Sickothesame: “Of course people can SAY they induce god doesn't exist, but induction has been attacked by a few respected philosophers (David Hume was one). People can call themselves atheists all they want, and it is fine with me, but if you do, you cannot call yourself an empiricist.”
Again, it is perfectly possible to infer properly that nature is self-contained. You seem to think that the inference is on the unobservable deity itself, when in fact the inference is on the nature of the universe only. I’d be perfectly willing to concede that any number of other existences may exist apart from our reality’s existence, where all sorts of beings may reside, but the problem with the supernatural realm is that it supposedly has some ethereal connection to our own – i.e., that the nature we find ourselves in is not self-contained.
As for Hume, he hardly “attacked” induction; rather, he simply observed that a system of induction cannot be deduced from anything, nor can you induce induction from its past predictive success, since that would be circular. In modern terms, induction, and in particular its modern formalization in Bayesian reasoning, has axiomatic mathematical foundations, but that is all it has.
This fact ties into my previous observation that you are holding atheists to a higher standard than scientists. Scientists, who, everyone will acknowledge, are empiricists, use induction to arrive at their conclusions, implicitly relying on the axiomatic Bayesian premises of induction. You reject induction by saying David Hume attacked it, and then apply this rejection to atheism, but you fail to apply your rejection of induction to science itself.
You’re still on my hotlist, btw =)
ebl333: “I can easily add a differential rate change to each of my questions…”
Look, I don’t have a science background. I have a math background. You started by assuming these rates of change (a first derivative), were constant, and now you’re proposing to submerge the constancy in the second derivative. But you presented no reason to believe either of these assumptions, or even that the underlying function is everywhere differentiable (“tipping-point” cusps come to mind). Such an ad hoc approach could not rebut a conclusion (the Earth’s age) drawn on other grounds.
So, I decided to bite the bullet and do a little internet digging. The specific answers to your questions are available here