Refuting God starting everything as a theory?

Dec 6, 2013


Discussion by: alext180

I am an atheist, and hold great store in reason, and science. Not only do I not believe in god due to scientific reasons, but also simple logic. Apart from this simple logic all atheists will know of, what is there to refute something like God starting the inflation of the universe that we know of as the Big Bang himself – there seems to be a never ending loop, it's as if you could always arise at the conclusion, again disregarding the simple logic of a floating man in the sky controlling everything being completely absurd, that God started whatever created the universe. Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn't just start that himself? And if this is impossible to refute, then why are we atheists at all, why not simply agnostics? It seems that we'd have to settle on "it's impossible to prove that he exists or does not exist." Or perhaps must we settle on, this is an instance in which there was an effect, but no cause?

But of course if we delve even deeper, perhaps into even philosophical depths, we arrive at the question: From where did that creator arise? The logical answer would be: he always existed. And yet again, it seems you must settle on another instance in which there was an effect, but no cause.

131 comments on “Refuting God starting everything as a theory?

  • God is very intelligent. High intelligence developed within the last million years. Therefore God cannot have been present 14 billion years ago at the beginning of the universe. From our cultural history it is clear that humans created God, very recently in fact. The gods of a mere few thousand years ago were tribal and national gods. The ‘Creator of the Universe’ dates from the conception of all humans as one species and a modern understanding of the universe. Not only was the god of Genesis a version of the Hebrew tribal god but the universe he was said to have created was a paltry tinpot thing; nothing like the universe as we know it..



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  • 2
    mmurray says:

    We don’t know there was a Big Bang. All we know is that if you run backwards in time you come to a time where all the matter of the universe occupies a very small space. The Planck Epoch. At that time general relativity breaks down and quantum effects dominate. Time as we understand it probably ceases to exist. So you can throw out causality with time and forget about effects and causes. If we had a theory of quantum gravity we could probably say something. But we don’t.

    But of course if we delve even deeper, perhaps into even philosophical depths, we arrive at the question: From where did that creator arise? The logical answer would be: he always existed. And yet again, it seems you must settle on another instance in which there was an effect, but no cause.

    No cause and effect means that all this kind of philosophising is as meaningless as contemplating the gender of Great A’Tuin who carries the DiscWorld on his or her back through the voids of space. And a lot less entertaining.

    If you want to really delve deeper you need to learn cosmology and get a Nobel Prize for your theory of quantum gravity.

    Michael



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  • 3
    achromat666 says:

    Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn’t just start that himself?

    We would first need to agree upon what ‘god’ is. Not just which variety of deity we’re speaking of as literally millions have been worshiped over the centuries, but also clarify what criteria such an entity would have to have to qualify as ‘god’. We literally could not move any farther in any discussion on the subject without that.

    But consider further…

    If any uncaused cause, designer, etc can be said to be eternal and require no creation, why could that not be true of the universe itself? Why would it not be just as valid to assign those properties to something that we at least know exists?

    As for agnosticism, saying that one has no reason to believe in a god (the fairly standard atheist position) does not mean one cannot refute positions that have no evidence to support them. Remember, there is no support for any of the myriad of deities that have been trotted out over the long course. So we’re not simply dealing with the Christian one, that simply happens to be the most popular one that comes up here. So, much like most every theistic position the onus does not fall upon the non believer to positively prove a negative (that a deity doesn’t exists) the onus is on the person who makes the unprovable assumption.



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  • 4
    therbert03 says:

    Science has to this point been able to advance just fine without the aid of any deity or supernatural intervention or explanation. Indeed, the further science goes in explaining our natural world without the need of a god in the equation, the less likely he/she/it is. Given this trend, the lack of an explanation for the origin of the universe does not open up the possibility that any supernatural cause had a hand in it. It just means we need to keep working at finding a scientifically plausible explanation.

    Most atheists I know wouldn’t argue that there is no god – just that the explanations and justifications for any god to date has not passed the smell test. Arguing that a deity created the universe implies that this god embodies desire, intent, and therefore a consciousness. There is no evidence I know of that consciousness can exist without a physical body. When that happens, maybe I will reconsider the possibility that a god exists. Until then, I live my life as if it doesn’t.



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  • 5
    Kim Probable says:

    My question is – Why does it have to be a god? Why couldn’t it have been a far more intelligent life form? Some people will argue that aliens did it. Or perhaps it’s some species that’s running a computer simulation? There are so many other explanations you could come up with, to the point of absurdity. Maybe the Big Bang is the burp of a giant creature in another dimension. The only reason people choose God is because they’re trying to fit things into the framework of a belief they already hold.

    “God” isn’t really a reasonable explanation to fill in “We don’t know yet” – the “god of the gaps” argument. It’s been done for hundreds of years already and those gaps have been slowly but surely removed. Maybe in our lifetimes, this one will, too.

    You can be both an atheist and an agnostic. I don’t believe in any gods, but I don’t claim to know for certain that there isn’t something that fits our definition of a “god” either. I’m pretty sure that the Christian god does not exist, though, because it is so self-contradictory and illogical. If some super sentient species created a computer simulation that resulted in our existence, would I regard them as gods? Probably not. God-like by human definition? Maybe? I’d be pretty irritated with them, though.



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  • 6
    petermead1 says:

    There are two things that I wish to address here.

    Firstly, it is true that, regardless of what we discover about the true nature of reality, there will always be those who will posit that God is one step ahead of us. This argument is known as the “God of the gaps.” Essentially, it is a perspective that thrives off of our scientific ignorance. Regarding this idea that God was the ultimate first cause of existence, one must consider several things. Where is the justification that the beginning requires a cause? If we agree that the beginning required a cause, where is the justification that it had to be an intelligent mind? We have absolutely no examples of “intelligent minds,” apart from ours, anywhere in the universe. Who is to say that this “first cause” wasn’t merely a purely natural force. We simply do not know at this point.

    Secondly, you use the terms “agnostic” and “atheist” as though they are mutually exclusive terms. They are not. The former is a position about knowledge and the latter is a position about whether or not a god exists. If you are agnostic, then you assert that the ultimate truth of the nature and existence of God(s) cannot be known. If you are an atheist, then you are simply describing a position that doesn’t include belief in God(s). Personally, I am an agnostic atheist. It is my understanding that the majority of atheists are. I would describe my position as follows. “I do not believe that the existence or nature of God(s) can ultimately be known by anyone to any degree of certainty. Therefore, I do not believe in God(s). Many who describe themselves as “agnostics” are unknowingly atheists as well. Belief in God(s) is a binary position. With regards to the statement “I believe in God(s),” if you answer with “agree” you are a theist. If you answer with “disagree,” you are an atheist. Positions about whether or not God(s) is knowable and to what degree are completely different matters. It is possible to hold the position of an agnostic theist. Someone of this view may say the following. “I do not believe that the existence or nature of God(s) can ultimately be known by anyone to any degree of certainty. However, I do believe in God(s). While I find this to be thoroughly irrational, this is where, for many, “faith” comes into play, a concept that I find absurd.

    I hope that this helps and clears up any misunderstandings.



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  • 7
    Stuart Coyle says:

    “Refuting God starting everything as a theory?”

    “God starting everything” is not a theory as there is no evidence but it is a hypothesis. It is not a testable hypothesis.

    It is much more honest to say “we don’t know how it all started”. We have a pretty good idea of how the universe has been for the past 13.7 billion years but don’t have a good theory ( i.e. a tested hypothesis ) for what happened exactly at the moment of the big bang. Current theories get to within fractions of a second of it. It may be that we will never know, but it is still worth trying.

    Asking “what happened before the big bang” is like asking “what is north of the north pole?”. It is a meaningless question.



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  • 8
    Modesti says:

    Personally I do not like labeling. I was born free from any believes, and I have not ever in my 42 years believe in anything. It is strange for me to think myself as an atheist, although that is sort of definition for one who has no believes, or rather opposite of theist. People are born atheists so to speak – but primarily we are born FREE. In my opinion you are only atheist while there is ones who call themselves theists, so to distinguish free people from dependent people(theists) free people are called atheists. But I am much more of that :). I do not have any believes because it is opposite of truth, and simply because it is my natural state of living (being). I do not like labels, and roles in life (social roles) because they are a form of slavery. I do not see myself as atheist but obviously I am if you see me in this world of theist and atheists. :). I do not care if there is god (I do not even write any words related with religion starting with capital letter like you, because they do not deserve any respect from me, and because they are invented),… god is not prerequisite of my life, there is no place in my mind for god. I do not understand why do You need a creator of the world (Universe), if You seek one than You will find one, so to speak. There is no place for that kind of question in my mind, or very similar one like what is our (mine) purpose in life, because it assumes that there is some deliberate and logical initiator (with a purpose). 🙂



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  • 10
    aldous says:

    The non-existence of God is as easy, or as hard, to establish as the non-existence of any other fictional character. For some believers, it’s true, the irascible Hebrew despot of the Old Testament has lost his human characteristics and become a Grand Abstraction, mimicking the concepts of a scientific understanding of the universe. What requires explanation is not the invention of the Big Banger but why it should be an object of worship when the Big Bang itself is not.



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  • 11
    Seraphor says:

    The best anyone can say is that we don’t know what caused the Big Bang, or if anything “caused” the Big Bang.

    With that in mind, it’s quite a leap to say that whatever caused the Big Bang (if there was a cause) ‘could’ have been God.
    You could just as legitimately say that the Big Bang “could” have been caused by The Doctor crashing his TARDIS into the Eye of Harmony. But then we’d have three possibilities, The Big Bang, God and Doctor Who. Which do we say is more likely?
    It’s also been said that the universe was sneezed out by the Great Green Arkleseizure. Great, now we have four possibilities, this is getting confusing.

    This is where Occam’s Razor comes into play.

    When you have multiple opposing theories, the least complicated one, that makes the least assumptions and requires the fewest number of entities, is most likely to be true.

    The existence of an intelligent entity before the creation of the universe is certainly a very complex proposal.

    Even IF there was an intelligent entity that create the universe, the only form that could be compatible with the laws of psychics as we understand them is a deistic god, one that has no power within this universe. This god is not compatible with the Christian god, or the Islam god, or the many, many other creator gods dreamed up over the millennia, and is certainly not deserving of, let alone requiring, worship.



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  • If ‘we’ are not theoretical physicists, as not many of us are, our speculations about theoretical physics are not of much significance.



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  • In reply to #7 by petermead1:
    >

    You have nicely explained the difference between atheism and agnosticism – something that I was not really too sure of until a year or two ago.

    There is also more to be said on this for alext180 as I would guess that there are far more agnostic theists in the world than we can count. Essentially all the woo-meisters are agnostic theists including our friend Deepak Chopra. So too are those who say “I don’t really follow/like the main religions but I think (ie hope) there is something out there”.

    These people are the low hanging fruit that we should be going after. Even if we can’t get them to give up their particular brand of woo, we could at least get them to sign up and speak up for secularism.



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  • 14
    Malaidas says:

    The problem of infinite regress is fundamental to any rational thought. However there are rational answers to the problem which can be to a degree satisfactory

    1) It is indeed impossible to disprove god in a Deist sense, it is perfectly possible to disprove a theist god and as far as can be done, has been done. We have shown for instance that very few if any of the historical claims of the bible are backed up when analysed by archaeologists etc.

    2) To solve infinite regress there are 2 possible solutions, a) that reality as a whole just came into existence from nothing for no reason, or its infinite and eternal. You can choose which ever you like as its pure metaphysics, I prefer the former, but that’s my opinion. I can;t even say its belief because there is no justification for really holding such, other than it fits better in my head. If however this is the case and this can stand as an axiom then we can argue as follows (taken from Dawkins and expanded a little). If we are coming from nothing then there are no laws etc to govern what state the universe shall come into. It could come into existence as unbelievably complex or really simple. Each state is equally likely. However there are more states that would be simpler than states that are complex. The universe coming into existence in this case must be completely random (perhaps the only random event ever to have happened), and it could be any state within the possible states, each state as I say being equally likely. However as there are substantially, in fact a huge number of more simple states than complex ones, it is much more likely that a simple state happened. As a state coming into existence which includes god, i.e. god didn’t himself evolve, he just came into existence with the universe is much more complex than an initial state that doesn’t have a god. It is much more likely that reality as a whole came into existence without god. Now it is possible that some parallel to natural selection then led to god existing who then created our universe. However I would argue that (a0 if it is not necessary which physicists are on the verge of proving) we have no reason to suggest that a god exists per say. If we have no evidence of god and no reason to suggest that one must exists then we must question its existence. In such a circumstance Occam would say to select the more simple universe i.e. one not having god, whether right or wrong, because we cannot tell the difference. Basically as we cannot tell the difference between a god in the deist sense and no god at all, we should be sceptical and say that it is very likely there is no god. There is however no proof of this, which to me is where deism differs fundamentally from theism from a scientific point. We can proove theists wrong and any argument from them is simply irrational and stupid to be honest, they are wrong. We cannot prove Deists wrong, although we say its much less likely. In such cases its not irrational to hold that you would think that there is probably a god for instance, but to say you know there is one is irrational. Likewise an Atheist can say that he/she believes that there is no god. He cannot say conclusively that there is none, but on the balance of probability the atheist is far more likely to be correct. All of us however can say that all known theist beliefs contradict the evidence and as such must be inaccurate, if not complete baloney. This isn’t philosophical its plain rational thought. If a theory contradicts the evidence IT IS WRONG, making excuses in this case only makes things worse. As a Christian you believe in a book that is WRONG, it contradicts the evidence. as A Muslim you also believe in a book that is WRONG, as with all other rrevealed religions. Its not a matter of lack of evidence , its a matter of universal evidence that contradicts the account. Being a theist is therefore the belief in known falsehood. It doesn’t matter if you try to wrap it in scientific thought (badly), the evidence shows you are wrong. its not any one or even 100 pieces or even 3000 pieces that prove it wrong, its millions of observations. The world obeys natural laws and there is no evidence of divine intervention, the biblical history is very inaccurate and despite its claims. It contradicts itself constantly. The same is true for any book of this nature, we can’t blame the authors though at least not totally. They didn’t have the facts. The fact people still believe in them, (whilst being a subject worthy of scientific study), is not a measure of the spiritual accuracy of the book, more an measure of the vast ignorance and possibly stupidity of humankind as a species.



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  • 15
    SaganTheCat says:

    use logic

    you talk of a floating man in the sky. already you make assertions that the cause floats in the sky and has a penis when postulating.

    there is no evidence for this floating ape with a pencant for beer and football therefore it does not qualify as a theory. at best a weak hypothisis which is on equal scientific footing with the hypothisis I put forward on another thread that the universe was invented by me during a particularly dramatic cat-nip comedown. if you apply pascal’s wager to this new information you will no doubt be planning your next comment very carefully to avoid invoking my wrath

    you’ve also made an error in suggesting that an atheist should be agnostic. most atheists already are (some ar gnostic), atheism and agnosticism are mutually compatible. as and agnostic atheist I can tell you that I am certain the god you suggested (floating man) is incorrect but am unable to disprove it as it is an unfalsafiable hypothesis (therefore not scientific) and that goes for every other description for god I’ve ever heard but my agnosticism means I am open minded to the possibility that a description of god that is both feasable and falsifiable could one day be put forward.

    if/when it is, I will still be an agnostic atheist

    I am not agnostic to the concept of jesus, allah, thor, zeus or osiris however, i strongly believe they do not exist. for these and all other gods posited, i am an atheist

    finally I’d like to address two things:

    I am an atheist, and hold great store in reason, and science.

    and

    But of course if we delve even deeper, perhaps into even philosophical depths, we arrive at the question: From where did that creator arise? The logical answer would be: he always existed. And yet again, it seems you must settle on another instance in which there was an effect, but no cause.

    and call shenanigans. get over the “he” and you’ll do a more convincing job next time



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  • 16
    ImagineNoHeaven says:

    It is always possible invoke a supernatural cause as the explanation of any phenomena.

    If I ask why the apple is falling, a believer can answer that god makes it fall. If I then discover that the apple is falling because masses attract each other, the believer will explain that god makes masses attract each other, or is responsible for the space-time curvature… and so on.

