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How to be a bible apologist.
November 13, 2003 9:51 AM   Subscribe

How to be a bible apologist. Informative, sarcastic, and amusing guide to these religious times of ours. Brought to you by the Evil Atheists Conspiracy, which has a great News section.
posted by skallas (121 comments total)

 
You could claim that people just "misinterpreted" your literal statement.
Forget to capitalize the "b" in Bible?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:01 AM on November 13, 2003


Good stuff. I laughed in spite of being one of the aforementioned Bible Apologists. Btw: Yes, I believe you can interpret the Bible literally. And no, that doesn't mean I think traveling at 65 mph actually means 85, time is relative, blah blah blah. I'm actually one of those crazy people who think the world was literally created in 6 days (plus a day of siesta for the overworked diety doing it all.)

It's easy to pick apart any great work of literature, especially one that's been translated so many times. But I don't think that means the Bible is invalid just because people can raise questions about it.
posted by Happydaz at 10:03 AM on November 13, 2003


Better to be safe than sorry ^_~
posted by Mossy at 10:06 AM on November 13, 2003


Pretty funny, although I see a lot on anti-religious types making similar arguments. Helpful Tip: To help combat doubts, try sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "La la la la la la" repeatedly.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:08 AM on November 13, 2003


For example, if someone wrote "I was driving 65 mph" and claimed it was "literally true", people would expect that he was actually driving 65 mph. Later, if it was found he was really driving 85 mph, he would be considered at best "wrong" or at worst "lying".

I wish this person had used a better analogy for this - this implies that "Bible apologists" make claims as simplistic and dishonest and as easily disproven as the speed of their driving, while usually it's far more complex than that. If the author had wanted to make the point that "Bible apologists" make claims this simplistic and patently untrue he should have used a document, real life example.

I'm disappointed to see this post from you, skallas. I thought you'd backed off from your antagonistic, not-gaining-you-any-ground attacks on religious people.
posted by orange swan at 10:27 AM on November 13, 2003


Hilarious. Thanks, skallas.
posted by spazzm at 10:32 AM on November 13, 2003


Funnier, in my opinion, is the Gravy Diet, from the same group.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2003


It's easy to pick apart any great work of literature, especially one that's been translated so many times. But I don't think that means the Bible is invalid just because people can raise questions about it.

Invalid as what, a great work of literature, or the literal truth? Criticizing the creation story on aesthetic grounds is different to pointing out that it's literally contradicted by the fossil record.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2003


It's easy to pick apart any great work of literature, especially one that's been translated so many times.

The difference is, few people try to sell the idea that the cyclops and gorgons in the Illiad were real.

You, as a Bible apologist, should be able to believe any number of mutually contradictory ideas.

Heh.
posted by rushmc at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2003


If you really want to convince somebody to believe in THE TRUTH, this should be a much more faithful guide.
posted by signal at 10:57 AM on November 13, 2003


The whole "literal" thing would pack more of a wallop if non-bible-apologists weren't constantly using the word "literally" to mean "practically." It's very easy to imagine someone saying "This dude flew by me and he was literally going a hundred miles an hour!" - but meaning "he was going about 83 mph! - Can you believe it?"
posted by soyjoy at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2003


orange swan:I'm disappointed to see this post from you, skallas. blah blah

Christ, thicken your skin if you're going to be reading and posting comments to mefi.
posted by skallas at 11:10 AM on November 13, 2003


*pages Sean Meade*
posted by norm at 11:12 AM on November 13, 2003


"I thought you'd backed off from your antagonistic, not-gaining-you-any-ground attacks on religious people."

Perhaps you meant to ask if he still beats his wife?
posted by spazzm at 11:12 AM on November 13, 2003


thicken your skin if you're going to be reading and posting comments to mefi

I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite and well mannered than those in a Fark forum.
posted by unreason at 11:13 AM on November 13, 2003


I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite and well mannered than those in a Fark forum.

Yeah, those were the days.
posted by norm at 11:18 AM on November 13, 2003


Christ, thicken your skin if you're going to be reading and posting comments to mefi.

Or you could just be more polite and reasonable, as I try to be when addressing you.
posted by orange swan at 11:20 AM on November 13, 2003


You must have been reading MeFi for a lot longer than I have unreason.

Without clicking on the "News" link, I think it's awfully funny that they have a news section. Our breaking story: Still no evidence of God. It's a little like having a weather segment in the Southern California news except that you know sometimes it really does rain in Southern California.

Are there very many Bible literalists these days anyway. Even Catholics seem to see most of it as parable these days. The link is funny, but it seems a little like shooting fish with a missile.
posted by willnot at 11:23 AM on November 13, 2003


OK - having clicked on the news link now, I see it's mostly jokes. The Arguments for the Existence of God page is way funny!
posted by willnot at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2003


>I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite

Yeah, when people didn't just bitch and moan in threads but made an effort to post in metatalk or email someone if they thought a post was inappropriate. Orange Swan is just trying to make sure Mefi posts are all to her liking and will be snippy about it if they aren't - in the thread itself because a derail is so satisfying to some people here as opposed to following the traditional rules of using metalk or email.
posted by skallas at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2003


I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite and well mannered than those in a Fark forum.

I really, really miss those days.
posted by gd779 at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2003


Are there very many Bible literalists these days anyway

Out of the total number of Christians, I don't think the percentage is all that large, although they're vocal enough that there seem to be a lot of them. But they make a good arguing point for atheists:

1. Point out some radical Christian element, like Jack Chick supporters.

2. Point out that this group is Christian, and is silly.

3. Say that therefore, all Christians are silly.

It's sort of a less extreme version of the nationalist's " There are Muslim Terrorists, therefore all Muslims are terrorists" argument, although, of course, on a much smaller scale.
posted by unreason at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2003


AntiChristianityFilter. But it is pretty funny.
posted by alumshubby at 11:34 AM on November 13, 2003


Will Rogers never met you, did he, skallas?
posted by jonmc at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2003


I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite and well mannered than those in a Fark forum.

That. Never. Happened.

Or you could just be more polite and reasonable, as I try to be when addressing you.

I think one might read your comments as "polite and reasonable" but as "patronizing and condescending". Skallas is a big boy, and has always taken full responsibility for his statements around here, and I don't think your being "disappointed" in him matters a whit. Personally, when I read your comment, my reaction was a sarcastic "Sorry, Mom". </derail>

posted by jpoulos at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2003


unreason: Say that therefore, all Christians are silly.

Oh please, this is such a silly strawman. All the serious criticisms of Xtianity have a lot more to do with the fact that the fundies have a powerful influence in government than chastising Joe and Jane pew-warmer.

