This is my very first post on here so be very, very kind. Maybe even sycophantic if you have it in you… ;-)
I've decided to post this in order to avoid having a drawn out and painful discussion with the original author of a Christian apology which, like arguing with a drunk teenager, is largely pointless and always entirely depressing.
The post in question was from someone called Templestream, a guy who was trolling on Atheist Revolution. His theory was the typical drivel and claimed to ‘prove’ god’s existence based on several asserted premises which essentially came down to: Logic relies on certain rules, some philosophers think that the Quantum Mechanics break some of these rules (specifically identity), you can’t explain Near Death Experiences logically, religion can, therefore god exists.
If you’re feeling particularly masochistic, the article can be found here: http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-phy...
The thing that grates with me is the dressing up in jargony philosophical language and scientific words, which is an ever increasing trait in religionist barrel scraping as they attempt to save face as the tolerance for their nonsense declines. He’s even taken the trouble to produce lots of references and sources for his points, so that the innocent reader might be tricked in to thinking any of it holds water.
As you will have noticed from other religionists’ posts, quantum mechanics is the new catch-all for proving that the atheists can’t be certain about things, just as radiation and relativity were before them. The philosophers around at the time of these discoveries all mused about ‘the profound philosophical implications’ of the latest theory on the block. They also tend to throw in the usual ‘Theory X fails because it can’t answer the important questions like “why is there something rather than nothing” etc blah blah’.
These bloggers can be easily identified by their childlike understanding of things like scientific theories. Templestream for example get his understanding of QM from “The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (SEP)”, not the best source for what most physicists find a challenging subject. He then starts wittering on about the physical and logical implications of the theory and claiming that logic is undermined by it, because someone else thought it. So the standard MO for a bible literalist then; it was in a book I like therefore it is true.
My physicist friend tells me that as it stands, QM helps you picture an electron moving through space about as well as Newton’s theory of gravity tells you what gravity is or how it works. Both are mathematical tools that produce accurate predictions of experimental observations given certain inputs. They work very well, but they aren’t complete and to think that a bedroom blogger has spotted that there is some implication that means everyone in the scientific community is wasting their time when they could be praying, is farfetched to say the least.
The philosophical implications go only so far as adjusting philosophy; surely nature doesn’t care that we now understand how one variable changes with another, or how well we can predict the impact location(s) of whatever a ‘particle’ turns out to be. The SEP also manages ten and a half thousand words on philosophical implications of General and Special Relativity, where as in fact the impact of special relativity doesn’t go much further than accepting the fact that it’s impossible to tell whether you’re moving uniformly at a constant velocity or standing still; general relativity does the same with acceleration and gravity. There’s no great mystery, that’s just how it appears, as far as is understood today. This makes some adjustments to prior assumptions, but there’s no change to reality just because we now know.
Much of it is counter intuitive and maybe that’s why the religious philosophy student tries so hard to highlight contradictions in anything other than the biblical version of reality. But then even if it were all wrong, it wouldn’t mean that any other theory is automatically better; that we should look again at the “Yeah, God did it” hypothesis.
The whole Near Death Experience thing is bizarre also. After Death Experience would be worth hearing about. The dreams of a pensioner during a car crash are no doubt fun but that others have similar experiences shows only that our brains are the same model and that they appear to react in the same way in similar circumstances; what you would expect from the product of evolution and shared ancestry.
Anyhoo, rant over. I still haven’t decided whether to ever join in on the ‘philosophical proof’ arguments; their authors are so bought in to their own work that I doubt a mere ape such as I could convince them of anything except what a miserable sinner I must be, not to truly ‘see’.