A former IT type, nowadays a part-time professor of scientific philosophy, says he has cracked a "hidden mathematical musical code" in the works of the famous ancient Greek savant Plato. According to Dr Jay Kennedy, a visiting scholar at Manchester uni, his discovery "shows us how to combine science and religion", perhaps …
You beat me to it!
The title is required blah blah blah
I got bored about 1/3 through the article - can anyone tell me if I missed anything interesting??
Mods - On a totally unrelated sidenote...finally figured out how to reply to comments on here - use Firefox... Turns out that Opera doesn't show the 'reply to this post' link, so I've been searching in vain for that option. Any chance of getting that fixed?
You have fixed it already, use Firfox DOH!!!!
What a strange state of affairs
"Mods - On a totally unrelated sidenote...finally figured out how to reply to comments on here - use Firefox... Turns out that Opera doesn't show the 'reply to this post' link, so I've been searching in vain for that option. Any chance of getting that fixed?" .... Bah Humbug Posted Tuesday 29th June 2010 14:37 GMT
Update your Opera browser, Bah Humbug, for the one that I am using works just fine showing the 'reply to this post' link.
Opera 10.11 on linux works just fine. The link is displayed. Since it's an image, maybe it's just a caching issue.
@ Bah Humbug
Yup, under Opera the link is there, but it's white with a white background. Not very visible, indeed. Opera seems to have a lot of trouble with CSS (on many different pages, not just El Reg) in my past almost-one-month experience with its Linux version, so I'm assuming that's what's happening here.
I mostly gave up on using Opera for now, although I want to -- it's fast, it's geeky, and I like the Speed Dial thing.
Not on Opera? Really
Replying via Opera here ok.... (Ubuntu Linux 10.04 though, so perhaps you are using the wrong OS and the correct browser)...
Where is the reply link?
Greetings and Salutations.
The link is there, but the CSS apparently gets interpreted as white text on a white background. Makes it a TAD hard to read!
Say...REG....how about FIXING that?
Re: The title is required blah blah blah
There is a script related bug in Opera 10.10
- The latest version of Opera (10.53) doesn't have the bug - of course if you are on 10.53 then you have just found us another bug to chase.
I think the problem must have something to do with the fact that it's not actually a link, but a very strangely styled button. I'm rather confused by that choice of design. It's kind of irritating because it also means I can't easily start a reply in a new tab.
Works fine on 10.10 here...
It's always worked fine here, no matter which version of Opera, or which OS I use it on.
I'm even posting this from 10.10 on my old pc which I'm about to upgrade to 10.53...or maybe the 10.60 beta....hmmm...
Long term (since v4) Opera user, and I certainly don't notice any CSS related oddness on sites that I visit regularly....
Bug is still present in Opera 10.54 - just so you know,
I like how relevant this discussion is to the article
So the discussion on this article is mostly about a (possibly already fixed) rendering bug in Opera 10, not about hobbying IT types? Kind of like the discussion in the article of who is the primary caregiver to Lily and John.
Eh? Lily and John? Who are they? Hopefully the servers he uses to run his homepage and his code decripting software --- if not, it's completely inexplicable in an article about presumed codes hidden in Plato.
10.60 works now
At least in my Ubuntu 9.10 box, Opera 10.60 seems to have the CSS problems I had been experiencing solved -- here, at weather.com and Yahoo sports pages, all of which used to have display problems, are now displaying fine. So far.
The Plato Code...
Starring Tom Hanks, with Ian McKellen as Plato...
Coming soon to a cinema near you...
Well, thank God for that.
Speaking as a God botherer, I've never had any problem reconciling science with religon, or for that matter belief.
And now we have an academic who has proved it, OMG, I just can't tell you how much this means to me. But let me express this in the following words:
Which sums it all up, so where's that treatise on Hadrons.
No problems reconciling?
No problems reconciling science with religion.
When it comes down to the age of the Earth, do you come down on the side of religion (e.g. Christianity which claims 5-6,000 years old), or science - 4.5 billion years?