No non-theist, non-xtian, etc cares who or what you worship, but when the wingnuts have the Senators' and President's ear then its a social problem. When they wont stop proselytizing then its a social problem.
posted by skallas at 11:41 AM on November 13, 2003


Skallas is a big boy, and has always taken full responsibility for his statements around here, and I don't think your being "disappointed" in him matters a whit. Personally, when I read your comment, my reaction was a sarcastic "Sorry, Mom".

Interesting that you put it that way, since it seems to me that the deliberately antagonistic and obnoxious tone of a lot of his posts make me think of high school sophmore who's read Neitzche one toomany times trying to show what an ubermensch he is.

On preview: Oh please, this is such a silly strawman. All the serious criticisms of Xtianity have a lot more to do with the fact that the fundies have a powerful influence in government than chastising Joe and Jane pew-warmer.

Sounds like an interesting variation on "I don't hate all Jews, just the ones behind the scenes controlling the media."
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on November 13, 2003


No non-theist, non-xtian, etc cares who or what you worship

Oh? Try going to a forum on say, Plastic, or Fark, and including in a relevant conversation that you're a non-proselytizing, non-fundy, non-Creationist Christian. You'll find that quite a few people care who or what you worship, and will tell you so, usually with some amount of rudeness. Interestingly, I never see people of other religions get impolite about this stuff although they will, of course, disagree with my views.
posted by unreason at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2003


unreason, I think the argument goes more along the lines of:

1. Point out that christians believe in made-up stuff.

2. Point out that believing in made-up stuff is silly.

3. Say that therefore, all christians are silly.

The radicals like Jack Chick just make it more amusing.
posted by majcher at 11:49 AM on November 13, 2003


All the serious criticisms of Xtianity have a lot more to do with the fact that the fundies have a powerful influence in government than chastising Joe and Jane pew-warmer.

I don't think that's quite right. There's certainly a political argument against having a religious faction control the government, an argument our founding fathers accepted--for the most part--I might add. The "serious criticisms" of Christianity itself, however, have to do with the moral and philosophical problems of the religion, not what any particular group of believers might do or might not do. It's important not to conflate those two very different sets of arguments.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:51 AM on November 13, 2003


Interesting that you put it that way, since it seems to me that the deliberately antagonistic and obnoxious tone of a lot of his posts make me think of high school sophmore who's quick to come up with some bullying caricature of the 'chess club.'
posted by skallas at 11:52 AM on November 13, 2003


some funny stuff there, skallas--thanks! I love their goals

And some people may like to check these cool folks out, as a counterweight to the christian fundamentalists.
posted by amberglow at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2003


All the serious criticisms of Xtianity have a lot more to do with the fact that the fundies have a powerful influence in government than chastising Joe and Jane pew-warmer.

Then why do I, as an agnostic "Jane pew-warmer" find your perpetual shrieking on the subject so tiresome and annoying? Your predictable stance has become a joke and your comments are often "chastising." Or is it that you can't offer any "serious criticisms of Xtianity"?

I know plenty of christians who would be pleased to *ahem* "lose their religion" when it comes to the "fundies" you reference.
posted by whatnot at 11:56 AM on November 13, 2003


majcher, how do you define "made up"? That it sounds silly? Saying that a cat can be nether dead nor alive is silly, but theorists suggest it's probably true. Saying it contradicts facts? This is a more promising suggestion, but the facts mobilized by atheists tend to focus more on literalism that Christianity as a whole. Most anti-Christian arguments tend to basically equate to either the strategy used above, or a "it just sounds silly" approach.
posted by unreason at 11:56 AM on November 13, 2003


Sounds like an interesting variation on "I don't hate all Jews, just the ones behind the scenes controlling the media."

So you're saying that the idea that evangelical Christian leaders and organization have privileged access to and disproportional influence with elected American politicians is a creation of the fevered, racist, conspiracy-theory-obsessed left wing mind?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2003


unreason: Oh? Try going to a forum on say, Plastic, or Fark,

Holy crap, a angst-ridden teen on Fark said something bad about Jebus? We have failed as a society to protect people of faith! Hopefully we can overturn that Restoration of Religious Freedom Act overturn to stop this persecution of such a powerless and minority group as yours! Then we can take on true evil like Marilyn Manson and that whore of babylon Britney!
posted by skallas at 12:02 PM on November 13, 2003


No Mr. Roboto, I am not saying that the influence of fundamentalist Christians in this administration isn't cause for concern, but that's hardly what the link in this FPP was about. It's basically more "Wow, Christians are dumb, harharhar." Bringing up the political angle is basically a way for skallas to distract from what the post was about, a bigoted caricature of Christians. And yes it is bigotry. More socially acceptable for of bigotry, but bigotry nonetheless.
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on November 13, 2003


Or you could just be more polite and reasonable, as I try to be when addressing you.

Polite, perhaps; reasonable, not so much. A politely couched attack is still an attack.
posted by rushmc at 12:08 PM on November 13, 2003


Holy crap, a angst-ridden teen on Fark said something bad about Jebus? We have failed as a society to protect people of faith! Hopefully we can overturn that Restoration of Religious Freedom Act overturn to stop this persecution of such a powerless and minority group as yours! Then we can take on true evil like Marilyn Manson and that whore of babylon Britney!

*Sigh.* Let's lay it out for you. You noted above that "[n]o non-theist, non-xtian, etc cares who or what you worship." Unreason responded by pointing out specific examples of cases where religious debate is very much about personal beliefs, and not about policy or philosophy. You then came back with the passage I quote, asserting, I guess, that when you said that "[n]o non-theist, non-xtian, etc" is interested in arguing about another's personal beliefs, you didn't really mean "no" in the literal sense of the word. Those pesky Farkers just don't count, is that it?

Hmmm. Seems we just had a link ridiculing people for things like this. Oh wait, that was this link. Oh, and you posted it. Interesting.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:09 PM on November 13, 2003


majcher, how do you define "made up"?

Ummm.... pretty much the way everyone else does. Fabricated, fictional, false.

Saying it contradicts facts?

Yes, that's the one.

This is a more promising suggestion, but the facts mobilized by atheists tend to focus more on literalism that Christianity as a whole. Most anti-Christian arguments tend to basically equate to either the strategy used above, or a "it just sounds silly" approach.

I see now where your nickname comes from.

And while we're at it, in my opinion, jonmc is just about the last person that should be calling people out for being antagonistic and obnoxious.
posted by majcher at 12:10 PM on November 13, 2003


Interesting that you put it that way, since it seems to me that the deliberately antagonistic and obnoxious tone of a lot of his posts make me think of high school sophmore who's read Neitzche one toomany times trying to show what an ubermensch he is.

