Talk:Russell's Teapot/Archive1

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excellent addition. humanbe in 19:31, 24 September 2007 (EDT)

Hah! This is a great article. I think I will go and visit the teapot sometime, it has to exist, you know, because you can't prove it doesn't exist. I may spend my entire lifetime searching for it, but that does not mean that it does not exist. --Eira yay! The Goat be praised. 18:18, 8 January 2008 (EST)

The Celestial Teapot brought down to Earth by Conservapedia.Barbara Shack 10:39, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

Hehe, nice one! We should grab that and add it to the article. humanUser talk:Human 17:50, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

Edit war[edit]

What’s the problem? Why are my edits reverted?Barbara Shack 09:47, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

There is no need to respond to Phillip J. Rayment's argument in that manner. The first half of the article has already made our case perfectly. Dark Matter Glaucopis 09:53, 30 March 2008 (EDT)
Plus, the tone for railway worker seems to suggest his opinion is less weighty because of his profession. MarcusCicero 10:03, 30 March 2008 (EDT)
I feel it's best to spell everything out. I want to make sure that any 12 year old home schooled Conservapedian who ventures here can understand it clearly.Barbara Shack 11:06, 30 March 2008 (EDT)
We are not writing for Conservapedians. Dark Matter Glaucopis 11:25, 30 March 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps we can deconvert some of those kids.Barbara Shack 07:09, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
Redoctrination sounds great! Wait till I get our tickets to the gulag together! MarcusCicero 07:12, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

In my experience, talking down to people is usually a pretty bad way of convincing them you're right about something. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 07:59, 31 March 2008 (EDT) The Gallery of deceitful liberal mockery talks down to people more than the disputed section does.Barbara Shack 03:17, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

Doesn't look like an edit war to me (and I saw no wholesale reversions), so much as three editors expanding and improving an article. By the way, can we find a footnote for the "railway worker" bit? Some of this still needs some tweaking, language-wise. I hope that won't be considered reversion or edit-warring! humanUser talk:Human 13:53, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
I'm not really sure that we need to refute that famous philosopher Phillip J. Rayment.--Bobbing up 14:36, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
Me neither. But does it hurt the article? Or does it just grab at a straw man? humanUser talk:Human 15:01, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

It won't be edit warring.Barbara Shack 17:11, 31 March 2008 (EDT) I called it edit war because edit wars can lead to blocks. I've had trouble with blocks on other Wikis. I just wanted to sort everything before it became a serious edit war. It wasn't an edit war and has been successfully defused. Barbara Shack 14:34, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

Physics Phail[edit]

From the article

A further point is that as soon as the teapot becomes too small to detect, by any means, it becomes irrelevant. If something cannot be detected, then it can be discarded and there is no need to hold a belief in, or prejudice for a particular idea. In short, because something can't be detected, it has no physical effects, and it doesn't matter either way whether it is real! This is true for the concept of absolute motion and position in the theory of relativity.

A virtual particle can not be detected (hence the name) however it does have a physical effect, ie. the electromagnetic force, it most certainly matters it is real. A virtual particle is a particle which violates the law of conservation of energy, but does so for such a sort period of time that its does so under the limit set by the Heisenberg uncertainty, known as energy/time uncertainty. Also the position/momentum uncertainty is related to particles in quantum mechanics, not a result of relativity. - π 07:51, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Mmmmm. If a virtual particle cannot be detected how do we know if it's there? Furthermore, if it has a physical effect that could in principle be detected.--BobNot Jim 08:03, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
That is kind of a hard question to answer non-mathematically. It physically effect is easy to see, take an inflated balloon, rub it on your shirt and then stick it in your hair. The electromagnetic force works something like this. An electron spontaneously emits a photon which travels through space until it hits a proton. The proton absorbs this photon and as a result is moved in the direction of the electron (all this happens symmetrically the other way as well of course). The law of conservation of energy says this photon should never exist, but say the change in energy of the universe caused by its existence is ΔE, so long as the time it exists for Δt is such that ΔE.Δt<ћ/2 then by the Heisenberg uncertainty it will not be detected by any observer. As photons travel is fixed at c, the energy it carries has to be less the further apart the particles are and that is what causes the r-squared decay in the electromagnetic force. - π 08:15, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Why should Heisenberg uncertainty make the particle undetectable? Surely the problem would be that you could either know where it was or where it as going, but not both. You'd still be aware of its existence.--BobNot Jim 09:35, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
But both its energy and the time it exist for are under the detectable threshold, thereby making it undetectable. - π 00:29, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

It is tempting to simply undo this series of edits [1], but perhaps a scalpel would be preferable to a bulldozer. PiNocchio is right, of course, and the claim is wrong. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:11, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

PiNocchio?- π 01:21, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
It's your new nickname, live with it. It's what I do. Please don't make my life have no meaning ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 05:13, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

