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Old 2008-08-06, 14:50   Link #1281
Zoned87
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What about the H-bomb?


What's alchemy? What's not? Is chemistry alchemy? Is cooking? Is particle physics?

Alchemists were also shooting for eternal life. Is medicine alchemy?

IIRC, silver nitrates were discovered by alchemists. Is photography alchemy?
None of those, just the pure intent to change one physical object into another.
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Old 2008-08-06, 14:59   Link #1282
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by james3wk View Post
European Alchemists did not really want to turn iron into gold, they wanted to discover a way to turn an imperfect shell (called man) into their more divine metaphysical selves (a physical form of elightenment, which is blasphmeous no mater how you look at it). This is what made Alchemy so heretical to the various Christian churches.
I always wondered why alchemy was/is considered heretical..

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Originally Posted by james3wk View Post
Added to that, we have even, briefly, been able to make gold from lead. All of these process for transmutation are extrememly cost inefficient, though, so they have never been used more than once or twice.

Looks like alchemy ( if we define it as the above..) doesnt have a particularly bright future quite as yet
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Old 2008-08-06, 15:12   Link #1283
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Originally Posted by Zoned87 View Post
None of those, just the pure intent to change one physical object into another.
I don't think that scientists will ever use the word "alchemy" to describe what they do. Specifically, I am reminded of a conversation that Frederick Soddy had with Ernest Rutherford when they discovered, during an experiment, that thorium was converting into radium. It is said that, upon this discovery, that Soddy remarked, "Rutherford, this is transmutation!" To which Rutherford replied, "Soddy, don't call it transmutation! They'll have our heads off as alchemists!"
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Old 2008-08-06, 15:20   Link #1284
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Zoned87 View Post
None of those, just the pure intent to change one physical object into another.
So... When I'm putting together Ikea furniture, turning a bunch of parts into shelves, am I practicing alchemy?
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Old 2008-08-06, 15:26   Link #1285
Reckoner
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
So... When I'm putting together Ikea furniture, turning a bunch of parts into shelves, am I practicing alchemy?
Unless you are actually changing the atoms into other atoms, I don't think it qualifies as alchemy. eX: Pb => Au.
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Old 2008-08-06, 15:30   Link #1286
Anh_Minh
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Eh. He talked about changing objects into others. He didn't talk about atoms. Did alchemists even know what atoms were?

For that matter, the whole transmutation thing... Wasn't that only part of what alchemists researched? Eternal life and homunculus also come to mind.
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Old 2008-08-06, 15:30   Link #1287
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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
I always wondered why alchemy was/is considered heretical..

Looks like alchemy ( if we define it as the above..) doesnt have a particularly bright future quite as yet
Well, actually alchemy can sometimes be frowned upon by various religious persons. Especially if it is changing one object into another, as they see it as us abusing Gods power and changing something natural that he has made for a reason, into something entirely different. Those people do not seem to see that using natural eggs to make something bigger and with a completely different shape and taste, such as a cake, is basically the same thing in some areas..although I am sure that those people whom are against alchemy and even science would happily eat home-made cakes. Cooking is a form of science too.
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Old 2008-08-06, 16:29   Link #1288
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
For that matter, the whole transmutation thing... Wasn't that only part of what alchemists researched? Eternal life and homunculus also come to mind.
You are thinking a little too much about Fullmetal Alchemist. Homunculus are more used in philosophy rather than alchemy. In fact, it was Carl Jung who atributed the use of homunculus to Alchemy when he studied the translations of several ancient texts and determined that the process by which some alchemists wanted to recreate themselves (via alchemy) was similiar to an actual creation of a new human body, when in fact none of these alchemists were actually setting out to create a new human body.

Here is my favourite homunculi:

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Yet a third method, cited by Dr. David Christianus at the University of Giessen during the 18th century, was to take an egg laid by a black hen, poke a tiny hole through the shell, replace a bean-sized portion of the white with human semen, seal the opening with virgin parchment, and bury the egg in dung on the first day of the March lunar cycle. A miniature humanoid would emerge from the egg after thirty days, which would help and protect its creator in return for a steady diet of lavender seeds and earthworms.
That being said, alchemy was big on trying to "create" life, and argued for spontaneous generation/regeneration as well as several very wierd superstitions. Then you also have things like Homunculus Arguments.
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Old 2008-08-06, 17:01   Link #1289
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Alchemy is pre-chemistry, pure and simple. They systematically mixed stuff together with the intent of seeing what would happen. Yes, they had goals that nowadays seem pseudoscientific, but at the time that this was happening there was no such distinction.

