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Atheism

koehlerrock

Odd request: any stories out there with athiest lead characters?

Lumpy

@koehlerrock

I believe the main character in the Catalyst stories by Crumbly Writer is.

https://storiesonline.net/s/74152/an-unknown-attraction

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son
Updated:

@koehlerrock

In my experience, few stories mention religion at all, so you need to be more specific about what you think defines a character as atheist.

Replies:   koehlerrock
richardshagrin

There is a difference between a theist and an atheist. I seem to remember some of our founding fathers (Ben Franklin?) were theists, so they did not deny the existence of God (or maybe Gods). Atheism is commonly understood as rejection of theism in the broadest sense of theism, i.e. the rejection of belief in a god or gods.

koehlerrock

@Dominions Son

Literally just the lack of belief in god, or gods; not a hate though. I remember once reading a story of a guy that went around "converting" people. It wasn't a sexual story though, and it might not have been this site, but another.

awnlee jawking

@koehlerrock

Odd request: any stories out there with athiest lead characters?


A quick google search turned up a handful of candidates. The one that caught my eye was 'Shy Anne' by Unca D - I remember reading it and it was good.

AJ

Dominions Son

@koehlerrock

Literally just the lack of belief in god, or gods


As I said, while there are a few stories on SOL where religion in some form plays a significant role in the plot, for most of the stories on SOL, the issue of religion never comes up one way or another.

It could be quite difficult to clearly define a main character as atheist without turning that character into a zealous evangelical atheist who goes around actively preaching against religion.

Replies:   LonelyDad
LonelyDad

@Dominions Son

As I said, while there are a few stories on SOL where religion in some form plays a significant role in the plot, for most of the stories on SOL, the issue of religion never comes up one way or another.

It could be quite difficult to clearly define a main character as atheist without turning that character into a zealous evangelical atheist who goes around actively preaching against religion.

I vaguely recall that there are one or two stories where the MC is atheistic as opposed to religious or possibly strictly religious parents/friends.

Also there are several stories that feature a teen/adult being cast out of the family for violating their parents'/family's religious beliefs. I don't have time right now to run them down, but if anyone would like to see the ones I am thinking of, let me know and I will do so as soon as I can.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@LonelyDad

Also there are several stories that feature a teen/adult being cast out of the family for violating their parents'/family's religious beliefs.


That could be due to agnosticism or conversion to another religion rather than atheism.

I vaguely recall that there are one or two stories where the MC is atheistic as opposed to religious or possibly strictly religious parents/friends.


I didn't say it was impossible, I said it would be difficult to do without making the MC come across as an arrogant asshole.

After all, it's not enough to show that the MC doesn't believe in his parents religion to make it clear he's an atheist. You have to make it clear that he doesn't believe in any religion.

There is a difference between "I don't believe, but I'm not offended by your belief" and "No one should believe in any religion and I find your belief offensive"

The latter is easy to show in a story, but it turns the MC into an arrogant asshole.

The former would be very difficult without working many religions into the story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LonelyDad

Outside of a few hard core examples like the late Ms M. M. O'Hare, I don't think most atheists care what anyone else believes, as long as you let them believe in not believing.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@LonelyDad

Outside of a few hard core examples like the late Ms M. M. O'Hare, I don't think most atheists care what anyone else believes


In general I agree, the vast majority of atheists don't care what anyone else believes.

However:

1. I think there are more that do care than you think. Pretty much all of the atheists who are vocal about their atheism fall into this category. Fair or not, these are the ones most people think about when you mention atheists, because these are the ones they are aware of.

2. Portraying the don't care what others believe type of atheist in a story in a way that makes it clear that they are an atheist and don't care what others believe, would I think be difficult.

If you don't simply tell the readers in the narrative that the character is an atheist, how do you show that they are and atheist?

It's impossible to show a negative.

If the character simply never expresses any religious belief that doesn't make it clear to the reader that the character is atheist. They could be agnostic or simply private about their religion.

If the character is constantly telling other characters that he is atheist out side of the context of a specific discussion about religious belief, as a reader I would be left with the impression that he does care what others believe.

If the character objects to other characters displays of or expressions of religious belief then the character does care what others believe.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Lumpy

I believe the main character in the Catalyst stories by Crumbly Writer is.

It is, but it's a plot extension, as a young man with strange, otherworldly talents ends up leading a quasi-religious movement when he doesn't even believe in God himself. As such, it's not specifically about atheism, but it's a side element of the story. (If you're interested, though, several of my plots revolve around how strange sci-fi events thrust religious views into question.)

My story "Singularity" delves into the ideas of spirituality, however, rather than getting the story bogged down in the typical religious discussions, the story studiously avoids any mention of religion (which is why I never explain that the Singularity of the title isn't the singularity at the center of a blackhole, but is instead the singularity of the physical and spiritual). Explaining that little detail would have interjected religion into the story.

However, it can be viewed as an atheist's view of spirituality.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@koehlerrock


Literally just the lack of belief in god, or gods; not a hate though. I remember once reading a story of a guy that went around "converting" people. It wasn't a sexual story though, and it might not have been this site, but another.


That might have been The Catalyst, as it was the basis of the story (his building a pseudo-movement, though there are other stories that feature the same element.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Also there are several stories that feature a teen/adult being cast out of the family for violating their parents'/family's religious beliefs.

That could be due to agnosticism or conversion to another religion rather than atheism.

Defining a few terms: a Theist (in the classical sense) is someone who accepts the teaching of Jesus without accepting him as the son of God (it's not a clear meaning based on the term alone). An Agnostic is someone who says "I don't know whether God exists or not", though it doesn't specify whether they attend church or not. An Atheist is someone who doesn't believe in God at all (not any particular god). The sticking point is few atheist's actually talk about it. The few that do tend to give the rest a bad name for having a chip on their shoulders.

