The Nature of Belief Abhors a Vacuum

One of the most disgusting postulates that unifies the otherwise deadly divided “Jukrislim” religions is the accusation that humans are born with and live in sin. The original finger-pointing, found in the shared book of Genesis, lays the blame of sin squarely on the backs of women. Women have never been the same since then, especially after the Jewish sects calling themselves Christianity and Islam took root.





But the strange fruit from the tree of Jukrislim hangs on withered branches and drops upon a seething land where people, places and things are never safe from their fiendish clutches.

There can never be an earthly apocalypse because the alleged day of reckoning is a daily human endeavor. Hell-bent on self destruction, these peoples of the living mythologies are the guarantor’s that the end is near, everyday, whether we non-Jukrislims like it or not. And, the self-appointed sanctity of this spiritual, belief-dependent higher authority is a death culture that brooks no opposition to its demanding, unproven claims upon humanity. Try as we might, we cannot escape them. For nonbelievers there is only the edge of the earth.

Nevertheless, religiosity in the United States is a matter of geography where the nature of the beast of belief abhors a vacuum. According to the Pew Research Center’s February 2016 report, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are the “least devout” states in the nation. Jukrislim religions have taken note of this void of belief and the shrunken flocks of churchgoers in the Northeast.

Here in southern Vermont we evidence the rise of interfaith initiatives over the past decade seeking to integrate themselves as “Abraham’s Family Reunion” who see the state of interfaith “as kind of an activist group wanting social change.” However, if there is any reliability to the historical record it sorely indicates that the inherent bloodthirsty instability of religious groups have been and are now the origin and epicenter of mass human aggression and brutality.

If the growth of interfaith initiators think they can insinuate themselves into our communities with impunity without breaking free from the historical chain reaction of their continuous violence, then, like the domino effect, we will find ourselves falling face down in a boneyard of losers.

As many of our Northeasterners show to the rest of the nation, our communities are quite capable of living decent, loving, productive social lives that have no religious or spiritual basis or governance. What does the Northeast know that the other states do not?

Vidda Crochetta

Reprint: Brattleboro Reformer
To the Editor:
April 13, 2016
POSTED: 04/12/2016

Comments | 57

  • Pilgrims

    We do live rather free in the northeast, but there is at least one church (often many) and a fast food outlet (or many) in just about every town. The steeples (and golden arches) dominate our landscape, even if their flocks have diminished.

    I love the steeples in Brattleboro, and around New England. They were our first skyscrapers, looking upward and encouraging people to stick with it, whatever they were up to. They topped our first meeting houses, which helped shape our governments.

    I find aspects of organized religion all over the place, from prayers opening town meetings, to our laws limiting inebriation or insisting on wearing clothes. We invoke morality all the time in our arguments. We don’t do a lot of bible-thumping and demanding that others obey God’s law like the evangelicals do, but we have our quiet Puritan roots that remain pervasive.

    I’ve often wondered if “sin” and the 10 commandments are really just rules we may up to differentiate us from wild animals. A code for not being an animal anymore. “Look, we’re humans now and we have to hold ourselves to higher standards.” : )

    • The Plymouth Rock Syndrome

      “…just rules we made up to differentiate us from wild animals.”

      Therein lays a big part of the problem with humans. Instead of differentiating ourselves from our fellow animals we should have learned to understand and live with them as equals. In turn, we would have been better animals ourselves. But these misguided peoples of the living mythologies can’t even treat each other as equals.

      I wish “higher standards” did apply to us humans.

  • Tyranny of Believers

    In a conversation with an iBratt local today, the person told me that everyone has to believe in something. When I denied that I had to believe in something, the person replied with a litany of common beliefs starting with “You must believe the sun is going to come up.” (It was in the 1970s when I first heard that gem. )The person summed me up as “You’re a believer,” then added, “Everybody are believers.”

    It has to be the tyranny of many believers that I dislike. By declaring that 7.3 billion people must be believers whether they are or not; must be believers whether they like it or not, they exercise a dictatorship over individual freedom of expression.