Fly eggs are too small to see without a microscope, so it was commonly believed that maggots were "spontaneously generated" by rotting meat. They didn't have genetics and dissecting humans was taboo and they therefore lacked knowledge of the female egg, so they assumed that sperm contained everything necessary to make a human, provided that they could make an artificial womb. And obviously without knowledge of the atom and its subatomic forces they had no way to know that turning lead into gold was any more impossible than making bronze out of tin and copper; it was just assumed that they hadn't discovered how yet.

Of course, to us, these seem superstitious and weird, but back then it was just trying to understand the world and use that to their advantage, just like what we do every day with modern technology. Unfortunately, the idea of openly sharing scientific ideas wasn't around back then, so most alchemists wrote their notes and formulas using bizarre and nonsensical terms that they made up and only revealed to trusted peers, leading to an occult perception of their work, and possibly occult behavior in their successors.

Last edited by Clarste; 2008-08-06 at 17:45.
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Old 2008-08-06, 17:37   Link #1290
Zoned87
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
So... When I'm putting together Ikea furniture, turning a bunch of parts into shelves, am I practicing alchemy?
No, you are just building something.

If you rearranged the atoms to turn that furniture into a pile of tacos that would be Alchemy
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Old 2008-08-06, 20:09   Link #1291
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Originally Posted by Zoned87 View Post
No, you are just building something.

If you rearranged the atoms to turn that furniture into a pile of tacos that would be Alchemy
That's all relative. If and when nanotechnology allows us to play around on the atomic level it could be said that you're simply building something there, too, by rearranging atoms.
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Old 2008-08-06, 21:28   Link #1292
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Also, I think you're taking this whole "turning x into y" thing a bit too lightly, as if was theoretically possible to turn a basic element into any other in a trivial, "magic" manner... but physics (un?)fortunately doesn't work that way. There are much more complex rules that "regulate" the existence and stability of atoms, which would be better explained by any physicist.
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Old 2008-08-07, 04:12   Link #1293
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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
This is something i agree with completely as well, something i've seen a lot of. While it may seem superficial, its actually quite the opposite. As amirali pointed out its seen as a constant, something thats a given, something that is not to be questioned. So, it naturally isnt questioned. Religious fanatisicm.. is frightening to say the least, because such a vast number of 'fanatics' are often so ridiculously downtrodden. Having said that, I find that ( and only recently actually discovered so.. ) that non-religious fanatisicm is even worse ( if its at the same level). Although, its not quite as easy to find instances of non-religious related fanatics ( nowadays atleast ). Which again brings us back to the dark side of religion, which has been pursued to death already
I'm not quite certain what impression I gave from my earlier post. It's not so much that people are browbeaten or bullied into not questioning Islam (at least that I've seen). It is simply that the thought doesn't occur. Before anyone thinks that's brainwashing.......how many among us would question democracy? Or the virtues of monogamy? Certain values are ingrained into most(if not all) of us from a young age, and religion can be as well, especially in deeply religious countries/cultures. Without any major negative repurcussions either, in my opinion.

While I would not expect everyone to approve of such faith, I would still say that's a far cry from fanaticism. Fanaticism is when you start imposing your own belief and ideals on others. Even if a person's faith is not based in deep philosophical examination or logic, that's a disant step from the intolerance and hatred that fanaticism implies.
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Old 2008-08-07, 05:00   Link #1294
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Originally Posted by amirali1985
I'm not quite certain what impression I gave from my earlier post. It's not so much that people are browbeaten or bullied into not questioning Islam (at least that I've seen).
While I understand that this would be a highly sensitive matter, I feel these cases should be brought to everyone's attention:

Court rejects convert’s renunciation of Islam appeal
Quote:
Putrajaya, Malaysia (6 Aug 08): The Court of Appeal here up held the Shah Alam High Court’s decision to refuse a Muslim convert the right to renounce Islam and embrace Christianity on the ground of a name change.