    Supernatural causes could be invoked at any point in the causal chain, but the truth is that every time we look a little deeper into the phenomena that we want to explain we find… a natural cause, not a supernatural one. Thus, we can safely predict that if the Big Bang has a cause (and if that question makes sense), it is a natural cause.



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  • 17
    Red Dog says:

    One of my favorite words these days is “essentialism”. Mostly it means thinking that words have fixed meaning outside of usage. It’s essentially Platonism, thinking there is some form for a table that is the “real” table. But I think it applies to these cases as well. What all this stuff comes down to is thinking that words in and of themselves have some impact on reality. I define cause a certain way and somehow I claim that this is the REAL (essential) definition of cause. And from that I reason “if cause is X then there had to be a first cause so…” And I think I’ve said something meaningful. The fact is that just because you show some logical proof (although these “proofs” are seldom actually logical, try representing them in First Order Logic, it’s not really that hard to do and you will usually find the flaws) but just because you have some rational argument based on a bunch of words you’ve defined is meaningless. That is only one part of science. The other part is testable hypotheses. If your theories don’t — especially if they can’t even in theory — provide testable hypotheses they are probably just interesting word games.

    What’s more Platonism made sense in Plato’s time (Plato was no dummy) because we had no idea where language and thought came from. Now we do. I mean we don’t know much but at least we can see that primates at some point developed adaptations that gave them logic and language. Those adaptations solved a lot of primate problems (how to find and mate with the hottest primates, how to get more yummy bannanas) but they also fortuitously turned out to be good for lots of other stuff tangential to survival.

    So concepts like “cause” didn’t spring from some first mover or form but rather as a way for primates to deal with their environment because cause and effect is a good working concept for how a primate world functions. (It may not be a good model for things like the quantum world). To me those are the directions we should be going in further research and we should discard these philosophical masturbations to the dustbin of academic history.



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  • 18
    Peter Grant says:

    In reply to #18 by Red Dog:

    What’s more Platonism made sense in Plato’s time (Plato was no dummy) because we had no idea where language and thought came from.

    No, but he could have paid a bit more attention to Socrates…



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  • 20
    Malaidas says:

    my apologies for the horrendous formatting in my previous post, I hold my hands up and admit that I forgot to check it before hitting post.



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  • 21
    Nunbeliever says:

    You are wrong. The evidence for Big Bang is so overwhelming that it’s safe to say we know it happened. What you are talking about is a singularity which is just another way of saying that our theories breaks down when we approach the origin of the universe. There are of course different hypotheses about the details of Big Bang, but we know such an event took place. Or if it did not we pretty much have to discard modern physics as whole.

    In reply to #3 by mmurray:

    We don’t know there was a Big Bang. All we know is that if you run backwards in time you come to a time where all the matter of the universe occupies a very small space. The Planck Epoch. At that time general relativity breaks down and quantum effects dominate. Time as we understand it probably ceas…



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  • 22
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #18 by Red Dog:

    One of my favorite words these days is “essentialism”. Mostly it means thinking that words have fixed meaning outside of usage. It’s essentially Platonism, thinking there is some form for a table that is the “real” table. But I think it applies to these cases as well. What all this stuff comes down…

    I completely agree, this is what the development of model determined reality solved. For the theists and other less knowledgeable people, model determined reality is the definition of science that circumvents the philosophical problems of what it means to know something as true and how can we tell that something is actually how we see it for instance. It basically states that science is a model of the universe which whether absolutely right or wrong in a philosophical sense cannot be differentiated from reality and is the simplest way we can do this.

    basically science defines a few axioms that state that the philosophical concerns will be ignored amongst other things, one of which is if we observe it it is fact, given that we cannot tell the difference we may as well choose the simpler option etc. The upshot is that we are able to build a model of the universe that is evaluated via the scientific method, which involves evidence, a priori thinking develops hypotheses, a posteriori thinking evaluates the evidence done from testing of the hypothesis and gathering of empirical evidence, if this does not match the hypothesis it is shown to be wrong, if it does we submit it to further tests.. the key thing being falsification, this is what sets modern science apart from earlier rational thinking. We accept that nothing is ever 100% proven right, but we can prove something 100% wrong very simply. By virtue of it not matching rational a priori predictions.

    Creationism and other less rational disciplines that masquerade as science, do not follow the method correctly and any conclusions they come to (right or wrong in an absolute sense) are invalid because their method was wrong. Their study is NOT scientific because of this, and they have NO right to call themselves scientists. What they say has a very small possibility but a chance of being right, but even if so, no-one should accept their conclusions because their method is wrong and they have proven nothing, just try to claim such with a lot of words, which are meaningless. I would also like to add however that for the most part properly gathered and reasonable analysed empirical data does disprove most of the claims and most of the rest is based upon current Gaps.

    Model determined reality is perhaps the most important development, in terms of how we think about things, of the modern age. Its what killed the idea of philosophy as valid way of considering the fundamental physical properties of the universe. It establishes that objective empirical evidence is the only way to determine ‘truth’, which we will call fact. It removes authority from the question, what is seen is what is real, not what somebody thinks, no matter how respected. You are wrong until you prove yourself right, in contrast to courts, and reasonably this should be the case in the pursuit of knowledge. I accept aof course that you can never prove yourself to be 100% right, what you aim to do is leave your theory as the only one which still stands as a candidate. At which point, it should still not be taken as truth though. Science holds that it is better to not have any answer at all than to believe a false one and that it doesn’t matter whether you like it, your desires are completely unimportant, evidence is the basis of truth.



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  • 23
    Alan4discussion says:

    If we dispense with all the tortuous theological garbage, of infinite regressions etc which direct us to look for gods in the wrong direction, we come back to the difficulties of proving a negative.

    It is possible to prove a negative by proving a contradictory positive. (I was not in Tokyo at 2pm on Friday because I was in London at that time.)

    Similarly we can show that gods are not in the remotest of gaps at the beginning or ends of the universe, space time or what-ever, if we can prove where they actually are!

    Some neuro-psychologists know where the god-delusions are found, and are getting very near to providing conclusive evidence.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.” – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htm

    ….. previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.

    He measured activity in the frontal lobe and found a correlation between increased activity in this part of the brain and increased participation in religious practices.



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  • 24
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #23 by Malaidas:

    I completely agree, this is what the development of model determined reality solved. For the theists and other less knowledgeable people, model determined reality is the definition of science that circumvents the philosophical problems of what it means to know something as true and how can we tell that something is actually how we see it for instance.

    I agree that is an interesting development. Something I’ve wanted to read more about actually, I hear people talk about it but haven’t read any primary sources on the topic itself. Hawking touched on that idea briefly in his recent book. When I first read it I didn’t like it because I thought it could too easily be distorted by the woo peddlers and the postmodernists into “it’s all relative and we can’t know nor care what reality actually is” which I don’t think is what the idea really says. If you have any good links or references I would be interested.



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  • 25
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #25 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #23 by Malaidas:

    I completely agree, this is what the development of model determined reality solved. For the theists and other less knowledgeable people, model determined reality is the definition of science that circumvents the philosophical problems of what it means to know something…

    Its difficult to provide references really, its more a principle that underlies the entirety of the scientific endeavour and dates back to the 19th century. Back then there were countless epistemological arguments which were dividing the academic world, which resulted ultimately in a pragmatic viewpoint. This pragmatism grew into the scientific viewpoint we have today.

    Lets take a simple example, before Galileo highly brilliant reasoning there were 2 possible and equally likely solutions to the nature of the solar system. On the one hand you had the classical geocentric explanation given by Ptolomy on the other you had Copernicus’ heliocentric explanation. The default back then would be to believe the Ptolomy one as this was established tradition and there was no proof otherwise. Had this been a discussion today we would have chosen the heliocentric model by default. The difference in thought really demonstrates the concept of Model Determined Reality very well.

    Back then absolute truth was the only aim of natural philosophy, and you had to demonstrate this to change established thought. The problems were many fold in this approach as you end up in a philosophical mess. The pragmatic Model Approach neatly solves all these problems. It states that whilst it would be ideal if what we think about the universe is actually what is going on, there will be times when we simply don’t really know for sure, in fact we can never philosophically know for sure. The thing is absolute truth really doesn’t matter. The aim of science is to establish laws that allow us to predict how the world around us will behave and to provide an acceptable explanation for which, which will in turn lead to further testable predictions. It is in this context that we can allow such philosophical tools as Occam’s Razor to be used. Before Galileo, there was no reason to choose between the 2 models, no empirical evidence to go on, we however would have taken Copernicus’s method because it was simpler to work with. It is from this pragmatism that the whole of modern scientific method grew, and it is why its so important.

    Simplicity for instance is not a property of the universe per say, or at least cannot be demonstrated to be. It is however a property of the scientific model of reality. We choose the simplest solution which works. this however is pure pragmatism, if you cannot tell the difference through empirical evidence you may as well choose the simpler one, as they are both equally likely and you will get the same predictions anyway. We can make arguments to the parsimonious nature of the universe to the cows come home, we cannot prove it, its not falsifiable in any real sense. We can however make it a principle that applies to the model of human understanding. We choose the simplest not because its right, but because its better for us and it makes no difference to the predictions.

    What it really comes down to though is that we are in the business of facts and theory about those facts, theory being important here. We build models based upon this. Sometimes even (for instance in the case of Chemistry) knowing that the model we are using really isn’t what’s going on, but its accurate enough for our needs. We for instance see C2H5OH and know its alcohol, we visualise this as a set of lines indicated the bonds. This isn’t what’s really going on though, what’s really going on depends on the level you are talking about. If we step down to the quantum level then we see its a complex interaction of wave equations, if we were to step lower (given that string theory has merit) then we will see its a complex interaction of strings of energy in 11 dimensions.However by dealing with models we can choose the simplest concepts for our needs. we are free to do so, because we are dealing with models not some abstract absolute reality.

    in this context, everything in science has to be taken in context to this model, the model has a solid test bed though of empirical evidence. This is what constrains it and it MUST be unmistakable from reality, even if it isn’t actually true in the absolute sense.Its the best answer that humans can currently give.



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  • 26
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #26 by Malaidas:

    In reply to #25 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #23 by Malaidas:

    I completely agree, this is what the development of model determined reality solved. For the theists and other less knowledgeable people, model determined reality is the definition of science that circumvents the philosophical problems of wh…

    I had a feeling that there isn’t much written about the idea but it never hurts to ask. I agree with everything you said except possibly one thing. BTW, this was an issue I had when I read the Hawking book and I posted a comment about it here but no one replied.

    That issue is reconciliation between different models. If we really think that what we are doing is just creating models rather than understanding the world then if we have contradictory models we don’t care. So for example if Freudian psychology (not science I know but for the sake of argument) says one thing and evolutionary biology says another it’s no big deal. Or to take a better real example if quantum theory says one thing and relativity says another we don’t care, they are just different models to look at different kinds of phenomena. Who cares if they aren’t consistent or even disagree with each other?

    But my intuition (which I know is worthless but just stating my bias up front) is that they do matter, in fact a lot. Some of the most interesting questions and answers can come from the areas where two disciplines overlap or contradict. The quantum relativity example is the obvious one but from a lecture I heard by Chomsky a while back I think in the history of science there were also some interesting questions about how to reconcile chemistry and physics, although I don’t know enough about either to understand the specific issues.



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  • 27
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #27 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #26 by Malaidas:

    In reply to #25 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #23 by Malaidas:

    I completely agree, this is what the development of model determined reality solved. For the theists and other less knowledgeable people, model determined reality is the definition of science that circumvents th…

    Its a tricky one, however I think you might have missed the the key thing which is that is we never stop testing theories really. As I said any hypothesis from a theory makes testable predictions. If 2 theories are equal in the Occam sense we will choose the simpler one, but that doesn’t mean that testing stops, far from it. however so long as 2 theories are identical in terms of testable predictions etc, it simply common sense to use the simpler one. If a theory breaks down then we will reconsider the other one. Absolute truth is unimportant next to useful predictions and ease of use.



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  • 28
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #22 by Nunbeliever:

    You are wrong. The evidence for Big Bang is so overwhelming that it’s safe to say we know it happened. What you are talking about is a singularity which is just another way of saying that our theories breaks down when we approach the origin of the universe. There are of course different hypotheses a…

    Our only disagreement here is whether when the OP talks about the Big Bang he or she means expansion from a hot dense state or expansion from a singularity. In my experience when people start talking about cause and effect and creators they mean expansion from a singularity. But perhaps I have spent too much time recently arguing with some rather ardent Catholics and have mistakenly assumed a point of view for the OP.

    Michael



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  • 29
    OHooligan says:

    Regarding god-of-the-ever-narrowing-gaps (Goteng?): anyone able to identify the source of the story that says, basically, that as scientists close in on discovering the true nature of the universe, they die and go to heaven where god gives them the job of retrofitting an even more complicated universe to stay one move ahead of the next generation of scientists.

    It was better written wherever I read it, but that should be close enough to find the right meme.



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  • 30
    LinguisticApe says:

    God start the Big Bang “himself”? The thought that a creature capable of such astonishing acts of power and creation should have the need for a penis never fails to puzzle me. Whatever caused our Universe to come into existence, I think it’s fair to say that the fantasies of our violent primitive ancestors were a little wide of the mark, to say the least.



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  • 31
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #27 by Red Dog:

    That issue is reconciliation between different models. If we really think that what we are doing is just creating models rather than understanding the world then if we have contradictory models we don’t care

    I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to properly answer this last night.

    Its not that we don’t care which is right, its more that we accept that the only valid way to determine correctness is accuracy of predictions, this however only works to a certain extent. The philosophical truth is unknowable, for instance how do we know that what we see is what is really going on? We simply cannot, Science however holds that it doesn’t matter in the slightest. To allow this to be a valid epistemology however we have to then allow that what we are dealing with can only ever be a model of the universe, we can never say for certain that we are actually describing the universe, rather that we have an extremely accurate model which is a valid candidate. This model is adapted as new facts come along. Here I mean empirical data, rather than a philosophical fact of course. Everything which is based upon this in rational reasoning is a theory, the empirical data is the only thing we can define as something which is as certain as we can ever be to be fact.

    in this context, philosophical concerns over absolute truth just disappear.



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  • 33
    QuestioningKat says:

    Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn’t just start that himself? And if this is impossible to refute, then why are we atheists at all, why not simply agnostics?

    Sorry for being skeptical, but this doesn’t sound like an atheist to me. Considering I’m not getting a history of your past comments for some reason, I will wait until you start responding to comments before I chime in – just in case your a theist cloaked in atheism pulling a drop in and run discussion.



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  • 34
    Alan4discussion says:

    @OP- Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn’t just start that himself?

    We don’t know for absolute certainty that the big bang was not stated by giant aliens, leprechauns, fairies, or an exploding Klingon warp-drive, although that does seem to be a set silly improbable suggestions, given the scale of the universe and the nature of its laws.

    We do know that the Abrahamic “God” with a capital “G” is a a bearded old male father character from primitive mythology, made up by ancient Canaanite people who had no possible idea that the universe as we know it, even existed.

    All scientific questions eventually run off the scale or range of the instruments and investigations, to end up at a point beyond which we do not know. That is not an excuse for making up or copying childish myths based on ancient sky-fairies!

    There are no credible “god-hypotheses”. There are only childish gapologist whimsicalities, and ignorant unevidenced anthropomorphic assertions.

    As explanations for the physics of the universe, god-creatures with a special interest in humans, must be some of the least likely explanations! God-delusions in human brains, offer much more credible hypotheses for the origins of various gap-filling stories.

    And if this is impossible to refute, then why are we atheists at all, why not simply agnostics?

    Without a definition and credible evidence for a claim, there is nothing to refute!

    It seems that we’d have to settle on “it’s impossible to prove that he exists or does not exist.”

    If believers want to produce evidence for some male god, let them produce evidence, or stop making silly speculations.
    There are no known “male laws of physics”!

    Or perhaps must we settle on, this is an instance in which there was an effect, but no cause?

    Where there is no known cause or no information, it is irrational to pretend to come to conclusions.
    That does not mean that any wild speculation is credible!
    Gods are not a default position in the absence of other explanations.
    What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence!



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  • 36
    rizvoid says:

    Gods are not a default position in the absence of other explanations

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own, running under random stupid laws …. this sounds much more rational and is a far better default position?



