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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 38889 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #725 on: March 29, 2013, 02:15:43 PM »
Well there have been experiments into the power of prayer, into the power of mass belief and into the power of mass hallucination.  Different aspects of religion have and continue to be tested, always causing a stir of “science has disproved God” when even the scientists are saying no.  I could not find the actual Mayo Clinic study (mainly because I do not want to spend 31.50 for a copy, much love to you guys but a girl’s gotta eat) that showed no link between prayer and healing.  The only article I did find was a physician writing in response with several problems in the methods and in the research done.  Not exactly unusual either since most experiments are critiqued, simply part of the scientific process. 

Also considering the amount of people that attribute divine intervention to events, the statement of Hume leads power to religion.  He is of course partly right because people believe what is least absurd…to them.

I am not saying that God deserves anymore consideration from someone than any other untestable, unproven explanation.  If you notice I do not refer to God as a hypothesis either, but instead state that no hypothesis has yet been formed.  A hypothesis that cannot be tested which I am guessing is your “zero-evidence” hypothesis is not a hypothesis by the way.  Writing a hypothesis is extremely hard and a frustrating step to doing any research.  To my knowledge there has never been a God hypothesis and science does not give God consideration in theories and principles.  Perhaps I am wrong, but to date I have never given a drug with the mechanism of action being “God makes it work.”  Though humorously enough I do give enough medications with the mechanism of action being “unknown.”  Of course that is because currently we do not possess the ability to watch all the reactions taking place.

A hypothesis has to be testable.  That is part of what a hypothesis is and tied up in the entire process.  A hypothesis is not a statement of simple explanation, but a statement that sets the framework and goals of an experiment to follow.  Vekseid has a thread dedicated to this discussion.  A hypothesis does not exist without being able to be tested.  The description of the scientific process and the development of an experiment is also inaccurate.  Part of a researcher’s job is to isolate variables and be able to draw up an experiment that can remove variables.  If variables cannot be removed for the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is untestable and as such is not a hypothesis.  So discarding fairies as an explanation due to the amount of variables is not true.

A researcher would first notice that any object unsupported falls to the ground.  This would be an observation.  From there the person would say something like, “any object unsupported falls to the ground and so if I were to hold various objects up and then cease to support them then the object would move toward the ground.”  This is a hypothesis, though I admit a poorly written one since I haven’t had to write one for two years and am rusty.  So the researcher sets up an experiment whereby the only force acting on the object to keep the item up is controlled by the experimenter, isolating the variables.  Of course since operating in a vacuum is difficult to do there is never a true elimination of other particles interacting with the item, so lighter objects do “seem” to defy the experiment.  This did lead to a bit of confusion and debate in science until concepts that allowed for wind resistance were developed as well.

Notice though that during this entire experiment no real attempt is made to define why the object falls.  Whether through fairies, gravity, divine intervention or what have you the object will always act in the same fashion given set criteria.  The exact nature of gravity is still under a great deal of debate in fact with theories including gravity being a particle leaking into this universe from another universe. 

Offline LilyS

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #726 on: March 29, 2013, 02:15:58 PM »
...okay, by "people don't want", I think I meant "my brain is not entirely up to". Short and sweet layman's version: Kolmogorov complexity is a formal way of measuring exactly how complex a proposition is: it's a measure of how many bits the shortest program possible that gives your idea as its output would be in some specific language. (Your results are, of course, going to vary depending on the language chosen, but relative complexity between multiple strings should remain pretty much the same as long as you apply every test with the same language.) Minimum message length is closely-related and superior in that it explicitly doesn't depend on programming languages - the fact that I didn't think of it first is probably a good indicator of how I shouldn't be going into more depth right now.


Thanks (L)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #727 on: March 29, 2013, 02:23:12 PM »
I am not saying that God deserves anymore consideration from someone than any other untestable, unproven explanation.  If you notice I do not refer to God as a hypothesis either, but instead state that no hypothesis has yet been formed.  A hypothesis that cannot be tested which I am guessing is your “zero-evidence” hypothesis is not a hypothesis by the way.  Writing a hypothesis is extremely hard and a frustrating step to doing any research.  To my knowledge there has never been a God hypothesis and science does not give God consideration in theories and principles.  Perhaps I am wrong, but to date I have never given a drug with the mechanism of action being “God makes it work.”  Though humorously enough I do give enough medications with the mechanism of action being “unknown.”  Of course that is because currently we do not possess the ability to watch all the reactions taking place.
Nnnnot exactly. I'm talking about a step well before we get to testability - for something to even be considered as a potential hypothesis, there has to be some phenomenon in the real world that points to this idea as a possibility. There is no such thing for any religion you care to name. Before you can get to experimentation, or "is it testable?", you first need to ask "What real phenomenon in the real world are we trying to explain with this?".