I pulled the info from Why Does E=mc2 which I'd just finished reading. They use the teapot to make the point that if something doesn't have an effect or can be detected, it doesn't matter. A virtual particle, as you assert, can be detected because it has an effect which can be detected. If you can't detect or measure anything at all, then it doesn't matter if it exists or not, this isn't the case with virtual particles. You're thinking about quantum mechanics when the point on motion was relativity: You cannot detect absolute motion (time dilation prevents this) therefore, from a theoretic perspective, it does not matter whether absolute position exists or not. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 12:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

""You cannot detect absolute motion (time dilation prevents this)"" is a result from relativity theory. Before relativity theory was developed, physicists wondered what was the basis for light propagation, i.e. did the velocity of light depend on a fundamental inertial physical reference frame (a conceptual 'Aether') or something else. The Michelson Morley interferometer experiments proved that there is no fundamental inertial physical reference frame ('Aether') and in fact showed the velocity of light is the same independent of the observer's velocity. This created a contradiction in classical physics, resulting in Einstein's formulation of special relativity. The finding that there is no 'Aether' was a hugely consequential result for physics and our understanding of the world. Thus, this not a suitable example of a "Russell teapot". May I suggest "string theory" or "multiverse theory" as possible candidates. Theorists are still debating as to what real world implications, if any, these theories would have. {user"tallguy} 26 March 2016

Template: Athiesm or Religion[edit]

Which is more fitting to the topic? At the moment I've just given it the "Religion" template by default (since it didn't have a template of any sort), but I put the question to you guys on wither the Atheism one is actually more appropriate here. IAMELIPHAS (talk) 13:28, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Hmm, difficult call. The religion/atheist categories are themselves very broad, and this could fit in to either. Perhaps atheism, given that Russell's Teapot tackles a pretty broad range of religions and woo beliefs Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 14:35, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I lean 60/40 towards atheism. So I have a suggestion: make it random in that ratio, and make sure both categories are on the article manually. ħumanUser talk:Human 16:39, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
I did what I suggested. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:37, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
That is one problem with these things. However, there might be a more specific category this can be put it - for example, theology as separate from religion, as the former is about whether God exist, while the latter is what do people do once they assume he does. I'm tempted to lean towards atheism for now, as it's pretty much only an atheistic argument rather than something about religion. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 18:50, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
if I had known you could do that, I would have simply done that in the first place. Oh well, I guess thats what i'll do if I come to an article from now on that's a tough call like this.IAMELIPHAS (talk) 00:22, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
There's also this to keep in mind: we don't need one of these on every damn article. Sometimes, it might make sense to create a new one that fits a group of articles better, even. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:50, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
What Arm said earlier about ratings may apply. Perhaps only worth adding the sidebar on "main features", and not supporting articles. No harm in adding them, but I'm conscious, and appreciative, of the time iamephilias is spending here. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 00:57, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, yes. IAM's edit prompted this interesting solution. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:52, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Strange quote[edit]

The following quote has been inserted apparently from some blog on the internet. It doesn't seem to fit with the flow of the article and I'm not sure why it has been inserted. I've moved it here for safekeeping:

  • Those of us who appreciate and see a still-cogent connection between God and Russell's teapot need to remember that the teapot analogy is not primarily a vehicle for making belief in God seem ridiculous but rather a tool for showing how reason and time can make absurd claims appear ever more plausible and plain. [2]

I have not reformatted it but posted "as is".--BobSpring is sprung! 19:57, 21 February 2011 (UTC)


I added back in the religion category, mostly because disagree with this being a "parody religion", because it's not. Certainly "praise the teapot" gags are close to that, but it's not in the same league as IPU and FSM by a long shot, it's a serious point about assertions, falsifiability and moot existence. ADK...I'll orate your Gamecube! 22:08, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Difference between a teapot and a god[edit]

I've always felt there's a difference between a "very small" teapot in a faraway orbit vs a non-interfering god. We must remain strictly agnostic to the non-interfering god, but we can call bullshit on the teapot. We know the laws of physics. We know about the big bang and stellar evolution. These processes do not produce teapots, apart from the "Boeing 747 assembled by chance via a tornado in a junkyard". I've always felt that this was the weak link in the argument. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 00:45, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

