Why I became an atheist: Why did you not?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Dinosaur, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So your one example of where you admit you were wrong is one where you don't actually admit you were wrong? :shrug:

    As said - to help reduce experimental noise.
    And how do you best establish random chance unless you have people supposedly randomly choosing?
    If you merely look to go against a mathematical formula when there is far more within the experiment than mere maths then you open yourself up to the fairly significant question of whether the formula is correct in the first instance.

    And as for experiments not using them... well, can anybody guess why psychic experiments are generally not lauded as the epitome of scientific rigour? And those that are tend to conclude that psychic abilities were not identified?
    How is this control?
    Can you name me any psychic experiment that has been accepted as adequately rigourous.
    The absence of a control group within such experiments does not justify the absence, but rather brings into question the rigour of the experiments.
    How do you know unless you do it.
    What if the person DOES recall as much apparent detail as person who wakes up while in REM?

    Yes it is. So you should be looking to eliminate experimental noise with regard such dreams - to isolate that which is specific only to the state of dreaming. And how better to do that than conduct the same experiments with those NOT dreaming?
    Sure - people can study the possibility, and test for it.
    But who is claiming it false based on belief? They are claiming it false based on the lack of evidence for it - i.e. they are taking what they consider to be the rational position when confronted with zero evidence supporting the claim.
    The key issue is whether they leave open any room for evidence arising that might show it to be true.
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  3. kwhilborn Banned Banned


    Nice Try. It seems a bit ridiculous, but you put in some effort.

    I especially like the part where you say the only way to know random chance is by asking random people.

    How did you phrase that...

    especially the first part.

    That is classic. You made my day. Thanks.

    I wonder if the math subforum would need to have people randomly choosing to discern random chance? Hmmm.

    Yes. I am sure even Trippy is rolling his eyes at that comment. Kudos.
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Read it within context (of our discussion of psychic experiments) and it makes sense.

    But hey, take it out of context if that floats your boat.
    And if that is the only response you can come up with, ignoring all the other points, then it speaks volumes about you.
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  7. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    This is more or less right.

    You can include an external control group, but some meaure of internal control would be better. It also has the potential for indicating or eliminating hidden variables - for example, if an individual has a habit of describing the same dream dreams of something different that is related to the image shown to the transmitter that might be significant. The closest to what I have in mind is let's say the receiver is an 18 year old male that dreams about sex with business women a lot, and the transmitter gets shown a picture of a beach, then this individual might dream of sex with a woman in a bikini instead. This might, or might not represent a slightly successful experiment, but you're not going to know unless you have the background data. Also, there might be problems with subjects remembering previous dreams or so on.

    I'm approaching this as someone who uses stastics on a daily bases, not someone who is interested in paranormal research or sleep science.
  8. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ Trippy,

    I had no problem with the original random awakening experiment scenario you originally suggested. I was surprised you took offense when I told you they improved on the random awakenings by aiming for the dream sequences. All paranormal studies are bound to have noise, as it is the nature of humans to possess their own thoughts.

    @ Sarkus,
    I had addressed most of your post by typing "lol". I could have left it at that (and did), but then I edited in the parts I found the funniest.
  9. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    I really don't care.

    I'm aware of the frequency of REM sleep, however, nothing you said indicated that they were woken more than once.

    I said robust. I'm quite specific with my language. I'm something of a pedant by nature and so I try to choose my words carefully to convey my meaning accurately.

    I'm sure you do.

    This is just hilarious. You still haven't admitted you were wrong (that I have seen) about a particular video, even after I provided you with the guys personal blog in which he stated the same thing I had said regarding it. In fact, I seem to recall your response was to allege that he had been browbeaten into making the statement.

    Here's a hint. Waking the during NREM sleep and asking them what they were dreaming about has nothing to do with testing their abilities to recall their dream.

    You are so full of shit.

    You made a claim. The claim did not match the information you provided so I challenged it, the same as I would expect anyone else to do.

    Frustrated, not wrong. I'm sick of your attitude, and I'm sick of your dishonesty.

    When I am wrong, I admit it.

    I haven't stated my opinion on this, only taken great pains to point out that occasionally we must accept absence of evidence as evidence of absence.

    See above.

    Burden of proof always applies. If sometimes it means Science ruling out a hypothesis that might otherwise be correct, then that's fine. A good example is North America. There is a body of circumstantial evidence that points to a large bolide airburst over North America 13,000 years ago - including wildfires, extinctions, and climate fluctuations. The problem is that there has been no 'hard' evidence presented reflecting the presence of a bolide in the atmosphere at that time. So, most scientists disregard the hypothesis because much of this circumstantial evidence has perfectly acceptable alternative explanations. A recent study, however, has found a layer with platinum in it in Greenland ice cores that dates to 13,000 years ago. This new evidence will force a re-examination of the hypothesis and the remainder of the evidence.