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  • 37
    SurLaffaLot says:

    ” . . .why are we atheists at all, why not simply agnostics?” An agnostic is an atheist. Agnostics do not believe in a god. I for one am an agnostic atheist.



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  • 38
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #37 by rizvoid:

    Gods are not a default position in the absence of other explanations

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own, running under random stupid laws …. this sounds much more rational and is a far better default position?

    It’s not a question of what sounds more rational. It’s a question of what fits better with the data and with the theories we have already tested.

    Michael



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  • 39
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    What does that mean ? What consequences would it have ? How could we test that hypothesis ?

    Michael



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  • 40
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    One wonders what they might mean by that, if they mean anything.



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  • In reply to #34 by QuestioningKat:

    Sorry for being skeptical, but this doesn’t sound like an atheist to me.

    Alarm bells often sound when the sentence starts ” I am an atheist”. These bells become louder when following sentences seem to suggest that the writer wants to attribute a supernatural explanation to the beginning of the universe.



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  • In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    If people think that, why not simply call it the “universe”, after all the word I’d already in use and everyone knows what it means.



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  • In reply to #41 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    One wonders what they might mean by that, if they mean anything.

    Sounds like a perfectly workable definition of “Naturalism” to me. It is, after all, omnipresent (is everywhere there is anywhere), omnipotent (has all powers that exist) and to the extent that anything beneficial happens, omnibenevolent (“bad” things just happen as part of the “greater plan” manifest by the unfolding of cosmic time, trillions of years from now). Or, as the Zen student said to the hot dog vendor, “Make me one, with everything …”



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  • 44
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #44 by Quine:

    Naturalism is all well and good, but why even bother to correlate the universe with God? The term ‘God’ refers to nothing real, whereas the universe is what it is. We do much better to carry on finding out more about the universe than to think of empty names for it.



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  • 45
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #41 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    One wonders what they might mean by that, if they mean anything.

    It’s like deep man, deep. You have to just go with it.

    Michael



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  • 46
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #44 by Quine:

    Or, as the Zen student said to the hot dog vendor, “Make me one, with everything …”

    LOL. Thanks. Haven’t seen that before.

    Michael



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  • In reply to #47 by mmurray:

    In reply to #44 by Quine:

    Or, as the Zen student said to the hot dog vendor, “Make me one, with everything …”

    LOL. Thanks. Haven’t seen that before.

    Michael

    Then the student paid the hot dog cart vendor with a large bill, and getting no response asked, “Where’s my change?” The vendor gestured at the store behind him and replied, “Change comes only from within.”



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  • 48
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #48 by Quine:

    In reply to #47 by mmurray:

    In reply to #44 by Quine:

    Or, as the Zen student said to the hot dog vendor, “Make me one, with everything …”

    LOL. Thanks. Haven’t seen that before.

    Michael

    Then the student paid the hot dog cart vendor with a large bill, and getting no response asked, “Where’s my change?” The vendor gestured at the store behind him and replied, “Change comes only from within.”

    Lol again!

    Michael



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  • 49
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #37 by rizvoid:

    Gods are not a default position in the absence of other explanations

    What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence!

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own,

    We do not know the origins of the Big-bang, but we do know quite a lot about the evolution of the universe since then.

    running under random stupid laws ….

    Stupidity is a property of humans – but sometimes anthropomorphically projected on to nature by those who cannot understand its laws are not random.

    this sounds much more rational and is a far better default position?

    Rational understanding of nature, starts with evidence.

    There are no “default positions” – other than in delusional psychological preconceptions of those making up pretend “better” magic, as smoke-screen pseudo-explanations.



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  • 50
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #7 by petermead1:

    […] you use the terms “agnostic” and “atheist” as though they are mutually exclusive terms. They are not. The former is a position about knowledge and the latter is a position about whether or not a god exists. If you are agnostic, then you assert that the ultimate truth of the nature and existence of God(s) cannot be known.

    that’s the original meaning, but its often used to mean “lacking in knowledge about god”. I for instance don’t see that knowledge about god is so very obviously “unknowable”. The old testament god seemed very knowable. In a spoilt brat kind of way. So does this make me a gnostic atheist?

    If you are an atheist, then you are simply describing a position that doesn’t include belief in God(s). Personally, I am an agnostic atheist. It is my understanding that the majority of atheists are. I would describe my position as follows. “I do not believe that the existence or nature of God(s) can ultimately be known by anyone to any degree of certainty. Therefore, I do not believe in God(s).

    “I see no evidence for the existence of god (or unicorns or pixies or little blue people who live in my belly-button fluff) therefore he does not exist”

    Many who describe themselves as “agnostics” are unknowingly atheists as well. Belief in God(s) is a binary position. With regards to the statement “I believe in God(s),” if you answer with “agree” you are a theist. If you answer with “disagree,” you are an atheist. Positions about whether or not God(s) is knowable and to what degree are completely different matters. It is possible to hold the position of an agnostic theist. Someone of this view may say the following. “I do not believe that the existence or nature of God(s) can ultimately be known by anyone to any degree of certainty. However, I do believe in God(s). While I find this to be thoroughly irrational, this is where, for many, “faith” comes into play, a concept that I find absurd.

    I often describe myself as a agnostic simply to distinguish myself from the crazier atheists. There are some days I don’t want to be in their group!



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  • 51
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #14 by GPWC:

    You have nicely explained the difference between atheism and agnosticism – something that I was not really too sure of until a year or two ago.

    I’m not convinced he did. I don’t find the original definition of agnosticism particularly useful.

    There is also more to be said on this for alext180 as I would guess that there are far more agnostic theists in the world than we can count. Essentially all the woo-meisters are agnostic theists including our friend Deepak Chopra. So too are those who say “I don’t really follow/like the main religions but I think (ie hope) there is something out there”.

    These people are the low hanging fruit that we should be going after.

    I think squeezing that last little bit of religion or “spitiuality” out of people will be hard.

    Even if we can’t get them to give up their particular brand of woo, we could at least get them to sign up and speak up for secularism.

    many people regard secularisation as dangerous. I spent quite a long time explaining what “secularism” meant to a fried of mine. I ended up with two types (I’m not sure that was wise) “soft” secularisation simply aims at equality of treatment by the law and society at large.
    A strong secularist tries to suppress religion.

    Speaking as a weak secularist I’m against laws aimed at particular religions. So i’m against government subsidy of religious schools or of legislation against the veil.



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  • 52
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #15 by Malaidas:

    The problem of infinite regress is fundamental to any rational thought. However there are rational answers to the problem which can be to a degree satisfactory

    1) It is indeed impossible to disprove god in a Deist sense, it is perfectly possible to disprove a theist god and as far as can be done, has been done. We have shown for instance that very few if any of the historical claims of the bible are backed up when analysed by archaeologists etc.

    have you heard of paragraphs? Your point 2 is gigantic!

    2) To solve infinite regress there are 2 possible solutions, a) that reality as a whole just came into existence from nothing for no reason, or its infinite and eternal. You can choose which ever you like as its pure metaphysics, I prefer the former, but that’s my opinion. I can;t even say its belief because there is no justification for really holding such, other than it fits better in my head.

    If however [the universe came into existence from nothing and for no reason] […] and this can stand as an axiom then we can argue as follows (taken from Dawkins and expanded a little). If we are coming from nothing then there are no laws etc to govern what state the universe shall come into.

    don’t see how this follows. How do we know there isn’t an underlying symetry or limitation on the laws of physics. Laws aren’t things you are indulging in reification (to be fair some physicists appear to do the same thing0 laws are simply descriptions of behaviour. Are all the values of the physical constants equally probable? How do you know? How do you know there aren’t other constants that happen to be 1 (or zero or whatever value means no affect)? A plane triangle has to add up to 180 degrees. Is this a physical law? Or simply follow from axioms? How do we know physical laws don’t follow from some axiomisation?

    It could come into existence as unbelievably complex or really simple. Each state is equally likely.

    why?

    However there are more states that would be simpler than states that are complex.

    why?

    The universe coming into existence in this case must be completely random

    I don’t accept your premises

    (perhaps the only random event ever to have happened),

    quantum?

    and it could be any state within the possible states, each state as I say being equally likely.

    what distinguishes possible from impossible states. Some sort of meta-law maybe? What if there’s only one possible state? Oh and why is each state equally likely?

    However as there are substantially, in fact a huge number of more simple states than complex ones, it is much more likely that a simple state happened. As a state coming into existence which includes god, i.e. god didn’t himself evolve, he just came into existence with the universe is much more complex than an initial state that doesn’t have a god. It is much more likely that reality as a whole came into existence without god.

    surely an even simpler universe would be an empty one or a single particle. Why must we be in a probable universe?

    Now it is possible that some parallel to natural selection then led to god existing who then created our universe. However I would argue that (a0 if it is not necessary which physicists are on the verge of proving)

    what?

    we have no reason to suggest that a god exists per say. If we have no evidence of god and no reason to suggest that one must exists then we must question its existence. In such a circumstance Occam would say to select the more simple universe i.e. one not having god, whether right or wrong, because we cannot tell the difference. Basically as we cannot tell the difference between a god in the deist sense and no god at all, we should be sceptical and say that it is very likely there is no god.

    seems a very hard way to go about using occam’s razor. Why not just use it in step one and skip all multi-verse crap?

    There is however no proof of this, which to me is where deism differs fundamentally from theism from a scientific point. We can proove theists wrong and any argument from them is simply irrational and stupid to be honest, they are wrong. We cannot prove Deists wrong, although we say its much less likely. In such cases its not irrational to hold that you would think that there is probably a god for instance, but to say you know there is one is irrational. Likewise an Atheist can say that he/she believes that there is no god. He cannot say conclusively that there is none, but on the balance of probability the atheist is far more likely to be correct.

    I don’t accept the probability argument. I don’t see how you go about calculating such a probability.

    All of us however can say that all known theist beliefs contradict the evidence and as such must be inaccurate,

    not sure. I merely argue there is lack of evidence

    if not complete baloney. This isn’t philosophical its plain rational thought. If a theory contradicts the evidence IT IS WRONG, making excuses in this case only makes things worse. As a Christian you believe in a book that is WRONG, it contradicts the evidence. as A Muslim you also believe in a book that is WRONG, as with all other rrevealed religions. Its not a matter of lack of evidence , its a matter of universal evidence that contradicts the account. Being a theist is therefore the belief in known falsehood. It doesn’t matter if you try to wrap it in scientific thought (badly), the evidence shows you are wrong. its not any one or even 100 pieces or even 3000 pieces that prove it wrong, its millions of observations. The world obeys natural laws and there is no evidence of divine intervention, the biblical history is very inaccurate and despite its claims. It contradicts itself constantly. The same is true for any book of this nature, we can’t blame the authors though at least not totally. They didn’t have the facts. The fact people still believe in them, (whilst being a subject worthy of scientific study), is not a measure of the spiritual accuracy of the book, more an measure of the vast ignorance and possibly stupidity of humankind as a species.



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  • 53
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #15 by Malaidas:

    The problem of infinite regress is fundamental to any rational thought. However there are rational answers to the problem which can be to a degree satisfactory

    Why do you think there is any sensible question you can ask about cause and effect back beyond the end of the Planck Epoch (before 10^(-43) seconds) ? Cause and effect are already dubious in quantum mechanics and that usually assumes a space-time background. If space-time breaks down where is your time ? What does it mean for something to cause something else ?

    Michael



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  • 54
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #31 by LinguisticApe:

    God start the Big Bang “himself”? The thought that a creature capable of such astonishing acts of power and creation should have the need for a penis never fails to puzzle me. Whatever caused our Universe to come into existence, I think it’s fair to say that the fantasies of our violent primitive an…

    does he have a belly button?



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  • 55
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #35 by Alan4discussion:

    It seems that we’d have to settle on “it’s impossible to prove that he exists or does not exist.”

    If believers want to produce evidence for some male god, let them produce evidence, or stop making silly speculations.
    There are no known “male laws of physics”!

    it is a convention in english to refer to a person of unknown or unspecified gender as “he”. So you are just being silly.



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  • 56
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #37 by rizvoid:

    Gods are not a default position in the absence of other explanations

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own, running under random stupid laws …. this sounds much more rational and is a far better default position?

    what does “random” mean when you use it?



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  • 57
    nick keighley says:

    In reply to #43 by Nitya:

    In reply to #36 by rizvoid:

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    If people think that, why not simply call it the “universe”, after all the word I’d already in use and everyone knows what it means.

    can you pray to it? if you do can it do anything to help? does it care about me? is it going to provide me with an after-life? is it watching when i do bad things?



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  • 58
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #10 by Peter Grant:

    God is not even a theory…

    In fact it isn’t even an acceptable hypothesis. You require a testable, falsifiable, naturalistic ‘first cause’ and anyone claiming that you could “just call whatever initiated the Universe, ‘God’…” is just plain dishonest.



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  • 60
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #56 by nick keighley:

    In reply to #35 by Alan4discussion:

    It seems that we’d have to settle on “it’s impossible to prove that he exists or does not exist.”

    If believers want to produce evidence for some male god, let them produce evidence, or stop making silly speculations. There are no known “male laws of physics”!

    it is a convention in english to refer to a person of unknown or unspecified gender as “he”.

    Now you are not only ASSUMING this “god” is a “person”, but that it is an “organism” which is from a “species” with “sexes” or “genders” that apparently speaks English!

    Vast numbers of organisms are asexual or hermaphrodite, so there is no evidenced basis for these ASSUMPTIONS. – Unless YOU have evidence we don’t know about? Got evidence???

    So you are just being silly.

    Reflect on your comment, – and think it through!!

    “Assumption” is regularly the basis of misunderstanding and error!

    The absence of credible definitions of gods and their properties is a key issue. “He” is an unsupported assumption, as a property of a god, which is also an unsupported assumption!



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  • 61
    rizvoid says:

    We do not know the origins of the Big-bang, but we do know quite a lot about the evolution of the universe since then.

    I agree with the first part, but I disagree with the second. We don’t know quite a lot about anything concerning the universe, evolution or whatever else it is. If we knew quite a lot about the universe regarding any of its aspects, then there would not be much left for the future generations to explore in that area. We all know this is not true. The more we dig into the hole, it just goes deeper and deeper. It is bottomless. More and more wonders await us. So, I think it is just simple arrogance to assume we know quite a lot. That’s right. It’s just an assumption.

    Stupidity is a property of humans – but sometimes anthropomorphically projected on to nature by those who cannot understand its laws are not random.

    That’s even better. How does a universe with non-random laws come into existence on its own out of no where? Is that a rational position? Sounds extremely irrational, don’t you think?.

    Rational understanding of nature, starts with evidence.
    There are no “default positions” – other than in delusional psychological preconceptions of those making up pretend “better” magic, as smoke-screen pseudo-explanations.

    Who said that the entire universe could, and must, be explained and understood by what is called rational understanding and physical evidence? What if what we are able to understand about the universe through rational understanding was just one aspect of the universe — one of its many many aspects?. The rational aspect of the universe? What if it was just one way to see and understand the universe?. Not the ONLY way? What if the universe also had other aspects, which when seen within the context of our rational understanding, seemed very irrational? But they were quite as valid? Only we couldn’t understand them, because we were trying to interpret them through rational understanding, and it was indeed this interpretation though rational understanding that made them look so irrational to us? Do you see where I am getting at?



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  • 62
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #62 by rizvoid:

    We do not know the origins of the Big-bang, but we do know quite a lot about the evolution of the universe since then.

    I agree with the first part, but I disagree with the second. We don’t know quite a lot about anything concerning the universe,

    But we do. We know all the elementary particles and forces that make up the universe at the range of energies and forces humans live in.

    Who said that the entire universe could, and must, be explained and understood by what is called rational understanding and physical evidence? What if what we are able to understand about the universe through rational understanding was just one aspect of the universe — one of its many many aspects?. The rational aspect of the universe? What if it was just one way to see and understand the universe?. Not the ONLY way? What if the universe also had other aspects, which when seen within the context of our rational understanding, seemed very irrational? But they were quite as valid? Only we couldn’t understand them, because we were trying to interpret them through rational understanding, and it was indeed this interpretation though rational understanding that made them look so irrational to us? Do you see where I am getting at?

    Ah you are a mysterian! What would non-physical evidence be ? How would you distinguish a non-rational understanding of the non-rational parts of the universe from just making stuff up ?

