Limits of Mathematics

Is mathematics purely a human creation, or does it exist independent of us and we have ‘discovered’ it?

From what I’ve briefly read on Russell, Frege and the history of mathematics is that it seems there is no solid ground that mathematics can depend upon without us (humanity) having accepted a long series of axioms that may or may not be consistent. In other words, we can never be certain that (or at least as far as we know today) what we take to be self evidently true, is actually true. Further, it seems apparent that the principle of logic is a process of linguistic analysis rather than mode of arriving at certainty.

This is an area of philosophy I’ve never really considered before. In fact, I assumed that mathematics was independent of human thought. Now, I don’t think it is and there’s a majority of philosophers who have already came to the same conclusion. This needs further investigation, methinks!

Adam

Why Intelligent Design is not Science

Not everyone I speak to is familiar with the notion of ‘Intelligent Design’. When asked, I often cut to the chase and say that Intelligent Design (ID) is just another form of Creationism but in disguise. Or in other words, ID omits the Biblical story of Creation and asserts that a Designer created life. Proponents of ID, however, say that their theory is not another form of Creationism for several reasons. Here are some of the main differences:

Hi Eve, I'm Adam!    Image courtesy of TheBrickTestament.com (c)Creationism holds that the Earth was created about 6000 years ago, whereas ID proponents accept that the Earth is at least many millions of years old.

ID proponents accept that species do undergo a small number of changes, whereas Creationism holds that all life on Earth was created in their current form.

Most crucially, and to avoid ID being immediately classed as a purely religious idea, ID does not name the Intelligent Designer. The Intelligent Designer is not for discussion; all that the theory proposes is that there is intelligent design going on.

For any theory to be considered science it has to hold up to the scrutiny of scientific method.

The classic view of how science operates is that discoveries are made based on observation. For example, a scientist may be working out in the field researching the nature of swans. He observes all the swans that he can find and notes that each swan is white. He does this for several years and comes to the conclusion that all swans are white. In philosophical terms this type of method is known as induction. Inductive reasoning has been the bedrock for many scientific discoveries since at least Ancient Greece. In fact, without induction, we wouldn’t get very far. Continue reading Why Intelligent Design is not Science

What created the Big Bang?

Bang!A question from a student: If the Big Bang theory is true, then the universe had a beginning. If the universe had a beginning, it had to be created. Not necessarily by an old geezer with a long white beard who intones like John Gielgud, but there had to be some catalyst of some kind. Intelligent or not, it created the universe and is therefore the creator. I would appreciate it if you could come up with a good argument against this.
Mark Hume, OU student.

My reply: Here you are asking about the first cause, or also known as the first cause argument.

As you mentioned, we have a scientific theory that discusses a Big Bang. The theory goes on to explain that the Universe is the result of a massive explosion so great that it created the Universe as we know it. Assuming that everything has a first cause we then need to ask what was the cause for the Big Bang. Some would argue that God created the Big Bang. Therefore God is the first cause. However, this is a contradiction because if everything has a first cause, then God cannot be the ultimate creator because he needs a cause too. Continue reading What created the Big Bang?

Live and Let Die

This week’s focus of my attention is the “Joffe Bill”, which is having its second reading on Friday 12th May, before the House of Lords. The Bill gives doctors the right to assist patients who are terminally ill and suffering with acute pain to commit suicide, but only if they are of sound mind and repeatedly ask for it. Sounds very simple and straight forward, but wait, we get the opposition…

Opposing the Bill are the usual suspects from the Church of England, the Catholic Church and other groups with a “pious” interest. Their main and dull argument is that God gives the gift of life and it is up to God to take it away. However, I wonder if the pious contradict themselves… If someone is dying and this is God’s will they are in this state (God being omnipotent and all), then why stand in the way? Why deny, as they believe, God’s desire to take life when he wants to? Are they not interfering with God’s will and fighting against him by forcing the patient to stay alive? Are we not using medicine and technology to fight against God? I’d say they do contradict themselves and besides, it’s a useless argument anyway, they forget about one thing here – they impose their beliefs because they “think” they know best and yet don’t consider the rights and wishes of the patient to make up their own mind. Continue reading Live and Let Die

Don’t point that thing at Mecca

It was reported today that a UK prison in Brixton (South London) has built toilet blocks to allow the Muslim inmates to face away from Mecca! This is the most ludicrous story I’ve read in months. A Home Office spokesperson said: “The refurbishment has been carried out with the consideration for all faiths” – thanks to pressure from Muslim faith leaders.

Now if you ask me, anyone who commits a crime in our society forgoes their basic freedoms to do as they please, such as which way they sit on the big-white-telephone. If such criminals are concerned about the actions they take in the bathroom, then why not the consideration of their actions in the society they inhabit? Continue reading Don’t point that thing at Mecca

This is where we come in…

Welcome.

The journey for the development of a web-site dedicated to the philosophy of disbelief starts here. In the meantime, think about this:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me down to lie.
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets.
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
through quiet reflection and great dedication,
master the art of karate,
lo, we shall rise up,
and then we’ll make the buggers eyes water.

Musings on Life, The Universe and Everything