Justice Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud in a 21-majority decision said the appeal brought by Lim Yoke Khoon, 35, was incompetent as the person (appellant) named in the originating summons at the High Court stage no longer existed as she had changed her name to a Muslim name.

- THE STAR ONLINE
Crucial decision in Lina Joy case
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (30 May 07): The Federal Court judgment today on the Lina Joy appeal will be a historic one with legal and social repercussions, whichever way the decision goes.

This decision by the apex court will affect one’s constitutional freedom to choose one’s religion as well as who one can marry, especially for those who want to renounce Islam and for people who convert to Islam but later want to revert to their former religion.

Lina Joy, 42, who was born to a Malay Muslim couple, became a Christian when she was 26. The sales assistant has taken her case all the way to the Federal Court because unless the government recognises her conversion, she cannot get married under civil law.

While Lina managed – the second time around – to get the National Registration Department to change her name from Azlina Jailani in 1999, accepting that she had renounced Islam, it refused to remove the word “Islam” from her MyKad.

The NRD said it could not do so without a syariah court order certifying she had renounced Islam. As long as the word “Islam” remains on her identity card, Lina cannot marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

In 2001, she took her case against the NRD director-general, the Government and the Federal Territory Religious Council to the High Court.

She lost – Justice Faiza Tamby Chik held that Malays could not renounce Islam because a Malay was defined in the Constitution as “a person who professes the religion of Islam,” adding it was the syariah court that had the jurisdiction in matters related to apostasy.

- THE STAR ONLINE
Court declares dead man Muslim despite Hindu family's objections
Quote:
Kuala Lumpur (7 Jul 08): An Islamic court has declared a dead man a Muslim, making it virtually impossible for his Hindu family to cremate his body in the latest dispute over religious conversions in Muslim-majority Malaysia, their lawyer said on Monday.

A Shariah court in northern Penang state ruled Friday that B. Elangesvaran, 34, who committed suicide last month, was a Muslim and his body should be released from the hospital for Muslim burial, lawyer R. Nethaji Rayer said.

In handing down the ruling, the Shariah court upheld the local Islamic Religious Affairs Department's claim that Elangesvaran had converted to Islam before his death.

A civil court - the Penang High Court - dismissed the application by Elangesvaran's family Friday to have him declared a Hindu, Nethaji said.

Nethaji said the family had appealed the high court's decision to dismiss their application and obtained an injunction of the Shariah court order until later Monday.

Religious conversion disputes often erupt in Malaysia, where Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of the population and mostly non-Muslim ethnic Chinese and Indians account for a third.

The cases have put pressure on the government to guarantee the rights of religious minorities who increasingly complain they lose out in disputes involving Islam. "This is not proper at all," said Nethaji. "Generally (the civil courts) always take the stand that they cannot interfere with the Shariah court."

Malaysia has a dual court system. While Shariah courts handle civil matters for Muslims, civil courts rule on the same for non-Muslims. It is unclear which court has the final word in conversion disputes.

- THE JAKARTA POST
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Old 2008-08-07, 05:43   Link #1295
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by amirali1985 View Post
I'm not quite certain what impression I gave from my earlier post. It's not so much that people are browbeaten or bullied into not questioning Islam (at least that I've seen). It is simply that the thought doesn't occur. Before anyone thinks that's brainwashing.......how many among us would question democracy? Or the virtues of monogamy? Certain values are ingrained into most(if not all) of us from a young age, and religion can be as well, especially in deeply religious countries/cultures. Without any major negative repurcussions either, in my opinion.
Thats is what i meant, that it simply isnt questioned.. Though really speaking thats personal opinion, whether people are actually forced into it or not is not something i know.. its not the impression i get from whatever interactions i have had, but, like the post above, i may be wrong.

pardon me, its my fault if i gave the impression that thats what i thought was fanatisicm. what i said about fanaticism should actually be considered seperate. Its a fact by coincidence, that a large number religious fanatics, ( im referring specifically to radical fundametalism.. not all 'fanatics' per se) are from economically and socially under-priviliged groups. While religion is the mask for some actions, the state of peoples lives probably provides more motivation.
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Old 2008-08-07, 06:14   Link #1296
Amirali
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
While I understand that this would be a highly sensitive matter, I feel these cases should be brought to everyone's attention:
Fair enough. I made a sweeping generalization, based on my own limited experiences.
I should just say, in the source of your examples (Malaysia) the population is 60% Muslim, while in Pakistan it's 97% Muslim. That means when I speak of my own experience, I've had almost no observation of non-Muslims. There are problems that the Christian minority here faces occasionally, but it just isn't an issue that a normal Muslim here would have much awareness of.