@LonelyDad

Outside of a few hard core examples like the late Ms M. M. O'Hare, I don't think most atheists care what anyone else believes, as long as you let them believe in not believing.


She didn't either, but she came to fame for filing a lawsuit to prevent the forced establishment of religion that went to the Supreme Court. The only reason why she continued to talk about it is that reporters, hoping to win points in the religious segments, continued to badger her about her beliefs.

She later recanted in the later years, when facing an incurable disease she suddenly found hope that a belief in God might somehow cure her. Sadly, she was mistaken.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

If you don't simply tell the readers in the narrative that the character is an atheist, how do you show that they are and atheist?

It's impossible to show a negative.

If the character simply never expresses any religious belief that doesn't make it clear to the reader that the character is atheist. They could be agnostic or simply private about their religion.

You're confusing atheists with agnostics. If someone isn't convinced that God exists, they're considered an agnostic, and typically won't mention it, even if they attend church every Sunday/Saturday (as they're playing it 'safe').

Atheists fall into two distinct camps, those with a 'issue' with organized religion as see it as a negative force in the world, and those who simply can't accept a believe in an all-knowing paternalistic intelligence guiding the universe.

The first group tend to rant about the damages that religions impose on the world, while the other tends to stay out of the limelight, though they'll usually volunteer their thoughts if asked.

Everyone cares about their own beliefs, whether they voice them publicly or not. How vocal they are more often depends on whether they see religion as a positive or negative force in the world.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

You're confusing atheists with agnostics.


No, I'm not. I understand that distinction quite well thank you.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Everyone cares about their own beliefs, whether they voice them publicly or not. How vocal they are more often depends on whether they see religion as a positive or negative force in the world.


I never said otherwise. Atheists who go around publicly announcing their Atheism generally care about other peoples beliefs.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Atheists fall into two distinct camps, those with a 'issue' with organized religion as see it as a negative force in the world, and those who simply can't accept a believe in an all-knowing paternalistic intelligence guiding the universe.


I have encountered atheists in online forums who will rant and rave even against expressions of agnosticism. They are offended by other peoples religious beliefs even in the absence of organized religion.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I never said otherwise. Atheists who go around publicly announcing their Atheism generally care about other peoples beliefs.

You intimated that the 'loud-mouth' atheists were the only ones who felt strongly about their beliefs. Not forcing you views on others isn't the same as a lack of 'a strong belief'.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I have encountered atheists in online forums who will rant and rave even against expressions of agnosticism. They are offended by other peoples religious beliefs even in the absence of organized religion.

I was trying to provide a couple blanket descriptions, rather than listing each individual by name/description. I've found that atheists generally fall into either of the two camps, although sometimes those who feel that religion 'hurts more people than it helps' also blame agnostics for not speaking up against the 'greater evil' (in essence, condoning it's existence).

By the way, in case you haven't noticed, I've done a fair amount of research into the topic for a series of discussions on the topic at my church!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

You intimated that the 'loud-mouth' atheists were the only ones who felt strongly about their beliefs.


No, I did not. In point of fact, I think that the 'loud-mouth's beliefs are actually weaker. That's why they are so intolerant of being exposed to other people's religious beliefs.

What I said was that atheists who feel the need to constantly self proclaim their atheism are more likely than not to fall into the 'loud-mouth' group and that atheists that take offense at the religious expression of others are almost certainly in the 'loud-mouth' camp.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

As you said, it's impossible to show a negative. Therefore atheism is a matter of belief and therefore a religion, something which many atheists hate being pointed out to them.

AJ

Replies:   Michael Loucks  Wheezer
LonelyDad

Can we all be a little careful here? The problem with communicating via text message, which is essentially what this forum is, is that we are not receiving any audio or visual clues, only the text itself. I am a very fast reader, but I find myself more times than I like misreading words or not taking the time to really parse what I am reading. There are many times as well where when I stop to reread what I have written before I send it, I find that there is a better way to express what I'm trying to say, or that I'm really not saying anything that adds to the discussion and just drop it.

Many years ago I learned in a team building exercise that most people participating in a dialogue will listen until they decide they need to say something in response to what was said, and basically stop listening to any further dialogue while they wait to contribute their important bit. Many times that gives others the impression that one is going off 'half-cocked', which causes them to depreciate their contribution.

Michael Loucks

@awnlee jawking

As you said, it's impossible to show a negative. Therefore atheism is a matter of belief and therefore a religion, something which many atheists hate being pointed out to them.


It's not quite that simple. The following two statements are quite different:

1. There is no god
2. I don't believe there is a god.

I've heard it called 'hard' versus 'soft' atheism. The difference between positive assertion (statement 1) and skepticism (statement 2).

For what it's worth, I'm probably best described as agnostic - I do not know, and I'm fairly certain that it's impossible to know, if God, a god, or any gods, exist.

Which is where faith comes in. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Michael Loucks

I do not know, and I'm fairly certain that it's impossible to know


That would make you a 'hard agnostic' :)

A 'soft agnostic' would stop at 'I don't know', without positing the impossibility of knowing.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


As you said, it's impossible to show a negative. Therefore atheism is a matter of belief and therefore a religion, something which many atheists hate being pointed out to them.


