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Baroness Greenfield criticises 'Taliban-like' Stephen Hawking
The Telegraph ^ | 9/8/2010 | Alastair Jamieson

Posted on 09/08/2010 10:40:57 PM PDT by bruinbirdman

Physicists like Professor Stephen Hawking who claim God has no place in the creation of the Universe are behaving like the Taliban in trying to shut down freedom of discussion, according to Baroness Greenfield the former head of the Royal Institution.


Stephen Hawking and Baroness Greenfield

Lady Greenfield, former head of the Royal Institution and current professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, criticised the "smugness" of scientists who claim to “have all the answers”

Hawking also attacked philosophers for failing to keep up with modern developments in physics and biology so that “their discussions seem increasingly outdated and irrelevant”.

Lady Greenfield said: “Science can often suffer from a certain smugness and complacency. Michael Faraday, one of the greatest scientists, had a wonderful quote, he said: ‘There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right’

“What we need to preserve in science is a curiosity and an open-mindedness rather than a complacency and sort of arrogance where we attack people who come at the big truths and the big questions albeit using different strategies.”

Asked whether she was uncomfortable about scientists making comments about God, she said: “Yes I am. Of course they can make whatever comments they like but when they assume, rather in a Taliban-like way, that they have all the answers then I do feel uncomfortable. I think that doesn’t necessarily do science a service.”

She was also critical of Prof Hawking's comments about philosophy, saying: “Scientists have a duty, if they want to have people who aren’t scientists to appreciate that value of what they are doing, if they want to place it into a wider social and moral context, the duty is on the scientist to explain in words ordinary human being can understand. What is dangerous…

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: scientism
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1 posted on 09/08/2010 10:40:58 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman
Physicists like Professor Stephen Hawking who claim God has no place in the creation of the Universe are behaving like the Taliban in trying to shut down freedom of discussion

Right, Hawking is whirring around in his wheelchair cutting off heads, throwing acid in faces, destroying religious artifacts and murdering those who disagree with him, just like the Taliban. What nonsense - apparently wretched excess like this is a lot more fun than just saying "I think Stephen Hawking is wrong and here's why".
2 posted on 09/08/2010 10:52:39 PM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: bruinbirdman
Hawking offered no evidence to support his conclusions.

He simply stated something as if it were reasoned fact when in fact is is not.

He has every right to say whatever he wants. But he does not have the right to claim it under the banner of science.

In short he's totally blown his credibility by making major conclusions under the veil of science where he does not have evidence to back up his claims. He offers his arrogance instead.

3 posted on 09/08/2010 11:00:11 PM PDT by DB
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To: bruinbirdman
I know he is brilliant as a physicist and theorist... but I find his conclusion of philosophy pedestrian and pap/pulp garbage for the masses of hippy Trotsky/gramsci socialist saps (or is it sophist).

Doesn't this man have children? He really can't see the hands of God in his own offspring? What it tells is that his psychology has bittered towards the last few years of life... sad... a lot like fat-ebert without the ignorance.

4 posted on 09/08/2010 11:06:50 PM PDT by Porterville ( I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum)
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To: DB
"Hawking offered no evidence to support his conclusions."

Do you understand the definition of "theoretical physics"?

"He simply stated something as if it were reasoned fact when in fact is is not."

No, what he stated was his conclusion, not fact. Again, see the definition of "theoretical".

"He has every right to say whatever he wants. But he does not have the right to claim it under the banner of science."

He has every right to hypothesis, especially in his field of expertise - an expertise that I'd wager dwarfs whatever understanding you might have on the same subject.

"In short he's totally blown his credibility by making major conclusions under the veil of science where he does not have evidence to back up his claims. "

In short, time will tell. Again, you demonstrate that you don't have the first clue about how the process of theoretical science plays out. Many of the ideas that were first postulated by Newton, took hundreds of years before science could construct tests to prove them or disapprove. With Einstein's theories, it's taken decades, even generations and some yet remain to be proven.

I wouldn't bet against Hawking when he's speaking about physics. He's accomplished more trapped inside the prison of his own body, than most men accomplish in a lifetime.

5 posted on 09/08/2010 11:10:40 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: AnotherUnixGeek
Right, Hawking is whirring around in his wheelchair cutting off heads, throwing acid in faces, destroying religious artifacts and murdering those who disagree with him, just like the Taliban. What nonsense - apparently wretched excess like this is a lot more fun than just saying "I think Stephen Hawking is wrong and here's why".

