Google Reader is a great little service. I have some of my favorite blogs registered there, so that I don’t miss new posts when they are written. I have a few theist blogs that I monitor, and occasionally comment on, because, well, it good to keep track of the “other side”, so to speak.
One I keep tabs with in Google Reader posted today about the Universe. He simply observed that atheists and theists have two separate perspectives about the beginnings of the universe. He set them out and asked commenters which one made more sense. I don’t always jump in to his posts, but given the invitation, I left a comment. You can probably imagine which perspective makes more sense to me, but I’ll reproduce my comment here, because well, it’s post-worthy, in my humble opinion.
I think you’re partly right, but only partly in that there’s more to the atheist/theist dichotomy than “How did the Universe get here”. However, I’ll deal with the question as you pose it. Here’s how I’d explain it.
We are part of an amazing, spectacular, unfathomable, intricate universe. Before we even consider our microscopic little blue planet, there are the stars orbited by uncountable planets, gathered into galaxies numbering in the multiplied millions.
Can’t disagree with you too much here. Except, not millions, billions. What I find mind boggling about the universe is its sheer size. The closest star to us is 4 light years away. 4 sounds like a small number until you tag on “light year” to it. That means that it takes 4 years for the light from that star to reach us. Convert that to miles, and you get 186,282 miles per second x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 x 4 (126,144,000 seconds if I did the math right) equals 23,498,356,608,000 miles. 23 ½ trillion miles, and that’s only the closest star. The farthest reaches of the universe are something like 12 billion light years away. There are approximately 100 billion stars in our galaxy and there are probably hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars, in the known universe. Try that math on for size.
So, yes. That’s simply unfathomable. The human mind has not developed enough to fully comprehend the size of such a universe.
Then there is our tiny island with the only life we are presently aware of.
And most likely the only life we will ever have contact with, given those distances. As far as we know now, nothing travels faster than the speed of light. Nothing in the universe so far has been clocked faster. Even if life circles that nearest star, and it could travel at the speed of light, it would still take it four years to get here. Intergalactic space travel is most likely a practical impossibility. So, the interesting question for me is, why would a god create a universe of that size, and that unreachability, just for us humans?. So we can look at it at night? We can’t even see most of it with the naked eye.
Intricate complexity and design is increasingly evident as we delve into the subatomic realms.
Here’s where I start to disagree with you. Where you see design I see, simply, order. There is order in nature, because without order, we’d have no nature to observe. That doesn’t mean there is design, to the extent that you imply a designer. It may look like design to someone who marvels at the design of a watch (like Paley) but to a scientist, there is nothing supporting intelligence behind the order of nature. There ARE natural laws of physics, chemistry and biology that tell us how things work, and predict how they will work in the future. So, you’re skirting on the classic teleological argument that imputes some purpose behind the orderliness of nature, yet without some evidence for it, it’s still just fanciful surmise. It boils down to ignorance, i.e. we don’t know everything, and to impute some purposeful design behind a process just because we don’t know simply puts the cart before the horse. Just because we humans think something looks like it was designed, doesn’t make it so. For instance, both stars and light bulbs give off light. One is clearly designed, but just because they do the same thing doesn’t mean they were both designed.
Atheists call this the “GODDIDIT” argument. “We don’t know the answer, so Goddidit”. Not very logical, is it?
That tends to underscore the different “perspectives” you and I have, theist and non-theist. You tend to look at something and if you don’t understand it, attribute it to something you say you understand – god. I tend to look at something and if I don’t understand it, withhold judgment, maybe even accept the fact that I’ll never understand it, until someone proves to me what the explanation is. But I don’t attribute it to something supernatural.
The theist looks at the universe and concludes there is no way this complexity, intricacy, design and order could happen by itself. The atheist looks at all the complexity, intricacy, design and order and concludes that it did indeed happen by itself.
I don’t think that’s a fair formulation of the dichotomy. A better way to put it would be:
The theist looks at the complexity, intricacy, apparent design and order of the universe and concludes that a supernatural being snapped his fingers in an act of what amounts to pure magic and created it all from nothing. The atheist looks at the complexity, intricacy, apparent design and order of the universe and concludes, based on his limited knowledge and experience, that most likely it was a natural process that created that order, because so far that’s the only explanation for which there is evidence, and natural processes have explained everything else that used to be a mystery, and he leaves it at that.
Remember, historically there were far more things in human existence that were mysteries, that were once attributed to gods(s), but have since been explained naturally. Lightning, thunder, death, drought, eclipses, earthquakes, sun rising, sun setting, etc. All used to be “Acts of god” (my homeowners insurance policy still says that). Of course we now know better. Indeed, one can truthfully say that whenever humanity has conclusively determined the explanation for some earthly mystery previously unexplained, 100% of the time it has been determined that it had a natural origin. All of those previous examples of earthly mysteries have been explained naturally, and many more. Not once have humans ever concluded that a mystery had supernatural origins. Not once.
Me, I’ll go with those odds when looking at the mysteries of the universe that are currently unexplained.
Personally, I have always been slightly flabbergasted that this argument exists. It reminds of the argument of perfection: this planet solely is habitable for our way of life and if anything were changed, it would not be so. Well, yes and no. There is a surprising amount of variation that can be allowed for, a fair bit more change. While Earth is peculiarly adapted for our way of life… it wasn’t always so and won’t always be.
It’s also a far cry from being ‘perfect’ for our existence. There is a certain order in the Universe and even in the subatomic realm but there are many exceptions to this order. (I think that using the subatomic level of existence was a poor choice, honestly).
Isn’t it amazing the resemblance that universe model has to a penis? We have the “quantum fluctuations” to start everything off, followed by “inflation” (I wonder… was that due to lateral or longitudinal strokes?) and then an “afterglow”… would that be comparable to what follows a female orgasm? To sum up, we have the dark ages, except for maybe the glow of a cigarette, as our satiated and happy (though completely coincidental) universe sleeps off it’s first “big Bang!”
Of course, we have all of those white specks floating around… intergalactic spermatozoa, do you think? I dunno… sounds good, but, you know; there seems to be a sexual connotation to everything infidels say and do, these days. I think all of this is beginning to ‘rub’ off on me! 😉
“The atheist looks at the complexity, intricacy, apparent design and order of the universe and concludes, based on his limited knowledge and experience…” and then dogmatically asserts that the universe magically popped into existence from nothing, then ‘evolved’ along a definite, predetermined path (not a bad trick when you’re senseless and lifeless) to an eventual human existence when there were plenty of places it could have stopped along the way… like with whales and dolphins, no less. Even an amoeba has a pretty neat self-sustaining act. But, no… the universe had a plan. It was humanity or bust! Hilarious how that coincides with the biblical view that man is the epitome of any earthly existence! But, when did an infidel ever have an original idea?
John, you’re a lawyer… could I get in trouble selling tickets and profiting off of this sideshow of yours?
Oh… and did I tell you that GODDIDIT?
You see a Cock in that picture?? You and Ted Haggart must be related. 😉
A lot of work you put in there, to explain things to people who are unlikely to give careful thought to your explanations. As was said in a video I saw today, regarding how supernaturalists see the universe we find ourselves in, “we aren’t watching the same movie”. Still, it was artfully stated and maybe a few people wandering by might give it some thought.
“… we aren’t watching the same movie”.
That’s because we’re not all into porn and buggery like some I could mention.
Isn’t it amazing the resemblance that universe model has to a penis?
So that’s what the Big Bang was! God shot his load. LOL!
“So that’s what the Big Bang was! God shot his load. LOL!”
LOL! Yeah, and where you’re concerned, most of it landed on the sheets!
“But, no… the universe had a plan. It was humanity or bust! ”
Whose views are being mocked here? Certainly not mine.
If we venture away from science and knowledge and JUST talk about how we feel; what we believe –
The universe is vast, cold and totally fucking indifferent. Life is brief and full of suffering. We are *just* able to contemplate all of this and it’s mortifying. The majority of the silly monkeys attempt to keep their sanity through an endless quest to see their “creator”. It’s all very sad.
“The majority of the silly monkeys attempt to keep their sanity through an endless quest to see their “creator”. It’s all very sad.”
Don’t be so hard on yourself, John. Notwithstanding you worship apes as your ancestors, and your humorous attempts at making contact with them through the religion of evolution, DOES provide amusement for us humans. I wouldn’t say your life was a total write-off.
Not when you can bring a smile to other’s faces!
a very interesting post. i noticed, si, that you failed to give answer to the question, though. how did the universe get here? what are the options? i would say you’re limited to these:
1. the universe is eternal.
2. the universe sprang ex nihilo into existence without cause.
3. the universe was created ex nihilo by a supernatural cause.
You didn’t list the fourth option, which SI selected: he doesn’t know the answer – a fact that he admitted in his post. Admitting one’s lack of knowledge is far more honest than just picking an answer from an arbitrary list.
first, in what way do you find this list arbitrary? these, as far as logic and reasoning can allow are the options. the only options. second, si, along with the rest of us, may not know with absolute certainty how the universe got here; none of us were around then to witness it. certainly, though, i assume he has formed or adopted a theory on such an important question based on rational thought, no? i agree that goddidit is not acceptable but neither is dontreallyknowbutidoknowgoddidntdoit.
More like dontreallyknowbutthere’snoevidencethatgodditit.
Personally, what makes the most sense to me is that the universe is eternal. Not necessarily the same universe that we now think of as “the universe”, the one we observe. It’s possible that in the expansion and contractions of universes, the matter of this universe was assembled in perhaps one or more prior assemblages of matter we might, if we were there, call a universe. In other words, the matter in the universe is eternal, but not necessarily this universe.
I don’t think anything can come from nothing. The concept of “nothing” is another mental construct of the human mind which itself is something. I don’t think there ever was nothing. There’s always been something. What exactly that entails is what I don’t know, and probably won’t ever know, given the time it takes human knowledge and discovery to advance, and the balance of my expected lifetime.
What I can say with reasonable certainty is that the idea of a supernatural creation of the universe is way, way down the list of possibilities. An eternal universe is far more probable, and the evidence tends to support it, while there’s no evidence that something called the “supernatural’ is anything more than wishful thinking.
And Jason, the original query from the other blog was “What makes more sense?”, not “Where did the Universe come from?”. I think I answered that.
apologies on the title of the question. my fault.
“It’s possible that in the expansion and contractions of universes…”
am i to take this as a belief in multiple universes? i only ask because you ask for evidence for peoples’ beliefs – i would ask the same for this belief.
“An eternal universe is far more probable, and the evidence tends to support it…”
really? which evidence is that? i believe that this idea is rejected by most cosmologists given that: 1. the universe is expanding at a measurable rate and 2. universal heat death has not occurred as would most certainly would have happened in a universe that is infinitely old. also, an eternal universe would entail the necessity of an actual infinite; in this case the infinite regress of time. the lack of evidence for such a thing notwithstanding, how do you propose that matter and energy successfully traverse and infinite regress. iow, how and why is there a now if the beginning point endlessly regresses from the present.
i perfectly understand your inability to grasp the concept of no matter, space, time, or energy. we simply have no frame of reference for such visualization (if such is even possible), however, to state you don’t believe it for such a reason is to argue from incredulity. if the universe is finite, to reason such a state existed is not irrational.
I hate using the term “belief’. Too much baggage with that word. Try this: I think the idea of multiple universes is entirely plausible. I don’t really have any idea whether it’s true, but it makes more sense to me, given my layman’s understanding of cosmology, than does the hypothetical supernatural creator.
What evidence do I have that matter is eternal, as opposed to created, as you say, ex nihilo? Again, I’m not a physicist, but the fact that matter exists is solid evidence that it always has. In fact, it is the default position. It’s a logical position, not an evidential one, though there may be evidence this non-scientist is unaware of.
It just seems to me that unless there is a good evidence to assume that the existence of matter had a starting point, you have to assume it didn’t, that matter always was. Otherwise, you’re making a logical leap without the evidence to back it up.
However, once you establish that matter had to have a starting point, then it would be fair to speculate as to how that came to be. Otherwise, you’re putting the cart (the necessity for matter to be created) before the horse (the existence of matter) . So, one needs to prove that matter had to be created before you assume it was.
Big “if”. Here you put the cart before the horse. Why can’t the universe be infinite? It most likely is infinite forward, why not backward? Even if the universe stops expanding and reverses, eventually collapsing, matter isn’t destroyed, it’s just converted. Isn’t that the 1st Law of thermodynamics? If the 1st Law of T applies, our universe was simply converted from something else, and something else is not nothing.
Nothing is a handy way of saying and understanding the concept “it’s not there” but even nothing is something.
People think of nothing as synonymous with a vacuum, like outer space. “There’s nothing out there”. But even a vacuum, and space, is something. “Nothing” doesn’t and can’t exist, if that makes any sense.
Now, don’t do a CL on me, Jason, and continue to parse my words. I’m not an expert, I’m only giving you one imperfect human’s sense of what makes sense to him. Frankly I don’t know.
Well said. I agree.
If you think the three options you presented are the only reasonable and logical ones possible, you’d better think some more. Try this one: “the universe is the effect of an as-yet undetermined cause.” That’s no less feasible than “the universe was created ex nihilo by a supernatural cause.”
ok. would you think that would be a natural or supernatural cause? if supernatural see option 3 – a natural cause couldn’t be an option as it would have to exist prior to the formation of this universe thus be supernatural.
or this universe is a byproduct of another universe as si suggests in which case we once again are back to and endless series of regressing events – in essence an eternal universe and to which i’ve already stated objections against.
That’s a false dichotomy. The existence of a “cause” prior to the existence of “this” universe need not be something supernatural. It’s quite possible that there’s a lot more of what’s “natural” out there that humankind hasn’t discovered yet. And we may never discover all of it.
