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Author Topic: Favorite SciFi Quote  (Read 14994 times)
Zeep-Eeep
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2005, 01:18:37 am »

Well, most scientists would love to see evidence of something travelling faster than light... but despite all efforts, they have been able to produce such a thing. So, provisionally, they suppose nothing can.

Why do you think they are wrong?

Or are you just saying that taking SC2/SW/ST/B5 as canon?

I think they're wrong because whenever science/religion declares
something as absolute, it eventually falls apart. For example,
- It's impoosbile to travel faster than sound.
- It's impossible to run a mile in four minutes.
- The world is flat.

To name a few. I also would like to point out that
scientists get kinda dodgy when you point out the
speed of light is varible, not constent. Light, like sound,
travels at different speeds through different mediums.
This is why light bend when passing through water or glass.

So, if the speed of light is varible, laying claim that nothing
travels faster than light a bit silly. Faster than light under
what conditions? One might assume faster than
light in space (no medium). However, light has been shown
to bend and change speeds due to gravity.

Really, the only reason no one has found a way to out-run
light is because no one has found a way to travel fast
enough or slow light down enough.
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Science Vs Religion? I didn't know there was a difference.
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2005, 04:25:04 pm »

I think you're 100% right. We're a civilization with amazing theories, and yet no amazing technology or proof to back them up. To put it bluntly:

Religionists invent "Intelligent Design", because they cannot come up with a good explanation for life and are too dumb and lazy to try and prove/disprove anything.

Scientists invent "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter", because they cannot come up with a good explanation for the data their probes collect and are too dumb and lazy to try and prove/disprove anything.

Note that both philosophies have a taste for mysterious, invisible forces that have very little evidence to support any belief in their existance. I understand that some invisible, hard to define things exist, but if you want to say that your invisible thing is more real than somebody elses, you'll need to convince some of us using facts.

In the past half century, we've made some advances in various fossil fuel engines and computers. Scientists have every right to claim credit for, and produce theories on these two areas. For the rest, let's see the rubber meet the road.

Plato and pals had some very good theories, to their credit. But some of them were so good, that people didn't bother to test them for many centuries. When they did, they realized many of those theories were dead wrong.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2005, 04:28:48 pm by Deus_Siddis » Logged
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2005, 11:57:25 am »

To name a few. I also would like to point out that
scientists get kinda dodgy when you point out the
speed of light is varible, not constent. Light, like sound,
travels at different speeds through different mediums.
This is why light bend when passing through water or glass.
Yes and no. On the macroscopic scale, light appears to slow down. However, if you look more closely at things, you will find that light is moving at a constant speed until it hits something. According to the Wikipedia article on the speed of light, the apparent lower speed of light in transparent materials is due to continuous absorption and re-emission. To avoid confusion, some physicists refer to the "speed of light in a vacuum" (or c for short).

A constant speed of light is a fundamental part of relativity, which provides good explanations for a wide range of macroscopic phenomena such as in the Michelson-Morley experiment or the Global Positioning System.

Relativity says that matter (as we know it) can't reach the speed of light. However, there may be some oddities related to quantum physics (e.g. tunnelling) that allow particles to move faster than c (although these phenomena seem to become more unlikely the bigger the effect is, which means that the universe seems to us to behave consistently with relativity).

Quote
So, if the speed of light is varible, laying claim that nothing
travels faster than light a bit silly. Faster than light under
what conditions? One might assume faster than
light in space (no medium). However, light has been shown
to bend and change speeds due to gravity.
The relativistic interpretation is that space and time are bent and the speed of light is constant. This sounds like nonsense, but the results check out pretty well in cases like gravitational lensing.

Quote
Really, the only reason no one has found a way to out-run
light is because no one has found a way to travel fast
enough or slow light down enough.
Actually, light has been slowed down (in the macroscopic sense) to zero speed. Experiments in the "travelling faster" bit seem to support relativity, but it may be possible to circumvent relativity in creative ways or find subtle differences between reality and relativity. See the Wikipedia article on FTL travel.