She has a point. The science press gives Hawking more voice than he deserves. He knows it and uses loaded terms and ideas. His views go unchecked straight to the people. She takes license to liken such pronouncements as Taliban like. I'm ok with that.

6 posted on 09/08/2010 11:11:11 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The meek shall not inherit the Earth)
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To: Porterville
"but I find his conclusion of philosophy pedestrian and pap/pulp garbage for the masses of hippy Trotsky/gramsci socialist saps (or is it sophist)."

I'm sure he'll probably lose some sleep over that.

7 posted on 09/08/2010 11:11:22 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand
I wouldn't bet against Hawking when he's speaking about physics. He's accomplished more trapped inside the prison of his own body, than most men accomplish in a lifetime.

Sure, he knows more about physics than non physicists. His big accomplishment is Hawking Radiation. To me that is small potatoes compared to Einstein's contributions, an able bodied man. There are plenty of other able bodied physicists who are making major contributions to physics but you never here of them. The PC press just loves to roll out the disabled as exemplars of achievement at the expense of the able bodied.

8 posted on 09/08/2010 11:26:17 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The meek shall not inherit the Earth)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek

He is billigerent. And he deserves the same back at him. Atheists are full of their nasty selves these days and are running around debasing religious people with pure disrespect and hatred. They think they are superior and that is why the come across as big fat racists/fascists. No humility and no social intellegence in that kind of intolerant and disrespectful behavior.

We can build Victory Mosques in NY and burn Korans and we can run around shouting down Christians and hating Joooos and Isarel because we are free to do these things. But that is rude and inconsiderate behavior. All of that is the same mentality and it breeds more of the same.

Atheists need some of their own medicine about now. They are way out of control in the hate and mistaken superiority department.


9 posted on 09/08/2010 11:27:18 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: OldDeckHand

He needs more feedback from his universe. He is an arrogant ass.


10 posted on 09/08/2010 11:28:31 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
'She has a point. The science press gives Hawking more voice than he deserves."

More press than he deserves? Says who?

How much "voice" should the music press give to Mozart? Or the medical press give to Salk?

This is Steven Hawking you're talking about, not some undergrad at UC Irvine.

"His views go unchecked straight to the people"

Shocking! His views go unchecked straight to the people. How dare he? What is the world coming to? Next you're going to tell us that there's a free press, and everything.

Please let us know who you believe the arbiter of "good science" should be, and what are the "clearance" procedures that must be completed before views can go "checked" to the people.

11 posted on 09/08/2010 11:31:13 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: SaraJohnson
"He needs more feedback from his universe. He is an arrogant ass."

And your credentials in the field of physics are what exactly? You know, just so we can evaluate your determinations as cited.

12 posted on 09/08/2010 11:32:39 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
"The PC press just loves to roll out the disabled as exemplars of achievement at the expense of the able bodied."

Oh good grief. What drivel. Hawking was the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics for the better part of three decades. Do you know who also held that chair? Newton, that's who. It's the most prestigious academic chair in science.

13 posted on 09/08/2010 11:36:31 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand

Shirley you are foolin’.


14 posted on 09/08/2010 11:43:52 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson
"Shirley you are foolin’."

I see you understanding of physics is only surpassed by your command of the English language.

15 posted on 09/08/2010 11:53:05 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand

Careful you don’t trip and fall with your nose up in the air so high.


16 posted on 09/08/2010 11:55:01 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson
"Careful you don’t trip and fall with your nose up in the air so high."

Is exactly what you'd expect someone to say who is so reflexively hostile to scientific discovery.

17 posted on 09/08/2010 11:57:54 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand

Hostile to scientific discovery...so prove God does not exist, dummy.


18 posted on 09/08/2010 11:59:25 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson
"Hostile to scientific discovery...so prove God does not exist, dummy."

Science was not your strong suit in high school, was it? Do yourself a favor, and look up argumentum ad ignorantiam .

19 posted on 09/09/2010 12:08:36 AM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand
Okay...

Where's the mathematical hypothesis concluding God played no role in the creation of the universe?

Einstein's theories, Newtons theories all had mathematical basis for various relationships.

Hawking pulled this one out of his ass.

I don't have to be physicists to have common sense. Are you really going to argue Hawking can tell us with ANY confidence through science that God played no part in the creation of the universe which is basically his claim? And if he can't offer any confidence beyond 50-50 what's the point in saying it?