    All we know is what experience teaches us. If we create theories based on our experiences and test them back against the universe and refine them by doing this over and over again we find that we get increasingly more accurate models of how the universe works. Accurate meaning able to make predictions about future behaviour of the universe accurately. The proof is the computer you are typing on.

    Michael



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  • 63
    rizvoid says:

    But we do. We know all the elementary particles and forces that make up the universe at the range of energies and forces humans live in.

    We don’t know where do these particles come from, where do these energies comes from, and where do the laws come from under which these particles and energies operate. To be able to tell the origin of the big bang means we are able to tell how the big bang came into being, which we can’t. We can’t, because it is beyond the scope and ability of our minds. There was no time before the big bang, as the theory goes, and there was also no space. No time and space? How does our mind comprehend a scenario that involves a state of no time and no space? Is it possible? If it is not, then how could we ever discover the origins of the big bang using our rational mind?

    Ah you are a mysterian! What would non-physical evidence be ? How would you distinguish a non-rational understanding of the non-rational parts of the universe from just making stuff up ?

    I don’t know. What evidence can a person give another that he dreams every night? None. Yet we all know every one of us dreams! You dream, I dream, but none of us can give anyone any evidence.It’s just a personal, and subjective experience. What if our understanding of the non-physical parts of the universe came in a similar manner? Subjectively? Does it have to be an objective fact? Why can’t it be a subjective experience? Like our dreams? As for making stuff up…. I don’t know. If there are parts of the universe that can be experienced subjectively, and subjectively only, then there is no way to find this out. Not at the moment.

    All we know is what experience teaches us. If we create theories based on our experiences and test them back against the universe and refine them by doing this over and over again we find that we get increasingly more accurate models of how the universe works. Accurate meaning able to make predictions about future behaviour of the universe accurately. The proof is the computer you are typing on.

    Yes, I think we will achieve that if we continue to head toward a certain direction. But, the point was, what if this wasn’t the only direction available to us within the universe? What if this was just one direction — one of many? Some scientists believe that to achieve true artificial intelligence, we will have to change our science completely, because we can’t achieve it on science as we know it– no matter how hard we try. We will soon be faced with limitations. Just like commercial airplanes can’t go faster than a certain speed, and haven’t been able to improve much since the invention of jet planes, as far as speed and fuel economy is concerned. Is this the limitation of the universe, or the limitation of the universe as we understand the universe?



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  • I recently watched Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life. I wanted to write Mr. Dawkins about it. As no chance for me to reach him, I’m writing here. Here are some common mistakes from my point of view.

    1) I don’t believe in God. My question: what is God? Actually what atheists don’t believe is a common explanation of God.
    2) SIN: My question is what is sin? wasn’t it a sin to tell the earth is round in Christian world? My second question: So what religious people tell about sins are the words of God?

    I think some atheists are on a very true way not to believe. But what you should not believe is what people believe, tell, teach etc.

    I wan to to give an example. (About sins) All children are innocent. Aren’t they? Even they do bad things, they are innocent. So what changes in years and God starts to blame us for being sinful. Or let’s think about a killer. He was a child. He was sinless. And by the age of 15, he killed two people. What makes him to be so bad. Or if I put my children in a cage so that they cannot commit sin, would they go heaven? So does it make me a good father? this is what religious leaders tell. My point is no important, as everyone should find their own path.

    What I wanted to tell shortly is atheists blame religions according to what other people tell about religion, sins, heaven, hell etc. Mostly they are right to blame. But not religions they are right to blame religious leaders.

    Atheists should all read religious books first. (I don’t say they do not read) For example I am Muslim and in our society everything is sin. If you do this and that, you will go hell they say….But when I read Quran, it is written I’ll forgive you repeatedly, many times…it is written how many times you commit sin, I’ll forgive you….This is what I understand from Quran…But our imams say, earth is plane not round. So should I be atheist?

    sorry for any possible grammer mistakes. english is not my mother tongue.



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  • In reply to #64 by rizvoid:

    We don’t know where do these particles come from, where do these energies comes from, and where do the laws come from under which these particles and energies operate. To be able to tell the origin of the big bang means we are able to tell how the big bang came into being, which we can’t. We can’t, because it is beyond the scope and ability of our minds.

    I don’t entirely agree with all that, but suppose you are right about it; so what? You don’t get to argue for something based on what is not known about something else (see argumentum ad ignorantiam). I would be wrong to argue that based on all that you mention, the Universe must have been created by invisible pink unicorns. Having not presented any evidence for your positions, you are no better off.

    Got evidence?



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  • 66
    rizvoid says:

    I don’t entirely agree with all that, but suppose you are right about it; so what? You don’t get to argue for something based on what is not known about something else (see argumentum ad ignorantiam). I would be wrong to argue that based on all that you mention, the Universe must have been created by invisible pink unicorns. Having not presented any evidence for your positions, you are no better off.
    Got evidence?

    No, that’s not the point. The point is, the rational part of human mind, the rational mind, has its limitations. One of its many limitations is that it cannot comprehend a state of no time and no space, and if this is precisely the state that we need to comprehend the origin of the universe, then how are we ever going to understand how the universe began? If can’t understand how the universe began, then what default position should we take? That some pink unicorn created all of it, or it all happened on its own out of nowhere? I think we can choose either, because both of them sound equally absurd.

    Now, human mind, luckily, is far more than what we call the rational mind. A large part, a very large part, of it highly irrational, or so it seems to the rational part of the mind. Dreams is one example. If you can remember your dreams, even vaguely, then a strange characteristics of dreams is that in dreams the usual sense of time is gone, as is the usual sense of space. When we wake up, we can’t explain how time and space had changed in our dreams, but we know that they had in fact changed. Now, the part of mind that dreams, can it be utilized at will during normal waking part of life?



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  • In reply to #67 by rizvoid:

    No, that’s not the point. The point is, the rational part of human mind, the rational mind, has its limitations.

    Again, so what?

    One of its many limitations is that it cannot comprehend a state of no time and no space, and if this is precisely the state that we need to comprehend the origin of the universe, then how are we ever going to understand how the universe began?

    That is why physicists use mathematics to model what is not directly visualizable by our brains, which were evolved to fit conditions of living in Africa, long ago.

    Now, human mind, luckily, is far more than what we call the rational mind. A large part, a very large part, of it highly irrational, or so it seems to the rational part of the mind. Dreams is one example.

    The irrational part of our minds is needed to drive us on and provide inspiration. Unfortunately, it comes up with things that are sometimes right, but mostly wrong. The rational part can be used (by those who bother) to sort out the correct and discard the incorrect. Dreams are little movies your brain runs while doing internal organization and cleanup tasks. Have you done any study of the neuroscience of dreaming? If so, what are your findings and,

    Got evidence?



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  • 68
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #64 by rizvoid:

    But we do. We know all the elementary particles and forces that make up the universe at the range of energies and forces humans live in.

    We don’t know where do these particles come from, where do these energies comes from, and where do the laws come from under which these particles and energies operate.

    We don’t know these things yet.

    To be able to tell the origin of the big bang means we are able to tell how the big bang came into being, which we can’t. We can’t, because it is beyond the scope and ability of our minds. There was no time before the big bang, as the theory goes, and there was also no space.

    If there is no time then the word “before” doesn’t mean anything here. It is actually probable that there is no time and space from 0 to 10^{-43} seconds. Forget about the meaningless “before”.

    No time and space? How does our mind comprehend a scenario that involves a state of no time and no space? Is it possible? If it is not, then how could we ever discover the origins of the big bang using our rational mind?

    You still want to apply words like “origin”. If there is no time what does it mean for the big bang to “originate”. For the general point of comprehending these things the answer is as s Quine says …. mathematics. We can make mathematical models without space and time.

    You still haven’t told me what a non-physical part of the universe is? Do you mean dreams ? Dreams are happening in your mind which is patterns of chemicals and electric fields in your brain which is physical.

    Michael



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  • 70
    Malaidas says:

    Any discussion of what lies outside our universe, which is to say that which is intrinsically unobservable is by nature metaphysics and to try and assign any measure of correctness to a theory is simply irrational, we have no way to provide proof. The philosophical difficulties of this however are not just limited to science but to all comers, despite claims to the contrary from theists, wishing to make a case for Gods existence. Put simply, the existence of god is NOT the default position if we cannot give proof otherwise. None of this means however that we cannot generate rational hypothesis, simply that currently and very likely never will be able to empirically proof such.

    If we come back for a moment to the principles of Model Determined Reality we can offer candidate explanations and whilst any such is very far from the province of proven fact, it is however a lot more rationally based than believing the the writings of men/ women (possibly) from thousands of years ago who had less education than we do.

    The Theist’s Mental Trick

    What I want to separate first of all is though the difference between a theist or a deist god in this context, this is vital for any consideration of this nature. Theists god claims are not based upon cosmological argument, they are based on the analysis of the claims of the scripture to what is observed. If they do not match up, the religion is preaching fallacies. Irrespective of whether a god in some sense exists. This I believe can be very much shown for all the main stream religions. To the extent that I will state that there is no valid evidence of any kind of a revealed god, scripture or otherwise. The fact is that the scripture proves itself wrong by its own claims, to the rational mind. Cosmological arguments at this point are wholly unnecessary and a complete red herring, amply played by theist debaters and apologists but which are, regardless of the cleverness of their presentation, completely rationally and empirically wrong. They use this argument to trap atheists into talking about metaphysics and try to put us on the same playing field as their own.

    I am therefore addressing only the arguments of Deists in this post.

    What do we Know to be True

    If we start from first principles, we understand that firstly that ‘I must exist’. This is the one part of Descartes’ meditations which is properly valid. By extension through the principles of Scientific method I can also assume that everything I see exists. From this we derive the point of view that based upon evidence of the big bang, there is beginning to our universe or at least this cycle of it, if you hold with oscillation theory. Static eternity theory didn’t hold up to the evidence. This leaves a big question of course, what caused the big bang and to be fair to the theists for a second, did the big bang actually happen?

    Firstly the term Big Bang is a misnomer, however all the empirical evidence points to the fact that our observable universe began as an incredibly tiny point in space and expanded from this. This isn’t some theological or philosophical concept, this is what the observation of the universe tells us and if we can’t trust the observations, well that’s a different story, I’ve dealt with in other posts.

    So we know or at least can say beyond reasonable doubt that this is how the universe began. But who or what lit the match, to coin a theist phrase? This is where our speculations must be philosophical because we cannot see beyond our observable universe, by definition. Everything from this point is as I said earlier pure hypothesis, whatever you choose to believe.

    The Fine Tuning Red Herring

    Before I step any further, I wish to cover the fine tuning argument and then close that fish shaped box again. It has been demonstrated that the constants of the universe have to be very close to what they are for our universe to be as it is. Theists love to use this as some kind of evidence of god. The problem is this isn’t in the bible, Koran or whatever holy scripture you wish to choose. In fact such documents describe a different cosmos to our own, one where the earth is at the centre, and as such the big bang couldn’t have occurred as we observe. This invalidates any conclusion of the theist god actually starting the big bang, unless they can explain this discrepancy. There is no point resulting to anthropic reasoning as argument against them, that’s what they want. It puts you on philosophical ground as I said. OK for fairness it is difficult to tell where the centre of the universe actually is, based upon the fact that the universe looks the same (from the point of expansion) from whatever place you look at it, but as we are moving in space anyway there is no way you can say that the earth is the centre, even if, (so incredibly unlikely its untrue), at one moment during the year it passed through it.

    Again,(it bears repeating), anthropic reasoning is required only for the cosmological argument which applies only to a none revealed god. Any theist trying to sneak this in as an argument for the existence of god, and then talking about a theist one is being intellectually dishonest, the two are mutually exclusive

    OK so Lets Talk Philosophy

    Now that we have established the playing field, and removed theists completely from consideration, we can begin to address the metaphysical.

    It is sensible to start from a position, that what is outside, (if there is any outside), is not completely dissimilar to what we have inside. We have no reason not to and this would be the simpler solution, further more it gives us some sort of basis for our philosophical assertions. We know that our universe seems to be parsimonious, although we cannot prove that, so simplicity is a reasonable basis for argument here, so extending Occam to apply here is a reasonable approach.

    Is there an outside? Many would hold that there must be because of fine tuning, I argue that there doesn’t need to be and this doesn’t in any way imply god exists.

    What we first need to consider is the ultimate problem of life the universe and everything, for which the answer is most unlikely to be 42, but I guess it may as well be seeing as we will never know for sure. Douglas Adams was a very clever man. He hit on the single biggest problem in any concern of this nature. Defining the problem!

    Given the problems of infinite regress we get left with 2 impossible (to the human mind) solutions. 1 there is an outside that is infinite and eternal, it was never created and will never stop being. An extension to static theory. The other is that the universe came from nothing, with no cause. This means NO CAUSE whatsoever, NOT GOD, God did not exist because God cannot exist outside of this outer reality any more than anything else, before this there was NOTHING. Using this argument for gods existence really gets up my nose, its so blatantly fraudulent, yet seems to win people over!!

    We cannot conclusively argue either, but the former has more problems to address than the latter, which only has to address how something could just pop into existence for no reason, a biggy I accept, but nothing compared to the few of many problems I will now address with any static theory in this context. The first thing is that for it to be eternal and infinite this means that there is an infinte amount of time before the universe was actually created, why? and given this eternity why are things not more perfect than they are etc. The whole argument falls down because infinity doesn’t work in the real world. Based upon the number of problems to solve, I will use Occam to select the one with just a single, massive problem to solve. I will make this axiomatic to the rest of my discussion. And thus all other musings are subject to this actually being true which it might not be

    I have argued that God didn’t cause this ultimate spark, by definition he/she could not have. If you have anything outside, you simply push the problem of infinite regress back one step. However does this mean that a god didn’t create our universe. Well not necessarily, but I have shown that for a creation event to occur, no god is necessary, from a philosophical standpoint.

    From here we can however move to show that god existing is less likely than a godless reality as follows. There were perhaps an infinite number of states that the universe could have come into being into. However as we know we exist and it is reasonable to assume that not all such states could have given rise to our ‘fine tuned’ universe, that the number of possible states that it might have actually come into is finite. This allows us to start talking probability

    in such a system there are going to be many more states that are simple rather than complex, the more complex the system the less the number of possible states that could have it pop into being at the beginning. Now because we are coming from nothing, each individual state must be equally likely, however by number of states, we can say that it was much more likely to be a simple state rather than a complex one. Given the complexity of any sort of god, it seems reasonable to say that reality coming into existence without one is more likely.

    Does this disprove a deist god existing, no. However by virtue of the fact that such a universe being able to self form spaces like our own is a simpler solution, needing only a few basic laws (such as are being studied in string theory) it seems more likely that because none is needed and because a simpler state is more probable, and that a godless solution is simpler, that there is no god.

    This is a long way from actual proof of course, its just philosophical musings. But it is an answer of sorts.



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  • 71
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #65 by emirc:
    >

    Atheists should all read religious books first. (I don’t say they do not read) For example I am Muslim and in our society everything is sin. If you do this and that, you will go hell they say…

    Your problem is that you assume purposes and myths from your own book.
    Have you read all the books and claims of the thousands of other religions past and present? List of deities
    Atheism is understanding the lack of evidence for gods. All gods, – not a denial of someone’s particular god that they have acquired in childhood from their family or local culture. That is why lots of people in Spain and Italy are Roman Catholics, while many people in Japan follow Buddhism or Shinto, and others in India are Muslims or Hindus. Theists are atheistic towards all gods except their own. Atheists are atheistic to one more god than the religious – usually having looked at a few, but no-one has time to look at them all. .

    .But when I read Quran, it is written I’ll forgive you repeatedly, many times…it is written how many times you commit sin, I’ll forgive you….This is what I understand from Quran…But our imams say, earth is plane not round. So should I be atheist?

    Reading books from other religions can help people understand the irrational claims of faith – such as the historical claims of a “flat Earth”, or stories of magical miraculous events. Richard Dawkins explains some of these in his book, “The Magic of Reality” which is described on this link.



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  • 72
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #62 by rizvoid:

    More and more wonders await us. So, I think it is just simple arrogance to assume we know quite a lot. That’s right. It’s just an assumption.

