Scare Quotes of Note – Episode Two


Today we are continuing a new series where we take seven quotes from my database of irrational quotes, briefly examine what they mean and what is so terrible about each of the quotes. You can see part one of the series here.

Without any further ado, let us look at our quotes. We have several quotes from the physicists Einstein, Kaku and Planck. As well as some more quotes from Islam.

Scare Quotes of Note from Islam

the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” – Sahih Muslim

More verses of violence, this time from one of Islam’s other holy sources.

People like to claim that any assertion that Islam is violent is misrepresenting the faith. But it is a faith revolving around a violent warlord and has countless verses like this!

Islam is fundamentally a violent religion in the spirit of the Old Testament.

It is not like Christianity, which was intended to be a somewhat more peaceful adaptation of the Old Testament Judaism. Islam is intended as a violent radicalization of Abrahamic theology!

Religions never tolerate disbelief and they all prescribe some kind of penalty, even if it is simply severe moral condemnation. In fact, in most religions, non-belief is the cardinal sin.

In most religions, the one sin the gods, including the Christian God, cannot forgive is the sin of non-belief. Most religions can forgive most or all other sins if the sinner engages in the proper magic rituals.

The more violent the religion, the more its ideas support radical violence, the more probable it is to openly advocate the slaughter of heretics.

Islam is a religion with a very violent ideology. So, when Muslims demand the slaughter of non-believers we should not cry “that is not the real Islam talking”.

We should condemn Islam as an incredibly violent ideology that must be opposed as the cult of death that it is.

“And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it” Quran 5:6

Islam has a less than healthy attitude towards women.

As do many religions, particular the Abrahamic ones. It considers women inferior to men. Islam takes it further than some of them and considers women not only unclean but lowly, degrading creatures.

Apparently women are inherently unclean. If one touches them one should wash ones hands and faces!

Islam treats women as inferior in many other verses too. As we can see here.

So much for a peaceful religion. And the claims that Islam is not anti-women. Evidently, it is.

Scare Quotes of Note from Physicists

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”- Max Planck

Consciousness is not fundamental.

Biological organisms possess consciousness, the faculty of awareness. As far as we know, only  biological organisms  possess consciousness.

Consciousness does not and cannot exist separately of organisms. Just as we cannot separate life from living organisms, neither can we separate consciousness from living organisms.

Since only organisms possess consciousness and organisms are matter, matter must exist as a prerequisite of consciousness. If there is no matter, there is nothing to possess a faculty of awareness.

Not only that, if there was no matter, there would be nothing for consciousness to be aware of. A faculty of awareness when there is nothing to be aware of is a contradiction and therefore does not represent reality.

Consciousness requires matter in order to exist in the first place.

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” ― Max Planck

All matter exists and originates from a force?

First of all, force is an abstract description of the action of entities. Before forces exist, entities must exist in order that they can interact and thus exert forces on one another.

You cannot have forces that exist without entities to act. No more than you can have dancing without dancers or driving without cars. Actions require entities to act. Actions can not exist divorced from entities to act.

We have no reason to think that matter originates and exists only by virtue of some force. Or that the force in question must be a result of some conscious and intelligent mind.

This is a thinly veiled attempt at primacy of consciousness.

It asserts that consciousness is primary to reality. In the words of Ayn Rand, the primacy of consciousness is “the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness”.

This is exactly what Planck is asserting! That somehow matter and the physical world would not exist if it were not for some form of consciousness that created it!

Planck was a member of the Lutheran Church. It is obvious that this requirement for intelligence is meant to suggest that matter requires the existence of some kind of god, preferably the Christian God.

Obviously this is not true. If the universe does not require consciousness to exist, then it certainly does not require intelligence to exist either.

“When Physicists speak of “beauty” in their theories, they really mean that their theory possesses at least two essential features: 1. A unifying symmetry 2. The ability to explain vast amounts of experimental data with the most economical mathematical expressions” – Michio Kaku

There is not necessarily anything wrong with a theory having a unifying symmetry.

In fact, this can lend a theory a kind of mathematical beauty.

But what about this ability to explain vast amounts of experimental data with the most economical mathematical expressions? Um, explain data with mathematical expressions?

No, mathematical expressions are not explanations. They are quantifications of relationships. We talked  about this in episode one of Scare Quotes of Note.

“The physical world is real.” That is supposed to be the fundamental hypothesis. What does “hypothesis” mean here? For me, a hypothesis is a statement, whose truth must be assumed for the moment, but whose meaning must be raised above all ambiguity. The above statement appears to me, however, to be, in itself, meaningless, as if one said: “The physical world is cock-a-doodle-do.” It appears to me that the “real” is an intrinsically empty, meaningless category (pigeon hole), whose monstrous importance lies only in the fact that I can do certain things in it and not certain others”  – Albert Einstein

How is it meaningless to assert that the physical world is real?

The physical world is axiomatically real. “The physical world” is equivalent to “the objects, the things that exist qua entity and which are not relationships or other abstractions”.

To say it is meaningless to assert that the physical world is real, is like saying it is meaningless to assert that entities exist!

Obviously it is not meaningless or arbitrary or empty. The fact that anyone can make these claims proves that some kind of physical world exists. As those making these claims are part of the physical world!

Einstein is applying some kind of Neo-Kantian philosophy here it seems. He is trying to argue that there is no sense trying to discuss reality. This is a clumsy attempt to do away with objective reality. And it cannot work.

“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.” – Albert Einstein

Theories do not determine what can be observed!

They are a description of reality, they do not determine how reality works nor do they create reality.

Whether or not we can observe something depends on its nature. It is not determined by the content of an abstract description of it.

Why did Einstein take this view? He took the view that we cannot really know reality as it is. However, physics has to start somewhere. It seems he took the view that it starts with your theories.

Which are not logical deductions based on observing the world and performing experiments. But that you pluck ideas out of the air and see which ones stick.

This is not how you do science or gain knowledge about anything. You have to start by studying reality, not plucking arbitrary ideas out of thin air!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 − two =