    Too many believers fear the emptiness of facing their beliefs alone. And, like any irrational fear, they are liable to irrational actions, using irrational justifications. It is why I often describe argumentative believers as “clinically insane.” Like a lot of insane people, they don’t think or know they are insane. Therefore, historically, they are inherently and collectively all the more dangerous because of it.

    • Hmmm...

      I had to look in the dictionary, but the first definition is:

      “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists”

      So am I correct to assume you, having no beliefs, do not accept that any statements are true, nor does anything exist?

      Put another way, should I believe you? : )

      • Having more than one meaning

        I understand words can have more than one meaning (definition).
        But the second google definition of belief states “trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.” Really?

        However, accepting the idea of words having more than one definition, I would have defined the second definition as “faith in someone or something.”

        And, for the first definition of belief I’d define as “having trust, confidence, acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists”

      • “Put another way, should I believe you? : )”

        No. However, you can concur/differ with me or correct me if you wish. 🙂

        • Faithful non-believers in faith

          I have faith that you exist… : )

          In looking at dictionaries – always worthwhile – it seems that “faith” is a heavier form of “belief” (i.e., faith = a strong belief).

          Mine splits faith in two – the first definition being “complete trust or confidence in something” and the second is a “strong belief in God or doctrines of religion.”

          So, it seems we could have faith that God doesn’t exist. And we could believe it. Or vice-versa.

          • I prefer to ‘think’

            I prefer to ‘think’ that most readers of this kind of discussion know that my comments against belief-dependency stems primarily from the god/religious/spiritual split of the word belief.

            Although, I mostly use the more appropriate/apropo “think” instead of believe.

            I should point out, however, that only a believer would write, “So, it seems we could have faith that God doesn’t exist. And we could believe it. Or vice-versa.”

            Believers are in constant need of validation, despite the fact that from the genesis of spiritualism that grew from the fear, superstition and ignorance syndrome is ancient. Taken as a whole, then, the majority of humans are mental analogs of belief. Of course, the “majority” is too often not in the right of things, but they do tend to elbow out minority dissent.

    • Beliefs and Truth

      Here are two links which may be of interest:

      • From the wiki “community blog”

        These two links are from the wiki “community blog” component that is author driven.

        The Wikipedia, however, treats the subjects of belief and truth as would any entry in an encyclopedia.

        Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.

        Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality,[1] or fidelity to an original or standard.

        [In contrast, the leading sentence in the link says, “Truth is the correspondence between and one’s beliefs about reality and reality.” The emphasis is on “beliefs about” rather than “knowledge about.”]

        • I'm a Believer said the Monkees

          ….Thinks something is true…. OR accepts it as true.

          There are many things I accept as true because others have done the “proofs” – but I haven’t. I have to trust and believe them.

          I know what you are getting at – there is a class of items that we might take as true when there really is no proof. Believing that the magician sawed the woman in half is falling for an illusion, and it isn’t harmful. It’s fun. Believing that I am possessed by 12 devils might be mental illness and could cause harm.

          I once read about a study where people were given calculators that were programmed to give incorrect answers. Participants were given problems to solve, and they could use the calculator or do it without. Most people trusted the incorrect calculator answer, even when their own math showed it to be wrong.

          Factual certainty is a pretty high bar. Statistical certainty might be better. Scientists often include spreads or likelihood (this has an 80% chance of curing you…”) but few offer absolute certainty (this will definitely cure you.)

          Does it matter what age one is? Can kids be allowed some fantastical beliefs for a while?

          Is it OK to read or write fiction, or must every book be factual? The Wizard of Oz is not true – shall we dispose of it?

          • Shades of intent

            As a novelist I create the characters, dialogue, background that is entirely make-believe.

            I’m not sure where you got the notion that I think we should “dispose” of anything. I am not a book burner.

            Moreover, I use the phrase I believe when I think it’s applicable, but more often than not, I use the phrase “I think.”

            The difference is I think is always indisputable. “I believe” inherently carries within it kernels of doubt.