    We do known quite a lot about the observable universe, but cannot evaluate how much is unknown. That does not leave the field open to default gapology based on ignorance, or ignorance of what we do know. What we do know is scientifically supported by evidence. It is not simply an assumption.

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own, running under random stupid laws ….

    Stupidity is a property of humans – but sometimes anthropomorphically projected on to nature by those who cannot understand its laws are not random.

    That’s even better. How does a universe with non-random laws come into existence on its own out of no where?

    There is no evidence it came from “nowhere” or even that “nowhere” is a coherent concept in this context!

    Is that a rational position?

    Rationality is a process of deduction. Not knowing and admitting we do not yet have the information, is rational in these circumstances.

    Sounds extremely irrational, don’t you think?.

    It is irrational to claim to make deductions about properties of the universe which are unknown. There are no default positions about the unknown, except the position that “we do not know”!

    Rational understanding of nature, starts with evidence. There are no “default positions” – other than in delusional psychological preconceptions of those making up pretend “better” magic, as smoke-screen pseudo-explanations.

    Who said that the entire universe could, and must, be explained and understood by what is called rational understanding and physical evidence?

    Nobody said this, but there are no other credible ways to seek reliable information to establish what we can discover.

    What if what we are able to understand about the universe through rational understanding was just one aspect of the universe — one of its many many aspects?.

    Then there will be more discoveries to be made from areas at present unknown.

    What if it was just one way to see and understand the universe?. Not the ONLY way? What if the universe also had other aspects, which when seen within the context of our rational understanding, seemed very irrational?

    You are talking about the rationality or irrationality of the psychological condition of the observer, not properties of the universe.

    But they were quite as valid? Only we couldn’t understand them, because we were trying to interpret them through rational understanding, and it was indeed this interpretation though rational understanding that made them look so irrational to us?

    Recognising the observers’ psychological projections, and separating confused wish-thinking for objective evidence, is part of the scientific process.

    Do you see where I am getting at?

    Yes. You are making a special pleading for mystical irrational thought processes, which have consistently failed to produce reliable testable answers, in attempts to make default claims about the unknown.

    It looks like God-Gapology 1.01 in the contorted semantics of self delusion, but you have not attempted to produce evidence for any claim you may be making.

    I see Michael and Quine have covered this in their comments.



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  • 73
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #67 by rizvoid:

    Now, human mind, luckily, is far more than what we call the rational mind. A large part, a very large part, of it highly irrational, or so it seems to the rational part of the mind. Dreams is one example. If you can remember your dreams, even vaguely, then a strange characteristics of dreams is that in dreams the usual sense of time is gone, as is the usual sense of space. When we wake up, we can’t explain how time and space had changed in our dreams, but we know that they had in fact changed. Now, the part of mind that dreams, can it be utilized at will during normal waking part of life?

    As others have addressed the rest of your post very well, I will only address this paragraph.

    You appear to be proposing that the act of dreaming is some way of viewing an aspect of reality that we cannot perceive from our conscious state, or that when we dream we are viewing another form or aspect or dimension of reality. However your indication of this surreal ability is that while dreaming, time and space do not function or present themselves as they do in reality.

    Has it not occurred to you that this ‘phenomenon’ could simply be the minds failure to accurately model the physical world when it does not have any sensory input to guide it? Thus the models it creates don’t conform to the parameters of the physical world?

    Our minds after all are software, running on the hardware of our physical brain. Our brains exist in reality, but our software mind could never have the capability of accurately emulating the full complexities of reality and could easily mess it up at times. In the same way a videogame can’t always reproduce accurate real-world physics without extensive and highly accurate programming, but can easily produce fantasy physics that allow you to jump 15 feet high, or throw fireballs at oversized chipmunks.

    Why would the act of dreaming necessarily be some kind of trans-dimensional up-link? What sort of physical or quantum mechanism would allow our organic brains to perform this incredible task?



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  • 74
    Malaidas says:

    What evidence can a person give another that he dreams every night? None. Yet we all know every one of us dreams! You dream, I dream, but none of us can give anyone any evidence.It’s just a personal, and subjective experience. What if our understanding of the non-physical parts of the universe came in a similar manner? Subjectively? Does it have to be an objective fact? Why can’t it be a subjective experience? Like our dreams? As for making stuff up…. I don’t know. If there are parts of the universe that can be experienced subjectively, and subjectively only, then there is no way to find this out. Not at the moment.

    You are right 100% right, we have no way to say that this isn’t the case, but more importantly, you, me or anyone else for that matter have NO RIGHT to say that its right, without some kind of objective proof, its just conjecture. You can believe it, if you like, its irrational but that is your right. However if you then start trying to convince others its real, in particular children but in general holds as well. If you then start urinating in the waters of truth by trying to get it taught in schools without a shred of real evidence of its truth, you are WRONG to do so. This is true of the whole of Theist religion in my opinion. The scientific viewpoint didn’t grow from some almost insane hatred of god, it comes form the opposite it comes from the the simple realisation that to know anything is true is to be able to physically demonstrate this, we don;t hate god, we don’t accept one exists, so how the heck could we hate it. We do however hate many of the things that demonstratively real people have done and said because the things that religion seems to claim, such as some impossible concept of absolute morality. Such leads to more human suffering (as Sam Harris puts it) than anything else, because you claim morality, but your moral system is seriously flawed, because the biblical moral system is ancient, primitive and flawed, not 100% wrong, but flawed.



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  • 75
    Alan4discussion says:

    @ rizvoid: – What evidence can a person give another that he dreams every night? None. Yet we all know every one of us dreams! You dream, I dream, but none of us can give anyone any evidence.It’s just a personal, and subjective experience.

    This does not appear to be correct, and in all probability will be incorrect over a wider field in the future, as analytical methods develop.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20934-dreams-read-by-brain-scanner-for-the-first-time.html#.UqYbbycUtPY

    After tracking down six individuals who claimed to be able to have lucid dreams almost nightly, the team used both functional MRI scanning and near-infrared spectroscopy to observe each person’s brain activity as they clenched a hand while awake. They then compared this with the activity associated with imagining clenching the same hand, and clenching the hand in a lucid dream.

    Daniel Erlacher at the University of Bern in Switzerland, who describes the study as “a brilliant piece of work”, agrees. “If you can get a detailed reading of brain functions and know what each represents, you can read dreams.”

    @64 – rizvoid:

    What if our understanding of the non-physical parts of the universe came in a similar manner? Subjectively?

    There is no evidence that such a thing as non-physical energy, forces, or matter exists. If such a substance interacted in any way with atoms or subatomic particles, it would be detectable with instruments. It is either non-existent or irrelevant to the material universe.
    All the evidence shows that subjective thinking does not produce reliable information except occasionally by random chance.
    There is also abundant evidence that human brains and senses have limited perceptions of the universe, but that aided by scientific instruments this perception and understanding is vastly extended and expanded.

    Does it have to be an objective fact?

    It does if you want any usable information rather than whimsical fiction!



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  • 76
    rizvoid says:

    “If you can get a detailed reading of brain functions and know what each represents, you can read dreams.”

    He is probably reading them in his imagination. Subjectively. Not through his instruments. Because his instruments at best can only record the brain activity, not what the brain is producing in the dreamer’s mind. It hasn’t happened yet. So why get excited?

    There is no evidence that such a thing as non-physical energy, forces, or matter exists. If such a substance interacted in any way with atoms or subatomic particles, it would be detectable with instruments. It is either non-existent or irrelevant to the material universe.
    All the evidence shows that subjective thinking does not produce reliable information except occasionally by random chance.
    There is also abundant evidence that human brains and senses have limited perceptions of the universe, but that aided by scientific instruments this perception and understanding is vastly extended and expanded.

    Yes, I agree. All of this belongs to the rational realm of the universe — what we see and interpret through what we call the rational part of our mind. Seeing and interpreting the universe this way would and does give us a certain view of the universe.

    However, my point was, what if there was a realm which was beyond the grasps of the rational mind? We can assume that because our mind has parts, the part that dreams for instance, that seem very irrational to the rational part of the mind. We must have that irrational part, which incidentally is much much larger than the rational part, for a reason, don’t we? Now, going back to dreams…. When we dream, as I said before, our usual sense of time and space usually changes into something entirely different. It is hard to describe, but rather easy to understand personally through experience. In dreams, time and events are usually non-sequential, and space is something entirely different. Fro example, zoom in, or zoom out at will, change the scenery instantly and so on. So, this time/space quality of dreams cannot really be understood and described in our normal everyday lives, because we here have a different concept of space/time. So, at the moment, the only way to understand this quality of dreams is to have dreams, have this understanding through a personal and subjective experience. You see what I mean? There is no evidence that time/space changes into something very different in dreams, but we all know that it does …. or most of us, or some of us do, … and how do know that? Why, we know that through personal experiences. So, I guess we simply can’t help if something can only be understood subjectively and through personal experiences. Another example is the experience of an LSD trip. Monitor the brain activity all you want, but it can’t be understood and described unless one personally goes through it.



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  • 77
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #77 by rizvoid:

    Yes, I agree. All of this belongs to the rational realm of the universe — what we see and interpret through what we call the rational part of our mind. Seeing and interpreting the universe this way would and does give us a certain view of the universe.

    However, my point was, what if there was a realm which was beyond the grasps of the rational mind?

    The underlying laws of the universe are independent of the capabilities of particular minds. You are again projecting states of images in minds on to the physical universe. This is just undefined whimsical speculation lacking any substance or basis.

    Matters in the real universe beyond the investigations of the rational mind, are extremely unlikely to be found or precessed by subjective introspection or navel gazing!

    The evidence is, that centuries of navel gazing failed to find any of the discoveries made by scientific instruments during recent decades.

    We can assume that because our mind has parts,

    Assumption is the mother of error! That claim is totally irrational gapology.

    We know the brain has various parts.“. There is no way to deduce features of the universe from that simple statement about the brain, – or from understanding the functions of its various parts.

    There is no evidence that time/space changes into something very different in dreams, but we all know that it does ….

    No it doesn’t! Only the individual’s perception of it does. You continue to project personal images and subjective feelings, on to the external universe. It is like claiming a video scene can become reality. It can’t, – although an individual may be deluded into thinking that it does. – Fortunately usually only temporarily unless they are psychotic.

    or most of us, or some of us do, … and how do know that? Why, we know that through personal experiences. So, I guess we simply can’t help if something can only be understood subjectively and through personal experiences. Another example is the experience of an LSD trip.

    Yes, drugs can modify the neurotransmitters in the brain and produce imaginary images which subjectively feel real, but they are just artificially induced illusions, delusions or hallucinations. – Nothing to do with the outside “real” world or universe or “understanding it”. – Just a chemically scrambled mental mixture of thoughts and images leading to misunderstanding from processing a scrambled signal.

    Many psychoactive drugs and neurotoxins can change the properties of neurotransmitter release, neurotransmitter reuptake and the availability of receptor binding sites.

    Monitor the brain activity all you want, but it can’t be understood and described unless one personally goes through it.

    You are just guessing at this and making it up according to what you would like to believe. The human brain is not capable of self-diagnosis. Many areas are not even accessible to the conscious mind. Many features can ONLY be investigated by outside independent monitoring and analysis!

    You are employing the method of subjective wish-thinking, which has been repeatedly shown to produce consistently wrong answers.

    There are many records of incidents, where this subjective wish-thinking has been substituted for objective scientific tests and checks. They are called “Crash Investigation” and “Accident Investigation” reports!

    I very much doubt that you have any understanding of the mechanisms by which drugs affect neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors to produce confused images and sensations, – or any understanding of the functions of various parts of the brain, on which to base your pronouncements on the subject. You have not researched the subject and are just making this up as you go along!



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  • 78
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #74 by Seraphor:

    In reply to #67 by rizvoid:

    Has it not occurred to you that this ‘phenomenon’ could simply be the minds failure to accurately model the physical world when it does not have any sensory input to guide it? Thus the models it creates don’t conform to the parameters of the physical world?

    What ever distorted perceptions may exist in any particular brain, time and space is being constantly monitored in the modern world. The calculations from Newton and Einstein are very precise. SAT-NAVs would not work if they were not correct. There are no real world unaccounted for changes to time and space arising on Earth – not from subjective thinking or any other untraced causes.



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  • 79
    OHooligan says:

    In reply to #51 by nick keighley:

    I often describe myself as a agnostic simply to distinguish myself from the crazier atheists

    If a-gnostic is the word for not knowing about god(s), what’s the word (related to apathy) for not being interested in (other peoples obsessions with) them? Apathist doesn’t quite cut it, but it’s the nearest I can find. Or better, a nice classical phrase meaning “distrustful of those who promote religions”. Anticultist might work. Infidel’s not bad. Any better suggestions?



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  • 80
    QuestioningKat says:

    Since the author of the OP and rizvoid seem to have similarities…. I decided to join in.

    There are some people who believe the universe itself is God. All of it.

    I used to be one of these people – panentheist. This view has its flaws.
    ( I realize my explanation is flawed – I’m not Richard, nor am I as succinct at Sam Harris… Hopefully you will get my point.)

    • Current views are the result of acknowledging intellectual flaws in the view of God as a separate “man God in the sky.” If he’s not out there somewhere, perhaps he’s hiding inside all of us and all of life—- all along. This view maintains a perception of God without resorting another possibility – that there is no Consciousness outside of the physical —– meaning that life inherently has no purpose and no God.

    • Essentially it stems from anthropromorphizing the universe by forgetting any simple origins. This is easy to do in a world filled with human emotions, achievements in art, science, and technology. We see the results of complex city life and forget the basic blah beginnings. Observing life at early points in the universe (IMO) is duller than watching moss grow over sixty decades. Sure you get a big band at the start … then what? It lasts – millions of years or more? (I’m just saying I wouldn’t want to take a vacation time machine trip for more than a day during this period.) Human Ideas are built upon each other; we didn’t start with the automobile but a simple stone wheel, the ability to create tools which eventually manipulates wood, fibers, etc. (not exactly, but you get the idea.) IMO, Even this slow advancement is likely far more eventful the beginnings of the universe. It also happened much much faster.

    • Complexity occured through the indifferent expansive quality of the universe over billions of years. This nonemotional process reflects Evolution which presents certain dynamics in which certain organisms, “clumps of cells”, atoms, etc. flourish or are forced to “adapt” or undergo circumstances changing its structure. ..and it keeps on keeping on. Far from random.

    • If you regress time back to the primordial soup – void of all human achievement, complex thought… and consider the level of “Consciousness” present –it is clearly very basic. There are no sky scrapers, central nervous systems with spinal columns, etc. There are no simple organisms sending each other Valentine’s Day e-cards nor negotiating the implications and ramifications of their relationship. It’s a very emotionless state without us. You might not like this cold view of life, but get over it, the universe really has no consideration for you personally.

    • Considering all this loveless existence in the universe, If you ask yourself what if God is not “Love”? You are then left with an “mechanical” emotionless, expansive, non-interventionist God. God becomes no different than various processes interacting and effecting each other. God becomes no different than the process of rolling a ball down a hill. You might see activity, but there is no intention, no purpose, no emotion… The ball might then hit a rock, which damms up a stream changing the course of the water flow which then waters certain plants causing them to flourish, but no divine intention, “logos”, Consciousness or other unobservable thought is involved.

    A super complex universe, coming into existence on its own, running under random stupid laws …. this sounds much more rational and is a far better default position?

    yes, But you’re conflating your idea of a
    “super complex universe” of today to that of billions of years ago. Not much was actually going on compared to the speed of humanity. You are projection/anthropromorphising without your realizing it.

    How does a universe with non-random laws come into existence on its own out of no where?

    Did I answer this question? Slowly over eons. Eventually, you overlook the process or are never aware of it so you focus on the end results.

    The more we dig into the hole, it just goes deeper and deeper. It is bottomless. More and more wonders await us.

    It amazes me how theists think something bigger, grander, more huge than all the universe, all human achievement, all depth and profoundness of all our human emotions is then at the core times a zillion. What if it boils down to basic principles, dynamics and activities that interact with each other and due to the intrinsic expansive nature of these dynamics, new results are formed? These new dynamics then interact with situations, activities, etc. and more expansive “Evolving” occurs? It’s the ultimate compound interest in development and life.