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #728 on: March 29, 2013, 02:27:38 PM »
So "zero-evidence" hypothesis is a hypothesis formed without an observation to test, making the hypothesis untestable and so not a hypothesis.  So you'll have to forgive my lack of understanding a nonsensical statement then.  There are plenty of phenomenon people report that are testable.  For instance the already listed Mayo clinic study on prayer.  Someone observed something, offered up prayer as an explanation, the explanation was tested through the scientific method, explanation failed to meet the criteria of the study and the results were published in a recognized journal and then other people responded critiquing the research.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #729 on: March 29, 2013, 02:29:08 PM »
Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
If you notice I do not refer to God as a hypothesis either, but instead state that no hypothesis has yet been formed.

Okay, list for me some observable phenomena that points to the existence of an entity that would match the description of a Diety. If Observed Phenomena > Hypothesis > Experimentation > Confirmed Theory/Falsified, then to reach the second stage you would start with the first, not skip Step 1 and then bounce erratically around all the other steps indefinitely, depending on which kind of Theist one is.

As you said, experimentation does take place, and what I've read of the prayer experiments, they tend to have a negative effect on the subject, but those experiments are based on the assertions of a phenomena existing, not the actual observation of one. Just feels like "No, Prayer works! I'll prove it" then when they don't get the results they want they sweep it under the rug or sabotage it in some way, like criticizing the methodology.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #730 on: March 29, 2013, 02:30:16 PM »
So "zero-evidence" hypothesis is a hypothesis formed without an observation to test, making the hypothesis untestable and so not a hypothesis.  So you'll have to forgive my lack of understanding a nonsensical statement then.  There are plenty of phenomenon people report that are testable.  For instance the already listed Mayo clinic study on prayer.  Someone observed something, offered up prayer as an explanation, the explanation was tested through the scientific method, explanation failed to meet the criteria of the study and the results were published in a recognized journal and then other people responded critiquing the research.
Okay, at this point I think we're circling around the same central point from different perspectives. Like some sort of information-sharks. Gah, my braaaain.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 02:38:10 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #731 on: March 29, 2013, 02:33:16 PM »
Okay, list for me some observable phenomena that points to the existence of an entity that would match the description of a Diety. If Observed Phenomena > Hypothesis > Experimentation > Confirmed Theory/Falsified, then to reach the second stage you would start with the first, not skip Step 1 and then bounce erratically around all the other steps indefinitely, depending on which kind of Theist one is.

As you said, experimentation does take place, and what I've read of the prayer experiments, they tend to have a negative effect on the subject, but those experiments are based on the assertions of a phenomena existing, not the actual observation of one. Just feels like "No, Prayer works! I'll prove it" then when they don't get the results they want they sweep it under the rug or sabotage it in some way, like criticizing the methodology.

I'm not sure about the second - I've seen mixed results. I remember seeing one which was 'not enough variability in the result to show it did something; prayer is as effective as random chance' and another which was 'prayer has an effect, but said effect was something gained from any other form of meditation, sitting down, taking a deep breath and calming yourself before confronting a problem'. I have no citation for these, because I'm too lazy to find them right now, but for what it's worth~

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #732 on: March 29, 2013, 02:36:10 PM »
Yeah, I'd have to find the proper citation before I go on record as saying exactly what the experiments entailed, I just remember the results being overwhelmingly negative to not indicative of anything.

Offline LilyS

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #733 on: March 29, 2013, 02:41:23 PM »
Yeah, I'd have to find the proper citation before I go on record as saying exactly what the experiments entailed, I just remember the results being overwhelmingly negative to not indicative of anything.

Richard Dawkins mentioned it in his book The God delusion.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #734 on: March 29, 2013, 02:41:44 PM »
I think Ephiral, like many people in this thread so no real fault of your own, you are attributing to me a motivation I do not possess.

