Monday, September 12, 2011

Notes on Vox Popoli's PZ Memorial Debate: Openers

My unedited notes as follows, in moderately correct temporal order.


-There is a vast quantity of extant documentary and testimonial evidence providing indications that gods exist.

Easy. Does it really indicate gods exist, or does it indicate that human testimony is unreliable? Humans, I've noticed, are pretty good at gathering data but utterly awful at interpreting it.

-it cannot simply be dismissed out of hand

No shit. No evidence can be dismissed out of hand, even anecdotal evidence.

-Each and every case demands its own careful examination before it can be dismissed, and such examination has never been done in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Incorrect. Categories and generalizations can be made - it is impossible that each case has unique features. I predict you'll find every case epistemically lacking, with the exception of a few cases that, while they could go either way, cannot be confirmed. (Despite the wealth of alternatives.)

You see, I've seen these sorts of projects before, enough to draw meta-generalizations. Still, I advocate undertaking the project, as long as it doesn't fail the opportunity cost analysis.

-If we apply the same reasoning to published scientific papers that some wish to apply

I am not 'some.' We have a concrete opponent - find out what they wish to apply. (This is why I don't like blind openers - you have to make assumptions to write it, yet you could have just asked.)

The standard is obviously profoundly flawed and it is insulting that Vox implies his opponent needs to be told otherwise. If his opponent is really of that low quality, then they will be incapable of understanding what's going on, let alone defending their own position, which means if you find yourself honestly thinking this, the rational response is stop, drop, and roll - pretending to debate is a waste of time, so don't.

I think we should find some way to make objective this intuitive reading, because absolutely 100% of the time, it indicates the debate is corrupt; pointless at best.

-Because it is intrinsically testimonial in nature,

Aside: another non-mystery for dualism. Why are deities testimonial? Beause they are beings of consciousness, not physics.

-However, this critical analogy actually demonstrates the precise opposite of what it purports to show. Since eyewitness testimony has been variously determined to be somewhere between 12 percent and 50 percent inaccurate, this means that between 50 percent and 88 percent of the testimonial evidence for gods should be assumed accurate

Quite so.
I won't be mentioning further passages I agree simply with.
If I don't quote something, I either agree with it, or I've explicitly dealt with its issue elsewhere.

-The correct interpretations of the specific details, of course, are a different matter.

I'm pleased he recognized this key issue.

-Blanket rejection of the entire historical record that does not accord with the present materialist consensus with regards to the universe turns this principle [primary sources] on its head to such an extent that it can only be described as ahistorical.

This is a sophistic re-framing of the issue, attempting to avoid being accused of begging the question. While indeed if the evidence for gods was good, then this would be a decent explanation of why materialists deny it.
You see the extra logical step there, to insulate the statement from its fallacy? It tries to make the debate about whether materialists are ahistorical, but begs the question of why they'd be ahistorical.

-Moreover, it is downright illogical given the dynamic nature of the materialist consensus, especially when one takes into account how many times the material rejectionist position can be confirmed to have been wrong whereas the historical record was correct. The cities of Capernaum, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Nineveh, and the empires of Assyria and the Hittites are but six of many valid examples.

I have no idea what he's talking about. As such, it doesn't count as evidence.

-In fact, the material rejectionist position amounts to nothing more than a time-limited appeal to technology. At one time, Man could not detect x-rays, radiation, or distant planets because he lacked the necessary technology.
In fact the materialist position is a philosophical position that gods can't ever be detected, because miracles are contradictions of the laws of physics.

-At present, Man cannot detect dark matter, the Higgs boson, other universes, Heaven, Hell, alien life forms, or intelligent supernatural beings. These things may or may not exist

An excellent example. Other universes are not detectable even in principle, by definition - if its detectable, it's just another part of our universe. Materialists claim that Heaven and Hell also fall into this category, and supernatural beings simply do fall into that category.

-But science has never managed to exclude the existence of gods from anything

Because it's a philosophical position, though the ilk of Sam Harris doesn't apparently realize it.

-unless one also rejects the existence of multiple universes and other undetected concepts, one cannot reasonably reject the existence of gods.

To repeat, undetected != undetectable.

-Indeed, the acceptance of the possibility of the existence of the multiversal and the rejection of the possibility of the supernatural makes no sense

Hear hear.