I think you're 100% right. We're a civilization with amazing theories, and yet no amazing technology or proof to back them up. To put it bluntly:

Religionists invent "Intelligent Design", because they cannot come up with a good explanation for life and are too dumb and lazy to try and prove/disprove anything.

Scientists invent "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter", because they cannot come up with a good explanation for the data their probes collect and are too dumb and lazy to try and prove/disprove anything.

Note that both philosophies have a taste for mysterious, invisible forces that have very little evidence to support any belief in their existance. I understand that some invisible, hard to define things exist, but if you want to say that your invisible thing is more real than somebody elses, you'll need to convince some of us using facts.
Basically, the difference between science and religion is that science is about finding explanations for observed facts that can be used to predict other stuff, while religion accepts explanations that essentially allow anything to happen; the problem with explaining e.g. the creation of the Universe by saying "God did it" is that He can then go on to do anything He likes; this is not a falsifiable theory.

Many far-out ideas in science have real-life applications and implications (much of relativity and quantum mechanics) even though they aren't perfect (in some cases, relativity and quantum mechanics contradict each other; figuring out how to combine them to a proper explanation for all cases is something a lot of physicists are working on). Some, on the other hand, are definitely work in progress. Cosmological theories are hard to test in a laboratory environment, you see, so evidence for this type of theory is likely to be somewhat shoddy. Dark matter is one possible explanation for what we see in the Universe, although other theories (mostly involving gravity behaving differently than we thought) exist.

Basically, science is all about admitting that you were wrong and changing your theory to match the facts. However, that doesn't stop some scientists from being really stubborn oafs.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2005, 12:57:06 am »

"Basically, the difference between science and religion is that science is about finding explanations for observed facts that can be used to predict other stuff, while religion accepts explanations that essentially allow anything to happen,"

But my point is science seems to have a lot of concepts that are mostly based on bizzare mathematical theories, with little visible proof. Also, religions usually do have rules. In Christianity and Islam, normal dudes can't become gods. In Judaism, you can by intensively studying certain texts (D'ni maybe? Smiley ), or eating fruit off of the tree of life (if it is still standing, it probably got MOABed by accident over in Iraq).

Think about it, if only "brilliant" theorists can understand their theories, and we just have to take their word for it, they have become something of a priest caste.


"Cosmological theories are hard to test in a laboratory environment, you see, so evidence for this type of theory is likely to be somewhat shoddy."

Yea, and religious theories are somewhat hard to test too. So let's see some tech. I'd settle for a space-time warper from science, or an arc of the covenant to run green cars off of, from religion (hey, fuel cells or god power, I don't care just as long as I don't have to pay three bucks a gallon.)


"Basically, science is all about admitting that you were wrong and changing your theory to match the facts. However, that doesn't stop some scientists from being really stubborn oafs."

Yea, but if you come up with wild theories that most cannot understand fully or test, you won't have to worry about getting shot down and having to take it all back.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2005, 06:52:56 am »

But my point is science seems to have a lot of concepts that are mostly based on bizzare mathematical theories, with little visible proof. Also, religions usually do have rules.
The problems are that they're unverifiable. A theory which doesn't predict anything you can verify is useless, whether it's religious or scientific.

Quote
Think about it, if only "brilliant" theorists can understand their theories, and we just have to take their word for it, they have become something of a priest caste.
You may not be able to directly verify their theories, but you can see the products of their theories in your daily life.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2005, 10:36:32 am »

You may not be able to directly verify their theories, but you can see the products of their theories in your daily life.
And that pretty much sums up what I'm trying to get at: science allows development of technology (and vice versa). The thing I'm typing this message on demonstrates the immense predictive utility of several scientific theories; the engineers designing these things (from tiny components up) have had scientific theories telling them what to expect, design a horribly complicated device and it works.

