are unexplainable. However, we should adapt our knowledge to account for these new experiences.
But, he does have a definitive argument against the rationality of belief in miracles understood as violations of natural law. Since natural laws are built up on the basis of repeated observations, the evidence for these laws will always exceed the evidence for the exceptions. If the evidence for the exceptions becomes overwhelming, the natural law is restated in order to account for the formerly miraculous. So, there's no room for rational belief in miracles.

By the way, I've become more interested in the Scottish Enlightenment recently and am thinking of teaching a Humanities class on it and taking students to Scotland. The geology professor at school is interested in hooking up with me. He would focus on James Hutton and I would teach Hume, Smith Hutcheson and Reid. (I know very little of Reid and Hutcheson at the moment) I was inspired to think about it by an article in the New Yorker about how great a city Edinburgh was in the 18th century
Certainly, there is somthing to be said for focusing on exceptional events (~miracles!) in that they may be particularly informative, though statisticians tend to discard such data as 'outliers', ironically. Another bun fight between theoreticians and empiricists.

The Scottish angle is a great idea (of course I am not biased). As you know, there's lots of interesting material, and a trip to Edinburgh would hopefully give your students something to really hang their studies on. If you like entertainment come at the New Year, if you prefer a quiet life & good weather, try May.
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