So much for your claims that you welcome diverse opinions and personalities.
posted by rushmc at 12:11 PM on November 13, 2003


Interestingly, I never see people of other religions get impolite about this stuff although they will, of course, disagree with my views.

Really? REALLY?? Cuz I see them blowing up buildings and starting wars.
posted by rushmc at 12:12 PM on November 13, 2003


MetaTalk. I'm sorry I ruined your thread, Skallas, and I hope this gets things back on track.
posted by orange swan at 12:14 PM on November 13, 2003


1. Point out that christians believe in made-up stuff.

2. Point out that believing in made-up stuff is silly.

3. Say that therefore, all christians are silly.


Best. Syllogism. Ever.
posted by rushmc at 12:14 PM on November 13, 2003


I remember when you didn't need as thick a skin, because the other users were more polite and well mannered than those in a Fark forum.

MeFi used to offer warm meals too, instead of these stupid dry sandwiches. And the seats used to be bigger. This sucks.

So you're saying that the idea that evangelical Christian leaders and organization have privileged access to and disproportional influence with elected American politicians is a creation of the fevered, racist, conspiracy-theory-obsessed left wing mind?

When you put it that way, yes. Conservative Christians are one of many constituencies that have disproportionate influence. But unlike, say, tax-avoiding corporations who buy influence with campaign contributions, conservative Christians exercise power the old fashioned way: they dependably and consistently vote as a block. You may not like the result, but there's really nothing shady about it.

Okay, now back to mocking people of faith.
posted by Ty Webb at 12:16 PM on November 13, 2003


So much for your claims that you welcome diverse opinions and personalities.

I welcome them just fine. But I also reserve my right to voice my opinion right back. And it's not like this is something new or worthwhile here. If there's anybody here who hasn't figured out that skallas is an atheist hasn't been paying attention. And in that same MeTa thread you referenced, I also said that I fight fire with fire. If someone'd gonna be condescending and narcissistic, then they shouldn't be surprised at the response they get. Quite frankly I think he craves it.
posted by jonmc at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2003


jonmc: And yes it is bigotry. More socially acceptable for of bigotry, but bigotry nonetheless.

So criticizing religious inerrancy when it comes to scripture is bigotry as much as criticisizing religious concepts like Sharia law or the fatwa are. That is to say: none.
posted by skallas at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2003


monju_bosatsu, please note the qualifier: serious.
posted by skallas at 12:31 PM on November 13, 2003


hey, ya know, I really like pancakes.
posted by whatnot at 12:31 PM on November 13, 2003


No, skalls, bigotry is singling out a group of people and placing yourself above them and/or hating them. Which is what you're doing.
posted by jonmc at 12:35 PM on November 13, 2003


skallas is actually tron.
posted by quonsar at 12:37 PM on November 13, 2003


How the hell does adding the word "serious" help your argument?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:38 PM on November 13, 2003


So criticizing religious inerrancy when it comes to scripture is bigotry as much as criticizing religious concepts like Sharia law or the fatwa are. That is to say: none.

You're confusing emotion with reason again, skallas. Pointing out flaws in the arguments of religious inerrantists is valid criticism. Screaming at and hating every Christian you meet (even if draping yourself in the cloak of reason) is bigotry.
posted by gd779 at 12:41 PM on November 13, 2003


> So you're saying that the idea that evangelical Christian leaders
> and organization have privileged access to and disproportional
> influence with elected American politicians is a creation of the fevered,
> racist, conspiracy-theory-obsessed left wing mind?

Why no, not at all. Merely that you're fevered, racist and conspiracy-theory-obsessed if you say so, no matter what the truth of the matter may be--just as you would be if you said comparable things about Jews. Here, have a look at my copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Bubba, it's right up your alley.
posted by jfuller at 12:43 PM on November 13, 2003


skallas: But I don't see other faiths singled out on Metafilter the way you target Christians. We DON'T have discussions about contradictory parts of the Koran, or bash Hindus or Buddists or whatever. It's fine to talk about political agendas, but as other people have said in this discussion, don't get that mixed up with people's beliefs. I have strong beliefs and very little political agenda. (Because as a news reporter, I have no opinions :P) In fact, I can even laugh at the link you provided us that pokes a bit of fun at some of the basic tenets of faith I happen to hold. But could you do it without having such an obvious axe to grind?
posted by Happydaz at 12:44 PM on November 13, 2003


> No, skalls, bigotry is singling out a group of people

Oh no, I didn't get the memo that stated that if one is to criticize the inerrancy of scripture one must keep a multi-cultural and multi-religious outlook as not to offend just one group.

As yes, the new Political Correctness. I hear they still say Homocide Bombers on Fox too.

jonmc, you've just set yourself up in the position that questioning fundamentalism is bigotry pure and simple. Bother to even read the article? Its about inerrancy and fundamentalism not some 'religious people suck' teenage angst essay. Not to mention its tongue-in-cheek in more than a few ways, but lets not break the tradition of letting a mefites take something 10x more seriously then it should especially if the disagree with they contents.
posted by skallas at 12:44 PM on November 13, 2003


View from the extremist.
posted by shepd at 12:53 PM on November 13, 2003


jonmc, you're rockin' today. Remind me to buy you a beer next time we run into each other.

[Insert rant about religion-bashing on MeFi; I'm worn out from ranting about conservative-bashing on MeFi.]
posted by languagehat at 1:04 PM on November 13, 2003


But I don't see other faiths singled out on Metafilter the way you target Christians.

American atheists (which I'm assuming skallas is) tend to single out Christians over other religious groups, because there's just an overwhelming amount of stuff to react to. There's no Buddhists here telling me that I can't buy alcohol on Sundays, no Hindus passing laws telling me that posession of more than six dildos is a crime, and few people in the government using the Koran to back up their belief that homosexuals are second-class citizens.

Skallas, and those like him, are vocal - even shrill - because they are a minority, and to be heard, must state their views loudly and frequently. Christianity is an easy target, but I assure you that if the country was suddenly overrun by Muslims, Wiccans, Jews or Jains, they would be assaulted just as readily.

I also recognize that skallas's tone - and the tone of many outspoken athiests, myself included, at times - is unpleasant, and frequently achieves exactly the opposite effect from what is intended. It's just frustrating, and tiring, to be faced with something that is so fundamentally contrary to what we believe is reasonable, every day, all day. So we lash out. We rave, and sound like lunatics, and maybe drive away those who may be "on the God fence". So, I offer a blanket apology. We may not respect your beliefs, but I, at least, respect the people who hold them.