20 posted on 09/09/2010 1:38:12 AM PDT by DB
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To: OldDeckHand

He’s a brilliant scientist.

However his refutation of the existence of God is based on:

a) postulating the steady-state theory of the Universe
b) saying ‘therefore there is no God’.

His argument really is as facile - and as ignorant - as that. His concept of God seems to be that of a being who can only exist within time.


21 posted on 09/09/2010 1:51:08 AM PDT by agere_contra (...what if we won't eat the dog food?)
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To: OldDeckHand

“I wouldn’t bet against Hawking when he’s speaking about physics.”

I wouldn’t either.

God isn’t his area of expertise. He simply cannot know what he speaks of in this area one way or another. It is unknowable. I don’t have to be genius to know that.


22 posted on 09/09/2010 1:57:39 AM PDT by DB
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To: SaraJohnson

“Hostile to scientific discovery...so prove God does not exist, dummy.”

The theory that God exists adds complexity to the general model of the universe without providing a better explanation of how the universe works. It thus fails by Occam’s razor.

It is thus up to proponents of the existence of God to provide evidence of such. You could, for instance, explain how God came to exist, what God is made of, how God “thinks”, how God interacts with the universe, etc., and provide evidence to back it up.

So far I’ve not even seen a serious attempt to scientifically explain God, let alone a successful one.


23 posted on 09/09/2010 2:45:08 AM PDT by Moral Hazard
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To: DB

“I don’t have to be physicists to have common sense. Are you really going to argue Hawking can tell us with ANY confidence through science that God played no part in the creation of the universe which is basically his claim? And if he can’t offer any confidence beyond 50-50 what’s the point in saying it? “

What Hawking can point to is a lack of evidence that “God played any part in the creation of the universe.” Why should he, or anyone else, give any more deference to the idea of the existence of God than any other theory for which there is no evidence?


24 posted on 09/09/2010 2:53:05 AM PDT by Moral Hazard
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To: Moral Hazard
So far I’ve not even seen a serious attempt to scientifically explain God, let alone a successful one.

If you are referring to the Judeo-Christian God, then science will never be able to prove that he exists. This is confirmed by numerous passages in the Bible which clearly state that God is unobservable and unseen.

A true believer doesn't need the earthly construct of science to "prove" that God exists. Such a person believes in God simply based on faith alone. A believer who does insist on basing his faith on something tangible is going to be very disappointed.

25 posted on 09/09/2010 3:03:15 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: DB

Hawking is bitter. Bitterness at God for one’s condition has a tendency to cloud one’s objectivity on this topic.

I thought the scientific process looked at all relevant data prior to making conclusions—anti-God scientists (and academics for that matter) routinely exclude data that potentially support the existence of God, a creator, creation, etc.


26 posted on 09/09/2010 3:24:14 AM PDT by applpie
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To: pnh102
I may be wrong but I believe that Hawking's principal anti-God quote is as follows;

“Spontaneous creation, is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going."

This disturbs neither my reasoning nor my Christian Beliefs. God and any belief system is Metaphysical, literally beyond physics and was defined as such by Aristotle. That there is a God and that there is for me, A Savior, is something that I know inside and in the terms of Søren Kierkegaard, it is a "Leap to faith" unsupported by any logic other than BELIEF!

I pay attention to Mr Hawking in the matters of physics. He has taken a life that most of us would regard as horrible and made it a shining example of what can be done. I will add his philosophical views to my knowledge base but it will not effect my religious beliefs.

27 posted on 09/09/2010 3:52:34 AM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek
I don't mean to address her accuracy regarding S Hawking since I know little of the man. There is something people must understand about the Taliban or Nazis et al: That they are what they are BEFORE they ever do any overtly or outwardly evil or actionable thing. Evil is the simple condition of personally assuming ultimate moral authority.
28 posted on 09/09/2010 4:03:28 AM PDT by TalBlack
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To: OldDeckHand
It's surely hard for most people to relate to someone who possesses little or no sense of humor (or has never seen the movie Airplane). And you can call me Shirley.

Dr. Hawking is probably the most brilliant theoretical physicist of his generation. His statements lately positing that a universe and its laws can spring from nothing with no intelligence guiding its formation may be his opinion, and he's entitled to it, but unless he can show his peers the math which backs that up the contention his opinion on this particular subject is worth no more than yours or mine.

