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Theists and atheists

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kowalskil View Drop Down
Knight
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    Posted: 03 Apr 2011 at 17:26
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Theists and Atheists


I still do not know what can be done to eliminate endless conflicts between theists and atheists. But comments collected at several websites prompted me to compose a short on-line paper at:


http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theo_sci.html


It can probably be used to initiate an interesting discussion here. Please share this link with those who might be interested.


Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

Professor Emeritus

Montclair State University, USA

.

.

Ludwik Kowalski author of Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

Diary kept in the USSR, Poland, France, and the USA
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gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 2011 at 19:49
[QUOTE=kowalskil]I still do not know what can be done to eliminate endless conflicts between theists and atheists. But comments collected at several websites prompted me to compose a short on-line paper at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theo_sci.html

(It seems tome you are confusing the science/religion debate with the atheist/theist debate. Atheists are not necessarily scientists, by any means, and religious people are not t^necessarily theists and so on.)
 
At first reading, the obvious point that seems to be overlooked is that mathematics and science co-operate happily because science is concerned with improving the quality of prediction of real world events, whereas mathematics has no concern with the real world at all. Therefore the two cannot clash.
 
Thus Pythagoras' theorem is provable given certain assumptions formalised by Euclid and assuing a 'flat' space. However whether it applies to triangles in the real world, and therefore real world space is flat is something for the scientist to test. If it turns out to be curved, and Riemannian or hyperbolic geometry turn out to produce better predictions, mathematicians are unconcerned.
 
I've played with the mathematics of abstract spaces in economics, and while one may hope to find one of practical use, the mathematical side is valid (unless I make logical errors) irrespecitive of where scientific 'truth' may lie.
 
That contrasts strongly with the clash of science and theology, where each of them claims in one way or another to be describing something 'out there' that actually exists or actually happens.
Such a clash - though there's no reason it cannot be a polite one - is therefore frequently associated with the field the scientist works in: a biologist may happily go along with theorlogical views of the origin of the cosmos; a cosmologist may happily go along with religious theories of evolution. In their own fields however they are likely to be more sceptical.
 
So arguments that science and religion essentially deal with 'different things' are on the whole incorrect: they overlap considerably.
 
And my initial answers to the three questioons would be:
 
Is it desirable to end such confrontations?
I'm not sure. It would be desirable to end violent, aggressive and intolerant confrontations, but without them people might not learn to be tolerant.

Is it possible to end them?
Only if one or the other gives up trying to do what it is trying to do. Argument from revealed truths and argument from empirical observation have no meeting ground, merely opposition.

If yes, then how?
God knows. Or not as the case may be.
 
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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opuslola View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 2011 at 23:07
An astoundingly relevant post! Cheers!

Hip, hip, hurrah! Etc.

Ron

Edited by opuslola - 03 Apr 2011 at 23:08
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Simonforest View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simonforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 00:44
There does not need to be some grand reconcilliation of viewpoints; merely an understanding that the issue is far from clear cut and an acceptance by the more outspoken of both sides to respect the other's point of view while disagreeing with it. I consider this to be an unlikely turn of events.
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kowalskil View Drop Down
Knight
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kowalskil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2011 at 15:35
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

[QUOTE=kowalskil]I still do not know what can be done to eliminate endless conflicts between theists and atheists. But comments collected at several websites prompted me to compose a short on-line paper at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theo_sci.html

(It seems tome you are confusing the science/religion debate with the atheist/theist debate. Atheists are not necessarily scientists, by any means, and religious people are not t^necessarily theists and so on.)
 
At first reading, the obvious point that seems to be overlooked is that mathematics and science co-operate happily because science is concerned with improving the quality of prediction of real world events, whereas mathematics has no concern with the real world at all. Therefore the two cannot clash.
 
Thus Pythagoras' th< ="-" ="text/;=UTF-8"> eoremis provable given certain assumptions formalised by Euclid and assuing a 'flat' space. However whether it applies to triangles in the real world, and therefore real world space is flat is something for the scientist to test. If it turns out to be curved, and Riemannian or hyperbolic geometry turn out to produce better predictions, mathematicians are unconcerned.
 
I've played with the mathematics of abstract spaces in economics, and while one may hope to find one of practical use, the mathematical side is valid (unless I make logical errors) irrespecitive of where scientific 'truth' may lie.
 
That contrasts strongly with the clash of science and theology, where each of them claims in one way or another to be describing something 'out there' that actually exists or actually happens.
Such a clash - though there's no reason it cannot be a polite one - is therefore frequently associated with the field the scientist works in: a biologist may happily go along with theorlogical views of the origin of the cosmos; a cosmologist may happily go along with religious theories of evolution. In their own fields however they are likely to be more sceptical.
 
So arguments that science and religion essentially deal with 'different things' are on the whole incorrect: they overlap considerably.
 
And my initial answers to the three questioons would be:
 
Is it desirable to end such confrontations?
I'm not sure. It would be desirable to end violent, aggressive and intolerant confrontations, but without them people might not learn to be tolerant.

Is it possible to end them?
Only if one or the other gives up trying to do what it is trying to do. Argument from revealed truths and argument from empirical observation have no meeting ground, merely opposition.

If yes, then how?
God knows. Or not as the case may be.
 
 

Thank you for interesting comments. Pythagoras' theorem refers to a plane defined by the triangle being considered.  You are correct, a large number of non-plane surfaces, for example, spheres of different diameter, pass through any three points (but only one plane surface).

Ludwik
.
< ="utf-8">
Ludwik Kowalski author of Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

Diary kept in the USSR, Poland, France, and the USA
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