Per my previous comment, multi-verses could fit into my expansive concept of the “natural,” but the concept need not be limited to that. My point is that, time and time again, the “natural” has far exceeded what we’ve conceived it to be until some new fact or discovery has shaken our prior conceptions. You seem to be stuck on trying to find and classify all possible answers. I’m saying the possibilities are inconceivable.
by supernatural i mean outside of the realm of this observable universe. i presume that you would accept that definition as it is applied in this situation without objection? if so, what exactly is your objection?
“I don’t think anything can come from nothing. The concept of “nothing” is another mental construct of the human mind which itself is something. I don’t think there ever was nothing. There’s always been something.”
Of course, the thought that God has always existed escaped those musings, eh, John? You’ve said that He needs an origin, too. Perhaps you need to apply some of your own reasoning to this in that maybe God’s existence isn’t dependent upon our understanding of what ‘existence’ entails. Also, your statement that you probably won’t ever know the answer to the universe’s origin is not only dogmatic it’s self-defeating.
Of course, if you choose to wallow in uncertainty and ignorance, that’s your privilege. All I say and have ever said is that you don’t have the right to dogmatically claim that God either doesn’t exist or presents the least probable explanation for our existence… not and still claim to be an “atheist.”
C’mon, Gid. This isn’t rocket science. You’re putting the cart before the horse.
You prove to me that god exists, first, then we’ll discuss how long he’s been around. OK?
“You prove to me that god exists, first, then we’ll discuss how long he’s been around. OK?”
Your own beloved science is the greatest evidence of His existence – in it’s complexity and the fact that you can’t with any certainty nail down any specific process by which the universe came into being. You’re always saying, yourself, that there is much you don’t know, yet you dogmatically assert there is no God without the proof that you also keep demanding of me. That’s a contradiction in terms and ideology.
Admittedly, after all of my dealings with you, I realize that there is no proof that you will accept other than I get a picture of God or drag Him down here in front of you, for you to see Him for yourself. I haven’t seen him for myself, either, nor did I need to see evolution to believe in it before I became a Christian. Ironically, I behaved more like an atheist than you in that I didn’t feel the need to ram my opinions down Christians’ throats wholesale like infidels do, today, nor did I exalt evolution. One day, I simply realized that evolution simply raised more questions than it answered and Christianity addressed more than just the physical aspects of reality. In addition to explaining our origin, it also detailed and explained the nature of man and why society is and does the things that it is and does.
Time and again, I’ve used the organization and complexity of the universe and man to illustrate that blind chance simply couldn’t have resulted in all of this that we have. It’s only common sense, if you would simply tune in on it. The barrage of anti-theist programming, out there, has produced a new generation of infidels that are simply not encouraged or allowed to think for themselves. Yes, I know that happens in certain fanatical religions, too, and I don’t subscribe to that or any kind of totalitarianism. That’s why I’m not affiliated with any sect or form of organized religion, I believe the Word can stand on it’s own merit and it does.
One other proof is the attendant controversy that follows God’s Word, every place it goes. The many attempts throughout history to ban it’s publication and use by the masses, and the fact that nearly everyone seems to have an opinion about it… even those that have never read it! The natural fondness or animosity shown toward, when presented, is undeniable and prevalent. It seems to have a life of it’s own, whereas comparable religions and beliefs have long since been forgotten and/or died out.
Faith is and will always be a factor in God revealing Himself to anyone. He’s asking that you at least meet Him half-way. Not an unreasonable request. Sometimes He does things in ways you don’t expect… answers your doubts and questions when you’re not even aware it’s happening, even before you ask.
For that, one needs to tune in to their conscience, and that (like me dragging God down here before you) I can’t do for you.
“I’m saying the possibilities are inconceivable.”
inconceivable? no. the possibilities are actually pretty limited and each is conceivable with good arguments for and against. this is all some cosmologists do…try to find out why there is something instead of nothing.
i do understand what you’re saying, though. however, contrary to what most atheists hold true, a supernatural cause for the creation of the universe is a tenable position given what we so far have discovered through cosmology.
Only within the range of current knowledge. As that range expands, and it’s happening all the time, the possibilities will expand too.
Rather good post, though I did notice one error I thought you would like to be aware of. You stated that:
“The farthest reaches of the universe are something like 12 billion light years away.”
When in fact the farthest point of the observable universe has been calculated to be about about 46.6 billion light years away with the total diameter being around 93 billion light years. The source of your error may have been due to the fact that this number is often displayed in parsecs, where the edge of the observable universe is around 14 parsecs away. Here is a source for you.
Another part I found interesting is how the theist states:
“Intricate complexity and design is increasingly evident as we delve into the subatomic realms.”
While I can certainly agree with the intricate complexity part, the design part, as you noted, is laughable. If this person had even a vague understanding of quantum physics they would toss away even the slightest hint of the idea of design. Particles popping into and out of existence as virtual particles in vacuum diagrams? Where the particle goes forward in time to spark the creation of the anti-particle which then goes backward in time to spark the creation of the particle, creating a loop that cancels itself out as if it never existed? Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, where the more you know about a particles location the less you know about its velocity? Particles of light taking all possible routes and histories unless they are observed? I could go on, but I think that is enough. How can anyone see design in that, unless of course he means that it is too damn complex for their uneducated minds to grasp so it must be created. It actually saddens me as it misses the real beauty of such amazing and mind-blowingly gorgeous systems.
Yes, I sort of knew I was wrong on that, but your figures simply make my point even better. It’s even bigger than I described. I think I mixed up distance with the age of the universe. which I think is around 13 billion years or so.
Don’t ask a lawyer for science facts. 😉
I don’t accept that the “natural” is bound by “the realm of this observable universe.” There’s still too much about “this observable universe” that remains unknown for me to presume that humankind has exhausted all conceptual possibilities of what is “natural.” As new nuggets of information come to light some current theories – string theory, multi-verses, whatever –
maywill be shot straight to hell and we’ll have to re-conceive much of what we think we know, similar to what happened when the discoveries of Copernicus and Darwin were publicized. The term “supernatural” is meaningless because we have so much more digging to do into the depths of what is “natural.” Humankind knows far too little about the “natural” to venture into what, if anything, may be beyond that.
Didn’t we have this discussion before? In some past post? That definition sounds absolutely Cee-Elian.
perhaps he and i used the same source…that definition is straight out of the dictionary.
That’s not how I define supernatural, so… I don’t know what to tell ya.
The nature of the debate here becomes more amusing in light of the high probability that the people arguing for some sort of god actually think that it’s a VERY SPECIFIC god who made itself into a human and then bled out for them – for some reason…
I suppose if they are CERTAIN about this alleged savior, then it’s pointless to hope they might see that there is scant evidence for proposing an active creator of the universe as we know it. Seems like this has the making of an endless and fruitless discussion.
SI has explained very nicely his reason for why HE chooses an atheistic view.
First, the hour(ish)long video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo “A Universe From Nothing”, by Lawrence Krauss. (another, similar, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdvWrI_oQjY ) They are truly inspirational, and give us a bit more appreciation for how much we actually do know about science’s answers (and limitations thereto) to your Big Question. You even get a feel for what sorts of evidence there is to back up the view. The question feels like a deep philosophical, unsolvable mystery, but it is increasingly an answerable puzzle.
The three options, several comments up, are not so much wrong as they are oversimplified. Of the three, the second is closest to the truth. Thus far, not one speck of the data points toward a supernatural explanation.
Is there only 2 ideas out there, Atheist/Theist? Because if thats all there is I’d rather play alone. Well other than tease you guys. 😉
There ARE more than two choices however, it’s true that either you believe in god/s or you don’t. If theist is uncomfortable, you could go with deist – but why bother?
If one thinks there *must* be a god, but doesn’t think it has rules and regs, doesn’t answer prayers or interact with us in any way – what would one base their knowledge on? At least a theist can say “god speaks to me” or “I witnessed a miracle and that’s how I know it exists”. Of course this is really BAD evidence, but for the individual, it at least *feels* true. What does a deist base his or her asserted knowledge on?
Nothing, I guess just like the rest of you.
Imagine a list of 25 potential “god beliefs” – Wotan, Yahweh, Vishnu, Ra, etc. You are asked to look over the list and place your own belief with one of the 25. You don’t believe any of them, and that’s your answer.
Is that actually “Belief #26”?
“What does a deist base his or her asserted knowledge on?”
What John is trying to say, in his unique and malevolently-biased way, is that HE hasn’t experienced anything like what he’s saying others claim to have, nor has HE seen any evidence of God’s interaction with man… THEREFORE, it’s just not possible that these things could ever be. HE is the only qualified expert on the subject, and you’d damned well better accept that. It’s a popular and worn-out ANTI-THEIST line of reasoning.
Of course, reality is that others can and often do experience things that HE never has. As incomprehensible as that is, (to him) it’s just a fact of life… along with the fact that HE wasn’t around to verify most of the things that HE accepts as undeniable truth about Darwinism, evolution, etc. The common denominator in all of them is that they oppose a creationist view, which is all that matters to him.
What I don’t get, Gid, is how you interpolate malevolence and vitriol in what we say?
I think you’re projecting your own ideas of god on us.
“What I don’t get, Gid, is how you interpolate malevolence and vitriol in what we say?”
Well… how about severe disdain and antipathy, then? Both, the result of gross ignorance, at any rate.
Oh, I’m not into projecting anything, I just tell it like it is. Like with your severe disdain and antipathy, I interpret God as someone both fair and exacting. He means what He says, despite some Christians’ penchant for portraying Him as their “sky daddy.” After all, there’s no motivation for change in enabling bad behavior.
Actually, I have many ideas about God, Christ, religion in general. I like to keep the speculation minimal, though, relying on the revealed will of God in my dealings with you infidels.
Do you have to have an answer of what it is to make the belief somewhat valid? I dont think life is a fluke/chance/random or whatever the fuck else you want to call it. I believe science can and does provide many answers. But the fact is, we are here and from my little brainy thoughts it seems that something(whatever) started the process. And again, from my little brainy thoughts it sure does seem like there is some kind of intelligent process behind it. But hey, I could be wrong. 😉
I get it. But that wasn’t what I was after with my question. I’m just wondering if you would contend that one person saying, “from my little brainy thoughts it seems that something(whatever) started the process (therefore, yes, I believe in something you might loosely call god)” is equivalent to the belief of another person saying “Whatever I might feel in my brainy little thoughts, I acknowledge that there is no evidence for an intelligent creative force behind the universe therefore, no, I don’t believe in what most people refer to as god”? Are they two equally valid world-views?
Also, are you a deist?
Yes they are equally valid. As far as a classification for myself, deist would be the closest, but Im not sure anything can truly encapsulate my” little brainy thoughts” 🙂
wow, fantastic discussion. love it.
“I don’t accept that the “natural” is bound by “the realm of this observable universe.””
well, would you agree that the universe can be defined as the aggregate of all existing matter, energy, time, and space – i.e. the natural world? if so, i fail to understand how, to your thinking, anything separate from this would still fall into the natural realm. if we’re talking about the universe as having a cause, obviously, the cause would have to be separate and external from the universe. i think we could agree that an event cannot cause itself to happen.
“It just seems to me that unless there is a good evidence to assume that the existence of matter had a starting point, you have to assume it didn’t, that matter always was.”
i think that there is good evidence. the graphic in your post points to it perfectly. the age of the universe can be calculated because the rate of expansion is known. reverse that expansion and eventually the universe contracts to a singularity. that would be the starting point of matter. i believe that most cosmologists are in agreement that the big bang model with a starting point of a singularity is the correct model for the formation of the universe.
“Why can’t the universe be infinite? It most likely is infinite forward, why not backward?”
well, for one, if the universe is infinite it would be long dead. heat death occurs when the universe reaches maximum entropy. it would take a very,very long time before that occurred, but in a universe that is infinite, and therefore infinitely old, it would have already occurred. also, you have a serious problem with time. as i stated earlier, it is impossible to successfully traverse an infinite amount of time. without a definable starting point, you would never be able to reach the present moment. actual infinites are logically impossible.
No. There’s too much we don’t know about the universe to think that all the “stuff” you’ve listed encompasses the whole; any definition of universe that we come up with today could well be demonstrated – sometime in the future – to be woefully incomplete. There could be other “stuff” that we don’t know about yet, just as people were completely unaware of quarks and the like before the advent of quantum mechanics. Einstein was another guy (like Copernicus and Darwin, whom I mentioned in an earlier comment) whose work opened entire new vistas of investigation and shook prior conceptions of what the natural realm was and how it worked. I suspect that there are a lot of other paradigm-rattling phenomena that haven’t been discovered yet. When they are uncovered, watch out. We’ll all have a whole lot of thinking to do. Again.
I’ll state my bias against the term “supernatural” here: I dislike the term because I’ve seen it used to smuggle a deity into an argument and make a huge leap from a conceptual being to a being with specific characteristics, up to and including a personal name. I don’t know whether that’s what you’re trying to do, but the term sets off lots of alarms in my mind.
As for whether there is anything “other-than-natural,” I’m agnostic. I don’t know whether there is such an entity, and as a natural being limited to existence within the parameters of what we know as the natural realm, I may be incapable of knowing anything beyond that realm. I don’t have any use for speculation about what sort of being something “other-than-natural” may be like, what it may do, etc. All the specific deities and supposedly-deity-confirming-scriptures I’ve been exposed to thus far have not added up to anything more than either fabrications or speculations.