Absence of belief cannot be called a belief, no matter how much religious people try to claim Atheism is a belief. It is like trying to claim that lack of fire is fire. By that logic, we should all be able to breath in a vacuum because lack of air is air. I do not 'believe' there is no god. I have never seen evidence there is anything to the claims that god(s) exist. It is not my responsibility to disprove the existence of any god or gods (prove a negative). The responsibility is upon the shoulders of those making that claim. Gods, unicorns, UFOs, ghosts... If you claim it is real, then it is your job to put forth verifiable evidence that your claims are true.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

Absence of belief cannot be called a belief, no matter how much religious people try to claim Atheism is a belief.


Athiests can not prove there is no god, thus it is only their belief there is no god. Mind you, thiests can not prove there is a god, thus it is only their belief there is a god. Thus both are either belief systems or neither is.

Replies:   Wheezer
awnlee jawking

@Wheezer

Absence of belief cannot be called a belief, no matter how much religious people try to claim Atheism is a belief.


Absence of belief isn't atheism. Atheism is the belief in the absence of any gods, but it's still a belief.

AJ

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater

Athiests can not prove there is no god, thus it is only their belief there is no god. Mind you, thiests can not prove there is a god, thus it is only their belief there is a god. Thus both are either belief systems or neither is.


You are seriously misusing the word 'believe/belief.' Nuclear physicists do not believe that fission releases energy. They have irrefutable evidence that it does. They do not 'believe' that cold fusion does not work. There is no verifiable evidence that it does, and those claims of success in cold fusion experiments have been shown to be false. Sincere claims, perhaps, but false. Scientists do not 'believe' in the laws of physics. The laws of physics are observable, testable, and verifiable. Note, occasionally, new observations result in new evidence, requiring modifications to what we know, so the word 'immutable' cannot be applied because scientific knowledge is not perfect. That's a major difference with religious belief. Religion never evolves - only it's practice changes. Just as calling a horse's tail a leg does not give you a five-legged horse, calling an Atheist's lack of belief a 'belief' does not give you a believer.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Wheezer

@awnlee jawking

Absence of belief isn't atheism. Atheism is the belief in the absence of any gods, but it's still a belief.


Nonsense misuse of the definition of belief. "I believe I'll have another beer," is a misuse of the word. Applying it to an Atheist' lack of belief is also a misuse equally as bad. It really bugs the hell out of god believers that Atheists have no belief. They seem unable to accept the possibility that we really lack belief, so try to spin a lack of belief into a belief, even though it is a complete contradiction.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

You are seriously misusing the word 'believe/belief.'


Many words get misused in many ways. However, on the subject of there being a god or there not being a god - neither side of the subject can prove their claims there is or there isn't a god - thus they can only believe in the position they take - thus both sides are a belief structure.

As to your bit about scientists - the process is a theory, which is a fancy way of saying "I believe this is what happens." Then they conduct tests until they can either prove or disprove the theory. At that point the proven item is a fact. If their is no verifiable evidence it isn't proven, and it remains a theory (aka a belief) until the evidence proves it or disproves it.

Wheezer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

If it makes you feel better to think that Atheism (by definition a lack of belief) is a belief, then by all means continue thinking that. It's wrong, but I'm not going to be able to convince any of the god believers on this forum otherwise. BTW: Scientists do not 'believe' in a Theory. They draw conclusions based on observation and evidence and verified by the observations and evidence of other scientists. Belief is not part of the process. Stubbornness in accepting new evidence that contradicts earlier conclusions is often shown by some, but that just makes it interesting. ;)

Addendum: I think we are using two different definitions of the word 'belief.' I am equating belief with faith. You seem to be equating belief with acceptance. Both are valid definitions but mean two entirely different things.

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Many words get misused in many ways. However, on the subject of there being a god or there not being a god - neither side of the subject can prove their claims there is or there isn't a god - thus they can only believe in the position they take - thus both sides are a belief structure.


I think Wheezer has been confused by an idiosyncratic meaning of 'belief' particular to religious fundamentalists. Thus, a devout Christian will label someone an unbeliever if they're not also a devout Christian. However that someone might be a devout Moslem, who considers the Christian to be an unbeliever.

Theists have an advantage because it's just conceivable that one day we might find proof that there are one or more gods, whereas it can never be proven that there aren't any: however hard we look, there's always the possibility that one of the pesky critters is hiding in another dimension or on another plane that we can't yet search.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

BTW: Scientists do not 'believe' in a Theory.


A theory is a statement where a person observes something and then says "I believe this to be this way at all times." Then they conduct further tests to see if what they stated in the theory is true in all situations or not. Often they go back and amend the theory for new observed facts. There have been many cases where the theory has been changed to match what's been observed after they stated the theory. There are cases to do where theories have been put forward and haven't yet been proven or disproven. If it isn't proven, then they can only believe it matches the theory until such time as enough verifiable evidence is available to prove the theory is a fact or prove it as wrong.

Replies:   samuelmichaels
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

If it makes you feel better to think that Atheism (by definition a lack of belief)


I suspect the issue here is a definition of what atheism is, not a definition of belief.

Atheism is the position there is no god. While theism is the position there is a god. Neither side of the discussion can prove their position in a verifiable way. There is no proof, so whatever position you take is one of what you believe it to be.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater


Atheism is the position there is no god.


This is your first mistake. Atheist do not 'believe' there is no god. That is not the position of most Atheists. (we are not organized) Atheists say there is no evidence a god or gods exist. Should such evidence ever present itself, the majority of us would change our minds. OTOH, Christian 'believers' will never accept any real evidence that a person they call Christ is a fabrication and never walked the earth, performed, miracles, yadda-yadda.