29 posted on 09/09/2010 5:46:05 AM PDT by katana (No pity, no mercy, no quarter for traitors)
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To: DB; agere_contra
"Are you really going to argue Hawking can tell us with ANY confidence through science that God played no part in the creation of the universe which is basically his claim?"

Two points. First, I have not yet had the opportunity to read the book. I'm hoping Amazing delivers my copy sometime before this weekend. It just went into print on Tuesday.

Second, all that we know about what Hawking said, and what he did say is....

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

Is what has been reported by the few media outlets that received advanced copies of the book. Of course, to sell papers, they're going to create the most sensational headlines.

Clearly however, you can see that Hawking isn't refuting "God" per se, he's saying that a supernatural force isn't perhaps necessary to explain the spontaneity of the universe. I would prefer to read his entire thesis, before I pass judgment on the man as a "racist & fascist" as some on this very thread have done already.

Theoretical physicists theorize. That is their stock & trade. Sometimes those theories hold up after close scrutiny, and sometimes they don't. I'm suggesting we let that process play out before we label the man the second coming of the Third Reich.

30 posted on 09/09/2010 8:07:42 AM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: Moral Hazard
It is thus up to proponents of the existence of God to provide evidence of such.

Is that because the atheists say so? The arguments you gave are designed by atheist scientists to protect their little belief structure and kingdom. That is fine; they are allowed to have their own religion. But they may not impose their belief structure on everyone else from a delusion of superiority. In a world of many beliefs, it would serve science well if it removed itself from the atheists' politics of religious dominance.
31 posted on 09/09/2010 10:51:14 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: OldDeckHand

Do yourself a favor and look up delusions of atheist social superiority. Then look up how that worked out in the Soviet Union and get back to me.


32 posted on 09/09/2010 10:53:31 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson
Let's see, thus far you've compared Dr. Hawking to a racist, a fascist and now a communist in the Soviet Union.

You do have a special kind of crazy, I'll give you that.

33 posted on 09/09/2010 10:55:49 AM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: Moral Hazard

Why go there at all since it is humanly unknowable.


34 posted on 09/09/2010 10:59:58 AM PDT by DB
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To: Moral Hazard

Do you ever sit down on a chair without grabbing to it and holding it as your butt descends to rest? ... You could choose to accept that the existence of something is the fundamental evidence that their is an intelligence behind that existence, but you are—in the words from Romans—without excuse.


35 posted on 09/09/2010 11:05:22 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Mormons, believing they cannot be deceived; nye impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: OldDeckHand

I’d propose that the supposedly rational step from literally nothing to literally everything is a magical step and a critical step that essentially is no different than God saying “let there be light”. Both are beyond physics as anyone can know it. Both are faith based.


36 posted on 09/09/2010 11:09:03 AM PDT by DB
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To: DB

You can say whatever you want, yes,

but you don’t deserve any respect for your opinions
when those opinions are ARBITRARY, ie, based on nothing but personal preference.


37 posted on 09/09/2010 11:12:37 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MHGinTN

Without biblical creation, you have no foundational reason to believe that that chair will hold you THIS time, just because it did LAST time.
Uniformity is a biblical concept, and in a random universe, well, anything can happen.


38 posted on 09/09/2010 11:15:33 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: SaraJohnson

“Is that because the atheists say so? The arguments you gave are designed by atheist scientists to protect their little belief structure and kingdom. That is fine; they are allowed to have their own religion. But they may not impose their belief structure on everyone else from a delusion of superiority. In a world of many beliefs, it would serve science well if it removed itself from the atheists’ politics of religious dominance.”

Science is not a religion. Accepted scientific theories are based on evidence. Science also accepts that any particular theory could be proven wrong by counter evidence. If there was prevailing scientific evidence of the existence of God, then the existence of God would be accepted by science.


39 posted on 09/09/2010 12:30:00 PM PDT by Moral Hazard
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To: OldDeckHand

You do have a special kind of crazy, I’ll give you that.


Thanks. From an self delusional atheist who mistakes himself as a superior over all knowledge and wisdom on the basis of “scientific” truth, I will take being named crazy as a compliment.

What ever happened to that global warming settled science doctrine and the cap and trade alms? Was the temple of the smart people preaching false doctrine? Since I lack a science degree from the church, I am not qualified to say. If I did, I would be acting uncivilized and blasphemous. Science gods would classify me as crazy.