    Who said that the entire universe could, and must, be explained and understood by what is called rational understanding and physical evidence?

    Here’s the thing: This idea rarely ever stands on its own. Behind this question is a lot of baggage and assumptions about something bigger, grander, more huge than all the universe, all human achievement, all depth and profoundness of all our human emotions at the core times a zillion. When you truly contemplate rate of speed in which the universe was created, “Love” somehow seems absent totally and completely. It’s a story you tell yourself to hang onto beliefs of something bigger and more important in the universe, because for some reason it makes you feel better. The thing is this big grand thing, never interacted with you in the ways you think it has. Something else was the cause and it’s probably less exciting than the Divine Love Machine.

    where do the laws come from under which these particles and energies operate……What evidence can a person give another that he dreams every night? None.

    Seriously dude, you went from this topic to dreaming! Really?!

    It’s time to start contemplating the meaninglessness of life. No worries it looks a lot better when you get over your loss.



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  • Why stop at a god? Why not a bunny rabbit or a giant purple gumball? That’s what is so incredibly naïve about the concept of a god. People who believe in a god just pull something straight out of their behind and say that it is so because they WANT it to be so. I’ve never seen an atom but it’s rather hard to ignore the affects of an atom bomb. There is nothing that I see (and some things that I cannot, like the atoms or gravity) that cannot be explained by science. And we know, from history, that those things that can’t be explained by science, someday will be if we don’t “give up” on knowledge and deduction. Science doesn’t just grab randomly at gods, bunny rabbits, or giant purple gumballs because we can’t find a cure for cancer, or whatever your mystery de jour happens to be at the time. (It’s also interesting that everybody forgets about the millions of Buddhists who don’t believe in a god.) Maybe you are actually a conflicted pantheist and believe that the universe is god, because in theory, it has “always existed” which is, for some, the definition of god. People struggle with the idea of a universe that can create and support life without a god because many of us cannot fathom trillions of years going by. I said this in another post: You cannot fathom flipping a quarter in your lifetime and seeing it land perfectly on its edge. However, if you had an infinite number of years in which to achieve that end, it would happen more times than you could imagine. If you want to call that god, more power to you. It seems to me to be the randomness and luxury of time.



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  • 82
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #77 by rizvoid:

    Yes, I agree. All of this belongs to the rational realm of the universe — what we see and interpret through what we call the rational part of our mind. Seeing and interpreting the universe this way would and does give us a certain view of the universe.

    However, my point was, what if there was a realm which was beyond the grasps of the rational mind?

    The problem remains the same though. Even if what you say is true, you have no way to demonstrate that this subjective part of the universe even exists, We are not fully rational beings, you are totally correct. There are good scientific theories that account for this. The ability to make instinctive judgement rather than completely rational ones, allow us to react more quickly than through making a rational decision, in particular when dealing with other thinking beings. However this comes at a cost.

    Our rational parts of the brain, have collectively determined the rules that are required to define a valid epistemology, one of these is the requirement that any statement of truth must be objectively provable. Science defines that to prove it is to have shown physical evidence of it, there is no other way of assessing whether something is right or wrong. Without objective proof you are just fantasising. You could be right for all I know, but how could we ever know that you are.

    I however will bring you back to the most a basic assumption of all… If you see something that is correct, I should be able to see it as well. This isn’t a matter of proof here, its a matter of simple rational consideration. If the universe exists, and you and I are both in this universe, which we must be to communicate. The facts should be the same for each of us. Otherwise you are implying that we each exist in our own little universe. At which point we can use Occam to select against this theory, however I don’t think we have to. The simple fact is that this concept would seem preposterous I’m afraid. It would defy everything we know or even rationally suspect to be true about the universe.

    What it comes down to (in reality) though is that anything could in theory be possible, and you can imagine any number of scenarios therefore. However without objective proof, you cannot expect someone else to believe it, and if you start implying its truth, in a position of authority, you are doing something very wrong. I know I’m harping on about this, and perhaps preaching to the converted. However I feel that asking us to accept theories that have no objective proof, would be to imply that we should be teaching them as truth.

    The bottom line is that whilst thinking about the possible way in which things might be, is extremely healthy. The first question that any seeker of knowledge must be asking themselves is, how can I possible show this to be correct? Not just for the sake of showing it to others, but for your own sake as well. If you cannot show it to be true, you should consider it under extreme suspicion of being false, that is the only rational stand point. If you want to make a claim to this subjective existence, you must find some way of making it objective, falsifiable and then test it. Science is continually searching for ways to probe the unknown, asking the right questions to make predictions/hypotheses and then testing them with more and more sophisticated apparatus.

    Coming back to OP in this context. There may be a god yes, but without evidence to prove it we should be extremely sceptical, likewise with any theory that covers things beyond the observable. The correct answer in all such cases is ‘We Don’t Know, and may never know’. Theist religion however can be tested, it makes falsifiable claims, and seems to fall down under the weight of evidence against it.



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  • 83
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #77 by rizvoid:

    However, my point was, what if there was a realm which was beyond the grasps of the rational mind?

    Beyond the rational mind, is the fantasy world, where gullibility and delusion, allows people to uncritically believe anything!



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  • 84
    godzillatemple says:

    Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn’t just start that himself?

    Late to the party, but let me just say the following…

    According to every theist apologist I have listened to, in order for God to have created the universe “he” must be immaterial and exist outside of space and time (since matter, space and time are all components of the universe which didn’t exist until it was created). Logically, God must also not be made of energy, since matter and energy are equivalent and energy also didn’t exist before the universe was created.

    The problem for theist is two-fold. First of all, an entity that is not made of matter or energy and that exists outside of space and time is, pretty much by definition, something that has no existence whatsoever. Second of all, even if such an entity could somehow be said to exist, there is no proposed mechanism for how such an entity could ever interact with space, time, matter or energy. Which means that, even if God did exist, there would be no way of knowing it and certainly no validity to any religious systems that claim to know the will of God.

    Theist apologists go to great lengths to attempt to prove the logical necessity of some sort of creative force of the universe, despite the fact that the only such force they can logically “prove” is one that is completely unknowable and self-contradictory. After they’ve tied logic into complete knots to get that far, however, they then just throw logic out the window and end with, “Therefore, the God of [my favorite holy book] must be real!” I find it hilarious to watch both Christian and Muslim apologists go through the same tortuous logic to “prove” that something must have created the universe, and then come to completely different conclusions as to what that creative force actually is. And each side is absolutely convinced because it’s just obvious that their religion is true and therefore their description of God must be true as well.

    Do I know exactly how the universe came into being? Nope. Do I think that it’s possible that some “force” (whether the universe itself or something outside the universe) was somehow responsible for the universe coming into being? I honestly don’t know, which I suppose would make me an agnostic. But that would only make me an agnostic as to whether or not some “force” (whether the universe itself or something outside the universe) was somehow responsible for the universe coming into being. Do I believe that a personal God as described in the holy books of any religion or as worshiped by any religion was the force that was responsible for the universe coming into being? Absolutely not, and in that regard I remain firmly an atheist.



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  • 85
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #85 by godzillatemple:

    Say we discover and prove everything that led up to the Big Bang, how do we know that a God didn’t just start that himself?

    Late to the party, but let me just say the following…

    According to every theist apologist I have listened to, in order for God to have created the universe “he” must be imm…

    Late to the party or not… Very well said.



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  • 86
    rizvoid says:

    According to every theist apologist I have listened to, in order for God to have created the universe “he” must be immaterial and exist outside of space and time (since matter, space and time are all components of the universe which didn’t exist until it was created). Logically, God must also not be made of energy, since matter and energy are equivalent and energy also didn’t exist before the universe was created.

    If it is about what I said, then I should make it clear that I didn’t talk about God. I was actually talking about tracing the origin of the universe, and the theory of the big indeed state clearly that time/space were born after the big bang had occurred. There was no space and no time before the big bang. If there was no space then there was no concept of here/there, up/down, left/right … in short, no point of reference as far as an object’s location in space is concerned. If there was no time then there was no before/after, no now/then, no past/future … in short, no point of reference as far as an object’s location in time is concerned. So, to trace the origin of the big bang, we move back in time some 13 or 14 billion years. We also move back in space in the opposite direction the universe is expanding. We keep doing that until we reach a point where space ends, and where time ends. Then what do we do? Is this the end of the universe? Or, the end of the reach of our rational mind, because our rational mind CANNOT comprehend a scenario of no space/time? The rational mind needs reference points in time and in space? So, what do we do if we wanted to go beyond what happened before space/time were born?

    When you, or a person, says something like God to have created the universe “he” must be immaterial and exist outside of space and time (since matter, space and time are all components of the universe which didn’t exist until it was created) , I think he or she is attempting to achieve precisely what I am saying cannot be achieved through the rational mind. This is something beyond the reach of the rational mind, beyond its grasp, beyond its capability. It can’t be done. Unless, of course, you could tell us all how it can be done. How can we comprehend a scenario of no space/no time? Or, can we understand the origin of the big bang in space/time as space/time are known us, or do we need to go beyond these concepts? If we do, how do we do that?

    Now, the second point was, which is more important, that there may be parts in our mind that may be able to comprehend a state which we need to comprehend in order to understand the origin of the big bang. The so-called irrational part of the mind that produces dreams could be one such part. Dreams, if you would notice, have a very peculiar kind of space/time quality. Quite often, when we cover some distance in dreams, we do indeed move from one place to another, but the usual sense of distance is completely gone. Time also changes its characteristics. Events are usually non-sequential, and time can be completely gone, slow down, or speed up. All is possible there. Now, dreams can be dismissed easily as mere fantasies upon waking up … but do note who is dismissing them as mere fantasies? It is the rational part of the mind that is doing that, the part that we have access to while we remain awake. And this rational part of mind does that, it happens to be rejecting one of its own parts, since in the end, it is all part of one mind, both the rational and the irrational. But may be we can see why it is doing that. It does that because it can’t understand its own larger part that produces dreams. It can’t understand it, which is why it chooses to call it irrational in order to protect its own rationality. While the truth may be that the part that produces dreams could be far far more intelligent than the part that calls is irrational. Only it couldn’t understand its own higher intelligence and thought it was all mumjo jumbo. Just like a child in kindergarten would see the textbooks of a Phd course as mumbo jumbo…. All of this is rather easy to demonstrate. While we dream, no matter how weird and out-of-the-world a particular dream may seem upon waking up, it was all perfectly normal while we were dreaming. Only upon waking up it seem abnormal and weird and peculiar and all that. Why? Because upon waking up it is the rational part of the mind that analyzes it and then calls it whatever, precisely because it was unable to understand dreams. But while we were dreaming, while we were cut off from the rational part, it all was perfectly normal on its own. In short, the irrational part of the mind is irrational only when seen from the viewpoint of the rational mind, not on its own. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

    Finally, considering there may be aspects of the universe which we can’t see or decipher or comprehend with our rational mind, how much do we actually know about the universe, and now we can say safely, about God… if there is God?

    That’s all.



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  • 87
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #87 by rizvoid:

    According to every theist apologist I have listened to, in order for God to have created the universe “he” must be immaterial and exist outside of space and time (since matter, space and time are all components of the universe which didn’t exist until it was created). Logically, God must also not be…

    Everthing you have said is well thought out, well articulated, but just pure conjecture at the end of the day, without some kind of proof its really no different than believing Atlantis actually existed etc



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  • 88
    rizvoid says:

    Everthing you have said is well thought out, well articulated, but just pure conjecture at the end of the day, without some kind of proof its really no different than believing Atlantis actually existed etc

    Not really. What I am talking about is all well documented through studies, and is as real as it gets, because….

    — We all know what the big bang theory states about space/time, and we all know our minds, the rational part, cannot work outside of space and time, as though it was meant to work inside space/time … as if a limitation has been placed on it.

    — We all know that we dream, and it is indeed a part of our own mind that dreams. and,

    — We all know our mind has been divided by the founders of modern psychology into a conscious part and an unconscious part, and we all know the unconscious part in this division is much larger, much much larger, than the conscious part. So, we can safely assume that we do not have access to a very large part of our own mind, and that in our normal every day life, we are literally at a war with our own mind. Which is to say, the conscious part is in a conflict with the unconscious part. What if both these parts could be merged and harmonized? What kind of intelligence would be born out of this? Can’t say much what kind, but it would be different, VERY DIFFERENT, for sure.

    that’s all. But thanks for what you appreciated in my post. I was just passing through. just a visitor. Gone now.

    See you in my dreams! 🙂



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  • 89
    godzillatemple says:

    In reply to #87 by rizvoid:

    If it is about what I said, then I should make it clear that I didn’t talk about God.

    Nope, it’s not all about you… ^_^

    Seriously, I was just responding to the OP (specifically, the part I quoted in my post). I don’t even understand what you posted enough to come up with a response to it, to be honest.



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  • 90
    jabberwock says:

    @ rizvoid

    A dream is a form of awareness, usually lacking in clarity, that occurs during REM sleep. The content of any dream consists of a jumbled recombination of aspects of various remembered percepts . And the extent to which the recombination of aspects of the remembered percepts is jumbled is the extent to which the dream is incoherent. The ultimate source of the aspects of any dream is, of course, one’s perceptions of reality. But a dream can never be the means to knowledge of reality.

    The only means to knowledge of reality is reason – the application of logic (non-contradictory identification) to one’s observations of reality in order to conceptually grasp aspects of reality in the form of facts. Reason is unassailable: any attempt to deny or refute reason must use reason and is thereby self-refuting. To use reason to attempt to deny or refute reason is a form of the fallacy of the stolen concept. Furthermore, if you think there can be a means to objective knowledge other than reason, how would you attempt to validate that means if not by reason? To use reason to attempt to validate unreason as a means to knowledge must necessarily fail.



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  • 91
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #89 by rizvoid:

    — We all know what the big bang theory states about space/time, and we all know our minds, the rational part, cannot work outside of space and time, as though it was meant to work inside space/time … as if a limitation has been placed on it.

    Quine told you the answer to this way back at the beginning of this discussion. Our rational mind can make mathematical models in which space-time develops from more primitive notions. The fact that our rational minds work in space-time does not prevent us from making such models. You might as well argue that because our brains are finite they cannot think about infinite decimal expansions. Or because our brains need oxygen we can make a theory of how a vacuum behaves. It’s nonsense.

    I was just passing through. just a visitor. Gone now.

    Oh dear. We asked hard questions I guess.

    Michael



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  • 92
    Malaidas says:

    In reply to #89 by rizvoid:

    Everthing you have said is well thought out, well articulated, but just pure conjecture at the end of the day, without some kind of proof its really no different than believing Atlantis actually existed etc

    Not really. What I am talking about is all well documented through studies, and is as real a…

    Whilst Conciousness may be epiphenomenon, an emergent property of the brain, which is very difficult to define, see the other thread on this. The subconscious is still of the same substance as the rest of the world. It is bound by the same laws. If it can detect something, even if we are not consciously aware of this so can our instruments. The electrical circuit which is the brain however is not solely dependant upon external factors(sensory input) however it can reason, it can imagine, it can create. This does not require some subjective reality to be true. Such a concept makes no real sense. I draw you back to my earlier argument, if something has any reality to it, it must be the same for both of us if we exist in the same universe and if we don’t then how are we communicating? The only other possibility is that of a spiritual reality, but there is no evidence to support this claim, and the simpler hypothesis doesn’t need this to be true. In which case the only rational point of view is to go with the simpler one in accordance with the rules of the scientific epistemology and plain common sense, pending some form of objective evidence of the spiritual world being real.



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  • 93
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #89 by rizvoid:
    >

    — We all know our mind has been divided by the founders of modern psychology into a conscious part and an unconscious part, and we all know the unconscious part in this division is much larger, much much larger, than the conscious part.

    None of it can be self analysed.

    So, we can safely assume that we do not have access to a very large part of our own mind, and that in our normal every day life, we are literally at a war with our own mind.

    There you go again making asserted ASSUMPTIONS. Some people are confused and conflicted – others are not!

    Which is to say, the conscious part is in a conflict with the unconscious part.

    You have produced no evidence for this assertion!

    What if both these parts could be merged and harmonized?

    What does that even mean??? Brain in a blender??

    What kind of intelligence would be born out of this? Can’t say much what kind, but it would be different, VERY DIFFERENT, for sure.

