I gave a big lecture to my pals on this. This is what I thought.
1) The video never argues whether god exists or not. If you notice carefully, the prof idiotically says that god is evil. By this statement, he already accepts that god exists. The argument is whether god is evil or not, and the kid (who I dont believe is Einstien) argues that god is not evil. That may be so. But never in the video do they actually argue about the existence. And yet, just because of the title, people come to that conclusion.
2) This is a propaganda video. Any science teacher will know that cold and darkness are not physical entities per se. And would not accede to such a pathetic argument.
3) And why conclude that religion is knowledge? What knowledge has this video imparted? That darkness and cold are not physical entities! You should know that in your regular science classes. You dont need RE for that!
I dont know the actual terms of logical fallacies in these videos. Would love if someone can give me the terms and explain the fallacies even better! Its mis-directions like this tat are soo popular in propaganda now a days.
09-Sep-2010, 01:54 PM (This post was last modified: 09-Sep-2010, 04:18 PM by Sajit.)
It’s a fictional story that’s been attributed to any number of people including Albert Einstein, but has no basis in reality. It’s also a very flawed argument that’s only really impressive to the scientifically illiterate. It’s kind of sad to see it making the rounds once again, but at least the latest incarnation isn’t attributing it to Einstein. Let’s start with the most obvious problem with this entire argument: The Christian God is supposedly omnipresent therefor if God is literally everywhere how can there be the absence of God anywhere? This is a fatal flaw to the Absence of God = Evil argument. Additionally there’s the problem with the simple fact that many believers commit acts of evil in spite of their belief in God and often because of their belief in God. This would also be an obstacle for the evil = absence of God argument.
Secondly it relies on conflating two different meanings of the word faith. Namely the faith required for something that’s pretty well established—the fact that the professor does have a brain—versus the faith required for something with absolutely no evidence—the existence of God. In the former there are any number of ways to prove the existence of the professor’s brain, some of which would be extreme but definitive (open his skull and look), but a simple cat scan should suffice for most people. The existence of brains is so well established, in fact, that most Christians wouldn’t be stupid enough to question that reality in the first place.
In comparison you’d first have to nail down exactly what you mean by the word “God”, because even among believers of the same religion there’s often a difference on opinion about the nature of God, before you could even begin to try and establish whether or not it would be possible to determine if he exists. Clearly the type of faith it would take to believe in such a being is miles beyond the faith it takes to accept our lowly professor as having a brain without resorting to cracking his head open to check, though that would at least be possible if it had to come to it.
This particular version managed to work in the anti-evolution angle as well though that too is a flawed and incorrect argument. Evolution has been observed in both simple lab experiments and by studying fossils from antiquity. That is an entire argument unto itself, however, and more time than I wish to expend at the moment.
Furthermore the definitions for heat/cold and light/dark demonstrate that the author of this fiction has only a limited understanding of the concepts he’s writing about. The whole paragraph where the student explains the concept of heat is wrong, but most people aren’t scientifically literate enough to grasp that fact. They just see a lot of scientific words and their eyes glaze over and they think something really intelligent was said.
The author contends that “heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy” and that is flat out wrong as heat is actually the transfer of energy caused by a temperature difference. If two systems are not in thermal equilibrium with each other then heat transfer will occur with the flow going from the higher temperature system to the lower temperature system until thermal equilibrium is obtained. Or, in other words, if one system is hot and the other one is cold then heat will transfer from one to the other until they are the same temperature. The statement that we can have “super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat” is just nonsense. The author is conflating the word “heat” with the word “hot” the latter of which is, like “cold”, a relative term describing the temperature of an object in relation to something else.
So too the author goes on to demonstrate only a partial understanding of light and dark. He starts by conflating the scientific definition of light, which includes the entire electromagnetic spectrum, with what is known as “visible light.” What we refer to as dark is actually just a low level of visible light, but not the absence of light as is claimed in the text. Even in the total absence of visible light all objects will continue to give off infrared and gamma radiation due to heat transfer and as such there is no absence of light at all even though you can’t see. A simple pair of infrared goggles is all it takes to see in the darkest of environments. In order to remove all light you’d have to remove all energy (absolute zero) which isn’t possible to do outside of the realm of theoretical mathematics.