“No. There’s too much we don’t know about the universe to think that all the “stuff” you’ve listed encompasses the whole; any definition of universe that we come up with today could well be demonstrated – sometime in the future – to be woefully incomplete. There could be other “stuff” that we don’t know about yet, just as people were completely unaware of quarks and the like before the advent of quantum mechanics.”
wow. your definition of the universe is broad indeed. in all seriousness, though, i’m not sure how the definition which includes, well, everything can be insufficient. maybe there’s a misunderstanding? i think perhaps you may be placing as yet unknown or undiscovered objects (either physical or conceptual) as being outside of the definition. i say that because you mentioned quarks, which although unknown to exist until the 60’s, nevertheless DID exist and are therefore now and always have been part of the universe. the universe comprises everything including elements that yet remain unknown. am i off base here?
“I’ll state my bias against the term “supernatural” here: I dislike the term because I’ve seen it used to smuggle a deity into an argument…”
“I don’t have any use for speculation about what sort of being something “other-than-natural” may be like, what it may do, etc.”
to each their own in that regard, i say. i’ll also say, however, upon examining the logical options for why the universe is here, one should not simply rule out option 3 because of one’s bias. again, if the universe is not infinite (which i believe it isn’t and with good reasons previously stated) and it isn’t self-creating (which i believe it isn’t for what i think should be obvious reasons) then a supernatural explanation should be seriously examined.
Actually, I’m doing the opposite – I’m trying to make sure we don’t exclude them prematurely.
That definition doesn’t point toward anything “supernatural.” I have no reason to suspect that at least a little bit of what remains unknown is not “natural.” You seem pretty eager to draw lines around “nature” or “the universe” and then claim that anything outside that box automatically qualifies as “supernatural.” I’m not going to make that leap. The universe includes the stuff you enumerated, plus a whole lot more. I think that “whole lot more” is more likely to be more entirely “natural” stuff that we just haven’t identified yet than it is to be
a) something “supernatural,” or
b) a whole lot more “natural” stuff plus some “supernatural” stuff
Contrary to your assertion, one need not consider seriously a “supernatural” cause for the universe’s existence until one has seen credible evidence of the “supernatural.” Thus far, that evidence has been seriously lacking.
Let me restate this: I have no reason to suspect that at least a little bit of what remains unknown is not “natural.”
I think my intention is more clear if I say, “I have no reason to suspect that any portion of what remains unknown is not “natural.”
When it comes to the question as to whether or not our universe was created by some higher intelligence, on that I plead agnosticism. I don’t know if we can ever find a definitive answer to that.
However, if I entertain the possibility that our universe was created by a higher intelligence (whether a single entity or an entire race of beings), does it mean that the primary concerns of this creative intelligence are the actions, thoughts and behaviors of the species homo sapiens on the planet Earth, and that there are consequences for us in the eyes of this creative intelligence based on what we think, say or do?
And if I entertain that possibility, how can I be sure that the claims made by my fellow flawed human beings about what this creative intelligence wants from us are accurate and true?
Two of my personal criteria for judging religious claims are the Rube Goldberg Test and the Human Egocentrism Test.
The Rube Goldberg Test is inspired by the cartoons of Rube Goldberg, wherein he depicted complex devices to perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. I use this with Young Earth Creationist claims. For example, YEC proponents will claim that just because the speed of light today has a certain constant or that the continents drift at a very low speed today does not mean that they could not have moved much faster in the past. Since these people presuppose that the Earth and the universe existed for 6,000 or 8,000 years, the only way they can square it with scientific measurements is to claim that for instance God made the stars in the sky with the light already visible from Earth at the moment of creation to get around how stars further than 6,000 to 8,000 years away are visible to us today. When you point out to them observed stars more than 8,000 light years away that went supernova and the supernova becomes visible from Earth, they have to resort to the argument that for some unspecified period of time, God made the light of that supernova go much faster just so that we could see it. Again, with continental drift, they have to claim that at some unspecified period continents moved many miles per year rather than mere inches just so they can explain the movement of creatures and plants in the years after Noah’s Flood. Basically, it’s “God created certain constants, such as the speed of light, the speed of sound and so forth, but because I believe the Bible says the Earth is only 6,000 years old, God must have violated the constants at some point in the past just so that I can make everything fit neatly into my timeline.”
The Human Egocentrism Test looks at whether a religion claims that the Creator’s actions center around us. For example, the creation account in Genesis speaks of God putting stars in the sky to help us navigate at night. That is exactly what one would expect a person thousands of years ago ignorant of cosmology to think. He had no idea that those stars in the night sky had planets of their own going around them. If there is intelligent life on one of those planets, they would probably be very amused to be told that the star that gives them heat and light only exists to help humans navigate the plains or the seas of Earth by night.
Given the size of the universe with its billions of galaxies each filled with billions of stars, I find it hard to square the claims of the Abrahamic religions that the creator of all that is centrally concerned with us and that our planet is some kind of crucial battleground between the forces of Good and Evil. With Christianity in particular, I don’t see the leap from “The Sombrero Galaxy exists” to “therefore, Jesus.” Under Christianity, I don’t see why the Sombrero Galaxy needs to exist at all.
“When it comes to the question as to whether or not our universe was created by some higher intelligence, on that I plead agnosticism. I don’t know if we can ever find a definitive answer to that.”
Yet, when viable options are presented to you, there is usually an immediate reaction of “severe disdain and antipathy” (see comment # 13204) presented.
“However, if I entertain the possibility that our universe was created by a higher intelligence (whether a single entity or an entire race of beings), does it mean that the primary concerns of this creative intelligence are the actions, thoughts and behaviors of the species homo sapiens on the planet Earth, and that there are consequences for us in the eyes of this creative intelligence based on what we think, say or do?”
Right now, God is primarily concerned with us, as this planet is the only fuck-up in the entire universe. Fuck-up, in that we are the ones that fucked-up, not Him. Nevertheless, God is interested in fixing OUR fuck-up, because, we can’t. We’re (infidels, primarily) only prepared to skirt around the issue, trying to justify it by suggesting that it never happened at all. And, yes, given that this is the only fallen planet in the universe, there are consequences for not falling into line… as any soldier that’s been on the wrong side of a drill sergeant can tell you! Not equating God with any malevolent NCO, but, the universe was created perfect in every detail and is dependent upon God for it’s continued existence. It runs on the principle of order, not chaos. Sin is disorder. So, yes, there are consequences for continuing in sin.
“And if I entertain that possibility, how can I be sure that the claims made by my fellow flawed human beings about what this creative intelligence wants from us are accurate and true?”
What’s so difficult about “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal”, etc? You have doubts that the world wouldn’t be a better place if even those two precepts were adhered to? Why don’t you apply that same doubt to Darwinism? You don’t seem to have any doubts about THAT, do you? Or Abiogenesis? Yet, I’m supposed to just accept those as canon, right?
“When you point out to them observed stars more than 8,000 light years away…”
How do you know they’re 8000 light years away? The same way you know the Earth is billions of years old? Yeah, I’ll agree most Christians get hooked on that one. They’ll argue for a young Earth, then immediately contradict themselves when they promote astronomically-large distances to points in space. Fortunately, I caught onto that ruse early on, though no credit goes to my Christian mentors. I think it’s ludicrous that anyone can accurately measure distances like that, nevermind give a complete spectrographical analysis of an object at such a ridiculously extreme range. People just lap this shit up like it’s straight from the mount, itself! Look at the shitty images you get from security cams at only a few feet! LOL! (Especially around the Pentagon…) 🙄 And, how do you know there are planets around those objects? You’ve seen them? I’m always asked for proof of everything I say, now it’s your turn! (NASA shots won’t do. They operate on evolutionary thinking. I’ll need images right off of your cellphone, please!) I don’t believe that God made stars just for our benefit, they probably serve many purposes. I’m not prepared to speculate on that, here.
If there are any constants, (other than political corruption, taxation and infidelism) God can and often does overrule them… after all, He IS God and He made everything! And, it didn’t take YEARS to alter the surface of the Earth during the Flood, it only took months, even DAYS, in some respects. All of the signs point to a time in Earth’s past where there was violent and SUDDEN upheaval. Infidels like to point to meteoric impacts as the cause… hell, they’d attribute it to a long and sustained phaser salvo from a Klingon Bird-Of-Prey before they’d give Genesis any credence.
“I find it hard to square the claims of the Abrahamic religions that the creator of all that is centrally concerned with us and that our planet is some kind of crucial battleground between the forces of Good and Evil.”
Just like I find it hard to believe there is an issue of good vs. evil in all of your country’s expeditions onto foreign soils, completely upsetting and rearranging their political and social (and religious) infrastructures “for the good of mankind.” Especially, when I know it’s merely the case of a warmongering “elite” wanting to increase their coffers and expand their territories. Another fact – you don’t have any proof of that assertion of yours. In fact, a relative youngster like yourself really has nothing to say against thousands of years of experience. Writings that have withstood the ravages of time, when less-important, frivolous, man-made belief systems have long since faded away and been forgotten.
Again, it’s all a matter of what’s convenient to know and what’s not. When you’ve built up a reputation… even an entire philosophy around doubt and speculation, one is loathe to admit they’re wrong, nor would they ever consider they’re wrong.
How do you know they’re 8000 light years away?
Uh, because like we’ve like figured out ways to measure these things. Because the probes we send into space send signals to us that also travel at the speed of light, so when we send transmissions, it takes longer for the signals to be received, likewise for signals sent by the probes back to us. For example, the Voyager 2 probe is now over 9 billion miles from Earth and is approaching the edge of our solar system. A signal from Earth, traveling at the speed of light, now takes nearly 13 hours to reach the probe.
And, how do you know there are planets around those objects? You’ve seen them? I’m always asked for proof of everything I say, now it’s your turn!
Thank goodness people like Giddyin’ aren’t in charge of space exploration. “You can’t find anything, so don’t even bother.”
We have the capability to detect objects without seeing them. One example is the discovery of the planet Neptune. Astronomers expected to find Neptune because they noticed that something was affecting the orbit of Uranus (no jokes please!) and that therefore there was a planet of sufficient mass to cause a tug on the orbit of Uranus. And lo and behold, they looked for Neptune and found it.
There are a number of indirect ways of finding planets around other stars that don’t involve looking in a super telescope and seeing the planet. The most common method is looking for stars where the light dims at a predictable frequency. When a planet passes in front of the star (that is from the perspective of someone observing the star) the star’s light momentarily dims. The downside to this method is that you are more likely to detect planets that are very close to their stars, like Mercury, that have orbits of months, or even days.
For planets in what we call a habitable zone, with orbits approximately 365 Earth days, you need to observe the transiting for several years in order to determine that there is a pattern, which is what the Kepler probe is doing.
From the NASA website on Kepler:
Kepler will continue conducting science operations until at least November 2012, searching for planets as small as Earth, including those that orbit stars in a warm habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface of the planet. Since transits of planets in the habitable zone of solar-like stars occur about once a year and require three transits for verification, it is expected to take three years to locate and verify Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars.
If there are any constants, (other than political corruption, taxation and infidelism) God can and often does overrule them… after all, He IS God and He made everything!
But when you presuppose a literal interpretation of Genesis, that is the only way you can make it work. You have to believe something that no one has ever observed, that the speed of light went much faster for an indeterminate period. That the continents moved much faster, and so on. So what you end up doing is engaging in special pleading to exempt your dogmatic beliefs from evidence that refute them.
And, it didn’t take YEARS to alter the surface of the Earth during the Flood, it only took months, even DAYS, in some respects. All of the signs point to a time in Earth’s past where there was violent and SUDDEN upheaval.
Really? Then where are the ruins of the civilizations that were suddenly destroyed by catastrophic floods? Early Egyptian civilization predates when Noah’s Floood allegedly happened according to a literal interpretation of Genesis, and yet there is no sudden interruption of Egyptian civilization some 4,500 years ago.
And the evidence in the geological record points to multiple times in Earth’s history when there were upheavals and mass extinctions. Not just the end of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, but the Permian Extinction some 251 million years ago, among others.
If Noah’s Ark, and subsequently the Tower of Babel Story were true, then we would expect to see evidence of human migration from Mesopotamia into and then throughout Africa. But instead, the evidence points the other way, from Africa into the Middle East. While it needs futher study, there is some evidence to suggest that Egyptian civilization had its origins in the Sahara during its wet phase, and that when the Sahara dried up, they then migrated to the Nile. Furthermore, the Sahara desert contains rock drawings spanning many centuries, with the drawings depicting different fauna as the Sahara dried. Again, no evidence of a massive flood.
What’s so difficult about “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal”, etc? You have doubts that the world wouldn’t be a better place if even those two precepts were adhered to? Why don’t you apply that same doubt to Darwinism? You don’t seem to have any doubts about THAT, do you? Or Abiogenesis? Yet, I’m supposed to just accept those as canon, right?
You are being deliberately obtuse. One need not invoke a deity for “Don’t kill” and “Don’t murder.” One does need to invoke a deity for “Do not worship any other gods but me.” One does need to invoke a deity to enforce punishments for blasphemy. It’s one thing to say “Don’t steal.” That’s a universal. It’s another to claim that God doesn’t want you to eat pork, or a cheeseburger, or that God gets into a furniture smashing tantrum in his celestial living room if Adam kisses Steve instead of Eve.
As for Darwinism, (1) I don’t say that you’re just supposed to accept it as canon, and (2) there is plenty that could happen to make me skeptical of it. We all have our criteria for determining whether things are true or false and I go where my criteria lead me. Where I don’t know, I do leave room for doubt, as in my initial remarks that I am agnostic about there being a higher intelligence that created our universe. But I am not going to live my life cringing in fear of a god that will have me suffer an eternity of pain and torment in the afterlife because I didn’t believe that this god impregnated a virgin Jewish teenage girl in the Galilee a couple of millennia ago.