40 posted on 09/09/2010 12:30:12 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: DB

“Why go there at all since it is humanly unknowable.”

Why attack Hawking for stating a position that you yourself seem to acknowledge can’t possibly be refuted with real evidence?


41 posted on 09/09/2010 12:34:22 PM PDT by Moral Hazard
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To: Moral Hazard

Is that like the science temple’s doctrine of man made Global Warming and all it’s degreed gods who found evidence of it? Heck the smart people even had a solution of giving alms to the global warming god in order to cool the earth down.

Science is anything but pure truth and scientists are anything but honorable priests in that atheist temple. As we learned with global warming, the high priests of science who review the lower priests proclaimations of scientific truth are self serving asses, too. They are no different than the fallen idiots who run the real churches and temples. Atheism and their science doctrines do not cure this disease of mankind, even in their own congregation.


42 posted on 09/09/2010 12:38:00 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: MrB
"Without biblical creation, you have no foundational reason to believe that that chair will hold you THIS time, just because it did LAST time."

Really, without "biblical creation" you have no reason to believe the very same principles of friction, molecular adhesion, Newton's Laws of Motion or any of the other dozens of principles and laws of physics at play, will apply the exact same way the second time you sit in a chair as they did the first time you sat in a chair. Is that what you're saying?

What complete nonsense.

Where do people get so facially unintelligent ideas about science? It's a mystery.

43 posted on 09/09/2010 12:40:17 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: SaraJohnson
"Thanks. From an self delusional atheist who mistakes himself as a superior over all knowledge and wisdom on the basis of “scientific” truth, I will take being named crazy as a compliment. "

I'm not surprised you'd take that as a compliment. Your delusion is fully-formed.

44 posted on 09/09/2010 12:42:17 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: MHGinTN

“You could choose to accept that the existence of something is the fundamental evidence that their is an intelligence behind that existence, but you are—in the words from Romans—without excuse.”

Why does existence imply an intelligence behind that existence? By adding an “intelligence” behind the existence all you’ve done is add something else who’s existence you can’t explain.

It’s like the theory that life on Earth originated on Mars. So far there is little evidence that says it didn’t happen, but it adds complexity to the theory of the origin of life without explaining things any better. In science when that happens you apply “Occam’s razor” and go with the simpler theory that is consistent with the evidence.


45 posted on 09/09/2010 12:42:27 PM PDT by Moral Hazard
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To: OldDeckHand

So, what are YOU basing your assumption that the laws will be the same next time as last time?

And if you say “they always have”, you’re making a circular argument, assuming that which is to be proven.


46 posted on 09/09/2010 12:42:47 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Moral Hazard

Good luck with that pocket watch found in the deep woods, which you prefer to insist got there by complete chance, without an intelligence behind it’s existence.


47 posted on 09/09/2010 12:46:37 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Mormons, believing they cannot be deceived; nye impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: MrB
"So, what are YOU basing your assumption that the laws will be the same next time as last time?"

Empirical observation. How about that? You know, the foundation for all physical laws.

What you're asserting is absent a supernatural force - biblical creation in your example - the known physical laws of the universe don't exist. That's beyond ridiculous.

"And if you say “they always have”, you’re making a circular argument, assuming that which is to be proven."

This sentence is gibberish - absent any logical meaning. You think that concluding physical laws of nature behave today the exact same way they've behaved since the beginning of time is "circular logic", then you don't understand the definition of fallacious argument known as circular reasoning.

48 posted on 09/09/2010 12:52:20 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: All

I wouldn’t be questioning the intellect of others if your argument is simply “he is right because he is Stephen Hawking and he is brilliant”....there are a great many FOOLS whose walls are lined with worthless papers....


49 posted on 09/09/2010 12:53:12 PM PDT by Maverick68
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To: OldDeckHand

Empirical observation?

So you’ve personally seen that these laws are uniform throughout time, since the beginning?

And empiricism is based on observable, sensual input - so how do you know you can trust what you see, even of those things you have seen?

I’m not asserting anything, I’m asking you to tell me what your assumptions are based on, because being arbitrary is not an option.

And, by the way, I’m not going to back down from the standard “I’m smarter than you, you don’t understand, and you have no right to argue this with me” typical (leftist) arguments.

So, prove uniformity to me based on your empirical worldview.


50 posted on 09/09/2010 12:59:02 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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