Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Belief Media

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  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    It doesn’t mean I believe there to be an actual god called Tangaroa who directs the waves.

    I believe in Aquaman.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There are few things more bound to our sense of national identity than Anzac Day, and yet it is really not a Christian occasion.

    The last ANZAC Dawn Ceremony I attended had opening and closing prayers, a benediction, someone else I can't remember the name of, the Lord's Prayer and was officiated over by whoever was leading the Wellington Combined Churches, as well as having three hymns (four if you count the National Hymn).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2969 posts Report Reply

  • 3410, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    you’ve hit the point: there is no (forward-looking) goal.

    So, how can one deduce the level of efficiency?

    Kind of like... If I tell you that I ran a race in 23 minutes, you can not say whether that was an extremely poor performance or a rather good performance unless you know how long the race was, right?

    I guess my other point is that you can only call a biological system inefficient if you can show that it *could* have been some other way, and how can you do that?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The last ANZAC Dawn Ceremony I attended had opening and closing prayers, a benediction…

    Yes, there are many Christian elements, but the primary purpose of the ceremony is not Christian. As opposed to, say, Easter or Christmas.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Whereas when I was a child I was counted as a Presbyterian, even though I wasn’t religious, and I suspect that’s very common.

    The important point is that you were not BORN a presbyterian. It is how we become tainted is the fuse we should have a tendency to blow.

    Edit: My grandad was at Galipoli. He didn't think much of what god did there when he came back.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The important point is that you were not BORN a presbyterian.

    No, but I was christened, which means the Presbyterians have called dibs, right?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4285 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    I believe in Aquaman.

    Bloody Aquaman.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to 3410,

    I guess my other point is that you can only call a biological system inefficient if you can show that it *could* have been some other way, and how can you do that?

    Like Chekov, running full tit through The Enterprise screaming “I can do that, I can do that”

    Really we can. Sometimes. It is possible to take a biological pathway and delete a gene and see if it makes a difference, we can do it easily with bacteria and yeast, with some difficulty for some animals and plants. It is a standard tool in the kit of a molecular biologist.

    A disappointingly common outcome is nothing happens. You completely remove a gene that is demonstrably producing a protein that carries out what should be an essential process and nothing happens, apart from swearing up and down the corridors of academia. Usually nothing happens because there is another gene or completely separate pathway that appears to be exist as a “spare”. Sometimes it’s more complicated, heh. How is that efficient? Sure it makes sense to have a spare tyre but a spare passenger seat? Or spare towbar?

    So not only can you show that it could exist some other way you can actually see the other way – or three other ways plus ten more that are sort of the same but different.

    Yes you can always argue that the alternatives exist for specific conditions, and sometimes they really do, but as I said before such arguments tend spiral down in ever decreasing circles. The reasonable conclusion is is biology is not efficient and Occam was wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Yes you can always argue that the alternatives exist for specific conditions, and sometimes they really do, but as I said before such arguments tend spiral down in ever decreasing circles.

    That's the real problem with, quote, intelligent design, unquote. It's pretty fucking unintelligent, when you get down to the details.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Timely from Sciblogs: Science and the folly of faith. Review

    “the conflict between science and religion should not be regarded as a conflict between reason and unreason” – as some people present it. “The distinction between theology and science is in the objects on which to apply reason. Nothing can be learned from reason alone. A logical argument contains no information not already embedded in its premises.Reason and logic must be supplement by additional hypotheses about the nature of reality and the sources of our knowledge about that reality. In the case of science. that source is solely observation. In the case of theology, that source is primarily faith, with some observation thrown in as long as it does not conflict with faith. Theology is faith-plus-reason, with some observation allowed. Science is observation-plus-reason, with no faith allowed.”

    Added:

    “Science is not going to change its commitment to the truth. We can only hope religion will change its commitment to nonsense.”

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Scientists don’t (or shouldn’t) “have faith” in a hypothesis, far from it, we instead try our damdest to punch holes in the hypothesis.

    My reference was to "Faith" in the method rather than any hypothesis

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    In my field it is absolutely unquestionably clear that Occam was a moron who knew nothing about the real world

    I'd question that. Seems to me from the things you've said that you're arguing against overly zealous applications of Occam's razor, rather than the principle itself. In fact, you seem to be applying the principle, shaving off the need to postulate efficiency into biology.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    efficiency into biology.

    Simple:
    Input - desired output = loss

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Russell: And you can be as teeth-achingly literalist as you like, but what a person thinks of when they gaze out to sea is their own business.

    Ditto. I see the beauty in the colours, the sounds, the movement be it calm or violent. I think about all those little fish, big fish, mammals. The chemical mixture, the plankton, the bio-luminescence, how there can be kilometres below me as I sail the surface. An unmapped void between wave and ocean floor. I think wow, this is all happening with quarks - charmed and otherwise - screaming about their nuclear space and interacting on a fantastic scale. (Which we only thought of in the last 50years and are no doubt about to confirm. A somewhat shorter time whence fire, water, dirt, air and a decreed immovable celestial sphere was all that made up our world.) That is enough in itself to admire without any earthly reason to bring some invented deity into the discussion.

    Three score and ten years is too short to decide if heaven or hell is the place for eternity. Thinking of that is a crutch. Just accept that you are just a temporary collection of atoms gathered in one place in the form of you. Relax. Enjoy it. You are dead a long time.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Simple:
    Input - desired output = loss

    What's the desired output of biology?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ross Mason,

    That is enough in itself to admire without any earthly reason to bring some invented deity into the discussion.

    Or you could go even simpler and not think at all, and just look. Simpler. But not better or worse, in the cosmic scheme of things. Might matter to you, though.

    Edit: I was looking out at the sea only about an hour ago, but not much concerned about quarks. I was wondering if there were fish out there I could catch. While I looked, a reasonable sized fish (I'm guessing a mullet) jumped in front of me. Nature spoke! But what was the question??? Tooooooo deeeeeep. Mmmmmmm fisssssh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    There's no need to take any of these old beliefs as being literally true, but it is worth remembering that there is a lot of wisdom encoded in what seems to modern, rational, scientific eyes as irrational superstition

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15718 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    What’s the desired output of biology?

    For horticulture, more output
    Bio synthesis, more output
    For the organism itself, more DNA but it doesn't know that.
    ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'm fascinated by the implications for understandings of disability. We should talk.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15718 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    What's the desired output of biology?

    continuation

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15718 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    not think at all, and just look

    branches of spiritual practice are dedicated to that goal.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15718 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Just accept that you are just a temporary collection of atoms gathered in one place in the form of you. Relax. Enjoy it.

    that's one form of understanding, yes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15718 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Just accept that you are just a temporary collection of atoms gathered in one place in the form of you. Relax. Enjoy it. You are dead a long time.

    I am, and I do, I do-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I would really, really like to see the religious affiliation question moved to the 15+ side of the census. I put my kids down as having 'no religion' because they didn't have a religion. I didn't call them atheists. Whereas when I was a child I was counted as a Presbyterian, even though I wasn't religious, and I suspect that's very common.

    Good point. The 2006 Census noted that "Over 4 in 10 (43.0 percent) children (aged 0 to 14 years) were recorded as having no religion, compared with over 1 in 10 (11.8 percent) people aged 65 years and over. " Apples and oranges really.

    I think Jedi was counted as a non-response.

    Indeed. They counted Theism, Zoroastrian, Satanism and Other New Age Religions, but not Jedi. They appeared under Response Outside Scope.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    Another +1 for Chris's observation-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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