    You keep presenting this false analogy, and it's still just as false.

    Describing an experiment as, or claiming an experiment is double blind doesn't automatically make it double blind, not when that claim or description is contrary to the information provided.

    I haven't actually claimed otherwise. This comes purely from your assumptions, nothing more.

    You have represented my assertions dishonestly at least once in many of the above points.
  10. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Here's another example of how my proposed methodology is more robust: How do you know if your receiver is lying? My methodology, at least, has the potential to weed out and identify these sorts of behaviours, hence, more robust.
  11. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    You're going to have to point to what part of which post makes you think I took offense. I simply made the point that my proposal was actually more robust because it had more levels of control built into it, and had levels of internal control as well as external control. The point of having control groups is to improve the quality of the data and to give you something to compare against.
  12. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ Trippy,
    No. If someone does not want to prove something then they do not have to try.

    Imagine someone saw a real UFO.

    Note to spidergoat and all: I am not endorsing alien spacecraft. This is an analogy.

    Imagine someone saw a real alien landing and saw an alien spacecraft. After the ship leaves, they do not need to prove their story to anyone. They might not even choose to tell anybody.


    It DOES NOT...
  13. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ Trippy,
    The word Robust did not escape me when you first used it. I consider that personification, as it is usually a word describing people, and things personified such as wine.
    I simply said...
    I thought this was a slight adaptation you might agree with, but then you went and started getting rude over this mild thing.

    you say...
    I had interpreted as being rude.

    Yeah. I still do. I have tried reading it a few different ways and yet it seems you are challenging this simply for the sake of it. I hope you now realize (even if not admitting), that REM sleep is the best time to intercept a dream sequence, and that your rudeness here was uncalled for.

    I had complimented your idea for experiment, and then showed you it had been done.
  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Another false analogy. The point that has been made repeatedly in this thread is that if your individual wanted to assert that the UFO was real, then the burden of proof would be upon them to prove that it was real, not everyone else to prove that it wasn't.

    Stop misrepresenting my words.
  15. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    I think it is my words misrepresented.

    My point repeatedly in this thread is that nobody knows for sure if god does or does not exist.

    I say it is FOOLISH for anyone to make a CLAIM (see my last post analogy) in favor of either sides.

    I maintain that nobody can win or lose these endless religion threads at this time. Perhaps in the future someone may discover something that can prove god, but there will never be a way to disprove god.

    Then he/she would be a fool participating in a foolish discussion.
  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    If you were unclear then you should have asked instead of making assumptions. One of the things robustness relates to in science is sensitivity to outliers. My proposed method is more robust because it is less sensitive to outliers because it takes samples where we expect a null result.

    That's the whole point that you've missed in your emotional tirade that has, apparently, been driven by the grudge that you're still holding because I banned you 18 months ago. The whole point of waking them when they're not supposed to be dreaming is because we expect a null result and anything other than a null result might be significant.

    Perhaps you need to reconsider what you said in the first place.
    Do you understand the difference between:
    "Unlike your experiment however the subjects were awoken during REM sleep (during dreams). "
    "Unlike your experiment however the subjects were awoken ONLY during REM sleep (during dreams). "
    Which is what it seems you meant? Do you understand how the difference between those two sentences might lead to a miscommunication resulting in me pointing out the REM sleep occurs during sleep and so waking people at random intervals is going to wake some people during REM sleep and others during NREM sleep?
  17. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    And you've made that clear. I certainly haven't attributed any other position to you, aside from suggesting that if you believe telepathy is real, that telepathy forms mass consciousness, that mass consciousness is part of god (all things you have explicitly stated) then it follows logically that you believe that god must exist

    And yet, you have done precisely that regardless of whether or not it was your intent.

    Hence your god is a god of the gaps. This is the comment I made to begin with that got me embroiled in this forsaken argument.

    The difference between us is that:
    1. I have come to realize that sometimes absence of proof must be accepted as proof of absence (for example, water contamination).
    2. I have stated neither my opinion on god or telepathy.
    3. I am willing to accept that sometimes science falsely rejects an otherwise valid hypothesis, but I am perfectly comfortable with that because a wrongly rejected hypothesis can always be revisited should further evidence become available.

    As I have pointed out before, in statistics we even have a name for this - it's called an "error of the second kind" also known as a "Type II error". Personally, I'm more comfortable rejecting a hypothesis that lacks evidence than I am accepting a hypothesis in blind faith that it might be proven true at some point in the future.
  18. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ Trippy,

    I only popped in to write post 117 which is in essence the exact same thing I posted in my last post. Nobody here can prove anything.