Now, please quit playing word games and quit trying to convince me that horse's tail is a leg. I'm not buying your five-legged horse, and I'm not buying your argument.

richardshagrin

In a forest of B trees, there are many B leafs.

mimauk
Updated:

this is one of the best arguments I've ever heard against religion or a god.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQox1hQrABQ

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

In a forest of B trees, there are many B leafs.


But when a B leaf falls to the forest floor, does it make a sound if there's nobody there to witness it?

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  joyR
samuelmichaels
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


A theory is a statement where a person observes something and then says "I believe this to be this way at all times." Then they conduct further tests to see if what they stated in the theory is true in all situations or not.


If you mean to describe a scientific theory, that's not quite right. An initial guess would be properly called a conjecture or hypothesis. Only after substantial testing would this be promoted to theory.

In science, theory is as close as you get to certainty; unlike math and other abstract fields, there is no proof. A theory gets support when its predictions turn out to be true, and other alternative explanations fail the test of evidence.

A theory can, indeed, be modified or even rejected, as you point out, when there is conflicting evidence. However, since theory is a pretty high standard, such modifications are rare and notable.

madnige
Updated:

But The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it?

My take on the matter is that if there is a deity, then observations of the world and universe tend to imply that that deity wishes us to behave as if there were no deity.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

For what it's worth, I'm probably best described as agnostic - I do not know, and I'm fairly certain that it's impossible to know, if God, a god, or any gods, exist.

Which is where faith comes in. :-)

I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. Because of my personal beliefs, I can't imagine a world ruled by invisible spirits who dictate what happens (since they have no physical matter to create thoughts with). Thus for me, I simply can't believe in a God, but I accept that it's a personal quirk of mine, which no one besides me shares, so I don't try to force it on others, unless they happen to ask, at which point I'll gladly share my viewpoint, but I won't try to convert anyone, in any case.

There's a BIG difference between that view, and trying to force others to accept my personal dogma as a point of law!

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

A 'soft agnostic' would stop at 'I don't know', without positing the impossibility of knowing.

While a 'hardened agnostic' is one who's been tempered over an open flame, and pounded into submission against a hard anvil. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

As to your bit about scientists - the process is a theory, which is a fancy way of saying "I believe this is what happens." Then they conduct tests until they can either prove or disprove the theory. At that point the proven item is a fact. If their is no verifiable evidence it isn't proven, and it remains a theory (aka a belief) until the evidence proves it or disproves it.

So now, in addition to misusing the term "belief" you're now trying to prove your point by misusing the term "theory"?

Me thinks you could use a remedial class in logic.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


However that someone might be a devout Moslem, who considers the Christian to be an unbeliever.


Many of my best friends are Mausoleums! 'D They're fun to visit, but they have a hard, crunchy outer shell.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

In a forest of B trees, there are many B leafs.

I prefer Bee's Trees (similar to Bee's knees), as their Bee leafs are more plausible. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

But when a B leaf falls to the forest floor, does it make a sound if there's nobody there to witness it?

It defends whether there was anyone B fore.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

So now, in addition to misusing the term "belief" you're now trying to prove your point by misusing the term "theory"?


A theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. Depending on the context, the results might, for example, include generalized explanations of how nature works. The word has its roots in ancient Greek, but in modern use it has taken on several different related meanings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

I suggest you read the article for details. Once a theory is proven in fact it's a law - so there is a very clear difference between the two.

If you, or others, want to restrict it to one very limited usage to win the discussion, there's not much I can do about how you think. I can but lead you to the water and hope you drink.

................

As to the athiest vs thiest discussion - I think everyone involved agrees thiests believe there is a god. Both words athiest and thiest are of Greek origin where the addition of 'a' to the start of the word gives it the exact opposite meaning. Since the original meaning has the word belief in it, so does it's opposite meaning. However, again, I can't change how you or others wish to think, I can only point you in the right direction and hope you think about it deep enough to overcome previous errors of prejudices - and that's true of anything.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


If you, or others, want to restrict it to one very limited usage to win the discussion, there's not much I can do about how you think. I can but lead you to the water and hope you drink.


No, when the responder mentions "theory" in scientific terms, he's referring to the scientific use of the word, not the overly generic 'common' expression of theory to mean (any idea whatsoever).

A scientific 'theory' has very specific meanings.

Likewise, a "a" in atheist means not, as in an atheist is NOT a theist, but by extension, his thinking is the opposite of the theists (i.e. it's NOT a belief, it's a rejection of a current belief system). They may believe certain things about atheism, but atheism is not, in itself, a belief.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

A scientific 'theory' has very specific meanings.


from the same article, in a section titled - Theories formally and scientifically:

Theories are analytical tools for understanding, explaining, and making predictions about a given subject matter. There are theories in many and varied fields of study, including the arts and sciences. A formal theory is syntactic in nature and is only meaningful when given a semantic component by applying it to some content (e.g., facts and relationships of the actual historical world as it is unfolding). Theories in various fields of study are expressed in natural language, but are always constructed in such a way that their general form is identical to a theory as it is expressed in the formal language of mathematical logic. Theories may be expressed mathematically, symbolically, or in common language, but are generally expected to follow principles of rational thought or logic.

Thus making ti clear theories aren't facts, just ideas.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Thus making ti clear theories aren't facts, just ideas.

I never suggested that theories are facts or, as you did, that when given supporting evidence, become "law". When I said is that the use of theory in scientific terms is different than the use of theory in common terms, and you can't conflate the two, as they mean very different things.

Replies:   Lumpy
Lumpy

@Crumbly Writer

A good example of what Crumbly's talking about, huge amounts of modern science are based off of Eisenstein's theories on relativity. No one would say they are just ideas and not facts.