            Of course, as I’ve said, it is “”belief-dependency,”” particularly as it relates to the various spiritualities (which includes religions), is where my nonbeliever status is derived.

            Generally, we are all equipped to see the difference, and shades of intent, when the word believe is used.

  • another word

    Another word to thin about here might be “trust”

    “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something:”

    • Everybody

      Everybody believes in some thing or things, even if it’s in skepticism itself.
      “Belief” doesn’t necessarily include some kind of “big guy in the sky”.

      • Vacuum

        I can’t believe in a vacuum. A vacuum is the complete absence of anything. It is absolutely nothing, therefore it doesn’t exist.

      • The difference

        Evidently, the difference between believers and me, then, is that I do not speak for “everybody.”

        I could not imagine telling 7.3 billion people that everybody are nonbelievers. Only believers possess that kind of “unpatchable” sweeping arrogance.

        As to the big guy thing, my other recent article pointed out, the “big guy” is of no consequence anyway.

        As to your vacuum comment, you should either read or reread my article. It has nothing to do with people who “believe in a vacuum.”

        • Everybody

          I say again, everybody believes in something, even if they believe that they don’t believe. That, itself is a belief.
          I except from “everybody” those people who clinically have zero brain activity, such as Terry Schiavo was reported to be.

          If there’s no such thing as a vacuum, how can it be abhorred?

          By the way, the “Sky Guy” doesn’t kill people, people who believe in the Sky Guy do.(this has nothing to do with anything you said).

          • You cannot speak for everyone

            I say again, your thinking that everybody has something to believe in is assertion without proof.

            I don’t believe in nonbelief. That’s nonsense. Nonbelief is a way of life, n0ot something one believes in. And, I’m not alone. You cannot speak for everyone, despite “believing” that you can.

            I never said there’s no such thing a vacuum.

            Considering there is no way to prove there’s “sky guy” I agree with you.

          • reality tunnels

            My hunch is that this notion is what Tom is referencing:


            “Wilson’s fundamental idea is that everything we think we know about the world is in fact an interpretation of the world. Most people seem to believe that their human nervous system provides direct access to objective reality—to Truth—but this is not the case. For individuals, all information is necessarily filtered through our senses, past experience, conditioning, prior beliefs, and other non-objective lenses. Even scientific findings, for all of their precision, reflect only relative truths, and those truths are further distorted by human cognition.

            Thus, each of our individual worldviews should be considered one “reality tunnel”—a term Wilson borrowed from Tim Leary and expanded upon—out of seven billion, one for every human alive…”

          • The noise of agnostic mental wimps

            I have a feeling Robert E. Wilson’s fiction novels are better than his attempts to explain away facts or truth.

            As the Bates blog link indicates, “For Wilson, to believe absolutely was to die intellectually.” (Aw jeez…)

            Quantum mechanics is rife with unsolved problems. Most of it is a question of which interpretation applies the best. The theoretical nature of quantum mechanics might eventually do physicists and us poor science laymen the favor of creating models that really do tie in “reality,” when and if quantum computing becomes a scientific reality.

            Otherwise, we’re left with believers attempting to philosophically explain things “before the facts.” Which largely amounts to “noise.”

            Unfortunately, for now, we laymen are stuck with too many believers who constantly look to justify their own beliefs by interpreting that which is outside of their scientific purview, i.e., Robert Wilson, primarily a fiction writer, who described himself as an “agnostic mystic.”

            I see believers like R.A. Wilson as merely agnostic mental wimps.

          • I never said there’s no such thing a vacuum.

            And I never said that you did.

          • ?

            Submitted by tomaidh on May 3, 2016 – 4:10pm > If there’s no such thing as a vacuum, how can it be abhorred?

          • My words

            I said that, not you

  • Bilge Pumping

    Extracts from this discussion would make fitting dialog for a film in which lifeboat passengers find an unpatchable hole in the hull.

    • (You set me up)

      I believe you are correct, and think you are on to something.

      And, the boat would sink while we figured it all out.

      • There is no such thing

        There is no such thing as figuring it all out. But if our minds operated more logically instead of being cluttered with too much emotion, we’d figure out a lot more.