But my point is science seems to have a lot of concepts that are mostly based on bizzare mathematical theories, with little visible proof. Also, religions usually do have rules. In Christianity and Islam, normal dudes can't become gods. In Judaism, you can by intensively studying certain texts (D'ni maybe? Smiley ), or eating fruit off of the tree of life (if it is still standing, it probably got MOABed by accident over in Iraq).
OK, most religions have some sort of rules stating what it possible. The problem, however, is that most of these rules have little predictive value, if any. And the "God did it" explanation, which doesn't tell you anything about anything else, is overused.


Quote
Think about it, if only "brilliant" theorists can understand their theories, and we just have to take their word for it, they have become something of a priest caste.
Sort of. However, this priest caste:
  • Can and will explain everything they know and believe to anyone who wants to know (and a lot of people who don't); it's not really a caste.
  • Produces miracles daily and consistently.

Quote
Yea, and religious theories are somewhat hard to test too. So let's see some tech. I'd settle for a space-time warper from science, or an arc of the covenant to run green cars off of, from religion (hey, fuel cells or god power, I don't care just as long as I don't have to pay three bucks a gallon.)

Are you proposing to test the utility of methodologies by seeing which one allows you to do the most impossible stuff? Or the most apparently impossible stuff? The former doesn't make any sense by definition, so I'm going to assume the latter. Science seems to have the edge in this department; common knowledge and religious organisations have often said that something is impossible (or just plain wrong) when science has demonstrated it is possible. Getting any non-scientist to accept radio a few hundred years back would have been useless (getting the scientists to accept it required a lot of careful explaining and demonstrating), but now almost everyone has a TV. Science has allowed technology to be developed that almost anyone would have considered impossible earlier.

You want better energy sources? There are a lot of better choices available than fossil fuels (ranging from solar power to biological substitutes for fossil fuels). The problem is mostly rebuilding the infrastructure to distribute the fuel to support yet another type of fuel. Space-time warper? If it's possible, you may even live to see it. If not, asking for it is kind of ridiculous.

Quote
Yea, but if you come up with wild theories that most cannot understand fully or test, you won't have to worry about getting shot down and having to take it all back.
Actually, if none of the other scientists in your field understand your theory, you'll be shot down for those exact reasons. If your theory can't be tested, it is useless at best and probably wrong. If nobody understands your theory, they can't test it.

However, whether the general public understands your theory is another matter. People generally perceive the universe as working according to a bunch of rules that are oversimplifications of the real behaviour of the universe. For example, Newton's laws of motion form the basis of a theory of how the universe works. For 200 years, Newton's laws were found to explain a lot of phenomena with very little effort. Unfortunately, when things get really small or fast, Newton's laws start diverging from reality. So, why are people still taught Newton's laws when they have been shown to be wrong? The answer is that when applied to a very large set of cases (including much of everyday life), Newton's laws are so close to correct that you can't tell the difference! Also, Newton's laws make more sense to most people than quantum mechanics (which I'd have a hard time accepting if it didn't predict a lot of stuff that would be hard to explain otherwise). However, quantum mechanics can be taught to almost anyone willing to spend a lot of time thinking about it and, once you understand it, you can test it in a lot of (often expensive) ways. Religion often requires faith or divine inspiration to achieve understanding or evidence; science merely requires hard work.

Now, it would be really nice if we could find a simple explanation for everything. However, the universe may be a complicated place that requires a complicated theory to explain it.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2005, 05:50:07 pm »

"You may not be able to directly verify their theories, but you can see the products of their theories in your daily life."

You are right, I can. As I said earlier, the last 50 years have mostly brought advances in various propulsion systems (most fueled by dino power) and computer technology.


"The thing I'm typing this message on demonstrates the immense predictive utility of several scientific theories,"

The computer keyboard you're describing falls under the computer technology category. Seeing as how I too have one of these nifty things, I am very much aware of the genius of the engineers who made this all possible.