“But I am not going to live my life cringing in fear of a god that will have me suffer an eternity of pain and torment in the afterlife because I didn’t believe that this god impregnated a virgin Jewish teenage girl in the Galilee a couple of millennia ago.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong as usual, on all points. You’re still basing your evolutionary religion on the talking heads of your pseudo-science and your profound ignorance of theology. I won’t even bother taking it apart systematically, you’re just too fucking stupid to comprehend anything but your own programmed rhetoric.
Go back to housekeeping, son, you’re probably qualified for that.
… and you’re NOT an agnostic, dumbass, don’t add bald-faced lying prick to your resume!
Oooh! Cranky! Please give me some more of that Christian love Giddyin’!
Let the record show that you have nothing to offer. Thanks for playing.
Sorry for coming late to the party, but I’ll try to make up for it.
First, as pointed out, Jason’s three possibilities are flawed, but for more reasons than already pointed out. The first is a lack of clarity for “cause”, as cause could be conscious, as in an entity willing an action, or it could be the result of prior actions which did not have a conscious initiator. This is where the religious confusion about “everything happening by chance” comes from, I believe. Things are the way they are as a result of a long series of events, each of which were one of a finite set of possible results from prior actions, and the progressive layering of events often reduces the number of possible outcomes that follow. So as the Chaplain pointed out, the universe could be the result of an as yet undetermined cause, and that cause could be conscious or unconscious.
As for his third choice, it can’t be considered as a choice. “Supernatural”, as generally understood, has yet to be verified to exist so that wipes the choice right out. So what’s left is an eternal universe, universe which sprang into existence without cause and universe which sprang into existence with cause. The latter two have one major thing in common, and that’s the existence of something outside of the universe, let’s call that “not-universe”. That’s generally the realm for the supernaturalists to claim as theirs, however theoretical scientists have also posited ideas such as multiverses, where perhaps our universe is a product of another universe. Maybe they have the same physical laws as ours, or maybe not, but it at least means that we can’t limit the definition of matter and energy, or the natural, to “of this universe” then. This is an important point as it’s a tactic for the supernaturalists to sneak the supernatural in by defining the natural as limited to our universe when clearly it doesn’t have to be. I see Jason attempted this. Anyway, since the supernatural was eliminated as an option since we have no reason to believe it exists, then the last two are dubious because we have no reason to believe there is any “not-universe”.
I see another tactic by Jason, the infinite regress argument. Yes, you could use that to argue against multiverses, but it also argues against the supernatural as well. The old “everything has a cause” to justify a god is no answer, and it doesn’t come any closer to being one by simply asserting that such an entity is eternal and thus doesn’t require a cause, since that effectively eliminates the main premise of the argument, that everything has a cause. In other words, dead before its first step. And lastly…
But it can cause itself to change; therefore the universe could be eternal, yet this manifestation of it need not be.
So let’s summarize.
• No option involving the supernatural is a viable or “tenable” option since the existence of the supernatural has yet to be evidenced.
• “Natural” need not, and should not be defined as anything solely of this universe since should there be a “not-universe”, it’s just as likely to be like our universe as not like our universe
• Nothing escapes an infinite regress through mere assertion
• The Big Bang could just as easily signify a change as it could a beginning
PS: No matter how many times you try, T4T, no, believing in a god is not warranted simply because you can’t fathom with your “little brain” any other explanation. Let it go.
just a quick few points as i am running short on time.
“So as the Chaplain pointed out, the universe could be the result of an as yet undetermined cause, and that cause could be conscious or unconscious.”
i’m afraid i’m not familiar with that particular cosmological model of the universe. where might i find it online so i can brush up on the finer details?
“As for his third choice, it can’t be considered as a choice. “Supernatural”, as generally understood, has yet to be verified to exist…”
neither have black holes, worm holes, virtual particle pairs, dark matter, and gravity. nonetheless, they may be reasonably assumed to exist because of what can be logically extrapolated from what IS verified.
“the universe could be eternal, yet this manifestation of it need not be.”
could you be more specific? are you referring to a particular model theory of the universe?
“The old “everything has a cause” to justify a god is no answer, and it doesn’t come any closer to being one by simply asserting that such an entity is eternal and thus doesn’t require a cause, since that effectively eliminates the main premise of the argument, that everything has a cause.”
should a supernatural entity be the cause of the universe, an infinite regress of time cannot logically be applied to such an entity since time itself is part of this universe. said entity would in effect be timeless.
interesting stuff. i look forward to discussing it with you a little more.
You can feel however you want about capitalization, but as a sign of respect you should at least recognize my preference for how my name should appear, so I ask that you capitalize my name correctly, otherwise I will assume your responses to me are not respectful and thus, are hostile.
If you’d prefer I address you as jason as opposed to Jason, I would be happy to accommodate you in the interest of mutual respect.
PS: No matter how many times you try, T4T, no, believing in a god is not warranted simply because you can’t fathom with your “little brain” any other explanation. Let it go.(Philly)
Like Im going to let you tell me what I can or cannot do. Please, at least give me some respect. Afterall I dont tell you to shut your trap, do I?
In my experience, when someone takes umbrage at the way the criticism is handed to them, they are avoiding the criticism itself. It’s called deflection.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Philly made a point. Either confront it, refute it, or walk away. Getting pissed off is pointless and an indication that you can’t refute him.
If you see lack of respect, it’s not directed at you, it’s directed at what you say. If you feel what you say deserves respect, support what you say so that we can all respect it.
I have confronted it. I suppose that there is intelligence at the origins of the Universe that I see. I suppose it will one day be proven. Are you guys not supposing that there isnt? Either way its still a supposition, right? Like until there is evidence pointing exactly to what/how this all started then its all just suppositions. As far as getting pissed off, trust me, Im not pissed off. Pissed off were the days I would have asked where he lived so we could have a nice chat out back. 😉
True until proven otherwise is another logical fallacy, argumentum ad ignorantiam, and no, all ideas are not equally valid as long as the answer is not known. For instance, you’re alone in the house and hear a noise. Until there is evidence pointing exactly to what/how the noise happened, are the following equally justified?
• a picture fell off the wall
• a pipe broke
• you have a ghost
• Olivia Wilde just broke in wanting to give you a massage
• aliens are here for your anal probe
Notwithstanding the fact that Olivia Wilde broke in last night and gave me a massage, I’d have to go with door number 1.
Oh. Did I say “fact”? I meant fantasy. Desire. Belief. Something like that. I really want it to be true.
Me? No, it’s not just me. The whole internet says so, plus a lot of books and stuff. 😉
“Me? No, it’s not just me. The whole internet says so, plus a lot of books and stuff.”
Heh-heh. Oh, gee… that’s great proof that the “whole internet” is behind you, Chiefy-boy. One page… and those “books and stuff”… well, that tears it! 😆 We’re finished!
Oh, but you forgot to mention that it’s mostly anti-theist rantings that are posted on YouTube, too. Another great determinating factor for truth. That’s how secure anti-theists are in their beliefs, when they have to hammer it down everyone’s throats – like in the publick (no misspelling) school (fool) system, the pseudo-science community, the media, this blog, etc. Where all of this is concerned, though, Chief, I think it’s mainly a case where infidels just have bigger mouths and are more willing to display that fact, other than these being any kind of indicator for superior knowledge or numbers.
“I really want it to be true.”
Notwithstanding your middle-aged pornographic fantasies, John, we’re all well aware of your desire that Christianity not only be untrue, you’d like it done away with. (I’ll bet Philly’s jerking off to this, right now, between servings of Ding Dongs and pork rinds)
Because I really like you infidels, I’ll tell you this yet again: Your quasi-intellectual theories on origins, including the nutty idea that matter just popped into existence all on it’s own from nothing; (or possibly as a result of a drive-by ejaculation by ET) and that man evolved from fish and sea cucumbers and squid shit, is about par with stupid. No offense, John… you’re stupid. Ignorance is one thing… WILLFUL ignorance, on the other hand, is stupidity. I mean, given the evidence, what else could it be?
The Chief’s unbalanced mind kind of lets him off the hook. You, however, should know better.
I need to get me a good digital camera with the widest-angle view possible, so that I can get in ALL of your open jaws when they hit the floor at the sight of Christ returning to Earth. With the extra-big mouths inherent to anti-theists, this equipment is standard in every aspiring Christian photographer’s quest to photograph infidels in the wild. It’ll have to perform two functions, as well, also having great telephoto capacity… one doesn’t want to be standing TOO close to infidels, in those days! It might be a tad hot around them… if you get my drift. 😉
I’m just wondering if there IS one with enough capacity to take in ALL of the Chief, though?
Yes. This is what I was saying above, when I sorta opted for “the universe is eternal”. One of the problems here is, as usual, definitions. I don’t think we are all using “the universe” as meaning the same thing. That graphic up there doesn’t really help, because it shows the universe from outside the universe, which is impossible, at least the way I define it.
Some are thinking of the universe as “that which we have identified as existing since the Big Bang” (the beginning of the graphic). I define the universe as simply “everything”. So in my view, the Big Bang isn’t necessarily the beginning of the universe, just this particular manifestation of it. The Big Bang could have just been the point, say, prior to the collapse of the last manifestation into a singularity, which then started re-expanding at the time of the Big Bang. And that manifestation could have been preceded by another, and another, and another, ad infinitum back in time. And there could be other manifestations occurring somewhere else in space concurrently, expanding and collapsing, ad infinitum. And there could be an infinite number of these all occurring at the same time.
But the matter (and anti-matter, and whatever else) would simply be converted, because it always existed. The process of creating what we know as the universe may have involved just a small part of all matter.
No god needed for any of that, if matter, all matter, always existed.
So you start off claiming to want to discuss what’s possible but now suddenly only specific models can be discussed? Hmmm…
Apples and oranges, or more specifically, natural and supernatural. The possibility of yet to be verified natural things has no bearing on the possibility of there being any such thing as the supernatural.
If infinite regress doesn’t apply to not-universe, then it doesn’t apply to multiverses either, nor trans dimensional gnomes.
I look forward to when you might have more time, as your rushed responses leave much to be desired.
Here’s my problem with positing “supernatural” as a valid possibility.
Supernatural is, at best, a creation of the mind, and abstract concept, like beauty, that cannot logically exist in reality, hence it cannot be a valid explanation for anything, unless we give up completely on logic and reason.
In order for there to be a supernatural entity exerting his/her/its power to create something natural (like our universe) it would by definition be natural itself. Furthermore, if that supernatural entity continued to exert its power over nature, it would have to enter nature and be a part of nature itself. In other words, if there are gods, they are natural, a part of nature. Hence that which is supernatural is part of nature, or else the definition of nature is meaningless.
It was once a helpful way for ignorant people to explain the then unexplainable. When man couldn’t arrive at a natural explanation, the mind invented a supernatural explanation. Same thing with the universe. As long as we don’t know how or why the universe is here, we resort to a comfortable supernatural explanation.
It’s just too bad that whole cultures, and eventually as a part of those cultures, religion, has grown up around this comforting explanatory process the brain has contrived, because now that we are able to figure things out scientifically, and rationally, we don’t need it, but the whole supernatural explanatory process in so entrenched, so embedded in our thinking (and has so much of its own self-interest at stake) that we can’t get rid of it without a huge amount of pain and effort.
Ever notice how most arguments for the existence of the supernatural are really just excuses to try and justify believing in the supernatural?
“Ever notice how most arguments for the existence of the supernatural are really just excuses to try and justify believing in the supernatural?”
Translation: “Our continuous whining for ‘proof’ of intelligent design and the supernatural is just a smokescreen to cover our arrogant and dogmatic assertions that evolution is the ONLY possible explanation for our origins. We make the rules… nah-nah-boo-boo… the end.”
Malevolent, vitriolic, now arrogant and dogmatic. You’re just Mr. Hyperbole these days aren’t you, Gid?
“Malevolent, vitriolic, now arrogant and dogmatic. You’re just Mr. Hyperbole these days aren’t you, Gid?”
You missed “stupid”, John.
P.S. And “fat” where Philly’s concerned.
“Sorry for coming late to the party, but I’ll try to make up for it.”
It’s okay, Chief, nobody missed you.
And, Jason? Yes, you should address the Chief properly. After all, he runs this site. From now on, you will address him as “His Eminence Lord Fat Boy, The Earl Of Pizza.” (Notice the capitalization?)
Running late, your lordship? What, the supermarket have a run on Ding Dongs and frozen meat pies, again? Understandable. You must forgive Jason for not toeing the party line, though. He’ll inevitably reach your lofty standards for punctuation and diction. He may even accept Darwin, too, as his personal lord and savior, like you did after a night of wild abandon at Denny’s.
“No matter how many times you try, T4T, no, believing in a god is not warranted simply because you can’t fathom with your “little brain” any other explanation. Let it go.”
Yes, T4T, it’s not hip to be associated with any kind of divine royalty. Better to be descended from smelly primates and primordial ooze… much more dignified and believable.
Let’s get with the program, shall we, fellas?
si and PhillyChief,
i believe that you both are speaking of the model theory of an oscillating universe. a singularity explosion creates the base elements for matter and star formation, expansion over many billions of years, the expansion slows as the velocity is not greater than the force of gravity working against it, complete equilibrium is reached, then contraction begins, the universes collapses on itself in a big crunch, a singularity is formed, rinse and repeat. presto, you have an eternal universe.
the problem here, though, is the math doesn’t work out to support it and that model is viewed as improbable by most cosmologists, though, admittedly there are some yet who still feel this model is correct and are working to make it viable again. they may be successful at some point but i for one doubt it. steady state is another proposed model for an eternal universe which works by the spontaneous creation of matter. again, problems with the math and the discovery of radio galaxies put it into the bin with the oscillating universe model. the accepted model right now is the big bang with steady expansion. the velocity measurements of very distant redshifted objects currently do not support any slow down or reversal of expansion.
so, in short (too late, i guess), the current accepted model is one of a finite universe with no evidence to support any previous manifestation(s).