    You are still just making it up as you go along. Why don’t you do some research and study? – or at least read and respond to some of the links you have been given!!

    — We all know what the big bang theory states about space/time, and we all know our minds, the rational part, cannot work outside of space and time, as though it was meant to work inside space/time … as if a limitation has been placed on it.

    People in deep-sea submersibles cannot work outside the craft in the pressures on the deep ocean floor, but to suggest they can’t think about it, is just silly!



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  • 94
    Pkeeper says:

    Your question goes to the very heart of the existance or non existance of God. It is an unaswerable question. If you want to really dig into the whole problem of the existance of God read what follows. I could not get the toy universe diagram to post. I debated with myself about posting this. But what the heck – Go for it.

    [Link removed by moderator]

    It has always bothered me that if God exists and is all powerful, Why wait for billions of years to put the universe in order? Why not just zap everything in its place and be done with it? Well maybe God did just that. It all depends on one’s frame of reference and our understanding of the emergence of time.

    Lets see if we can make a little sense out of our thought process here. The following will be very difficult to comprehend. I do not understand it myself and it will seem to be irrelevant until you get to the end. If you would prefer to skip the complexity quantum entanglement and the mysteries of observable states of fundamental particles then go directly to the last three paragraphs of this post.

    First a little background: Quantum Entanglement is a state where two quantum particles (photons, or electrons for example) are intrinsically and absolutely linked (entangled). Due to a principle called quantum superposition, quantum particles exist in every theoretically possible state at the same time. until it’s state is measured. A photon, for example, spins in two dimensions at the same time. When two fundamental particles interact in a physical proximal way they can become entangled and share the same existence. When an observation or measurement is made of one or the other particle in the particle pair. The observation instantly fixes the state of both entangled particles. No matter how far they are separated from each other in space. The observer also becomes entangled with the two particles. As an example if you measure an instance of spin polarity of one photon as vertically polarized, its entangled pair will be horizontally polarized. If you change the polarity of one particle the other particle instantly changes to be oppositely polarized regardless of the distance between them (This is called non-local). How the entangled pairs evolved (change?) compared to the rest of the universe is a measurement of time.

    According to the theory, the entangled particles may be thousands of miles apart and when one spin polarity is changed in one of the two entangled particles; the other will instantly change polarity and this seems to violate the limits imposed by the speed of light on information exchange. In the 1980s theorists Don Page and William Wootters applied a novel solution to the problem of time based on the quantum phenomenon of entanglement where two particles (photons, electrons, or other fundamental subatomic particle) share the same existence. Physicists discovered that when two photons pass through a birefringent plate, which has the ability to change the polarization of photons as they pass through it, the observer is able to use the way the two particles evolve (i.e. change) as a kind of clock to measure time. It is a measure of time because the change is compared to everything the entangled observer observes in his/her universal frame of reference which could be, Internal clocks in the measurement equipment, the internal clock of the observer, the rhythm and passage of time everywhere, and in everything observed in his/her existence.

    The key here is that the two photons are observed and their relative polarities are compared. If the observer separates the two photons and changes the polarity of the first one and uses it as a clock to gauge the evolution of the second: The observer sees the polarity of the other instantly change and the relative polarities are conserved. (This is a major problem for the principle of locality) But the change can only be observed in comparison to everything involved in the measurement therefore the observer must be a part of the universe in which the measurement is made.

    I hope everyone is with me so far! Entanglement is not completely understood by anyone so don’t feel like you are out of your element here. If the spin in both particles are observed to simultaneously change, even though the two particles are spaced miles apart, than no time has in-fact elapsed.

    Now let’s suppose you (the observer) were to step outside our universe and observe the properties of the two photons in the above experiment. The experiment would appear to be static and the particles unchanged. So time would seem to be an emergent phenomena for observers only in the universe where the change took place. Ekaterina Moreva at the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) in Turin, Italy performed an experiment utilizing a toy version of a universe with entangled photons and two observers. One observer was a member of the toy universe and measured the polarization of the first photon and thereby became entangled with it. The observer then compared the polarization of the second photon with the first. The difference was a measure of time. The, ‘other universe,’ observer measured the evolution of the photons using an external independent clock in his ‘other’ universe. and found that there was not any difference between the photons before or after they were entangled. In other words the experiment was static. In this case, time does not emerge. At the quantum level time does not appear to exist when measured by an external – independent – clock – not of this universe.

                                                         Two Universe Test
    
    
    
    
                   UNIVERSE 1                                                                                 UNIVERSE 2
    

    Universe 1 is composed of two entangled photons. They exist in a superposition of both verticle and horizontal polarization until they are observed. One of the photons is treated as a clock which ‘ticks’ as its verticle or horizontal polarization changes. An observer reading one of the photons becomes entangled with it. Influencing it and the universe it resides within. The observer essentially becomes a member of this universe. Another ‘super observer’ exists in his own universe(2) with his own clock, measures the quantum system of universe(1), as a whole, and observes no change in the state of both photons taken together.The second ‘super observer’ sees a static universe – there was no change in the superposition of the particles..

    How does this finding scale up to the macroscopic level of you and me and everything in the universe? That is the real unknown in this exercise and we may never know the answer because there is no way to falsify the experiment.This is only an experiment and should not be construed as proof that it is upwards scaleable.

    If we were able to scale up the test to the macroscopic level and found that the microscopic is scalable to the macroscopic. And, hypothetically, if we further assumed the existence of God and that God is an observer outside of our universe than, to God, our universe and our existence is timeless and static. If we, in our universe, could observe God’s universe, or place of existence, God would appear to us to be static. Giving new meaning to: ‘I AM’.

    The emergence of time requires an observable change relative to all that we observe in our universe.. Said another way – Time emerges from our observation of change. It is difficult to not continually observe and experience change. Change is a universal and continuous process in every facet of the existence of everything. Our surroundings, the entire universe, the air we breath, the sounds we hear, our hearts beating, the things that interact with our senses, every living and non living thing changes. Time emerges from our observation of change in all that we do, experience, and measure. So does time exist? Or should we consider that change exists, and time is simply an artificial measurement of the rate of change?

    Without the application of energy entropy always increases, everything becomes more chaotic over time. The arrow of time is always in the direction of increasing entropy. Is time a measure of the rate of entropy change? Entropy only decreases when energy is expended to force entropy to decrease. Once the energy being applied is removed entropy increases again. But the arrow of time does not change with it. If God is an observer outside our universe, all of (our) universal history would appear static and timeless based on the Page/Wootters theory.

    (To my mind though, I would think that the emergence of time in our macroscopic universe would be relative to the emergence of time for the observer in another universe and not be static.)

    In the real world, coordinate time is not observable, but clock time is. To observe time we must correlate our observations with clock time. But clock time is arbitrary. According to the Page/Wootters theory – If God is an ‘outside our universe observer’ than God would appear to us to be static and timeless. An apparent timeless static God would appear to simply exist – unchanging – I AM would be an apt description.



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  • 95
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #95 by Pkeeper:

    How does this finding scale up to the macroscopic level of you and me and everything in the universe? That is the real unknown in this exercise and we may never know the answer because there is no way to falsify the experiment.This is only an experiment and should not be construed as proof that it is upwards scaleable.

    If we were able to scale up the test to the macroscopic level and found that the microscopic is scalable to the macroscopic. And, hypothetically, if we further assumed the existence of God and that God is an observer outside of our universe than, to God, our universe and our existence is timeless and static. If we, in our universe, could observe God’s universe, or place of existence, God would appear to us to be static. Giving new meaning to: ‘I AM’.

    ..and if we make all sorts of wild assumptions about the scalability of matter, gods, and universes, we could wallow in all sorts of hypothetical quantum woo!



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  • 96
    Pkeeper says:

    You are absolutely correct. But then most hypotheses dealing with quantum mechanics deal with assumptions and the woo factor. Like I said there is no way to falsify any of this.
    In reply to #96 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #95 by Pkeeper:

    How does this finding scale up to the macroscopic level of you and me and everything in the universe? That is the real unknown in this exercise and we may never know the answer because there is no way to falsify the experiment.This is only an experiment and should not be…



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  • 98
    Pkeeper says:

    In this particular case – If you can find a macroscopic way to observe our universe from another universe. You’ll have the worlds attention.

    In reply to #98 by DHudson:

    In reply to #97 by Pkeeper:

    Like I said there is no way to falsify any of this.

    I find your lack of faith in science disturbing. 😉



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  • 99
    DHudson says:

    In reply to #99 by Pkeeper:

    In this particular case – If you can find a macroscopic way to observe our universe from another universe. You’ll have the worlds attention.

    That would require some awesome gadgets and algorithms, so I wouldn’t go there just yet. We do however have the capability to theorize mathematically, and as our math continues to evolve and adapt through rigorous testing against reality/observations, I see no reason as to why we shouldn’t some day be able to disprove the existence of gods.

    The gaps are getting smaller every day.



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  • 100
    Pkeeper says:

    Even with some elaborate mathematical algorithm the result would still remain a theory just one step above a hypothesis. No – I don’t think we will ever get there.

    In reply to #100 by DHudson:

    In reply to #99 by Pkeeper:

    In this particular case – If you can find a macroscopic way to observe our universe from another universe. You’ll have the worlds attention.

    That would require some awesome gadgets and algorithms, so I wouldn’t go there just yet. We do however have the capability to the…



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  • 101
    DHudson says:

    In reply to #101 by Pkeeper:

    Even with some elaborate mathematical algorithm the result would still remain a theory just one step above a hypothesis. No – I don’t think we will ever get there.

    What do you perceive a scientific theory to be?



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  • 102
    Pkeeper says:

    A theory, in science, is generally a mathematical explanation to describe an observation. In general it follows a number of hypotheses to arrive at a formula that attempts to describe an observation. It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact. – Or something to that effect

    In reply to #102 by DHudson:

    In reply to #101 by Pkeeper:

    Even with some elaborate mathematical algorithm the result would still remain a theory just one step above a hypothesis. No – I don’t think we will ever get there.

    What do you perceive a scientific theory to be?



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  • 103
    DHudson says:

    In reply to #103 by Pkeeper:

    A theory, in science, is generally a mathematical explanation to describe an observation. In general it follows a number of hypotheses to arrive at a formula that attempts to describe an observation. It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact. – Or something to that effect

    Do you consider the theory of evolution a mathematical construct?



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  • 104
    Pkeeper says:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular life forms and another that sited a particular early worm seems to have just appeared without an earlier precursor having genes it did not appear to use or need. I also believe that Genesis chapter 1 enforces the idea of evolution when it says ‘Let the earth bring forth’ Today we would say ‘Let the earth evolve over time’.

    In reply to #104 by DHudson:

    In reply to #103 by Pkeeper:

    A theory, in science, is generally a mathematical explanation to describe an observation. In general it follows a number of hypotheses to arrive at a formula that attempts to describe an observation. It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact. – Or something to t…



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  • 105
    DHudson says:

    In reply to #105 by Pkeeper:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular life forms and another that sited a particular early worm seems to have just appeared without an earlier precursor having genes it did not appear to use or need. I also believe that Genesis chapter 1 enforces the idea of evolution when it says ‘Let the earth bring forth’ Today we would say ‘Let the earth evolve over time’.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the theory of evolution did not evolve from math. It evolved from observations about nature.

    In fact you may argue that math itself evolved from observations about nature, E.g. geometry.

    Your interpretation of the bible is not relevant to scientific endavour or thinking.



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  • 106
    Pkeeper says:

    And there I would have to disagree with you. Originally evolution was arrived at by shear observation. But there are now mathematical constructs that describe lineage and predict future genetic outcomes.
    Whether you believe my interpretation of the words in Genesis are material or not is inconsequential. The observation is made to show that the biblical account of creation includes evolution as a mechanism. This is a science vs religion site last I checked.

    In reply to #106 by DHudson:

    In reply to #105 by Pkeeper:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular li…



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  • 107
    DHudson says:

    In reply to #107 by Pkeeper:

    And there I would have to disagree with you. Originally evolution was arrived at by shear observation. But there are now mathematical constructs that describe lineage and predict future genetic outcomes. Whether you believe my interpretation of the words in Genesis are material or not is inconsequential. The observation is made to show that the biblical account of creation includes evolution as a mechanism. This is a science vs religion site last I checked.

    Just because mathematical constructs are useful within the field of evolution, that doesn’t make it a mathematical theory.

    Do you consider gravity a mathematical construct because we use math in trying to figure it out?

    Where in your prefered scripture are evolution described and tested?



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  • 108
    Pkeeper says:

    Then we should tell Dr J.C. Willis to remove his statistical studies of conception based on area. And the mathematical Theory of evolution presented by Jule based on Dr. Willis’s conclusions. Mathematical constructs of Gravity have all failed. In genesis there are only three creative acts. When Genesis 1 says; ‘let the earth bring forth’ (verses 11and 25) Genesis is describing an evolutionary process. You do not have to accept that interpretation – I do.

    Do you even remotely believe that any interpretation of Genesis could be factually the same as the scientiific explanation of the evolution of the universe,. the earth, and life? What are the odds of any interpretion by a 5000 year old society getting it even close to being correct?

    In reply to #106 by DHudson:

    In reply to #105 by Pkeeper:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular li…



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  • 109
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #103 by Pkeeper:

    A theory, in science, is generally a mathematical explanation to describe an observation. In general it follows a number of hypotheses to arrive at a formula that attempts to describe an observation.

    Nope. Mathematics is a useful tool in a lot of science, particularly physics but science doesn’t require it in the way you seem to be suggesting. There is a nice post by Sean Carroll called What is Science that I highly recommend.

    It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact. – Or something to that effect

    If it’s falsified it isn’t a fact. Did you mean reproduced ? That’s not enough. It needs to be tested as rigorously as you can. The more tests it passes the more accepted it becomes as a fact.

    Michael



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  • 110
    Pkeeper says:

    From wikipedia:
    The term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.In reply to #110 by mmurray:
    I was using the term falsifiable as synonomous with testable. – But your point is noted. I could have used a better word. I’ll read Sean Carrols book thanks.

    In reply to #103 by Pkeeper:

    A theory, in science, is generally a mathematical explanation to describe an observation. In general it follows a number of hypotheses to arrive at a formula that attempts to describe an observation.

    Nope. Mathematics is a useful tool in a lot of science, particularly…



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  • 111
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #111 by Pkeeper:

    From wikipedia:
    The term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.In reply to #110 by mmurray:
    I was using the term falsifiable as synonomous with testable. –

    But you didn’t say falsifiable you said falsified. That would mean it had failed a test.

    Michael



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  • 112
    Pkeeper says:

    In my original post what I said was: Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability. The term falsify would mean test. Falsifiable would mean testable. falsified would mean tested. At least I intended the meaning would be synonomous with the word test, past, present, or future. It does not mean that the test failed. In reply to #112 by mmurray:*

    In reply to #111 by Pkeeper:

    From wikipedia:
    The term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.In reply to #110 by mmurray:
    I was using the term falsifiable as synonomous with testable. –

    But you didn’t say falsifiable you said falsified. That would mean it had failed a test.

    Michael



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  • 113
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #113 by Pkeeper:

    In my original post what I said was: Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.

    In comment #103 you said:

    It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact

    (My emphasis). I quoted that in my reply #110. That was my only concern.

    Michael



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  • 114
    Pkeeper says:

    OK- I’m reading Sean Carrol’s paper now. He has alot to say about the word falsifiable, falsifiability, and reproducability. Interesting stuff.
    In reply to #114 by mmurray:

    In reply to #113 by Pkeeper:

    In my original post what I said was: Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability.

    In comment #103 you said:

    It needs to be falsified before it becomes a fact

    (My emphasis). I quoted that in my reply #110. That was my only concern.

    Michael



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  • 115
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #105 by Pkeeper:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular life forms and another that site…

    We would need a specific quote and citation, to check out this assertion. It looks like it could come from the nonsense of that infamous pseudo-scientist, Dr. Georgia Purdom at AIG, rather than from some reputable peer-reviewed scientific study.

    I also believe that Genesis chapter 1 enforces the idea of evolution when it says ‘Let the earth bring forth’ Today we would say ‘Let the earth evolve over time’.

    Cherry-picking bits of text for “reinterpretation”, really does not wash, when the totally shambolic wrong sequence of events in Genesas is at odds with astronomical data.

