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Refute the Teapot Argument

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Pontiuth Pilate, May 25, 2007.

  1. CanseiDeSerSexy

    CanseiDeSerSexy Chieftain

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    Gee, honestly, I don't even see science and religion as dealing with the same set of questions at all. Science is just the study of how the physical world works. It doesn't really strive to answer why (you know. the general sort of why), in fact I fail to see how it ever could.

    there could be a teapot orbiting the sun. and the question of a god is a totally different sort of question anyways, so the teapot argument is pretty silly.
     
  2. Pontiuth Pilate

    Pontiuth Pilate Republican Jesus!

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    Well, there's the difference. It's rather intolerable to doubt the existence of electrons etc. not because they are undisprovable (actually, they are quite disprovable); it's intolerable because there's plenty of evidence for such subatomic particles, indeed they can be observed directly in bubble chambers.

    Well, hey, if you're going to deny the existence of an external or objective truth, then we aren't going to get anywhere ;)
     
  3. Bozo Erectus

    Bozo Erectus Master Baker

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    Pontiuth, theyre provable to scientists, the rest of us take it on faith.

    No theres objective truth alright, I just dont believe we're equipped to know it when we see it, assuming we can see it. I dont think we're supposed to.
     
  4. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    There's a big difference between taking things in faith from scientists or from any self-appointed prophets. Scientists have to provide instructions that will allow their results to be duplicated, placing it within the power of other people to check their claims, even when it would take a substantial investment to do so. Whereas prophets have been notoriously short on providing any means at all for others to check their claims.
     
  5. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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  6. jameson

    jameson Emperor

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    I would say there is no need to refute the teapot argument because it does not matter. Who cares about a teapot orbiting the sun millions of kilometres from here ?

    Suppose though that teapot prophets wanted to regulate all people's behaviour on the basis of the teapots's alleged existence. Why would that put the burden of proving or disproving the teapot's existence on the skeptics ? I'd rather think that would put that burden on those who have faith in the teapot's existence !

    Really, why should anyone be required to debate this issue, or governments to waste their time and our money to get better telescopes and send out spacecraft wth state-of-the-art sensor equipment to to discover the existence of a teapot unless they were shooting for an Ig Nobel?

    Moreover, if the teapot is unobservable by the best equipment available to mankind, how come anyone could even start to believe in the existence of a teapot in outer space to begin with ? Why wouldn't they believe in bogeymen or the Tooth Fairy instead ? And why would it make more sense to debate the existence of the teapot rather than any other subject dreamed up by human superstition ? Frankly, Mr. Russell really didn't make a lot of sense here.
     
  7. BasketCase

    BasketCase Username sez it all

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    Not going to comment on the OP (me and the poster have some......differences...... :D ), however I offer this:

    Two hundred years ago the concept of greenhouse gases basically didn't exist. It was impossible to know the properties of carbon dioxide because the needed tools didn't exist; there was no way to measure the infrared absorption properties of a gas.

    So global warming was basically impossible to prove or disprove back then. Global warming was, in fact, a Space Teapot (whether that has changed since then is a whole new question which is irrelevant here).

    There are definitely Space Teapots out there--things that do exist but which cannot be proven to exist (yet). That we cannot prove or disprove their existence, has absolutely no influence on whether or not they exist. An object either exists, or it does not; an idea is either definitely true, or definitely false. Whether we can see, verify, or disprove those things or ideas means nothing.
     
  8. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    So you are saying that Space Teapots are the Schroedinger's Cats of existence?

    But what about the Pyramid Teabags? There must be something in that. And some people read TEA-LEAVES to tell fortunes. It all makes sense now...
     
  9. mdwh

    mdwh Deity

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    As others have said, wrong - and that's the whole point of the teapot analogy. If I say I don't believe in the teapot, no one tries to twist my words into claiming that I therefore believe the teapot doesn't exist. You also don't get agnostic-teapotters who give themselves a new name saying that they somehow sit in limbo inbetween those who don't believe and those who do believe, and acting all superior.
     