But for most of the rest of those theories (in other areas besides computers and engines), let's see some cool new machines (or biological advances). Seeing is believing.


"Produces miracles daily and consistently."

Hmm, not sure about that. I'd say one step forwards, two steps backwards. I'm not sure if my neat car and computer will do much to save my ass when I start to feel the long-term down sides of having an environment with all this extra UV, exhaust, Pthalates (and other Estrogenoids or whatever), GMOs, heavy metals, etc.

Churches spew nonsense, but at least they don't have black smoke billowing out their steeples. In the race to see who can do the least damage, I used to think science was winning. I'm not really sure anymore.


P.S. I don't mean to be such a grouch about all this, I'm sure technology could accomplish some amazing things if people used it correctly, conservatively and didn't get too cocky about it.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2005, 06:06:59 pm »

Quote
Hmm, not sure about that. I'd say one step forwards, two steps backwards. I'm not sure if my neat car and computer will do much to save my ass when I start to feel the long-term down sides of having an environment with all this extra UV, exhaust, Pthalates (and other Estrogenoids or whatever), GMOs, heavy metals, etc.
You have a point there. However, Man has managed to do great ecological damage even without advanced technology. Fire is enough to destroy large amounts of forests, for instance. See e.g. this.

Quote
Churches spew nonsense, but at least they don't have black smoke billowing out their steeples. In the race to see who can do the least damage, I used to think science was winning. I'm not really sure anymore.
Both religion and science can be used for good, evil and just plain indifferent. Much of industry comes in the last category. And the guys who invented the atomic bomb certainly weren't doing humanity much of a favour. On the other hand, I haven't seen Darwinist suicide bombers yet.

Quote
I'm sure technology could accomplish some amazing things if people used it correctly, conservatively and didn't get too cocky about it.
This part I agree on, as long as "conservatively" doesn't mean that you can't introduce anything new to solve the old problems.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2005, 07:55:11 pm »

Churches spew nonsense, but at least they don't have black smoke billowing out their steeples. In the race to see who can do the least damage, I used to think science was winning. I'm not really sure anymore.
In this race the ones who stay in bed all day and neither do any science or religious activity are going to win.
But between science and religion, science is the one that gives you control over nature. That control can be used to create things as well as to do damage. Religion doesn't give control (though it can give people the illusion of control), so it can't do any damage on its own. So I'd say religion is definitely winning the race to do the least damage.
Even where religion does the most damage (suicide bombers, holy wars) they'll be using the products of science (explosives and other weapons) to do that damage. Science enables. Both ways.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2005, 09:35:23 pm »

"And the guys who invented the atomic bomb certainly weren't doing humanity much of a favour."

Yes and No. If you are purely the kind of humanitarian who is only concerned with saving as many lives as possible on a strictly numerical basis (IOW, regardless of any notion of quality of life people must endure or the kind of individuals they are), the A and H bombs have probably saved easily many millions more lives than they have claimed through combat and testing usage. After all, without M.A.D., it might not have been called the Cold War, but World War 3.

Nukes might be scary things for people living in the major cities of the developed world, but their dark shadow has probably stopped armies of millions from invading and clashing around the globe.

Nukes on I.C.B.M.s cannot really be shot down right now or in the past with much success. Thus, having a larger population (and therefore a larger army) and/or having more advanced technology, does not give you the ability to invade a weaker nation successfully, if it possesses a nuclear arsenal (think about how little sleep you'd get if you glowed in the dark, consequently, you nation's flash and night light industries would collapse, furthering you economic damage). Smiley

However, someday, somewhere, some nation (probably not the US at this point) is going to develope and deploy an effective missile defense system (you know, like the one on the earthling cruiser Smiley ). When this happens, that power will have a window, in which it will be able to destroy whoever it pleases without much/any retaliation. Nukes, missiles, and the technology with which to shoot them down, could turn into a very dangerous game, if and when it is in the hands of one nation (a serious imbalance).
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2005, 07:41:25 pm »

I know, this has been covered, but I feel like replying anyway...