    BTW: Suggesting that quantum scale events can be scaled up to terrestrial and astronomical scales is just unevidenced nonsense which is refuted by objective physics.



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  • 116
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #109 by Pkeeper:

    When Genesis 1 says; ‘let the earth bring forth’ (verses 11and 25) Genesis is describing an evolutionary process. You do not have to accept that interpretation – I do.

    Do you even remotely believe that any interpretation of Genesis could be factually the same as the scientiific explanation of the evolution of the universe,. the earth, and life? What are the odds of any interpretion by a 5000 year old society getting it even close to being correct

    ‘Let the earth bring forth’ is quite a large leap away from evolution. At a stretch, you could say it is shifting the agency from God to ‘the earth’, but to claim it is some incredible analogy of any modern day scientific discovery is bordering on deceit.
    Those words could just as easily be used to describe farming, a volcanic eruption or pottery, or any weather phenomenon. It could be used to support the pre-19th century theory that dead meat creates maggots, or that certain animals grew from plants.



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  • 117
    Pkeeper says:

    The ‘front loaded” comment was from Nicole King of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at Berkeley. Speaking on the Monosiga Brevicollis Choanoflagillate. She suggested that it was front loaded with a future multicellular state in mind. A couple quotes: “The strongest sequenced based support yet for the kinship between choanoflagellates and metazoans.”The Monosiga Brevicollis Choanoflagellate have five immunoglobulin domains even though they have no immune system; integrin and cadherin domains, though they have no skeleton or matrix binding cells together; and proteins called tyrosine kinases that are a key part of the signalling between cells, even though Monosiga choanoflagellates is not known to communicate, or at leaast form colonies.” And this from a 1 billion year old Protist. The next guote was from Sean B Caroll; “the genes which are used to differentiate one animal from another appeared all at once instead of through gradual evolution and mutation.” I wouldn’t say these two are nobody in their respective fields.

    Could you be specific as to what events you think are out of sequence in the biblical story of creation. Thanks

    In reply to #116 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #105 by Pkeeper:

    Yes – Although I think the constructs themselves are still evolving. I could site some molecular cell biologist that have concluded that evolution is not the whole story and that some early bacterium seemed to have been front loaded for future eukaryote multicellular li…



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  • 118
    Pkeeper says:

    Here is my comparative timeline:

                                                         TIME LINE
    
    
                         Science                                                                     Genesis
    

    •Inflating high temp plasma. light could not escape / Without form and void – in darkness

    •Neutral atoms form – light is released Let there be light

    •Galaxies and stars form including our own Light was divided from the darkness

    •The earth forms an atmosphere Let there be a firmament

    •Earth cools – Oceans form – Continental drift One body of water

    •Simple plant and bacterial life evolves Let the earth bring forth all plant life

    •From the sea Metazoan life begins God created all life that moves in the sea & flyer’s flying

    •Land animals evolve from the sea The Earth brings forth living creatures,creeping things & birds

    •Early man evolves out of Africa God creates man in His Image – male and female

    •Humans have subdued the Earth Be Fruitful and subdue the Earth.

    Here are my rules of interpretation:

    The hebrew word YOM in Genesis 1 does not refer to days because the definite article ‘the’ (ha) is not used. So Yom means epoch or epoch in a sequence not days. See also Rodbey Whitfield. Everywhere the definite article (ha) is used in the Torah it means ‘day’ its not used in the first five days of creation.

    Every creative verse is speaking to what is intended to be created not what was created at the beginning,

    The reference to birds in verse 21. is wrong in the NKJV, and KJV bibles. In ancient Hebrew the actual wording is ve’ oph ye’ oph meaning “Flyers Flying” which is non-specific as to what is flying. For this Epoch it would be flying insects. Birds do not evolve for another 125+ million years. In the next epoch the ancient Hebrew writing says owph when referring to birds. Owph means “A fowl having feathers”.

    Day 6 includes the definite article ‘the’ So in front of the number of the day. So it should be interpreted as day the sixth. and could be referring to a future day epoch.

    These a pretty simple rules of interpretation.

    Verses 1 and 2 must be taken together as one statement of the creation of everything

    In reply to #117 by Seraphor:

    In reply to #109 by Pkeeper:

    When Genesis 1 says; ‘let the earth bring forth’ (verses 11and 25) Genesis is describing an evolutionary process. You do not have to accept that interpretation – I do.

    In reply to #117 by Seraphor:

    In reply to #109 by Pkeeper:

    When Genesis 1 says; ‘let the earth bring forth’ (verses 11and 25) Genesis is describing an evolutionary process. You do not have to accept that interpretation – I do.

    Do you even remotely believe that any interpretation of Genesis could be factually the same as the sc…



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  • 119
    Pkeeper says:

    I could not get my timeline columns to line up So take each bullet line as first describing the science timeline and then the Genesis timeline.

    In reply to #119 by Pkeeper:

    Here is my comparative timeline:

                                                     TIME LINE
    
    
                     Science                                                                     Genesis
    

    •Inflating high temp plasma. light could not escape / Without form and void – in darkness

    •…



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  • 120
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #119 by Pkeeper:

    General rule: “predictions” are impressive only to the degree that they are unerringly accurate. Modern understanding of physics and cosmology cannot be summed up as “formless and voidless darkness with light added”. And quite frankly, I’d like to see how (and why) you would explain inconsistencies like:

    • plants appearing before the sun did

    • the moon being described as producing its own light

    • “dividing light from darkness” is supposed to represent star formation when the stars are made a couple of days later

    • a description of two kinds of water

    • a heaven and a “dividing firmament” which definitely do not exist

    • whales appearing before land animals

    • land animals being divided between “creeping things,” “beasts of the earth”, and “cattle”

    • God stepping in and explicitly making some things rather than simply letting them arise

    • land animals appearing from the earth rather than the seas

    • all species being vegetarian despite the fact that carnivory goes back to at least the Cambrian

    • Adam and Eve

    • why biblical writers with such knowledge would make such a terrible job of communicating it such that the claims were verified thousands of years later without a single need to refer to the Testament



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  • 121
    Zeuglodon says:

    The hebrew word YOM in Genesis 1 does not refer to days because the definite article ‘the’ (ha) is not used. So Yom means epoch or epoch in a sequence not days.

    Wait, so Yom Kippur means “Epoch of Judgement” and only coincidentally occurs one day a year?



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  • 122
    Pkeeper says:

    I do appreciate the reasoned reply. However, I could spend the rest of the day responding. I would suggest that you go to [Link AGAIN removed by moderator] and see if anything there helps to explain your questions. I do make the point that Ancient Hebrew writings have far fewer words and they include prefixs (pictures) So it demands a modern day interpretation of what is trying to be said. I know the argument would be that everyone could have a different interpretation and I totallly agree – there is no getting around it. What I looked for in my interpretation is not only the words but also how the words are being used in each verse and how that would apply to the epoch being described. To my surprise I found that Genesis and the sciences agree. Again I know that it is just my own interpretation of it. – and again there is no getting around it. My interpretation may not be the same as yours. But I did spend of 30 years trying to justify one or the other thinking, at the beginning, that only one of them could be true. Early on I was hobbled because the sciences were not as robust (probably not the best word) as they are today. But with some simple rules of interpretation I confinced myself that the two diciplines were saying the same thing – At least to me. Now the real question is how did this ancient civilization seem to be able to write a creative timeline that we, in the 21st century, could even argue about.

    In reply to #121 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #119 by Pkeeper:

    General rule: “predictions” are impressive only to the degree that they are unerringly accurate. Modern understanding of physics and cosmology cannot be summed up as “formless and voidless darkness with light added”. And quite frankly, I’d like to see how (and why) you…



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  • 123
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #119 by Pkeeper:

    Here is my comparative timeline:

                               TIME LINE
    

    . . . . Science Genesis

    •Inflating high temp plasma. light could not escape / Without form and void – in darkness

    It seems to be copied from a pseudo-science blogspot!

    http://puzzlekeeper.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/a-sea-of-living-cratures-part-3-of-3.html

         .                  .   .   Time Line 
    
              Science                .  .                            Genesis 
    
    • Inflating high temp plasma. light could not escape / Without form and void – in darkness -* Neutral atoms form – light is released Let there be light
    • Galaxies and stars form including our own Light was divided from the darkness
      -The earth forms an atmosphere Let there be a firmament
    • Earth cools – Oceans form – Continental drift One body of water
    • Simple plant and bacterial life evolves Let the earth bring forth all plant life
      -From the sea Metazoan life begins God created everything that moves in the sea

    It looks familiar!

    In Genesis 1 verse 20 and 21 the Torah tells us that God created great sea creatures and everything that moves. The Torah did not say ‘let’ (para) animal life begin, or ‘make’ (asah) animal life begin. The Torah does say that God ‘created’ (bara) animal life, and more specifically God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves. Every living thing did indeed evolve from the sea.

    In Gods first creation of everything it was assumed that where there was nothing – God made there to exist ‘ex nihilo’ or out of nothing. So is it correct to assume that God creates everything from absolute nothing? Or does God create by bringing into existance things, for lack of a better word, that promote what God seeks to exist. In Gods next creation did God create all animal life from a blank slate?

    The basic cellular structure of life had evolved over time from prokaryotes having no nucleolus, to eukaryote cells having a nucleolus which contained the genetic material that defines living things. The basic prokaryote cellular structure was co-opted for Gods next creation. Unlike plants however, this new form of life was free to move about in its water environment. So what was Created?

    The Puzzle Keeper expands on this line of thought. Also go back and review my post titled “Intelligent design and irreducible complexity”.
    ..

    The next guote was from Sean B Caroll; “the genes which are used to differentiate one animal from another appeared all at once instead of through gradual evolution and mutation.” I wouldn’t say these two are nobody in their respective fields.

    As I said, I would require a link to his scientific paper where this quote originated to check its context and authenticity. Pseudo-science blogs are not a reliable source of information.

    ID sites are notorious for presenting their own confused understanding of complex areas of science … and history!



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  • 124
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #123 by Pkeeper:

    I do appreciate the reasoned reply. However, I could spend the rest of the day responding. I would suggest that you go to [link removed by moderator] and see if anything there helps to explain your questions. I do make the point that Ancient Hebrew writings have far fewer words and they include prefixs (pictures) So it demands a modern day interpretation of what is trying to be said

    Much as I appreciate the civility and openness of your response, I think you misunderstand me. In my original post, I was not actually asking how one retroactively uses modern science and verbal ambiguity to connect the dots between the first chapter of Genesis and roughly five hundred years of hard scientific investigation so complex that you have to spend years learning it in school and higher education.

    Perhaps I should have been more explicit. The broader point, which is what I wanted to know, was: when we have the work of scientists over the past few hundred years, why would one go to such vague verses that sat idle for millennia and contributed nothing to the enterprise, and only now start claiming that they knew that? Surely, if we had the means to acquire such information as far back as three thousand or so years ago, it would have had a more dramatic impact? There would be no point in writing down advanced physics if no one using the writing ever figured this out.

    Are you not simply walking into a well-known psychological phenomenon known as apophenia, and committing the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy, when you draw a target of modern big bang physics over the “let there be light” line and claim a bullseye?



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  • 125
    Pkeeper says:

    The Hebrew word for ‘Day’ is ‘YOM’. Today, in the English language, we define the word day as one rotation of the earth on its axis. In the Torah however, the word YOM can have many meanings. In Genesis 4:3, Deuteronomy 10:10, and Kings 11:42. It is translated as ‘time’. In Isaiah 30:8 the word YOM is equivalent to ‘forever’. Four times, in the Old testament, YOM means ‘Year’. Eight times it is translated as ‘age’ Once it is translated as ‘ago’. Three times as ‘seasons’. Twenty seven times as ‘chronicles’. Once in Psalms 13:9:6 it is translated as ‘continually’. Twice as ‘ever’ and once as ‘evermore’. There is no rule that says YOM must mean a day. You need to study the ancient Hebrew language. The first rule of any engagement with your supposed adversary is to “know your enemy” YOM can mean a day or forever. To determine which one requires an understanding of not the biblical Hebrew language but rather the ancient Hebrew language where the ‘root’ of the word is found.

    In reply to #122 by Zeuglodon:

    The hebrew word YOM in Genesis 1 does not refer to days because the definite article ‘the’ (ha) is not used. So Yom means epoch or epoch in a sequence not days.

    Wait, so Yom Kippur means “Epoch of Judgement” and only coincidentally occurs one day a year?



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  • 126
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #126 by Pkeeper:

    The Hebrew word for ‘Day’ is ‘YOM’. Today, in the English language, we define the word day as one rotation of the earth on its axis. In the Torah however, the word YOM can have many meanings. In Genesis 4:3, Deuteronomy 10:10, and Kings 11:42. It is translated as ‘time’. In Isaiah 30:8 the word YOM…

    So basically it is so vague that it can be interpreted anyway you like and does not have any definitive meaning! – Ideal for retrospective fitting to a calendar or sequence of events, with maximum obfuscation.



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  • In reply to #125 by Zeuglodon:

    Are you not simply walking into a well-known psychological phenomenon known as apophenia, and committing the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy, when you draw a target of modern big bang physics over the “let there be light” line and claim a bullseye?

    Yes, I also think that is what is going on. People want their revered scriptures to be true. When those writings don’t match up with fact, they will try to “reinterpret” or sail off into the vast ocean of metaphor to reduce the dissonance.



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  • In reply to #127 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #126 by Pkeeper:

    The Hebrew word for ‘Day’ is ‘YOM’. Today, in the English language, we define the word day as one rotation of the earth on its axis. In the Torah however, the word YOM can have many meanings. In Genesis 4:3, Deuteronomy 10:10, and Kings 11:42. It is translated as ‘time’. In Isaiah 30:8 the word YOM…

    So basically it is so vague that it can be interpreted anyway you like and does not have any definitive meaning! – Ideal for retrospective fitting to a calendar or sequence of events, with maximum obfuscation.

    Indeed. This well known attempt to circumvent fact is called, “Day-age Creationism.” You can sit back on this one, because a quick web search will produce refutations by the Young Earth Creationists, who have done the work for you.



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  • 129
    Seraphor says:

    Your determination is admirable, however misguided it may be.

    But unfortunately you’re making the same mistake I alluded to earlier. There is simply not enough in genesis to go on, it is so incredibly vague, and you’ve made it infinitely vaguer with your reinterpretation, that it could be used to support any number of theories.

    Trying to interpret Genesis is simply not a credible endeavor, anyone can do it and come up with completely different conclusions. Thus the only angle we can reliably take it on is the most common interpretation that allows for the fewest assumptions, and unfortunately for you this completely contradicts what we know.

    In reply to #123 by Pkeeper:

    To my surprise I found that Genesis and the sciences agree. Again I know that it is just my own interpretation of it. – and again there is no getting around it. My interpretation may not be the same as yours. But I did spend of 30 years trying to justify one or the other thinking, at the beginning, that only one of them could be true.

    When two things contradict then one of them must be wrong, so it would seem that for 30 years you were, in a way, correct.

    Seems to me that 30 years of cognitive dissonance took it’s toll, so you desperately twisted an interpretation out of Genesis to quell your internal conflict. Of course there would be no conflict if you simply accepted evidence, but your emotional attachment to the veracity of your holy books wouldn’t allow that.

    Thus your dilemma:

    • Either Science or Genesis must be incorrect.
    • I cannot allow Genesis to be incorrect as it contradicts my faith.
    • Science appears to be correct.

    One of those bullet points needs to be eliminated, you chose the wrong one. Although admittedly, not the worst one.



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  • 131
    BenCarollo says:

    If you can prove that god is superfluous or unnecessary then to explain his existence would require vast amounts of exemptions from logic and physical laws and therefore can be rendered deeply improbable and if there is no need for him to exist then god can be rulled out entirely.

    For example.
    Hypothesis: There are fairies that pull magnets together
    Facts: Due to the inherent nature of elecromagnetism and the metals that cunduct electricity opposite ends are compelled toward eachother in order to achive a lower energy and more stable state.

    Conclusion: fairies are unnecessary and while we can not prove they do not exist it would take much exemption from basic laws of chemistry and biology to explain their existence thus they provide no function and are to extravagant to be justified any merit.



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