        • more logical than emotional

          That is an interesting belief!

          We’d lose love if we decluttered, though. Not sure I’m up for that.

          • My "thoughts" on this

            My “thoughts” on this suggest we unclutter our emotions, not repress them altogether. You have an archaic view of the potential of logical people.

            Moreover, our physicality would intensify to focus on our physical body and the needs of the body. Our minds would continue to imagine, be artistic, inventive, have original ideas, enjoy humor, be compassionate, competitive and fair. Our ability to communication and make important decisions would increase.

            Best of all, human sexuality would normalize bisexuality and freedom to express our sexual interests, openly, privately, more frequently and in all manner of age and gender combinations.

            Like our cousin Bonobo’s sex would be the great pacifier we humans lack now.

            Love? Love is the most overused and abused “word” in human language to the point that it is rendered largely meaningless.

          • Love

            Not surprising that a man who lives for self-gratification, ego, and rage would denigrate love.

          • “Lives for self-gratification, ego, and rage”

            Whoa George! Take it easy, please. You don’t know me but I’m not that kind of a guy.

            (Rage? Where’d come from?)

            Although, I guess maybe self-gratification and ego is okay. We all have that, some probably more than others. It’s all good, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it.

  • The Malleability of Scientific Materialism

    Here are two TED talks that might add a bit of grist to this mill:

    The first is Rupert Sheldrake,
    the second Graham Hancock.

    • More Pseudoscience

      Hancock and Sheldrake? Man, you “alternative believers” really like to dine on pseudoscience. But unlike good ‘grist to the mill,’ these two authors offer little real scientific usefulness or advantages to public understanding of science. These guys are from the pop culture of “memory in everything, paranormal, phenomenalism, magic, spirit guiding and psychic” school of thought. Both fail scientific testable and peer-review criteria.

      • Pseudoscience and lesser harm

        I think we all have our own life experiences that lead us to believe what we believe, and mine has led me to believe a lot of things that you would probably call pseudoscience. I know a lot of people who believe in science and only science, but it’s still a belief system. No one group has the monopoly on truth. I get mine from different places. I value intuition. It gets me through the day and sometimes the night too. Not so bad. No one is harmed which is more than you can say for science which harms people all the time, inadvertently or not.

        • They should make up their minds

          When science has to be repeatedly referred to as a belief system, it’s not hard to know that claim has to come from believers. Scientists do not generally refer to the work they do as beliefs. Neither does science claim to have a monopoly on truth. Those are public misconceptions.

          People talk about all the harm science has done, but few understand that people who “use” science, particularly in harmful ways, are primarily religious people and other believers.

          Ironically, there is a historical and “new age” emphasis to unite science and spirituality, so even the believers are in conflict with themselves. They should make up their minds.

          If science is so bad, why are religions and spirituality continuing their efforts to unite these two disparate disciplines? Because, it is the spiritualists who want to unite spirituality with science, not the other way around. Scientists are not typically trying to integrate science with spirituality. Believers really should make up their minds. They can’t have it both ways.

          • Vague, but fun

            The term “believers” seems to be being used rather widely in your comments. I think it needs more specificity, for accuracy. You labelled me a “believer” up above. Of what?

            I certainly accept things as true, which is the number 1 definition of “belief”, after I am convinced (sometimes by science.)

            The number one definition for believer is “a person who believes that a specified thing is effective, proper, or desirable”. I would say this applies to much of your assertions.

            I think you are trying to elevate the lesser definitions of belief (i.e., religion) to help your argument, but what you are running into with many of us others is that we don’t hang our hats on the second definition alone.

            In geometry we can prove things by negation sometimes… it can’t be this, so therefore it is something else. (Remember the oddities of truth tables?) Perhaps we can get at the root of your issue by moving on to non-belief. What is it?

          • Is it time to modify the definition?

            A believer by definition must be one who holds beliefs. There is no way out of that. Therefore, if it can be defined it can be “labeled.”