Now, make with the science, already.
posted by majcher at 1:11 PM on November 13, 2003


'Made up' is a bit vague. 'Cannot trace authorship to the era referenced (new testament)' is more precise.

Actually, I like wiccans.
posted by mischief at 1:16 PM on November 13, 2003


But I also reserve my right to voice my opinion right back.

But, see, this is what you're not getting...attacking someone is not "voicing your opinion"!

I fight fire with fire.

Show me where skallas attacked you first? What you're actually doing is fighting ideas you don't like (or tones of voice you don't like, or people you don't like) with fire, and that's just wrong.
posted by rushmc at 1:27 PM on November 13, 2003


no Hindus passing laws telling me that posession of more than six dildos is a crime

....because only Hindu gods have enough arms to hold them?

HA!
posted by Stan Chin at 1:29 PM on November 13, 2003


skallas is actually tron.

Hey, leave me out of this.
posted by trondant at 1:32 PM on November 13, 2003


We DON'T have discussions about contradictory parts of the Koran, or bash Hindus or Buddists or whatever.

Sure we do...a discussion about the translation concerning the number of virgins the WTC terrorists expected to get in heaven is one that comes quickly to mind. What is true is that we don't have them as often, and that strikes me as quite sensible given (a) their relative impact on our society and (b) our familiarity with them (which is both a cause and effect of (a)).

But in any case, I don't follow your argument. Would you equally suggest that because we haven't talked about canteloupe, we should cease all discussion of honey dew?
posted by rushmc at 1:33 PM on November 13, 2003


I for one welcome our honey dew overlords.
Majcher: You raise some interesting points. What's odd is I've grown up in a Christian household and been raised with creationist doctrine - (eg. earth created in 6 days, men walked the earth @ same time as dinosaurs, abortion is wrong.) Surprisingly I still believe it :-). Now I have always observed that Christians are in the minority - that is, despite this being a "Christian" country (whether you believe that or not is certainly open to debate), our leaders do not lead in a way that represents the faith many of them claim to have. Perhaps that's a good thing, perhaps it isn't. Within the last two years, I have seen policymakers (a la Ashcroft) start to implement some of their beliefs into public policy. I thought this would be a good thing. But frankly, it's starting to scare me - because I feel the decisions are politically motivated instead of being geniune concern of how the country should be governed. But worrying about the political agenda of people who claim to have a similar belief structure of my own doesn't stop me from holding those beliefs. In English: Politisizing religion is bad, but I like my beliefs. Don't wantonly attack them.
posted by Happydaz at 1:53 PM on November 13, 2003


unreason: Saying that a cat can be nether dead nor alive is silly, but theorists suggest it's probably true.

Which theorists. Most I've agree that that damned cat was just a fanciful thought experiment never meant to be taken literally. In fact, I can't think of a single theorist who argues otherwise.

Personally, I think that the world would be a much better place if my fellow athiests just got over the fact that Chistians believe we are damned, and if Chistians got over the fact that we find their beliefs silly.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:57 PM on November 13, 2003


Happydaz: In English: Politisizing religion is bad, but I like my beliefs. Don't wantonly attack them.

The problem is, I don't see how one can express the opinion that that the Bible is so deeply flawed as a work of natural and political history that it holds about the same level of authority as Kipling's Just So Stories without it being interpreted as a wanton attack. You quickly reach a point where trying to sugarcoat an intellectual position is pretty much futile. That is really the bottom line. Just the mere fact that I reject the Bible as an authority is offensive to some.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:04 PM on November 13, 2003


"Politisizing religion is bad" Unfortunately, religion is (still) a subset of politics. At one time, politics was a subset of religion, but fortunately, Jefferson Inc. managed to turn that around. Now, if the US could actually separate the two, we would all be better off.

(Damned dangling prepositions! Ah, fuck it!)
posted by mischief at 2:08 PM on November 13, 2003


KirkJobSluder: Personally, I think that the world would be a much better place if my fellow athiests just got over the fact that Chistians believe we are damned, and if Chistians got over the fact that we find their beliefs silly.

Now there's a philosophy. But you left out us pagans that are polytheists. (Note: I am *not* a Wiccan.) My formula for the ideal world would be one in which everyone could interact freely and with respect for each other, regardless of their beliefs or anything else.

*snort* Guess it's been awhile since I've lived in the real world, huh?
posted by pixelbaby at 2:10 PM on November 13, 2003


Love the christian, hate the christianity.
posted by yesster at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2003


Happydaz, speaking only for myself, I have to say that my problem (as an agnostic) is less what you believe than an attempt by those you cite to codify their beliefs into law. There are a great deal of people who want turn this explicitly into a "Christian country," the very nature of which - according to those most concerned with doing so - couldn't possibly, say, accord homosexuals the same rights as straights specifically because of what the Bible says of homosexuality.

Bashing Christianity as such is not beneficial because I believe there is much in the Bible to be admired and emulated, even though I absolutely do not regard it as literal truth. I believe there is a reason it has lasted these many centuries, that reason being that it contains a great deal of wisdom and, yes, truth.

But to impose it as law upon people just seems to me to go against everything it's supposed to stand for in the first place.
posted by kgasmart at 2:12 PM on November 13, 2003


here's (old) satire that some here might find amusing, "Apple Computers promote Godless Darwinism and Communism.".
posted by dabitch at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2003


Despite the "log in your own eye" admonition, most Xtians in America that I've met (or their radio stations or their TV channels or some over-the-top leaders) are constantly picking on people they don't approve of, constantly meddling in other people's lives, utterly certain that they have a truth franchise, and happily run around trying to indict other people. You might even call it an agenda.

But oh my, the skin is thin when it's on the other foot.

Xtians, how about you set a good example. Let your actions speak for you instead of your words.

posted by Twang at 2:36 PM on November 13, 2003


[o/t - I find the use of "x" in place of "christ" irritating, even if it has a scholarly pedigree.]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:41 PM on November 13, 2003


I find the use of "x" in place of "christ" irritating
I will be sure to adopt the practice then. ;-P
posted by mischief at 2:53 PM on November 13, 2003


(or their radio stations or their TV channels or some over-the-top leaders) are constantly picking on people they don't approve of, constantly meddling in other people's lives, utterly certain that they have a truth franchise, and happily run around trying to indict other people.
All of these are in the public sector so they're you too, ignore them.

Xtians, how about you set a good example. Let your actions speak for you instead of your words.

What about you or your not a Christian so you can. No one likes a busy body which I first heard in the church. May I offer you to read the Bible so you may know the truths from the wrongs. Otherwise spitting it out like we're all the same is being them too.