Do you go with (most if not all) religion's "creatures are created", or science's "evolution"?
I'm not saying for a moment you cannot reconcile the two, but I struggle to see how anybody could do it without a problem, unless they really watered down how literally that take one or other, or both, arguments.
Anonymous...the FSM is likely to be watching
The biggest problem that you are referring to isn't the reconciliation of religion and science, it's the ability of people who take the bible as literal truth rather than a foundation set of morals by which they should live their lives to grasp anything which involves a bit of thought and reasoning.
The end argument that solves everything is this:
The bible was wriiten by a man. Man is inherently flawed.
To cover all bases, believe everything that has been scientifically proven and put it in the box that holds everything that is in His grand plan.
I.e. Evolution: He created the concept and set it in motion. Man was just too primitive to understand this so created stories to give his own existance meaning and substance.
Before you start the downvotes, I am, have always been, and probably always will be an atheist. I am just smart enough to see that the two sides of the coin aren't really facing in different directions.
That depends on what you mean by "religion"
If you mean unquestioning acceptance of a large accrual of tosh, then no you cannot reconcile religion with science. But then under this definition, Christianity doesn't count as a religion (although that doesn't stop a lot of Christians from being "religious").
If you want a definition of "religion" that includes Christianity, then you're going to have to drop the 6000 years since creation claim and the false dichotomy between "creation" and "evolution". These simply are not affirmed by any core Christian doctrine. To whit, I direct you to the Nicene and Apostles creeds (google them), which say nothing about 6000 years or the mechanism by which biodiversity occurred.
Under this latter definition, there really isn't anything to reconcile.
A simple example
There's a joke that goes:
A guy was talking to God one day and asked, "God, how long is a million years to you?"
To which God replied, "It is but a second, my child."
The man thinks for a moment, then asks, "How much is a million dollars to you?"
God replies, "Only a penny."
Then the man asks, "God, could I have a penny?"
To which God answers, "In a second."
It's actually pretty easy to reconcile a lot of those type of issues if you accept that God does not need to perceive the universe in the same way that we do.
Did his ...
... noodly appendage come down and adjust Plato's writings?
You appear to be conflating "Christianity" with more specific examples of it (and also some interpretations of Islam plus loads of other religions with a Creationist fringe). namely "Young Earth Creationism" and "Bible Literalism" which, to be honest, often go hand in hand (Erm, it's obviously not "Bible" in the case of the Islamic interpretation.
Just about every Religionist I've ever met has had no problem with the idea that God created the Universe to run on certain rules (God's Algorithms, if you like) which we are discovering more and more detail about with Science, and that, because The Bible was written by Humans trying to interpret the Word of God (or just guessing at it because a cautionary tale was needed) it's going to be inconsistent and not very accurate, especially in the unknown and at the time unknowable fields of Evolutionary Biology and Astrophysics. In glib summary: God can have created Evolution as the mechanism for life to be created and, yes, he can have done this 14 billion years ago and he could have sent Jebus to save us from Sin/Nokia/Toast without interesting patterns and their Christian (or otherwise) beliefs are not diminished by science and nor is the glory of their god.
So, there is no problem at all and no watering down of the deist "argument" needed in these cases.
It's only the fringe nutjobs who prefer to remain wilfully ignorant because stuff they don't know is scary and therefore a threat, that have a problem precisely because of the literal nature of their interpretation of their religion/religious texts.
On the flipside, I, as an atheist, do not find normal religionists to be stupid, close minded etc... only the occasional Creationist/Literalist. Oh, and some hardline "anti-religion" atheists. Every side has fringe elements.
How to reconcile
Age of the Earth:
Both have it wrong. There are numerous examples of how easy it is to throw off the accuracy of science's best methods of estimating age so they really can't say with any certainty how old the Earth is. As for Christianity's figure, it's based on a lot of assumption and thus almost certainly wrong.
Creation vs evolution:
They co-exist quite happily in ID theory. Basically all ID says so that there's evidence that an intelligence was applied in the design of life. It makes no comment on the process that design took, and thus leaves evolution as a possibility.