            If your claim that the number 1 definition of belief is true,” or “truth,” is in fact true, it is time to modify the definition of belief. So, I’ll play ball with Samuel Johnson for this.

            No one hangs their hat on your alleged “second” definition alone. Since truth and belief crossover by definitions, the synonym-effect on the meaning of words tends, I agree, to be itemized or emphasized. Yet, if the eccentricities of the word belief have to be enumerated, then please, Dr. Johnson, do not rank “belief” equal to “truth.”

            Anytime when the word belief is used with truth where belief is intended, belief cannot be equal to or greater than truth. There must be an understanding of the word belief that its number one ranking definition cannot be true and truth. Therefore, truth would be a “lesser definition” of belief.

            True is an adjective, verb, adverb and who knows whatever grammar designation. But, the number one definition of “true” is: “in accordance with fact or reality.” The synonym effect adds “correct, accurate, right, verifiable, in accordance with the facts, what actually/really happened, well documented, the case…” As defined, it does not indicate the word true to be equated with belief.

            I have not studied mathematics. But exposure to them has convinced me that when science is beyond the testable stage, that information, however gotten, is what we all have to work with to the best of our abilities until a correction is also testable. Then the process of separating the wheat from the chaff starts all over again. Therein lies the fluidity of science.
            The leap from mathematics and physics to the “philosophy of science” is fraught with negation canyons to fall into.

          • Help us all out

            What do YOU “believe” that a “Belief” is?

          • moving on to non-belief

            If you want to ask me what I “think” belief is, that is apropos to the topic at hand.

            However, I prefer cgrotke’s question:: “Perhaps we can get at the root of your issue by moving on to non-belief. What is it?”

          • Actually... Science relies on belief

            Many philosophers of science recognize that causality is a belief: not a fact, not a theory, not a hypothesis. The reason is that there is no test which, in principle, could falsify the idea that there is a cause for everything. If we cannot find a cause, we simply say that we have not yet found the cause.

            Yet the belief in causality is essential, and has had been a powerful impetus to our quest for knowledge. A lot has been written about how to understand the place of causality in the logic structure of science. Many philosophers of science consider causality to be “a leading principle of science.” What is a “leading principle,” if not an unprovable belief?

          • Your premise that causality

            Your premise that causality is a belief is factually incorrect unless you are using the term causality in a weird way.

            Causality is also always testable in principle, though not always in practice due to practical limitations. When those practical limitations keep us from identifying a causal relationship, then you are correct that we should say “We don’t know”.

            Causality is not a belief. The question of whether A causes B is a question with a true or false answer regardless of how many levels of complexity are piled on top of it. Therefore if we arrive at the correct answer via rational and valid means, I.E. we have demonstrated/proven it then we have described a fact, not a belief.

            Whether one believes there is a causal link between A and B has nothing to do with whether there is an *actual* causal link between A and B.

            You may be conflating something in the “Knowledge is justified true belief” along with definitions of belief vs. fact.

            Is it a belief or is it a fact that reading your post and disagreeing with it caused me (in part) to reply?

          • That is not what I wrote.

            Where did eschmitt get the idea that I ever wrote that causality is factually incorrect? I wrote that causality is not a fact, not a theory, and not a hypothesis, because the very principle that every phenomena has a cause is untestable.

            Philosophers of science may differ about how to view causality. Nonetheless causality is widely recognized in philosophy of science as having a unique and somewhat problematic status in that it is too vital to discard, and yet — unlike a theory, such a gravity — it is untestable. In order for a theory to be testable, we must be able to state the conditions under which causality would be falsified.

            Eschmitt denies that causality is a leading principle of science, and claims that it is testable. Therefore Eschmitt must state under what conditions causality would be falsified.

          • I did not deny that causality

            I did not deny that causality is a leading principle of science. (I wouldn’t use the term leading myself, but I’m quoting you here)

            That A causes or does not cause B is testable. Therefore causality is testable.

            A could be demonstrated to not cause B, in which case a claim of a causal link could be demonstrated to be false.

            I think we are not in agreement as to the definition of the term “causality” or that one or both of us is using the term in a weird way.