The GOP does not own religion or tv yet you seem to imply they do. They are owned by the public, us.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:55 PM on November 13, 2003


unreason: That it sounds silly? Saying that a cat can be neither dead nor alive is silly, but theorists suggest it's probably true.

Thanks unreason, Schrodinger's cat is a great metaphor for religion. It's not that the cat is neither dead nor alive, it's that finding out the truth has a role in the truth itself. The cat is really neither alive nor dead until we open the box. Similarly, if religion means an existence outside of this one, then there's no way of telling for sure without dying (unless you invent a God detector).

Without opening the box, it's not correct to view the cat as alive or dead. You can make an assumption, but it's purely on faith. The best option would be to have no opinion at all, but if you want to believe the cat is alive or dead because it makes you feel good, go for it.
posted by mikeh at 3:06 PM on November 13, 2003


[de-lurk]

Don't know if it's been posted here before, but here's more fuel for the fire. I daresay that this makes the bible a much more fascinating read than the typical "literal" viewpoint.

[/de-lurk]
posted by PsychoKick at 3:09 PM on November 13, 2003


Can we please not discuss Schroedinger's cat? It just confuses people. Obviously, nobody (certainly not Schroedinger) could ever reasonably think that "the cat is neither alive nor dead". That's just absurd. The damn cat is either alive or dead, independent of our ability to observe it.

Here's an analogy for you: I'm at work right now, so I don't know whether or not my apartment has burned down because I left the coffee maker on this morning. Does that mean that "my apartment is neither intact nor gutted by fire"? Of course not: it's either still there, or it isn't.

In fact, now that I've looked into it a little, I find that Schroedinger originally used the cat experiment to argue against the idea that the superposition of quantum states is reflected in the physical reality of a system (e.g. that an electron is somehow "spread out" in it's atomic orbital). He brings up the idea of "the living and dead cat...mixed or smeared out in equal parts" precisely because it's an absurd idea. More here.

I'm going home now, to make sure that my apartment hasn't burned down.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:03 PM on November 13, 2003


You quickly reach a point where trying to sugarcoat an intellectual position is pretty much futile.

There's the other little issue...that no adult should ever have to "sugarcoat" something for another adult. To do so is patronizing, the equivalent of shouting "you can't HANDLE the truth!" at them.
posted by rushmc at 4:10 PM on November 13, 2003


I always thought the 'x' in 'Xians' or 'Xtians' was basically derived from Christians' use of 'xmas'. No? There's obviously the whole Greek thing, too.

No more xmas for you monju! You have to write out the whole thing!
posted by LionIndex at 4:30 PM on November 13, 2003


Here's an analogy for you: I'm at work right now, so I don't know whether or not my apartment has burned down because I left the coffee maker on this morning. Does that mean that "my apartment is neither intact nor gutted by fire"? Of course not: it's either still there, or it isn't.

You're right that Schrodinger posed it as a reductio ad absurdum against superposition. But superposition is real, whether you think it's absurd or not. Particles are in two different places at the same time, spin up and spin down at the same time, and so forth. Your analogy is a false one, because superposition isn't based upon ignorance; the two-simultaneous-state effect has real, observable consequences that can't be explained away by mere ignorance of the quantum state. (See, for example, the work of David Wineland at NIST.)

What makes the cat so troubling is that it's just a matter of scale and complexity that makes it different from an atom. Scientists still are trying to figure out whether there's really something that changes as you scale up from micro to meso to macro, or whether the same laws really do apply and it's simply decoherence that's forcing the cat to "choose" whether it's alive or dead.
posted by ptermit at 5:34 PM on November 13, 2003


[o/t - I find the use of "x" in place of "christ" irritating, even if it has a scholarly pedigree.]

It seems as though people are using it in place of Chris, not Christ.
posted by ODiV at 5:43 PM on November 13, 2003


But superposition is real, whether you think it's absurd or not. Particles are in two different places at the same time, spin up and spin down at the same time, and so forth.

Most modern theorists see this as a difficulty in our attempts to conceptualize "wavicles" rather than an actual breaking of the principle of non-contradiction. The ether is on the way back, except now it's simply space-time, not some detectable substance within space-time.

Funny link.
posted by mdn at 6:23 PM on November 13, 2003


X = Cross, like in Cross Country Skis.

Cross = Crucifixtion = Jesus.

Therefore Cross-Mass, or X-Mas = Christmas.

HTH!

Happy Holiday Season!

And *any* religion that advocates cannibalism (eating the flesh and blood of Jesus) is wrong. Just my opinion, of course, but we've seen the effects of cannibalism on other animals (Mad Cow Disease) and it really isn't pretty. I can't imagine what would happen if people really did eat people. It freaks me out beyond belief (of the bible, of course).

BTW: This comes from an ex-Anglican Altar Boy. I'm grateful that I opened my mind to alternate opinions, and my own personal ones, rather than ignore those feelings.
posted by shepd at 6:29 PM on November 13, 2003


Personally, I think that the world would be a much better place if my fellow athiests just got over the fact that Chistians believe we are damned, and if Chistians got over the fact that we find their beliefs silly.

Sounds like a deal. But understand, that only Christians will ultimately be able to say, "I told you so".

Can we please not discuss Schroedinger's cat? It just confuses people.

Funny you should say that, then go on to talk about it in your entire post... rather confusingly, I might add.
posted by Witty at 6:31 PM on November 13, 2003


I'm grateful that I opened my mind to alternate opinions, and my own personal ones, rather than ignore those feelings.

...rather overly-dramatic ones at that.
posted by Witty at 6:33 PM on November 13, 2003


You're right that Schrodinger posed it as a reductio ad absurdum against superposition. But superposition is real, whether you think it's absurd or not. Particles are in two different places at the same time, spin up and spin down at the same time, and so forth.

I don't think you understand the context. Schroedinger wasn't arguing against superposition. He clearly understood (as do I) that certain quantum states could be expressed mathematically in terms of the superposition of fundamental wavefunctions. This is pretty basic to quantum mechanics, and was developed, in part, by Schroedinger himself. The problem that Schroedinger had was with the physical interpretation of this (basically mathematical) construct.

One interpretation contemporary with Schroedinger was that a particle described by a superposition of wavefunctions existed physically as some sort of combination of those wavefunctions--that it was "spread out" or "smeared" between the superimposed wavefunctions that described it. Take for instance the electron slit experiment: the smear interpretation of superposition held that as the electron travels towards the slits, it has an extended structure that looks like a combination of the two possible waveforms (corresponding to the two slits). The waveform collapses after the electron passes through one or the other slit.