“So you start off claiming to want to discuss what’s possible but now suddenly only specific models can be discussed? Hmmm…”
i never once stated i wanted to seriously discuss every possibility that anyone could think of as to why the universe is here. such a discussion could possibly include something along the lines of “maybe we’re all in the matrix and waiting for someone to offer us the blue or the red pill.” or “the universe could be the result of an as yet undetermined cause, and that cause could be conscious or unconscious.” lets at least keep it within the realm of known theory.
“Supernatural is, at best, a creation of the mind, and abstract concept, like beauty, that cannot logically exist in reality, hence it cannot be a valid explanation”
would you then say that numbers and mathematical laws are not valid or are just imaginings of the mind? that they do not “really” exist? after all, nowhere in the universe is the actual number “3” or the actual laws of motion. no, these are not creations of any human mind but universal truths that are immutable and have long existed before their discovery by man. despite not having any physical construction, they are as real as you or i.
“In order for there to be a supernatural entity exerting his/her/its power to create something natural (like our universe) it would by definition be natural itself.”
i believe that this is the definition of natural as you are using it here. based on this, i don’t believe your conclusion is correct.
natural – 1. of, existing in, or produced by nature
i would say that it logically follows that if the universe were created by a supernatural source, said source would be separate and distinct from the universe and not bound by it in any way.
if the universe is indeed finite with a clear beginning point (probable) and did not spontaneously self-create (highly improbable), the cause must logically be a powerful source that exists outside the boundaries of our universe. don’t discount it just because it doesn’t fit with your worldview.
I would say that numbers and math are an abstract, mental way of explaining, or labeling reality. You’re correct. You can’t show me a three. But you can show me three things, and everyone understands what three is, so that seems to imply a universal law or concept or label of some sort.
However, if you are somehow equating numbers and math with the supernatural, then you have made my case, that the supernatural is not “beyond the natural” it’s part of the natural world, and hence doesn’t exist, by definition. Therefore, if there are gods, they aren’t supernatural. They are part of the natural world, the only reality that exists.
Thanks for that.
That’s a circular argument. Or it begs the question. First you must establish the supernatural before you begin positing a supernatural cause. You’re assuming, at best, that the supernatural is “separate and distinct”. You need to prove that first.
“they may be successful at some point but i for one doubt it.”
I neither ‘doubt it’ nor do I ‘anticipate’ the certainty of an expanding/contracting universe. As with all other questions we have regarding the cause of the universe, its limits, potential multiplicity, etc. the scientific achievements of humankind simply have not yet any grasp. Therefore, it would be pompous beyond the bounds of merely “egotistical” for me to chime in either way at this point.
About the only thing I’m willing to assert is that the universe is almost certainly much stranger than we even have enough solid information for our most accomplished astrophysicists and cosmologists to speculate on.
To propose an intelligent causal agent is uncalled for (of all the people who are qualified to examine such issues, can we name a single one whose hypothesis includes this? If there are any, they are certainly a vanishingly small minority of top people in any of the appropriate fields and if we check their background, there is a high probability that their research is tainted by previously held god beliefs. That’s how “bad science” occasionally happens). To assert _certainty_ of such is both arrogant and imbalanced. Declaring positive I.D. of said deity is not called “madness” – but only because so many people insist on doing so.
Tangentially – Mountain Dew “Voltage” – the blue one… fucking fantastic. If I’d had a glass of it prior to the previous comment, it would have been much better. Surely.
“I neither ‘doubt it’ nor do I ‘anticipate’ the certainty of an expanding/contracting universe.”
i only say i doubt it because i’ve seen the math. the round peg does not fit into the square hole no matter how much you might wish it to. now, it may be at some future point that that particular model is revisited and regenerated by the discovery of some new mathematical theorem or perhaps by a physical discovery in distant space that would put into a different light but the odds are certainly against it. its dead as it sits now and has for some time. you never know, though, do you?
Really…. No. I think it’s more like ROFLMFAO!!!!
Whatever little credibility you might have had with me at one time went down the drain when you started making responses like this to him. Obviously others were right all along. Enjoy the ignominy.
What? Gideon’s funny. If you think that logically entails your “conclusion” that “others were right,” you’re fooling yourself. Lighten up.
Eh, you know what I meant: others were right…
I would say that numbers and math are an abstract, mental way of explaining, or labeling reality.
i would agree but i also think they are more than that. the mathematical and scientific laws, such as the aforementioned laws of motion use numbers. obviously these laws didn’t just become valid or pop into existence the moment a person discovered their truth. if these laws hold true then it follows that they always have even before discovery. iow, numbers would exist even if there were no one to discover them. so, abstract, yes, but at the same time real.
“However, if you are somehow equating numbers and math with the supernatural, then you have made my case…”
i am not. i used them as an example of what you claimed earlier cannot be:
“Supernatural is, at best, a creation of the mind, and ABSTRACT concept, like beauty, that CANNOT LOGICALLY EXIST IN REALITY, hence it CANNOT BE a VALID explanation”
even the abstract can and does exist.
“First you must establish the supernatural before you begin positing a supernatural cause.”
it cannot be established through any means we now possess anymore than your belief the universe is eternal. it is, however, as i’ve stated a couple of times now, a reasonable claim if the universe is neither infinite nor self-creating.
Im pretty sure I dont agree with your belief system, but hey, my little brainy thoughts think you are very bright. 🙂
A fair few responses since I first commented.
There’s that “self-creating” term over and over again. No one has proposed a self-creating universe, I don’t think and I’m pretty sure I’ve read all responses. Another problem is that the Big Bang occurred when our universe (that is, the universe as we know it), was very small and very young. We already know there was something before it in our known universe (but it wasn’t the universe as we currently see it). One popular pre-Big Bang theory is the Inflationary Model where matter may not have existed, but energy did. As with all theories in science, it has its issues.
To further explain everything, there are theories that propose higher dimensions than those we can imagine (all the variations of string theory, Kaluza-Klein theory, etc.). These theories, of course, are currently only being held in the study of physics and mathematics. They aren’t yet falsifiable and don’t make predictions. Which makes it the popular notion of theory: a conjecture. I’ll also like to lend support to Cuttlefish in suggesting Lawrence Krauss’ “A Universe from Nothing,” as well as his other link.
There are quite a few possible explanations for what occurred before the Big Bang, but very little of it do we have an understanding of. Which is to say what SI has said: We don’t know and aren’t even remotely sure on anything. It would be foolish to put all your eggs in one basket at this point. There isn’t enough information yet. But, nowhere, really, have I seen a legitimate reason (note that this is not a legitimate reason: “we don’t know and can’t know in the foreseeable future how everything came to be.”) for the notion that a Supernatural being existing outside of everything we know, can test, prove, and find evidence of, created this universe. As SI said, there hasn’t been one instance where something has not eventually been explained in natural means and that itself leads to the conclusion that it is more probable that a Supernatural being does not and cannot exist. That’s a statement that can’t be refuted without going against logic.
A note: self-creating implies that something/someone had intent, a motivation and inclination to put effort into the manifestation of some event, circumstance, or … etc.
“There’s that “self-creating” term over and over again. No one has proposed a self-creating universe, I don’t think and I’m pretty sure I’ve read all responses.”
to clarify that term: creatio ex nihilo or creation out of nothing is what it refers to. more accurately, if used to indicate a non-causal use of the term, spontaneous creation out of nothing. spontaneous as it is used here would be: arising from internal forces or causes; independent of external agencies; self-acting. its a more casual term and certainly easier than using the latin or typing spontaneous creation out of nothing. hope that helps.
“But, nowhere, really, have I seen a legitimate reason…for the notion that a Supernatural being existing outside of everything we know, can test, prove, and find evidence of, created this universe.”
that’s a completely reasonable and rational thought. if we are going to critically examine the possibilities, though, we are faced with only a few choices: the universe is eternal, the universe spontaneously created without cause, the universe was created by a cause that itself is external to the universe. i, myself, have rejected the first two. the first one because the commonly accepted model of the universe does not support it and it calls to the foreground the problem of logically explaining how an actual infinite exists which at present time is not possible. that may change given time and i will give it its due consideration if it does. the second because it runs counter to observable experience and intuition. the latin would be ex nihilo nihil fit – from nothing, nothing comes. now, it may be addressed that certain things do seemingly materialize out of nothing; virtual particle pairs for instance. i would point out, though, they arise in a subatomic vacuum as a result of the spontaneous energy fluctuations contained therein. such models do not, therefore, involve a true origination ex nihilo. to say they come from nowhere and for no reason is inaccurate at best and intentionally misleading at worst. i would also ask if it were possible that matter and energy can self-create, why would that process only be restricted to producing universes? why not water molecules or gold bars or pancakes? why should we think universes are the only exception to the apparently universal metaphysical principle that something cannot come from nothing?
Seems to me that those specific suggestions allow for a fourth: the universe spontaneously created with cause, i.e the universe spontaneously came into existence via a cause that we don’t quite understand, but is perfectly natural. Something inside the universe, perhaps in existence before the Big Bang, but something natural, not outside the universe. Certainly not supernatural.
I really think being outside the universe is impossible, logically, if the universe is defined as “everything”.
Now, you might say that’s the “self-creating universe” but I’d agree with Writing_Shadows that the term “self-creating” implies some conscious intent or motivation, but we know so far that nature has none of that.
“Seems to me that those specific suggestions allow for a fourth: the universe spontaneously created with cause, i.e the universe spontaneously came into existence via a cause that we don’t quite understand, but is perfectly natural. Something inside the universe, perhaps in existence before the Big Bang, but something natural, not outside the universe.”
can you clarify this? it seems to me that you’re saying that something inside the universe created the universe. it seems obvious that something that does not yet exist cannot cause itself to start to exist.
Does anyone other than me find it comical that Jason is discounting theories by trying to cite established cosmological models and claiming “the math doesn’t work out” while simultaneously arguing for the supernatural (ie – a god), something for which there’s nothing, no math, no models, no evidence for its existence? The hypocrisy is eerily reminiscent of that lovable jackass whose appearance here has seemed to diminish, or has it?
If we’re going to speak of models, one clear and very outdated model which is apparent in his comments is the old apologetic model that god belief is the default; the accepted explanation until proven otherwise. Sorry, but that model was always flawed and only a fool (or one who thinks his audience is comprised of fools) would use it. The continued attempts to discredit anything other than a supernatural agent outside of the universe creating the universe does not, in any way, make such a ridiculous idea any less so, or as he laughably suggested it as, “viable”. There is no evidence for an outside of the universe, no evidence for the supernatural, and certainly no evidence for an agent whose existence is predicated upon both.
No, WE use numbers as labels to quantify and make sense of reality, and that knowledge gets further grouped and labeled as “scientific laws”. Labels are concepts we assign to things, therefore the label doesn’t physically exist, only the thing it labels does. In short, no, the abstract can’t and doesn’t exist (ie – see Theist Trick: Of Wind And Abstract Thought).
Again, pretty thoughtless stuff. I guess he was short on time again when he left each of those comments. I think quality trumps quantity, so it’s best to take one’s time and think things through before commenting, assuming, of course, one is sufficiently capable of thinking things through.
As I said somewhere above, it’s positively Cee-Elian!
Isn’t self-delusion pitiable?
“Isn’t self-delusion pitiable?”
It sure is, John… up to a point.
“Does anyone other than me find it comical that Jason… yada, yada… something for which there’s nothing, no math, no models, no evidence for its existence… yada, yada… Sorry, but that model was always flawed and only a fool… yada, yada… blah, blah.”
Chief… were you born full of shit or did you have to work at it?
Again, you think there is absolutely flawless reasoning in your diatribes. You keep mouthing off and not producing. Purely speculative, heavily biased reasoning is your ‘evidence’. I guess everybody in the Christian world is wrong and you’re right, then? Well, how about getting YOUR fat ass out there and solving the world’s problems, son? That an unreasonable request?
PROVE there’s no God, boy, or shut up! Like your single page ‘evidence’ that the entire internet backs you, along with those ethereal “books and stuff”, your opinion means nothing without EVIDENCE.
That’s just dumb, Giddy, but unsurprising considering the source.
Philly makes far more sense in any one random sentence than you’ve made since you’ve started commenting.
But, c’est la vie.
“Philly makes far more sense in any one random sentence than you’ve made since you’ve started commenting.”
Whatever, John. Turn the Chief loose on Christian turf, we’ll see how well he does. Maybe his “books and stuff” and his single page internet following will win them over.
Oh, here… I’ll apologize to the Chief, if it’ll make you happy:
Chief… I… a… apol… apolog-g-g-g…. g-g-g-g…
Here… I’ll let this explain my feelings.
That’s highly unlikely. Christians only read one book, and any “stuff’ that contradicts it is dismissed automatically, without thought.
And I know when i used the term “Christians’, someone will jump on me and claim I’m overgeneralizing.
“Does anyone other than me find it comical that Jason is discounting theories by trying to cite established cosmological models and claiming “the math doesn’t work out” while simultaneously arguing for the supernatural (ie – a god), something for which there’s nothing, no math, no models, no evidence for its existence?”
in the cases i cited the math doesn’t work out. don’t take my word for it, its quite easily accessible knowledge. if we’re discussing why the universe is here, i think it important to establish what the most probable model of the universe is in order that we may be asking the correct questions, otherwise why discuss it?