Christianity says nothing about the age of the Earth or Universe
Some monk a while back went through the bible adding up the minimum length of time needed for everything in the Bible to have happened.
Since then, a gaggle of loonies have tried to claim that said minimum length of time is the actual age of the planet. The monk himself never claimed that, and the Catholic church doesn't believe it either.
The Bible never actually says how anything was created (with the arguable exception of Eve,) only that it was God what done it.
For the sake of argument, let's accept the proposition that God created the Universe.
He could have done it any way He pleased. Maybe setting up the precise conditions needed for a universe to eventually permit life to start and then evolve was more fun than assembling it like a giant airfix.
I would certainly have enjoyed watching the Universe self-organise, seeing life kickstart and evolve from there much more than putting each atom together one at a time - creating several billion billion billion* identical hydrogen atoms would be terribly boring, don't you think?
Given that the Bible makes the claim that man is "made in God's image", a logical extension is that something creative and 'good' enjoyed by humans would also be enjoyed by God, and something that humans find boring (eg repetitive work) God would also find boring.
Hence an 'Act of Creation' as claimed by some is wrong by their own argument.
Thus the only self-consistent view is that God used methods similar to that which we have discovered using our Science.
Was that train of thought more fun then taking the inaccurate mickey?
*Inaccurate by an unknown order of magnitude.
Sorry, Christianity says nothing about the age of the Earth
The Pope Jean Paul II said it himself : the Bible is not a scientific reference.
Therefor, Christianity does not give a date for the age of the Earth.
Rabid, ignorant, pseudo-religious fascists calling themselves Christians, however, use the Bible as an excuse to set an age on the Earth in direct violation of the Pope's words.
and 99% of Christians, seem to do ok. Shame that most Athists seem to hold there views for no other reason than to feel like they are better people.
They all seem to be the type of people how think that interlecual supiriority and the ability to win an argument, even when non exists, makes them a good person, and being kind, and nice meens nothing. Borderline sociopaths.
Most (good) Christians have no interest in evanglisum, and do not hold the views you think they do, they just want a quiet life, to be good to others, and to eventualy pass on to a better place.
Why do you feel the need to attack them for this, and for the actions of a few? If its the normal "god botheres held back science" argument, or the "they start wars" argument please please please go and do some reserch and you'll find thats just not true. But then like most Athists you probably hold a blinkerd view, aggressive to anyone who dosen't agree with you, just like you claim of others so will get nothing from it.
Why not just leave people to there faith. As long as they are not harming anyone, why worry?
Re: No problems reconciling?
What you refer to is the "young earth" subcategory of christian belief, to assume they represent the total wisdom that can be derived via religion is either willful ignorance to aid your point-making, or mere ignorant asininity.
I personally might find scientific conjecture much more relevant to my scope of interest than any religious equivalent I have been exposed to, but that does not mean that I deem the two to be inevitably conflicting.
This specific discovery, however, does nothing to bring the two closer together beyond informing us that Plato believed they could be.
Amusing assumption, but a bit ad hominem.
Many but not all Christians use
in their religion. Not all, there's good reason to not do so as justified in Gospel -- it appears that many pick & choose what they want from the Old Testament to the point of being self-contradictory, and Someone warned about misusing scripture as a justification for non-Christian behavior, a warning that gets sadly ignored.
For what it's worth, within the context of religion, creation myths and other religious silliness can serve as decent explanation of how things came to be in terms their contemporary audience would understand. Overly literal minds often take these things way, way, too far. Do I think, for example, that the entire world flooded? Not really, However, I bet there was a really big flood at the Black Sea that would certainly give the people around it the idea that the whole world was underwater -- for them, it was, as their whole world probably was a twenty mile radius from where they were born.
I highly doubt that early agrarians would have accepted or even been in a position of being able to comprehend stuff like evolution -- most didn't even have the benefit of a zero to keep them company. It doesn't take away from the theology or even their intelligence -- they just didn't have the benefit of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand upon.
