Defining Christianity

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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Mcduffie » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:10 pm

That chaplain sounded like a complete idiot. And the atheist sounded like a razor-sharp badass.

Funny.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Passionario » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:07 am

Boyfriend wrote:The observation on this example is that each theory is infinitely unlikely, with a possibility approaching zero. So it IS perfectly reasonable to say that some specific state did not exist before the Big Bang in this case.


Imagine two rooms that are connected by a thin wall with no doors.

Room A contains a random number generator machine that picks a random integer between 1 and 10000000000000. Whenever a new number is generated, the machine emits a loud beeping sound that can be heard in Room B.

Room B contains two philosophical robots: Occam_Bot and Seeker_Drone. Seeker_Drone is programmed to ask quick questions about the universe, while Occam_Bot is programmed with highly sophisticated circuits that impeccably evaluate the probability of any event. It also features a Rationality Threshold Chip. Should the probability of any given event be sufficiently low (less than 0.000000001%), Occam_Bot will consider said event to be nonexistent. Both robots are aware of the machine's existence and purpose.

So let's look at the exchange between these participants:

Machine: BEEEEP!
Seeker_Drone: Did the Machine just generate a random integer between 1 and 10000000000000?
Occam_Bot: Yes.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 1?
Occam_Bot: No.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 2?
Occam_Bot: No.
(some time later)
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 9999999999999?
Occam_Bot: No.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 10000000000000?
Occam_Bot: No.
Seeker_Drone: Just to make sure... the Machine did generate a random integer between 1 and 10000000000000, right?
Occam_Bot: Yes. We've heard the beep, after all.
Seeker_Drone: And yet, when I've asked you whether said number is equal to every possible value that it could have, you've replied "No".
Occam_Bot: Indeed I did.
Seeker_Drone: And it's not like we're talking about Big Bang here. The machine generated a finite amount of numbers, right?
Occam_Bot: Yes.
Seeker_Drone: And the number of possible values it can be equal to is also finite, correct?
Occam_Bot: Yes.
Seeker_Drone: So the number is sumultaneously equal to some value between 1 and 10000000000000 and not?
Occam_Bot: ...
Occam_Bot: *overheats and explodes*
Technician Ex Machina: *materializes in the room*
Technician Ex Machina: Ah, yes, that's a common problem with Rationality Threshold Chip. The very moment when you decide that an outcome with very low probability must, by default, be nonexistent, you open yourself to logic bombs of this kind.
Technician Ex Machina: *installs Skeptic_Bot*
Technician Ex Machina: Here's a new model. It's just like the old one, except that it doesn't have that pesky chip.
Machine: BEEEEP!
Seeker_Drone: Did the Machine just generate a random integer between 1 and 10000000000000?
Skeptic_Bot: Yes.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 1?
Skeptic_Bot: I don't know, but that's quite unlikely.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to 2?
Skeptic_Bot: I don't know, but that's quite unlikely.
Technician Ex Machina: See? Much better. Have fun, guys.
Technician Ex Machina: *dematerializes*
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby gtechman » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:35 am

Now the real question is...Which robot was Theck?
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Hayz » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:18 pm

gtechman wrote:Now the real question is...Which robot was Theck?

i think he was the technician
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Boyfriend » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:17 pm

Passionario wrote:-snip-


Yet ultimately, Occam-bot is significantly more accurate with it's answers than the original Skeptic Bot that just replied: "I have no idea I cannot make a decision". Also your example doesn't hold for infinites, as you mentioned yourself and I actually made no claim concerning finite spaces.

Also consider that Occam-bot was correct 99 times out of 100 (making numbers smaller), while Skeptic-bot did not have any answer so was correct 0 times out of 100; even Religious-bot is more successful by picking 1 number out of 100, and likely ends up with being correct 98 times out of 100.

But also consider that if you require absolute certainty to consider anything truth that there is no truth apart from mathematical truth that you could rely on, no physical law or concept, not even your own existance is anything other than a somewhat likely probability. Conversing as if everything and anything you mention is only probable or unprobable becomes tedious fast.