            Your question strikes me as kind of like asking “Is blue a fact? Is Red a belief?” Is green testable? Is green falsifiable?

            Whereas I am using it in the sense of “Is this object red?”

            The former strikes me as nonsensical whereas the latter is a straightforward, testable/falsifiable question.

            Without delving into what happens with causality when time is removed from the equation (as for example in some recent hypotheses regarding the beginning/origin of the universe) I will acknowledge that philosophy outside epistemology and logic is one of my weak areas, so could you link me to something describing in detail what you are talking about with philosophers of science struggling with causality? Or could you explain yourself a bit more since I’m not understanding what you are trying to say about causality?

            All that comes to mind is Hume’s causal skepticism, but you seem to be going beyond those boundaries and I would hardly call causal skepticism/reductionism “widely recognized/accepted”.

            Edit: Going back to your original post, causality could be falsified if we discover something that was not caused/did not have a cause. Or rather more specifically it would falsify the statement “Everything has a cause” or that “Causality is universal”.

            Since “Everything that exists has a cause outside of itself” and “nothing can cause itself” taken together cause an infinite regress of causes, either there is an infinite regress of causes or there was a first cause. Something which existed without a cause or caused itself, thus violating one of the above principles.

            The only way the latter is possible is if time, rather than space or spacetime, is absent or is/was finite. I.E. If time had a beginning. Prior to time, causality would be meaningless.

            And its at that point my head starts to hurt. As far as I know thats about as far as we’ve gotten in solving this problem. We don’t have an answer yet.

            (And yes, I know my description of the the time stuff is very elementary and probably not very good…)

          • Testing Causality

            I think this paragraph written by eschmitt distills the issue:  

            Going back to your original post, causality could be falsified if we discover something that was not caused/did not have a cause. Or rather more specifically it would falsify the statement “Everything has a cause” or that “Causality is universal”.

            But that formualtion, in my opinion, is so general that it begs the question. My challenge to eshmitt was to formulate conditions under which causality could be falsified. To state that, “causality could be falsified if we discover something that was not caused/did not have a cause,” is the same as saying, “causality could be falsfied if we discover that causality has been falsified.” 

            Relativity was difficult to test: but when there was an chance to observe whether light traveling past a massive object would behave as predicted by relativity. An astronomical event provided conditions under which Einstein’s theory could be tested.

            In order to test whether “everything has a cause” or that “Causality is universal,” it would be necessary to describe conditions under which our observations would either confirm that “causality is universal,” or else that would falsify that statement.  

            Relatively was difficult to test, for practical reasons. Causality is impossible to test, not because it would be too difficult, but because such a test is logically impossible. I would love for eschmitt to describe conditions under which, “causality is universal,” or “everything has a cause,” could — in principle — be tested. What would the experiment or naturalistic observations look like?

            It is not that we do not currently have instruments sensitive enough to test causality. The problem is that such a test is logically impossible. I do not claim to have studied this issue thoroughly, but I do know that philosphers of science generally recognize that causality is, in principle, different from testable theories. 

            Personally, I feel that the impossiblity of placing causality into a comfortable category adds interest to our attempts to understand the logic structure of science.  

          • "But that formualtion, in my

            “But that formualtion, in my opinion, is so general that it begs the question. My challenge to eshmitt was to formulate conditions under which causality could be falsified. To state that, “causality could be falsified if we discover something that was not caused/did not have a cause,” is the same as saying, “causality could be falsfied if we discover that causality has been falsified.” ”

            Well, yeah. Whats wrong with that exactly?

            “The claim that every building has a roof could be falsified if we discover a building without a roof” is the same as saying “That buildings have roofs could be falsified if we discover that buildings have roofs has been falsified”.

            So you are still using the term causality in a weird way. Lets substitute it with gravity for the sake of argument for the moment. Gravity, like causality is a label we use, so saying gravity is falsifiable would be like saying blue is falsifiable, as I said above. So lets be clear with our terms and define this as “Everything that has mass exerts a gravitational force.”