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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
pardon me, its my fault if i gave the impression that thats what i thought was fanatisicm. what i said about fanaticism should actually be considered seperate. Its a fact by coincidence, that a large number religious fanatics, ( im referring specifically to radical fundametalism.. not all 'fanatics' per se) are from economically and socially under-priviliged groups. While religion is the mask for some actions, the state of peoples lives probably provides more motivation.
Ah, I'm glad that's clear now. I see where you're heading. In Pakistan it's a common trend for the fanatical groups to target vulnerable sections of society for indoctrination. Especially young, uneducated males. That doesn't mean fanaticism is correlated with poverty (it's not), just that poor people are easier targets.

Last edited by Amirali; 2008-08-07 at 09:30.
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Old 2008-08-07, 08:29   Link #1297
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by amirali1985 View Post

That doesn't mean fanaticism is correlated with poverty , (it's not), just that they're easier targets.

Absolutely, From what i can see, the actual leaders of radical elements are normally relatively well off compared to most others. The targets, however, are normally the young and underpriviliged
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Old 2008-08-07, 13:37   Link #1298
Vexx
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
While I understand that this would be a highly sensitive matter, I feel these cases should be brought to everyone's attention:

Court rejects convert’s renunciation of Islam appeal


Crucial decision in Lina Joy case


Court declares dead man Muslim despite Hindu family's objections
These... are simply excellent examples (appalling as they are) of why Church and State absolutely should be completely separated. The only thing I can say is these sorts of events were pretty much the situation for Christianity until the last few centuries or so.
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Old 2008-08-07, 14:13   Link #1299
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These Malaysian cases are... very complicated, for constitutional and historical reasons. An ethnic Malay is defined, by Malaysia's constitution, to be Muslim. A Malay who renounces Islam must also renounce his ethnicity, and correspondingly, his bumiputra rights (special privileges accorded only to ethnic Malays). Historically, the Malays of the Peninsular Malaysia have "always" been Muslim, and the Sultans are the ultimate authorities in Islamic matters in each of their respective states.

Meaning to say, you can't even begin to seperate Islam from State in Malaysia. Being Muslim is part of Malay identity. For non-Muslims to question this would be tantamount to treason. In other words, you'll never find anyone discussing their objections, however mild, in open — because anything you say can, and will be, very quickly twisted against you.

Which is also why, in both Malaysia and Singapore, religion is a strictly taboo subject that the press is generally not allowed to report freely. The risks of bloody violence as a result of careless words are simply too high to take.

In my opinion, this is also why secular thought is ostracised in this region, to the detriment of our respective societies.
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Old 2008-08-07, 15:03   Link #1300
Zoned87
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
These Malaysian cases are... very complicated, for constitutional and historical reasons. An ethnic Malay is defined, by Malaysia's constitution, to be Muslim. A Malay who renounces Islam must also renounce his ethnicity, and correspondingly, his bumiputra rights (special privileges accorded only to ethnic Malays). Historically, the Malays of the Peninsular Malaysia have "always" been Muslim, and the Sultans are the ultimate authorities in Islamic matters in each of their respective states.

Meaning to say, you can't even begin to seperate Islam from State in Malaysia. Being Muslim is part of Malay identity. For non-Muslims to question this would be tantamount to treason. In other words, you'll never find anyone discussing their objections, however mild, in open — because anything you say can, and will be, very quickly twisted against you.

Which is also why, in both Malaysia and Singapore, religion is a strictly taboo subject that the press is generally not allowed to report freely. The risks of bloody violence as a result of careless words are simply too high to take.

In my opinion, this is also why secular thought is ostracised in this region, to the detriment of our respective societies.
Governments who make such a big deal out of religions need to go back to the middle ages. This is the 21st century, not the 12th.

Any country who mixes religion and spiritual nonsense with law will forever be an inferior third world nation. In the United States (although highly unlikely) even a Jew and a Muslim could get married and nobody cares.

The United States is the power it is today because it threw away the hatred and religious nonsense in its law system.
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