Schroedinger thought that this interpretation was bullshit, and he used the cat experiment to ridicule it. The particle was no more "smeared out" than the cat was "both dead and alive". Modern physicist also reject the smear interpretation of superposition. The currently favored interpretation is referred to as the Copenhagen Interpretation, and was put forward by Bohr and Heisenberg in the late 20s. I'm not going to pretend that I understand the Copenhagen Interpretation in all its detail, but I think that the most fundamental tenet is that the wavefunction (or, rather, the square of the wavefunction) can be understood to represent a probability density.

Superposition, then, does not mean that "Particles are in two different places at the same time, spin up and spin down at the same time, and so forth." (though I do realize that science writers, and even some physicists, like to speak as if it does), it simply means that a particle can be in one of several states, and that there is a probability associated with each of those states that can be calculated from the particle wavefunction.

There are probably some maverick physicists who would argue against Copenhagen. They understand quantum mechanics much, much better than I do. The Copenhagen Interpretation is mainstream, though.

Hell, what does it even mean for a particle to be "in more than one place at the same time"? That a meaningless, absurd, semantic game. Probability densities at least pass the laugh test.

Funny you should say that, then go on to talk about it in your entire post... rather confusingly, I might add.

It's more interesting than arguing about religion yet again...
posted by mr_roboto at 6:35 PM on November 13, 2003


Happy Holiday Season!...I can't imagine what would happen if people really did eat people.
There goes that Soylent-of-the-month gift set i was gonna get you. : >
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on November 13, 2003


"It's more interesting than arguing about religion yet again..."

So's tubgirl, but I'm not going to mention her.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:10 PM on November 13, 2003


It's more interesting than arguing about religion yet again...

Indeed!
posted by Witty at 7:11 PM on November 13, 2003


D'oh!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:11 PM on November 13, 2003


I'm so glad I googled tubgirl and clicked on "I Feel Lucky". Thanks Crash! I sure did fall for that one.
posted by Witty at 7:13 PM on November 13, 2003


...as if the pixelating is even necessary. To anyone who may follow my lead, NSFW doesn't even come close. Not safe for sentient beings might be more suitable.
posted by Witty at 7:16 PM on November 13, 2003


understand, that only Christians will ultimately be able to say, "I told you so".

"Christians? Ah, yes, I'm sorry but I'm afraid the Jews were right."
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:24 PM on November 13, 2003


Superposition, then, does not mean that "Particles are in two different places at the same time, spin up and spin down at the same time, and so forth." (though I do realize that science writers, and even some physicists, like to speak as if it does), it simply means that a particle can be in one of several states, and that there is a probability associated with each of those states that can be calculated from the particle wavefunction.

Not quite. Even in the Copenhagen interpretation, you've got all the states coexisting; it's the measurement (and this is usually ill-defined) that causes the system to switch from being in all the states to being in one. In the Many Worlds scenario, which is just as mainstream as the Copenhagen one, the superposition continues even after the measurement, but the world splits when the "measurement" occurs. (I can't remember how Bohmian interpretations resolve the paradox.)

It's not a science writer's fiction to say that a particle is in two states at the same time. In fact, the two states will interfere with each other, something that would be impossible if the particle had a single pre-existing state that we were simply ignorant of. (There was a great Wineland paper in Science magazine in 1996 where he did this with ions, IIRC.)

Or, in the two-split experiment: pass an electron through two slits. You can't say that the electron has a 50% chance of passing through the left slit and a 50% chance of passing through the right, and we just don't know which one. If that were the case, then there would be no interference pattern. It passes through both simultaneously, interferes with itself, and strikes a detector. However, if you make a measurement before it reaches the slits, the wavefunction collapses early, and you'll destroy the interference pattern.

Sure, Schrodinger wanted to disprove the idea that the particle went through both slits at the same time. He didn't.

Sure, you can argue that it's meaningless to say that a *particle* passes through both slits at the same time -- sure, it's a wavefunction that presents as a particle upon observation. But you *can't* say that "The damn [particle] is either [left] or [right], independent of our ability to observe it." It's both. And many researchers think that decoherence is the only reason that you can be certain that the cat will be either alive or dead by the time you open the box.

mdn: Most modern theorists see this as a difficulty in our attempts to conceptualize "wavicles" rather than an actual breaking of the principle of non-contradiction. The ether is on the way back, except now it's simply space-time, not some detectable substance within space-time.

Huh? This makes absolutely no sense to me. What does the principle of non-contradiction have to do with this discussion? And spacetime?
posted by ptermit at 8:18 PM on November 13, 2003


No more xmas for you monju! You have to write out the whole thing!

Just in time for xmas, it's Critters U Love

Sorry, but He has spoken.
posted by rushmc at 8:39 PM on November 13, 2003


Sorry, but He has spoken.
Yep, on MeFi we must all accept that there is but One True God, and His name is Matt...

I think it should be a corollary to Godwin's Law that "If a discussion on a weblog goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will invoke Schroedinger's Cat...
Or a picture of your cat....
Or a picture of tubgirl...
Or all of the above."

Jakers! I love MetaFilter.
posted by wendell at 9:06 PM on November 13, 2003


Since when does Skallas or anybody else have an obligation to pretend that things that are wrong aren't wrong? Christianity isn't harmless, nor is religion in general, if it's based on things like absurd anthropomorphism and antiquated superstitions about pork and how often you should beat your wife to make the flowers grow. Should we smile when we see another generation of kids saddled with 3000 years of absolute bullshit and lies that distort their perception of the world so that they don't care what is true and what is false? I don't fucking care if it's shrill or repetitious, it should be championed with the same zeal as the civil rights movement or the anti-war movement.
posted by Hildago at 12:12 AM on November 14, 2003


Fundamentalist Christianity - fascinating. These people actually believe that the bi.., er, the world is 12 thousand years old. Swear to God.

What the..? Based on what? I asked them.

"Well we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages - 12 thousand years."

Well how fucking scientific, okay.

I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble. That's good.

You believe the world's 12 thousand years old?

"That's right."

Okay I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready?

"uh huh."

Dinosaurs.

You know the world's 12 thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point.

"And lo Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus... with a splinter in his paw. And O the disciples did run a shriekin': 'What a big fucking lizard, Lord!'

But Jesus was unafraid and he took the splinter from the brontosaurus's paw and the big lizard became his friend.

And Jesus sent him to Scotland where he lived in a loch for O so many years inviting thousands of American tourists to bring their fat fucking families and their fat dollar bills.

And oh Scotland did praise the Lord. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Thank you Lord."

Get this, I actually asked one of these guys, OK, Dinosaurs fossils - how does that fit into you scheme of life? Let me sit down and strap in.

He said, "Dinosaur fossils? God put those there to test our faith."

