Boxing Pythagoras

Philosophy from the mind of a fighter

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

WLC’s Time, Part 4: General Relativity

When I first began my discussion on William Lane Craig’s ideas about time, I framed it as a debate between two competing models. To briefly recap, Dr. Craig supports the Tensed Theory of Time, which states that events only become real as they occur and that, therefore, the future exists only in potentiality, not in reality. In contrast, he opposes the Tenseless Theory of Time, which asserts that all moments in time– past, present, and future– exist equally in reality, even though we only observe them at the present. In order to support his case, Dr. Craig has offered a genetic fallacy regarding Einstein’s personal philosophy, an assertion which falsely equates Lorentzian relativity with Einstein’s, and complete misunderstandings of the implications of quantum entanglement and the cosmic microwave background. In this fourth installment of this series, I am going to discuss the ideas which Dr. Craig presents about General Relativity, ostensibly as a means of supporting his Tensed Theory of Time.

Almost comically, William Lane Craig’s math and science illiteracy prevent him from realizing that all the evidence which he offers from General Relativity stands in direct and diametric opposition to the Tensed Theory of Time.

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Bad Reasons for thinking belief in God is Reasonable

Last summer, William Lane Craig spoke at the Apologetics Canada Conference 2013. The topic of Dr. Craig’s speech was the question, “Is belief in God reasonable?” As with many of WLC’s lectures, speeches, and debates, the entire thing is available to watch for free on YouTube, as I found out recently from a friend’s Facebook post. During his speech, Dr. Craig machine-guns his way through eight separate arguments for which he asserts that God is the best explanation. Discussing each of these arguments, briefly, he ultimately combines them into a sort of super-argument to answer his nominal topic. According to Dr. Craig: yes, belief in God is reasonable.

Unfortunately, Dr. Craig’s super-argument for reasonability is built upon a series of badly reasoned arguments.

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On the Irrationality of the Square Root of 2

Consider a triangle with two legs of equal length which meet at a right angle. What is the proportion of the length of the Hypotenuse to the length of one Leg?

Radical2

 

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Drunvalo Melchizedek is Bad at Math

I decided to go through The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life with a fine-toothed comb in order to determine the veracity of the mathematical claims which Drunvalo Melchizedek makes in his most well known work. This post represents my review of every single mathematical claim which I could find in ASoFoL Volume 1. For a book which is purported to be focused primarily on geometry, I found surprisingly little mathematical information. Out of its 225 pages of material, only 32 pages mentioned any mathematical principles. Nearly 86% of the pages in this book have absolutely nothing to do with mathematics or geometry.

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On really, really, stupidly large numbers

When I was a kid and I got into an argument, inevitably it would devolve into a “Yuh-huh!” followed by a retort of “Nuh-uh!” After that, my brilliant counter argument would be “Yuh-huh, yuh-huh!” which was usually followed by “Nuh-uh, nuh-uh, nuh-uh!” It wouldn’t take us long to realize that repeating this, ad nauseum, would become irritating even to ourselves, so we soon came up with the idea of multiplying our answers: “Yuh-huh times ten!” would be followed by “Nuh-uh times a thousand!” But soon, we would reach the extent of big numbers that we could name. Most kids were familiar with “million,” “billion,” and even “trillion,” but numbers bigger than that often eluded us. Usually, after that, kids would either use nonsense words like “bajillion” or else they’d go back to repetition with “million million million.” However, occasionally, there were those few of us clever enough to learn about the bigger numbers. We’d learn “quadrillion” through “nonillion,” but the prefixes after that quickly became too confusing for little kid brains. Then we learned about a googol, 10^{100}, or (as we knew it) “a one followed by a hundred zeroes.” This number seemed insanely large, but remained easy (and fun!) for kids to say. Soon after learning about a googol, we would learn about the number googolplex, 10^{10^{100}} or “a one followed by a googol zeroes.” This number was so large, most of us couldn’t truly comprehend it, but since it was easy to say, we kept on using it.

I’m an adult, now, and even though my style of persuasive argument has become just a bit more sophisticated than it once was, I still find myself fascinated with really, really large numbers. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorites, called Graham’s number. It is so ridiculously, stupidly large, that a googolplex is only negligibly larger than 1, when compared to Graham’s number. The number was invented by Robert Graham in the late 70’s to represent the largest possible solution (or “upper bound,” in math speak) to a particular mathematics problem. I’d love to just tell you what Graham’s number is, but there’s a problem. You see, Graham’s number is so large that the usual mathematical operations with which people are familiar are entirely inadequate to describe it. A billion can be easily explained as “a thousand times a thousand times a thousand,” and a googolplex can be understood as “10 to the 10 to the 100th power;” but Graham’s number is so inordinately big that even nesting exponents is fairly useless in describing it. So, I’ll begin our journey, today, by talking about Knuth’s up-arrow notation.

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WLC’s Time, Part 3: Bell’s Theorem, CMB, and the Aether Frame

Professional apologist William Lane Craig has made some very interesting claims about the scientific understanding of “time” in his published work. Most specifically, WLC thinks that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is wrong. In previous installments of this series, we’ve seen Dr. Craig laud Lorentzian relativity over Einstein’s model, and we’ve seen him attacking Special Relativity on the basis of Einstein’s verificationist philosophy. Today, I’ll move on to some of the more specific scientific claims that Dr. Craig makes in his book, Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time. Specifically, we’re going to look at Dr. Craig’s claim that Bell’s Theorem and the Cosmic Microwave Background are evidence of a preferred inertial reference frame in the cosmos, which I will hereafter refer to as the Aether Frame. If you are unsure what a “preferred inertial reference frame” means, I recommend reading my first post on Lorentzian relativity (linked above) for the details.

Unfortunately, WLC is once again, wrong.

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Does Science Disprove God?

Christian apologist Melissa Cain Travis has posted her thoughts on an article written by Dr. Amir Aczel entitled, “Why Science Does Not Disprove God,” a complement to his book of the same name. While Ms. Travis agrees with the thrust of the article, she finds some of its language to be a bit vague, and adds some commentary which she believes clarifies these issues. It is likely unsurprising that Travis, a Christian apologist, would agree with Aczel’s premise.

What may be more surprising to my readers is that I also agree: Science does not disprove God.

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Heathen Apologetics, Part 3: The Ontological Argument

Welcome back to Heathen Apologetics, where we repurpose common, Christian apologetics arguments and instead use them to support the veracity of Norse religious faith. The purpose of this series is to serve as a sort of giant reductio ad absurdum. Using the exact same logical constructs espoused by Christian thinkers, with only minor modifications to the premises made to substitute specifically Christian suppositions with specifically Norse ones, Heathen Apologetics intends to show that these arguments are entirely untenable. Today, we’re going to take a look at the Ontological Argument for the Existence of the Gods.

The greatness of the gods, itself, leads us to the proof for their existence.

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