And yet, still called a theory.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Lumpy

And yet, still called a theory.


which is - A theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. - as previously stated. It's someone's thoughts on what they think or believe the situation to be.

Replies:   Lumpy  Crumbly Writer
Lumpy

@Ernest Bywater

As has been pointed out, no. Your description is a hypothesis. A theory has to have survived some level of testing and confirmation of they hypothesis to be confirmed.

A Physicist would never recognize your example as the definition of a theory.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Zom

@Lumpy

No one would say they are just ideas and not facts

I would.

Einstein's ideas are currently the best we have, just as Newton's were when he gave us his best explanations, many of which were replaced by Einstein's better explanations.

To suggest Einstein's ideas are the last word in physics is arrogance at best. Has history taught you nothing?

Replies:   Lumpy  Crumbly Writer
Lumpy

@Zom

I didn't say it was the last word, but it is different that "some guy thinks this", as has been implied over and over.

The difference is, testing. By this argument, Flat Earther's have an equal validity and their "theories" are just as valid.

Using the "Its not the last word" could be used to say, there are no laws in science, just theories. And so any suggestion or thought someone has should be treated with equal weight, since they're competing "theories".

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

which is - A theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking. - as previously stated. It's someone's thoughts on what they think or believe the situation to be.

That's only one definition of the word, and not the definition used in scientific circles. A theory is a proposition, which can be and has been proven by repeated experiments. It is not random conjecture.

If I call a woman at a bar a bitch, are you going to counter that she doesn't have a tail too? You use one definition in one context, and the other in the other context. My point, was that the person was trying to support his misuse of the term "belief" by misapplying the scientific term "theory".

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

No one would say they are just ideas and not facts

I would.

Einstein's ideas are currently the best we have, just as Newton's were when he gave us his best explanations, many of which were replaced by Einstein's better explanations.

To suggest Einstein's ideas are the last word in physics is arrogance at best. Has history taught you nothing?

Again, we're talking apples and oranges here. No one ever said anything about Einstein's 'ideas' being the last word in anything. All he said is that the science-based definition of "theory" is NOT 'just a random idea', rather it is quantifiable, testable, measurable and provable. What's more, to be considered a "theory" it has to have considerable evidence which supports it, which is well-documented and widely accepted.

Replies:   Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Lumpy

As has been pointed out, no. Your description is a hypothesis.


As I said before, you can try to split semantic hairs all you like. The definition I posted is from another source that quotes a lot of primary sources to back it up. A rose by any other name will still prick your thumb. A theory in any accepted definition is an idea (i.e. thought or belief) on how something works, until it's proven as a fact it stays as an idea.

Replies:   Lumpy
Lumpy

@Ernest Bywater

A theory in any accepted definition is an idea


And you could write a post talking about how much you hate the crane the construction guys are using next to your building, and I could post a definition about it being a bird. Same word, totally different versions and uses. You are choosing to use one and ignore the existence of the other usage of the word with a totally different meaning.

Which is an age old ploy of people who want to argue against generally accepted scientific thought.

Ernest Bywater

The last two splits on this thread seem to have devolved into people trying to put their own specific meaning onto some of the words used instead of the generally accepted meanings.

I first used the word 'theory' in its generally accepted meaning, and even gave the meanings accepted by the world at large and the majority of scientists, then simplified it down to its basics - but the discussion has now sunk to the point where some are saying "That's not how I use the word, or how I think it should be used, because I have this special meaning in this particular sphere."

So let's get back to the very basics:

1. When someone proves something to be a fact beyond a shadow of a doubt by clear repeatable and accountable evidence it's called a fact or, in some circles, a law of nature.

2. Until such time as something is proven to the standard of the point (1) above whatever is stated is the thoughts or ideas or belief of someone person or persons they've reached by a thinking process or by observing something and extending that further. Whatever the case, it's a thought or idea until such time as it can be proven to be a fact or law.

.............

The history of science is filled with situations where people have stated something they thought was true as a fact, only to be proven wrong by someone else at a later date. That happens because they made the declaration before their thought or idea was fully tested and proven.

Replies:   Zom  Crumbly Writer
Zom

@Crumbly Writer

No one ever said anything about Einstein's 'ideas' being the last word in anything

Perhaps I need to go and freshen up on the meaning of 'fact' used in that context. Is a theory a fact? I don't think so, for any meaning of theory.

Replies:   Wheezer  Crumbly Writer
Zom

@Ernest Bywater

specific meaning onto some of the words used instead of the generally accepted meanings.

Absolutely. And not just theirs. Go back to the original context in the thread. You used 'theory' describing 'scientists'.

How could anyone possibly think you were meaning theory in a scientific context? If it was obvious that you were meaning theory in the general sense of the word, then it wasn't to me.

I guess the clue I missed is that you got the explanation of scientific theory completely askew, which is what a lot of the following discussion has been about.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Wheezer
Updated:

@Zom


Perhaps I need to go and freshen up on the meaning of 'fact' used in that context. Is a theory a fact? I don't think so, for any meaning of theory.


Minor, and mostly irrelevant point, but Theory is capitalized when referring to the Scientific Method. Lower case theory is just that general usage idea that Bywater is stuck on. The thing about Scientific Theory (any subject) is that it is constantly evolving and changing as new evidence is discovered. However, seldom is a Theory thrown out completely.. Half-assed ideas with bad or falsified data never make it to Theory status. All hypothesis (what laymen call theories or just ideas) are subject to examination and review by peers. If I'm a respected scientist studying fusion and I publish a scientific paper claiming that sprinkling black pepper on Jiffy peanut butter results in heat given off by a cold fusion reaction, you can bet that some other researchers are going to try to duplicate my results by duplicating the processes I describe in my paper. They will quickly realize that the only reaction I got was when I smacked my research assistant's hand down into the peanut butter when I asked her to hold her hand above the experiment to verify the heat given off by the mixture. (BTW: I really did this, and boy did I get a reaction!) :P

Replies:   Zom  Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Absolutely. And not just theirs. Go back to the original context in the thread. You used 'theory' describing 'scientists'.


