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Posted by Mario Dovalina on September 15, 2001 04:50:07 UTC

"But I say that a belief is not right or wrong, it's just a belief."

Except for this one. A belief CAN be wrong. It is a statement about external reality. External reality does not conform to our statements. Therefore, beliefs can be wrong.

"Not suggesting GOD, but what if they get to a point, and find out that there was no a big bang, but something else. Could be possible?"

Doubtful. I'll give ya some info on it in case you don't know. Hydrogen gives off a very specific wavelength, anywhere in the universe, this wavelength is the same. And since all stars are composed of hydrogen, you would expect to see that stars of composition similar to our sun give off wavelengths similar to it.

This was not the case. All light emanating from other stars appeared redder than it should: this is due to a redshift, similar to a doppler effect. If something is traveling away from you, it appears to have a lower pitch, or "redder." If it is heading towards you, it appears to have a higher pitch or a blueshift. The fact that everything seems to be rushing away from us does not mean we are at the center of the universe: consider blowing up a balloon. No two points get closer together.

ANYWAY. Since everything is flying apart at great speeds (a speed that is actually increasing due to dark energy, but never mind) it follows that if you go back far enough, eventually you come to a point where the "explosion" actually happened, when all matter and energy occupied the same space.

So, disproving the big bang ain't easy. It's not an idle philosophy, it's well-researched and reasonable.

"are you suggesting that the more outrageous the belief the more delusional people are?"

No, far from it. Often the more outrageous claims turn out to be true. But what I do say is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If someone makes an outrageous claim, I say "Okay, prove it." Just because someone's opinion contradicts everything current science suggests does not make it wrong, but that someone had better have some arguments and proof with him if he wants to be taken seriously. I see no such proof with religion.

"Is a theory a kissing cousin to a belief?"

Well, only if the scientist is naive enough to believe that the theory is written in stone. Science is always evolving. And I think every serious scientist realizes that, and all the theories that he bases his opinions on are not truth per se, but a description of it. Religion on the other hand does not require evidence for its claims and it therefore subject to error.

I can't remember who said this, but I find it quite profound:

If a scientist lies to you, experimentation will prove him wrong and set science straight. However, if the religious purveyors lie to you, what is there to set religion straight?

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