Thank God I'm strapped in right now here man.

I think God put you here to test my faith, Dude.

You believe that?

"uh huh."

Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God.. might be.. fuckin' with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge. Some prankster God running around:

"Hu hu ho. We will see who believes in me now, ha ha."

[mimes God burying fossils]

"I am God, I am a prankster."

"I am killing Me."


You know, You die and go to St. Peter...

"Did you believe in dinosaurs?"

"Well, yeah. There was fossils everywhere"

Thuh [trapdoor opens]

"Aaaaaaarhhh!"

"You fuckin idiot."

"Flying lizards, you're a moron. God was fuckin' with you!"

"It seemed so plausible, ahhhh!"

"Enjoy the lake of fire, fucker!"

You ever noticed how people who believe in creationism look really unevolved? Ya ever noticed that? Eyes real close together, eyebrow ridges, big furry hands and feet.

"I believe God created me in one day"

Yeah, looks liked He rushed it.



-- Bill Hicks
posted by matteo at 4:06 AM on November 14, 2003


Yep, on MeFi we must all accept that there is but One True God, and His name is Matt...

HUMOR, m'boy, humor! If you'd been paying attention you'd know I would be the last person to seriously present such an argument.
posted by rushmc at 5:30 AM on November 14, 2003


*sniff*

That poor cat.
posted by norm at 7:14 AM on November 14, 2003


Oh no, I didn't get the memo that stated that if one is to criticize the inerrancy of scripture one must keep a multi-cultural and multi-religious outlook as not to offend just one group.

I suppose you're capable of criticizing the inerrancy of Scripture, but it'd be nice if you also knew what you were talking about.

Multi-culturalism is the secular world's way of saying - be tolerlant everything we tell you to be tolerant of - and if you fall out of line, you're obviously intolerant, a bigot, or just stupid. It's that kind of 'inerrancy' that does more damage to society.

Its about inerrancy and fundamentalism not some 'religious people suck' teenage angst essay.

So as long as you are specific in your bigotry it's ok - got it.

but lets not break the tradition of letting a mefites take something 10x more seriously then it should especially if the disagree with they contents.

You're right - people who are offended by anti-religious statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.
posted by alethe at 8:13 AM on November 14, 2003


Oh man, talk about a whine-fest. Before you religious people continue complaining about the horrible persecution you have to put up by satirical posts like this or some kid at Fark, remember that Atheists are the only group that you can LEGALLY discriminate against.

I can't hold office in EIGHT states because of non-belief.


Sorry, if some atheists and agnostics come off as 'shrill' and harsh your mellow, but them's the facts.
posted by skallas at 8:37 AM on November 14, 2003


I can't hold office in EIGHT states because of non-belief.

See, now that link would've made for an interesting FPP. Since a)I was not aware of that fact and I'm sure a lot of other people weren't either and b) I can't speak for most people but I believe most reasonable people, religionist or not, would find those laws unconstitutional and just plain wrong.
posted by jonmc at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2003


great link+factoid Skallas, nuts, I had no idea.
posted by dabitch at 9:53 AM on November 14, 2003


I can't hold office in EIGHT states because of non-belief.

Of course you can. The laws are flatly unconstitutional, and could not possibly be enforced -- they're merely relics that have not been removed because they have not been enforced, so nobody has had standing to sue (except perhaps for an intentional test case in the future, if you can convince a DA to actually prosecute you).

Further, many of the examples cited pose no legal bar to an atheist taking office but merely state that nobody who acknowledges some sort of god can be kept from office for religious reasons -- for this to be a bar to atheists, there must also be some positive prohibition on their holding office somewhere in the state code, which I strongly suspect we would not find.

A quick glance also shows that these are all old provisions with one exception. The MD Constitution dates from 1867, the TX Constitution from 1876, the MA constitution from 1780, PA's from 1874, SC's 1896, and TN's from 1870. NC is the exception with a constitution from 1971, but that was basically just an incorporation of a whole bunch of amendments into the text of the constitution instead of starting from scratch.

To the extent that these "examples" are from state bills of rights, which are often incorporated wholesale into newer versions of the constitution (or added to, but rarely taken away from), it's even sillier to suggest that there is some actual legal impediment to an atheist taking office in any of these states. All it shows is that some of the legacy documents in different states can be embarrassing, which we already knew. To pretend that these actually prevent anything is utterly disingenuous at best, or simply ignorant.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on November 14, 2003


Isn't it illegal to ride a donkey on the left side of the road on Sundays in Bumfuck, Nevada as well?

I didn't know that it was possible to be an atheist and a fundy until now. The world is not black and white. Religion is not entirely good or entirely evil. Relax, you'll live longer.
posted by euphorb at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2003


You're right - people who are offended by anti-religious statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.

You're right - people who are offended by anti-pedophile statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.

You're right - people who are offended by anti-Nazi statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.

You're right - people who are offended by anti-Jewish statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.

You're right - people who are offended by anti-homosexual statements should just get over it - no need to take their worldview seriously anyway. I mean, it's only a joke - it's not really bigotry - it could just be ignorance.

Right?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:55 PM on November 14, 2003


Huh? This makes absolutely no sense to me. What does the principle of non-contradiction have to do with this discussion? And spacetime?

What does the principle of non-contradiction have to do with it? Aren't we talking about a supposedly self-contradicting particle here? You're arguing that a particle both is and isn't in a certain place at a certain time, or both is and isn't a particle (i.e., it's also a wave) which breaks the law of non-contradiction, which says that something can't be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect.

The more recent interpretations view the particle-wave as a kind of hyperdimensional vibration in the fabric of space-time itself, which makes space-time act as the kind of "ether" through which different particles and waves are able to transmit information and act in congruence with one another, so that those two occurences of the particle are not actually separate identities but manifestations of one oscillation.
posted by mdn at 4:56 PM on November 14, 2003


Aren't we talking about a supposedly self-contradicting particle here?

In the same sense that an airplane is a "self-contradicting" object. It's neither automobile nor bird. Profound, eh?

The more recent interpretations view the particle-wave as a kind of hyperdimensional vibration in the fabric of space-time itself, which makes space-time act as the kind of "ether"...

Judging from your previous comment and your talk about ether, I think you meant to say "of the fabric" rather than "in the fabric," which is incorrect. Strings are thought to be *objects* that reside in a 10- or 11-dimensional spacetime. (Of course, the structure of spacetime gets very complicated on the smallest scales, thanks to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.)

through which different particles and waves are able to transmit information and act in congruence with one another, so that those two occurences of the particle are not actually separate identities but manifestations of one oscillation.