            To correct this statement for things like radiation pressure (Where mass-less photons can exert a mass-like inertia/resistance to force), I’m going to be even more specific and say everything that has a mass at rest exerts a gravitational force”. “Exerts” will suffice for this discussion, I know its not technically accurate.

            That statement is still falsifiable, as we could discover something which has mass at rest, but does not exert a gravitational force.

            That I cannot fathom what conditions or phenomenon would allow that to exist, does not mean that it couldn’t exist, therefore the claim is still falsifiable.

            There is a practical consideration that must be made, which is why for the most part in day to day life, Newtonian physics still works plenty fine for us in most conditions the average person experiences in a given day while it is technically not accurate nor complete. (Though with electronics utilizing quantum theory and things like GPS systems utilizing relativity, this is becoming less the case)

            So *practically* speaking, I can accept you saying “This is not testable in our lifetime” and therefore it is *practically* unfalsifiable, and I could probably agree with that.

            However, that the theory of gravity has survived every single experiment and test we’ve applied to it is why we regard it as a fact. The moment we find something contradictory though, we will refine the theory or toss it out.

            Causality is actually a bit easier to poke a hole in as a simple thought experiment regarding “Everything that exists has a cause, and things cannot cause themselves” creates an infinite regress of causes *OR* the premise is incorrect and there was a first cause, an original un-caused cause.

            Causality also becomes meaningless without time as we know it.

            How would we test that? Likely not within my lifetime but I’m guessing the first glimpses will be as we delve into the origins of our universe and try to resolve the infinite regress/first cause problem. Historical experience has showed every time we think “Ok this is the biggest reference frame there is” we make a discovery that shows things to be far larger than we ever imagined. So it is possible that what caused our universe is simply going to open up the next layer of shockingly vast “stuff”. Much like discovering our galaxy is not the only galaxy out there…

            Lets back up and put it another way.

            The conditions that cause lightning are well defined and testable. Were they testable 10,000 years ago? That no one at that time could have possibly conceived of even the superficial concepts of what lightning is and what causes it, does not mean that the idea that lightning is essentially a static discharge was not falsifiable.

            We are nearly as ignorant now about how things like causality (defined above) behave when pushed to their absolutes as humans 10,000 years ago were about lightning or germs.

            That we aren’t there yet and cannot even conceive of the proper question to ask, doesn’t mean it isn’t a falsifiable claim that just hasn’t been falsified yet (and may never be falsified).

            Now, all that said, what on earth does any of this have to do with your original point? What philosophers of science are struggling with causality? I’m rather lost as to what your point was and what you were trying to get at.

            I chimed in at reading “causality is a belief” and you seem to separate it into a separate catagory from gravity, for example. I’m not sure I see the distinction you do, so could you clarify?

          • inspiration and insight

            Scientists often go in search of something based on a hunch or intuition. It’s a flash of inspiration There are also scientists who have theories come to them in dreams or visions, then they spend their lives doing the search to back it up.

            McClintock could “see” genetic regulation in corn, and knew transposition was going on, but “I have found that it is difficult if not impossible to bring to consciousness of another person the nature of his tacit assumptions when, by some special experiences, I have been made aware of them. This became painfully evident to me in my attempts during the 1950s to convince geneticists that the action of genes had to be and was controlled.” They came around eventually.

            Einstein said relativity came to him in a dream. Chemical transmission of nerve impulses, structural theory of molecules, the structure of benzine, – initial sparks came from dreams.

            One thing I find interesting is that they were right at the time of their inspiration (no science applied yet) and are then proven correct by science much later, sometime after they are dead and gone. But we would tell someone who dreamt a weird theory that they were wrong, believing in hokum. We don’t believe them until science backs it up, despite a hindsight view that their dreamed insight was not wrong.

        • Lise, you are fundamentally incorrect.

          Science is by definition not a belief system. It is either dishonest or fundamentally ignorant of its methodology to describe it as such.

          Pseudoscience by definition is an extremely poor methodology to determine truth.

          Pseudoscience and false beliefs do tremendous harm.