-given that it is entirely conceivable that the two could be identical.

Even more so.

-"a superhuman being worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes", which is how Oxford defines a god]

Well, Oxford's definition sucks balls. For example, take the Christian God. If everyone stopped worshipping Him, would he stop being a god? Everyone has power over nature and human fortunes. So we're left with superhuman. So, like, the terminator.

Though, it is true that defining deity is hard. I've been trying for months and all I've got is, 'self-aware concept,' which is obviously incomplete and possibly just wrong. (For example God would be the self-awareness of the concept Good.) But...I'm close, and Oxford isn't even thinking about being close.

-there has been sufficient time for at least 7,891 billion alien races to appear, evolve, and reach a higher level of technological development than Man given the current ratio of 1.18 planets discovered per star

Haha. Oops.
Anyone want to remind me which stars have had habitable planets discovered? Anyone? ...? Oh right, there aren't any.
Regardless, 8*10^3 sounds like a lot but spread randomly between 10^10 galaxies, it really, really isn't. (Division; about one in ten million galaxies. The odds against two arising in the same galaxy are ten trillion against.)

Edit: 100 billion is 1011. Also, as per Erik's comment, I forgot the birthday problem, and the real probability is 1 in 3000 or so. But that's still large and that's still assuming every planet can support life, by which I mean calculating the real probability is really hard - it isn't well pinned down.

Further Edit: Actually actually, no. The odds I want to calculate are the odds of us finding conscious aliens in the Milky Way. Those odds are one in ten million. (Or more generally of conscious aliens being in range to find us, the odds are stupendous. On the other hand if it can be confirmed no aliens exist at all, I will take it as evidence of a Godlike entity having caused biogenesis.)

Even further edit: I totally missed a 'billion.' (This is what I mean by taking notes so I can later check them.) Vox claims it's 8 trillion alien races, 8*1012. Now I have to actually do math. School successfully inculcated math aversion into me - indeed that's why I get it wrong so many times before getting it right.

"the universe is 13.75 billion years old, the Sun is 4.6 billion years old, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, and homo sapiens sapiens reached behavioral modernity 50,000 years ago. As there are a conservatively estimated 200 billion stars in the galaxy and 100 billion galaxies in the universe, [2*1022 total] there has been sufficient time for at least 7,891 billion alien races to appear, evolve, and reach a higher level of technological development than Man given the current ratio of 1.18 planets discovered per star."

I set aside that no habitable planets have been discovered, because our detection methods aren't good enough to see them even if they're there.

First, that's still only 80 sapient species in a galaxy on average, according to simple division. Assuming a simple even, nonrandom spread across the Milky Way, each has a volume of approximately 100 billion (1011) light years cubed to themselves. The radius of that sphere is 3000 light years, putting them at 6000 light years away - or conversely 6000 years in the past, and much longer if they use a physically reasonable propulsion system, and noting they'd have to slow down again at the end to match our velocity.

But that's ignoring the many wrong assumptions in Vox's math. First, I can't figure out how he got that number. Vox would of course say it's "obvious," and I'm just dumb. No, Vox, you need to be explicit and write clearly. Don't reject scientific standards just because you don't like scientists; transcend them.

Best as I can determine, Vox thinks it takes 40 billion planet-years to evolve a life form to at least human status. I have no idea if the overall universe age was used, though I assumed it was for the sake of ballparking. I have no idea what he used the Sun's age for. He also doesn't need the 50kya, because it's meaninglessly small. In other words, his numbers seem to be pure rectal-extraction type. (Which makes sense as nobody has the numbers - rectal extraction is the only source.)

Second, it is an ad-hoc Drake equation. Drake's equation has been roundly criticized, and Vox's is just a poor imitation.
Further, I don't know where Vox got his 1.18 ratio. The real number is planets divided by stars checked, and nobody reports planetless stars. Using La Wik, you get 0.25 planets per star, (50/200) and also only 4% (54/1235) are even (possibly) in the habitable zone, let alone actually habitable.

I also don't know the star-formation versus time curve. I do know that rocky planets weren't possible until a cycle or few of supernovae. Yes, we're talking only population I stars, not II or III, which first started forming around the same time as the Sun - say 5 billion years ago.
(Notice how much of DS's word limit he'd have to burn to create an epistemically sound rebuttal. This is not unintentional, though it may not be conscious.)