In the discussion I spoke of scientists using theories, not the special usage of a the theory called 'Scientific Theory' which is a specific theory of its own within the general area of theory. I stated:

As to your bit about scientists - the process is a theory, which is a fancy way of saying "I believe this is what happens." Then they conduct tests until they can either prove or disprove the theory. At that point the proven item is a fact. If their is no verifiable evidence it isn't proven, and it remains a theory (aka a belief) until the evidence proves it or disproves it.

in response to:

Scientists do not 'believe' in the laws of physics. The laws of physics are observable, testable, and verifiable.

At no point did I say I was putting forward anything but a simple generalist explanation of how the scientists moved from an idea to a law. However, some people are stuck on a minor specialised usage of a word I used as it's general meaning. I notice it's also a good way to deflect the discussion from its basics and where it started.

koehlerrock

Oooookay, this totally blew up....

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@koehlerrock

Oooookay, this totally blew up....

They always do. It's near impossible for a thread on this forum to stay on subject. It's almost a religious thing :-)

Zom

@Wheezer

Theory is capitalized when referring to the Scientific Method

OK, that is something I have not seen. I see lots of usage of theory in the scientific method context where it is not 'capitalized'.

I can understand it being capitalized when it is proper, as in Grand Unified Theory, or is naming a class like Scientific Theory, but I have not seen it used like God, which seems to be capitalised regardless of context when referring to a particular type of god.

Don't dump on me for the god thing. I am agnostic (not Agnostic).

Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Don't dump on me for the god thing. I am agnostic (not Agnostic).


That's OK. We allow almost anyone, the exception is those who are deliberately antagonistic to all.

Zom

@Ernest Bywater

the exception is those who are deliberately antagonistic to all.

Good to know. So all I need to do to escape the ire of We, is to pick a single contributor, and make sure I am not antaginistic to them. Everyone else is fair game?

Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Everyone else is fair game?


I wouldn't care, but don't be upset if others bitch.

joyR

@awnlee jawking

But when a B leaf falls to the forest floor, does it make a sound if there's nobody there to witness it?


If a tree falls in the forest and nobody witnesses it...

...who fills in the environmental impact report?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

It defends whether there was anyone B fore.


The Queen's Rook Pawn and the Queen's Bishop Pawn are the most likely defenders of that square ;)

AJ

Replies:   joyR
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

antagonistic


Is that an anti-agnostic?

The argument over the different meanings of 'theory' have consumed many bar-room (and internet forum) hours. I switch between both meanings in connection with my maths work, talking about 'Fred's Theory Of Gobbledegook', say (which might be accepted as fact throughout the scientific world) as well as my own 'Theory of Total Bollocks', (which might be my working hypothesis to explain currently unexplained phenomena).

The difference in meanings is one of those discussions that can go on and on until someone mentions Hitler.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
awnlee jawking

@joyR

They have to chop the whole tree down to make paper in order to do that ;)

AJ

joyR

@awnlee jawking

The Queen's Rook Pawn and the Queen's Bishop Pawn are the most likely defenders of that square ;)


Is chess still legal?

Given that it is elitist (pawn have rights too!) Racist (Both the pieces and the board are black and white and encourage conflict) Although the women movements liked that the queens had the most power... Until the LGBT crowd claimed the queens as their own...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@joyR

Until the LGBT crowd claimed the queens as their own...


So that's what the Q stands for in LGBTQ ;)

AJ

Replies:   joyR  Wheezer
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Is that an anti-agnostic?


I typed in anti-antagonistic and that's what the spell checker gave me back.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
joyR

@awnlee jawking

So that's what the Q stands for in LGBTQ ;)


You can choose to believe so... To others it's just a theory...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

Sorry, I omitted a smiley. My bad :(

AJ

Dominions Son

@Zom

but I have not seen it used like God, which seems to be capitalised regardless of context when referring to a particular type of god.


It's a thing with monotheistic religions. Since we only have one God, we treat God as a proper name.

Zom

@Dominions Son

we treat God as a proper name.

Yes you do :-) But it is also treated as a proper name when others aren't. e.g. Dad is my dad v God is my God.

cantamelon
Updated:

https://storiesonline.net/s/16084/resonance

main character is an atheist.

Wheezer

@awnlee jawking

So that's what the Q stands for in LGBTQ ;)


Queer...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
mimauk

Another thing to take into account about belief, especially religious belief, is that when you express belief all you are saying is that you agree with what you have been told by someone, as you have not actually seen any of these events that were supposed to have happened 2000 years ago and they have not seen them as well - ie it's hearsay.

The old nugget - It's in the Paper, it must be true!

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Since we only have one God, we treat God as a proper name.

If you only have one Dog, would you treat Dog as a pooper name. Oops, I meant proper.

Michael Loucks

@Zom

Yes you do :-) But it is also treated as a proper name when others aren't. e.g. Dad is my dad v God is my God.


I do believe we've discussed this before. :-) I tend to use 'God' only to refer to the Christian god (whatever THAT means in the context of the Trinity), and 'god' to refer to some non-specific supreme being.

For consistency, I use 'Allah' when referring to the Muslim god and either G-d or one of the various forms of YHWH/Jehovah for the Jewish god.