Some things about religion do work. Don't assume that the people that believe in it are all living in caves, eating dirt and willfully ignoring all science in a vain attempt to achieve luddite nirvana.
Re: Anonymous Coward, The pope, 29th June 2010 21:13 GMT
Why have people downvoted this hilarious parody? Come on, you've all fallen for a classic example of Poe's law!
Not all Christians are Catholics.
Problem with Intelligent Design
The problem with Intelligent Design is: where do you get the Intelligent Designer from?
If irreducibly complex systems require an intelligent designer, and the intelligent designer is necessarily irreducibly complex (him|her|it)self, then the intelligent designer cannot begin to exist in the first place.
On the other hand, if the intelligent designer is *not* necessarily irreducibly complex (him|her|it)self, then this suggests that even natural processes which are not irreducibly complex could give rise to irreducibly complex systems -- i.e., the intelligent designer is redundant.
My sentiments exactly. Somedays I despair that everyone thinks atheism => Dawkinsism. As another atheist, I am still capable of seeing that the vast majority of religious people don't let their faith get in the way of their ability to reason or use their belief to divide the world into good people and the enemy who must be converted. I wish the neo atheist crowd could learn this second bit, but then again, feeling simulataneously superior and persecuted is half the appeal of most extreme sects.
Beers all 'round for decency.
"or other stainless warrior knights like Galahad or Roland before him, or the Jedi after"
<yoda>Wars make not one great.
what a fantatic PR job,
what more can one get from junk academic
So the Jedi came AFTER Galahad? I thought they were from "A long time ago" and in fact, a thousand generations before that?
Mine's the one with a copy of The Bible Code in the pocket, as this sounds very familiar.
Ever plays in the study.
In artificial neural networks, there is a phenomenon called "overfitting" which is when a neural network has stared too long at its learning set and begins to see patterns that just aren't there.
This work seems like an instance of this.
Overfitting occurs because the patterns are there. Those patterns just aren't useful to the more general problem you're actually trying to solve.
There's a pattern there - and Plato put it in.
Like all ancient works, his was designed to be read aloud to an educated audience. That means that even 'prose' has a metrical element to it simply because Plato, like any Greek of his day was taught rhetoric as a kid and knew the value of euphony.
But code? BS
... Dinner with the lads tonight. Not sure if I should invite Judas...
Later entry states:
Sorted, Judas is coming and he's even going to pay for it! Says he's just come into some money.
but if he sticks his grubby hands in my fingerbowl again
I'm going to get cross
Yet later entry
"Tried to tell the lads something deeply meaningful, only Judas got it."
(The Gospel of Judas is a very interesting read)
"Basically I cracked the code," adds the doc. "I have shown rigorously that the books do contain codes and symbols...
"This is a true discovery, not simply reinterpretation.
"The result was amazing – it was like opening a tomb and finding new set of gospels written by Jesus Christ himself."
"Not only that, I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Kenyan refugees. I write award winning operas and manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for 3 days in a row.
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed and I cook 30 minute brownies in 20 minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I had trials with Manchester United, I am the subject of numerous documentaries.
When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my garden, I enjoy urban hand gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free if charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen yet I receive fan mail. I have appeared on Through The Keyhole and won the gold plaque. Last Summer I toured Eastern Europe with a travelling centrifugal force demonstration. I run the 100m in 9.65 seconds. <y deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles.
Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.
I have made extraordinary four course meals using only some vegetables and a Breville Toaster. I breed prize winning clams.
I have won bullfights in Madrid, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka and chess competitions at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery and I have spoken with Elvis."
@ Ad Fundum
Thank you Mr (Miss?) Fundum, you made my day.
I can't decide if you are channeling Graham Lister, or Kenny from Phoenix Nights..
And I ought to add in the interests of full disclosure that this is supposedly a personal statement from an application form for Southampton University. My girlfriend has had a print of it pinned to the noticeboard for years. I read the doc's comments and I immediately though that this statement sounded like it could have been written by him. But thanks anyway.
"Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down."
You fucking failure. Up until that point I thought you were somebody I could look up to.
See last week's xkcd..