Sabby, that is a phenomenon.  A patient that is not supposed to improve does improve.  Someone says, "the power of prayer has worked because our entire Church group prayed for this individual."  The observable event is the improvement of the patient.  The explanation offered is prayer.  Then so on, so forth.

There is, to my knowledge, no evidence to support that a patient who does not know they are being prayed for by a large amount of people improves over someone that is not being prayed for by an unknown party.  I do believe there is evidence regarding a person who knows there are people praying for them improving faster than someone that knows people are not.  Of course this is not necessarily a reflection on the power of prayer.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 02:48:56 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #735 on: March 29, 2013, 02:45:24 PM »
I think Ephiral, like many people in this thread so no real fault of your own, you are attributing to me a motivation I do not possess.

Sabby, that is a phenomenon.  A patient that is not supposed to improve does improve.  Someone says, "the power of prayer has worked because our entire Church group prayed for this individual."  The observable event is the improvement of the patient.  The explanation offered is prayer.  Then so on, so forth.

They explain it as prayer, but considering that science already documents cases that remission of illnesses can happen with little explaination? If this gives anything to test, should that be 'why does God tend to cure the same amount of people who don't pray as the people who do'? It's like the people who argue that hurricanes in hurricane prone areas are miracles from God to wipe out the homosexuals. Just because you attribute something to God, doesn't make it divine phenomina.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #736 on: March 29, 2013, 02:47:19 PM »
I think Ephiral, like many people in this thread so no real fault of your own, you are attributing to me a motivation I do not possess.
Not especially; I'm responding as I see things and not worrying overmuch about your motivation. I think that we come to these subjects from different (though compatible) perspectives, and that lead to a certain amount of talking past each other. No harm, no foul, and I think I agree with your conclusions even if I differ in how I get there.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #737 on: March 29, 2013, 02:48:37 PM »
You realize people recover unexpectedly even without prayer, right? The observed phenomena doesn't indicate prayer as a factor. Say two people have cancer and aren't expected to live, and both recover. One was prayed for and one was not. The fact one recovered under prayer doesn't show a causation, just a correlation.

As Vanity put it, you can attribute a hurricane to Gods wrath and by your logic it's equally viable. A phenomena has been observed, and an explanation to explain the phenomena has been offered (God mad at homosexuals). If prayer healing cancer is to be taken seriously, this scenario must as well.

Offline Saria

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #738 on: March 29, 2013, 02:49:40 PM »
As you said, experimentation does take place, and what I've read of the prayer experiments, they tend to have a negative effect on the subject, but those experiments are based on the assertions of a phenomena existing, not the actual observation of one.
Actually, that's not quite correct. The prayer experiments were justified because there were many, many claims that prayer had been effective, both from patients and from doctors. There were countless cases of people claiming that this or that illness/injury/whatever were "miraculously healed" by the power of prayer. No specific case had ever been verified by science, of course. But the sheer volume of cases that may have been manifestations of the effect made it worthwhile to check for the effect. It wasn't just done because people said "prayer works"; it was done because they had piles of cases where it seemed that prayer might have done something. (But now, with the negative results ruling out prayer being a likely explanation, the likely explanations for all those cases are probably things like the placebo effect, simple statistical luck, or misreporting.)

And yeah, the prayer study that I'm most familiar with - the Templeton study - I think that showed that prayer actually had a slight negative effect.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #739 on: March 29, 2013, 02:53:06 PM »
Ah, I see :/ Good thing I didn't commit my statement without citation then. A volume of claims from doctors is a slightly better reason to conduct the study.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #740 on: March 29, 2013, 02:53:54 PM »
At this point Vanity and Sabby, I really have no idea what you are talking about.  You asked for the observable event and were given that event.  From that event a hypothesis was formed and tested.  I do not know how homosexual killing hurricanes were extrapolated from that conversation.

The Templeton study dealt with known prayer.  I have a feeling that emotions such as, "leave it in God's hands" and "I'm not improving so God must hate me" had some factors toward the negative.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #741 on: March 29, 2013, 02:54:35 PM »
Ah, I see :/ Good thing I didn't commit my statement without citation then. A volume of claims from doctors is a slightly better reason to conduct the study.
I'd say it's an excellent reason, if only to provide a definitive, citable "No it doesn't, now get back to real medicine."

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #742 on: March 29, 2013, 02:55:12 PM »
Well, anything to improve patient outcomes is worth trying.