Whoa. Drop the buzzwords and you'll do a lot better. If you're trying to say that strings do away with superposition, then you're wrong; strings are only 10^-30 m or so, while superpositions can stretch over meter scales. If that's not what you were trying to say, please explain in less opaque language. (You're trying to use quasi-physics-speak, but you're not making any sense. How can an occurence of a particle *be* an identity, for example?)
posted by ptermit at 9:06 AM on November 15, 2003


In the same sense that an airplane is a "self-contradicting" object. It's neither automobile nor bird. Profound, eh?

what? No, I'm talking about the particle being in two places at one time - as you have said:

But superposition is real, whether you think it's absurd or not. Particles are in two different places at the same time,

It's not a science writer's fiction to say that a particle is in two states at the same time.


So where's the disagreement there?

Whoa. Drop the buzzwords and you'll do a lot better...
You're trying to use quasi-physics-speak, but you're not making any sense.


I wasn't trying to use lingo or "buzzwords". (Which words seemed buzzy?) I was just explaining it as I remembered it.

How can an occurence of a particle *be* an identity, for example?

As I said, they are *not* separate identities, but part of one movement. (I was merely using the english word "identity", not a physics-speak version of it. Apologies if that was confusing.)

Look, I'm not claiming to be a physicist. I enjoy reading about this stuff. Some years ago, everyone was writing about superposition, and mocking einstein's comment that if it were true, the moon would be smeared across the sky. The more recent stuff I've read seems to be coming back around to Einstein's view, and reinterpreting quantum mechanics as part of unified process, rather than random individual particles popping in and out of existence. Decoherence made a certain amount of sense, but seemed very solution-designed-for-problem, ie, it seemed a bit like cheating (it doesn't work this way for middle-sized objects, because - it just doesn't).

Anyway, Michio Kaku, David Deutsch, and the slightly fringier David Bohm have been my recent authors on the topic. Deutsch goes with the many worlds theory, but that still explains the process, not leaving us to simply accept that something can be true and false at the same time; by his interpretation the other particles are shadow-particles from alternate universes. Kaku paints a picture of a unified world where all matter is the result of vibrations in hyperspace so particles aren't randomly zipping about but part of a larger order. And Bohm is even more committed to the unity of the world.

I'm all about learning, so feel free to explain what you're getting at if you're an expert in this stuff, but please don't bother with the snide /condescending thing. I'm very open to reassessing my views, and have no intent to come across as if I've got it all figured out. Check out my posting history if you want. I'm pretty reasonable, but I have to say attitude turns me off.
posted by mdn at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2003


X = Cross

Wrong. X is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of Christ in Greek and is therefore used to stand for the whole word: ???S??S (which means 'anointed' and is the Greek translation of Hebrew mashiakh, which gives us the word messiah). Hence also the word and symbol Chi-Rho, from the first two letters (??) superimposed.

You may now resume your pointless and interminable exchanges of "You're wrong! No, you're wrong!"
posted by languagehat at 3:53 PM on November 15, 2003


Dammit, that Greek looked fine on preview. Let's try again.

...stand for the whole word: ???S??S...
...the two letters (??) superimposed.
posted by languagehat at 3:58 PM on November 15, 2003


...stand for the whole word: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ...
...the two letters (ΧΡ) superimposed.
posted by languagehat at 4:01 PM on November 15, 2003


*pant pant pant*
OK, now resume your pointless and interminable exchanges of "You're wrong! No, you're wrong!"
posted by languagehat at 4:36 PM on November 15, 2003


I'm pretty reasonable

It's true, she is.
posted by rushmc at 5:42 PM on November 15, 2003


So where's the disagreement there?

OK... in plainer English. The principle of non-contradiction is used in axiomatic logic, which is pretty much irrelevant to observational physics. A superposed particle is no more "self-contradictory" than an airplane. There's no principle-breaking in having a particle both here and there and both up and down, just as there's none in having an airplane that is neither bird nor automobile but shares the characteristics of both. It doesn't "break" the principle of non-contradiction. It just shows that you've got a false dichotomy.

The reason you're detecting "attitude" is that I'm reacting to your misuse of language: things like "they are *not* separate identities, but part of one movement" don't make sense in either plain English or technical English. (How can something *be* an identity even in plain English? [An identity is a non-abstract term in mathematics, but that would make even less sense in your sentence.] And how can a particle be part of a movement?) That's all I've been saying. If that comes across as snide or condescending, I'm sorry you feel that way.
posted by ptermit at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2003


OK... in plainer English. The principle of non-contradiction is used in axiomatic logic, which is pretty much irrelevant to observational physics. A superposed particle is no more "self-contradictory" than an airplane.

The principle of non-contradiction says: "the same thing cannot both belong and not belong to the object at the same time and in the same respect ...contraries cannot at the same time belong to the same subject" (Meta bk 4). When this principle was first defined, it was specifically concerned with physics - with the being of nature and how it worked. In this case, you seem to be backing the general claim that a particle both is and isn't in a certain place at a certain time, which seems at odds with Aristotle's claim here.

There's no principle-breaking in having a particle both here and there and both up and down, just as there's none in having an airplane that is neither bird nor automobile but shares the characteristics of both.

okay, it sounds as if you are more or less in agreement with me then. You're saying it isn't some inexplicable capacity to be two places at once, but just a different sort of object that behaves over larger areas of space than it directly occupies at a given time.

The reason you're detecting "attitude" is that I'm reacting to your misuse of language: things like "they are *not* separate identities, but part of one movement" don't make sense in either plain English or technical English.

In plain english, it makes sense to me: they aren't atomic (as in atom-like, not radioactive) individuals, but facets of a more encompassing entity, which entity is most essentially an action.

And how can a particle be part of a movement?

e=mc^2. actuality is an activity. I would assume that I'm being too general and philosophical about mathematical and physical objects, except that most of the physics I've recently read (not just Aristotle's! those guys I mentioned above) concur.
posted by mdn at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2003


Right?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:55 PM PST on November 14


That's up to you... I was responding to this :

but lets not break the tradition of letting a mefites take something 10x more seriously then it should especially if the disagree with they contents.

I have no idea what you're responding to - Perhaps you thought mixing up words makes for profound statements. But if you don't want to take pedophiles, nazis, or anything else serioulsy - you don't have to.
posted by alethe at 10:29 AM on November 16, 2003


mdn: I'm sorry: energy isn't movement or activity or action, mass isn't actuality, Aristotelian ideas about the nature of the physical world were discarded and replaced when the scientific revolution began, and we're not in agreement. (I really do wish you the best of luck in your quest for knowledge, and I'll sign off here because I know I'm not going to be any help to you.)
posted by ptermit at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2003


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