“one clear and very outdated model which is apparent in his comments is the old apologetic model that god belief is the default; the accepted explanation until proven otherwise.”
can you please point out the statement where its apparent that i suggested any such thing.
“There is no evidence for an outside of the universe…”
then it seems that you believe that the correct universe model is an eternal one in some form or fashion. nothing wrong with that but i believe i’ve made good arguments against that option and happen to disagree.
No, WE use numbers as labels to quantify and make sense of reality, and that knowledge gets further grouped and labeled as “scientific laws”. Labels are concepts we assign to things, therefore the label doesn’t physically exist, only the thing it labels does.
apologies. let me rephrase that. the mathematical and scientific laws, such as the aforementioned laws of motion NECESSITATE numbers. again, i agree that they don’t physically exist. they are real, however, and exist necessarily. i won’t bore anyone with a discourse in ontology to make that case – anyone interested in may find it easily. disagree if you like.
“I think quality trumps quantity, so it’s best to take one’s time and think things through before commenting, assuming, of course, one is sufficiently capable of thinking things through.”
When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it. ~Bernard Baily
The difficulty in explaining science and providing evidence to people who are not scientists and not versed in the mathematics, physics, etc. of it is that language is not used to prove anything in any of those fields. In fact, it is nearly impossible to do so. You can give an oversimplified explanation of the evidence and its implications but, overall, you’re not going to get to the heart of the matter. Even if you were to try this, it would result in something that is entirely inaccurate. There is no available language to properly translate the evidence. That is why I criticize the use of certain terms and wonder about my own. I’m admittedly not yet versed in mathematics, physics or cosmology—not even remotely close to the age of which I could possibly attain that level of understanding—so I have to concede that I am referring to what I have read and studied (so far) in science.
This is the best way that I can explain it (without getting into specific details of the evidence):
I made the statement that it is more probable that there is not a supernatural cause for our existence. Not that it isn’t possible that this is the case. Most everyone would agree that it is within the realm of imagination. But that is not where the evidence leads. There is a leap of faith in the belief of a deity and faith is always in the absence of evidence. I personally do not have a solid opinion of how the universe began, if there even was a specific. My current leaning is towards an eternal universe (not the universe that we know of or can imagine). It is where the current research is being done. Explaining an eternal universe, in the sense that I mean it, will always be inadequate and always lead to a game of semantics.
What I don’t see is how this “eternal universe” is less plausible than an “eternal creator.” The former I find far simpler and more intrinsically beautiful than the latter. There is an absurd amount of logistics to be dealt with in explaining a being that exists outside of everything ever known. At least an “eternal universe” doesn’t have to explain all that. It follows all natural laws because it is natural. The “something always has a cause” will eventually lead you to the same conclusion: something must have come from nothing or else be eternal, whether it be the universe or the supernatural being.
You’re missing the point. Whether the math works out or not has no bearing on whether the supernatural exists, nor whether there’s an “outside the universe”. There’s no evidence for either, therefore to argue for either, or an agent dependent upon both is not engaging in trying to “establish what the most probable model of the universe is”. Therefore, believing such arguments are good ones is folly.
Ah, believe I see where you’re going with this. If you can show that an abstract idea is necessary to explain something, then that something is real and necessary, therefore if the universe can’t be explained by any means other than with the supernatural, then the supernatural must be real and necessary. Kinda clever trick, but just a trick argument. Ultimately, it boils down to an argumentum ad ignorantium, but it has other flaws as well.
To quote Jody Azzouni, “scientists don’t create measuring tools to interact with numbers”. You readily confuse labels for the things they’re labeling (perhaps because ontology bores you, but it’s worth further study). The laws of motion are not the reality of motion, they are our system of quantifying and labeling the realities of motion. To say the laws of motion necessitates numbers then is incorrect on two counts. First, reality doesn’t necessitate labels. Second, as a system based on numbers, numbers necessitate our laws of motion, not the other way around. Therefore, numbers don’t “exist necessarily”. No label exists necessarily, so the supernatural connection can’t be made this way.
Another problem is when using a label, we can readily demonstrate the thing being labeled or else the label is meaningless. 4 isn’t real, but I can point to 4 things to demonstrate 4. The label supernatural is meaningless because it can’t be demonstrated, so you could really never make an argument using numbers and then substitute supernatural anyway, because they’re not equivalent.
I do enjoy these little supernaturalist’s tricks, though. 😉
Loved your last paragraph making a distinction on the use and meaning of labels. I’ll have to use that in the future. Not that I didn’t enjoy the rest, but that seems the most illustrative of a major point.
4 isn’t real, but I can point to 4 things to demonstrate 4.(Philly)
How many languages can you demonstrate that in? And what happens when you cant understand the language that is being used? Oh, you probably insult them right.
Amusingly enough, 4 languages; 5 if you count hand gestures. Btw, I have a hand gesture for you. Shall I describe it to you? 😉
Outstanding, 4 languages.
Counting in multiple languages is easy. Complete fluency is another, but here’s how you can learn Chinese in 5 minutes. 🙂
Loud, lying and repetitive says: “I guess everybody in the Christian world is wrong and you’re right, then?”
How ignorant. At least it would be an honest question if it were phrased: “everybody in the Christian world is wrong and you and everyone in the secular world is right, then?” Not that it would even matter. If he’s right, then that’s the way it goes – regardless if he is the only one or how many people disagree.
If that doesn’t top off the ignorance tank, it continues to flow: “PROVE there’s no God, boy, or shut up!”
What a contrast to Writing_Shadows, who has an actual intellectual point of view:
“What I don’t see is how this “eternal universe” is less plausible than an “eternal creator.” The former I find far simpler and more intrinsically beautiful than the latter….The “something always has a cause” will eventually lead you to the same conclusion: something must have come from nothing or else be eternal, whether it be the universe or the supernatural being.”
You have to laugh at Gidget, and then pity him.
“You have to laugh at Gidget, and then pity him.”
Nah, Johnny… I don’t need your pity. But, if you can spot me for say… a couple of grand, I could use it to pay some bills?
Infidel money’s as good as anyone’s!
Not all beliefs are Christian and for that matter religious. Some of us just dont think this whole mess is a random fluke of a chance.
That’s a misleading dichotomy. I’ve known not a single individual who thought that this was a “random fluke of a chance.” Rare occurrences occur all the time in the Universe. A star exploding, for instance, is an event that occurs once every 100,000 years in a given galaxy, I believe it is. But if you were to look through a powerful enough telescope in a small section of the sky, you would witness at least 10 in a single night (the numbers may not be precisely right, but it is a rare event). I always refer to a gambling situation where your odds are millions to one. You may not win the first time, or the second, or… etc. but eventually, you’ll have a win. It’s as near a certainty as you’re going to get. The amount of reactions that occur at the subatomic level is unfathomable; there is eventually going to be a hit on the right circumstances.
Isn’t that because of… random chance?
That is the scientific term, yes. Non-scientists will often misconstrue the word to mean something else. For instance, the additional quality of being a “fluke” (which is the qualifier TitforTat felt necessary to add). It isn’t. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a form of life to result based on the sheer number of interactions that play out every second of every day.
Can you articulate, precisely, the difference between, “a fluke of random chance,” and, just regular ol’ random chance?
Random within a finite set of possibilities. For instance, what you might post here is potentially pretty random and unpredictable, but it’s nearly impossible that you’ll post in a language other than English, or that the posting won’t be douchey.
Another example would be that when you wake up, you might have a headache, or your arm might be asleep from laying on it, or your pillow might be soaked from a night of drooling, but you’re not going to wake up as a cockroach. Randomness, within a finite set of possibilities.
I remain interested in your answer to this question, and I apologize if you did provide an answer and I missed it. If the latter is the case, by all means, point me to it.
I really didn’t think that a clarification was necessary. Philly Chief’s explanation of random chance was satisfactory. The term fluke implies that an event wasn’t ever expected to occur and is not expected to happen again. Which is counter to… just about everything to do with mathematics and how the universe works; events repeat themselves (though not always to the same result).
That’s precisely the clarification chief failed to provide, so, thanks. Now: may he correct me if I’m reading him wrong, but, assuming T4T was referring to our universe when he said “this mess,” would you agree that as far as empirical evidence is concerned, we have a sample set of 1? A simple “yes” or “no” would be appreciated, followed by explanation should you deem it necessary.
Why don’t you just make your point, cl? Of course he is going to have to answer “yes” we only have one universe to make our assumptions based on. What do you think he’s going to say? “No, we have 36 known universes from which to form hypotheses, draw conclusions, compute probabilities”? You aren’t a lawyer and you sure as shit ain’t Socrates so fucking make a point
It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a form of life to result based on the sheer number of interactions that play out every second of every day.(WS)
Of course it is. But the suggestion is that these things could have come about from nothingness is what makes me suppose that something else might be at work. And you know what, that supposition is perfectly reasonable whether or not you or any one else on here is willing to admit it. The problem with most Atheists is that they cant get past religion. There stuck. Mindlessly equating any other idea to Dogmatic theology. Sad.
While it is, I think, dominant in the overall culture, I don’t think that’s what most here have done. Based on the comments, it is an argument over the likelihood of this supernatural being. The only individual to mention Christianity, or any religion, is TommyKey who states that he maintains an agnosticism but does find fault with religions conception of it. Very briefly, and as part of a larger point, SI mentioned religion in general.
Myself and several others who have commented find the likelihood of a supernatural being less likely than other suggestions based on a history of explanatory discoveries and some other issues that are probably too cumbersome to explicitly state. They have pointed out inadequacies in reasoning for being in favor of a supernatural being by boiling down an argument to their perception of its core.
I have never said Supernatural, in fact whatever started this off would be completely natural to the Universe. Maybe it is the Universe. I just dont see it starting without a level of intelligence. Thats my idea and Im sticking to it. Though it is fun on occasion to banter with the likes of Philly Chief.
Something I remember T4T writing here, and is often the last defense of holding irrational beliefs, is “what’s the harm?” What’s the harm in thinking there’s some intelligence behind the universe? What’s the harm in believing my red tie is lucky? The harm lies in not just establishing an acceptance for faith (and make no mistake, such beliefs are held based on faith), but for esteeming it above actual means of gaining knowledge and ultimately, truth. No man is an island, so exhibiting such a behavior has a ripple effect, and the more it’s exhibited in society, the more it’s considered acceptable, so what’s the harm?
How about anti-vaccinators? Despite evidence to the contrary, they’re convinced that vaccinations will make their kids autistic. It’s their idea and they’re sticking to it. How about WMDs in Iraq? How about South Dakota proposing killing abortion doctors to be justifiable homicide because fetuses have souls? It’s their idea and they’re sticking to it. How about the continued war on drugs? Abstinence only sex ed?
The bigger problem is the lack of critical thinking and high regard faith has in this country. Religion is the largest manifestation of this, so that’s why it deserves so much attention but rational atheists’ sole mission isn’t and shouldn’t be neutralizing religion, but rendering faith valueless and promoting critical thinking. Focus on that, and the rest should fall by the wayside, so we don’t get anymore irrational beliefs nor believers saying, “that’s my idea and Im sticking to it.”
Youre such a fucking drama queen its unbelievable. Im not anti science. Because I suppose something doesnt mean dont do other things such as research or question my government. Im amazed how you try to lump all your perceived ills to my supposing there is intelligence behind our origins. Quite remarkable actually. As I stated before not all beliefs have to be religious in these regards, but your little brainy thoughts sure like to beat a dead horse.
The point is no man is an island. Great, your irrationality is isolated to one thing (allegedly), but the exhibition of that could be taken by someone else as justification for their irrational belief(s), and so on. You have a kid, don’t you? So you’re basically teaching your kid it’s ok, at least for one thing, to be irrational. That’s just fabulous. It reminds me of that drug commercial from years ago when the Dad finds the kid’s stash and she says, “I learned it from watching you!”
How many times in society do you hear shit like “you gotta have faith” or “faith is a virtue” said? It becomes this universal excuse for irrational indulgences. That has to be nipped in the bud, which is difficult as long as wankers like you are teaching your kids it’s just fine to believe shit you just want to believe and stick to that belief no matter what. It’s hard enough dealing with the effects of the damn self esteem movement on kids today without having to deal with that crap on top of it, which incidentally they synergistically feed one another. Stubborn, narrow-minded, faith bolstered fools with the added bonus of thinking they’re the awesomest thing ever, that’s the identity of today’s America, and that has to change.
“How many times in society do you hear shit like “you gotta have faith” or “faith is a virtue” said? It becomes this universal excuse for irrational indulgences. That has to be nipped in the bud, which is difficult as long as wankers like you are teaching your kids it’s just fine to believe shit you just want to believe and stick to that belief no matter what. It’s hard enough dealing with the effects of the damn self esteem movement on kids today without having to deal with that crap on top of it, which incidentally they synergistically feed one another. Stubborn, narrow-minded, faith bolstered fools with the added bonus of thinking they’re the awesomest thing ever, that’s the identity of today’s America, and that has to change.”
“… but rendering faith valueless and promoting critical thinking. Focus on that, and the rest should fall by the wayside, so we don’t get anymore irrational beliefs nor believers saying, “that’s my idea and Im sticking to it.”
And, remember, folks; THAT is an “ATHEIST” talking! God help us if an ANTI-THEIST ever walked into the room. 😆
Getting emotional, Chief? What kind of example is that to your boot-licks… right, John?
Remember… atheism is the ABSENCE of belief, not the vitriolic condemnation of it.