If your friend asks you if you want to go to the cinema, you can never tell him yes; as you cannot know for sure.
Quantum mechanics states it's possible for you to tunnel through any object, yet people in the real world don't live in constant fear of falling through floors.

Ultimately, considering floors solid is alot more practical and useful notion than expressing indecisiveness on the subject.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Candiru » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:57 am

RE: Tunnelling through the floor.

You have 0 chance of tunnelling through the floor, for quantum tunnelling to occur the two energy states need to be incredibly close. You won't tunnel up or down, as there is a change in potential energy. You might tunnel through a wall.

However, the chances of all the oxygen in the room happening to not be located inside your lungs are much higher than the chances of you tunnelling through a wall. Don't be afraid of going through a wall, be afraid of random asphyxiation!
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby katraya » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:22 am

I thought this article was fairly interesting and worth posting here.
Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

Also I noticed that they said: "Mormons, who are not considered Christians by many fundamentalists, showed greater knowledge of the Bible than evangelical Christians"
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Invisusira » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:07 am

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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Candiru » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:41 am

I've found the Mormons I have met irl to behave in a much more "Christian" way than the evangelicals. (From non-theological dictionary definition of Christian as an adjective for well-meaning/nice behaviour.)

Interesting stats, however.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Arnock » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:16 pm

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in america who call themselves christian, but don't do more than go to church on christmas and easter.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Passionario » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:04 am

Article wrote:Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were included in the survey, but their numbers were too small to be broken out as statistically significant groups.


Pity. It would be interesting to see how they compare to agnostics/atheists.

(I'd also like to see a similar statistic for pagans and Satanists)

Boyfriend wrote:Ultimately, considering floors solid is alot more practical and useful notion than expressing indecisiveness on the subject.


Exactly. Pure skepticism (and, for that matter, pure nihilism and solipsism) is a neither reasonable nor a practical way to learn anything useful. Which is why we were so surprised at your insistence to call yourself a skeptic. 8)

Of course, as Thomas Kuhn and his colleagues demonstrated, there is another insidious trap that Occam_Bots of this world (particularly among the scientific community) can fall into:

Machine: BEEEEEEP!
Seeker_Drone: Did the Machine just generate a random integer between 1 and 100?
Occam_Bot: Yes.
Seeker_Drone: Is that number equal to...
Experimento-Tron: Hold on, I'll go check.
Experimento-Tron: *teleports into Room A*
Experimento-Tron: *examines the Machine*
Experimento-Tron: *teleports back into Room B*
Experimento-Tron: The number is 42.
Occam_Bot: No, it isn't. The probability of the generated number being equal to 42 is below The Great Threshold! Therefore, your observation must be an experimental error, or a mistake in calculations, or a hallucination, or a natural weather phenomenon, or a contaminated specimen, or a deliberate fake, or a mere coincidence, or...
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Invisusira » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:07 am

Arnock wrote:Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in america who call themselves christian, but don't do more than go to church on christmas and easter.

I'm pretty sure that the belief in Jesus God Christ is all that's required to be Christian. So techinically, they can do even less than that.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Vanifae » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:21 am

Invisusira wrote:
Arnock wrote:Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in america who call themselves christian, but don't do more than go to church on christmas and easter.

I'm pretty sure that the belief in Jesus God Christ is all that's required to be Christian. So techinically, they can do even less than that.

Yep.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Chunes » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:14 am

That's pretty much why I stopped referring to myself as a "christian" when I still considered myself a follower of Christ. It has almost no meaning anymore.

I'd say putting labels on people/ones self is a pretty silly exercise anyway, but we all do it to some degree or another.

Funny story, my very religious mother has on not a few occasions told me that my wife is a better christian than most the christians she knows. My wife is not christian, but she just lives a good life, is kind and selfless etc.

tl;dr: walk your walk, ignore the talk.
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Re: Defining Christianity

Postby Nikachelle » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:16 am

!!!! How was the wedding?
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