And then there's Loki. :-)

(For the uninitiated, this is referring to my usage in A Well-Lived Life and my upcoming series Good Medicine, both of which have/will have serious discussions of religion.)

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

If you only have one Dog, would you treat Dog as a pooper name. Oops, I meant proper.


Since Dog is God spelled backwards, yes. :P

Dominions Son

@Zom

Yes you do :-) But it is also treated as a proper name when others aren't. e.g. Dad is my dad v God is my God.


Exodus 3:13-14

13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

14 God said to Moses, "I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I am has sent me to you.'"


Using I Am would get rather confusing, so yes, we consider God to be his name.

Accept this or I Am will smite thee. :)

Replies:   Zom  Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Michael Loucks

YHWH/Jehovah for the Jewish god.


It more accurately represented as Yeweh or Yehova - Jehovah is an Anglicised version of the Latin name Ihova.

Michael Loucks
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


@Penguintopia

YHWH/Jehovah for the Jewish god.

It more accurately represented as Yeweh or Yehova - Jehovah is an Anglicised version of the Latin name Ihova.


Yes, and I'm an Anglo. :-) Otherwise, I'd be using Ο Θεός for the Christian God. :-)

LonelyDad
Updated:

I'm surprised at all of you. Most of us here are old enough that we were actually taught this in English/Grammar class:

proper noun

noun

a name used for an individual person, place, or organization, spelled with initial capital letters, e.g., Larry, Mexico, and Boston Red Sox.


Since all of the Deities mentioned are 'individual' [The Trinity of the Christian faith, and the various avatars of some of the others are special cases, since they are aspects of one or more individual(s)] it is quite proper to capitalize their name. In phrases like "all the gods", "may your gods", and the like, individuals are not being named, so no caps.

PS: And please, no digressions into Trinities and avatars, since if you think about it, you know what I am trying to say. Thank you.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Zom
Updated:

@Dominions Son

we consider God to be his name.


Smiting aside, the point I tried to make (apparently not so successfully) is that we, as a predominantly Christian culture, capitalise God as we do no other proper noun. The phrase 'Yes Dad, you are my dad' sees the first 'Dad' capitalised because it is his title/designation and the second 'dad' not capitalised, because it a type of person of which Dad is one.

This is universally used except when it comes to God. The phrase 'Almighty God, you are my God' does not follow this rule, perhaps because some would have us believe there is only one God, so the second 'God' can't be referring to a type of deity. 'Evidence' suggests that is not the case though.

I just raised it as one exception to the capitalisation rule offered above.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

What! Does nobody spell it Iowa? :)

AJ

Replies:   richardshagrin
awnlee jawking

@joyR

Bizarre digression: Lavender, Green, Blue, Turquoise - what might Q stand for in the blue/green part of the spectrum?

AJ

Replies:   mimauk  richardshagrin
mimauk

@awnlee jawking

Quince ??

Replies:   awnlee jawking
richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

Does nobody spell it Iowa


It is a mispronunciation of "Ohio".

The Lone Ranger used to say, when leaving on his horse, Silver, "OHIO, Silver, Away!" Some hard of hearing people heard Hi-Yo, but that is unreasonable, clearly the Lone Ranger was going to Ohio.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@richardshagrin

The Lone Ranger used to say, when leaving on his horse, Silver, "OHIO, Silver, Away!" Some hard of hearing people heard Hi-Yo, but that is unreasonable, clearly the Lone Ranger was going to Ohio.


*mutters to self while searching through closet* "Now where did I put that old Louisville Slugger?"

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I first used the word 'theory' in its generally accepted meaning, and even gave the meanings accepted by the world at large and the majority of scientists, then simplified it down to its basics - but the discussion has now sunk to the point where some are saying "That's not how I use the word, or how I think it should be used, because I have this special meaning in this particular sphere."

And yet you continue beating the same dead horse. NO, nothing in science ever becomes an immutable law of nature! There are 'accepted principals', but everything is up for revisions. However, that doesn't mean that a scientific theory is just 'someone's opinion'. You're conflating something someone on the corner might say with a discussion about scientific principals.

You can talk about generic theories all you want, but don't try to force that imprecise definition into a precise discussion of scientific procedures.

Anyone (include Donald Trump) and have their own 'theories', but there's nothing tying those 'theories' to reality (again, consult Trumps views on most everything). However, you can't treat some narcissist's views at being the same as established scientific principals, simply because you want it to!

Face it, you're fighting a losing battle here, simply because you don't have any clue about what you're discussing! :(

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Perhaps I need to go and freshen up on the meaning of 'fact' used in that context. Is a theory a fact? I don't think so, for any meaning of theory.

Huh? We're making the same point, so why are you attacking my comment?

Replies:   Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Minor, and mostly irrelevant point, but Theory is capitalized when referring to the Scientific Method. Lower case theory is just that general usage idea that Bywater is stuck on.

I have never heard of that grammatical distinction! It may sound nice, but 'theory' used in discussions of science is clear and distinct from the same term used by the average Joe on the street corner. It's context that defines which term you're using, not punctuation or capitalization.

Replies:   Wheezer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That's OK. We allow almost anyone, the exception is those who are deliberately antagonistic to all.

That's not an agnostic (or an Agnostic), instead it's an antagonostic!

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Good to know. So all I need to do to escape the ire of We, is to pick a single contributor, and make sure I am not antaginistic to them. Everyone else is fair game?

Many of those here are either authors (who live and die by our choice of precise words) or readers, who have read enough to recognize the correct or incorrect use of most words.