          How does the best method for determining truth that we currently have (science along with logic/reason) do harm, exactly?

      • Debate Technique

        It is an interesting technique to disparage others rather than address the points they raise.

      • Pseudo

        Up until nearly 19230, the concept of “Plate Tectonics” (continental drift) was considered pseudoscience.
        Now it is dogma.

  • Holding Up a Mirror

    It has been my experience that the things a person says about others actually say more about the speaker/writer than about the subject. To that end I would like to compile a list of things that Vidda has said in this thread alone:

    • humans are born with and live in sin
    • the blame of sin squarely on the backs of women
    • hangs on withered branches
    • never safe from their fiendish clutches
    • Hell-bent on self destruction
    • the guarantor’s that the end is near
    • belief abhors a vacuum
    • the inherent bloodthirsty instability
    • the origin and epicenter of mass human aggression and brutality
    • insinuate themselves into our communities
    • find ourselves falling face down in a boneyard of losers
    • these misguided peoples of the living mythologies can’t even treat each other as equals
    • I denied that I had to believe in something
    • they exercise a dictatorship over individual freedom of expression.
    • many believers fear the emptiness of facing their beliefs alone
    • they are liable to irrational actions, using irrational justifications
    • I often describe argumentative believers as “clinically insane.”
    • Like a lot of insane people, they don’t think or know they are insane … and they are inherently and collectively all the more dangerous because of it.
    • Believers are in constant need of validation
    • they do tend to elbow out minority dissent
    • Only believers possess that kind of “unpatchable” sweeping arrogance.
    • Mental Wimps
    • believers who constantly look to justify their own beliefs
    • if our minds operated more logically instead of being cluttered with too much emotion … (bravo!)
    • You have an archaic view of the potential of logical people.
    • you “alternative believers” really like to dine on pseudoscience
    • offer little real scientific usefulness or advantages to public understanding of science

    As for your definition ‘Jukrislim,’I doubt that you could find anyone in the Judeo-Christian or Muslim communities who would agree with your depictions of them.

    • Gryst to my mill

      Now, with the last four comments there is the “lykelihoode that those thinges will bring gryst to my mill”

      • True Belief

        And now it’s time for some reality

        • Enlarging this so you can read it

          There’s probably better ways to do this, but this works:
          Highlight it
          Right Click and “save image as”
          Open in an image viewer such as Microsoft Office and zoom it up.

    • Etcetera, etceteras, reliqua

      Will Stomp says: “…things a person says about others actually say more about the speaker/writer than about the subject”

      I do so wish you wouldn’t use my phrases against me, not very original of you, old boy.

      These copy and paste extracts of my writing and comments you’ve provided do not justify the meaning of, nor the use by you, to borrow one of my original phrases.

      Furthermore, to insinuate that each of my phrases that you bullet-list above, taken as a whole, in and of themselves, are in essence a mirror of myself, is ridiculous. Of course they’re not. I’m making references to a specific class of people as a whole, not individually.

      Even if you select one, such as “mental wimps,” few on this page and a good many readers may think a lot of things about me, but mental wimp is not one of them (etcetera, etceteras, reliqua).

      Your last sentence is ridiculousness: “As for your definition “Jukrislim,’I doubt that you could find anyone in the Judeo(Judaeo)-Christian or Muslim communities who would agree with your depictions of them.”

      Why? Because your generalities run away with you. As you say, “Anyone in the Judeo (Judaeo)-Christian or Muslim communities” – is once again someone who likes to speak for everyone, which as, any rational person would know, is impossible.

      How many in the “Judeo-Christian or Muslim communities” would agree with me? Who the hell knows? But my long view of experiences are that some surely do agree with me.

  • Word of the Day

    New word to add to the conversation: grok

    Grok – to understand (something) intuitively or by empathy

    • Without having to think

      Grok :: acquired intuitive understanding of, to know (something) without having to think. [American Heritage]

      That sounds about right up a believer’s alley… :~)

      {Grok in fact has too many definitions and it is “used mainly by the geek subculture” who I’m sure ‘think’ a lot.}

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