I still refuse to wear white scrubs though.  Which yes that was an experiment done as to whether the nurse wearing white scrubs would improve patient outcomes.

Offline Saria

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #743 on: March 29, 2013, 02:59:08 PM »
Ah, I see :/ Good thing I didn't commit my statement without citation then. A volume of claims from doctors is a slightly better reason to conduct the study.
Yeah, and there were also some older studies with positive results, though generally they were criticized as having extremely poor methodology. So there was also an element of "attempt to duplicate". Of course, all the studies with proper methodologies have shown no effect.

The Templeton study was the biggest and most rigorous one by far - like biggest by a factor of 10, if I recall - and it showed that people who were being prayed for and knew about it actually did worse that the other two groups (people who were being prayed for and didn't know about it, and people who weren't being prayed for). Dawkins mentioned that study in The God Delusion.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #744 on: March 29, 2013, 03:04:17 PM »
At this point Vanity and Sabby, I really have no idea what you are talking about.  You asked for the observable event and were given that event.  From that event a hypothesis was formed and tested.  I do not know how homosexual killing hurricanes were extrapolated from that conversation.

Let me quote you.

Quote
Sabby, that is a phenomenon.  A patient that is not supposed to improve does improve.  Someone says, "the power of prayer has worked because our entire Church group prayed for this individual."  The observable event is the improvement of the patient.  The explanation offered is prayer.  Then so on, so forth.

So, a phenomena is observed, a hypothesis offered, and so testing can begin, correct?

Event 1. Man survives cancer. Explanation offered? Prayer.

You claim that is sufficient to conduct experimentation into prayers effects on healing.

Event 2. A cyclone hits a populated area. Explanation offered? High population of non-Christians or Sinful behaviour.

Is this also sufficient to conduct experimentation? If not, then why is only Event 1 sufficient?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #745 on: March 29, 2013, 03:04:55 PM »
Well, anything to improve patient outcomes is worth trying.

I still refuse to wear white scrubs though.  Which yes that was an experiment done as to whether the nurse wearing white scrubs would improve patient outcomes.

And then they discovered that white scrubs showed every foul thing that the nurse has had to deal with up to the point of the current patient...

(I like the kiddie print scrubs they use in the pediatrician's office.)

The Templeton study was the biggest and most rigorous one by far - like biggest by a factor of 10, if I recall - and it showed that people who were being prayed for and knew about it actually did worse that the other two groups (people who were being prayed for and didn't know about it, and people who weren't being prayed for). Dawkins mentioned that study in The God Delusion.

I wonder if knowing about it could have had a backlash effect if there were any patients in that group who started getting worse.  (i.e.,  'People are praying for me, and I'm not getting any better.' -> increased depression -> decreased immune response -> increase in symptoms -> Lather, rinse, repeat.)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #746 on: March 29, 2013, 03:12:58 PM »
 Can you eliminate variables to show a direct link between the activities of the people in the city to an effect on weather patterns?  If so then you have a hypothesis and thus an experiment. 

I know, I wish they would let me wear the ones that have images and stuff on them.  Only around holidays do we get to change things up a bit.  Though around Halloween things can get weird since a nurse one night dressed up as the grim reaper.  One dressed up as a French maid as well and then the next year dressed up as Marge Simpson. 

I am willing to bet the patient perceived their condition getting worse and so became depressed and depression does have a negative effect on patient outcomes.

Offline Saria

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #747 on: March 29, 2013, 03:14:04 PM »
I wonder if knowing about it could have had a backlash effect if there were any patients in that group who started getting worse.  (i.e.,  'People are praying for me, and I'm not getting any better.' -> increased depression -> decreased immune response -> increase in symptoms -> Lather, rinse, repeat.)
That was theory that Dawkins mentioned: the patients who knew they were being prayed for had extra anxiety either because they felt they were so sick that they needed prayer, or because they felt so much pressure to improve.

With the other two groups (prayed for but didn't know it and not prayed for), there was no difference at all.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #748 on: March 29, 2013, 03:14:47 PM »
I am willing to bet the patient perceived their condition getting worse and so became depressed and depression does have a negative effect on patient outcomes.

Horses, not zebras.  :D

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #749 on: March 29, 2013, 03:15:24 PM »
Can you eliminate variables to show a direct link between the activities of the people in the city to an effect on weather patterns?  If so then you have a hypothesis and thus an experiment.

And you would be behind such experimentation, like you are with testing prayer?