So the answers to the questions at the end of this missive end up as follows: Yes, you could make night “darker” by blocking out more and more of the electromagnetic spectrum. No, you can’t make something colder than absolute zero because that’s the point when a system has no energy. For that matter it’s not possible to reach absolute zero either, though you can get close and matter starts to do some funky stuff at those temperatures. Yes, you can feel, taste, see, hear, and smell your brain if you really wanted to, but some of those would be messy and probably leave you damaged in the process. For some folks, though, it might be an experiment worth undertaking.
This is not originally written by the Indian Skeptic, as I have read this elsewhere. But its a good response.
Here is the freethinker version of the story, I think we have to act and make a video of this:
Quote:Student: "Is there such a thing as heat, Professor?"
Student: "Is there such a thing as cold?"
Professor: "Yes, there's cold too."
Student: "No sir, there isn't. You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat can be measured in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."
Professor: "Good point. However, you're incorrect in your concept that cold can exist only in the absence of heat. Both heat and cold are merely comparative terms. Temperature is a real thing, which can be measured by scales, such as Fahrenheit, Centigrade, and Kelvin. Higher readings are perceived as warm by the human skin, lower ones as cold. But, heat and cold are only handy reference points, not absolute terms, and NOT dependent on the presence or absence of the other. Just because we can't hit 458 degrees below zero does not mean it can't be done. Perhaps it just means it can't be done, yet."
Student: "Is there such a thing as darkness, Professor?"
Student: "You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light but if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you give me a jar of darker darkness, Professor? My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error. You are working on the premise of duality. That for example there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it."
Professor: "I disagree. You are mistaken again, young man. Darkness and light are the same thing. Darkness is the lack of perception of any electromagnetic radiation typically called light. Just because we cannot see the radiation, does not mean it isn't present. Science helps us to realize this. Remember, the spectrum goes from infrared to ultraviolet and beyond on either end. So darkness is NOT the absence of light, merely the lack of its perception by available sensors."
Student: "Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, Professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?"
Professor: "Of course there is, look..."
Student: "Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil? Isn't evil the absence of good? If there is evil in the world, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work God is accomplishing? Judaism/Christianity/Islam tells us it is to see if each and every one of us will choose good over evil. I would have thought that the absence of God's moral code in this world would be one of the most observable phenomena. Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week!"
Professor: "My dear student, let me give you an example. You see, based on your argument, some would also argue that the absence of love is hate. But love only exists within the entity experiencing that feeling. If that entity does not feel love or it ceases to exist, can love still exist by itself? No. Love and hate are relative terms on a spectrum of emotional experiences caused by the brain, just as with cold, heat, light, dark, morality, immorality, justice, injustice, and whatnot. This same reasoning can apply to all emotions. In addition, ideas need not exist only in absolute extremes. When a person does not feel love, they need not feel hate either.
In the same way, some would say that war exists in the absence of peace. No. It doesn't have to be that way. There can be both an absence of peace and an absence of war at the same time. For example, people can dislike each other without attempting to kill each other. Peace and war can co-exist in the same place, and their existence does not depend on the presence or absence of the other. Life does not always work in absolute opposites.
Your last point about evil would follow the same rule. Good and evil are points along a spectrum of human moral values, and certainly the world today should show you that both good and evil can exist at the same time, in the same place, and even within a single individual. For example, there have been psychopathic serial killers who still love their dogs, or a person they're really close to and trust; and they treat them very well. So you see, they too can make good and evil decisions. Again, life doesn't have to be always in extreme absolutes."
Student: "Okay. Tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey then? Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir? Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work or can even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching, or rather preaching, your own opinion about it, sir? Are you now not a scientist anymore, but a priest?"