What if someone put the teapot there? Nobody's assuming the teapot got there "naturally," though that's a possibility. Blue Talk 00:55, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Who put the teapot there? You're suggesting we consider that it got there via aliens, espers, time travelers, sliders, etc.? We can take educated guesses as to the likelihood of such events occurring, based on the available evidence. I'm going to put that number at about 0 based on the available evidence of the rate of incidence of aliens, time travelers, espers, sliders, etc., in Earth vicinity. It's the same scientific argument that I use to argue that miracles are bullshit. And just like any scientific conclusion, I'm not concluding it's impossible, just exceedingly unlikely. In everyday talk, we shorthand that to "nope". LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 17:19, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
What if the teapot was too small to be observed? Which I believe is Russell's version. The teapot exerts no measurable force, it diffracts no observable photons, the teapot effectively becomes Carl Sagan's dragon. Therefore there is nothing different between the Celestial Teapot and most notions of God. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:30, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Russell's teapot is something of a straw man if you use it to argue against a non-interventionist god. We know from our background knowledge of physics and teapots that it's extremely unlikely for the teapot to exist, but we have no background knowledge of what might exist outside of space and time, if such a thing even makes any sense. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:07, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
The Teapot is more a fable on falsifiability more than anything else; you can't conclude its non-existence by looking (though you can give a pretty solid probably doesn't exist). Scarlet A.pnggnostic 18:29, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
That's more or less what I was getting at. Non-interventionist gods (and some made of philosophical tomfoolery) don't meet the criteria for falsification, though, Popper himself had nothing against "metaphysical research programs" a priori. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Was Russell's teapot initially meant to be Sagan's dragon, a problem with repeated ad-hoc hypotheses? Or was Russell's teapot meant simply as "Well, we can't see it with current telescopes, but it's an actual, physical, mundane teapot"? Dragon adherents believe the dragon is observable. They claim it does burn people sometimes. It just never burns people when we might get reliable evidence because of their excessive ad-hoc hypothesizing in order to preserve their silly falsified myth. If Russell's teapot is a regular, non-magic teapot, then we can safely conclude based on the big bang theory, stellar evolution et. al., and based on the non-existence of aliens, espers, time travelers, espers, etc., in Earth proximity, that there is no mundane teapot chilling in some obscure orbit anywhere in the Earth solar system. This is an evidence based, scientific conclusion. If we can get some agreements on these questions, can we clear up the main page? I don't actually know the original intent of Russell, and I don't know how it's commonly understood today. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 18:51, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Replace teapot with "asteroid" then. I predict it lies in a certain way and has a certain shape - but then I also that it's beyond any form of observation. What of it then? You can't haphazardly dismiss it from theory, but neither can you find it. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 18:56, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Now we're descending into shades of gray. Stellar evolution prohibits the existence of a literal mundane object that looks like a finely crafted teapot anywhere in the solar system that was not made by humans. The existence of such a teapot would be the stellar equivalent of the junkyard 747. If instead you choose an asteroid, then the probabilities of it arising via the known natural processes is of course different. Asteroids do arise during stellar evolution. Depending on the details you do or do not provide, it becomes plausible. Precisely because it's a teapot, we know that it cannot form from the natural processes in stellar evolution and accretion. And because we're pretty sure we have an exhaustive list of forces acting during stellar evolution, we can conclude that there is no such teapot. The "exhaustive list of forces" is the critical part. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:05, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
The teapot is an argument from analogy - analogies usually have particular failings where they cease applying to reality. Since you're picking issue with the specifics of an absurdity, we can move into the shades of grey that reality provide. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 19:17, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for nitpicking. I did ask as to the intent and how it's commonly understood today. I'm not sure if there's universal agreement with your understand of Russell's teapot. Unfortunately, arguments by analogy are fraud (- Bjarne Stroustrup). Explanations by analogy are ok, but when the omnipresent strawman spectre of the deist god frequently rises during theist-atheist discussions, I feel that my line of questioning and argument is legitimate, as it attempts to clarify very relevant issues, or at least very frequently talked about strawmen. I think that people frequently confuse the unfalsifiable with things that are falsified from proof by exhaustion. A deist god is unfalsifiable (and irrelevant). Miracles are falsifiable and falsified. A mundane teapot in orbit in the Earth system is falsified from a proof by exhaustion - no known method could possibility put it there, and we know the initial conditions close enough, and we have a good enough exhaustive list of the forces acting on the initial conditions. This is not absence of evidence. This is evidence of absence. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:27, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to add my own grain of salt to this: Let's just say that this Teapot is in fact a super-dimensional Entity that us, as lower dimensional life-forms, can only see in the shape of a teapot, since our limited psyches cannot grasp its true glorious form, and it is made of Aether and other supernatural components, like the ones alchemy talked about (ancient books). It cannot be analyzed by our own logic and laws, an it can hide itself if it wants from being observed by what it considers the "petty carbon-specs" of this universe. That would make as much sense as religions. Imadmagician (talk) 16:08, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Hellenistic revival is growing[edit]

Hellenistic revival is growing, therefore restoring that text makes the article more accurate. Proxima Centauri (talk) 04:23, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

No it doesn't. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:15, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
If people read the link Hellenistic revival is growing they'll see that it is growing and the article should say so. Proxima Centauri (talk) 06:14, 18 March 2014 (UTC)