Thus we tend to take exception when someone tries to win an argument by substituting one definition for another in order to win a point. We know the difference, even if you don't! What's more, in order to prevent this kind of misunderstanding from spreading, we're quick to tamp it down quickly.

But don't feel bad. The reason why I'm so aware of the issue is that I constantly flip between the two definitions in my stories, where my characters will talk about their newest 'theory' while also subjecting that theory to the scientific process (a definite no-no). It's not an uncommon mistake. However, every time I make it, my editors and many of my readers call me on it, so I've earned my lumps in this regard.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

It's a thing with monotheistic religions. Since we only have one God, we treat God as a proper name.

That's the key, it's not religion based, it's an English proper name definition. If you're talking about one of many, it's "god", if you're talking about the one being named "God", then it's "God", regardless of which religion you belong to.

By the way, Thor's name is "Thor", while Odin's name is "Odin" (also capitalized).

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

But it is also treated as a proper name when others aren't. e.g. Dad is my dad v God is my God.

That's actually not a valid use, it's simply lazy thinking, conflating "god" with "God" simply because you're so used to using the latter.

Replies:   Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

So that's what the Q stands for in LGBTQ ;)

Queer...

Quiet Quaker Quack.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

If you only have one Dog, would you treat Dog as a pooper name. Oops, I meant proper.

Only if it's a proper pooper! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

and 'god' to refer to some non-specific supreme being.

Not quite true. Aphrodite was never considered a "Supreme" being, instead she was a single god among a wise variety of gods, each competing with each other. That's a very different context than one god by the name of "God" (or G*d in the classical Jewish texts).

Replies:   Michael Loucks  joyR
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Accept this or I Am will smite thee. :)

G*d, always an S&M favorite! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@LonelyDad

PS: And please, no digressions into Trinities and avatars, since if you think about it, you know what I am trying to say. Thank you.

Thanks. I've been trying to say that, with little success. I think your distinction was clearer than most of mine.

awnlee jawking

@mimauk

Quince ??


I guess that would suffice as a last-resort option since they can be green, but the ripe fruit are usually yellow :(

AJ

Replies:   joyR
Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

I have never heard of that grammatical distinction! It may sound nice, but 'theory' used in discussions of science is clear and distinct from the same term used by the average Joe on the street corner. It's context that defines which term you're using, not punctuation or capitalization.


I should have clarified that when referring to accepted scientific theories, then it is capitalized:

The Theory of Evolution
The Big Bang Theory
String Theory
Theory of Gravity

As some point out, a Theory is not just a theory...

awnlee jawking

@Wheezer

I suspect in those cases, 'theory' is capitalised because it's part of a title. You could come up with any hypothesis, give it a title, and it too should have the word 'theory' capitalised.

Theories that have been superseded or rejected still retain the capitalisation of the word 'theory' despite not being accepted fact.

AJ

richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

what might Q stand for in the blue/green part of the spectrum?

Queens usually wear royal purple.

Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

I should have clarified that when referring to accepted scientific theories, then it is capitalized:

In those cases (the ones you named), those aren't restricted to the description of theories, but to the use of proper names.

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

@Penguintopia
and 'god' to refer to some non-specific supreme being.
Not quite true. Aphrodite was never considered a "Supreme" being, instead she was a single god among a wise variety of gods, each competing with each other. That's a very different context than one god by the name of "God" (or G*d in the classical Jewish texts).


And I knew that. :-) I use it that way in my story.

joyR

@Crumbly Writer

Not quite true. Aphrodite was never considered a "Supreme" being, instead she was a single god among a wise variety of gods, each competing with each other. That's a very different context than one god by the name of "God" (or G*d in the classical Jewish texts).


Actually, she was a goddess !!!

Replies:   awnlee jawking
joyR

@awnlee jawking

I guess that would suffice as a last-resort option since they can be green, but the ripe fruit are usually yellow :(


An absolute last resort would be a Q-cumber.....

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@joyR

Actually, she was a goddess !!!


Not much of a goddess if she's dead now!

AJ

awnlee jawking

@joyR

An absolute last resort would be a Q-cumber.....


Actually that's rather cool.....

AJ

Zom

@Crumbly Writer

why are you attacking my comment?

Attacking is a bit harsh. Not even criticising really.

@Lumpy, talking about theories, started with "No one would say they are just ideas and not facts".

I said, in precis, that they were always only ideas, albeit strongly verified, but never facts.

You then said "No one ever said anything about Einstein's 'ideas' being the last word in anything" which is actually just what @Lumpy had said using 'facts'.

I responded by saying "Perhaps I need to go and freshen up on the meaning of 'fact' used in that context ..." meaning if you were defending @Lumpy then perhaps I must misunderstand the meaning of fact.

See how indirections cloud the intent? No attack. Really.

Zom

@Crumbly Writer

That's actually not a valid use

I think there may be a few out there who don't agree with that. Take notice as you read and see if I'm wrong.

If I had a dollar for every time I have seen "Oh, my God" or similar, I would eat out a lot.

And don't forget, common usage makes it valid :-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Zom

I think there may be a few out there who don't agree with that. Take notice as you read and see if I'm wrong.

The main issue was that we were conflating two different definitions, and then arguing that they're equivalent because they're both in the dictionary page, even though the meanings are clearly distinct (i.e. they're not one and the same). But once again, I think we've successfully beaten this dead horse into submission. Time to more onto the next dead horse.

On a related note, I think it would be fun if someone wrote a short story where Hitler kept popping up every time the MC got into a discussion with someone, causing them to become distracted, chasing after apparent apparitions. After having spent much time on this and other forums, I'm sure many could relate to the allusion.

But then, Forum allusions have never been big sellers. :(

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