In other words, other races have had roughly zero years head start on us. Assuming Drake variables such that it's likely there's one in the Milky Way.

Oh and Vox's math doesn't make a damn lick of sense, more fool me for not checking in the first place. I stand by my conclusion that other sapients may exist, but the odds of them being anywhere in range are stupendous. However, I now further conclude that the odds against anyone actually calculating the correct odds are even more stupendous - the literature is like 99% gap (+- 1% and skewed high) on this subject.
End edit.

Further, this was preceded by...

-Science itself lends support to the idea of the material existence of gods in this universe when astronomical evidence taken into account.

This is probably sophistry; unless it was pure foolishness. The evidence shows nothing of the kind, and Vox is either intentionally (subconsciously?) misrepresenting it, or is incompetent to evaluate it.

If you made a similar mistake, which would you prefer to be accused of? (I prefer foolishness; it is easier to cure.)

-And to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from godhood.

I can see Vox, in another context, defending the proposition that there hasn't been enough time to develop superhuman technology on another planet, and certainly not enough time for it to get here from there, with exactly the same logic. That context specifically: we find a god and the materialists claim it is an alien.

-One could dismiss the numerical argument as a simple appeal to very large numbers

On the contrary, it refutes itself on exactly that premise.

-except for the fact of a written historical record which repeatedly describes contact with superhuman beings possessing power over nature and human fortunes

Which has yet to be established.

-When the mathematical odds indicate that advanced technological aliens exist somewhere in the material universe and contact with superhuman beings has been reported on tens of thousands of occasions, the assumption that gods do not exist begins to look more like outright denial than reasonable skepticism.

Conflation of 'apparent gods' and 'gods,' similarly shown by imagining Vox in another context, as above. When did Vox start thinking his creator God was just some alien? Even if he proved his point and changed everyone's mind, he would still be unhappy and need to debate.

Similarly, FTL is probably impossible regardless, as it implies time travel, which would simply violate every law, so it doesn't matter how many there are, what matters is how far away the nearest is.

-When seen in this light, the failure of modern science to detect gods in what the scientific consensus presently states is only 0.6 percent of modern Man's existence is analogous to the Aztecs assuming that because no white men were seen during a given 201-day period between 1427 and 1519, Cortés and the conquistadors did not exist.

Why is it necessary for me to mention that skin colour is a very different epistemic issue than deities?

I forgot to mention that the definitions of words that Oxford references at 'god' include 'supernatural.' A thing which is supernatural cannot have evidence, as evidence is natural by definition. So either gods don't make evidence trails or they're not supernatural, by definition.

This is why I'm having so much trouble defining 'deity.' I can't reference 'supernatural' without concluding I'm referencing an empty set.

Regardless, since Vox got the numbers all wrong, the statement is simply incorrect. The consensus' odds against life forming are also stupendously long, so it's like never having witnessed a biogenesis event and then concluding it didn't occur.

(Argument symmetry is an awfully handy thing to analyze.)

Again, I don't like blind openers. Vox has mischaracterized the issue. Incompetence or sophistry? If it is foolishness, his opponent could have (potentially) corrected him. It's also possible that his opponent will also blunder, indicating Vox is merely responding; that would mean they're both wrong and arguing about who is wronger. Is there any purpose to watching such a debate? If your opponent misunderstands the issues, then either respond to the real issues or just give it up as a waste of time.

-No doubt this would have seemed like a perfectly reasonable conclusion, right up until the day Córdoba arrived in the Yucatán.

If their philosophy sucked, maybe, yeah. It did suck; so there's that. Better philosophy is now available; we don't have to make the same mistake. (Of course, many do. One of them's named Vox.)

-So, there is evidence from history, mathematical probability from science, and logic from the combination of the two which support the existence of gods.

Right, let's see some of it. Yes? Yes...?

-Hence the importance of Man's moral sense.

So if I can derive and prove morality entirely through naturalistic logic and evidence, Vox will have to give up his belief in God? I didn't realize.

I wonder if that's why Vox enjoys debunking such things?