Have a Ding Dong and think it over.
Stubborn, narrow-minded, faith bolstered fools with the added bonus of thinking they’re the awesomest thing ever, that’s the identity of today’s America, and that has to change.(Philly)
I agree, doesnt apply to me, but I agree(Canadian and quite open minded). As far as my kids go, I will remind my daughter not to have any kind of faith as it may interrupt her International BaccaLaureate studies next year.
Of course you dont see the drama, its hard to see the forest through the trees.
OK. So enlighten me. Cut a few trees down. Don’t imply I’m intentionally blind.
As far as I can tell, the drama, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.
Read this again.
How about anti-vaccinators? Despite evidence to the contrary, they’re convinced that vaccinations will make their kids autistic. It’s their idea and they’re sticking to it. How about WMDs in Iraq? How about South Dakota proposing killing abortion doctors to be justifiable homicide because fetuses have souls? It’s their idea and they’re sticking to it. How about the continued war on drugs? Abstinence only sex ed?
Ok, because I have a supposition(belief,faith) that there is intelligence at our origins, Philly not only insults me but makes these comparisions without even knowing how or where I express these views in the “real” world.
Can you not see just a liiittttle bit of drama in his remarks.
I don’t see the insult, nor do I see the drama. Philly has made a great point, one that should be made over and over, about people that don’t apply a little critical thinking to their beliefs. It’s a point that is made often here, and on some very well read and debated blogs, like Pharyngula, Ed Braytons’s Blog, Chappy’s and Philly’s.
This whole idea that we should believe something without relying on a stick of evidence has ramifications far beyond this little blog. The anti-vaccinators, for instance, have been debunked time and again, yet they continue to think their little Johnnies and Annies were injected with autism. It’s one thing to secretly hold a belief in your brain. It’s another to proselytize your beliefs to the point of harming others. Diseases that we once thought of historically have now raised their ugly heads and made a comeback, with children dying of the measles, for Chrissake, because of those beliefs.
And you think that’s dramatic? Your idea of drama and mine are miles apart. This is just a fuckin’ blog, that gets about 200 visits a day, with maybe 1% staying to debate. Those people are causing children to die. Get some perspective about drama.
Your supposition about intelligence in the universe, if you follow Philly’s logic, while innocuous to you and maybe even to your children, has ramifications far beyond you. Multiply it by billions of people, all indirectly and directly supporting each other’s quaint little beliefs, and you have a major problem. Personally, I put people who say they were kidnapped by aliens and people who believe that the universe was created by a supernatural creator, in the same category.
I know you differentiate your belief by saying the intelligence you believe in was not necessarily supernatural. If so, what kind of intelligence do you think created the universe?
And, in any event, how does someone’s opinion insult you? I’m curious.
“(Canadian and quite open minded)”
Open it much wider, it’ll fall out. It’s getting hard to tell just where you stand. Do you even know? (Must be from Ontario)
And, I don’t see how having faith in Christ is going to interfere with your kid’s education. You a closet infidel or something? I notice there’s a few of them, here, what with their conflicting ideologies. Supposedly faith-based individuals citing evolutionary rhetoric…
Well, maybe I will have to apologize to the fat boy, at least he (aside from his “atheism” definition) seems to know where he stands!
I missed the drama. Did he send you a private email?
“I missed the drama. Did he send you a private email?”
You must get a lot of them, huh John?
Why does that amaze you? It’s philly-chief. You know the drill: he’s always right, he’s got it all figured out, there’s no “warrant” for anything that conflicts with his precious little view of reality, anyone who thinks differently than him is always inferior… come on T4T! You act like you’re not a semi-regular commenter here. 😉
Ok SI, his comparisons are valid…………
Some of us think that the world would be a better place if no one held irrational, faith-based beliefs about the world and the rest of the universe. When Philly makes those comparisons, ones which I’m quite sure he hopes we can all agree represent grievous harm when accepted, he forces us to examine our own irrationally held beliefs and see that when we make make it honorable to hold such beliefs, we send a message that we are good with others holding theirs.
I’d like you to ask yourself this question: Have I seen others become incensed when their own particular irrational beliefs gets compared to other, more harmful ones? Have I ever seen, say, a Christian exclaim “you can’t possibly compare my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior to idiots who think the MMR vaccine causes autism! Or to others who think we are being visited by aliens who perform anal probes on humans!” and effectively close off any further criticism of their irrationality? You HAVE noticed the phenomenon, have you not? You DO recognize that virtually everyone who holds an irrational belief reacts in this manner to having an analogy built between their “Precious” all those other “stupid” ideas, right?
You have admitted that your beliefs are irrational. You claim no evidence, but that it’s some “brainy” thing going on with you. You should consider asking yourself if it’s better to stick to this position, or better to be able to shrug and say “Don’t know. There isn’t enough evidence to say”.
Maybe for a better world for your future granddaughter.
Having evolved to experience and express empathy, I do so whenever I see someone who has been dealt a rough deck and suffers from a handicap. While the person seldom “needs” my empathy, they get it any way.
No money to follow.
“or that the posting won’t be douchey. ”
LOL!! Yeah, I probably DID need to lighten up a bit. This one line did it for me! 😉
This is all getting ridiculous! Hell, I remember the good ‘ol days when I first visited the Chief’s blog (John’s looking after it, now, while the Chief tends to more important things) and found the Chief and John after they had just did their ‘shopping’…
LOL! They’re still good buddies, though. Of course, we can’t forget Evo, whose presence always brightens up the gloomiest day! I miss having tea with him… He always took at least four lumps!
Yeah… what ever happened to those days?
You all might be interested in this – if the interest in this post is indicative.
Fascinating, Evo. Thanks. I’ll bet that Gideon can’t get farther than 3 minutes into the video, before he posts some snarky comment.
I would far more find myself listening to someone like this, (or Lawrence Krauss in that video Cuttlefish linked to) than to some preacher, minister or religious leader expounding on the glory of god, or fire and brimstone, or even some arcane notion of theology. Here’s someone that clearly acknowledges that we know very little (4%?), but his search for answering all those questions is exciting and driven by a thirst for knowledge, and not a desire to confirm a pre-existing belief like CL/Jason does.
Contrast that with religion, where people like Gideon dogmatically say we already know everything, and that is god, so stop being so goddamned inquisitive.
I will listen to people like Brian Green, rather that some pope, priest or minister any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
And since this particular post seems to be winding down, I’ll bring this around to my original point, which is this: Life, reality, is about going with the probabilities, not the certainties. There are no certainties, despite the best efforts of the religious to claim there are. Even they live their lives assessing those probabilities and picking the paths that have the highest possible likelihood of success in everything they do, then contradict themselves constantly by proclaiming that some god is certain.
So far 100% of all the mysteries of life that have been conclusively revealed do NOT have a supernatural foundation. So, when I make my choices about what to believe and what not to believe, I will choose the path with the success rate that science has exhibited. Religion is nothing less than wishful thinking and willful ignorance combined to create a self-delusion. It may have had a place in the lives of ignorant cultures that had neither the experiences or ability to explore reality properly, but we have advanced far beyond the need for such simplistic and delusional thinking.
The world would be better off without religion.
Ah, the irony: SI ends his pro-science rant with an unsupported assertion that’s cherrypicked at best. Gallup indicates that without religion, the world would be less generous, less healthy, and less suicidal:
So, preach your irreligious opinions all you want. As for me, I’ll go by the evidence.
Yep, nothing like a well grounded belief based on popular vote.
How long have you been commenting here? Two years? And we’re still waiting for this evidence.
I do have to say that a survey of people is never considered evidence, even based on the loosest of standards. People tend to exaggerate and/or lie about their behaviors. There’s also the issue of what kind of ‘help’ these people gave. I would bet that most of that “charity” for the highly religious are done for their church or in the name of their church, which is a pretty exclusive club.
That’s really one of many issues with referring to polls as ‘evidence.’
So, if we only have a sample size of 1, then doesn’t this universe qualify as a “random fluke of chance” by the definition provided? You wrote,
Yet, T4T’s comment to you was concerning the fact of this universe existing at all. If we limit ourselves to the empirical evidence, we don’t have a series of “times,” so to speak. We have one time, and, for some reason, against all odds, it came out the way it did.
How is that not a random fluke of chance?
You don’t seem to get it. You fancy yourself a rationalist who follows the evidence wherever it leads. Yet, here you are feeding us atheist preaching with no evidence. Think about it. You do the same thing a theist does when they offer an unsupported opinion as a truth claim.
As for my evidence, I gave up on that two years ago. You can only go so far when your interlocutor prefers to bury their head in the sand as opposed to confront things head-on. If you’re interested in why I believe what I believe, come to my blog. Until then, I’m content to stop by every now and again in hopes that you’re not feeding us the same ol’ same ol’.
What? You give up on flogging the flying video games theory?
[EDIT] Sorry. Cheap shot. I’m human. Shoot me.
As pointed out above, peoples’ views of themselves, even in a scientifically conducted poll is, at best, a tiny marker (if not largely irrelevant). Here’s another way to view these issues, and whether a religious society makes for a better society.
Devise a list of desirable societal features. Here are some I’d add to such a list.
Health – and guaranteed health care for all.
Affordable, quality housing
Education – both levels achieved and free access to.
Low violent crime rates
I’m sure you could add a number that we could both agree on.
Now look at the data for existing states around the world who consistently rank highest on our list. Finally, examine the religiosity of those societies. If those countries consistently rank among the most religious in the world, I’d have to concede you have a point that needs closer examination. At the very least, I’d hold my tongue in stating with certainty that a more secular society is a better one. I would hope you’d do the same, if the results were the opposite.
Take a look at the data. I’ve seen some it.
Even if a society with religion was able to function better, with happier people, that would not make god’s existence true, now would it? At best it would mean that unenlightened self-delusion has beneficial psychological side-effects.
I’ve seen some of it too, Evo, and I’ll be the first to admit that statistics can be made to support all sorts of seemingly contradictory notions. My point is, when SI starts running his mouth about, “the world would be better off without religion,” he’s making a truth claim, yet, without a lick of evidence or argumentation to support its veracity.
If that’s what passes for “rationalism” around here, well… I’m not surprised. Surprise me with something besides a knee-jerk defense of SI, if you can.
Did you look at the links I provided? This is exactly what some of them do. Countries with the lowest suicide rates? The most religious ones. However, what does that really say, and how much stock can we put in it? You could turn around and say, “Countries with the highest violent crime rates? The most religious ones.” How do we know that confounders have been controlled for in either case? At any rate, my main point was this: you guys demand evidence for any and every claim a theist makes, yet, when SI makes a claim with no evidence, he gets a free pass from every one of you. Why? Because what he says confirms your pre-existing biases? Why don’t you challenge SI?
At any rate, to take this in another direction, one not as easily obscured by confounders, something a little more… shall we say, scientific. A study published in the journal Liver Transplantation suggests that religiosity is associated with prolonged survival in liver transplant recipients. From the study:
Of course, SI doesn’t even mention anything like this, because it’s all about preaching to those already converted, ain’t it?
No, he’s stating his opinion, based on evidence set forth in 399 prior posts, links and discussions. Unlike the evidence you have presented so far in the same posts, links and discussions.
But that’s what CL does, and has always done, and what gets him kicked off of other blogs. After the evidence is presented, he asks for it again and again, to be typed and retyped, as if it was never presented in the first place.
After awhile, we all say “fuck that – been there, done that”.
“The world would be better off without religion.”
Yes, we know, John. Your “atheist” side is certainly showing, once again.
Anyway, I’ve heard all of this stuff, before. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s all supposition, though the speaker certainly implies it’s more than that. Listen, I can’t say for certain there aren’t multiple universes, the only thing I’ve ever disputed is the way the universe is interpreted, not constructed. I also maintain those other universes would have to have been intelligently designed and created, too. Having said all of this, I’m still inclined to think this universe is all there is, given the lack of evidence (I go by evidence, too!) and the determination of infidels (such as yourself) to vilify and discredit God and deny His existence.
You seem to place a lot of faith in those suppositions special relativity proposes. Would you go into a courtroom armed with the same suppositions in some civil matter, such as that which evolution provides in this? If you would, you must not value your reputation very highly.
You call Christian faith “simplistic” as if simplicity is a bad thing. In a modern, hectic “multitasking” world, it’s getting almost vulgar to think in terms of simplifying life or any of it’s social components. Yet, prisons and hospitals are full of burned-out people, victims of over-teched and frenetic lifestyles that many are convinced leads only to a hole in the ground for eternity, anyway. It’s like there is a saner side to them that rebels against the idiotic notion that life has to be so complicated, calling for release from it’s captivity.
Man seems bent upon complicating his life. The myriad of theories and explanations for what is so simply and beautifully explained in scripture, by He who made it all, is testimony of the determination to escape from what the subconscious knows full well is true… that nature testifies of it’s Designer, whose workings necessarily are beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Like looking a gift horse in the mouth, man simply can’t/won’t accept nature as is, a gift from God. He thinks he has to subdue and modify it in his image, to suit his vain understanding.
If I was you, I’d be more concerned with your apparent inability to see it coming. Then again, you are a bit emotionally fixated upon the messenger, so… I suppose it all makes sense.
“Fixated” – on YOU? I just point out that it’s a stupid question and ask you to please get on with whatever point you want to make.
Stupid question? I suppose you’d rather have me take the liberty of making assumptions about the beliefs held by somebody I’m hardly acquainted with? For all I know, Writing_Shadows might be a proponent of a “many universes” concept. Since I don’t know, I ask, not only to avoid assumption, but also to cement goalposts. Sorry you seem to lack patience, but that’s to your own detriment–not mine.