  10. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Its more aN, "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, is a Republican at fault?"

    J
     
  11. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    So it's your faith in science that makes your microwave oven work? Your PC? If you stopped believing in science would your house-lights no longer work? (Let's ask a Creationist shall we?)
     
  12. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    No, I'm British. It's Thatcher's fault.
     
  13. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    Well, regardless of what truth is "out there" (cue X Files music), it seems like you are saying that any human attempt at gaining knowledge is as valid as any other human attempt. E.g. The New York Times and The National Enquirer are equally good sources of information. Is that really how you feel?
     
  14. North King

    North King blech

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    As a firm agnostic, and as I get very annoyed at atheists who want me to convert to their anti-religious camp, I suppose I should defend myself.

    I've heard Russel's Teapot before, and to me, it's a silly comparison.

    There are unknown things in this universe. Things that science cannot explain. Things that science will not even bother to explain, some of them. I'm not particularly one for supernatural trickery, but there certainly are things that science is scratching its collective head at. This is not to say I firmly believe that ghosts exist: in fact, I rather doubt it. But there have been some interesting occurrences, and there is little to prove that they are for certain completely unreal. Paranormal isn't my field; feel free to look into this on your own.

    Furthermore, there is one, quite simple thing here. If God, or anything supernatural exists, it is outside of the world. And thus, we are dealing with not the nature of the world as we can see it, but the nature of an unimaginable ALL. It deals with the questions of what time is, how the universe came to be, and what might exist outside of the whole. There are interesting speculations on it, and in my opinion, there is no good reason that there cannot be more out there, something science simply cannot deal with. In fact, there are good reasons for something to be out there: it would explain much that science has not...

    Now, this is all rather silly to worry about in our lifetime, so I don't actually participate in the whole religion versus science debate. I remain an agnostic, and I will continue to get irked at people who try to use scientific arguments against God when God is outside the scope of current science.
     
  15. Dark Ascendant

    Dark Ascendant Darkness Ascending...

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    Well, all of mankind could just cut to the chase and acknowledge God as an ideal of an omnipotent, omnipresent ruler who actually listens, and only exists in our minds and therefore exists so long as people choose and need to believe in his existence for comfort and support.

    But I doubt it.

    Science may be a more accurate and objective way of explaining the universe around us, but it sure as hell isn't comforting. Just learn the bare minimum of astronomy from elementary school, and one can comprehend how utterly small and insignificant everything in our immediate surroundings are.
     
  16. mdwh

    mdwh Deity

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    And atheists can get annoyed when they get labelled as anti-religious - in practice, many of them hold the same views as you. Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive labels (since agnosticism is about lack of knowledge, atheism is about lack of belief).
     
  17. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

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    A lot of theists don't see God in that light. (I mean omnipotent, or even omnibenevolent, etc.)
     
  18. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    The teapot analogy doesn't relate to true theism at all. It uses a material object, where true theism is about believing an idea. Atheism is a rejection of that idea, and agnosticism is failing to decide about the idea.

    I suspect that most atheists and agnostics take those positions because the metaphor used to convey theism is flawed, not because the idea itself is flawed. A theist says "I believe there is something more than the material world we can see", to which the agnostic replies "hogwash, you can't prove it" and the atheist replies "no I'm positive there isn't". Theism is not about the specifics, and an argument based on specifics therefore must by definition miss the mark
     
  19. brennan

    brennan Argumentative Brit

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    False, the teapot's existence is undemonstrable, as is God's. that is the point of the argument; whether or not it is material is irrelevant (in fact that lends more plausibility to the existence of the teapot.)
     
  20. Bozo Erectus

    Bozo Erectus Master Baker

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    I dont think theyve been shy at all about providing means, clues, advice. I think that most people are too timid to follow them.

    Most people dont look up at the sky, because its too big. They focus on the ground, and count the sand grains;)
     

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