I think they're wrong because whenever science/religion declares
something as absolute, it eventually falls apart. For example,
- It's impoosbile to travel faster than sound.
- It's impossible to run a mile in four minutes.
- The world is flat.

Funny that you name things that were never scientific predictions! By the time science had even been invented, the roundness of the earth was well established.

The so-called 'impossibility' of travelling faster than sound was never scientifically accepted, and for good reasons: we see things travelling faster than sound, so obviously it can be done. Certain people said that we couldn't do it with the approaches then being tried. This was right for some approaches and wrong for others; but at any rate it is very far from an absolute statement about the universe.

As for people not running a mile in four minutes, this is again not a statement of a scientific absolute in the same style as the speed limit C. It's someone waxing hyperbolic on the subject of sports. Like that's never happened...
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2005, 02:14:15 pm »

Actually, each of those were scientific predictions. If you do a little
research into the histroy of the times, you'll find papers and
comments from the scientific community stating the
impossibility of the four minute mile. Prior to Columbus and CO
showing up the European world, many scientists fell into
line with the Church and claimed the world was flat and
the  centre of the universe. Heck, a little over a hundred years
ago, it was believed airplanes would never work and no one
would be able to travel faster than sound.

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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2005, 07:21:08 pm »

Quote
Prior to Columbus and CO
showing up the European world, many scientists fell into
line with the Church and claimed the world was flat and
the  centre of the universe.

Yes, the threat of being burned for heresy will make people say the darndest things. Seriously though, this very much depends on your definition of a scientist. If you just go by the definition "people who were considered wise by their peers", then you could probably make a case for neanderthal scientists telling everyone that "Fire aint nevah gonna work!". Perhaps it would be wiser to define a scientist by wether he uses the correct methods or not?  This way, you are actually lookign at scientists that attempted to prove/disprove things, rtaher than people who went along with "what everyone knows".

Quote
Heck, a little over a hundred years
ago, it was believed airplanes would never work and no one
would be able to travel faster than sound.

Gosh yes, people will believe the darndest things. Still, while some people didn't believe in airplanes, other people believed in satellites long before they were a reality. Only they were proven right.  That's the thing with science. You get to have any number of theories. Only then you need to prove them somehow. In most cases, sooner ort later one theory is proven in practice thus disproving opposing ones. In religion otoh, you have only one theory, and it's never disproven, because it is true.
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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2005, 09:44:52 pm »

My favorite quotes:

"Commander! Did you threaten to grab hold of this man by the collar and throw him out an airlock?"
"Yes I did."
"I'm shocked. Shocked and dismayed. I'd remind you that we are short on supplies here. We can't afford to take perfectly good clothing and throw it out into space. Always take the jacket off first, I've told you that before. Sorry, she meant to say: 'Stripped naked and thrown out an airlock.' I apologize for any confusion this may have caused."
   -- Sheridan and Ivanova to a  reporter who refused to allow an inspection of his  luggage, in Babylon 5 Season 4:"The Illusion of Truth"

"I don't watch TV. It's a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite."
   -- Guard to Garibaldi in Babylon 5 Season 4: "Between the Darkness and the Light"


About the argument about absolutes:

Math in general is based on absolutes. With absolute certainty I can say 2 + 2 = 4.
Without absolutes math would not exist which is why I can understand the desire for there to be no absolutes, because I have yet to meet a person who likes taking math.

Since math is based on absolutes and computers need math to run, the very fact that you can see this post is proof that there are absolutes.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2005, 04:18:41 am by BioSlayer » Logged

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Re: Favorite SciFi Quote
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2005, 07:11:52 am »

Since math is based on absolutes and computers need math to run, the very fact that you can see this post is proof that there are absolutes.
Just wait 'til we get quantum computers...
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