-I am not aware of a single individual who has denied ever experiencing any direct contact with evil. And by evil, [I mean] those self-aware, purposeful, and malicious forces which intend material harm and suffering to others and are capable of inflicting it.

Hi. My name is Alrenous. Nobody inflicts suffering for the sake of suffering. Even sadists do it because the suffering of others gives them pleasure - it is hedonistic. While many are willing to inflict suffering for their own gain, it is always with some such gain in mind.

By contrast, I seek truth for its own sake. When I don't enjoy it, I don't stop. (I've tried, out of curiosity.) I would give up my health and my sanity to pursue it more. I'm just lucky health improves the search rather than competes with it.
I'm not even sure why I'm this way, but I am.

-We are aware of this force in ourselves and we can observe it in others.

You seem confused about this force in yourself and therefore your observations of others.

-As anyone who has witnessed a child lie for the first time knows, human evil not an entirely learned behavior, it is at least partially endogenous.

This is a sophistic technique where a true statement is made to appear as if it backs up a false one.
Here Vox is claiming that 'evil is endogenous,' and indeed that is true.  But since he has misapprehended 'evil,' it is an attempt to put his opponent in the position of either denying that evil is endogenous or denying that he has direct contact with evil.

As with all sophistic techniques, truth is its mortal enemy. Vox has had the integrity to spell out his definition, which allows me to show that 'evil is endogneous' is false, as indeed I did in the immediatly previous section.

Luckily, I mean something different by 'evil' and so I can comfortably state that it is endogenous. (I clearly imply my meaning in the section above.)


So it looks like Vox will aver from deigning to show any of this testimonial evidence. While I agree it exists, I haven't actually read any of it.
As he's aware much of it is unreliable, perhaps he could pick some choice texts for me to peruse? Otherwise, might I not just seek to experience such a thing for myself, and conclude it is impossible if I fail?

I fail to see any obligation to seek out this hard-to-find evidence when it is Vox who is claiming that I should believe gods exist. If he wants to change my beliefs, he takes on the obligation of proof.

-As a shadow requires the presence of a source of light in order to exist, evil requires the presence of a source of good.

Category error. Think of all the things that might count as a 'source' of good, then realize it may not need a 'source' at all. Does negative electric charge require the presence of a source of positive electric charge? (Whatever 'source' means?)

-What some call God is perhaps better understood as the source of that good through which evil can exist and be observed, by which I do not mean any subjective and experienced good, but rather the objective and definitive good.

See what I mean? The self-awareness of the concept 'good' is what God is. (Maybe. Probably not...but Oxford's isn't even in the right universe, let alone ballpark.)

-But the only entity capable of dictating an objective and definitive good with universal application is either a) the entity that created the universe, or b) an entity given managing responsibility by the creating entity.

A) I guess I know Vox's answer to Euthyphro's dilemma. The man is pious because the god loves him.
B) If I can prove that there is no objective good, does that mean Vox has to stop believing in his God?
C) If I can come up with an instance of universal morality that doesn't require God, does that mean Vox has to stop believing?
D) If so, why does Vox have to stop beliving in his God under conditions B) and C)?

-Therefore, when we observe and acknowledge material evil, we must correctly conclude the existence of a Creator God.

This is so hand-wavy I don't even consider it an argument. It doesn't even come close to concrete enough, it is apparently entirely oblivious to ambiguities, important distinctions, or alternate possibilities, and finally I just noticed it is sophistic.

'Creator God?' This entire essay has been a defence of 'a' god. Now, all of a sudden, it is a proof of the Christian God? Then, as I mentioned upstream, why is Vox arguing for 'a' god if he won't be happy until we're all Christian?
The technique is bait-and-switch. It works especially well since we all knew beforehand that Vox was going to defend the idea of God, and so it doesn't feel sudden to suddenly switch to 'Creator God.' But the fact remains that everything before the 'moral' part of the essay was completely irrelevant and waste of time.

Sophistry count: 4? I wonder how many I missed. I would check but I want this analysis to be in temporal order.


I want to do this after. I want to see what I think of his opening remarks without context. Am I as harsh as with Vox? (I would also have had trouble deciding who to do first, but Vox posted his first, making the decision easy.)


-First off, I see no need for a "first mover".

That's wonderful dear, why not?