    You came along and labelled the argument as god of the gaps as if my argument had no merit.

    My argument is one of the few correct stances in this thread.

    Atheists cannot prove god does not exist so should shut it.


    Theists have no proof god exists so they should also shut it.

    albeit the last two lines are the condensed version.

    I have explained repeatedly why "extraordinary claims require ... proof", and "Burden of Proof" only apply if the want and ability to make a valid claim exists.

    I was the first person to mention "Evidence of Absence" as well, which also does not enter into this discussion unless you have a valid hypothesis which would be impossible given subject matter (god).

    I am arguing for a point I feel is correct. I think it is you who is arguing for sake of it, and it has nothing to do with our history.

    Nothing said in this thread can ever convince me that god can be proven or disproved using whatever belief inducing protocals (i.e. Evidence of absence) you care to use. This thread and most religious debates are foolish. I would not mind seeing one where people presented theories that could include god like those of Walter Russell, but just saying "yay" or "nay" is dumb.
  19. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Arrogant much?

    Do you understand yet how sometimes we must accept an absence of evidence as being evidence of absence?

    Should we accept an absence of evidence of you being a pedophile as evidence of absence of pedophilia on your behalf or should we simply presume you to be one because at some point in the future evidence may emerge to support that hypothesis?
  20. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ Trippy,

    Okay we can continue...

    I have no way to prove if you are or are not a pedophile. If evidence that was conclusive showed itself that you are a pedophile at some point in the future then the argument would be solved. Without evidence you could never be positive either way and you cannot prove the negative. I don't think anybody could prove you are not a pedophile, but it could be proved you are a pedophile (if evidence existed).

    About Evidence of absence in a different light. If you pressed the on switch of an electric motor and failed to measure any magnetism or electricity then you could likely surmise that the motor is not working using the evidence of absence. You can look at what should hypothetically be there if the hypothesis is correct. This is one example of how it could work.

    It does not prove the motor does not work though. Perhaps the measuring equipment is malfunctioning. It is good for guiding your belief only, and when I say belief I am talking structured and not something with no hypothesis in place (like a god).
  21. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Here's another example - consider if we applied your standard in the court room and considered that an asbence of evidence of guilt was not evidence of an asbence of guilt. Simply lock people away who have been accused of crimes because we can not rule out the possibility of evidence emerging in the future that they are guilty. Imagine how much money we could save, we could do away with the justice system entirely. This is what you're suggesting should be done.

    Alternatively, we can accept the absence of evidence of guilt as being evidence of the absence of guilt, accept that sometimes this means that we will, from time to time release someone who is actually guilty and accept that at sometime in the future we can revisit the question of their guilt should further evidence arise (or put in place things like double jeporady laws to stop that).

    Your generosity knows no bounds.

    Correct. Although some might interpret your rephrasing of my initial suggestion as some kind of an attempt at an insult.

    Right. Which is the same thing I have said all along. If there is no evidence to support the hypothesis (I am a pedophile) then we must reject the hypothesis. If at some poiint in the future further evidence emerges to support the hypothesis, then we can reconsider its validity.

    According to you.
    According to you it should be accepted on blind faith that I am a pedophile, and I should be treated as such. After all, you have annecdotal evidence to suggest I might be - I am often seen down at the parks with children.
    The rest of us reject the hypothesis because there is no evidence to support it and accept the absence of evidence as evidence of absence and presume that the annecdotal evidence might have an alternative explanation.

    At some point in the future, sure. According to you, however, I should be regarded and treated as one because it should be accepted on blind faith that I am, in fact, a pedophile.
    The alternative, which is what I have stated all along is to accept the absence of evidence as evidence of absence, reject the hypothesis that I am a pedophile and revisit that decision at a later date should more compelling

    In one sense this analogy is flawed.
    We have independent lines of evidence that suggests that motors in general work.
    We can repeat the experiment with using the same measuring equipment and multiple motors.
    We can repeat the experiment with the same motor and multiple measuring devices.
    We can gather independent lines of evidence to indicate whether or not the motor is working (is it spinning?).

    All of which falls under the category of exploring the hypothesis further to determine how wrong it is and where it is wrong.

    None of this contradicts the assertion which I will repeat for you, once again, sometimes an absence of evidence really is evidence of absence.
  22. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    bolded for emphasis, by me...

    hi kwhilborn, i was following, up until the part i bolded. can you clarify what you mean by 'no hypothesis in place?' thanks.

    lol, i did.
    now i'm getting offended on behalf of other posters. :/
  23. PartyBoy Registered Member

    A hypothesis is at best a trend, at worst an educated guess. I really don't see many atheists who get together and have a beer to discuss atheism. Scientists get together to discuss both sides, but to qualify a hypothesis over a belief is some error in semantics.

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