“Writing_Shadows might be a proponent of a “many universes”…etc.
cl… it doesn’t matter if he leans towards a multiverse theory. Factually, he will agree that at this point we only have a sample of ONE.
You went on to state your point. You might well have skipped the superfluous question and simple stated:
As we only have a sample of one universe…. “then doesn’t this universe qualify as a “random fluke of chance” by the definition provided? ” etc.
Maybe you take offense at my calling it “stupid”, but it is, at the very least, a time waster – which you’ve added to by arguing the point with me.
I’ll just stay here to answer your other points to me.
“Surprise me with something besides a knee-jerk defense of SI, if you can.”
But isn’t this exactly what I did? Sure, we both agree that statistics can be deceiving, but a hard look at the stats on nations that are the closest (currently) to the “ideal”, non-religious states are not at the bottom, not at the middle, but firmly entrenched at the top.
Funny how you mostly blow off the factors I think are important, while barely making a nod to the fact that violent crime trends are lowest in highly secular states. Longevity? secular. Universal health care? secular. Other social safety nets? secular. Students who accept and understand evolution? Excel in science in general? Math? History? Geography? secular. States which provide this education, paid for by the state, often through advanced degrees? secular.
Here’s another (in relation to the violent crime, which we are in agreement is lower in the most secular states) – humane prison and rehabilitation for offenders and a lessening of “substance abuse” imprisonments – secular.
You seem quite impressed with the suicide stats. That’s interesting, because I wouldn’t even put that in a Top 20 list (not saying you shouldn’t. Just doesn’t ring with me). In fact, I think suicide should be legal, humane and assisted. If someone wants out of this mess, I don’t blame them. I have deep empathy for these people and I don’t think I should arrogantly prevent them from it because “life is precious”. I see life as precious enough that it should be an individual’s choice, not a societal proscription against doing so.
It is very possible that religious people have a lower suicide rate; if for no other reason than most religions badger their believers into remaining alive and suffering, threatening them (in many cases) with something much worse than their current situation – eternal torment. Wow. Good job on that on, religion!
So, yeah, I think I’ve started to make a case for what SI is saying. Hell, I’ve said the exact same words myself many times, so why is it you think I’m just mindlessly siding up with SI because we’re supposedly on the same side? Here’s a shocker for you cl – like-minded people have often been known to form friendships. I agree with him on these pages – because I REALLY DO agree with him! He might have become a buddy because I found so much commonality, but I’m not agreeing with him out of blind loyalty. But you go ahead and spin it any way that makes you feel right. Nothing new there.
I just went back to look at the point you were pulling our teeth before getting to. LOL! He never DID answer your VERY important question, did he cl?… yet you were still able (finally) to get to your point!
I don’t mean to drag you through the mud on this one and I really wouldn’t have done so if you had just finally made the point and left it at that. But then you just HAD TO come argue some more with me some more about it not being a superfluous question, didntya?
You are such an unintentionally funny little fella.
My apologies to all for the many grammatical errors in the two comments above. My bad. Sorry to you too, cl.
I think we’ve seen here the same needs and subsequent actions by indulgers in the irrational. Whether they know at some level that they’re indulgence is irrational or that they’ve managed to actually delude themselves that it’s not is unclear, but they all need to have their indulgence seen as respectable. Those who refuse to play along and instead point out that their indulgences are irrational are then vilified. We’re “angry”, “attacking”, “hateful” and our words are labeled as offensive. In this, they’re nothing more than children lashing out those who deny them candy, and really it’s us who should take offense at being expected to indulge their sweet tooths.
I think the reason these people try to convince others to indulge in their silly beliefs is it’s a means to gaining respect. ‘If you’re doing it too, you can’t laugh at me for doing it.’ This makes the ends justify the means philosophy justifiable to them, so they’ll resort to emotional appeals, non-critical citations and trick arguments.
If respect can’t be gained, then trick arguments serve another purpose for indulgers. Intelligent, logical criticism of their indulgences are tough to swallow. I know if what I believed rested upon a logically fallacious argument, I’d be unable to maintain the belief. So confounding a critic with a trick argument then pacifies any unease or doubt an indulger has over their belief. This is true even if the trickster knows their argument is a trick, because if it confounds the critic, then the critic’s intelligence and/or logic may not be that strong, therefore their criticisms are probably not that valid, which neutralizes the criticism and more importantly, the doubt. It’s the same motivation behind the religious’ need to call atheism a religion. Indeed, cl often tries to trick someone here into admitting to holding a faith based belief for probably this same reason. He and jason (like peas in a pod) try to one up atheists on knowledge, intelligence, logic, or anything as a pathetic means to neutralize our criticisms and thus, their doubts.
Respect is usually sought first, then if not possible, they lash out in hopes of belittling their critics. I say usually because Gideon jumped right to lashing out. His behavior is textbook fear aggression. T4T clearly wants respect, and when he doesn’t get it from me, I’m portrayed as the bad guy when the truth is his arguments for his belief see-saw between two logical fallacies, argument from ignorance and argument from personal incredulity, and whether I’m a meanie or not has no bearing on that.
“I say usually because Gideon jumped right to lashing out. His behavior is textbook fear aggression.”
😆 Me fear YOU? You really are full of yourself, aren’t you, Chief? Why should I fear the truth? And, you know damned well I don’t attack anyone unprovoked. You and others start some shit, then hide behind your keyboards and John’s skirt, smirking like little spoiled punks.
Need I remind you that you’re John’s special little boy? He doesn’t moderate your ass, you can say whatever you want, when you want and you do. My comments sit in queue for hours, sometimes even a day or more. Yours get up right away. Quit whining, you’re on friendly territory, unlike me. At least he hasn’t banned me, like you did. Can’t take the heat, can you? You sure like to dish it out, though.
Everyone that comments here has to run your gauntlet of insults and snide remarks. You’ve even gone after John when he hasn’t performed to your satisfaction. Better watch it, son, maybe one of these days you’ll push the envelope too far and that golden boy status you enjoy might not be there for you.
“Man seems bent upon complicating his life. ”
Where “knowledge based on scientific evidence” is a “complication. LOL!
It’s funny, because the majority of “man” seems bent on being simple minded, from where I sit.
“It’s funny, because the majority of “man” seems bent on being simple minded, from where I sit.”
Maybe you should move out of California, then?
“The world would be better off without religion.”
I wouldn’t quite go that far. The world would be better off if everyone behaved intelligently and treated each other decently.
“The world would be better off if everyone behaved intelligently and treated each other decently.”
You mean like if they adhered to the principles of the Decalogue? Yeah, trouble is, they’re so busy trying to discredit it and destroy it in favor of “natural selection” and evolution… whose principles would be about par and normal for what goes on in the world.
That’s not to say that I advocate they’re right, just that we have the world you would expect when people believe they are nothing more than smelly apes.
You mean like if they adhered to the principles of the Decalogue?
No need to restrict oneself to the Decalogue.
“Leaving the transient, find joy in the Eternal; set not your heart on another’s possession.” – The Isa Upanishad.
“The foolish run after outward pleasures and fall into the snares of vast-embracing death.” – The Katha Upanishad.
“A man should not hate any living creature. Let him be friendly and compassionate to all.” – The Bhagavad-Gita.
“One trains one’s personality by means of the Way. And one learns the Way through practice of humanity. Humanity is what it is to be a human being, and loving one’s relatives is the most important part of it.” – Hsun Tzu’s The Mean.
“When everyone regards the houses of others as he regards his own, who would disturb others’ houses? One would regard others as one’s self. Now when the states and cities do not attack and seize each other, and when the clans and individuals do not disturb and harm one another – is this a calamity or a benefit to the world? Of course it is a benefit.” – Mo Tzu
“Many do not know that we are here in this world to live in harmony. Those who do not know this fight against each other.” – The Dhammapadda.
We have the collected wisdom and experience of the entire human race at our disposal and need not rely on the text of only one reglion.
Careful, there, Tom… Philly catches you waxing religious, your ass is grass, son!
Anyway, those other faiths are only cheap knock-offs of the real deal. None of them emphasize the fact that man cannot absolve himself of guilt and transgression.
I guess you know by now that good intentions haven’t gotten the world very far. The help man needs can only be provided by Christ. Man doesn’t possess the inner goodness to effect his own salvation… which is what the other religions are selling.
Do-it-yourself salvation doesn’t work.
The Golden Rule. And hopefully the natural effect of that should be that religion would simply disappear.
Maybe I’ve mellowed in the years since I started my blog, but my beef is not so much with religious belief in general than with specific manifestations of belief that can cause real, measurable harm. I don’t care if someone prays the rosary or prays facing Mecca five times a day, as much as I believe such rituals are unnecesary, as long as I can peacefully coexist with them. But when it comes to religious extremists, I do view them as a threat that needs to be confronted.
“I don’t care if someone prays the rosary or prays facing Mecca five times a day, as much as I believe such rituals are unnecesary, as long as I can peacefully coexist with them. But when it comes to religious extremists, I do view them as a threat that needs to be confronted.”
Hey… have I hunted you down and killed you, yet?
Believe whatever lies you want, Tom. However, anybody that goes online preaching error about Christianity cannot expect it to go unchallenged, and you ARE in error.
And, evolutionists are constantly/daily preaching Darwinism, Abiogenesis, etc. No! There’s no arguing with them, either! Believe what they say and STFU! They say they don’t have the answers out one side of their mouths, while they’re dogmatically stating that theology is wrong out the other.
People like that are the threat, not Christians.
I think I’ve gone in the other direction.
I really think that even the most benign forms of religion give cover for the nut cases. As long as the extremist can point to all the good-two-shoes out there, and say “look how his faith made Uncle Joe live longer after his liver transplant”, they can continue to justify their own malevolent, bigoted, hate filled existence.
Look at Gideon. He keeps pointing to the Bible and the word of god and the Decalogue as reasons why he’s soooo right, but he’s the most bigoted, intolerant person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet on this blog. He uses his religion, benign as he likes to characterize it, to justify his hatred of whatever he thinks is contrary to his religion.
If there was no religion, there’d be no need for atheism. Neither would exist.
And Stalin would still exist, but he couldn’t have his crimes pinned on atheism.
“And hopefully the natural effect of that should be that religion would simply disappear.”
There’s that “atheism” guy, again!
“A person could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.”
Quoted with approval.
Quoted in it’s opposition to your understanding of the terms.
“Look at Gideon. He keeps pointing to the Bible and the word of god and the Decalogue as reasons why he’s soooo right, but he’s the most bigoted, intolerant person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet on this blog. He uses his religion, benign as he likes to characterize it, to justify his hatred of whatever he thinks is contrary to his religion.”
Awww… I luvs ya, too, Mugs… I mean, big guy!
I’m sure that’s the way you see it, coming from the viewpoint that “the conclusion is obvious, so let’s go find evidence to substantiate it”. Sorry I don’t look at it that way.
Let’s back up a bit. What is the issue we are talking about again? Is it “How did the Universe begin?”, the original question proposed by the minister on the other blog I referenced in the OP?
Or is it “Does the supernatural (and more specifically, god) exist?”
The latter is always the underlying question in all the discussions here, and it’s always what I’m getting at as an atheist writing on this blog. It’s the subtext of every discussion, and many of the comments in this post alone have addressed it, if somewhat obliquely at times.
Now, I made a statement which you call a “truth claim” – the world would be better off without religion – and you claimed I did not substantiate it with evidence. As I said, it’s my opinion, which I think I’ve backed up numerous times on this blog .
As for your liver study, religiosity may be a factor in prolonged life after a major transplant operation? Who knew? And placebos have beneficial health benefits too, most likely for the same reason. Because the mind is an amazing organ. We can actually talk ourselves into better health.
My opinion, if I’m allowed to say so on my own blog, is that if religion didn’t exist, the mind would find some other belief to hang onto, but on the whole (religious transplant recipients aside) we would be better off without it, than with it. It’s a balancing test. For every possible benefit there are at least two detriments. Probably ten. In my opinion.
And what does that study have to do with either how the universe was created, or the existence of god?
Nada, zip, absolutely nothing.
Gee, I wish Jason would come back so we atheists could beat up on him a little bit more. Where did he go?
Re: Comment #13329…
Now, John… do you really need ME to point out all of the anti-theistic statements in that comment of yours?
Jesus Christ, Gid. What ever gave you the impression I was NOT anti-theistic?
I’m anti-theistic regarding all the malignant versions of theism. Yours included.
Thank you, Mr. Purcell. You may step down, now.
No further questions, Your Honor.
Does anyone think that if 100 psychiatrists and psychologists were to read this comment section, that there is any doubt at all which person they would all point to as having serious mental problems?
While I’m generally against banning people, just on the general principles of free speech, there DOES come a time where a psychotic personality who continually uses the platform for nothing more than baying at the moon, needs to be terminated.
Frankly, it stopped being interesting even to be used a foil – long ago. There is nothing thought provoking in anything written. It’s boring and obnoxious.
“While I’m generally against banning people, just on the general principles of free speech, there DOES come a time where a psychotic personality who continually uses the platform for nothing more than baying at the moon, needs to be terminated.”
John, though I’ve often thought you to be damaged goods, I’ve never considered you psychotic. I see no reason why you should be banned, just for having a different view than mine. I think our esteemed host would agree.
Some people seem to forget that they don’t tell others who and what they can post on their sites. I know I’ve never done it, even imagined doing it. But, this seems to be a common sentiment among certain elements of the (synonym for “happy”) crowd, doesn’t it? All the time screaming about tolerance, while offering little.
“Baying at the moon” can be taken many ways, though. I’ve done it, myself… and seen a lot of it done. In lot’s of different places.
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