Well I guess the harshness question is answered. I'm on his side so I am going to murder him, and nobody will worry if I'm biased. Whee!

-I'm assuming gods refer to one or more concious beings who predate our universe (at least one of whom being its creator), capable of creating something out of nothing with concious intent.

This is the kind of thing which makes me want to do it without context, and at least in temporal order.
I said we all assumed Vox was arguing for God, not a god. As you can see, DS dispensed with the chicanery and got straight to the point.

Nevertheless, they really needed to agree on a definition beforehand, and I was under the impression they had. As they are (explicitly, at least) using different definitions of god, DC is not, in fact, debating Vox at all. He's just sort of chatting into the aether, perhaps with some tangential Vox relationship.

Keeping score, Vox discarded his own definition at the last minute. DS has discarded it at the first.

-Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas...William Lane Craig, choose whichever version you like, they're all basically the same

I'm suspicious of this name-dropping. Arguments have names, and they're not usually the name of the person who came up with them.
Further, 'all the same?' Really? This is something you need to prove, not assume. Further, as a matter of fact, I'm not familiar with what DS thinks the cosmological argument is - it may or may not bear some relation to what Plato thought it was.

-However, the existence of the supernatural is necessary only by taking it as axiomatically true that cause preceeds effect, and therefore space-time is causal and linear.

As a logic connoisseur, that hurts. That is the opposite of choice.
He's denying fucking CAUSATION? Causation?!? Causation. Really.
You do realize logical implication only works if causation is true, and therefore assuming this disproves your entire argument, and indeed the entire premise of argument and reason itself?

Normally, I would stop reading here; this assumption disproves the existence of his own brain. Oh well. Murder! Whee!

-Precognition [...] exhibit A. see a paper recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

I saw it in New Scientist.

This is another dualist non-mystery. Consciousness isn't physical and has no need to respect physical time and space. The biological adaptive advantages are obvious. The only question now is the replication.

-Bem demonstrates that the future can affect the past by reversing the order of conventional psychology tests and seeing statistically significant results, the most amusing of which is the ability of subjects to find porn.

Bem may have demonstrated problems with the experiments and/or significance, rather than found precog. I for one will bet on scientist incompetence at experiment design any day of the week. Nobody trains them at it and journals barely check for it.

-While one explanation could be the processing delays in the brain that occur between a literal sensation and the concious awareness of said event, such that at least two copies of the same sensory stimuli drift through the brain, this is, at best, idle speculation.

He's missing a question mark on the previous sentence and it annoys me.
What's idle speculation is the characterization of deja vu as evidence of precog. You need concrete details, not the fluffiest of handwaves.
And once again, no problem for the dualist. I will refrain from writing down my two separate counter-speculations.

-Another phenonmenon so common that I feel is safe enough to present as evidence without needing to cite a reference.

Appearing to be a god isn't to be a god, as Vox showed with aliens.
Appearing to be prophetic isn't to be prophetic. Sigh.
Again, I know what a prophetic dream is. I don't know what DS thinks a prophetic dream is, and so description, explanation, defence are necessary.

-I even know someone personally who routinely dreams things that happen the next day.

There are scientists who would scream this from the rooftops if it were true. Most likely this is vagueness combined with retrograde memory modification. They have an occurrence in the day that vaguely feels like what their dream felt like, and then their memory of the dream changes.

That said, I'm having these myself, but it only indicates - indirectly - whether the internet will have anything interesting today or not - vague as hell. Oh, and it was negative for today. (Though nothing unexpectedly interesting happened today - I was already aware of this debate. We'll see.)

Thing is, I've checked myself for retrograde memory changes and I don't have them, likely due to my habit of backing up my memories. (As memories-of-memories.) My keys are always where I thought I left them, for example.

The only way for this kind of thing to avoid serious scientific attention is if it intentionally avoids being measured. This kind of makes sense in that it is a conscious phenomena and so knows what's going on by definition, but why would it go out of its way to avoid laboratories?

That said, I'd like some specific details about these dreams and the days they predict. Next time they wake up, have them record their dreams to compare to the following day. Ideally, I'd like a video of both. If, for example, you can't ever tell you're being a prophet, even though an event appeared out of order, it isn't predictive, which would mean that it is, physically, exactly like not having such a dream.