Professor: "No. I don't teach nor preach to my students that they evolved from monkeys. We did not evolve from monkeys. We, like the apes, evolved from a common ancestor, not monkeys. And that common ancestor is long extinct. That's why there are still monkeys around. Believe it or not, we are still evolving. There's no telling how we would look in the far future, billions of years from now. Here, watch this video on my laptop for a better and detailed explanation on how evolution works:
1. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
2. If Evolution is a fact, why are there still monkeys (chimpanzees) around?
3. Religious reasoning on Evolution (cartoon version).
Experiments in evolution can also be repeated or reproduced in a laboratory. Science is based on observations. Scientist do not make claims without evidence to back them up. So, I suggest the proponents of Creationism or the idea that God created everything, read the writings of, or watch the video Cosmos by the an American scientist, Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996).
In one applicable part of the video, Dr. Sagan says:
“We mix together and spark the gases of the primitive Earth: hydrogen, water, ammonia methane, hydrogen sulfide all present, incidentally, on the planet Jupiter today and throughout the cosmos. The sparks correspond to lightning also present on the ancient Earth and on modern Jupiter. The reaction vessel is initially transparent: the precursor gases are entirely invisible. But after ten minutes of sparking, we see a strange brown pigment slowly streaking the sides of the vessel. The interior gradually becomes opaque, covered with a thick brown tar. If we had used ultraviolet light simulating the early Sun, the results would have been more or less the same. The tar is an extremely rich collection of complex organic molecules, including the constituent parts of proteins and nucleic acids. The stuff of life, it turns out, can be very easily made."
"Such experiments were first performed in the early 1950’s by Stanley Miller, then a graduate student of the chemist Harold Urey… Under the right circumstances in the test tube, short nucleic acids can synthesize identical copies of themselves… (Of course) no one has so far mixed together the gases and waters of the primitive Earth and at the end of the experiment had something crawl out of the test tube (yet)… But we have been performing such experiments for only some thirty years. Nature has had a four billion year head start. All in all, we have not done (too) badly.”
Student: "Yeah whatever! So... you still don't accept God's moral code to do what is righteous?"
Professor: "Which god's moral code are you talking about? Vishnu? Yahweh? Allah? JuJu? And how do you know which god's religious book (Bible/Quran/Gita/etc.) or scriptures are true and not man-made? Regardless, if you can scientifically and historically prove any of your claims, sure, why not, I will consider it."
Student: "Ahh! SCIENCE! Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. Science too is a premise which is flawed.
Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen air, oxygen, molecules, atoms or even the professor's brain? (silence in class)
Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? (silence in class)
It appears no one here has had any sensory perception of the professor's brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol of science, I now DECLARE that the PROFESSOR has NO BRAINS!!!"
The class breaks out in laughter.
Professor: "Haha! That was very funny! However, my dear student, science can prove the existence of unseen things such as air, oxygen, molecules, atoms, gravity, electricity, electromagnetism, radio waves etc. But I'm afraid the same can't be said about your god, son. Science is not flawed. But the way in which misinformed people misuse the scientific method to DECLARE something is true is flawed. For these people, science is no longer a legitimate method based on observation and evidence. There is another name for what these people do. It's called pseudoscience or in simple terms, science fiction. And that is exactly what you are doing now, my young student. Your method of using 'science' to DECLARE that I have no brains is absolutely flawed. Let me give some examples of how to use legitimate science to discover whether or not I have a brain. You can try:
1. Brain scan.
3. The fact that I am a living being, standing in front of you, talking to you right now, and teaching you about science, reason, rationality and critical thinking would not be possible if I did not have a brain. Am I right? So widen your views and your perspectives, my child. You will learn and understand a lot more by doing so.
Science is the best tool ever devised for understanding how the world works. Science is the single most consistently reliable method we have for understanding reality. Science is a way of learning not to fool yourself. Thank you."
The class applauds the professor and the student for giving them such an entertaining and educational experience.
The following 1 user Likes shrihara's post:1 user Likes shrihara's post Ajita Kamal