-Second, the cosmological argument itself is an attempt to eliminate the problem of inifinite regress that suffers from inifinite regress.

Ah, a real objection. Partial relief. I bet he'll screw it up.

-Now, rather than thinking I'm resorting to the "Then what created God? Ha, gotcha!" nonsense,

Is it nonsense?
I bet his neo-argument will imply it.

-A body, (literally, a human body) can be completely at rest, yet spurred to motion through conscious effort.

It is an open question whether the mind spurs the action or the action spurs the mind. We do know it is spurred by neuronal activity, which is spurred by previous neuronal activity, and so on, looking quite normal to any monist.

-since thought itself is the most readily observable phenomenon that bridges the gap between the purely abstract and the material.

Aside: consciousness does in fact do this.

-This, however, does not alleviate the problem of infinite regression that was sought to be solved, as it only addresses infinite regress of particle motion.

Actually it doesn't. I don't create particles when I think about my thoughts, so why would God?
(Well, I don't know anyone who thinks I create particles, but I guess I can't rule it out.)

-This first thought, the one about thinking... Thinking about what, more thinking? Infinite regress. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Yay! That's almost correct! (Still hurts, though.)

I'm noticing DS's errors are ones of logic, while Vox's are generally ones of sophistry. Come on, DS, hit back! (Ah; my choice to avoid the responses was good. I bet he'll respond to sophistry with sophistry, much like responding to gunfire with gunfire, not words.)

As I anticipated, it is exactly the 'nonsense' above.
'First' thought implies a previous reference frame during which there was no thought. There was no material universe, and God wasn't thinking anything - there was, literally and absolutely, nothing. (What, God existed but had no properties? Please.) 'What created God's first thought/property' is identical to 'what created God.'

Of course allowing God's thoughts to extend infinitely backward before the one that universe'd also applies to allowing the universe to exist infinitely backward before the event that bang'd.

And I think both of them are crap. (Disclaimer; statement of belief. Not intended to change anyone's mind. Disclaimer; previous disclaimer should be unnecessary, but experience tells me it isn't.)

-Lastly, the statement "truth is stranger than fiction" itself is quite persuasive.

Actually that's a good summary of why I don't like sophists or Vox's pro-creator 'argument.' It isn't nearly strange enough.

Though I just realized it applies to DS's thinking-about-thinking regress as well. You'd need to know what a thought is an how they're generated - perhaps it is perfectly normal for thoughts to reference things that don't exist, which means the first thought can be about anything.

Murder. Hehe.

-I'll further contest that gods are not real simply because as an explanation, they are simply too convenient. The truth of the matter, regardless of which great mystery being discussed, is reliably something far stranger than whichever fiction is first proposed.

Of course the strangeness argument is reflexive. Wouldn't be strange if something was just normal? I think so. It is a heuristic, not even approaching a proof.

I've run across several such things. For example, you have a mind and a body, just as you intuitively think you do. News flash: much of what you know is right. Carry on. (Really wasn't expecting that.)

However, another good heuristic is that you don't get it right on the first try, especially on the details. Something exists that gives ancient desert tribesman an impression of a large, spiritual being of great goodness, but it's not likely they correctly described the thing as it is on the first try. At the same time, it is more likely it is a huge, conscious, glowing ball of power than it is simply some collective illusion or clever lie, because of yet another heuristic, Ockham's razor. The simplest explanation is that things are as they seem; we discard that explanation only when strictly necessary. (News flash: everything you know is right, carry on.) 

-The most obvious example of this was the painful transition from Newtonion physics to quantum physics.

Actually QM is still deterministic at one remove. The wave function of a particle is exactly determined, only its interactions are not.

-nothing in our experience schizophrenically goes from acting like a particle to acting like a wave or mysteriously teleports from one location to another

Which is probably because nothing in QM does either, despite what incompetent science journalists think.

-A simple explanation that turned out to be quite wrong.

An explanation that turned out to be exactly true given a certain limit (lim h->0), and assuming that (and lim c->[infinity]) happen to be good approximations of everyday life. This argument is only proving that God is true given a valid simplifying assumption, and something even more awesome is true in totality.

What is it again that Christians say about the mind of God?

-The simple explanation, that of the earth being stationary with the sun rotating around it, turned out to be the fiction

According to general relativity it is true again. There are no preferred reference frames. And indeed, the epicycles worked at predicting orbital motion. It is just inconvenient for human calculators to work in that reference frame.

-the planet we sit upon, that doesn't feel like it's moving at all

That's because relative to us, it isn't moving at all, and the people on the other side are moving twice the rotational speed - as you'd agree if you had the misfortune to be struck by something that appeared stationary to them.

Rotation is absolute but the Earth's so big you experience almost pure linear velocity. You move 463 meters every second, which sounds like a lot until you realize it is over a radius of 6*10^6 meters. The centripetal acceleration necessary to stop you flying off at a tangent is about one thousandth of a m/s/s. Compared to gravity at 9.8 m/s/s, it is about a thousandth of a percent. Oddly, you don't notice. (Orbits occur when these numbers are equal.)

It appears you're stationary because your velocity relative to yourself is zero, and the accelerations you're feeling are negligible. You're stationary in every meaningful sense of the word.

Now, it is true that until Einstein nobody understood how or why you're stationary. Before him, it would have been logical to agree that your perceptions are wrong.

Basically this is a great argument for Vox to make. I wonder why he didn't make it?

-is in fact spinning around quite fast.

So, like, no, and stuff.
Nearly 500 m/s is a lot faster than highway at about 30 m/s, but relative to the rest of the system it is slow as fuck, and none of that matters anyway as velocity is relative.

-Recognition of an explanation as too simple, too convenient, or too obvious is useful as a predictive tool as well.

But needs to backed up with numbers and proofs and shit.

-Healthy skepticism of the theory of evolution by natural selection can be arrived at by recognizing the explanation itself as an entirely self-contained and awfully neat little attempt at summarizing the history of life on this planet.

Transparent attempt to earn in-group points.

-a convenient fantasy concocted as a childish and superficial explanation

Insults are not usually good strategy.

In conclusion neither have proven a damn thing; interpreting charitably, leaving out the errors, leaves precious little to interpret; essentially no debate has yet occurred. Just a lot of wasted words. Vox has faith in evidence but doesn't deem it necessary to review any of it. DS has good reasons to believe in God. Did...did I forget one? I'm pretty sure I ended up demolishing them all. At least, I don't recall running across anything that should convince anyone of anything.

That was a lot of work and now I'm tired. I'm going to take a break before I do the replies. I may decide they should wait.

I noticed no sophistry in DS's opener. I think he sincerely believes all that nonsense. I honestly have an easier time attributing incompetence to him than to Vox. However, it is possible that Vox believes his own nonsense, and I'm only suspicious because I think the reasons he's wrong should be self-evident, unlike DS's mistakes.
Incidentally I usually make mistakes more like Vox's than DS's.

DS's logic is more flat, less intricate than Vox's. That's why I don't have trouble thinking of DS as the weaker party. I aspire to have flat, DS like logic which can make intricate Vox like points - easier to analyze but just as powerful. 

When I'm less tired I'll go over this to see if I missed anything, and check for patterns if so.


Erik said...

"(Division; about one in ten million galaxies. The odds against two arising in the same galaxy are ten trillion against.)"

No, the odds are ~three thousand against, due to the birthday problem. Ten trillion against are the odds of two arising in a specific given galaxy.

Alrenous said...

Ah, indeed.

Still a pretty large number, though.

Alrenous said...

Wait, no, not quite.

The odds we want are the odds of finding a second biogenesis event in this galaxy, the Milky Way, not some arbitrary galaxy. One in three thousand universes will have a coincidence event. The odds that we're the coincidence event is much, much lower.

Let the record show that I'm not too skeptical; I'm too gullible.

So in fact it's pretty much a one in ten million chance.

Notably I was uncomfortable with agreeing with Erik, but couldn't say why. This particular feeling of discomfort has reliably indicated this kind of mistake in the past, and I therefore should have suspected it in the present.

I was (accidentally) right in my conclusion; the odds that there's another intelligent lifeform in this galaxy is one to [stupendous] against. (More generally, there's probably intelligent aliens, but not anywhere we'll find them. If we could confirm there wasn't, I will take it as evidence for Godlike entities causing biogenesis.)

Also notably, this kind of 'shut up and compute' mistake is what lead to string theory.